Kill your inner whitey so you can get free with everyone else…

In the context of national and global uprisings against white supremacy, I decided start trying a bit more to convince (other) white people to be “race traitors” and to see the potential for their own liberation in black and other people of color liberation struggles (i.e. kill your inner whitey so you can get free with everyone else.)

Whiteness is not a cultural identity, it is a political agreement with empire. Whiteness is based in the white agreement: sell out your culture and ties to black and indigenous uprisings and work for the empire and you will be rewarded (the amerikkkan dream). The white agreement was created by the infant US empire at a time when massive amounts of European indentured servants were escaping the plantations and allying themselves with black and native folks in militant struggle against the plantation owners. Whiteness was created to buy them off, a perfect execution of the classic divide and conquer strategy. At first whiteness only applied to the English but later it expanded to include all these different groups of European descent. As newer waves of European migrants (e.g. Italian, French, Irish, Jewish, Polish…) joined  insurrectionary struggles alongside black and native folks, US empire came up with different tasks for them to earn their whiteness (1).

White privilege and white supremacy continue to exist today. If you don’t believe this, I recommend this workshop by the School of the Americas Watch What is White Supremacy? (pdf) written by Elizabeth Martinez.

Yet it is also true that many white people experience a betrayal of the white agreement. White people don’t have a 100% monopoly on jobs, management and ownership and some find themselves competing with people of color/non-white people. Through the American Civil War and the Civil Rights movement the US empire was forced to extend some benefits of the white agreement to black folks and other people of color (e.g. abolition of slavery, voting, jobs, edukkkation). The results have been to piss off a lot of white people and to undermine the self-determination of black people and of people of color by incorporating them into the amerikkkan dream. The US empire was designed by and for white people, so attempts to make it into something else (instead of destroying it and creating something new) has created a lot of problems.

Neo-nazis and neoliberals alike would like to see some continuity of the white agreement. In the context of the “economic crisis” neo-nazi groups use the fact of white poverty (a betrayal of the white agreement) to recruit (e.g. “people of color are taking YOUR jobs! YOUR money for edukkkation!”). The neo-nazis call for empire to recognize and reinstate the white agreement and/or attempt to enforce it from the bottom up through violence and politrikkks. It is people’s attachment to white identity that makes them susceptible to recruitment by neo-nazis. Yet it is also people’s attachment to white identity that makes them susceptible to the more subtle forms of white supremacy that comes from the “progress” of US empire. Agreeing with narratives that claim the US has made progress in terms of racism is to celebrate white identity and forced assimilation of more and more people into its modes of existence; non-white people have only become more accepted in the US to the degree that they adopt white attitudes and refuse to rebel. Neoliberals (those currently running the empire) seem to not care at all what one’s race or ethnicity is, as long as you worship money and conform to a business culture that was created by and for white people. So the neoliberals seek to continue the white agreement through maintaining the integrity of its refined form that says everyone should be equally allowed to work toward whiteness (i.e. subservience to empire).

If more can be done to convince white people that they have more to gain by being “race traitors” than they do by being neo-nazis or neoliberals, I believe we could resurrect a lot of the powerful movements that were the impetus for empire to create whiteness in the first place. If this were to happen we could see such a powerful movement of movements that wouldn’t be nearly as susceptible to the divide and conquer strategies used to defeat its predecessors at the beginning of amerikkka, since people would have learned by now that working for empire instead of self-determination simply does not pay off in the long run.

