Do You See It Yet, White America?
Can you see it?
Are any more white people waking up out there?
Do you see what’s going on, what has been going on? Do you see it now?
If I hear one more white person say: “Why is all this bad stuff happening to Black people, it just doesn’t make sense,” I might resort to one of the temper tantrums I use to throw when I was five years old.
For the love of God, everything that is happening—EVERYTHING makes perfect sense when you acknowledge the depth and power of white supremacy culture and patriarchy:
- The chaotic and dangerous responses to Coronavirus by the Federal Government
- The persistent over policing of Black and Brown people
- The fact that white men who murder and terrorize whoever they choose move freely among this country everyday
- White Christians thinking it should be their choice whether they worship or not in a global pandemic
- The way consumption economies cost people their lives
It all makes sense.
It doesn’t even take a whole lot of critical thinking to understand white supremacy and its most deployed weapons: intimidation, ignorance, and terror. I promise, you will be a whole lot less bewildered if you will just admit it to yourself—white supremacy culture is a menace to society and it has been for a LONG time. And it has helped to form all of us.
And I am saying this as someone deeply formed by white supremacy culture. I am saying this as someone who benefits from being competent and successful in this systems set up by white supremacy culture. I am saying this as someone has a vested interest in keeping this white capitalist rule in place. So, why do I KEEP saying these things, some might ask?
It’s simple. One word. It’s one thing that keeps me going even when I feel like giving up, even when I feel like there is no point in even trying to talk to white people about this anymore. Here’s why: LOVE.
That’s right, even with all the horrible stuff that human beings with too much power do, even with the bewildering destruction that white supremacy culture has done, I still love this world and ALL the people in it. And that is WHY I keep saying this stuff. Love abides.
And love is only true when it is founded in truth.
For love to win, we need more truth.
Love is not going to win by everybody being nice. Sorry white people, “nice” is not going to fix this problem. In fact, nice actually makes this mess worse. “Nice” enables white supremacy to flourish. Nice is a friend to gas-lighters and oppressors, not to the impacted and the suffering.
In fact the origins of the word “nice” tell us it originally meant foolish or stupid. “Nice” is nowhere in the Bible. And “nice” is not the same thing as “kind,” which is closely aligned with words like helpful, gentle, understanding.
So, white people, forget what your mama told you, forget what your grandma told you, forget what your teacher told you about “being nice.” It doesn’t make the world a better place. It makes the world a more hospitable place for white supremacy culture to have its way with all of us.
LOVE is kind, but it’s not “nice.” Love is courageous. It is able to see beautiful possibilities. It believes that we can stop hurting each other. Love knows that the most important thing we can do is be wise about how power can be used and abused.
POWER is the capacity to have an impact. It is something we all have in different gradations. One of the hallmarks of white supremacy culture is POWER HOARDING. So, love is about sharing power. Love is about:
- Using our power in ways that don’t do harm.
- Checking our power so that it doesn’t become a tool of abuse, oppression, or violence.
- Being careful with the ways we use our power together.
- Figuring out how to use our power for the common good to create a healthy society.
Which brings me to the thing I really want to say to my white siblings who move about the world as white people: stop saying the pain of the world doesn’t make sense! It’s not really confusing at all when you just tell yourself the truth. The culture that formed ALL of us in the United States of America, and really all over the colonized world, has socialized us all to be foolish about what’s happening to us and through us.
Stop being foolish! And find the courage to see what is right in front of you—a culture that has a sick relationship with power, a culture that needs healing, a culture that needs to learn how to love.
Take A Closer Look
What we’re seeing right now in this latest chaotic stage of the pandemic saga is white supremacy culture taking the wheel again. The government is giving us permission to be foolish, because being wise will hurt the economy. The government is giving us the freedom to hurt ourselves and each other because things work better in this economy when we don’t really understand what freedom is. And people with too much power want you to believe that abuse of power and exploitation are just politics at work.
What we’re seeing with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in GA is white supremacy still in charge of the law books and the cultural narrative. Laws legalize white terror. And wisdom tells us that legality has long been a tool of white terror in America. That wisdom tells us that the circular argument of “feeling threatened” and “self-defense” as a legal reason to hurt someone that you have learned to fear and learned to hate only seems to work in our legal system for white men with guns. It’s the tail wagging the dog. Racism authorizing racism. Racialized bias justifying racialized violence.
What we’re seeing with the racial disparities of COVID 19 is white supremacy culture’s ability to seep into our tissues, our organs, our cells. It knows how to diminish us, it knows how to debilitate us. Living with full knowledge everyday that the powers that be are not there to protect you or to make your world trustworthy is a degenerative disease. When bodies hold trauma, a virus like COVID 19 sees an opportunity and the disparities in health care help make it more effective.
What we’re seeing in the armed white mobs at the courthouse steps demanding their freedom to be self-destructive is an unfiltered look at how good white supremacy is at harvesting minds. Its capacity to make us foolish is unrivaled. And it has been an effective tool for a LONG, LONG time. White mobs know how to get a good idea replaced with foolish ones.
Foolish Minds Think Alike
And, so, here we are. Forget science, forget community, forget what has been proven to make the world a better place. Forget all that! And instead put your priorities where white supremacy wants and needs them to be—let’s get this economy moving again, let’s get people back in church so they can believe God blesses dominance, let’s get people back to believing that if you work hard enough then you will get what you deserve.
There’s only one thing that can make such foolishness sound like a good idea: white supremacy culture when its back is up against the wall. Don’t sleep on this culture’s ability to convince us all that being foolish is the best thing we can do to get things back to normal.
Wake up, white people. White culture isn’t superior; it’s just really good at using people like us to do its dirty work.