Today, we must acknowledge that America is at war with our own president. He waged war on us and we can no longer look for reasons to excuse inexcusable and indefensible behavior, even when it comes from the Oval Office. Today, there’s a much, much bigger problem Americans must deal with in the emotional aftermath of last weekend’s melee in Charlottesville, Virginia, which exposed President Donald J. Trump for being the kind of person many have known he was when he took that first step onto a metaphorical escalator headed down.
The nation must now move beyond the paralysis of incredulity and outrage following clashes between extreme groups of white supremacists, KKK, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and anti fascists in Charlottesville. We must move beyond the superficial removal of confederate statues that have stood as symbols of white supremacy for generations.
Yes, we must be outraged. Yes, we must remove the confederate symbols littered across the United States. But we must do more.
Yes, we must condemn a president who vacillates and hesitates and defends the “heritage” of those who have waged war against the progress toward a multiracial, multicultural Inclusive America. But, beyond condemnation of the shameful reaction of President Donald J. Trump, we must do more.
We must move beyond the hyperbole that escalates racial discord. Racial injustice is a sore symptom of the core problem that we still fail to address while arguing over who is and what is racist. Such discord stagnates discussions. Racism is a buzz word. We cannot thwart it. We cannot measure it. Calling someone a racist stymies any potential progress. We must move beyond the racist quagmire. Our future as a nation depends on us getting this moment in history right, and responding in a way that opens a door of progress.
MAINSTREAM WHITE SUPREMACY
The stagnation of progress around symptoms of the problem, rather than the cause of those symptoms, ensures our children and their children will be dealing with the same issues our parents and grandparents dealt with. And now here we are in the midst of the same unyielding root cause:
America’s biggest problem is mainstream white supremacy, which manifests in segregationist policies and practices that seek to safeguard the foundations of all institutions of power, wealth and influence in the United States under control of white citizens in perpetuity.
The fear of any incremental dilution of white supremacy in America is perceived as a loss of control over a country built for whites first and whites only. The very existence of “others” in a white America is believed by supremacists to be evidence of the goodness of whites, who tolerate others sharing in their national prosperity. This is not merely the belief of violent extremist groups, like the KKK and neo-Nazis. It is deeply embedded in the organs of the nation, like a cancerous tumor that has metastasized through the body politic. It affects our way of life in every nook and cranny of the nation. It fuels stereotypes and energizes a mob of memes to reinforce widespread ignorance of “others.”
This notion of whites as a superior race is strewn throughout American history unaltered, undeterred, unabashed and operating in plain sight. It is so ubiquitous that we’ve accepted it as mainstream, as part of the norm of American life. We no longer say “white” men and “white” women even when everything we are speaking about pertains specifically to that part of our population. We insist on the default “men” and “women” to refer to white people while a descriptive qualifier is used when referring to nonwhites. Watch any newscast on any day. Listen to any political speech. We cannot help ourselves. It’s how we have all been raised, immersed in an environment that reveres white as right, beautiful and deserving of every benefit of every doubt in every circumstance.
Our national sin isn’t slavery. It is white supremacy, and more particular, mainstream white supremacy. All other national sins stem from it.
Capitalism. It is the bedrock economic foundation upon which the US rose to the top in global economic competitiveness in the aftermath of WWII. Think about that. In a mere 60 years, the US expanded from isolation to the world’s number one super power. When combining both economic and military power of the US impact around the world, number two isn’t even close. Throughout that time, the US was imposing intentional economic sanctions upon its own black population through various means of segregationist policies and practices in both the public and private sectors.
America’s entire modern-day economic foundation, established and expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries — and throughout a war waged upon black Americans in the aftermath of a Civil War between whites over the future of black people — still impacts every life in our nation today.
Think about that for a moment. An economic construct developed by whites for whites in the past is the same economic framework that determines winners and losers today. It’s no secret that the vast majority of white Americans enjoy generations of benefit from the privilege of being born white in America. Those who have the misfortune of being born into unfortunate economic circumstances were still born on the white side of the American tracks. And that accident of birth holds meaning in a great many corners of society throughout their lives. White skin is too often the subtle difference between a smile or frown, comfort or fear, an open or closed door. And in extreme circumstances, it can be the tiny measure that results in life or death.
MAINSTREAM SUPREMACY IS NOT EXTREME
America’s core economic construct is built around a framework of mainstream white supremacy. This is not the extreme kind of hostilities we witnessed in Charlottesville. Not the kind of sculpted symbols that sit in public spaces as offensive and insulting reminders of who runs things around here.
No, mainstream white supremacy sits in the pews with pious white hands and preaches from the pulpit. It smiles and waves on the way to the polls to support segregationist politicians and policies. It decides who gets a loan and who gets shown the door. It determines which kid will get into AP classes and which will not. It decides legislation and interprets it. It presents the news and frames it. It dilutes and dismisses the outcries from victims and counters the complaints of protesters with taunts of “victim mentality.”
Mainstream white supremacy also asserts itself in unexpected ways. It speaks of “diversity and inclusion” as though merely mouthing the words as an after-thought is sufficient. It pats itself on the back for each individual nonwhite success, all the while wondering when will enough be enough? It praises progress of individuals who overcome incredible odds of beating systemic institutional biases instead of dismantling the systemic institutional biases. It feigns outrage when displays of extremists within its midst cannot be hidden but refuses to weed out those extremists. It stands tall with righteous indignation and harsh criticism for words and actions perpetrated by its most outrageous purveyors and yet embraces those same actors out of political expediency and excuses their inexcusable behavior.
Mainstream white supremacy is passive, permissive and serves as the maintainer of the status quo. It is the seemingly innocuous evil that sits quietly upon a throne of dominance enabling extremists to attract the slings and arrows and ire of those who believe white supremacy in all its forms to be morally reprehensible and repugnant.
