We don’t discuss white America’s common pathology. What we’ve begun, within limits, are discussions on racism, bigotry, white nationalism, and other disorders of the mind. Ever so guarded, these conversations are restricted to speculation about just who is a racist, a bigot, or a white supremacist, and always in the mode of, ‘us and them,’ as if we’re not all infected. Never do we seriously address the root cause of our illness, and how it manifests itself in our foreign policies. This national pathology manifests heavily when countless illegal acts by our government go uncontested. But let us save that story for some other time.
Our common pathology is universal, infecting every white American citizen living in the States. There are no exceptions. No one is immune and there is no vaccine. Lifelong exposure to this plague starts early and occurs often. Many are infected by parents or siblings suffering advanced symptoms. If, as infants, we manage to avoid contracting the contagion at home, soon enough we’ll be exposed during a lifetimes’ social relations.
It’s a serious psychological disorder of the mind on a par with Schizophrenia, a diagnosis as cruel as Cancer. Unlike Cancer, this contagion is measured in a million stages, from middle class microaggressions to self-styled white supremacists so riddled they’ve lost all logic and ability to reason.
Their ideologies also usually include anti-Semitic and homophobic components that are in line with Nazi dogma. In contrast, groups such as the League of the South and Identity Europa propagate their radical stances under the guise of white ethno-nationalism, which seeks to highlight the distinctiveness––rather than the superiority––of the white identity.
Furthermore, it claims that the white identity is under threat from minorities or immigrants that seek to replace its culture. For example, Identity Europa’s chant, ‘You will not replace us,’ insinuates that growing minority populations threaten to overtake whites of European heritage in American society.
Members of this new generation of white supremacists, such as former Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) leader Matthew Heimbach, have decried the traditional supremacist narrative of the inferiority of non-white races. Heimbach and his contemporaries have instead focused on racial separation rather than racial superiority, promoting the idea that all races are better served by remaining separate – take a look at www.counterextremism.com.
More than two hundred hate-filled organizations have been documented in the United States. Their fear mongering membership find new recruits from every state. Growing in numbers as a percent of our population, these groups have local leadership within individual states, many directed by a centralized strategy, orchestrated from national level.
Knowing their First Amendment rights, they dispatch speakers to every debate and gather. Bolder than before, the extreme right appears to be thriving in 2019’s chaotic political climate, where they barter with national leaders, buying legitimacy in exchange for base support. These are the chronic, if not terminal cases. But before you gloat, know that you are sick too.
Our primary pathology is the myth of our own superiority. Its genesis lies in a set of genes designed for survival, which in turn, create a convincing cultural overlay leading us to believe we are better in all respects. This evolutionary delusion comes from the back of our brains when we compare ourselves to people of color.
Culturally, and on an individual emotional level, it always comes down to ‘us and them.’ We absolve ourselves, yet launch accusations of racism and bigotry at others. We cannot grant equal rights, respect or recognition because black people act as ‘benchmark’.
What justifies the myth, if not our ‘benchmark?’ Part and parcel of our pathology is that we don’t know ourselves and we don’t want to. You and I share a built-in paranoia. It’s an inherited fear of loss in a zero sum game, forever exploited by the hard-right, most notably since the 1980s.
This four-hundred-year old legacy of non-introspection is why I venture that a majority of descendants from slavery know us whites better than we know ourselves. I’ll also postulate that as they age, black people become infinitely wiser than old whites.
They’ve had four hundred years to observe our faults and feel our cruelties. Meanwhile, we excuse ourselves a million more times. Some whites today say, ‘ah but that was years ago during slavery,’ as if cruelty no longer continues.
Maybe black people are better positioned to see how systemically these values have been embedded. One learns best by example, good or bad. And anyone watching our bad examples these last four hundred years has realized early in the game they don’t want to become anything like us. Minorities don’t envy whites, only the benefits we monopolize. As humans finding fault in other humans, these people might pity us, but harbor no desire to be white.
If you want to explore and understand more about our illness, read some of James Baldwin’s essays. Try ‘Stranger in The Village,’ ‘In Search Of A Majority,’ ‘The Devil Finds Work,’ and many others in The Price of the Ticket his collection of nonfiction writing.
Baldwin points out that before immigrants came to America they were simply Swedish, English, Irish, German, or perhaps Polish. People weren’t considered white until after they arrived. If we face the reality that our society is infected, we can proceed towards a human society populated by equals. Until then we’ll remain sickly and never truly civilized.