When I wrote my review of White Fragility, I wrote, “Robin DiAngelo asserts that ‘You can see how a romanticized past is strictly a white construct.’ In this statement, she undoes the idea that there was a version of America that we can go back to that was great. This statement reminds readers that there are few points of history in America that are not tied to some sort of complicated and disgusting conversation (or lack thereof) about race. In fact, when she states, ‘Today we depict blacks as dangerous. A portrayal that perverts the true direction of violence between whites and blacks since the founding of the country.’”
While writing that review, I had just finished reading Stamped from the Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and then had started the book White Rage by Carol Anderson. What I realized is that those quotes were a whole blog post among themselves. One thing that I find truly interesting are the ways in which people assert that slavery “ended over 100 years ago therefore [insert nonsense here]” or the idea that talking about race is what has create all this “divisiveness.” That is wildly ignorant logic devoid of all historical understanding.
Anyhow, I had started this post a while ago, and then never really picked it back up. I wanted to share some heinous acts of white violence that I had never, ever, ever, ever learned about in school. In my readings, these were stories that made me do a double-take and go learn even more.
- Race and Labor Riots in the 1862 NY Riots
- How the NAACP Fought Lynching
- Mary Turner Was Lynched
- Ossain Sweet’s Black Life Mattered
- How White Housing Riots Shaped Chicago
In the end, I never really fleshed out this post. Enumerating these many incidents just got depressing because here we are in 2019-2020 school year, and it is still happening! We are still forgiving and explaining away white violence while criminalizing anything and everything related to black folks.
DiAngelo says, “I believe that the white collective fundamentally hates blackness for what it reminds us of, that we are capable and guilty of perpetrating immeasurable harms, that our gains come from the subjugation of others.” And I struggle sometimes with how true that statement feels and crushingly impossible this work feels.