Let me start by pointing out that racism is about power. Systemic and institutionalised but that critique is for another day. White supremacy, this is a term that also illicit fragility. However, I will use it here to highlight the lines of oppression, which can only flow from those in a position of systemic privilege.
Recently Danny Baker tweeted this,
This was met with outrage, it was also meet with a lot of white solidarity. What is it?
The scene: A group of friends hang around and one person tells a racist joke. (This act reinforces the systemic discrimination that PoC experience).
A person/ally/PoC stands up and challenges it.
What happens next?
Who is normally ostracised? In my experience it’s often the person doing the standing up and calling out;
I’ve personally heard,
- It was only a joke. (Can’t you take a joke? You’re so sensitive)
- He didn’t mean it like that. Chill out.
- He said a flippant thing and he has now apologised. Get over it.
This act of staying quiet or attacking the act of calling out is referred to as white solidarity. All of these responses restore the power to the person who made the original micro-aggression/racist joke. Even more dangerous this restores the racial equilibrium back to the systemic oppression of PoC, back to white supremacy.
It takes away from the act of calling out oppression (the resistance), and firmly supports the propagation of the societal norm (white supremacist systems and institutions).