Although groups of various races, ethnicities and communities are being targeted by this administration and government, there is one group that is a victim, often on all fronts, and that is Black people — especially Black Americans. This is due to the insidious and implicit/explicit racism, it’s focused targets, and its various delivery systems, that exist in the United States. Because of the prevailing narrative portraying Black people in a continual negative light, it not only aids racism and separation between poor whites and poor Blacks; it allows any other minority to use Black people as a metric for their success and/or visibility.
“White” Priorities are the “Right” Priorities
This country was created from the sweat, dehumanization, cruel treatment and control of Black slaves. Over time even poor white people were taught to use slaves as a gauge for their “success”. If they were struggling, poor white people could always take comfort in the fact that at least they weren’t a slave.
This was by design to prevent continued uprisings against the white elite and, sadly, this still holds true today. The best way to prevent two groups from uniting to oppose a third is to, in this case, construct a racial hierarchy, that makes one group — no matter their struggles — believe they are superior and better off than the other. If a Black person (it only takes one) is experiencing success to a higher degree than a poor white person, in a poor white person’s mind there must naturally be something amiss.
Economic manipulation, with racial hierarchy at its helm, continues to effectively cripple prudent and long-lasting change because the poor white has been taught to favor the continued subjugation of Black people, even over their own self interests.
The liberal white is no better. They will join with Black people due to perceived commonalities but, when layers are stripped away, the main interests of the white liberal will usually be an agenda that further assists white people whilst Black people are told, ad nauseam, that their “time will come” but let’s “focus on this first”. Liberal white people will claim to stand with Black people, but clearly they do not share the same priorities. A prime example of this is climate change topping liberal white people’s list, while voting rights, healthcare, etc. are commonly the priority for Black people.
And, because of how Black people are viewed, it’s easy for white people to tell them to view “white priorities” as the right priority because they (Black people) have “come so far” from previous times. This is also part and parcel of the anti-black rhetoric and effect: the white belief is that Black people are being greedy or pushing too hard by simply wanting their rights and their quality of life to matter.
Film and MSM Failure or Success?
Film and mainstream media has done little to change perceptions of Black people. Whether by design or racist influence, both slant the narrative to show Black people as violent, lazy, irresponsible people who deserve little.
Films — albeit it is slowly changing — show Black people, especially Black men, as lit fuses just waiting to explode at an innocuous slight. No other race, outside of Black people, are commonly viewed as loud, abrasive, violent, lazy, and a slew of other negative qualities.
Mainstream media — with little to no noticeable changes —continues to add weight to this perception because most crimes committed, that are believed newsworthy, are crimes where Black people are the perpetrator. Even images of people who receive government assistance, i.e. Medicaid, SNAP and so on, are almost always Black people who are portrayed as “entitled” and too lazy to find and keep employment. Never mind that numbers show a large percentage of white people use the programs as well, or that the majority of all people who receive benefits are actually working.
These portrayals of Black people make it easy for not only white people to be anti-Black but for other minorities/POC to be as well.
Unfortunately people in other minority categories, rather than looking at the way this government and society shuts out all minority groups at every opportunity, will often look to the successes of Black people and complain about them.
A current example is an Asian female writer saw a photo of 62 Black female writers for a piece by The Hollywood Reporter and her response was, “Can we get a group photo of Asian female writers next? Thx”. That was not the time nor place to shout “What about us?” What people, rightfully, interpreted that as was “How dare Black women get acknowledgment before us?” An add-on that seems implied as well may be “when they haven’t done as much” or “when we work harder”.
First, despite common portrayals in film and media, black people have been fighting for recognition of our talents in this country for eons. So rather than thinking “How come?” maybe think “About time”.
Second, you do not need to fight for recognition of the Asian community — or any other minority/marginalized community — at the expense of a fellow minority.
This is the lethal but effective combination of white supremacy and anti-Black sentiment. We are taught that, rather than fighting against white supremacy and privilege for our rightful place in society, we are instead competing with other minorities for finite spaces available for minorities. Add that belief with a helping of anti-Black lessons (via society, film and media) and we have minorities railing when Black people get any recognition.
There are many instances of anti-Black behavior perpetrated by minorities as well as whites:
- Following a Black person in a store
- Viewing a Black woman as unattractive because she is, you feel, too dark (Black men do this as well)
- Moving away from black people on a bus, train or plane
- Feeling you didn’t receive a position or get into a school because a Black person (undeservedly) took “your” spot
- Touching a Black person’s hair (microaggression) and why do you feel you have the right to touch their hair?
- Using the n-word (Being a person of color and being Black are not synonymous)
While white people started this, minorities are doing their part to help keep it alive and this has to change. We are all minorities and all, to varying degrees, marginalized. Judging your success by how you are faring compared to Black people reinforces the racist system we are all suffering within and helps it continue to thrive and survive. It should never be an us vs. them mentality against another marginalized group.
The them should always be white: white supremacy and white privilege. It’s not just white people we are fighting, it’s now an entire system that, even if every white person died, would continue to exist because we have been indoctrinated with this racial construct and anti-Black rhetoric.
Until we view one minority’s success as our success we will remain in this cycle of minority competition and oppression.