White Feelings: 0-60 for Charlottesville
Charlottesville is a fucking mess. So here it is: your 0-60 speed-run through your white feelings to get you on board… In no particular order.
- Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening. It is. I’m sorry.
- Oh my god, this is just so awful. It is.
- I can’t believe this is real. It. Fucking. Is.
- How did this happen? Because you haven’t been listening.
- I’m not racist. Then fucking prove it.
- I’ve tried to help in the past but I just feel so lost. This is because you’re thinking on an individual level. White people are a group and you are a part of that group.
- There’s nothing I can do to help. Amplify. Speak out. Follow the voices on the ground. Denounce white supremacy.
- I don’t know how to do that. Like this: “What’s happening in Charlottesville is because of us, white folks. It’s because we haven’t been accountable. It’s because we haven’t collected our own people. It’s because we haven’t faced our history and our complacency in this system. People are dying and I’m not standing for it anymore. Not in my name. Racism must be called out, named and abolished. White supremacy must be denounced. Nazis must be stopped.”
- But what will people think of me? They’ll think you’re not quite as racist as the people with tiki torches but slightly more racist than the people getting run over by cars in counter-protest.
- Oh my god, I feel so guilty. That’s because you’re thinking on an individual level. There isn’t time right now to educate you on all the systemic issues, but trust that this is not all your fault personally, but it is your fault if you personally don’t do anything.
- I can’t get into a fight on the internet, I never know what to say. Then disable comments on your post and get on with your life. Or leave the comments on so you can weed out who’s a problem on your friends list.
- I believe in peace. Then start acting like it. Peace does not happen by ignoring hatred and violence.
- Why can’t we all just get along? Because people, including you, keep ignoring the problems and not addressing them directly.
- I’m scared. You should be.
- I just want life to go back to normal. Your normal was what led to this. Things cannot go back, I’m sorry that you’re uncomfortable now, but this is the reality that people of color have been living with forever. There is no normal.
- I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Saying nothing is the wrong thing. You might mess up your wording, you might not be clear. But say something, say anything. Silence is violence.
- How can we come together? I don’t know. I don’t think we can, and we can’t think about that right now. We can’t come together until we know who the sides are, and you standing in the middle isn’t helping.
- I’m frozen. I’m helpless. No you’re not. You’re on the internet. Entire revolutions have been fought on the internet. Get connected and listen to what is being asked of you.
- I’m praying for the people in Charlottesville. That’s nice. Ever hear the story of the man in the flood, sitting on his roof and praying for God to save him? Go google it, then do something after you’re done praying.
- What do I tell my children? You tell them there are people in this world who hate other people for the color of their skin and you are not okay with that.
- I’m shaking, I’m nauseous, what is going on? That’s probably anger. Get into it, it’ll help fuel you. It’s not evil, it’s a tool. Anger cannot be willed away, it is an outward emotion that requires action.
- I feel like I’m just cycling through. That’s normal. That’s the spiral. You’ll go through guilt, shame, anger, relief, over and over again. That’s normal. None of these feelings are here for a moment then gone forever. And the longer you push them down the more intense they become and the less you learn about how to deal with them.
- Maybe this will all just blow over. Maybe, maybe not. Be like the scouts and be prepared.
- I feel really targeted with all this talk of white people. I know. You’ll get used to it. It won’t always paralyze you.
- Something about Martin Luther King Jr. Shhhh. SHHHHHH. No.
- I want to say something eloquent and intelligent. Use a thesaurus. Just say something.
- This is so overwhelming. Focus. One thing at a time. Right now we want to help counter-protesters in Charlottesville. We’ll get to the big picture stuff later.
- Okay, so what’s the first thing I can do? Denounce white supremacy publicly, on all your social media accounts.
- What’s the second thing I can do? Donate here.
- What’s the third thing I can do? Donate here. Black Women Being will provide funds to individuals on the ground.
- What’s the fourth thing I can do? Donate here. Nice White Ladies has an emergency fund that is directly available to community organizers.
