The 2nd article by Susan Raffo on white privilege...this time about whites being harmed themselves.

https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1692745

I'm reposting Irna's next posting sharing her friend Susan Raffo's second article because i believe it furthers the discussion on ending white privilege we are having here at Our Salon.

I have sometimes posted my thoughts suggesting that until we deal with core beliefs around coping with scarcity and abundance, we will not be able to also see the systems or institutions we support or resist or survive in order to navigate these extremes for us - our personal experience in America depending in large measure upon our racial and gender status. Today's American system was originally set up by European white conquerers and white immigrants, anything existing here before derided and nearly wiped away and anything of cultural import accompanying willing or unwilling people of color co-opted or else villified, made animistic or devolved as gross stereotypes as with the First Peoples' culture.

"Whiteness," Raffo argues, is one such coping strategy.

That said, imho, until we come to view and approach this duality from a new reference point - a balanced one - we can only flounder and deepen the inherent and inevitable harm that comes from committing oppression and mass brutality in order to assuage our fears of scarcity by trying to hoard and control abundance.

Raffo goes through a bit of European history in her article that she, as do many others, see as the cause and source of "whiteness."

I want to encourage you to read through the comments section at the end of the article. I think they give us that much more to reflect on.

Views: 76

Comment by Ron Powell on August 27, 2017 at 9:13pm

 The phrase "white privelege" isn't broad or expansive enough to cover the full range of the social, political, economic, psychlogical, and emotional impact and consequences of centuries of race based subjugation and slavery.

The fact that historically, white supremacy and white privilege over determine the positive life outcomes and life chances of white folks relative to black and brown people is one of the most consistent and repeated findings in all of the social sciences.

Too many white people, particularly the ones who voted for Trump, believe the hype and myths about who they are and what they're about.

Therefore, they must cling to the narratives of Manifest Destiny, the White Man's Burden, and, more recently, American Exceptionalism.  It is because they cannot reconcile their racism and racist impulses and reflexes with their democratic  "principles" and egalitarian "ideals", that they continue to behave as though the Civil War is still in progress.

As a result, too many white folks are, of necessity, politically, socially, economically, culturally, psychologically, emotionally, morally, ethically, and intellectually bipolar and conflicted  when it comes to matters of race.

Hence the belief that it's permissible and acceptable to be of one mind publicly, and of another (the opposite) privately.

Trump has given voice to those who have grown weary of trying to maintain the false and duplicitous façade, and the untenable and unsustainable belief that they can be in favor of equality while wallowing in white privilege and denial.

Overt displays and manifestations of hatred and bigotry will continue to escalate as the shock of the Trump victory begins to wear off and the "normalization" process begins to take hold among those who are able to isolate and insulate themselves because they have enough money not to be concerned about not having enough money.

As for the remainder of the less well informed and less well financially situated adherents of the Trump approach to government, they are the very first people he will screw over.

The very sad part of all this is, that as long as he continues to keep them focused on their racism and bigotry with the slight of hand misdirection of smoke screen issues like religious travel bans and exclusions, racist walls and deportations, they'll continue to buy into the supremely fraudulent notion that he's making it great to be white in America again.

Comment by koshersalaami on August 27, 2017 at 10:00pm

He's making it great to be rich in America - more. 

Comment by koshersalaami on August 27, 2017 at 10:07pm

"Generosity doesn't happen when we don't feel safe."

That's the most valuable statement in the piece. 

Tangentially, that precisely explains Israeli politics. 

Not so tangentially, that's why Republicans want their constituents not to feel safe, because Democratic policies involve generosity. 

Comment by MV Neland on August 27, 2017 at 11:54pm

@Ron - eloquent, if sobering response. Thank you.

