How Whiteness as a Societal Construct Has Ensured My Isolation as a Racist

After spending time looking at my commitment to Whiteness, I have come to realize that blaming patriarchy was a desperate and comfortable explanation that suited my White fragility quite well. I could blame men. I didn’t need to look at myself at all because I was a victim. Before I began this lifelong examination, I believed myself as outside of those other White people who voted for Trump. I saw myself as different from Trump. But those White people, Trump, and myself are of the same cloth. We are all White supremacists. Our commitment to the construct of Whiteness just looks and sounds different.

Desert Kinks

Hair is a marker of beauty for women across the world, especially through the mainstream white, heterosexual gaze. Hair (or lack thereof), whether on your head or your body, demarcates the women who are actually worth being looked at. Slavery indoctrinated black people with the harmful notion that we had to somehow emulate irrational standards of white beauty, and ever since, the black community has been grappling with the ideals of “good hair.” We’ve been battling white fetishizers who pounce at the chance to objectify our nappy hair texture, while people who think our hair care techniques are dirty and unhealthy have belittled us. A black woman’s hair is a sociocultural nexus that carries the weight of centuries of oppression. Black hair can also be a source of identity and self-worth. What’s it like to wake up every morning with all that power resting upon your head? 

Appropriation and Colonialism at the Oregon Country Fair

Places like Eugene, Oregon are often touted as a liberal oasis -- but only if you are White. If you are Indigenous or a person of color then you are subjected to the impacts of a state founded on White greed. With the removal of the tribes in 1856 to Grande-Ronde Indian Reservation, the history of the native peoples of Oregon was obscured for over 100 years. Despite this invisibilization, the surviving and thriving ancestors in the Grande Ronde tribe have ensured that Eugene and the surrounding areas are rich with Native restorative projects. Yet with all of this activity, cultural appropriation is ubiquitous. From “native survival” arts to sweat lodges, Oregon is a hot spot of stealing native culture. The Oregon Country Fair is a prime suspect with their not-so-distant plans to build a “Haida totem pole.”

How Couchsurfing is Putting Women* in Danger

I showed up at Giovanni’s home in Portici, Italy last Friday expecting to stay for two nights, and left after only one and a half hours. He seemed kind at first, much like I was expecting him to be, as he showed me around his apartment. We communicated using Google Translate’s conversation tool. But when we went up to the rooftop with a bottle of wine, things changed. He brought me over to a side railing to show me the view of Vesuvius (that I could see perfectly well from where I had been sitting before) and he trapped me between him and the rail with his arms around me, his body pressed against my back.

Wakanda Forever: Anticolonialism as Sustainable Technology

An important aspect within Black Panther’s allegory that seems to be overlooked by mainstream media coverage is the relationship between Black people and the natural world. Indeed Wakanda relies on Vibranium to reach marvelous societal heights, but as we’ve seen historically the mere presence of powerful resources does not inherently make a nation mighty, successful, or good...This film is telling us something crucial about urbanity, sustainability, and nature; anti-colonialism is central in reimagining who engages with our environmental future and how we should do it.

Today's Resegregation and Confronting Whiteness

When speaking out about the anti-Blackness that pervades our nation, gun violence, and police brutality, we must also be talking about whiteness and how white supremacy functions. White supremacy is having no Black friends. White supremacy is never going out of your way to attend an organization or meeting that works towards ending racism. Whiteness means you can go about your day and never think about race. But this issue is everyone’s issue. It’s especially a white person issue because white people created these systems in the first place. We cannot kill the beast until we understand it. White people need to engage with their friends, families, and communities about racism, and seek to understand how white supremacy functions in their everyday lives.

Body/Slut/Women-Just-Being-Themselves Shaming

It's incredibly time consuming to scour the internet for those perfect articles that can educate the people in your lives and help them through the ongoing process of unlearning their misogyny, so we curated a list of resources for you that we highly recommend. This is by no means comprehensive. There is so much out there and these are just a few things we are sharing to get you and your loved ones started. 

White People Have No Culture

Burning Man. Oregon Country Fair. The John Muir Trail. “Because it’s there.” Buddhist retreats. Trekking in Nepal. Firefly gathering. Rainbow gathering...White people do have culture. Our culture is that of colonization. Of genocide. Of taking. Of envy and of fear. The majority of white people can name no more than two generations back in their families.

