Fuck centrism

If you say you love this country, then you must understand that America has always been like this — it was founded on white supremacy [1], and it will continue slouching toward its violent white supremacist ends unless we use all of our power to destroy it.

If you say you love this country, then use your love to imagine a wholly different world — one where we work together to dismantle not only white supremacy, but also the white supremacist imperialist capitalist ableist cisheteropatriarchy. [2]

Not sure what these words mean? Not sure if they are actual, real problems? Google them. Read this. Before you draw false equivalences, propagate strawman arguments, and swallow the myths of American exceptionalism, do your homework. All of the research has already been conducted, all the literature has already been written, and all the conversations have already been had. [3] Go read them, and inform yourself. Before we learn to imagine the new, we must unlearn the old. [4]

Not comfortable with these words because they are too “extreme”? Oppose Trump, yet prefer a more “centrist, moderate” approach? Then be honest with yourself about what you are willing to stand against, and what you are willing to tolerate.

Look. Centrism protects the status quo. Centrism is an accomplice to oppression. Centrism sticks its head in the sand and pretends that oppressors and oppressed wield the same power. Centrism equates destruction of property with destruction of human life. Centrism sends one police unit to protect KKK/Nazi “protesters” and another to open fire on Black/Brown/Indigenous protesters. Centrism mourns the death of a single white woman more than the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown people.[5] Centrism says, “Be patient. You haven’t suffered enough yet.”

Fuck centrism. [6]

If you say you love this country, then understand that “justice is what love looks like in public.” [7] If you want to learn more about what justice looks like, start here (literally click anywhere).

We are now at a precipice. One day, when you are old and grey, will you look back upon your life knowing that you did not speak up when it mattered — because it was easier to stay silent, because centrism was more comfortable, more convenient?

Or will you be at peace knowing that you helped write new laws, save lives, and build a new social order — that you helped alter the course of your country forever? [8]

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[1] See, e.g., Indigenous genocide, Indigenous land theft, slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, prison exception to 13th amendment, Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment, U.S. covert/overt interference in other democratic regimes. This is obviously a non-exhaustive list. Also, by “America,” I mean “the United States of America” because America is the name of 2 continents.

[2] See bell hooks, Understanding Patriarchy. Note: there are many other -isms I have omitted.

[3] Scott Woods, “A Conversation On Race Is A Horrible Goal” (Nov 11, 2015), (“A conversation is a horrible goal. I’m not interested in having your version of a race conversation. . . . I want your race activism. . . . I don’t want to have any more conversations as goals. All of the necessary conversations have been happening. We published the conversations. We recorded the conversations on video. We turned the conversations into poems and memes and songs and TV shows. We gave the conversations away for free. We put the conversations in all of your libraries​. .​ . . We codified the conversations and made them classes and presentations and conferences. . . . All you got to do is sit down and listen.”).​

​[4] Nancy Scheibner, “The Art of Making Possible” (“And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle / For all those myths and oddments / Which oddly we have acquired / And from which we would become unburdened / To create a newer world / To transform the future into the present.”).

[5] See, e.g., Hari Ziyad, “Heather Heyer and the white ‘allies’ who have ‘done more’ than us for our own liberation” (Aug 15, 2017).

[6] See Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (Apr 16, 1963) (“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'”).

[7] Cornel West, “Justice Is What Love Looks Like in Public.”

[8] Audre Lorde, “Your Silence Will Not Protect You” (“I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. . . . Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.”).