That Is What White Supremacists Look Like

And reader, they’re also in you. 

If you gave me a pencil and a paper, I could very likely draw out how I remember the faces of the 9/11 attackers. Their mugs splattered on every. single. news. channel. I was 12 when news stations said to me, “This is what terrorists look like.” “Be afraid of people who look like them.” Again and again. I realize as a kid, I was. 

A few years later, when my older brother went through the emergency exit of a train station because his Metro Card wouldn’t work after swiping me, a police officer reminded me of who I should be afraid of. Nothing serious happened. But his attitude and aggression for a minor offense was enough. There was an incident on my bike, an argument on a corner, July 4th, many friends who denied how I felt and stories from Black friends and family that are too long and disruptive to articulate. These events taught me a lot about the micro terrorism that happens on a daily basis to people. One that wishes to break the spirit of Black and brown people everywhere. The events have been willfully accepted. White supremacy is willfully accepted and upheld by many.

Months ago, I listened to The Daily, where white people in Portland and in the south alike, spoke about their need to “protect themselves” after the election. Somehow they were afraid of us. The us, that don’t drive pickup trucks circling polling stations in NYC with a Trump flag hanging out, in an attempt to intimidate. The us, that watch countless of innocent Black men, women, and children, get hurt and killed at the hands of not only police, but people who look like seemingly “normal” white people, with little to no government retribution.

Reverend Warnock and Jon Osoff won two Georgia Senate seats held by racist white people yesterday. That afternoon when trying to shift away from the discomfort caused by terrorists, I kept coming back to Reverend Warnock’s instagram post, “Joy Comes In The Morning.” It is something my grandmother and mother used to say when I was a child. Something that is sewn into the pews and souls of Black people. Joy comes in the morning, is a resounding call to resist. To protect. And to stay willing and open to receive joy, despite the attempts of destablizing hurt and pain. 

There are no photos to show on this space of yesterday. For some of us, Joy comes in the morning. 

24 thoughts on “That Is What White Supremacists Look Like

  • Reply Annie January 7, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Well said LaTonya. Any pretending that we have a united nation is over. Yesterday, people everywhere witnessed that we unequivocally have two Americas – a black one and a white one. I stand in solidarity with you to fight for a better America and wait for that joy.

    • Reply latonya January 7, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you, Annie. Well said.

      • Reply Nicole January 7, 2021 at 11:27 pm

        I’m working hard everyday to teach my children. To love. To help. To teach. To care. To stand up. May all the children of this nation (actually any nation) be able to walk outside with joy in their hearts and their eyes. Every. Single. Day. Thank you; always!

        • Reply Nicole January 7, 2021 at 11:28 pm

          Whoops. Didn’t mean to sub comment 🙂

        • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

          Thank you, Nicole!


  • Reply Dame January 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Yes. I was thinking about this again today on my morning walk — it continues to be the elephant in the room, and frankly, that America that many still choose to believe in? I don’t believe it ever was. May you continue to be well, be safe, and feel joy.❤️

  • Reply Kristi Houk January 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Beautiful piece. Thank you, Latonya.

  • Reply Melody January 7, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Ayyy, LaTonya. Thank you for speaking truth to both the immediate – that this is an act of terrorism (!) – and the deeper matter of racisim and prejudice prevading our everyday lives and our own minds.

    I’m not a black or brown woman (I’m Chinese American), but I resonate with much of what you shared. I grew up in the deep south and am still trying to unlearn invisibility and alienness (the number of times I have been asked “What are you? Are you people?” or been told “You are my first Asian [sighting]”). I was a high school teacher in New York and had a similar metro station incident (it felt like adrenaline then to tell the police officers to back off my students, but given the way it still makes me tremble, I know now that it was anger with a core of sadness) .

    The thing is, I don’t feel joy this morning. Yesterday I was able to be a voice of calm and confidence in friend text threads. But this morning when I woke up, I felt my spiritual body bruised and so tired. So. I’ll repeat this saying as a mantra until I can connect to hope again. Thank you. Be well!

    • Reply latonya January 13, 2021 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Melody, i 1000% hear you and it is OKAY! I was def. whiplashed drained by end of week and into the new one. It is all quite difficult. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Reply Rosalie January 7, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    This is well said. Thank you for your time and energy in writing this. Your words are so important, always.

  • Reply Emily January 7, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Couldn’t of said it better myself. It’s embarrassing to be an American with all the clowns running around. Doing my best to stay hopeful in 2021 but wow… Stay safe and always thank you for sharing. Xxx

    • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you for reading, Emily

  • Reply Berlinda January 7, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Marissa Huber January 7, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. <3 Joy as resistance comes to mind.

    • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Yes, Yes, exactly!

  • Reply Debbie January 8, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Your comments are why we are divided

    • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Debbie, i only approved your comment to show people how ignroance likes to disguise itself as truth. That alone is the source of any “division” you reference. Wish you well with all that.


      • Reply Debbie January 8, 2021 at 7:56 pm

        So you can say what you want based on what you “know.” If you don’t agree you will not approve. Some of us are just people who are good people despite what color. Why can’t we look at people as good or bad and not base it on color? Maybe once we do that things will change…

        • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm

          Debbie, despite what people may assume, I have a right to not approve comments that spread misinformation. (i:e I am the cause). White supremacy is real.

          Good luck

  • Reply Debbie January 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    And ignorance is one-sided

    • Reply latonya January 8, 2021 at 8:04 pm

      Never a better time for someone to read a book or two or three, I suppose. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply Barbara January 9, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Thank you, Latonya. I can’t imagine the energy it took to write this post. I’m an older white woman from GA who has spent the past few years trying to uncover and root out the racism and white supremacy that lives in me. Debbie, “good people” who don’t see color are part of why the huge divide and horrible acts of violence against Black people continue. Please consider educating yourself to the history and ongoing terror white people inflict upon our Black sisters and brothers.

  • Reply Tara January 17, 2021 at 12:22 am

    Well said Barbara & LaTonya!

  • Reply TM January 17, 2021 at 1:31 pm


    By that “logic”… you can kindly let those who held the Capitol of the United State hostage during that attack know that they should stop focusing on their whiteness and using it for violence. “Maybe once we do that, things will change”…as you put it yourself.

    Also, “ignorance is one-sided”. What moralistic, trite words, wielded in such a pathetic fashion.

    (Written by a white non-American who sees you, Debbie, and your ilk for what you are.)

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