Notes From Conversations With White Men Committed to Anti-Racism and Feminism and Struggling to Love Themselves/Ourselves
By Chris Crass (December 12, 2019)
“I’m struggling to find my grounding, to feel grounded and good about who I am, while I’m learning about all of this history, learning about people who have looked like me in the past and look like me today – white and cisgender male – have been in positions of power and enacted such massive violence and oppression. I want to keep learning how to work effectively and holistically to end white supremacy, to end patriarchy, to work for socialism and collective liberation, and how to love myself and love other people who look like me too.”
We talked about the pain of learning histories of exploitation and oppression, of what has been, of learning about the violence and injustices of misogyny, of transphobia, of white supremacy today – learning about the violent acts of individual white men, of the collective patterns of violence of the culture of white racist patriarchy that raises men to be conscious and unconscious soldiers of supremacy systems.
We talked about the feels of shame, sadness, and dissociation that can arise for us as white men engaging in anti-racist, feminist, collective liberation work – with example after example of white men doing and saying terrible things.
And then we talked about the need for historical understanding and systemic analysis to situate ourselves in both the strategy of supremacy systems that positions us against so many, along with the history of liberation and justice values, visions and movements that have aligned us with so many.
That we see these brutal supremacy systems for what they are, including what they have done and continue to do to us – to socialize white men into this highly individualistic and competitive mindset in which self-worth is dependent on a vast web of domination and subjugation of the vast majority, that promotes violence, anxiety, social isolation and explosive depression – towards oneself and towards others.
That we see the ways supremacy systems want us as white men to reject liberatory values and visions, and the ways that we as white men need to rise up against supremacy systems both in solidarity with the vast majority and as an act of emancipatory love for ourselves and other white men who we do not want to see be used as tools for oppression.
That we understand that supremacy systems have long worked to get as many white men as possible to see themselves aligned with ruling classes, and that we, as white guy collective liberation organizers, need to be mindful that we don’t further entrench white men, making it seem that based on race and gender privilege, that class is irrelevant and that in fact white men are the ruling class – our goal is to awaken the heart of solidarity and dignity within white men, as we move them/ourselves to reject the supremacy systems of ruling classes and embrace – mind, body and soul – economic, racial and gender justice as efforts and movements to all get free.
We have to love each other, see each other, affirm and support each other, as we reclaim our hearts and minds from supremacy systems and work from the approach that supremacy systems are the enemy, and they can’t keep stealing the lives of white boys and white men to serve them.
Loving ourselves as white anti-racist, feminist men, for collective liberation – loving our bodies, loving our emotions, loving vulnerability, loving our tenderness, loving our strengths, learning about white men we can be inspired by, white men who we love and organize with – all of this is part of the journey to get free and become the leaders we need to become, especially among other white men. To get free and work, live, love and join with others, for collective liberation – from our personal relationships, to the governing values economically, politically and culturally.
We can do this, and we must bring as many white boys and white men with us, out of the death culture, the culture of emotional suffocation that leads to a hundred forms of violence, the structural inequality that deprives, exploits, divides and extracts our souls. We can do this, and can love and support other white men to be part of building up beloved community and the world our boys and kids of all genders deserve.