going back to africa

Reunifying African diaspora across the Americas with each other, their pride, history, culture, true homes & identity…

Archive for the tag “white power”

Delusions of Grandeur

Beyoncé’s Formation has triggered a tsunami of white tears. There has been an influx of white rage over the perceived messages that were presented in the artwork. I have seen a great deal of commentary & criticism making a few of the same baseless claims: Beyoncé is racist, divisive, anti-police, supports hate groups & that the Super Bowl was not the time or place to push her political agenda.

Clearly, through the eyes of many white people, any mention of the disproportionate police brutality against ‘minorities’, is to insult their service or to spew hate towards all police, not just the bad ones. That any mention of systematic racism & it’s lingering effects is, within itself, an act of racism. By this special kind of logic, to mention the poor outcome of any action, is to perpetuate that action yourself. Many are also claiming that to associate with the Black Panther Party, is to condone or support every single facet of it.

Obviously, too many of these people are unaware of the concept of constructive criticism. They seem to not understand that it’s possible to appreciate & respect something or someone, yet still not let the good they do give them a pass on the wrong they do. If you care about something or someone, don’t you want them to be the best they can be? The police have always had corruption & violence issues since its inception, so for these things to be eliminated, or reduced as much as possible, isn’t it necessary to address them? The first step to solving a problem, is to acknowledge that there is one, is it not?

Foolishly, many people are claiming that the Black Panther Party, at its creation, was an organization based in hate whose main objective was calling for senseless violent acts against white people based solely on their race. Despite the fact that the BPP virtually never engaged in any such activity & that most of any violence they promoted or acted out was strictly as a means of self-defense, white people still feel the need to bring it up as if it’s relevant & even go so far as to compare the group to the KKK, who actually did act out the hate & violence that they preached. They also conveniently never seem to be aware that the BPP did many great things for their communities that were struggling as a direct result of systematic racism, which was implemented by whites. White people are mad about the existence of the BPP & any support for or praise of the group, but consistently fail to mention that it only exists because of the actions of white people. They never want to acknowledge the fact that had America always treated all their citizens as if their lives mattered, the BPP, BET, Affirmative Action, Black Lives Matter, minority scholarship programs & every other government program or racially exclusive organization tailored specifically for PoC (people of color), exists because of white supremacy/privilege. Too often do white people whine about the symptoms of systematic racism, but don’t want to address the disease itself.

Arrogantly, perhaps due to centuries of policing black people & structuring their acceptable amounts & types of blackness, far too many white people continue to feel they have a right to tell black people when, where, how & which parts of the black experience they are allowed to discuss, celebrate or portray. They also too often believe that they somehow obtained the credentials to determine how long it should take black people to “get over” 500 years of living within a racist society. Too many believe that it’s their place to tell others what they should or should not care about. They are too often more concerned about getting black people to stop mentioning systematic racism (because it makes them feel bad [white tears] even though they can’t experience it) than they are about finding ways that they themselves can help end it.

Historically, whites have always glorified their terroris- excuse me, heroes – who in most instances, were violent criminals whose rise to fame & power involved the murder, robbery & exploitation of PoC. I live in the South & there are statues, monuments & streets all over the place named after Confederate soldiers & generals who participated in wars that fought, in part, to maintain their right to keep blacks enslaved. There are housing developments named after plantations. Many white people take pride in these killers & are thankful for the carnage they left behind, as it gave way to the white privilege they all benefit from today. Even those who came later, like the mob & folks like Bonnie & Clyde are hyped. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson & several other serial killers are found to be fascinating, their evil often attributed to mental illness or poor upbringing, but will attribute evils committed by ‘minorities’ to their nature. Many whites will look at a photo of a white person holding a gun & an American or Confederate flag (same difference) & will deem them a patriot, yet will see a photo of a black person holding a gun, waving an RBG flag & will deem them a thug. These are the same type of people crying ‘double-standard’ when it comes to Bey & her dancers wearing BPP garb.

Dear White People: It is not your place to tell any groups of people that have been oppressed & marginalized by your race, what ways are acceptable to celebrate their heritage & racial pride. Blacks do not need your approval for which parts of our history & current circumstances we choose to discuss. We are exposed to your racist history every single day, every time we see an American flag or dollar bills, but you want to cry about a couple of minutes of seeing a few black people dressed up like a group that practiced resilience against a system designed for them to fail? GET OVER YOURSELVES. You don’t get to tell us how to heal & grow from the effects of systematic racism. You have no right to tell us when or where it’s ok to express ourselves. You also don’t get to set the time frame for how long that will take, especially being that systematic racism doesn’t only exist in the past, it still remains today. When you bring up black-on-black crime, the broken black family unit, subpar education, ghettos, etc – don’t forget to mention how an overwhelming majority of those problems came about: systematic racism that was created & implemented by white people. Just because you didn’t have a hand in it doesn’t mean you do not have any responsibility to help clean up the messes & right the wrongs of those before you, because you still reap the benefits from the evils they carried out, while PoC are still trying to heal the wounds. It’s not Beyoncé, those who are singing her praises for her latest work, or the BPP you should be so deeply disgusted by, it should be the series of unfortunate events that led up to these things coming into fruition.

