By Susan K. Smith
George Curry Media Columnist
One of the saddest realities about White supremacy is that it pulls people into working against their own interests. White supremacy is not a lover of White people.
White supremacy is a lover of White power, the power that must attend bigotry if it is to be called racism. White supremacy is at the core. Perhaps it is the core of this nation, entangled, as it were, and controlled by, capitalism. The White supremacist needs money in order to maintain his or her power, and will denigrate, demoralize and use anybody it can in keeping things “in order.”
White supremacy is at the core of the police problem in this nation. One can almost feel sorry for White police officers that are being manipulated by a system that has a vested interest in keeping things just as they are. White supremacists created a chasm between working White and enslaved Black people decades ago. They created the divide because together, Blacks and Whites realized that the White supremacists were keeping all of them oppressed.
In order to maintain a system where they, the White supremacists, could continue to amass as much money as possible, while paying laborers as little as possible, they created a system where White people were elevated to a place of superiority over Blacks. White people, now elevated, were authorized to “keep the Blacks in line.”
Poor Whites were the ones deputized to catch run-away slaves, and they were authorized to shoot first and ask questions later. Segregation laws made it legal for Black people to be hunted down by law enforcement officers and these wannabe officers as well. They could and did shoot and kill Black people at will, never fearing consequences.
They were doing it, however, while not having a life that was much better than that of the Black people they hunted and killed.
James Baldwin said that White Americans deceived themselves into believing they were better than Black people; he said there was a “peculiar selfdeception of the American poor white,” a blindness, that Whites applied to their own poverty. Baldwin said, “his poverty afflicts him with an eerie and paralyzing self-contempt, but he denies it; poverty is meant for niggers.” (“To Crush a Serpent”)
The followers of Donald Trump are largely, if the pundits are to be believed, “White, male, blue collar workers.” That means they are White people with no more money than Blacks. They have no jobs, or jobs where they cannot make enough money to support themselves and their families. They are living the lives that Black people in this country have lived for a long time and that Black people know well.
White supremacy, fed by capitalism, greed, and corruption has caused the decimation of the middle class, something White blue-collar workers could always depend on, even when the jobs they held were made inaccessible for Black people. Globalization has caused the world to open and good jobs of the United States have been outsourced.
White supremacy did not care and does not care about poor, working White people any more than it cares about Black people.
It would be a powerful moment if the disenfranchised White people could and would connect with the disenfranchised and unemployed and underemployed Black, Brown and ethnic population in general.
The only thing that beats organized money is organized people. The Trump campaign is working to keep the disenfranchised separate and afraid of each other, clawing for pieces of hope in an environment that White supremacy has all but corrupted.
It is the tragedy that nobody wants to talk about, but it is a tragedy that is only going to cause more and more pain for everyone, but especially those who thought they would never have to live the life of a “n—–.”
Rev. Susan K Smith is an ordained minister who lives in Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of several books, including “Crazy Faith: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives” and “The Book of Jeremiah: The Life and Ministry of Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. She is available to preach or do keynote addresses. Reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org