Black People : CHALLENGING THE CULTURE OF WHITE SUPREMACY...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    THE CULTURE OF WHITE SUPREMACY

    I. WHAT IS CULTURE?

    A. A Definition

    Culture is a way of life. (Definition by People’s Institute of Survival and Beyond in New Orleans.) Culture
    is passed on from generation to generation through institutions, groups, interpersonal and individual
    behavior.

    B. FUNCTIONS OF CULTURE

    For institutions: Culture provides the matrix out of which institutions grow, and the “glue” which binds
    institutions together in systems. Culture also provides the legitimacy and justification for the
    perpetuation of institutions from one generation to the next. (Material provided by Diana Dunn of People’s
    Institute.)

    For example, a local public school can survive as an individual institution because some parents choose to
    send their children to the school. The school exists within the system of public schools in a particular
    city because tax payers are willing to continue paying taxes to support that school. And the entire public
    school system in a country can exist from generation to generation only so long as sufficient adults in the
    population believe that sending their children to public school will be beneficial.

    For groups and individuals: Culture provides a sense of identity — who you are—— and a sense of belonging
    ——who you are with. It provides a sense of purpose —— your reason for being in the world—— and an
    orientation ——your sense of where you are going in your life (broadly speaking).

    C. CULTURE AS A PROCESS

    Culture is a set of rules for behavior. You cannot ‘see’ culture because you cannot see the rules; you can
    only see.. .the behaviors the rules produce. ..Cultural rules influence people to behave similarly, in ways
    which help them to understand each other... For example, cultural rules shape food preferences. ..The
    essence of culture is not these behaviors themselves, but the rules that produce the behaviors.

    Culture is characteristic of groups. The rules of a culture are shared by the group, not invented by the
    individual; the rules of the group which are passed on from one generation to the form the core of the
    culture...

    Culture is learned... What each person learns depends upon the cultural rules of the people who raise
    them.. .Because culture is learned, it is a mistake to assume a person’s culture by the way s/he
    looks...Culture can be well learned by some people in the group and less well learned by others...

    “Cultures borrow and share rules.. .Cultural rules change over time, and sometimes when two groups have
    extensive contact with one another, they influence each other in some areas... (Excerpts taken from CULTURE
    AS A PROCESS by Carol Brunson Phillips; February 27, 1991. Thanks to lntisar Shareef for calling my
    attention to this material.)

    II. WHAT IS WHITE CULTURE?

    A. AN HISTORICAL DEFINITION OF “WHITE”

    The term white as applied to people was first used by slave—owning colonialists in 17th century Maryland
    and Virginia to describe poor indentured servants who came from Europe. Originally, these servants had been
    called “Englishmen,” “Irishmen” or “Christians,” but the colonial ruling class began to use the term
    “white” to distinguish European servants from African ones, who were often called “Negro,” which means
    “black” in Spanish.

    The Virginia legislature made the term “white” a legal distinction in 1791, after a series of joint
    rebellions by European and African servants, culminating in Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676, nearly brought down
    the colonial ruling powers. (Information provided by People’s Institute.) In the slave codes of 1705,
    especially in the “Act concerning servants and slaves,”colonial rulers gave poor ‘whites’ certain
    legislated privileges, such as a small plot of land or “freedom dues” (wages) after completion of their
    term of servitude; the right to sue their masters in court; and exemption from public whipping for
    punishment! At the same time, the legislature wrote the laws which provided the institutionalized
    foundations for chattel slavery for Africans.

    From that time on, throughout U.S. history, to be “white” has meant to have access to certain forms of
    preferential treatment, and exemption from racial oppression, solely on the basis of European ancestry and
    (allegedly) “white” skin. Thus, the concepts of “white people” and “white privilege” share the same
    historical and institutional roots. And both terms are artificial, historical constructions to serve
    political purposes: creating separations among oppressed peoples on the basis of skin color and ancestral
    origin so that they would not unite against a common oppressor.

