Let’s Call White Supremacy by Its Proper Name
by Paul Alexander
My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.
Zachariah Walker, an African American steelworker, was burned alive by a mob of five thousand white people near Coatesville, Pennsylvania, on August 13, 1911.
Walker was one of many thousands of African Americans lynched and one of hundreds of thousands, millions actually, terrorized by white people in the USA.
And on June 17, 2015 one white man, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, terrorized and then murdered nine African Americans in their church in South Carolina because he thinks white people are superior and that the USA needs to stay as white as possible.
The problems that have to be taken head on are the stupid construct of “whiteness” and the ludicrous lie of white supremacy.
We are all from some kind of ethnic background, but light-skinned people invented this thing called “white” so they could put it at the top of the system and climb into it and try to keep everyone else down.
Dylann Roof believed that terrible, lethal, destructive, absurd lie that has been perpetuated since before the founding of this nation and all along the way, and he believed it so much that he thought he had to protect whiteness and kill people whom whiteness had named as black.
This has to stop.
White people. There is no such thing as a ‘white race.’ It’s a lie based on a lie about superiority. That’s it.
Am I conflating whiteness and white supremacy?
Whiteness was created to be superior. That’s it. It wasn’t invented for equality. It was invented to say “we’re better than them.” If you can climb into it, or you’re born into it, then your life is easier because of light-skin privilege.
Roof believed it, and so do a lot of other lighter-skinned people, and we can see it in their microaggressions, which we hope to God never culminate in a macroagression massacre like what happened to:
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, was a father to two children, Eliana and Malana, according to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church website. He received his first appointment as a pastor at age 18. He was first elected to the South Carolina’s House of Representatives in 1996 at age 23, and in 2000 he was elected to the state Senate.
Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45, was a speech therapist and girls’ track and field coach at Goose Creek High School. “As a teacher and a coach, she was very professional in everything she did,” former Goose Creek athletic director Chuck Reedy told The Post and Courier. “She was an excellent role model for all of our students, in the way she carried herself. She was just first class.”
Tywanza Sanders, 26, a 2014 graduate of Allen University’s division of business administration in Columbia, South Carolina. “He was a quiet, well-known student who was committed to his education,” according to a statement from Allen University, a historically Black college located in Columbia, South Carolina. “He presented a warm and helpful spirit as he interacted with his colleagues. Mr. Sanders was participating in the Bible Study session at Mother Emanuel church at the time of the shooting.”
Ethel Lee Lance, 70, a sexton at the church. “Granny was the heart of the family,” her grandson Jon Quil Lance told The Post and Courier outside Medical University Hospital. She had worked at the church for more than 30 years, he told the newspaper. “She’s a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don’t have anyone else like that,” he said.
Cynthia Hurd, 54, was a 31-year employee of the Charleston County Public Library, according to its Facebook page. The St. Andrews Regional Manager “dedicated her life to serving and improving the lives of others,” the library stated. To honor Hurd and the others killed, the Charleston County Public Library’s 16 locations closed on Thursday.
Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., 74, attended Emanuel AME Church every Sunday for services and Wednesdays for Bible study, according to his daughter-in-law, Arcelia Simmons of Newport News, Virginia.
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, mother of four daughters, worked at Southern Wesleyan University as admissions coordinator for the school’s Charleston learning center. She sang in the choir at Emanuel AME.
Susie Jackson, 87, was “the matriarch of her family and among the matriarchs of her beloved church.”
Myra Thompson, 59, was also killed in the massacre.
These nine people died at a Wednesday evening Bible study because of a continuing legacy of white supremacist violent racism in this country. And there’s a definite line of connection from a slight discounting of the perspective or opinion of a person because their skin pigment/’race’/ethnicity is darker/different, to the murder of people for the same reason.
White supremacy isn’t just the KKK and Dylann Roof. White supremacy is the preference a ‘white-sounding name’ is given over a ‘black-sounding name’ when a manager looks over applications for a job opening.
White supremacy is when anyone, of any ethnic background, thinks that because a person is lighter-skinned or ‘white’ they’ll do whatever it is that needs to be done better, and that because a person is raced as not-white they probably won’t do it as well.
So check yourself for any of these biases, and if you hear any of them expressed around you, please, for the love of the people who suffer so much because of the lies and violences of white supremacy, call it
And please love everybody.
Paul Alexander is a former Director of the Sider Center.