Human Rights

White People, You Have a Choice to Make

Oppression doesn’t just happen; it’s all about choice.

Photo Credit: Susan Melkisethian / Flickr

Okay, people, listen up.

I know we want to think that oppression is rooted in ignorance and misunderstanding, and yes, some of it is propagated that way, but there’s a lot of fucking choice in it, too.

In fact, it’s all choice.

It’s an administration’s choice to disparage Muslims. It’s a lawmaker’s choice to promote anti-Islamic sentiment. It’s law enforcement’s choice to create actionable items to enforce. It’s the individual officer’s choice to enforce them. It’s your choice whether or not you help them.

It’s all a choice.

These think pieces and memes and constant begging for people to open their minds and hearts and understand what they are doing are worthless because they KNOW what they are doing.

Men know they are discriminating against women. They just don’t care because 1. they don’t see women as people and 2. it doesn’t impact them. And that’s what we mean when we say “equality;” it’s the understanding that women are individuals who do not need their decision-making regulated, questioned, or second-guessed because they aren’t men. This is not difficult to understand, but because it limits their power, men pretend not to get it. They love their feeling of superiority over women too much to release it.

This power is further supported and legislated in American culture. So men fight our autonomy. They fight our humanity. They create obstacle courses with ever-shifting goalposts so that we spend all our energy struggling. They fucking know what they are doing — discrimination is just an accepted norm.

White people know they are discriminating against Black people. They know they benefit from white supremacy. There just aren’t any negative consequences for this — and why stop voluntarily benefitting from something? Who does that?

Empathetic people…kind people…maybe. Folks interested in justice and equality, maybe. But these are not characteristics historically associated with white people, especially considering that they exist in a system that doesn’t just reward them for maintaining the status quo, but actually punishes them for fighting it. Looking to them for guidance, understanding, and care is very much like asking a lion not to eat you. They have made everyone who isn’t white into prey, and they are always hungry.

In other words, white people gonna white.

People of color are soylent green for white people. Women are nourishment for men. But they don’t consume us to survive — they do it to compete with themselves and elevate their status among each other. They use and abuse our labor, creativity, ingenuity, and culture.

And this is all a choice. Ignoring and erasing Black people from their work is a choice. Removing us from history is a choice. Enforcing unjust laws is a choice. Treating us as sub-human is a choice.

It’s ALL a choice.

You gotta choose to be better. You gotta choose to fight this shit. You gotta choose to no longer comply with immoral laws and leadership. You gotta choose whether you’re going to fight this, and then choose your weapon.

White people constantly ask how they can be a better ally. Well, the first thing is to hold yourself and the people around you accountable for the choices you make. I’m telling you right now, those ICE agents are choosing to terrorize and detain people. This isn’t something out of their control and if you tell yourself that, then you’re a liar.

Are there consequences for rebelling? Yup. But when enough people don’t rebel, we get slavery. When enough people don’t rebel, we get Jim Crowe. When enough people don’t rebel, we get the North Dakota Access Pipeline, the Holocaust, rampant police abuse, discrimination, disenfranchisement, open white supremacists in government, president tangerine goblin, redlining, and rapists and murderers going unpunished.

You get our current reality.

Stop pretending that love is the answer. It isn’t. The answer is complicated as fuck, but it begins with holding yourself and others accountable for your bullshit AND white people taking the fucking hit that comes with rejecting white supremacy.

And yes, it’s a hit. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna keep fucking hurting because that’s the society we live in. The one that hurts and oppresses Black people, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized populations.

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This piece originally appeared at talynnkel.com and is republished here with permission.

 

Talynn Kel is a writer for the Establishment, who also blogs at talynnkel.com.