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!