Calling All White People, Part 44
(A periodic attempt to mobilize white people for something other than supporting just other melanin-deficient folks and maintaining a status quo of a nation geared toward whiteness as the baseline and the norm)
By An Average White Guy
TODAY’S EPISODE: White supremacy is truly pathetic rather than powerful
[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]
It’s been easy for me over the years to see white supremacy as evil and cruel, but what I haven’t appreciated nearly enough until recently is just how incredibly weak, pathetic and cowardly it is.
Now, I’m not saying it isn’t dangerous. It is.
I’m not saying white people who exert white supremacy (which is pretty much all of us white people at some point during our daily activities because it’s so ubiquitous, but I’m talking about the people who really embrace it right now) don’t have power—they absolutely do. White people still control the police forces, the courts, the money and so many other institutions and systems that can be used—and are regularly used—to pin down and to terrorize people of color, particularly Black and Indigenous people.
So, I’m not trying to minimize the impact and threat that white supremacy poses to people of color.
But what I am saying is that it it’s largely based on some of the most cowardly and weak actions, behaviors and thoughts. That may be obvious to many of you already, but I suspect that for a lot of you the level of evil might have masked that a lot of times—as it did for me.
You see, white supremacists—whether the foaming-at-the-mouth obvious ones or the quieter “I’m better than those coloreds” kind of folks—think of themselves as superior. They maintain they are smarter and stronger and better and more moral. And yet everything they tend to do reveals the lies of all that. In fact, what they do tends to show that they are a group (people who promote white supremacy, that is) are literally the opposite of all what they profess to be.
How can you say you are smarter when Black people in particular have been figuring out how to survive and keep the lights on in a society bent on robbing them of any means to get ahead financially…and then you are protesting because you haven’t been able to get your hair cut in over a month? If you can’t figure out how to handle your hair when Black people have had to do it often in the absence of readily available products that address the unique qualities of their hair, how smart are you really?
Not to mention how little fortitude these white people are showing—Black people have endured centuries of slavery, decades of Jim Crow and plenty of abuse in the post-Civil Rights Era, but white people can’t last a month or so stuck at home before losing their shit.
And as far as lack of smarts, don’t get me started on how many of these “spontaneous” protests against shelter-in-place orders (which seem to be mostly organized by right-wing groups actually) have people claiming COVID-19 is a hoax while wearing masks. Or just the fact that they are gathering close together even though for weeks we’ve seen that close proximity leads to quick spread and big spikes in deaths.
Then white supremacists always want to go on about how tough they are. They strap on their guns and wear body armor to go to Walmart and yet they can’t get up the guts to start the race war they all claim is coming and that needs to happen. Oh, they’ll kill and maim individual Black people. Sometimes they will march into churches and mow down people of color. But actually pick a fight with the entirety of Black America and say, “The war is on!” No.
In fact, as the pandemic has shown (and as history has, with smallpox-infected blankets given to Indigenous people to help wipe them out being a good example), white people would rather wait for nature to do the dirty work for them (Hurricane Katrina, anyone?). As soon as they hear a bunch of news reports that Black people, for example, are dying at higher rates from COVID-19, they are busting to re-open the economy.
It’s partly ignorance and stupidity, not grasping that people of color often get lesser medical care, lesser access to resources and other things that put them more at risk. White people would rather imagine that somehow they are more resistant to disease when they absolutely are not.
Regardless, they are eager to start everything back up because they figure it will hit harder in Black and Latinx communities and kill the brown-skinned folks more than them. They don’t want to bloody their own hands. Not unlike the crack cocaine epidemic when white America saw a chance to send Black people to prison in droves to destroy families and communities.
And on top of trying to capitalize on a disease in the hope that it will give them an edge, white supremacists are perfectly willing to sacrifice some of their own—particularly the older people and those with chronic conditions—if it means they can stick it to Black and brown folks.
And that also goes to the morality issue. For a group that tends to also tout the sanctity of unborn lives in addition to the joys of racism, it is a glaring hypocrisy that they will throw away the lives of tens of thousands of living, breathing, functioning people just to advance the cause of propping up white privilege and white supremacy.
Again, I don’t want to come across like I am minimizing these people. They are a danger and a threat because they have numbers and access to resources and the protection of the government in many cases. But that’s the thing—it goes to how cowardly and weak they really are. Because the thing of it is: Just because you have a weapon and I do not—and therefore you beat me to death—does not make you stronger or better. It simply means you were better armed. That’s not inherent strength; it’s just power. Something you can buy, not something in your character.
That’s what gives white supremacy the edge—centuries of stacking the deck and building its resources while blocking out non-whites. White supremacy doesn’t have special strength or superiority. It just has a lot of weapons, both literal and metaphorical.
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