All White People in America Are Born Into White Supremacy
(Author’s Note: Read the entire essay before you comment!)
White people don’t descend into White Supremacy. They are born into it. Being born White in America marries White people to White Supremacy and gives them White privilege. White people recognizing all White people hold that belief until they don’t, is essential to destroying the White Supremacy that stemmed from colonialism. When White people are cognizant of America’s history of White Supremacist systems and understand how past and present horrors associated with them still live on, they use their White privilege to help destroy/diffuse White control over otherness.
White Supremacy to non-Whites is slavery by another name.
What is White Supremacy?
White Supremacy is the belief that White people make up a superior race and should therefore dominate society. All White people in America are born White supremacists. White Supremacy is as American as Apple pie.
White people, you can’t help where you’re born, the color you’re born with, or the privilege associated with the color of your skin at birth, but you sure as hell can try hard not to be racist. White people seem to have a hard time separating being born into White Supremacy and White Privilege caste systems, racism, and the aggression used to keep the status quo the status quo.
The reason I say all White people are born White supremacists is because you are born into systems and structures globally which believe White people are superior, which leads to White imperialism. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. In America, being born White immediately places you in a White Supremacist system created via colonialism, an institution that has been solidly intact for 400 years now and counting.
Some White people wake up to the realization that America is a White Supremacists nation and they want no parts of it. They work hard to break free of White Supremacy, becoming allies of otherness, and calling out or government leaders on their shit.
Others do not.
Those who don’t work walk in their racist White Supremacist birthrights, holding their imperial beliefs and taking advantage of all the perks, unearned privileges, and entitlements via what we call White privilege.
Too many White people believe that engaging in White Supremacy is engaging in overt racist like joining the KKK or the Proud Boys, associating with today’s GOP, or spewing White racist hate online. But that’s not always the case. White Supremacists can act covertly using microaggressions that overtime equate to big racist acts.
When White Privilege evolves into White Supremacy
White Privilege (or white skin privilege) is the societal privilege that in some countries benefits white people over non-white people, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances according to Wikipedia. In America, being born White instantly blesses you with White Privilege. White privilege is an extension of White Supremacy.
Not all White people use their White privileges to their full advantage, and not all White people use their White privilege for evil (i.e. allies helping to fight injustice and inequality). How a White person uses their White Privilege shows Blacks and People of Color whether they are a White person who holds White Supremacist beliefs. Sometimes their words reveals their hearts, but most times their actions that tell us the real story.
Just because White people are born into a nation that believes White is always right, cleaner, smarter, prettier, and the imperial doesn’t mean they have to buy into it. Buying into White Supremacy is a choice. Not understanding White Privilege is willful ignorance.
White Privilege is avoiding spending time with groups or races of non-White people whom Whites are trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust White people (most times with historical context). White Privilege is going shopping alone with not giving an afterthought that the White person will not be followed or harassed. White Privilege is choosing to not intervene when racial injustices occur to non-Whites because those injustices do not impact a White person’s White Privilege, status, home, or family. White Privilege is having the power to dictate whether there is a racial issue at hand or if there isn’t one, as a White person’s word is ingrained in them to mean their word carries more weight than a person of color who experiences racism first hand.
White Privilege is considering any social, political, imaginative or professional options without asking/thinking about whether others would accept or allow whatever it is they want to do. White Privilege is White people choosing to live in certain White places and spaces, segregate and educate their White children away from non-White children and communities, or taking part in economic systems that benefit one’s Whiteness without acknowledging how the fact that Whiteness had to take from others, or step on the backs of otherness (non-Whites) to secure what they believe their Whiteness is entitled to. White Privilege is having the privilege to build the communities with tax dollars of the people you desire to live apart from, without having the social awareness those very people have money withheld from their paychecks to help build the communities they aren’t wanted in.
Refusing to acknowledge racism is the epitome of White Privilege, putting those White people on that slippery slope to becoming a racist or at the very least acting racistly. White Privilege and White Supremacy are married to one another. They are separable, but it’s a choice.
Are you a racist White person, or do you act racistly?
Acting racist differs totally from being a racist.
Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or hostility directed against a person or people based on their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, in particular those groups who are minority or marginalized.
When a White person decides they believe in White Supremacist ideology and overtly walks/lives in it (i.e. practicing discrimination, believing preconceived, hand-me-down prejudices and then acting on them, or doing harm to certain groups because of their ethnic makeup or color of their skin) well, that’s racist. Believing racist rhetoric without going to check it out for yourself, well, that’s racist too.
Like how White people LOVE to recite the racist belief certain neighborhoods are “bad” because they don’t cosmetically look like the sanitized places they are accustomed to living, working and playing in. Even if the area’s crime rate is high (per some random statistic/talking point fed to Whites), a crime has never been committed upon them, therefore — they do not understand whether the information is true. That is racist. To recite it as fact is also racist. I go to White spaces all the time and I’m the only one. I’m always uncomfortable, but I don’t let my discomfort stop me from enjoying life, experiencing culture, eating good food, or meeting new people, etc.
A racist is a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that one’s own racial group is superior or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. When a White person (or non-white person who engages in racist behavior) subconsciously or unknowingly commits acts that are considered racist, they do so with this belief. It’s a belief that causes people harm either directly or indirectly. A legislator intentionally redrawing district lines to exclude Black areas or Hispanic area or creating districts where those people have little or no power is racist and reinforces White Supremacy, which Whites living in that district will benefit from.
A White feminist exclaiming pro-women views and excluding women of color from meetings, not listening to them when they speak on their interests, stealing their ideas, monetizing them, and claiming credit for the idea is a racist stealing intellectual property. A White mother refusing to allow her child to spend the night at their child’s Black friends’ home because their home isn’t in their neighborhood is racist. Likewise, a Black mother or father encouraging their kids to only operate in White spaces, have only White friends, and surround themselves in Whiteness because it keeps them safe, makes them more acceptable, and increase their odds of making it is… racist! Assimilating is racist. So is discriminating.
White People (and non-White people living/passing as White) should learn how easily White Supremacy evolves into White Privilege which can easily turn into casual racism.
Racist Microaggressions- It’s the racism you don’t always see/hear
Racist acts are committed frequently by White people via microaggressions. Microaggressions are acts we don’t always recognize so easily, like placing all the Black and Brown people in the back section of a restaurant. Most White people can come into a restaurant and not have to worry about seating. Most Black people are acutely aware when waitstaff places us in the back of a restaurant without a second thought. Nothing is done about it until you bring it to management’s attention, but by then it’s too late. The racist acts have already occurred, the injuries inflicted.
Other racist microaggressions is checking a Black person’s cash at the cash register to make sure it isn’t counterfeit, but not the White lady in line before the Black person. It’s a White person with liberal views asking someone who looks different from the (i.e. an Asian) what they are as if they aren’t human, which is a racist microaggression, because it immediately says to the victim they are different (not White). White people may see it as small talk, but the victim likely sees it as racist/ignorance and offensive. White people not recognizing and acknowledging racism is a racist act, but it doesn’t always mean the person is racist.
Can’t we all just get along?
Getting along in America will take some soul searching, lots of dialogue, some apologies, some forgiveness, so drastic changes in American systems and institutions, and equity in all things including governance. White Supremacy is hard to forgive because it’s everywhere. It dictates how we govern, how we speak, how we are educated, where we live, where we work, our politics, our employment, our prisons, criminal justice system, and even social media. It’s in everything. Recognizing how White America really is is a huge start in chipping a way at White Privilege and the institution of racism. White people can’t help they were born White, but they sure as hell don’t have to be racist. Being a racist is always a choice White people, so choose wisely. And remember, your words matter, but your actions matter more.
We can only move forward together if we leave America’s past behind. Leaving it doesn’t mean forgetting it. We need to remember it so we won’t make the same mistakes we’ve made for 400 years. We need to leave it behind because it keeps us from moving. We’re stuck in a time warp we can’t seem to get out of.
All White people in America are born into White Supremacy and benefit from White Privilege, but not all White people are racist. Let’s work harder to understand each other and break free of America’s original sin.
It’s killing us, literally.
© Marley K 2019. All rights reserved.