The US Capitol riot (January 6th 2021), also known as “the events of January 6th”, or “Wednesday”, was when a Trump rally in Washington, DC turned into an attack on the US Capitol building. They stormed the Capitol just when Congress was counting the Electoral College vote to declare the winner of the 2020 election. Some rioters were chanting “HANG MIKE PENCE!” – the vice president, who was in charge of the counting. A noose was even set up. Bombs were found. Pence lived, but at least five died.
After order was restored, Congress continued the count, declaring Joe Biden the next president. He is due to be sworn in on January 20th – barring further misadventures.
Public support: An early YouGov opinion poll showed that 93% of Democrats saw it as a threat to democracy, while 45% of Republicans were for it!
This article from Color Q World was published back in 2000. This is still true today. One just need to check out social media and message boards regarding interethnic relationships between people of Color. Some in the dominant group have an entitlement mentality regarding certain ethnicities, namely Asian.
Here’s the excerpt of the article:
More than a few people have noticed the curious antipathy of some individual whites towards interracial relations between people of Color. In one case, a black American woman K was mocked by some white men for mentioning interracial relationships involving black women and yellow men. The same men then said that the only ‘valid’ interracial couplings were between white men and yellow women. One might think that K’s experience is exceptional, but other people of Color have also shared their encounters with white hostility against interracial bonds between non-Europeans.
A recurring question is, “Why are some whites uncomfortable with relationships that don’t involve whites at all?” After all, an adoption, marriage or friendship occurring between two people of color has no impact on the life on an unrelated white observer or even his/her larger community. To better understand the causes of this irrational discomfort or hostility towards non-white interracial relations, one only has to look at the history of the Americas. From North America to South America, non-white peoples, specifically Africans and Native Americans, sometimes united to the detriment of European colonial powers.
Over the course of embracing of Feagin and Ducey’s concept of the elite-white-male (EWM) dominance system, I have often found myself asking the following question: Where does white nationalism fit into the broader EWM dominance system? In this blog post, I argue that white nationalism was/is the foundational cultural capital through which the EWM politics are mobilized. When the EWM dominance system is threatened, particularly through the perpetual quest for liberation and justice by Black Americans, non-elite whites tend to polarize to often violent forms of white nationalism.
As I argue, this racial polarization is not an accident – it is a core function of the US and the maintenance of the EWM colonial-imperial homeostasis. Here, I am largely referring to the non-elite form of nationalism, as it often differs from elite imperialism. Elite invocations of white nationalist and supremacist views are tied to their own imperial desires; non-elites’ embracing of white nationalism is a support structure.
Manufacturing the “Common Cause”
Even before the “formal” founding of the US, the EWM (often referred to as the “Founding Fathers,” or the original patriots) sought to actively racialize the government in support of their own interests. In fact, many of their interests were already dependent upon white racism – be it through the economic system of slavery, segregated educational systems, support for white colonial expansion, supremacist beliefs of white civilization, and much else. In various editions of Racist America, Joe Feagin has poignantly showed just how foundational white racism is to the formation of the new nation of the US. As Feagin has noted, the Constitutional Convention
was not just a political gathering with the purpose of creating a new bourgeois-democratic government; it was also a meeting to protect the racial and economic interests of [white] men with substantial wealth in the colonies (p. 3).
By 1787, at least 7 sections of the Constitution dealt with slavery from the perspective of the ruling elite. Indeed the US is a “house founded on racism” but the racial framing of the white public had already been taking place before the Constitutional Convention.
As fleshed out in depth by Robert Parkinson in his book The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution, the “Founding Fathers” were able to effectively manufacture and intertwine white racism into the elite’s goals of revolting against the British. Before and during the American Revolution, the elite framers of the soon-to-be new nation had already began reinforcing and legitimating “a system of racial oppression that they thought would ensure that whites, especially men of means, would rule for centuries” (Feagin, 2014, p. 6). As the private infiltration of the public sphere had already formally began during this time, the Founding Fathers and their white male acolytes effectively used the tools of the press to manufacture and mobilize white racist fears in an effort to unify American colonists around a new national/racial identity to revolt against the British. Parkinson noted how
The founding fathers also were not shy about fabricating a story. In 1782, Benjamin Franklin – concerned about a potential reconciliation with Britain – reported that American forces had discovered packages containing the scalps of women and children taken by Seneca Indians. Franklin then wrote a fake letter from naval great John Paul Jones urging the importance of independence because the king “engages savages to murder their defenseless farmers, women and children.
Men such as Benjamin Franklin were key actors in manufacturing and distributing white lies in order to mobilize a new nationalist public to move against the British. Thus, white racism/nationalism are foundational to the formation of the U.S. It is no coincidence that the U.S. National Anthem plays off of these same white fears of rebellious slaves defecting to British lines in an effort to continue manufacturing white nationalist solidarity.
