There are more than a few journalists & bloggers writing outraged posts against unidentified white writers discussing civil rights in the US & directing hostility at white activists engaged in the new movement. When the outrage comes from privileged “white privilege theory” advocates, that’s one thing. They get their sociology & guilt-baiting all mixed up with politics. But when it comes from Black bloggers, it’s worth some serious attention–although it doesn’t carry the same force as if it came from Black community activists engaged in building the new movement.
As one of those white writers who blog frequently on civil rights let me say I understand some of the resentment since it can be compared to males commenting on the women’s movement. Feminists would appreciate male supporters writing cogent analyses of our struggle but more often what we get is ignorant diatribes & false accusations about our mistakes–like the regrettable piece in the UK Guardian by Anthony Loewenstein or articles that think feminism is all about “sex-negativity” or advancing Islamophobia & US military goals. If they’re going to comment they should at least inform themselves beyond media misrepresentations about feminism.
Most of the bloggers aren’t identifying which white writers they’re offended by & that would be good to know because if we can examine the offensive writings we can better understand what it is that outrages. From what I’ve observed in progressive politics over the past nearly 50 years, one of the chief problems is that white activists patronize Black activists–massively & more than they get things all wrong. Although they also do that.
Political relations between Blacks & whites are so poisoned by decades now of whites standing by whilst SWAT teams go after the Black community that many just can’t conceive solidarity of any kind–maybe because they’re too young to remember the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s & it certainly isn’t taught in US schools. That movement incorporated thousands of anti-racist white people willing to put themselves on the line to oppose apartheid US-style. That movement also educated millions of whites who only observed the struggle. Such is the force of Black political power.
You can talk about white privilege cause it’s for real but it’s also a profoundly mitigated thing because racism contaminates every institution in our society & degrades all human relationships in every sphere of life. It’s the kind of privilege that comes back to bite you in the ass in a malignant “divide & conquer” strategy.
Black activists & the Black community don’t need my blog posts to analyze racism in the US but there are a lot of white people that do because their primary source of information is the media which has been beating the drums against Black youth for nearly 40 years. The media narrative about Black narco-terrorist gangs (used to justify the war on the Black community) was intransigent among whites, including political activists. And I know that because of my own writings on the issue & the hostility they faced from whites.
Anti-racist white people are a new & welcome part of the new civil rights & Black power movement & they are necessary for that movement to achieve its historic goals since it challenges the very foundations of US capitalism, armed to the teeth & accustomed to violence against the Black community.
Racism is fundamental to capitalism ideologically, economically, & militarily & has been since its inception. There will be no social transformation in this country without the leadership of Black activists–not just because of their political insights but because they represent Black power. The historic mission of ending the tyranny of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, requires unity on the basis of justice & solidarity. Not for one moment should Black activists allow themselves to be patronized or humiliated. And not for one moment should anti-racist whites allow themselves to be guilt-baited out of supporting Black power in every way they can.