1. It is white supremacy when a racist, adult white male shoots and kills an unarmed black teen, and claims that he is taking out the trash.
I just read the headline of an article that read something like “Suspected White Supremacist Brought in for Murder of Black Teen”. The headline speaks for itself: a fully-grown white man is being charged with murdering an unarmed 15 year-old African American boy. The man (whose name I need not mention, because he is no one of true consequence) expressed no remorse and even went as far as to tell police that he had done everyone a favor by getting rid of “trash”. I’m sure you’re just as speechless as I am. There’s just…so much there, it’s mind-bobbling. But instead of analyzing all the elements of this specific event, what I’ll to do is address what’s pulsing beneath its surface, because as we have witnessed these past few CENTURIES, it’s obviously not an isolated incident. No, not by a goddamn long shot! So it behooves us to address what’s really at root here, because the sinister alternative is that this kind of thing will just keep repeating itself over and over again because, remember: history is a broken record a broken record a broken record.
Okay, so the first thing that comes to mind about this particular article is the statement “suspected white supremacist”. The language here is important. When the article mentions a “suspected white supremacist”, we can all agree that what it’s actually saying is that there is SUSPICION that this man, or rather, this flaming piece of shit (hereafter referred to as FPOS) might either be affiliated with, or is a member of, some kind of white nationalist movement. But a perhaps not so subtle disservice is being done here in the name of language. A white supremacist is not simply someone who happens to be part of some white nationalist movement or organized belief system: it is a tendency, a system of privileged reflexes- an active or inactive ideological constant. White supremacy is defined by the OED as the “belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.” The definition alone identifies this FPOS as a white supremacist, whether or not he forms part of such an organization. Do you understand?
In action and speech, the man identifies himself. There is no room for confusion. We either see it or we shield our eyes. I mean, he MURDERED an UNARMED black teen who simply bumped into him and then went on with his life as if nothing had actually happened, again, telling cops that he had just gotten rid of trash. Every aspect of this demonstrates that because he was white, he felt that he was much more qualitatively valuable than Means. There is nothing to suspect here; he is the very definition of white supremacy.
2. Contrary to its use in popular culture, white supremacy does not just pertain to simply white nationalist extremist organizations, but is embedded in our everyday perceptions.
Ideally, we should be using language to communicate effectively, not to obfuscate already unclear events, or further blur already blurry minds. Perhaps making a distinction between “institutionalized white supremacy” and white supremacy in general, will help people focus more on the meaning of the latter, and its insistent, but somehow not fully recognized, prevalence in our country. Because unfortunately, this is what most people think about when they hear “white supremacy”; they think of the KKK, the Aryan Brotherhood, Nazis, the Alt-Right, etc., which makes it even more difficult for people to see it in themselves. And that matters so fucking hard, it’s incredible! Think about it: the very notion of “white supremacy” is a BELIEF, but it is commonly incorrectly defined, and I believe this is just a deep convenience to most people, whether or not they may be aware of it. If I were to say that some FPOS is a white supremacist -provided the individual is not an already self-affirming, “institutionalized” racist shitbag-, I might hear a scoff and an obvious “I’m not in the KKK, asshole!” But if we’re to really start considering what it means, then perhaps people might start reflecting on how much it APPLIES rather than on how much it does not. Feel me?
So how DOES it apply? We can see that the term carries a lot of weight and because it has been almost exclusively associated with institutionalized white supremacy, no one wants to admit to the effects of a more quotidian white supremacy. One thing is to call someone a racist (or to say that what they say sounds racist- thanks Jay Smooth), but it’s quite another thing to call someone a white supremacist; it almost comes off as unacceptable and irrational particularly due to the association just cited. Because of this grave connotation, it is therefore more likely to be denied.
3. White supremacy is an ideological system that is used for coping with deep feelings of insecurity.
White supremacy is a shortcut that keeps people from identifying deep feelings of pain and insignificance. The historical, or evolutionary, rationale is a bogus one with no basis in reality whatsoever, as you will see. One can paint any picture and see any angle, provided they augment some facts at the expense of others. White supremacy hopes to receive respect and priority simply by virtue of skin tone and historical bias. Think about that. You have less melanin and an odd fantasy, ergo, you should be first in line? Weird, right?
