White supremacy, neo-Nazis, real Nazis, the KKK, and racism has been in the news A LOT this week. And, talking about all this crapola is bad because it just inures us all to the outrageousness of it and encourages others who used to be too ashamed to act in blatantly racist ways to now act in blatantly racist ways like marching through cities with helmets, shields, and guns and running down truly peaceful protesters with their car.
This post is inspired by a Wonkette article and a comment I made in response to it. Essentially, this post expands upon that comment.
The Radical Racist Right Agenda
Vice News produced this 20+ minute video of the Charlottesville white supremacist weekend. It is a sobering unfun thing to watch. It is not for the faint of heart, but on it you hear the radical racist right explain their agenda.
Essentially, their agenda consists of taking their country back and removing the vermin and filth from the streets. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the right sees people on the left as foreigners: disgusting and dirty. They do not see us as fellow Americans.
You’ll see the panty waste, Chris Cantwell, decry his enemies because they won’t stop attacking him and threatening him all because they take his online threats against them, which he openly admits to making, and his actual acts of violence, which he openly admits to committing, seriously. You can’t make this shit up. No TV show or movie or novel that contained a story arc or character like this would be accepted because it defies any suspension of disbelief that any human being is capable of.
So, Chris Cantwell is in the Vice News video saying that he will fucking kill the counter protesters if he feels he has to, and in this second, self-made video, he complains that his enemies are coming after him and not stopping.
The Demands of White Supremacists
Here’s the demands of white supremacists and the counter-argument:
- We want our country back! Motherfucker, white people have a country! It is the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid only because your dumb white ass can’t figger that shit out.
- We want to preserve and promote white culture! We have a culture! It is American culture. Your culture is safe. It is preserved. It is promoted. Every time you turn on the TV or go to a movie or look at the internet, that’s your white culture spilling out in a deluge of blinding whiteness. If that shit ain’t white enough for you, then you need to be watching the eclipse or something because it can’t get no whiter!
- We want to celebrate white history! EVERY FUCKING DAY IS WHITE HISTORY DAY! Every month is white history month! You’ve got your racist, slave-owning, genocidal history! Go out and celebrate that shit if you feel the need, but you don’t get to spend my tax dollars doing it. You don’t get to mow people down with your car to do it. You don’t get to beat people with clubs and throw full bottles of water at people to d do it. You don’t get to mace people to do it. And, you don’t get to threaten violence against people to do it.
White people have EVERYTHING in the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid. That don’t mean it is handed to us, but it means that we have a leg up on every non-white person out there.
This is how stupid these white supremacists are: they want to give the Koch brothers and their peers ANOTHER useless unneeded tax cut and fund it with their healthcare benefits either through the ACA or Medicaid. They want to give the Koch brothers another tax break so the economy will eventually crash and they can spend another two years out of work while a Democratic president fixes it over the loud mewling of Repube obstructionism. THAT’S HOW FUCKING STUPID THESE PEOPLE ARE!
How White People Can Make It Better
A truly stand up white person who wants to build a stronger better America not only for all Americans but for all the world because a truly stand up American realizes that a strong America is good for the world will do these things:
We will ask for forgiveness from from the ethnic, racial, cultural, and linguistic minorities that we have historically oppressed acknowledging full well that these groups continue to be hurt by systemic racism and that white people continue to benefit from white privilege.
We will apologize for all the fucking hurt that we have laid on and continue to met out to generations of non-white non-Christians. We can unequivocally apologize for slavery and genocide that we as a collective group not only perpetrated in North America but continue to benefit from the ill effects of it. An apology has three parts, though: (1) Sincerity, you have to sincerely be apologizing, asking for forgiveness. (2) Find out how you can make it up to the person or group you are apologizing to for whatever wrong you have done to them. The Black people that I’ve talked to openly about racism and white privilege don’t actually want much. They just want it to stop. And, (3) promise never to do it again. It ain’t hard to promise never to hold slaves again; it is a lot harder to promise to eliminate systemic racism.
Here’s the thing, we can’t do this as individuals. We have to do this as a group. A group of white people inflicted significant harm on non-whites, so we as a group of white people have to ask for forgiveness and apologize for those injuries. We, as a group, have to go out of our way to demonstrate our sincerity. We, as a group, have to reach out to those white people who are educable — luckily it is the majority — and vocally and demonstrably oppose those who are not. And, we must boldly confront the racism that is inherent in ourselves.We must have the courage to confront our own inner racist and acknowledge how we have benefited from white privilege.
We cannot shy away from difficult conversations about race. We cannot let jokes and other slights pass without comment and acknowledgment. We cannot use terms like nigger and appropriate non-white culture out of respect for non-whites and the very real harm that white people using racially derogatory language inflicts.