Transformation of the public sphere
Throughout the course of the 18th century, and particularly on into the 19th century, the new American public sphere was being substantially shaped by EWM with private interests. The initial formation of the white nationalist “patriot” narrative, already being propagated through various elite-run media outlets, was beginning to shape a new middle-and-lower class culture of white nationalism. Sociologist Jurgen Habermas broadly referred to this transition as going from a culture-debating public to a culture-consuming public. The new culture to be consumed, as directed by elite framers, was a culture of white nationalism.
The Cultural/Institutional Politics of Racism
As EWM with increasingly private interests capitalistically responded to the new “public” adoption of white cultural nationalism, the politics of white nationalism (which are significantly built upon racist, sexist, and classist programs) became embedded within social, economic, and cultural institutions – especially institutions of opinion control. A key factor in accomplishing and legitimizing this feat was what W.E.B. Du Bois referred to as the public and psychological wage of whiteness. This wage of whiteness was a capitalistic reinvigoration of the “common cause” of patriotism in order to unite non-elite whites and manufacture buy-in for the EWM colonial power of the US. As Feagin stated, “the elite-crafted social and ideological arrangements that deflected white workers’ class consciousness were threatened” (p. 25) by the new freedoms and rights obtained by black Americans over the course of the 19th century. During these threatening times, and particularly with the “white flight” from the public arena to private arenas during this era, EWM politics of domination became further entrenched within the institutions of opinion control. Sport is one such sociocultural institution that emerged from and was framed by the private politics of the EWM in order to collectively rally and celebrate both elite and non-elite white men.
I’ll make this a short and sweet post, because I have little interest in discussing Tory Lanez or Meg Thee Stallion any more than I already have. Nevertheless, their contentious union betrays an important lesson for young black people.
I was a sophomore in college when the Rihanna-Chris Brown scenario went viral and changed both young people’s career’s and lives forever. Being around the same age as Brown and Rihanna, their pre-grammy melee shaped how many of my peers began to discuss and conceptualize tumultuous relationships. Though Rihanna and Chris Brown are both stars of African descent, their now famous fight betrays the power of the white media to shape blackness with black “stars.” Particularly, these stars, illuminated by the white light on a dark sky become constellations for black social and systemic trajectory much to our collective detriment.
While the specifics of the case bear great significance, I want…
A few weeks ago, on my lunchbreak at work, I posted up on a vacant stool at the dollar slice place down the street from my office and began munching on a garlic and red peppersprinkled cheese slice. A few bites in, I heard a voice next to me say, ‘you work at that publishing office right?’ I pivoted slightly on my stool, recognizing the guy speaking to me as a subtenant in one the rental spaces my office leases out. I was a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t recognized him sitting right next to me, but we chatted briefly as we finished up our pizza. Oddly, our short conversation centered on southern fundamentalist evangelism, despite neither of us (presumably) subscribing to that particular brand of belief. Still, it was a pleasant and humorous exchange, after which we casually departed and I headed back to work.
Since then, I’ve bumped into this same guy around the office a couple of times and it has seemed like he’s been locking me in these awkwardly prolonged conversations. At first I dismissed it as that sort of uncomfortably extended small talk in which so many people inexplicably feel obliged to engage. Now, however, I’m beginning to think this may be something else… dare I say it, flirting.
I’m a 22-year-old woman, so the concept isn’t exactly foreign to me. What is foreign to me however is the skin color of my partner in these flirtations – he’s a white guy. In order to put the peculiarity of that detail in context, I must confess that I am Black.
As a Black woman, not only have I never dated a white guy but, admittedly, I tend to have a rather entrenched policy against dating them. That decision has a lot to do with how I understand my identity as a Black woman. For one, I am not one of those Black people who ever selfidentifies as one whojust happens to be Black. That’s a thoughtless description tossed around a lot, which implicitly translates to ‘I’m Black by happenstance. I distance myself from what is conventionally (read, negatively) understood as Black. Everything I do, I do not as a Black person, but as an individual. I can and do happily blend in with the norm.’ Now we all know that whiteness predominates what defines the norm in our society. So when people elect to describe themselves as folks who ‘just happen to be black,’ it’s a deliberate signal to society that they are Black only to the extent that the have to be (visibly). They are saying that their Blackness is not the sort that rocks the boat — that in fact, their identity could be readily swiped with any other random (read white) person’s in the world. In so doing, these folks, however unintentionally, are diminishing the value of their Blackness.
To be clear, I am not one of those people.
My Black identity is affirmative and willful, and traces, if not big ass messy footprints of my Black identity can be found in just about everything I say and do.
