Friday, April 4, 2008

From White Like Me to Zami Like Me

Yesterday I finished Tim Wise’s revised version of White Like Me. The book started out a little slow for me as Wise used the first chapter to lay out the fundamentals of white privilege. He discussed the passage of inheritance, land, accumulated wealth, alumni privileges etc through white families and introduced us to his experiences with anti-racism. All of this information is incredibly interesting and useful (no mater how far along a white anti-racist activist is it is always helpful to review the basics) but what I wanted to read was in the very back of the book. Wise had two chapters dedicated to white resistance giving us examples of how to align our beliefs with work being done in communities of color and how to endure knowing almost certainly that no quantifiable success will ever be achieved. Wise made it very clear that white anti-racists will face consistent failure not only in combating racism but also in truly understanding what we must do to dismantle white supremacy. Our failures, however, and our occasional inability to act correctly should not deter us. Wise reminds white anti-racists in the words of Desmond Tutu “You do not do the things you do because others will necessarily join you in the doing of them, nor because they will ultimately prove successful. You do the things you do because the things you are doing are right.” There is much more to the book than this but I am simply going to encourage reading the book as Wise is able to engage this topic with humor and honesty and years of experience.

The next book on my reading cue is Disrupting White Supremacy From Within, which I began reading on the subway this morning. I was beginning to worry, however, that I had been reading too many non-fiction works on identity, as I was not truly taking in the words I was reading. As I sat down at my desk this morning I began thinking of fictional works I could read to give my mind time to rest and recuperate. Just as I was thinking of this I heard on WNYC a discussion with Michael Eric Dyson on Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and the racial makeup of politics. Wow. What an intelligent fully-formed and remarkable discussion that at 10AM on a Friday shook me up and made me excited to get back to reading about identity.

Most of these books, news shows, and interviews address race as a blanket experience. Issues of sexuality, sex, disability, age, gender expression, and class are often side thoughts if they are explored at all. There is a reason for this, a reason that I can support as opening the eyes of white people is incredibly difficult when discussing race alone, but when we separate our identities theoretically it suggests we can separate our lived experiences as well. In view of all this I am posting a reminder about Zami Like Me: a Queer Womyn of Color CipHER. The link is a myspace page so you have to sign in to see the event.

ZAMI LIKE ME: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER

3 Film Screenings:
- black.womyn: conversations with lesbians of african descent by tiona.m.
- I Look Up to the Sky Now by Barbara M. Bickart and 11 young queer activists.
- Like a Boy, Like a Girl by Ash. S. Tai and Cleopatra N. LaMothe

Followed by 3 Small Ciphers and then 1 Larger Cipher led by Kaila A. Story, Audre Lorde Project Chair and Asst. Professor at Louisville, KY.

Art Exhibition by LGBTQTS Womyn and Allies!
Live Performances! Live art by the Agytators!

$5 to $10 suggested donation will be requested at the door.
All proceeds are going to the Audre Lorde Project and the Youth Enrichment Services (YES) at the LGBTQ Center. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY BECAUSE OF MONEY.


cripchick said...

a friend of mine wrote the book "The Cost of Privilege". i'm only in the beginning (like always) but definitely a very good book on white privilege.

Mik Danger said...

Thank you for the recommendation! There is a growing number of these books but it's hard to separate the ones that are useful from the ones that reiterate what you already know! Thanks, I'll add it to my reading list :)