'White Nonsense Roundup' is a tool created by two Washington state women to unburden people of color from social media 'race-splaining.'
Layla Tromble & Terri Kempton 'White Nonsense Roundup.'
Racial strife has exploded in America once again. Two Washington state women believe 'White Nonsense Roundup' could play a part in educating and healing.
I titled my Sunday DailyKOS front page article with the provocative headline "Black Lives Matter needs white bodies" for a very particular reason. I figured using the ambiguous term would get more eyeballs to a story that needed more visibility.
The feedback from the article was much more than I expected, good, bad, and indifferent. One particular email piqued my interest. The email suggested that I get in touch with Terri Kempton and Layla Tromble in Washington state. These two women launched the Facebook page 'White Nonsense Roundup' hoping to be a part of the solution.
'White Nonsense Roundup' concept is as follows.
White Nonsense Roundup (WNR) was created by white people, for white people, to address our inherently racist society. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color. We are a resource for anti-racist images, links, videos, artwork, essays, and voices. These can be used by anyone for a DIY white nonsense roundup, or by the WNR team to support people of color upon their request.
They explain how their concept works as follows.
If you are a Person of Color (POC), you have enough on your plate! It’s not your job to educate white people about privilege, racism, and what’s really going on in the world. If a white person is filling your social media with white nonsense – anything from overt racism to well-intentioned problematic statements – tag us and a white person will come roundup our own. We welcome your involvement, resource suggestions, and will take your feedback seriously. We are also happy to boost the signal of voices of color.
Let’s walk through an example: some dude decides to respond to your posts with #AllLivesMatter for the 900th time. On Facebook, tag the page “White Nonsense Roundup” and connect us to the chat where this is happening. We will share essays, graphics, research, news articles, and personal examples to take apart their arguments. We are also happy to give praise for those folks taking action and trying to do the right thing, so you’re not stuck handing out cookies. You can also find us on Twitter @nowhitenonsense, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to supporting you and helping dismantle systemic racism!
Their code of conduct is short, complete, and readable.
We are here to be allies and have difficult conversations with white people about systemic racism. This means we may be invited to personal pages, often in the middle of heated argument and discussion. Our primary job is to share facts, figures, essays, and articles about the existence of systemic racism and the injustice people of color experience on the daily. We also will be focusing on boosting the signal of voices of color, including their experiences, needs, and insight - in their own words.
This work includes explaining basic concepts that a white person doesn’t understand or hasn’t heard before. This includes calling out your racist aunt or a coworker’s problematic #AllLivesMatter posts. This includes posting a Black Lives Matter essay by an activist from the movement. This includes supporting and cheering on white people who have stood up for marginalized communities. It also includes contributing to the pool of anti-racist materials, and sharing these materials throughout social media.
It does NOT include calling people names. It does NOT include personal insults. It does NOT include trolling individuals and harassing them long after the argument is over. It does NOT include giving yourself a high-five for doing this work. IT MOST DEFINITELY DOES NOT INCLUDE WHITE-SPLAINING.
Let’s explore that last one: we are here to support communities of color, and are responsive to their needs and feedback. We never explain racial issues to a non-white person who is living the reality of racism every day. If you are invited in to a conversation, you must respect their space. If they ask you to cool off or back off entirely, leave the conversation immediately. If you are called out for saying something problematic, you must own up to it, apologize directly, and follow their direction for further steps (including leaving the conversation after apologizing).
Failing to follow these clear guidelines will result in being asked to leave White Nonsense Roundup.
We are white people trying to do our part in fighting widespread racism; it is highly probable that we will mess up. Many of these conversations will be uncomfortable and outside our normal comfort zone. That’s where real change takes place! Let’s do our best to be responsive, apologize as needed, learn from our mistakes, and keep going.
'White Nonsense Roundup' is now recruiting volunteers. If you would like to make a difference in our body politic, consider joining up with these two pioneers.
Also published on Medium.