Here are four essays/articles I have read or re-read recently which I hope will spark revelations – and revolution. Onward.
Reading for revelations
White Danger: Double-Mindedness, Violence, and the Confusion of Whiteness by Autumn Brown for AORTA. The critical, uncomfortable insights Autumn offers in this essay have great transformational potential. Quote: “Double-mindedness in white people is, at once, a core function of, and a dangerous side effect of, living within the coevolving systems of capitalism and white supremacy – what Cedric Robinson rightly articulated as ‘racial capitalism,’ understanding that racialization is endemic to capitalism, not distinct from it. The function of double-mindedness has roots as old as the system itself. How else would one remain functional inside a socio-economic system that confers benefits to white people through violence against, and at the extractive expense of, Black and indigenous people and people of color? A white person must become effective at dissociating. The heart, the brain, the bodymind itself, becomes adept at running offline, quieting the systems that would register ongoing harm, violence, and injustice as a disturbance.”
Rethinking Smart Growth. Reclaiming Community Design’s Radical Roots. by Chris Joyell for the Asheville Design Center. While this is article includes a lot of design center talk, the value of it to non-design center people is the ways it breaks down some the dynamics of gentrification from a community perspective, as illuminated by PODER Emma. It provides a framework that other entities and fields can use when they consider entering a neighborhood. It gives me hope that by naming those dynamics, we can start to disrupt them in areas like Emma that still have not been fully gentrified. Quote: “…designers and planners must consider more than a community’s structures, roads and public spaces. We must also begin advocating for adequate protections, policies and tools to help stave off gentrification and instead build generational wealth within communities.”
Roots Deeper Than Whiteness by David Dean for White Awake. This is an piece I revisited recently, reminding me of the importance of ongoing inquiries about my roots. Quote: “This deeper knowledge of my ancestors past has helped me replace what was once a debilitating feeling of shame about the reality of racism with a clear understanding of how my well-being is directly linked to the freedom of people of color. I believe that recovering these stories of those who came before us can support us all as white Americans to find the emotional strength and political analysis necessary to rebuild lost multiracial alliances and to challenge both white supremacy and the economic system it serves.”
Black Home Ownership and the Promise of Reparations by Barbara Durr for the AVL Watchdog. A topic that has been written about many times before, that is still useful for us to return to until we take responsibility for this tragedy and do something significant to repair this harm. Quote: “For Asheville’s Black residents urban renewal also undercut the foundation of generational wealth and dashed a revered piece of the American Dream. Predominantly Black neighborhoods were razed to make way for proposed highways or real estate ventures, often to the benefit of white investors.”
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