I am often mockingly asked by social and traditional media followers and trolls who take issue with my historical and/or current event critiques of systemic racism and white supremacy to “show them” this “so-called white supremacy or white privilege” that I speak and write about. Hence, a primer:
*White privilege is President Donald Trump on the campaign trail generalizing Mexicans as “criminals,” Muslims as “terrorists,” mockingly asking “The Blacks” to raucous white applause “what in the Hell do you have to lose” before launching into stereotypes about black neighborhoods as “war zones” where we all have to “dodge bullets” to “buy a loaf of bread” or to walk to (implied all) our “failing schools” where all of our black kids “underperform.” Or, of late, vigorously defending the very Confederate leaders who fought a war to preserve a state’s right to allow the enslavement of black people, and have millions of white people who will pat said president on the back for “telling it like it is” via his Twitter account as if he is Moses descending from Mount Sinai with divinely emblazoned stone tablets that describe how America is less great because of darker skinned criminals, terrorists and welfare recipients eating at its core.
But when a black celebrity figure like ESPN’s Jemele Hill states not on air, but on her private Twitter account, that Trump’s rise was fueled in part by white supremacy as described above, not only do Trump trolls come out in force and call her every racial epithet imaginable (see below) while threatening to lynch her upon the nearest tree, Trump’s own press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders states during a press conference that ESPN should fire Hill.
The lesson–White privilege means that Trump can use his office and his Twitter to launch the most overtly bigoted or tacitly racist comments that he deems fit and he is a “truth teller,” but when the black journalist like Hill or pundits like yours truly push back against his vile and ignorant rhetoric, we are “reverse racists” who are seeking to “divide” and not “unite” America.
*Speaking of “dividing” and not “uniting,” I concluded long ago that white privilege also includes those whites who believe that unity involves black people remaining silent about systemic racism and white supremacy. To these types, black people should “Remember the Alamo,” “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Remember 9/11,” but should “get over” black enslavement from 1619 to 1865, get over Jim Crow segregation from the late 1880s until the late 1960s, and not impute the sins of white ancestors who raped, tortured and murdered blacks with impunity to their grandkids who benefit from an America built upon the labor of the enslaved, raped, tortured and murdered black men and women who made Cotton “King” and a staple of the robust American economy well into the 20th Century.
The lesson–Unity amid the white privilege paradigm means absolving “good Christian white folks” of their sins in ages past, all the while joining the descendants of said white folks in their current indignation against darker skinned “criminals” and “terrorists” whose acts are no worse than the crimes and terror that whites have promulgated around the globe for millennia.
*White privilege includes white folks who scream that Neo-Nazis and Neo-Confederates have a “First Amendment” right to free speech by marching, carrying flags depicting the Nazi Swastika or the Confederate Stars and Bars to defend monuments to the Confederate dead, monuments that were erected en masse not in the years immediately following the Civil War, mind you, but ones erected during Jim Crow to remind black folks to stay in their second class and oft terrorized “places,” while denying that former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a similar right to kneel in silent protest against systemic racism and police brutality against black people.
The lesson–To these types, white privilege means that the First Amendment that protects their rights to celebrate white supremacy, racism and terrorism past does not inure a benefit to black people who refuse to sing “Kumbaya” while pretending that systemic racism did not and does not still exist im every facet of American society, including sports and entertainment.
*White privilege is when white folks say “I do not believe that racial politics should be interjected into sports,” all the while ignoring that the very fact that Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed while owners have signed the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker to play quarterback to avoid signing Kaep–owners who have donated millions to Donald Trump’s campaign or inauguration–shows that politics and sports are inextricably linked.
*White privilege is also white folks on social media who “challenge” black writers and responders with their “feelings” and emotions about subjects in which said writer or responder is far more learned or experienced. I have witnessed white folks with barely a GED express their “feelings” about the space program while attacking a black friend and former quiz bowl rival of mine from Tuskegee University, Yusef Johnson, who is a rocket scientist who was a programming director for NASA. I have witnessed a dear friend and Morehouse Brother of mine, Dr. Alvin Tillery, political science professor at the prestigious University of Chicago, have folks challenge his always cogent “facts” with their “feelings” about subjects on my Facebook page, the most recent being his analysis that Trump’s rise was due in large measure to white racial resentment against blacks in general, and former President Barack Obama, specifically.
As one who is not prone to “soften, dilute or commercialize” my commentary as rap legend KRS-One once quipped, I will never stop telling the truth about racism past, racism present, and how systemic racism and the ever-growing white denial of its existence does not make it less so. I encourage all people of good conscience to follow my lead and truly “tell it like it is” while eschewing bigotry.