“If you don’t understand white supremacy – [racism] – what it is, and how it works — everything else that you understand will only confuse you.” –Dr. Neely Fuller, Jr.
I first encountered the word racism, when I came to the UK in the late 1980s, from Jamaica. I learned that it was a form of discrimination and therefore anyone could be a racist. If a Black person speaks in a racial manner (by dissing and cussing a white person) then they are being racist. Hence, powerful Black male leaders such as Malcolm X and Farrakhan have been cast by the media as racists. However, this is the way racism (white supremacy) operates, to confuse and deceive. No doubt, in today’s language, Toussaint Louverture would have been accused of being a racist (or a terrorist like Nelson Mandela was once called by European media across the world). Any time a Black person’s purpose is about freeing the minds and bodies of Black people and showing them their Black Skin, White Masks, and that they are The Wretched of the Earth, that person is labelled a racist.
Over the years, by reading and studying the books of great Black thinkers I have come to learn that racism is often a misinterpreted and misused word. Racism is not name calling or an attitude. Racism is a political system based on a dichotomized perception of the world that creates structural social and economical inequalities. It is the power that one group of people is able to wield over another. Racism is white supremacy. They are not two different things. Racism is European nationalism. Racism has been used to create “a concept called the cultural other that influenced their vision of themselves and other people in their contact with Africans, Asians and people of the Pacific islands.” (Dr. John Henrik Clarke).
Therefore, there have been many incidents when a Black person has called the police regarding an altercation with a white person (male or female), yet they end up being arrested. Or put another way, a white person can accuse a Black person of something and the Black person would have to prove their innocence. If a Black person accuse a white person of something again the burden of proof is on the Black person. A white person in conflict with a Black person usually is believed whereas a Black person is usually doubted. The Black person living in European societies do not have a power system to rely on to deal with assaults and abuses by whites. They rely on the legal system of whites who can choose whether or not to dispense justice. Racism gives white people that choice. A white person, no matter their economic situation, whether they are an aristocrat or poor and working class have this power system to rely on to protect them as well as aid them in oppressing and injuring other people classified as non-whites.
Venting frustration or anger towards a white person is not an act of racism. Its a reaction to racism. Refusing to have friendships or sexual relationships with whites is not racism but a healthy survival instinct. Speaking about Black issues and the past atrocities committed by whites against Blacks and the continued destruction of Black people through the systematic imprisonment and unemployment of Black males is not racist but the provision of knowledge and the educational arm of the Black redress movement. While Black people can be prejudice and do discriminate, the ability to discern, make distinctions and be intolerant or racially bias, is not racism. However, to further illustrate the point, read the Messages from the Masters (a new series of articles coming to Kentake Page), below.
“In 1619, there was no such thing as Racism. Racism did not exist before Black slavery (the Maafa) started. There were conflicts between ethnic groups, conflicts between religious groups and cultural disagreements, but you never had racism until Black enslavement started.In 1638, the founding stone for racism in America was laid. The state of Maryland put out the edict that started racism for Black people in America. They put out a public policy call the Doctrine of Exclusion. The Doctrine of Exclusion said that Black people should never be permitted to enjoy the fruits of white society. This became the Doctrine of Racism in America, which means, every time you get a chance, exclude Black people.Racism is a word that means race…it means group. I don’t want you to let people keep telling you that Black people can be racist. You cannot be racist! The word does not exist for you. Racism means group base. Racism means a power relationship between two groups, where one group owns and control so much that they can use their wealth and power to deprive, hurt and injure another group. That’s what racism is. And there is no place on earth, can you find a Black person that can be a racist. The only thing you get at best is a Black reactionary, which means a Black person who is reacting to racism [white supremacy].And I want people to quit calling Farrakhan a racist. Farrakhan is not a racist. What Farrakhan is doing is reacting to racism. If Black people could have been racists they would have been racists 400 years ago. They would have stop people from depriving, hurting, castrating, and exploiting them 400 years ago. If you go back through history you cannot find one single, solitary instance, any place in history on this earth, where Black people had enough power and wealth to come together to do injury to another group and take something from them.In the USA, you never see any Blacks come together as an organisation, as a group to hurt any other group. Blacks have never done anything to Jews, or whites, Asians, or Hispanics as a group. We can’t practice racism. On the other hand, I can go through history books and I can show you mountains, and thousands, maybe millions of instances where everybody else have done things, been mean to us, to deprive and hurt us by social customs and legal means. You can’t be racist unless you got power and wealth with your group to be able to hurt other people. And we don’t have it! So all we are, are reacting to racism [white supremacy]…” –Dr. Claud Anderson
“Racism is not an attitude. Racism is a power structure. Therefore the non-white people on the planet who are victim of racism (white supremacy) cannot simultaneously be considered to be in power. Its like someone being in prison. They are not in the same posture or status as the warden of the prison who holds the keys. One is a prisoner. One is a warden. So Black people can have attitudes and certainly people who have been oppressed have attitude about the oppressor but that doesn’t mean that they have the power to oppress the people who are oppressing them. It’s not Black people who determine whether white people have jobs or where they live or where they have to move from. No, it’s people who classify themselves as whites, who have the power to make those decision.”
–Dr. Frances Cress Welsing
Art by Tom Feelings, from the book, The Middle Passage.