Last year, following the presidential election, I wrote a column suggesting that people who identify as White consider working in their own families and communities to address the racism and bigotry that helped to put Donald Trump in office. I asked what if the well-intentioned White allies who have moved to urban centers to “help” communities of color had instead remained in their own communities — however racially regressive and intolerable — and worked to make them better at engaging in race relations.
I later discussed two communities doing this kind of work. In Maine, a Truth & Reconciliation Commission investigated how generations of Native children had been taken from their homes, against the wishes of their families, and placed in foster care with White families. From that process came the organization Maine Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural group that worked to implement suggestions that came out of the commission to help heal that community. And the Truth-Telling Project, founded in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police-killing of Michael Brown, is not only working within its community to address police violence enacted on the mostly Black community, but also with White communities in other states. The TTP is helping them with their approach to truth-telling in their local areas, and unlearning racism.
My thinking is this: Our best hope for changing deep-rooted attitudes that perpetuate racism and White supremacy is for people from similar backgrounds to work together toward that end. Conversations between people with shared life experiences could perhaps more effectively change minds and, ultimately, behaviors. This is a strategy of Redneck Revolt.
The self-described anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-fascist group was founded in the summer of 2016 to challenge working-class White people to stand against White supremacy.
In an open letter called “To Other Working Americans,” Redneck Revolt put out a call for its fellow working-class rural White people to…