Killing your inner whitey means getting rid of all your anti-blackness. It means not feeling threatened by movements for black liberation, because only white people should fear that, not people who reject their whiteness and the oppression and privilege on which it is based (2). It means not chanting “All Lives Matter!” when you hear “Black Lives Matter!” (as though the assertion that black lives matter is an attack on non-black people). Why are people so scared of black liberation? I really don’t get it, but I am pretty sure it is some white shit. I guess I will end with this quote I have been hearing lately, not sure who came up with it but maybe someone will let me know after I publish this:

because if black people get free we all get free

(1) For details on how each group of European migrants earned their whiteness see “Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs” by David R. Roediger

(2) Rejecting one’s whiteness cannot actually happen until white supremacy, as a system, has been destroyed. Until that happens I believe the best one can do is acknowledge their white privilege and work toward the abolition of white supremacy. Simply saying “I am not white because I am against white supremacy” while one still benefits from a system of white supremacy is to hide your privilege and help reinforce white supremacy. However, I think it does make sense to admit to being a white person working for the abolition of whiteness. And of course, it is only through that abolition that white people can truly be free.

Further media (please comment or email cslestelle@gmail.com, subject Abolish Whiteness, with further suggestions):


“Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Alley Industrial Complex”
http://www.indigenousaction.org/accomplices-not-allies-abolishing-the-ally-industrial-complex/

“Abolish Whiteness” by Noel Ignatiev
http://imaginenoborders.org/zines/
http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/AbolishWhiteness.pdf
http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/AbolishWhiteness-imposed.pdf

“break the laws/break the chains: political reflections on Mike Brown and White Supremacy from Oakland CA”
https://chaka85.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/break-the-lawsbreak-the-chains-political-reflections-on-mike-brown-and-white-supremacy-from-oakland-ca/
https://freeuniverseity.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/break-the-law-break-the-chains.pdf
https://freeuniverseity.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/break-the-law-break-the-chains-zine-print.pdf

“The Dragon and the Hydra: A Historical Study of Organizational Methods”
By Russell Maroon Shoatz
read online: http://russellmaroonshoats.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/the-dragon-and/
zine: http://zinelibrary.info/files/dragonandhydratotal.pdf

“The Many-Headed Hyrdra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic” by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker
all in one: http://libcom.org/library/many-headed-hydra-peter-linebaugh-marcus-rediker
10 volume zine release: https://freeuniverseity.wordpress.com/free-stuff/online-resources/free-publications/

Race and Border: The Two-Headed Ogre of White Supremacy

“The Fusion of Anabaptist, Indian and African as the American Radical Tradition”

http://breaktheirhaughtypower.org/725/

“Race and the Enlightenment Part I: From Anti-Semitism to White Supremacy, 1492-1676”
http://breaktheirhaughtypower.org/race-and-the-enlightenment-part-i-from-anti-semitism-to-white-supremacy-1492-1676/

“Race and the Enlightenment, Pt. II: The Anglo-French Enlightenment and Beyond”
http://breaktheirhaughtypower.org/race-and-the-enlightenment-pt-ii-the-anglo-french-enlightenment-and-beyond/

“The Divorce of Thought from Deed: Social Conflict, White Supremacy, and Free Speech at UNC-Chapel Hill”

“The Stockade Stood Burning: Rebellion and the Convict Lease in Tennessee’s Coalfields, 1891-1895”
 
“The Lowry Wars: attacking North Carolina’s plantation society in the age of Reconstruction”

all 3 above @ http://ncpiececorps.wordpress.com/

The Wages of Whiteness by David R. Roedigger

“White People Suck” by Desert Rat
https://myspace.com/longshorebanjo/music/song/white-people-suck.ogg-73876784-81496521

White supremacy and Zionism converge in deleted Times of Israel post on Ferguson
by Rania Khalek on November 30, 2014

“Liberation for all”: Why Palestine is a key issue on the streets of Ferguson
by Rania Khalek on December 18, 2014

You can email me at cslestelle@gmail.com subject: Abolish Whiteness

#Ferguson #MikeBrown #EricGarner #BlackLiberation #AbolishPolice #AbolishWhiteness #JointStruggle #LetsGetFree

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6 thoughts on “Kill your inner whitey so you can get free with everyone else…

  1. Speaking as a biracial (as in my dad was an Irishman and my mom was Black) African American communist union activist, I’m going to have to say a big fat NO to this

    I’m a New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters shop steward, working in commercial interior systems carpentry in Manhattan, and many of the workers I represent are White

