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White Rage Ep. 1

Kindling

Homework

  1. Page 3: Do some research in your home state to learn how public and private officials have handled the “separate but equal” issue of Brown vs Board of Education since 1954.
  2. Page 4: List five current outcomes of weakened Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.
  3. Page 5: List three examples of white authorities being willing to undermine national security in order to ensure that Blacks did not advance.

Transcription

00:10

Hello. I want to take a moment to give you a reason why I chose this book at this time, because I was not planning on doing another book club selection, because “How to be an Antiracist” took so much out of me for… I was gonna take some time off. But the reason I chose to do this book at this time is a direct result of Super Tuesday election that happened in the U.S. this past week. And I am… I was disgusted. I was pissed a lot of the time. I was just fed up with hearing the narrative that Black Southern voters—who literally Joe Biden must owe his survival to—only voted for him because they are low information voters.

And I found myself for several days challenging that narrative. There are a lot of reasons why people voted for Biden that are their own. But collectively, as a community, older Black voters—and this is what pissed me off—is you were disrespecting people who have lived lives that your punk asses can never fathom or let alone survive.

And no one wants to talk about the white part of this equation. You’re very comfortable with trying to dissect and understand the Black voter. Well, the Black voter didn’t get us where we are with this president or anything else. It was not the Black voter. It is overwhelmingly the white voter. And these Black voters who have a history of—white people: understand!—and are very pragmatic and strategic in their voting. They sit back and watch white people go back and forth, talk about how progressive, talk about how conservative, talk about how liberal, talk about everything that centers whiteness. Because that is how we have to make decisions. They’re not doing it. They did not vote out of fear. They voted out of understanding that you white people, you white people will not vote for any ideology, process, platform that means that other people benefit.

02:56

Let me say that again. We’re reading this book because I need you to understand: your trying to dissect the Black vote is a waste of your fucking time. I need you to spend your time understanding that white people and white people alone got us where we are. White supremacy is why we’re here. These Black voters made their choice based on understanding, fundamentally, although white people do not evaluate, investigate whiteness, everybody else does. Because we’ve learned, we know that our actions, what happens to us, are a direct result of the decisions that white people make.

So although you’ve never investigated, studied, evaluated whiteness, that’s what we have learned to live with. And so we know you better than you know yourselves. And that’s what pisses you off. We know you better than you know yourselves. I often tell the community, I should be a fortune teller, because something will happen and I will make a prediction—it’s not even a prediction to me; it is just the obvious thing—and down the road you come to me and like, “Oh my god, Kim! You knew it.”

Yeah, because I have the privilege, the benefit, the unfortunate benefit, of understanding whiteness better than you know yourselves. So this is why we’re reading “White Rage”. Because I need you to understand that I’m not buying—and many are not buying—the narrative of whiteness is always the hero or victim and never the villain. In this reading, you are the villain. And I need you to embrace, get uncomfortable with, in understanding and unpacking whiteness in such a way that it lets you understand that white supremacy, the foundation of which you’ve gained your unearned privilege, is the villain.

05:02

Hello all, and welcome to today’s episode, the first episode of the new book club series entitled “White Rage”.

We are reading “White Rage”, which is written by Carol Alexander. On the cover it says “the unspoken truth of our racial divide,” and I will read the back cover, but I am—before we get started—I wanted to say I really don’t know how this is gonna go, and you just gonna have to bear with me, because that’s just how I roll. Some of these chapters—the first chapter’s actually the prologue—and so that’s what we’ll start with. And that’ll give me enough time to figure out if I need to break some of these chapters up, because they seem kinda dense, but not really. It’s kind of hard to say, so we’ll play it by ear because fully one third of this book is a reference section. So I just need to read through the next chapter to see if it’s too dense for like—I don’t want these to go over 30 minutes. So if it’s gonna be too dense to go over 30 minutes with, you know, me going off on my tangents and providing questions, then the episodes might be part one and part two, but we’ll play it by ear.

