On Jan 21, 2019, Oakland held its annual Martin Luther King Day rally. In the crowd, I saw countless white people projecting their support.
But it was all an act.
White supremacy doesn’t just reinvent itself in the darkest, most extreme corners of fascists waving swastikas. It’s not just that we now have various factions of the “alt-right” that wear business suits instead of confederate uniforms. It’s also that white liberals and radicals undergo transformations of identity and talking points in an aim to escape economic accountability and perpetuate the uneven distribution of wealth in this country along racial lines.
White people who believe in racial justice must commit to a movement for immediate reparations - for the hundreds of years of torture and theft that Black people and their ancestors have experienced. Commit to abolishing the legalized slavery in prisons. Prioritize housing. Prioritize schools. Prioritize employment. Prioritize wrap-around healthcare.
Whiteness exists as a cultural void - where capitalism, brutality, a lack of empathy, and greed dictate the human experience. This impacts every layer of our society. People of color are constantly having their labor, wealth, resources, culture, physical spaces, and human dignity co-opted and stolen by white people - without consequences. That is state-sanctioned white supremacy. And that's what's happening with this cycle of gentrification in Oakland.