A Black Queer Man’s Syllabus to Whiteness

Samantha Sophia for Unsplash

We, as humans all over the globe, are indoctrinated into a variety of beliefs since birth. The overwhelming system of belief that we often never question is that of white supremacy. We do not often question how whiteness came to be, nor how it functions in our daily lives. People of color — Black people and Indigenous people in particular — need to constantly examine how deeply the social construct of race is used to further war, genocide, and an unfair application of manmade “laws.”

Much like we are indoctrinated in religious beliefs that we mistakenly use to forgive folks like Dylan Roof, White Supremacy is like a Bible for many of us, we just don’t realize we have been studying it our whole lives.

I do not claim to be an expert on race, ethnicity, nationality, or white supremacy. But as a Black queer man who has lived 27 years of life, studied my world, listened to the people around me, and read as much as I could — I am an expert of my own experience. Below is a collection of pieces I have written in order to help liberate myself, and in an ideal world: help liberate all of us. I am because we are, and I hope I can help in some small way. Writing is survival, and if nothing else, I hope that this encourages readers to at least record their own narratives.

White Women’s Work

“Well-meaning-white-women are all around us. They’re often more interested in avoiding the label “racist” than in challenging their racist friends.”

My expectations for white people (and by proxy, white women) are very very low, so I don’t expect them to be accountable for their actions, their racism, or their obliviousness.

The Reality of Whiteness & White Supremacy

Whiteness is a revisionist project that white people subscribe to, allowing current and past settler colonialism, genocide, and chattel slavery to be written off as necessary “mistakes.”

White people need to get serious and recognize that while whiteness is ever-expanding, whiteness will not always protect them.

Marginalized people aren’t looking for a fight, we are merely looking for shelter.

It is just difficult to imagine that in a world full of so many humans, we cannot rely on any of them, save for those we know. Sometimes.

Whiteness and Dating

Being gay meant feeling like I had no one left to talk to, so I turned to media and porn for examples because there were no public models of Black queer love.

But by speaking out about our precious Black lives, people get…offended, upset, and hostile. People get downright nasty. We assert our lives and many fellow North Americans assert their malicious hate.

Whiteness in Education

We are constantly healing from intergenerational trauma while enduring new traumas in our fight for a more equitable system.

These white admin and students have historically held the power to make decisions that affect millions of people, not just students.

Whiteness & Modern Day Lynchings

There’s a reason you don’t see Black folks as the primary suspects committing domestic terrorism: Black people have too many people relying on us and too much to lose to do the shit that white domestic terrorists do.

The violence of whiteness isn’t just the blatant violence we see through outright KKK members, but the silencing of dissent. The double standards. The gaslighting.

i can ignore the news, i can dodge the videos, but i can’t stop the fear.

The best bet is for us to keep doing us, but I can tell you this much: sweet and docile negroes we ain’t.

You actually don’t need any reason — let alone a credible reason — to lynch a nigger in the United States of America.

You know that phrase, ‘knowledge is power?’ Knowledge is also pain. The more I learn, the angrier and more powerless I feel sometimes. How do I effect change

My issue, though, stemmed from the fact that her domestic worker still did not have ‘a place at the table.’ She would never and has never eaten dinner with them, despite the fact that she is ‘a part of the family.’

Solutions: Moving Past Whiteness

White supremacy is our abuser, and white folk are most often the ones embodying it and benefiting from it through their whiteness.

If we must participate in this white supremacist capitalist world — and often, we must — then we need to find ways to do what we can, where we can.

I don’t practice intentional listening and I want to improve. I catch myself waiting for someone to finish what they’re saying so that I can pop in with my own funny or tragic story.

I purposely center Blackness in my home, life, and work.

Resisting Whiteness

When we coddle white people, their feelings, and their interests, we put ours on the backseat.When we ignore our own needs to further the needs of the white folks who never really saw us as human, we are only doing harm to ourselves

Black joy is not a luxury. Black joy is a necessity. Black joy is Black liberation.

We must organize, and we must organize every day. We must strategize and we must strategize everyday. We must document our stories and we must document our stories everyday.

It’s hard, but keep waking up.

Self Preservation

Whether the behavior in question is ableist, homophobic, xenophobic, trans antagonistic, racist, classist, cissexist, misogynistic, or more, if we do not prioritize which societal ills we tackle and when it is appropriate for our health to do so, we cannot survive.

I have literally had knots in my stomach and elevated blood pressure from debating this life-or-death shit, so I’m not here for semantic arguments or for you to practice your debate skills on me.

Witnessing, experiencing, and avoiding caudacity is a daily experience. Whether I try to avoid it or not, I often end up debating with a white person about once a week.

There was never a point in appealing to those that continually brought us harm as Black folks. It is a form of self-sabotage.

And yet we still use it because it has not affected us personally, the utility overrides the toxicity, or we’re unaware of the fuckshit of Facebook and their complicity in white supremacy. Facebook is a powerful tool, but it’s one I am choosing not to wield anymore.

Personal Growth

I’m not even sure where to begin, except to say that coming to consciousness — the state of being awakened and therefore “woke” to the world outside of yourself and your immediate physical, political, and ideological surroundings — is a painful one.

I was ashy. To. My. Core. I grew up with a military background, in primarily white or mixed (but not heavily Black) areas and as pro-Black as my mother was, I was still ashy. It happens, y’all.

If we don’t fit in Black spaces, we don’t fit in queer spaces, and there sure aren’t enough Black and queer spaces, we do not have many options.

With the exception of a few, most of these pieces were written for free. If you learned something, you appreciate my craft, or if made you laugh, please click the heart below and consider tipping your writer at paypal / cash.me or contributing regularly on Patreon for as little as $1/month.

Anthony James Williams

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writer/editor, organizer, & researcher | Like my writing? Please consider supporting at http://patreon.com/anthoknees | anthokneesplease@gmail.com