None but Ourselves Can Free Our Minds.” Parroting Bob’s words from Redemption Songs, with a twist of the trope.
The problem WHITE folks, is that Most of We white people do not even recognize our own “whiteness.” We also are unaware that “whiteness” was essentially created during the 17th Century in Virginia, when the “slave codes” were written, drawing a line between indentured poor-ass Europeans servants and enslaved Blacks. The intent was a result of Bacon’s rebellion, which lasted some years, and in the aftermath the ruling class of nobles recognized they needed to make the lower class servants feel like they were aligned in some way (being from Europe) with the “masters,” thereby preempting any future cooperation of the servants and poor Europeans with black slaves. During these years “whiteness” came into being only because of the codified subjugation and harsh punitive laws pertaining to black slaves. (Any astute reader immediately sees that this condition still exist, when less than 1% of whites control over 99% of the capital in the US; yet, the average White thinks – consciously or subconsciously – she/ he is better than the average Black. Of course, during the Sixties Dixiecrats labeled anyone who advocated alliance of whites and people of color as “communists.”
So guys, before then we Whites were just people….just like Blacks were just people within their own continent, Africa. Our whiteness could not exist apart from the cruelties of the original sin of institutionalized slavery in this America. “White people” and the concomitant “whiteness” are both mental constructs that would not exist if there was never any historical or contemporary contact between those of European descent and those peoples of Africa and the diaspora. “White” people do not exist without Blacks! (As a sidebar, many Whites have African dna – like myself.)
As for “race,” there is only one race, the human (“hue-mon”) race. White people cannot continue thinking as “whites,” if we are ever to reach our full potential as PEOPLE, as Divine Creations.
The problem that ensued, however, is that while we Whites enjoyed and enjoy all the freedoms appertaining to “being” in the ruling authority class, we mostly are unaware of our “whiteness.” Although we may feel the rumblings in recent years of the shift that will undoubtedly force us to confront the absence of self-awareness of our fortunate predicament and its daily manifestations and agencies to the demise of people of color, most of us just continue to move through our daily lives “dumber than a stump.”
I suggest WE all get educated and hip to our “whiteness” – beginning today. The salvation of the so-called “free world” depends on it. We Whites today are the gatekeepers of access and attainment in a large part of societies hierarchies. Only when the people who are sitting in those positions of power either began to recognize their “whiteness” and begin to change themselves and their inherent biases – or when people in those positions of power began to be more and more people of color (which is not happening quickly enough by any measure) – will America (and Europe) begin to energize its full potential as a society confronting much greater problems to the survival of “hue-mon” kind.
Given that all of we Whites grew up in “whiteness,” we are blinded just like being snow blinded. Most of us are not bad people, but out of total ignorance we accept our own lives as the “norm,” and acquiesce to situations and conditions that negatively impact the daily lives of people of color, and we do so without even thinking of it, because of our IGNORANCE.
Here are a few references to get you going on your “whiteness” educational journey:
Search Google and You Tube “Dr. Robin DiAngelo.” She is an educator and lecturer who has focused on “whiteness” for decades, and will “wake you up.”
Search Google and You Tube for “Jane Elliott.” She is a pioneer white educator who created the “blue eyes, brown eyes” experiment and has conducted sessions for decades.
Here is also where you can find a very good MEDIUM blog article (unfortunately I cannot provide the url):