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Est. April 5, 2002
 
           

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You were not expected to aspire to excellence; you were expected to make peace with mediocrity – James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

A recurring theme, indeed the widely propagated reprise on racist violence sustained by the practitioners of a centuries-old dark art and by their media agents typically focuses on the palpable, the ubiquitous, the conspicuous, the grandstander and cudgel variety of violence designed to wound, enrage, demean and provoke further corralling of the victims into a vicious cycle of reaction and counter reprisals that leave the culprits unscathed, laying waste to the ravaged. It is violence that assaults the visual senses while bruising and maiming the physical ones. Murder is often thrown in for good measure. It not only serves as a grim reminder of the source of racist power that must remain immutable - and how its intrinsic violence is dispensed - but a tacit warning of the assorted penalties awaiting those bold enough to challenge entrenched supremacist assumptions.

Not to diminish the gravity of blatant hate crimes, latent forms of violence are far more enduring and damaging, wherein lie the daunting challenges of forging strategies of confronting, denting and dismantling the supremacist systems, their abuses and seemingly hardy and impervious barricades constructed to postpone the humanness of those adjudged inferior. Hate speech and meting out of bodily violence, including murder, are in theory – but only so - subject to legal sanction. What have been characterized as microaggressions, symbolic or aversive racism is in fact directly responsible for the collective deprivations of People of Color in contrast to hate crimes.

There are legally prescribed corrective measures that should, again hypothetically, deter those targeting an individual or groups unlike themselves from carrying outrages against their designated victims. But when agents of law enforcement become the perpetrators of brutality against fellow citizens, pursuit of justice is no longer guided by legal subtleties.

Racist cops murdering unarmed African Americans are far more likely to escape punitive measures consistent with the gravity of the crime than a thief who pinches a loaf of bread from a convenience store. Racist, murderous cops are “suspended” from their jobs only to land more lucrative jobs in private security firms or rewarded with even more lucrative jobs as mercenaries fighting America’s perpetual racist wars. They know full well that no crime is grave enough for them not to escape censure upon their return, get medals or presidential pardons after massacring women and children. The inequities of law enforcement and dispensation of injustice by the criminal legal system are race-based. For African Americans and Latinos, it prescribes penal measures while Whites are treated with kid gloves, receive suspended sentences or ordered meaningless community service. Latent violence displayed in the criminal and justice systems is like throwing People of Color into rough seas without life jackets while their White citizens are assured of salvation.

There is an inevitable impounding of dreams of a meaningful future and meting out punishment for the supposed skin-deep “crime” of being. How can the killing of hope, the thwarting of desire for upward mobility, aspiring to live as equals, the longing for recognition of inalienable rights as humans, as citizens, become the subject of legal sanctions? Yet all indicators of the quotidian needs transcending the bread-and-butter issues, clearly show it is non-Whites with Blacks and Native Americans at the bottom of the pile. Such is the systemic nature of racism that is in place and one that defines the dominant group’s supremacist ways. To resist would be to dare to undermine established norms, a way of life that has steered and informed White American and European imperialism for a combined 500 years. It is a methodically choreographed plan intended to dampen and nullify any daring or resolve to resist, well before resistance is contemplated. It is nipping in the bud of intentions, dreams, hopes, aspirations and resolve and has all the hallmarks of a cruel, authoritarian and tyrannical dispensation of power.

Any perceived waning of the lopsided relationship between racists and their victims is construed as a weakening of the dispensation of White power. It is power derived from a rationale that ruthlessly exploits differences inherent in the natural order of human diversity - inseparable from biological diversity - in justifying one group wielding the cudgels of brute force in executing callous insouciance to equality of opportunity, justice and fairness along with a refusal to acknowledge the humanity of those adjudged as inferior. Concurrently, racist logic will loudly proclaim these ignoble qualities as worthy of adoption on a global scale by subjects regarded as inferiors – who are often killed in their millions - but still in dire need of White salvation. The instruments of institutional bigotry have busied themselves with two-tiered, mutually exclusive sets of values: a dominant one that boasts of a “civilization” and the oppressed one that is berated as the “barbaric” Other.

