It was a spring evening in New York city when I met with my sisters of freelance in a partially black-owned establishment in Bedford Stuyvesant. The experience was disappointing to say the least, but eye-opening. The star of the conversation was a beautiful yet sef-depricating young black female who in a series of passive remarks discounted the totality of black contribution. One of the most resonant claims made by this young lady that registered to a lauded reception was the idea that whites “know better” but choose to indulge the fruits of their ignorance. I’d heard this claim countless times after, each instance proving more bizarre than the last.
This ideology is inaccurate for the following reasons:
1. It functions, whether intentionally or otherwise, to appease ideas surrounding white intellectual superiority .
My class had a debate recently where they came up with a number of questions to ask one another. Most of the questions spoke to education, mainly its cost. One student, a young white male, remarked that the wealthy make it so that the “less fortunate” can attend school. This belief that whites are better and use this status of “better than most” to aid others, is not limited to my student. Statements like these do not only function to discredit the false premise of white intelligence, but function to illustrate that this intelligence exists on a compilation of fallacies that function in the western world as fact.
2. The notion that whites “know better” also operates under the pretense that whites understand racism.
Are there some whites that understand that black schools are not equitable to white schools? Yes. But are there an abundant number of whites that believe blacks are intellectually deficient and that their inferior education reflects their presumed inferiority? Absolutely.
To understand racism is more than the ability to articulate that racism is a system of advantages or disadvantages prompted by race. It is more than understanding that cyclical disenfranchisement hovers over every aspect of the black experience and therefore understanding that “its because I’m black” does not apply to some but all experiences endured by black bodies, it is understanding that the ability to conceptualize racism and not directly call someone a n*gger, does not eliminate a white person from being a racist. Racism is not something that resonates beneath the surface for most whites, simply because it is their benefit to just know that it works, not the intricacies of how it works.
I like to think of racism as a house that sits on top of those of the black collective. After experiencing racism few blacks will dig their way to the surface, some will optimistically wait to be granted entry to the land above and a large amount will remain oblivious to their subjugated existence. Whites on the other hand, experience a different reality. Some will understand that this house is built over actual human beings, few will acknowledge this dynamic but most remain ignorant to the means of their lifestyle and instead focus on the fruits of a tree they’ve never even contemplated.
3. The belief that whites recognize the totality of their evil operates on the premise that whites abide by the morality encased in the bible.
The bible was handed to the black body as a means to control black behavior by binding the black mind to a series of principles. Thus, the ideas of right and wrong implemented by books like the bible are inconsistent with the teachings of western historical trajectory. Whites in general view their superiority as innate and good, and everything that poses a challenge to this superiority as bad.
This good and bad serves a means to foment ideas of white supremacy and even to paint blacks as descendants of the vengeful and evil Cain.
In assessing white dissonance, it is the essential for the oppressed to understand the mental state of our oppressors. A prime attribute of the white supremacist or what Dr. Bobby Wright called the “racial psychopath” is the absence of a conscience. The white supremacist, possesses no remorse, which is a direct result from the white psyche having no ability to conceptualize right and wrong.
To some, my assertions excuse whites in suggesting their ignorance. The point of the post however, is to expose whites as not having to care about the dynamics of racism. I once encountered a young Cuban male possessing a white phenotype who gloated about race “never coming up.” In revisiting this incident I am still mentally astounded at the level of ignorance privilege affords. To the collective ideology represented by the referenced Cuban male, organizations like Black Lives Matter “bring up” race without reason. To him and others that believe themselves to be white, race is a card played in times of need. By need, I do not mean life or death, but to solicit support, or obtain some other benefit.
Race of course is anything but a card to those born black. To the black body blackness is an innate beauty sullied by white insecurity. An insecurity that breeds the global epidemic of racism.
Let us consider the recent Alton Sterling verdict. Multiple news outlet confirmed that the officers involved in the Alton Sterling homicide last summer would not face charges. This verdict is predictable because although footage from the scene reveals two officers forcibly restraining a cuffed Sterling—most believe that their murder of the thirty-seven year-old wrongfully accused black was was indeed justified.
This is because is because the caricatured black man is a dangerous brute– a dragon that must be slayed by the police to ensure white safety. Now, when I reference white safety I do not mean physical safety, but I mean ensuring that white fiction remains regarded as factual. A land over populated with black men who may use their superior mental and physical strength to overthrow the white man—-is a faction that must be reduced to a small, controllable faction fearful of the consequences warranted by their greatness. Thus, the majority of whites do not see the Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, John Crawford III and Sandra Bland murders as wrong, but necessary damage control to ensure their continued dominance.
To the white collective, scared person of color and melanated negroes Micah Johnson and Gavin Long on the other are very wrong in their actions. Despite the countless black bodies savagely murdered, torturred and beaten by whites, Johnson and Long’s Nat Turner like action is demonized as unprecedented rage against the “innocent.” So while it’s okay for Sterling to die because he fit the description of a “dangerous” individual, it is not okay for whites to meet a similar fate for similar reasoning. Instead, whites deem Johnson and Long’s actions fearfully, because they mirror their own actions except that Johnson and Long’s actions are rooted in courage, not cowardice like their white counterparts. Whites do not know any better than to murder courageous black men like Johnson and Long, men who believe they are entitled to better for themselves and their people.
In closing, the discourse surrounding the white psyche rendered in this post does not function to excuse the behavior of whites. Rather, this post strives to assert that oblivion to blacks crushed in white stride to an elusive top is simply not as much of a passing thought to most within the white collective. Central ingredients to white supremacy are selfishness and greed, two attributes that deter any interest in subjects of acquisition.
So, no whites do not know better, they simply believe they are better.