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DISSECTING RACISM WITH THE LAW
Simplified in everyday but clean language, Critical Race Theory applies law principles to expose and to deconstruct the historical foundations upon which the illegalities of legalizing racism stand.
In broad terms, the law represents, to the extent that the prevalent, universally acknowledged status quo remains unchanged, a constellation of fundamental guiding principles and values held dear by a group of a diversity of members (henceforth a nation, for purposes of this essay) brought and held together by a need to sustainably safeguard their common existential imperatives, perceived and real.
The latter above as dictated by encountered natural conditions, or as conceptually defined by the group with respect to ways and means of organizing settlements, food production, provision of health and other essential social services, defence and security. Ideally, the law is supposed to serve as both a reference and applicatory tool for establishment and maintenance of order in society. Society being a human, conceptual and material institutions construct that constitutes the totality of a nation. A nation is by default a multifaceted functional collective entity working towards the attainments of certain predetermined goals for the survival of the nation as a unit, and the individual as the essential part of the entity.
The Constitution of a nation is, then, a sacred documentation of the core laws of the land upon which a nation exists. A constitution in its current form is a living document that, with consensus, may be subject to amendments in order to suit changing local and international material and conceptual paradigms with time. If and when a constitution is hijacked and changed by force, or at worst suspended altogether by disgruntled elements defiant of the laws of the land, that process is called a coup d’état. More often than not, coup d’états impose unpopular, draconian laws for the instigators to stay in power. This is how dictatorships emerge world-wide. Dictatorships cause hardships.
The legal system is the working arm of the law. It comprises numerous branches requiring specialized education and training in the various aspects of the law, from the interpretation of the laws and their ramifications across the entire spectrum of societal existence, to enforcement of, and compliance with specific laws in given contexts. The judiciary administers the court system, where disputes are litigated, and criminal cases are tried, with punitive measures of the law determined and imposed where and when applicable.
Judges and magistrates preside in the courts. They weigh merits and demerits of cases as argued by defence lawyers and prosecutors. Defence lawyers represent aggrieved parties, or those facing criminal charges upon having been accused of breaking certain aspects of the law. Prosecutors’ job is to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the criminally accused.
Laws are made, modified, or repealed by the legislative arm in parliament. In functional parliamentary states, Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected officials representing national citizens through their various political parties which have variable demands as to their political orientations. This is in response to, or may lead to protracted inequities in society, where one or several groups will seek to dominate others through a variety of overt and subtle abuses of power in the state machinery. The idea being to, as much and as long as it is possible, exclude the subdued from enjoying the freedoms and all-round benefits of the bounty of their lands.
Through hook or crook, setting ludicrous, outrageous prerequisites for qualification to participate in the elective processes determining composition of the legislature, the dominant forces can manipulate the legislative procedures to institute laws that will inhibit or even totally exclude the dominated from participating fully in the developmental processes of their nations.
To pass an idea into law is to legalize it. The piece of law passed shall have a name and number, with reference to the relevant part of the constitution where and when applicable. It shall, amongst others, state its purpose, justification, extent and implications, as well as punitive levels and nature according to degree of contraventions, including circumstances prevailing at the time of offence execution. For example, in 1913, the then White dominated legislature in South Africa introduced a lastingly catastrophic Native Land Act for Black people of the land.
“THE NATIVE LAND ACT (NO. 27 OF 1913): The natives land act was speciﬁcally created for the control of black access to land. This act had a profound effect on the African population across the country and fundamentally still maintains that same effect on black people today. The Act’s most devastating condition for Africans was the exclusion from buying or hiring land in 93% of South Africa.
“Africans, despite being higher in population numbers were only allocated 7% of land ownership and were only allowed to remain on white owned land as labourers and servants, which forced independent black farmers into the labour market by denying them the rights to purchase land,” AWCI Property.
It goes without saying that the above law legalized preclusion of South African Black people from benefitting from the bounty of their land. The law acutely skewed economic and political power to the Whites. This law was a decisive precursor to the inception of the subsequent racist South African Apartheid state, 1948-1994.
Apartheid was not just. Because it was not just, it was illegal. Because it was illegal, the struggle for the freedom and enfranchisement of Black people of South Africa had to continue. Enfranchisement gives the legal right to vote and influence societal progress in one’s country. Throughout all the various legislations pursued in order to enhance White power during the Apartheid years, the condition of Black People in the country only but worsened. This was despite that the Apartheid regimes kept shooting themselves in the foot all the time.
