The past week or so have been very trying for America, with racial tensions coming to a boiling point. One recent interview regarding race relations reveals an underlying cause for this tension; a white supremacist mindset. There was a CNN interview conducted by Fareed Zakaria in which he asked Angela Rye, who formerly worked for the Congressional Black Caucus, to comment on the status of race relations “after allowing Barack Obama to be President!” Her response, was, in part, that in phrasing that Obama was allowed to be President is, in itself, a problem!
White supremacy is a mindset held by both white and Black people; it manifests as a disregard for others and a consequent oppression of others. It also manifests as an underlying feeling of inferiority among Blacks. White people have gone all over the world plundering, enslaving and disrespecting indigenous Black and Brown populations. They came to America and took this land from the people who were here after saying they “discovered” it. Only recently have people begun recognizing the absurdity of the notion of discovering an area that was already heavily populated.
One of the most recent sources of tension was the killing of two Black men by police officers. Alton Sterling was shot in cold blood in a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A video of the incident clearly shows Sterling being held to the floor when an officer pointed his gun directly at him and fired several shots. This was clearly murder; Sterling’s alleged “crime” was selling CDs! A day later another murder by police occurred in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. A 32-year-old Black man, Philando Castile, was shot and killed in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old child. The so-called infraction, which now is being said to be groundless, was a broken taillight. Castile complied with the officer’s requests, was not belligerent or resistant, but was shot and killed nevertheless. These two incidents occurring back to back riled Black America. It reinforced the message that Black men, and more broadly, Black people, are not safe around law enforcement. Police seem to have the right to kill at will with no consequences – it is rare that they are punished for their crimes.
Public demonstrations took place around the country on the heels of these murders. One in particular shook the nation. From all accounts, the demonstration in Dallas, Texas was peaceful until a Black sniper, Micah Johnson, formerly an army reservist, opened fire shooting 12 officers, killing five and wounding seven. Allegedly, he said that he wanted to kill white policemen because of the way they have treated Black people. During a stand-off, after police negotiations failed, they resorted to technical barbarism and sent a bomb-toting robot into his hiding place in a community college and blew him to smithereens! It is very unfortunate that five officers lost their lives, especially after the amicable relations between them and the protestors. But it is a mark of white supremacy that these lives have supplanted the lives of the two Black men who were murdered by police the previous two days. Do Black Lives Matter? And incredibly, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been blamed for the sniper attack. Actually, this movement has been blamed for fomenting racial discord since its inception, a ridiculous notion since a response to injustices faced by the Black community was the vector that spawned the BLM movement! Some whites seem to have developed a malevolent collective amnesia; they are just unable to connect the dots between their behavior and the conditions we face today.
There are two main strategies that can defeat the bogey man of white supremacy and oppression: strategic boycotts and Black Pride. We must love being Black as much as white supremacists love being white! If we leverage the more than a trillion dollars spent annually by the Black community, things would quickly change, but we must first learn to love and do business with each other if we are to prevail. A luta continua!