The antidote to the poison of mainstream white supremacy is an active, intentional, committed daily devotion to disrupting segregationist policies and practices across America, and bursting the bubble of separation that offers white Americans the privilege to remain ignorant of others living outside of the bubble.
IDENTIFYING WHITE SUPREMACY
A statue of General Robert E. Lee stands tall in Emancipation Park within the heart of Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia. Despite the fact he was a cruel slave owner and confederate general in a defining war he lost, a monument for Lee was established in 1924 with permission from the city council (an act of mainstream white supremacy). But Charlottesville isn’t the only place this Civil War relic stands or rides his horse.
General Lee can be seen in myriad places around the country, joined by more than 1,500 other symbols of the confederacy, including many outside of the southern states. The funds needed to produce, install and maintain these public reminders of an era in which white Americans regarded blacks as sub-human come out of the pockets of respected white people and local taxpayer dollars.
Decade after decade, white Americans have enjoyed their despicable and offensive monuments in relative peace while black Americans have been relegated to whispering about the hubris such symbols represent. This is mainstream white supremacy operating in plain sight. No outrage. No protests. No demands to stop offending others. Just passive awareness that this evil is on display. And whenever complaints arise, mainstream white supremacists avert their eyes, close their ears and turn their attention to the next holiday or plans for vacation.
Welcome to the United States of White America.
Of course, you’ll never hear that phrase uttered by media and those in positions of authority, although many absolutely believe it. To say it out loud is to betray the silent war waged upon the threat of an encroaching multiracial, multicultural society.
AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR
Despite a hushed tone across the nation, evidence of an ongoing war in America is abundant. To stir the hostility that lies simmering just beneath the surface of seeming civility, simply announce that you plan to remove one of those sacrosanct symbols of confederate evil. That’s what Charlottesville did when it decided to move Lee somewhere else. And that decision prompted myriad groups, such as the KKK, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and your run-of-the-mill white supremacists to schedule a #UnitetheRight rally and travel from faraway places to show flags, scream nonsensical stuff, blather about more nonsense, toss their torches, don helmets and shields, clash with anti-fascists (Antifa) and wail on each other full force for no apparent reason … all while armed police officers passively observed.
The presence of passive armed police observing an open brawl by white supremacists groups who scheduled their brawl, arrived equipped for battle, and even offered a pre-brawl torch-lit festival the evening before that turned violent, is clear evidence of mainstream white supremacy operating in plain sight.
By the time a state of emergency was declared and the National Guard arrived, the damage was done. Dozens were injured and 3 died. Two officers died in an helicopter accident responding to the rally. And 32-year-old Heather Heyer instantly became a household name when she was killed by a car that plowed into a crowd peacefully protesting the chaos. That car was driven by 20-year-old lunatic Alex Fields.
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This all may seem surreal. After all, it’s well known these alt-right groups are fringe elements of society. Right?
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ELEMENTS OF COVERT WAR
For generations, segregationist policies and practices, established by white supremacists as systemic institutional biases ingrained in American infrastructure, suppressed the capacity of nonwhite citizens and immigrants to achieve their goals and succeed in America en masse.
Nonwhite populations have long been quarantined and imprisoned within chronic oppressive conditions through a toxic combination of economic deprivation spanning generations, systemic institutional biases, legal and financial oppression and fraud, and leveraging police authority to instill fear and terror.
Those same policies and practices of suppression and oppression are operating today in every nook and cranny of our society, maintained and sustained by “mainstream” white supremacists who would never consider marching in the streets of Charlottesville, Durham, Seattle or elsewhere beneath a banner of alt-right white supremacist symbols.
The most entrenched white power wielded today isn’t the bluster and bravado expressed by skinheads or the robed and hooded KKK. It is the quiet subtle decisions made by mainstream white supremacists who shirk the label while designing and supporting policies and legislative acts that serve to protect segregationist constructs.
Mainstream white supremacists believe that America is beyond the problems of the Civil Rights Movement, as if by ignoring those chronic conditions they magically disappeared.
Do not make the mistake of believing that ignoring a population isn’t an act of hostility. America has long used the power of economic sanctions and quarantining mass populations as a measure of control. And it has intentionally exerted such control over the mass populations of Native Americans, black Americans and Mexican Americans particularly due to the dependence we have historically had on government protections from the sacrosanct private sector of white America.
The controls leveraged by the private sector over the public institutions of power have thwarted all attempts by these minority groups to attain exponential progress over the past 50 years. And the only thing mainstream white supremacists need to do to ensure the pecking order remains in place is to ignore the complaints or offer small incremental concessions in policy or practice that can be easily restricted and/or reversed at a later date. Such appeasing practices are insurance against significant uprisings.
Such cavalier notions compel mainstream white supremacists to casually neglect the deteriorating “shameful condition” of minorities in America, which Dr. King pointed to in his iconic speech, and Muhammad Ali pointed to when they banned him from boxing, and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick pointed to when he was blackballed by the NFL.
From 1963 to 2017, it hasn’t mattered to mainstream white supremacists whose finger was pointing to the chronic economic conditions of black communities. They haven’t listened and refuse to acknowledge it much less actually do anything about it. Dr. King is a historic figure that mainstream white Americans embrace once a year while reciting the most mundane refrain of his iconic speech. But nobody recites the upper section refrain of King’s speech … 100 years later.
Here we are 54 years later, still within the span of my life, and white Americans as a population are severely ignorant about the extraordinary state of economic distress and desperation that engulf tens of millions of black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. The decades of economic war against black Americans have caught up many millions of collateral casualties in white America, particularly in rural regions where President Trump is considered ordained by God. Asian Americans have been swept up in the policies and practices of ignoring entire communities of peoples at the local, state and federal levels.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
The government isn’t the only purveyor of white power. Such power is much more rampant and wielded with much more covert force in America’s private sector, where corporations and entire industries can do as they please, understanding that justice in America is a privilege, much like healthcare, only for those who can afford it.
