The Language Gap (Alternate Title: Is All Racism the Same?)
Cooperation with radical communities should therefore be universally strived for when it can be accomplished. When not possible, there should still be an attempt to platform the radical consent, preferably through representation of a native voice.Radical Civility: Implementation – Empowerment of Radical Consent
Before we start …
This will be more loaded than most of my topics and much more applicable to many people’s everyday lives. For many of you, this will be not only absolutely trivial, but insultingly so. For others I hope that it may help introduce a world that you are currently unfamiliar with. Regardless, I ask the reader to try to be understanding of both my own ignorance when it applies and to others as well. This is to start a conversation… not finish it. Obviously if you are sensitive to the topic of racism or easily irritated when views don’t align with your own on the issue, you may not want to read this.
Anyone that does read it and feels that it is offensive or ignorant, I will allow this platform to be used by anyone that is wanting to post a critique, clarification, attack, or any response that isn’t outright hateful (with no editing on my end).
“Race is a social construct”. This is true, but a bit unhelpful with regards to what we are talking about. There are people more comfortable with obviously different races than their own, just as there are those that prioritize their own family more than others of their own race. The conversation is – at best – a hard idea to pin down. But I would like to offer an alternative perspective to the one typically considered: race (as with all other demographics) is an identification of communities formed out of a need for cultural protection and validation.
To explain that concept, it is easiest to look at nationalism under “pre-New World” monarchies. Disregarding the myth of “divine rule”, the rulers of the time did so because of their ownership of the land. Nobles enforced this ownership while serfs were (I assume) conflated with the cattle and the plants they harvested. While libraries of literature have been written on how this eventually turned into the capitalist engine we have today, this is not about that topic. It IS about the justification that national borders were formed to identify what land needed defending from other owners. Of course land disputes (war) occurred from time to time and myths were created about why one leader was better than another to quell rebellion and secession. As a result, nationalism formed to encapsulate all justification for needing defense from “hostile” countries.
Nationality formed because of a perceived need for defense. National identities formed as a way of justifying that defense. National cohesion formed as to validate those with common stories and experiences.
“Demographics” then are those that can be identified as different from the “traditional” population. Neurodivergent, homeless, “zoomers”, veterans, Latino, etc, etc, etc… all these can be identified as having a unique experience that others of your own group can immediately relate to. There seems to be a few exceptions to this though, the most prolific of those being the uncontextualized “white” demographic. Their common plight is being privileged enough not to have one. This comes with it’s own existential problem: social abandonment. While it may be contentious to say that this is the reason for “white fragility”, “white rage”, and “white victimization” (so they can justify their own need to be accepted); that is a conversation for a different time.
The point is that race – more specifically the identification of race in the black community – falls easily into this analysis. From imperialism to cultural appropriation; this culture is almost peerless in the historical experience they can unite on. It is not unique that their experience cannot be understood fully from an outside perspective, but it is exceptional about the gap that understanding can take.
This is as good as a point as any to say I myself am not a member of the black community in the US. While I am trying – at this point in my political journey to remain “demographicless” it would be unfair to speak on behalf of a community I’m not a part of. So I won’t.
None of this should be considered having first hand experience with the repercussions of what is about to be described. That alone could be – and should be – criticized as deluding it. For that I am sorry that I only have my own voice.
Slavery in the US
Slavery was worldwide when trans-Atlantic slave trade was finally came to the new colonies. And while talking about this AT ALL will inherently leave out the atrocities in other countries, I’m not as familiar with those. So I will focus on what I DO know about the history of the US. Unlike many other forms, the laissez-faire slavery of the states was just that: unregulated (being that it started in a place to “tame the wild”). The slaves that came as property were both permanent and generational. People were born as property, and not part of an amalgamous class, but with individual subhumanization. It was culturally institutionalized to ensure that they knew it. One would hope that after the stabilization of the growing nation it would have been abandoned, but that would be unprofitable. So it continued.
It is objectively true that from 1619 (according to the aptly named “project”) to the well past emancipation in 1863, the black slave community had no more rights or respect than a plow. That is 250 years, when accounting for the fact that the practice of “slave breeding” started around 13, it is fair to say that there were slave families that spanned 19 generations. In addition to the other psychological oppression (not allowed to be educated, being told their life in the US was a an escape from their native home, being counted as three-fifths of a person so the population count would be bloated), there is no wonder why the 150 years since has had only a partial impact to raise the community to an equal status. To look at the progress they have made is remarkable; if it stopped there.
