November 14, 2016 Dispatch #2 Day 6 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy and Misogyny (PAWSM)
Today I am particularly outraged that White Supremacy continues to get a pass in the discussions about the election of Trump. Instead of decrying Trump and Trumpism, we need to assert that Trump is just the latest expression of White Supremacy in America. Trump simply fanned the toxic flames of White Supremacy, the poisonous core of America’s emergence. We share with South Africa the distinction of a country founded on White Supremacy.
Ouch!! Surely using White Supremacy represents an exaggeration, posits too negative an assessment, asserts too harsh a judgment on our Country?! Really NO. To quote Joan Rivers, I scream “OH GROW UP!” It is long-past time for white people to recognize and understand this about America.
James Baldwin wrote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
White Supremacy/Nationalism masquerading as classism is NOT populism. The ascendancy of White Supremacy in the US cannot be minimized as the response of aggrieved people reacting to post-industrial world ruled by global capitalism. Words and language matter because they determine how we think, understand, and feel. This will determine whether strategies to destroy White Supremacy have any chance of success.
Resistance to normalizing begins with a clear understanding that:
“White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege. I. What does it mean to say it is a system? The most common mistake people make when they talk about racism is to think it is a collection of prejudices and individual acts of discrimination. They do not see that it is a system, a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a country. By not seeing that racism is systemic (part of a system), people often personalize or individualize racist acts. For example, they will reduce racist police behavior to “a few bad apples” who need to be removed, rather than seeing it exists in police departments all over the country and is basic to the society. This mistake has real consequences: refusing to see police brutality as part of a system, and that the system needs to be changed, means that the brutality will continue. The need to recognize racism as being systemic is one reason the term White Supremacy has been more useful than the term racism. They refer to the same problem but: A. The purpose of racism is much clearer when we call it “white supremacy.” Some people think of racism as just a matter of prejudice. “Supremacy” defines a power relationship. B. Race is an unscientific term. Although racism is a social reality, it is based on a term which has no biological or other scientific reality. C. The term racism often leads to dead-end debates about whether a particular remark or action by an individual white person was really racist or not. We will achieve a clearer understanding of racism if we analyze how a certain action relates to the system of White Supremacy. D. The term White Supremacy gives white people a clear choice of supporting or opposing a system, rather than getting bogged down in claims to be anti-racist (or not) in their personal behavior.” Foregoing appears at http://soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=482 .
How I see the trajectory of White Supremacy’s reaction to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s since Nixon’s election: State-sponsored or state-sanctioned assassinations of black leaders. A few examples include Fred Hampton, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X. Introduction of crack cocaine and guns into major black urban centers across the country. Murder of black activists at Attica Prison. Urban planning, especially transportation policies and support for white suburbs destroys urban black middle and working class neighborhoods. Due to differential penalties for drug violations, millions of blacks sent to prison for decades. Deliberate ongoing degradation of black urban neighborhoods results in destruction of black communities and families. Ongoing discovery of toxic waste and environmental poison located where concentrations of black people live. The intentional lead poisoning of black families in Flint Michigan that means permanent damage to children. Gee whiz, White Supremacy is tough.
Outrage is good, I am directing my RAGE outward and not inward. I am staying at the so-called second stage of GRIEF. OUTRAGE. No depression. No acceptance. ACTION
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ― Maya Angelou