Literature On my mind

White Supremacy – What is that?

The concept of whiteness itself has not been there from the beginning. Therefore, it is necessary to understand white supremacy as a term in its historical context and system.

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White supremacy is a term that has to be understood in its historical context and system to understand the philosophy, as I may name it, of a white supremacist. The term is a concept that goes hand in hand with the values of power.

The concept of whiteness itself has not been there from the beginning. The first Europeans who immigrated to America called themselves English, German, French etc. Many of those who came were servants of the European settlers. The brave Pilgrims soon won their independence over England and were now striving westwards, searching for more economic growth in the promising West.

When agriculture and industry began to grow in the colonial period, a tremendous labor shortage existed. Not enough white workers came from Europe and the European invaders could not put indigenous peoples to work in sufficient numbers.  It was enslaved Africans who provided the labor force that made the growth of the United States possible.

– Elisabeth Martinez

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In 1663 the first slave revolt aroused, also known as the “Servants Plot”. African slaves, “white” house servants and some Native Americans were involved in a planned conspiracy against the elite. John Berkenhead, a house servant, betrayed his comrades and was rewarded with tobacco. Many rebellions followed and the white elites feared blurred class boundaries, which would cost them economic wealth and their power. Their solution was to “divide and control” (Martinez, “What is white supremacy”. 1998): The European house servants were given more rights: They could acquire land or carry guns and had other legal rights not allowed for slaves. European house servants were now superior to African slaves and Indians: “Whiteness was born as a racist concept to prevent lower-class whites from joining people of colour against their class enemies.”

An attempt to define white supremacy in modern 21st century

According to Oxford Dictionary supremacy is defined as “the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status.”
White supremacy is therefore defined as “the belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.”

But white supremacy is not only shown by people of the “white” race proclaiming to be worth more than others. White supremacy is no longer merely performed by KKK-supporters or right-wing parties. White supremacy is originating a countermovement to the #BlackLivesMatter-Movement. Black people do not say that “White” lives do not matter or matter less, the movement merely aroused due to the indisputable high police violence against black males. Creating a countermovement underlines the broad mass’ fear of Black people arising attention towards authorities misusing and taking false advantage of their power. White supremacy is also Donald Trump encouraging violence against “non-white races”. White supremacy are random, unjustifiable police controls of black males. White Supremacy is police men shooting 23-year-old Afro-German Dominique Koumadio in Dortmund and claiming it was self-defence. White supremacy is the police not prosecuting the man who intentionally hit me with his car, even though there were witnesses who could testify. A UCLA psychological study from 2014 surveyed mostly white, male police officers to determine “prejudice and unconscious dehumanization of black people.”

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White supremacy does not have to be proclaimed out loud, because actions speak louder than words. White supremacy is a way of conditioning the broad mass on how to perceive “non-white people”. For instance, as an Afro-German average “white” people find it surprisingly unusual for me to speak fluently and accent-free German. Even to the extend, that I am asked whether I was a refugee ( – even if I was, so what?). This results from the mass media indoctrinating supremacist ideas by negatively connoting African immigration due to persecution, by negative reports and by creating a false and negative image of Africa in general. Therefore, we need a new participant within the media sphere, a participant that represents the Diaspora. And guess what? I know who. Follow me on Instagram to find out more in my stories!

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Photographer: @vaidivisuals

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