From Organizer Adrian Murillo, On SURJ and White Nationalism:
It is tempting to think that now that Trump is no longer president, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and get back to “normal.” This would be a mistake. It is better to understand white nationalism as the political/social equivalent of COVID, a pandemic of hate and violence, a fevered lust for power and domination. It will recede and resurge in waves, mutating in form and tactics. Trumpism is the most recent resurgence of a sickness that has plagued us for generations.
It is also important to recognize that despite the fact there are many conservative female politicians rising up the political ladder who embrace Trumpism (South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, to name just two) and some who posture as moderates yet refuse to take a stand against the corrosive effects of Trumpsim on democracy (our own Cathy McMorris-Rogers), white nationalism is, psychologically and culturally, a patriarchal movement in spirit.
White supremacy is a system that privileges whiteness on the individual and structural/institutional level both. White nationalism is a social movement using bigotry to build power with the intention of discrediting, undermining and flat out stopping the social justice movement. They have no qualms about creating chaos, intimidating public institutions (libraries, schools, public health agencies, etc.) They see themselves as the defenders of white supremacy which they cloak under the banner of the flag. They work within institutions and on the street.
During the first hundred days of Biden’s administration there has been a wildfire of mass shootings with unprecedented frequency plus an escalation of police shooting innocent people. The perpetrators are men and boys acting out their rage with guns. This is the post-Trump manifestation of white nationalism, righteously patriarchal, which has no qualms about accepting men of color so long as they advance its agenda. Men like the senator from South Carolina who had the audacity to say, in response to Biden’s address to Congress, that America is not a racist country.
There is no quick fix vaccine to stop this pandemic. The only way to reach “herd immunity” is through engagement—education, dialogue, action, reflection—to build broad consensus and political will to reject bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia where you live. This is why one of our committees is the local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice). This is the place for white people concerned about racism, who want to learn and do more about it, a place where they can meet other white people already committed to antiracism work.
The SURJ committee meets twice a month, the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 5:30pm-7pm. One meeting is focused on ideas and strategies of meaningful action and the other is a group book discussion. The new book chosen for May is Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a personally powerful and intimate exploration America’s racist history and the damaging way the heavy weight of it falls on black lives. The first discussion of this book will be on May 13. The first 21 pages will be discussed. Even if you have yet to read it by the meeting time, you are still welcome to join. To get the zoom link and to be put on the mailing list, click here.
The only real thing we have to fear is when good people do nothing, stay silent. The heart of the work PJALS does is for your empowerment, to tune your voice to the growing chorus for justice ringing out across the nation.