Reminders for those of you claiming to #SupportBlackWomen and #BelieveBlackWomen: (1) “Let’s have honest dialogue” means “don’t offend white people,” (2) School officials and school decision makers are to blame for white supremacists being spokespersons for school districts and schools, (3) The social scientific meaning of “generalization” and why Dr. Dennis does not believe in “ally”
White people have screamed some version of “reverse racism” and “racism against white people” since the 1970s.
As a child, I watched daytime talk shows such as The Phil Donahue Show and The Geraldo Rivera Show. A few episodes include white people (mostly with white men as spokespersons) claiming to be racially silenced, racially harmed, and racially oppressed.
Because most of our spaces are white controlled in most of the world where white people are the power majority (which does not require population size majority), white people over the generations have spoken out in-person, in our personal lives and professional lives, and white people have used websites and social media to (often anonymously) stalk us and attempt to terrorize us.
That is how many white people respond when whiteness is not (falsely) declared colorblind (as sociologists term colorblind racism, colorblind racism during COVID-19) and white people are not (falsely) declared race neutral, race objective, and logically unemotional experts and spokesperson for everyone and everything.
When whiteness and white people are not in control and are not THE voice, white people are uncomfortable, offended, and outraged.
(I do not support apologetic whiteness nor do I believe in erasing white racial identity. Racial inequities and racial injustices do not reduce if white people apologize for being white or if people pretend (it is only pretending) to erase white racial categorization, white racial identity, and white racial experiences.)
To focus on reality and our contributions to challenging and reducing white dominance and racial inequities in our lifetime, we must address that many white people express discomfort, offense, and outrage when white people hear or read the words “white(s)” and “white people.”
White discomfort, offense, and outrage are strengthened when “white(s)” and “white people” lead to white people being challenged and held accountable for specific issues in their personal or professional lives and general issues in cultures and societies.
This does not vary by white people’s politeness, white people’s supposed sociopolitical views, white people’s voting patterns, and white people’s political party.
This also does not vary by white people’s supposed “Black friend” and/or “Black coworker.”
Black activists and Black scholars have spoken about this and written about this for centuries.
Some Black activists and Black scholars are emotionally attached to this centuries-old fact because many Black people truly want to be liked, even loved, and personally and professionally accepted by white people.
This is why Black people have spent centuries explaining racial, ethnic, and cultural identities, experiences, and oppressions to white people and Black people have invested generations in hosting racial justice community organizations, community events, trainings and workshops with white people and sometimes for white people.
Contrary to what many people believe because they did not wake up until 2016 and did not get out of the bed until Summer 2020, Black people have conducted racial justice trainings and taught racial justice courses with white people in attendance since the 1960s.
Long before DEI and other acronyms, catchwords, and catchphrases existed.
Therefore, I want people to comprehend that phrases such as “we invite you to have honest dialogue” is a phrase many of us have heard throughout our lives in professional settings and personal settings.
It is often presented as a committee, a meeting, a training, a workshop…any place that we are supposed to pretend there will be an opportunity for Indigenous people, Black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, and Latinx/Latina/Latino people — people who do not racially identify or racially operate as white or white-enough — to connect with each other…
…to speak about racial identity, racial discomfort, and racial disparities…
…and to speak about the historical and current fact that white people have stolen and abused powers in places of employment, local-national-international sociopolitics, police-court-penal systems, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and medical and health organizations and facilities.
Those of us who wasted time over the years pretending there is a such thing as a “safe space” eventually became honest that every space is created for white people even if the space is not created by white people or there are no white people in the space.
“Don’t offend white people” is implied in most spaces if there will be a white person present or if information will be shared with a white person.
This includes the expectation to not say or do anything that could overtly or covertly result in confusion, tears, discomfort or anger from white coworkers, white employers, white decision makers, white sponsors-white funders-white donors, white board of trustees, and white volunteers.
We are supposed to be censored even in spaces supposedly created and designed for OUR outspokenness, OUR safety, OUR protection, and OUR voices.
When people tell you “let’s be honest and straightforward so we can work towards changes” always assume there is “just don’t offend white people” embedded in the request.
Speaking of which….
Who decides what is “real” intellectualism and “real” knowledge that should be learned, taught, learned, taught…in families, communities, cultures, and schools across societies for generations?
Before I decided to leave full-time academia, I was the creator and coordinator of an academic program. I created courses, hired and evaluated faculty, and provided annual program evaluations as part of the accreditation process. I specialize in curriculum development and curriculum changes including helping libraries, selecting publishers, and selecting books and articles for K-12 and college-university academic programs and courses. Demographic and cultural identities of the creators and publishers of materials has been my focus since I began teaching in 2004.
