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#254: White People Talking About Whiteness | Eleanor Hancock

Many, if not most, white people don't think of themselves as racialized. Race, we might tell ourselves, is an issue for people who have different skin colors than ours: black people, Hispanic people, Asian people, indigenous people, etcetera. But, of course, white is a racial category. (Important side note: race, for the record, is not a biological thing; it's socially constructed.) Sadly, the white people who seem to have most clearly grasped that white is a race are white nationalists. But now it's time for white people to see whiteness, to talk to one another about it. This, many people in the racial justice world argue, is the key first step towards white people engaging fully in creating a more equitable society. My guest is Eleanor Hancock, who is the Executive Director of a group called White Awake, which employs "educational resources and spiritual practices" to engage white people "in the creation of a just and sustainable society." Eleanor was recommended to me by Sebene Selassie, who is one of the core teachers on the Ten Percent Happier app. Eleanor and I talk about why this work is so important, why so many white people resist it, the barriers white people face when they begin the work, the role of meditation, and the problematic aspects of white wokeness in these discussions. Where to find Eleanor Hancock & White Awake online: Website: https://whiteawake.org/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/White-Awake-325759947539605/ For updates on upcoming courses from White Awake, check our their website and social media pages. Other Resources Mentioned: Assata Shakur / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assata_Shakur COINTELPRO / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO Kara Dansky / https://www.shambhalamountain.org/teacher/kara-dansky/ Anne Braden / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Braden Ann Atwater / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Atwater C. P. Ellis / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._P._Ellis 7 thoughts on “Roots Deeper than Whiteness” / https://whiteawake.org/2018/10/27/roots-deeper-than-whiteness/ Neoliberalism / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism Bacon's Rebellion / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon%27s_Rebellion Jacqueline Battalora / https://www.speakoutnow.org/speaker/jacqueline-battalora Down Home NC / https://downhomenc.org/ What is white supremacy? By Elizabeth 'Betita' Martinez / http://www.pym.org/annual-sessions/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2017/06/What_Is_White_Supremacy_Martinez.pdf Ian Haney López / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Haney_L%C3%B3pez Solidarity for Survival / https://www.davidbfdean.com/ian-haney-lopez Defund Police: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Says Budgets Wrongly Prioritize Cops Over Schools, Hospitals / https://www.democracynow.org/2020/6/1/keeanga_yamahtta_taylor_defund_us_police Birth of a White Nation / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riVAuC0dnP4 Who Invented White People? / http://uuwhiteness.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/READING_-Who-Invented-White-People.pdf Handout 2: Not Somewhere Else, But Here | Building the World We Dream About | Tapestry of Faith / https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/adults/btwwda/workshop7/handout2 White Awake Summer Study & Action Group / https://mailchi.mp/whiteawake/study-support-action-summer-2020 Resources to support: List of Bail Funds for Protestors across the Country / https://bailfunds.github.io/ National Bail Fund Network / https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory The Bail Project / https://bailproject.org/ Color Of Change / https://colorofchange.org/ Additional Resources: Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide Free App access for Health Care Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/eleanor-hancock-254
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the tent. And happier vodka in her two guys. Many, if not most white people don't think of themselves as racial ized race. We might tell us else is a reality for people who have different skin color than ours: black people, hispanic people, asian people, indigenous people, etc. But of course, why is a race, quick, important side note here? Race is not a biological thing. It is socially constructed Sadly, the white people who seem to have most clearly grasped that white is a race or white Nationalists but now it is time for the rest of us why people to actually see whiteness and to talk to each other about it This many people in the racial justice world would argue is the key first step toward white people engage
fully in creating a more equitable society. My guest today is Eleanor Hancock she's, the executive director of a group called White awake which employs, and I'm quoting here, educational resources and spiritual practices. To engage white people and according quoting here again in the creation of a just and sustainable society and quoth Eleanor, was right granted to be by seven Selassie, who is one of the core teachers on the ten percent, happier app and was on the show last week in really powerful episode, which I recommend you check out in this episode Eleanor, and I talk about why this work is so important. Why so many white people resisted the barriers white people face when they do begin the work, the role of meditation and the problematic aspects of white weakness. In these discussions here, Rio, Eleanor Hancock well nice to meet you virtually thanks again for them. Absolutely so I'd be curious to hear how you came to this work.