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White Fragility 4

What does White Fragility look like?
A large body of research about children & race demonstrates that children start to construct ideas about race very early; a sense of white superiority & knowledge of racial power codes appears to develop as early as pre-school states:

As in other Western nations, white children born in the United States inherit the moral predicament of living in a white supremacist society. Raised to experience their racially based advantages as fair & normal, white children receive little if any instruction regarding the predicament they face, let alone any guidance in how to resolve it. Therefore, they experience or learn about racial tension without understanding Euro-Americans’ historical responsibility for it & knowing virtually nothing about their contemporary roles in perpetuating it.

At the same time that it is ubiquitous, white superiority also remains unnamed & explicitly denied by most whites. If white children become adults who explicitly oppose racism, as do many, they often organize their identity around a denial of the racially based privileges they hold that reinforce racist disadvantage for others. What is particularly problematic about this contradiction is that white moral objection to racism increases white resistance to acknowledging complicity with it. In a white supremacist context, white identity in large part rests upon a foundation of (superficial) racial toleration & acceptance.

Whites who position themselves as liberal often opt to protect what they perceive as their moral reputations, rather than recognize or change their participation in systems of inequity & domination. In so responding, whites invoke the power to choose when, how & how much to address or challenge racism. Thus, pointing out white advantages will often trigger patterns of confusion, defensiveness & righteous indignation. When confronted with a challenge to white racial codes, many white liberals use the speech of self-defense. This discourse enables defenders to protect their moral character against what they perceive as accusation & attack while deflecting any recognition of culpability or need of accountability. Focusing on restoring their moral standing through these tactics, whites are able to avoid the question of white privilege. Those who lead whites in discussions of race may find the discourse of self-defense familiar. Via this discourse, whites position themselves as victimized, slammed, blamed & attacked.
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These self-defense claims work on multiple levels to: position the speakers as morally superior while obscuring the true power of their social advantages; blame others with less social power for their discomfort; falsely position that discomfort as dangerous & re-inscribe racist imagery. This discourse of victimization also enables whites to avoid responsibility for the racial power & privilege they wield. By positioning themselves as victims of anti-racist efforts, they cannot be the beneficiaries of white privilege. Claiming that they have been treated unfairly via a challenge to their position or an expectation that they listen to the perspectives & experiences of PoC, they are able to demand that more social resources (such as time & attention) be channeled in their direction to help them cope with this mistreatment.
A cogent example of White Fragility occurred recently during a workplace anti-racism training I co-facilitated with an inter-racial team. One of the white participants left the session & went back to her desk, upset at receiving (what appeared to the training team as) sensitive & diplomatic feedback on how some of her statements had impacted several PoC in the room. At break, several other white participants approached us (the trainers) & reported that they had talked to the woman at her desk & she was very upset that her statements had been challenged. They wanted to alert us to the fact that she literally “might be having a heart-attack.” Upon questioning from us, they clarified that they meant this literally. These co-workers were sincere in their fear that the young woman might actually physically die as a result of the feedback. Of course, when news of the woman’s potentially fatal condition reached the rest of the participant group, all attention was immediately focused back onto her & away from the impact she had had on the PoC. As Vodde states, “If privilege is defined as a legitimization of one’s entitlement to resources, it can also be defined as permission to escape or avoid any challenges to this entitlement”.
The language of violence that many whites use to describe anti-racist endeavors is not without significance, as it is another example of the way that White Fragility distorts & perverts reality. By employing terms that connote physical abuse, whites tap into the classic discourse of PoC (particularly blacks) as dangerous & violent. This discourse perverts the actual direction of danger that exists between whites & others. The history of brutal, extensive, institutionalized & ongoing violence perpetrated by whites against PoC—slavery, genocide, lynching, whipping, forced sterilization & medical experimentation to mention a few—becomes profoundly trivialized when whites claim they don’t feel safe or are under attack when in the rare situation of merely talking about race with PoC. The use of this discourse illustrates how fragile & ill-equipped most white people are to confront racial tensions & their subsequent projection of this tension onto PoC. Goldberg argues that the questions surrounding racial discourse should not focus so much on how true stereotypes are, but how the truth claims they offer are a part of a larger worldview that authorizes & normalizes forms of domination & control. Further, it is relevant to ask: Under what conditions are those truth-claims clung to most tenaciously?
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 Bonilla-Silva documents a manifestation of White Fragility in his study of color-blind white racism. He states, “Because the new racial climate in America forbids the open expression of racially based feelings, views & positions, when whites discuss issues that make them uncomfortable, they become almost incomprehensible – I, I, I, I don’t mean, you know, but…- ”. Probing forbidden racial issues results in verbal incoherence – digressions, long pauses, repetition & self-corrections. He suggests that this incoherent talk is a function of talking about race in a world that insists race does not matter.

