Beyond football. Kaepernick shown on past SI cover. He’s helped push nation into race conversation.
Thank you Colin Kaepernick for taking the knee and drawing attention to on-going violence against the black community by America’s policemen and their police departments. You both are an American and a world-wide hero!
And are America’s police departments, in fact, infected with this white supremacist hatred beyond the racist actions of individual policemen? Yes, as found by the federal government itself. In its 2006 research findings, the FBI reported there were sizable numbers of white supremacists, white extremist groups in police departments as well as white supremacist spies to ward against efforts to dampen the white supremacist agenda. And it was also reported in the article below that, sadly and unbelievably, there are essentially no national standards for police recruitment:
No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base. (The Intercept)
Then this study was essentially hidden from the public and much of the report was redacted (see detailed information about these FBI findings in “The Intercept” article below). And, sadly, America’s officials did absolutely nothing about this lunacy of white supremacy! By doing so they allowed the white supremacists in police departments to be maintained, if not to grow, during the past decade. This, in itself, was essentially criminal negligence by the FBI. And, as noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2015, after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the dilemma of police violence and public attitudes is addressed:
A series of racially charged events that took place between January and April suggests that 2015 may be an equally demoralizing year – both for the American public, whose trust in police continues to erode, and for the vast majority of fair-minded law enforcement officers who are just trying to do their jobs. (SPLC)
And what is “white supremacy”? While I refer to white supremacy as a disease of both mind and culture, I must say that Wikipedia has an excellent detailed summary:
White supremacy or white supremacism is a racist ideology based upon the belief that white people are superior in many ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other races. White supremacy has roots in scientific racism and it often relies on pseudoscientific arguments. Like most similar movements such as neo-Nazism, white supremacists typically oppose people of color as well as people who are members of most religions. (Wikipedia)
About Klan Leaders’ Economic Exploitation: In addition to other white supremacist groups, Ku Klux Klan members have also, not surprisingly, been found in police departments now and in the past.
It is important to note that Klan leaders are generally highly educated and/or white professionals and, historically, these white leaders have invariably exploited poorer whites. These Klan leaders are not likely the ones in the police departments, as the renowned civil rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery has noted, they are instead sitting in boardrooms and in other leadership positions.
In fact, scholars report that when the Klan was at its height early in the 20th century, the Klan leadership was also in board rooms or other elite positions in government and elsewhere and, in a pyramid-like scheme, the Klan “…. officials at the top (were) getting rich off of the individuals at the bottom – energized by sales agents with enormous financial incentives to sell hatred.” (Harvard). Those “sales agents” were white working class Klan members. The corrupt white Klan professionals made millions of dollars off these underlings!
The exploitation by the white leaders continues in any number of capacities, primarily to serve their interests at the expense of everyone else. Yes, you can read that as present day neo-liberal economics along with efforts to privatize virtually everything such as schools, prisons and health-care, etc. and rid the country of labor unions. And who benefits from this? Certainly not the masses, but rather the white elite. In fact, the US military infrastructure gets most of our hard earned tax dollars and they in turn give many of their tax dollar produced weapons to local police departments to, in turn, kill us – the people in America – as well as others throughout the world. It’s a vicious cycle. And recall, it was Eisenhower who wisely warned us of the “Military Industrial Complex”.
Blacks and Whites Coming Together to Counter White Elite Exploitation: As someone “white” and living in the southern part of the United States for most of my life, witnessing the violence by whites in the police departments and elsewhere toward people of color, while incredibly disturbing, is not something new for me. It has, of course, been present in the southern US and America overall for a long time. Some will say that the beginning of this police violence was with the slave patrols in the 1800s. In fact, a black friend of mine said his grandmother called them the “paddy rollers”.
The mission of the slave patrols was to find and take escaped slaves back to the owners – and, yes, many in these patrols were composed of violent and arrogant white males. And with the current police violence partly generated from this model, the tradition has been on-going and expanded not only in the south, but around the country.
Along this line, another black friend told me that, when growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in Atlanta, his mother wisely told him that if a white man or men said to him to “come here”, absolutely don’t comply, “don’t do it!” She never went into an explanation about this, but as he grew older he understood the importance of her statement and growing up he followed her directive! Conversely, when I was growing up in Atlanta my “white” Canadian mother, who was trying to address and oppose the apartheid-like Jim Crow system of racial separation and oppression, told me, rather emphatically, that her grandmother in Ontario insisted that “everyone was welcome at her table!” As I grew older, I understood my mother, as well, and also followed her and my great-grandmother’s directive.
Yet, what should have happened in the 1800s was that the white slave patrolmen should have joined forces with the black slave escapees to organize against the oppressive and arrogant plantation owners and to work toward a level of equity and economic justice in the South.