Why can't? I would start with just a little bit about my background then the different stages and my life that have led up to it. I grew up in West this is kind of amid size, city, very conservative environments, I'm solid genetics, so I didn't in ours. We have integrated public school system, but that said, there's I think, a lot of kind of just default segregation that happens, social, Lee. So my developing, the awareness of the differences that folks of color, that the differences of their experiences in the United States in particular verses. My experiences of white person that began to happen for me in graduate school, It was a variety of different circumstances that led to that one of em like having a roommate that was reading, thought a biography of Sottish a core and just right I'm you know I knew about. I knew that
Amnesty International and that there could be folks are imprisoned for political reasons, but I just it is shocking to me to realise that was something that happened here in the union the states and then the other thing is very influential to me, search or to jump and hate interrupted, my guess, but it might be worth explaining a little bit of a Scottish, are core backstory just says she is a part of the black Panthers and during this entire time period, where the FBI was targeting civilians through their quite tell pro programme and a lot of just extreme, aggression on many different levels, including the outright murder of Fred Hampton, while he was sleeping in his bed and it was a really it was a political assassination and during that time period they were able to capture assault and create these charges against her. That kept her in prison,
for a long time and she escaped to Cuba. You know, I think that all that history, I would really encourage people to read about that. You can look up quite tell pro and the FBI and under day the destruction that occurred, two, a lot of the movements that brought us so much during the six sees that fifty Sixtys and Seventys the ways that they were destroyed and part of what happens when you infiltrate and straw movement from with an is you Nada harm it externally, but you create, So much paranoia and vial. Within that, then people also began to destroy one another in different ways, so in terms of my own? You know just how I came to this work. I tried to build however, the story too much, but I was in a series of classes in graduate school with Chicano professor who was teaching performance are
and this was in the late nineties- and I really you know Lord a lot about what at the time we would have simply called identity politics through art, so yeah being part of those performance. Our classes for the entire time I was in graduate school was really an eye opener. That was also during this zapatista rebellion. So, and we were all just starting to get online, and that was part of a stone credible about that time period. The Zapatistas of Southern Mexico who aren't they. And as people who had risen up against their own governments, specifically in response to NAFTA, the North American Free trade agreement, and there are a lot of aspects of my world view that divide, but during that time period and then, as I lived my life, you know I have a virus or daughter her fathers african American. During the time that we were married, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with his family and developing strong relationship
with famine experiencing myself as the minority. I think that that's a unique experience that not every oughta why people don't have that opportunity to to be inside of somebody else's space racially speaking and have to understand their norms and their experience and adapt to that. I think that's really valuable experience. But at any rate you know this particular project came about because I met a buddhist practitioner who was part of a small group here in Washington DC that we're bringing their mindfulness practice to their own study of racism, and this is this is a group of white people and I had been kind of personal journey of thinking about whiteness myself throughout my entire adult life. But it was novel to me that wiping
I would get together and have a purposeful study together and then it was especially a really valuable what they brought to this work and that they were mindfulness practitioners so they were bringing their mindfulness practice, which a lot of times what happens in anti racism education spaces more intellectual? All it can be kind of sharp. It can be rigid, sometimes it's turn hostile. I know a lot of people work really hard to create. You know environments where people can learn and not feel attacked, but that have a space that sent her curiosity and compassion and our heartfelt experience as we're learning about material you know and intellect is part of that was really a beautiful thing to kind of come into a relationship with and I began creating some curriculum was really designed to just be on a website for people to use to do their own work.
And then had the opportunity to begin doing some workshops and the the local buddhist community in and eventually now we do online workshops in for a pretty extensive network of folks coming from a lot of different backgrounds were you a meditative. At this time I had been introduced. I'm fullness through since they western therapy practices, as, like you know, great emotional regulation, grounding technique, just good mental health. That kind of thing I am not a meditative per se- is meditation of part of the White, a weak currency not long, extensive, meditations necessarily but yes, our curriculum always includes some type of contemplative or reflective process. One person I've worked with early on care, a dance. Whose immediate hair and also a liar
the shambolic practitioners. She had developed a simple practice that I use a lot now, which is to contemplate a statement and first notice how you feel in your body, and then you repeat, the statement and notice what emotions are arising and then you repeat the statement and notice what thoughts are arising and so I you know, We use different techniques like that to help people get a little space, which is really a lot of you know what mindfulness is and meditation practices to get some space from things and be aware different aspects of what's going on and our relationship to them. So you were talking before about the difference between the bulk, as I understood it, of antiracist workshop for why people and the approach that use, among these Mediterranean, where I was less intellectualize, less sharp these say more about that and how its informed your current approach. Yeah
I would say, at the heart of it was to love and care for other white people anti come from that space. You know, there's a great quote from an brow. Who was a white woman in the south who had an incredible leaves a credible legacy as antiracist activist and She. I believe this is her. While she said you cannot organise people that you hate and I think the thing that is really challenging for white folks. One thing is that for those of us who, to have that aha moments. Whenever it happens for us, or maybe we grew up in such a way that were always aware of just just how bad racism and why supremacy are
and the kind of privileges that we have often privileges, simply something that everybody should have but is denied to certain people. They should be a privileged to feel safe to walk down the street. You know that's just like that should be normal and it shouldn't be a privilege to have like these and edges I should say our kids, or what have you all these things, but at any rate, when we realise that our lie that were treated differently than other people, and we realise how just how bad it is for folks of color, it's really easy to have a lot of self directed anger and hostility. It can be towards ourselves. Personally, it can also just simply be to other white people often that's a stage that people go through. Is this anger and this kind of zealous energy of wanting to go out and tell why people have terrible you are in, and all that so you know
Sometimes that happens, and that can be part of kind of an emotional landscape, but here I think, sets I may we have to look at everything that develops and our society in contacts with the larger society. We live in a world that is dominated by by a profit motive where society that continues to degrade and devalue, people in every way, including our human connections, with one another, its incredibly violence and it's difficult to create a culture. Way of being in a way of communicating. Even if we want change, we want good and righteous change in the world. We are also conditioned by the saudi that were in, and so I think, is very important to develop these in a buddhist harm. Maybe these, loving kindness practices and include them in everything we. And bring curiosity, I mean those were things that were really powerful for me in,
