Letters, Spring 1997
Race Traitor welcomes your comments and will be publishing selected excerpts of correspondence in these pages. Editorial responses are posted in red.
Recently I read your wonderful book, RACE
TRAITOR. As a practicing anarchist, student of American history
and participant in the zine scene, I was inspired and enlightened
by the compilation, the best radical piece of literature I've
read since TAZ by Hakim Bey.
I admired your editorial piece on the
Patriot/militia types. Since I live in Oklahoma, I have made
myself well aware of their activities. I've been researching
them for years now, listening to thousands of hours of short-wave
radio, attending meetings, checking out internet sites, etc.
I can assure you, most of what is written about them is rubbish.
Few on the left (mainstream or underground) really have the information
to critique them. More of them than you think are African or
Native. The government has demonized the Patriots because they
are a threat to the New World Order. It only shows the utterly
bankrupt status of the radical left that they have believed this
disinfo campaign. Didn't they learn anything in the sixties/seventies/eighties?
WHITES NEED HELP
I'm in the Planning Department of the
City of Wilmington, Delaware. I'm also a Democratic committee
person. Wilmington's population became sixty percent African
American and Hispanic within the last decade. The African Americans
have elected the first African American mayor. The Irish-dominated
Democratic party is going through nasty, vicious throes of shame
for having lost and then having to support a black.
Your approach to the problems of racism
is unique and timely. I am extremely interested in the notion
of "whiteness" as a social construct. I've met so many
people who, in the course of our relationship, bump up against
the "white or black" code of constructed reality. There
has been such a volume of lies promulgated for so long that the
contradictions begin to insult even the most ignorant.
White folks need a lot of help. That "super
human" status is quite a burden. It makes them act in ways
that destroy their souls. I have often said that there is much
more "missionary" work to do outside of the "ghetto"
than within it. If whites would relinquish their felt need to
be superior to blacks and just be, a lot of issues would not
materialize. I honestly feel that there are whites who are anxious
for a vehicle to achieve this. I think we're on our way to preparing
a social transit for such folks. I'd like to publish material
from RACE TRAITOR in our local African-American newspaper, DRUMBEAT.
I believe that we have a white readership that would appreciate
the opportunity to engage the thoughts and perspectives of RACE
PERMISSION TO REPRINT
Hi, I run a punk rock/political zine called
Dgokn Jbout. I was wondering if it would be ok for me to run
the "Free to be Me" article in my first issue. I would
gladly send you a copy.
WANTS TO SHED LABEL
I have blonde hair and pale skin. However
the term white is not one I identify with. I am a human being
first and formost and then I am a woman. My cultural heritage
is far richer and more diverse than the term white implies and
thus I find it offensive. I so often feel the cold hatred of
others because I am perceived as "privileged" and assumed
to be racist. I was born in Australia where no form I ever filled
out required me to check a box stating my ethnicity. What am
I supposed to put? I do not know if I was ever awarded a job
above somebody else because I was perceived white nor do I know
how to shake off this uncomfortable label. Any suggestions?
LET THEM DECIDE
The following occurred to me at a K-Mart
here in Fairbanks: I was asked to fill out a form before purchasing
a handgun. For height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc., I
had no problem since these were objective criteria. When I came
to the "race" box, I explained to the clerk that I
really did not know what race meant since it was not an objective
She got the assistent manager. I explained
again my problem to him -- that I was almost sure that I was
mostly of Northern European ancestry, but that I was equally
sure that I had some African and Asian ancestry. He got mad -
why was I being such a wise guy?
I said that I was far too uncertain of
my race to fill in the race box but I had no problem with him
filling it in. He said that he couldn't do that. "Well then,"
I said, "I guess you must just lose the sale."
Not wanting that, he allowed me to leave
the box blank, but assured me that the Big, Bad, Boys from ATF
would be calling me. Of course, they didn't.
I left with my handgun and felt wonderful.
It was amusing to watch the reaction of the "black"
sales clerk. Bagging my purchase, she was grinning.
AFRAID TO JINX US
I just wanted to give my support to your
publishing the exchange with Pendragon. I found it extremely
valuable. I almost dare not say how valuable and excellent I
find the journal, for fear of jinxing its quality. I am amazed
at the precision and clarity of the editors' stance, and how
consistently it is applied, especially in a journal which seems
to be successfully speaking with a broad spectrum of people.
WHITENESS: A MASTERFUL CONCEPT
Thanks for sending the journal. I am very
proud of my article. However, I was even more thrilled by the
passion and clarity with which you wrote the editor's response.
Please do not sway from your convictions. They are right on the
mark. Because I am bilingual and, to a certain extent, bicultural
(US/Dominican), I am in a position to come across latinos of
varying degrees of assimilation to this country. I have devel-
oped an ability to sense the level of assimilation of the latino
by his addiction to the term "white" in describing
himself as well as his desire to distance himself from "new
arrivals." Whiteness is indeed a masterful concept. We Dominicans
are not strangers to it either. The last Dominican election was
decided in no small part by the insidiousness of the concept
even in a country with as much West African ancestry as ours.
