‘My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends’.
– Alexandre Dumas (pere) –
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I find it tiresome and perhaps an obvious point to make in 2012 but it still remains to be said — and as often as it is deemed necessary to do so by its victims — that the United States of America and Canada, as national entities, are by royal fiat, racist nation-states no less xenophobic and no less vicious than any other country that has ever used ‘race’ as a social barometer. This is an incontestable fact and it endures as a matter of the established international public record. Neither North American country can truthfully claim to ever being race-neutral or culturally deferent to Africans, (or Indigenous American Nations for that matter) without being historically revisionist about how Europeans came to gain control over the Americas in the first place.
The practise of Europocentric settler racism, as it has developed in the Americas, is a direct result of White colonialist ideas about White Exceptionalism, not the cause. It must be clearly understood, if we are at all serious about dealing with the subject, that Europeans did not decide to wipe out First Nations Peoples in order to occupy the Americas simply because they hated ‘Injuns’, or that they to imported African slave labour simply because they did not like ‘Niggers’. The reason the European powers invaded Africa and the Americas was to steal the land and to profit from its natural resources. The fact that there were people living in these regions in relative peace was simply a colonial challenge to be overcome with racist ingenuity and if necessary, the blunt-end of a rifle across the temple. The end of one story, and the beginning of another. The question then becomes which version of the true account will be added to the establishment record.
Let’s be objective here if we can for a moment. A difficult, but possible process. The slavery and genocide of Native and imported Indigenous peoples, for the colonialist, was a progressive use of all known available materials. Not simply racial malice. They did not know enough about Indigenous Peoples in North America or Indigenous Africans to have a rational dislike for them. For capitalism, the humanity of the victims be damned when balanced against the rising cost of colonial or imperial business. Material profit, and material profit only, was the sole driving force behind European expansionism. And when it became necessary to enslave Indigenous Peoples for the sake of free labour or to wipe out entire populations to ensure effective Euro-settler Lebenstraumpolitik, racism then became a indispensable methodology. Not before.
If this is the case, and it very well is in a world totally dominated by free-market capitalism, we should not act surprised that exploitation in any form exists today. Capitalism itself is exploitation via economics, no? And it is often racist because the very concept of race itself is a form of human exploitation that has been very useful to the European-based free-market system.1 This is precisely why people who contend that racism is over do so at the serious risk of exposing themselves as either hapless political nebbishes, or mute and yielding White supremacist enablers meekly succumbing to Europocentric tribalism out of group solidarity. This is if one were to really get to the heart of the matter. As the saying goes, ‘White makes Right’. And any way you look at it, people who wish to vociferously deny that the European settler societies constructed in the Americas have not actively and belligerently struggled to remain ‘White’ in form, function and substance do so without an ounce of personal integrity, historical accuracy or moral regard for the victims, past or present.
The grandly erroneous accusation, that non-Whites are ultimately responsible for their own disenfranchisement and sociopolitical poverty in White societies, is simply not true. And this is fundamentally why events like ‘Black History Month’ cannot, in any logical sense, be regarded as anything other than grand acts of willful self-deception. The essential deceit being the claim that the African, or any other non-Western European group for that matter, has ever really enjoyed a dignified place within the Euro-settler American collective consciousness without first having to fight for it. And almost no one who believes that they have a stake in the extant status quo will discuss this in honest terms. Chiefly because the White mainstream is resistant to our inclusion and is still not prepared to admit this. Even then, after generations of working for and with Whites, after fighting for them and dying side-by-side with them in every war they have ever undertaken, rightly or wrongly, White people still cannot explain in clear terms why Africans and other minorities are still not fully accepted. Not without resorting to the Aryan fantasy narrative of the European ‘Master Race’.
‘The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody’.
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau –
For those of us who are concerned with universal human and civil rights, the exaggerated claims of superior European morality is without question the last vestige of the latent tribalisms of the last century. And now that the much lauded, albeit fairly parochial, colonialist observance of African history in White North America is officially over, let us finally turn towards the necessary dialogue that should have taken place this past February in North America but as usual, did not.
What should be a period of respectful reflection of African survival under immensely extraordinary circumstances has in practise been used as a tool by the White establishment to ideologically reinforce the misleading perception that Euro-settler racial domination over Africans in the Americas is justified, divinely moralistic and historically inevitable. And what is perhaps far worse, is the ugly reality that mainstream African communities in the US and Canada continue to willfully participate in this blatant act of ethnic subjugation.
The artificial societal importance given towards the historical role of the African in the Americas for just one month, the shortest in fact out of each year, is at its root a backhanded insult that has successfully managed to masquerade itself as a profound, if tardy, compliment to its former slave population. When stripped of its fancy verbiage and celebrity showboating, events like ‘Black History Month’ are nothing more than crude, ahistorical exercises in White supremacist revisionism and internalised Euro-settler racist paranoia. To be blunt, they are romantic, anachronistic flashbacks to the past, when White men ruled without the need to explain themselves and Negroes, ‘Indians’, Asians and women instinctively ‘knew’ their respective places in the social pecking order.
According to the accepted rhetorical paradigm of the observance, the central theme behind ‘Black History Month’ is supposed to be a national, race-neutral acknowledgement of the African in the Americas and his significant achievements as a congregate within the American-settler Europocentric social fabric. While this civilized objective is indeed fundamentally important in order for modern society to move forward, it is equally important, and entirely fair, that we also include the appropriate critical questions that will soberly address what actually happened to African Peoples after First Contact with Europeans. And then, how this lead to the creation of an Afro-Diaspora in the ‘New World’.
Sure, it is explained in very objective terms that the Transatlantic Slave Trade brought millions of Indigenous Africans to the Americas, but the question as to why Africans were enslaved in the first place is never really investigated. Neither is the part European religious beliefs still play in rationalising the ongoing genocide of Africans in the Diaspora and other Indigenous Peoples. Nor is the continuing marginalisation and exploitation of the survivors who still, arguably, struggle against their own best interests by fighting tooth and nail to ‘belong’ to a society that has made it clear that it does not really want them included.
These matters are of some importance if we are at all serious about truly respecting both African Peoples and the genuine history of all the people who make up the human complexity of the modern Americas. But within the rapidly intensifying Orwellian culture that is 21st century Pax Americana, the usage of blatant lies about its origins are accorded with rapt appreciation and its darker truths are derided with significant emotive scorn. And despite the enormous catalog of documented, verifiable evidence of the corporeal damage incurred by Africans and other non-European Peoples in the Americas due to White European exploitation, abuse and marginalisation, there is very little critical, mainstream dissent from the standard legend that attempts to explain the settling of the Americas as an innocuous and progressive event in human history. What happened to the victims is not an issue anyone wants to discuss at length.
This is especially true when the issue of racism is raised in regards to the sociopolitical development of the forcibly Europeanised Americas. When popular rationalisations are raised to proclaim racism a ‘thing of the past’, we must ask ourselves as a society, what and who’s ‘past’ are they actually referring to? And how credible is it to state, even in this age, that racial prejudice is no longer a factor in modern life? And even more to the point, what is their evidence, if there is any, to support such an argument? And if racism is really a matter of past ignorances, why are modern neo-conservative politicians and activist lobbies fighting to legally remove Euro-settler abuses from the established historical record? And, if they as concerned about African people as they claim to be, why are they using underhanded methods, populist bullying and flat-out distortions to achieve their goals?2
In brutally frank terms, because the peaceful, race-neutral, culturally-inclusive, entrepreneurial Christian, Euro-settler tale at the centre of the White American genesis story is an exalted fib. It isn’t serious. In more concrete terms, it is a crude, bully-boy American version of the Nazi government’s conscious usage of the propagandistic gimmick Adolf Hitler termed as the ‘Big Lie’, and it is no less poisonous than anything continental European fascism ever dared attempt during the last century.
