As white men on Men Stopping Violence’s staff, we want to say something about the racist threats and resistance that Black Women’s Blueprint is experiencing as they work in solidarity with Indigenous women to create a Healing and Reconciliation center for women and all people on almost 300 acres of land in upstate New York.
First, we hear Black Women’s Blueprint’s pain and fatigue: “We cannot rest. We cannot even do the work of healing and peace without the threat of white supremacy.” We feel sad and angry as we acknowledge the reality that Black women must contend with the pernicious force of white supremacy even as they work to create space and time to recover and rest.
As we review social media comments about the Healing and Reconciliation center, we see outright racism and white supremacy. We condemn comments like, “Convicted criminals…. That’s my concern,” and, “I’m so sick of the race card. Go away now!” unequivocally.
We also notice many white people in the chat coming forward more indirectly with “questions.” We know that legitimate questions arise with any development. There needs to be space and time available for people to ask questions and get answers, and we trust that Black Women’s Blueprint is engaging in that process. We need to acknowledge that white supremacy often shows up in white people’s discomfort – our discomfort – and indirect “questions.”
How do we know if our questions are valid, or a mask for discomfort and white supremacy veiled in seemingly legitimate concerns? That’s a difficult question, and often difficult to discern within the context of white supremacy that surrounds our questions. But it’s our work to do.
A couple of things we have found to be helpful: Listening at a deep level to Black women and others who have experienced oppression and focusing on the effects of our questions and actions rather than our stated intents.
Some commenters also raised questions about previous pollution on the site and whether it is safe for Black Women’s Blueprint to be there. Again, we trust Black Women’s Blueprint to do their due diligence. We believe that they will navigate and resolve any legitimate concerns that are raised and deliver a quality product for their members and the community.
Last, we acknowledge that some white people in Oneida County, New York are supporting Black Women’s Blueprint as they go through the town planning process. We see you. We stand in solidarity with you as well as you support Black Women’s Blueprint. We hope more in your community support you and denounce the racist attacks on Black Women’s Blueprint.