Racial and Gender Justice Halloween Action Toolkit!

Ah the beginning of fall. The air is a little colder, the colors a little more orange, and there is no shortage of pumpkin flavored products. Yet there is one sign of the turning seasons that is truly unwelcome…racist, sexist, heterosexist, and colonialist costumes — already in full force in stores around the country. Enter into any Spirit Halloween store and you will find the full gamut of costumes perpetuating cultural appropriation, racist stereotypes, Indigenous erasure and hetero-misogyny.

At a time when Black Lives Matter has become a resounding movement pressing for the safety, humanity and freedom of Black people, the corporate costume industry is supporting mass consumption of Black face and racialized prisoner outfits.

As indigenous people from across this land join together at Standing Rock to resist the continued desecration and destruction of homelands, culture and even their physical existence, this colonialist culture perpetuates indigenous erasure with images of “Indian headdresses” and “Warrior Princesses.”

After a year of watching rape cases on college campuses hit national headlines and heroic womyn speak truth to power in the face of continued slut shaming and objectification, the amount of “sexy” costumes on shelves remains dizzying.… Read more

Exploring Disability Justice

sins invalidCheck out the upcoming Sins Invalid show, happening October 14-16 in San Francisco!!

In our recent September dialogue, we set out to explore concepts and practices of disability justice in our lives and movements. Below are the resources we compiled for the dialogue, some background, and the questions we explored. Notes from the dialogue can be found here.

The term disability justice was coined out of conversations between disabled queer women of color activists in 2005, including Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, seeking to challenge radical and progressive movements to more fully address ableism (see ‘Principles of Disability Justice’ in the resources section below for more info). Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how peoples’ bodies and minds are labelled ‘deviant’, ‘unproductive’, ‘disposable’ and/or ‘invalid’. In our dialogue, we will explore ways to challenge the interlocking systems of ableism, white supremacy and gendered oppression.… Read more

Resources for Engaging and Ending Police Violence

end_police_brutality_six_sticker_sheet-rc672ec2ced08419bbe778cc03313c943_v9wth_8byvr_324In this time of mourning, rage and national reckoning with the legacies and realities of racist police violence – resources for connection, deeper engagement and different forms of action are flooding through the widening cracks of this broken system. Here is a partial compilation, from quick click actions to concrete alternatives to political education to visionary policy solutions. Please circulate and share with others.

We want an end to the war being waged on Black people, in all its forms.

A brief history reviewing the foundations of racism and classism built into policing the US, specifically focusing on the evolution of slave patrols and night watches. Part of the White Noise Collective Series – Exploring the Role of the “White Woman” within Systems of Violence and White Supremacy.

How, besides protesting, can we actually make sure no more black people are killed, beaten or tortured by the police?

Read more

Showing Up for Love, Justice & Dignity

Below is a statement from SURJ’s (Showing Up for Racial Justice) leadership in light of the 136 murders of Black people by police this year and the shooting in Dallas last night.

SURJ condemns loss of life, no matter who is dead. As an organization committed to organizing white people to dismantle a criminal justice system brutalizing communities of color across the nation, SURJ condemns violence against the police and mourns the injuries and deaths of police officers killed in Dallas.

A system that brutalizes people of color communities and destroys the lives even of those who are enforcing it, is not a sustainable system, a moral system, nor a system that can serve the kind of world in which ALL people are valued and cherished.

Across this country, Black communities live in terror that someone among them, a father, a sister, a child, could be next in the rising death toll of their lives.… Read more

Grieving Orlando

From Isaac Lev Szmonko,
on behalf of Catalyst Project:

Dear friend,

Yesterday morning I checked the news groggy-eyed and learned of the massacre in Orlando at ‘Latin Night’ at the Pulse gay club. The grief is overwhelming. I find myself unexpectedly in and out of tears.