    Of course, they’re “New York Whites” – Jews, Italians, Irish and Russians – so the KKK stuff does NOT apply to them (and the more well read among them would point that out if I showed them this statement)

    However, even for your classic Southern or Midwestern White Protestant this misses the mark

    You’re lumping in all White folks into one category – the riveter on the assembly line at GM Flint Assembly with the CEO of GM, the carpenters who frame houses for AvalonBay and Toll Brothers with the men in expensive suits who paid to build those houses, the mailroom clerks at Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter with the managing directors

    That’s EXACTLY the way racists frame the question – they view the world as races rather than classes and call for race unity

    This article calls for “Whites” (from stockbroker to steamfitter, from waitress to Walmart heiress) to “renounce whiteness and amerikkka” and unite with “people of color” (of all classes, rich united with poor, the man that owns the soul food restaurant with the man that washes the dishes there)

    Sorry, but NO

    I”m for CLASS UNITY OF WORKERS OF ALL RACES FIGHTING BOSSES OF ALL RACES

    The capitalist class in America invented the Color Bar to divide the White indentured servant from the Black slave from the Indian warrior

    That Color Bar has served them very well these last 400 years

    WE NEED TO BREAK THAT BAR, NOT REINFORCE IT

    Telling my White coworkers to “renounce their inner whitey” will NOT do that

    That’s especially true if the White coworker in question was born in Limerick, or Wroclaw, or Salonika and stumbled into American race politics when they landed at JFK with their luggage and their toolbag

    Also, when folks speak of “races” politically, they invariably are talking about THE RICH PEOPLE OF THOSE RACES

    When you speak of ‘people of color’ in classless terms, you’re speaking of “RICH people of color”

    Nationalism is always the program of the bourgeoisie – they want to unite groups of people and blocs of territory into nations reserved for a particular group of bosses to exploit

    That’s not any program I’m interested in supporting – in my industry that would concretely involve me supporting Black contractors over my White coworkers and that’s not a winning strategy

    So yeah, this document is not only useless but actually a barrier to involving White workers in struggle

    1. I think you have not understood what I mean by whiteness, or “kill your inner whitey” for that matter. I also don’t understand why you are claiming that I am talking about race in a classless way. Everything about what I am saying has class implications. Whiteness was created by rich people (plantation owners and investors) to divide and conquer those below.

      The capitalist class in America invented the Color Bar to divide the White indentured servant from the Black slave from the Indian warrior

      That Color Bar has served them very well these last 400 years

      WE NEED TO BREAK THAT BAR, NOT REINFORCE IT

      Telling my White coworkers to “renounce their inner whitey” will NOT do that

      If you read my post it should be clear that there was no such thing as a white indentured servant. There were european indentured servants and they were offered whiteness to stop rebelling along with natives and black folks. Whiteness was their ticket to “freedom” offered by the bosses, if they only sold out their own cultural roots and allegiences with black and indigenous uprisings. The “color bar” is contingent on whiteness and white supremacy, without whiteness it would not be relevant. Also I think the phrase people of color is a rather insufficient term considering anyone who is not albino is still a “person of color” in skin tone, but pale pink people carry and perpetrate white supremacy whether they try to or not so I understand the need for a distinction.

      Whiteness is not a “race” capable of uniting with other peoples precisely because it was invented by the ruling class as a mechanism of domination. White supremacy still exists and until white people either kill their inner whitey are are actually killed in an insurrection it will continue to exist.

      If your father was Irish maybe you would understand my meaning a bit more if you read “How the Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev

      Also J. Sakai “Settlers: the Mythology of the White Proletariat

      1. J Sakai’s thesis about America as a settler colony is dead wrong

        On “Whiteness” as a class – sorry, no

        When we speak of class we speak of big capitalists, small business owners, corporate farmers, family farmers, middle class professionals, workers (by far the biggest class) and the underclass

        None of those are racial terms since there are Whites and Blacks in all those classes

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