A White Boy’s Resistance to Patriarchy and White Supremacy: A Call for Self-Reflection and Action
Anarchism is short in coming without the resistance to white supremacy and furthermore, white supremacy being associated with the same sentiment as patriarchy. White Supremacy and patriarchy are not myths created by oppressed people to tangle the truths of the history of North America and white colonized continents. The grasps of what I am able to comprehend in terms of white supremacy and patriarchy is a struggle I pursue because I understand the importance of women and trans* and folks of color as critical and important voices in the abolition of interpersonal and state violence, the industrial prison complexes, immigration discrimination and police brutality, as well as anti-fracking action, tar sands blockades, environmental awareness, decolonization and other issues specifically oriented in the US. Not only are white supremacy and patriarchy systems that assign me privileges beyond my awareness, there is no way I am able to free myself from these constraints without developing a vulnerability to the works of feminists. Anarcha-feminists have been part of our movements from the beginning and their analysis on class have been pertinent inclusions, yet we cannot neglect their work that focuses around sexist and racist violence.
When I speak about feminism to my male comrades, there is often a disconnect and our masculinity seems to be jeopardized. I can’t help to ask myself this question, “How do I feel that movements have been created to specifically work towards changing me?” At what point are we going to listen to these messages and stop abusing our power and privilege, seeing how this violence directly correlates to the very systems we are also fighting against? As a white male anarchist who resists the notion that our movements remain the same, I propose we question our strategies that silence women, trans* and people of color. My masculinity is created out of a colonialist legacy that gains power and protects privileges simply based on the facts that I am a white and male; and I am not just speaking to financial power, white supremacy and patriarchy are not contingent on class even if they are highly influenced by capital power. The only way I am able to further develop an analysis on the personal is through listening to people who have been oppressed by the same systems that have privileged me and have conditioned me to disregard the voices of women, trans,* LGBT and people of color. Yet, isn’t it evident that this is the ultimate white male privilege? My masculinity is one that refuses to be centered around this systematic assignment and challenge myself (also breaking the limits of what “man,” is supposed to mean) and refuse the de-masculinization that has been normalized as white men who speak on issues of sexist and racist violence. The personal should not just be left to the feminists. Rape culture is an aspect of the patriarchy that I must engage in strategies to abolish, listening to the thoughtful works created from primarily feminists and taking action to help educate and support the resistance of sexual violence in our communities and political actions is my responsibility.
Oscar Grant, Tray Von Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Aiyana Jones and Kendrick Johnson are all black people who have been racially profiled and murdered by police brutality which is the creation of the white supremacy. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the members of MOVE 9 and people part of The Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Front are still incarcerated. Assata Shakur remains on America’s Most Wanted Terrorist List. While there too are many white people who are political prisoners and die at the expense of their political work, the violence is outrageously disproportionate and has a historical legacy that outnumbers violence against white folks.
Libcom.org still features the documentations of Smack A White Boy Part 2, an action against a Crimthinc. convergence held in a neighborhood facing gentrification. The action aimed to evict white people and show visibility of entitlement to gentrification and also question the solidarity of political groups. This action received a lot of negative attention because of the strategies that were used to call attention to white folks, even poor white folks, and their continuous entitlement to partake in the gentrification of impoverished black neighborhoods. When will we realize that these strategies warrant courage and are direct results of the oppression specifically related to the almost 500 year white legacy of entitlement to land? When will we see that racially oppressed people and women and trans* people are in resistance to us, just as much as we are in resistance to the state? When will we realize we cannot truly empower ourselves by disempowering others? When we will note the privileges of back to the land movements that are eurocentric and perpetuate colonialist legacy? When will we see the harms that urban homesteading in gentrified neighborhoods creates?
To warrant a dire and potential threat to the work we are currently embracing in the support of other countries violence from the US forces and countries that have conflicts without US military infiltration, I ask us to look at the legacy of the US citizens normalizing their power and voice to state what type of support we should provide to other countries, as well our inherent conditions to believe that the US and the folks associated with it have the power to transform international violence? We have barely paved way on the land we still need to recognize nationally as stolen. Yes, we should continue to provide aid to countries that are facing challenges and stay in solidarity with them, but this cannot result in us refusing to do the interpersonal work that our communities so severely need in order to strengthen our visibility for violence in our own backyards. Inherently, how are we to transform international violence without first making efforts to transform ourselves, our communities and then the state and nation?
We have to acknowledge the profound works of feminists such as Angela Davis who speaks revolutionary wisdom on the abolition of the industrial prison complex and bell hooks who provides support to feminists to all feminists. Let us highlight the works of Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and The Guerilla Girls. The works of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence have provided profound contributions to dismantling violence world wide and providing accessible tools for all to intervene in interpersonal violence.
This is a call to my anarchist comrades to fully acknowledge the works of feminists and radicals of color. We cannot dismantle the state without deconstructing ourselves and seeing where the faults in our movements are. The perpetuations of misogyny and transmisogyny need to come to an end. We need to stop associating masculinity with the entitlement to perpetuate sexist and racist violence. Male folks are born with severe conditions that lead them to believe that there self-reflection is too feminine. Anarchist males are conditioned to ignore the interpersonal and work solely on the political. We are taught to disregard all others and give respect to our male comrades. We become so dense in these conditions that we can’t see that we use our abuse and violence to silence those who are harmed by our actions. We don’t have healthy ways of receiving the critique of our feminist and folks of color comrades, instead we isolate them when they can’t accept our flaws and further, our ability to receive self-reflection is so sound, we don’t even realize we are capable of receiving this information and working to change ourselves. Our internalized misogyny and racism should not be tolerated, we lose too many critical and important voices when our weaknesses are shown and we use dominance to hide our feelings.
We must face the fact that we have inherited these white male privileges from the same systems that are also responsible for genocide, slavery and rape culture. However, change is not possible if we do not finally include ourselves in these conversations and take preventative actions for oppression to seize from existing. We must listen to our anarchist comrades with open ears and establish courage and to transform ourselves and support to our comrades who also actively want to change.