Pacifists’ revising of history to remove examples of militant struggles against white supremacy cannot be divorced from a racism that is inherent in the pacifist position. It is impossible to claim support for, much less solidarity with, people of color in their struggles when unavoidable significant groups such as the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, the Brown Berets, and the Vietcong are actively ignored in favor of a homogeneous picture of anti-racist struggle that acknowledges only those segments that do not contradict the relatively comfortable vision of revolution preferred mostly by white radicals. Claims of support and solidarity become even more pretentious when white pacifists draft rules of acceptable tactics and impose them across the movement, in denial of the importance of race, class background, and other contextual factors.
The point is not that white activists, in order to be anti-racist, need to uncritically support any Asian, Latino, indigenous, or black resistance group that pops up. However, there is a Eurocentric universalism in the idea that we are all part of the same homogeneous struggle and white people at the heart of the Empire can tell people of color and people in the (neo)colonies the best way to resist. The people most affected by a system of oppression should be at the forefront of the struggle against that particular oppression, yet pacifism again and again produces organizations and movements of white people illuminating the path and leading the way to save brown people, because the imperative of nonviolence overrides the basic respect of trusting people to liberate themselves. Whenever white pacifists concern themselves with a cause that affects people of color, and resisters among the affected people of color do not conform to the particular definition of nonviolence in use, the white activists place themselves as the teachers and guides, creating a dynamic that is remarkably colonial.