We are all products of our own insecurities and because we are a coping civilization –otherwise we’d probably all implode- we become products of our own fantasies. In other words, you don’t have to be a white nationalist or organized racist to be a white supremacist. White supremacy is often embedded in a white person’s consciousness and if left unchecked and psychologically unexamined, can lead to socially reprehensible actions.
4. White supremacy, which is often unconsciously taught to us by family, friends, and society, is a way of claiming some kind of birthright that says, “I belong here more than you.”
White supremacy masks a deeply debilitating insecurity, a feeling of inferiority that is hyperbolically projected as superiority. It’s almost like a racial Napoleon Complex. The sentiment is “I have learned that I can claim dominance over you as a birthright because I am white, pure, right, good. So when I feel less than you, I will cash in that acknowledgement.” A white person under the influence of white supremacy always has access to this rationale whenever he feels a sense of envy or insecurity against an other. It is a foolproof way of feeling that no matter what, he will be okay because he is better than an other. Much of the time, breaking points have a way of demonstrating this. Here’s one recent example:
But though this illustration is helpful, my purpose here is not to call out white supremacists, necessarily, nor is it to help you find a more acceptable way of doing so. This post is more about highlighting what it is in actuality, how deeply embedded it is, and what we can probably do about it. It’s geared towards self-reflection rather than the condemnation of others. So as you read the next few paragraphs, keep in mind a very important point: I do not believe anyone should feel ashamed or guilty for being white. I repeat, there is nothing inherently wrong with being white. There are just some nuanced elements people need to consider and reconsider and re-reconsider on an interpersonal as well as social level, but I’ll go more into those particulars later on in the post.
5. Richard Spencer of the Alt-Right is an example of someone who is aware of the white supremacist tendencies that rule us without our being aware.
As already mentioned, white supremacy, at its core, is hinged on the idea that whites have more value than that of non-whites, particularly black folk. It is an outmoded psychological slave-owner mentality where instead of taking someone against their will, one now attempts to take respect and loyalty by force. It is the exchange of ease from one for the discomfort of another, and rests on the entirely irrational premise that respect is automatically due from others by virtue of some inborn right: that, ultimately, one belongs here more than another. For instance, a recent interview with ignoramus fuckhead Richard Spencer -who fancies himself some kind of ultra-rational “child of the sun” spokesperson for “pure whites”- attempted to make the claim that white people are superior because they are the architects of civilization, the resilient geniuses of our world. The only difference between Spencer and other, non-institutionalized individuals is that he is open about it. His ideas, however ridiculous and infantile, are on the outside while many of us still haven’t come to terms with how much they affect our decisions, ideas, and perceptions every single day.
The thing is, in the underground of the mind, a host of fucked up concepts peck at us from minute to minute without us being even the least bit aware. Spencer (hereafter referred to as “Dick”, for obvious reasons but also because that designation is already occupied by an actually brilliant thinker) is by no means a hero for this. After all, we all have troubling passions and instincts. Though we might want to kill our boss, we don’t do it- and those who DO aren’t necessarily heroes for carrying out those inner impulses: they just act on them and choose poorly, in the extreme. Having skewed ideas lurking in the corners of our minds doesn’t make us bad or immoral people. What matters is what we do, or don’t do, with those monsters -if you can even call them that. And part of that action, or inaction, starts with awareness. Being aware of our inner demons, worldviews, and philosophies is the first step towards growth. Just because I might see something dark in myself, of which I was not previously aware, does not necessarily mean I am obligated to BE that something. (You don’t stay there, personal growth and evolution dictates that you keep growing, integrating and transcending yourself. These people stay stuck in a loop and reinforce their sad, sour orbits.)
6. White supremacy, as it is traditionally understood, is a convenient fiction positing that whites are historically and evolutionarily better than other races.