Today, look no further than the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick to find a blatant example of mainstream white supremacists at work, leveraging industry policies and practices to suppress and oppress, targeting one man who had the courage to follow in the footsteps of the King, Belafonte, Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Craig Hodges and so many others. Meanwhile, mainstream white supremacists quietly observe, their silence serving as tacit approval or fear of reprisal.
There’s a reason why we use the phrase “fighting the good fight.” The good fight is fought by one who is noble, brave and well-intended, even when there is no chance of victory. Kaepernick sought to turn the nation’s attention to a chronic problem, a “shameful condition” that was generations in the making and will be generations in resolving IF we ever get around to addressing it with the same kind of dedication we devote to winning a Super Bowl or winning a war. Kaepernick is fighting the good fight. The question we seldom ask is who is on the other side of that battle?
The NFL is a great example of white supremacy operating in plain sight. It has the unmitigated gall to surreptitiously collude in an effort to blackball Colin Kaepernick, who is obviously a better talent than many of the currently employed quarterbacks in the league. Such hubris operating on a world stage is only upstaged by President Trump, who will have his moment in the light of scrutiny momentarily.
Consider that many, if not most, of the NFL’s best players are born to poor parents, raised in the nation’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, attend poor quality public schools and overcome extraordinary odds to navigate a student-athlete pipeline established and maintained by the white supremacists in the NFL and NCAA. Consider that players spend so much time focused on the game, it’s akin to a full-time job with no pay and a non-compete clause to ensure only the NCAA and NFL can profit off the young man’s best years of playing. Now, consider that young man reaches the pinnacle of the football universe, playing in the NFL. He even plays in a Super Bowl, because he’s just that good. But if he sits quietly during a manufactured pre-game ceremony to marry the brand of the NFL with patriotism and military allegiance, he is instantly cast aside. Nevermind his intent was to turn a spotlight onto that student-athlete pipeline that leads into America’s ghettos. Nevermind the fact that he, just like Ali, is more concerned with the conditions of the kids in the inner city than the sacrosanct pretense of patriotism that serves as a facade for white nationalism.
The NFL exposed its ugly underbelly in leveraging its entire weight to quarantine Kaepernick and send a chilling message to every other player in the league and those youth working hard to move up the student-athlete pipeline for consideration on draft day.
Millions of mainstream white supremacists sports fans who support the NFL with their dollars in attendance, merchandising, travel, food, parties, camps, and armchair quarterbacking made their voices heard. And now we can’t hear Kaepernick’s voice anymore. That’s mainstream white supremacy at work.
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MAINSTREAM WHITE SUPREMACY IN POLITICS
Compare the hypocrisy occurring in plain sight across the national landscape today. Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to find a microphone and camera to denounce the violent outcome of the Charlottesville rally in the strongest terms they could muster this past week. They then turned to the president and pointed an accusatory finger at his reluctant and tepid initial response, which his critics proclaim gave cover to white nationalists.
Amazingly, these critics saw no correlation to their silent reluctance to denounce the extraordinary backlash from white nationalists who aimed their ire at Kaepernick last year for peacefully pointing to the exact same chronic conditions plaguing communities of color today that Dr. King was pointing to in 1963. Kaepernick continues to suffer the loss of his career, a casualty of the ongoing war supported by mainstream white supremacy. Still, all I hear are crickets from the leaders in our society. Meanwhile, in the court of public opinion there are numerous strong cases being made that clearly reveal the NFL is blackballing a black player to kowtow to white nationalists.
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WHITE AMERICANS vs OTHERS
For the past 50 years, athletes and entertainers have joined community activists in raising an extremely loud voice to inform white America of the worsening “shameful condition” that is maintained by the status quo. Any thinking person can easily understand that whatever segregated infrastructure previously built by white supremacists and currently maintained by white supremacists didn’t magically disappear the moment white people could point to the individual successes of minorities that were achieved in spite of the system, not because of it.
There were arguments made in the 60s that claimed black Americans were lazy, immoral, intellectually inferior and should be feared. Those same arguments are made today, 50 years later. Not much has changed since this political commercial aired:
“Crimes of violence in the United States have almost doubled in recent years,” Nixon says. “Today, a violent crime is committed every 60 seconds. A robbery every two-and-a-half minutes. A mugging every six minutes. A murder every 43 minutes … And it will get worse unless we take the offensive. Freedom from fear is a basic right of every American. We must restore it.”
Note the context. “Freedom from fear is a basic right of every American.” Did you catch that? Lots of stuff was thrown, so you’re forgiven if you missed any of it. To whom is this message targeted? Who is cowering in fear? And who are these fearful Americans?
In 1968, I was a six-year-old little black boy being raised in the United States of White America. I was raised in Houston, Texas, just 40 miles from Galveston, where the last slaves were freed in June 1865. Nobody needed to say “white” in Texas because it was understood. When any politician said “American” they were referring to white Americans. Not Native Americans. Not black Americans. Not Hispanic Americans. Not Asian Americans.
The rest of us Americans are permitted to assume we are included in the point. But white Americans did not mean that nor make those assumptions. They didn’t make an all-encompassing assumption then. They don’t do it now.
So, when white Americans say they want “their” country back, please note how they tolerate the silliness of nonwhites assuming the rest of us have some place in that message. We are allowed to assume “American” means all of us living in this multiracial, multicultural society. But there is no such assumption being made by those who are adamant about reversing the incremental multiracial, multicultural progress and taking back the overwhelming dominance white people once enjoyed in “their” country for generations.
