The Blog and the Bullet

An Aggregator On The Best Blogs Concerning Racial Issues, White Supremacy, and Other Radical Musings

Holding Whites Accountable

Posted by Jack Stephens on March 19, 2007

Yolanda (of the Blog and the Bullet and Primary Contradiction) blogs about whites in the anti-racist movement:

Anytime we try to hold white allies accountable for their actions, we take a huge risk. Whether that is the loss of a personal relationship, a smeared reputation, or simply the wrath of someone whose ego we have bruised, people of color in all strata of the left have an uphill battle in challenging white supremacy. Good people, you and I have seen and experienced many examples of white ally catastrophe.


6 Responses to “Holding Whites Accountable”

  1. These reflections and analyses will be ongoing. If this situation has taught me anything, it’s that too many leftists think that they’re cured of society’s ills. It’s arrogance and denial of the first order.

  2. hazmat said

    It might also be that lower income white people do not feel included in the social dialogue in any meaningful way–even though they share poverty, prison woes, etc.Even worse, African Americans at large are so caught up in their personal scars,and the scars of their ancestorts here in America, that they are on the verge of becoming every bit as fearful, mean, and vengeful of whites as whites were of blacks….

  3. Hazmat: While I see your point this really has nothing to do with the subject of the post. Yolanda is bringing up the point that it is a large risk for people of color to take on their white allies, especially when their white allies are in positions of power and make up a large minority (or majority) of the organization or coalition they are in. Yes, whites do suffer much under this capitalist system but to say that Blacks are “becoming every bit as fearful, mean and vengeful of whites as whites were of blacks” is not really taking a critical and in depth look into the system of power in this country. Blacks are not “as fearful” of whites as whites “were of blacks,” Blacks are trying to speak truth to power and take over their own lives. Also, Blacks are fearful of whites because of the power whites have in this country and because what whites have done, are doing, and will do to Blacks. And the kicker of all of this is that whites, despite all the power they have, are extremely fearful of Blacks, and if anything, are more fearful of Blacks than Blacks are of whites, which, when looking at the power structures in this society, really doesn’t make much sense and makes whites seem irrational and paranoid, especially due to all of the power that whites hold in this society. Also, by saying that Blacks “are on the verge of becoming every bit as fearful, mean, and vengeful of whites as whites were of blacks” puts the blame and scrutiny on the Black community when the blame and scrutiny should be put on the white community and power structures in this society, that comment also ignores, like I’ve mentioned, the reality behind race relations and power in this country.

    But, anyways, thanks for checking out our site and leaving a comment.

  4. Hazmat said

    Jack: Yolanda has some great points on her blog. I trust her and other ‘women of color'( I sooooo hate racial labels, but the left lives in them today) to take the issue on. I distrust males, and particularly–to my nth degree–distrust white women in any sense of the words within this dialogue. I was adressing the small portion from her blog that you have included here, above, which , when it stands alone, becomes almost dogma, paired with its headline.
    You are very right about historical power imbalances, etc. All of that has been well covered, and well documented in the last 200 years. No one in their right mind can refute the basis that ‘white’ people held that power, and are begrudgingly relinquishing it today, or that white allies . I feel hesitant to even comment on this board, or many others on this topic- does that make me equally,or less ‘fearful of taking on my allies” in ideological debates? I, like she, once needed ‘allies’ and grew tired of the contradictions in their rhetoric, and the unaccountability, etc.
    I will add: as a covert propagandist, I was part of putting the word “anti-racist” into the streets–Hollywood Blvd., 1983-6, and I no longer accept this dialogue as a be-all to end racism. It uis a great way for white folks who grew up white to act ‘black friendly’ rather than to internalize shared experiences. I learned what she is learning, but without the strictly racial basis: many people are bad friends, bad allies, and unfeeling people caught in their own biases. I work best covertly, one person at a time, rather than in the larger dialogue where a ‘black/multiracial, blah blah blah face’ is best. Why? Maybe it was the young black kids who shot me to death many years ago,and my realization first hand that young black men ARE taking on what they perceive as ‘authority, but only in that I have a ‘whiteface’– or maybe it was the black people/white people/other people of priviledge who are always so ready to label me if I don’t implicitly agree with them on issues–largely issues that are ‘their issues’, i.e., their perception of me as a priviledged white person( not the case) while they come from upper middle class backgrounds, neighborhoods, or academic opportunities that I was never afforded, etc.
    If ‘white’ people did anything well, they documented the racial disparities and horrors almost as more than any other thing, which is particularly true in this generation( the last fifty+ years.)However, this current generation is actually the one under scrutiny, because it IS as scrutinable as the ones that came before it, which happened to be white, whereas this one is black/mixed/ other minority. I didn’t choose the categories, and resent them as much as the next face, but the next generatinon is and will continue to be under scrutiny, and just because that is the way this class based/race based/ etc, system, and most others, defines its heirarchies, and who leads them.
    Sure, it isn’t fashionable to say that, and less fashionable to note that: but it was less fashionable to be a bound Irishman,a dead Native American an abolitionist,a freedom rider or any other that contributed to a mass solidarity movement– and note anything of social significance either.But I just wanted to try, here, again.

  5. Hazmat said

    in case my point got lost in that screed above, I agree with you that it is difficult to ‘take on white allies’,and even more so in that it is more often than not impossible to take on anyone in authority, no matter what their ‘color’– but it is always difficult to ‘take on’ anything, as that is often perceived as a stance of adversarial intention, rather than one of sincere disagreement, or a chance for longer term experimentation united in the cause of testing and proving/disproving personal statements, biases, or social/conceptual models of interaction.

  6. mensch said

    Really Hazmat, don’t you think it is white womens priviledge that is the issue here? They are the ‘other half'( actually 52%) of whiteness, and it is their child rearing decisions that led to the priviledges and the maintainance of that priviledge. Today, it seems silly to include them as a minority.
    But I agree with Jack when it comes to the scrutiny needing to be on the white structures of power, but really, is there anyone proposing an actual new structure of power? Or is it always more of the same, with the old underdog culture becoming the new overlord culture, etc.?

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