    (For more on the historical origins of the terms ‘white’ and ‘white privilege:’ (1) Theodore William
    Allen, Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race. 1975 pamphlet. (2)
    Theodore Allen, “Introduction,” The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control. Vol.
    1. London: Verso Books, 1994. (3) A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., In The Matter of Color: Race & the American
    Legal Process: The Colonial Period. Oxford University Press, 1980, especially pages 53—57.. (4) Lerone
    Bennett, Jr. “The Road Not Taken,” in The Shaping of Black America. Chicago, 1975.)

    B. A DEFINITION OF WHITE SUPREMACY

    White supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression
    of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the
    purpose of establishing, maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege. (Definition by
    Mickey Ellinger and Sharon Martinas)

    C. A DEFINITION OF WHITE CULTURE

    White culture is an artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies and binds
    together the United States white supremacy system. It is the cultural matrix and glue which binds together
    white—controlled institutions into systems; and white—controlled systems into the global white supremacy
    system. Since World War II, the white culture of the United States has been the center of the global white
    culture.

    D. WHITE CULTURE IS A DOMINANT CULTURE

    White culture is not the only culture in the current territory of the United States. There are numerous
    others: many kinds of indigenous, African— American and African— Caribbean, Chicano and Latino with
    regional variations, a multiplicity of Asian cultures, indigenous Hawaiian, many Arabic cultures, and
    expressions of many European peoples.

    But white culture is the dominant culture. What are some of the characteristics of this dominant culture?
    In thinking about these characteristics, please recall Dr. Wade Nobles’ definition of power: “Power is the
    ability to define reality and to convince other people that it is their definition.” (See “Definitions,”
    Political Perspectives. Exer. Manual.)

    1. It defines who you are, and who “others” are in relation to you. For example, a white culture term for
    ‘people of color’ is ‘non—white,’ i.e., non—people.

    2. It shapes your attitudes, thinking, behavior and values. For example, a white woman shrinks in fear
    when passing an African American man on the street; yet the great’ danger to white women comes from white
    men in the home.

    3. It consciously and unconsciously suppresses and oppresses other cultures. For example, slave owners
    consciously suppressed African spirituality and taught Africans Christianity to make them ‘docile.’ Or,
    employers fire workers for speaking Spanish in a restaurant, but promote workers who speak French.

    4. It consciously and unconsciously appropriates aspects of oppressed cultures. For example: every form of
    African American music: gospel, blues, Iazz, rhythm and blues, and rap, has been copied by white musicians
    with no credit given to the creative sources of the music. Or, white New Agers become instant healers,
    charging hefty fees, by appropriating ancient indigenous healing practices.

    5. It is normative: the standard for judging values and behavior.

    6. It is assumed, unquestioned, not on the agenda: the ways things are.

    7. It is hidden -- not at all obvious to the dominating or oppressing practitioners, but often painfully,
    obvious to peoples whose cultures have been suppressed, oppressed or appropriated.

    E. WHITE CULTURE IS A DEADLY BREW

    White culture in the United States is complex. Because white supremacy is fundamental to the existence of
    this country, white supremacist culture is intertwined with other major cultural manifestations that make
    up the fabric of the U.S: the greed, competition and individualism of capitalism; male supremacist fear and
    hatred of the power of women; historical Christianity’S hatred and fear of sexuality, and its compulsion to
    divide humankind into the “saved” and the “damned;” and militarism’s glorification of war and conquest as
    proofs of manhood and nationhood that has roots an European culture going back thousands of years.

    White culture is a melting pot of greed, guys, guns and god. It is a deadly brew.

    (For a comprehensive critique of European culture, see Marimba Ani, Yurugu: An African—Centered Critique of
    European Cultural Thought and Behavior. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1994.)

    III. SHININ’ THE LITE ON WHITE

    In this section, I will try to highlight some of the ways in which white culture manifests itself in our
    daily lives. As you read this, please remember that this is a very tentative beginning of a new effort by
    many white activists in the U.S. to explore the meanings of white culture. Most analysis on white culture
    has been done by activists and scholars of color. Their work has inspired me to begin to do my own
    homework.

