Chris Crass on how otherwise good people fall into white supremacy.
#BlackLivesMatter movement isn’t a contest over whose lives matter more. Throughout history, the right wing has made every attempt to portray Black-led struggles for freedom and equality as Black people trying to get “special rights” by taking something away from white people. From anti-slavery, anti-lynching, anti-discrimination, Civil Rights, and racial justice struggles, the right has mobilized the economic anxiety, fear and anger of white people and blamed people of color for the declining wages, raising costs, and the unraveling of public institutions (which is blamed on people of color and is actually because of massive defunding).
This is how anti-Black racism and white supremacy operate. They are not biologically based, natural reactions of inherently distrustful people and cultures. Anti-Black racism and white supremacy are divide and rule strategies developed out of the fear of the U.S. slave society’s ruling class – who witnessed indentured Europeans and enslaved Africans unite and fight back, witnessed people of European and African descent marrying and building family together.
Anti-Black racism and white supremacy were developed through laws, policies, and brutal institutionalized violence, to keep the vast majority of us, fighting and hating each other, while the 1% and those with the power to rule, consolidated wealth and power, extracting it from working class communities, with communities of color hardest hit.
The heart of #BlackLivesMatter is not a fight over whose lives matter more. It is a fight to end institutionalized pre-mature death in the Black community. Pre-mature death because of institutional racism in housing, healthcare, jobs, education, the criminal justice system and so on. And pre-mature death in acts of relentless and heartbreaking racist violence.
This racist violence does not require the shooter to hate Black people, rather it only requires they react from the deeply internalized fear of Black bodies, and sense of ownership over Black bodies, that this society is based on: a society built on the slave system which demonized, exploited and brutalized Black bodies, from the elderly to the babies.
Of course #AllLivesMatter, which is why we are fighting to end the structural pre-mature death of Black people in a racist society. To assert that All Lives Matter in reaction and opposition to #BlackLivesMatter, is just the logic of the slave society, dividing people who should be coming together for a world where all our babies can grow up loved, healthy, resourced, and protected.
#AllLivesMatter is the new “special rights” smear tactic utilized by the White Citizen’s Councils and Klan against the Civil Rights movement. What side are you on? To those who argue #AllLivesMatter, remember, just as we look back on those who declared “Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever”, history will see you.
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