The Ongoing Impact of White Supremacy on People of Color

By January 8, 2015Editors' Choice

by Solomon Comissiong

White supremacy has a dark legacy within the United States, dating back to this country’s illegal founding. This is inconvenient truth is hardly deniable to those who are intellectually honest. It is something that many white people may openly deny, however they know it exists because they, quite simply, benefit from it. They depend on it for their very existence atop the so-called “power structure” of this country. They try to confuse the masses by equating white supremacy to visions of cowardly white men adorned in their filthy bed-sheets or with swastikas tattooed onto their hollow heads. However, those are merely superficial versions “white supremacy.” White supremacy has a much more nefarious, and covert, presence.

Like any skilled criminal, “mainstream” US society has mastered the art of hiding numerous aspects of white supremacy (and institutional racism) in plain sight. They have skillfully programmed the masses from even recognizing blatant examples of these social plagues. People seldom realize that most of the last names that African-Americans carry are the same last names that their ancestor’s devilish slave masters gave to them, much in the same fashion people with dogs name their pets.

They wanted the world to know that they “owned” these enslaved African/black people. This holds true in other countries where Europeans forcibly brought enslaved Africans. You will find the descendants of those Africans with last names that are inherently European (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, etc). This is also why many of us, to this day, speak the same languages as white colonizers. They were forced upon our ancestors. Given these irrefutable facts we should never criticize any African/black person who decides to change their colonial name to something that is African in nature, or even study indigenous African languages.

The US may have mastered the art of masking myriad aspects of institutional racism and white supremacy, however white supremacy can be found throughout the globe. White supremacy has falsely set a standard that implies anything white is not only right, it is the model for excellence. Sadly, white/European features are seen as a standard of “beauty” in the minds of countless African/black people. This is plainly seen with the continued attempts of African/black people to lighten their skin with poisonous creams, straighten their hair, or cling to the images of a white Jesus.

Most don’t even realize that these rituals are anchored to white supremacy, nor do they know the originals from which they came. However, if we are bold enough we will delve into the painful past of colonization and chattel slavery and we will see how white supremacy was literally beaten into our ancestors. Confronting this past aids us in what should be our collective quest for true mental liberation. The late great Steve Biko was on the right path when he founded the Black Conscious Movement in Azania (South Africa). And it was Marcus Garvey who said, “Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”

“Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.”—Malcolm X

African/black people (and in general, people of color), have had their native lands plundered by European/white people. They have done this be force, brutality, and with weapons of mass destruction. This is far from something old or new – it is both. Western powers like the United States continue to plunder the native lands of people of color by way of imperialism, which is yet another tool in the arsenal of white supremacy.

They steal the resources and use them to line their capitalist coffers, day in and day out. However, despite these facts far too many African/black people have allowed themselves to be persuaded to support imperialism. Imperialism is evil to its core and has ripped countless lives away from this planet. Any African/black person supporting imperialism is evidence of a person of color whose mind has been tragically engulfed by one of the worst aspects of white supremacy. Do not be duped into embracing imperialism simply because the white elites have strategically placed a face of color at the helm of the “death ship.”

They are the puppeteers, and it is they who control the willing and morally corrupted puppets of color to advance their nefarious deeds. They have skillfully accomplished this task with numerous politicians of color, including Barak Obama. After all, what do we think the response would have been if it were a white Republican bombing an African nation based on a heap of lies? However, when US president Barak Obama initiated the bombing of Libya, millions upon millions of African-Americans were cheerleading (or remaining silent) in the face of these evil actions.

The same white supremacist corporate driven medium that has a long history of suppressing critical African/black issues, and promoting racist images, are the ones we as African/black people are allowing to sell us their imperialist wars.

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”—Malcolm X

Again, far too many people of color have allowed white supremacy to silence them in the face of blatant injustices in which they should, at the very least, be speaking out against. White supremacy and capitalism (capitalism is yet another weapon within the toolbox of white supremacy) have scared far too many African/black people from doing the right thing. This can routinely be seen in Hollywood and professional athletics where African/black entertainers make the conscious decision not to speak out against the continued oppression their communities face.

White supremacy is the boogieman that admonishes them to never speak out regarding social issues, especially those anchored to institutional racism. These entertainers damn well understand that things like police brutality disproportionately impact their communities simply because they are, in fact, African/black. Many of them have been racially profiled within their lifetimes, yet the white people who control their industry threaten to undercut their financial livelihood should they dare speak out on various social justice related issues.

Unfortunately the threats from white supremacy have rendered these entertainers dependent on an industry that has never given a damn about their community’s best interests. This fear has blinded their creative vision and ingenuity, thus preventing them from understanding that they can collectively band together and create their own African/black owned industries whenever these threats emerge. Many of these entertainers (movie stars and professional athletes) have allowed themselves to be reduced to pawns, at the disposal of forked tongued white people.

It is long past due that the masses of people of color, once and for all, destroy and bury white supremacy where it belongs: beneath the earth. However, this objective will take a Pan-African and Internationalist effort. Collectively, African/black people, worldwide, will need to consistently organize economically and politically, in our best interests. We must cease from acting in the best interests of those who care nothing about our collective struggle to determine our destinies. Kwame Nkrumah saw Pan-Africanism as an objective. We must propel ourselves towards this vastly important objective. Doing so will render white supremacy systematically dead, once and for all!

Solomon Comissiong (www.solomoncomissiong.com) is an educator, community activist, author, and Founder of the Your World News Media Collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Mr. Comissiong is also a founding member of the Pan-African collective for Advocacy & Action. Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. Solomon is also the writer and producer of the documentary, Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism: Why Corporations Infiltrated RAP Music. He can be reached at: solo@yourworldnews.org

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IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for the social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.

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