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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SOLIDARITY, ALLY THEATER, AND EXPECTATIONS

Just a few days ago on Twitter, I was tweeting about criticism of the #Zola story and how my distrust of white women influences my view of innocence and villainy. Having experienced so much violence from white women over the years, I’m skeptical of anything that paints a white woman as the innocent victim and a black woman as the villain. Because my experience is that white women can do ANYTHING to us and still be seen as the victim and us as the villain. I don’t trust white women. And I tweeted exactly that.

And, wouldn’t you know it, an “ally” chimed in.




 http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2015/11/the-difference-between-real-solidarity-and-ally-theatre/



The only thing that confuses me about this article is why any person of color would expect the white response to be different--even if the response was from a white female. The preliminary stages of ally-ship for white people probably looks exactly like "ally theater"....with 9 out of 10 white adults not even trying to be allies.

The ones that are trying don't deserve a cookie for doing the social basics a.k.a. being a decent human being. However, the fact remains that white adults are extremely slow when it comes to race. In fact, I routinely tell people that I think of most white adults as having a 2nd grade education level in regards to race -- if that. That's why I keep wondering why you'd expect anything but childish race behavior in the white women situations described.


I'm not exaggerating for effect here. Honestly, the conversation you will have with most black kids at 8 will be more nuanced and intelligent than it is with the white adult who rarely or never interacts deeply with people of color.
The vast majority of the black people that I've spoken to EVER IN LIFE experience white people the same way. So what's with the 'I don't trust white women to be intersectional anti-racism allies' as if that some sort of news flash? (And is she implying she DOES trust black men to be intersectional anti-sexism allies? Because I don't see them as being any more reliable on sexism front.)

While the situations the author described make me itch and sometimes literally make me nauseous if they happen too many times, too close together, I do know that white allies are going to have to move through 3rd and 4th grade to get to college level.

Ally Theater is going to happen as some white people before they leave white guilt grade school and move onto go on to Ally College and Ally Adulthood. All of them won't make it out grade school because some of them are only eve interested in trying to shed the bad feelings associated with being a part of such an oppressive group - just like their parents before them, and their great grandparents before that, etc. Any person of color should already know that a percentage of the ally theater pretenders will never, ever see past their narcissism to what's being done to the oppressed. However, some of the second graders will move onto 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. And the *It's not my job to teach you* attitude will not help them.

YET... I am in favor of white people, who have already graduated race college, doing all the tutoring of the second graders. Actually I insist on it. I think black people went through a stage of teaching the racial awareness newborns during the Civil Rights Movement. I think people of color have done more than their fair share of the teaching. It wasn't our responsibility back in the days of old either but we WERE the ones suffering the consequences of white ignorance, so we did it. Nowadays? We, as people of color, are still suffering the consequences of white ignorance. But I think the Civil Rights Movement taught us that dark-skinned people can only move white people from race pre-school to 2nd grade and no further. The racist belief system, held by those white folk who don't think they have racist beliefs, whispers to many white folk "those people think everything is about race." This attitude stops race learning. Therefore, anti-racism for white people needs to mostly come from other white people. They should think of it as paying duty on the white privilege that they are aware of enjoying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On a slightly different note, there's a whole bunch of black folk who think gives them cool points to preach to the choir while jumping up and down and screaming, "It's not my responsibility to teach you." But this attitude winds up being ridiculous rather than cool because it's based on a silly expectation, but I'll come back to this later

If you're too tired to answer questions about race. That's cool. I'm tired too. Very. But I don't brag about it. Because if I advertise my tired attitude as "good" instead of something that just exists in me sometimes or most of the time, my fed-up-ness is going to spread. And I don't want that. I hope people that are younger hold onto their idealism for as long as they are supposed to. The idealists are the ones that move things forward more often than not.
Besides, somebody has take a an attitude other than "It's not my job to teach you" or nobody's going to get taught. And this remains important even if you are at a place in your life where you've decided you'll never teach another white person another thing.

People of color are going to outnumber white people in 2050 or 2060. And that needs to actually mean something because white people have remained willfully stupid on race for the most part. Arguments about civil rights, immigration, and foreign policy should take on a different flavor when people of color make up the majority. I'm not expecting kumbaya between POC groups but after some debate/argument we as POC should be able to make positive progress on these issues. But our collective numbers are not going to mean jack if each non-white group doesn't step up and start asking a bunch of questions about the other's experiences of America with the full expectation that the other will answer. That is, "It's not my job to teach you" is not going to work any better between different groups of people of color than it does between people of color and whites.

I've seen "It's not my job to teach you" take some ultra stupid forms over the last year or so. This attitude has deep roots in being fed up with the benefits -of -racism -enjoying -while -denying -racism -exists white folk. I understand that. Again, I absolutely insist that some of our white allies, firm in their solidarity, spend some of what they've gained through white privilege on educating their white own. But people of color need to get off the "It's not my job to teach you" train and stay off. Just say, "I'm tired" then do what you can do without resentment -- like an adult. We can talk about our resentments, the more publicly the better. But try not to spread that resentment as some sort of ideal way to behave. Resentment as a standard operating procedure is never the right course no matter what the other has done to you. It's not about what "they" deserve but who "we" want to be and what we want the world to look like.  


BLACK WOMEN'S CURRENT EXPECTATIONS
White women, having experienced sexism, ought to be better about racism but are not
Black men, having experience racism, ought to be better about sexism but are not

White Supremacy has me expecting more of black men
That's why they are at the center and not the periphery

If RACE IS FIRST then solidarity with black men has to come first and solidarity can't exist if
internalized racism, internalized sexism, sexism, and patriarchy are ignored



Black women need to stop looking at white women and focus on being able to trust other black women to carry the ball forward. That means we need to worry about -the black women that stood behind
that black men that stood behind
Clarence Thomas; as well as -the Camille Cosby's who defend Bill Cosbys;

-the Rhianna's who date men who've already beat them up; -the Beyonce's that sing about Tina Turner getting beat up after she declares herself a feminist; -the Taraji P Henson's that defend Terrance Howard after he's beat 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 women. We need to worry about the black women who say anything black men do is okay because these black womena are likely to kill us faster than anybody else-- because they are inside of us, because they are us. In other words, we need black women to stop guzzling the patriarchy then wrangle black men in next. White women cannot be depended upon for this. But maybe other women of color can be depended on, having experienced patriarchy from their own men just like black women have from black men AND white supremacy too.

BLACK WOMEN'S REVISED EXPECTATIONS 
Black women and women of color together first
Then expectations of black men
Then Men of color....
and eventually white women
Focusing on white women being unreliable inside a country that runs on white supremacy is a supreme waste of time.