Believe Womxn: The Front Lines Are Not Blurred

We are not taught in our society to look at patterns, systems, and institutions. We are taught to see things as isolated events, but we need to resist this false narrative. The media often paints national tragedies as frenzied, unbiased, and isolated. This shows up in the ways mass shootings are portrayed, or how Black lives are murdered at the hands of the police. The media does not talk about toxic masculinity, and the correlation between domestic violence and large-scale massacres. The undeniable pattern of mass shootings is that they are executed almost always by white men. The undeniable pattern of innocent Black women, men, and children being unjustly murdered, is that officers are acting out of unchecked power charged by systemic racism – a product of toxic masculinity. These are not disparate threads and we have never been able to afford the gloss that mainstream media applies to these hate crimes.

What is White Feminism?

White feminism are the suffragettes of the modern day looking to push themselves and their agendas forward without fighting for poor women, Black women, Indigenous women, LGBTQIA women, trans women, alter-abled bodied women, etc. White feminism is an ugly beast to tame, so you better work, girl. 

When Money is the Bottom Line: The Inclusion Problem in the Outdoor Industry

As I continued to attend the panels that addressed the issue of women empowerment, it became more obvious that the efforts made by companies were mainly driven by the fact that they benefit financially from catering to the marginalized segment of the market; hence, the point being, don't fool yourself into thinking these efforts are being done out of morality or altruism alone. Ultimately, it's the shift in the makeup of consumers that created the motivation for companies to finally give in as doing so translates into yet again accruing more wealth for themselves.

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust Will Not End Police Violence

White people time and time again corrupt nonviolent direct action by turning it into a kind of passivity that believes “polite” behavior will be rewarded, and that in the face of injustice you can simply insert heart emojis and keep on keeping on. As Damon Young from Very Smart Brothers writes in his piece, “Polite White People Are Useless,” published on The Root, “Ultimately, this laser focus on niceness and decorum is just a way of policing behavior.” This mentality of “love will conquer all” feels really good. It thinks itself transcendent, and romanticizes a version of revolution that completely erases history.

Casual Racism: A Conversation with Prince Shakur

Prince Shakur is a pro-black, feminist, lover of locs, queer with restless feet, writer, activist, and filmmaker who grew up in Jamaica and moved to the U.S. when he was young. Shakur has traveled extensively and holds an impressive resume of published written works and he's only 23. His essay, "A Black Traveler Confronts Racism at a Montana Resort," published recently in Outside magazine, provides an insightful and raw account of Shakur's time working and living in Big Sky, Montana, a remote ski town in the Rockies. In this interview, Shakur opens up about the nuances of taking up space, how everything is political, and the important labor of being honest. On taking up space, Shakur reveals, "I know every time I write something, every time I put something out on the internet, every time I wear a piece of clothing that has a radical message, I’m putting myself at risk, but I’m also demanding space that is mine because I’m a human being and I deserve to live, and it’s necessary. If I don’t do that then I’m not owning what I have, which I think is really, really necessary.”

Whiteness in the Outdoor Industry

Whiteness is upheld by all white people. White supremacy is ingrained in the founding of America. White people in America are settlers. White people wouldn't be in the positions they are in today had Indigenous peoples' not had their land stolen. We are existing on somebody else's stolen land. In terms of material goods, financial security, and ease of moving through the world, white people owe their claims to any of these things due to colonization. White people are the beneficiaries of the dispossession and continued elimination of Indigenous people. White people may be reluctant to this and they may not want to believe it. But it is true. So, how do we reconcile this? 

Sexual Assault and Violence Across Industries: The Inaction of "Good" Men and the Shade of White Women

#metoo inundated social media this last October to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” as Alyssa Milano wrote on Twitter. However, as journalist Britni Danielle pointed out, activist Tarana Burke, a Black woman, began the crusade ten years ago, particularly for women of color. The viral phenomenon came as no surprise because the magnitude of the problem is not just known to those who speak out. It is a burden that all women carry. And while it is important and powerful for women to speak up about their experiences, this media frenzy has revealed yet again that our society only pays attention when abuse happens to cis, straight, white women. This outrage and backlash against Hollywood male elites, while necessary and important, is white outrage. The only reason why mainstream media put these stories in the spotlight is because abuse is only intolerable if the victim is white. We must acknowledge that violence against women is happening all of the time, across all industries, and that it affects women of color and Indigenous women the most.