'Everything is racist these days' because white supremacy is as American as apple pie
Screenshot via Puzzle Warehouse

I see so many people complain about how "everything is racist these days" and "people just blame white supremacy for everything."

Yeah. You know why? Because racism and white supremacy actually are infused and embedded into almost everything in our country. We're just finally starting to acknowledge it.

And by "we," I mean white folks.

(To be clear, when I talk about white supremacy, I'm not just talking about the extremist/Neo-Nazi/KKK hate groups. I'm referring to the notion, conscious or unconscious, that white people are preferable, better, more deserving, or otherwise superior to non-white people—a notion that was widely accepted among white people throughout American history.)

The vast majority of people of color in America already know this to be true and have always known it to be true. White Americans, by and large, have been ignorant, oblivious, or in denial about how America's legacy of white supremacy impacts us.

There's a reason for this:


We cannot separate our most celebrated history from white supremacy in any sort of honest way. And that's really uncomfortable for a lot of us.

We can't get away from the fact that white supremacy built this country. Our founders wrote racism into the Constitution. Our economy relied on the violent oppression of people of color for centuries. That is our history.

The fact is that those great men—and yes, they were great in many ways—who established our republic were mostly overt or passive white supremacists. Even beloved Abraham Lincoln, opposer of slavery and father of the Emancipation Proclamation, thought the white race was superior and didn't believe in equal rights for black people.

That sucks. We like the feeling of pride and patriotism that comes with what we were taught in school. We love hearing about the brave souls who fled tyranny and founded a new nation built on liberty, freedom, and the idea that "all men are created equal." We like that simple story.

The fact that slavery directly flew in the face of liberty and freedom, and the fact that what they really meant was "all white men are created equal," feels gross now. Icky. Yuck. So we ignore it. We downplay our foundation of white supremacy. We say "that was in the past, it doesn't matter now."

But here's the thing: it does matter now. Because practically every socioeconomic disparity between whites and minorities in this country can be traced back to white supremacist policies and practices.

We could talk about the psychological and economic effects of hundreds of years of slavery, and we definitely should. But we don't even have to go back that far. Modern history offers plenty of examples of white supremacist laws, policies, and practices. I'm talking about stuff that happened during my parents' lifetime. (Both of my parents are still living, and they aren't even that old.)

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Segregation, redlining, public housing policies, unjust lending practices, etc. were all based in white supremacy and happened during current Americans' lifetimes. And they still impact non-white communities today. (Some excellent reading on that here.)

And that's just the big stuff that impacts groups of people. We haven't even gotten into the how white supremacy affects us all as individuals.

Think about this: When kids of all races look at a poster of U.S. presidents in their classrooms, they see a sea of white faces with one lone face of color. That means something.

Screenshot via Puzzle Warehouse

It means the power in this country has always been held by white men. That's our reality. But it didn't just naturally happen that way. White men purposely and systematically maintained that power and withheld it from others. (That is is not an attack on white men, by the way, just well-documented history.)

The message Americans get from an early age, simply by looking at a poster of our presidents, is that white = power. (Also male = power, but that's a whole other discussion.) Throughout our education, we are presented with this visual representation of historical white supremacy, which also serves to reinforce the notion of white supremacy. Weird, right?

We don't directly teach white supremacy; it is learned subconsciously. And we obviously can't change history, but we can certainly change how it's taught. If we don't purposefully address the racism woven into America's fabric—if we don't bring it up and talk about it and directly counter it—the notion that white = power just keeps being reinforced by the dominant narrative of history.

Some say we're talking about race and racism too much these days. They point to our single non-white president as evidence that racism is over. But all his lone face did was bring the racism that white folks imagined had disappeared after the Civil Rights Movement back into the light. It forced us to look at it. It forced us to talk about it.

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The constant racist attacks on that president should have made it obvious that racism wasn't dead. The rise in blatant white supremacist activity as a reaction to his election should have been a clue that we're not past it.

Racism lives, not because we talk about it too much, but because we still haven't talked about it enough.

But it's uncomfortable. And it's hard. White folks largely don't like to look at or talk about how much white supremacy has impacted us because it means that we have a role and responsibility in dismantling it. It's far easier to pretend it doesn't exist. It's far easier to say, "That's just white guilt," or "I don't see color" or "The law says we're all equal now," and ignore the fact that there are people alive who used whites-only drinking fountains. It's easier to pretend that the Civil Rights Act changed everyone's hearts, despite the fact that a good portion of the country (and lawmakers) opposed it.

The roots of white supremacy are still enmeshed in our society, in our politics, and in our daily lived experiences as Americans. We may have cut the weed off at the surface by enacting laws against discrimination, but we have never dug deep enough to actually uproot the racism and white supremacy that has dominated our culture for centuries. To pretend that isn't true is simply dishonest.

So yeah, the reason "everything is racist these days" is because we're finally having the conversations we always should have had—about how racism manifests in both overt and subtle ways, how most race-related issues in America actually do go back to white supremacy, and how we can go about mending what was broken over centuries.

You can rant about everything being about race. You can keep trying to deny that white supremacy is a much more abiding influence on our society than is generally acknowledged.

But these needed conversations are going to keep on chugging along. Hop on the train or move off the tracks.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.