I have to be frank with myself — I’m ruthlessly hard on white people.  Not “those” over there.  Not “some” whites folks.   I’m hard on white people, period.  With that being said, the million dollar question keeps on coming up: How do I (white person) do this right?  How do I become a good white ally?  How can I be good at this?

I’ll have to admit: there was era where I explicitly operated in the sense of facilitating, educating and enabling “white allies” as they call themselves.  To illustrate my perspective, I’ll have to help you visualize my observations — how come there is so many Tanooki suit black folks who are willing to live (and die) to upkeep white supremacy, but so few whites who are agents of the black side of town?  I saw this just like if the United States (black = USA; whites = USSR) had millions of Russian spies in U.S. government, with minimum to none American spies in Russian government.  Wouldn’t this be an intelligence gap, considered detrimental to “national security”?

Women's March Washington D.C., AfroSapiophile
Black people showed up at the (white) Woman’s March. Are you going to show up to ours?

As anything I pursue, I was dedicated to the task; I personally sought out white folks to be “agents” within the white side of town to effect change racially.  This whole thing functioned just like a spy novel; there was much dysfunction, from white folks becoming damn near like Dolezal to white folks attempting to attack me personally.  There was much heartbreak (because I do all of this from the heart).  There was much betrayal.  There was much arrogance from whites “allies”, regardless of political affiliation.  Due to the heartbreak and blowback, I simply chose to not pursue such things again.  The damage to self was simply not worth it.

Yet at the same time, I’m probably still the best white “ally” handler.  After years of experience, I still speak as if I could lead and navigate the worst of the worst through thick and thin.  In critiquing white society I’m still the best equipped to guide white “allies”.  Being a white anti-racist’s handler became a part of me regardless of  if I was explicitly willing to do so or not.  Like everything else in life, you cannot critique the white community without providing answers.  I seek to provide those answers here.

Tolerate me.

Before I truly begin, I like to point out the fact that I never liked the term “white ally”.  An ally carries the connotation that we are have the same sides as a starting point; this is incredibly false.  You, as a white person, start from inside of white supremacist culture and identity.  There’s a huge difference between trying to dismantle a system from the outside, and trying to dismantle a system from the inside.  Great empires are never defeated from the outside and are always taken down from an inside threat.  You are here to be that inside threat.  You have the skin tone passport, you speak the language, you’re already there, behind doors that are closed to racialized people.  You’re not an ally, you’re an asset, or an agent of some sort.  White “allies” (or rather, all-lies) tend to act as if everyone’s on equal footing, equal starting positions, and are prone to being toxic white allies.  If you realize that you — in the analogy earlier — were born in Russia, not the United States, you will be lightyears ahead of anyone who deems themselves a good “white ally”.  Blacks in this fight (and other racialized people) are Soldiers; Whites (on our side) are agents. There’s a difference; where black folks are bound to kick the door down, your white self can unlock the door from the inside.  Be the asset.

If you’re not an asset, you’re a liability.  And we don’t do liabilities. 

Master your motive

Why are you seeking this?  Why do you aim to be a white “ally”?  You’re gonna have to start from here, because your motive will guide how well you absorb new information (which will be, a lot).  You’re gonna have to be honest with yourself too, because there’s a lot of problems with white that stem from their motive.  You’re gonna have to defect from white supremacy.

White Allies 1d

The majority of toxic white allies are unsurprisingly, white toxic liberals.  And here’s why: Your motivation doesn’t come from wanting to dismantle systemic racism and oppression, it comes from the still-white supremacist desire to be better than other whites.  This white ally is the same liberal who thinks one can debate one’s way out of fascism, and it’s horrible to punch a Nazi in the face.  This is the same white ally who thinks that the intense, traumatic emotion from black self is “detrimental to your cause”.  This is also what I call the not-racist white person.

The problem with the not-racist is the simply fact that this person places their identity on something they are not, instead of something they are.  This type of person has what is called a negative identity.  If a person has a negative identity, their existence as is banks off of what they are not, so technically, this person infinitely needs a rival, a monster, a scapegoat, some sort of target to point at and pompously proclaim what they are not.  In short, the “not-racist” banks off of the existence of blatant racists in order to point out (and do nothing about) in order to build the story that they are superior than that scapegoated other.  Being that the not-racists need racists to be better than, there’s no vested interest to totally eradicate racism.  This is the reason why that white liberal doesn’t want to punch the Nazi; he needs Nazism, Fascism, Racism to exist as a superior.  So technically, this negative identity issue only aids white supremacy, and if you want to be a solid asset, you don’t want to do that.

Another example of a self-centered motive is the safety pin logic that took place at the dawn of President Trump’s election win.  Anti-Racism Writer/Speaker Leslie Mac brilliantly outlined the problem, I highly recommend taking a look at her findings.

