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:
The breaking point of this woman exposes her sense of entitlement and indignation at having her implied sense of supremacy put into question. She is not entirely aware of the fact that she considers herself a notch above, or dominant to, other races and because of this, she has no language to adequately express what she is feeling. The result of this is a stream of irrational ideas and a public paroxysm as she desperately attempts to fill this void with justifications that do not fully address what she feels. What she really wants to say is that she is white and is therefore to be treated with utmost respect, especially by black women, who are her inferiors. Her constant invocation of Trump’s name is not entirely irrelevant. It’s actually her way of saying “Trump will set this right. He will remind you of your place.” Her entire identity is rooted in this construct, so she has to fight to maintain that grip on her psyche’s integrity. This is not just privilege at work. In fact, the term “white privilege” often downplays the nefarious nature of white supremacy when both terms are used interchangeably. White privilege is merely an aspect of white supremacy; the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. And this woman’s breaking point exposes more than that tip.
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.
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