by William Skink
Missoula needs to do something about its whiteness. If we were graded on our whiteness we’d get an A for ALMOST ALL WHITE. Seriously, census bureau quick facts puts our blazingly white whiteness at 91.2%. That is how white we are.
So what can we do about this problem? Can we DECENTER our whiteness? Social worker Laurelle Warner thinks that YES WE CAN. From the link:
Giving marginalized individuals a seat at the table and decentering whiteness as the majority culture in Missoula could help peck away at systemic racism, community advocates told city and county leaders on Wednesday.
Held over social media, elected officials from a newly formed committee joined members of the Community Research Project in exploring everything from police funding to racism and reforming the criminal justice system.
“I do understand the voices of marginalized individuals and how they’re moved away from the center,” said Laurelle Warner. “Right now there’s this hierarchy that always leverages the voices of those whose currency is white. If we’re going to truly begin to dismantle systematic racism, we need to understand that it comes as a direct byproduct of centering whiteness.”
I’m not sure what’s going on here with leveraged voices and white currency. The currency I’m familiar with, which determines things like how much food one can acquire for one’s family, is cash money currency. If you don’t have enough of that currency you can’t eat or live with walls and a roof over your head.
How does a community as blazingly white as Missoula decenter its whiteness? I know, let’s leverage white guilt to engage in symbolic tokenism and use taxpayer money to create a government position to disseminate race-centered propaganda:
“The focus needs to be decentering whiteness as the norm, decentering whiteness as the majority culture in Missoula,” she said. “How do we get to a place in our city where we have a sense of equity across the board, and not have one particular group that’s centered or put in a superior or higher position than all the others?”
Several City Council members expressed a desire to make sincere connections with Missoula’s Native American community, as well as other minority groups. They noted the lack of racial diversity on the City Council and asked several community leaders if they felt represented by officials who are predominately white.
“We don’t see ourselves reflected in this council,” said Jamar Galbreath. “That’s exactly what we’re talking about – the lack of representation of people of color who are in our governing bodies across the nation, and Missoula isn’t an exception to that. We’re also calling for a position to be implemented at the city and county level that will work to translate these stories and experiences. That connection can’t happen if we’re not present.”
Well ok then.