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To justify their presumed magnanimous heart for others, mainstream white supremacists typically point to an example of success here and there of nonwhites. The example is meant to to disavow the existence of systemic biases. Ironically, this act of pointing to individual successes vs noting the dominance of systemic biases that prevent wholesale masses from succeeding is a telltale sign of a mainstream white supremacist. He or she would rather that you accept a few individual wins than require of them to proactively change a whole system that benefits whites while preventing millions of nonwhites from competing.
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Today, mainstream white supremacists continue to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the problems pointed to by Kaepernick, Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and many others. Harry Belafonte is a legendary entertainer and Civil Rights icon who, with his daughter Gina and their nonprofit Sankofa, continues to leverage his celebrity status to draw attention to the severe problems plaguing people of color.
Wait. You didn’t know Harry Belafonte was still alive, much less actively involved in a continuation of his push for civil rights and economic equity, right? I know. It’s hard to hide a guy like Belafonte. But we live in the United States of White America. We hid Muhammad Ali for the rest of his life after boxing. You still don’t know how much work he did, do you? That’s the power of mainstream white supremacy. It can shove any icon under a rug for any length of time.
Today, America is just as black and white as it ever was, if you know where to look. Or even try to take a cursory look. Consider the Christian music scene. Major Christian radio music stations are popular across the country. But if you ask the average white Christian to name a few nonwhite Christian artists, they will struggle. And if you ask the owners and managers and DJs of the Christian radio stations the same question, they will likely struggle as well. And if you check the Grammy Awards for winners in the Christian music genre, you might be surprised to find that while President Obama was in office the Grammy folks separated the Christian category into two separate genres: Contemporary Christian Music and Gospel Music. I’ll let you figure out how that falls along racial lines (crossover artists notwithstanding). Prior to 2012, when the split was made, the Grammy folks were okay with the single category.
I see this area of Americana as a canary in the coal mine. It is a barometer of how much interest white Americans have in the manner in which life in America affects others outside of their bubble. If they aren’t interested, then they will remain susceptible to the propaganda perpetrated by hardcore white supremacists across the mainstream arenas of power, wealth and influence. And as long as white Americans sit in their church pews listening to their Christian music for decades and still can’t name a handful of nonwhite Grammy Award-winning Christian artists, mainstream white supremacy will dominate the landscape.
That’s true as long as we allow it to remain so. Getting to know others outside of our bubble can break down these artificial barriers that heavily influence how we view one another.
AMERICA’S MAGIC STORY
If we are honest, we must admit that white supremacy isn’t a fringe element in America today. It isn’t the misguided beliefs of a few marginalized hate groups or overt rantings of neo-Nazis and lovers of all things confederate.
White supremacy is truly the mainstream philosophical thought process that permeates all of American society. I see it operating all around me with impunity every day. If you cannot see it, you’re either not looking or you don’t know what it looks like.
Just days prior to the outbreak of homegrown white terrorist hostilities in Charlottesville, I wrote about the root cause of President Trump’s War on Inclusive America.
Last week, I pointed out the undeniable, irrefutable evidence of a nation built for white citizens upon a foundation of white supremacy from its inception. There is no evidence that suggests the construction of a whites-only and whites-first segregationist landscape magically morphed into an equitable meritocratic inclusive society in which white supremacy is marginalized over the past 50 years. But that’s the magic story sold every day by media, politicians and pundits. And as long as we don’t look beyond rhetoric, we’ll never see obvious data testifying to the truth.
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SEGREGATION IN PLAIN SIGHT
We all have different points of view, but we have to agree on a set of concrete facts and basic information. History provides us a place to establish a baseline for discussion.
White supremacy has been ingrained in the education sector for more than 300 years, from the proliferation of Massachusetts public schools in 1647 to the Supreme Court decision that compelled integration of schools in 1954. That’s 307 years of policy and practice around the philosophical framework of “Jim Crow” segregation created by mainstream white supremacists before the Supreme Court narrowly struck down the legality of it (not the practice of it).
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By the time Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, the desegregation effort in American schools (slowed for many years due to violent backlash from white supremacists) was just starting in earnest. A little more than a decade later, Ronald Reagan put a full stop to the incremental progress of desegregation during his first term in office. Thus the end of desegregation in one segment of society was killed quickly before it could achieve its intended goal.
From President Reagan to President Trump, the magic story of a benevolent meritocratic America tries to persuade the nation to believe 370 years of hostile segregationist policies and practices in public schools and institutions of higher education have been magically erased.
A simple look at historical data reveals the truth. Segregation of America’s public schools is worse today than on the day King died.
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AMERICA’S WHITE ELEPHANT
It is important to acknowledge that segregation safeguards the dominance of white supremacy in American culture. It is ingrained in the core of American society in every institution of power, wealth and influence (including media). It is the primary manner in which white supremacy is manifested and sustained. Segregationist policies and practices are evident in measurable metrics within government at all levels, and have completely saturated the landscape of America’s sacrosanct private sector. We need only look at the data to see the stark reality. Truly, if we seek truth, we shall find it.
The only reason many white Americans (not all) cannot readily see this white elephant of segregation in the room is because many are convinced there is no elephant. At best, many believe the elephant resembles a tiny white mouse simply squeaking about supremacy, which presumably serves as an irritant to the nation. Too many white Americans try to ignore the mouse, believing all the while they are not supporting racist practices, segregation or any tool of white supremacy. Sadly, they are mistaken.
SEGREGATION TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER
Evil prevails when good people do nothing.
Since Alabama Governor George Wallace uttered the now-infamous words, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” the magic story we are led to believe is that segregation disappeared without a concerted, committed and sustained effort by either government or the private sector.
