There’s an organization based in Chicago called Life After Hate that exists to shepherd white supremacists out of hate groups. This is a good thing – obviously. The stories of people who have left this world are both terrifying and inspiring.
At a gathering of people interested in hearing about the 2022 National White Privilege Conference a couple weeks ago, someone asked about inviting former white supremacists to speak at the conference. Dr. Eddie Moore, the Founder of WPC, stated that he hadn’t considered this for a couple of reasons. He is trying to avoid potential drama for one thing. The Klan has shown up at previous conferences to protest. And he doesn’t want current or former klansmen to take the attention away from a conference that works to educate people about white privilege and white supremacy – especially in its more subtle forms.
It occurs to me – as well – that inviting “former white supremacists” to an event like this perpetuates the stereotype that white supremacists (or former members of such groups) look like the guy pictured above: racist tattoos, muscular, bearded.
Actually the most prevalent white supremacists in the United States look like the other person pictured. She seems like a nice lady. She might even be a church lady. And she has very little idea about how she perpetuates white supremacy in her church, her neighborhood, and her world, but she’s trying to do the work. Still, she doesn’t realize all the times she expects things to work out for her because they always have. She doesn’t pick up on the ways the world sees her as more trustworthy than a person who is similar to her except for skin color. She doesn’t realize the subtle ways she keeps white supremacy alive herself.
This is what white supremacy looks like. It looks like me and those who look like me. We have a lot of work to do.
Top image source. The bottom photo is a picture of this blog’s author.