I’ve been thinking about many things since the whole “Thank You, White People” post debacle and subsequent influx of white supremacists who seemed to come here with the intent of saying, “You thought you dealt with racists on a daily basis? HA! We’ll show you what REAL racism is!” And they did. One of my reactions was to say that for every white ally who acknowledged racism and worked to fight against it, there were 20 others wishing to drag us back to Jim Crow and worse. Then smart commenter Jackie said:
Thing is, I don’t believe there’re 20 of them for every one of us (black or white or other) who wants to make things right; I think there’s actually somewhat fewer of them. But for each white supremacist (and for each person of any color who wants to make things right) there are 20 nice, well-meaning, but privileged and entitled white people who thing “racism is bad” but have no idea whatsoever that real racism exists, or what it’s like to be a target of it. Or how much they have benefited from their European coloring, and from not having centuries of slavery and legally enforced poverty limiting every aspects of the parents’ and grandparents’ and great-great-great-grandparents’ lives.
This got me thinking about those white folks who exist in that liminal space where they are against racism but don’t understand how it works and get defensive, hurt, and freaked out when folks point out how they benefit from it without trying. We saw a lot of that on the Thank You thread before the others showed up. I am wondering how you turn that kind of person into an ally. I’m wondering if maybe I cannot simply because, when they read my words, they are so filled with defensiveness and perhaps guilt, nothing I say can get through. If they can’t listen to me, can they maybe listen to other White people?
And that got me wondering if this was true for any kind of ally. Is it easier to understand oppression, to move past guilt and on to useful dialogue, etc., if the person explaining these things to you in-depth is a person like yourself? White or male or straight or Christian or whatever? I don’t know. But as this is the Internet, it should be easy to figure out.
I call a Carnival. The Carnival of Allies. Where self-identified allies write to other people like themselves about why this or that oppression and prejudice is wrong. Why they are allies. Why the usual excuses are not good enough. I figure allies probably know full well all the many and various arguments people throw up to make prejudice and oppression okay. Things that someone on the other side of the fence may not hear. Address those things and more besides.
And when I say allies, I’m talking about any and every type. PoC can be (and should be) allies to other PoC, or to LGBTQ people if they are straight, or any number of other combinations. If you feel like you’re an ally and have something to say about that, you should submit to this carnival.
Now for the nitty — this is how it’ll work. I’m not sure if this carnival will happen more than once, so I’ll keep it local for now. Submit links (with short descriptions) via this contact form:
by May 5th. I’ll run the Carnival itself on the 2nd or 3rd week of May. Instead of doing it all in one post, I will make a week out of it. Every day for 5 days there will be links and discussions about allies, ally work, etc.
Spread the word!
ETA: A few people are confused about how a Carnival works, so here’s a short explanation. If you’d like to be in the Carnival, write a post on the topic at hand. Then publish the post at your blog whenever you feel like doing so/you’re done writing. Once you’ve published the post, come back here and submit the link plus a short description of the post in the form ABOVE (not in the comments below).
Once I get all of the submissions in, I will go through and decide which posts to include in the Carnival. I will link to your blog, excerpting from the post or describing it. Then more people will go to your blog and read your post.
Clear? If you’ve never seen a Carnival before, check out my right sidebar. I’ve linked to some of the Carnivals that linked to me.