We can honestly say the last months frightened at least some of us profoundly and this text was written two months ago. Who really believed Donald Trump could win serious elections and run one of the crucial roles in a global society, right? Many look to United States of America as other planet where this madhouse of hate is happening on every day basis, while here in Europe we pretentiously believe we are the region in the world with the most evolved and protected human rights. That we have learned so much from our very long history already, we overcame ideologies. We take this thought for granted even and feel shocked when someone losses it’s mind and causes a collective tragedy, we feel as this was an attack on the core of ideologies less European values.
Writes: Tjaša Kosar
This will not be about Trump, although the reason why he got elected should be taken extremely seriously all over the globe. Election analysis showed it was blatant racism that gave Donald Trump to the world, writes Amanda Marcotte for Salon.com, while Pulitzer’s, Nobel’s price winner and Princeton professor Toni Morrison showed the finger for Huffington Post even more accurate with saying fear of losing white privilege made him win possible. We believe racism and it’s gun fights on the streets belongs to USA. That this is a country where this horrible era of enslavement was happening, so of course now they have this problem. Guess what. Slave traders were Europeans and between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America, to feel demand for labor in plantation agriculture. Out of these 10.7 million Africans how many were they shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000.We don’t want to see the essence of the problem and where it is coming from. We don’t want to see why the problem is still here. Rising and rising.
Legacy of the Atlantic slave trade lingers long after slavery was abolished. It extended to Asian continent (India, China, etc.), Oceania (Australia, New Zealand), South America (Brasil, etc.).
Ethan B. Kapstein writes, “slavery and the global slave trade continue to this day; in fact, it is likely that more people are being trafficked across borders against their will now than at any point in the past.”
“For years, racism has been defined by the violence of far-right extremists, but a more insidious kind of prejudice can be found where many least expect it – at the heart of respectable society, says Reni Eddo-Lodge in the long-read in Guardian.
Racism can not be discussed without critical whiteness
“For years, racism has been defined by the violence of far-right extremists, but a more insidious kind of prejudice can be found where many least expect it – at the heart of respectable society, says Reni Eddo-Lodge in the long-read in Guardian. “If all racism was as easy to spot and denounce as white extremism is, the task of the anti-racist would be simple. People feel that if a racist attack has not occurred, or the word “nigger” has not been uttered, an action can’t be racist. If a black person hasn’t been abused or spat at in the street, it’s not racist. But racism thrives in places where those in charge do not align themselves with white extremist politics. The problem must run deeper,” the author reflects.
World Economic Forum statistics of comparing Europe harassing specific groups (Jews, Muslims, Women in religious dresses) with the rest of the world are shocking.
“I don’t know about what the situation is here in the UK but in continental Europe, in my country, and in all that – here I would ideally use a dirty word but I will not. Three, four points, parts of Europe which extends Slovenia, Croatia and up – Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, a little less Baltic countries. It’s kind of a neo-fascist racism and rehabilitation of fascism,” told Slavoj Žižek for Chanel 4. Let’s not forget, the far right is on the rise in the last years even in the most liberal parts of EU like Scandinavia. World Economic Forum statistics of comparing Europe harassing specific groups (Jews, Muslims, Women in religious dresses) with the rest of the world are shocking.
The EU’s handling of the migrant crisis stems largely from Western intervention in the Middle East and therefore the continuation of Western imperialism, says Daniel C. Blight in an essay of whiteness and contemporary art. Not even half of EU member states have implemented national action plans against racism or ratified the Protocol that would allow taking to court, reports Amnesty International, which also reported a year ago about despite a sharp increase in attacks targeting migrants and refugees, German authorities are ignoring racist motives in these attacks. European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) reported strong surge of nationalistic populism, xenophobic hate speech were key challenges in Europe in 2016.
“We tell ourselves that good people can’t be racist. We seem to think that true racism only exists in the hearts of evil people. We tell ourselves that racism is about moral values, when instead it is about the survival strategy of systemic power. When a large proportion of the population votes for politicians and political efforts that explicitly use racism as a campaigning tool, we tell ourselves that such huge sections of the electorate simply cannot be racist, as that would render them heartless monsters. But this isn’t about good and bad people,“ Reni Eddo-Lodge is continuing in a text with the title Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.
