Smuggling Grace

Contradictions for White People in Racial Justice Work

Today, I’d like to share an image from the Instagram account @malefragility. It’s entitled, “Contradictions for White People in Racial Justice Work.” On Instagram, the caption to the image says, “If you’re leaning too far in one direction, try the other one.”

I will type out the text below:

— white people are a particular liability in racial justice movements
— white people have specific and critical roles in racial justice movements

— it can feel humiliating to have not participated meaningfully in racial justice work before now and suddenly want to join
— in order to grow stronger and win, the movement requires new people to join

— when you’re working on ending an oppression that you benefit from, people will rightly mistrust you and be hard on you
— when you’re working on ending racism, it’s good to be nice to yourself and patient with yourself

— white activists need to listen to, defer to, and take leadership from POC
— because “POC” is not a monolithic identity that all believes one thing, white activists need to cultivate their own analysis and judgment over time

— one specific role for white people is being tough about holding one another accountable
— another key role for white people is extending compassion, care, and patience to other white people

— racial justice work involves people giving up or giving away their power
— another part of racial justice work is white people strategically using their power rather than hiding it, denying it, or pretending it doesn’t exist