Another motive which is frustrating to deal with, is the fact that maybe you prefer to replace black people.  Rachel Dolezal comes to mind.  Do not be like Dolezal.  No, really, don’t.  You will never be the “first brother” or “first sister” (white-saviorism) to black people as a white person, and if you think so, you just pulled a Dolezal yourself, and you deserve to be dragged on the internet.

If you attempt to play black women against black men, or black men against black women… just know that I will ruthlessly demolish you.

Remember; you don’t replace black people.  Do not seek to become an asset just to be an asshole to black people.

Do not attempt to position yourself as a white savior to black people.  Ever.

lies-and-truths-afrosapiophile
Truth telling is a very difficult, thankless task.

While white supremacy provides security and wealth to their black and other racialized pawns, you need to understand that these rewards white supremacy offers blacks who undermine the black community come from a position of privilege that black people, do not have for your white self.  This job is thankless.  You will lose friends and family members fighting racism.  With this being said, do not ever use your work as a means to demand recognition from black people.  Far as I’m concerned, you signed up to not exist. Do not ever act like your discomfort as an asset outweighs the psychological trauma a racialized person faces.

White Silence is White Violence-4

If you are attacking a black person, attempting to subtract from or destroy any black person by any means… you are fucking wrong, and you are not an ally.  Do not attempt to stack your victim card (looking at you, white women) in order to attack a black person.  The moment you attack a black person in any way, shape or form, you become a toxic white “ally”, and if I get wind of it, I will personally use all my resources to drag you online.  If you are a victim of something yourself in regards to intersectional issues, please check that baggage before you engage black people.  Do not attempt to use any other status to shut black people up.

Oh, by the way, please do not be in this just to get laid.  Yeah, that has to be said.

Find a Handler

Being that I like to use spy-analogies concerning white assets, you need to find a solid black handler.  Your handler will most likely be a black person, and if it’s not me (probably won’t be) I hope it’s a smart one.  I would suggest staying clear from hoteps and schmoe-teps.  Stay away from black men who harbors implicit or explicit hate for black women, and black women who do the same.  Be friendly, but don’t look for friendship.  Stay away from folks who engage in nonsensical, pathological levels of conspiracy theories.  In addition, stay away from those who are looking to get laid.  Stand clear from any predatory types of any kind.

Your handler will be the person of color that has the patience to guide you through all of this.  This person will keep you smart in regards to race relations and help ensure that you maintain skill in dealing with the more racially ignorant white people.  This is the primary person or persons you’ll be listening to.

Mastering your Emotionality

I explicitly never say “some” or a “few” because all whites infinitely look for avenues for exemption or exoneration.  All the time.  The problem with racism is that if that’s provided, then NO WHITE PERSON ENGAGES IN SELF-REFLECTION concerning racism, which is the point.

Every white person points at a KKK mask and pompously proclaim they aren’t that guy.  You don’t have to be that guy to deal racial trauma.

White Allies 1

You need to understand that since for the first time ever, your white feelings do not come first.  You will feel emotionally and intellectually brutalized in the beginning.  A lot of this will come from your white fragility.  You need to know what white fragility is, so read up.

The first thing a white person must do is fuck their (own) feelings.  With a fence pipe. Fuck your own feelings.  What you need to do first, is stop placing your white feelings above the racial trauma the racialized person (i.e., people of color) are talking about.  You will have to place your feelings in a toughbox because honestly, as an individual, it isn’t about you.

Also, stop defending nonsensical white feelings-based nonsense.

White Allies 1a

You need to understand that the Four Fears are real, and you will have to master the racial fears you may harbor before engaging with other whites who have those same fears.

Have a healthy relationship with white people.  Having a healthy relationship with white people is a must-have.  I don’t know about others, but I kinda side-eye white people who only shows up to proclaim they “hate white people”.  If you wish to be a great asset, you need to know that it’s your primary business to speak to white people on their implicit and explicit forms of racism.

Debate and Intellectual Honesty

In mastering intellectual honesty, you’re gonna have to really begin to observe how racism works; how oppression works in a first world nation.  You need to understand and identify what are the common, mechanical things white supremacy says in order to deflect and deny or defend racism.  You must understand fallacies in logical reasoning.  You will have to engage.

One of the first things that will happen is that you’ll be accused of having White guilt.  White guilt?  That’s your conscience speaking.  Understand that conceptual “white guilt” is the go-to poisoning-the-well fallacy that racist whites and most conservatives seek to undermine you with.  It’s intellectually dishonest at a minimum, and categorically profane for the most part.  Technically, what “white guilt” accusation calls for, is for you to neutralize your conscience regarding anything concerning racism and oppression.  That’s… just… inhuman, and astronomically profane.

White guilt?  That is your conscience speaking.

card-by-laneleal
If you wanna talk about “race cards,” then you gotta talk about who built the deck.

