White Supremacy is a system of power that is as active today as any time in this culture’s history. As white activists, we have been socialized into a culture of domination and often carry, practice, and reproduce racism in our own work. Racism is a threat to the health and continuation of all communities, including political ones. We therefore ask all white activists to commit themselves in every aspect of their lives, political or otherwise, to dismantling racism, personally and culturally. Communities of color alone cannot change white communities from the outside, nor is it their responsibility.
As Stokely Carmichael said, “White people must start building those [anti-racist] institutions inside the white community, and that is the real question I think facing the white activists today: can they in fact begin to move into and tear down the institutions which have put us all in a trick-bag that we’ve been into for the last hundred years?” As allies to people and communities of color, this is our work. The following guidelines are to encourage white activists to eliminate racism from their behavior and language, and better ally themselves with people of color.
- We understand that, as white people raised in a white supremacist society, we are racists. It is impossible to work to end racism without acknowledging the deep-seated racism that is taught to us from a very young age. White activists need not feel guilty about this, but rather we should feel obligated to dismantle racism, both inside ourselves and externally.
- Among activists, racism doesn’t always show itself in outbursts of anger or violence; more often it is found in everyday language, interactions, and assumptions that ultimately silence and devalue people of color. Work to respect and listen to the voices and choices of people of color.
- Actively support, encourage, and respect the leadership of people of color.
- Offer support and assistance to activists working in communities of color. Acknowledge and respect the primary emergencies of these communities.
- Work to counter the efforts of white supremacist and fascist groups.
- Have the humility and courage to challenge oneself and learn from others about issues relating to race and white supremacy.
- Do not participate in or condone racist humor. Do not use derogatory labels based upon race. Do not speak in stereotyped racial dialects.
- Challenge racist behavior in your friends, family, associates, and political allies. When appropriate, end relationships with people who continue to encourage or practice racism.
- Discuss racism with young people in your life. Help them to identify and confront racism, become better allies to people of color, and engage in working towards the end of white supremacy.
- Commit to ongoing self-education on the history and theory of racial oppression. Do not speak as an authority on subjects that people of color directly experience and you do not. If you are to speak at all on such subjects, it should only be after people of color or if people of color ask you to do so.
- The power of white supremacy is maintained to a large degree by institutions (housing, education, criminal in-justice, banking, culture, media, extraction, and so on), rather than by individual racists. Our primary work to end racism goes beyond confronting particular racists; ultimately, it requires dismantling racist institutions and culture.
- Understand that when you choose to fight racism and imperialism, you are joining a protracted, centuries-old struggle which indigenous people and people of color have always been on the front lines of. As white people, we must allow those who have experienced these histories first hand to inform our resistance.
- The guidelines established above represent a baseline for acceptable behavior. Following them is not exceptional, and does not merit reward. Choosing to ignore racist behavior will be seen as an act of collaboration with the culture of white supremacy.
From DGR’s People of Color Solidarity Guidelines