Many people associate the words “White Supremacy” with images of Nazis, the KKK or extreme anti-government militias. But White Supremacy can refer to more than just extremist groups. White Supremacy can be used to describe a society that perpetuates social injustices on people of color, while the “order” and “status quo” of this society is being protected, explicitly and implicitly, by a majority white moderate population. White supremacy can mean a society with institutions that are set up, consciously or unconsciously, to benefit white people more than black. There’s also “Polite White Supremacy” which is the notion that whites should remain the ruling class while denying that they are the ruling class, politely.
Below are different view points about a white moderate White Supremacy.
“White supremacist ideology is based first and foremost on the degradation of black bodies in order to control them. One of the best ways to instill fear in people is to terrorize them. Yet this fear is best sustained by convincing them that their bodies are ugly, their intellect is inherently underdeveloped, their culture is less civilized, and their future warrants less concern than that of other peoples.”
Many people, especially older white people, associate the term white supremacy with extreme and explicit hate groups. However, for sociologists, white supremacy is a highly descriptive term for the culture we live in; a culture which positions white people and all that is associated with them (whiteness) as ideal.
White supremacy captures the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white, and the practices based upon that assumption. White supremacy is not simply the idea that whites are superior to people of color (although it certainly is that), but a deeper premise that supports this idea—the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as an inherent deviation from that norm.
Thus, when race scholars use the term white supremacy, we do not use it the same way as mainstream culture does. Nor, do we use it to indicate majority-versus-minority relations. Power is not dependent on numbers but on position. We use the term to refer to a socio-political economic system of domination based on racial categories that benefit those defined and perceived as white. This system rests on the historical and current accumulation of structural power that privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people as a group. If, for example, we look at the racial breakdown of the people who control our institutions, we see that in 2016-2017:
Congress: 90% white
Governors: 96% white
Top military advisers: 100% white
President and vice president: 100% white
Current POTUS cabinet: 91% white
People who decide which TV shows we see: 93% white
People who decide which books we read: 90% white
People who decide which news is covered: 85% white
People who decide which music is produced: 95% white
Teachers: 83% white
Full-time college professors: 84% white
Owners of men’s pro-football teams: 97% white
These numbers are not a matter of “good people” versus “bad people.” They are a matter of power, control, and dominance by a racial group with a particular self-image, worldview, and set of interests in the position to disseminate that image and worldview and protect those interests across the entire society.
James Baldwin‘s eloquent response on the Dick Cavett Show to a Yale philosophy professor complaining James focuses too much on race
Charles Mills: The Racial Contract
White supremacy is the unnamed political system that has made the modern world what it is today. You will not find this term in introductory, or even advanced, texts in political theory. … But though it covers more than two thousand years of Western political thought and runs the ostensible gamut of political systems, there will be no mention of the basic political system that has shaped the world for the past several hundred years. And this omission is not accidental. Rather, it reflects the fact that standard textbooks and courses have for the most part been written and designed by whites, who take their racial privilege so much for granted that they do not even see it as political, as a form of domination… It is just taken for granted; it is the background against which other systems, which we are to see as political, are highlighted (p1-2)…
…Whiteness is not really a color at all, but a set of power relations. (p127)
Understanding White Supremacy (And How to Defeat It)
What is White Supremacy Culture?
”White supremacy culture is the idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
White supremacy culture is reproduced by all the institutions of our society. In particular the media, the education system, western science (which played a major role in reinforcing the idea of race as a biological truth with the white race as the “ideal” top of the hierarchy), and the Christian church have played central roles in reproducing the idea of white supremacy (i.e. that white is “normal,” “better,” “smarter,” “holy” in contrast to Black and other People and Communities of Color.
White supremacy culture is an artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies and binds together the United States white supremacy system. It is the glue that binds together white-controlled institutions into systems and white-controlled systems into the global white supremacy system. [from Sharon Martinas and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop]…
…While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is actually ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.”
“By ‘white supremacy’ I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.”
