Intro to Nazi-fighting: Tips and Tricks for Average White People
So you’ve recently become aware of white supremacists in your midst. Perhaps your neighborhood was recently flyered or you stumbled upon some shocking internet comments about Michelle Obama.
Suddenly you’re realizing that the world is not the place you thought it was. You’re waking up to a truth that people of color and marginalized communities have always known: we live in a racist, white supremacist society. That was true in 1860. It was true in 1954. And it’s true today.
It’s OK if you’re late to the party. You’re here now, and that’s the most important thing. But now that you’re awake, it’s time to work.
We get it. White supremacy is a big problem. It feels insurmountable. The more you learn, the bigger it gets. And it’s scary. Nazis! You may not know where to start, and that’s OK too. The point is, you just have to start doing.
We don’t have all the answers. We don’t always get it right (we’re just a bunch of average white people who happen to really hate Nazis.) But we’ve learned a lot in our efforts to drive Nazis out of Tacoma, and we’d like to share some of the things we’ve figured out along the way.
Take personal responsibility - Sorry, friends. Simply not being a fascist yourself is not good enough. We each have a responsibility to be actively and deliberately anti-fascist. If you see something, DO something. It’s the work of white people to dismantle white supremacy.
Action > inaction - Don’t get stuck trying to find the perfect action. If there was one perfect, magical action that would send neo-Nazis running for the hills, we wouldn’t be writing this blog post. Try something. If it works, try it again. If it doesn’t, try something else. It’s OK to start small, as long as you start somewhere. Some of the tactics we’ve employed include:
Staging non-violent community rallies outside of a Nazi-run tattoo parlor
Canvassing impacted neighborhoods to meet the community, raise awareness and share our efforts
Writing letters, calling and emailing the tattoo parlor’s landlord (if you’re going to fight white supremacists, don’t forget about the systems and the people who empower them)
Collecting and destroying white supremacist flyers
Erecting a billboard to raise community awareness of our local neo-Nazi groups
Engaging local bars and restaurants to educate them about local white supremacist groups and arm them with anti-fascist window signage
Change doesn’t happen on the Internet - Posting “this hurts my heart” on Facebook ain’t gonna stop any Nazis. Neither will thoughts or prayers. Raising awareness through social media is a great place to start, but it can’t be the end. This fight requires us to show up in person in public - again, and again, and again.
Stand up even when you’re scared - Speaking out against white supremacists is scary business. We get it. You know what else is scary? Being a person of color in a community that has been targeted by neo-Nazis. We believe it’s a privilege to hide. That’s why we feel called to show up with our bodies and our reputations.
Ignorance is not bliss - If we had a nickel for every time a well-meaning progressive white person suggested we ignore the neo-Nazis and they’ll go away, we’d have … a lot of nickels. It sounds reasonable, right? And would definitely let us off the hook. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. We’ve all been ignoring this problem for decades, and guess what? It hasn’t gone away. When we speak out, we shine light in the darkness. Watch the cockroaches scurry!
Educate yourself - Learn about white supremacist groups in the United States and your local area. Familiarize yourself with tools like the Anti-Defamation League’s database of hate symbols. Share your newfound knowledge with friends and family.
You may feel overwhelmed, and unsure of where to start. We get it - we’ve been there. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Indiana Jones isn’t going to show up and finish the job - that’s on each and every one of us.