“If a white man wants to Lynch me, that’s his problem. If he got the power to Lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not question of attitude, it’s a question of power!”
This quote immediately puts me in the frame of mind of what is power and what are those steps that one must take to be able to attain power. Are those challenges to gain accesses to the same levers of power equitable? (Education) Are some people more likely to attain power? (Statistical Analysis) Why and how? (History and Tradition)
Black people and all people of color, or people who feel that they are being positioned as inferior due of their race, need to seek the Power of Racism! In comparison to Black Power, the powerful phrase coined by the great Stokely Carmichael, the power of Racism is worth much more and is a greater resource at this moment in history.
The purpose of Black Power is to empower us, Black people, and protect us from Racism. The power of Racism is built on disenfranchising Black people, and all people of color. The difference is, Racism has the structural support to enforce its ills. Black Power, albeit extremely successful at the local level, does not have the structural support to support prejudices, biases, enforce the discrimination of people, take away rights or neutralize the power of Racism – which is the ultimate goal. Racism has all of the above mentioned advantages that Black Power seek. If we had these abilities, we too would be able to do nonsense things such as discriminate and disenfranchise people, but more importantly, we would be able to neutralize the structural racism, empower those discriminated against and create a better world.
With all that has been going on in the world recently, both published by the media and unpublished, it’s not hard to see racial tension in today’s world. Recently, I walked through the streets of Washington DC and I physically experienced a poem that I was never able to write on my own. As I walked and observed one of my favorite American cities, I watched 3 black boys sitting on a make shift stoop to my right. You could tell that they were just hanging out, not bothering anyone. They seemed comfortable, as if they were doing something that they did often. Who knows? However, on my left side, there were 2 white police officers walking towards me. All 3 groups crossed paths at the same time and there I was standing dead center. I found myself stuck in the thought of irony- if you believe in that type of thing.
In an unfamiliar neighborhood, I asked myself, “Who should I be afraid of? The black boys to my right or the Police officers to my left?” The moment passed in slow motion. The black boys looked at the police officers with a silent, lingering face of disgust. Their facial expressions and tracking of the officers walk proved the lack of satisfaction with the white officers. Their decision to not confront the police officers, concluded that they were not in a position, nor did they believe that they had the power to initiate such an interaction about the current events. On my other side, the fidgety walk of uncertainty by the police officers was slightly masked by their conditioned walk of confidence – the out-poked chess. The police officers avoided looking at the black boys, and that was the proof that they were just as nervous as the boys were. Indeed, there is an extreme racial tension within the community.
The recent deaths of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and countless others have led to the ongoing discussion of racism and a “white” power structure is at the forefront of the conversation. My response to it all is: seek the Power of Racism. NO, I am not saying that you should become a racist – that would be stupid. However, I am proclaiming that if we wish to have justice the way that we yell in protest about, march and post on social media about, then we must have the same power as those that are refusing us justice. If it is racism that we are seeking to unshackle ourselves from, then we must have the same levels of power that those supporting racism. We must have at least the same power of the structures that uphold the ideology and preferences of racism. Attaining that power renders us effective, not racist.
You read stories all the time of how slaves were not able to read. Why? Slaves were not able to write. Why? Slaves were stripped of their native tongue and not able to speak to the whites as equals. Why? The ability to confront the opposition as an equal neutralizes of the Power structure that is unjustly carrying out the oppression. You may want to compare that lack of educational opportunity to the educational opportunities offered in today’s schools.
Today we can read, write, speak to white people as equals and we still are fighting for justice in America. What are we to do? We are to seek the power of Racism. If you are from a community like the one where I grew up or it is practically impossible for you to be racist. Until you have the power to do that, you cannot neutralize the Power of racism.
Racism is a structural thing. Racism denotes that you not only have a personal bias and/ or prejudice, (I think we all have them in one way or another) but you also have the power to structurally enforce that prejudice through systematic discrimination, violence, and the denial of civil rights. I don’t know about you, but the people in my community may have the personal biases, but we do not have the power to structurally enforce our biases or deny other people their rights. Therefore, we can’t be racists. And that’s why the power of racism is much more powerful and much more useful than the amazing, well respected and life altering Black Power! We should continue to march and raise awareness. But we must more actively seek positions of power and leadership. In these positions, if we cannot raise our people to the stature that we wish, we can at least neutralize the forces against us – the ones assisting in building the barriers to our success as a people, a community, a society and a better world.
Now, I know that the response to this article will be along the lines of, “we can never have the level of power of those that deny us justice” and “you are disrespecting the legacy of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense” or other derogatory means, in an effort to avoid actually listening to my argument, but I encourage you to look just a little deeper to understand a young brother.
If I design a system, there is no way that you can convince that system to benefit you more than it can benefit me. I designed it! And when I designed it, I had two objectives in mind.
- Make me the winner every time, or as close to every time as possible.
- Ensure that this system lives and carry out these two objectives.
The system is designed for the sustaining of the system, just as your biological system is. You are designed for self-preservation at your very core. Do you believe me? Ask any serious drug dealer about politics, law and order, or what it takes to run a business. I am sure that 8 out of 10 have an in depth understanding of how they all work. From social influence, to start-up capital, to credit and controlling the neighborhood through positive imagery. They may not use the same language, that’s produced by years of study at the University, but the ideas will match. The question now becomes, “If these drug dealers understand these concepts, why aren’t they applying the knowledge instead ruining their lives by dealing drugs?” My response is simple yet again. When the drug dealer began, it was because of the need for food, clothing and shelter, the basic needs. The system will do whatever it has to do to ensure it’s survival.
In other words. They are using Black Power – responding to the situation at hand. Reactive. If these “drug-dealers” were able to harness the Power of racism, which would put them as an equal and not as an inferior to their counterparts, they would have never elected to become drug dealers in the first place. They may just be CEOs of fortune 500 companies, of the latest tech guru, or maybe the President of the United States. You see the difference?
With the tools and access that we have today, we can maneuver through the system in a way that no other generation of people have been able to. We can make the system benefit us. That’s half of the battle. What’s the other half? Well, the other half has to do with populations. I learned this cool trick from following Politics. In Politics you either have people, or you have money, but you can’t have both. This is why Politicians have endorsement deals with one another. The winner of every election either has the grassroots support in a large quantity, or they have the money that will convince other politicians with large followings to support them, thus gaining the other politician’s population of supporters. If ever any of these men were racist, this would be an example of wielding the power of racism to ensure that they accomplish their goals, whatever they may be. The power of racism is proactive approach, the power of Black Power is a defensive one, responding to situations as they occur. (This is just one example) Am I still wrong for wanting to attain the power and ability to be a racist? Not to be a racist, but to harness the same power as those that are racist.
Paradoxical? Controversial? Stupid? A game? Maybe, but I have heard all of those words used to describe life at one point or another. So what’s so different about the idea of wielding the power of racism? It is paradoxical. Life is paradoxical. How many of the paradoxical lines listed below have you used to describe life? …
- The guy that chases behind all of the girls all of the time, is wanted by none of the girls want to be with him.
- The more available something is, the less you will want it
- The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know
- The only certainty in life is that nothing can ever be known for certain
- The only constant is change
The paradoxes in life are the things that keep the balance. They neutralize each other. You need rest in order to work hard right? Yielding the power of racism, and not becoming a racist is the lever that ensures that you nor your people become victims of racism. “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” (I love that line!) Nothing! If we want the justice that we yell about, we need to move from yelling about it, to building its actual structure. The immovable object is there, what role will you play in building the unstoppable force?
The World Is Yours!