Over the past week, our country has been reeling from the deaths of two more black men at the hands of police and the deadly attack on several police officers in Dallas, Texas. In the midst of it all, many people have rallied to protest against police brutality and to call an end to violent retaliation, and while police brutality is and has been a major issue in this country, it is but one of the many results of the true problem that must be solved, which is this notion of white supremacy.
White supremacy is the false belief that white people in general, are better than those who are non white and therefore have a right to treat those individuals in a manner that can be characterized as unjust, unequal, and even dehumanizing at times. It is a notion that non whites are intellectually, politically, and economically, inferior and therefore need to be “controlled.”It is white supremacy that has led to some the most horrific stains on our nation’s history. It has led to the slaughter, maiming, pillaging, and robbery of the Native Americans. It has led to the captivity, enslavement, murder, rape, torture, and destruction of African-American families during slavery. It has led to the death of the Japanese in internment camps, to the racism against Chinese migration, to the beatings of nonviolent protesters during the Civil Rights Movements, to the racial profiling of Hispanics, and now to the horrendous reemergence of police brutality of minorities and particularly black men. White supremacy has embedded the idea into the minds of white Americans that the United States is their country but has caused many to ignore the fact that this country is not theirs alone.
The United States is a nation of immigrants; it is made up of people from various places that have brought their native cultures to help create what we call “American” culture. It is undeniable that they have helped shape and develop this nation. The United States would not be what it is without the collective innovations, agricultural advancements, infrastructural developments, cuisine enhancements, and intellectual contributions of all who have come to call this country “home.” However, when atrocities take place in this country, blame is cast in every direction but the central one, the idea of white supremacy; something so many love to claim died in the 50’s and 60’s and dare not address as a glaring problem right now today. One of the primary problems with white supremacy is that most don’t even know that it is a complex from which they suffer; BUT when a person’s heart has become so jaded that they can’t grieve for a four-year old who witnessed a murder from the back seat of a car, when people can’t acknowledge that the mere possession of a weapon, in a country that allows citizens to possess them doesn’t mean imminent harm, and when people point to black on black crime or the height of minority crime rates as a means to circumvent the outcry of the murder of an individual of that group, there are some serious racial issues here.
While white supremacy is a major issue, the question is how do we handle it? How does one make someone acknowledge an issue that our country refuses to admit exists? Our legislators deny systemic racism; our police departments deny corruption. There are those who proclaim we live in a colorblind society however lives are being threatened and loss because of the color of their skin. Until we can acknowledge the existence of these issues, have a genuine conversation about white supremacy and the dangers of it, until we can admit that systemic racism is embedded in our nation’s institutions, and until we admit that the notion of white supremacy leads to divisiveness and harmful stereotypes, we will never be able to move for as one nation.