What does resistance look like when you’re white, like Hillary Clinton, and your daily existence isn’t colonized, questioned and dehumanized?
This week, Hillary Clinton announced the launch of her new political project called Onward Together. In an email to supporters, Clinton wrote: “From the Women’s March to airports across the country where communities are welcoming immigrants and refugees to town hall meetings in every community, Americans are speaking out like never before. To support this wave of grassroots organizing, we’re launching Onward Together, an organization dedicated to advancing the progressive vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election.”
Onward Together is registered as a 501(c)(4) group, the IRS category for “social welfare nonprofits,” and aims to raise funds for other organizations, including Swing Left, which aims to nudge swing states to the left; Emerge America, a booster of women in politics; racial-justice activism group Color of Change; Indivisible, an organization whose mission is to “defeat the Trump agenda;” and Run for Something, which helps millennials break into politics. It’s worth noting that 501(c)(4) nonprofits are allowed to protect the anonymity of donors.
The goal of this project is to reform the current representation that we have in our political offices which, in the minds of white liberal feminists, is the same thing as resistance.
Here’s the thing, though: resistance is pointless if it doesn’t seek to dismantle all systems of oppression, and yes, that includes capitalism and racism. I don’t just mean the kind of racism we only associate to the GOP — sorry, I mean the KKK (JK, they’re the same thing) — I also mean the kind of biases that liberal white folks excel at ignoring: gentrification, racial profiling, whitewashing, erasure, invalidation, derailing, bias, micro-aggressions, etc.
What does resistance look like when you’re white and your daily existence isn’t colonized, questioned and dehumanized? What is resistance when you can get loans with low interest rates to open your business? What is resistance when you are a gentrifier, when your very presence means that you priced someone out of the neighborhood they were criminalized in?
What does resistance look like when you are overwhelmingly represented in all facets of society including activism despite the fact that the majority of the labor being produced is done by queer black and brown folks?
You can only truly understand resistance when there is something pushing against you, pressing you into a box too small for you to grow, learn and flourish in. So then, what does resistance mean for folks with the most privilege, like Hillary Clinton? What the fuck does that even look like?
Well it means being a liberal who wants to regain political control and take back the space that they feel belongs to them without actually addressing systemic inequalities.
Resistance from white cishet liberals feels disingenuous, and like a cooptation the daily struggles of Indigenous Americans, black and brown folks all over the country. Liberals are finally scared of having their spaces reduced, their social capital diminished and their ability to accumulate wealth hindered, and so now they feel like they need to #RESIST. But where were you before?
Where were you when we needed you to use your privilege to dismantle white supremacy decades ago? Resistance means nothing if you’re not pushing back against the walls blocking out the most oppressed in any society. If you’re not here for incarcerated black mothers, black trans women, poor folks with disabilities, Native Americans, poor black and brown kids in cities being denied adequate food and education within public school systems, homeless folks, refugees and immigrants, then what is the point of your resistance?
I will always be skeptical of white folks who just want reformation of our structures. This entire nation was built on genocide, colonization, slavery, racism and pain. You can’t keep replacing the bricks of a home with a broken foundation. The United States of America was never great and white liberals aren’t going to be the ones who make it great.