For centuries, the majority of highly regarded and well-known books, journal articles, and publishers in much of the world are written, published, marketed, and led by people around the world who racially identify as white. The majority of K-12 and college and university teachers, test creators, accreditation agencies, and libraries in USA, Canada, and Europe racially identify as white.
Despite tens of thousands of years of histories, sciences, mathematics, arts and literatures around the world — and white people are a small percentage of people around the world — most K-12 and college-university school curriculum in much of the world are based on white people as the main creators, main developers, and main presenters.
Such that most people complete K-12 after only or mainly reading white created and white presented works.
Such that most people complete college degrees including terminal degrees after only or mainly reading white created and white presented works.
Such that most people with degrees in education and teaching degrees have only or mainly read and learned white created and white presented works.
White people’s versions of histories, sciences, mathematics, arts, and literatures.
This is what fills most city and county libraries and most school libraries.
This is what is taught and learned in most K-12 and most colleges and universities.
White people often respond to me, including anonymous emails and anonymous phone calls, with “1+1 = 2 does not vary by race.”
Well, it is unfortunate that white people, particularly white adults, consider that a silencing retort.
That furthers my point.
Schools are lacking in providing true information, true knowledge, and developing people beyond memorization and regurgitation.
Despite tens of thousands of years of knowledges around the world — including mathematics through shapes and colors as created and expressed by nations, ethnicities, and cultures around the world — most education systems and most schools are limited to centuries of European-white versions of everything.
Changing school curricula has been demanded for generations by Indigenous people and Black people. This includes speaking out in school board meetings, volunteering on school boards, becoming school administrators and school officials with the hope that Our representation means changes, and developing organizations to help schools change at every level of school districts and schools.
As an aggregate, white people across the nation and parts of the world are outraged by actual or perceived reduction of white dominance from libraries, from school accreditation requirements, from school curriculum and changing demographics, identities, and perspectives represented in school decision makers and school officials.
This perceived racial threat is based on white people perceiving the decline of white power and white dominance.
This is an intellectual-knowledge-education version of the common “there are not enough white babies…we are being outnumbered and taken over…we need government incentives to increase white reproduction” narrative used in white controlled societies when there are actual or perceived population shifts.
White people’s perceived racial threat is why white people who subscribe to white dominance and white terrorism have made themselves spokespersons for school districts and schools across the USA, Canada, and white controlled parts of the world.
White people have stalked me for years and in the past year have sent me text messages, emails, and voicemails — often using racial slurs, gender slurs, and sometimes threatening violence towards me — claiming to be on the school board or in another official role for particular school districts.
Anonymous white people have even sent me emails stating “don’t you remember me from that Professional Development you did for our school district” and putting the school district’s email address in their anonymous message.
The most recent email was sent this week from a fake email address that contained the school district’s name.
Which begs the question: How can school districts and schools pretend to be inclusive, equity, and safe places for Black people and Brown people if white supremacists and white stalkers are allowed to present themselves as the controllers and spokespersons of school districts and schools?
Why should children and adults — communities, students, staff, and teachers — feel safe and liberated to learn and understand materials (beyond memorization and regurgitation) if reducing the white dominance of materials generates outrage from white people and white people declare themselves the authority and decision makers of school districts and schools?
This is something that school district and school officials and decision makers need to internalize.
Beyond an official statement. Beyond a committee. Beyond a training. Beyond a workshop. Beyond an office. Beyond a Professional Development session.
This 100% reflects on politicians controlling schools and on school officials and school decision makers more concerned about keeping white people happy and white people in racial power…
…than in following through on generations of requests from Black communities and Brown communities.
…than in following through on generations of promises given to Black communities and Brown communities.
The new debates regarding an old and important theory initiated by Black people, Critical Race Theory, are a waste of time because these are surface-level bandages to wounds that most school officials, most school decision makers, and most school teachers are not interested in recognizing and healing.
No matter the social media hashtags, COVID-19 teaching inequities outrage, claims to want change, quoting Critical Race Theory, and a new book in a class — libraries, accreditation requirements, tests, and school curricula will remain white dominant because white supremacists (of every political party and every voting pattern) are the only voices that consistently matter.
We are supposed to be silent, smilers and censor our tone and words while we are sold meaningless promises, while white people control us, and while token Black people and token Brown people are used to represent certain school districts and certain schools.
This is a centuries-old attempt to distract and trick us into conforming to white people’s timing, white people’s permission, white people’s comfort, and white people’s version of knowledge and education.
I am a sociologist and criminologist.
As I explain everywhere that I exist: Generalization =/= Stereotype
Social science is based on observed trends and patterns, extending a generalization where applicable, and often distinguishing what can be considered generalization (or generality) from what can be considered exception or ungeneralizable.
