no, you can’t be friends with a white supremacist and not be one yourself

June 26, 2017

By for Lara Witt WearYourVoice Mag*, AFROPUNK contributor

Dear Liberal White Folks,

I remember when you started pinning little safety pins to your clothes – you said they were to show that you were nice white allies and the protection brigade for marginalized people of color, whereas I thought you were wearing them as badges which said “I didn’t vote for him, I’m one of the nice ones.” – those were simpler times.

Well, we’re 136 days deep into this new presidency and shit is going about as well as we thought it would. So many of you have been surprised that white supremacists and Nazis exist and that they’re not just online trolls but actual people who go to work and breathe. Not only do they breathe, but they also kill people and if they’re not killing people, they’re our politicians who are simply enacting policies which threaten the most marginalized of us.

However, I don’t trust either of you. Why? I don’t trust Nazis (duh), and I don’t trust white liberals all that much either because your whiteness binds you to each other and you’re constantly defending whiteness and upholding white supremacy even when it seems like the worst idea.

So many of you maintain friendships with white supremacists and if you’re not doing that, then you’re writing humanizing portrayals of them, sort of like how feminist writer Laurie Penny did in her profile of Milo Yiannapoulos where she described pro-rape, misogynist trash bag, Roosh V as being, “tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster.” Your insistence on attempting to make more room for white supremacists is exhausting but you have the advantage of white privilege, so the odds are that you’ll be safe-ish.

If you are capable of putting aside someone’s blatant racism in order to be friends with them, then you are no better than them (looking at you, Laci Green). You are condoning white supremacy, you have the luxury to approve of their vile thoughts because your whiteness protects you from harm. They’re not hanging nooses in your front lawn or sending you death threats for being honest about the history of this nation.

There will never be a good explanation for why you choose to be friends with someone who openly hates people of color. There is no good excuse for you to even be civil to a family member who feels that way either. Your silence is complicity.

I’m going to repeat myself, but I must emphasize this: your whiteness binds you to each other and it is safer for us to not trust you. I know first hand that whiteness is more important to you than my safety and the safety of all Black, brown and indigenous folks. White liberals and centrists give platforms and the benefit of the doubt to white supremacists because they have one common goal–white supremacy.

*This post is in partnership with WearYourVoice Mag.




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