Subtitle: White Guilt, White Fragility
Alt. Subtitle: I wrote about my feelings because of course I did
I started a post a few weeks ago that I wanted to be a long, comprehensive guide to anti-racist activism. I wanted to signal boost the work of Black and marginalized creators. I had big dreams! I kept the title of the post, because when I look back at my own body of work/internet footprint, I want it to reflect what I actually stand for. Here’s how that post started:
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to announce as loud as we possibly fucking can that BLACK LIVES MATTER and ACAB. And in the spirit of these two tenets that guide my beliefs/value system, let us proceed with an (incomplete) list of things you can actually do from home to make a difference re: the current news cycle.
- I mean, we’ve known J.K. Rowling was a TERF, but she’s such a bigoted TERF that she managed to distract from worldwide protests for racial justice with a few tweets. She retweeted this article! I couldn’t even make it past the first couple of paragraphs because it was so dumb and hateful! To insinuate that lesbians are the most marginalized letter in the queer initialism is simply too much to bear, especially considering that Black trans women are NOTORIOUSLY the most targeted demographic on this earth. We are *literally* in the middle of a civil rights movement about abolishing the oppressive forces that allow for the unchecked murder of Black folks, particularly Black trans folks. I’m not saying it’s easy to be queer—every demographic in the LGBTQIA+ community experiences undue pain and burden because we live in a society that is still evolving, but my god, a straight cis-woman callously using lesbians to spout anti-trans hate speech? Retire, bitch.
- Donate to The Okra Project, which has two mental health recovery funds specifically for Black trans women and Black trans men.
- This article has a super thorough list of ways to support Black trans people right now, from signing petitions to donations.
- Remember to unfollow anyone who posts hate speech and to use your dollar wisely. Don’t support or buy from any person or institution that is anti-Black or anti-trans.
- Well, the Lindsey Graham stuff was going to come out eventually (pun not intended). I will never be able to see a ladybug again without throwing up, and if you don’t know what I mean, please don’t Google it and traumatize yourself. I’ve curated an internet experience for myself in which I actually didn’t see any overtly homophobic jokes about him; I just saw the reactions, from which two very important themes emerged: a. Most homophobes are straight and b. No one should be outed…unless they’ve devoted their career to enacting policies harmful to the LGBTQ community, in which case, fuck them and their hypocritical bullshit. Him being gay is not the butt of the joke, and internalized homophobia is real, but Lindsey Graham is a piece of human garbage who deserves to be removed from office. Click here to donate to his opponent, Jaime Harrison. I don’t know that much about him beyond the Issues section of his site (not exactly a leftist, is he?), but he would be a vast improvement for South Carolina and we need more people of color in Congress.
Pretty well-intentioned, right? I mean, I guess. But in my haste to address the issues of the day, I think it bears noting that my first two points, while both containing links to donate to causes that help Black folks, are still ostensibly about white people. In all the internet chatter, what stood out most to me were queer issues centering white people. Issues that pertain more immediately to my identity and concerns. That’s not allyship. Yes, I’d been donating, retweeting, posting 20 Instagram stories a day with links to anti-racist resources, but I was still thinking about myself. So I took some time to listen and reflect on what I could do that would actually effect change. And none of that is going to take place here. It’s going to take place in Boston at protests. It’s going to take place at really awkward family dinners where I have to explain that there aren’t, in fact, “lots of good cops.” I can’t participate in blatant slacktivism and give myself a pat on the back because I posted a link to a change.org petition.
This is a dumb blog that no one reads that I created when I was 23 and wanted to be Alison Roman, or whomever the Alison Roman was five years ago I chose the name “Della Bites” because it was supposed to be a recipe blog. My cat’s name is Della, and “della” means “of the” in Italian…it was a poor attempt at a pun, and I committed really hard by buying the domain. It evolved into a place where I just share things that I like, be they leopard-print peacoats or esoteric Netflix comedies. So while the real work has to happen off-line, what I can do here is make a more conscious effort to boost Black-owned businesses and support Black and Indigenous creators, artists, and activists. Black Americans make up roughly 15% of the population; it stands to reason that 15% or more of everything that I share or talk about should reflect that. I already have a ton of guilt about the capitalist “window-shopping” aspect of this blog, which conflicts with my increasingly communist-leaning values; by sharing content from primarily white creators, I’m a participant in white supremacy. There’s no getting around that.
So, ultimately, fuck our good intentions. They’re not good enough. Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of my white self-aggrandisement will stop police from killing Black Americans unchecked, corporations (and the Supreme Fucking Court) from bulldozing sacred territory for pipelines, or the Earth from careening into the sun. When you scroll through Instagram, do you mostly see white faces? When you shop online, are all the models thin and white? If that’s been your normal for your entire life (*raises hand*), you don’t even notice it until you start looking. The first step of actually doing something is by looking in the mirror and taking accountability for your own racism (and not by doing a black-and-white front-facing celebrity video).
I vow to do better in my private and public lives. And if I fail, I want my white friends to call me out, because the onus is not on people of color to make sure white folks are doing the work. Change is already in the air—it’s palpable. We’re living through a Civil Rights Movement, and as bleak as things seem right now, I’ve never felt more hopeful and energized to participate. So things around here (and on my socials, etc) are going back to “business as usual,” but I want that to reflect a new “usual” or normal.” I worry that even this post is taking space away from folks whose voices we need to hear more than mine, but you gotta write what you know.