spending a lot of time in buddhist communities. When I started doing this work, both learning from them and holding workshops with buddhists- Is the priority of curiosity, often there's so much rage and anger justifiable, but there's so much frustration and anger on all sides. I mean no one wants to be implicated in this horrible violence and really human beings- and this is part of a buddhist teaching, is just a basic truth of life is as mammals. We are geared to suffer with other people. If they are suffering, we have to build up walls and defenses, not too, and so one of the things that's happened to white people. Historically and part of how we are socialized is to have these incredible defenses in place so that our hearts are not bright
Its deny people the truth at an educational level and many other levels, it's also over intellectual icing, so we're not so attached to our emotions and our and that's something, you know that there's a colleague of mine who's korean who can relate that two different social hierarchies in in a different social setting and that in general, when you have a social hierarchy, the farther up you, the hierarchy, and this would be true not just around race but around class as well. So folks who are upper class folks, who are more well. To do or upwardly mobile should also be true them, regardless of their color, as opposed to more working class. Foe spent today. They write their tends to be more and more of a disconnection, but, the mind and the heart and the body
more and more Ella intellectual, you get more rigid and you just you have to be, because a society that has a violent hierarchy is dehumanizing to every single person. That's involved and if your higher up part the way faster humanizing to use you have, shut down part of your natural mammalian way of connecting and feeling this part of our socialist Asian. It's part of health, but why people are socialized to obtain a particular status quo, and when you look at the history of how whiteness was created. That status quo is not in our interest, is I mean there's a way in which it is in? nobody's interests right, but, materially speaking, it only serves the interests of the people at the very highest economic point in the society which Now, after forty years of NEO Liberalism and no antitrust-
liberty, at all that the wealth gap is so huge, it is so stark that there is really just a handful of people that are economically benefiting from this. Ocean, and you know hear the United States in our own particular way. We are all suffering from these really harsh economic circumstances and then now we're seeing you know the folks who, in the antics of this pandemic. Our essential workers are the lowest paid and the least value they can't get their basic safety requirements met, even though they are keeping our whole society running. We see this economic ladder, that is very harsh, and we, The people, the barn or that latter overwhelmingly more folks of color, but it's not just folks of color. This is an economic system that someplace, and racism plays a role inside of that economic system, so we do have to human
as ourselves- and we also have to see what's going on structurally and find ways of connecting with one another to address that on a collective level, and so the flip side of this is that of the harshness of like an anti racism, space or a kind of awoke culture, is that it actually keeps us from connecting with people and we need in order to change society. We need to be able to connect with people baby. We have a lotta differences with you know: hiker worrier, again, a need to connect, not try to police, how people talk not try to make sure everybody's doing cotton quite the right way. We actually need to be building coalitions and looking for what we have in common, so that we can take action on on common need ok, you said so much. You know that I want to talk about that. So let me just our them a basic question: it's not gonna pick up on it
last thing. You said about workshop, which I do want to get too, and you also talked about the economy, the social and economic, a hierarchy. You talked about how whiteness story of whiteness, which I think we should also dive into and how it's not even than good for most white people. On a bunch of levels including emotionally and structurally, but but I think there are more basic question before given to all of those things why is it you know I keep hearing in the limited amount of work. I've done. Around most around sort of using meditation to better understand our biases and to wake up internally and externally, a thing that I keep hearing from black leaders and teachers on this is white. People should spend time talking to white people about this, that that's really key key ingredient toward moving towards a solution so can to explain why you believe that to be the case here.
A number of different reasons and you ve already articulated. One very important reason is that there is a lot of education that needs to be done and sometimes are spoken dollar, who want to be involved in that like there are, I mean, there's a beautiful story that was made into movie ever a deep friendship between an Atwater and Durham North Carolina. She was a black woman Then, who was community organizer and her friendship with Cp Ellis? Who was white man whose part the clan and she didn't mind. Educating him, she wanted edge hit him. It was a joy for her, I mean they were they. It was either the shoes educating him as much as that. They came into inter relationship where they saw the needs that their respective communities had and the need to work together There is a huge learning curve for CBS as a member of the clan, because he was in the clan by when father. He was being manipulated by the higher clay whose working poor working class in these,
he was being manipulated and members of the clan were being manipulated to kind of keep the economic order of the town of city intact. Then it wasn't so hard for him to make that leap, but in terms of why wise important for why people too, you know to talk to the white people, I mean you know, that's a lot of what this project is about right. There is a space where white folks can come together. Most of our online courses are a caucus, meaning that there are specifically designed for one identity factor here, We have, of course, it's really just for people who are white and I will to be precise, I would say people who are socially classified as white because, of course raises not a thing: it's not a biological thing it's a socially made up thing. You know We all live with a social classification in a racist apartheid Basically, so
oh, you know, so we have. We have courses, sometimes that are just for people who are classified as why, because we can then unpack things together with one another without a variety things happening a lot of times, white folks won't really open up. They'll feel self conscious around folks of color they'll also perform some times around. Folks of color, they want to look good very naturally, and, as I see it as a criticism, I noticed myself doing, and I want to be the good wipers that, and I want to do it all right, say it all, and then they, Also, I don't want to hurt the person a collar, and what can happen then, is that you just the conversation becomes stilted and you're not. I bought a really have an honest conversation. The other thing, is you know, sometimes I really think about it in terms of gender. Sometimes it's easier for us to think about summit. These things. If we were dealing with masculine
an unfeminine, you know dynamics and society in the ways that men are socialize versus ways that women are socializing and then obviously right now we ve got folks really bring into the four that the gender binary itself is constructive. It's not completely, how you know humanity expresses itself, but at any rate there is work that men need to do around how their socialized and not really know what it is. They need to know what women's expire. It's as are in order to do that work, but they also need to take some time to reflect on what their experiences, how they have been socialized, which is inside of their experience that I'm not a particle. I wasn't socialized like that. I see it from the outside their experiencing it personally, and so I think, there's some it's like a dance to be down. We want to be informed by people who, the different social identity than our own, so that we.
