and so in my experience, folks can learn all the theory, all the right words, all of it and yet act fundamentally the same, live out the same patterns of thoughts, still hold the same fucked-up priorities. and yet spout all of the anti-racist rhetoric.
in that they are able to say things like: i realize that such and such is a function of racism and then they continue to do the same fucking thing that they just acknowledged was racist.
this happens all the time. like. all. the. time.
There are great comments too:
I totally agree that the reason is the white/Eurocentric cultural norm which separates word and being. For many white folks (though not only white folks, of course), words are deployed strictly from the ego in order to project a propagandistic image of oneself that will aid one’s selfish ambitions; rather than deployed from the heart-spirit to summon the power of the word in manifesting truth and love as we walk the earth in peace.
I suppose we can’t prevent people from dipping into our writings and picking up bits of strategic rhetoric for whatever agendas they’re pursuing.
‘the work is not the workshop’
also, possibly covered under what you’re talking about here (people using the new words but still playing the same old tune underneath) there’s this phenomenon among white people and other “allies” that I’ve been calling “dirty fork,” after the Monty Python sketch:
i.e. it might be earnestly meant in some cases, but something about the whole “examine your privilege” deal ends up becoming a way to focus on one’s own hairshirt process as opposed to, y’know, what the other person actually needs.
I think she was making that mistake of assuming principles, beliefs, awareness etc. are something that come with being able to write an essay about it. Or, that being able to write an essay about something implies actual awareness about it.
I think the idea, with using the work of white cismen, is that perhaps the “voice of power & authority” will speak more forcefully to those in the most need of listening. But… really? I wonder just how far down the anti-racist road any of us are going to get if we have to be cajoled to start walking by a voice of authority, if we’ve already, off the bat, discounted the voices of poc?
But maybe pointing people in the direction of serious, tangible, problems they can do something about & that help illustrate why “being the BEST anti-racist” must NOT be about having the most obscure Audre Lorde & Franz Fanon quotes or the ability to write a paper about intersectionality.
Hat tip to jwbe.
Next action: Read we dont need another anti-racism 101.