I agree with you that whites recognizing white privilege is not encompassing. You are quite right. But, i do believe that it is a powerful, powerful humbling moment of personal transformation that makes the rest of the work to eradicate white supremacy that much more doable. Political awareness is just not enough. Institutional tweaking is a short-term fix requiring constant vigilance and maintenance...a task few wanted to be weighted with, the results of which we are now experiencing as socalled backlash. This isn't just backkash to Pres. Obama. This is the result of economically privileged whites being allowed to also go back to suppressing less advantaged whites per southern class structure with the help of a corrupt economic system...the dire consequences of which were predicted - let a corrupt smattering of people suppress everyone below them, and you will surely get Adam Smith's pyramid of capitalism depicting economic privilege at the top with each larger layer of less privilege and wealth pressing down upon the layer below them through whatever socially disparaging and divisive tools given them. Hammer or nail, the top really no longer cares which you or i become, just so long as we each become one or the other and become a reliable foundation for others to exploit.

At the moment, a large cadre of whites swallowed the ruse, blame blacks, Latinos and liberals as they've been taught all their lives and have returned to carrying burning torches while ranting with some committing violence and murder atop the usual racist violence and murder our nation churns out. Doesn't a desire by whites for the power of white privilege spawn these outbreaks of white supremacy? Especially when whites are feeling the disempowerment of economic woes?

I'm seeing this current siege as broad and encompassing of every evil scourge we've ever allowed as a country.  Racism, the most immediately palpable for many, lets us see how the far Right's strategy is playing out - the fear, rage, bigotry, scapegoating, those memes of White Exceptionalism...then on to Jews, then trans and queers...the disabled, the brown immigrant. Trump's hope, i am convinced, is that the weakening of social safety nets and norms through the use of every divisive corruption still lingering in our society will allow him and friends free reign to loot and pillage. They will leave the ideologs to remake what they can from the ashes when they leave...which they will, because not a one of them wants to govern. Just control. They believe they have the upperhand taking advantage of every systemic prejudice and every legal constitutional loophole our bati 

Except, Ron, i believe that you and i and millions upon millions of others won't let them get away with it.  Now, by Trump having let loose all our worst demons at once, we no longer have a spare moment to set a more achievable pace at facing and solving racism. So, peopke if color are bearing the brunt once again. I am so deeply sorry.  

I believe many of us recognize that we must necessarily rush like the wind and spread truth deliberately with our every breath, our every step so that we remain on the moral side of this struggle.  We all know that our nation has been under this intense pressure many times before and most Americans chose to do better even if we or they had very little idea of what to do and how to do it. Yet, we chose better because we desired it to be so. We are desiring it to be so again. And, until the work is done, we all know that we will have to choose again each day.

This article on whites recognizing their own collective white privilege and its actual historical context is one tool that will never be just the hammer or the nail. And, i and others will continue to seek your ideas and feelings and opinions, Ron,  which is a simple act that also defies the old paradigm of White Exceptionalism...and that is just two of the ways we will finally win this damn war.

Comment by MV Neland on August 28, 2017 at 1:25pm

@Terry - there is growing evidence for an interpretation of the European Middle Ages strife as one against private property. It WAS the first to begin to shrink the public commons. But, then agaul, mych ifctgat history and turmoil didn't survive but as rewrites and possible reinterpretations. But, little original focumentation exists but as fragments. I confess to finding that slant on European history more believable than the evolutionary march towards Enlightenment and expansion.

If true, Raffo does make an interesting case for the origin of "whiteness" deruved from both private property as the means of power and economics from a meritocratic yo an autocratic existance AND the push of whute empires encountering and subduing much of the rest of the world by forming a collective whiteness to apportion resources amongst monarchs - albeit fraught with nation of origin conflicts over what empire owned what and whom. I think the assertion goes something like this - if Spain remained only Spaniards and Italy only Italians and England only English...had they not stopped fighting between each other on some level while they colonized the world outside of Europe, well enough to see their obvious white racial similarity against the populations of people of color who's lands they were invading, they would have been overwhelmed and sent packing once colonization set in. Europeans had access to steel, but that eon tgem tge wars. But, steel is not enough to permanently occupy another's land who has vastly more people than an armada of European ships can carry soldiers. Eurooean nations seuzed lands side by side. They eacg agreed completely in conquest and subjagation of these foreign lands and people of color and their internecine wars were about new borders and shipping and other matters of exploitation, not about self governance by that point. They HAD to find a common ground in order to achieve their individual national goals of seuzing resources outside if Europe. Raffo argues for the interoretation that this vommon ground, devised by monarch's and used upon their subjects to go forth and give their labor and lives to conquest under a banner of  "whiteness" and an ordained privilege specific to their race.  I think we can look to the treatment of Native Americans fir such an example.

