Howard Eagle: Rochesters Anti-Racist Activist Toots His Own Horn!

Depending on who you ask, people  will either tell you that I have a deserved or undeserved reputation for bashing or judging White folks. It is not true. I make every effort never to judge, nor necessarily bash anyone. However, I will, and I do routinely call White folks out on racism. 

Also, I do not shy away from debunking the widespread, popular mantra and myth that the sole, or even major problem with racism is institutions and systems, as opposed to individuals. Instead, I also routinely emphasize the vitally  important, objective  fact that institutions and systems do not establish, perpetuate, and/or maintain themselves — individuals do. 

As a deadly serious anti-racist activist, and aspiring, authentic, anti-racist expert — what is less known about me is that I actually praise White folks who get it right (whom by the way, as far as I can determine, are few and far in between) — such as the woman whom I refer to as the queen of whiteness, Dr. Robin Di Angelo. I was first introduced to Dr. Di Angelo’s work  years ago  I’ve been studying her ever since.

White people like Dr. Di Angelo are valuable, not only because of their extensive knowledge regarding the historical and contemporary existence, functioning, and many manifestations of racism, but because she and others like her, produce a reality by which Black and other anti-racist experts and practitioners of color (make assertions like: ‘don’t argue with me — argue with your own whiteness expert.’ This type of challenge will sometimes stop White racists in their tracks, and actually move them toward introspection, which is an important step, in order to get past what the man whom I refer to as the King of anti-racism, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, calls the “heartbeat,”  i.e. ., chronic denial.

Di Angelo is so skillful as an anti-racist writer and educator that many racist, White conservatives seem happy to see her latest book, Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm.  That is to say, many racist, white conservatives are intentionally interpreting her latest work to mean that white liberals are the “real racists,” as opposed to conservatives. On the contrary, she’s making the point that many liberals cause more race-based harm mainly because they spend more time around Black folks and other folks of color (attempting and/or pretending to be allies). On the other hand, we know that white conservatives don’t pretend, and generally don’t hobnob with Black folks, nor other folks of color. 

With regard to her new book, we congratulate Dr. Di Angelo for “keeping race on the table,” which she argues, most, if not all White folks, constantly attempt to push as far underground as possible (based mainly on their own deep-seated, White fragility, and cognitive dissonance).

It is interesting to note that our Brother Minister Malcolm X taught us about the very same liberal/conservative phenomenon almost sixty (60) years ago — via his “wolf or fox” analogy. Brother Malcolm was saying (in his own unique way) the same thing that Dr. Di Angelo is saying today — when it comes to racial harm — “that Liberal [e.g., ‘fox’] is the most deceitful; the most dangerous thing in the entire Western Hemisphere,” and of course the ‘wolf’ is not far behind.