Let’s talk about white supremacy
The west was built on racism and it is time to face that, said dr. Kehinde Andrews, associate professor in sociology at Birmingham City University with his research specialism in race and racism for Guardian and here are some parts of his opinion:
“It is the lie that the three great revolutions – of science, industry, and politics are solely responsible for the advancement of the west. But in truth, none of this so-called progress happened without genocide in the Americas, barbaric slavery of African people and the colonization of most of the world by European powers. The dead white men we are trained to revere created the knowledge that justified this conquest and murder. But this narrow, Eurocentric parade of dead white men as the center of knowledge is finally being challenged in our institutions. And this is not a battle about ‘inclusion’ or ‘diversity’. It is not a debate that is simply academic. The knowledge that the establishment is so quick to defend, produced the racism that shaped the unjust world we live today…”
“The uncomfortable truth is that the world has been created in the founding fathers’ image of white supremacy. In the west we panic about childhood obesity, while in the Global South, a child dies every 10 seconds because of poor access to food. The myth of enlightened Europe, spreading the truth and progress across the world is so powerful because it helps us sleep at night. But global inequality is not an accident. It is by design. It provides the cheap labour and materials that mean we can afford so much for so little.”
A start of considering the invisible structures that reproduce white privilege
Have you ever had a moment in your life when you were looking at your skin and wishing it would be different? Would you be thinking what consequences that would bring? Racism is structural. It is institutionalised, a social construct, “expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other things,” would the first lines on simple Wikipedia tell to an internet explorer for meanings.
When we are talking about skin color our first association is not white. What if we start the other way around, where meanings like white privilege, white extremism, white dominance, white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism, colour-blindness, whitewashing, critical whiteness, white allies, start. What if white people, especially Europeans, look themselves in the mirror? How can they understand how this meanings manifest in practice, in the system, in society, in homes? We believe with putting them in the shoes of “others”. With actively listening to the “others”. Starting with not the absence of (critical) whiteness. And this space is meant to be full of it. Without being European-ish “polite”.
“The comfort of being
‘naturally better than’
is hard to give up.”
– Toni Morrison
(1) Marcotte, Amanada. 2017. New election analysis: Yes, it really was blatant racism that gave us President Donald Trump. Available on: http://www.salon.com/2017/04/19/new-election-analysis-yes-it-really-was-blatant-racism-that-gave-us-president-donald-trump/. (21.6.2017)
(2) Blay, Zeba. 2016. Toni Morrison: Fear Of Losing White Privilege Led To Trump’s Election. Available on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/toni-morrison-fear-of-losing-white-privilege-led-to-trumps-election_us_58330ee2e4b058ce7aac0964. (21.6.2017)
(3) Eddo-Lodge, Reni. 2017. Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. Avaliable on: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/30/why-im-no-longer-talking-to-white-people-about-race. (21.6.2017)
(4) Channel 4 News. 2017. Available on: https://www.facebook.com/Channel4News/videos/10154845916691939/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED. (21.6.2017)
(5) C. Blight, Daniel. 2017. Incoming: Photography, Contemporary Art, Whiteness. Available on: http://www.americansuburbx.com/2017/03/incoming-photography-contemporary-art-whiteness.html. (21.6.2017)
(6) Amnesty International. 2017. Available on: http://www.amnesty.eu/en/news/press-releases/eu/discrimination/roma/racism-and-discrimination-europes-key-human-rights-problem-0299/#.WVJgR1FpwdV. (21.6.2017)
(7) Council of Europe. 2016. Available on: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Library/PressReleases/AR-2017-250-EN.asp. (21.6.2017)
(8) Guardian. 2017. Available on: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2017/jan/18/the-west-was-built-on-racism-its-time-we-faced-that-video. (21.6.2017)
(9) Wikipedia. 2017. Available on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism. (21.6.2017)
(10) Saunders, Doug. 2016. The real reason Donald Trump got elected? We have a white extremism problem. Available on: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-politics/the-real-reason-donald-trump-got-elected-we-have-a-white-extremism-problem/article32817625/?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.com&service=mobile. (21.6.2017)