Ally Basic Training Part 3: Center
Center: anyone but yourself.
Center: anything but your own feelings.
Center: anything but your own safety and comfort.
What do I mean by centering others? Google works for everyone. go look up terms on your own time.
DO NOT: Pivot away for the marginalized to your own shit.
For example, today one of the people I know on the internet shared the story of Charnesia Corey, who was raped by a group of Texas police officers after the white male officer who stopped her claimed he smelt weed in her car. After searching the entirety of her car and finding nothing, he called in a female officer to perform a cavity search of Ms. Corey in a public parking lot.
The police department is claimed for a while that they did, in fact, find .02oz of pot in Ms. Corey’s vagina. Either that police officer has mutant powers and needs to join the X-Men or the police were lying.
Either way, the reaction to this from people with functional souls has been outrage on behalf of Ms. Corey and anger that another Black woman was violated by authority figures for their entertainment.
And then there’s the White Feminist/Dec-entering reaction?
Please people, understand that the War on Drugs and the criminalization of cannabis creates a reason for law enforcement to act like this. I’m sure this isn’t the first time and it likely won’t be the last. Take a stand.
See that? Don’t do that.
Don’t take a story that is about a Black woman being violated by a white cop who lied about finding weed in her vagina and make it about the weed. That’s horrible.
Bernie Sanders went to Gettysburg, the largest Civil War cemetery in the country, and talked about economics. Not slavery, not the history of racial injustice in America, not the value of Black lives. Fucking economics. That is also horrible and it is a prime example of everything wrong with the white liberal thought process today.
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it right the fuck now. Stop it forever.
I get that part of this is training; for White Women™ especially. When someone talks abut their pain, you talk about your pain and that shows you are the same.
But we aren’t the same because your whiteness protects you. Also, stop it forever. That’s how privilege works. It protects you from the consequences and the pain that we have to face. We are not the same.
In your daily life examine whose words you are using, what posts you are sharing, what books and media you recommend. Are the voices you are raising up white when the subject is racism or #BlackLivesMatter? Are they straight when the subject is Gender and Sexual Minority rights? Are they female when the subject is misogyny? Are the feminist voices you are supporting intersectional? Or are you only posting the kinds of voices that don’t need your signal boost?
And I’m going to admit that part of this is personal. So if you call sour grapes I’m not going to pretend that isn’t a factor. A~ and I both blog about the issues of Social Justice and because we talk to each other, our posts sometimes parallel each other. So sometimes we end up posting similar things around the same time. Yet her stuff, which comes from the place of a white ally, is shared by our mutual friends significantly more often than my stuff which come from the place of Blackness. that is annoying on a personal level, but far more importantly it is problematic in terms of allyship.
If you find yourself reaching for white translations of Black voices you need to go back to Step 1.
The same thing happens in a larger sense with authors like Tim Wise, who I will admit is a good writer, but is really in love with the sound of his own voice to the point where he actively takes up space that could be occupied by Black voices that come out of actual Black people. People post his things like they are gospel while ignoring the huge number of Black voices that they could be boosting. Those same people, and innumerable others, post think pieces by white people about Black issues which are centered on whiteness and the white viewpoint as if they are insights into “the Black mind,” or “the Black plight.”
Make no mistake, that’s just more racism. These authors are too busy trying to speak for us that they can’t listen to us.
That’s a problem.
In talking about this, A~ decided to challenge herself and others to post only the voices of Black people and other marginalized groups for one 24 hour period on all of their social media platforms.
All of them failed, including A~.
You all need to get better at this.
Don’t just listen, memorize, repeat and credit the originator of the thoughts.
Don’t just read, recommend.
Don’t just like, share.
And don’t look to Black people to tell you what you should be reading, who you should be listening to, and who you should be following on social media.
Google works for everyone. Look it the fuck up. Don’t ask us to do this work for you. We’re busy trying not to die.