Saturday, February 20, 2021

What happens to the idea of white supremacy?

 

For a couple of months, I had peace of mind.  I could turn on the television and not get upset.  I normally reserve my emotions for conversations more personal and with people I know.  And right now, at this very moment, I am highly emotional.  The feelings remind me of when I was in elementary school; floating in a sea of my own anxiety…feeling like I can grasp the lifeboat of sanity only to be hit by a wave and slide under water again.

For a fleeting moment, I had peace. Trump lost the election and on January 20th, 2021, he would be out of office.  We could start anew.  The man that I wanted to win won the election; and I want to believe that the win mattered.  Sadly, my eyes are opening to the fact that there will always be a war in our government.  With Trump’s loss comes his spirit…the spirit that infected our government in a way that I never thought would happen in my lifetime.  And at the heart of all of this is the resurgence of white supremacy.  33% of white people feel as if they are under siege…that their kind is slowly being eroded or eliminated.  They are saying to America that they have the right to stand up for the rights of white people the same way that blacks stand up for the race of their demographic.  They are enraged and believe that 33% of their kind have been left behind at the expense of others.  Or at least, this is their perception.  I want to make a point to some of my readers that may be totally oblivious to others.  33% of America may feel as if they have been left behind…but it is totally lost on them that these are the exact same feelings that people of color have had to live with all their lives.  Simply put, it is okay that black and brown people are left behind economically if this demographic does not include the 33%.

What these same people do not realize is that white supremacy infringes upon the rights of people of color.  It always had.  Our nation’s history is steeped in white supremacy, which I believe is something that people of color remember vividly, and some white people forget conveniently.  33% of this country forget how it was for black and brown people.  They say that that was a long time ago or that they do not feel that way. 

We know that racial disparities exist and are alive and well in this country.  We know that white people deny its existence because to do so would mean that they could continue to enjoy white privilege. 

I used to deny the existence of white privilege saying that as I have gotten older, things have become better for people that look like me.  But the simple truth is that although things have gotten better for me, things have not really gotten that much better for me and my people.  It may look like that for white people; but if they continue to enjoy white privilege at the expense of people of color, then things really are not that much better for all of us.

The good news is that times are changing for the better for people of color.  Opportunities are becoming available that will hopefully level the playing field for all of us.  This is not at the expense of white people because it was something that should have been in place a long time ago.

I bring this up because we still do not have what we need.  We haven’t for quite some time.  We still deal with the disparities that oftentimes relegates us to the back of the proverbial bus.  We look at white people with disbelief as issues of race and all the problems that appear to come with it be of no major concern to 33% white people.  They are not interested in blacks being murdered in our streets because they are not the ones doing the dying.  They are not interested in being incarcerated at our borders because they are not the ones being locked up.

 33% of this countries white Americans supported Trump.  Let that sink in for a moment.  That is one third of every white man and woman that passes you on the street or in the market.  He wound up getting more votes this year despite his dismal performance as president over the past four years.  And why?  They believe that if he says that he was the best president since Lincoln, then it must be the truth even though he has a history of having a loose relationship with honesty.  They believe that he inherited an economy that was in shambles when in fact, he inherited a good economy due to the polices that had been implemented by the Obama Administration.  Not true?  Well, look at what the Obama Administration inherited, and that Mitch McConnell stated to his constituents that he was going to make it his mission to make Obama a one term president.  A lot of what motivates Donald Trump’s supporters is what the former president says.  If he says he won the 2020 election, then he won.  If he says that he is the true patriot and that people that follow him are also true patriots, then they are.  If he lies to them and if those lies mean that he is willingly misleading them, then so be it.

Trump was never a politician.  He is a wealthy opportunist.  He had no interest in governing unless the outcome would ensure that people of color would be hurt.  Whether this was building a useless wall, arresting people of color at the border, and then separating them from their children, giving tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans or imprisoning people seeking asylum from their countries of unrest.

Trump had no interest in governing, but he was very much interested in the power of the presidency.  You cannot have one without the other.  And this was very much evident in his not wanting to do anything towards the end of his presidency.

I was foolish to think that after Trump’s tenure, the feelings that catapulted him to the Oval Office would subside.  It didn’t.

We see the aftereffects of everything that he has said and done.  We have seen how he wields the power of the white house.  And thankfully, that is over.

But now that we are at the beginning of a new administration, what will become of the feelings that the 33% harbored against people that do not look like them?  Will they still believe in the ideologies that revolve around white supremacy?  Or will they realize that the feelings that came to the surface get pushed back to the recesses of their mind as it becomes clear that those feelings do not have a place in a democratic society?

I don’t know. 

Only time will tell.

~J.L. Whitehead

 

 

 

 

 

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What happens to the idea of white supremacy?

  For a couple of months, I had peace of mind.   I could turn on the television and not get upset.   I normally reserve my emotions for co...