Queer space is sacred. We owe the fact that there is space for us to go seek community, joy, pleasure, desire, family and justice to generations of freedom fighters. To the ACT UP warriors and the dyke caretakers who fought for queer safety and survival while most of the world did not care as a generation died of AIDS. To people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and other unsung transgender women of color who fought the police at Stonewall and continued fighting for the right to live with dignity, power and safety. To James Baldwin and Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.… Read more

The Future of Solidarity: How White People Can Support the Movement for Black Lives

-1This is to express our gratitude to everyone who showed up at The Future of Solidarity, organized livestream viewings across the country, helped share the event, and made the evening so powerful through your deep presence, open hearts and warm connections. With over 600 people gathered, it was the most amazing turnout we could have hoped for!

We also want to say a huge thank you to the 35 person volunteer team that donated time, energy and great care to making the venue more accessible, and the entire evening run smoothly.

Here is a video of the panel. The transcript is being edited and will be posted to the Facebook event page soon. We encourage sharing and re-watching/listening to the speakers, who presented so much critical food for ongoing thought.

If you are so inspired, this video could be shown for a group to spark discussion on Black liberation and white anti-racism.… Read more

Resources for Understanding and Challenging Islamophobia

ISJ Spr14 COVER“Muslim subjects are constructed and judged in terms of, and in comparison to, the West, so they are always the Other, the conquerable, and the inferior.” – Edward Said, Orientalism

Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, and reference to internment camps sent out waves of shock and horror, catalyzing many non-Muslim groups into action. New and old questions are raised of how to collectively combat anti-Muslim racism, xenophobia, justifications for militarism abroad and domestic repression and surveillance.

How can anti-racist educators and activists step up in various ways to learn more about the deeper and broader historical contexts of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and strengthen capacities to intervene into this discourse of extreme othering, racial and religious profiling, media stereotypes, hate and bigotry? What obstacles exist to harnessing strengths from challenging other forms of racism, to direct them towards fighting Islamophobia in this dire time?… Read more

The Wolf I Feed.

The replacement of real indigenous stories with Christian-influenced, western moral tales is colonialism, no matter how you dress it up in feathers and moccasins.  It silences the real voices of native peoples by presenting listeners and readers with something safe and familiar.  And because of the wider access non-natives have to sources of media, these kinds of fake stories are literally drowning us out. – âpihtawikosisân

There is a story that we keep getting told. A lot. It is about two wolves. In different spaces- as a student I was recounted this by a teacher, now as a teacher, I have heard it several times from students. In yoga classes, in spiritual, psychological self-help and healing curricula, occasionally by a friend or acquaintance. Perhaps you have heard it too. It goes like this:

(big meaningful inhalation)

Once upon a time, there was a Cherokee grandfather (or Navajo grandfather), who told his grandson, “Grandson, there are two wolves inside of me.… Read more

2 Mini-zines for MLK Weekend

Two mini-zines made by White Noise and friends for a Black Lives Matter march and the Reclaiming Dr. King’s Radical Legacy march last year are available to download and print – a small way to contribute to the waves of organized actions this weekend.

Please take and share these tiny folded pieces packed with quotes and food for thought for white allies:

Reclaiming King's Legacy

This weekend will be the 2nd annual Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy – 96 hours of disrupting the status quo and building resilient and resistant communities. It’s been called for by the Anti-Police Terror Project and supported by a coalition of other organizations.
Many of you may be interested in finding ways to plug into some of the actions and events happening this weekend, so we thought it might be useful to compile as many of the public events together as we could.… Read more

The year turns: 2015 in review, 2016 on the horizon

At the beginning of December the White Noise Collective core met to examine our experiences from 2015 and envision new intentions for the coming year.  How quickly yet another year has passed, full of new growing edges, community building, core transitions, and ever-deepening practices.  Reflecting on our intentions from our past retreat, it is powerful to witness how the past year was indeed full of manifestation of so much intention: direct action organizing, a new presence on twitter (that we are still co-evolving with), maintaining an action listserve, some beautifully juicy and complex community dialogues, a new dialogue space specifically for movement activists, and two newly developed workshops – one on the role of white women in upholding, maintaining, and subverting systems of violence and the other, that we offered twice this year on Difficult Conversations.