There are tens of thousands of years of trillions of people — it is impossible to investigate most people and it is impossible to claim every person is unique in learned thoughts, learned behaviors, and the impact of social factors on every part of our identities and our experiences.
On June 9, 2021, I spoke with a white man about being a guest on the white man’s podcast.
The phone meeting began with a tone that warned me that the white man would say something quite typical.
It started with the white man announcing “I provide an inclusive space…I include everyone…I am a gay white man and I know about oppressions, however…I read your writings and watched your videos and you keep saying ‘white people.’ That is a generalization. Not all white people. I’m gay and I don’t generalize all heterosexuals.”
I am not psychic but I knew the white man began with “inclusive” and “I am a gay white man” as a preface to critique my approach to racial identities, racial inequities, and racial justice.
(Most white LGBTQIA+ falsely present LGBTQIA+ as immune to white dominance in mainstream Pride Parades, mainstream Safe Zone trainings, and mainstream LGBTQIA+ groups and organizations, public policy advocacy, and legal advocacy. White dominance is one reason Black LGBTQIA+ and Brown LGBTQIA+ in USA, Canada, and parts of the world create Black-specific and Brown-specific collectives. The other reason for Black-specific and Brown-specific collectives is the heterocentrism, homophobia, cisgenderism, and transphobia of most Black and Brown families, communities, organizations, cultures, and nations.)
I told the white man that all heterosexuals contribute to heterocentrism and homophobia in some way at an individual level and at the aggregate — cultural and societal.
The same applies to white people. All white people contribute to white power and white dominance in some way at an individual level and at the aggregate — cultural and societal.
White man responded “we will not have ‘allies’ if we generalize.”
I responded “Generalization is not the same as a stereotype. Also, I do not believe in a such thing as power majority ‘ally.’ I only believe in contributors and collaborators for inclusion, equity, and justice. Anyone more interested in being declared an ‘ally,’ and they get offended when there is a generalization that does not declare them an exception, means they are more focused on receiving an Ally Award, being celebrated, and remaining unoffended and comfortable in their power. Any white person who does that and any heterosexual person who does that is not someone who supports inclusion, equity, and justice.”
White man kept trying to explain why I need to say “some white people” to avoid offending and excluding the good white people.
At that point, I told the white man that I am not a good fit for the podcast.
I explained that white people will be offended no matter how much Black people and Brown people censor our tone and wording.
The purpose of white people being offended is centuries of white people demanding silence including silence amidst white dominance and white violence.
White people tend to be allowed in most spaces to pretend cluelessness, ignorance, and to need repetition of the problem which means we never get to the point of measurable and lasting changes to reduce the problem in our personal lives and professional lives.
Nearly all white people consider themselves “good white people” and consider themselves the exception to what we say about white power and white dominance.
It is more productive to highlight five centuries of trends and patterns (hint: generalizations) of behaviors that created white dominance and further five centuries of white dominance in 2021 and beyond.
In closing, in addition to understanding the purpose and meaning of generalization, I want people to stop prioritizing the emotions of power majorities (white people as it pertains to race) and ignoring the needs and demands of underserved and minoritized individuals and groups.
Underserved and minoritized individuals and groups need to be unapologetically outspoken and demanding. Not tokenized and forced to be silent, smiley, and only vocal when given permission and timing from power majorities.
This is not limited to a theory, this is not limited to a street march, and this is not limited to situational outrage on your favorite social media source or cable news show.
Please listen to and reflect on the words in these videos:
2021 Episode 14 What does real diversity and inclusion look like: https://anchor.fm/allthingsblack/episodes/What-does-real-diversity-and-inclusion-look-like--A-Conversation-with-Dr-Kimya-Nuru-Dennis-Episode-14-e1173qf/a-a5p61pe
2021 Episode 30 of Inclusive History: https://app.podcastguru.io/podcast/inclusive-history-1549462663/episode/episode-30-d8ee72b7f322b35f419f0283b3a0bc8b
2020 Episode of Inclusion and Equity in Childfreedom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vIZidVL1R4
2019 Episode of Suicide in Marginalized Communities: https://spsmchat.com/2019/09/30/suicide-in-marginalized-communities-with-kimya-n-dennis-phd-spsm-chat-september-29th-2019/
Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis is an activist, sociologist and criminologist, educator, and researcher specializing in demographic-and-cultural variance, inclusion, and equity in every aspect of community resources, K-12 schools and colleges-universities, medical and health organizations and facilities, and reducing the dominance of police-court-penal system.
As founder of 365 Diversity, Dr. Dennis provides results-based programs, evaluations, and assessments for local, national, and international schools, businesses, and organizations that are ready to go beyond introductory trainings and make measurable and lasting changes.
Services provided are listed on the 365 Diversity website.