Best of luck with the RACE TRAITOR. May it continue to grow.
BLESSINGS AND PEACE
Blessings and Peace: Props to RT for being
visionary and setting forth dialogue and ideas for a better world.
May the energy that you invest in your quest return to you one
hundred fold, through increased wisdom and spiritual strength.
On the question of 'other races', the
example of one public official in the New Orleans area may be
relevant. Harry Lee is the Sheriff of suburban Jefferson parish
-- David Duke's former home base. Sheriff Lee is of Chinese descent.
(His family operated a popular Chinese restaurant for many years.)
He became a folk hero to local whites several years ago when
he ordered his deputies to routinely stop and question black
motorists who were driving through white neighborhoods. (I'm
sure the deputies had been doing this without specific orders
for a long time.)
Louisiana is admittedly an exceptional
place in many respects. Even in the 1960's this was the only
place in the United States where someone with the surname of
Perez could be the leader of the most intransigent defenders
of Jim Crow. Even so, this example could be a portent of things
to come in the rest of the country.
Beth Henson's reminiscences were quite
interesting. They highlighted the political significance of cultural
disaffec- tion among white youth which the Marxist left has traditionally
either dismissed or ignored. But does this constitute race treason?
There seems to be a thread running through some of the contributions
to Race Traitor that any deviant behavior among so-called 'whites'
that attracts unfriendly attention from the police is ipso facto
a form of race treason. I'm not so sure. I have vivid memories
of being hassled by the cops while hitchhiking in my younger
days. but even back then I was aware that the hassles would have
been much more severe if I had been visibly of African ancestry.
These qualifications aside, I liked this
issue. The discussion of the militia question was one of the
better that I've seen in any forum. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for your explanation of how
I feel about myself. I am seventy years old, have lived through
many aspects of racism in my life and have felt more akin to
the black struggle than to my fellow whites.
My grandmother came from Ireland in the
lates 1800s and my family has gradually worked its way "up."
I am now divorced, have a stable situation and realize that many
women my age do not, even though they have worked hard at their
job of reproduction and child rearing.
Did you know the federal government has
removed "Other" from their classification form? White
and Black are political designations, while Asian/South Pacific
is geographic. The labels are so illogical that I hate to pick
one. I guess too many people picked "Other" so they
Last Sunday the anti-choicers held their
annual "march for life." Two friends and I marched
the whole way, heckling them and holding pro-choice signs. We
had a great time -- three against five hundred is a helluvan
adrenalin rush. My little broadsheet is almost done -- the top
article with headline is "Abolish the White Race."
Wow, what a great idea! I read the interview
with you in Z Magazine [January
1997] and laughed out loud at the genius of destroying people's
confidence in our official currency of race.
I'm "so-called white," raised
in the white suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia; my parents were both
from Alabama, and their parents were from Mississippi and South
Carolina. I'm from a long line of racists -- although my mother
did stand in another long line, to attend MLK Jr.'s funeral.
I've been teaching African-American literature courses to white
college kids here in New York and in Illinois for several years.
I've always taught Charles Johnson's Middle Passage. Whatever
else you want to say about it, that novel does a splendid job
of illustrating the "twin souls in one body" W.E.B.
Du Bois talked about. Leading a discussion about it at a college
on Staten Island where the students are almost all Italian-Irish
(another set of hyphens, products of parochial-school romances;
but that's another story), at one point I was inspired to shout
out to these white youths, "But we're all African-American!"
They were unable to overcome their prejudices, but the notion
had hit me like a lightning bolt. It reminded me of a dream I
had around fifteen years ago when I was living near Auburn Avenue,
taking the bus through Sweet Auburn to go to my job on Peachtree
Street and to work as a copy editor at THE ATLANTA VOICE, Atlanta's
second-largest black newspaper, after work; and reading Albert
Murray at night, and listening to live jazz. I dreamed a spaceship
zapped everybody in the country and made them black, and white
people were going crazy and committing suicide, but I was happy.
Now I'm writing a book about literature
and film, in which apolitical middle-class white women wean themselves
from their privileges to find the joy of unifying their interests
with the world's reviled lives. One of the great examples is
Nadine Gordimer's novel, None to Accompany Me. I feel so glad
I now have RACE TRAITOR to accompany me.
I always find RACE TRAITOR to be an engaging,
challenging, and life-affirming read. It calls me on the carpet
and makes me analyzue my assumption -- something few journals,
magazines and zines do. Thanks for the thoughful pauses and heated
discussions with friends and family.
