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You know you are a **STAR** White Indigenous Solidarity Activist If…

July 5, 2012

Dear Reader:

Chances are you are not a white man if you are reading this or taking it seriously. However, we encourage you to take it upon yourself to compel at least one abusive white activist man you know to read this. You know who he is /they are. Take this as a challenge, but if you can’t we understand. We wrote this list because we’ve been abused for so long by some white activist men, particularly in doing Indigenous solidarity work.  This list is just a beginning. It does not capture all our critiques, but it’s a humble effort at creating that space where we could let it all out. Not that we haven’t confronted these particular white ‘radicals’, but, nothing happened. We remained as hysterical, hyper-sensitive white women and women of color.

To read more about us and our intentions for this space and contact info please go to the About section.

Since the publication of this list we have received some hostile attacks questioning our intentions. As a result we decided to add #51 to the list.  We also decided to clear a few things up, and call out these messed behaviours. You can read more if you follow the link below:

51. You think that women calling out racism and sexism in solidarity spaces are engaging in character assassinations and waging smear campaigns.

 

It has been made aware that white folks, and men it particular are posting this to their walls who themselves need to take account of their behaviours. As an act of accountability white folks we ask that you pick the point on the list that most applies to you, and post this with the list.

It has been made aware to us that this list was triggering for some women and apologize for not issuing a warning in the first place.

*******Trigger Warning*********

You know you are a ***star*** white Indigenous solidarity activist if:

  1. You are the go-to-person when it comes to X Indigenous territory or nation(s).
  2. You have successfully managed to counsel people of colour out from Indigenous solidarity spaces and ‘back’ to the ‘ethnic’ enclaves you think they belong to.
  3. You have successfully managed to make women of colour struggling to do Indigenous solidarity work in ‘your’ group cry several times over your racist, heteropatriarchal hateful hysteria.
  4.  You have taken Gandhi’s maxim of “see-no-evil-and-speak-no-evil” to mean a Marxist-see-no-race-and-no-gender maxim (which incidentally guides your life and politics…BTW, we are not saying we are a fan of that sexist and racist Gandhi).
  5.  You do not let critical anti-colonial and anti-racist work by Indigenous peoples and people of colour convince you that it’s not all about class.
  6.  You are just not smart enough to understand that capitalism emerged out of colonial and racist Empire building.
  7.  You’ve organized your activism along all the problematic hierarchies in our society. You are, after all, a white Marxist man/Manarchist.
  8.  You do not listen to Elders in the Indigenous communities you work with. Instead, you believe in making few who share your politics into the ‘go-to’ voices and pretend that Indigenous nations/communities are homogenous.
  9.  You forget (or are just not smart enough to understand and recognize) that people of colour have much, much longer histories of fighting people like you for their liberation, than you have of trying to help out the very people you’ve done everything to destroy.
  10.  You forget what your forefathers have done, and very easily ignore what you are doing. You have the big responsibility of being the messiah of Indigenous peoples, after all.
  11.  You feel compelled to tell Indigenous people just exactly how they should do their decolonizing work (that is, through your hyper-patriarchal, see-no-race-and-no-gender Marxist/Manarchist politics).
  12.  You frantically Marxist-bate in public, in front of Indigenous women and women of colour, and encourage them to join you.
  13.  You think too much with your white cis-gendered dick!
  14.  You feel comfortable to tell people of colour that their work is important only in so far as it does not come in the way of your white politics, and class-based strategies of doing anti-colonial work.
  15.  You find anti-racism divisive. However, a little bit of culture thrown in (you know, flip flops from India, a bit of an accent) is heartily welcomed.
  16.  You speak of class revolution with a silver spoon dangling from your “Marxist” mouth. Your “Marxist” mouth often stinks so much that sometimes others have to leave the room.
  17.  You think people of colour, in particular, women of colour are just naïve and not capable of understanding the complexity of solidarity activism the way you do. Women of colour, after all, have the smallest skull size.
  18.  You think you can’t be racist because you date only women of colour. You do not want to think about how such sexual politics have been central to colonial violence.
  19.  Your knowledge of feminism is limited to your appreciation for the ‘First’ wave’s racists and eugenicists. Margaret Sanger is held by you in high esteem.
  20.  You insist activism against colonialism should feel good for white bodies, and therefore you don’t want to focus on colonial violence that ALL white bodies participate in.
  21.  You talk big macho shit about police, but fail to see the uniform of your own whiteness
  22.  You ensure that only the projects you propose are well funded.
  23.  You think (and have also said) that white people’s anti-colonial work is more important than that of anybody else’s. Even more important than that of the Indigenous peoples themselves!
  24.  You speak with confidence about everything, and are never humbled by the limits of your knowledge. Your knowledge which sits within the confines of your Marxist-bating or your manarchism.
  25.  You secretly roll your eyes at Indigenous spirituality, while you ‘politely’ encourage prayer at the beginning of your events
  26.  You are not into all this divisive language: you know colonizer/colonized. You have also told us that bringing in gender, race, sexuality ‘etc’ negatively affects Indigenous solidarity work.
  27.  You like to list all the ways you and your ancestors have been colonized. And how much slavery and servitude are alike.
  28.  You talk about the newness of solidarity work, and how you are making history with your every effort, instead of looking back and acknowledging that you are flying on the coat-tails of the oldest resistance movement on this land.
  29.  The sexual violence of colonialism is a niche-activist market for you, it doesn’t make up the core of your activism. The continued theft of Indigenous children and the ever growing number of disappeared and murdered Indigenous women are a footnote to your “solidarity” or “decolonization” politics.  The theft of land apparently is not connected to the dispossession, disappearing and murdering of Indigenous peoples.
  30.  For you increasing white men’s power on this land is how anti-colonialism is done
  31.  You LOVE to smudge, and parade your Indigenous knowledge about, never feeling uncomfortable with your body having this knowledge
  32.  You ensure that your political framework is the way to do “Indigenous solidarity”. So sure are you that this one political framework is the only way to decolonize, that you react with intense hostility, indifference or superficiality to any detected threat to your activist territory. Whether that “difference” to you is critical anti-racist analysis, critical disability analysis, or gender and Queer analysis, or any kind of non-secular analysis.
  33.  Words fought against or for by any political-socio group (like women, for instance) is accorded the status of “academese”. These words (such as race, gender, patriarchy, heteropatriarchy, queerness, transgender, genderqueer, disability etc..) which allow for an analysis of interlocking systems of oppression are too complicated for the “regular” masses, and those who use this “politically correct language” are elitist
  34.  You chalk-up anti-colonial/racist feminist politics to Foucault and afterwards make it into a debate between Marx and Foucault. You feel like women of color bringing up race needs you to pull out your “Marx” sword, so that you can intellectualize your racism and make it into a debate between two dead white men who cared as little about race and gender as you do.
  35.  You speak about “less-educated” whites, or poor(er) whites as if they are not politically savvy, and can’t keep up with your “revolutionary” consciousness
  36.  You relate to your colonizing ancestors as if they were less smart and more racist than you are.
  37.  You dare to imagine what this land will look like after your revolutionary vision is achieved.
  38.  You forget that sometimes colonized and racialized people make ‘friends’ because it’s politically expedient for survival, or maybe you remember, but you are never the politically expedient—you are always the (s)hero
  39.  You participate in marches where you can feel like the white activists in Selma, Alabama, but you only participate in the marches.
  40.  Being behind the barricades makes you giddy with excitement. You play revolution on the coat-tail of Indigenous peoples’ struggles, but once the barricades are down, you are nowhere to be seen.
  41.  You have made a living/a career/ a name/an identity out of being “in solidarity”.
  42.  You have made it clear that you are a shameless scumbag. You are immune to being shamed for your racism, (hetero)sexism etc.
  43.  You judge poor(er) than you folks for their materialism. Sometimes dressing like a poor(er) person is less advisable for the poor—funny unlike you it doesn’t tend to give them activist credit.
  44. You pretend to know your Marx, but understand the working-class as “joe six-pack”—the sweaty-cis-gendered ,straight-as-a-gate-talking, game watching ‘abled bodied’ white working man. (insert  burp here).
  45.   You refer to (certain kinds of) racists and racism and colonialism as “mad”, or “crazy”. You make sure to distance yourself from their racism.  “They,” after all, are the real racists, and being the good white is your bread and butter. You are always ready to pull out your one or two self-reflexive superficial utterances, usually made alongside a long story of narcissistic pleasure in your “eureka” moment-akin- to Columbus’ “ I discovered new land, ” and yours being  “I discovered I am on stolen land” .
  46.  You don’t recognize any objections to your policy, whether silent objections or those that are screamed (at you) by marginalized bodies in history and present.
  47.  You push past the “slow” process of consensus. You bully your way so that your time-line and agenda is achieved
  48.  You complain that this work is really hard and too complicated.  Ending colonialism, after all, should be easy.
  49.  Your notion of decolonization never calls into question your ‘rightful’ place on this land
  50.  You secretly and mostly want decolonization to ‘unshackle’ yourself from the position of the colonizer….It is, after all, such a burden.
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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Janice L permalink
    July 9, 2012 8:14 pm

