Racism 101 – The Makeup Class

photo by Lauriel

Editors Note: This piece is a follow-up to another piece written by the same author. Read it, and the comments referenced here, by clicking this link.

by Ahjamu Umi

Although there were several very well thought-out and comprehensive responses to the Racism 101 article, the majority of replies indicate a clear failing grade for the Occupy movement and its supporters around the questions of White supremacy and racism (and its functional existence in American society). Unfortunately, this shouldn’t surprise anyone well-versed in the subject matter. In fact, a wonderful person commented to me that I displayed a very mature perspective regarding the responses. I laughed and then explained to this person that many of those replies contained so much naked and unashamed racism and ignorance that all I need do is point out those contradictions as an educational tool for those serious about learning how racism works. In fact, I should offer a disclaimer I neglected in the first article.

When I write about racism, I’m writing about it from a standpoint of truth and justice. I’m not the least bit concerned whether the truth hurts some of you. I think it’s time to share the pain anyway. For example, one of the critics arrogantly stated that it was my responsibility to appeal to White people on the question of racism. To that I say you are forty years too late, and you must have completely missed the Black Power movement. So, I’ll go into this again from a different perspective.

Since none of the critics could offer a comprehensive argument disproving my definition of racism as an institutional process of systematized discrimination against people of color, I’ll ask this question. After reading the responses and being somewhat amused by the rampant White paternalism dripping within them, why do so many White people have the need and/or desire to defend White supremacy? When people of color attack racism, why do so many of you immediately jump up like pit bulls and defend the racist institutions within America? I don’t understand it because I also recognize that America is an equally sexist society, but I not only feel no need to defend male supremacy, I’m an outspoken critic and organizer against it.

Of course, in order to be an outspoken critic of sexism, I have to, as many of the correct responders indicated, acknowledge my privileged position as a male, in this sexist society. No problem. I freely acknowledge this privilege because my primary desire is to see sexism, like racism, completely eliminated. So since I practice what I preach, I ask all of you so-called progressive people out there, if you really want to build a unified movement against all forms of oppression like you claim you do, why don’t you start by siding with oppressed people and not the White supremacist power structure? You do that by looking at the claims people like me make against racism and then deconstructing that system of oppression. When you do so, you will find that the capitalist system operates under an extremely complex class apparatus, but on every level you look, you will see “middle class” Black people discriminated against more systematically than “middle class” White people. You will see house-less Black people discriminated against more systematically than house-less White people. You will see working class Black women discriminated against more systematically than working class White women. You will understand this science and not permit yourself to be used by the 1% to make stupid arguments like “middle class” Black people are better off than house-less White people. You will learn to study the massive and unquestionable data out there that demonstrates that the same resume, given to a Black man and White man, produces many more job offers for the White man every time. You will learn to analyze data scientifically this way instead of emotionally. This will prevent you from making boneheaded statements, such as calling me a racist because I didn’t prove or disprove some obscure point you are making, while you are clearly unable to substantiate why or how I could even be racist as you claim.

It’s time for us to grow up. It’s time for us to stop being cowardly and selfish. It’s time for us to be accountable to the people in our communities. If you aren’t willing to do that, than you can’t be confused as to why we could and would never organize with you because everything you demonstrate illustrates to us how replacing the current 1% changes things only for you. In fact, if you won’t change, you can count on us doing everything in our power to prevent you from succeeding since your victory only maintains the status quo of oppression for us.

Honestly, I don’t believe this is really going to be a problem for much longer because there are plenty of us who are ready and willing to work with those who are serious about addressing racism in this society. We know there are plenty of you who are serious. We praise you and we welcome a working relationship with you just as we revolutionary-minded men know women welcome us as allies. As for those of you who are determined to parade around as progressives when you are really just promoting White supremacy, you should know you may be fooling yourself. You may be fooling other White people who don’t know better. You may even be fooling some confused people of color, but you aren’t fooling the mass majority of us. We know that in spite of whatever you say (because you seem to be willing to say any and everything to protect your White privilege), we know that you know that you can take us wherever you came from and we will do as well, if not better, than you do. By the same token, in spite of your arrogance, we know, and we know you know, that we can take you where we came from, and you wouldn’t last 25 minutes. This is only so because of the racism we speak of that you so vehemently deny. So, stop wasting valuable time and space. Get serious, and let’s get to work.

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