Combatting White Supremacy in the Anti-globalization Movement
March 20, 2002 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Combatting White Supremacy in the Anti-globalization Movement
The anti-globalization movement has been vibrant in communities and organizations of color in the US and around the world for hundreds of years, yet white supremacy was rampant in the movement against the WTO ministerial meetings in Seattle. In other words, racism is alive and well in social justice organizing, and the WTO was no exception.

posted by djacobs (8 comments total)
Just have them all watch American History X, that movie should set any racist straight. One word... Powerful.
posted by banished at 9:10 AM on March 20, 2002

"This article is rooted in the premise that it is the responsibility of white people to undo racism."

well, i'll keep reading...

"In Olympia, Washington, racism was named repeatedly in DAN meetings. In September, 1999, several people of color brought up the fact that the group was predominantly white."

um, olympia? white people, really?

Thurston County, WA
White persons, percent, 2000 (a) 85.7%
Black or African American persons, percent, 2000 (a) 2.4%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2000 (a) 1.5%
Asian persons, percent, 2000 (a) 4.4%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2000 (a) 0.5%
Persons reporting some other race, percent, 2000 (a) 1.7%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2000 3.9%
(via us census)

"For example, in an affinity group setting, people of color brought up concerns about a plan to have white people dressed as slaves carrying a slave ship to be used as a stage for their action plan on November 30th, 1999. The people of color were later attacked for challenging issues of racism and received little support from the broader DAN activist community."

So, in trying to draw attention to corporate greed some people wanted to dress up as slaves to draw a connection, and some minorities were upset? yes, i can see how this is a severe form of racism, almost like the people in texas being dragged to death... good use of resources!

"Consider how powerful it could be if this energy from white activists could be channeled into learning from communities of color who have been organizing on this land for 510 years."

seriously? has there been anti-corporate organization that far before there were modern corporations? seems unlikely, but who am i to argue with 510 years or experience...

"Real unity would be people actively recognizing their privilege and using it in the face of oppression and working together from a conscious place."

i would argue that real unity would be people working together on their stated goals with no regard to race. also, i would like to point out that phrases like, "from a conscious place" may be ommited since they are meaningless.
posted by rhyax at 9:49 AM on March 20, 2002

I'm not a big advocate of institutionalizing "anti-racism" training. My preference is encouraging and rewarding any individuals who make a consistent effort to reach out to people who are not like themselves. Diversity isn't just race, or class, or temperament, ability, taste, nationality, religion ...

A commentary regarding the overall lack of communication between people who have lived in the Middle East and the people who attend demonstrations: Why are White Activists ignoring Middle Eastern People?
posted by sheauga at 9:56 AM on March 20, 2002

"Anti-racist" whites in progressive movements were recently discussed on MeFi.

This article seems a bit stale. A lot has happened since Seattle to affect the terms of the anti-globalization debate: Genoa, 9/11, etc.
posted by MattD at 10:49 AM on March 20, 2002

True. Material like the documentary Life and Debt, about globalization and white tourists in Jamaica, might be more current.
posted by sheauga at 2:12 PM on March 20, 2002

"Which global injustices gain your sympathy, attention, and money? Rarely the most deserving ... The groups that reach the global limelight often do so at dear cost—by distorting their principles and alienating their constituencies for the sake of appealing to self-interested donors in rich nations.
posted by sheauga at 5:17 PM on March 20, 2002

If the Direct Action Network wishes to be a fundamentally anti-oppressive organization it must be willing to stop and examine practices within the organizing which are oppressive in nature.

If this article is any indication, this organization seems to spend too much time examining themselves and too little actually attending to the issues they presume to address and how they affect the world at large.

They seem to spend an awful lot of time concentrating on themselves, making sure they are "more principled" than their peers, rather than trying to effect change in the lives of others, which is what social activism is all about, supposedly.

If they quit polishing their halos and one-upping eachother in the holier-than-thou pissing contest and actually tried to do something, they might pull the American left out of the cavernous rut it seems to be in.
posted by jonmc at 6:10 PM on March 20, 2002

white supremacy - 13
racism - 55!
praxis - 10

Though the point may be valid overall, the writer fails to recognize the aliennation her own word choices and attitudes convey. There were many problems with the organisational anarchy of N30, but a group of people deciding that the issue of racism didn't fit the protest agenda doesn't make them racists or white supremacists.

There are unfortunately many real white supremecists in the Northwest who I would like to highlight for some "direct action". [sharpens halo on whetstone]
posted by roboto at 7:22 PM on March 20, 2002

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