Heading to Netroots Nation

Soon I’ll be headed to Netroots Nation in Atlanta, where I’ll be giving a training workshop called “Never Woke Enough: Talking to White People about White Supremacy.” Thanks so much to the Hunterdon County (NJ) Anti-Racism Coalition for letting me test-run it and get feedback last month. I am sharing my Powerpoint slides here: Netroots Powerpoint Gaffney 2017. I created my title “Never Woke Enough” in response to hearing self-identified white progressives say they are “already woke” and already know everything they should know about racism. I don’t believe that white people can ever be done learning about white supremacy; it is a never-ending process. I also don’t think that the white political left, the Democratic Party, and/or white self-identified liberals and progressives have yet learned that racial justice needs to be a primary part of a political platform, not something secondary. I continue to hear that we should just focus on economic justice, and that will address racial justice. No. That approach just does not work, and it shuts out people of color whose leadership needs to be front and center. The conservative backlash against civil rights has been using divide and conquer strategies for fifty years through demonizing myths and stereotypes (War on Drugs, Welfare Queen, Voter Fraud, etc.), through rhetoric that criminalizes people of color (“illegal,” “terrorist,” etc.), and even through supposedly positive stereotypes like the “model minority” stereotype of Asian Americans. We need to put racial justice at the forefront of our political agenda if we ever want to dismantle white supremacy. I address some of these concepts in my upcoming book Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox (from Routledge).

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