The ability to control what is accepted by the people as authentic history is a powerful dynamic in human communication. What is not documented is generally not remembered or valued. And if the African man and woman had ever really meant anything at all to the European, there would be no need for such an observation in order to ‘correct’ centuries of conscious dismissal of his reality. The observance proves that the African in the western mind exists as a cipher. His humanity and his heroic and lonely struggle to survive and adapt to his horrific treatment by the ‘better’ nations of the world is the lost story of a forever marginalised people. Hated, even by themselves. There is, of course, an elementary reason for this conundrum if one is inclined to look at the world soberly in order to try and understand it as it is. And it only takes some minimal mental effort to determine why these issues remain touchy in this contemporary period of post-World War Two, multicultural ‘enlightenment’.
From here we can move beyond the semantic discord of 1930’s and 40’s Germany and fast forward to the Cold War ‘action intellectuals’ of the United States to help us determine if a scientific pattern of pro-White propaganda could indeed exist. There are numerous examples we can itemize but for brevity’s sake, let’s examine one particular American Exceptionalist theorist who openly suggested that the US needed to employ a grand fraud to buttress its contemptible, colonialist history and international aims.
American academic Leo Strauss was a German-born intellectual who openly advocated for the application of what he termed the ‘Noble Lie’, an official US narrative that would provide the preferable view of government and society the elite classes wished for the public to believe. Mr. Strauss, a quintessential corporatist ‘American’ thinker, went much farther than the Nazis in that his version of state propaganda was intended for both domestic and foreign distribution. The Nazis, at the time, were much more concerned with the sentiments of the rank-and-file German public, not world opinion. They knew by 1932 that most of the US and British economic elite were silently sympathetic to their movement, (Hitler was Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 19333 and Fortune’s in 1934 ) so they needed only to concentrate their efforts on shaping minds at home.
Strauss however went much further. He taught the Americans , after having witnessed the successes of Goebbels’ misinformation service, to make use of conscious pro-Europocentric propaganda on all fronts4. Thereby, solidifying the myths they wished to be absorbed, like the racist lunacy of Manifest Destiny, across a broad canvas. In doing this, the state’s deceptions could be reverberated across the world, giving domestic dissenters the added pressure of having to refute foreign sources of information that supported the intentional falsehoods of the national position. Thus, the official lies of the establishment become verifiable ‘facts’ supported by numbers, not reality. And the general public is falsely lead to ‘believe’ that they have earned a solid understanding of the ways of the world.
We all must we willing to accept that our personal perceptions and attitudes are largely shaped by intellectual limitations. Meaning, that we know what we know because of either direct personal experience, or because we have been taught a particular perspective by an authoritative body that we assume to be honest with us. This is why arguments about race-neutrality in the Americas are so disturbing. It isn’t true. But such ideas do however represent a necessary emotional pillow for the subjugated African population and a ‘rational’ ideological structure to justify the inequitable realities of pro-White sociopolitical biases and controls over American civil society.
This is why observances such as ‘Black history Month’ are not, in truth, about ‘Black People’ at all, but about White-on-Black genocide and the revolting European practise of institutionalised African material, personal and cultural exploitation. It is a holiday that praises the enforced ethnic subjugation of African Peoples to a European cultural model that by default places Africans at the very bottom of the social pecking order. Having said that, it is also practical to state here that when the US and Canadian governments finally did decide to officially recognise assimilated African, or ‘Black’ history, they only did so strictly within terms that suited their particular needs and goals, not the legitimate historical demands that are at the very heart of the African struggle in the Americas. A struggle that this purported ‘observance’ is supposed to respectfully represent.
Events such as BHM, when examined with an investigative and dispassionate eye, are revealed to have very little to do with African people at all and more to do with what European exploitation has done to the African in the Diaspora. It is in truth, a celebration of the ‘breaking’ of the African mind, body and spirit under the hateful yoke of xenophobic, pro-European cultural chauvinism. It is a revolting, unambiguously racist affront that smugly commemorates the authoritarian Europeanisation of the Indigenous African, not the promise of an equitable historical awareness of the Black man who has been forced by colonial and imperial circumstances to exist gracefully, if not happily, under paternalistic White domination.
If you are shocked, don’t be. You’ve heard this all before and you know that the analysis presented here is not an isolated one. A substantial number of American Africans of various political persuasions have repeatedly protested the imposed banality of the observance and its arguably ineffectual and misleading Europeanised perception of what the African experience in the Americas is all about. While it is true that the mainstream Civil Rights Movement does receive its share of fair mention in February, as does anti-African lynching and Jim Crow segregation, the ideological, religious, economic and historical reasons behind why all of this occurred receives no serious attention at all.
This is not a matter of ignorance as much as it is a matter of authoritarian, race-partial propaganda by design. And while it is thoroughly correct to mention that both conservative supporters of popular racism and the liberal naysayers who claim to stand against them do entertain separate political agendas, it is equally true that both factions unequivocally view European Peoples and pan-European cultural mores as the absolute zenith in terms of human beauty and constructive measure. Where these two schools of thought customarily diverge is at the point where each perspective believes that Africans and other non-Europeans can most favourably be assimilated into what is assumed to be a already ‘perfect’ sociopolitical framework.
Both factions, by default, flippantly generalise all non-European peoples as inherently ‘backward populations’ in desperate need of a mature and paternalistic chalky-white hand to gently guide them into the ‘modern world’. So in substance, both factions are equally racist in conviction and just as equally biased for the exact same illogical, xenophobic reasons. In other words, the intellectual sophistry which goes into explaining the phenomena of institutional racial marginalisation is logically jaundiced from the very beginning. Precisely because the fundamental Europocentric orthodoxy associated with the question is, by way of direct and indirect White political, cultural and economic power, the only critical standard allowed to define and articulate the dialogue. Racism is not rocket science. So how could any educated person cast doubt upon an analysis that suggests the ethical obfuscation concerning the more naziesque characteristics of North American social philosophy would be a issue most aware White people would wish to ignore?
This is an incontrovertible fact. But this does not however give a much needed intellectual pause to the more reactionary elements of North American society who will endeavor to semantically wrangle against such an analysis via populist ballyhoo and intentional anti-historical misinformation. Such persons will accuse these objective observations of being grossly unfair toward White people as individuals, totally ignoring the fact that racism, in its most classic sense, is not at all concerned with personal ideas of ethnic partiality. They vociferously argue, incorrectly, that racism is principally concerned with personal prejudices and not the systemic practise of state-sponsored social inequalities and its peculiar forms of class-based exploitation economics.
As a general rule, this controlled thesis consciously ignores the question of unequal power distribution in Europocentric societies by empirically denying that such divisions actually exist. Individual ethnic and religious prejudices are readily admitted to, but the fundamental structure behind it all is flatly denied. In doing this, the public mind is purposefully diverted from the visible and clearly unethical reality that only a very small cluster of European interests, worldwide, actually benefit from such a disgraceful scheme. And it is precisely from this factually lopsided yet popularly accepted philosophical space that many other anti-egalitarian, anti-people functions have come to be endorsed as appropriate behaviour in a sustainable, pro-Europocentric civilization.
And because of their totalising domination over the rules of political and cultural discourse, Europeans have used this power to forcibly narrow the discussions surrounding ethnic intolerance into a dwarfish, specific set of intolerant provincialisms rather than direct questions about the premeditated political role of ‘race’ in Euro-colonial social engineering. If, in fact, the White man had ever truly respected the basic humanity of both Africans and American Indigenous Peoples at all, the entire world as we have come to understand it, not just North America, would be radically different. And it would also be decidedly much ‘Browner’ in terms of power distribution than it is right now. Western European societies and their Euro-settler colonial offspring know this. And the pragmatic truth of it all frightens them to the point of violent, segregationist insanity.
Why is this? And why has this dreadfully pessimistic, thoroughly machiavellian philosophy been allowed to persist as a politically reasonable opinion? Considering the nauseated state of the world’s poverty-stricken, westernised masses, (a condition that has existed for quite some time) it is perfectly sensible, and responsible, for intelligent people to ask how European societies could possibly make claim to a high moral-ground after reviewing the considerable damages done by western encroachment. It is also reasonable to ask why the non-European remainder of the planet is always being forced, against its will, to live, think and act as White people do? Is it really simplistic, idiosyncratic partisan bigotry on the part of White people? Or is there something much deeper going on, psychologically, that perhaps we, as a society, are too fearful of probing because we are afraid of what we know we will see?
