District Attorney O’Malley: Which Side Are You On?

Dear District Attorney Nancy O’Malley,

This Friday we will mark the one-year anniversary of the Black Friday 14 non-violent direct action at the West Oakland BART station — an action inspired by a growing national movement to expose the painful legacy of police brutality and demand an end to police violence in our country. Since Black Friday 2014, we have collectively mourned the loss of at least 290 black lives in officer-involved shootings in the United States — at least seven in Alameda County alone. This tragic fact demonstrates that this movement is not over and that courageous actions like those of the Black Friday 14 are critical to ending this epidemic of violence against black people.

We write this letter to you inspired by the Black Friday 14 and dismayed that you have not yet dropped the charges against them. We write mourning the deaths of Guadalupe Manzo-Ochoa, Zaki Shinwary, Yuvette Henderson, Demouria Hogg, Jonathan Patrick Deming Jr, Antonio Clements, Nathaniel Wilks, Troy Francis, Yonas Alehegne, Dante Osborn, and the most recent unnamed victim — all of whom lost their lives to Alameda County police forces since Black Friday 2014. We write outraged by the loss of at least 290 black lives in the United States since Black Friday 2014:

Lincoln Price, 24, December 2, 2014
Rumain Brisbon, 34, December 2, 2014
William Mark Jones, 50, December 2, 2014
Isaac Lee Ricks, 68, December 3, 2014 (California)
Jerry Nowlin, 39, December 8, 2014
Christopher Bernard Doss, 41, December 8, 2014
Calvin Peters, 39, December 9, 2014
Travis Faison, 24, December 10, 2014
Thurell Jowers, 22, December 12, 2014
Michael D Sulton, 23, December 14, 2014
Dennis Grigsby, 35, December 15, 2014
Brandon Tate-Brown, 26, December 15, 2014
Xavier McDonald, 16, December 15, 2014
Terrell Beasley, 28, December 19, 2014
Antonio Martin, 18, December 24, 2014
Gregory Marcus Grey, 33, December 24, 2014
Carlton Wayne Smith, 20, December 26, 2014
Terrence Gilbert, 25, December 26, 2014
Quentin Smith, 23, December 26, 2014
David Andre Scott, 28, December 28, 2014
Jerame C.… Read more

Liberate Halloween Action Kit!

They’re ba-ack! (shudder)

With Halloween quickly approaching, and costume shops like Spirit Halloween opening their doors, many of us are cringing at the thought of another Halloween full of racism, sexism, heterosexism and the full range of offensive apparel we annually witness.

In response, we offer up a toolkit to those who wish to be a part of resisting the dominant paradigms that plague this season. Let’s make this be a season to reclaim and expand our expressive imaginations from being steered into narrow, tired, offensive and uncreative marketing channels.

Not sure what exactly is so offensive about certain Halloween costumes? 

The Issue of Objectifying Other Cultures


“There are many good reasons not to wear a costume that relies on racist stereotypes or caricatures. Costumes like these communicate negative ideas and assumptions about people of that race or ethnicity, and as this year’s posters say, that stigma stays with people of color long after you take the costume off. Wearing racist costumes also creates a hostile environment for people of that race, who may not appreciate seeing their identity, culture or community mocked and distorted while they’re trying to relax and have a good time. Costumes like these demonstrate disrespect and ignorance on behalf of the costume-wearer.… Read more

White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them

This illuminating breakdown of the deep patterns of what has been named “white women’s tears” is cross-posted from the Good Men Project, by Robin DiAngelo, anti-racism and diversity trainer, educator and author.

There has been much critique lately of “white tears.” This term refers to all of the ways, both literally and metaphorically, that white people cry about how hard racism is on us. In my work, I consistently encounter these tears in their various forms, and many writers have provided excellent critiques. Here, I want to address one specific manifestation of white tears: those shed by white women in cross-racial settings.

As the meeting started, I told my fellow white participants that if they felt moved to tears, to please leave the room. I would go with them for support, but asked that they not cry in the mixed group.

