|image is from here|
The reason it's not necessary is because white folks are asking questions there what white folks ask far too often in the wrong spaces: What should I do to be a good ally to people of color? Usually this assumes people of color exist to educate whites about how to be anti-racist/anti-sexist. And usually in contexts where people of color are not there to teach whites anything. (I mean, like not in a classroom with bell hooks as the professor teaching a course to people of color and whites on how to support one another across various political struggles.)
Too often, in PoC spaces or in conversations led by people of color about something awful that happened to someone, white comments become a white-centered distraction from the main issues.
But related to the post above, I wonder to what extent the Brecht Center is a white-majority or white-run space, an academic space. I wonder how that contributed to the lack of response from the audience to Crunktastic being intimidated, threatened, and assaulted at a progressive political panel discussion, by a well-known Black male activist, Kazembe Balagun. My experience of white and class-privileged academic spaces is that there is an expectation that audiences remain passive witnesses to what's going on (or down) onstage. That to do otherwise is to break the unwritten cultural rules of (non)engagement. I wonder if that's part of this story.
But there are always plenty of explanations for why folks don't intervene on violence against women, including racist misogyny (rarely identified as such). It shows up in male-bonding rituals. It shows up in the refusal of the public to see the harassment, disrespect, disregard, harassment, violation, and abuse of women of color as violence. Other dynamics are described later on in this post.
At issue is our collective response-ability to co-create anti-colonial, anti-patriarchal spaces in which to organise and, well, just live with dignity and relative safety. I've seen response-ability shut down by anti-activist liberal white and male self-reflection. "What can I do that won't be seen as racist or sexist?" is a question in service to white male supremacy. Because "how privileged folks are perceived" already presumes the issue is the image of the oppressors, not the harm done to the oppressed.
I'm making space here, at a white person's blog, for some of that discussion. A white woman at CFC left a comment, which I'm excerpting just below. The reason I'm copying and pasting it here is because she acknowledges this is a conversation that maybe shouldn't happen there and then, at CFC. And I agree. Other whites on that comments page appear to me to be making this about liberal white guilt and the matter of whether we should do anything, rather than about what we must do to intervene when we witness violence occurring right before us in social spaces.
Should whites respond differently to violence happening when the aggressor is a Black man and the person harmed is a Black woman? Are the responsibilities of a white ally to a Black woman facing male supremacist hostility from a Black man (or from a white man, or a man of color who isn't Black) different than the responsibilities of an ally to a white woman facing male supremacist hostility--from a white or Black man, or another man of color?
Beyond, "Don't do something racist", I don't think so.
But it is, unfortunately, the case that we whites can be confused about what it is to be racist.
One way racism shows up is whites thinking that intervening when a Black woman is being abused by a Black man is in and of itself racist. When, in fact, not intervening is the act of racism, and sexism.
This was going to be my reply at CFC but I've decided to put it here instead and link to this post over there.
Black, Brown, white, female, trans, male: if I'm a person in the room, and I see someone being assaulted, I intervene, if I care and if I can. I do what I can do, given my own limitations, strengths, privileges, and experiences of trauma and resistance.