Now This: Black Lives Matter Co-Found Janaya Khan on White Supremacy
Critical Race Theory and White Supremacy
Will Oremus wrote in a 2012 Slate article,
“What is critical race theory, and how radical is it really? It’s an academic movement that looks at society and the law through a racial lens, and these days it’s more controversial than radical. The theory came around in the 1970s and ’80s as Bell and other law professors and activists became disillusioned with the results of the civil rights movement. Though blacks had supposedly gained equality before the law, they pointed out that whites continued to wield disproportionate power and enjoy superior standards of living. Classical liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice, they said, actually served the white elite by cloaking and reinforcing society’s deep structural inequalities. Racism, according to this line of thought, is not a matter of bad behavior by individual racists; it’s embedded in American attitudes and institutions…
…On CNN, O’Brien and Pollak clashed over Pollak’s assertion that “white supremacy is at the heart of critical race theory.” It’s true that Bell often used that loaded term to describe what he saw as an entrenched racial hierarchy. He didn’t mean, however, that America is full of white supremacists, in the Ku Klux Klan sense. As Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic note in “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” those who subscribe to it believe that racism can be an everyday fact of life for people of color even if whites rarely notice it.”
“It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy—the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue. So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history…
…To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.
What is Polite White Supremacy?
Polite White Supremacy is the notion that whites should remain the ruling class while denying that they are the ruling class, politely. Affectionately, it’s called #PWS for short. It has been referred to as the Casual American Caste System, Delicate Apartheid, Gentle Oppression, or what I like to call it after a few drinks: Chad Crow, the super chill grandson of Jim Crow.
No but seriously, Polite White Supremacy is very real. So why is it that we must specifically say ‘Polite White Supremacy’ rather than Racism? We must say Polite White Supremacy for three reasons. First, saying #PWS puts the responsibility solely on the creators of a systemic problem. Second, this phrase addresses the subtlety and casualness with which oppression is administered. Thirdly, it eradicates the all-too-common confusion between racism and prejudice. It’s important to eradicate this confusion so it can be clear that racism is tied to a power structure and access to resources.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RACISM AND PREJUDICE
Racism and prejudice are NOT interchangeable. Racism is the systemic oppression of one group of people who can be categorized within certain phenotypical traits over multiple generations that has been, at one point, sanctioned by a country, the majority and/or ruling class. Racism is committed only by the ruling class and agents of the ruling class because they have the power that comes with racism. Racism, in America, is absolutely the attack dog of the white ruling class. However, sometimes it’s also a slow poison in that it causes its victims to die of exhaustion or grief. Again, racism is a kind of prejudice that comes with power. Racism is the systematic and intentional oppression of group of people from the ruling class and its agents. In America, the ruling class is white people…of all classes.
America has been playing a centuries-long game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ while holding the arms of Black America.
Prejudice, though harmful, is not necessarily systemic and can be committed by anyone. It simply requires one to pre-judge. It does not require its user to have any access to the ruling class or status of whiteness. However, you have to be part of or support the ruling class to wield the power of racism. Those who are not part of the white ruling class, yet support white supremacy of any form, are called agents of white supremacy. They are not white, but benefit in some direct way from empowering and enforcing white supremacy often times on their own people. Historically black overseers and house slaves were bestowed more rights, and ultimately more power during slavery. These were employed agents of white supremacy who oppressed their fellow blacks. This employment was a status. It was a form of racist power that white slave owners gave to black overseers as a way to also instill mistrust within the black community. Prejudice alone, has no real power without the system of control and power to support it.
OVERT RACISM TO COVERT RACISM: THE EARLY STAGES OF POLITE WHITE SUPREMACY
Today’s covert version of white supremacy is a lot more subtle than having black overseers beat their fellow slaves. Nor is this power the same as buying or selling your slaves children for a good price, using black children as alligator bait, cutting open pregnant black women, castrating black men, generational rape and molestation of black women and men, and lynchings of those who were accused of making whites nervous. This is something more subtle than that. The ruling class has begun to employ a particularly clever passive tactic to remain in power while denying this power. They pretended this was the natural way for society to function and influenced perception by using double standards in language as a starting point.
The passive methods of #PWS have been ingrained in almost every facet of American society to such a point that speaking about it’s existence seems mythical. It’s not a unicorn though. In fact, bringing it up causes people of all colors to feel discomfort because Black Americans have become accustomed to appeasing the comfort levels of white fragility. As a result, certain black folks think about white reactions first before doing any action. This subservience illustrates the passive ‘slow poison’ effect of polite white supremacy that still effects many Black Americans until this day.