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. john permalink
    July 20, 2012 3:41 am

    #52 You have given up your given name and adopted some native word as your “new” name

    • July 20, 2012 4:10 am

      Thank you for the important and poignant addition!! Others please feel free to make your own suggestions for #53 and on and on….we will update the list with other suggestions as we go forward.

  3. steph permalink
    July 22, 2012 4:59 pm

    #53 You fail to see the truth in sarcasm/humour used by people of colour/indigenous when calling out your internalized racism, cause you can’t be that racist. Cause quite obviously its just a joke…

    • July 22, 2012 5:42 pm

      Thanks, Steph! That’s so true! They can’t see it because obviously it’s either a joke, or it’s just because we have really small skulls, unlike theirs! 🙂

      • Mary permalink
        January 10, 2013 6:11 pm

        In solidarity meetings, I have failed to confront any white men or prominent / famous Indian men who oppress Indigenous women with racist / sexist behavior. I did not want to experience the discomfort from the scorn that might come my way, or risk my “good white” status.

  4. Resistance permalink
    December 28, 2012 10:53 pm

    #54 Based on distant heritage, and despite white skin privilege, you claim to be a POC. … but only when it’s safe and convenient, and only when it advances your privilege.

  5. August 17, 2013 6:01 am

    Reblogged this on Unsettling Settlers and commented:
    We wrote this last year, but wanted to share this again before we released our next post.

  6. William permalink
    October 8, 2013 5:56 pm

    White guy reading this seriously, honestly only guilty of maybe 13 and 18 and really only about 80% guilty.
    Not everyone is evil and greedy, although we all are capable of being that way.

Trackbacks

  1. You know you are a **STAR** White Indigenous Solidarity Activist If… | People Of Color Organize!
  2. You know you are a **STAR** White Indigenous Solidarity Activist If… | Unsettling America
  3. Intervention – ‘Empty Words on Occupied Lands? Positionality, Settler Colonialism, and the Politics of Recognition’ | AntipodeFoundation.org

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