Africans, First Nations Peoples, Arabs, Asians, the Ulster-Scots, Italians, Poles and many Eastern European nationalities have all, to one degree or another, at one time or another, faced significant ethnic stratification and social discrimination from the anglicised provincialism brought along with the first English settlers. But saying this means little if discrimination, which is duly recognised to be a bad thing, still exists at all. And it is a waste of time to pretend that the feigned ignorance we all resort to when challenged about racism in the west is authentic. It is a ruse of our own making. If the reader can find it within him or herself to reasonably comprehend the irrational denialism of numerous Germans following the mass ethnic cleansing purges of the 1940’s, why is it so difficult to understand that White Americans today also suffer from a similarly acute and equally irrational form of ethnically biased nationalistic selective memory?
If there is a distinction to be made between racism today as opposed to the varieties of racism practised in later historical periods it is that in the not so distant past, the word racism was used and understood in its correct linguistic and sociopolitical context. Before White society was placed into the position of having to explain itself, racism was understood as is just what it sounds like, an ‘ism’, not an attitude. It is a term that defines an institutional practise, not an arbitrary set of prejudices. The term racism in and of itself implies the systemic practise of social hierarchies, power distribution and acceptable discrimination, official and unofficial, based solely upon the established ethnic divisions found within a given society. Not just an emotional issue of fear and uncertainty concerning relations between differing human groups. Race itself is merely a social concept, as it has no basis in objective scientific study outside of certain genetic particulars common to distinctive human groupings. Outside of that medical distinction, race, as an ideological construct is an entirely segregationist idea.
While we can correctly point to the pseudo-scientific European schlock of Eugenics, (Remember the ‘The Bell Curve’ by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray?)5 it is entirely fair and accurate to suggest at this juncture that the entire hypothesis behind negative European racial attitudes resides squarely upon two specific factors: the erroneous and predatory inclination to associate ‘might with right’ and, the esoteric, quasi-mystical ideologies of the ‘pure’ European myth, the ‘Black Sun’ racialist theory that alleges White northern Europeans, ‘The Aryan Peoples’, are the only authentic human beings on Earth. Thus, providing a theoretical rationale for anti-Aryan xenophobia, economic exploitation and political racism.
Inspired by pro-Teutonic racialist mystic intellectuals such as Guido Von List, and liberal misreadings of arcane masters such Mme. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Judeophobic devotees of the metaphysical, bastards such as Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler used these ideas to ‘cleanse’ Europe, they said they did it for the benefit of the European Superman. They also intentionally twisted Friedrich Nietzsche’s race-neutral Übermensch hypothesis into a philosophical justification for their particular form of racism. Even Richard Wagner was abused with careless abandon and transformed into something purely evil. The respectable cultural aspects of his musical legacy, like that of the noble and entirely peaceful origins of the ancient (and Indigenous) svastika (from the Sanskrit) or Sun Wheel symbol, was mangled into something completely abhorrent and entirely removed from its original meaning.6
‘…And one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…’
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. –
Such ideas have existed in Europe alongside the ascension of the Catholic Church since the classical Roman empirical era. They too placed more value upon their power over weaker peoples than they did their own sense of self-worth as ‘White’ cultures. This was because the European at this period did not view himself as ‘White’. Such distinctions did not exist at that time. Ethnicity was defined by one’s birth, but nationality was determined by bone’s loyalty to a particular nation or cultural standard. Race, as we understand it today, is a fairly recent invention. It is just like the concept of ‘Orientalism’ or ‘East’ versus ‘West’, a cognitive compartmentalisation of where the White world begins and the non-White world ends. In essence the European, as as a social construct, has come to believe that he has an inherent right to rule based solely upon a knavish belief of the ‘Right of [White] Conquest’ and little else. In this light, Manifest Destiny is merely a form of ideological calisthenics for what in more honest terms should be defined as classical ‘Euro-American supremacist apologia’.
‘The White Man’s Burden’ then is more than just a poem, it is an active metaphor for justified White European power through the force of arms, theological guile and the persistent threat of indiscriminate xenophobic violence. While there may be occasional disagreement over tactics, acceptable methods and the intended victims of ‘corrective pressure’, the self-defined White society has always agreed, by a broad consensus among itself, that Europocentric priorities, life-ways and appetites are the only acceptable and intelligible norms worth considering. As currently understood, non-Europeans have only marginally ‘contributed’ to world civilisation, not constructed it.
By the right of conquest the European lays claim to an automatic right, to not only define the discussion of world history, but the prerogative to define what and who’s history will be included within the established record. There is, of course, an elementary reason for this conundrum if one is inclined to look at the world soberly in order to try and understand it as it is. And it only takes some minimal mental effort to determine why these issues remain touchy in this contemporary period of post-World War Two, multicultural ‘enlightenment’.
For clarity’s sake, let us take another brief look at one particular historical example and its political value as a moral metaphor. One that is impossible to impugn. When German Nazi propagandists Julius Streicher and Josef Goebbels began cultivating their brand of Judeophobic, (and often anti-African) propaganda they never, at any time, ever denied that they were intentionally promoting a false perception of non-German peoples and cultures specifically for political purposes. Through the use of contemporary popular media they purposefully instigated a culture of xenophobic animosity as a means of boosting German nationalistic enthusiasm through the invention of a false, defenceless and readily visible public enemy.
In fabricating an easily accessible ‘Other’ that could be blamed for all that was wrong with the world, the fascists knowingly opened the door to widespread inhumanity. Merely using ‘racial morale’ to gain political and economic power. This is what happened. And the undeniable by-product of this agenda was the second major outbreak of widespread ethnic violence and political chaos in a single century on the subcontinent. But it was not an isolated incident in the annals of European history. Before that happened, the ethnic cleansing of World War One quietly reduced Europe’s Roma, Armenian, Serb, Arab and Jewish populations without the ‘civilised’ political world saying very much about it. Nor was there much in the way of an effort by the Catholic or Orthodox Churches to condemn it or to stop it. This is true. And the ethical dilemmas surrounding the subject are still an issue of deep contention within the international political discourse.
And let us not be choosy here and leave out the supposedly impossible and vicious breakup of multiethnic, multicultural socialist Yugoslavia. We can pretend that the Cold War propaganda we were fed like mother’s milk about the evils of communism was all true, but the foreign-sponsored civil war that ripped the Balkans apart was racially-divisive by capitalist prearrangement. A functioning, economically stable, independent (in Stalinist terms) and fairly liberal socialist ‘buffer-state’ smack dab in the centre of Europe was not necessary after the fall of the Soviet system. And old ethnic rivalries were intentionally stirred-up to internally disrupt and dissolve the ethnically-inclusive socialist state. ‘Master Race’ superstitions that should have been left to the ignorant past were revived in order to achieve a political endgame that resulted in a death count that has yet to be adequately accounted for or politically explained in full.7
This is an important point if one is to agree with the unique special status attributed to ‘The Holocaust’ as a singular horrific event. If we see it that way now, it is only because we recognise it as a bench-mark of major historical and moral importance. And this is principally because the crisis happened to people who are, in today’s view at least, socially and politically accepted as ‘Whites’. This is entirely fair to say. Primarily because that statement is entirely true. The Herero and Namaqua Genocides undertaken by the German government in South-West Africa (1904-1907 ) were the first recorded genocides of the 20th century. Who remembers it? Who talks about it? And let’s be frank, who really cares? As Hitler brazenly remarked to his adjutants during the initial planning stages of the ‘Final Solution’, ‘No one remembers the Armenian Genocide and no one will remember or care about what we are about to do either’.8
It is a humiliating thing for westerners to have to admit this, but the detestable tin-god, on this particular topic, was indubitably correct. Absolutely no one in a position of political or moral power in Europe at the time did anything palpable to stop the anti-Armenian slaughter. And almost no one it seems is willing to support the Armenian survivors today by saying anything about it now. And truth be told, were it not for the efforts of the international military tribunal and their emphasis upon a moral justification for the prosecutions of German government and military officials, no one would be talking about what happened to European Jewry during that period either.
