Humans 101

The White That Binds

Whiteness is a fraud and a trap. Liberation is our work.

A.M. Carter
Human Parts
Published in
18 min readJun 20, 2020

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A pen-and-ink black and white drawing of a man in a forest leaning against a tree trunk.
Original pen-and-ink drawing by Johnny Rocket Ibanez.

I don’t want to talk about being white. I frankly don’t even want to think about it.

I’d like to consider solutions to complex, global problems, such as can we light our cities with the gas generated by our garbage? Should we even have cities at all? What comes after capitalism?

I have avoided thinking about being white. Every white person has. The truth is: There is nothing else to think about.

If you think there are other things to think about, I believe you have gravely misunderstood your situation. Until we have solved the problem of Whiteness, we will not solve any other problem.

While America’s Black citizens lead protests in our streets, we will never divest from fossil fuels. As long as police fire tear gas cannons at grandmothers, we will never make health care a human right. As long as the school-to-prison pipeline exists, we will never put a person on Mars.

Do you know how I know this? It is the most basic logic.

If we are incapable of solving this, then we are necessarily incapable of solving any of our other problems. The problems we face require a certain caliber of people to meet them, a people we have not yet become, and the only way for us to become the kind of people who are capable of solving those other problems is to finally address the problem that so many of us have most wished to avoid.

Many therapists will tell you that the thing you most avoid is the thing that requires your attention. Wherever it hurts most in you is where the key to your healing and advancement lies.

It is as though your foot is caught in a bear trap, and you have refused to look at it. You know it’s there. You know you’re stuck. It just hurts so much, and the trap closed so long ago. It’s a pleasant relief to gaze off at the horizon… eyes gently closing, dreaming…

… I have seen that dream all my life. It is perfect houses with nice lawns. It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long…

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A.M. Carter
Human Parts

A.M. Carter earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes about philosophy, science, politics and current events.