Isn’t that something? Cantwell was acting all big and bad during the series of interviews he did with Vice. Then he admitted he was fearful of his enemies, pleading with law enforcement to help him.
On some level, I just don’t get it. I have asked myself what people get out of white supremacist movements, but I can only come up with a few guesses. Overall, it’s clear how damaging these types of movements and sentiments are, especially when they lead to genocide. But they are also damaging to the people who are a part of these movements.
When you get an up-front look at the protesters in Charlottesville, you see a bunch of angry people. What does that amount of anger do for them? Why do some people insist on being angry day after day and mainly because of differences in melanin? Racism is so crazy and nonsensical when you step back and look at it.
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I think it is part and parcel of the ” kick the dog” response….the one thing that white people can’t stand is being the lowest on the totem pole…… so the ” dog” becomes the stand in for the one they hate and can’t touch … so now the lower ranking folks IE blacks an other folks that are ” different ” either in color or language , religion , etc. are the targets for the rage that has been building up for a very long time ….. and accepted in the south for ever … We all know this, but most of the time, don;t know what the hell to do about it. Southerners,.lower and middle class… have chosen to vent their anger on the folks that are ” different” and are encouraged to do so by the upper classes … you know , those uppity folks that don’t want to get their ” hands dirtied .” Poverty sucks , and there isn’t a whole lot that the poor and or middle class can do about it ……except to blame the folks that have less than they have. A never ending merry go round. of hate
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I would have guessed that part of it was about not being “lower on the totem pole.”
Also, you’ve hit on something important. When poor people look down on people who have it worse off, that’s called “punching down.” I’ve talked about that before. Something people need to realized, which you’ve explained, it that a poor person who does that is likely pushed to do that by someone better off than them. The poor people are being manipulated because often, the people doing the manipulating don’t want people to look at what they’re doing wrong.
For example, think about corporations that dump chemicals into rivers and take subsidies from local and federal governments. The chemicals are harmful and the money used for subsidies could be put to better use (for residents). In order to keep the attention from themselves, the corporation could buy good press and buy off politicians to get people to look the other way. Then the same people who were bought off then push stories glorifying the ultra-rich and shaming those who aren’t so well-off.
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Howdy Shmaltz & Francese!
Y’all raise some valuable points in the whole racism white supremacy spectrum of ugly human behavior. I think that there are several things going on here that combine to form a “perfect” storm:
First, I think you have to look to social identity theory which suggests that people naturally tend to form ingroups and outgroups. The ingroup forms stereotypes about the outgroups which they use as a shorthand way of dealing with them since they don’t have much contact with them. They also will use the outgroup to help bolster the members of the ingroup’s self esteem by trash talking them. That’s all fairly normal and we all do it. Like every other mental illness symptom, though, it becomes pathological when it expressing the natural human behavior becomes harmful to the self or others. Obviously white supremacists have taken this whole ingroup-outgroup stereotyping trash talking thing to an extreme.
Second, punching down is an extension of this tendency. Being poor leaves itself etched into the lines of your face, so much so that people can guess your socio-economic level based off of neutral pictures. Being poor can seriously damage your self esteem. Given that, minorities tend to be poorer than whites. White culture, especially, values wealth as a sign of social status and believes to a degree that god expresses her love for you through your worldly wealth (it’s a Calvinist thing). So, poor whites feel look to outgroups to bolster their self esteem. Again, when this runs amok, it lends itself to white supremacy.
And, third, white people, especially Christian conservatives honestly feel that they have been unfairly put upon by liberals and minorities. They feel like they are constantly being asked to feel sorry for another group and do for another group when no body feels sorry for them or does for them. They honestly feel like blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and Muslims are jumping the que ahead of them when they’ve worked hard their whole lives, followed the rules, and done right, but are not getting ahead. Then they see others, undeserving others, getting a leg up through affirmative action and special rights and moving ahead of them in line for the American dream. When this frustration and anger turns pathological, white supremacy results.
Good discussion. I may form that into a more coherent blog post. I’ve addressed each of the issues in other posts, but it might be worthwhile assembling it into a comprehensive post.
one of your ” bestest rants:” it is indeed on the money , correct and to the point., White ignorance and selfishness is endemic… each of us needs to personally refuse it and , call it out ,. and generally protest it every where we find it. It isn’t easy to do and will produce some back lash but it is a moral obligation!
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Thank you, Francese! And coming from a tried and true ranter such as yourself, it really means something to me!
Your comment got me to thinking about being more concrete about what we, as white people, can do to help end racism. I have five things that we can do, but none of them are easy. I did, however, write them up in a blog post. I hope you have the time to check it out and offer some further insight.
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Thank you for your kind word… literally, your very kind one word. I have followed up with another post concerning things that white people can do to end racism. I hope you have some time to look it over and comment in the next few weeks. Your insights are most appreciated.