NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 134

E S S AY During the period of Pax Romana, people from Germany and Northern Europe were slaves. During the 19th century, many Irish Americans immigrated to America’s northeastern cities as viable avenues of escape from the Great Famine (1845-49) and poverty. They fought in the American Civil War on the sides of the Union and Confederate armies, and for many years, during the 19th century, the Irish were viewed as a separate and violent race. Like Irish immigrants, many Italians came to America poor and illiterate. During the early years of the 20th century, Italian Americans were portrayed as the face of organized crime, and their performance on standardized examinations was less than desired. These immigrants’ skin color did little to shield them from discrimination’s stings. These chants gloss over many Jewish Americans’ sacrifices to safeguard the democratic rights White supremacists celebrate and want to take away from America’s religious and racial minorities. Sadly, when we equate the actions of hate groups to individuals who stood against them for moral reasons, we create a permissible environment where the politically naive easily dismiss the horrors inherent in the Fascist ideology espoused by White supremacists that resulted in the murders of up to six million innocent Jews, 15 million Chinese, and 25 million Soviets, during World War II, 1 before the nightmares of Aryan and Japanese’s cultural imperialism were stopped by the Allies’ war machines. The embrace of Fascism and the accompanying holocaust characterizing the period of wwii reflect human hubris; and Marc Bloch, an intellectual giant and member of French Resistance, who was executed by the Nazis for the “unforgivable” sin of being born Jewish, illustrate the high price paid to arrest ideological hate. Bloch’s analytical rigor and thoughtfulness provide us with a critical tool for exposing the folly inherent in the empty rhetoric of Stephen Bannon’s economic nationalism, when he wrote, “There is no more criminal than that of erudition running, as it were, in neutral gear, nor any pride more vainly misplaced than that in a tool valued as an end in itself.” While Bloch’s comment was made in the context of effective ways for writing history, his erudition is also transferable to morally honest methods of ferreting out the fallacies that are forever coupled with spurious ideologies — i.e., Hitler’s National Socialism, Bannon’s economic nationalism, etc. — and structures rooted in hate. Central to Hitler and Bannon’s project was/is cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is deeply grounded in exclusion and in “post-racial” America’s attempts to suppress African American votes in Florida, Ohio, and Texas, and demonstrates that the Poll Tax and Grandfather Clause are not disgraceful relics of the past. Persistent attempts to arrest African Americans’ progress are not because of White supremacists’ erroneous beliefs about Blacks but are driven primarily by fear. In the words of Public Enemy, a “Fear of a Black Planet.” As such, White-American political leaders with support from their bases have historically utilized laws to restrict the movements of Black bodies. W.E.B. DuBois reminds us that the usage of laws to restrict the movements of Black bodies goes back to the settlement of New Amsterdam. As such, the usage of legal strictures to control the trajectories of African Americans’ lives and the institutions that defend these laws are purposefully designed to protect and perpetuate White supremacy. While these laws are not framed by racial terminologies, their impacts are nevertheless consequential. p General Robert E. Lee’s statue on Monument Avenue Examples of consequences of these laws and the institutions charged with enforcing these legal strictures’ impacts on African Americans are plentiful. These legal and bureaucratic institutions, which permeate and shape and disadvantage African Americans, are ubiquitous. African Americans are  sentenced to longer prison terms than White-Americans for the same crimes. A Google search lays bare this often ignored fact. Equally important is: How many White-Americans have been sentenced to death for murdering African Americans? Do your research, readers. Next, the triumvirate of Western civilization — i.e., the Ancient, the Middle Ages, and the Modern — leaves non-White children to conclude that the Age of Adam and Eve began and was/is lorded over by whiteness in all its “infinite” genius. The greatness of Chinese, African and Incan civilizations are over-looked or treated at best as historical footnotes reminiscent of Okonkwo’s suicide in Chinua  Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. But these limited examples of structures that perpetuate White supremacy fail to capture the monopoly of key political and cultural institutions by White-Americans. Therefore, let me cite more contemporary examples common to “post-racial” America. First, White-American dominance in the workforce, as Tim Wise 2 observed in his “Explaining White Privilege,” is confirmed by…. “whites hold[ing] about ninety percent of all the management level jobs in this country, receiv[ing] about ninety-four percent of government contract dollars, and hold[ing] ninety percent of tenured faculty positions on college campuses.” Second, conservatives and their supporters are quick to tell us that the reason why African Americans earn less than White-Americans is because their educational attainment levels are  inferior to those of White-Americans. The assumption is that White-Americans’ monopoly over the leadership of America’s political, economic and cultural institutions is a function of their superior performances in k-16 and professional educational institutions. But appeals to merit based on educational outcomes fa \\ []KP[Y\X[\H\\Y\X[[Y\X[\YۈXY[ZXœ\ܛX[Kۈ]\YK\X[[Y\X[\ܛH]\[]KP[Y\X[ۈ[\^Y^[Z[][ۜ]Z\\ܛX[\™[]H[ܙX]\X[ [YH܈XY\\ݙ\[Y\X[XY[YYH[]][ۜ˂[][ܚXܙ[]]\K'[ MHHY\ZYXK]X]Bو][ܚܚ\\]K\Hܚ\\HZY K [Y\›[ܙH[\X[ܚ\XYBHXۙY\[\Hو[HXK™]X]K'H ]\H]\Hق\[X[H][\Z[\B\[Y[]]\[ۙx&\][ۈ[H[Y\X[\[H\Y\]\Y[YHˈ]KP[Y\X[\[XXH\[[X][HY[[X[&H]]H[XXHX\˂Y\[ H[\K\ۈYZ[ŒM X[\HܝYY\H^ܙ\Y\Y[H\Y][ˈ[B\ܞHوH[\ܛ\[K\[ܚ^YH[[X[Y[[\Z[][\\[\ܚX[ۘ\\˜Y[][\[HHHۜ]Y\وHؙHHH\\]\X[][ۋ\]\ܙ\[H][X“X[]H]Y]وH\ܚX[Xܙ]][\\[^\[YY[]H[K܈^[\K[H N H]]\[ݙ[Y[[Y\Y\H\[]X[ܘHYZ[[Y\Xx&\ܛ[š[[ZYܘ[[][ۋۙHوB]]\&H[\[[]\]]H[T^ۈ\[\BHH\ܜو]HY[]K\YܙK]\X[و]X\\ ][X[[[\ܚY[\H^YYH][\ˈ][۝[\ܘ\H[Y\XK\BۘHX[YۙYܛ\&H\[[\BYY[X\ٰp]B]\]Kܛܚ]H[\H[Y[H[Y]\Y][\˂X[Hو[H\H[]Y[Z\][ۈ]Y[ܛYYH[\۝HH]B\[XX\][YYH[\\›و[]\]Hو\[XH]Z\ܘ\[0[ܘ[Hܜ\Y[›و8'][0\XH\˸'B][\\H\ܚX[ۘ\ \[]][B][HۙYH\YBو\][\K\[\ܚX[ XۛZX[[\[\[N]H]KP[Y\X[\[XX\[Z\\ܝ\\X\œ\H[ۈXYX\˂H[ۂ[Y[Hق]H\[XX