“White offense or discomfort is the specific reaction that white people have to discussions of racism in which they are not specifically excluded from the offending group. This knee-jerk reaction causes them to lash out in anger, derail a conversation and shut down all conversation around the original issue. The arguments tend to focus on what good people they are and how it’s not fair that the offending statement didn’t make it clear that it wasn’t all white people.
This reaction helps the bottom line of white supremacy because that system works best when no one talks about it. It THRIVES in silence. Although none of my friends are white nationalists or supremacists, and none of them believe that interracial relationships should be stopped, their actions directly protected and supported white supremacy.
What would be a better reaction to a situation where you feel like something offense has been said? The first step is to resist that knee-jerk reaction, especially if it is someone you know and have a relationship with. Remember, we all view everything through our lens of bias. This colors everything we interact with. Understand that the issue likely looks a lot different from their point of view.
Secondly, ask for a fuller explanation or do some research on your own. Google is free. If something is said that rings wrong in your head, then chances are YOU are missing some key information that will help it make sense. If someone had looked into it, they would have been assaulted by thinly veiled, white supremacist propaganda. No one asked me what I meant.
Thirdly, remember that everything isn’t about YOU but, as a white person, if you are white, then you, unfortunately, are part of a system that oppresses and marginalizes people. It is not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong but this is the culture we all live in. Oppressed and marginalized people do not have the time and energy, while speaking on the forces that put us in those situations, to exclude good white people. We would be here all day getting nothing done because EVERYONE has a reason why they’re not the problem.
Here’s the thing: All white people are not actively racist but all white people live in a culture of white supremacy and their actions potentially help to uphold that culture. Taking up space to talk about how non-racist you are upholds white supremacist culture and centers whiteness. Placing your offense, your hurt feelings, before the discussion of the racist issues centers whiteness and upholds white supremacist culture. These acts stifle discussion, silence education and uphold white supremacist culture.
White nationalists and Nazis don’t need to be present in every conversation around racism to argue it. The layer of protection that is provided by white supremacist culture is such that people who would be appalled to be associated with such groups inadvertently do the work for them. It does not have to be that way, you can recognize your own offense, your own knee-jerk reactions, and pull them back before they work in the service of a culture that you don’t believe in.
Being offended and uncomfortable is a natural part of life. But before you lash out, sit with that feeling, deconstruct it. Understand why you are offended by the statement or action. Take time to understand the statement or action. You may still be offended and you may have to say, “Hey, this was not ok!” That’s fine! Join the discussion by adding a nuanced point of view, perhaps your issues can be addressed through further education around the subject. But never assume your initial reaction is the correct one, especially when faced with brand new information. Your bias plays a part in how you see things and must be actively overcome. Don’t do white supremacy any favors because something hurt your feelings.”
Why is nobody talking about the fact that the Florida shooting was an anti-Semitic hate crime except for Jews? The school was more than 40% Jewish. The shooter was a part of a white supremacist organization, actively and openly hated Jews more than anyone else, would beat up Jewish kids, etc. The head of the white supremacist organization made a public statement that the organization had nothing to do with the shooting but if he had to guess why Cruz did it, it was because the school was predominantly Jewish. “We’re not a big fan of Jews,“ Republic of Florida Militia leader Jordan Jerub stated in an interview with The Daily Beast. "I think there were a lot of Jews at the school that might have been messing with him.”
It seems like only Jewish news sources are reporting on this and the comments on the articles by non-Jews are sickening. People are saying that "Jews want to be oppressed so badly. He shot up the school because they expelled him, not because he hated Jews.” People are saying we’re “appropriating struggles of people of color” by claiming that he killed Jewish kids because he’s a white supremacist. I’m sorry, why can’t we acknowledge that someone shot up a Jewish school because he was anti-Semitic without it taking away from the struggles of other minorities?
When Jews say we are oppressed, people often respond with “show me real hate crimes against Jews and then we’ll believe you when you say you’re discriminated against,” but then someone who talks about wanting Jews dead shoots up a school that’s mostly Jewish and people still refuse to acknowledge that it’s a real hate crime.
The Jewish community is not a large one. I know people who knew some of those kids, who went to Jewish summer camp with them, whose parents were family friends etc. Fuck anti-Semites and fuck people who shoot children and fuck people who refuse to acknowledge that people are targeted, assaulted, and even killed for being Jewish on a regular basis. According to the FBI, 1.7% of Americans are Jewish, but last year 54.2% of religiously motivated hate crimes were against Jews and 11.5% of overall hate crimes were against Jews.
If your intersectionality doesn’t include Jews, you’re doing social justice wrong.