…hite people, where we are, where we can be and how we can identify racism in others and in ourselves. Can we think of racists as more or less racist? The answer is no. A racist is a racist. But we can identify some patterns of racism behaviors and understand them in order to fight against …
Bruno Ribeiro Oliveira
When confronted with his own obvious racism, Donald Trump is wont to proclaim that, “I am the least racist person….” I hear this and think, “Well, at least he admits to some degree of racism.” Your piece fleshes out this phenomenon.
But, to your point, from black peoples’ perspective, there are no degrees of racism. People who think that they are white refuse to acknowledge, admit or understand that every single one of them, without exception….if they are reared in North America/Europe/Australia/Latin America, is, consciously or unconsciously, racist and a white supremacist. Doesn’t matter that you are married to or date black people, or have “best black friends,” or work with or employ black people, or contribute to various black causes and interest groups.
The entire cultural, social, economic, political….and especially economic milieus of this country (and most of the world) demand that all so-called “white” people accept their dominant position in all of these areas — whether they wish to or not. Whiteness in this country is like the proverbial fish in water but doesn’t realize he’s in a tank, ocean, lake, river or stream until he is removed therefrom — usually forcibly — and begins to suffocate for lack of oxygen. That’s how pervasive, thorough and unrelenting white racism/white supremacy is.
You hint at the solution to this 500-year-old problem. (It — white racism/white supremacy — began, right about when Columbus and his successors “discovered” that the “New World” was composed of overwhelming and vast populations of “non-white” people. As you put it, they became “white” only in contrast to the black, brown, red and yellow peoples they were “discovering”. They (those 15th, and 16th and 17th century European discoverers, explorers, pirates, colonialists and imperialists, and their “scientists,” philosophers and, of course, the Christian zealots) responded by erected a “racial hierarchy,” a racial pyramid and the “Great Chain of Being.” (See Milton, St. Thomas Aquinas, Kant, etc., etc., ad infinitum).
The answer is that so-called white people must finally accept the fact that they are the world’s true and only real “minority” group, and that it is not necessary for them to suppress and oppress everybody else in order to express and maintain their humanity. This world is big enough and rich enough for everybody to live full and meaningful lives. The difference between human beings and animals is that we do not have to have dominant versus submissive or subservient “races,” groups, etc.