Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
You can also hear Johnny Silvercloud’s podcast at AfroSapiophile
[Editor] What I like about Johnny’s work, his photography, blog and podcast, is that he speaks forthrightly to both black and white audiences. He doesn’t speak as though white people are out of the frame, “over there”, but as though white people are in the frame with him, and potentially part of the solution. He has an intuitive empathy about white people, so he understands the psychology of white privilege, better than most white people and many black social commentators. If you’re a white person, Johnny’s work will take you way beyond your comfort zone. He’s not about making white people feel comfortable or letting white people off the hook for anything. He’s very confrontational about white supremacy, racism and #BlackLivesMatter. So be prepared to get woke.
What do white people got to be so angry about? ~ Chris Rock
A while back ago I spoke in great pain on how I’m losing friends fighting racism. I talked about how one can have friends (white) who will invite you (black person) to a Christmas dinner, but will engage in vehicular manslaughter when it comes to Black Lives Matter protesters. What I didn’t really discuss was this radicalization process among the white community in America which makes such violent ideas possible.
Radicalization? You probably never really took a look at it. You’re probably wondering what am I talking about. Radicalization? What radicalization?
To the left is a photograph I took of a white woman, bowing down to Donald Trump during the Tucson Trump rally in March 2016.
The put this into perspective, I do a lot of political/protest rallies as a street photographer. Out of the thousands of photos I’ve ever taken, I never seen anything like this in a political rally before in my life. The crazy thing about this photo is the fact that it was difficult to get anything like this. You see, the photography is tightly controlled in a Trump rally. They are NOT media friendly. The bigger take away here is the fact that this is is categorically odd to capture at a political rally.
As Donald Trump continued to validate the claims of white supremacists, Americanized Nazis, and other racists, I always think of this photo. When Richard Spencer held an Americanized Nazi rally in Washington D.C. and mainstream (whitestream?) media attempted to romanticize the alt-right, I thought of this photo.
I think of this photo a lot. As a black abolitionist, I never really stop to think about what does white supremacist ideologies and propaganda feels like to a white person. When it comes to that question this photo says plenty.
The structure and ideologies of white supremacy must be very comfortable. I would imagine that it feels good to know that you are infinitely above suspicion when it comes to any form of social deviance, including crime. It probably feels soothing to know that no matter what, a white person will NEVER have to answer for the behavior of other whites. I’ll go as far as suggesting that white people may get a sad level of satisfaction in hearing non-white people talk, discuss, protest all these things that nonwhites suffer from due to white supremacy. To hear that for example, people in Africa and Asia engage in skin bleaching to look like you — the white person — may be the source of a sick level of pride. Yes, we never think of it as people of color. But the notion that people in Asia actually go throughelective surgery and cut their eyes open to look more white probably fuels a cold-blooded smirk of satisfaction inside of many white people as a whole.
Sure, to a black person this level of pride is sick and disgusting. But to a white person, all of this — white supremacy, white privilege, white defaultness — is simply, the way. All of this is simply the way things are. While these things are largely invisible in (white) American society, these things are in fact known and understood.
Being that these things are understood by white America, imagine if a person comes by who promise to practically, maintain and rejuvenate white supremacy? What happens when you have websites dedicated to taking the job of J. Edger Hoover, slandering those who are oppressed? What happens when you have mainstream media forever angelicizing white criminals, all while demonizing black victims of crime? What happens when the government who remained callous to minority drug offenders began softening up laws when heroin strikes white neighborhoods? What happens when whites are allowed to have guns, but nonwhites are not?
What takes place is a caste system within a society. Currently, America is NOT one reality for all. You cannot argue that we live in an equal society if a police officer can murder me and attempt to place false evidence by my body, and not be convicted.
With an intricate collective of white supremacist websites, blogs, message board forums and conservative pundits, glued together with conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns (which guides stupid whites into kinetic action), we are now facing a moment in modern history where white people are now becoming radicalized into white supremacy at an alarming rate. Where a man named Barry Goldwater campaigned as a blatant white supremacist and failed, Donald Trump did the same and succeeded. Nazis think they can wear suits and nice haircuts and do Nazi salutes downtown Washington D.C.
Some of the friends I’ve lost, the white ones, now dance with the devil when it comes to the white radicalization process. I’ve noticed this when Obama was in office. One white male I’ve known for the Army years had a friend call me an Obama lover, which contextually sounds like nigger lover. Honestly, the guy is so stupid it’s not a serious loss. Other white friends ROUTINELY share racist, bigoted propaganda on social media, with them actually taking refuge in racism, saying things with a false sense of shielding sarcasm, like:
“…but that would make me racist huh?”
“I’m gonna have to be racist…”
If you were to look at the social media accounts of these radicalized white men, you’d think that American police forces are infallible, devoid of corruption — but federal (non-conservative) politicians are full of lies and deception. The list could go on.
Years ago, I wrote this one column I called the Four Fears. The Four Fears were a set of fears I believe what drives white anxiety concerning white privilege and race relations as a whole. At the end of this old column I stated that whites will either realize that diversity isn’t a bad thing and we are all the same regardless, or they will radicalize and fight tooth and nail to maintain white privilege and restore white supremacy. I fear we are now looking at the latter.
America will talk all day about radical Islam and radical black speakers and writers. No one ever thinks to talk about white radicalization, which is a unique danger we’ve seen on this planet before.
Anyway, I do believe that there should be a discussion on this white radicalization process taking place. That conversation will have to be brutally honest. If this discussion doesn’t take place, feel free to catch up on fascism, because it’s what follows next.