Despite all the noise coming from the Charlottesville assortment of racist lunatics, it is important to recognize that they don’t have “real” power. We should pay even more attention to the folks with REAL power, the power structure that was able to force President Donald Trump to do something he didn’t want to do, and that is condemn racism. WE should really fear those with the power to legislate, implement and institutionalize racism.
No matter how important the avowed racists think they are, in a racist/classist society they too are suckers. Because this society at bottom is organized around class,with white Supremacy tossed in to make sure the rich and powerful remain rich and powerful, while the rest of us fight among ourselves for the crumbs. White Supremacy was employed to “divide and rule” us. And it works.
As White as the Charlotteville racist mob was, they weren’t able to get in Rockefellers, or the Vanderbilt’s, or the DuPont’s party last weekend. Those who tried getting in on the basis of skin privilege, pointing to their White skin as their pass for entry, were politely turned away while being told; ‘We are sorry you are our color but not our kind (class).
The greatest threat to Civil Rights, human rights and racial justice has always been the US government doing the bidding of the ruling class.
Consider its history. It was the government that passed laws, including the Fugitive Slave Act, making allowances for slavery. It wasn’t some stick wielding thug who wrote, when Dred Scott sought freedom from slavery after having resided in free states that Black people,” have no rights that the White man was bound to respect.”
Rather it was a member of the executive branch of the US government, Chief Justice Roger Taney of the US Supreme Court, who wrote those words in the famous 1857 case that declared that Blacks, free and un-free were not citizens of the country.
It was the federal government that allowed the Southern part of the United States to legally codify racial segregation for the purpose of discriminating, disenfranchising and dehumanizing Black people. The executive branch in 1896 in Plessy v Ferguson codified Jim Crow segregation, making it the law of the land, disingenuously declaring that separate was equal.
Even the Depression Era, New Deal which introduced Social Security, knowingly excluded menial laborers, maids, house servants, gardeners, and landscapers, jobs in which because of societal discrimination Blacks were primarily mired in.
It was the US government that sanctioned the thieving of Indian land. It was the US government, not a bunch of Wild West thugs that forced the Indians off their land with its military. It wasn’t loud mouthed racists, but government policy to rip Indian children from their parents and place them in re-education centers like the Carlisle School, which made news recently cause it just returned the bodies of children who died or was murdered at the racist institution.
It was the US government, not a group of Nazis that passed legislation limiting Chinese immigration. It was the US government not a group of racists that interned Japanese during the 1940’s.
While the racists scream anti-Islamic epithets and insults it is the US government that has invaded and bombed Islamic nations. The neo-nazis make xenophobic and anti immigrant insults, but it is the US government that has separated children from their parents under the guise of border security. The last administration set records for deportation, while its drones delivered cruise missiles that killed thousands of innocent Middle Easterners.
It was the federal government that segregated its troops and while giving out the GI Bill refused to insist that segregated institutions and neighborhoods allow Black access. They chose not to intervene, effectively sanctioning the racism and discrimination of the day.
It was the federal government that opened the door to and made segregated housing policy. The US government’s, Federal Housing Commission in 1934 gave bonuses to contractors who agreed to disallow Blacks in their new suburbs. The government had a hand in redlining as well. Look it up!
Even when the Supreme Court granted a little relief from oppressive segregation in Brown v Board of Education, the government lacked the will to enforce it with the exception of token shows like the one put on in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
Indeed, the federal government’s legislative branch passed Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws in the 1960’s but they didn’t provide the ability to enforce the law, thus Black folks still experience discrimination to this day.
When the Black and Brown communities of the US were hard hit by the cocaine and crack epidemic (which incidentally evidence has turned up revealing that the US government played a role in delivering crack to the doorsteps of inner city USA) the response by the government was draconian. The US Congress passed laws and declared a so-called War on Drugs that turned out to be nothing more than a war on Black and Brown people.
The results of that war are still being felt as a staggering number of Black men and women are locked down as a result of the criminalization of drug addiction. Notice the more humane approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic, which has primarily impacted the White community.
And Black and Brown society has been terrorized and traumatized by “legal” police violence, harassment and humiliation carried out primarily by deputized racists throughout their existence in the US. That too has been codified in US law. It has come to the fore lately because modern communications technology and social media has made it difficult to ignore.
In 1968 in Terry vs Ohio the US Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for police to “stop and frisk” Black and Brown folks, thus violating their constitutionally guaranteed Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Paul Butler author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” got it right when he said, “Stop-and-frisks are brutal assertions of police dominance of the streets, communicating to African American men through– sexual harassment, torture and even terrorism – that they are objects of disdain by the state.”
Furthermore the Supreme Court in 1985 in Tennessee v Garner, ruled that it was ok to shoot citizens in the back if a cop thought it was reasonable.
Strangely these same agents of the State stood by on Friday night in Charlottesville as torch wielding thugs surrounded a brave group of predominantly White young people shouting “Black Lives Matter.” The same agents of the State, the Virginia State Police dressed in riot gear during the disturbances on Saturday actually allowed a group of the thugs to rush their lines pushing and cussing them.
Yet the armed agents of the State showed tremendous restraint, refusing to mace or hit anyone with their sticks while claiming to defend themselves, as they would surely have claimed if the folks doing the pushing and cussing had been Black.
Racists in the US are cause for alarm no doubt, but if we are going to eliminate racism once and for all (like it or not) we are going to have to start with the top, the system of Capitalism buttressed by White Supremacy and maintained by the US government.
justice then peace