This blog post is written in response to comments and discussion generated at the January 2018 White Noise Collective dialogue, which examined the themes of “Race, Gender and #MeToo”. I am grateful to the participants for their frank, vulnerable, and honest conversation. See our website for the guiding questions and suggested readings for the dialogue. The following two articles were additional excellent ruminations for this piece: Consenting to Normal by Hyejin Shin and The Female Price of Male Pleasure by Lili Loofbourow.
As someone with very limited social media exposure, I’ve been largely distant from the daily flood of #MeToo herstories, and the painful and overwhelming structures of violence they expose. It wasn’t until recently when a cis-man I know was publicly outed for repeated sexual violence to women in our community that the movement began to feel personal. As I first learned the details of his violations I was surprised that what should have felt heartbreaking and enraging, instead felt awkwardly underwhelming — the details of repeated accounts of coercion, boundary violation, and harm in intimate contexts sounded quotidian and familiar. … Read more
Wow, another year has passed, and a new year lies ahead. For many of us, and those of you who participated in our offerings this year, it was an exceptionally challenging and painful year. However, as we came together to reflect on 2017 and vision for 2018 and beyond, we couldn’t help but feel proud about all we — as a small, all-volunteer collective — have accomplished this year:
Carrying on our steady tradition of using dialogue as political practice, we convened eleven dialogues this year. These spaces brought together our community to engage in critique and reflection with the goal of strengthening and radicalizing our work for racial and gender justice. Notes and resources for each of these dialogues (and all past dialogues) can be found on our website, a true treasure trove of collective intellectual and embodied struggle.
In 2017 we explored all of the following themes in dialogue:
This past year also saw the growth of a new facilitation relationship with SURJ, which greatly expanded demand for our workshops. … Read more
As part of our annual end-of-year tradition, the White Noise Collective core met in early December to reflect on 2016 — our accomplishments, failures, and growth as a collective — in order to compost old projects and germinate new ones for the year to come.
Chapters – White Noise Collective is National!
One of our greatest accomplishments in 2016 was the growth and flourishing of our national chapters in Rhode Island (facebook) and New York. In late fall we hosted our first ever national virtual gathering, and had an opportunity for a rich deep dive exploring some of our biggest collective questions — how we explore gender, gender identity and gender socialization in our work; and how we build accountable relationships of solidarity and reciprocity. We delighted in exploring these questions together, examining how they manifest in different local contexts; and made plans to maintain quarterly national virtual gatherings. … Read more
November is upon us, and this coming week will find millions of Americans gathering together with given and chosen family to celebrate the foundational myths of American settler colonialism and the ongoing erasure of indigenous peoples on this land.
This year, in the midst of one of the most powerful, visible, and spiritual resistance movements for indigenous sovereignty at Standing Rock, those of us who participate in some form of ritual at this time of year can take concrete steps to support indigenous sovereignty:
- Support the resistance at Standing Rock, and also think critically about How to Support Standing Rock and Confront What it Means to Live on Stolen Land.
- If you live in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, San Leandro, Alameda, Piedmont, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Pleasanton, Pinole, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, El Sobrante, Danville, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Benicia or Vallejo), pay the Shuumi Land Tax to support the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship.
… Read more
At the beginning of December the White Noise Collective core met to examine our experiences from 2015 and envision new intentions for the coming year. How quickly yet another year has passed, full of new growing edges, community building, core transitions, and ever-deepening practices. Reflecting on our intentions from our past retreat, it is powerful to witness how the past year was indeed full of manifestation of so much intention: direct action organizing, a new presence on twitter (that we are still co-evolving with), maintaining an action listserve, some beautifully juicy and complex community dialogues, a new dialogue space specifically for movement activists, and two newly developed workshops – one on the role of white women in upholding, maintaining, and subverting systems of violence and the other, that we offered twice this year on Difficult Conversations.
In 2016, we aspire to bring more creativity to our work with one another and in the collective. … Read more
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.… Read more
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.
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.
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. … Read more
Every year the White Noise Collective takes a moment to collect ourselves, gather feedback from our community, and reflect on our successes and opportunities to improve. The feedback we gather from our annual survey has led to substantial changes in the way the White Noise Collective interacts with our community, leading to growth such as our new dialogue policy and our experimentation with the Noisemakers. To see the results of last year’s feedback, check out this post from our archives.
The White Noise Collective 2014 Review is now open, and we invite feedback from anyone who has seen, heard of or engaged in our work, either in person through our dialogues and workshops, or virtually through our blog, website, or facebook page.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us! Stay tuned for our learning, growth, and reflections from the year, as well as aspirations for 2015!… Read more
This Halloween, the White Noise Collective conspired to take creative action to counteract the unquestioned, blatant, “it’s-just-a-joke-can’t-you-have-a-little-fun!?!” racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and cultural appropriation that parade as “costumes” in consumerist capitalist culture. Drawing on our Liberate Halloween Action Kit from last year, this year we came up with a design-your-own creative costume station, with the intention of setting up in front of a local Spirit Halloween store (one of the most obvious corporations perpetuating oppressive stereotypes through the mass sale of highly offensive costumes). We would invite people to our station, distribute literature about cultural appropriation and the harms of choosing an offensive or oppressive costume for Halloween, and provide an opportunity for people to tap into their own creativity and create their own alternative (free) costume!
The idea for this action emerged from our October Dialogue, which focused on “moving toward action” in the face of the anticipated “horrors of October” (“Columbus Day” and Halloween being the two most egregious examples). … Read more
In late January 2014, for the first time since our birth in 2009, the entire current White Noise Collective core met for a full weekend retreat in coastal Northern California. The blissful sunshine, gentle wind, and migrating whales inspired a weekend of tough questions, deep introspection, big dreams, new plans, and renewed commitments. We hope this post, which summarizes the growth we underwent at our retreat, serves to put our intentions to the world, makes transparent our commitments, and increases our accountability to those of you who provided valuable feedback on our 2014 survey. On the survey we sought general feedback, and also asked you all:
1. In your wildest dreams, what would you like the White Noise Collective to do in 2014?
2. More specifically, which of the following would you like us to do or provide in 2014?
- More Dialogues
- More Workshops
- More Resources
- More fb postings
- More Blogging
- Training and allyship with organizations
- Other (explain)
Our retreat began with a jam-packed agenda, and along with it a conscious commitment to maintain flexibility so that our ambitious agenda didn’t interfere with the opportunities to have deep, necessary, and potentially transformative conversations. … Read more
As Valentine’s Day approaches (a day that often inspires much activism from women), the White Noise Collective took an opportunity in our February dialogue to reflect on white feminism: What issues are white feminists largely drawn to, how are those issues expressed, in what way is white privilege showing up, and what patterns are helpful to explore?
What better place to start this inquiry than with One Billion Rising, founded by white feminist Vagina Monologues writer and founder of V-Day Eve Ensler? In 2013, One Billion Rising claimed to be the biggest mass rising in human history, and 2014 aims to exceed that record.
Numerous powerful analyses exist exposing the ways in which One Billion Rising overlooks the root causes of gendered violence, reinforces police-state and prison-state responses to gendered violence, and recreates colonial paternalism and the white female savior complex by giving a “voice to the voiceless” and centering a white women in the global movement against gendered violence.… Read more