Raffo IS NOT an historian and i take that into account. Nor, do i think much if hidtiry is accurate when tajen sokey ftom scribes and clergy.  Diaries, records, all the testaments must be there to swear to the accuracy of events and history scholars are developing vetter ways to find these testaments, while official versions will take time to change.

But, i DO appreciate that Raffo, in tge vrin of others who believe hatred us actaught thing, is making a case that neither white privilege, white supremacy, or any such collective whutecracusm us inherent to being white. Nazi's argue that it is. Klan argues that every race does it inherently. Raffo argues that it is taught and iffers an intriguing, if incomplete picture of how abd why thatcteaching may hace come about for white  Europeans and their descendants.

Comment by MV Neland on August 28, 2017 at 2:05pm

@Terry - there is growing evidence for an interpretation of the European Middle Ages strife as one against private property. It WAS the first to begin to shrink the public commons. But, then again, much of that history and turmoil didn't survive but as rewrites and possible reinterpretations. But, little original documentation exists but as fragments. I confess to finding that slant on European history more believable than the evolutionary march towards Enlightenment and expansion.

If true, Raffo does make an interesting case for the origin of "whiteness" as derived from the introduction of private property as the means of power and economics going from a collective tribal meritocratic society to a closed nuclear family and autocratic existance COUPLED with the push of white empires encountering and subduing much of the rest of the world filled with peopke of color. By forming a collective whiteness to apportion resources amongst monarchs - albeit fraught with nation of origin conflicts over what empire owned what and whom, it allowed a more united, thus larger, white front.  

I think the assertion goes something like this - if Spain remained only Spaniards and Italy only Italians and England only English while they rampaged beyond their continent or island...had they not stopped fighting between each other on some level while they colonized the world outside of Europe well enough to see their obvious white racial similarity against the populations of people of color who's lands they were invading, they would have been overwhelmed and sent packing once colonization was attempted. Europeans had access to steel technology and ores in vast quantities, but that only won them the wars. Steel is not enough to permanently occupy another's land who has vastly more people than an armada of European ships can carry soldiers. Competing and warring European nations often strategically seized lands side by side capitalizing on the other's success of bringing the local population to its knees. They each agreed completely in conquest and subjagation of these foreign lands and people of color and their new internecine wars were about new borders and shipping and other matters of exploitation, and not about self governance by that point. They HAD to find a common ground in order to achieve their individual national goals of seizing resources outside of Europe. Raffo argues for the interpretation that this common ground was devised by monarch's and used upon their subjects to go forth and give their labor and lives to conquest under a banner of "whiteness" and an ordained privilege specific to their race.  The Church abetted this indoctrination with aligning dark evil with dark skin, a meme that still has power over many whites today and contributes to internalized racism for once colonized or enslaved people of color. I think we can look to the treatment of indigenous people and African slaves for two such original and early examples in North and South America.

Raffo IS NOT an historian and i take that into account. Nor, do i think much of history is accurate when taken soley from scribes and clergy.  Diaries, trade records, personal letters, all the testaments must be there to swear to the accuracy of events. History scholars are developing better ways to find these testaments, while official versions of history that no longer comport with new facts will take time to change.

But, i DO appreciate that Raffo, in the vein of others who believe that hatred is a taught thing, is making a case that neither white privilege, white supremacy, or any such collective white racism is inherent to being white. Nazi's argue that it is. Klan argues that every race does it inherently. Raffo argues that it is taught and offers an intriguing, if incomplete, picture of how and why that teaching may have come about for white Europeans and their descendants. 

As well, i think she argues that the belief in the lies of white exceptionalism that pepper much of our history, also hurts whites because the lie separates them off from their real personal inherent power and the gifts of diversity. That any whites here see diversity as desirable, because it takes personal work to get to that perspective, unlearning all the untruths about nonwhite "others," i think it points to Raffo being right about the need to unlearn the untruths about "whiteness," too, and what it insinuates to bestow on its adherents.

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