In 2016, we aspire to bring more creativity to our work with one another and in the collective.  … Read more

District Attorney O’Malley: Which Side Are You On?

Dear District Attorney Nancy O’Malley,

This Friday we will mark the one-year anniversary of the Black Friday 14 non-violent direct action at the West Oakland BART station — an action inspired by a growing national movement to expose the painful legacy of police brutality and demand an end to police violence in our country. Since Black Friday 2014, we have collectively mourned the loss of at least 290 black lives in officer-involved shootings in the United States — at least seven in Alameda County alone. This tragic fact demonstrates that this movement is not over and that courageous actions like those of the Black Friday 14 are critical to ending this epidemic of violence against black people.

We write this letter to you inspired by the Black Friday 14 and dismayed that you have not yet dropped the charges against them. We write mourning the deaths of Guadalupe Manzo-Ochoa, Zaki Shinwary, Yuvette Henderson, Demouria Hogg, Jonathan Patrick Deming Jr, Antonio Clements, Nathaniel Wilks, Troy Francis, Yonas Alehegne, Dante Osborn, and the most recent unnamed victim — all of whom lost their lives to Alameda County police forces since Black Friday 2014.… Read more

Liberate Halloween Action Kit!

They’re ba-ack! (shudder)

With Halloween quickly approaching, and costume shops like Spirit Halloween opening their doors, many of us are cringing at the thought of another Halloween full of racism, sexism, heterosexism and the full range of offensive apparel we annually witness.

In response, we offer up a toolkit to those who wish to be a part of resisting the dominant paradigms that plague this season. Let’s make this be a season to reclaim and expand our expressive imaginations from being steered into narrow, tired, offensive and uncreative marketing channels.

Not sure what exactly is so offensive about certain Halloween costumes? 

The Issue of Objectifying Other Cultures


“There are many good reasons not to wear a costume that relies on racist stereotypes or caricatures. Costumes like these communicate negative ideas and assumptions about people of that race or ethnicity, and as this year’s posters say, that stigma stays with people of color long after you take the costume off.… Read more

White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them

This illuminating breakdown of the deep patterns of what has been named “white women’s tears” is cross-posted from the Good Men Project, by Robin DiAngelo, anti-racism and diversity trainer, educator and author.

There has been much critique lately of “white tears.” This term refers to all of the ways, both literally and metaphorically, that white people cry about how hard racism is on us. In my work, I consistently encounter these tears in their various forms, and many writers have provided excellent critiques. Here, I want to address one specific manifestation of white tears: those shed by white women in cross-racial settings.

As the meeting started, I told my fellow white participants that if they felt moved to tears, to please leave the room. I would go with them for support, but asked that they not cry in the mixed group.

Thefollowing example illustrates both people of color’s frustration with those tears and white women’s sense of entitlement to freely shed them.

Read more

White Women, Patriarchy and White Superiority

This piece is by longtime educator and social justice practitioner Tilman Smith, published on Dr. Shakti Butler’s World Trust site (a phenomenal resource for racial justice educators). Her articulation of the intersection of whiteness and femaleness deeply resonates with White Noise in this ongoing work to critically examine and courageously shake up the ways in which, as Smith so clearly expresses,

It is in those moments when I feel most challenged around my oppressed identity as a woman that I call on my areas of internalized superiority. This is an invitation to all white women to explore when and how we are doing this in the hopes of causing a little less harm to both others and ourselves.

Her recent article is cross-posted below, with World Trust’s “infinity loop” of analysis applied to it, with questions for reflection and discussion:

system_of_inequityWithin the World Trust frame of the System of Inequity, the relational elements among the internal and external components of Racialization are named.Read more