You Deserve Better. White Friends Who Need Disclaimers in the Fight for Racial Justice Are Not Truly Your Friends

I’ve noticed a status floating around on social media that says:

“To my White NON RACIST friends, I love yall! Don’t get it twisted. Me loving and protecting my race does not mean I hate or fault you. We know exactly who our enemies are, they’re no longer hiding it. Thank you for standing with us.”

In addition to the flawed assumption that non-racist white people exist, I took issue with the statement because of its reassuring nature and focus on “friendship”. We are not beholden to our “allies”. If your friendships with the white people in your life require your silence, if the glue that holds those relationships together is predicated on the assumption that you will never hold them accountable for the ways they are complicit with white supremacy, then those “friendships” are no friendships at all, as those relationships do not allow you to be seen as your full self. You deserve better. Why?

White people who are doing their own work have no need of such disclaimers because they understand that they are not exceptional, and somehow exempt from their deputized status within white supremacy.

White people who are doing their own work do not require your reassurance because they know that their allegiance to upholding the myth of the supremacy of whiteness can be activated at any moment when presented with the choice of interrupting the flow or preserving the status quo.

Those who are doing their own work do not require you to reassure them that they are not a part of the problem because they know that they are, and understand that requiring your reassurance reinforces the privileged assumption that you must prioritize their right to emotional and psychological comfort when they should actually remain vigilant, uncomfortable, disturbed, maladjusted to the inequity that their power creates.

An alternative set of thought processes for white people can be found in the quote below from Layla Saad:

“If you believe you are exceptional, you will not do the work. If you do not do the work, you will continue to do harm, even if that is not your intention. You are not an exceptional white person, meaning you are not exempt from the conditioning of white supremacy, from the benefits of white privilege, and from the responsibility to keep doing this work for the rest of your life. The moment you begin to think you are exceptional is the moment you begin to relax back into the warm and familiar comfort of white supremacy

–Layla Saad, Me & White Supremacy


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones

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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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4 Responses

  1. June 19, 2020

    […] time for no fake friendsI am not your “safe” friendIf you was really doin’ yo work friendThen you’d know that we ain’t really safe […]

  2. June 25, 2020

    […] influence to impact the lives of Black people that you already have access to as a private citizen who is deputized by white supremacy, and whose investment to upholding it can be activated at any ti…, a supervisory or managerial relationship between yourself and a Black person or Black people […]

  3. July 1, 2020

    […] Read more of You Deserve Better. White Friends Who Need Disclaimers in the Fight for Racial Justice Are Not Truly… […]

  4. November 10, 2020

    […] Blog Post referenced in this episode:You Deserve Better: White Friends Who Need Disclaimers in the Fight for Racial Justice Are Not Truly… […]

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