This incoherence is one demonstration that many white people are unprepared to engage, even on a preliminary level, in an exploration of their racial perspectives that could lead to a shift in their understanding of racism. This lack of preparedness results in the maintenance of white power, because the ability to determine which narrative are authorized & which are suppressed is the foundation of cultural domination. Further, this lack of preparedness has further implications, for if whites cannot engage with an exploration of alternate racial perspectives, they can only reinscribe white perspectives as universal.

 However, an assertion that whites do not engage with dynamics of racial discourse is somewhat misleading. White people do notice the racial locations of racial others & discuss this freely among themselves, albeit often in coded ways. Their refusal to directly acknowledge this race talk results in a kind of split consciousness that leads to the incoherence Bonilla-Silva documents above. This denial also guarantees that the racial misinformation that circulates in the culture & frames their perspectives will be left unexamined. The continual retreat from the discomfort of authentic racial engagement in a culture infused with racial disparity limits the ability to form authentic connections across racial lines & results in a perpetual cycle that works to hold racism in place.

Continued below: See White Fragility in Conclusion

Even if you in a Benz – you’re still a N*GGER….

busy2

A line from one the infamous Kanye West’s older tracks that holds true in the beliefs of many American’s today, which they’ve continued to prove to the World over & over again.That no matter how educated, well-mannered, successful, or well-liked African people may be, they will never, ever be recognized or treated as equals by their counterparts.

Kanye was widely criticized & praised for expressing his true feelings about our then POTUS, George Bush, claiming that Bush did not care about black people due to his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Was he right? Is this not also true of many other powerful, affluent, respected people throughout the country? Is this not an issue, despite if those notions are kept private, that can negatively impact us all?

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This is an old USA military recruitment poster during America’s war with Germany (cir.,1917), depicting a German soldier as a gorilla… Then a cover of Vogue magazine & you can clearly see what they’ve done here using LeBron James & model Gisele Bundchen… Times have changed, but mindsets certainly have not! Despite LeBron’s huge career success & maintaining his good guy image, as you see here for yourself, he is still believed to be a lesser, subhuman being to many people.

busy1Like Donald Sterling, for instance. Although he invested a lot money & time into in a business that is made up of a majority of men from African descent, he doesn’t want to be associated with them, nor does he want anyone he associates with to either. He owned the team. Doesn’t that remind you of slavery, somewhat? A white man “employing” black people, tells them where they can live, what they can & cannot do, dress codes, curfews, contracts, etc.. Is that not, at least in part, parallel to owning someone? Almost all NBA teams are owned by white men. The players make lots of money, but the owners still make more & for far longer. Most NBA careers do not last any longer than 5-10yrs, but coaching for decades or owning a team usually lasts for a lifetime, wealth that they can pass on to their families. And the monies generated from merchandising & advertisements? The money the players are making doesn’t really quite compare. Yes, of course, this is how most corporations work, however these involve very touchy ethical issues.

busy

Rich Nevada Rancher, Clive Bundy employs an African man as a bodyguard, who even after hearing remarks Bundy made regarding poor Africans in America, said that he would still take a bullet for him! Bundy fired some people up with his perspective:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Putting the racial aspect of his comments aside for a moment, this could be true of any persons using gov’t subsidies. On the other hand, although it may be hard to admit, Sterling & Bundy did make some valid points, regarding the lack of unity in African communities in America, the slaying of our unborn (not too long ago, abortion was killing more African people than the top seven leading causes – combined) & the generations of Africans who have become comfortable with living off of subsidies for their entire lifetime. These are very real & very serious issues plaguing our communities that need to be addressed. Africans in America do not have the overall sense of pride they once did back during the Civil Rights era. We desperately need that fire again!! Just because there are millions out there who will never see or respect us as their equals doesn’t mean we can’t treat & see each other as such!!!

mandela

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