Good people, it looks like the smoke rising from Minneapolis has inspired so many “allies” to ask: “what can we do to help.” And, as a matter of solidarity, folks have focused intently on defunding or reforming or lightly tapping the Minneapolis Police Department.
That is a fine goal if people are serious (hint: they aren’t).
Even if the over-policing problem in Minneapolis is meaningfully addressed, it won’t fix the racism problem in the Twin Cities because the structural oppression here involves so much more than one department.
In fact, we are home to one of the most finely tuned systems of “progressive” white supremacy in the country. The minds and bodies of nonwhite people are policed by public schools, the DFL political system, the nonprofit industry, and the business community. Taken together these systems offer people two choices: comply or die.
And, atop it all is the paternalism of philanthropy. The funders of Minneapolis are self-satisfied puppeteers who use money to control black minds and bodies, keeping everyone in their place by giving and taking away grants strategically and politically with the effect of creating a network of tokenized POC who are good so long as they say nothing that upsets the white power structure; and they shun black-balled activists who dared say the wrong thing (pro-black) to the wrong (white) person.
National funders play a part too. When they come to town they leave bags of money with the same few white people in white progressive organizations who then farm the money out to POC like crumbs from the Lord’s table so that they can convince their communities to do what they’re told.
I didn’t mention the unions. They’re part of this too. It’s convenient that they want to jump on the anti-police union bandwagon now (knowing that union has been racist AF for decades) but don’t let them fool you. They are masters of racial suppression. Along with white philanthropy and white nonprofit overseers and white police and the white political party that dominates the Twin Cities, the unions also raise up tokenized POC and work hard to prevent problematic negroes from gaining any power.
The bottom line is this: we’ve seen urgent and earnest appeals by the political and philanthropic class of Minneapolis only to be followed by business as usual. If any of them want to be true to their declared values of “equity” and social justice, then they will change the power relationships at every level.
White executive directors will stop sending POC letters asking how they can be better allies. Instead, they’ll resign their jobs and convince their boards to replace them with a person of color.
Big money foundations will stop sending press releases announcing their paltry sums they intend to invest in fixing the communities that they’ve broken. They will stop giving all their money to safe nonprofits and instead give money directly to activists – especially the ones that have been marginalized for speaking the truth too often – who are living on next to nothing but still fighting for the people.
That is, if all our “allies” are serious (hint: they aren’t).
Citizen Stewart’s blog was originally published on CitizenStewart.com