An Exploration of White Supremacy Culture
By Natalie Gaviria
When I think about white supremacy culture I am reminded of the analogy that white supremacy is like rain or snow — it falls on all of us, just at different levels. The website whitesupremacyculture.info is helping me in my understanding of this concept and I’ve been sitting with its contents for a while.
This website, created by Tema Okun and colleagues, offers an accessible way of understanding white supremacy culture. It breaks this concept down into bite-size characteristics that we all might embody at one point or another. Throughout whitesupremacyculture.info, author Tema Okun talks about the “pseudo-scientific concept of race” in the United States “to create whiteness and a hierarchy of racialized value in order to
- disconnect and divide white people from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC);
- disconnect and divide Black, Indigenous and People of Color from each other;
- disconnect and divide white people from other white people;
- disconnect and divide each and all of us from the earth, the sun, the wind, the water, the stars, the animals that roam(ed) the earth;
- disconnect and divide each of us from ourselves and from source.”
These are different ways white supremacy rains down on us all.
I am always in the process of trying to grasp a broader understanding of anti-racism/anti-bias work. I know that a big part of doing this work is personal reflection and learning to sit with uncomfortable information. If you’d like to join me in my learning and unlearning feel free to use this website as a contemplative exercise.
Pick a page of the site — maybe a page outlining one of these characteristics. Start reading and ask yourself …
- What feelings arise when I read this? Where do I notice them in my body?
- When and where might I embody this/these traits?
- What feels most uncomfortable as I read this and where am I defensive?
- How might these characteristics strip me and my community of our right to belonging?
- How can I move toward acceptance of all parts of me?
Practice sitting with uncomfortable emotions without judgment. The more we allow our discomfort, the more resilience we build in discussing difficult topics.
If you decide to do this exercise email [email protected] and tell us about your experience. We’d love to hear from you.