Recordings of Resisting Whiteness 2018 available now

We now have full audio recordings of all four talks available on YouTube. You can find them on our channel by clicking here or watching below:

We apologise for muffled audience questions, which were not formally recorded, and hope the answers provide enough context.

Panel 1: Structures and Change – Layla-Roxanne Hill, Jacob V Joyce, chaired by Shuwanna Aaron and words from Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Panel 2: Labour and Trauma – Dr Erica Mapule McInnis, Guilaine Kinouani, Amal Azzudin, chaired by Rianna Walcott

Panel 3: Being and Nationalism – Jackie Kay, Reeta Loi, Suki Sangha, chaired by Ketaki Zodgekar

Final talk: Strategy and Struggle – Dr Ima Jackson and Diva Mukherji

This was a one-day conference of talks and workshops centred on discussions of anti-racist action that has taken and is taking place in the UK, as well as ideas for what we can all do to challenge the structures that reinforce the domination of whiteness.

Based in Edinburgh, Resisting whiteness is a collective of QTIPOC activists with the common goal of discussing and facilitating anti-racist action.



Safer Space Policy #ResistingwhitenessConf

To be read by all attendees before the conference

    • Don’t assume our identity. Resisting whiteness is a collective of queer and trans people of colour. Do not assume anyone’s pronouns or gender, and respect how they choose to define themselves. This applies for our conference speakers and audience members.
    • Tone policing. Racial oppression is exhausting, insidious and inescapable. It is part of our everyday lives. Sometimes talking about issues of race gets emotional and heated; do not tell a person of colour to “calm down” or accuse them of getting overly emotional. We have a right to be mad.
    • It is not our job to educate you. Resisting whiteness works to facilitate conversations and learning opportunities, and we welcome questions, but we are not required to answer all or any of your questions (particularly those that can be Googled). Learning is a two-way street, please take up your side of the bargain.
    • Boundaries. Not everyone will want to engage in social interaction, physical contact or sustained eye contact. Be mindful that not everyone is neurotypical, and your comfortable boundaries of interaction may not hold true for others.
    • Privilege. Take a moment to consider which privileges help you move through the world (race, sexuality, gender, class, neurotypicality, ability, language, etc.) before engaging in discussions.
    • Volunteers. Please be respectful to our volunteers and committee members, and remember that, as people of colour themselves, they may also be processing difficult content throughout the discussions of the day.
    • Safe Spaces. We will have two rooms available for anyone who needs to remove themselves from the conference because they’re feeling overwhelmed/overstimulated or uncomfortable, or because they just need some time to calm down and relax in a quiet environment. The Braid room is a safe space for only people of colour, and the Cheviot room is available for anyone who needs it. Please be mindful in these spaces that anyone else using it may not want to talk. These rooms will be used for the workshops between 1.45 and 2.30 pm.
    • Violence. Violence will not be tolerated. This includes physical violence, violent language (racist, sexist, transphobic or ableist slurs, misgendering, dismissal of experiences and pain).
    • Audience questions. This conference is designed to give people of colour a platform to talk about their experiences and expertise, in the context of anti-racist organising and resistance of oppression. We will therefore not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As, not because we don’t think white people have anything to offer to the discussion, but because we want to amplify the voices of people of colour. If you are a white person with a question, please share it with a member of the committee or our speakers after the panel discussion.


Resisting The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Resisting Whiteness have been watching and witnessing the accounts of racism experienced by performers at and visitors to the Edinburgh Fringe festival, from microaggressions to racial profiling.

Recently, Layton Williams – a Black actor and performer – was kicked out of Assembly George Square Gardens for “looking suspicious” and bearing resemblance to someone who had jumped the fence two weeks ago, when Williams was not in Edinburgh. Not only was he removed from the venue unjustly, but he was also treated abhorrently by the staff at Assembly Halls, with one white woman giving him the middle finger, and another member of staff – disappointingly a black security guard – threatening Williams if he posted the content on social media.

Layton Williams’ experience is not unusual. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is controlled by gatekeepers who continue to irresponsibly exert their power and privilege over others. To all the performers of colour who have been denied access to bars behind their white friends, who were let in without passes, or into their own venues despite their faces being on the posters. To all the visitors of colour who have gone out for a fun night only to be ‘Othered’ by  intoxicated people with grabby hands and violent mouths. To all the black and brown residents of Edinburgh who contend with this city’s unacknowledged and rarely-challenged history of white supremacy. We see you.

Black and Brown accounts of experiencing the Edinburgh Fringe such as Layton Williams’ reminds us of what we’ve always known: They like our music, acting and dancing, but they do not like us. They want to be entertained by our bodies, but they do not want to see us as people when we come off the stage.

Edinburgh is a racist city. Edinburgh Fringe is a racist mess. Edinburgh Fringe is nowhere near accessible if, time after time, it allows racism to infiltrate its system with the help of its silent audience. Just by adding some colour to your programme when convenient does not make your festival less racist. This is the point when we should learn about accountability and when we have had enough.

Resisting Whiteness has had enough and stands with Layton Williams, and with those who have experienced the racism of Edinburgh Fringe. We are here for you.

What does it mean to be “resisting whiteness”?

Above all, we consider it is important to categorically acknowledge the power structures creating and maintaining oppression and inequalities. “Whiteness” is not just a reference to pigment; in a society where race and ethnicity heavily dictate a person’s choices, successes, interactions and well-being, “whiteness” means power. Regardless of intent, white people benefit from white supremacy at the expense and oppression of people of colour. Resisting whiteness is therefore not just a matter of calling out the individual for their racist actions or words, but a movement to reject the very structures that have been put in place to maintain whiteness as superior while simultaneously oppressing black and brown people. This struggle cannot happen without an appreciation of history and an analysis of colonial legacies and mentalities. To move forward, we have to understand our past and its impacts upon our present lived experiences.

For us, resisting whiteness is about combating the norms and value of whiteness that come at the expense of people of colour in all communities and at different intersections of existence. This has to include resisting the ways in which whiteness subjugates the LGBTQIA+ community, women, trans people, gender non-conforming people, and disabled people of colour, for whom whiteness is a multi-layered threat. People of colour are not monolithic and under this acronym exists not only different races, ethnicities and cultures, but also experiences that are related to white supremacy, such as indigeneity and nativism, colourism and misogynoir. We remember these distinctions whenever the term “people of colour” is used.

We chose ‘Resisting Whiteness’ to unite us because we are not negotiating with the power structure, we are not finding a way to live and thrive alongside it. We refuse to accept a historic “world order” that we did not choose.



Make sure to check out our speaker bios for info on the who’s who for the panels!