So as demonstrated by Dick, white supremacy is based on the concept that whites have an inborn right by virtue of some arbitrarily justified historical precedent with no basis in reality whatsoever. Period. But, hold on…let’s flirt with Dick’s idea for a second. If you think about it, Dick is referring to Europeans and European Americans, right? Okay. He would then most likely be the first to look at historical accounts and say “here, the British Empire and Spanish colonization were perfect examples of white superiority”. Yet, when you stop to think about it, I’m pretty sure the inclusion of Spaniards among his designation of “superior whites” is nothing but a historical convenience, as his gaggle of white supremacist hens are most certainly not open to Hispanics.
Secondly, it’s hard to put members of the Alt-Right (or that “refined” institutional white supremacist posse) in the same category as that of several multi-cultured ACTUAL Europeans, many of whom speak several languages and are constantly exposed to other cultures, whereas most white supremacists that I can think of have never even left the country. Now, I’m not saying that European white supremacists don’t exist. Not at all. Of course they do and in abundance. But the Alt-Right claims Europeans, in general, as if they are speaking for scores of people who, mentally and emotionally, are eons away from that uncultured, preschool rhetoric.
Again, I get it, that’s a generalization- but I’m confident that the correlation between an open, racially-tolerable mind and leaving the actual fucking country, is a strong one. Not to mention that if you’re going to cite cultures that almost ruled the world, one must not forget the Mongolians, who for all their atrocities made other imperialist attempts pale in comparison, especially given that something like 1 in every 200 men is a descendant of Genghis Khan (certainly not for the right reasons but still).
And third, let’s not forget that spreading across the globe like a virus and destroying it under the pretense of reconstruction is not an indicator of greatness or superiority. It’s an indicator of being a callous, psychopathic prick…perhaps much like Dick, himself. Some might defend that, arguing that all comforts and conveniences that I currently enjoy are direct results of these white imperialist saviors and that I’m being ungrateful, but I’d have to retort with just taking a look around at the dank-as-fuck world we’re living in and say something like, “You’re taking credit for building this shit? You know humanity is not winning, right? Apples to apples that it might’ve been better had you not stuck your dick in the light-socket, so to speak.” It’s a terrible argument. If your husband paid your rent and fed you, is it therefore okay for him to beat the living shit out of you just because you should be grateful?
You see, you can call yourself the genius architect of civilization, but if that architecture relies on the sweat and pain of slaves, as well as other arrested peoples, I’m not sure you’re using the right terminology for yourself. Anyone can have an idea, but it takes a deep, unfeeling asshole to implement such plans at the cost of blood. You can certainly say that Europeans had an enormous influence on the entirety of the world -and that wouldn’t be wrong- but at the same time, and for many instances, it’s important to consider the cost of this. True victory is born of honor, which is not an arbitrary thing. Honor is the courage to live according to an honest appraisal of value. You can’t be truly victorious when you’re spitting blood in its face. You hear me? Think about it…if we’re playing a game of football, and I bring a machine gun to the field, mow down every opposing teammate and walk to the goal line, would you consider that winning? If I were up for promotion at a job and instead of earning the promotion, I killed the CEO and usurped his position, did I make it? If I cheat on a test, do I learn? If we’re playing cards, and I sneak aces into the deck, am I victorious? Some might say, with that boring defiant sass, that if you’re smart enough to find a loophole, then you’re smart enough to win and deserve the prize at stake. He may not know it, but THAT is at the center of Dick’s rationale.
When asked about who built this country’s railroads during an interview, a smug, evidently-sheltered Dick replied, “the white man”. And when challenged about the fact that it was mostly Asians who BUILT them, Dick countered that it was the white man who IDEATED the railroads and CONCEIVED of the strategy to use Asians for this purpose. And yes, he was proud to admit that- it’s as if he could not see the obvious moral abandon in his reasoning. His rationale was: yes, even if we cheat, we win. THAT is what we’re dealing with, people. A culture of minds who either don’t understand, or don’t care, that there are rules to the game and that those rules are not always just arbitrary little things. Much of the white European superiority garbage is based on the idea that white men have been the builders of our world, but this “superiority” is based on a willingness to hurt others, rape, kill, and take. Someone long ago discovered that if you can just dispense with moral value and respect for the sacredness of life, you can get anything, and Western Civilization itself, for the most part, is based on that idea.