    A. THE CULTURE OF RACIAL OPPRESSION: (CULTURAL RACISM)

    1. White culture perpetuates the ideology that people of color are morally and mentally inferior to white
    people. Throughout the history of the United States, white culture has characterized people of color as
    ‘‘savage, ‘‘ignorant,’’ ‘‘depraved,’’ ‘‘bestial,’’ “lazy,” “dirty,” “illegal” and “criminal.”

    This ideology continues unabated today. For example, white students and white workers assume that the only
    reason a person of color gets into college or into a good job is because of affirmative action: that is,
    the people of color could not have competed with the white person were the playing field “level.” In these
    examples, the white people cannot imagine that the people of color might be equally or more qualified than
    the whites for the positions they achieved.

    2.. White culture stereotypes figures and behaviors of peoples of color. A common method is to take some
    cultural attribute forced on people of color by conquest and continuing racial oppression, and making that
    attribute into a symbol of the whole people. For example, the film Ethnic Notions by Marvin Riggs
    delineates a history of white stereotypes of African Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
    Stereotypes such as the “minstrel,” the “mammy,” “coon’ illustrate forms of assumed behavior that is
    carried into contemporary stereotypes of African Americans embodied in terms like “criminal,” “gang member”
    and “welfare mother.” Forms change; meanings stay on.

    3. By defining reality as white, and convincing peoples of color that white reality is their reality, white
    culture actively promotes internalized racism and inter—racial tensions among peoples of color.
    Internalized racism disempowers a person and a people. Inter—racial hostility prevents different peoples of
    color from uniting for their common purposes and against their common oppressors.

    In this way, white culture expresses a successful white ruling class strategy of “divide and conquer.”
    Imprisoning a person’s mind is more thorough and long—lasting than imprisoning her body.

    4. White culture labels the cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Arab world as inferior to
    cultures that have evolved in Europe. Furthermore, white culture actively promotes the historical lie that
    the culture that evolved in ancient Greece was the “fountainhead of western civilization.”

    In fact, most of the great Greek scholars and poets went to Kemet (the name for ancient Egypt), which was
    an African culture and civilization, to study for years before they returned to create their own forms of
    wisdom. And the “renaissance” of Europe did not begin in Italy, as our textbooks say, but in Spain and
    Portugal which, under the African and Arabic Moorish Empire of the 8th through the 15th centuries~
    preserved and recreated the wisdom of the ancient world, and developed the technology which allowed the
    Spanish and Portuguese to embark on their voyages of exploration and conquest of lands outside Europe.

    Today, there is a white cultural war against African—centred research and scholarship. White academics call
    this scholarship ‘self serving.’ Yet few white culturalists would call traditional historical and
    anthropological research, “White Studies.”

    5. White culture suppresses and oppresses the cultures of peoples of color as part of an ongoing system of
    conquest, colonialism and racial/national oppression.

    For example, the movement, now a law in many states, of “English Only” is a specific form of cultural
    conquest of peoples from Mexico, Central and South America and Puerto Rico, which has its historical origin
    in the U.S.’s 1848 war against Mexico; and the 1898 invasion of Puerto Rico. “English Only” is cultural
    colonialism: the peoples of colonized nations are forced to speak the language of the conqueror.

    6. White culture appropriates elements of the cultures of people of color in order to mask the underlying
    power relationships of dominant to dominated cultures.

    For example: Rhythm and Blues is an African American musical creation, but one of its most famous exponents
    was Elvis Presley, a white working class man from the south. Many rhythm and blues artists die
    impoverished. Elvis is worshipped like a god.

    B. THE CULTURE OF WHITE PRIVILEGE

    **********************************************************I hope I haven't gone to far in printing all of this, but this page has a lot of good information... Destee, if you want to edit it, I've left the web address, and advise all those interested to look in, by clicking on the web site...

    http://www.prisonactivist.org/cws/cws-culture.html



    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  2. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Isaiah

    Excellent thread bro....

    In order to effectively challenge and change the culture of white supremacy.....we must first who that it does not exist.

    We must show and prove that they are not supreme or superior.



