This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. This year though, thousands of people marched in D.C. to send a message that racism is unwelcome in the US, and only a few dozen white nationalists showed up in Virginia for another rally.
In honor of this anniversary, instead of a traditional CTA, we are asking you to take a few minutes to read through the recently released Indivisible guide to fighting white supremacy. This work starts by looking inward and examining your own thoughts and actions. An excerpt is below. The full guide contains additional resources and will be followed up by concrete action steps in the coming weeks.
FIGHTING WHITE SUPREMACY (AND OTHER SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION) WITHIN YOURSELF/YOUR GROUP
The first place to start is within ourselves and within our groups. This is a moment for us to support groups that have been doing racial justice work and center those who are most impacted.
- Recognize privilege. This is a particularly important principle for those of us within the Indivisible family who have more social or economic advantages due to our race, class, or gender, for instance, because—whatever our personal beliefs and convictions—we are the ones who have benefited from historic systems of oppression. It’s important to acknowledge that if you are white, male, able-bodied, straight, middle class or wealthy, went to college, or are a U.S. citizen, you have advantages that many others do not. We need to recognize that systems that oppress others were designed to be that way to benefit those with privilege. Owning your privilege is a necessary first step is working towards the liberation of others.
- De-center yourself. Take time to consider those who are most impacted by white supremacy and center those voices. This will vary based on the situation, but generally it is historically marginalized groups like black or indigenous people, religious minorities, gender nonconforming people, people of color, etc. Once you’ve recognized those who are more impacted by oppression, move yourself out of the center of things as a way to make space for their input and voice in your shared work. Sometimes this requires gently encouraging others to make space as well.
- Learn to listen actively. Give space to people of color and spend time listening. The job of an advocate is not to speak for a marginalized group, but rather to make sure when they’re speaking, others are listening.
- Think about historical legacies of oppression. Our country has a long history of oppression and white supremacy, which plays out in a bunch of ways today. Work to increase your awareness of these legacies, in our housing, education, criminal justice systems and many others. For example, one way that some organizers do this, is by acknowledging that they live and work on land that was stolen from indigenous people, naming those people at the beginning of events.
- Educate yourself. It’s your own responsibility to educate yourself about oppression and our country’s history of white supremacy. Do not rely on marginalized communities to teach you, as that puts the burden of explaining on them, as well as experiencing oppression. These communities are often the same ones that have been doing the hard work of organizing for many years… adding the labor of your political education to their workload is unfair.
- Think about your media consumption. How are your television, movie and other entertainment choices influencing your view? Not all symbols of white supremacy are as obvious as a confederate monument or flag—consider how things in your day to day like the media feed into cycles of oppression.
For the full guide, click here.