News & Politics

RootsCamp Hosts Panels on 'White Supremacy' in the Progressive Movement

On Saturday, the RootsCamp conference hosted a panel on “white supremacy” in the progressive movement. From reports on Twitter, it seemed more focused on letting people of color on stage in Democratic activism rather than a deep discussion about the Progressive movement’s racist history — or the targeting of black women for abortion.

Lucia Martínez, digital campaign manager at Free Press, tweeted thanks to “everyone who joined our session on white progressive f*ckery at [NetRoots 2018]!”

She shared a poster for the event entitled “White Progressive F*ckery (If you don’t think you need this session, you probably do.”

“Let’s have a conversation abouth [sic] white supremacy within the progressive movement: what does it look like , what are the impacts, and how can we dismantle it together?” the event description read. “This session will center the stories of people of color but we hope that white folks will join to listen, learn and strategize with us.”

Doug Foote, digital strategy director at Veracity Media, tweeted an unattributed quote.

“Often when these trainings teach you how to be the ‘right politician’ they mean the ‘white politician,'” a presenter said. “I can’t hide my blackness in order to get your votes.”

RootsCamp had a second panel on Saturday, specifically titled “Confronting White Supremacy in the Progressive Movement.”

Miriam-Webster defines “white supremacist” as “a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.”

A recent Yale study found that white liberals tend to condescend to African-Americans, presenting themselves as less competent and less educated. Despite this, the prominence of white politicians does not prove a mainstream “white supremacy” on either the Left or the Right.

Both political movements have many non-white leaders. Indeed, Democrats proudly hailed Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, and David Garcia as minority trailblazers in governor’s races in Georgia, Florida, and Arizona. Black veteran John James won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Michigan.

Ugly racism does exist in many corners of the country, however, and it seems the most despicable example is that of abortion marketed to black women. In the early years of the Progressive movement, abortion went hand in hand with eugenics, as activists like Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) demanded more babies for “the fit” and less for “the unfit.”

As late as 2018, billboards in Dallas and Cleveland specifically targeted black women for abortion.

A discussion on racism in the progressive movement would be incomplete without a mention of the “black genocide” of abortion. As of yet, no reports have confirmed that the subject came up at RootsCamp.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the panels took place at the NetRoots Nation conference. That is incorrect. RootsCamp is a separate progressive “unconference.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.