Oh that we're doing good work, and we also want to be able to have that time and space to to fucked on our own experience in and understand how we get out of the negative social saying that that we have experienced how we develop something else, that is another reason: it's a different kind of reason, but its interrelated as to why it's important for white people to talk to people. The other thing is like there are people their and our network so HUF in terms of social influence. You an influx of people that you have relationships with, and so family members. You know the folks, our neighbours, the folks at were in relationship with their civic organisations, churches or what have you there? The folks that we have relationships with that is our severe of influence, some people more than others. Some people live in a more segregated world, others. That's just that's been historically created, bottom, that's kind of just common. You know
basic communication and accurately organizing, and as is that we do, we have a lot of influence in sight. Of our own communities, and so we should use it. So what is a work? Look like survive. I signed up for your course tonight and I start doing this work. White people talk another white people about race. What's up on the agenda. What's on the curriculum, I think, we're gonna do this summer, which is a little different than what we ve done before, but it's in response to what's going. Nationally is have a study and support group. So there's a little bit daddy, and there is a lot of time for also just hearing from people that will have a couple facilitators at work with wide awake that can help people process us, and ask questions and just be with what going on right now with wherever they are with it. They have questions about why happening, they have questions about what really is happening, how they're supposed to
be in relationship to it? What they can do. We can also be supportive of folks white folks who are taking action and who could use a supportive group of other white folks who are experiencing it in that way, and then we can do a lot. But if basic study around the construction of whiteness, some of the history there and some of the current dynamics and that relationship between race and economic dynamic so the courses you know, there's one. We have coming up again to the fall that is called roots deeper than whiteness, and I've developed it with my colleague, David Dean, who also have as an essay of the same name and in that course we're looking at developing a rooted so that we can take action for social change and Looking at how we can be rooted out of and three different ways that goes against, our socialization is white people, one of ambitious
emotionally having emotional resilience and being able to engage around topics of race without shutting down or going on the defence or something like that. Another one is understand. Doing more of who we are in terms of our own family history and developing a more rooted sense of our identity. In that regard, we all belong to groups of people who were at some point, colonized manipulated to somebody else's ends and understanding that story and placing ourselves and that larger story is, is deeply grounding. That's very helpful, and then we also want people to be rooted in a strong political and economic analysis so that we know why we're doing.
We're doing we know what's effective in terms of the jedi, be like the content of that course, which is our kind of foundation inside be like at foundations level course for wide awake and in terms of how we approach the session. We always start with a grounding practice and then usually will have a couple main topics for session. We tend to have to facilitators. Sometimes we have guest speakers and so will present on a topic and then give folks a chance to have a small group discussion, resume platform and send them off until a little break out room and said: they'll have a small group discussion and then come back and share with a group but will fix it up with different types of activities as admission before. Sometimes we might have guided meditation and then I should also mention that we had. We do have a new course coming up at the very end of the summer. Beginning of the fall that is specifically for men, it's a white man's course show what are the biggest challenges for why people going into,
work. You talk about the danger of shutting down the danger of receding into guilt and shame getting angry. Getting defensive, there's this term out their white fragility. What what are the eye sooner? Many of these what are the biggest emotional intellectual challenges that white people encounter in doing this work. Well, of course, that's at that would be a personal question for each person wall experience that differ. We and I don't want to assume that I can speak for everyone, but in terms of the work I've done and what I see. I think that with the folks who come to us, who obviously the work I do is different than someone who's like doing a diversity and inclusion. Training in a workplace where people have to be there whether they want to be. There are not that's, not the circumstances of the work that idea. I'm working with people,
You are already concerned and are looking for opportunities to learn so within that group of people. Among folks, like that, I think that probably some of the hardest things would be feeling really discouraged feeling like they're, not sure what to do, I think is also can be very difficult for white people to trust themselves and feel that they have something to offer there's a sense? That's your socialize! So poorly! You can't really trust that if you go out and do something, it's gonna be ok or even helpful and not hurtful. I also think that there is a lot of grief that people don't have space for sometimes are. They are actively told not to cry where
her stand where that comes from this idea of not manipulating other people, the classic, like the white woman, is crying to take the attention away from the racist thing that she just stay like. I understand that comes from, but it is extremely harmful if you go back to the earlier part of our conversation, part what happens with white people. Part of what allows us to keep the status quo in place is being disconnected to our hearts around all this we have got to have safe, supported places to grieve and to feel our own rage and our own anger around what's happening. Sometimes you Bolivar shut down because they don't they I feel that one day I haven't been like that like have a place for that, they might have other folks in their lives who are in denial or you don't really understand, what's happening or
There are in a more activists, oriented space that is that's task. Focused people are engaging in tasks or there in a space. It's actively telling them. You shouldn't cry. I've had people come into a white caucus online workshop. Just why people? Why facilitators literally saying we shouldn't cry why we can't cry about this. Like I hope you do cry, you know. How are you at the given begin got a process? I know anyone can process something like watching. George Floyd, be brutally slowly martyred like that. Without Ex that's heart, rending, that's traumatic, and so we all have to have spaces to process that at a real human life. The other thing that is really challenging for white people is something that comes from outside and that is.
