white body supremacy and me…
White supremacy lives in my body. It lives in the way I treat my body. In the way I discipline, chastise, abuse, negate, belittle, and train my body. White body supremacy—the notion that there is a supreme, perfect, ideal, white body. The notion that my goal is to be that body. (Menakem).
How do I begin to challenge this notion? How do I being to change the practices, habits, and deep thinking that intertwine me with white supremacy culture?
“I often feel I am trapped inside someone else’s imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.” -adrienne maree brown
Over the last two months I participated in ‘LISTEN IN’ White Working Group, an embodiment-based anti-racist learning group facilitated by Practice Progress (http://www.practiceprogress.org/). I am grateful for the practices, ideas and resources that were shared through this group. I am grateful for the welcome that was paired with deeply committed accountability among the members of the group. The work we started together has woven its way into my personal research and is already effecting the ways I interact with my community. Below are some continued questions, reflections, and processing.
Some current research questions:
-How does whiteness show up in my body?
-How does whiteness show up in my embodied habitus?
-How can personal embodied work to interrupt/question whiteness pair with communal anti-racism work?
I am tarrying with whiteness as a problem (Yancy). I am engaging with iterative practice alone and with others to slow down, notice, interrupt, and redirect my embodied habitus—specifically as it relates to my race, white body supremacy, and anti-racism (Menakem). The embodied noticings operate within a system of scales, bubbling up within my relationship with self, identity, personal relationships, navigations through different communities, and a fluid, ever-changing understanding of reality. This is a non-linear process that is branching, emerging within every aspect of my life — identity, relationship, community, spirituality, sexuality, leisure, study, art-making (brown).
Especially if you are white, will you join me?
My methods for this work include but are not limited to the following:
-Gathering conceptual frameworks (reading LOTS from theorists, researchers, psychologists, artists, philosophers, healers, and thinkers who are disrupting the status-quo and imagining ways to change/move/grow in new directions)
-Embodiment practice & group discussions with white people who are committed to anti-racism and holding each other accountable
-Participating in diverse anti-racism spaces—listening more than I speak in these spaces
-Solo embodiment practice, meditation, journaling, slowing down, questioning and carefully considering how to alter my ways of operating in order to notice and interrupt white supremacy within myself
-Practicing being wrong/making mistakes
-Practicing taking action, even when I am perpetually feeling ‘unprepared’
-Practicing making my queerness and bisexuality visible
-Inviting other white people to join me in these processes
brown, adrienne maree. 2017. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. Chico: AK Press.
Menakem, Resmaa. 2017. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Las Vegas: Central Recovery Press.
Yancy, George. 2012. Look, A White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.