Enough Of The Disappointing And Violent White Moderate
A white moderate would sooner set me on fire, douse the flames, and then accuse me of harassment for asking why they lit the match.
By Adrie Rose
I have to be honest, I don’t give a fuck about American politics. Maybe local politics a little bit, but in the larger sense, I don’t care about electoral politics. It’s a sham. It’s a continuation of violent repression and oppression against Indigenous communities, Black communities, trans communities, sex working communities, and more marginalized folks. American electoral politics, honestly all electoral politics in colonial and settler states, are a joke. It’s an excuse for white liberals to show up in all of their passive-aggressive finest and make sweeping, but ultimately meaningless statements on racism. It’s a pageant for white grifters like Tim Wise to show off exactly much language they’ve misappropriated from Black organisers and leftists for the express purpose of lining their own pockets. It’s all eerily similar to white (tel)evangelists that learn from Southern Black preachers before repackaging their sermons to sell the prosperity gospel to poor congregations while enriching themselves.
Having said all of that, I could almost deal with the absolute farce that is the electoral cycle—after all, it only comes around once every two to four years—if it wasn’t for the constant whining and complaining about civility. And those calls for kindness and nuance and understanding only come from white people, and the occasional sycophant of colour, who have spent their days tweeting about the evils of the anger of poor and disenfranchised people. Tweets like this one, wherein a white woman compares two Black, female staffers from the Sanders campaign, to Diamond & Silk— the two Mammy caricatures and Trump-supporters trotted out by conservative politicians when pandering to non-white voters. Despite antagonising these two women and their supporters for an entire day, this “proud liberal” insists that she is the victim of harassment from “Bernie people.” There’s something strangely familiar about a white person setting up Black people for targeted harassment and then crying wolf when they are faced with a reckoning for their actions… from other Black people.
I’m not interested in the myth of the Bernie Bro. I have never, and likely will never, endorse(d) a political candidate. But there is something to be said for avowed liberals who spend their days making a mockery of sex workers, migrants, and working poor trying not to drown under medical and educational debt. Is there no sense of irony? No sense of self-awareness? What level of cognitive dissonance is needed to call on Black women to “save you” from the evils of hardline conservatism while continuing to deny their presence in and support of leftist ideology?
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”
This quote from Dr. King… is where we currently are. White liberals intentionally antagonise the most marginalised people, grasping at any straw offered that presents a better, liveable life, for daring to have hope in a system that’s failed them repeatedly. These same white liberals then beg for mercy and peace and kindness when they’re forced to reckon with the consequences of their violent behaviour. And then, when they’ve sufficiently chased off any modicum of hope in a continuously oppressive system and left two choices of outright evil and outright evil masquerading as neutral, they beg their victims for support in saving them from their own choices.
Like Dr. King, I’ve reached a conclusion: I am most disappointed with the white moderate. I find myself exhausted, not least because I live in a city that calls itself “most liveable” and blue to a fault, yet hides the violent truth of its open hostility to Black people, especially Black women, and absolutely Black women that trade sex. Unlike Dr. King, I’m not interested in making amends or opening a dialogue with the white moderate. I don’t give a fuck what a white moderate has to say because a white moderate would sooner set me on fire, douse the flames, and then accuse me of harassment for asking why they lit the match.
Adrie is a Sociology grad student and freelancer living in Pittsburgh. She primarily writes about sex work, social media, race, and gender. When she’s not writing or grading, Adrie works as an artist and photographer. Her great loves include the glitter accent nail, Bojack Horseman, Disenchantment, and her two cats: Misty (15) and Oscar (5).
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