06:33

And so today, again I wanna welcome you to “White Rage”. And I’m going to read the back cover, and then I’m going to read the prologue, and that’s all we gonna do today.

So, the back cover says:

Since 1865 and the passage of the 13th Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances toward full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate, relentless rollback of any gains. Carefully linking historical flash points from the post Civil War Black Codes to expressions of white rage after the election of America’s first Black president, Anderson renders visible the long lineage of white rage and the different names under which it hides. Compelling and dramatic in unimpeachable history it relates, “White Rage” adds a vital new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

07:32

So, the first chapter is called—it’s actually the prologue; and that’s what we’re just gonna be doing today—and the title is “Kindling”. So I’m going to start just on page… at the bottom of the first page. Because at the top, she just talks about when she started, how she came to use the term “white rage”, but also how she came to define “white rage” and start to use it.

So she says in the very first sentence:

Although I first wrote about “white rage” in a Washington Post op-ed following the killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, the concept started to germinate much earlier.

And then I go down to the bottom. It says:

Giuliani then countered…

So they’re talking about—she’s talking about the death of Amadou [Diallo], a West African immigrant. And so she says, because of the outrage that happened after this unarmed man was shot and killed—41 bullets, 19 of which hit their target:

Giuliani then countered that the real issue was the “community’s racism against the police” and unwillingness to take responsibility for the issues plaguing their neighborhoods.

08:54

Page 2:

In 1999, Blacks and Hispanics, who made up 50 percent of New York City’s population, accounted for 84 percent of those stopped and frisked by the NYPD; while the majority of illegal drugs and weapons were found on the relatively small number of whites detained by police.

I’m going to read this again, because we just had this conversation with Bloomberg and you saw—if you’re on Twitter—you saw a lot of people, particularly those who lived in New York during that time, very angry, being very outspoken about Stop and Frisk. So I just want you to just take in, because you know, you folks think you love data. So we’re gonna talk about this data. This is what this is.

In 1999, Blacks and Hispanics, who made up 50 percent of New York City’s population, accounted for 84 percent of those stopped and frisked by the NYPD; while the majority of illegal drugs and weapons were found on the relatively small number of whites detained by police.

[…]

In August 2014, Ferguson, Missouri, went up in flames, and commentators throughout the print and digital media served up variations of the same story: African Americans, angered by the police killing of an unarmed Black teen, were taking out their frustration in unproductive and predictable ways—rampaging, burning, and looting.

Framing the discussion—dominating it, in fact—was an overwhelming focus on Black rage. […] The operative question seemed to be whether African Americans were justified in their rage, even if that rage manifested itself in the most destructive, nonsensical ways.

[…]

I had previously lived in Missouri and had seen the subtle but powerful ways that public policy had systematically undercut democracy in the state. When, for example, the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision came down, the state immediately declared that all schools would be integrated, only to announce that it would leave it up to the local districts to implement the Supreme Court decision.

11:21

So we now are at our first homework question—and it is on page 3—and it says: 

Do some homework in your home state to learn how public and private officials have handled the “separate but equal” issues of Brown versus Board of Education since 1954.

So I need you to think about, I need you to do—again I’ma repeat—on page 3:

Do some homework in your home state to learn how public and private officials have handled the “separate but equal” issues of Brown versus Board of Education since 1954.

So, I really want you to just go and dig a little deeper; I don’t want you just to stay on the surface. I want you to really do some research—and we always say, you know, “Google’s our friend”—do some research and look at some fundamental, how the policies for educating have been implemented in your state. Okay?

12:27

We’re gonna continue on on page 3:

…even after the end of slavery, the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, and the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The policies in Missouri were articulated as coolly and analytically as were Giuliani’s in New York.

