Subtle Ways that White Supremacy Flourishes
I recently hear an interview on NPR in which Steve Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell University, talked about European assimilation was touted in American history. What I noticed in the interview was subtle forms of racism that even learned men pass out on purpose with a racist agenda in mind, or out of ignorance. A point was made in the conversation that people need to speak English or learn it in order to be successful immigrants in American society. I grant that this is very important, but what the learned professor, like so many others, fails to take into account is that white supremacy laid the foundation for immigration issues that are ignored in order to cover up America’s ugly racial past..
Long before the Germans, the Irish, the Spanish, the Italians, and others were white they recognized themselves by their ancestry. They came here speaking their native tongue and not calling themselves “white.” The “white” label was placed upon these European immigrants in order to collapse religious and cultural differences and create a racial caste system of whiteness. There was no “white” race—it was invented in the 1700s by “learned” men at “white” only institutions. A scientist named Carl Linnaeus, who is still touted as some genius minus his racism by Anthropologists, created categories of people that defined “whiteness” as superior. Carl Linnaeus and Johann Blumenbach were the fathers of scientific racism, yet universities still tout these evil men as great thinkers in the age of the “Age of Enlightenment.” It was the age of darkness and evil for people of non-European ancestry, for they were turned into “inferior” people as white supremacy began to propagandize the world.
As dark skin became the object of hatred, to justify the slave trade and to collapse religious intolerance, it passed through a series of changes. Slavery came first, then Jim Crow Law and segregation, and now police abuse and mass incarceration. In the flow of things, Europeans were expected to forget their ethnic roots and become “white.” Sometimes this was done by law or custom as in the case of how the Irish became white, but it was done specifically to create a white regime that called itself “democratic.” By making all Europeans “white” it became possible to get large numbers of immigrants to reject their ethnic ancestry and enjoy the fruits of white supremacy. To say we are a “nation of immigrants” is but subtle racism to describe the evolution of the American population. Black Africans and Native Americans were not “immigrants,” like those Europeans that were turned into “white” people. This racial history is skillfully ignored.
Since race is a social construction with real consequences one must look at whites in specific ways. There are at least four types of “whites.” There are racist whites, colorblind whites, anti-racist whites, and people that no longer believe they are “white.” Racist whites have to be exposed and fought against, but color-blind whites could be said to be just as bad. Color-blind “whites” imagine, or pretend, that racism will simply go away if they ignore it. Color-blind racism is but the denial of the horrors of white supremacy, and the pretense that racism no longer exists. I heard this foolishness when Obama was elected as so-called educated men began to push he idea that racism had disappeared because of the election of a black president—it got worse! This foolishness was called a “Post Racial” society, and they went about writing papers in vain attempts to prove this ludicrous idea. Some veterans of the Civil Rights Movement even made this mistake thinking that racism would go away after segregation ended. These folks went home and either went to sleep or started up campaigns that jumped on the bandwagon of white supremacy. There are now more white supremacist groups in this country than Martin Luther King ever had to face. The difference lies in the fact that Jim Crow law is gone, but not the racist criminal justice system. Drugs were flooded into the black community in much the same way as alcohol was purposely flooded into Native American reservations, all done with the cooperation of federal agencies (CIA) and many times with the cooperation of some elements of the local police.
In every college text books, and public school books as well, there are generally in a small section set aside on the movement for Civil Rights; if it is, it generally treats it as a by-gone day with few problems left. However, in every subject, black contributions were make, and these contributions should be listed. Blacks contributed to math, history, science, and all other areas. Until we do this, black history will be excluded from American History, and the racism of the criminal justice will continue.