whiteness is the problem, it must be dismantled
August 14, 2017
By Jesse Chase, AFROPUNK contirbutor
The violence of the alt-right is the tip of the iceberg to the problem of whiteness itself as the larger historical problem. “Whiteness” only amounts for 16% of the global population meaning the other 84% is non-white . The issue is that we aren’t made of percentages and numbers like a pizza that can be divided into 50% this or 100% that, this demographic analysis is itself based off of the invention of race and whiteness as the standard to base racial purity from. We are much more complex than mere numbers, as Wittgenstein said: “logical forms are numberless”, people are logical forms and race is illogical and oppressive. So when people identify as white they are oppressing everyone else by upholding a construct that doesn’t account for the complexities of being human.
In the 1972 book Capitalism and Schizophrenia:1000 Plateaus, the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guittari wrote “the face is not a universal. It is not even that of the white man; it is the white man himself”. “If human beings have any destiny, it is rather to escape the face, to dismantle the face and facializations”.
Nell Irving Painter’s 2010 book The History of White People skillfully traces the history of the white identity from ancient Greece through to Christianity to the term Caucasian being invented by the German historian Jochan Blumenbach (1752-1840). Caucasian was then adopted into Anglo-Saxon rhetoric and fermented in narcissistic romanticism back and forth between North American racism and international European colonization.
Before Christianity and colonialism justified it’s conquering that swept the world the pre-colonised, First Nations to Africa , governed themselves. Pretty much every culture in the world has now somehow been created by or adapted to this invention of whiteness. The concept of Western democracy has taken over most traditional forms of self-government all over the world. Even socialism and communism are Eurocentric and white constructs. And what’s worse is that many democracies are now corporations and birth certificates are ownership deeds of citizens like chattel slavery. Which means that everyone is a piece of property belonging to their government. That’s why we’re all slaves to capitalism.
A lot of white people know and agree that what recently happened in Virginia was a pathetic delusional attempt by the alt-right to really claim some kind of ethical legitimacy, as one terrorist said after being identified at the Virginia rally: “ as a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have .” Enough of that bullshit, he’s a terrorist.
So there’s the alt-right, white people, non-white people and there are white allies (sadly there’s also non-white enemies and traitors too). There also exists an ally industrial complex, or an industry of people that claim to be allies but really get in the way of actual liberation for those they claim to be helping by sabotage, conflict of interest, fail to fully sacrifice themselves and other irresponsibilities. Some say that white people have no role in Black liberation. This isn’t
about the non-existent trope of reverse racism. It’s about accountability, the obligation to resist oppression. And it is up to white people to watch their friends and family and be accountable for this kind of violence.
We need to rewrite history, write our own histories and decolonize together. Yes everyone has their struggles but the one thing that unites all POC and white allies is the understanding that identifying with whiteness is the problem.
The Afro-pessimist theorist Frank B Wilderson thinks that “what is needed (for the Black, who is always already a slave) is an ensemble of ontological questions that has as its foundation accumulation and fungibility as a grammar of suffering1. As an accumulation of knowledge about who we are and what we are through every form of knowing, i.e. science, religion, philosophy, art, literature, etc.
According to a new breakthrough in physics, we’re really just beings of light made of the same stardust that has existed since the beginning of the universe. Beings of lights and light, in general, are included in almost every traditional indigenous culture’s mythology. It was Eurocentric pessimism that denied all these traditions but a law of thermodynamics states that energy can’t be created or destroyed. We are being held together by the four forces of physics: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak force and the strong force. Can you see the light? Can you imagine this consciousness? Can it be the paradigm shift to eliminate white consciousness, to eliminate racial consciousness? It will no doubt take a few generations of rewritten history to accomplish this.
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