That led to an epiphany: What was really at work here was white rage. With so much attention focused on the flames, everyone had ignored the logs, the kindling. In some ways, it is easy to see why. White rage is not about visible violence, but rather it works its way through the courts, the legislatures, and a range of government bureaucracies. […] It’s not the Klan. White rage doesn’t have to wear sheets, burn crosses, or take to the streets. Working the halls of power, it can achieve its ends far more effectively, far more destructively. […]

The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is Black advancement. It is not the mere presence of Black people that is the problem; rather, it is Blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, with demands for full and equal citizenship. It is Blackness that refuses to accept subjugation, to give up. A formidable array of policy assaults and legal contortions has consistently punished Black resilience, Black resolve.

13:59

And I say that a lot. I want to stop here, because I say that often. It’s the fact that we’re still here that pisses whiteness off, that pisses white supremacy off. Because of everything that has been thrown at the descendants of African slaves in these United States, we should be annihilated by now, and I could say the same thing about the Indigenous people, the Native American communities that are here. We both should be gone. And we’re not; we’re in pain; we suffer a lot of injustice and harm; and yet we’re still here. We won’t go away. And the fact that we continue to not only [not] go away, but find ways in our own unique way to thrive, pisses white supremacy off to no end.

I’m going to get back to the text.

And all the while, white rage manages to maintain that only the upper hand but also, apparently, the moral high ground.

15:09

And this is the perfect storm, the perfect strategy, the perfect yin and yang of white supremacy. It causes harm—actively causes harm—while maintaining the moral high ground. This is the very reason why I continue to say whiteness is always cast in the role of hero or victim, never the villain. And this is why it is so easy for people to fall into this role—these two roles—because it is inbred in what whiteness is. You don’t have a textbook for it, but you have learned that those are the roles you have. You can cause harm, and yet you can get away with causing harm because you have the moral high ground which casts you always as hero or victim and never villain.

The truth is that enslaved Africans plotted and worked—hard—with some even fighting in the Union army for their freedom and citizenship. After the Civil War, they took what little they had and built schools, worked the land to establish their economic independence, and searched desperately to bring their families, separated by slavery, back together. That drive, initiative, and resolve, however, was met with the Black Codes, with army troops throwing them off their promised forty acres and then with a slew of Supreme Court decisions eviscerating the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

16:53

And this brings us back to homework. So, on page 4:

a slew of Supreme Court decisions eviscerating the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

So, your homework is:

List five current outcomes of weakened Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

So again, based on the fact that there’s a slew of Supreme Court decisions eviscerating the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, your homework is to:

List five current outcomes of weakened Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

17:31

So now we’re gonna start on page 5.

The truth is that when the Brown v. Board of Education decision came down in 1954 and black children finally had a chance at a decent education, white authorities didn’t see children striving for quality schools and an opportunity to fully contribute to society; they saw only a threat and acted accordingly, shutting down schools, diverting public money into private coffers, leaving millions of citizens in educational rot, willing even to undermine national security in the midst of a major crisis—all to ensure that Blacks did not advance.

So your homework question number five is:

List three examples of white authorities being willing to undermine national security in order to ensure that Blacks did not advance.

Again, one page five:

List three examples of white authorities being willing to undermine national security in order to ensure that Blacks did not advance.

18:33

And then we’re gonna leave—I’m gonna leave you with this—and this is gonna be the end of this episode.

The truth is […]

This is page six:

The truth is, white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarceration, rendered an entire region sick, poor, and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than decimated. All this havoc has been wreaked simply because African Americans wanted to work, get an education, live in decent communities, raise their families, and vote. Because they were unwilling to take no for an answer.

19:17

So, I think that’s a great place to end, because that explains everything about the #CauseAScene movement and why we’re here. And I just wanted to take a moment and say, Hey! If anybody didn’t know, we at #CauseAScene community celebrated its two year anniversary on March 8th—I started this on International Women’s Day.

And so what better way to end this episode, just with the fact that “because they were unwilling to take no for an answer,” because that’s what #CauseAScene is all about, we are unwilling to take no for an answer. Have a wonderful day. Goodbye.

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White Rage Ep. 1

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