    But we must becareful in how we do it lest we cause more harm than good.

    When we tell the world our story about how they enslaved, oppressed, and humiliated us; many of us expect to draw sympathy from others...especially if they've experienced the same oppression at the hands of whites.

    But sometimes laying down the brutal facts has the opposite effect.

    Some people choose to side with the aggressor and admire him while theyseem to despise the victim as weak and inferior.
     
  3. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank You, my brother, glad you found something in it... As a culture man, I found this(and then some, of course!)

    "E. WHITE CULTURE IS A DEADLY BREW

    White culture in the United States is complex. Because white supremacy is fundamental to the existence of
    this country, white supremacist culture is intertwined with other major cultural manifestations that make
    up the fabric of the U.S: the greed, competition and individualism of capitalism; male supremacist fear and
    hatred of the power of women; historical Christianity’S hatred and fear of sexuality, and its compulsion to
    divide humankind into the “saved” and the “damned;” and militarism’s glorification of war and conquest as
    proofs of manhood and nationhood that has roots an European culture going back thousands of years.

    White culture is a melting pot of greed, guys, guns and god. It is a deadly brew.

    (For a comprehensive critique of European culture, see Marimba Ani, Yurugu: An African—Centered Critique of
    European Cultural Thought and Behavior. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1994.)"[/
    B]

    There's much, much more, but if we can just start there, and move on steadily toward the conclusion, we would understand that we have an imperative to challenge this thing in unity, and with purpose... People of color wouldnt be clowning around, and fighting one another... We'd all have our sights trained on our collective enemy...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  4. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I believe one of the most effective methods to challenge the culture of white supremacy is to remove oneself from it. When a person spends their day to day life within white culture, it is virtually impossible not to be influenced in one way. The majority of people who were opposed to integration had this in mind. 40 some years later, many of their fears have been realized.
     
  5. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i cannot do that as my art form, photography, is not recognized by black people.
    i continue to compete within a white supremest framework.
    i haven't had a lot of success but many of the black photographers who i started out with have given up.
    i will leave a body of work when i die.
     
  6. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I believe changing your venue might help out with that brother James. Perhaps the Philly crowd isn't into art? However I see many street vendors on 125th street (Harlem) selling art. I've know black art stores in Baltimore. I don't fault you for going to white galleries to sell (you have to eat), but I think more black people would be interested in your work than you think. I've seen your work, and I think it is quite good!
     
  7. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Pan is correct, Brother Elder... The July 4th weekend in Brooklyn, we have the International African Arts Festival every year... More than 4 million people attend each year over a 5-day period... There are many whites who attend, but by and large, the vast majority are African people from all over the world... They buy the art brother, believe me - they buy the art!!! Unfortunately, the event is only a 5-day deal... The good thing is that you can still make a nice chunk a change in that 5 days... Mark the day on your calendar... Go to their website, and garner some info on their activities...

    Additionally, Sista Poetic posted some information of the African Arts Festival down in her home state... Just think, the chance to sell your art, enjoy Virginia, and get to meet one of finest sisters at Destees.... Doesn't that just tickle you somethin' fierce?(smile!)

    But seriously, these art festivals take place all over the country, particularly during the summer... Find out the schedules in each state on the east coast, and the south, and you might find an avenue toward financial freedom from the enemy...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  8. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Excellent information brother Isaiah. When it comes to thinks like selling Art, Clothes, Furniture, etc...it is often necessary to travel (as well as to know the best places to go).
     
  9. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Pan, when you speak of "removing" oneself from the system of White Supremacy, can you be more specific? As the system is all-pervasive in this society, are we talking about, say, what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad proposed - a 5-state Black-owned area, where we'd be completely separated from White folks?

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  10. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i have exhibited at that venue and i did not make money.
    would you please give me the benefit of the doubt that i do know my market?
    i have marketed in new york and around the world.

    i don't want to seem ungrateful for your suggestions, but i need you to know i have been there and done that.
    i do not make statements based on theory.
    my statements are based on personal experience.

    bottom line, black people do not value photography.
     
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