- What’s the fifth thing I can do? Get on Twitter and Facebook and ask your friends to donate as well.
- What’s the sixth thing I can do? Donate to BLM Charlottesville, they are on the ground.
- What if I don’t have money? Get on Twitter and Facebook and start amplifying voices. Keep your feelings out of it, keep focused on taking action.
- Oh god this whole thing makes me sick, I just want to hide. Don’t. This discomfort is normal. You can do something about it. You should not feel normal today.
- Okay, what else can I do? If you feel like you need more education on anti-black racism, sign up for Safety Pin Box.
- I feel so far away from everything. Contact your local Black Lives Matter chapter and follow them.
- I just want to know how we can fix all this? We’ll get there, but we can’t give you the big picture right now because it’s not an easy fix. We need people like you doing smaller steps. This isn’t a linear path. There will be many things to do.
- Who are you to tell me this? You can read through this blog to find out or go to Nice White Ladies to learn more about what I do.
- I’m supposed to listen to the voices of people of color. Yes you are.
- You’re white. Yes I am.
- Why should I listen to you? Because you’re in your feelings and it’s my job to collect you and keep that emotional labor from people of color who are fighting on the front lines. The people being pepper-sprayed right now don’t have the time to talk you through your guilt.
- White people doing anti-racism work are problematic. Yep, a lot of them are.
- I went to an anti-racism workshop once and I think you’re doing this wrong. That’s cool, please go do it your way. We really just need more people standing up right now. I don’t care how you do it.
- What’s the best course of action for allyship? This is not about giving you a sticker. Don’t try to be the best ally. Just be present, do something, do anything. If you’ve done nothing because you’re worried about being the best, then you’re a bigger problem than someone who’s trying but messing up.
- What do I do when someone corrects me? Say “thank you” and apply the correction. It’s not about you, it’s about what’s working and what’s not.
- I have so many thoughts and feelings about this. Please do not unpack them publicly. There are spaces for that.
- I believe in non-violence. Non-violence is a privilege to those who are not being directly subjected to violence.
- These alt-right people are all just basement dwellers and trolls. They’re not. They’re your friends and family. Your cousins. Your neighbours. They are everywhere and you need to make your position clear.
- This is all Trump’s fault. These people didn’t materialize because of Trump. They’ve been empowered by him and his rhetoric. Do not waste time pointing fingers at Trump.
- It feels unpatriotic to criticize free speech. What is the line between free speech and terrorism? Everyone must decide that for themselves, don’t just recycle someone else’s talking points without thinking it through.
- My parent/sibling/partner/friend is one of these alt-right supporters, how do I bring them around? First, accept that you may not be able to. That doesn’t mean you can’t challenge them on it, it means you have to set boundaries for yourself. Decide what is acceptable and what is not, and don’t bend on your limits.
- What can I do to protect myself? Enable two factor authentication on your social media. Also – start training. I suggest whiskey stick dancing*. Of course if you used to twirl batons back in the day, you’re halfway towards being Morgan from The Walking Dead. Because when it comes to your town, you’re going to stand up.
- This could never happen in my town. Really? There’s another white supremacist rally planned for Seattle tomorrow.
- I just want someone to tell me what to do. Scroll up, start over.
- I’m really scared. Yeah. That’s normal.
- This isn’t America. Actually, it is. If you imagine a different America then get out there and build it.
- I’m angry about this. FUCKING GOOD.
- No I mean really angry. That’s right! Get angry!
- RAAHHHH! FUCK YOU NAZI SCUM! Yes! Go! Fly my pretties! Fly! FLY!
*The first version of this article suggested Krav Maga in this place. The second version of this article included a note about the request from someone who asked me to consider the roots of Krav Maga and a link to the exchange in order to provide context and show how to take correction and apply it without becoming a thing. The third version no longer lists Krav Maga or the lesson because this is turning into a conversation that is not my lane. Please keep me out of your debates on Krav Maga and antisemitism. Always punch Nazis, thank you.
Also published on Medium.