Thefollowing example illustrates both people of color’s frustration with those tears and white women’s sense of entitlement to freely shed them. When another police shooting of an unarmed black man occurred, my workplace called for an informal lunch gathering of people who wanted to connect and find support. Just before the gathering, a woman of color pulled me aside and told me that she wanted to attend but she was “in no mood for white women’s tears today.” I assured her that I would handle it.

Read more

White Women, Patriarchy and White Superiority

This piece is by longtime educator and social justice practitioner Tilman Smith, published on Dr. Shakti Butler’s World Trust site (a phenomenal resource for racial justice educators). Her articulation of the intersection of whiteness and femaleness deeply resonates with White Noise in this ongoing work to critically examine and courageously shake up the ways in which, as Smith so clearly expresses,

It is in those moments when I feel most challenged around my oppressed identity as a woman that I call on my areas of internalized superiority. This is an invitation to all white women to explore when and how we are doing this in the hopes of causing a little less harm to both others and ourselves.

Her recent article is cross-posted below, with World Trust’s “infinity loop” of analysis applied to it, with questions for reflection and discussion:

system_of_inequityWithin the World Trust frame of the System of Inequity, the relational elements among the internal and external components of Racialization are named. In this piece written by World Trust collaborator, Tilman Smith, she shares a personal story of the weight and invisibility of her own internalized white supremacy. 

World Trust is committed to envisioning and creating a world that flourishes.Read more

The Charleston Imperative: Why Feminism & Antiracism Must Be Linked

White Noise has signed this powerful statement currently circulating, which speaks to our deepest commitments and reasons for existence as a collective.

Click Here to sign the statement 

Posted from The African American Policy Forum (AAPF):

The Charleston Imperative: Why Feminism & Antiracism Must Be Linked

As we grieve for the nine African Americans who were murdered in their house of worship on June 17 2015, those of us who answer the call of feminism and antiracism must confront anew how the evils of racism and patriarchy continue to endanger all Black bodies, regardless of gender.


As antiracists, we know that the struggle against racial terror is older than the Republic itself. In particular we remember the work of Ida B Wells who risked everything to debunk the lies of lynchers over 100 years ago. Today, we see that fierce determination in Bree Newsome who scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state Capitol and brought down the Confederate flag. As feminists, we recognize how racism has been — and is still — gendered. Patriarchy continues to be foundational to racial terrorism in the US, both in specious claims that justify the torture of Black men in defense of white womanhood, and in its brutal treatment of Black women and girls.

Read more

Moving into Radical Self-Worth to Better Support our Movements — part 1 in a series

our liberation is intersectionalIn our struggles to take down white supremacy and patriarchy, we must each heal the ways we have internalized these systems of oppression. Otherwise, we end up recreating them — even in our liberation movements. This healing means different things to different people. We write this piece in particular for those of us who identify at what we often call the intersection of race privilege and gender(ed) oppression. The two primary authors of this piece identify as white, queer women (though those labels never seem sufficient), but we recognize that people invested in this conversation might identify elsewhere on the spectrums of race and gender. We write this in hopes of starting a conversation that we think has been missing. We write it because we need to acknowledge that not having this conversation is causing real harm to our mental health, to our resilience, and to our ability to sustain hope. We write it specifically for ourselves and for those who will benefit from it. We write it not to re-center whiteness, but to create more space for #BlackLivesMatter and other movements for racial justice by dismantling some of our barriers to showing up more fully in the movement.

What we want to talk about is shame.… Read more

I Don’t Want to Be an Excuse for Racist Violence Anymore: White women’s passive role in racist attacks like Charleston

This insightful article is cross-posted from New Republic:


We cannot talk about the violence that Dylann Roof perpetrated at Emanuel AME last Wednesday night without talking about whiteness, and specifically, about white womanhood and its role in racist violence. We have to talk about those things, because Roof himself did. Per a witness account, we know that he said: “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” “Our” women, by whom he meant white women.

There is a centuries-old notion that white men must defend, with lethal violence at times, the sexual purity of white women from allegedly predatory black men. And, as we saw yet again after this shooting, it is not merely a relic of America’s hideous racial past. American racism is always gendered; racism and sexism are mutually dependent, and cannot be unstitched.

