I find both racism and “racialism” to be, quite literally, nauseating. Noel Ignatiev, author of How The Irish Became White and co-editor of Race Traitor, has stepped on a diversity of toes with his call to “abolish the white race.” Of course his point is that the “white race” and “whiteness” are social constructs originating in privilege, stating further that “there can be no white race without the phenomenon of white supremacists.” I think Noel Ignatiev is brilliant. So my question is, what is left when we abolish the “white race”???? Americans? Canadians? (I, for one, am looking forward to going back to just being green.)
Goodbye whiteness! But how? The obvious answer may be in cultivating the same appreciation for the diversity of European “ethno-nationalisms” that self-described Leftist academia and radical sub-cultures have cultivated for all Peoples outside of the sphere of “whiteness.” We could do this strategically, with the intent of not feeding the reactionary elements who love to claim “anti-racist is anti-white.” But I’m not convinced this would really work, in and of itself, despite my own obvious love of my language (gaeilge: which I can barely speak) and People (when I say ethnicity, nation, or race, the mud comes flying, as perhaps it should). But at the end of the day, my only real tool against “whiteness” is “Irishness.” I’ve tried, and still want, to use “Cascadian” against whiteness, but that has stirred up some serious mud-flinging in regards to “neocolonialism” and “re-colonization” and more “whiteness.” So where can we go from here? At this point I can only leave this as an open question, and it needs to be and open question.
To be quite frank, these conversations have become so difficult, or nearly impossible to have, that I have a strong urge to throw in the towel, move to the woods, and hate everyone. But I firmly believe that beneath the ashes, in the ruins of the race wars, there is something waiting for all of us. I also firmly believe that we cannot have these difficult, time-requireing dialogues by silencing controversial voices. In fact, I believe we need to take risks in including controversial voices. Does this open up the door for ‘racialists’ to have a voice in our anti-racist discourse? Well, that door is already open, even if you think it’s not, and I’m not yet saying if this is a good or bad thing.
This is a tricky point to make, but worth the patience and effort. In a recent piece (please read the whole thing, it’s good) in the Vancouver Straight by Erin Flegg, “On White People Going Home,” she shares her confusion common to most white settlers who bother to truly give a damn, concluding:
“The key point here is that the land indigenous people are currently fighting for doesn’t belong to white people, no matter how many articles we read, rallies we attend, no matter how much money we contribute to resistance camps, or how many times we get arrested for standing in the way of the machines. If I stand up for the sovereignty of indigenous territory, I am essentially standing up for the right of indigenous people to kick me off of it as soon as we’re done.”
This is standard fare in Leftist circles today. Ecological revolution and social justice, with a side of ethnic cleansing? Wow, big can of worms. But decolonization in Africa has seen it’s fair share of the ethnic cleansing of white settlers, so why not here on Turtle Island? It’s only fair, right? And a recent lecturer at Portland State University, Michael Yellow Bird (Arikara/Hidatsa), has been critical of “Intermarriage Rates” and “DNA Theft” by Europeans, even “joking” about all white people going back to Europe. Is that not ‘racialist’? And with the incessant use of the word “white” as an outright pejorative term in Leftist circles, is the anti-racist Left really doing a good job calling out racialism? In contrast to “whiteness” the Left glorifies in racialism, in fact, if it’s not white, it’s racialicious!
Now, these are indeed straw man arguments, however true the facts are, and I bring them up to show that it is better to express troubling stories and vent a little animosity than to suppress these things. We are all capable of understanding resentment. It is actually a healthy process. We’re all safe to try it. Even it it is coming from….gasp….white people.
But what if there is something “racialicious” about light skinned Europeans other than “whiteness?” How the hell could this ever come to light in the “more enlightened than thou” culture of Leftist critical theory, when any remote sympathy for “White(sic)” autonomy is hunted down like a runway slave, burned like a witch, and fasc-bashed like Whac-a-mole? (I only notice white boys doing this, interestingly enough: see Rose City Antifa in action below)
My problem is not that “white” people are being silenced. History and I know that Fascists are real. My problem is when an Indigenous person is silenced by white settlers for breaking ranks and risking a tolerance for “white racialism” in a tactical search for better allies than the Left has been. Is this really a sin before the Inquisition? Tell me how it’s cool for for Savage Fam (below) to rap about killing settlers, but not cool for a Native to say “racist rednecks are not my enemy, the state is my enemy.” Dear fellow white boys, on both accounts, it’s time for us to just shut up and listen. And you can accuse me of privileging Indigenous voices all you want, because I am! I will continue to do so, as I really don’t want to get on their bad side while living on their land!! (see below)
Here is my take home point: The reactions to “racialist” thinking, when not defensive, are the most telling and informative in regards to our shared humanity. And this is what I’m really after. In response the Erin Flegg’s article, some very interesting comments were made:
“Sorry to say, but the entire construction of postmodernist identity-based politics is rotten. It does not withstand examination. It will inevitably lead to bad places in the long term. Do you think that if we make excuses and exceptions for racialist attitudes on the part of groups with “less privilege”, it doesn’t give license to privilege/class/ethnic based thinking on the part of all people?
Do you think such things as racialism and nationalism are things you can keep contained in pretty rhetorical boxes?”
Good point. But the context of settler colonialism does change things. There is a truth to this, but not yet grounds for equivocation. The Left is guilty of tolerating the above, but on what grounds should this point of view be silenced? I don’t think it should at all. And another comment:
I love it when white folks guiltily step up to shoulder the blame for the world’s troubles and then go on to say that there is just no good fix out there and nothing can be done. Enduring the guilt is just another form of white man’s (or woman’s) burden, I guess.
To even wish it is a desperately absurd fantasy that Rousseau might have found sentimental and naive. Yet I strongly encourage the writer to keep coming up with these ideas, as their exposure to the oxygen of mass discourse will hasten the widespread debunking of racialist politics from the well-meaning left.
Bullseye! On all three accounts there is a serious disregard for political correctitude. And because of this, the conversation opens up to a level that the standard Leftist discourse has failed to get to on it’s own. Now, all that some of us are asking is to replace the Rousseau sentence with “desperately absurd desire for a place for white racialist autonomy”; and “left” with “right.” Now read it again. And if you don’t think that the Right can be well-meaning, remember that not everyone thinks of the Left as scrupulously pure either. The point is: “exposure to the oxygen of mass discourse” as humanities best ally in regards to our legitimate identities coming to light. And these identities will be a kaleidoscope of intersectionalities, smashing out of the neatly boxed class-view of society.
White racialism is a bomb that needs to be defused; not thrown back into a crowd of white people, by white people. This fuels more guilt and more of the victim mentality that these ‘white racialists’ feed on and cling to. So the question remains, how do we fight fire with water? Too big a can of worms for me. But my first two bites would be listening to Indigenous people who say things we disagree with, and trying to laugh a little bit at how awful the nightmare of colonialism has been and continues to be. Even it it’s off colored humor, like this:
Obtuse Post Script: Under the dominion of States legally founded on white supremacy, groups like the Black Autonomy Federation, Indigenous Nationhood Movement, or Anarchist People of Color can exist neither separately nor equally with either liberal democracy, settler nationalism, or white nationalism. They are in fact predicated on each other. And this is one of the great fallacies of entryist groups like the National Anarchist Movement, who deem white separatism (but not supremacy!?) to be noble and on par with the black separatism of Farrakhan and Malcolm X. So until whiteness itself is dead and gone, we Europeans would benefit others and gain the most by seeking our own ancestral wisdom and not casting the first stone under any circumstances. Towards this, I am all ears and remain completely open to dialogue.