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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