THE 3 KEY INGREDIENTS OF POLITE WHITE SUPREMACY
In detail, Polite White Supremacy relies on three key components to ensure its success: comfort, control, and confidentiality.
Whites who participate in #PWS desire to be comfortable in all settings while maintaining some influential level of control over all situations without acknowledging this power. Omitting acknowledgment of white privilege gives off the psychological effect that whites have somehow worked harder than non-whites and blacks must be lazy since statistically blacks are suffering a great deal in America. They pretended this was all natural.
These three components manifests themselves in various scenarios. They are not restricted to obvious positions like law enforcement or government. Often times, it was not the wealthy or elite that carried out the bulk of these practices. Their employees did. One such group of employees were home loan officers. White home loan officers carried out and maintained Polite White Supremacy by using the subtle tactic of redlining.
Redlining ensured whites would control of their neighborhoods comfort by confidentially employing this tactic. Later, discriminatory hiring practices reinforced an intrinsic authoritative status for whites.
INGREDIENT 1 — COMFORT
The comfort level of whites relied on redlining to keep blacks out of white neighborhoods. To maintain comfort, home loan officers covertly switched from overt segregation to the more subtle practice of redlining, one early example of Polite White Supremacy.
This practice prevented black people people from getting home loans, bank accounts, insurance and other services necessary for financial growth. Often times, poor whites would get the aforementioned services while middle and upper-class blacks faced rejection. This ensured that Black Americans would have a much more difficult time in establishing a multi-generational legacy. Eventually, redlining helped to create present-day black inner-cities across America along with dependence on white oppressors for employment and certain resources. Meanwhile, this white participation privilege lead to multi-generational wealth and self-sufficiency in white communities.
As mentioned before, all classes of whites can and did participate in Polite White Supremacy. Moreover, Polite White Supremacist practices such as redlining reinforced stereotypes and portrayals of blacks as underachievers because it helped create the ghetto. Because of practices such as redlining and employment discrimination, blacks are still inaccurately perceived as dependent underachievers.
Omitting the acknowledgment of white privilege from practices such as redlining gives off the psychological effect that whites have somehow worked harder than non-whites and blacks must be lazy since statistically blacks are suffering a great deal in America.
Redlining is a direct ancestor of gentrification.
The subtle power of controlling neighborhoods, resources and wealth is present today in social and professional settings. Redlining disregarded the qualifications of people of color who already proved their competence, bravery, and skills. Remember, redlining is only one example of polite white supremacy. There are many others that ensured the comfort of white nerves.
INGREDIENT 2 — CONTROL
Control the terminology and you can control the perception. Eventually this perception helps onlookers judge whether an area is good or bad. Polite White Supremacy adapted many forms of control to maintain its subtlety. #PWS controls the narrative and perception by controlling language itself. The subtle linguistics of Polite White Supremacy influence perception through usage of disingenuous and misleading terminology with subtle double standards. These double standards continue to permeate stereotypes within news, film, education and music.
Polite White Supremacy attempts to control the language, the narrative, and the perception. Moreover, the heavy white-washing of history to eradicate black contributions to the global human story has negatively impacted black self-worth and self-confidence. Consequently, psychological effect of believing these stereotypes is that, simply put, blacks deserve to suffer.
CONTROL THE LANGUAGE
Polite White Supremacy relies on subtlety such as using the passive voice to describe events involving a white aggressor and a non-white victim. For example, when a police officer shoots someone, the report uses the passive voice instead of the active voice when describing the shooting. Saying things such as “There was an officer-involved shooting” or “Force was used” sidesteps any notion of personal responsibility and makes it automatically appear as though the officer acted defensively. Often times the officer does everything to escalate the situation regardless of what version of the truth he or she writes in their report. There is a difference between saying ‘There was a person who got into a fight’ and ‘he punched someone because they hurt his ego and they punched him back’.