And this too must be noted if we are to be truly honest with ourselves about the world that we have made. Homosexuals, German-Sudanese and other religious, ethnic and political minorities also suffered fascist victimisation. But for the most part these victims are not, in the public mind, empirically connected with the Holocaust at all. Their stories of fear, hope and survival still go unsaid, mostly because they were regarded and still are regarded as ‘worthy victims’. In fact, gay males sent to the concentration camps for violation of Germany’s anti-homosexual law Paragraph 175 (§175 StGB)9 were, after being liberated from Nazi detainment, sent to European civilian prisons to serve out the remainder of their terms. The US military occupation forces, in full agreement with their Nazi Party counterparts, apathetically judged homosexuals to be moral criminals that were deserving of further punishment. Even after the degradation of being targeted by the Nazis.
This was in essence the convoluted morality of the Second World War. And one could say, with ample justification, that the Allied military command in practise treated homosexuals and other social undesirables just as harshly as they did any Nazi the Allies tried at Nuremberg. The human factor of the victimised outsider was never considered. No one spoke for them. The surviving victims have suffered much. And they continue to suffer from the silence of formally disregarded social discrimination. No one cares about their story. No one is willing to argue their story. And no one cares about asking just how hypocritical we all are for allowing these people to be ignored for so long as we continue to condescendingly use the Nazi war against Europe’s Jews as the litmus test for judging human-on-human depravity .
The fact is that ownership of the argument determines the direction of the debate. And had not the post-war Zionist movement not made a point of reminding the Christian world that they stood idle while Catholic Europe burned its undesirables at the stake, no one would care about the subject at all. It would be forgotten. And it is also a lie to pretend that the Jewish Holocaust was always respected as it is today. It wasn’t. The slogan, ‘Never Again’ came about to challenge those who told Jews to forget about what happened to them and to ‘move on’. Anglophone Christians simply did not want to hear about it. They offered Jews the very same advice that had always been given to Africans and American Indians when they attempted to discuss their historical disenfranchisement, ‘Just forget about it.’
Many Jews, rightfully, said no to this and pushed back. It is a simple truism that if ‘Never Again’ rings true in the ears of the followers of the risen Christ today it is only because conscious Jews have simply refused to ever allow the world to forget what was done to them. And this is entirely fair. But what is not fair is how the right-wing, politicised Jewish community has misused this issue to whitewash the ways in which they are recreating for Indigenous Palestinians today, the very same social conditions that their own people endured in Christian and fascist Europe. This is a fact. And is a grand mistake to assume that conservative Zionist adherents, such as the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, are not beyond favouring a pro-White social agenda. Ethnic relations in the State of Israel have always been shaped by a severe psychological bent towards its Ashkenazi population inspiring perhaps the first non-African chapter of the US Black Panther Party for Self Defence, the ‘HaPanterim HaShhorim’ or, the ‘Israeli Black Panthers’.10
Like any other Euro-settler state, Israel has merely imported old European racial prejudices into their contemporary national system. But Israel is somewhat different in that the various forms of social separations observed are codified in black-letter law, not just mandated by social tradition. As quiet as it is kept, religious, gender and ethnic divisions are a legal fact of life in Israel. And this institutional bias is not just levied against Arabs and Africans but also against the Sephardim and the Mizrahiyim communities, people many hard-line Ashkenazim believe are too ‘ethnically Semitic’ to be fully accepted, or trusted, as ‘authentic’ Israelis.
This is a very useful comparison that challenges the observer to consider several important factors. Primarily the question that asks what are the substantiative moral and legal differences between the Nazi’s programmes of racial hygiene and Lebenstraumpolitik and what many right-wing Zionists support and all American taxpayers are funding in Occupied Palestine right now. Fascism, one would think, is fascism. Even if it is Israeli and even if the perpetrators happen to be Jewish. Why is this not a question?
When Africans in Apartheid-era South Africa vindictively oppressed their indigenous brethren on behalf of the White settler minority, they were still Black people. That never changed. What did change however were the terms of personal self-image and self-acceptance many indigenous Africans would experience after overt White domination on the continent ended. As we have seen, the skin-colour of the ‘new exploiters’ in government and business management may have visibly diversified somewhat, but the actual ownership-class is still European, still in control of the levers of power and still committed to oppressing the poor to maintain control over the country’s vast resources.
Under these terms even many Europeans also fall far short of the established standard for acceptable Whiteness. This can be seen in the negative ‘White Trash’ belittlement used against some Caucasians who are deemed too unsophisticated to represent positive White ethnicity. The modern social realities of post-Apartheid South Africa serves to present us with an noteworthy illustration of this. Most African Boere-Afrikaners for example, who were used as a proletarian buffer-class between people-of-colour and the chiefly British ruling elite, have not fared very well after the collapse of the old system. No longer useful as a middle-class, many now live in the same squalid conditions most Blacks were forced to endure under Apartheid. Including being forced to migrate from the larger cities, often to the surviving Black shantytowns situated far outside of the grid, living side-by-side with Blacks who have been left behind by the African National Congress (ANC) and the new Black South African middle-classes.
There is a lesson here for all of us if we are willing to look close enough. Working-class Afrikaners, (and the Boervolk minority within that group) believed they had the upper-hand in the past system. They racially measured their own self-worth against their personal ability control and exploit the indigenous and imported non-European population. However, once that arrangement was forced to adapt to changing circumstances, their status as superior Whites was quickly politically cut down to size. Whiteness is now measured against both ‘English-ness’ and access to capital investment opportunities. Those Whites who had nothing more other than being White to fall on immediately fell to the wayside.
Add to this change the fact that only a handful of connected Indigenous African insiders actually rose through the post-Apartheid system leaving many people, regardless of race, in the dust. One must ask, how is being White an advantage if one is economically or politically poor? Aside from White racial dominance in law, most Black and Coloured South Africans have very little to celebrate about. The legal ethnic division may be over, but poverty, disease and violent crime still rule in Nelson Mandela’s South Africa just as it did in the past. And Black people in that country, still, are far behind the rest of the world in regards to civil development, political maturity and social serenity.
South Africa is just one example of how race matters but in the end, does not matter when it comes down to situations of class-based exploitation. Race then, is merely a tool for the plutocrat, nothing more. It is a merely rationalisation for justifying social inequality. The Chinese are an Asian people. They are not any less Asian because they are practising colonialist oppression against the Indigenous Peoples of Tibet. Pol Pot was still Cambodian despite the number of his fellow countrymen he had brutally eliminated. Arabised Africans routinely conduct operations to ‘cleanse’ areas of Indigenous Tribal Peoples although to the outside observer, everybody involved the crisis appears to be ‘Black’. Go back and look at the Crisis in Rwanda in 1994. And Josef Stalin, who was an ethnic Georgian, was emotionally Russian in his heart when he purged the communist party of dissidents and oversaw the clearly anti-Ukrainian Holodomor Famine. An event that classifies under the guidelines set by Raphael Lemkin as an example of intentional genocide.11
Closer to home we can look at the assimilationist Lakota politician Dicky Wilson who was born and raised in Indian Country and has never, ever, had his Indian ethnicity questioned by anybody. However, Mr. Wilson was known during his lifetime for making it perfectly clear that his loyalties lay with the White-controlled, mixed-blood reservation tribal power structure he belonged to, not with the traditionalist, full-blooded Indians he derided as a ‘sorry’ people stuck in a dead past. He openly chided Natives who were struggling to survive intact culturally and psychologically as self-conscious Indian People. And he is remembered today for his covert operation of a domestic death squad responsible for terrorising and killing hundreds of Native Americans during the ‘Indian Country Civil War’ of the 1970’s. In short, Dick Wilson oversaw a Native-on-Native genocide programme in pursuit of a Europocentric paradigm of social conservatism and economic bureaucracy. And he was still an Indian. That, never changed.
