White Supremacy “comes” for the Majority Daily: Understanding how it really works & why we can’t be Selective in Addressing it
Greetings Ms. Stevens,
I sincerely hope that this critique will be received in the same spirit in which it is offered, e.g., sincere concern regarding the possibility of inadvertent miseducation relative to one of the most dire issues and problems faced by the Black community in particular, as well as the larger society in general, namely the disease of white supremacy.
I have read a number of your medium articles, which were, in my humble and sincere view, very well written. However, I would like to offer constructive criticism concerning one that you posted recently regarding the Will Smith, Chris Rock debacle.
Some of your statements __ relative to the existence and manifestations of white supremacy are potentially problematic, in the sense that, rather than adding clarity as to the nature and essence of the scourge __ they misrepresent the manner in which it functions. Hopefully, as it relates to this critically important issue and problem, you will agree that during today’s volatile times, we need crystal-clarity, more than ever before. It is also my hope that you will agree to seriously consider the following:
If it’s true that “the slap has become the excuse that white racists have been waiting for to cancel a wealthy Black person” __ then Smith should have been even more aware of that than we are. So, why would he then turn around and give them what they “have been waiting for” __ unless of course, as many are suggesting, he’s experiencing some sort of mental health crisis.” I am aware of the widespread reality that frequently, when folks, especially racist white folks, want to avoid or dismiss serious, longstanding systemic issues and problems, they will turn to the old, tired, worn-out mantra of so-called ‘personal responsibility.’ However, in this particular case, it’s important for us to acknowledge that the mantra IS a legitimate factor.
To compare what is happening, as a result of Smith’s own carelessness (to say the very least) __ to the “Tulsa massacre” amounts to a grossly-disrespectful bastardization of historical REALITY. In my humble, but staunch and informed view, we should never engage in such intellectually inappropriate, and/or dishonest practices, nor should we allow anyone else to do so __ without being challenged.
The assertion that “an ever-growing Black elite in America upsets the white supremacist status quo” __ literally represents an erroneous, unsubstantiated, quantum, philosophical leap, e.g., “upsets the white supremacist status quo” HOW (specifically)? My question is NOT rhetorical __ HOW SO? You noted that “it shows that Black people are not inferior…” You’re kidding __right??? Do you really THINK that Black folks (at least those of us who are in our right minds) are still (in 2022) attempting to convince white folks that we are “not inferior,” and that we actually use as evidence the idea that there is “ an ever-growing Black elite in America?” Again, in my humble, but staunch view and opinion __that’s dangerous thinking, and it’s absolutely, unequivocally insulting to BLACK FOLKS EVERYWHERE.
With all due respect, and yes I genuinely mean it __ the following idea is fundamentally and grossly flawed, e.g., IF “any successful Black person turns [racist] narratives [regarding Black folks being so-called] stupid, promiscuous, easily seduced by illicit substances, feeble-minded, content living in the ghetto, lacking ambition, and violent __ on their heads” __ then we would NOT STILL be hearing those racist stereotypes today, especially considering that “successful” Black folks preceded people like “Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Oprah, The Carters, The Obamas, Rihanna” __ by hundreds of years (in this racist place alone), and historically speaking __ by many thousands of years. In fact, as it relates to Black “violence,” which you listed__ in many racists’ minds __ Smith’s actions bolster one of their popular stereotypes, which is something (surprisingly) that other super-wealthy “Black elites’’ __ such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, have become “complicit” in advancing.
In a number of cases, your article contains internal contradictions. That is, you contradict, and in some cases undo or debunk your own arguments. For example, you had claimed that “Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Oprah, the Carters, the Obamas, Rihanna, and many others represent an ever-growing Black elite in America, and this upsets the white supremacist status quo.” But then, on the other hand, you offered a recent example of how the long-standing, deeply-entrenched, systematic, white supremacist-based status quo is STILL very much intact, e.g., “When Joe Rogan was caught calling Black people the n-word a few weeks ago, people were angry, he apologized, and today I challenge you to find any article calling for his demise. In hindsight, it seems that Joe Rogan as white as he is, literally got away with insulting an entire [racial, not] ethnic group with a small tap on the wrist. He will go on to make loads of money and live happily ever after in a world that panders to white supremacy.” I’m making the point that it’s not possible for white supremacy to be “upset” and thriving at the same time. It IS in fact thriving (regardless of what happens to Will Smith and/or any other Black person/people), whether they’re super-wealthy or dirt-poor __ it doesn’t matter. That’s the fundamental nature and essence of how white supremacy functions, e.g., other than in degrees and intensity, it does NOT discriminate (based on socioeconomic class).
Statements such as your quote, which follows, seem to indicate that you too are buying into the Jabbar phenomenon referenced above, in which you imagine that Smith’s inappropriate behavior, and all of the resulting outcomes are somehow connected to the entire black community. IT IS NOT: “For centuries they have tried to undermine us, dehumanize us, and degrade us — the slap represents a golden opportunity for them so they’re not going to let go of it.” Again, white folks did NOT need Will Smith’s transgression __ in order to successfully continue their ongoing, attempts to “undermine us, dehumanize us, and degrade us.” On the contrary, they had plenty of practice and success in doing so (centuries before Smith was, as my grandmother used to say __even a sparkle in his parent’s eyes). AGAN, VIRULENT WHITE SUPREMACY IS A DEEP-SEATED, HISTORICAL, SYSTEMIC ISSUE AND PROBLEM, WHICH DOES NOT HINGE ON THE BEHAVIOR OF WILL SMITH, NOR ANY OTHER BLACK PERSON/PEOPLE __ WHETHER THEY ARE FILTHY-RICH OR DIRT-POOR __ IT LITERALLY DOES NOT MATTER.
It is important to weigh (very carefully) statements such as: “But in a post-George Floyd world, we should not lie in bed with white supremacy once more and let them get away with canceling Smith.” Even though I’m certain there is no ill intent on your part, hopefully, you understand how this type of statement just might come across to George Floyd’s love ones as potentially disrespectful __ since __ what Smith did, and any resulting consequences, is NOT remotely related to the literal murder of Mr. Floyd. With regard to so-called “letting them get away with canceling Smith” _ what (exactly and specifically) is it that you’re expecting ordinary, struggling Black folks to do?
As it relates to your directive to “make sure that you aren’t subconsciously punishing Smith a lot harsher than you would a white man or woman”__ who is the audience that you’re speaking to? Again, the average Black person has no power to “punish” Smith, even if we had a desire to do so, which most probably don’t.
In the final analysis, what’s so baffling and disappointing to me is (considering all of the dire issues and problems faced by Black folks) __ this sensational bull is dominating headlines and dinner-table-conversations, which represents a crystal-clear indicator of just how sick and twisted this nation really is. Why don’t folks carry on like this (day-in-and-day-out) about, (for example), the long-standing, decades, if not centuries-old, overwhelmingly predominantly Black urban education crisis, or the decades-old, Black fratricide that has been sweeping across this thoroughly racist, white supremacist-based nation-state (in every direction __ North, East, South, and West) __ due mainly to systemic allowance of illegal guns, which flow through predominantly Black, economically impoverished neighborhoods and communities (like water flows from Niagara Falls __ vis-à-vis lily-white communities), including the ones that Will Smith and Chris Rock live in???
As it relates to so-called combatting white supremacy __ I’m pretty sure )in fact absolutely certain) that MANY of US have our priorities all mixed up.
The Struggle Continues…