Law enforcement’s reliance on the term ‘resisting arrest’ incarcerates many blacks who have claimed to do no such thing. As a matter of fact, it’s a simple fact that the human body bends in certain ways at certain joints. So, when an arm is twisted by surprise at specific angles by a burly officer (or several), any person’s involuntary muscular reaction is to correct the pain they’re feeling. This is called ‘resisting’. What regular person can lie perfectly still as their arm is being broken? Who can pretend to not be in pain?
CONTROL THE NARRATIVE
Terms such as ‘black on black’ crime place a spotlight on black crimes while omitting that ‘white on white’ crime is nearly identical statistically. Major news outlets rarely pay attention to black conferences for peace or organizations that uplift our youth such as Black Girls Rock as blacks try to ‘do for self’. As a result, the narrative continues that blacks don’t care about crimes or the well-being of black neighborhoods. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When white crimes are actually acknowledged there are double-standards in the terminology. The same action committed by whites versus those committed by blacks are somehow perceived as less threatening if there is a white aggressor. According to Polite White Supremacy, screwdrivers become ‘burglary tools’ depending on the color of the person holding them. A group of black people gathering is thus deemed a ‘gang’ and a group of whites gathering is…a group of whites gathering. Words such as ‘Lawlessness’, ‘looting’, ‘criminal’ and ‘thug’ often accompany the most peaceful protests by Black Americans long before agent provocateurs can influence a crowd towards violence.
What do media outlets call white rioters who torch property after their team wins or loses? ‘Revelers’. Basically, ‘revelers’ means they’re white and just having some wild fun. The perception is that revelers are white and aren’t scary like those black ‘rioters’ who did just as much property damage, though for different reasons.
There’s also the less of physical control and less lethal assaults placed upon the bodies of unarmed white aggressors. In a nutshell, it’s important to look at what’s not being done when whites pose a threat.
What did the police not do to the white bikers who got into a brawl that killed nine people? What did the police not do to Dylan Roof or TJ Lane when they were arrested? Polite White Supremacy makes it seem safer to be a white serial killer rather than a black man or woman speaking their American rights to an officer of the law.
White aggressors who do the same actions (or far worse) as black aggressors don’t face the consequences blacks often face because white lives are actually valued more by law enforcement.
CONTROL THE PERCEPTION
The value of white lives influences the perception of good neighborhoods vs bad neighborhoods. The oversimplified assumption is that good neighborhoods have very little crime, while bad neighborhoods have high crime. This seems like common sense. Unfortunately, it’s slightly inaccurate. The perception of neighborhoods as good or bad comes highly influenced from whether or not it is being over-policed. Good neighborhoods don’t have a large police presence so naturally one must conclude that bad neighborhoods have a high police presence. The problem with this comes from the documented fact that police departments across America are around disproportionately white males.
Frankly put, these white males are not going to over-police their own communities. They’re not going to snitch on each other and reveal who amongst them are of the ‘Ghost Skin variety. When they do police and potentially arrest their own people, their lives are actually considered. White lives actually matter to the police. To them, ‘white on white crime‘ seems ludicrous. Meanwhile, blacks seem like an easy target to fill a quota.
INGREDIENT 3 — CONFIDENTIALITY
Confidentiality is silent complicity while pretending that black suffering happens because blacks somehow deserve it. Polite White Supremacy uses confidentiality to pretend this is all normal for it’s own existence to remain in power covertly.
The silence of confidentiality is the glue holding this whole charade in place because #PWS can’t exist out in the open as overt white supremacy, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s unfashionable to be an open white supremacist in today’s society.
Instead of openly celebrating a lynching, pretend you actually believe it was a suicide. Pretend you actually believe that whites work harder when blacks worked for free and literally built this country. These are the same people who don’t hire equally qualified Black Americans for positions then complain that Blacks are lazy and unemployed. Pretend that over-policing doesn’t target the poor and perpetuate the stereotype of bad neighborhoods. Pretend you didn’t just see a man choked to death and his heart attack happened randomly at the same moment he was being choked because ‘he was fat’. Pretend that unionization had nothing to do with whites fearing competition from the useful, tangible skills of blacks. Pretend like redlining didn’t exist and that whites just worked harder so they lived in ‘better’ areas.
