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We don’t need ‘White Love’ in the fight for Black Liberation

We dont need White Love in the fight for Black Liberation news white silence

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

The campus of the University of Virginia served center stage for one of the biggest public demonstrations of white nationalist supremacy since President Donald Trump took office this January. Armed with Swastikas, hate speech, and the ironic “tiki torch,” white men descended upon the city of Charlottesville to “take back their land.” This just minutes away from the home of former president Thomas Jefferson, the forefather of white supremacy.

As counter-protests erupted and violence ensued, the political machines that run the country released statements, many condemning white supremacy directly, but not all. But in the aftermath of the Charlottesville hate, much focus has been on the reactions of presumably non-racist white Americans.

–White Supremacists march on the campus of University of Virginia–

There is an unfortunate faction of this country that thinks “love” from white people is the answer, an approach that many of us know has no place in Black liberation.

The events that took place this past weekend in Charlottesville are the direct reflection of what America has always been. As white men chanted “blood and soil” throughout the streets, the history of Black ancestors was once again ignored as the actual people who built this very country. In response to this, several high-profile names, including celebrities and politicians, tweeted using the “love conquers hate” approach, which was met with immediate pushback from various social media platforms.

Lady Gaga was questioned about her use of this approach, and in turn doubled down in her beliefs by putting out a poll for whether we could solve the world problems by “being kind” vs. “being violent.”

In the words of Tina Turner: What’s love got to do with it?

Love as the vehicle to see one’s humanity is a dangerous lens to operate from, especially when it comes at the expense of the oppressed. The lens of “love” out of hate, negates the very real issues of power, privilege, and patriarchy which has forever reigned supreme in this country. White supremacists are not looking to love thy neighbor of a different color. Many of them are much more concerned with the notion of shared power, or loss of being the dominant race.

To be clear, a white person can love every person of a different race and still want to be the most dominant person in the room at all times. Love doesn’t diminish one’s capacity to want to be at the top of the race pyramid.

Historically, white people’s love for Black people has still kept white people in the place of power, while providing us some of the resources they had and yet never threatening the loss of that power. With that said, this love narrative isn’t only for the supremacist, as it is also problematic for the ally who operate from this same lens and yet benefits economically and socially from the same supremacist structure.

The ally, who may use love as their motive to defend is inevitably denying their place in white supremacy, and in turn centering themselves rather than those who are being oppressed. For the ally, this centrist, leftist notion can only serve the appeasement of white people who use this as the vehicle to create faux allyship. This love becomes even more problematic when Blacks are placed in a position that requires us to only gain this allyship if said love is reciprocated. Anytime we challenge the ally who often tends to center themselves, or be unwilling to lead to the charge against their own, love seems to be placed aside and drowned by white tears of the privileged victim.

Black people are not looking to break bread with the oppressor, nor find a loving place in our hearts for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or even the ally. African Americans are fighting for the liberation of our people who have forever been oppressed in a country that has never made reparations for the original sin of stealing Black bodies for enslavement and servitude. We should not be obligated to seek our liberation by finding a common bond in love with the enemy or the ally.

A good ally should know that this isn’t about love, but about humanity and the right that every human has for equity and equality despite race, religion, or creed. For the supremacist, love can only be used to create another power dynamic of shared power, with control remaining with the majority. Black Americans are not required to love those in a place of power, nor obligated to integrate into power and equity which should have been afforded to us for being “American citizens.”

It is morally bankrupt for one to only see the need for an oppressed race to have equity, power, and equality through a lens of love. Saying that love is the answer is misguided because it negates the true cause of much angst among white supremacists, and removes the critical lens necessary for the nuanced conversation around race relations which has forever been tied to our initial arrival by ship and chains.

So, to those who think that they must love us to see us as free, you are part of the problem, and in turn dehumanizing a race for which this country is forever indebted. My liberation shouldn’t come at the expense of whether we can be friends. It should come freely and without qualification.

George M. Johnson is the Managing Editor of BroadwayBlack.com.  He has written for Ebony, TheGrio, TeenVogue, NBC News and several other major publications. Follow him on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

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