whiteness is about resistance to change13 Nov 2020
in a webinar after the wilds beyond climate justice conference, i got to listen to bayo akomolafe… for the first time. he blew my mind. a lot of what he was saying was way over my head but i picked up a few nuggets and they were definitely gold.
one that really stuck with me was this one: whiteness is about resistance to change.
:exploding head emoji:
it felt like truer words had never been said about whiteness. and a LOT of words have been said about whiteness.
there are so so so many ways in which this statement feels true to me.
whiteness tries to inscribe the present on the past and future. it wants to freeze current power relations for ever and it wants to interpret the entirety of the past thru a lens of what’s happening right now.
whiteness wants to set extractive systems in motion and lock them into place. whiteness wants to say you are not us and you never will be.
whiteness wants to build things that last forever. whiteness wants humans and relationships to never die. whiteness wants skin to stay the same forever. whiteness wants not to learn or grow or evolve.
whiteness wants the whole world to operate with the same logic. whiteness wants not to understand that diversity IS resilience.
whiteness is terrified of grief because it wants no loss.
whiteness wants to hold onto the same dream (even as it becomes a nightmare).
whenever i see anything, any system or group of people or structure that doesn’t understand and act as if change is constant, i get curious about where/how whiteness is at work there. it’s a SUPER helpful frame actually. and that helpfulness is not limited to things outside of me.
living in white supremacist/dominant society, whiteness is absolutely in me. i’ve yet to meet a person who could swim in salt water and never taste its salt.
but turning this lens inward i get to see and root out whiteness that in embedded in me. it doesn’t happen all at once, but it is happening. where do i want not to change? what about me am i holding onto as if it will never change? this is risky and scary territory for sure.
but that’s the work on dismantling whiteness. to look at what is stuck, to stand at the edge, to see the truth that change is the only constant, and then step over to see what happens next.
and, to date, what happens next has never been less freedom.
words / writing / post-processing
401w / 6min / 6min