After emancipation, there was the Jim Crow Era. To understand this it must be recognized that the southern economy was in chaos. In addition to the federal government stripping away the much depended on “resource” of free labor, the Civil war was literal scorched earth warfare. The booming city that by many accounts was on par to rival New York City: Atlanta, Georgia was burned to the ground not to mention all the plantations were “collateral damage”. There was no sympathy for the losers for the war but only demonization – some would argue rightfully so. In the end this lead to no attempt to reeducate the “white” population of the south. So they were bitter and resentful to the population they could take it out on: the newly freed, homeless, possessionless, mostly still seen as abandoned property: black community.
In my opinion, this was the true birth of racism to the black community in the US.
“Separate but Equal” was the narrative that allowed the southern businesses to force black communities to build for themselves. In spite of starting from scratch while everyone else had an economic infrastructure, they thrived. Many communities were exclusive out of protection from groups like the Klu Klux Klan which made it their mission to keep the black community psychologically terrified (and – where they exist – this still happens) justifying it with a “pure culture”. This led to resentment between the partitioned communities, a disdain seeing them – not as the US ideal suggests: all men created equal – but fundamentally a different species. There is no wonder that collision existed. And inevitably, the white community had the resources and infrastructure to be the victors when it did.
If readers want to know more about this type of travesty, complexity, and simple bigotry; please look up the Tulsa Massacre.
This is not the distant past. Jim Crow lasted until 1964-65. People are alive today that remember this.
Edit: Please reference the comment below by Marco for some much needed critique of this section. Thanks!
The depiction that I have presented is not complete. As horrendous a picture I have hoped to create, I’m quite confident that it is tame compared to what actually happened. We like to focus on the “good times”, where the “civil” Martian Luther King Jr was fighting for everyone to live peacefully and everyone was singing hippy songs while the “hostile” Malcolm X and the Black Panthers were threatening the white man to get power. This is a farce.
MLK Jr was a predecessor of BLM. He was a socialist seeing the threat of capitalism just as detrimental as the threat of “the white liberal”. Yes, his dream was of peace, but (and this is speculation) I doubt he could imagine it. The world of the civil rights movement was chaotic. All sides of it, hostile and the “peaceful” (that were still considered to be rioting), changed the US through sheer will and passion into the better (but by no means perfect) place it is today.
But the communities still exist. History cannot be washed away in 50 years. This is with us for a time to come.
There is still a language divide, a lack of representation, and – more detrimental – a cultural appropriation that tries to erase the need for understanding.
The US Black Community vs the Rest of the World
As I said in the beginning, I’m not a member of the black community. So many would say I shouldn’t be talking about this. If I was going to talk about the current experience of the black community’s plight, I would agree. If I were to talk on how to fix this problem beyond simply uplifting each other, I would agree. But that isn’t my intent.
My intent is to show that we are ALL ignorant (and yes, this applies to everyone). In relation to the current conversation, the rest of the world should appreciate that African American’s inherent social acclimation for understanding socialism can rival – I would argue – ANY educated Marxist raised within an authoritative demographic. To deny them – or any perspective – a place at building a better world is neglecting unique experiences that would be lost otherwise. We all have our strengths to bring to the table. We all have our biases that make us value our own voice above that of our neighbor. Insults for some are casual language for others.
People who utilize demographics from a place of privilege (looking specifically at the “white” community) to form their own identity can only do so with an authoritarian desire to be heard. The demographic they created for themselves (for the sake of community and victimhood) is ultimately and fundamentally a lie. The problem is – as it always will be – they hold power while others don’t. That said, they – like everyone else – are people. So while they DO have the ability to speak – and they will – it won’t come without self-congratulations and self-promotion. If we are to ensure a better world, we must all realize that it is time to be silent and listen to others who have been voiceless for centuries. Anything less is deluded. Anything less is unjust.
Every action, every decision, every choice is a vote to make reality what you want it to be. Please help promote each other.
Special thanks to @JamYes94 on twitter and others that helped me with this piece.
No community is a monolith; just as some approved, some could not and didn’t want their name associate with the piece. One example I agree with is that the piece is “tone deaf” and offensive because “people don’t want their history retold by the ancestors of their oppressors”. Regardless of the truth of this – (again “demographicless” in regards to “ancestors of their oppressors”) – I feel I need to make this clear: all ideas here are mine and – despite the help – all verbiage and presentation was my decision. For that reason, all praise goes to those that helped while all criticisms should be exclusively on me. I presented this because I feel this piece is needed to bridge a gap. Not on behalf of any one community, but for all of them. I can only hope it did some to accomplish that goal. With that in mind, there is an open invitation (as stated in the beginning) for anyone wanting to provide more context or “authenticity” or a constructive critique that the community can learn from. Thanks for reading.