Pretend that giving a bullet proof vest and Burger King to a person that just walked into a church and massacred nine Black Americans after he has been is not at act of terrorism. Pretend it was a coincidence we had to watch black officers to re-raise the Confederate Flag after a Black American woman bravely, but illegally removed it. Later, white officers took it down and treated it like it was some heavenly artifact during a religious ceremony. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.
To practitioners of #PWS, America is one big Sun-Down Town where everyone must pretend there is a magical off-switch for racism that’s been flipped and somehow centuries of physical, psychological and spiritual warfare against Black humans has been undone.
Many brilliant black minds succumbed to the intense pressure of simply trying to live with dignity during periods of blatant and then later, subtle oppression. White America has been playing a centuries-long game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ while holding the arms of Black America. Polite White Supremacy has been feeding off the bodies of Black Americans while pretending Blacks cannibalize each other.
It’s fun to pretend.
The Atlantic: The Language of White Supremacy
“Who or what is a white supremacist, exactly? The raging debate has resembled nothing so much as a classical ontological discourse on categorization. Are white supremacists considered so because they consider themselves so? Does one become a white supremacist by more Aristotelian means, expressing a certain number of categories of being—or swastika tattoos? Or is the definition something more slippery and subtle?
The language of white supremacy has become increasingly central to understanding the argument over the broad currents of Donald Trump’s ascendancy. Long before ESPN anchor Jemele Hill famously referred to Trump as a white supremacist on Twitter, the questions of just who is a white supremacist, and just what white supremacy is, have dominated the analysis of how he came into power, and what that power means.
Hill’s comments came as part of the general response to an essay from my colleague Ta-Nehisi Coates, one in which Coates says that Trump’s “ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power.” The bent of that essay is that whiteness—and in turn white supremacy—uniquely buoyed Trump’s candidacy, and that he has in turn openly wielded those energies to capture support and lead. Hill’s summation seemed to complete the square of that argument: “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” In this argument, white supremacy is framed as a broad concept, one where wielding racism or benefitting from it, even in its subtler forms, earns one the mark…
…The school of critical race theory, championed by scholars such as bell hooks, has been around in academic circles for at least 30 years, and its definition of white supremacy has long animated black activism. To quote scholar Frances Lee Ansley (taken here from a passage from David Gillborn, also, a critical-race-theory scholar):
“By ‘white supremacy’ I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.”…
…But the idea of critical-race-theory’s insularity is belied by its deep communion with widely-read titans of black intellectual thought. James Baldwin’s work did nothing if not tend towards the idea of “white supremacy” as a collective effort that went well beyond the work of self-avowed members of hate groups, and his 1980 essay in Esquire titled “Dark Days” crystalized that tendency. “To be white was to be forced to digest a delusion called white supremacy,” Baldwin wrote. In that essay, which itself was written in parallel with the nascence of critical race theory, Baldwin ties the very concept of whiteness to white supremacy.
Lest Baldwin be counted along with Frantz Fanon and Malcolm X as more radical “fringe” voices on the topic of white supremacy, the idea of white supremacy as a shared culture has been floated by many of the establishment voices of the civil-rights-movement, including none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. In his 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, which is itself concerned with hope and building interracial solidarity, King wrote that “the doctrine of white supremacy was imbedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit. It became a structural part of the culture,” one that persisted to the present day.
“However much it is denied, however many excuses are made, the hard cold fact is that many white Americans oppose open housing because they unconsciously, and often consciously, feel that the Negro is innately inferior, impure, depraved and degenerate,” King wrote. “It is a contemporary expression of America’s long dalliance with racism and white supremacy.”
King saw that white supremacy was a structural pillar of America equally important to democracy itself. In that work, King also analyzed “white backlash” not as an insurgency responding to proximate political factors or politicians, but as a visceral, enduring autonomous response guided by white supremacy. In other words, King used “white supremacy” in a way that might have seen him scolded today, by many who do the scolding in his name. ”
White Supremacy Discussed on the Dailyshow
The Dailyshow explains the racism and white supremacy of the promotion of a whitewash southern heritage during the confederate Memorial Day and the removal of New Orleans Confederate Monuments (which had to happen in the middle of night with armed protection and masked contractors due to death threats and firebombs). The confederate and Jim Crow symbols in the south has once again become a national debate after nine black parishioners were shot to death by an avowed racist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 following a long history of southern violence from white sumpremists. After the Charleston shooting South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds and several Southern cities have since considered removing monuments. Many white southerners continue to protest, including GOP politicians who are now using “political correctness” as one of their more popular scapegoat to win white voters.
