Practicing anti-racism in our workplaces, at festivals, at community gatherings, at home, even at our favorite national parks is key to creating a safer community for all because the violence of racism does not disappear in the woods or mountains. It’s there in our conversations, in our actions, and in our beliefs. The unintentional racism of the outdoor industry is just as hostile as the racism of the people who are lighting their Nikes on fire. We need to make visible how we White people have been conditioned from living in a White supremacist culture. Without examining our patterns, assumptions, beliefs, and actions, we will not achieve the authentic community that we say we want. We compiled a list of resources for those who want to learn more about how to dismantle White supremacy and create truly inclusive and equitable spaces.
Jolie Varela of Indigenous Women Hike after completing her journey of traveling and reclaiming the Nüümü Poyo: “We grow stronger every day. Every Native baby born, every Indigenous person relearning their language, every ceremony is an act of defiance against colonization. I think Indigenous women are the future and healing of this world. I hope Indigenous Women Hike inspires other Natives who aren’t already practicing their rights to our lands to do so. I hope this opens people’s eyes and they begin to understand our rights as Indigenous people to practice ceremony on our lands without permission.”
We have built our lives on top of a completely false human invention: Whiteness. Our belief and commitment to the construct of Whiteness keeps this supremacist nation going. Does that mean we have built our entire society, the schools, the hospitals, the businesses, the restaurants, the parks, the pools, the grocery stores, on a lie?
None of this will happen overnight. Or even over a lifetime. It's a constant practice. You may experience discomfort, hurt, pain, and/or guilt. Everyone's process may be different in some ways, and similar in others. Know that your feelings are valid, but that they should take a backseat to the emotional toll and labor of people of color.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
Let's give praise to these incredible people and organizations who empower themselves, create community, and share their resources in the name of equity.
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.
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.
White women co-opted the #MeToo movement and now we are at it again with the word, "Slay." Elite climbing athletes, Emily Harrington, Margo Hayes, and Paige Claassen, starred in a short marketing video titled, "Slaydies," for La Sportiva, an Italian climbing company. Let us deconstruct their word choice, their position as white women traveling, and their choice of hairstyles, shall we?
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.
Appropriation is seriously damaging and harmful. It has led to opportunities and doors opening for white people, while people of color who aren’t given credit are left in debt and having to figure out how to thrive despite these systemically-racist challenges.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.