As Jessie Daniels writes at Racism Review, white womanhood has been and remains essential to the logic of American white supremacy. In anti-black racism, and particularly in the south, the defense of white womanhood was, in the recent past, used as a justification for the most horrific violence against black people, and particularly black men.

Read more

On Rachel Dolezal, White Privilege, and White Shame

Rachel Dolezal Isn’t the Most Important Race Story in Spokane.

But she does seem to be an unraveling puzzle that continues to elicit curiosity, outrage, and comment. From Mia McKenzie’s discussion of Blackness and Blackface, to Kai M Green’s willingness to give Rachel a little more benefit of the doubt in discussing the similarities of race and gender constructs, to Lisa Marie Rollins’ explanation of what transracial actually means, plenty has been said already. It is a story with endless complexity.

While I find all of this interesting, what interests me specifically about this situation is the white shame of Rachel Dolezal’s identification as Black. In her interview with Melissa Harris-Perry earlier this week, Rachel Dolezal clearly self-identified as a Black woman. Her interview revealed a belief that all one needs in order to identify as Black is to “feel” and “live” the “Black experience,” which of course implies that she believes herself to be able to determine and author what is the “Black experience.”

Darnell L Moore, who believes that Rachel’s identification is indeed “cultural theft,” states that there is “a stark difference between racial indeterminacy, or the idea that race is not fixed and individuals may have multiple racial identities, and racial misrepresentation.”, What he points out, more importantly, is that:

The fiasco is a glaring example of white privilege in action.… Read more

A Letter to White People Using the Term “Two Spirit”

Thank you for taking the time to read this. This letter was written by white allies in support of certain Native members of our community who have already put a lot of time and energy into trying to explain why it’s a problem when people without Native/First Nations heritage use the term “Two Spirit” to describe themselves.

We know that you care deeply about this issue because you are still reading this letter. This means you have not yet closed your mind to what we are saying. Let us begin by acknowledging that we live in a world in which we collectively face so many adversities – wars, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and the list goes on. One of the hardest challenges we face is understanding our privileges in the face of our oppressions.

In our culture, trans and gender non-conforming people have very few options with regards to how to identify. Many white people who use the term “Two Spirit” are doing so out of a desire to resist the dominant binary and find a way to describe a feeling deeper than words. There is nothing wrong with this impulse. The impulse to find and create language is an act of resistance and resilience.… Read more

Love for All Mamas

For this Mother’s Day, we wanted to share these inspiring images from the Strong Families campaign at Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

“The image of mothers that is widely celebrated excludes mamas based on their sexual orientation, race, class, immigration status, and more. In particular, mamas who are imprisoned, and mamas whose children are incarcerated do not get to see the beauty and power of their relationships represented in most Mother’s Day cards.”



I Support the #BaltimoreUprising

Cross-posted with permission from Catalyst Project:

“This is not just Baltimore’s problem, like it wasn’t just Ferguson. This is racism in America.”

Dear Friend,

I’m from a majority Black and highly segregated city near Baltimore. Wilmington, Delaware had the longest domestic military occupation since the Civil War when the National Guard occupied the city for 9 months in 1968 after Dr. King was assassinated– the longest occupation until New Orleans post-Katrina, that is.

Old money white wealth stays across town from row homes in impoverished Black neighborhoods cut through with the interstate. Wilmington’s not at the level of destitution that Baltimore has been dealing with, but it’s so easy for me to imagine that what is happening right now is in my hometown. Just as all these same problems of systemic violence, and people resisting it, is happening here in the Bay Area, and in my other home of New Orleans.

Photo above by Devin Allen, a 26-year-old resident of West Baltimore

Photo above by Devin Allen, a 26-year-old resident of West Baltimore

This is not just Baltimore’s problem, like it wasn’t just Ferguson. This is racism in America.

