What To Do About White Supremacy? Cut That $%!+....
These tragedies are unspeakably horrific and unconscionably frequent. America has an epidemic of gun violence, particularly domestic terrorism that is fueled by white nationalism. Be clear, since the first European ships arrived on the shores of the Western Hemisphere, white people have been inflicting harm, all while creating an ahistorical institutional framework that centers white culture at the summit of the moral high ground.
251 mass shootings in 2019 in America as of August 4th. Sit with that for a minute.
251 times someone used a firearm to take four or more lives in a single setting.
There are a few issues at play with this problem, one being the extraordinarily isolated nature of these incidents to America. Considering Mexico is next on the list with a whopping 3 incidents, this epidemic is a problem that America has to wrestle with on multiple fronts if it is ever going to create a sense of comfort and safety among its citizens.
The fact that three times as many mass shootings have been perpetrated by white people should make law enforcement and the culture at large fearful of every angry, disaffected white person. And white supremacy is not a disease, or something to evoke sympathy. It should be condemned, and anyone who perpetuates anti
Ultimately, framing white supremacy as exceptional, individualized, and through the language of disease obscures its origins and movements. As George Lipsitz argues, “whiteness has a cash value” that produces advantages and “profits” for white people in virtually all areas of social organization including housing, education, employment, and intergenerational wealth. Lipsitz continues: “White supremacy is usually less a matter of direct, referential, and snarling contempt than a system for protecting the privileges of whites by denying communities of color opportunities for asset accumulation and upward mobility” and access to full and legitimate citizenship.
Because of unfortunately successful propaganda campaigns, American culture (read: white people) projects its fears onto the most vulnerable along with its anger, shame, inadequacy and frustration and allows the true monsters to creep among the shadows until they decide to reveal their wretchedness.
Aside from the ease with which one can acquire assault weapons, ammunition and body armor, it has become increasingly acceptable for people to display their hatred for the world to see while espousing first amendment protections. Couple this with the fact that white people are less likely to be stopped by police and you end up with a mass of armed private militias scattered throughout the country. Some individuals will exercise their white privilege by staking claim of federal property for their own gain. Others will take up arms to terrorize innocent victims as they worship, work, learn, enjoy a festival or dance in fellowship.
It’s a travesty that can be avoided but the Black community is not going to be able to take the lead on this one, as has been the case with the majority of progressive change in this country’s history. To put it simply, white folks, Y’all need to talk amongst y’all selves. Gather your sisters and brothers, mommas and daddies, aunties and uncles...and your cousins too. Talk about where great aunt Gertrude got the family money, she eventually passed down. Discuss the realities of white privilege, decades of redlining and its impact on the education system, policing, private prisons and the over-criminalization and over-sexualization of Black and Brown people.
The glaring reality here is that white supremacy, even the idea that there is a superlative conversation to be had, is absurd. It’s also absurd to think that your crazy, old racist aunt or uncle hasn’t had some impact somewhere in society, or on someone who is going to carry the torch forward and light a new cross on fire. Racists have children too, because ignorance and infertility are not mutually exclusive.
So, America needs to make every kind of effort, from legislation to ban high capacity assault weapons, and of course universal background checks with routinely updated psychiatric evaluations and safety trainings, to reformed educational programs, and other any other measure they can imagine to curb not only the availability of weapons of mass destruction but the inclination to commit these atrocities. This is an opportunity to transform the discourse in America around institutionalized white supremacy and hopefully, finally come to terms with the downstream effects of America’s original sin.