“If you’re black, stay back…(but) if you’re white, you’re all right!” ~Big Bill Broonzy on Jim Crow
In 2019, is “White” still Right?
Even with the admission by western scientists that the overwhelming majority of humans trace their ancestry to a handful of people from sub-Saharan Africa, the centuries-old system of racism/white supremacy still maintains its firm grip on society. “Race was never legitimate from a scientific point of view,” explains Sharon H. Chang, author of Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World, “while it has always been socio-politically very real and directing.” This white-supremacist world-view, also known as “scientific racism,” which places Caucasians at the top, the darkest-hued folks at the bottom, and everyone else in the middle, was hatched in the l8th century and really picked-up steam in the 19th century. Around this time, European scholars were obsessed with the idea of having an origin in the Caucasus Mountains—specifically on Mount Ararat—because this was allegedly where Noah’s Ark came to rest following the Great Flood described in the Old Testament. While on the topic, there is another theory which explains how Europeans ended up in the Caucasus. This one, not nearly as lofty or glamorous, was taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He explains how Original Man was forced to confine the Europeans within the mountain range after creating them in a laboratory on the island, Patmos—the same place where the Apostle John was banished in the Book of Revelation.
The Concept of Race
“Whites in power maintain dominance first by directing what we see: by writing social reality and holding its copyright.” ~Sharon H. Chang
In 1795, the German anatomist/naturalist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, published the third edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind. This treatise established the five so-called races as: Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Ethiopian, and (indigenous) American. Most of these terms are either no longer in use or the meaning has changed over the years. To call this confusing is an understatement: so-called “African-Americans” have had their racial designation altered so many times (i.e. colored, black, Afro-American, etc.) that nowadays many do not know what to call themselves. This confusion is derived from what sociologist, Joe R. Feagin, coined as the White Racial Frame; which comprises the “racial ideas, terms, images, emotions, and interpretations specifically crafted to uphold white supremacy.” And what are some of those ideas and images? Nonfiction writer/researcher Donald Bogle teaches that (similar to Blumenbach) Hollywood has also constructed five basic categories for blacks: Toms, Coons, Tragic Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks. According to Isabel Paner, author of The Marginalization and Stereotyping of Asians in American Film, on-screen Asians don’t fare any better. He claims the men are unfairly stripped of their masculinity or boxed into the role of the master Kung-fu fighter; while women are painted as either a “dragon-lady” or a china-doll. Although some may argue that Asians are not depicted as negatively as blacks, Paner claims the impact of the “model minority” stereotype often attributed to Asian-Americans which portrays Asians as intelligent, hardworking, and ambitious is negative in its essence and, furthermore, “does more harm than good while firmly establishing Asians into an othered role.” At the end of the day, these media-generated stereotypes “leave detrimental cultural and social consequences which lead to feelings of inferiority.”
Many non-whites believe that having a European spouse raises their intrinsic value. For many who decide to marry within their race, they still seek to “live white.” Radio talk-show host, Zo Williams, on his program, The Zo What Show, expounded on how many black women, when choosing a mate, evaluate potential partners with “unrealistic, white-washed expectations” which are based on a “fictitious foundation.” The fictitious foundation, according to Zo, is centered on economics. Based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, the typical black family has only 10 cents for every dollar held by the typical white family. An Economic study on African-American and Latino families entitled, The Ever-Growing Gap, explains this growing wealth divide is no accident. “Rather, it is the natural result of public policies past and present that have either been purposefully or thoughtlessly designed to widen the economic chasm between White households and households of color and between the wealthy and everyone else.” The authors concluded that “in the absence of significant reforms, the racial wealth divide—and overall wealth inequality—are on track to become even wider in the future.” Therefore, when a so-called “minority” woman expects her man to provide the proverbial “house with a picket fence” that a typical white woman wants, beyond being unrealistic, it demonstrates how we have been socially-engineered to mimic the ruling class and seek a lifestyle which exceeds our financial resources.
Is marrying a White, marrying Right?
“It is No Measure of Health to Be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society” ~Krishnamurti
At the end of The Zo What Show, the conversation focused on the consequences of conforming to a sick society. Hearing this reminded me of when Dr. Martin Luther King, shortly before his assassination, told his friend Harry Belafonte that he feared we were “integrating into a burning house.” According to Belafonte, King realized our challenge would become a struggle for economic rights. He feared that America had lost its moral vision, that the nation was not concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. In his own words: “Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears the soul of this nation. I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house.” In response, Belafonte asked King, “What should we do?” King replied that we should, “Become the firemen…let us not stand by and let the house burn.”
Do you agree with Dr. King?
Back in 1968, most of us probably would have…but in 2019—five decades later—we must consider the same fire is still burning. This oftentimes makes me wonder what King would think were he still alive. In a recurring dream, I always picture him scanning the crowd and, in response, uttering: “No…no, we don’t need no water…” Hearing this the crowd looks around in confusion before the master-orator points and declares: “Let the mutha-f-cka burn! Burn mutha-f-cka! Burn!”
Takuan Amaru is the author of Gaikokjin – The Story.
1. Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World; by Sharon H. Chang