Dispatch #74 July 4th 2020
Day 1332 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1260 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy- Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
On this July 4th (and Dispatch 7/4), the Righteous of Reparations for Black Americans requires that the “white privilege” approach to getting white people woke about White Supremacy be discarded as wholly inadequate and quite frankly enabling white ignorance.
Preceding Dispatches 71-73 give the compelling support for this position:
- White people are wholly and completely ignorant about the lived experience of Black people in America – white people generally have zero context with which to grasp their white privilege.
- A focus on their privilege encourages white people to take white supremacy personally, i.e., I’m not racist, instead of grasping the structural/systemic nature of white supremacy. Poor and working-class white people don’t feel particularly privileged…..and white supremacy teaches them to accept their economic disadvantages because at least they are white and better than black people.
- White people must instead school themselves about the 150 years of lived experience of Black people under White Supremacy…surely white people will have the capacity for empathy that comes with knowledge through narratives.
- White people must see/understand the historical facts of billions of dollars systematically stolen from Black people and the violent policing/terrorism inflicted on Black people….this social and economic terrorism continues to this moment.
- White people must support Reparations because these amends are overdue to Black people – as Hannah-Jones asserts, Reparations are not about taking from white people but about helping Black people recover from the consequences of living/surviving in white supremacist America.
I couldn’t be more disdainful about the recent New York Times editorial by Darren Walker President of the Ford Foundation titled “Are You Willing to Give Up Your Privilege? Philanthropy alone won’t save the American dream.” Walker gives a nod to the notion that corporations must rethink their singular commitment to profits and investor largesse and asserts that the corporate folks must be willing to give up their privilege earned under US capitalism. www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/opinion/black-lives-matter-corporations.html?
REALLY!?!? The privilege ‘earned’ under US capitalism resulted from an economic system designed to flourish on free human labor/slavery, lands stolen from indigenous peoples, and the ready availability of disposable/exploitable workers. Privilege is a sanitized smokescreen for brutal and merciless power wielded to accumulate wealth by imposing oppression, injustice and economic exploitation. White people who are ground down by brutal global/US capitalism have been encouraged to believe that black people are lazy, don’t work as hard as white people, and take advantage of welfare.
Whatever ‘giving up [white] privilege’ might mean, what is owed to Black people is so much more. We must wield strong clear blunt language that creates bold and transformational action.
On a scrap of paper in the archive is written
I have forgotten my umbrella. Turns out
in a pandemic everyone, not just the philosopher,
is without. We scramble in the drought of information
held back by inside traders. Drop by drop. Face
covering? No, yes. Social distancing? Six feet
under for underlying conditions. Black.
Just us and the blues kneeling on a neck
with the full weight of a man in blue.
Eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
In extremis, I can’t breathe gives way
to asphyxiation, to giving up this world,
and then mama, called to, a call
to protest, fire, glass, say their names, say
their names, white silence equals violence,
the violence of again, a militarized police
force teargassing, bullets ricochet, and civil
unrest taking it, burning it down. Whatever
contracts keep us social compel us now
to disorder the disorder. Peace. We’re out
to repair the future. There’s an umbrella
by the door, not for yesterday but for the weather
that’s here. I say weather but I mean
a form of governing that deals out death
and names it living. I say weather but I mean
a November that won’t be held off. This time
nothing, no one forgotten. We are here for the storm
that’s storming because what’s taken matters.
By Claudia Rankine