This very unforgiving, woke culture. That makes it hard to engage that makes it huh to go out and engage in people, often when they come to us there so thankful to have space where we are engaging around solidarity, the things that we have in common, the common needs that we're gonna need to work together. In order to address that we have a critique of capitalism and the economy and that we respect our participants. We don't degrade them in any way because their white- and I think that if people have that kind of experience, they can go into the
broad and sort through the confusion. I mean there's just as confusing to even figure out what to do because of the way our society is structured is to repress anything that goes against the profit motive and the control of what's valve really a full on oligarchy, and it's all so confusing, because it's hard to navigate activist space has its own culture. It has its own language, it's often not very forgiving, so I want people I want to figure out what people experience in our work is a sense of being centered in their own. Political analysis, their own theory of change, how they think social change could work and how they're gonna plugin and if they have sat somebody that are hard to take it personally, they can be sensitive. They have the capacity the understanding to know where that upset is coming from and they can be sensitive to that end,
hopefully respond in a way that escalate the situation, which often means listening, invalidating right. That's like basic good human practice with one another, but they don't. There are not. To be thrown off course as folks who want to participate in social change, and sometimes people can get shut down and thrown off course by these outside forces that come at them inside of activists basis, which is unfortunately, very understandable. Given the society wherein that that would have developed more of my conversation with Eleanor Evident, better help offers licensed professional councillors, specialized in a wide array of issues like depression, anxiety and grief, conduct with their profession
counselor and a safe private online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent off your first month by going to better help dot com, slash happier fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with the counselor you'll love yeah interesting, this debate, around weakness or political correctness. I won't I'm to understand all the nuances and or even the full sort of broad contours of the debate. To the extent that I do understand it, you knew I get that really being well. I've heard this phrase before predatory, listening, where you're just listening for the screw up, so that came out all over a year. That happens, so I get how I mean I've been in situations like this, where I just freeze You know, because I know I feel, like anything, I say: I'm gonna, I'm gonna
in Vienna will be held against a plan and we always do, and yet I knew I get also that you know language is important and the we absolutely talk you know in so so many ideas that can be harmful. Can GPS they write in our language in absolute. You know it you, and I are giant exercise, look back at the movies of of John Hughes, where the way he put praise asian people in its unbelievable, we thought we only in the eight ILO, its et so important that these things have begun to change and that we have more awareness, apps right, so but are we bounds? Those two things yeah? You know I have a few thoughts at the most immediate level. Is our culture doesn't had it has a hard time with dialectics would be the term, but it has, our time with both and that's just. We have a hard time without our culture is very kind of black and white thinking. It's good or its pad
is this or it is that, and so we have a hard time with new ones. We have a hard time holding things that have inter contradictions, so it's very easy to we ain't. We also, I mean there's its people, are a centralized so you know often it's like the thing you said then becomes who you are, and you know twitter in particular social media in general, but twitter in particular, encourages us to make things, personal and attack people, so we are very influenced by these bodies, different forces at work, but what I think is that people do best when a group of people comes together we are able to be our best when we have shared external goals. We are working on those goals together,
We see how everyone is contributing to achieving them. We care about each other and we have one another's back in that context. You can then began to first of all, if you're, in a context where your we are working with people who are in a different social categories nation than you You just start to learn who they are. Some of the nonsense falls away when you're confronted with a real person instead of a media stereotype Jaska be hard to make fun of asian people when you're close asian people. Now, putting some of that happens naturally in that regard, but we also there are different ways of educating ourselves both outside of any kind of collective experience. That's what something like white awake is designed for to help. Why do people understand more more the history of how things have developed, which then allows us to unpack stereotypes and no
Are they no longer have influence over us like the way Amy Coopers hysteria? at a black man confronting or in the park I mean people say she's making it up. I think she generally frighted Huck, because it internalize that you know black men are scary wool. When you understand how that stereotype developed and why developed, and then you learn how society really is structured, that black man in black people in general it's the opposite of them being the scariest? Actually there in the most danger all the time. You know, and you start to have this realistic perspective and some of the stereotypes can fall away and and not have this effect over you. But it's absolutely.
There. You know people use all kinds of media and relationships and interactions to change the harmful language and stereotypes there have been convey. The more we understand where they come from. It can be easier to unpack them. If you understand that history, I guess you know the history of the mental shows, then all of a sudden, this idea that black people are violent, lazy you're, like oh, my god, you know like they used to like literally, but that was like propaganda went the went through the rest will show it's easier to unpack those things, but in terms of being able to come together, you know people need shared goals. There's one other thing I'll say on this does that part of the reason why we have this type of brittle culture and our activists? Spaces is because of NEO liberalism
It is because of the and all the way back to, like you know, Mccarthyism in that particular red scare and like the way that any kind of socialist or communist any kind of collective approach to society like that, We should be democratically in charge of meeting our needs and we should be that collective needs should be prioritized and met has been just brutally destroyed and this huge propaganda campaign against it and then, in terms of NEO liberalism, the ability for workers to collectively bargain through and develop unions has just been gutted so the basis of our ability to work together on tangible social projects. Our hands have been tied for many generations. To the point that sometimes all we have is fighting about language
and kind of posturing, as opposed to get together empowering ourselves, so the power that we haven't society, which the ultimate power that people haven't society is our labour. Our work, because this whole capitalist thing will crumble if we'll stop working, so there's a lot of power, but it requires masses of people working together which can happen if we're bickering with one another, but it also can't happen if we are violent to one another ourselves, you know is white people are aggressive and violent towards folks of color. If men are aggressive and violent towards them, if we're s if different groups are constantly belittling and harming other people physically or psychologically. Emotionally, we can't get together and that's happening either. So is all important is all of the above. Really it's complicated and it takes a lot of work and effort and heart
but so we ve got some unhealthy things in the world culture, but we also are alot more wake her some day we do have more awareness of both of those things are good. So I think one thing be really useful to do it at we're going to put a list of resources in the in the show. Notes for people want to learn more about this, and I really do encourage people to learn more about this. I'm I'm saying that to myself to do a little bit of a history of whiteness. If you could just one of the fascinating things- and this is not a new observation of ceilings from other people- that a lot of white people myself included until very recently didn't think of ourselves as being part of a rate right. I run equated that, though the white people who do have that many of the white people who have woken up to that are carrying tv churches and Charlottesville, they think of when you re right with the rest of white people generally think of people with different pigmentation as being part of a hat.