‘Come, then, comrades; it would be as well to decide at once to change our ways. We must shake off the heavy darkness in which we were plunged, and leave it behind. The new day which is already at hand must find us firm, prudent and resolute…We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships of the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration…And yet it may be said that Europe has been successful in as much as everything that she has attempted has succeeded’.
– Frantz Fanon –
This is all very bad business and we should investigate these unfortunate cases deeply. But it important that we consider some root points to understand the operative framework. In the case of Dicky Wilson, it is his self-identity that we should be looking at here — his personal identification with White power and privilege — not just his own personal and arbitrary racial classification as a ‘mixed-race’ Indian. Again, we are not discussing sets of unfavorable attitudes, we are identifying a form of systemic oppression based upon the inconsistent concept of race and the debasing cultural norms frequently associated with such a device. Particularly the erroneous but widely believed connections assumed between concepts of ‘Whiteness’ and ‘law and order’.
The real question is not the ethnicity of people, but instead what is our collective understanding of basic humanity as it relates to our willingness to cope with first the unknown and second, the realities of selfish, materialistic accumulation by the more powerful elements of any given society. This is precisely the point behind ‘war psychology’. By defining their victims as ‘different’ because of racial and cultural dissimilarities, predatory interests hope to soften the psychological blow to the masses, who if they actually had a choice, might just decide not to use brigandage as a national policy. Normal, rational people do not like conflict. In fact, most people do their very best to avoid it at any cost. Therefore, the ‘enemy’ must be demonised to the point of hysteria if the public is to support such methods. And race-hate is often used because it is the one gimmick that almost always works when nothing else will. Not because it is justified, but because it is easy. Reducing life’s complexities to common, lowbrow chauvinisms does not require deep intellectual thought. Just a passive willingness to accept the unacceptable in favour of an illusion of racial purity and civil management.
Further, the victims of White racism are central to such a system. And it is important to understand why that is. It is a vicious cycle of antagonisms that have at their centre the European concepts of race and the racial superiority of lighter skin. A notion that has been spread around the world through European imperio-colonial expansionism and the theological subterfuge of the Mother Church. And this also explains why there is so much popular confusion around the world concerning the apathy shown by the Barack Obama administration towards Black and Indian Americans, the poor, Spanish-speaking immigrants and the hapless Arab and African civilians added daily to the expendable cannon fodder lists as acceptable statistics in the ‘War on Terror’.
It was assumed, wrongly, that because he is Black, that he would be more open to addressing the pressing social and political imbalances most White US politicians have traditionally ignored. Barack Obama has proved that no matter what the ethnicity of the individual, once one is willing, or trained, to accept the concept of White privilege, culture and power as a paradigm of perfection, anyone determined to be less than human in considered ‘fair game’ for abuse and ‘corrective action’. Simply look at his political record since he has been in office. Mr. Obama has without question fought hard, not to spread justice and democracy, but to sustain the undue privileges of the rich, the corporations, the military-industrial complex and the Zionist lobby at the expense of the already traditionally marginalised. This includes the poor people of his own country who he will continue to extract as much as possible from in order to ensure the continuation of White Christian cultural domination across the globe. The republican and libertarian cliques have nothing factually negative to say about the Obama administration because it has done exactly what it was supposed to do, to ensure the positive continuation of American capitalist power. Period. A situation that leaves his political opposition very little to work with unless they are willing to resort to using the issue of race against him as a planned strategy of derision.
Which in fact is what the US conservative party is currently doing. In sum, conservatives simply do not have an argument against Mr. Obama other than he is a Black man. And this is why the US presidential race this season has been focused more on the supposed demise of White, Christian culture in the United States than actual politics. Only no one is yet ready to openly admit that the noted hatred towards this president and his family is motivated by hateful, and traditional, White racism. Not even the mainstream US African population who is still banking on a last-minute act of justice, if not principled moral retribution, that will never come from this particular Black president.
American Africans are sadly reluctant to admit that they have been suckered, yet again, by another beautiful, Black, ‘Great White Hope’. This is appalling on a variety of levels, but it is sufficient to say here that Mr. Obama’s actions as an individual and as president cannot by any stretch of the imagination be consider antagonistic towards White people or advantageous to Black advancement. Only the plutocrats have received any love and affection from this White House. And those who perpetuate hateful, White supremacist ideas have indeed been granted a pass. They have stopped at nothing to belittle this president and conservatives have made use of every racist political trick they can think of. Including putting the reality of White racialism in the United States completely on its head.12
Mr. Obama’s visible passivity in the face of blatant racism makes the conservative knuckle-draggers who wail and bitch about him look like complete idiots. But that has never stopped White racists before. Idiocy still rules the US airwaves and conservative as well as religious talk-radio in the United States have made unseating the Obama administration priority number one. No matter how much they have to lie to do it.
They argue that Barack Hussein Obama is a ‘secret Muslim’ who hates White people and ‘White’ culture. But the truth of the matter is that Barack Obama is the best friend racist, Christian White folks have ever had in the history of confused Africans in America. Particularly because he is a non-European who truly believes in the ‘rightness’ of the White world more than many Whites do. And for this, his place in the history of the White man is assured. So as far as he and others like him are concerned, the ‘glass ceiling’ of White racism is now over. Now that non-Europeans can theoretically enter the White world, there exists, they argue, no more barriers. Exactly the same sort of situation that occurred in supposedly post-colonial Africa. The White men have for the most part visibly left the scene, but they still control the purse-strings and the ‘new’ anti-colonial power structure has actively maintained the old European infrastructure. In effect, nothing has changed.
Barack Obama in regards to American history fulfills a similar function. He will be remembered fondly as the great ‘Negro example’ who oversaw a taxing period of transition between ethnic Whiteness and ‘conceptional Whiteness’. This in essence is the real ‘New Negro’ movement, the supposedly progressive improvement over the older model that would have totally rejected a non-European person strictly on the basis of his or her skin-colour. In the 21st century, being White means more about adhering to the Europocentric model as closely as one can than it will be about ‘colour’. Which really is not a new perspective, (the artificial hair-straightening of African women is one good example) but it does say something queer about the state of the African mind. One must wonder why after everything that has happened, (slavery, lynching and legal discrimination) and considering what still continues to occur, (such as the police killings of Oscar Grant and Sean Bell) why so many non-Europeans would want have anything to do with White people at all. Additionally, in light of all of this considerable negativity, why are so many Africans and other non-Europeans struggling so hard to be ‘qualified Whites’?
I mention this only because in the west, the conventional wisdom specifies that Europeans have ‘earned’ the right to rule the ‘lesser peoples’ of the world simply because they have to power to do so. The racial aspects of the scheme however are actually secondary to the base authority claimed through the threat of violence. This is important. The indignation expressed in reducing social relations to simplistic ideas of White and non-White is quite real, but is not the entire picture. We must understand this and accept the fact that race is just a convenient, although not always visible barometer used to separate people into identifiable predators, managers, enablers or prey. Race is an issue of separation. Generally for political purposes. Attitudes are important, but they merely support the established sociopolitical paradigm.
White racism, the notion that lighter-skinned people are superior in any respective culture, nation or group, is a grandiose, melodramatic farce based upon a pure fiction. An old wives’ tale erected upon an absurd medley of supposed superior western culture, the privilege of alabaster skin and the divine grace of the co-opted Semitic sky-god Europeans believe bestowed them with ultimate mastery over the physical world. Add to this malarkey the spurious ‘Privilege of Intervention’ claimed by the White west when it comes to exercising ‘extreme prejudice’ and other forms of unasked for destructiveness against weaker peoples and you have all of the makings of a bona fide system of global, institutionalised human-on-human exploitation. A condition that supposedly does not exist any longer, we are told, due to the twin ‘liberating’ forces of western Christianity and European-led free-market capitalism.
