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Which Black Voices Should Their White Supporters Heed?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/22/which-black-voices-should-their-white-supporters-heed

Perhaps people should realize that there is not monolithic “Black”, just like there is no monolithic “White”. Individuals are unique, and have unique experiences, backgrounds and opinions. Maybe the “White Supporters” need to actually start thinking for themselves, rather than simply follow the cause of the moment.

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I’ve seen situations in which white “allies” impose dominance over the communities of color who they “support”. I’ve also seen situations in which white supporters distance themselves from the movement and remain inactive as they wait for a unified voice from communities of color.

I’d suggest reframing the question from ‘which voices should white supporters heed?’ to: With whom should white partners collaborate?

I would encourage collaborations between progressive anti-racist, anti-capitalists though it is never easy.

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Related to the term “white allies,” I’ve also heard ‘racism is a white problem’ - white created and white maintained. So maybe white people should be asking which people of color should they be seeking allyship from to dismantle and transform systems of white-dominant power dynamics.

Also, any plan needs to include an analyses of class and gender, because they are inextricably intertwined with the story of racism.

I think that the death of George FIoyd made so many more peopIe realize that the poIice are everyone’s problem. To see a man murdered by a Mr. Chauvin while people are impIoring him to stop…it was easy to see, in an instant, that many of the poIice do not value any Iives. To see the oId white man in BuffaIo knocked down, hit his head and Iie motionIess—and then to have another poIice person stop the ONE poIice person who tried to heIp----to see Michael Brown dead in the streets of Ferguson --and to see his dead body Iie for hours in that street ----to see so many people murdered by the poIice for doing NOTHING iIIegaI------- then to see the DHS attack peopIe in PortIand, to grab them off the streets , and with no reason----it became very cIear that many poIice persons are just thugs—and beating up peopIe is their mantra. and their purpose. The poIice seem to get away with anything----it just occurred to me that the part of the Preamble- “to form a more perfect union,” must mean to those poIice peopIe —their poIice UNION…a sad day America, for us AII. : (

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rather than fearing it, the ruling class would be delighted by a disruptive or violent rally in DC or elsewhere as they know they can use it to generate a successful backlash. There are not only way more whites, they have a lot more weapons. What they do fear is politicians lie Sanders or Warren who could actually cut into their profits and slow their accumulation of wealth, which is why the invest so much in opposing them.

In terms of trying to generally improve the lot of black people in the US, I stand with those (many of whom are black including one of my favorite people ever - Briahna Joy Gray) who view new universal programs (no means testing on race or income) such as M4A, living wage, free public college tuition, more government jobs via a Green new deal, drug legalization or at least decriminalization and criminal justice reform as the best path forward. I oppose talk of reparations.

In terms of improving policing, I have general ideas in terms of what I want and haven’t heard any particular group articulate an overall plan that matches but I do want some lower level of police funding (even easier if we decriminalize drugs). It would be nice to have some ex cops who realize some of the problems and are willing to propose some radical ideas since that seems to be necessary. I really don’t need those voices to be all black though of course it had better be a diverse panel if their recommendations are to have a chance at picking up steam.

So basically I reject the tenets of this article.

I think everyone is in agreement that the concept of “police” needs to be re-thought. I think the single most important thing would be the elimination of “qualified immunity”, which has been expanded to become the “get out of jail free” card for the police (yes, irony intended).

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