In demonstration after demonstration a sea of white faces marches down the cordoned-off streets of the downtown section of a major U.S. citiy.
People of color, the working class, gays and lesbians, and women collectively make up the vast majority of the residents in the cities where these mass convergences are held. But how effective can a social movement be without these people?
The left really needs to confront the personal racist and sexist attitudes and class privileges that keep driving people of color, women, and the working class away from middle class whites in social movements. What typically happens, sadly, is that this majority gets shut out because of the controlling behaviors of ignorant, arrogant, bigoted, insensitive, elitist, power-hungry privileged career activists, who then end up having to resort to a desparate scrambling for photos and footage of the few people of color and other oppressed groups they could find in the crowd as a last-ditch damage-control measure and clean up their image. At this point I feel it is necessary to add the disclaimer that not all career activists are this reactionary. At the same time I feel the behavior is prevalent and consistent enough to call attention to it.
How embarassing is it to call a massive strike and protest only to end up with hardly a handful of the people who collectively make up over 75 percent of the population of any given major city because of the destructive attitudes and behaviors of some white middle-class activists? That's a helluva lot of fodder for the predatory government/corporate media upon which the American public relies to explain what's happening.
This latest convergence, which will take place in the racially diverse city of Washington, DC in the coming months, will be the test --the final opportunity the left will have to show the American public that it has cleaned up it's act, that it's not just a bunch of overprivileged white kids dressed in black, that it really practices what it preaches, and that it should be taken seriously by all. If all we see, however, is the usual "sea of white" with a few token people of color, gays and lesbians, unions, and others in the mix, then those running the show had better be prepared to admit that this experiment has failed.
I admit the criticism is harsh but it may be to the advantage of those who care about inclusion and strengthening the movement to know how their comrades are being perceived by those who don't get involved. I expect negative comments in return but as far as I'm concerned, negative dialogue on this issue is better than no dialogue.