5 Things You Can Do to Confront White Supremacy Right Now
by Ryan Schleeter
November 27, 2017
What did you do to dismantle institutionalized oppression today?
Editor’s Note: This blog first appeared on August 17th, 2017. In light of the recent article on White Nationalists published by the New York Times – and the ensuing debate that occurred – we thought it would be relevant to offer our perspective on ways to push back against these insidious forms of racism and bigotry.
This weekend, armed white supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. They called for genocide. They attacked peaceful counter-protesters. They beat activist Deandre Harris with poles right outside the police department. One of them plowed through a crowd in a car, murdering counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
What happened in Charlottesville is horrifying, but it’s not an isolated incident. Violent hate groups have become more and more active, supported by our nation’s long history of institutional racism and emboldened by the president himself.
No matter where you are, it is absolutely crucial to stand up against this violence, hate, and white supremacy right now. Here’s what you can do.
1. Educate yourself, your friends, and your family.
If you don’t have the tools to talk about institutionalized racism yet, it’s time to read up!
Student organizers at the University of Virginia have assembled this Charlottesville Syllabus, which includes everything from the modern history of the KKK in Virginia to a handy glossary of terms. And the Los Angeles Times’ Sonali Kohli has a guide for talking to your kids about racism and violence.
Particularly for white people, it’s time for us to do the difficult but crucial work of talking to our friends and family members who remain complicit in the systems of white supremacy that enabled violence in Charlottesville. This is not the work of people of color — it’s ours to own.
If you're not working to dismantle white supremacy then what are you doing?
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) August 15, 2017
2. March for racial justice at a solidarity event.
We have more power than the white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville this weekend. — let’s show it. Organizers have sprung into action across the country to host solidarity vigils, rallies, and marches virtually every day over the next few weeks.
— WorkingFamiliesParty (@WorkingFamilies) August 13, 2017
3. #TakeThemDown: Demand our leaders remove Confederate monuments from public spaces.
The history of slavery and racist violence towards Black people in in the Confederate South should not be erased. But it belongs in textbooks, not in our city halls. These monuments — like the statue of General Robert E. Lee that white nationalists claimed to be “defending” in Charlottesville — are homages to the legacy of white supremacy.
True American heroes. Thank you to all the activists who successfully toppled a 93-year-old Confederate statue in #Durham.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) August 15, 2017
From Baltimore to Lexington, cities are removing monuments to slave-owners and Confederate generals, but more than 700 remain. Use this guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center to locate the Confederate monuments near you and find out who to contact about their removal — even if you don’t live in the South.
4. Tell CEOs to leave Trump’s tech advisory council.
Let there be no ambiguity — any collaboration with Donald Trump is an endorsement of his platform and the white supremacist violence he condones.
Led by Color of Change, thousands of people have spoken out asking CEOs like Disney’s Bob Iger to cut their ties to Trump’s advisory groups. And over the last two days, they’ve left in droves, even forcing Trump to disband his business and manufacturing councils.
But tech leaders like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook still haven’t ruled out future meetings with the administration.
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) August 16, 2017
A tweet or a press release from this business “leaders” is not enough, they must sever all ties with Trump or go down on the wrong side of history.
5. Put voices of color at the center of the conversation — today and every day.
I’m glad you’re reading this article. I hope you take at least one of the actions suggested here. But if you’re going to hop on Facebook today and share just one thing, don’t let it be this.
One manifestation of white supremacy is that we too often ignore, or outright silence, the voices closest to the struggle (read: Black voices). If we want to make progress towards a more just and peaceful society, it’s time to listen and amplify.
— shanelle matthews (@TheShanelleM) August 16, 2017
Start by catching up on how the Black Lives Matter network is fighting white supremacy. Tune in to activist Deray McKesson’s interview with University of Virginia organizers and Governor Terry McAuliffe. Read about how Black parents are addressing racism and systemic violence with their kids. Learn how young Black organizers are preparing for future white supremacist attacks with the Black Youth Project (BYP100). Watch author Ta-Nehisi Coates break down the history that got us here in his first interview since Trump’s inauguration.
So, what are you going to do to dismantle white supremacy today?
Ending the systems of oppression that prevent all Americans from leading free, equal lives is a 24-7 job, and this list is just the beginning. So let’s support each other in this work. Share your thought-provoking articles, your calls to action, your rallies and vigils, and your questions about where to go next.