When Wallace was in the sunset of his life and began to appoint black people to political positions, that act was viewed as his penance. For many whites, it was sufficient to satisfy the extraordinary generational impact of systemic institutional biases that continued to plague the entire state of Alabama and the nation today. But, just because Wallace had a change of heart in the final decade of a very long life doesn’t mean that millions of his followers did. And the evidence reveals they did not. They simply switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and helped elect Nixon. The rest is history.
When President Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008, millions of white people across America cheered. Many believed that such a symbolic election represented the end of their efforts, rather than an indicator of incremental progress, as Obama cautioned. It should be noted the same sentiment was expressed by white Americans in both parties, Democrats and Republicans, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (both merely a restatement of the 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution).
But Obama’s election alerted hardcore white activists across America who began to realize they could not sustain their demonstrative power and supremacy by counting on the controls they exercised as systemic institutional biases. They believed they needed to mobilize and proactively dismantle the incremental progress being made toward an inclusive society versus maintaining the status quo, as Dr. King described white segregationists in his day.
In order to build a “fair, just and inclusive America” (as President Barack Obama said in his farewell speech on Jan. 10), the nation must actively dismantle segregationist policies and practices wherever they exist.
In order to defeat white supremacy the segregationist infrastructure that safeguards it must be destroyed.
From the Civil War to this very day, the institution of segregation has been ingrained in American society to serve as a gatekeeper safeguarding the supremacy of whites in a multiracial, multiethnic nation that’s racing toward becoming a full-fledged multicultural society. Such a society will need all of its institutions and infrastructure built in a manner that affords equitable access to opportunity of all kinds by all citizens and immigrants. That foundation is not how America was originally built. But that foundation must be built today. And to build it, we must do what builders do; we must destroy the bad foundation.
Bottom line: In order for an Inclusive America to be born, white supremacy must die.
FOCUS ON WHITE SUPREMACY, NOT RACISM
To admit that one believes the United States was a white-only nation that became a whites-first nation after the Civil War is to utter national heresy that will immediately be tamped down and punished by the Police of Political Correctness. It is those police, in media, elected offices and scattered throughout the private sector who protect the curtain behind which lies the truth and the root cause of what happened in Charlottesville.
The riots in Charlottesville were more focused on the declaration of white pride and power and dominance rather than denouncing all other races.
The misnomer of racism as the issue redirects discourse toward individual attitudes that are difficult to determine and impossible to measure. Racism is not the focus of this commentary, yet unfortunately consumes the attention of Americans responding to the tragedy in Charlottesville, which claimed three lives. Racism is most assuredly a facet of white supremacy. But to focus on individual attitudes and actions of intentional discrimination based on race is to turn one’s attention away from the war to focus on one battle.
To win the war, we must focus on dismantling segregationist policies and practices that enable systemic institutional biases to manifest in discriminatory acts. Focus on identifying segregationist policies and practices. Once we focus, these policies and practices are visible everywhere. After all, they are systemic and hard to miss … once we start looking.
BIRTH OF WHITE AMERICA
Of course, you would be forgiven for diminishing or dismissing the idea that America was a white nation built for white Americans. After all, much rebranding has been done over the decades since the death of Dr. King in 1968 to disavow the notion that America is a whites-only or whites-first country.
But from its inception and leading up to and through the Civil Rights Movement, there was no such delusion. In fact, it was this very concept that compelled black Americans to rise up in the face of harrowing hostilities by whites in every nook and cranny of this nation. During those days, black men stood in the streets wearing signs reminding whites: I am a man.
To gain a better grasp of the gravity of the cause in Charlottesville, we must acknowledge what white supremacists believe is true: In 1776, when white immigrants from Europe declared themselves conquerors, and took ownership of their so-called “free” and “sovereign” nation upon the soil already owned by natives, that declaration only applied to whites. Their established laws of governing themselves applied to whites only.
From 1776 through the end of the Civil War in 1865, there was no such mass of people considered “black American citizens.”
Citizenship rights were conferred by the states, not the federal government. Legal protections of the constitution of the United States did not apply to non-citizens. And, at that time, all US citizens were white only.
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In 1868, a political battle ensued in congress between whites struggling with the question of what to do with black people, particularly given that more than four million black people were refugees in the United States, liberated by the Civil War. They were living in squalid destitute conditions, completely bereft of any power, ownership or even access to basic necessities, much less access to opportunities to make a new life with their newfound “freedom.”
WHITE AMERICA ESTABLISHES BLACK AMERICA
In the aftermath of the Civil War, black people were completely vulnerable to rampant attacks by whites, and completely dependent upon a government solution. That solution presumably came in the form of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution. (Note: Subsequent acts of congress have been made to further support the existing constitutional laws, which continue to be subverted by white supremacists today).
Those amendments to the constitution resulted in the following laws:
13: Outlawed slavery, thus placing a legal restriction upon the ability of whites to use blacks as free labor.
14: Extended formal US citizenship to black people and afforded them equal status to white citizens in the eyes of the law.
15: Established the right to vote for the new black American citizens.
WHITE AMERICA WAGES WAR ON BLACK AMERICA
Despite constitutional amendments, all of these new laws would be circumvented by whites in various ways for 100 years with near impunity. From 1868 to 1968, battles broke out across America.
Despite a lack of formal declaration, in every sense of the word, the US was at war within.
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Black Americans were kidnapped, raped, tortured, imprisoned and murdered as a matter of course. Segregation of black Americans was a legal status that tolerated the existence of black people but ensured white supremacy reigned over their lives generation after generation. Secret medical experiments were performed, eugenics experiments were authorized and funded by the federal government, states designed their own destructive measures to impact black lives.
In every way, black Americans were under siege and at the mercy of white Americans, a landscape of both incredibly brave white heroes and incredibly horrific white monsters. Black Americans aligned with the heroes, but the monsters dominated the land.
