"if you don't have a strategy, you're part of someone else's strategy."
– a. toffler
"What can we do today, so that tomorrow we can do what we are unable to do today?"
– Paulo Freire
When grassroots Black activists speak honestly about racism at colleges across this country, we are not met with open arms by administrators and faculty. And most certainly our calendars are not full for the rest of the year let alone for the next three to five. When we speak, we are often met by the deaf ear of white denial. When Tim Wise speaks, he gets applause, standing ovations, awards and proclamations. The fact that schools can’t “hear” us when I and other people of color speak but will search out and roll out the red carpet for Wise is a statement to a kind of racism that doesn’t get discussed much – if at all – in our work. Despite all of the white anti-racist presentations given over the years at colleges and universities across the country, institutional racism at these schools remains intact. All the while, activists of color continue to be muffled and marginalized. Even in the ghetto of race discourse we remain tenants and never owners of an analysis that is ours to begin with.
One way that whites can be accountable is to stop being enablers to white supremacy by supplanting the voice of people of color with their own. We do not need white people speaking for people of color. Such talk is crass paternalism. My words do not need to be placed through a white filter in order for them to be understandable. Besides, there are some things that get lost in “translation.” If there is work for whites to do on this issue, then let it be work that addresses this deaf ear of white denial. This is a question of power. Whites that do not listen to people of color do not have a “hearing problem.” They fail to hear and to listen because they can. Those that promote the claim that white people speaking for people of color is a positive only coddle such whites in the comfort of their conformity to a way of life that denies, not just the voices of people of color, but our lives as well.
main point to me: Tim Wise isn’t saying anything black people haven’t been saying for ages, so indeed “what accounts for his popularity and celebrity status and the fact that his calendar is filled with engagements for the next few years? His whiteness!”
This is my favourite of the set that I’ve just posted. Whilst the other two articles were complimentary of the mainfesto, this is more critical.
The first main point is “if the manifesto is about getting rid of capitalism its proposals are entirely insufficient”, and the post points out the rhetoric devoid of substance that’s present in a lot of the demands.
The second is that “Occupy doesn’t need a manifesto/programme, it is a movement, and shouldn’t try to be a party”.
I especially appreciate the suggestion that Occupy should focus on an “agreement of action”, as opposed to an agreement of theory. When the movement’s appeal makes it very broadchurch and heterogeneous, attempts at theory are forced to end up vague.
on a glaring omission from an otherwise alright manifesto
Has a good segue into the idea of “minimum programmes”.