This is the psychological shillelagh that is wielded to shame the Native into believing that he is at best, a subhuman non-entity, a superficial being not deserving of his own right to exist. We hear much of the immense ‘progress’ that has been made, but we hear of no serious discourse on why we still seem to think that White racism is a normality that one must either adapt to or somehow learn to overcome. This element is rarely discussed from the viewpoint of the victim. Not without first qualifying it through the wavering filters of faux ‘White liberalism’. Another social requirement which in and of itself is a thoroughly demeaning prerequisite in order to be heard, much less be seen by the psychic White power structure. This is the reality of the situation. Nor is it asked why Africans and First Nations Peoples should, or would, want to struggle for inclusion into societies that have proven themselves to be remarkably dedicated to the incessant exploitation and occasional genocide of their respective peoples for profit.
Conscious, fair and intelligent people, regardless of background, want more than just symbolic holidays of false inclusion. African people as a social group are still treated as a detestable class of non-human cretins by the White power structure simply because we are born ‘Black’. And those of us who insist on being seen as something more than a pacified, nappy-headed jigging collection of caricatures found within the back pages of White American popular culture know that nonsense such as ‘Black History Month’ in truth, amounts to little more than a dramatic and ingenious act of American nationalist self-deception and White racialist hypocrisy.
We can no longer hide behind the petticoat of democratic boasting in an age of the personal computer. It isn’t possible to feign ignorance when the truth is staring you right in the face. Those of us who claim not to see what is happening are, without exception, pathological liars. For there is a fundamental difference between not knowing and not caring. And this is an overdue and necessary question. And let us be principled at this juncture by leaving the sing-song nostalgia of traditional Americana to the professional propagandists and committed bigots of the far-right as we contend with unembellished reality.
What we are actively criticising here is not the individual White racist, which is also important, but the longstanding tradition of western ethnic bias itself as a negative and anti-human social paradigm. It is vitally critical for us here to deal not just with the overt phenomenon of racist attitudes, but also with the subvert and pragmatic facts behind mainstream ethnic marginalisation itself as a whole.
‘Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American’.
– Malcolm X –
Racism is a reality. And not just against Europeanised Ashkenazim Jewry, but against all persons deemed to be non-White and those who are unlucky enough to be caught-up by the racists and their ideological sympathisers. Serbs, Roma, Turks, Africans, the mentally-challenged, homosexuals, pagans all Indigenous Peoples and other social outsiders have over the generations been the targets of far-right, conservative and often religious discrimination. Often, these groups have also been targeted for elimination. And not just by the officials working within legal governments, but by the passive agreement and often active participation of the rank-and-file populace within western democracies.
This is quite similar to the despicable actions undertaken by the Catholic Church when it gave its theological consent to anti-Jewish violence before and during the Crusades and again immediately following the mayhem of the Spanish Reconquista. In between and directly after these frightful periods, the Pope would simply say, ‘God wills it’ and the White Christian world would calmly look in the other direction. Secure in the certain knowledge that Jehovah looked down upon them with exalted appreciation for zealously helping ‘Him’ wipe out the non-European infidels and acknowledged ‘killers of the risen Christ’.13 The role of Catholicism in the development of Judeophobia is still a subject not discussed in polite political debate.
What ‘Black History Month’ refused to deal with in February, the World Council of Churches executive committee did with resounding courage and resolve. In a statement released last month, the Council strongly denounced the religiously-sanctioned directives that were used by European governments to justify the invasion of the Americas and the ‘necessary’ genocide of the Indigenous Peoples ‘discovered’ in the Americas.14 This was the Catholic-supported ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, a series of Papal Bulls that mandated the nationalisation of captured American lands and ordered the enforced Christianization of all Indigenous peoples captured by the Conquistadors.
The executive council of the WCC made it clear in their official statement that the doctrine was inherently racist and as a doctrine of the Church, ‘Fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus’. They are now asking the world Christian body to reject the Europocentric biases of the traditional church in favour of a theology that truly embraces ‘All the Nations’ under the spiritual, and more to the point, human, example of Jesus the Christ. The Palestinian Semite redeemer of those too poor and too weak to defend themselves against the malevolent forces of the material world as then represented by the European Roman Imperial invasion of his country.
This is a deliberately literal reading of the historical, not the religious record. Christianity is at its base a faith of the poor, not the rich. This is why the Roman government chose to co-opt the faith into the state. This made it easier to control. What we understand today as Christian faith is an elaborate ruse. Religion in all nations and cultures is a tool of the elite forces of that particular society. And what the WCC is suggesting today is a rational and proactive approach to soberly dealing with the issue behind White supremacist sentiments and political chicanery in the new century. They are standing with the people, not the plutocratic, pro-capitalist religious fascists of the orthodox White European church establishment.
In using the historical rather than the religious Jesus as a metaphor for social justice is respectable. And it is an assessment with which even this committed atheist author can live with. For it gets to the base teachings of what is said to be the fundamental reason why the Sun of God was sent to be sacrificed in the first place. The world’s churches, synagogues and temples all collect money, power and undue moral influence over the political and private lives of the unfortunate people subjected to their absurd ‘spiritual’ jurisdiction. But in the end, they do not practise what they preach.
Like the Mother Church, Europocentric idealism is an illusion of order. A nonsensical allegory that exists only to give us a satisfying, emotive explanation as to why the ugly brutality of European hegemony should be accepted as the price one must pay to achieve ‘civilisation’ . John Howard Griffin, the American author of ‘Black Like Me’ pointed in the preface of his ground-breaking book:
‘Some White will say that this is not really it. They will say this is the White man’s experience s a Negro in the South, not the Negro’s…But this is a picayunish, and we no longer have time for that. We no longer have time to atomize principles and beg the question. We fill too many gutters while we argue unimportant points and confuse issues’.
– J. H. Griffin –
Let us ignore the superficial and discard the 1%-produced disinformation we have come to accept about each other. Universal peace and justice is indeed possible. We only need to be brave enough to collectively face the past with as much courage as we need to face the future. By being honest with ourselves we can be honest with how we all got here. It is disingenuous for White society to claim innocence when we all know that the public world’s mind has been intentionally fashioned in its image solely for its favour. It is time for conscious, politically aware White people to separate themselves from the reactionary, neo-conservative, neoliberal bigoted chaff and join the rest of the human community. Pledge to be as inclusive, as fair and as tolerant as you have failed to be in the past and the present. And perhaps, just perhaps, we can all survive the Mayan warning of tumultuous ‘change’.
It is impossible to avoid the obvious conclusion that the world situation as we understand is trapped within a foolish and cyclical paradigm of Europocentric absurdities. And it is up to those of us who should know better to say something other than have faith in ‘their belief’ that ‘things will work themselves out for the better. If this sort of passivity did not work in 1933, I fail to see how this could possibly make sense in 2012. Even under a Black American president.
This February we could have, as a society, discussed the history of Africa or Black people but that did not happen. Where are the American students in the US and Canada studying the public records of Denmark Vesey and Gullah Jack to learn about their role in defending human dignity in South Carolina? How many people of all races know that Ralph Bunche, a Black man, is one of Americans directly responsible for helping found the State of Israel, becoming the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts? Very few. And this is more than just a shame, it is a major part of the problem. African ignorance of their own history is bad enough, White ignorance of African history is dangerous. It allows for the sort of wrong-headed assumptions that make human-on-human violence possible and subversive political abuse feasible.
“Ignorance’, as the Dravidian spiritual teacher the historical Buddha often taught, ‘is the root of all evil’. All ‘civilised’ peoples understand this and the fact is that the logical option for intelligent corrective measures are right in front of us. We know this and we only need dare look at it. If Steppin’ Fetchit and Iceberg Slim could eventually come around to determine that their past-behaviour was largely due to the unending cycle of ‘colonialist madness’, so can we. They came to overstand and overcome the considerable mental damage done to them by the unspoken, institutional ethnic hierarchy of life in the Americas. This is the most important issue to think about when discussing race in the Americas if nothing else. We are talking here about hundreds of years of brutal exploitation, physical abuse and skin-colour marginalisation. Often by rule of law. The creation of the Sambo in the Americas, both Afro-Indios and Afro-European, is the direct result of this system. And despite the negatives, we have survived.
