The Main Struggle Must Be To Defeat White Supremacy
One is reminded that Martin Luther King called for the complete restructuring of society because the country was built upon the foundation of white supremacy. We must also remember that many in the black middle-class community settled for less; an end to segregation and then went to sleep never to reawaken. When Obama became the president these same sleepy-eyed folks mistakenly thought that racism was gone and that we now lived in a “post-racial society.” This was pure fantasy, and because they underestimated the power of racist ideology they forgot that the new civil rights struggle was just on the horizon. When Obama was elected the white supremacists saw this as an opportunity to build up their ranks and elect a president that would be the total opposite of Obama. These middle-class “Negroes” (which is what Malcolm X called them), middle-class Hispanics, and white liberals all went to sleep basking in their one minute of opportunity that they did not take.
The middle-class went to sleep and started concentrating on other things that a racist society set up to distract them from the systemic and institutional injustices that are the bottom cause of all other problems. Problems of poverty, crime, drugs, and other injustices became the issues that the middle-class started to champion while ignoring the bigger problem of the society that created these problems to begin with. The prison system is the New Jim Crow that has emerged as a system of social control unparalleled in world history. The aim of the prison system is to turn the poor into ‘felons,” taking away rights that only slavery once could do. The middle-class has generally ignored the use of police stops to falsely accuse the most vulnerable of our society of crimes. A police practice where a person is treated as a suspect because of his or her race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion is defined as racial profiling, and it is rampant on people of color neighborhoods. Violent crimes are statistically heavier in poor areas, but burglary and car thefts are rampant on the North Side, where racial profiling is minimal in the white areas.
The main fight must be against white supremacy—the system that created all of these problems to begin with. Generally speaking, the black middle-class does not what to tackle this problem because they are powerless to stop it. According to Ta-Nehisi Coates, we have a president that practices “Majoritarian Rule,” which is an “established political philosophy that proclaims that a specific majority (in this case racialized whites) are authorized to exercise dominance in a society, and has the privilege to make decisions that affect the whole of society.” According to Coates, “You can’t have a racist society that built the ghettos and not expect poverty and crime to be a problem”!
Fighting against crime should not distract and hide the bigger problem. That bigger problem has to do with safety vs. justice. In communities across the country, one can hear justifiable safety concerns about crime in their neighborhoods. But when safety is given a singular value over justice the struggle against a racist society is pushed aside. This does not mean that criminals ought to be allowed to escape justice. According to Coates, “Raging against crime in the community tells a deeper story in that those who do so are powerless before the great crime of racism that created and brought the criminals to the neighborhood in the first place.” Don’t stop fighting against crime, but know that the bigger picture must be addressed with greater vigor.