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AFRICAN HOLOCAUST ARTICLES

Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter

African Proverb

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will

– Frederick Douglass

The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave

– Malcolm X

Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.

– Ancient Egypt

Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

– African Proverb

What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?

– Owen 'Alik Shahadah

We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.

– Chester Higgins Jr.

Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.

– Harriet Tubman

Notes on Understanding White Supremacy

Mark Christian
By Dr. Mark Christian 10-2006
 
Unpacking the notion and practice of White Supremacy is a primary concern for scholars in the field of Pan-African studies. 

Indeed it is a term that contains both subtle and brutal elements in regard to the global African experience and its interaction with Europe over the last 500 plus yearsSee also Agency and Africa

 


But what actually is white supremacy? How does it manifest itself? These questions are pivotal and yet difficult to answer as each involves the interplay of historical, contemporary, socioeconomic, cultural, and political forces. In terms of white supremacy’s cancerous hold within the epistemology of European canons, Cornel West (1982, p. 65), a postmodernist African American intellectual, offers one such insight: “The idea of white supremacy is a major bowel unleashed by the structure of modern discourse… Needless to say, the odor of this bowel and the fumes of this secretion continue to pollute the air of our postmodern times.” West is quite right as one cannot deny that the idea of white supremacy has been ingrained in modern European discourse now for centuries, while maintaining itself in contemporary times more discreetly than in the past.

 

African Kingdoms Portal
   
"white" depends for its stability on its negation, "black." Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest.
 
Franz Fanon

Yet West’s perspective, while certainly valid in terms of assessing European intellectual discourse as it relates to African and the majority of peoples outside its cultural gaze, does not offer a concrete or workable definition of the term.  Therefore let us consider a North American dictionary definition of white supremacy, that states it is: “The belief, theory, or doctrine that the White race is superior to all other races, esp. the Black race, and therefore should retain control in all relations” (Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1998, p. 2169).  This definition is informative, even if it is highly problematic, and it emerged in North America between 1865 and 1870.  Anyone with a passing knowledge of history will know that 1865 saw the end of de jure enslavement in North America, and this ushered in the ill-fated Reconstruction era that gave African Americans a modicum of social advancement in the southern states (1865-1877).  It seems that those who had the power to define the term in 1998 see no reason to have updated the category from its original meaning in 1865.  Can we assume then that white supremacy means today as what it did in 1865?  That is:

the political, socioeconomic, cultural, historical, and contemporary domination of peoples not classified as White of European heritage, especially Black peoples of African heritage.  

To many this would appear a far-fetched definition in the 21st century, but one ought to question why it exists in a contemporary and authoritative dictionary if indeed it is moribund?


The renowned historian George Fredrickson (1981, p. xi) defines white supremacy in this sense:

‘In its fully developed form, white supremacy means “color bars,” “racial segregation,’ and the restriction of meaningful citizenship rights to a privileged group characterized by its light pigmentation.’ 

In short, white supremacy is a byword for white privilege in most spheres of social life in Western and Westernized societies.  It is best understood to operate on a continuum with mild forms of racism at one end leading to more severe types of racism at the other.  For instance, when people of color deal with everyday slights such as not being served properly at a department store, or being followed in the store by security officers, this can be deemed as “mild” forms of white supremacy in action. More “severe” forms can be associated with the Ku Klux Klan attacks on people of color or heavy-handed policing in African-American communities.

king tut
Most often thinking about white supremacy is erroneously limited to acts of extreme White hatred, however it is evident in all areas of social life and interaction: education, law, politics, media, sports, and other spheres of civil society.  The media is particularly at fault when it comes to the perpetuation of insidious racialized stereotyping. 
Take, for example, the up to date “racial unmasking” of the Ancient African Pharaoh Tutankhamen by the world’s associated press, via “scientific data.” So-called experts from Egypt, France, and the United States recreated his face via modern technology.  Unsurprisingly, they each created him in the image of the “European” and gone were the distinctly thick African lips and broad nose that we can see from the contemporary mask-sculptured coffin depiction of Tutankhamen on display in Cairo museum. 

Zahi Hawass, the leader of the White Egyptian team, describes Tutankhamen erroneously as a “North African Caucasian,” or to put it another way: “A White North African.”  A term that has no logical meaning beyond that of disassociating Tutankhamen with his Black African heritage. This is a recent (May 2005) instance in how white supremacy is legitimated via false science and the world’s largely white-controlled media.


Peoples of African descent may have now conquered music and sports, but they still remain fundamentally marginalized when it comes to showing their collective contributions to world civilization, in formulating educational policy, in politics and law.  Again, the media most often puts African American conservatives forward as the spokespersons for the entire African American experience, and rarely do we witness a cross-section of African thinkers emerging from the mainstream communication network.  This scenario reinforces the notion of white supremacy, as the ideas and opinions of the multidimensional aspect of African American experience fails to gain adequate airplay.  Instead we ordinarily witness a negative stereotyping of African American life and culture, or limited African American conservative perspectives that disregard African agency.


Overall, white supremacy should be considered a contemporary problem with historical foundations.  The legacy of white supremacy continues to pervade all areas of social life in Western societies.  There have been obvious advances in stemming the brutality of white supremacy, that is, in terms of its overt manifestations, but there is much to be done in terms of empowering millions of African Americans still suffering in poverty-stricken social environments that usually entails poor education facilities, poor housing, poor employment prospects, and poor health standards.


