White innocence isn’t a crown; it’s a crime.

And no one should wear or excuse this crime

Sam McKenzie Jr.
Aug 16, 2018 · 5 min read

It is a fraud, a Ponzi scheme, a cult, and a con job.

And when I seize and stare at, the littered list of itemized indictments against whiteness, there’s one crime with outrageous and incalculable rates of recidivism — white innocence.

When Mike Pence denied implicit biases are a problem, he screamed white innocence.

When Donald Trump said he was the least racist person that Don Lemon knows, it was white innocence talking.

When Trump supporters believe every word from President Pinocchio, it is white innocence.

As the Trump Administration vilifies family reunification but offers a pass to Melania Trump’s parents, it is white innocence.

And when America can’t see its policies and drug use in the border crisis, as it scapegoats brown bodies, it is white innocence.

In his book, “The Fire Next Time,” James Baldwin says it this way:

“But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”

And so, I must recognize how white innocence is a recurring crime of whiteness.

It is the mindset that allows the crime of whiteness to continue.

The defense tactics and talking points of white innocence, used as alibis, are “not me, I wasn’t there, I’m not guilty, and I’m not racist.”

So, I chastise the claims of chastity by white innocence.

But, white innocence has an inventory of star witnesses it runs to the witness stand.

These witnesses have names like: Interracial relationships, time, distance, personal hardship, individuality, progress, and the superficial support of social justice causes.

Then, with its witnesses, white innocence is innately adept at projecting the blame for its crimes on communities of color.

I’ve seen white innocence scour the Black community for faults while white innocence turns its back to the innumerable mounds of growing evidence ablaze with racism.

As a method to escape its accountability, white innocence fixates on crime reports with a dastardly disregard for the factors inside the figures.

And, if you mention slavery to white innocence, white innocence will whip out its pen. Then, it will underline the role of West African nations and how much better life is in America.

This is an innocence which only tells its side of the story, and always paints with the color white in the best light.

But when I inspect white innocence, I see how it dupes itself. This feigned innocence is stifled by an ignorance that wraps whiteness in an imagined immunity.

And, with a blissful proclivity to blind its eyes to injustice, this mockery of innocence leads to inaction, and a shameful incuriosity about the sore sources of oppression.

Worst of all, the criminals cloaked in white innocence are free to extend, expand, or excuse their crimes with a self-protective power that whitens.

White innocence is a source of power that’s menacing with its denials.

So, the battle against white supremacy must go to war with white innocence.

Because white supremacy’s power is whittled down as the oppressed assail and expose its fake innocence.

But, this is a formidable battle because every structure in our society is shaped to uphold, vouch for, enforce, and reinforce white innocence.

Just take a glance at the media, a history book, the criminal justice system, or the government, and you’ll see how they closely guard white innocence.

And, the systems at work for white innocence are the most grossly endowed beneficiaries of white innocence even when white bodies aren’t at the helm.

This is why white innocence is quick to hang a jury.

This is why white innocence refuses to point a finger at any skin dressed in blue with badges.

This is why white innocence will not call itself a terrorist, or call its most heinous crimes hate crimes.

But, those of us with the charging documents in our hands, know white America is guilty, every day, of a galling and repetitious array of white racism.

And, to baffle justice, accountability, and remedies, white innocence demands proof of its guilt.

But, the request to eye the evidence is a trick and a trap because one of the most practical ways to hoard power is to claim it doesn’t exist.

So, until white Americans recognize their racism, change is impossible.

This is why I wish white people would admit they are racist. But instead, white people are more distressed by being called a racist than changing their racist ways.

And studies and social scientists agree it does no good to call someone a racist.

Despite the ever-increasing evidence, racism is still a cued script for white innocence to shrug its shoulders with disbelief in synchronicity.

So, it’s a perplexing scenario. The problem can’t be named for them or solved because white innocence is in the way.

That’s why racist white people must name themselves. They must admit they are racists and cooperate.

We save time, resources, and lives when white people better understand themselves.

But, I am not calling for white guilt.

Despite the fact that Baldwin indicts innocence, these days we shy away from white guilt. Maybe that’s an issue?

But I also know white guilt is a white-centered stalling tactic that throws and sinks white people into a bottomless pit of tears and tantrums.

So, since white innocence is unacceptable and white guilt goes nowhere, this country needs the opposite of innocence.

We need more white people who are cynical and critical of whiteness and take responsibility for making changes.

If a white person moves from white innocence to a knowing cynicism of whiteness, and takes responsibility, then restitution is possible.

With white innocence, restitution doesn’t even make sense because it sees itself as natural and harmless.

But, whiteness has never been an innocuous idea.

The potential to inflict harm is endemic to whiteness.

Because, America has loaded whiteness with a manufactured power and privilege that is — unless repurposed — ready and aimed like a weapon to the head.

So, I deny white people their invented innocence because America falsified its patent for white innocence.

And since white innocence is a counterfeit, we cannot honor white innocence.

So then, to regurgitate white innocence is a racist and revisionist crime against every rule of rationality and reality.

After all, there is no mystery to this long-standing and obvious crime; we know who did it yesterday, and we know who does it today.

What is uncertain is whether they will stop it and make it stop.

America shouldn’t have any monarchies, and white innocence is a criminal’s crown of oppression by deception.

It’s long past the time to throw down that crown.

Sam McKenzie Jr.

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I combat racism with verbicide and literary devices. https://www.patreon.com/SamMcKenzieJr | http://ko-fi.com/sammc