The Blog

The Race/War

Non-white people uphold and participate and support racism every day simply by existing, but they will never experience the privilege of whiteness existing in a system designed to keep white peoples on top.
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There is a race war being waged in America every day, but it's not the one you think.

It's not riots or attacks or demonstrations or protests. It's not white people calling black people "niggers" or black people calling white people "crackers." In a way, it's not even white police officers murdering black men, women and children on what seems like a daily basis, although all of these things are products of this war.

The war itself is much more subtle, much more insidious, much more organic, and much more difficult to deconstruct and combat than anything so tangible as one human body raging against or destroying another. To understand this war means to have studied and to understand history, to have deconstructed and to understand world systems like capitalism, economics, monetization, governmental structures and institutions, for these are the ultimate tools of the ongoing race war that plagues not only America but in essence the entirety of modern human civilizations.

We all participate in and support racism, but we are not all racist.

To clarify such a statement we have to make an important but completely overlooked distinction between what "racism" is and what a "racist" is. We as a society use the words more or less interchangeably, regularly calling out people as "racists" for making remarks that offend or demonstrating behaviors that discriminate. While social media and the proliferation of documents, videos, tweets and status updates via the Internet have proven there are unconscionable amounts of people in America who we can call actual, real, practicing "racists," the word is often used incorrectly.

"Racism" is actually not an individual trait or behavior. Racism is a system. It is the systematic structuring of the basic fabric of our entire world society, encompassing all the world systems mentioned above and more, to predominantly subordinate non-white peoples. Racism is white supremacy. Racism exists moving in one direction from the top on down. There is no such thing as reverse racism. A person or group of people who are already disenfranchised and disadvantaged by the most basic structures of the world in which they live are not capable of benefiting from such a system. A non-white person can be a "racist," in fact, many non-white people are. And non-white people uphold and participate and support racism every day simply by existing, but they will never experience the privilege of whiteness existing in a system designed to keep white peoples on top. Admittedly, this concept is somewhat difficult to wrap the mind around, especially without the privilege of certain types of education. But fittingly, that's an essential part of how this system was designed.

Liberal minded (and even most conservative minded) people of all colors don't want to see themselves as racists. They don't want to acknowledge that they participate in racism, so they disassociate their actions, behavior and beliefs from the quantifiable, tangible tenets of bigotry and discrimination. Liberal white people who live in the suburbs and send their children to mostly white schools with new desks, books, computers and materials don't consider that their very existence in these spaces perpetuates a system in which other children, mostly non-white children, attend schools without these resources. Similarly, when working class or poor black people go to buy athletic shoes they don't consider how that contributes to a system where somewhere else in the world, an impoverished brown child may be constructing that shoe in a sweatshop earning pennies on the dollar for hours and hours of hard labor. And it's certainly woven into the fabric of the American consciousness to completely ignore the thousands upon thousands of men, women and children in the Middle East who have suffered and died in our relentless pursuit of oil every time we pump gas into our cars. Most people will never fully, or perhaps even partially, understand intersectionality because so much of the modern American, and perhaps human, psyche is invested in the individual. If I don't consider myself a racist person then I am incapable of committing racist acts or exhibiting racist behaviors or contributing to racism every day. Of course this is a fallacy, but the alternative is to accept a daunting, depressing, terrifying and possibly debilitating truth about the world we live in.

Racism is inescapable. White supremacy is inescapable. And everything we do every single day of our lives contributes to it. But that doesn't mean it is insurmountable.

There is also a race going on in America and the world at large. It is a race against time. White supremacy is racing against time to preserve and proliferate itself. It is evident in the violent backlash against anti-racist and anti-white supremacist movements everywhere. In America we see it in the execution of black men, women and children by a militarized white supremacist controlled police force. We see it in the desperate attempts by conservative politicians to close the floodgates and stop the flow of equal rights legislation for women and LGBT peoples. A generation of aging, conservative, right-wing white men who have grown old in a world where they ruled like kings and ravaged those below them of resources are now confronted with a world where more and more people are becoming conscious of this fact and of mind to rally against it. Despite their best efforts to keep the underclass poor, uneducated and distracted by mindless technology, vapid celebrity and superficial consumption, there is a growing movement whose momentum cannot be stifled. They can now see that this evolution will become the natural order of things, and it terrifies them.

White supremacy invests itself in not only the notion that white people should rule the world, but that they are the "majority." In reality white people have never been the majority of any ethnic group on earth, and only exist that way in America because of the slaughter and decimation of indigenous peoples who occupied the land before they arrived. Statistical analysis estimates that ethnically white people will become a minority in America within the next 30 years, bringing to mind the old aphorism "there's strength in numbers." At this point, modern white supremacy's power resides mostly in the consolidation of wealth into a few white hands and a few non-white hands aligned with their interests. Already there are enough non-white bodies in the world that, should they put aside their differences (differences that have indeed been socially constructed by white supremacy) and agree to bear the bloodshed needed, that wealth could be taken by force and redistributed. That dystopian fantasy is of course, just that, a fantasy. The dissolution of white supremacy will doubtfully take such a violent and riotous form, and certainly not one that unites the non-white world against it.

Our individual identities, rooted in culture and ethnicity and religion and gender and sexuality and whatnot, are far too fractured to for us to cast them aside in the interest of universal prosperity. Likewise the rise of a digital consciousness on forums like reddit, Black Twitter, Tumblr and the like won't be enough to combat forces that have shaped and molded the modern world into what it is. Even with new movements coalescing, new voices shouting out and demanding to be heard, the continued proliferation of information is key, and a reinforcement of the profound importance of education. There is nothing inherent in any human body, white or brown that imbues it with the wisdom to govern fairly and justly, to reject the temptations of greed and power. If anything it is more likely that it is human nature to seek status above one's brethren. New generations of white, brown and the inevitable mixtures that one day will erase such stark distinctions of race and ethnicity from the world, must be taught our real histories, must be taught to reject white supremacy and demand representation and agency. While our stories are still relegated to the background, while white performers portray us onscreen and replace us in our own narratives, while aging, wealthy white men take the stage and argue about policies and laws that seek to control our lives and keep us subordinated, we must be vigilant in renouncing that power no matter how many times we have to scream and shout the same mantras to ears that do their best not to listen.

There will be no one movement that destabilizes, deconstructs and ultimately destroys white supremacy. But some culmination of these burgeoning consciousnesses, physical brown bodies and the bodies of white allies taken to the streets in protest, public outrage and demand for change, and simply the natural, eventual and inevitable extinguishing of white lives brought up in a world made for them will all serve to defeat the death grip white supremacy desperately holds on us all. Though with each passing day we are inundated with more and more terror and death, we cannot falter, we cannot lose hope and we cannot give up.

We will win the race. We will win the war.