But not intact. Yes, we have created identities and communities that honestly reflect our natural human responses to cultural European oppression. But we are mired within a mire of subcultures that represent more what has been done to us than what we really want for ourselves. Most Africans are ashamed that inner-city ‘Pimp’ mores have gone mainstream as have popular ‘Gangster’ motifs that reflect the cultural influences of the underground economy that keeps the poor from starving to death. And despite their righteous-sounding rhetoric, capitalist Hollywood and the rest of the free-market crowd make as much money from this unfortunate situation as possible. And their are plenty of sell-out Africans ready, willing and eager to demean their own people for the sake of gold and a space at the White man’s table.
This is the result of being whipped into spiritual submission by an abusive European living in dread of the African and Native slave regaining a ‘knowledge of self’, meaning a sense of his and her own instinctive humanity. So it is foolish to pretend that when a single human being is mistreated and subjected to the inner scars of the experience, that it is fundamentally different than when it occurs to an entire people. To say that Africans and individuals and as peoples throughout the Diaspora do not suffer from Post-Slavery emotional and mental issues is to willingly ignore the problem.
‘We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America’.
¾ Barack Obama, NAACP forum, July 12, 2007 ¾
The mainstream behaviour sciences are only recently beginning to address the syndrome and its role in negative African physical and mental ailments. It isn’t as if we have ignored the issue as a community, we simply do have enough breathing room to effectively challenge the problem. And while the Black Christian Church has long been a centre of spiritual strength and community organisation, it has never seriously addressed the issue of ‘Post-Colonial Stress Syndrome’ or ‘Post-Slavery Syndrome’. The Black Church deals more with Black assimilation, not ‘nationhood’ as a body. More nationalist-thinking community leaders in the US addressed the subject in differing, but generally conservative terms through pan-African leaders such the Marcus M. Garvey, Jr., ONH; religious teachers like the Hon. Elijah Muhammad of the ‘original’ Lost-Found Nation of Islam (Black Muslims); Bro. Min. Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) and even agnostic thinkers such as Clarence 13X, founder of the (even more esoteric) Five Percent Nation, a manifestation based on the ‘Poor Righteous Teachers’ allegory of the NOI’s inner scriptures. Not Little Black Sambo.
However, the BBP and the American Indian Movement (AIM) on the other hand did deal with these issues by using a people-centred and non-dogmatic approach to cultural re-awareness. This was a progressive and amiable way of developing a climate of cultural co-education and solidarity with other similarly oppressed groups and those in the White mainstream who were in sympathy with universal social justice. But what is most important to consider is that the citizen-run, community-organised low-cost programmes these organisations devised actually worked. Africans and Native Americans were becoming independent. Psychologically. And that included maturing politically as an ethno-cultural bloc.
This was the real problem. We were consciously removing ourselves from a position of dependence. And the simple fact is, some White people, quite a few in fact, did not and do not want to see this happen. We cannot do anything about this. What what we can do however is to stop treating our adversaries as our allies and our allies as our adversaries. Because we are by tradition, not genetics, a forgiving and at heart a peaceful people, we are more apt to look towards our former masters for confirmation and comfort than our own brothers and sisters who endure within the very same cycle of African struggle. This is the face of self-colonialism.
It is not ‘anti-White’ to state the observable fact that Africans, as a human group, have been taught to hate themselves with intensity. This is the real dirty laundry of the African consciousness and it is a silent symptom of how non-Europeans have fared in a hopelessly materialistic, European-dominated world. This self-hate dynamic is what compels us to not see that other African as our brother. It is because we still, mistakenly, perceive that White people, all White people, represent the paradigm that we all, regardless of ethnicity, must ‘rise’ to. As codified in history, art and letters, the European is presented as the hope of the world. And we are lead, if not forced, to believe that they our the ‘betters’ we must all defer to.
In spite of our innate physical beauty, our cultural creativity or our instinct for limitless adaptability, we have all been trained, both Black and White, to despise the African as something less than human. Less than White. And sadly, even the African believes the lies said about him to the point of internalised antagonism. The root cause of inner cognitive struggle all Black men and women must confront on a daily basis.
‘How low must I reduce myself, today, in order to survive’?
This is a shame. A damned shame. And when White people point our lack of interest today or our comprehension of these issues, correctly I might add, we feel insulted and indignant. But it is quite true. We do not as a community or as individuals, for the most part pay much attention to our collective political clarity. There were more educated Africans in the United States actively advocating for the immediate and unconditional release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit during his detainment by the Hamas bureaucracy than were in support of Troy Anthony Davis in his battle to save his life and clear his name. And even more alarming, to this writer, is the undue and ludicrous attention accorded to Black entertainment scandals than the fact that the republican party has been waging a media crusade in favour of demeaning the first genetic Black president in every way possible short of calling him a ‘Nigger’. And despite his genteel,pro-Europocentric, pro-capitalist, pro-Christian assimilationist proclivities, he is being insulted on a daily basis for no other reason than because he is a Black man in a position of power many White folks simply do not believe a ‘Negro’, any Negro, deserves.
And even though he has politically been extremely race-neutral in his approach, (even to the point of treating American Africans just as apathetically as any other US president) recent polls in former US slave-states show that only 12% of Mississippians think that President Barack Obama is a real Christian despite all the evidence to the contrary.15 Chiefly because the right-wing cacophony machine falsely identifies Mr. Obama as a radical anti-Caucasian left-wing Marxist-Communist-Socialist-Nazi-Fascist Muslim Manchurian Candidate from Kenya. In Alabama, just 14% believe he isn’t a Muslim at heart. Shocking information in the 21st century but then again, about 75% of the respondents in some of these polls don’t accept Darwin’s scientific theory of evolution either. Others, a sizable minority, also still believe the world to be flat too.16
This writer has never claimed to support him politically, but I do support him as a Black man who is facing the brunt of relentless xenophobic racism. This does not mean that I will choose to vote for him, but I will certainly support him against racist bellicosity from the black-hearted bastards of the right-wing as well as the reactionary ignoramuses operating within what is supposed to be the left-wing of the accepted political dichotomy. This is a community-solidarity courtesy one would hope he and the rest of the American African elite working in positions of influence would extend to their own forgotten people. Why not? Senator Joseph Lieberman ferociously supports the American, if not the global, Jewish community without apology. What is stopping Mr. Obama and the rest of the ‘Talented Tenth’ from doing the same? No one is asking them to get on the picket-line, although, that would be cool. But we have had enough parades. We need less clamor and more substance. Racism is still here. And nothing has changed other than the dance styles.
What is needed is some overt critical and analytical support for real social justice and an honest accounting of what is really going on with the African in America and how we got to this juncture. We have to regain a sense of our literal self. Without this, we will always be subjected to the ever changing winds of European whims and racist folly. It is up to us to define what our own ‘liberation’ will look like. And in the later generations of the struggle we had a vision of what that ‘Black’ freedom would be and how we would get there. This was crushed however at every turn. And every time it seemed as if we had a workable and sustainable solution to our problems, (and not the White man’s issue of how we could best serve him) we were crushed and scattered like red African soil thrown into the sea. In the past we had our own businesses, banks, (SEE: Black Wall Street) and townships, (SEE: Rosewood Race Riots) because White society did not wish to serve our needs. So we did it ourselves. Not because we wanted to be separate, but because we were not wanted. If African interests have failed over the decades, it is because of these very same reasons. White society has never treated the African as an equal.
Black History Month could have discussed why the ‘Black Church’ exists and how Africans were banned by law from practising the Christian religion. Or from learning to read, from dancing, or from practising their traditional spiritual beliefs. If there is such a thing as Black American history, it is about how we survived, not how we have been forced to adapt in order to survive. This would frame these important issues in African, not Europocentric terms. We are not critically assessing our own historical record. We are waiting for a White man to tell us who we are. This is true.
