In the week, I met with a “white” woman. Of course, she was not a “white” woman but an associate. She was in fact a voice hearer group facilitator. We were meeting to discuss the possibility of combining to work on a paper exploring paranoia and hearing voices. She was seeing if I might be a consultant to the project which involved training services in the experiences of voice hearers. Agreeing provisionally, she then proceeded to show me a slide from their planned training sheet and it looked at the background of people; their frame of reference which “informs our beliefs about the world and our beliefs about other people’s beliefs.” Of these many items, “race” was on the agenda, which prompted her to pose a question to me, as a non-white: should race be included as a frame of reference, assuming, and since, there is one race. It was at this point that our thinking began.
Later in the conversation, as she went on to talk about bel Hooks she mentioned “white supremacy”, and maybe she expected to me to be moved but far from that, I was suspicious. Tommy J Curry has destroyed “white privilege” arguments, whilst Gus T Renegade has embarrassed white rhetoricians who profess to challenge white supremacy, and likewise, when a white female mentioned this, my initial reaction was to question her purpose in pushing the envelope. To begin with, she did not connect herself to white supremacy but the way she spoke about it might have suggested it was something abstract, in the ether, somewhere. It did not seem to connect her to the regime; to identify the ways in which she might be complicit in the regime and even collaborate with practitioners within it. More importantly, “white supremacy” does not identify the ways a “white” person performs “zookeeperism.”
It makes it impersonal and to the extent someone does that, they collude in maintaining the order, by design or by default. Saying “white supremacy” implies that the prisoner and the warden can work together to eradicate or eliminate this evil but invisible menace that is out there somewhere. It implies, pretends, or imagines that we have equal power, or powerlessness, and are similarly subjected to the regime; taking for granted, of course, the regime exists. More importantly, “white supremacy”, like the words “racism” is a scapegoat, a puppet; it is akin to the football fans complaining about the spectator making “insulting” gestures and chants, singling that person out as a “bad apple” and a “racist” as opposed to identifying that person as one offshoot of the already pathological regime that their chanting is merely an extension of. This white supremacy talk then was only a reason to be suspicious in as much as it obscured more than it explored.
If this associate wanted to be useful she would have put on the table the issue of how her whiteness operates and how she practices. performs or permits zookeeperism, Therefore, we agree with Renegade who asks all “white” people to speak about the regime and their role within in it; how they function in relation to nonwhites and how they relate to each other as whites, whilst Welsing asks that whites tell nonwhites what they speak about when nonwhites are not around. For us, the issue is “whiteness” and for nonwhites, this whiteness is an inescapable reality. It cannot be ignored, overlooked or bypassed because as a nonwhite, my experience and reality is dominated and dictated by the zookeepers I am subjected to and at the mercy of. She cannot cease to be white, even at this personal level we were in. She is always white, and her whiteness is always an issue (suspect), or a problem (accuse). Earlier today when I met another friend, the topic was “whiteness” and the extent to which “whites” are conscious of how their whiteness impacts and affects others,