SEGREGATION: TOOL OF WHITE SUPREMACISTS
Throughout the history of the United States, segregation was the primary tool used to safeguard white supremacy. It ensured native peoples would be quarantined away from white Americans. It ensured the children of black Americans, who were quarantined through economic measures, legal restrictions and public practices, would never be educated on par with whites. It ensured most black workers would always struggle to find ways to make a living in a nation in which whites owned nearly all businesses, financial and political power. It ensured most talented black entrepreneurs would be prevented from fair access into the whites-only competitive arena of capitalism and the sacrosanct “free market.”
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Segregation ensured black people would never benefit from the full and equal protections of law. It ensured black people would live in separate and lesser accommodations, receive unfair lower wages, toil under egregious working conditions with little hope of promotion regardless of performance, and live their lives from birth to the grave as second-class citizenry. It ensured the descendants of black Americans would have to start over every generation, with no accumulated wealth or land or businesses or power in a whites-first and whites supreme society.
THOUGHT EXERCISE: On what specific date in US history was a sustained and successful effort to disrupt ingrained segregationist policies and practices implemented nationwide?
MEASURING SEGREGATION THROUGH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS
This segregated status of American society, under which the United States rose to world prominence during WWII (the so-called “Greatest Generation”), was as much a permanent economic sanction placed on black Americans as any foreign nation. And, given this tool of war was directed upon American citizens, the results could be easily measured:
Education: Segregated under-funded, substandard schools predictably produced less-prepared students for college. Today, more schools are segregated in public schools than on the day Dr. King was assassinated. The act of initial desegregation was met with by force from whites just six decades ago. That force has been buttressed by economic strategies resulting in well-funded new schools for white kids while schools for nonwhites are left to languish under the corrosive effects of time and neglect.
Unemployment: Black unemployment was consistently twice the rate of white unemployment during the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the same trend continues year over year, regardless of educational attainment. An Affirmative Action effort within the government to integrate the military ranks and expanded to all government contracts with the private sector. Diversity and Inclusion efforts emerged to assist the private sector in compliance with federal regulations. Today, despite decades of dedicated efforts, Affirmative Action and Diversity & Inclusion practices have failed. They continue to limp along in a failed state as new industries emerge facing the same dearth of diversity.
Entrepreneurship: The growth of black businesses occurred despite reluctance of white bankers to issue loans throughout the 20th century. In the early part of the century, “Black Wall Street” commercial corridors emerged in Durham, Tulsa and other cities, establishing small successful economic pockets. Whites destroyed them all. Tulsa was particularly egregious, with bombs dropped on it and more than 30 blocks of businesses and residences burned to the ground, producing thousands of fleeing black refugees. Today, all 2.6 million black-owned businesses can manage to only eke out less than 1 percent of the nation’s GDP and zero percent job growth. This stat has not changed since black people became black “Americans,” despite the rapid introduction of new black businesses every year.
Wealth: At the time of Dr. King’s death in Memphis, where he arrived to support the protest of chronic working conditions and poor wages of the City’s black sanitation workers, the average white family held four to five times the wealth of the average black family. Basically, for every dollar a white family had, a black family of equal number had 20 to 25 cents. Today, the wealth gap is 18 times. And the average black family would need 228 years to accumulate the wealth of the average white family, if the white family didn’t accrue another nickel.
Real Estate: In Dr. King’s day, black people, as a rule, simply were not allowed to live in white communities. There were few exceptions. In the decades that followed, the real estate and banking industries established “red-lining” policies that governed the practice of how homes could be sold to black people to ensure continued segregation of the masses. Today, economics continue to play a demonstrable role in the ability of black people to own acreage anywhere. And the practice of discriminating against black Americans seeking housing and land continues. Notably, President Trump was sued twice by the federal government for violating laws outlawing discrimination in housing. Nevertheless, the widespread practice continues today. Lawsuits are expensive and most aggrieved victims simply can’t afford to access justice because, like healthcare, it costs too much.
Economic Development: Through urban economic strategies and planning, white supremacy of place, ownership and access to community needs was assured. Today, economic development policies ensure gentrification of nonwhite communities as a built-in design feature of strategies and plans. The federal government funds the economic development strategies planning process in nearly every metro region of the nation. Not one of more than 500 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) plans incorporates measurable economic outcomes for communities of color. Not one.
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL
It would surprise many white people today if they understood the broad scope and depth to which segregationist policies and practices still rule in every state, region and city. It would surprise them further to realize how they have individually contributed to supporting the infrastructure of segregationist policies and practices by voting for individuals and honoring appointees who serve as gatekeepers protecting the policies from disruption.
The key to sustaining a widespread lack of knowledge about how entrenched segregation is in across every sector of society is simply to not talk about it. And to this day, segregationist policies are not a part of mainstream discourse.
This policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has served white supremacists well over the past several decades. It allowed mainstream white supremacists to operate in plain sight with impunity. And they’ve exercised power in every position of power and influence in the nation, from elected local, state and federal officials to saturating the landscape of private sector business (including many serving on police forces, in educational and religious institutions, business and financial sectors, and even congress and the White House). The revered former president Reagan was a well-known segregationist.
CLASHES IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
An incredulous nation watched in horror on the night of Aug. 11 as news media and social media covered clashes on the campus of the University of Virginia while police lined themselves around the perimeter and watched scrum after scrum. Crowds of mostly young white males hurled themselves into one another when they weren’t hurling bottles, rocks and varying debris. Heated screams and incoherent rants emerged from flag-wielding self-proclaimed white supremacists, nationalists and neo Nazis.
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Police were confronted by angry and fearful bystanders who begged them to do something to restore order. But on that evening, law and order were placed on hold around the statue of Robert E. Lee, the proposed removal of which some groups said had prompted their scheduled arrival. Their violent actions indicated they had leveraged the occasion for another purpose.