Seeing videos of young Black people in Baltimore calling out the media and the cops; hearing about how school kids were basically set up and dropped into a police trap Monday and have been getting teargassed and tazered all week; learning more specifics of the depths of police brutality in Baltimore… we have no choice but to move forward, towards deep change.… Read more

Southerners on New Ground: On the role of white people in the movement at this time

We are excited by the recent post from SONG (Southerners on New Ground):




It opens with a powerful quote:

“White people are taught that racism is a personal attribute, an attitude, maybe a set of habits. Anti-racist whites invest too much energy worrying about getting it right; about not slipping up and revealing their racial socialization; about saying the right things and knowing when to say nothing. It’s not about that. It’s about putting your shoulder to the wheel of history; about undermining the structural supports of a system of control that grinds us under, that keeps us divided even against ourselves and that extracts wealth, power and life from our communities like an oil company sucks it from the earth. The names of the euro-descended anti-racist warriors we remember – John Brown, Anne Braden, Myles Horton – are not those of people who did it right. They are of people who never gave up. They kept their eyes on the prize – not on their anti-racism grade point average. This will also be the measure of your work.Read more

On the Horizon: What to Expect from WNC in 2015

The first weekend in December, 2014, the White Noise Collective core gathered for our second annual retreat.  The weekend was full of growth, reflection, community-building, struggle, and evolution.  We want to extend our gratitude to those you to those of you who offered us direct feedback through our 2014 year end survey, and let you all know what is on the horizon for the White Noise Collective in 2015.

WNC Retreat Reflection

In 2015, the White Noise Collective will honor the legacy of two powerful core members who will be moving on from direct leadership roles and into advisory and support positions with the core.  Levana and Kelley are critical parts of the growth and blossoming of the White Noise Collective, and we truly stand on their shoulders as we continue this work.  We’ve also welcomed our newest core member, Julia, into the fold.WNC Retreat_Parking Lot

In direct response to movement mobilizing and calls for direct action and engagement by movement leaders of color in the Black Lives Matter movement, 2015 will see a shift toward mobilizing, organizing, and direct action for the White Noise Collective.   As members in the White Noise Collective deepen our movement work and as the collective seeks to generate more of our own movement mobilizing, we will continue to hold space for deep, critical, and engaged reflection on the roles of white privilege and gender(ed) oppression in our movement work.… Read more

Showing up and Honoring the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

The #BlackLivesMatter movement is expanding and deepening across the nation, and spreading around the globe.  This sign, hashtag and rallying cry are filling streets, newsfeeds, imaginations and institutions.  And white-identified folks eager to engage, enraged by injustice, and inspired by the movement are showing up in large numbers and in different ways. As white allies act, and reflect on action, it is key to understand what is being asked for by Black leadership, what is useful, powerful, and what is detrimental. Many brilliant Black organizers have commented on the ways white folks have co-opted or redirected movement energy from #BlackLivesMatter, or distracted from the movement by generating overwhelming media coverage on the “violence” of property destruction.

Today, as millions across the country prepare for a weekend of marches and mobilizations nationwide, we wanted to cross-post this piece by Alicia Garza in The Feminist Wire, to learn from and listen to one of the founders of this movement.

In preparation for our own Millions March in the San Francisco Bay Area, the WNC has created this #BlackLivesMatter mini-zine as a resource to hand out and intervene with other white folks in emergent street mobilizations whose messages and actions are disconnected from, distract from, or whitewash the movement. … Read more

To say that I’m “too political” is to say that I love too much.

A galvanizing Black leadership has emerged from Ferguson in the weeks and months since the murder of Mike Brown and non-indictment of Darren Wilson which has stoked the fires of resistance across the nation-state, joining with histories of rebellion on this land and across the globe. This wave of uprising against injustice has shown a powerful strength in its messaging, its demands and its ability to continue to dominate the airwaves with important information about racismpolice brutality and white rage against Black progress – an essential movement if we are to have real conversations or effect meaningful change.

i cant breathe

(Note: We would prefer the above graphic to read “I won’t see,” not “I can’t see”)

There is a clarity with which Black organizers and writers have continued to put out calls to white people to both own their privilege and step up in this movement, from demands to stop whitewashing #BlackLivesMatter into #AllLivesMatter to specific guidance on how to behave in the streets (ie – white people: don’t say “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and don’t do a staged “Die In” because the police aren’t shooting and killing white people) to requests that white people say no to business as usual and start having difficult conversations to change hearts and minds of other white people . Read more