The post-1994 South Africa of Nelson Mandela inherited a massively broken society. Critical Race Theory offers an analytical and explanatory model for understanding the realities of South African socio-political discourse today. It’s applicable to Zimbabwe. It’s applicable to the entire global post-colonial society, actually. That a stratum of USA society is so anti-Critical Race Theory is just a reflection of how really detrimental racist White Privilege has been for the intellectual and cultural sophistication growth of these people, together with their Black and Brown people cohorts. Shame.
From the South African example given above, it is clear that Critical Race Theory is not just an empty theoretical postulate. It lays bare the historical facts to explain contemporary racism as it plays itself out with impunity right in front of our eyes on a daily basis; we be in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, or anywhere else in the world.
Critical analysis of any phenomenon entails not only studying the phenomenon in isolation, but also in relation to other relevant dynamics around it. We compare, we contrast, we interpolate, we extrapolate, we synthesize, we hypothesize, we weigh pros and cons, we test, before we arrive at what we know are well-thought-out and structured conclusions.
It’s naïve and ignorant to want to dismiss Critical Race Theory as divisive, and promoting anti-White racism and hate. What can be more divisive than the White Supremacist racism has already been for at least four-hundred years? Black people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality is exactly as the three concepts say: free from malice, seeks fairness and the prerogative to reclaim their right to exist with human dignity on par with everyone else the world over.
I have yet to meet a serious Black liberation warrior that is pre-occupied with vindictive oppression, subjugation, and annihilation of the White race. Honestly, the entire world would have long gone down under had Black and Brown people risen in vengeance against the obtrusively documented White Supremacy barbarism all over the world
But in order to fully appreciate where we are coming from with our demands and fears, Black and White people have to embrace facts of their history:
- White Supremacy and its roots in the global colonial and capitalist expansion owes its economic might to the raw exploitation and destruction of Black and Brown societies of the world. It’s an absolute fact that has nothing to do with sowing seeds of hate and all that bull. Racism justified and sustained the cross-Atlantic slave trade. Enslaved African labour unequivocally facilitated the documented historical exponential growth and consolidation of American capitalism, with inevitable spillovers to Europe.
- Whereas technological advancements in the 17th Century onwards would render large-scale agro-industrial slavery redundant, racism continues to live on. Racism is both a philosophical and practical tool used by White Supremacists to exclude and eliminate Black and Brown people from equal and just participation in the collective determination of their own destiny in their lands. Existing economic inequalities in the USA, South Africa, and similar countries have indisputable racistic undertones.
- Demands for reparations in the USA and Europe are as justifiable as can be, therefore. These demands are never going to die some natural death. They have to be addressed one way or another. These demands are no declaration of hate or war. If and when people talk about fighting for reparations, they are not talking about any martial warfare, they are talking about legal battles in the courts. That’s all. No blood was shed in the case of Bruce’s Beach, California, property being returned to its rightful owners.
- Successful Black and Brown people aligning themselves with White Supremacists must know that the latter don’t really see them as genuine blood compatriots. In the slave-owner tradition, White Supremacists simply use these lost Black and Brown souls to further their (WS) goals of perpetual global hegemony. A lost cause.
Indeed, experientially, racism may be reducible to the inevitable variable individual (in-)sensitivities. But as a system, White Supremacist systemic racism makes no individual exceptions: from the outset, when you are Black or Brown or Yellow, you are exactly that. In WS eyes, you are, as per God’s design, inherently inferior and destined to permanent White Supremacist servitude. As shown below, the latter postulation is blatantly fallacious, of course:
2. A Nigerian mathematics genius has made global headlines in Japan.
3. Four computer brains Black women sent NASA to space and back.
4. Global Black excellence in all areas of human endeavour is documented across the entire sphere of modern mass media platforms. But all this is of no use if people are illiterate and incapable of exhibiting any critical thinking skills, or even inclination for thinking about the big questions of life and being. For the intellectually dysfunctional, their ignorance is ever exacerbated by their paying attention to purveyors of conspiracy theories, often with dire outcomes.
All children must be taught Critical Race Theory uncoated. Knowledge is power. Truth liberates. The future of humanity may be secured by children growing up into adulthood equipped with the knowledge of what human behavioural attributes have led the world to the existential mess we find ourselves in today.
It is only through the teaching of facing plain truths about the mistakes and injustices committed in the past and the present that future people can make informed choices about what kind of a world they want to live in. Herein lies the essence of critical thinking skills and attitudes inculcation in the minds of children. Devoid of critical thinking skills faculties, children grow up as fertile grounds for sowing seeds of living with fears of the unknown. Fears of the unknown breed and feed irrationality. Irrational people are a curse to humanity.
