White Supremacy In Black and White: I Wish I Could Give You This Feeling
IN BLACK AND WHITE
Rev. Charles Williams II
PHOTOCREDIT: KATE GOWMAN
The old expression "if it bleeds, it leads'" while still valid for newsrooms everywhere. The age of Trump has produced a new lead. "Is he going to say something racist today?" With that, the term white supremacy has made a reentry onto the stage of public discourse. Everybody has something to say about it. Especially when Trump makes incendiary remarks at rallies, and has called African nations s-hole countries.
This entertainment style packaging and drama intrigues viewership and builds audiences, but much of the time it misappropriates the problem of white supremacy by hinging it on a tweet of a tiny man while giving commentators much to get wrong about race and white supremacy. This abuse of the race problem by media and politics is a bigger problem. This, I believe, has done more to hurt the conversation than to help it. What diving in on white supremacy has become is a tool for media to use as a viewership booster, for the liberal a tool to design a "we are not like that" styled politics and for conservatives an opportunity to promote subterfuge patriotism, pride, and heritage.
What concerns me about the political football use of white supremacy, is that it minimizes its meaning and misdefines the term. The Liberal left does not have a lease on defining white supremacy, nor does the conservative right bear all of the ownership of what it means to be one. White supremacy is institutional. It is not merely for crazies who need mental health or poor whites who are scared that blacks are going to take their stuff. In fact, I would submit that the bigger problem with those who go on so-called "race killing sprees," is they are allowed to have access to assault weapons.
With hundreds of years of white supremacy indoctrination, It is omnipresent in society and its systems, not limited to the United States of America. So then the question becomes how best define white supremacy. For me, I don't have to look further than the:
Lack of corporate boardroom representation
Lack of diversity in university faculties
Disparities in health treatment and access
Disparities in access to capital and financing
University and college admissions
Colonial power that still to this day have influence in black countries
Hollywood and entertainment casting and movie productions
Newsrooms and newsdesk
Public service contracting
Trade unions that favor nepotism
A broken education system that leads to the prison pipeline
A criminal justice system that is overwhelmingly so black
Democrats that abuse black loyalty
Republicans that cut economic programs for poverty class
Liberals that insultingly know what is best for blacks
Conservatives that use morality as misdirection and stoke racial fear
All of these criticisms that I have laid out, have their roots, not in a mentally challenged individual or the KKK for that matter, but a white supremacist social system. A system that repeatedly overlooks the aforementioned problems but then says "we couldn't find any good black candidates" "they don't manage money well" "their company didn't meet the bond requirement" "they couldn't pass the test" "don't focus on race its about economics" "we need to lock them up" "sorry sir, you don't have a track record" "your insurance does not pay for that" I think he's dangerous" "she has way too much attitude" "Why is he so confident" "You are trying to do too much". These are the constant everyday white supremacist contributions to problems that only black people have.
Therefore, I wake up every day doing the Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope and fighting through white supremacist systems trying to figure out how to stay out of jail, survive, and achieve some modicum of success in my work. If you are white, these are problems that you don't have, and if you dig down into your core, you may have held onto some of these same white supremacist conversations. I am a black man in America, I live this, and every day I wake up, look at my three-year-old girl, and 8-month-old boy, and say to myself "I have to teach them how to fight." This struggle is not a fight with their hands, but with their minds because if I don't teach them to be twice as good, and not take no for an answer, they will be eaten up by the ugly monster of real white supremacy.
So as we have our national dialogue in media and intellectual circles on healing the divide, so-called given to us by Donald Trump. I'm issuing a call to the good white people, please don't excuse yourself from the contributions of white supremacy that create systemic hurdles in black life.
Follow Rev. Williams on twitter: @therevcw