When someone (usually white) mentions why are you always “pulling the race card,” answer with the fact that if he wants to talk about “race cards,” then he better be willing to talk about “who built the deck”, on top of “who dealt the cards” in the first place.  You can thank me later.

Colorblind logic doesn’t work, and you need to know that.  Has anyone ever suggested you can end sexism if you just wished sex or gender differences away?  Has anyone ever thought that, if they were sex-blind — ignored sex/gender — that would end sexism?  Has anyone ever seen a firefighter who was only successful because he ignored heat?  Firefighters don’t stop fires by pretending fires don’t exist.  Pretending sex/gender doesn’t exist never prevented sexism.  Just know that.  Colorblind logic, doesn’t work.

The phrase black lives matter, shouldn’t be a fucking problem.  When your racist friends talk about black protest, tell them the truth and make them face it — no black protest is good enough for them.  Call them out for what they are: bigots.  Always make them face their own music.

You should be persistently talking about white radicalization in America.  You should be engaging racist whites long before black folks arrive on the scene.  This includes your family members and loved ones.  Nazis, fascists, Republicans, confederates, all of them.  You will have to face all of them.

Shut down that nonsensical “Irish slave” bullshit.

The term that shouldn’t exist in American lexicon, black on black crime, will be mentioned by your white supremacist friends.  This is usually used to justify police engaging in the old slavery-era practice of “negro breaking”.  The first thing whiteness mentions is the amount of black people in prison, as if that alone represents

White Allies 1b

You’re gonna have to be intelligent on what tone policing is and call it out (on top of never doing it yourself.  Your job is not to police black emotionality.  You need to know about racial appropriation too.

I highly recommend getting smart on Martin Luther King, and other black heroes, too (to educate whites, not blacks).  For some reason, most whites think he’s given only one speech in his entire life as an activist.  Quell that myth, and always let other whites know that Martin Luther King Jr. is not their (your) black Jesus who died for their racism sins.

Thinking “I have a black friend” stops you from being racist is no different than thinking “I have a wife” stops you from being misogynist. Think about that one for a second.

It’s recommended that you speak to white people as if you are also white.  In addition to that, do not use distancing language (i.e., use “we” and “our” versus singular personal pronouns.) Use pluralistic pronouns even while you know you are radically different than they are.  Own everything as an example.  Word selection, matters.

Engage in Kinetic Action, Seek Tangible Results

We you see a white privilege flex, or racism in any form — implicit or explicit — you need to engage.  You need to take refuge in being uncomfortable, because you’re gonna have to swallow uncomfortable truths before you begin serving them.  There’s a difference between simple, empty symbolic gestures.

White Allies 1e

Keep in mind that anti-racism work doesn’t begin and end by reading this column; there’s much research you must cover.  Understand that anti-racism work is frustrating, and the rewards of your labor will not be clearly seen.  Hearts will be broken, tempers will flare.  You will have to make peace with the fact that some results, you might not even be alive to see.  Just keep your eye on the goal; Justice.

Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

Written by Johnny Silvercloud

The Soul Brother #1 of a Kind. Consequentialist street photographer abolitionist writer/speaker who stands for any oppressed peoples. I do it because every man and woman deserves freedom of thought -- especially black folks.

11 comments

  1. Yet again, the movement lacks any real strategy. No real suggestions other than “if you are white, you are scum and are by definition the problem. Kill yourselves. We don’t need you.” My father who fought wars helping people fight oppressive governments was turned down in Miami for wanting to march with blacks and was sent away because he was too white for yall. You are the the fucking problem and clearly your own worst enemy. This movement will never flourish this way. It’s a damn shame.

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    1. Your father’s effort was admirable but it seems like you didn’t learn anything from his sacrifices and effort to liberate his own soul. He was not liberating us with his efforts. It was to teach his seed not to be a racist insensitive scumbag.

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    2. yet again we have a white individual who doesn’t understand or refuses to understand THEY DON’T NEED us as we have been, they need REAL Agents. They need us to STOP pointing out how we have a family member who said Hello to a POC once or something just as stupid as what you said above about your father (which I am quite certain there was more to THAT story than you are letting us know). Stop being part of the problem! It is time for us to swallow our white ignorance, open our freaking eyes and ears, and truly listen to what would help POC the most.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant and brutally honest. You are one of the most courageous people that I know and I appreciate your friendship and continual attempt to educate.

    You said White ally or White asset and listed many variables which are all important.

    I still feel that it is their war or fight to lead and that people of color, while fighting for our own sanity, freedom and fulfillment, it is us that are allies to them that must lead this battle, at least to liberate their own race from eternal doom and limitations of growth after this realm, while thinking that they are enlightened and holy.

    This is worthy of additional discussions and conversations all over the country.

    Liked by 2 people

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