Appreciation of Critical Race Theory today is a remedy for potential racial wars arising in the future. It should encourage atonement as a means for facilitating peaceful co-existence. That founded on the principles of knowledge of who we, humanity, are and what we are capable of achieving for both the good and the bad of our being humans on earth.
I rest my case.
October 20, 2021
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BLACK PEOPLE’S FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION?
If it is systemic it is broad based according to its time, space, and driving forces. It is enduring. It is transgenerational. It is endemic. It is prolific. It is a constant. It is predictable. It is routine. It is structured. It is devious: transparent one moment, subtle the next.
If it is systemic it is its own universe. It has its own domain of interconnectedness, its own self-preservation, self-perpetuation dynamics, its own fallacies contra conventional wisdom.
If it is systemic it is the noun system in applied form. The term system defines particular arrangements of processes, objects, and concepts designed to deliver set outcomes; precision assuming fulfilment of given pre-determined conceptual and operational parameters. A system represents methods to follow in order to achieve certain outcomes. A system may be natural or man-made.
If it is natural, a system may never fail to the extent that applicable natural laws remain constant. Man-made systems may never fail to the extent that they do not seek to defy the laws of nature.
Racism is a man-made system of thought and behaviour that promulgates and applies ideas that there is, by divine providence, a non-contestable unequal relationship amongst the diversity of ethnicities comprising the human race on earth.
Racism is a political power instrument. It’s a social control force exercised by elite classes to explain and justify their oppression of the weakened and broken for economic domination purposes. Racism as we know it in our times is an off-shoot from the growth of modern capitalism from the 16th Century onwards.
It functions on the irrational classification of human beings according to physical attributes, starting with skin colour and purported cognitive endowments differentiations in favour of dominant classes.
An arbitrary distinction was introduced to classify light-skinned people of Eurasian extraction as being of higher intelligence with the God-given right and power to dominate others of darker skin complexions.
According to racism postulates, the darker-skinned were meant to be at the permanent servitude of the light-skinned. This justified European colonial endeavours the world over, with Africa taking the brunt of it all through the ensuing slave trade that took multitudes of African people into plantation slavery in the Americas.
Racism appears in different forms all over the world. For purposes of this presentation I look at the Eurasian anti-Black racism. This is in view of the current state of global Black Lives Matter debates sparked by the horrific visuals of George Floyd’s heartless murder in Minneapolis, USA, on May 25, 2020.
Along the way to the Americas, millions of other African people perished at sea. As a total dehumanizing experience, colonialism and the Afro-American slave trade have left an indelible trauma in the psyche of African people in the continent and the Diaspora.
At the same time, the White Power movement that grew out of the Eurasian economic might class in North America continues to use the partly successful crushing of the Black African spirit as proof of their superiority.
Fragility of racism as a system starts already with the man-made divine providence principle. Devine providence has no basis in natural law precepts. It lacks consistency, therefore; opening itself to non-ending enquiry leading to infinite inconclusive findings. Doomed to failure in the long term.
Racism’ systematic application of manipulation and overt extreme violence as tools of oppression have persisted, hence systemic racism.
In the White Supremacy racism against the Black world context, systemic racism is the complete set of conceptual and practical tools devised to sustain the status quo of the racists’ unnatural dominance of the Black race in order to perpetuate the one-sided capitalistic exploitation of the subjugated.
The set of tools sustaining White Power systemic racism have long permeated the amoral fabric of Western society and its satellites the world over. Appearing in unique forms in the Middle East and Asia, the methods of subjugation of the downtrodden are the same, amongst others:
- Part to total disenfranchisement of the oppressed
- Limitation or total denial of access to education
- Limited access to wealth creation opportunities
- Sub-standard living conditions
- Sustenance of squalor through deliberate minimal to zero provision of social amenities
- Application of effective brutality against any real or perceived rebellion: police, military
- Development of a powerful propaganda machinery across society: educational system, culture and sport, media, faith, family
- Devise a state machinery to ensure functionalities of all the above: bureaucracy – INSTITUTIONALIZE!
- Teach, reward, and protect agents of state machinery: impunity
Systemic racism is a living reality. It’s not a creation of novel minds. Neither can it be explained away with rhetoric. We use fine language and sophisticated wordcraft to describe it in order to demonstrate that we know well what we are talking about.