The crafted language of institutionalized racism assiduously labors at smoothing the edges of the spiny rocks of bigotry into smoothened pebbles to render them user-friendly to undiscerning, passive minds and the gullible. When target consumers of weaponized semantics are sold on the redemptive value of such drivel, it is testimony to the enduring character of the authority that supremacist practitioners unleash on their targeted victims. There must be no let up on these recurring brutal reminders of who is in control.

The collective will of the victims of racist praxis must be broken by employing a species of violence that is meant to degrade followed by an assault on their psyche and their humanity. It is the bigot’s own double-edged shrill call for resistance warriors to surrender long before they ponder waging a war against crude, barbaric injustices that define their lot. The other edge turns to supremacist devotees to mount their own resistance to calls clamoring for justice. We all know what would have happened to BLM followers had they breached security at the Capitol and what will not happen to the vast majority of Whites who did. They were rewarded with selfies with law enforcement personnel. Thus, therein can be found another species of violence that of omission: remaining indifferent to supremacist excesses and crimes.

A continuing assault on intentions, an onslaught on hope and dissolution of expectations is the bedrock of racism’s preemptive war against the Other. It is inter alia, a call to xenophobe rank and file alerting them to the imagined threats to their way of life, their “values”, their ethos, issuing from designated inferiors reclaiming a humanity that racism has made a career of in diligently striving to degrade. These are not vain words coined for cosmetic effect. They define Us the master race, Them as our inferiors and the Us vs. Them paradigm that informs the relationship that racist power wishes to oversee, administer and sustain.

Oddly, the possibilities can be endless regardless of your vantage point. The perks of White power are as limitless as the prospects for calamity and the evils visited on People of Color. To state that the odds are stacked against supremacists giving way to righteousness and decency, is to cheapen reality. They simply cannot and will not give in to their habitual fake rhetoric of righteousness. How else will the fašade of virtue gain traction and respectability? After all, who but the foolish among supremacists will snub divinely ordained power by chosen ones over those destined to serfdom?

The stage for divine intervention in matters of race had been set two hundred years ago with the pioneers of racial pseudoscience like Hinton Rowan Helper and his “expert” Samuel George Morton to usher ballooning studies of racial differences with one bias in mind: the inherent inferiority of Blacks. Prejudice went desperately digging for data. Then came Josiah C. Notts, Morton’s student, who put the racist icing on the cake with his newly coined “polygenesis” claiming God had made Blacks as a distinct species of humans far beneath Whites among His creations. He labeled his new theological branch of knowledge “niggerology”. Attempts at refuting fake science would be wasteful and futile. On both aisles of the racial divide there are enduring effects, the aftermath, of such self-fulfilling studies, conditioning White psyches to accept received “wisdom” as a blueprint for their actions for years to come, no matter how falsely based, as self-evident. To Blacks, the looming peril of disoriented bearings, collective or individual, slowing down the path to full growth and assimilation is subdued by (mis)rulers who will not back down.

White power is of a unique trait, a peculiar attribute that could, begrudgingly, acknowledge the humanity of its nemesis only when it is exposed for what it is: perceived, imagined, self-styled and illusory. There is the inevitable cowardice that comes with the abuse of racism giving it a dangerous streak: abusers have a morbid fear of their victims, lest they rise against unceasing obloquies, condescension, criminalizing states of being and marginalizing an entire group solely on account of skin color.

Trump’s U-turn soon after the January 6th assault on the US Capitol was cowardice and cunning on steroids. He promptly disowned the very group of his supremacist followers that he incited, condemned their actions that he encouraged, falsely claiming he ordered the National Guard to secure the Capitol. He made a 360-degree about turn, throwing his supporters under the bus, hoping to salvage a modicum of integrity with his sights on 2024. Trump’s renouncing of violence does not tally with the continuing occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, his bragging of the assassination of the Iranian general Soleimani, nor does it tally with his deafening silence on the murder of unarmed African Americans by racist cops.

Members of Congress were no less cowardly in their response to the security breach on the Capitol. These guardians of the “seat of American democracy” darted to the nearest object to hide under, fearing the wrath not of Blacks but their own tribesmen. It bears mention that many of these cowardly representatives have presided over war after criminal unprovoked war that have sent millions to their deaths and condemned millions more to internal or external displacement.

