White Supremacy is Ubiquitous: An ontological reality of white nationalism at the helm and the root of America
President Barack Obamas ascendancy to the President of the United States for many earmarked a symbol of our countries maturation, its symbolic significance heralded what Dr. Marc Lamont Hill of Temple University says was a sign that “shows that our country not only grows old but, grows up”. However, Dr. Hill was well aware of the dichotomy between symbolic progress and material progress, very few Americans keenly make this distinction. Millions of Americans viewed the embodiment of our first black President to be an exemplary praxis of racial progress insofar as espousing the theory that the nation is now in a post racial epoch. To borrow and modify a well-known Maury Povich line, the backlash and resentment of whites because of symbolic black progress proved THAT WAS A LIE. Historically, whites have always found newfangled ways to thrawt any material or symbolic gains of blacks, nothing proves this to be more true than the backlash to economic and political gains of blacks during the reconstruction period than the reemergence of the KKK and the advent of convict leasing, peonage, and Jim and Jane Crow laws. New mounds of black access will always erect white supremacist violence, fear, and insecurity. The apex of the Tea party movement saw remnants of racial amimus and unfair critique geared towards President Barack Obama. It is also important to note that the Tea Party movement’s incipience was displayed as an opposition to the Democratic party calling for a reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending, and for lower taxes. Barack Obama’s Presidency saw unprecedented obstruction and disrespect that corridored to the rehash of overt white supremacy and Donald Trump.
“ Donald Trump amplifies the worst instincts. And his nationalism is really a white racist supremacist nationalism”- Michael Eric Dyson
August 12, 2017 Charlottesville evinced the social realites as astounding to many Americans because of our fetishization and obsession with being a “colorblind” and “post racial” society. The rallying and violence of white supremacist is not a new phenomenon. These specific performances of white nationalism only reveal the overt practices of white supremacy and consequently obscures the structual edifices and apparatuses of quotidian daily life. White supremacy is ingrained into American society.
The rally on August 12, distorts the schema of white supremacy by rendering a mental image for individuals to attach it to. To state this differently, when people see these white supremacist in action they intuit that these individuals are the “few” and that they are an aberration to the norm. CNN’s political commentator Andre Bauer on a panel discussing the rally internalizes this viewpoint by stating “so lets say there were 10,000 and 5000 on each side, So in a country with several hundred million people, 5000 people in the biggest group ever assembled (Neo-Nazi/white supremacist) is all they could come up with? thats good news for our country”. This failure in logic not only denies the structural matrices of white supremacist racism but also doesn’t account for those individuals who did not want to risk exposure and could not make the trip. Moreover, it is noteworthy that this was indeed a rally to promote nationalsim and scout new patrons to coalesce around “whiteness”. These insular functions are indicative of the pervasive and perniciousness of this false ideology.
Donald J. Trump — our first infant president of the United States — buttressed his campaign on racial coding, dog whistles, and playing to irattional phobias of racist whites. He is also the founder of the racist birther movement in his attempt to dislodge votes and quell President Barack Obama’s Presidential canidacy. In 2016 on Jake Tappers “The lead” Donald refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. So it would come as no surprise that Donald’s statements on the White nationalist rally was an attempt to evade, equivocate, and obscure the realites of the rally. His statement on the violence and consequent deaths of Heather Heyer and two police patrols were “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides, ‘On many sides’, its been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time”. This ambiguous statement fails to name and indict the white radical terriorist for whom they are. And because we know what his campaign was undergirded on we have to acknowdlege Donald J. Trump for who he is, a White Racist. Anyone who has been paying attention to the moral corruption that is Donald Trump has to be willing to concede that when he feels fervent about a particular issue he doesn’t simply apostrophize or use vague terms, he becomes incediary in his directness to target the individual or group. Examples of this are replete, his attacks on the Media, Hillary Clinton, and even his own majority leader Mitchell McConnell are the first to come to mind.
Furthermore, “On many sides” was a way to vindicate and maintain his core base of white supremacist. To be clear, there was only one side who fomented and acted on violence, and those were the white supremacist. The counter protesters and white supremacist/neo nazi’s are not on an equally moral landscape. But lets take his point — that there was violence on both sides — just for arguments sake, than why not address these groups as thugs and criminals like he hastens when its geared towards black, brown and marginalized peoples of America? Well, thats because the words “thug” and “criminal” have become racially codified. The sheer fact that there was a police presence during this rally with white nationalist holding rifles and there being no carnage within their hate groups speaks to a specific genre in white supremacy as well. Whiteness has been determined superior and therefore must be sustained. Professor Cheryl Harris of UCLA coins the term “whiteness as property” where whiteness operates as property. “Whiteness” operates as property based on it being valued as a superior quality, has its own agency insofar as self ownership and like all property is protected by the law. Its why you see Dylan Roof a white supremacist who killed 9 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina conferred Burger King and a bullet proof vest. Whiteness as property differs from white privledge in this sense. Even though the counterprotesters aren’t composed of mainly Trump constituents they’re not labeled “Thugs” or “Criminals” because they’re majority white. On July 28th, 2017 Trump gave a speech to a majority police crowd and while speaking on the MS-13 gang stated that “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please, don’t be too nice’”. You can also see these attitudinal dispositions in how our nation is handling the drug addiction crisis now that it has found white communities. In the 80’s and 90’s when it ailed black communites the rhetoric was “lock em up” because blacks have always been rendered disposable. African Americans in the inner cities were labeled and targeted as social pathologies. The white nationalist rally on August 12th was egregious and disgusting, It is a time to end all sectarian and partisan party politics. The night of august 11th saw a large group of white supremacist protesting the removal of the confederate leader Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue. The lighting of torches with fire was reminiscent of the vicious and vehement mechanics of the KKK. However, the resistance to these white nationalist was promising in its immediate response.
James Fields the Neo Nazi who murdered Heather Heyer has been charged with 2nd degree murder and has been rumored to not being able to afford a lawyer because he makes only 650$ every two weeks. This conjures up an old antedote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr while he was in jail speaking with poor white racist telling them how they should be marching with him because they shared the same economic interest of eradicating poverty. James Field would have more appropriately served his interest by voting for a candidate that campaigned on issues to end poverty to serve the interest of the poor. But racist politicians like Donald Trump scapegoat issues like immigration, and affirmative action as policies that take from white people instead of calling out corporate greed.
To quote the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr again, “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitabilty” meaning that change will not come unless we enforce it. Many politicians have stated that the white nationalist rally is not what America is about, when in fact America was founded on racist principles, white supremacy, and the exploited labor of Africans. White supremacy is ingrained into our American culture. We must resist these ideologies and strive for change. We must start with calling out Donald Trump for who he is, and that is a proto-fascist, nihilistic, racist. America has matured but America is a long ways from adulthood. White america has been lying to itself for decades pertaining to the race question. America is mendacious and in denial within dialogues on racism. Let’s begin a shift these conversations by taking on the foundational undergirding of America’s white supremacist nature. Unfortunately, I am not either quixotic or pollyannaish in this quest. Sometimes optimism can be masqueraded as naivety. I’m well aware of the historical contradictions intrinsic in our nations very own constitution, and I’m afraid too many of the very individuals who claim moral righteousness will silently weep to themselves as they step over our dead bodies. But for those of us who are willing to fight we must resist. In conclusion, I would like to end this with a quote from James Baldwin in a letter he wrote to Angela Davis while she was in jail being railroaded on trumped up charges by racist politicians like Ronald Reagan & Richard Nixon.
“If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own — which it is — and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”- James Baldwin