Through our articulation, we seek to give systemic racism a face so that those with eyes to see, with brains that think can have something tangible to relate themselves to as we invite them to step into our shoes to learn about our existential realities.
Systemic racism is a well-oiled machine of bigotry and ignorance. It therefore has to be addressed with superior intellectual firepower if we are going to eliminate it from the face of the earth.
In terms of application and experience, racism is a very personal trip. As an object of racism from birth in formerly officially White Supremacist Apartheid South Africa, I know racism when I see it; I know racism when I feel it. I can smell racism from afar.
My personal sensitivity to racism transcends the active or passive practitioner’s ethnicity. Racism comes in packages as colourfully diverse as the human race is. It’s only about degrees of application, and extents of actual or potential damage caused.
Given my background, it goes without saying that I know more about Eurocentric White Supremacist racism than any other form. And, that is my personal experience, and mine alone. Nothing, and no one else compares to that.
No one can define, no one has the right to want to define for me what racism is or what it is not. Doing so is in itself symptomatic of the oppressive, imperialistic nature of racism. At the individual level, application and experience of racism are relative modalities for the aggrieved.
Systemic racism is racism collectivized. Systemic racism steps over the individual and contaminates the group for eventual total domination, if not genocide at worst. In this case, racism is applied institutionally in one-size-fits-all formats.
Meaning that, for example, in the eyes and power tools dispensation of anti-Black White Supremacists’ worlds, when you are Black you are Black. It doesn’t matter how cultured or uncultured, enlightened or non-enlightened you are with regard to integration or non-integration into these worlds.
You may be a shining star highlighting values of White Supremacist ideology with pride and pomp. But, in the end, when you are Black, you are Black: arbitrarily designated as inherently inferior, primitive, savage, divinely cursed to slave for the Whiteman. It’s just the way it is with systemic racism.
It makes sense, therefore, that, to be effective and produce lasting effects, the anti-racism struggle targets systemic racism states institutions, their functionaries, and their symbols.
Because the systemic racism state is ever so strong and intrinsically inclined to apply immediate brutal force to quell dissent, it’s not strange that carnage and destruction to property shall often accompany uprisings against the system. Contemporary and historical examples of that abound in the USA, South Africa, and several Latin American countries.
In cases of extreme indiscriminate systemic racism state violence against the people as we’ve witnessed in the USA lately, the people’s rage will be such that they’ll even target their destructive energy towards “their own innocent Black-owned businesses”.
Self-harm as a form of expressing frustration, hopelessness against overly strong, insensitive forces resistant to change is called self-flagellation in the Bible, the book of systemic racism proponents, even if they hold and read the holy book upside-down.
Manifestations of the socio-economic collapse of post-colonial, post-slavery societies cannot be understood detached from the overall destructive consequences of White Supremacist systemic racism consequences.
Apparent degeneration of moral and ethical values as evidenced through rampant corruption, sexual abuse and violence against children and women as we see across the world today has a direct link to systemic racism practices over the years.
Racism as relentlessly pushed on by White Supremacists has created monsters in its victims.
Violence begets violence. Those who live by the sword die and promote death by the sword. Is this really the kind of world we want to live in in the 21st Century?
June 30, 2020
Inspired by: Lynching Black Men
I had first picked it up in his voice on the phone. Calling him from Oslo at his work place in Pretoria about once a week in the latter part of the 1990s, I could hear him sounding ever more tired each time we spoke. He would of course express tremendous delight upon hearing my voice, proudly shouting to his colleagues, “My son is calling from overseas!”
When I last saw him Easter time 1996, he was as charming as ever. But he was beginning to look a little frail. And it seemed he had stopped caring too much about his hair, which he always groomed immaculately before, dying it pitch black constantly.
I was just beginning to find my way around in Norway at that time myself, and coming home to Welkom that Easter, I had bought presents for everyone. I even paid for renovation work on the family house, buying some nice furniture for my mother as well. Better times had arrived. Let’s celebrate.
Pappa would be fine, I thought. At age 63 then and still working in Pretoria, I felt it was, indeed, time for him to retire, come home, relax, and enjoy life. I would do every thing possible to ensure that my parents have a good life all their days. But my ever-resilient Pappa went back to work. His work was his life. Little did I know that it would be two years later the next time we meet again after the Easter holidays, 1996. He would be in an abattoir-like city council mortuary, lying supine in a coffin; eyes open wide, staring into oblivion. The autopsy cut sewed up ugly, unbefitting a once most elegant gentleman. In the end, we are just things, I thought … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
March 08, 2013