(Clip and save.) Simply put: racism is a complex system! It is more than just a lack of empathy, name-calling, labels and put-downs–or imagined slights, grievances, jokes, reverse racism, or the product of political correctness.
Racism is global and situation-specific, it is “milieu control.” Adaptable, flexible, and multi-layered; it has psychological, social, symbolic and institutional elements; it has interpersonal roles and communication forms for conflict and consensus; it has a changing set of threats, punishments and rewards; its ideology of loyalty focuses on sex (less so today), power and wealth.
Racism focuses on both the social order and the economy. It uses authority to structure society according to racial privilege as it enriches its designated benefactors. Racism uses denial to defend the system. Denial blames its victims, always arguing that the evils of the system are their fault, the consequence of behavior flaws embedded by race, holding victims accountable while resisting their movement for change. It intensively resists the “other.” It deflects change and conserves the status quo.
An overlooked element of racism is its use of unspoken rules to foster conformity–to create matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors within different groups to heighten tension and conflict. Racism’s group think of self-deception internalizes certain norms about status, merit, and compliance; media amplifies and transmits its social impact.
Racism evolved out of American slavery, into organized violence and suppression during Reconstruction; into lynching (3,400) and group white violence (Tulsa, Rosewood, FL, Cincinnati) and sun-down towns and residential segregation in the early 20th century. It enforced segregation and economic discrimination (sharecropping), then turned to strategies to block power sharing (gerrymandering, altering voting laws, election fraud, misinformation campaigns, disenfranchisement).
Racism created economic displacement (America’s inner cities without grocery stores, good schools or jobs!), and currently uses institutional assaults by government (Ferguson’s fine collections, Flint water poisoning, stop and frisk) to skew the political economy by leveraging race. Racism is not measured by statistics; in fact, statistics are often used to deny racism. The state only needs to exercise a few examples to promote fear as it denies its guilt, while claiming it is carrying out its obligations.
Changing hearts is not enough. (Nor is education! Some of America’s most impactful racists (John C. Calhoun, Roger Taney, Woodrow Wilson (he segregated govt) were from “good” families and well-educated at Ivy or elite institutions,)
We must finally, centuries later, weed out (rip out!) the tenacious, persistent, immoral system.
Blood on Your Hands, Too http://nyti.ms/29Dnap3
New York World’s Fair. 1939-1940.