by Wendy-O Matik
Because of white privilege,
I decline to accept any position of power or authority,
in the workplace and in other areas of my life.
Because of white supremacy,
I will shut up and listen when people of color speak.
Because of the mis-education around white superiority,
I pledge to read books by people of color
on the topics of race, class, sex , gender, and so on,
and distribute copies to my white friends and family.
Because of white domination,
I made the decision as a young adult to never breed.
I will not be a part of perpetuating the white race
in any way, shape or form.
Because of white people’s inability to tolerate racial stress,
I will not give into anger, fear, and guilt,
or behaviors such as argumentation, silence or leaving,
simply because I experience pain or discomfort.
I will face my discomfort and show up, again and again,
to be present, listen, be accountable, and be compassionate.
Because of a dominant white culture,
I pledge to support more voices, artists, activists, and writers
of marginalized people in media.
Because of the white savior mentality,
I recognize how white people assert their superiority
by perpetuating stories of the white hero—
always here to save the brown people.
Coming to theaters nearest you.
Because of white psychopathology of specialness,
I am offended and disgusted by the ways in which white people
fetishize, eroticize, and mysticize people of color.
Because of white colonialism,
I will not participate in any military service,
nor will I own property.
I am also grossly aware that my taxes pay
for global racial genocide,
so I am still seeking solutions to this dilemma.
Because of white denial around entitlement,
I will be outspoken about issues concerning
racism, racial terror, racial profiling, racially motivated police brutality
and racial hate crimes.
Because of white systemic advantages,
I am aware of the rewards afforded me because of my whiteness–
institutionally, educationally, economically, socially, politically, environmentally—
and I will refute arguments based on merit.
Because of white racial codes,
I will be hyper-vigilant and on the look-out for racially coded language
that continues to demonize, denigrate, dehumanize
and disrespect people of color.
Because of white dominated environments,
at work, in the media, at home, at school,
in the police force, in government, and elsewhere,
I will take special care of keeping my whiteness in-check,
and helping to maintain safe space for people of color,
including my own exclusion
to ensure their safety.
Wendy-O Matik is a poet, writer, activist, and the author of Love Like Rage and Redefining Our Relationships. Back in the 90s, she could be found doing spokenword in the Bay Area punk scene and touring with various punk bands in the US, Canada, U.K, Australia, and New Zealand. Today, she lives on an organic farm in Santa Rosa, CA, where she has coauthored nine mindfulness meditation books and still dabbles in poetry from time to time.