Interestingly, during the Civil War some slaves on plantations helped white males, other escaped slaves and/or deserters who chose not to go into the Confederate army. Slaves helped these deserters and isolated Union soldiers as well with necessary food and sophisticated escape mechanisms to get out of the south, largely through the Appalachian Mountains. The plantation slaves developed codes to communicate from plantation to plantation with, for example, laundry items being held by slaves in distinct code-like patterns:
“…. deserters formed guerilla groups throughout the south to steal food off plantations and to hide from conscript officers. Some of the groups were composed of escaped slaves and whites that at times resulted in a “reverse underground railroad” as slaves organized to help them. Slaves in plantations helped the groups secure food, helped them hide and also provided information about safe havens north to the Union lines. One Union soldier, John Kellogg, who was assisted by blacks to escape through the Georgia mountains, was impressed with what he called the slave “telegraph line.” (Gray)
And without belaboring the point in this article, historically in America, the intent of the white elite has been to create conflicts between white and black working folks to control labor overall in a way that benefits the white elite financially. This is why I have always been impressed with periodic efforts when blacks and whites realize this fact and come together to rally against white elite economic oppression.
For me, one of the prime models of this was the Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union from the 1930s when black and white tenant farmers came together to challenge the exploitative economic system in the South. I was honored to attend its 50th anniversary in Memphis in the 1980s.
Yes, many in the white community, in particular, should be looking at who is, in fact, exploiting them and they will find it is most certainly not black and brown folks.
The Marxist economist Richard Wolff has wisely noted that since the 2011 Occupy Movement, Americans now have in their mindset the 1% versus the 99% coupled with an understanding that economic exploitation is predominant.
There could and should be other extensive economic and political coalitions of blacks and whites, particularly now, to challenge the 1% in America as referred to by Wolff and the Occupy Movement. In fact, since the Occupy Movement we are witnessing some coalitions becoming a reality and hopefully it will expand exponentially.
White supremacists in police departments also need to start looking more closely at this exploitative model and shift their allegiance away from the white elite that invariably could care less about them and also realize that the white elite benefit from their violent actions toward people of color leading to hostilities and on-going conflict. This is exactly what the elite want so that all labor in America will be controlled by them without coalitions or labor unions of blacks and whites challenging their power.
White Supremacy is an addiction and a disease and why allow these diseased individuals in Police Departments, business or government positions? Some ideas for solutions: We, in America, obviously have a long way to go on this white supremacist issue and I am, in fact, at the point that I don’t think that white males should be policeman in America or if they are policemen there needs to be serious screening and a national commitment overall to address the horrors and disease of white supremacy – a pathological illness of both mind and culture.
The screening should be done to find out if applicants have the white supremacist disease, as would be the case for other diseases or mental illnesses with applicants overall. There would, of course, be some white males who are not violent white supremacists, but the point is they should all be screened to, at the very least, weed out the extreme racists and those who are members of supremacist groups.
But regarding white supremacy itself, various levels of it, from extreme to less so, have been altogether entrenched in those of us of European descent for centuries. It’s way past time to end this and do what we can to address this insanity.
So the point is, because police departments are generally thought to have a mission of protecting the people – black, brown and white alike – if, however, the police departments are infected with the disease and addiction of white supremacy, the mission is considerably compromised. Therefore, not having whites as policemen in America, and/or intense screening, is actually a reasonable goal. Why should we have dangerous and disease ridden supremacists in positions who also claim to protect our communities? That’s insane!
Again, thank you Colin Kaepernick for highlighting this deranged violence and hypocrisy.
And all police departments should also consistently hold diversity training and educational programs about the history of white supremacy that should include anti-racist education and the importance of diversity in our culture, to name but a few suggestions.
Like the opioid addiction, white supremacy needs to be cured but, unlike the opioid addiction, it can’t be cured by taking away drugs coupled with some additional individual therapy.
To end white supremacy, instead, requires societal commitment with local, state and national initiatives to consistently educate our communities about this evil. It needs to be addressed in our school systems, in our local, state and national governments and organizations, and especially in our court systems.
Other FBI Atrocities: Then to add to this insanity of white supremacy in America overall, suddenly in this month, no less, on October 6, 2017, the FBI is reporting “black identity extremism” as a threat to society.
This is, not surprisingly, under the auspices of US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who himself is notorious for his long-standing white supremacist views and actions. Given the prevalence of white violence, arrogant intimidation and white terrorism overall, the hypocrisy of this is breathtaking and takes us back to the Herbert Hoover tradition of white supremacist, racist and violent FBI initiatives and mindset. No, FBI, you are wrong. It is white supremacy that is a threat to society and always has been.
Thankfully, on October 19, 2017, in the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal refuted the whole concept of soc-called “black identity extremism” in his article ” The F.B.I.’s Black Phantom Menace” where he notes the fiction of it all:
It said “Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans” has been responsible for “an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence” in the future.
Wait, what exactly is black identity extremism? The answer is: nothing.
It’s a fiction, as others have powerfully argued, including Andrew Cohen, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.
But that doesn’t make the report any less sinister. As Cohen pointed out, the F.B.I. has a “history of surveillance and intimidation of black Americans that frequently goes beyond legitimate law enforcement into paranoia, racism, and political expediency.” (New York Times)