7. Traits that ignore, exploit, or disavow traits such as empathy, cooperation, and mindfulness are not indicators of superiority as it has often been understood by certain parts of Western Civilization.
And it’s so fitting to be writing about this today, on Thanksgiving, because according to records, when Europeans first got here, the indigenous folk that greeted them did not share their concepts of ownership. Land and its bounty belonged to everyone and cooperation was the default setting- in most cases. Furthermore, these folk were peaceful and inviting. It was only a matter of time before those default virtues were exploited, anointing our history in blood. Our civilization rests on that kind of exchange. You didn’t win the game, Dick; you broke it. And that’s no virtue. One might attempt to rationalize this by going even further back and citing our animalistic roots by way of some lazy “survival of the fittest” gospel, but even there, they’d fall flat on their faces, ignoring eons of evolution.
To say, “well, at least we’re smart enough to get what we want even if it means breaking the rules” and then cite survival as a motivator is to conveniently ignore all the developments of the human brain so far. It’s to neglect this very useful and flattering thing called a neocortex that is plopped on the tops of our brains. It’s a convenient argument that says “getting ahead at the expense of others is true survival and that’s how we’ve made it so far”, implying that high value functions like empathy, respect, honor, and mindfulness are somehow weakening to the evolving entity.
This is the grand misconception. We have made it this far and now it’s time to keep evolving. Someone who is mindful and empathethic is more equipped for survival than someone who is not. If we’re to ask how this is so, off the top of my head, I’d have to say that the emotional rapport and rich, wholesome experiences gained from being empathethic results in a happier more fulfilled person, which directly reduces unnecessarily aggression, negativity, and intolerance (i.e. ahem…WAR). I’d also say that those values help us be and feel safer. Not to mention that such positive expressions make us all more resourceful- the sharing of skills, ideas, and materials would be much more common. Empathy means that we evolve more both as individuals and as a society towards more productive goals.
8. There is nothing wrong with being white, just as there is nothing wrong with being any other race, color, or creed; there is nothing to be ashamed of.
But again, I do want to reiterate-and this is mostly for those of you who have already long jumped to the conclusion that this post is just like any other “liberal” post that “gets off” on “villainizing” white people; there is nothing wrong with being white. Some white folk nowadays are upset that addressing white racism is giving off the impression that white people are inherently bad and that being white is something to be ashamed of. And there is some truth to this sentiment given that many individuals, in an attempt to become allies and develop an awareness of this country’s state of affairs, do resort to bouts of self-hate and self-recrimination, often even admitting to others that they regret being white. This sentiment, which in many cases, is merely a way of highlighting the shame they feel for being associated, by virtue of their skin color/culture to the reprehensible behaviors and myopic outlooks of others. I get that, but don’t think that’s necessarily the way to go about it.
Those individuals who are angered by the fact that people seem to be equating white with “bad” are correct to be angry because, of course, white does not equal “bad” (in the same way that black, or any other fucking color, does not equal “bad”). But it’s important to point out that there is an interesting reversal here, a certain rather striking irony. Individuals upset that white is being equated with shame and negativity are, without realizing it, experiencing a sliver of the very stigma that people of color deal with on a daily basis. Without realizing it, many are experiencing what it feels to be shamed for who they are by other individuals who are generalizing and leaning to similarly broad conclusions. If someone is proud to wave an American flag, it does not automatically follow that they are racist, backwards Trump supporting, gun touters who belittle women, and beat on their kids. Though there is a kernel of truth to all stereotypes -and certainly some people may wave their flags in defiance of certain decencies or protests that they ignorantly disavow due to fears of change and ostracism from their peers- nothing is ever so clear cut and there are subtleties to everything. (One should be able to wave their flag without having to fear being called a racist, for instance.)
9. The frustration of feeling like “white is bad” is but a tiny sliver of a fraction of what is feels like to be a person of color in this country.
