Occupy White Supremacy


This is the latest comic piece from my new series, Snarky Fanon. I created this the day after I returned from my first class at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA (EBMC). The class was called “Resilience and Well-Being for People of Color.” It is a three week long class.

Scars that Normative Whiteness and Heterosexism Produce: Black Lesbian Experience and Rural Geographies of New England

So excited! My new book is ready for pre-order.  The novel focuses on 18 year old Savannah Sales, an African American closeted lesbian who is growing up in rural white New England. Through her character and the relationships she has with others, I explore: internalized racism, normatie whiteness, internalized homophobia, racialized-sexualized violence, connections that food/consumption has to ‘liberation’, and the search for self-love. Her best friend is vegan and encourages Savannah to rethink her sense of justice by pointing out Savannah’s carnicentric and pro-corporate-capitalist consumption habits. This novel is based on my personal experiences growing up in New England and my award winning Dartmouth College thesis research (1998) that focused on black feminism, queer theory, and rural geographies.http://www.amazon.com/SCARS-Breeze-Harper/dp/0985476958/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351228806&sr=1-1&keywords=%22breeze+harper%22 .

Black Coffee Press publishers took the project and I have a ‘real’ cover design for it and real editors…. it’s even going to be available on Kindle. Go me! The artwork was specially designed by the brilliant Sarah Dorsey whose art encapsulates pushing the boundaries when it comes to ‘mainstream’ ideas about gender and sexuality. Her art reminds me of  a fusion of bell hooks, Octavia Butler, and Donna Haraway on a canvas.

This novel good for all ages past 18, but in particular, 18-23 year olds. Could be great reading material for college courses focused on sexuality, rural geographies, queer theory, women and gender studies, and Black Studies. It is rare that I find novels exploring the ‘black experience’ that is not in an urban setting and not heteronormative. When I have read about the ‘black experience’ within a Northeast USA context, it always takes place in a city. Scars explores this in rural and white environment.

If you would like to pre-order this book, you can click on the image below or above. Kindle is not yet ready for pre-order, but it should be shortly.

In Reponse to Occupy White Supremacy

Great post, completely agree with your concerns.  I think we see this reflected in two other ways in the #OWS New York movement that I particularly want to draw attention to.  1) The pepper spraying and police brutality at Davis has drawn much more media attention and critique than similar (although NOT identical) police brutality at CUNY, in an environment that is about half students of color.  This is not an accident.  2) In the occupy movement itself, especially in New York (or at least that’s all I have experience with at this moment), there have been numerous anti-police brutality complaints and rallies, but they have all sprung from police brutality directed at these (predominantly white) protesters.  Where are the protests for (and thus the movement’s recognition of) the ongoing threat of the police against communities and people of color on a day to day basis? Where are the protests against the HISTORIES of police brutality, histories that have shown a marked targeting of people of color, again, and again, and again. 

I’ve demanded from day 1 that OWS truly fight the anti-racism fight as well as the anti-classism fight, because otherwise class dynamics will be reinstilled or reinstated in structurally racist ways, and this will further entrench white supremacy.  I find it interesting/upsetting that when I issue this call, OWSers (with whom, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been allied and supporting and marching and getting fucked up with from almost the beginning) ask me for specific demands related to anti-racism.  “How, they say, can we take this apart? I don’t even see it.” I find this particularly disheartening when compared to the clear reasons for refusing to issue specific demands along the lines of class struggles.  There is a reason why ows hasn’t issued demands, a strong one that is related to the depth to which these concerns are rooted in our day to day lives; this is also true about race.

OCCUPY WHITE SUPREMACY: What UC Davis Pepper Spraying Tells me about the racialized politics of sentimentality

Occupy Wall Street, Occupy White Supremacy

So, let’s talk about another OWS….

Occupy white supremacy… and the machinery of whiteness…and structural racism…

When are we going to start talking about why the mainstream media is so ‘horrified’ and concerned, when certain people are ‘victims’ of police violence over others? 

So, you say that “We are the 99%” is a particular socioeconimc class who have, thus far , possessed only 1% of the wealth and resources…

But what about those of the 99% who are getting represented in the media who have been victims of police violence? Why is it that it takes police violence against seemingly ‘peaceful’ and ‘non-threatening’ white students at a predominantly white university campus for the mainstream to suddenly ‘wake up’ to the police and state sanctioned violence that us brown, black, red, and/or ‘Muslim’ folk have been trying to get mainstream America to give a sh*t about for decades? I think what happened at UC Davis (which is my school by the way), needs to be part of a larger conversation about how the machinery of whiteness (as phrased by Steve Martinot a critical race scholar) still plays out. 

Why are so many in the media giving so much attention to, and are horrified that, this particular group of “innocent” and “peaceful” protestors were pepper-sprayed? 

Can we please have a conversation about how white bodies/white campuses/white middle class spaces are almost always constructed more as “innocent” and “non-threatening” than non-white racialized people who are collectively seen as ‘threatening’, even if they are peaceful ? 

I am not diminishing what has happened at my school, but I think there needs to be this conversation, in general, and talk about the racialized politics of sentimentality, and whose suffering is worth more to the media than others. UC Davis and the town of Davis has had its share of racially profiling black and brown people and it seems like no one has really given a care, or that much of a care to address how traumatizing it is to come to university, only to be read as a ‘threat’ and ‘other’ by police, simply because you AREN’T WHITE.

Why does it take pepper spraying ‘unthreatening’, ‘peaceful’ and mostly white/light (because not all who look white or/are lighter are necessarily identifying as ‘white’) people for the USA (well, mainstream) to realize that the police can and do use ‘violence’ against human beings who aren’t physically threatening or violent? 

Once again, I’m not diminishing what has happened at my school, but I am bringing up questions that aren’t just in my head, but are shared by a plethora of my black, brown, and/or Muslim friends and family; most of which who have been racially profiled and/or recipients of police brutality when they have done absolutely nothing wrong… but when we tell most of our white colleagues, friends, acquaintances, they can’t believe that the police would do something like that, unless we had done something “wrong ” or “threatening.” 

I don’t think we can really begin to talk about Occupy Wall Street as only a socio-economic class ‘war’ until we hear the mainstream media also becoming horrified by how the machinery of whiteness operates.

If people want the chancellor to step down, this is not going to resolve the larger problem. 

There are plenty of people in high administration and/or faculty positions at universities who have used the “taken for granted narrative” that “white” bodies are “innocent” and “non-threatening” while darker bodies are the opposite. They have felt “threatened” and use police and/or some component of the criminal justice system to assault this “dark” threat, even though this racialized person has done nothing wrong. Most recently, a black male student at University of California was trying to get into a building for a job interview, couldn’t get in because it was locked, and knocked on another door to have access to the building. A white administration woman working there thought he was a ‘criminal’ and told him to go away numerous times or she’d call the police. She called the police. Well, so much for him trying to be judged by the content of his character, and not, what Frantz Fanon calls, “historico-racial schema” that his skin color conveys to most white women he will encounter in his life… Let’s be straight up and say that she would not have done that if he had been a conventionally beautiful young white female college student. This is not disconnected to what happened the other night at Davis (pepper spray) but part of a grand and intricate narrative of police violence, how criminal justice system is used within the machinery of whiteness, and how a plethora of white people may intellectually know it is WRONG to be racist, but nonetheless respond to “dark” people in a somatic and dysconsciously racist way; yet, simultaneously, would not have such a deeply “threatened” and somatic response to someone who looks like Paris Hilton.