According to Teen Vogue: How “Nice White People” Benefit from Charlottesville and White Supremacy
White people benefit from white supremacy. Period. Peggy McIntosh spelled this out for us in 1989, but apparently we’re still not quite getting it. Her famous piece, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” lays out undeniable ways that it is simply easier to be white in this country, like always having a boss who is a fellow white person, or, you know, being able to eat Skittles at night without getting shot. Most white people didn’t ask for this privilege. Actually, that’s the whole idea. White privilege is an inherent advantage that easily goes unnoticed and unacknowledged. Rather than stuffing down the sense of shame associated with this obvious unfairness, why not work to even the playing field?
Look, getting a job because your name is Geoff is not the same thing as joining the KKK, but that privilege is precisely the thing white supremacists were working to reassert in Charlottesville. They chanted about not being “replaced.” Their very existence is grounded in insisting on a moral claim to this country as a superior race. They want to continue having every possible advantage based on the color of their skin; that’s practically the mission statement. Most white people are at least aware that they benefit from white supremacy, and yet we stuff down these painfully obvious truths, tending to our cognitive dissonance like a paper cut that won’t heal, worrying more about being called racists than the effects of racism itself…
…To all of the “nice white people,” I say this: Stop furrowing your brow over “the partisan divide,” and loudly declare your position in this fight against hatred. There is no such thing as bias when it comes to white supremacists. To hell with fairness and respectability. Burn politeness to the ground and get vocal. Talk to your friends and family members. Be willing to make sacrifices and insist on taking a stand for what is right. The president is talking about “many sides,” and one of them is white supremacy, so you better make a clear f*cking choice about which side you’re on.”
The White Moderate: The Greatest Threat to Freedom
First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”
Hasan Minhaj: Why Wasn’t Donald Trump’s Bigotry a Deal-Breaker
According to CNN, 53 percent of white female voters voted for Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent. More than half of white women voted for the man who bragged about committing sexual assault on tape, who said he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, who has promised to undo legislation that has afforded health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, whose parental leave plan is a joke, who has spent his campaign dehumanizing nonwhite people, who has spent 30-plus years in the public eye reducing women to their sexual attributes. More than half of white women looked at the first viable female candidate for the presidency, a wildly competent and overqualified career public servant, and said, “Trump that bitch.”
What leads a woman to vote for a man who has made it very clear that he believes she is subhuman? Self-loathing. Hypocrisy. And, of course, a racist view of the world that privileges white supremacy over every other issue…
…Of course, the biggest and saddest reason white women chose Trump over Clinton is simple: racism. Trump tried to pit straight white men against everyone else—women, people of color, people in the LGBTQ community, immigrants—and white women decided they didn’t want to vote on the side of “everyone else.” They wanted to vote on the side of white men. White women decided that defending their position of power as white people was more important than defending their reproductive rights, their sexual autonomy, their access to health care, family leave, and child care. White women bought into Trump’s lies about immigrant rapists and decided they’d rather have the respect of their angry white fathers, brothers, and husbands than the respect of literally everyone else in the world.
At present, the Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization. There is a mountain of evidence in support of this claim. The Republican Party nurtures and cultivates hostility towards non-whites among its voters for the purpose of electoral gain. What is known as “The Southern Strategy” of racist “coded appeals” against African-Americans and other people of color has dominated Republican politics since (at least) the end of the civil rights movement. And during the Age of Obama, American politics has been poisoned by racist conspiracy theories such as “Birtherism,” lies that Barack Obama is a type of Manchurian candidate who actually hates America and wants to destroy it from within, efforts to rollback the won in blood gains of the Black Freedom Struggle, as well as unprecedented efforts by the Republican Party to abandon its basic responsibilities of governance in order to delegitimize the country’s first black president.
