When talking with other white people about white supremacy, racism and European history, quite often they say: “Other people do the same”.
Do they? Do other cultures have the ambition like Europeans to dominate the entire world?
In Germany, there is the (unanswered) question: “Why”? (was Hitler and Nazi-Germany possible).
And one part of the answer for me is: Because Germany still ignores another genocide, committed in the name of Germany, against the Herero and Nama people in Namibia at the beginning of the 20th century, which only happend about 30 years before the rise of Hitler. There is a collective silence about this part of German history, not only within Germany but also from the rest of the world besides Africa. The attitude behind this silence is an ingrained lack of the acknowledgment that all human beings on earth are human beings.
There is a ‘racist knowledge’ within Eurocentrism, which is passed on from one generation to the next and this ‘racist knowledge’ take Europeans with them, regardless where they go.
And for example, whites in South Africa are the minority, 9 % of the population. This didn’t hinder them to introduce apartheid. In which nation did or does a non-white minority systematically discriminate against a majority based on race via laws like whites did in South Africa?
Is there any history of whites as a collective integrating into an already existing non-white culture? I don’t know of any.
What must happen in the brain/soul/heart of a white person to think that torture and murder is something like entertainment, like lynching was in the USA, where whites were invited, participated in great numbers, taking “souvenirs” and pictures and how can such people still call themselves civilized and sane?
Why do white people/people of European descent react in such same ways wherever they settle? Fenced communities, Sundown Towns in the USA, Nationalbefreite Zonen (white Germans only towns) in Germany etc. What is it that Europeans seem to be unable to live in peace with other people who don’t look like them, and if they look like them, like Jews in Germany, why was the invention of “race” so powerful that this enabled a nation to commit a genocide?
And when “the world” says we all have to know the German Holocaust so that it can never happen again – why is there such a silence when the Western world is just doing the same again: Inventing the “Muslim race”?
And why are white people feeling so comfortable within such a system when their own history tells them, that at any given day Eurocentrism can invent a new “race”? Why do they believe that this can’t also be directed against themselves one day? And using something like the Star of David, so that people are able to identify the outcast “other”?
Is this really something what other cultures also do?
There is a question I like to ask white people who defend this system: “Do you feel safe within a system like this?”
My personal answer to this question is “no”. I can’t feel safe in a society which, as a collective, is able to discriminate against different people based on stereotypes, because I know that this mainstream society can easily be manipulated to hate and to destroy from one day to the next any group which is singled out.
Under Hitler it was not only Jews, but also disabled, dissidents, communists, Sinti and Roma, Black Germans – at the end everybody who was “different”.
I also think, the most powerful white privilege for white people is the hope to be included in the club and this is what keeps white supremacy alive. Poor(er) white people don’t unite with people of color against the existing system but unite with the existing system to become a part of it.
This was also what white feminists did. They didn’t want to destroy the system, they wanted to be a part of it. They wanted to have the same power over ‘others’ like white men.
White supremacy reinvents itself and finds some of it’s best allies in the same people it once oppressed. Whiteness isn’t static, but Blackness is from the white point of view. Blackness is the political necessity within a Eurocentric system to keep this system alive. Learning about the Black “other” via stereotypes from childhood on is probably the first and most powerful training to get people who are easy to manipulate throughout their entire life and can be abused in any way necessary. It instills a sense of an assumed superiority and a curious feeling of belonging which let such whites quickly believe that ‘others’ are the problem and not they themselves or the system itself.
There is nothing wrong with where somebody grew up, parents make such choices, not children.
But when adult people come along, saying that they are ‘just learning’ about racism etc., I do wonder.
I wonder how that works to live within an illusional soap bubble. And I also wonder about the approach many white people seem to choose when it comes to the alleged new enlightment that race, also their own, does indeed exist in a system where race is a social construct. ‘Studying’ racism which is so ‘complicated’ that it takes years to get it? White people who say, that racism is something they can’t feel, because they are not affected, a statement which is somehow a declaration of bankrupt of one’s own humanity. Do such whites never cry when they learn about a racist incident for example? Is Sean Bell so far away from them, because they are white and he was Black?
How long does it take to read McIntosh’s article about white privilege? 10 minutes? And therefore it should also only take 10 minutes to realize and acknowledge white privilege. But for many whites white privilege comes like a shock and awe, weird feelings of personal guilt and a phase of denial. Some or many prefer to remain in an everlasting state of denial.
Talks about race become ‘tricky’, difficult and some make the choice to intellectualize the topic until it becomes so abstract that it becomes somewhat surreal.
And this because growing up in an all-white area as some white people claim.
To continue this way of thinking it would need non-white people who expose themselves to whites, so that whites can get ‘used’ to people who don’t look like them.
But no, it isn’t a lack of being exposed to PoC, it is this unconsious feeling of superiority on the one hand and a severe lack in many white people’s brain to see beyond race to see the human being.
It is common sense and social competence I think what white people should learn, as well as empathy. This would also make white-white relationships much more honest and enriching.
Respecting somebody else’s experiences and feelings would be the first step to understand issues about race.
I’ll add some content once I stop laughing…
“I’m not starting to figure out race and whiteness right now. I’ve been intensively working on these topics and their related problems at several levels, professionally and otherwise and in many settings, for over a dozen years now.”
_____________________________ vs. ___________________________
“I’m something of a newbie too, in terms of understanding whiteness, and in terms of writing a blog…”
[to be continued]
I really will try to make this about the clinging to the “newness” phenomenon but I just can’t stop laughing…