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The following day, the melee resumed. This time, however, it was ratcheted up as the crowd swelled into hundreds of whites and a smattering of black and other activists protesting the assortment of white supremacists, nationalists and Nazis. The clashes were anticipated by young white males who came armed and ready for bloody confrontations. Police casually arrived to once again serve as uniformed spectators. By the time reinforcements were brought in, which included police in riot gear and the National Guard, the damage was done.
Many injuries and even one death resulted from the preventable mob violence. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old white woman from Charlottesville, lost her life protesting the evil that the City of Charlottesville allowed to assemble and escalate into violence. But let’s be clear: Heyer wasn’t a victim of an out-of-control white supremacist rally. She was a casualty of war.
WAR ON INCLUSIVE AMERICA
To understand the voices behind the war against an inclusive multicultural society means taking the time to listen to those white Americans expressing their frustrations with the direction of the country. They are blunt and brazen, and oftentimes offensive in their language.
But the passionate sentiment behind their profanity laced language tells the story of an ongoing anger festering across the landscape of white America, lashing out at the progressive measures that slowly inch toward development of a multicultural society.
Many whites believe this progress is an affront to the power and dominance of white Americans. They believe in order for others to rise, they must fall. And even a small diminishing of their stature is too much in their view, especially as an accommodation to others who they believe are unable to effectively compete to elevate their stature without receiving some measure of concession from whites.
For the white supremacist, this nation was theirs, is theirs, and should always be theirs. The method by which their forefathers conquered the native people, and the manner by which the land and power they believe came into their hands, is immaterial to their beliefs. This is their land. Not your land. Not my land. Not our land. It is their land.
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FEAR OF A DARK AMERICA
But the manner by which this land became their land serves as a measure to understand why they fear the loss of this land. For if they believe they rightfully own what was taken and cultivated by merciless force, they also fear that such force can be used against them to take what they now possess. Despite no factual evidence to support such rationale, it nonetheless fuels the sentiment behind the backlash against immigration, which is viewed by the most ardent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members as a quiet coup. Steve Bannon, the former head of the Alt-Right media platform, Breitbart, who sits in an enviable seat of power inside the White House, is on record pronouncing his adamant desire to stem the rising tide of immigration of all kind.
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For supremacists like Bannon, as more immigrants crowd into America their numbers dilute the numbers of whites. As more interracial relationships occur, their numbers and offspring diminish the numbers of whites. As more whites reject the defense of a white America, the fewer numbers of whites are left to defend the segregationist policies and practices established and maintained for 370 years.
As these policies and practices recede or get replaced, due to the political victories of progressives, the power whites once enjoyed to compete among themselves as a privilege of oppressing others rapidly declines. And with the decline of white power in America, along with the population decline, there is a belief that America itself will fall from its lofty perch as the world’s top super power. But there is one last chance to hold onto their power. His name is Donald J. Trump.
GOD-GIVEN CHAMPION OF A CAUSE
In the minds of white supremacists, the election of President Donald Trump was no less than a gift from God to His chosen people. That gift is a last-ditch salvation of their presumed rightful ownership of this nation. Today, any criticism of Trump and his administration feels like an assault upon them and their efforts to recover what they believe was lost.
Congressional members of the Republican Party feel the pressure. They hear the arguments of their top constituents behind closed doors, many of who are mainstream white supremacists who do not look like those in the streets of Charlottesville and do not act like those clashing in violence, but still speak with a passion and determination aligned with the nationalists, KKK and neo-Nazis who believe that milquetoast republicanism and Republicans In Name Only (RINOS) have failed them.
Donald Trump, in his unabashed and unapologetic brash tone has not only said what alt-right white supremacists believe, but said it in a manner in which they wanted to hear it publicly delivered.
Trump has declared war on the progressive march of multiculturalism. He is currently in full assault to stem the rising tide of immigrants. He is unraveling the legal ties that restrict police from engaging in a full frontal assault on poor minority communities, particularly black and Hispanic.
He is deregulating the financial sector to unleash the criminal elements that have run amok since the Reagan years, and which ultimately induced an economic coma in America that sent the entire globe into a financial health crisis from which many countries are still trying to recover.
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MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (FOR WHITES)
For Trump, the best course for America is in reverse, with a full-speed focus on making America as it was in the aftermath of WWII. This also means ensuring the power of America, including political, economic and militarily, remains solidly in the hands of strong white leaders. Trump’s obsession with undoing everything Obama ever did, particularly his legacy healthcare law, the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is the quintessential determining factor that ensures the loyalty of his base support.
And despite his horrific national poll numbers, among Republicans, Trump has solid support even in the face of unrelenting gale force political winds after #Charlottesville, with both political and criminal investigations aimed at him and others surrounding him.
Trump’s defiance of political gravity is based on one simple premise: the empowerment of others inevitably means the dilution of dominance by whites. Trump is the last “Great White Hope” left standing between the political aspiration to “Make America Great Again” or acquiesce to progressive measures that will build an inclusive American society.
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The increase of minority populations, led by the flood of immigrants from Mexico and Latin American countries, has all but assured the future of America as a multicultural landscape in which Anglo Saxon non-Hispanic Europeans who self-identify as white Americans will be reduced to one of the many minority populations in the US. This realization has fueled a sense of desperation among a segment of white Americans who seek to take “their” country back.
In the 2016 presidential election, President Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million voters. But he garnered support from more than 60 million Americans, won the electoral college, and tapped into the previously dormant sentiment of widespread white supremacy that was awakened upon election of President Obama, and ratcheted up to fever pitch upon Obama’s reelection in 2012.