Race, but we're like the generic people yes, and yet whiteness is the dominant culture and, as is often said, it's the water in which we Women therefore were not aware of it. So it being interesting, I think, for you to comment on and correct any of what I have just said and then also just describe how we got in internet situation. In the first place we raise well one thing: I would encourage people to check out Jacqueline Battle, Laura check out her work. One is she has written a book called birth of a white nation. She breaks down the origins of whiteness really globally, like win Why, and in legal terms, winded white become a thing with a legal designation and laws that could be associated with it. White and black, but winded white become a thing and it was an early thirteen colonies. It was here whiteness
was home grown, wiser privacy, you know I mean it's anti girly tied into obviously european imperialism. That's it's it's a product of that it's a product of european imperialism and colonialism, but legally speaking, the legalities of the White Supremacist Apartheid state that was defined here as part of the thirteen colonies in the late. Sixteen hundred and the need for that was because you had a very small number of elites who own land and everybody else worked for them under brutal conditions. And enslaved Africans and the indenture- servants from Europe during that time period. Their circumstances were actually very similar. And they intermingled there were close to one another
at any rate you know, beckons rebellion is the one that gets highlighted the most, and actually it was the turning point to creating a legal designation of white and to actually changing the material legal circumstances between those white labourers and those african neighbours, but the threat of being over thrown by the people that they oppressed by the people who did their work for them. If the threat to the elites was very real, things could have gone a really different way. Honestly, I mean you had at times there were thousands Evans. By a dash for kids and just a handful of plant or class. I made you it's very hard to keep people down like that, so the way that they were able to
to do. It is developing white supremacy and in a very codify legal setting in which white people got a leg up and the bottom got dropped out from underneath african people, so perpetual bondage, with no hope of escape for Africans. Africans could no longer hold have guns why people could have guns and then why folks were given the jobs of policing, enslaved Africans, who would be now in perpetual slavery? There's a lot more that the new US today that you can learn from doktor about a Laura, but so I understanding that as the baseline for whiteness being constructed as very important. And then when you go through the history of the country, people were, very aware of rice, why people knew there were white? Then you bought people were black, you had you know of a war you had all of this.
And then you had you know the recreation basically of slavery with tenant farming. Reconstruction is, as brief moment will. Once again, things could have changed but they didn't the society in the power holders found a way to really keep the old order. In place just without it being technically slavery, and then you have the gym Croesus and then you have the civil rights movement coming. And an being that incredible, powerful force that it was to change those segregation laws during that time period. Things changed in terms of the dominant understanding of this there's a moment after the civil rights era, when all of a sudden there's more self consciousness about race, there's more self consciousness about racism, all of a sudden as a society and dominant society like racism is bad. I dont want to be a racist rice should exist. The good way to be is colorblind song
Do the goods the Emma be colorblind and around that time is when we see the Republican Party developed the southern strategy where they no longer could they say overtly races things, but then we develop dog whistle politics. They said the race of things, but they use differ. Language, and you know that like when we were coming up its Ronald Reagan and the welfare queens and the super predators, and we knew he was talking about black people, they have to say black people and so there's this sort of life. Change in our national consciousness. Where our blind is accepted norm and is sort of like a polite society thing. But you can still be racist, You talk about the urban people, you know your whatever they like, always like code words have so? My sense of it is up and tell Ferguson. We were in that space up and tell about the time the black lives matter came on the national seen and we had, and theirs is constant breakthrough. I mean the rotten king riots. That was a breakthrough moment, but it still didn't change.