Semantic ruses must not be allowed to supplant the inalienable virtues of humanity of the victims that chauvinistic onslaughts have methodically targeted for ruin. Effective resistance will require extraordinary measures to manifest in a group whose morale has been corroded by centuries of racist conditioning via its assigned inferiority and man-made impotence.

The victims’ commitment to the universality of their cause is what must sustain their undying longing and struggle for what is rightfully and inalienably theirs: justice, equality, full humanity and fairness. That vow must begin with internal self-rehabilitation, even before inviting outsiders or well-wishers to join in the effort to reconstruct the dented esteems. It is the sufferers who best understand the intensity and severity of their anguish and best positioned to seek remedies, relief and renewal, not via the unsolicited participation of those who brought about the calamity in the first place. What is certain is that leadership must be generated from within ranks of People of Color.

To paraphrase Baldwin, White America quietly prescribes expectations for their victims – a crucial weapon of latent supremacist violence. It is a psychological straitjacket meant to smother meaningful creativity; a life of fullness and fulfillment, equal participation in society, equal access to the national pie and staying free of imposed values that are incongruous to their personalities, culture, sense of being and humanity.

To this end, entire literatures, cultural icons, epistemic structures packaged for assimilation by the vanquished, not for their salvation but for their survival have been erected. Such a scenario breeds a false sense of achievement at merely being alive while displaying the motions of comfort, with the soul trapped in a vicious cycle of distress, rage and frustration. An overwhelming array of systemic forces has been aligned to rig the game in favor of a supremacist project. Full membership to society for those targeted by racism becomes remote, far-fetched and increasingly elusive. The dominant entity shows no absolution in keeping their fellow humans marginalized and firmly caged “in their place”.

Such are the mechanisms that consolidate and distribute norms in stratified fashion - limitless welfare for supremacist disciples and crumbs for the rest. The crude violence on adults is a culmination of a process that begins at childhood. Children raised in impoverished and neglected neighborhoods will grow in an environment of deprivation. Their schools remain in states of structural and educational neglect where the prospects for development and growth are stacked against children. Born into dereliction and dying in it would be the natural, expected order. Put Whites in such willful states of deprivation and diminished hopes and ask yourself if they would be any different. Yet it is in these very conditions that many African Americans and Latinos grow up in and yet still bear the brunt of the endless game of victim-blaming. And therein lies the catch: create an untenable situation, block all exits, then blame those trapped for their inability to extricate themselves. There is a clear parallel here in foreign societies victimized by America’s perpetual racist wars: visit unprecedented violence on once coherent and prosperous societies, kill massive numbers of innocents, bring ruin to their societies, turn them into dysfunctional nations, then block them from seeking safe havens in countries which perpetuated the violence.

The latency of violence continues to provide cover of ongoing inequities. There may be no palpable pain for the inordinate rates of incarceration of African Americans and Latinos, save for victims and immediate kin. This over-representation of these groups in modern supremacist corporate gulags are obvious; White power will resist any measures that will reverse this trend. Thus, the urgent need for People of Color to generate and resolutely clamor for community policing, substantial investment of their tax dollars in educational and economic opportunities. A non-aligned movement of peoples, not countries, most of whose sovereignties have been eroded by systematic pressure from America and other Western countries must be forged to complete what the old non-aligned nations failed miserably to achieve: rehabilitation of their collective dignity, self-determination, economic independence, prosperity and equality as humans. Supremacist evil intrigues have their designated inferiors and their resources firmly in their crosshairs to keep them pegged in perpetual states of stagnation. The fact that China has made unprecedented strides in becoming an economic superpower, despite racist reservations, should be a clear indication that White Supremacist trash can – and should – be put in its place: in the litterbin of history.


BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator Dr.Kweli Nzito, PhD, is a retired scientist living in Thailand. His writings and analysis first appeared in The Black Commentator, Trinicenter, Counterpunch and more recently in American Herald Tribune. Contact Dr. Nzito and BC.


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