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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Notes on Racism: Getting It Right!

 What is racism? Many people use this term incorrectly every single day when describing behavior that yes, may be bias; but the term racism is not the correct word to use, say...from a white person who inquires a Black person whether or not they'd date/marry a white person...and if said BP says no, the white person says that they are racist. That is not racism, it's a personal choice and preference.

The issue that I have with white people using racism these days toward Blacks in power is not only ludicrous; these people exhibit a level of arrogance and ignorance of their own behavior in this country that is just appalling. Why don't white people understand their behavior? Many Blacks assess this resistance as a deep pathological denial for fear of the consequences of acknowledging their innate hatred toward Blacks and other minorities, but particularly as relates to Black people.

To choose to not understand the impact white racism has had on Black people in a system designed to benefit their group is a moral failure. Logically, to choose to remain ignorant about something where there is concrete evidence regarding it's devastating impact indicates that by choosing to not know, they don't have to take action.

Currently, we see the Tea Party as a racist movement. Why? Because although semantically, the sound-bites coming from whites, are always are in rants about them "Taking Back America! Preserving Democracy! And Protecting Their Way of Life!" But what Black people hear and see subliminally, are nothing more than a bunch pissed-off white people, who can't get over the mere fact that a black man kicked their racist leader(s) John McCain and Sara Palin's royal ass.

First of all, in the history of the United States, minorities have had to be REACTIONARY to white racism as a matter of not only survival, but basic principle.

Racism for most whites is intellectualized visually as men dressed up in white robes, but racism has nothing to do with this per se. It was a system sanctioned by the state and backed by law.

So, today, I'd like to summarize the correct definition of the term, racism, to add clarity in discussions.

The best definition of racism that I found comes from the book After Multiculturalism: The Politics of Race and Dialectics of Liberty by John F. Welsh:

Page 12


"The concept of racism in critical thought historically entailed the notions that universal cultural, economic, social, political, and psychological dynamics undergird the identification and subjugation of people based on biological, cultural, and/or linguistic categories. Racism in a variety of contexts could be understood using the same or theoretical constructs and measures.

Page 13

One of the fundamental elements of racist though is that it is a collectivist, not individualist, ideology since it promotes the idea that the collective qualities and attributions of racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups matter more than the character and behaviors of individuals in cultural symbols and public policy. Racism defines and proscribes human identity and behavior in collective constructs purportedly rooted in biological, cultural, and/or linguistic phenomena. Through its advocates, racist thought attempt of affect or determine public policy through the seizure of political power to impose a regime of social relations that actualizes the collectivist constructs that categorizes persons into racial and ethnic groups. The self-fulfilling component of racist thought is not left to chance; instead, racist political activists seek to ensure that their definition of the situation is made real through the levers of the state, the culture and the hierarchical organizations within society.

Page 15

"Racism is a statist ideology in that it requires political authority, power, law, and public policy to enforce the domination and subjugation of racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups."

So...basically, "White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege."

A healthy debate is always encouraged but in my honest opinion, the only people who can truly understand racism are those who have been its victims.


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