That dominant narrative of being color blind, but all of a sudden we ve got black eyes matter. We ve got why You know a lot more general awareness of police violence against black people, What I've seen in my own work is that what you're talking about What I used to always do. I would start my workshops back before Ferguson has sought by workshops with you know. Race is a thing. It's it's not biologically. Real is socially started. That raises a thing and then a racially category society. Everyone has a race and your races, white and you belong to that group, you know that used to be an issue. Our starting point. That's not really my starting point anymore, because we have so much more. It's a lot harder to keep the color blind attitude in our society. Now because we had Ferguson, we have black lives matter than we had Donald Trump being overtly racist and we have white nationalists in the White House and you have Charlottesville. So it's become less that way, but
true that one of the ways of asserting dominance is just assuming that it's the norm. We see this in terms of gender like one really is terrible and sad example is in terms of male and female, It's still this way, although it's gotten better, but in the medical world, the quantum quote norm is the male body and a female body. Half of the species is the aberration. Some You now and then a lot of attention doesn't get given to female health needs that are specific to women or maybe they're treated at you know. Certain things are true: from the lens of how many bodies should be treated in its harder to get that kind of care for women come along ways can. Second, why feminism and everything else, but that's an example What you are talking about is that if the norm is why, then tar defined make up with your pigmentation if you're not why it's hard to find the hare care products that has changed, but it's still that's part of that baseline that you're that you're talking about. Let's go
language question, because we had an interesting chat earlier about weakness in political correctness and it's not all bad, but it's not all good an end. We wanna make people when I eating use these words, but I I got this treating you wanna can kind of bring people along rather than you know, get in their face right away and force them to shut down a disguise I've been having for awhile with a friend and meditation teacher. I know seventy Selassie around the term widening. Primacy, because in anti racist circles that the term white supremacy is different from the way it's used in the brain the culture of art and culture, if you want to call somebody white, supremacist, again, you're Talkin, Charlottesville, antique torches right, but in the world wide privacy just means the fact that white is the dominant culture. Well, I don't know Actually, what it means, but at what I take it to mean, is that whiteness of the diamond,
the culture, and that brings with it a lot of negative consequences. In is the hell that other people and in really harmful ways. I wonder- and I get this- is just an issue of language. I wonder how helpful it is to call that white supremacy, given that its has very specific meanings in the minds of many white people. Here I hear you, this is a conversation that I used to have more of honestly, I think any tumblr communicating- and this is true in general, you should always consider your It's you should consider who you're communicating to you. No one organization. I would encourage people to check out as an example of powerful, organizing
in a rural environment is down home North Carolina. You can check out some different materials. They have. You can look at their report from the first year. Were they explain what they did? They did. They started with a listening project. They went into this quantum quote Red County in Western North Carolina that have helped to let Trump, mostly people course didn't vote, So people didn't vote at all, but the people who did vote more than voted for tromp. So we consider it to be like Trump world or like a red county Red Rural County. They just one and has started talking to people listening to people its nodded predominantly. Why area its predominance of working class area? There is a lot of folks has black folks, there's white folks, but they have the same concerns. They have the same needs and their their needs. War, healthcare, Anna living wage and- and
other things, but those are the two primary needs, the housing, but one thing they do in their materials as they talk about the language that was most effective in talking to people. And so things like you know talking about how rich people are getting away with this, that the other was a lot easier to relate to I now talk about capitalism more or the elite sore whatever the capitals class or even so you just you, may be where they are. I think my. What I would encourage people to do is meat folks where they are and use the language that makes sense to them to talk about basic things that we actually are all experiencing and we all know are happening. In terms of white supremacy, I mean, if you're, going to study anti racism. If you're going to study the structure of society, then I think white supremacy is a useful term and it's not that hard.
You are committed to studying the structure of society and economy and all this complicated stuff at this more nuanced level, because you feel like you want to. I think it's not that hard to understand the difference between talking about white supremacy as a system. It's really an ideology is what it is that has. That is put in place systematically and then looking at the relationship between white supremacy and capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system and why supremacy allows it to flirt it's these central divide and control strategy that has gone hand in hand with capitalism since the moment that it was really born as a global phenomenon, but it Eddie You know we often at the beginning. In our online courses. We often use this resource called. What is why supremacy? And
Elizabeth Martinez is the author of that. But so why supremacy is helpful term because its talking about something that a systemic and then a white nationalist is April and I think it's a little easier now, because what we see on the media, we do see you now. Things are out in the open in a way that they weren't before, like it wasn't wasn't really said, white supremacist were marching Charlottesville, we usually used the term white nationalist. I think that has become more common than us, probably little bit easier. I grew do and all camps that that it is important to people where they are, and you know if, if you're looking, it is the term of our if you're, looking at ass, a societal and cultural and economic structures so leave you talk that you ve talked a lot about the economy. That capitalism, and piggy and in the spirit of meeting people where they are one question that to my mind on behalf of conjuring people
Listening to this, who may be centrist or low there, right: a centre whatever or even even not anywhere on the spectre, who might say, yeah capitalism has problems, but do I need to buy them but fundamental critique of racism journalism and ordered it. You know just be less of a racist and be a better white person and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Yeah me, I guess and so what you want to do, if you just want to be more and more of a sensitive person and less overtly racist, then no, but if you want racism to stop thing, you're gonna have to understand how it works and it's not really- this is what I am describing- is not ideological. It's more social science. You know like this is just the way It is, and it's just interest is you know it's really
helpful to understand that early history and to see that racism. That white was created as a legal designation in order to keep a large group of laboring people under the thumb under the heel of the small number of economic elites, I buy what you're saying about the fact that work should premise. He was baked in too many of the decisions that were made in the founding of this country. Me hard argue against, but he's saying that same idiot, oh gee or intellectual framework is at play now, among the titans of that. So I am a farmer Samuel fortune, five hundred company, I'm a white supremacist. Now
you know. I don't know you are. You are someone who has invested in the economic system that has given you that privilege? That's who you are that's all, but racism serves the same function now that it did before we can. Definitely it was so just raw in the trunk campaign is like look. I mean, on the one hand, tromp did run awesome economically populist stuff. He said we need to bring manufacturing jobs Thank God, somebody set it right is a democratic party. You supposed to be on the side of the working people had steadily been giving you know, manufacturing just to other continents and add impoverished and destroy
I, like you, know the heartland rather rush about. So all of this has been happening in the context of like free trade and all these things, the transpacific partner. It will all that stuff, but the other thing trot did, though the main thing trumpeted ended, sick, kids, too, powerful strategy is he's like you have problems his those emigrant You know there are buncher rapists and murders. We gotta be got a build a wall. It says emigrants is just it's just this very simplistic scapegoating technique it used during the middle ages against jewish people. You know there are like, though, the money changers there like the middle people, and you say, hey, don't blame us, the elites who are bridge who arse, who are? Actually you can have a society with rich people in poor people without looking at. If you back up those rich people found a way of taking the wealth that everyone should have been sharing, we should all share in the wealth of this world. We should all have
access to the natural environment in a sustainable way to get our needs bad, solve some people. We'll have a lot and other people don't have their basic things. I need, then, the people that have a lot found a way of extracting it and haughty and keeping it was. These are common goods that everyone should have a right, but those people, if you see they did that. Generally always, there is less of them their sphere of them. If the masses get really pissed off, they can take over. So what you have to do is find escape you have to point them at somebody else and that's what racism does and we could definitely see that in the trunk campaign you know don't get mad. The rich people get mad at those emigrants get mad at those black people. Get mad at all these other people there, the people to blame. It definitely still happens now so let's just close on something a little bit more meditative and emotional.
