Recently, an article was written about me and my essays on #BlackLivesMatter on a site called InfoWars.com. The site founder, Alex Jones, is notorious for being an American conspiracy theorist (lol@ white conspiracy theorists). The article was written to invalidate my work around how white allies should participate in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in which they are the oppressor.
In the last three days, I’ve received numerous death threats, various PayPal transfers of .01 and .10 telling me “we’re even” for reparations or telling me they’ve paid me more than I’m worth, a flood of violent comments all over my social media platforms and threats with my address information. All of this is because I said that Black Lives Matter. This pushback and level of violence is primarily because white people, even the ones who think they’re committed to “racial justice,” hate to hear the reality that your role is very limited in the liberation for Black folks.
Reparations and structural shift of power. We don’t need lip service, your presence at a protest, or your one time post of our hashtag. We need you to give us the resources you’ve stolen from us, while also shifting the power within this system in our favor so we can dismantle it. So much of whiteness and white fragility requires that Black people be in subordination or seen as charity to their guilt, power and sustainability built on violence. To ask white people to be our “friends” while we’re being murdered would only ever benefit white people’s culpability. To make room for white people in ways that allows for trusting them beyond their 400-year resume of killing and harming us is to be compassionate to those who have no conscious.
Yes, there are white people who are committed to this work, committed to the spiritual path they need to take for their deep-rooted savage vehemence — but why do I ever have to give disclaimers or stipulations on why most white people will never be about structural change or ever be willing to give up every piece of comfort they have? Also, clearly there ain’t enough of these white folks committed to dismantling white supremacy and antiblackness because if there were, you would hear about them before anyone else (because that’s how humanized whiteness is).
Like I said within my previous article on white allyship, nothing you have is yours. Why would I be moved about white people being upset that they might not have anything? Welcome to the last 400+ years of the experiences of Black folks within this system of global white supremacist violence, and even then, you (white people) will never suffer the way Black folks have suffered for centuries. Black people possess more humanity and moral conscious than anyone in the world because we have yet to burn this motherfucker down to the ground, to treat anyone the way we’ve been treated, or go on a killing spree to rid of our oppressors who stay murdering us. We’re still here, still lenient as fuck in our liberation.
Yet, the first response I get to my article is that I’m a whiny faux-activist that wants to exploit white people for money because I don’t have a job. Oh, and white people telling me that they want me to die or they’re going to kill me. LOL. If I’m so insignificant, why even bother sending me a death threat? If I’m so exploitative, why even send me a penny on PayPal to prove an irrelevant point? Because white people are dangerous and have no moral conscious.
This is the pervasiveness of white supremacy, whiteness as an ideology and identity and white fragility within individual white people. White people feel personally harmed when you acknowledge their violence, and when you demand individual and structural shifts and requirements of change. They feel like they’ve worked so hard for what they have, completely ignoring the last 400 years of history explaining otherwise. So as these white folks are sending me death threats, and calling me every violent name in the book, they’re also hashtagging #AllLivesMatter. Ironic, isn’t it?
Ashleigh Shackelford is a queer, nonbinary Black fat femme writer, artist, and cultural producer. Ashleigh is a contributing writer at Wear Your Voice Magazine and For Harriet. Read more at Facebook.com/AshleighShackelford. Support my emotional and intellectual labor by donating to: PayPal.me/AshleightheLion.