Yet, for those who are upset that “everyone’s making white people out to be bad”, I sympathize with you, of course- but you’re still not off the hook. It all still matters. Consider that sense of indignation and the anger it inspires in YOU- now think about groups of people experiencing the EXACT same thing, except multiply that by like 3,000 for a duration of decades upon decades. Now, that which you are feeling is only a FRACTION of what people of color are often subjected to every single day of their lives, their culture, and race JUST for being born. Except that in our case, we’re not just subtly villainized and made complicit in this negativity. No, we’re actually harassed, badmouthed, systematically oppressed, and hung for it by angry mobs who feel that THEY’RE getting the shit-end of the stick. As pissed as you may be about the whole thing- this should matter to you, and you know what, I suspect that it does.
So where I do see your point that white does not automatically equal bad and that there is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage in the same way that others are proud of theirs, that anger and discomfort you feel should perhaps inspire you to sympathize with other races who are receiving that treatment magnified to a dramatic degree by other shitsacks using your heritage as an excuse for their irresponsible behavior. Again, for the millionth time I repeat, there is nothing wrong with being white in the same way that there is nothing wrong with being black, brown, pink or goddamn magenta! There is nothing wrong with being proud of one’s heritage, one’s history, culture and identity. NO ONE should have to feel guilt or regret for their origins or skin color. Compassion for all humans is what matters and we need to take care of ourselves as one, without resorting to cheap tricks and excuses as to why one person deserves a bigger slice of the pie.
One does not need to become desensitized to the existence of racism simply because they are upset that “everyone” seems to be demonizing their whiteness. Nor should one stop being an ally and fighting for the freedom of others simply because others are making them feel ashamed for their skin color. There are degrees of understanding and nothing need be binary. Many of these individuals, who are frustrated for feeling like they cannot be proud of their culture, will largely ignore the reality of racism by their peers as a result. Jaded by these imposed feelings of shame and guilt, they turn a blind eye, justify, and minimize these events, trying to find ways to explain a situation away with such claims as “They’re always making it about race” or “What about cops lives? Don’t they matter?” According to many these individuals, Zimmerman was “obviously” acting out of self-defense, those dead unarmed black men and women AND CHILDREN must’ve done SOMETHING to get themselves shot, and hate crimes are being augmented by the media when it’s actually “no big deal”. Note that upon hearing upon new scenarios such as these, many of these individuals will be quick to sympathize with the white aggressor even before learning all the details of the case. You can expect the adopting of stances before fair assessments are even made, which should tell you something about how they’re processing information, if at all.
10. Unacknowledged white supremacist tendencies can easily make one jaded to the point of eventually transitioning into an intolerable racist individual who can be a destructive force to society.
Yet, in many of these cases, these individuals are ACTUALLY not attempting to be racist, nor do they always have some vendetta against other peoples. In many of these cases, these individuals are mostly just blinding themselves to the reality of these situations because of their own complex feelings in regards to feeling increasingly shunned. They are disregarding aspects of reality as an inactive rebellion against the idea that their racial identity is inherently bad while simultaneously feeling compelled to side with actual racists who are angry for the same reason. This association is making them increasingly complicit and, in many cases, they begin to transition towards the casting of fully formed racial invectives. In other words, a man, let’s call him Bob, who is proud of being white gets angry that “everyone” seems to be villainizing whiteness, even though he himself is “not racist” (and he’s probably not), so he starts airing his frustrations with other, actually racist, individuals who are also fed up with the perceived systematic shaming of white people. They eventually develop a rapport and their opinions slowly start to blur, resulting in new borderline racist tendencies from Bob, which are thereafter fortified and validated by his newfound racist friends. Suddenly we start to see an augmentation of these ideas until “being proud of one’s heritage” becomes a dank, oppressive nationalism that is purely bigoted and broken. Bob is then no longer Bob but a subjective, self-stunted mouth piece that affords him only a relatively cohesive worldview in exchange for self-honesty, compassion, and creativity. He no longer needs to try and may slowly become any of these people.
So, it’s 2016, but that transition might be seamless if we’re not paying attention.White supremacy is real, and it’s with all of us every single day. Just re-reread that definition and dig. See if it applies. None of this is our nature. Look at that picture above, once more. None of those people were born that way. Those perspectives were slowly beat into them, into us -ALL of us- but need not rule who we are. White supremacy is just a band-aid in the place of stitches. WE haven’t stopped bleeding since 1619.