Generally, I get a lot of them, but I push you to talk about politics, but generally I get a lot of so it's not blaming you, but I get a lot of which, both from a variety of when I get through political here, so sure I will see how this goes out. That's a level as close on, even in the area of absolute generally dwell here averages I just I go among so many white people? I know- and I just seeing on line that there there is really a deep wellspring of desire to play a positive and constructive role going forward. The work, though, as you have described, it is hard and I'd love to hear you pitch the benefits why it is worth doing this work, absolutely so it's a way of recovering your own humanity. There's elements of, our own humanity that have been damaged in our personal life and in our collective family history
and it's a way of of recovering that and of being more fully human. It's you know if you live in a brutal society, its pretty hard to look around and see. What's going on and be real stay real about it not shut down or go into denial. But if you want to be fully human, if you want to be really integrated and connected to your heart into your body, to your spirit or you're, going to have a healthy psychology, have you want to look at that then you're going to have, the kind of terms with with the reality of your circumstances, and so that includes for folks who been socialize as white for folks were categorizes. Why that includes understanding our own socialist
mission. Why it is a white is the way it is why we were ever classified as why to begin with and what that means now, but it also just means being able to hear it takes a lot of energy to damp certain parts of ourselves down, and it means that that energy can be released so were subconsciously, creating paying for ourselves by overlooking the depot unfairness is baked into our system and by looking at it looking how we carry it perpetuated, we're gonna have to go through some hard stuff, but ultimate. Releasing that feels better and then freeze us up to play a constructive role YAP. I would say that that's true, he now there's not just looking at how maybe how we're complicit there's also looking at how it
arms. Us looking at you know having a vision of collective liberation, and a harmonious society that places the value of caring for ourselves and caring for one another and caring for the earth first, knowing that you want that, and you can connect in a holistic way to other people who want that work on bringing that about. That's a very generative thing to have in your life or their questions that I should have asked here that I didn't ask her their places that you wanted to go that I didn't. I didn't Well, one thing that I thought my be folks might want, and maybe you already done something But you know I did make some knows from us, spells about how people can happen more immediately, like or just things it might be helpful. Within this context,
so one of the most immediate things people can do if they have money to share is simply donate to avail fund. There's been like, maybe four thousand people have been arrested, nationwide so I've noticed that if you type in bail fund for protesters there's someone has compiled a list that has it by state, but there's a couple. National projects, there's the bail project and then there's the bail fund network, but if you have some money you Know- and you want to just immediately be of use in this acute situation- that that is helpful thing to do. You can also check with groups that are committed to anti racist or racial justice. Organizing you can look for things that showing up for racial justice might have way it's happened in your local area. Thus that, specifically like white people, organizing around racial justice and, of course, black five matter or movement for black lives. You can get
on the melee lists of some of these national organizations, and it can help you think about best practices as a protest or or specific things you can do in your area. I also notice that color of change and has a list of really strong demands, which is one of the things that is not so strong all right now as like. What are these protesters? What are the constructive demands that protesters can make that if these demands were filled, we can get out of this terrible policing situation that were Anne and then I noticed also, you know, there's a really nice interview with key angling Amato Taylor on democracy. Now so when it comes to, look. I was thinking of a couple things. It might be helpful in terms of putting in context what's happening right now, with this acute anti black racism express their police violence and then this acute, over the top be no more violence. Repression really anyone whose protesting, but obviously, is worse in
among black folks and black protesters, you know so resource but maybe help bridge some of the topics we ve talked about and some other things going on right now and this particular interview is about the funding that police Anchiale not a tailor, one thing stood out to me, as is understanding that, with NEO liberalism I've been through like forty years. Or more of really getting the public sector and that the police are being used as kind. The last resort policy strategy, when people don't have what they need. And don't have what they need and don't have what they need. We dont fun things like the hospitals and schools and all these things that people need, but we will fund the police because the police are there to keep you in line when you're unhappy about renewed lobbying that ends. I think that being able to see the connection between what's happening with the Koran of ours and what's happening with our economy
and then what's happening with the racism and the police brutality. All this is happening at once. It is complicated. I think it can be really helpful to have a little bit of guidance, how we see how these things fit together and that can be helpful as people of people want to, our response or go out on the street. They understand whether they're they're inside of utter a cute situation with a lot of heightened emotion and activity, and its can be helpful to understand how these things fit together when you're in that situation. Thank you very much for coming to really appreciated absolutely. Yes, thank you. So much for inviting me big thanks to our Hankow really appreciate her time: big thanks as well to the team who worked so hard to put this show together, Samuel Johns early produce sir our sound designers met Boeing and on your Sheikh of Ultra Right,
Audio Maria, were tell us our production coordinator. We get a ton of extremely valuable input from our Tpa colleagues, such as general, and then Reuben day. Toby lives, Levin. Also big. Thank you to my ABC comrades, rang Kessler Josh Co Hand, policy on Wednesday for another episode, its mean you're impish on Wednesday
Transcript generated on 2020-06-29.