I’m writing this column in response to White Supremacy Racism in our community and to encourage leaders and community members to stay the course.
A few days ago there was an incident at Middleton High School in which a white student drove around the parking lot displaying a Confederate flag. Middleton’s administration initially responded by saying it’s a “teachable moment” and there will be no disciplinary consequences for the student who was responsible for terrorizing Black bodies.
Middleton High School’s administrators accepts the ideology that the flag is “not a racial thing” which is evident in their approach. I would like to challenge every administrator of Middleton School District to peruse the South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas declarations of secession. The documents all explicitly cite threats to slavery as reasons for secession.
Following the Civil War the flag was adopted as a symbol of the Dixiecrats—a political party who declared their commitment to White Supremacy and devotion to maintaining segregation. It was also adopted by Georgia state in 1956 and was found by The Georgia State Senate Research office to be racially motivated. It also is a symbol used by the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize black people. Despite the history of the flag, Middleton School District has opted out of enforcing consequences.
Black people in our community, including me, responded to the situation by asking, what is being done? What can be done? How do we hold the school accountable? In response to the questioning, the focus was taken off the “real” enemy and placed on Black people asking the questions—which is an example of white supremacy in action.
The enemy is White Supremacy Racism. White supremacy racism is a global system and dynamic, structured and maintained by individuals who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined. That consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation (confederate flag), thought, speech, action and emotional response. Conducted spontaneously in all areas of people activity, by ALL people. To maintain the power equation of whites over nonwhites. Though white supremacy is a global system of domination it operates in localized ways. Including, complacency, isolation and self-hate.
Most people don’t realize how our rituals and responses to pressure and stress is anchored in white supremacy, nor do we know the origin from which they came. We must be bold enough to delve into the past of colonization and chattel slavery to gain understanding of how white supremacy was beaten into us and how black people continue to participate in the destruction of our own bodies.
Marcus Garvey once stated, “Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.” For Black people to become free we must understand the workings of White Supremacy Racism. We must understand and acknowledge how said system is structured to maintain compliance, complacency and self-hate. “If you do not understand White Supremacy Racism—what it is, and how it works, everything else that you understand will only confuse you,” wrote Neely Fuller.
The nihilistic outcries from black people at times can be deafening, resulting in Black people in positions of influence deflecting blame and frustration towards other black people. It’s never our fault. The problem is, doing so invalidates the cries of our community and takes the blame and pressure off white supremacy racist systems.
Sometimes the best way to lead is by example, so allow me to do just that. I am the reason that black people hate themselves. Yep, you read that right. So are you. I judge their remarks, their actions or inactions—which is the very thing we experience daily from white people. My anger at other black people’s responses and cooperation with white supremacy racism can be unfair and pompous at times. Don’t get wrong, I know there are uncle Toms who intentionally and directly hinder our progress as black people. However, we all play a role in upholding white supremacy racism, including me.
Here’s the truth. I love Black People. I love ALL black people. I embrace the struggle and feel a strong sense of responsibility for my community. I see me in every black person I meet. I see fear, uncertainty, love, hope and anger. I also see self-hate. Self-hate that has been beaten into us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It comes pouring out of us whenever we interact. Most of us are unaware that we carry and reflect ideas and beliefs of self-hate. We don’t know and/or understand the reason behind our struggle(s) or our volatile responses to one another. We have no clue that its anchored in white supremacy racism.
We’ve been conditioned to lash out on one another vs our enemy. We’ve learned through death, dehumanization and incarceration—the danger of calling out white supremacy racism. As a result, we project our pain and frustration on one another–making us torch bearers of white supremacy racism. Do you see it? Do you see how ingenious white supremacy racism is? How the design of the system itself prevents unity and thus, prevents us from achieving liberation?
“Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much that you don’t want to be around each other….you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you,” said Malcolm X.
How do we address self-hate in the black community? I would like to offer a comprehensive list of actionable steps we can take to avoid perpetuating white supremacy racism.
- Correct people when they need to be corrected. Talk directly with the person you’re correcting. Not on social media, but in person.
- Affirm each other often
- Hold each other accountable
- Find fellowship with Black people you may disagree with
- Reengage in Black traditions and create new ones
- Take responsibility for your role—whether it’s a teacher, alder person, CEO, a group leader or other. If we don’t take responsibility, we reaffirm we are the problem
- Become self-aware of your triggers
- If someone does something or says something that “feels” personal—figure out why. Defensive responses are seldom about the messenger.
- Become aware of your own motives—are they rooted in implicit biases? Are they authentic?
- Develop an understanding of Patriarchy and toxic masculinity
- We can’t get free until we ALL are free. WE must be willing to fight ALL oppressive systems and ideologies
- Ensure actions taken outside and inside systems are in “OUR” best interest by conversing with individuals who are directly impacted by said system
- Utilize each other. If you work in a system and you can’t afford to be a whistleblower—leak the information to someone who can
- Listen to those who stand outside of your identity—you may think you understand their journey because you’re black—however, intersectionality is a real thing. And no matter what your intentions are—the impact of your actions can be detrimental to those who stand outside of your identity
- Create thinktanks to strategize and develop tactics that “ALL” members of the black community can use, inside and outside of systems for surviving and eliminating white supremacy racism
- Don’t discount one another—if you disagree with someone take the time to figure what’s being said. It could be a learning moment for the both of you
- Develop an in-depth understanding and analysis of White Supremacy Racism
- Above ALL…LOVE each other. Show gratitude and appreciate. Compassion and patience. Remember, there was once a time you didn’t know what you know
The fate of our future rest in our hands. We can either sow together or die together. Its up to us. If you’ve ever wonder why black youth and adults fail to see value in themselves, remember the process in which self-hate was beaten into us. We don’t see value in ourselves for the same reasons white institutions don’t. We ALL carry it in our DNA. It is a part of every Black person’s sponsoring thought. Recovering and healing from self-hate is our first step towards liberation. Sending love and healing energy to Madison’s Black community. Be encouraged.
‘’They buried us but they didn’t know that we were seeds.”