Okay so I actually appreciate Redneck Revolt, but I don’t appreciate people twisting their purpose and applying “ideological purity” to the issue with rural white voters (especially if they do so while ignoring the very logical reasons why this is such a contentious issue) in order to coddle white fragility and make the same mistakes over and over again. A lack of knowledge about American history and racial politics on the left is exactly why people portray rural white people as ticking time bombs who need to be pandered and reached out to or else they’re one step away from joining the Klan, and seek to justify that by implying that marginalized people are unreasonable unless we prioritize reaching out . Like, I think all of American history can prove why that doesn’t make sense? (Also, doesn’t that sound like that conditional white ally crap turned into actual praxis which is kind of terrifying?)
I don’t think people are saying that reaching out these people is inherently wrong, but I think people are tired of prioritizing them and their insecurities over the safety of marginalized people (which, as every major election has shown, is futile because their insecurities come from an intersection of class AND race). I also think that people present this strategy as if it is the ONLY way you can solve anything instead of focusing on increasing access and power for marginalized people so that they can’t just be suppressed and out voted. Instead of recognizing that these solutions are multi-tiered and both approaches are necessary to an extent.
I don’t like the word “compromise” in this context, because the idea that we need to “compromise” with rural white people implies that we need to give up our principles in order to bring them into “the fold”, which can be a dangerous thought when that “compromise” caters to their racial insecurities and requires that certain groups be ignored and/or thrown to the wolves in order to better relate with them. (Note: I find it so shoddy that people are seriously passing around a comic that says that a rural white person who isn’t “talked to” becomes a Klan member like…so you’re saying that if black people were more willing to “compromise” than the KKK wouldn’t have been formed? You’re telling me that these rural and urban white people would have seen black people as human if black people “explained” ourselves?)
And maybe I’m not sympathetic to the “leftist elitism” argument because a lot of it is directed at black folks and others who have always been the main targets of people on both the Right and Left, who know how these people think and how they relate to us, and how scary it can be to reach out to people who don’t think we’re people (whenever their pocketbooks get a little light). And I think that’s why their posts should show more empathy to us by understanding why we might be skeptical with the idea that reaching out to rural white people will eventually win them over (like we haven’t tried that hundreds of times before…) instead of pretending we’re a bunch of wealthy elitists from metropolitan centers who just don’t want to “compromise”. Maybe its because white leftists have kind of taken too much space and directed energy around causes they are comfortable with? I think it is suspect that I see more about getting the support of these white voters (no matter how it damages anti-racism and pro-immigration movements) more than I’ve seen Leftists focus on helping marginalized people vote. Or I see them spending more time humanizing them than they do us while saving all of their harsh vitriol for “correcting” us.
Folks seem to forget that rural white people aren’t a bunch of stupid yokels that needed to be “guided” to enlightenment, they know what they’re doing and always have. They didn’t vote for Trump because of “elitism” or because they don’t understand their own history, they did it because he made them feel more secure and they wanted to hurt non-white people, and it isn’t the first time they have voted this way. And I feel like the point should be making *them* do the work to relate to *us* instead of lecturing us for not wanting to repeat the same pattern in 2017 and not being sympathetic to people who thought they were going to take *our* healthcare away and screwed themselves in the process.
I guess what I’m saying is that a lot of Leftists need to figure out if their desire to “compromise and educate” rural white people comes from legitimate strategy or if it comes from prioritizing whiteness and white fragility over people of color (a very common issue in Leftist circles).
Edit: I wonder if people know Redneck Revolt quotes John Brown and Stokely Carmicheal and is actively anti-racist and does not support compromise with racist elements and its odd to use them for “pro-compromise” arguments just because we’re talking about rural white people?
It’s just understood that the struggles, the gains that we made, pass on to the people unconsciously. Of course, as a disorganized people, we cannot do it properly. So when they yell at our youth; ‘our youth don’t know anything about history’; well what organization did you join to help make sure that the history was institutionalized and passed on to the youth? None. Shut up. You can’t send your child to the enemy and think the enemy is going to give the child its’ history, that’s clear. So since you’ve made no effort at all to come together with those who want to give their children proper education, proper history of what’s going on; now that your children don’t know the history, don’t be screaming at the children.
I finally saw Selma today and it was absolutely incredible. I had chills, it was very powerful and better than I expected because it was so raw and real. Obviously I am not black, and I take that into account when I talk about these things. I know the anger, frustration, and sadness I feel is no where near that of people directly impacted by it. I know the racism I experience is different than that of the racism black people face. But I do empathize so much and I don’t think I’ve ever learned about something more moving and powerful than the story of civil rights in America.
I think this movie was absolutely perfect in its timing because of recent civil rights issues and the #ReclaimMLK actions today. It definitely played true to MLK’s actual character, beliefs and goals. I literally learned more form that movie than I ever have about him in school. It was so real and refreshingly not white-washed like so much about him is. Since Ferguson, there has been more attention on the issue, and I think it’s been a huge wake up call in us realizing civil rights is far from over. Of course we face very different circumstances and have a different kind of struggle today, but institutional racism as a whole is still very prevalent. If anything, it’s more difficult for our generation because it isn’t as obvious. They have the right to vote. They go to school with us. People are, for the most part, politically correct. However, we don’t consider how ingrained racism still is in our society. We don’t think about how real it still is today, especially those of us who don’t experience it and therefore don’t think about it because it doesn’t directly impact us.
We learn a white-washed, maybe a few class periods long version of civil rights. They filter what they teach us. U.S. History is a required core class, African-American History is an elective. I’ve done so much more in depth learning of the movement on my own and I wish everyone learned about it more.
It scares me to see the use of police violence and tear gas in the movie because in the past few months, that shit was happening in Ferguson, just hours away from me. It seems unreal. The fact that people are still protesting for the lives of black people seems unreal. But think about the fact that some of those who were part of the original civil rights movement are still alive today. It wasn’t that long ago. Black people’s lives are still compromised and their humanity is still put up for question.
Previous to watching this movie and recently learning more about MLK’s ideas, I was definitely more into the ideas of Malcolm X and Stokely Carmicheal and the Black Panthers leaders. Just being someone who’s young and angry and extremely critical of white people, I always agreed with the more “radical” ideas. I still do. But gaining more insight on the thought process and logic behind non-violence and being more inclusive is also so important and I understand its necessity so much more. I hope for some kind of middle ground, although it’s very frustrating sometimes. Someone I know and look up to once told me, even when you get frustrated and you feel like your words and actions are pointless - to consider if people in the past had just gotten frustrated and given up. We wouldn’t have anything. That idea has always resonated with me. First, in appreciating the leaders and the struggles and the lives lost that got us to where we are. Secondly, in knowing I have power and that what I do matters, even if it only clicks in the minds of a few people, that’s all it takes to contribute to something larger. Silence and neutrality is allowing these problems to be perpetuated. Change has never been comfortable or easy. If you’re making people uncomfortable or angry - chances are you’re on the right track when it comes to issues like these.
There is so much beauty in the struggle and I have mad respect. I will always support black movements. I will always especially support black women. I am always here for black excellence and recognition. And I want to see more of it in my lifetime and I want to contribute in whatever ways I respectfully can.