Is "white supremacy culture" a thing?


Dear Reader,

I saw a really great talk last week about space weather by Dr. Chigomezyo Ngwira, and you can read my tweets about it here. His talk convinced me that space weather is a pretty exciting field of research, with really important social implications. He also reminded me that the sun is ENORMOUS. (See figure above; the earth is so tiny compared to a solar flare!)

In today’s update, I just want to share some news about The Disordered Cosmos and also answer the question: is there such a thing as white supremacy culture?

Updates from The Disordered Cosmos

New reviews — all very positive! Undark, New Scientist, and Nature Astronomy (paywalled version). Please read and circulate!

Tomorrow, I’m doing a free event at 7 PM BST/2 PM EDT with Adam Ferner where we will be talking philosophy and The Disordered Cosmos.

Friday at 8 PM EDT, I’ll be in conversation with Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz) about her amazing new essay collection White Magic, at Loyalty Books. Register here. Grab a copy of White Magic and The Disordered Cosmos from Loyalty Books while you’re at it.

Sunday May 9 at 8 PM and 11 PM EDT, you can find an hour with me on C-SPAN! Yes, policy TV.

Also, if you’re a member of the US Chess Federation and a woman and/or gender minority, mark your calendar for a May 21 #DisorderedCosmos focused edition of the Madwoman’s Book Club.

Yesterday, a new interview with me about The Disordered Cosmos that was on the front page of CNN’s website for most of the day. Please do me a favor and read it and circulate it! And tell your friends at the Los Angeles Times that this East L.A. girl and her book deserve a feature. Thanks for all of your help spreading the word about the book — without grassroots support, a book like mine can really fly under the radar.

Is there such a thing as white supremacy culture?

I’m not actually going to answer this myself but rather point everyone to Jill Lee’s writing. In this piece, “Planting Seeds: There is no white supremacy culture,” Lee points out:

The bad news is that there is, and there can be, no definitive documentation of white supremacy culture because the manifestation of white supremacy is so elusive, opportunistic, adaptive, and context-dependent that it defies description within a cultural framework. So much so that even the very “un-white,” introspective, self-deprecating attempts by white people to name and define white supremacy culture can be weaponized against people of color.

Take, for example, the rejection of emotion so popularly attributed to whiteness . . . Are white people really more reluctant to show emotion? Are people of color the more emotional decision-makers? It's true that, in situations where justice requires attentiveness and space given to the emotions of those affected, the emotions of people of color are often invalidated and even used against them. However, in situations where justice requires reserve and logic, white people can easily hijack the process and bring their emotions to the center of attention.

. . . In the end, it is never about the presence or absence of emotion, nor is it about the respect or disrespect toward emotion. It is about whose emotion, and under a white supremacist system, white emotions are validated and accommodated while the emotions of people of color are suppressed and disregarded.

Examples of the prioritization of white emotions over the emotions of people of color—over the lives of people of color, even—abound and are painful to recount.



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