Donald Trump is not an outlier or aberration. In many ways, he perfectly embodies the racist attitudes and beliefs of the Republican Party in the post civil rights era. Likewise, Donald Trump’s supporters have enthusiastically embraced the Republican Party’s racism towards people of color, in general, and against black Americans, in particular…
…In all, white supremacy is a feature of American society from before the Founding and through to the Age of Obama. Racism and white supremacy are a type of “changing same” in American life, culture, and politics. The election of a black man (twice) as President of the United States is a type of symbolic progress. However, what was in 2008 a heretofore unprecedented event, by itself, does little to correct the impact of centuries of interpersonal and institutional racism against people of color.
In this election(2016), White people did not vote against their self-interests. They may have voted against a self-interest — a few actually — but not their most important one: The preservation of White supremacy. Retaining the value of a Whiteness they believed to be increasingly devalued superseded everything else. Including their own livelihoods; their own physical and financial well-beings; their own Christianity; their own agency; their own money; their own educations; their own futures; their own children’s futures, their own country’s legacy; their own country’s status with the rest of the world; their own environment; their own food, air, and water; their own rights; and their own lives.
And please note that I am not including any qualifiers. For working class Whites. Or Whites from rust-belt cities. Or White men. Or White people who didn’t graduate from college. Or rural Whites. Or Midwestern Whites. Or Southern whites. This is on ALL White people. Who are complicit even if they didn’t vote for Trump. Because they obviously haven’t done enough to repudiate the mindsets existing in their families and amongst their friends; possessed by their co-workers and neighbors; shared during private holiday gatherings and public city townhalls. Who have shown us that nothing existing on Earth or Heaven or Hell matters more to them than being White and whichever privileges — real or fabricated; concrete or spiritual — existing as White in America provides.
Hasan Piker: Viral Rant Against Lebron Exposes How Stupid and Hypocritical White Supremacy Is
Where white supremacy is helpful is in understanding systems of thought that otherwise seem random or incoherent. If we consider the white supremacy grand narrative, then someone like Ron Paul makes a lot more sense as a white supremacist than a libertarian. This explains his animus against the Federal Reserve or the IRS, against globalization and immigration, and against various powers of the federal government that have become enshrined over the course of the 20th century. Paul, Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan throughout the 1990s, and Donald Trump today, articulate positions that foreign policy analysts describe as “isolationist” or “protectionist” but are more correctly understood as assertions of white supremacy, as ways to protect the purity of the white race against the encroachments of global multiculturalism (which dilutes the white gene pool) and against the entanglements of foreign adventures seen as emanating from the ZOG conspiracy.
Understanding White Supremacy to Eradicate it
The Responsible Consumer Opinion
When people say “white supremacy” images of the KKK, Nazis, angry Trump rallies, and the Alt Right usually pop up. But it’s a little more complicated and a little more personal than that. Try replacing these images with the images of all your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors who voted for Trump. The ones that said they voted for Trump out of concern for the economy, lack of trust for Hillary, frustrations towards the political establishment. The ones that don’t consider themselves white supremacist and may even disagree with some of Trump’s bigotry. But white supremacy often isn’t based on justifications but rather its based on actions. And those friends and family’s actions were that they voted for a president that ran on a platform of suppressing everyone who wasn’t rich, white, straight, Christian, American, healthy and male. They voted for him. A president that has become the national leader for the Alt Right and the KKK.
It doesn’t matter if they’re good Christians, good citizens, good friends, good workers, good community members, loved family members. They voted for arguably the most openly bigoted presidential platform of my lifetime.
The first step to fixing any problem is understanding what the problem is. It is imperative that we see these folks, regardless of our past relationships, as the real white supremacy of this country. You don’t need white pointy hats to get a military forced deportation of 10 million Hispanics. You don’t need a Nazi tattoo to spread nationwide prejudice against Muslims. You don’t need to own slaves or have a confederate flag in the back of your pickup to systematically oppress black lives. You don’t even need to be wearing a stained sleeveless white shirt to stripe women of their basic rights over their bodies. All you need to do is listen to enough misinformation long enough to start dehumanizing the people suffering the most in this country, and then vote. That’s white supremacy.
The Atlantic: The Language of White Supremacy
The Atlantic: The First White President