“I will state flatly that the bulk of this country’s white population impresses me, and has so impressed me for a very long time, as being beyond any conceivable hope of moral rehabilitation. They have been white, if I may so put it, too long; they have been married to the lie of white supremacy too long; the effect in the personalities, their lives, their grasp of realty, has been as devastating as the lava which so memorably immobilized the citizens of Pompeii. They are unable to conceive that their version of reality, which they want me to accept, is an insult to my history and a parody of theirs and an intolerable violation of myself.”—
Quote is from “The Price May Be To High,” originally published in 1969 and essay can be viewed in a posthumous collection of his writing, The Cross Of The Redemption.
This quote comes to mind when I think of: the anti-Blackness that is State violence; the lack of structural and social contrition that exists in response to the extrajudicial execution of Black people, including many Black men, Black teens like Michael Brown and the Black girls/Black women and especially Black trans women who are ignored; the fact that racist Whites co-opted"I am ____" to support a racist cop, Darren Wilson, who murdered Michael Brown; the fact that White supremacist message boards (who have been attacking Black women online for a long time) and groups, in conjunction with Ferguson police organized raising a quarter of a million dollars to support Wilson who has not been arrested, let alone tried for this murder and has not lost a cent of income, so basically he was paid for a lynching; the fact that GoFundMe profited off of that fundraiser; the pathological violence added as messages on the donation board that amounted to picnic talk after a lynching; the fact that Whites think State violence is acceptable and necessary if Black people, like other races of people, including Whites by far, experience intraracial crime.
This quote comes to mind when I think of: the fact that many Whites (and in this case, also non-Black people of colour) are engaging in epistemic violence via co-opting, generalizing or erasing the context specific to Ferguson and its connection to centuries of State violence on Black people; the fact that many Whites are engaged in sheer celebration of this violence while simultaneously suggesting violence has no connection to their very identities and is inherently “Black;” the fact that the media is willfully pushing regularly debunked myths about “injuries” that do not exist for Darren Wilson; the racist media framing that dehumanizes Michael Brown as standard protocol since death is never the “final act" because of anti-Blackness and post-mortem violence ultimately trying Black victims not White murderers in the press and the courts, is psychological warfare and violence on the Black people who remain, and acute unspeakable violence against the family of the executed; the endless cycle of lies, trolling and abuse towards Black activists (on the ground and online) from Whites who defend Darren Wilson or are abusive as “allies” that play “devil’s advocate,” as if this is about a single White man in theory and not a real Black death and the reification of White supremacy, State violence, and anti-Blackness that policing was built on and confers.
This quote comes to mind when I think of: the fact that the same racist liars who claim they are “waiting for facts” to decide if Black life is valuable gladly share phony images of Michael Brown, taunt Black people for sheer pleasure, and consistently repost debunked lies; the fact that they search Michael Brown’s name on Twitter solely to attack random Black people online; the fact that many White “allies” are more concerned with yelling #NotAllWhites than considering that structurally, #YesAllBlacks deal with anti-Blackness, and structurally, #YesAllWhites benefit; the fact that they demand to be “loved” as if rejection of the violence of White supremacy is about love or hate.
When I discuss sociopathy and White supremacy (which is NOT Axis II Anti-Social Personality Disorder, nor is the DSM-V infallible, so White supremacist academics who think they own disability discourse, don’t bring your epistemic violence here, nor your racist, misogynoiristic assumptions of my own neurotypical status, which is not the case) this is what I am talking about. Specific socialization, in position of power (that makes empathy for Black people virtually non-existent; that facilities dehumanization and rationalization of that violence), not a mental health issue that would impact Whites’ interaction with anyone. Thus, Whites trying to excuse this violence by suggesting it is mental health-caused is an ableist response; the notion that socialization of the oppressor also exists, is not.
And this is just a snippet of violence that anti-Blackness guarantees for Black life. I barely said anything here…barely covered the scope of the violence that Whiteness confers as a social position of power. And I am exhausted right now. I am tired.
Blackness itself is not considered human, despite the reality of our humanity that we know our lives embody despite oppression. Yet this, what I described above—this, Whiteness as social position of power—is considered the standard for humanity.