Your inability to see a problem doesn't mean there isn't oneBy Zach Boros | 02/27/2017 9:00pm
CW / Kylie Cowden
White Supremacy: let’s address this more-common-than-you-think phenomenon in American society. While it is the most recognizable symbol, only associating white supremacy with the KKK will blind you from the mindset embedded in many others in our society. This ideology isn’t some dormant theory we reserve for self-proclaiming white extremists, but a living and breathing truth that pervades our government, our schools and any other institution.
According to Merriam-Webster, a white supremacist is “a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” In my previous article, I discussed how protesting is an American thing to do, originating from the pioneers and our founding fathers. However, I failed to mention that at the time, the founding of America was a white concept. The slaughter of Native Americans was fueled by white supremacist ideology; the furtherance of the white race and the suppression of others.
If you think the more current Black Lives Matter movement is a nefarious feat, then in a way, you are exuding white supremacist ideology. If you refer back to the latter part of the definition of white supremacy, “...and that white people should have control over people of other races,” you can see how opposition to a movement so simply intended is belittling the Black race, whether consciously or subconsciously. Suppression of Black people and Black movements is just as representative of white supremacy ideology as blatant white power movements of the KKK.
To illustrate, imagine a white and Black person standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs; the stairs representing the American dream and the obstacles/barriers that one must overcome. The traditional white supremacist (KKK) would yell “White Power” and other blatantly racist words while climbing the stairs. A more common white supremacist (everyday people), would yell “All Lives Matter” as they block the Black person from climbing the stairs. One is blatantly promoting the existence of a race, such as the KKK, and one is undermining an entire race in the most unpronounced and concealed way. Saying “All Lives Matter,” is that unpronounced and concealed codeword of “White Power.” Similar code words include but are not limited to “Inner City,” “States’ Rights,” and “Thug.” These versions are promoting the white race, whether it’s upfront or coded.
Another common argument against the Black Lives Matter movement is the idea that “Black people already have equal rights already, what are they protesting for?” While yes, it is written in law books that African-Americans have equal protection under the law, that doesn’t mean society has adopted this idea. Laws don’t change people–people change people. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 won’t stop racist people from discriminating. The 19th Amendment doesn’t mean women and men are equal. The Obergefell v Hodges gay marriage ruling doesn’t mean inequality for LGBT+ people is magically gone.
When black people protest–there is a problem. That problem might not affect you, but the problem is still there. To disregard a movement such as Black Lives Matter, it is essentially saying that the concerns of an entire minority group doesn’t matter. If you’re passive to inequality, if you’re okay with your friend saying the N word, if you’re tired of seeing Black Lives matter protests–then you essentially do not believe the lives of people with a different skin color matter. To not care for a minority is placing the importance on the majority by default. That concept is white supremacy.
This article is not about white guilting, this is about human decency. Your eyes might not see a problem, but if someone who can see says there is one, don’t ignore it; listen, understand and act.
Zach Boros is a freshman majoring in psychology. His column runs biweekly.