Whites in America are often confused as
to what whiteness is and how white supremacy operates. All too
often so-called "progressive" whites pay lip service
to ending racism but when they are asked to reject their white-skin
privilege they freeze in horror at the prospect of their lives
without it and the reaction of the country to them.
NETWORKS AND COMMUNITY
I subscribed to RACE TRAITOR after hearing
a piece about it on National Public Radio. The first issue I
received, number 3, was a wake-up call in more than one way.
The first article, "Who Lost an American?" featured
Joel Gilbert, a man I went to grade school with. Though we lived
in the same small town, I had no idea of what he was going through.
Around the time I read this article, there
was some action on our campus. A new African-American newspaper
for students was just starting up, and there were protests about
the racist actions of a professor. Letters to the Editor flew
back and forth. I was surprised to see that one of the most eloquent
letters was written by a woman I went to high school with.
I had expressed and shaped my discontent
with white hegemonic domination as a college freshman by becoming
a Black Americana Studies major. Now I study power and the creation
and maintenance of race, ethnicity, and gender, with a focus
on the African diaspora.
The three of us (and how many others?)
were extremely dissatisfied with the way things were in our town.
But none of us knew that others were so dissatisfied, or what
to do about it, and so we were unfortunately quiet. To paraphrase
Margaret Mead, in ths society we all remain shut up behind our
Yale locks and don't know what our neighbors are doing or think-
ing, or what social pathologies are being elaborated.
Participating in networks of information
and ideas and creating community among nascent race traitors
I just finished your interview in Z Magazine. It really struck a chord
of joy in me. You are right on, on this. Please subscribe me
up to your publication. I'm a race traitor, too.
I work in a toll booth, with both "black"
and "white" co-workers in a mixed area on the south
side of Chicago. From destitution to stretch limousines, I see
it all. Almost all adult white people are sickening to me in
their prostituting themselves for the crumbs of being white.
Racism is an everyday struggle to wipe the filth off your psyche.
It's reinforced constantly.
I'm the union steward here, conscientious,
cordial, diligent, easy to get along with, and an anarchist.
The whites are weary of me and still they assume I'll agree to
their cowardly racist claptrap (when blacks are out of earshot,
of course). And the patrons! Ugh! Whites, when slightly delayed
by a black motorist, pour forth the obscene language of conditioned
racist reflex. Blacks are much more true to the reality of a
situation, as are most foreigners.
Of course, it's much more than white people
I consciously avoid contamination from. The whole consumer vacuous
economic life we're mired in -- with the entertainment being
staged violence. It's all so repulsive. People are so fogged
in confusion and even the more aware ones can't seem to bring
themselves to believe in the sick reality of this country. I
feel like a prisoner in a sea of outwardly self-satisfied morons.
In 1966 Frank Zappa came out with his
first album, Freak Out! In the song "Trouble Every Day,"
he says, "You know something people, I'm not black, but
there's a whole lot of times I wish I could say I'm not white!"
We're only in it for the Money is another brilliant album by
him, detailing the baseness of white American culture. It's still
oh-so-appropriate to today.
I listen to music, read serious works,
and huddle out with my family -- and write propaganda that no
one wants to print. Last year I was valedictorian at my junior
college and pissed off the administrators by rewriting my address
on the fly.
I would like first to thank you for your
efforts. When I finally found your book, I was overjoyed that
someone could express so well what my spouse and I had been trying
with difficulty to convey to others. As well as a sense of community,
you provided us with a priceless vocabulary.
With your permission, I would like to
reprint (with full credits and links back to you) various essays
from your back issues for my websites. For my resource directory,
Todd's Progressive Launchpad, an annotated link to you would
suffice. But for our webzie, The Examined Life, it would make
my formatting more uniform if I could adapt your essays to my
Let me know what is permissible and visit
us on the web if you have the time.
I stumbled onto your page through a page
on my own server filled with racist hate. I saw a link to anti-white
pages and came across yours. I applaud your page and its contents.
I'd like to thank you for making this material available. I will
be linking your page to mine.
I chuckled when I saw "racetraitor"
in your URL, because that is what the 100+ members of the nazi
group Confederate Hammerskins called me for quite a few years
before I left Jacksonville, Florida. The slur (as they would
have like to believe it) was something I wore like a badge. I
like that better than what they also used to call me (Sharpie,
or SHARP), usually followed by, "You'll be hanging from
a telephone pole when the race war comes." After having
an entire hate group trying to kill me for four years, I still
see a flash of red and feel disgust in my soul. As an actor,
I spend my life attempting to break down walls between people,
and here they are trying to perpetuate them.
Race war. What a scary thought. Do you
think it could ever come to that?
Editors' Reply Any war that ranged the majority
of black people on one side would be a war for the emancipation
of labor, in other words, a class war. The only question then
would be, which side would the rest of the country (and the globe)
Thanks for making my job easier. If you
weren't there, I would have to invent you.