This pro-Black lifestyle, as my mother calls it (a gross oversimplification to be sure), is really just my embrace of, and clear reckoning with, the reality that the life I’ve lived has been one colored with experience based on the color of my skin and the kinkiness of my hair. But this rather obvious fact tends to be off-putting to many white people, and tends not to be particularly alluring to white men interested in stepping outside of the color box when it comes to dating. Rather irrationally I would judge, it’s perceived as a confrontation when most white people I encounter are reminded of racial difference between themselves and others. They get really defensive. I would imagine the defensiveness and resentment to be especially acute in a space as intimate as dating, wherein people ideally expect to be able to strip themselves of all identity tags and simply exist as souls in love. But I believe that no one at any time in their life is ever not who they are. And the choice to ignore a difference as obvious and magnificently unique as one’s racial/ethnic background constitutes an investment in the blindness that privilege conditions in white people.
My policy against dating white men exists in part because I’m not in the business of coddling privilege. Rather, I’m in the business of unsettling privilege – of waking it up in the middle of the night by dumping a bucket of water on it, and telling it to run five miles before dawn. That business also entails checking my own privileges. In my mind, that means that the hypothetical relationship I imagine between myself and a white man wouldn’t go very far. I would be compelled to hold this man accountable to recognizing his white male privilege, while he would likely resist the discomfort of learning that his actions and words reinforce pernicious systems of oppression which oppress masses of people everywhere. So I err towards circumventing the tension by writing the possibility of dating white men out of the realm of possibility altogether.
Personally, I have also had trouble imagining intimate relationships with white men. This is because the history of oppression, exploitation, and dehumanization of Black women’s bodies by white men is searingly painful and enraging for me. Too often, vestiges of that uneven historical relationship are present in my mind and invariably color my observations of contemporary black woman/white man interactions. I don’t necessarily feel that Black women in these situations are disempowered to the extent that say, an enslaved woman was, but I do imagine that their white partner’s unconsciously conditioned expectations of privilege compromises their own free exercise of will on some level in their relationship. And that’s not fair. Beyond simply not being fair, curbing someone’s exercise of human agency, whether intentional or not, is in my book is a small form of violence. Challenging that unfairness and that violence is hard as the person affected by it. It is made a thousand times more difficult and unfair when one is burdened with the charge to challenge their partner – a partner obliviously exacting that restraint as a result of their privilege. I don’t pretend that on the whole, racialized inequality in relationships goes uncontested by the black women affected, but I know that a thorough understanding of privilege evades more people than it should, so I can assume that inequality in relationships persists more often than it is addressed. Because I’d rather spare myself the complicated confusion of loving someone who oppresses me, (an oppression compounded by race and gender inequality) and the headache induced by hitting fortified walls of privilege when attempting to challenge that oppression, I steer clear of white men as romantic partners.
My outlook may not be particularly fair to individuals. For the subtenant guy from my office, it may suck a little bit that I’m not particularly responsive to his woos. He’s a conventionally attractive white man who seems cool, and I think hanging out with him platonically would be fun. However, I’m more interested in protecting myself, and preserving the integrity of my personal politics than I am in indulging this man in his arbitrarily piqued interest in me. My singular rejection of this guy is just one loss for him in the arsenal of many wins afforded him at birth for no reason other than the fact that he was born a white guy. His expectation of universal access to all colors of women is just another of his privileges that I, in this instance, am disrupting. And it doesn’t bother me that I am the one doling out that one minor upset.
Canada’s history of slavery has had a profound impact on how we view cross-racial couples
“As a professor of art history specializing in transatlantic slavery, I find our society’s unspoken discomfort painfully ironic. I study a period when the nonconsensual sexual pairing of white men and Black women, and the sight of their mixed-race children, was entrenched across the Americas; when Black women were routinely dehumanized; and when consensual cross-racial couples—like Jacques and Mann—were considered threatening to colonial hierarchies. That history has been all but erased from our national memory. And it’s had a chronic, undeniable influence on how we perceive cross-racial relationships today.”- Prof. Charmaine A. Nelson
I was two days younger than I am today when I saw a self-proclaimed voter PSA with black strippers twerking. One dancer even had the word “VOTE” painted on her derriere. The advertisement delineates a clear intention to arouse a twerking generation to move from the pole to the poll. Watching this base appeal to underscore the power of the ballot was like taking a bullet to the chest. The commercial betrays the contentious disregard cast onto the black canvass, but it is more than that, isn’t it?
I want to be clear to articulate that my contentions are not directed toward black strippers as a whole, though I do take issues with the black women who took part in this particular video. The most contentious issue here is the continuous social reproduction of auction block culture. Particularly, the stripper pole paired synonymously with the voter’s poll is too easily…