A this is where open and honest education comes into play. Whites in the Americas must be willing to learn about their own history of racism and the historical dynamics of race stratifications in human relations. We must also be willing to openly discuss how severely Africans have been impoverished via subterfuge of the representative political system. This is why it is highly unfair to accuse African people in North America of sociopolitical or moral ineptness without first studying just how seriously Africans, (and Black males in particular) have traditionally been emasculated in this society. Remember when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rudely stuck her finger in the face of the US president like an antebellum plantation owner chastising her house-slave and got away with it? By claiming she felt ‘threatened’ by him, White America said, ‘O.k.’ Black America? Well, Black America said nothing.17
Sure, there were some articles about it, but few called the situation as it really was: a planned media event to publicly disparage this US president on no other grounds other than he is an African. Nothing else. Further, her racist photo-opp maneuver was designed not only to shame Obama, but to shame all African people as a collective body. We, as African people, have yet to connect how the Obama presidency reflects upon us as a community and the critical position the American Black man resides in at this historical moment.
This is why each and every time Mr. Obama ignores the racists, he delegitimises the American Black/African struggle against such undeserved disrespect and disparagement. The lack of basic respect shown towards Mr. Obama by the Arizona governor is unprecedented in US political history. And it was allowed. Most importantly, the racist myth of the ‘dangerous Black man’ was in effect confirmed by this stunt in the pathetic minds of the hopelessly bigoted.18 Her finger-wagging was a signal to the White American racist past. It was a wink to the ‘Take America Back’ crowd that is slovenly lusting for an immediate regression to a time when Whites were unquestionably ‘on top’ and their unearned privileges stood virtually unchallenged.
We, as African Peoples were bitch-slapped on the front pages of every newspaper in the world. This was by design. And the African in the Americas said practically nothing about it. We gave it a pass. And many sadly were probably not even aware of it unless someone told them about it. This is ridiculous on its face because anyone with an educated mind understands that the only thing that has changed in the US sociopolitical arena is the window dressing, not the substance. The White House is still very much ‘White’. And the same 1% landed gentry who own the extant power structure, are still in charge. It just looks as if things have changed for the better. They haven’t.
Because most Americans today in both the US and Canada live lives of simplistic materialist superficiality, this minor cosmetic alteration seems much more captivating than it really is. And this fundamental misunderstanding has inaccurately convinced the European settler-class that ‘all is lost’ just because they are being represented politically by a member of the Black ‘race’. They believe, but cannot prove, that the White man is losing his control and place in the world. This is not a new sentiment but it has been given a boost by the White anxiety that followed the reality of the Obama election. This was indeed America’s ‘Putney Swope’ moment and the Euro-American populace has acted true to cinematic form.
There is no political backing for the outlandish claims made against him, so in effect, the juvenile ad hominem belligerence we are witnessing from the right-wing is all they have left to use. He is being derided simply because he is Black and in this, their hateful actions demean all decent people in the Americas. This is the reality of the situation. And how he carries himself during these critical obstacles reflects on all African people everywhere. This is still true whether he wants to accept his role as the titular leader of the entire African world or not.
This is why a critical study of internal US social development is so important. It provides a backdrop for understanding why the African in the Americas does not respond as a community bloc when faced with overt racism. This was not always the case, but after what has occurred in terms of COINTELPRO-style repression against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey’s international Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), civil organisations such as the BBP, the revolutionary-nationalist Republic of New Afrika (RNA) and numerous other African organisations and activists such as Malcolm X, Robert Franklin Williams and Fred Hampton Sr., the fight has, literally, been beaten out of us. The level of covert-directed violence and extra-legal measures used to undermine what government officials believed to be negative, possibly anti-American political dissent in the African community made it perfectly clear: speaking up comes with consequences.19
The most effective propaganda is that which frames concepts rather than focuses on issues. And in my own personal experience as an Afro-Indio cultural educator I have seen very few instances in which these aspects of the African historical experience in the Americas are mentioned respectfully or fairly. Our history of struggle is almost always treated negatively and is as a rule of thumb, is erroneously misused to ‘prove’ that there is a ‘Black Rage’ that is generalised against all White people as a whole. This isn’t true, but just saying that means little. The fears are very real.
Much of it comes from a space of pure unadulterated ignorance, but a lot of it is a fear of broad-brushed racialist retribution for centuries of mistreatment. There is nothing we can do about this fear other than to recognise it and be intelligent about it. And that includes recognising that while the activist-driven Afro-sphere pays attention, there was, and is, no national movement of Blacks or Whites to denounce how racism and right-wing religious ideas have shaped the 2012 election cycle. That says either most of us really don’t understand what’s going on, or, so many of us are just so accustomed to drinking the Kool-Aid we just don’t care about ourselves anymore.
Either way, the situation must change or Africans as a group throughout the Diaspora are indeed doomed. We should be need to be inspired to save our own lives. And unless the issue involves the overt advocacy of Black, bottle-blond media personalities or diamond-studded hypocritical clergy seeking camera time, precious few of us seem to be very interested. We are more worried about replicating the lifestyles of either ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ celebrities or the assimilationist poseurs with our bootlegged, black-market replicas than struggling for our continuance as a people. The more ‘American’ we have become, the less we are willing to acknowledge our innate ‘Blackness’. We have become more concerned about achieving personal enrichment and media stardom, not independence and communal health.
If Black History Month meant anything at all, it would discuss all of these topics fairly and in full. It is an insult to all those who came before us who willing to struggle for justice, freedom and African independence from exploitation to ignore the roots issues behind our struggle. It is time to end the cycle of self-colonialism and to step forward with a vision of conscious Africanism without the needless and moronic excesses of ethnic elitism, religious factionalism and the tit-for-tat trading of xenophobic racialisms with the more ridiculous elements of the far-right. It is time for us to stop trying to be everything to everybody and to begin being true to ourselves.
Having said this, I feel it is important to point out that there is a current move to bring the American African’s issues to the world stage. However, the context here should give us some pause. In response to the recent changes in voting rules that threaten to suppress the African vote, the NAACP has gone before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to request international assistance in securing a fair vote for Black people in the US, (democracynow.org: NAACP Head Benjamin Jealous in Geneva Seeking United Nations Help to Protect Voting Rights in U.S.). The NAACP is requesting a special U.N. delegation to monitor the process and offer recommendations for improvement, a move sure to embarrass the Obama administration and to influence those Blacks that will be allowed to vote into some political clarity.
While all of this sounds good on face-value, one must ask, why didn’t the NAACP go to Geneva to discuss Troy Anthony Davis or Mumia Abu-Jamal? How about all of the Black men and women who ended up dead as a result of police brutality or sent to a social death in the for-profit correctional industry? In other words, I find it quite interesting that the NAACP administration could find the time to address the mainstream, assimilationist Black American political concern with maintaining access to the sacred vote while ignoring what poor Black people have to go through all year round, not just at election time.
Racial profiling of Black men alone accounts for thousands of people being denied the right to vote. And in 2000 and in 2004, African males were falsely added to voter lists that registered them as ineligible to exercise their Constitutional rights. Just because they were Black. The NAACP could have gone international then instead of begging Bush the Second to visit them for lunch so he could push the sub-prime mortgage scandal on an unsuspecting Black community. Instead of pursuing a programme of social justice, the NAACP is seeking a ‘seat at the table’ through the established political process of an already corrupted system. This is not wise.
They support reform, not intelligent, class-free, egalitarian change. In struggling to adapt to a system that by its very nature must reduce the non-White and the poor into malleable forms of human putty, the African, when standing amongst the other peoples of the world, becomes a nobody. In trying to please our former masters by kissing their arses with a different sort of waltz we tell ourselves is the ‘price of progress’, we belittle ourselves. From this moment on let cease to hate ourselves any longer. There is enough of that to go around and we will face our fair share of criticism for saying what is true.
So let us be African. Let us discard the skin-bleach creams, false eye contacts and chemical hair-relaxers from both our cupboards and our minds. Let us not apologise or feel shame any longer to be the Original Peoples from the Motherland of Africa. We are the ‘First People’ that gave birth to the entire human race. And we deserve far better than what we have received. Not because we were first, but because we are human.
Just like everyone else.
TheAngryindian is editor-in-chief of the Aboriginal Press News Service (APNS) and editor-General of the Aboriginal News Group (ANG)