A New York City public school sent out a graphic to parents encouraging them to become “white traitors” and “white abolitionists.”
According to Christopher Rufo, a writer at City Journal dedicated to covering “critical race theory,” the principal of East Side Community School in New York sent out a graphic detailing the eight types of “whiteness.” The graphic shows a scale of “white identities” ranging from good to bad. Good is considered being a “white abolitionist” and bad is considered being a “white supremacist.”
“There is a regime of whiteness, and there are action-oriented white identities,” the graphic reads. “People who identify with whiteness are one of these. It’s about time we build an ethnography of whiteness, since white people have been the ones writing about and governing others.”
A corresponding document details each of the eight white identities.
In the red zone of the graphic are white supremacist, white voyeurism, and white privilege. A white supremacist is someone who enjoys a “clearly marked white society that preserves, names, and values white superiority.” Under this definition, someone who opposes changing naval bases with Confederate soldier names would be considered a white supremacist.
Someone who identifies with “white voyeurism” is someone who seeks to control “the consumption and appropriation of non-whiteness,” by having a fascination with black culture. An example would be consuming rap music as a white person. According to the graphic, this is “consuming black culture without the burden of blackness.”
Someone who exhibits “white privilege” is someone whose sworn goal is to diversity, yet they benefit from the existing supremacy, even though they critique it.
In the yellow zone of the graphic are “white benefit” and “white confessional.” White benefit is described as someone sympathetic to black issues, but only privately. These people won’t speak or act in solidarity publicly because they “benefit” from whiteness. The graphic claims that people of color can have “white benefit” as well.
A person that exhibits “white confessional” is someone who seeks validation from people of color and will be held accountable by people of color. A white person who identifies as a “white confessional” is often seen on college campuses in the form of “white caucuses.” According to the Young America’s Foundation, Elon University’s School of Education is hosting a weekly “White Caucus” event where “white-identifying” students can “unpack race and systemic oppression.”
In the green zone of the graphic are “white critical,” “white traitor,” and “white abolitionist.” All of these “identities” play a role in destroying “whiteness.” Someone who is “white critical” takes time to expose the “white regime,” and refuses to be complicit in said regime. An individual who is “white critical” will also call out their fellow white man if they fail to live up to “white critical” status.
A “white traitor” is someone who actively refuses to be complicit in the system. These people call out systemic racism with the direct intention to “subvert white authority and tell the truth at whatever cost.” The graphic claims we “need them to dismantle institutions.”
The golden standard of being white is being a “white abolitionist.” This is someone who changes institutions, works to dismantle whiteness, and will not allow whiteness to “reassert itself” in society.
The author of the graphic, Barnor Hesse, is an associate professor at Northwestern University. His research interests include “black political thought, blackness and effect, and race and governmentality,” among others.
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