Racism is a touchy subject for white people. We found an antidote.
Read the full article at RaceBaitr.
Whiteness must be banished to history—to an other-space of that which is unknown and impossible. There is no way in which whiteness can move that is freeing or liberating for Black people, so there is no way for white people to free or liberate.
Whiteness is indivisible from white people. To identify as white is to claim the social structure of whiteness, is to always wade in the waters of anti-Blackness. Sociologist Anthony Giddens criticizes our general conceptualization of social structure for having “a tendency to view structure and symbols as somehow alien to the actors who produce, reproduce, and transform these structures and symbols.” It is this tendency that so easily clouds our understanding of whiteness and motivates us to embrace white allyship. Black liberation would mean the destruction of whiteness, but whiteness is upheld by all white people. White people cannot escape upholding it.
There is no answer to the question of what white people can do for Black liberation, but racism veils reality so easily and efficiently. It is anti-reality. It makes the impossible seem not only possible, but a worthwhile endeavor. It truly does keep you, as Toni Morrison said, “from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again.”
The dilemma of what white people should do to address racism has the same exhausting function of racism, because this dilemma is racism. Because for white people “to do” anything means that whiteness must be centered in a way that would perpetuate its oppressive essentiality.
This is all to say, importantly, that whiteness cannot be done well, cannot be done without violence or without being in opposition to Blackness and Black freedom. But the extent of this lies far beyond ashy campaigns and disturbing open letters begging other white people to atone for their sins using the blood of Black women. We must critically engage the possibility that whiteness is only violent to Blackness, is only and can only ever be antithetical to Black liberation.
All ways of addressing Black liberation for which white people are praised is always work Black people—Black poor and working class women, trans, non-binary, disabled and queer people especially—have already done and been doing and have made possible for white people to know.
Therefore, white people should move comfortably in neither Black spaces nor white spaces. Even those who are well-meaning should drive themselves into the ground trying to figure out how to occupy a positive whiteness—because it is impossible. Only in this frenzy, when the sense of order that is critical to whiteness turns to chaos in every place, can the motivation to destroy it overcome the compulsion to reform it.
After whiteness is obliterated, at that point, what the people who now identify as white should do is a giant theoretical exercise: what comes after whiteness? How does someone become not white? That is the legitimate and critical work of many.
Music by Damscray