Monday, 6 February 2017

The -ism Series (28): White Supremacism

“We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.” 
John Wayne

"someone who believes that a particular type or group of people should lead or have control over other types or groups of people because they believe they are better" Cambridge Dictionary
"It’s about a fragile sense of superiority (covering a sense of insecurity) that must be actively promoted to be maintained. It reflects a system that is inflexible, rigid, and socially autistic (awkward social relations)." Darcia Narvaez
White supremacy is an "institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations" in order to maintain and defend the established system of power, privilege and wealth (via) based on the racist ideology that white people are superior to other ethnicities. This privilege, in fact, is given by society without asking whether one wants it or not. According to Harry Brod, there is no option of not taking. And due to this very view of our heritage we can grow up without ever questioning our supremacy based on skin tone. We are deprived of the skills of cricital thinking (via) and may not even realise the privilege. According to a poll released in November 2015, about half of white US-Americans believed they faced just as much discrimination as blacks (via).
White supremacy is a deeply rooted system, a complex multi-generational socialisation process that defines relationships of power between whites and non-whites; it is a social control mechanism. This system started to develop when Europeans started conquest, colonisation and slavery in the 1500s (via) and continued e.g. with Jim Crow laws in the United States and the apartheid legislation in South Africa. White supremacy still exists, it just looks different.
"Historically white identity has been grounded in the experiences of fear, control, and violence. White supremacy leads to fear of people of color. Fear of slave revolts. Fear of loss of political power as in the time of Reconstruction. Fear of declining property values when neighborhoods change. Fear of losing social capital as in integrated education. Fear that whites will become a “minority” in the United States by the year 2050." (via)
"The white race is not a passive demographic act but an invented voluntary social institution whose only utility is oppression." Gardiner, 2009

"The Jewish people and the Negro people both know the meaning of Nordic supremacy. We have both looked into the eyes of terror."
Langston Hughes

- Gardiner, W. J. (2009) Reflections on the History of White Supremacy in the United States; pdf
- Narvaez, D. (2016). The Psychology of Supremacism: Whether White, Male or Human. Online: Psychology Today
- images of John Wayne (1972) via and via and  via

::: America's white fragility complex: Why white people get so defensive about their privilege; Salon
::: Kendall, F. E. (2002). Understanding White Privilege; pdf