By JLove Calderon and Tim Wise
This document was initially created several years ago. In light of recent events, we felt it would be helpful to revise and re-release it in the hopes of engaging white Americans about how to show up in the Movement for Black Lives and racial justice.
We stand at the precipice of a defining moment for the United States. Amid a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting communities of color, Black activists are leading an uprising unparalleled in our nation’s history. While the growing rebellion is directly in response to the police and vigilante murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, its roots lie in the centuries of racial oppression that have defiled this land since the colonial period.
In concert with Black leadership, millions of people, including millions of white folks, have spilled into the streets to demand a new society. Elsewhere, in workplaces, schools, and homes across the country, white Americans are waking up to the realities that Black folks and other people of color have been living with for hundreds of years.
While these developments are filled with possibilities, they are also fraught with dangers. Among these risks are backlash from the far-right, co-optation by reformists unwilling to undo systemic problems identified by the movement, and the danger that white folks will give insufficient thought to our role and responsibilities in this struggle.
We believe it is vital for white Americans to take up this fight. We also believe that doing so requires an introspection that is sometimes missing from white anti-racism efforts.
Introduction: How We Envision the White Role in The Struggle
We are persons classified as white in this society. As aspiring anti-racist allies/collaborators, we seek to work with people of color (and follow their leadership) to create real multiracial democracy. We do not fight racism on behalf of people of color, or as an act of charity. We oppose white supremacy because it is an unjust system, and we believe in the moral obligation to resist injustice.