Thanks so much for this article. I’m just starting to look at your posts, and they are truly excellent. As a NBPOC (different background than Rao), I remember feeling relief when she said this publicly, because she was calling out white supremacy.
I had to stop to think about my relief, and how it seems to be countered by general, group Whitethink behavior (regardless of individual white people who may be allies) and once again noticed that White people as a group tend to behave as if they reflect the core of white supremacy: us against them, without asking why human beings who consider themselves equal may want to be treated that way. ‘Whiteness’ is the original crime; why is it surprising that nonwhite people would push against it, and then give up after centuries of no response?
I heard Rao say: I understand White Supremacy. I think she understands the binary White v. Black, with the rest of us in between. Because the general population is not responding, she put the stark, binary truth out there: that Whiteness is so stubborn we may need a different tack. This threatens the White population because they get to control the process: quality, rate, etc — and as a group, they think equality is going too fast. Of course, this means that Black people are continually subordinated, with NBPOC’s somewhere in between.
These White people, as a group, proved that she was right by responding in exactly the way she implied they respond — becoming defensive — which provokes the ‘let’s give up’ to begin with.
The general White response, in this case, did Rao’s work for her.