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:
Today as many people around the country are gathering and sharing food, many more are also talking about the origins and mythology of thanksgiving, a feel-good story of settler benevolence designed to obscure the real history of land theft and genocide. More than any other time, except perhaps during the 1970’s and the height of the American Indian Movement, people are talking about and showing up for Indigenous struggles. Imagine we all did the work today so that future generations look back on this time as the moment when non-native people changed our understanding about our history and started to take Indigenous sovereignty seriously.
This time last year so many of us were in deep support of Standing Rock, a struggle that at its foundation was a movement for Indigenous Sovereignty. Indigenous sovereignty would mean that the U.S. government would honor its treaties and recognize the Lakota nation as a sovereign nation like France or Brazil.… Read more
We want to share the excellent resources compiled by friends at Catalyst Project and Bay Resistance, and add a few others for educators, organizers, artists, and all people who want to take action this weekend and beyond.
“We have re-entered a time period when white supremacist groups are not fringe or powerless, but connected to, and supported by, the White House. They must be delegitimized and confronted with every creative tactic in our toolbox. Everyone who is against racism has a place in this struggle, in the streets, supporting those who take to the streets, and in groups explicitly organizing for racial justice. We need leaders moving racial justice in workplaces, churches and schools. However you can find ways target the institutions and symbols that support white supremacy, do it.” – Rahula Janowski, Catalyst
Bay Area Rallies This Weekend:
White supremacist groups are turning their attention to the Bay Area this coming weekend.… Read more
Sneak peak with context and description by Dixie Pauline:
This Better Practices Guide is a collaborative effort between event producers, community organizers, and Indigenous leaders. It’s still in DRAFT form and only a portion of it is presented here so be sure to keep an eye out for the document in full released this December.
Gatherings * Festivals * Conferences * Action Camps * Ancestral Arts * Protests * Ceremony * Water & Land Protection/Defense * Climate & Environmental Justice * Antiracism * Human Rights * Sacred Sites * Permaculture
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are always in relationship with Indigenous peoples by living in and producing events on their ancestral homelands. Regardless if tribes have recognition status, or if particular sites fall under tribal jurisdiction or band council, the entirety of North America (Turtle Island) is made up of distinct and overlapping Indigenous territories. There are hundreds of tribes working to reaffirm their sovereignty and protect their cultural practices, traditional lands, waters, and natural resources.… Read more
As we discussed not too long ago in our January dialogue:
Here we are at the start of unpresidented 2017, after the largest inaugural protest in US history, joined by marches around the world. Community organizing and outreach is happening in every state as people prepare for the worst, brace for scary realities on the horizon and work to keep them at bay. This is also a time when many are humbly realizing how much we have to learn from communities around the world about what it means to live resisting fascism.
These are a few readings that we used to fuel our January dialogue:
And included below is an a very thorough reading list compiled by our friend, Lindley Mease, as part of a reading group with the goals of “collectively 1) learning the what, where, when of fascism to ground the current context in global and historical trends, 2) distilling guidelines and values we wish to uphold for ourselves under our new fascist government, and 3) cultivating community with non-U.S.… 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
Trump called himself the ‘law and order candidate’. He’s vocally supported “stop & frisk” policies that target Black and brown communities. His ‘first 100 days’ plan includes expanding federal funding for local police, federal law enforcement, and federal prosecutors. And he’s promised to have the Attorney General investigate Black Lives Matter protestors for criminal charges.
Policing under any president is violent and racist, and Trump has little to no control over local police policies. But we also expect that he’ll use whatever power he has to criminalize dissent, expand policing in communities of color, and detain and deport migrant communities. It’s an important time for us to be building resistance to policing, and one way to do that is to build our willingness and skills to copwatch.
Below is my story of how these things show up in everyday lives and what we can do to fight back at multiple levels.… 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:
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.
This mobilization of water protectors at Standing Rock is one of the most significant battles of our time. It is the largest convening of First Nations in a hundred years, with over 200 tribes pledged in support. From the Amazon to Scandinavia, global solidarity is flooding in.
It is crucial that people recognize that Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against colonial violence. #NoDAPL is a front of struggle in a long-erased war against Native peoples — a war that has been active since first contact, and waged without interruption.
..This moment is, first and foremost, about Native liberation, self determination and Native survival. That needs to be centered and celebrated. – Kelly Hayes
The Red Warrior Camp is calling on all people from around the world to join and take action for #NoDAPL.… Read more
At a time when Black Lives Matter has become a resounding movement pressing for the safety, humanity and freedom of Black people, the corporate costume industry is supporting mass consumption of Black face and racialized prisoner outfits.
As indigenous people from across this land join together at Standing Rock to resist the continued desecration and destruction of homelands, culture and even their physical existence, this colonialist culture perpetuates indigenous erasure with images of “Indian headdresses” and “Warrior Princesses.”
After a year of watching rape cases on college campuses hit national headlines and heroic womyn speak truth to power in the face of continued slut shaming and objectification, the amount of “sexy” costumes on shelves remains dizzying.… Read more
In this time of mourning, rage and national reckoning with the legacies and realities of racist police violence – resources for connection, deeper engagement and different forms of action are flooding through the widening cracks of this broken system. Here is a partial compilation, from quick click actions to concrete alternatives to political education to visionary policy solutions. Please circulate and share with others.
A brief history reviewing the foundations of racism and classism built into policing the US, specifically focusing on the evolution of slave patrols and night watches. Part of the White Noise Collective Series – Exploring the Role of the “White Woman” within Systems of Violence and White Supremacy.
SURJ condemns loss of life, no matter who is dead. As an organization committed to organizing white people to dismantle a criminal justice system brutalizing communities of color across the nation, SURJ condemns violence against the police and mourns the injuries and deaths of police officers killed in Dallas.
A system that brutalizes people of color communities and destroys the lives even of those who are enforcing it, is not a sustainable system, a moral system, nor a system that can serve the kind of world in which ALL people are valued and cherished.
Across this country, Black communities live in terror that someone among them, a father, a sister, a child, could be next in the rising death toll of their lives.… Read more
Yesterday morning I checked the news groggy-eyed and learned of the massacre in Orlando at ‘Latin Night’ at the Pulse gay club. The grief is overwhelming. I find myself unexpectedly in and out of tears.
Queer space is sacred. We owe the fact that there is space for us to go seek community, joy, pleasure, desire, family and justice to generations of freedom fighters. To the ACT UP warriors and the dyke caretakers who fought for queer safety and survival while most of the world did not care as a generation died of AIDS. To people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and other unsung transgender women of color who fought the police at Stonewall and continued fighting for the right to live with dignity, power and safety. To James Baldwin and Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.… Read more
The replacement of real indigenous stories with Christian-influenced, western moral tales is colonialism, no matter how you dress it up in feathers and moccasins. It silences the real voices of native peoples by presenting listeners and readers with something safe and familiar. And because of the wider access non-natives have to sources of media, these kinds of fake stories are literally drowning us out. – âpihtawikosisân
There is a story that we keep getting told. A lot. It is about two wolves. In different spaces- as a student I was recounted this by a teacher, now as a teacher, I have heard it several times from students. In yoga classes, in spiritual, psychological self-help and healing curricula, occasionally by a friend or acquaintance. Perhaps you have heard it too. It goes like this:
(big meaningful inhalation)
Once upon a time, there was a Cherokee grandfather (or Navajo grandfather), who told his grandson, “Grandson, there are two wolves inside of me.… Read more