The 21st century will certainly be a time that brings African American communities and environments more sharply in focus, and arguably a head-on clash with the de facto policy of institutional white supremacy.  One can only predict a difficult road ahead, for as Professor Molefi Asante (2003, p. 73) points out: “White supremacy cannot allow mutuality; blackness must be insulted, controlled, assaulted, or obliterated.”

Conclusion
Understanding white supremacy from a Pan-African perspective is crucial in gauging the historical experience as it unfolds the last 500-plus years of European-derived cultural, socioeconomic, and political hegemony over global African peoples.  Moreover, as the many chapters in this book attest, we need to highlight the continued resistance to white supremacy.  Make no mistake, presently African peoples on the continent and in the Diaspora, by and large, continue to grapple with diverse forms of racialized discrimination via: media, education, health, politics, judicial systems, international trade, and social policy outcomes, to name a few.  In all these areas of social interaction is the ongoing struggle and resistance by advocates of African centered initiatives to enable empowerment strategies to foster.  In a real sense, until Africans come to fully comprehend both the subtle and brutal aspects of white supremacy operating as a complex system there can be little hope for authentic African self-determination and self-empowerment.  The attempt here has been merely to sketch-out the contours of white supremacy, but its defeat as a system of domination has yet to be realized.  Pan-Africanism will no doubt play a crucial role in raising the consciousness of Africans and winning the battle against an organized system of white supremacy that works to the detriment of African agency.  

 References and further reading
* Theodore Allen. The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control. New York, Verso, 1994.
* Molefi K. Asante. Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation. New York: Prometheus, 2003.
* Mark Christian. ‘An African-Centered Perspective on White Supremacy’ Journal of Black Studies (33) (2) (November, 2002): 179-198.
* George M. Fredrickson. White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American & South African History. New York: Oxford University, 1981.
* Cornel West. Prophesy Deliverance: An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1982.
* Random HouseWebster’s Unabridged Dictionary. New York: Random House, 1998.
Time. ‘Unmasking King Tut’ (May 23, 2005) pp. 66-67.  
              


   
"white" depends for its stability on its negation, "black." Neither exists without the other, and both come into being at the moment of imperial conquest.
 
Franz Fanon

 
   
You cannot measure an African success with a European ruler
 
Owen ' Alik Shahadah


PATTERN OF EUROCENTRIC CONTEMPT

Foundational Paradigm Studies

Anna Marano
Owen 'Alik Shahadah 10-2005
 

See Agency for full article

By careful analysis the European voice can be identified without seeing the face of the author. Note how always the person exposing racism and inequity is turned into the villian or the oddity.

 

  • Isolating Africans they don't like as oddities and not part of the general African mainstream.
  • Using liberal whites who appear to agree with the African dilemma. Most of them are there to thwart agency by restricting the range and direction of change to protect their self-interest.
  • Isolating weaker Africans and rewarding them with praise and using them to defend the Eurocentric position.
  • The patronizing of African scholarship as childish and simplistic. Treating it as a Pseudo-history.
  • Thwarting all complaints by saying Africans are "whining" and need to "get over it", "stop finger pointing," this is used as a blanket argument when they get stuck. Africans are therefore suppose to suck up and take their oppression.
  • The need to maintain historical academic superiority even in absences of knowledge.
  • The need to invoke paranoia clause and claim African people have a 'chip on their shoulder.'
  • To normalize slavery and racism as a human problem thus mitigating their historical domination in racist manipulation. To merge class into race as it suits them.
  • To collapse collaborators, victims and perpetrators into one equally guilty entity. Thus the slave trade was one of equal partnership between Europeans and Africans.
  • Make self-references to institutions they control: Such as the dictionary.
  • To stipulate, while retaining economic and political control, that race is redundant and that Africans are hung up too much on race, while they continue to exercise racism and profit from this exercise.
  • Abstract through expressed by the European mind is elevated to the whispers of prophets, while the same abstract through in the African mind is the utterances of the mentally insane.
  • Never can an African be seen to display genius outside of European authority. " Mr. X of Gabon is so smart; he was trained at Oxford ."
  • They constantly set themselves up of the heroes in African history. Thus viewers relates more with the 'poor' South African reporter's family forgetting Steve Biko, a hero and symbol of resistance, in Cry Freedom. David Livingston is also the savior of Africa he single-handed abolish all of the African/Arab slave trade.
  • When no academic error can be found they seek technical errors such as spelling errors. This is also a sign of their desperation when intellect fails.
  • Making references to Africans who share their perspective and thus electing these individuals as authorities. e.g. Henry Louis Gates (HNIC)
  • To label those bearing information which serves in their disinterest as 'anger ridden.' Thus the African's are over emotional and deluded.
  • Always suggest the pattern of European domination is coincidence.
  • Cite rare and exotic examples of African behavior, which suits their argument
  • Make references to social generalization that they created via cultural domination and oppression; “most black people don't see themselves as African” clearly a condition that Europeans were active agents in creating.
  • They lean on human individual responsibility thus saying “no one put a gun to African's head” and Africans enslaving Africans is the fault of African people. They neglect their participation in fostering and nurturing chaos between non-European people. ‘Blame reassignmen.t’
  • Straw man Character assassination to shift the topic away from the areas that they do not want to discuss. The deliberately obfuscating issues in order just to confuse the topic at hand. Example, they try to show Mugabe's inhumanity in a conversation about European economic domination of African countries. Or that T Martin and Farrakhan are antisemitic and hence nothing they say can be trusted, even when it is factually true..
  • The labeling of non-mainstream ideas as extreme and radical.

 

 

 

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