Previously I have written about toxic associations. Let me recap before I go on; a toxic association is where a people associate a trait or a characteristic with a negative (or toxic) connotations.
1. All Muslims are terrorists
2. All black people are associated with gangs and crime
3. South Asian all own corner shops
4. Et cetera.
I’ve been thinking about resistance to anti-racism. Obstacles arise when specific terms, i.e. ‘white supremacy’, ‘racism’, and ironically ‘white fragility’, are used.
As soon as social constructs such as white supremacy are used, this directs the brain towards an association. Those words hold association which fundamentally prohibit internal reflection.
Let me define white supremacy:
White supremacy is any action or inaction which reinforces what continues the systemic status quo, which leads to whiteness be synonymous with power. Leaving people of colour disproportionated disadvantaged.
Note there is no mention of colour in that definition. Yes, I am saying that people of colour can support and promote a white supremacist agenda. That is for another time.
People associate white supremacy/supremacists with images of white power and the Ku Klux Klan. Where white supremacy and racism in general because of this association.
If your actions or lack of work leads to the disempowerment of people of colour. I’m not sorry in saying this; you are promoting a white supremacist agenda. Yes, you are promoting racist culture as your actions in culmination lead to the pyramid of white supremacy, which leads to the systemic oppression (or worse) of people of colour.
I Am Colourblind: This negates the day to day experience of people of colour and therefore minimises and denies their experiences and existence. Use this phrase and promote a white supremacist agenda as well as using ableist language (go you).
An Ethnocentric Curriculum: The curricula serve to reinforce the power structures through the school system. If you do not support the work being done to decolonise the curriculum, which challenges the power structures which currently oppress the majority. You are promoting the same white supremacist agenda.
Immigration Policies: If these policies adversely impact on people of colour, you stay quiet or refuse to resist, this, in fact, promoting white supremacy.
White Solidarity: This is where people do not call out racism due to the fear of being ostracised, thus making their own lives more difficult. Shockingly, this is an example of upholding white supremacy.
Hair Policies: Professional ideas around hair which impact adversely on people of colour are denying the culture of an oppressed minority; If this is imbalanced this supports the structures and supports white supremacy.
Victim Blaming: This is where people of colour are told that they should behave in a certain way/say or not say certain things if they don’t want racism to continue. This is straight up white supremacy.
Recruitment: These processes should ensure equitable recruitment. Degree class/institution should also be excluded, as we know, black students are less likely to achieve higher degree classes. Not accounting for the structural inequity promotes white supremacy.
Talent Management: Have you ever work in an organisation where certain people are given jobs, promotions or preferential treatment because they have ‘leadership potential’. Don’t get me wrong, if this is based on merit I could agree, however, this nebulous idea of potential is often biased and illegal.
Dismissal: Questioning a person of colour experience with regards to race is unacceptable. I explain this in post-positivistic/relativistic terms and how power gives the illusion of being able to be the judge, but that is for another piece. ‘Dismissal’ is a form of white supremacy.
Whitesplaining: Where people in privilege attempt to lecture/comment people of colour about their own oppression, something they have no clue about. They know more about this obviously. This moves the emphasis from the oppressed to the oppressor, this is called fogging; This is white supremacy
White Savior complex and White Saviourism: This is where people in power complete charity work/choose to work with the oppressed to empower themselves over people of colour. There is more than enough in this previous piece to explain why this is white supremacy.
Equality: This may really put some noses out, but that’s a good thing. If you’ve never met me, you’ll know that this is my reason for being, to agitate and educate. The aim has never been ‘equality’. This ‘equality’ still leaves people of colour in a position of oppression. Treating people of colour, the same as white people leads to more abuse. Allowing people of colour to compete on the same playing field without the work to redress the balance. Yes you guessed it – furthering white supremacy.
This all being said you may have a toxic association with the words ‘white supremacy’ and ‘racism’.
Should activists avoid using that language?
I would disagree with this vehemently, the association can be problematic although we have to remember that is owner’s problem not the activist nor the people of colour.
Let’s all fight to dispel the exclusivity between white supremacy and burning crosses and torches and educate people about the damage they reap knowingly or unknowingly.