White Superiority

This term is not commonly in use but is intended to contrast with white supremacy. Whereas white supremacy is the active promotion of “the white race” over all other people defined as non-white, which is a founding principle of the United States as we know it today; “white superiority “is intended to refer to the unanalyzed and unquestioned privilege of euro descendants over black, indigenous and all other ethnic groups. This is a potentially more useful word than “racist” because it’s clearer, more accurate, and even more painful for white folks to hear.
We – those of us with white privilege, like those of us who read male in patriarchy – generally do not realize that we are groomed to lead, groomed to think that we are pretty smart, that we can do anything. And though the nicest of us value being open and friendly and riding our bikes, feeding organic baby food to our children, and we do everything we can to signal that we don’t want to control things, that we don’t like power, that we want to be informal, we still often impose our vision in those spaces. In fact, we have done an amazing job of dominating every multicultural space we occupy while still maintaining our self-image as completely egalitarian.

P-P-T PDX believes, however, that equity leadership is possible by white folks in a white supremacist system (and by men in patriarchy). It’s just incredibly problematic. John Brown was an incredibly problematic historical figure – a leader and by many measures an anti-racist hero, and by many measures also a violent, treasonous murderer. But one thing is true: if you want to be a person of privilege playing a leadership role in a landscape defined by oppression where you are in the oppressor class, it requires a great deal of humility. Trust will have to be earned time and time again, and missteps are certain. That’s just the work.

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