Many in White America were looking for an unapologetic champion who would focus on dismantling the measures of progress that enabled the encroachment of multiculturalism and empowerment of others. Trump’s entry into the political landscape with hardcore rhetoric and an unabashed targeting of Mexicans rallied the troops: white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, neo-Nazis, white right-wing Christian evangelicals, Hillary haters and poor rural whites hit hard by the double whammy of an economic recession and a new knowledge-based, tech-driven, globally competitive innovation economy that left them flat-footed in the fastest economic evolution in the history of the US economy.
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Within all of these groups the mindset of white supremacy exists. Trump understood the widespread fears playing out in white America in varying ways. And they all had one common thread running through them: white supremacy itself was under assault.
Over the weekend, the PC police heavily breathed their rants expressing appalled outrage at the Charlottesville tragedy. They turned their ire toward President Donald Trump, whose late and tepid response to the tragic circumstances diluted accountability of the white terrorists and masked the specific identity of the groups involved and the ideology that fuels their hatred each day.
But, Trump’s response was indicative of a champion of a cause that propelled him into the highest office of the land. His observance of the hatred spewed by his loyalists compelled him to protect them, likely because their emotion-driven outcries resonate deeply within him. But Charlottesville was just one battle among many in a war that was waged long ago. Today, those warriors have a General seated in the Oval Office. He tried not to betray them.
CROSSROADS TO INCLUSIVE AMERICA
Once again, the nation is faced with a crossroads of driving down the road of disavowing the uprising of white supremacy as an extremist fringe element still latent within a small remnant of American society or face the reality of a nation built on a foundation of white supremacy struggling to decide its future. My hope is we choose the latter. In doing so, we can devote our time to honestly understanding how deep and wide the problem of white supremacy runs across the American landscape.
Instead of a disingenuous dismissal, relegating strong sentiments of white supremacy to fringe groups who act out with abhorrent behavior, we might acknowledge that the idea of white supremacy takes many forms in American society. It can be found in every city, every region and in every state. It exists in every institution of power, wealth and influence. It is rampant across media, deep within our political constructs, and spread across education, business and religious sectors.
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The opportunity for America to build an inclusive society with a new infrastructure that offers access to equitable opportunities for all citizens and immigrants means we must get serious about dismantling the steel beams of white supremacy hidden behind segregationist policies and practices that pervade virtually every segment of society. We can start by asking the question: where in our infrastructure, strategic planning process and daily practices is evidence of routinely practiced segregation that neglects, ignores or intentionally leaves out populations of people? Once we ask the question, we will see the evidence everywhere. The next question should be, what do we do to disrupt and discard it?
WHITE SUPREMACY AND MULTICULTURALISM CANNOT COEXIST
We must not shy away from the realization that in order for an Inclusive America to be born, white supremacy must die.
On Aug. 12, Heather Heyer was killed while protesting a rally of white supremacists, KKK and neo-Nazis, many of who arrived equipped and prepared to engage in physical battle. She was an innocent victim and collateral damage of a war that continues to rage in America.
The marginalizing of the groups involved in the violence is disingenuous by leaders who supported President Trump despite all the evidence showing he is a champion of the behavior exhibited in Charlottesville. Mainstream white supremacists who hide behind equivocation, excuses and ignorance are the real power of white supremacy about which we must be highly concerned.
Sure, we must be wary of those wielding torches and brandishing weapons while spewing white supremacist-inspired obscenities and hatred. But we must also remember they do not control legislation at the local, regional, state or federal levels that affect millions of lives. They do not sit on the board of major companies, invest in industry and public-private partnerships. Nor do they control urban planning and real estate or manage regional economic strategies. They do not adjudicate legal cases nor sit on the bench.
On the other hand, mainstream white supremacists in America are well-educated, influential and powerful. They do all of the above and more. They also support all of the political parties. It is they who maintain the status quo of segregationist policies and practices that relegate nonwhites to permanent second-class citizenry.
And when Black Lives Matter protesters face off with police in riot gear, it is the system of institutional biases managed and maintained by mainstream white supremacists that the police are sent to protect. In no way are police ever going to be the solution to systemic institutional segregation that ensures economic deprivation for communities of color in near uniformity across America.
SOLUTION TO ENDING AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR
Fifty years ago, when Dr. King was still organizing marches and boycotts and raising his voice to speak out against the tyranny of oppressive segregationist policies and practices, conscientious white Americans joined him. They raised their voices. They stood with him, marched with him, sat with him and rode the bus with him. They risked their livelihoods and their lives to stand up to the white supremacists among them. They leveraged their own whiteness to see and hear what nonwhites can never see or hear behind closed doors.
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Today, we need those conscientious white Americans to stand up to the tyranny in the White House and the treachery across America that revealed itself in numbers 60 million strong last Nov. 8. We need courageous white people in the mainstream to reject the philosophy of supremacy of any race and adopt the belief that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
We must launch a campaign to “Build an Inclusive America” for generations of Americans who will live together in a society that is built for all, not just for some. This campaign of an Inclusive America will naturally juxtapose itself against those who want to continue to maintain the status quo or return to an era of obsolescence.
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE AMERICA
With both political parties seeking new leadership and new messaging, this new campaign of “Building an Inclusive America” offers supporters of both parties an opportunity to adopt a vision, strategy and long-term committed investment to develop the kind of inclusive society we have the potential to be, versus the biased and exclusionary nation we have been in the past.
Once we begin a national effort focused on building an Inclusive America, we can work on rooting out the festering problem of mainstream white supremacy, which is deeply entrenched in our daily lives.
We will also discover new questions:
Are we willing to commit ourselves to decades of destroying the old infrastructure of segregationist policies and practices and investing in building a “fair, just and inclusive America” over the next several generations?
Are we willing to dig deep and root out the cause of the chaos in Charlottesville?
Are we willing to shed the shackles of an archaic America, built on outdated philosophies and offensive societal norms that are ill-suited for a peaceful and prosperous multicultural society?
The answer to these questions will be witnessed by us all in 2018 and 2020.