By MURPHY BROWNE (Abena Agbetu)
“Racism (White Supremacy) is the local and global power system and dynamic, structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as White, whether consciously or subconsciously determined, which consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war), for the ultimate purpose of White genetic survival and to prevent White genetic annihilation on planet Earth – a planet upon which the vast majority of people are classified as non-White (Black, brown, red and yellow) by White skinned people, and all of the non-White people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin colouration) compared to the genetic recessive White skin people.”
From “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” by Dr. Francis Cress Welsing.
March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Dr. Francis Cress Welsing is one of the recognized voices that have defined “racism”.
She is an African-American psychiatrist whose definition of racism has been explored and documented in “The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy),” published in 1970 and “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” published in 1990. Dr. Cress Welsing was born on March 18, 1935, during the time when African-Americans were forced to live, study and work in a segregated United States of America.
Even though she was born and raised in Chicago, which was the destination of thousands of African-Americans who fled the Jim Crow south, Cress Welsing would still have witnessed the racist practices of White America. Emmet Till, the 14-year-old African-American child who was brutally beaten and lynched on August 28, 1955 (for supposedly whistling at a White woman in Money, Mississippi), was born and raised in Chicago. As a 20-year-old African-American woman at that time, Cress Welsing would have known about Till and the many other African-Americans lynched by White Americans (www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDCk4s0Cof4).
From July 27 to August 3, 1919, just 16 years before Cress Welsing was born, White American mobs in Chicago lynched African-Americans and destroyed their homes. In spite of the atrocities that White Americans committed against their African-American compatriots for more than 400 years, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is hardly recognized in the U.S.
The date March 21 was chosen to recognize and address the scourge of racism because of the massacre of Africans in South Africa during the apartheid era. On March 21, 1960, a group of Africans in Sharpeville, South Africa were peacefully demonstrating against the White supremacist apartheid “pass laws” when they were murdered by White police.
The Sharpeville Massacre, where 69 Africans were killed and almost 300 wounded (shot in the back as they fled police gunfire) led to worldwide condemnation of the White minority who had seized power in the African nation. The government in South Africa at the time was in power because Africans were denied the right to vote in their own country.
In the wake of the Sharpeville Massacre, where the White minority government declared a state of emergency and arrested more than 18,000 people, even the very conservative United Nations was forced to take a stand and condemn the action of the state-sanctioned massacre of peacefully protesting Africans.
In 1966, the General Assembly of the UN proclaimed March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The UN called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Although condemned by the UN, many of the world powers continued to trade with the apartheid minority White supremacists who ruled and oppressed Africans in South Africa.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan had to be forced to sign the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 into law. He vetoed the Act, which was sponsored by African-American U.S. Representative, Ron Dellums, in 1972 with support from the Congressional Black Caucus and Representative Howard Wolpe, chair of the House Africa Subcommittee. Reagan’s veto of the law was overridden by Congress by a tally of 78 to 21 in the Senate and 313 to 83 in the House of Representatives. The Canadian government and various institutions in Canada, including Carleton University and the University of Toronto, colluded with the White supremacist apartheid government of South Africa by refusing to divest and continuing to trade with the government and South African companies long after the UN called for sanctions.
Africans in Canada, whether they are the descendants of Africans who were enslaved by the French in the 1600s, or by White United Empire Loyalists after 1776, or fled slavery in America and sought freedom in Canada, or immigrated from the Caribbean beginning in the 1830s after slavery was abolished by Britain, are subjected to a White supremacist culture.
The African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC), in a report dated January 24, 2012, wrote as part of its submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD):
“Canadian society is still affected by racism and racial discrimination. Because of its history, Canadian society, as in all the countries of North and South America, carries a heavy legacy of racial discrimination, which was the ideological prop of trans-Atlantic slavery and of the colonial system. The ideological aspect of this legacy has given rise to an intellectual mindset which, through education, literature, art and the different channels of thought and creativity, has profoundly and lastingly permeated the system of values, feelings, mentalities, perceptions and behaviours, and hence the country’s culture. Racist stereotypes are the result but also the cause of racist practices. In the past, stereotypes of Black people were used to justify slavery and segregation. Today, they provide the basis for discriminatory policies and practices such as over-policing of African Canadian communities, police brutality, disparities in sentencing, disproportionate discipline of African Canadian students, and failure to implement equitable policies to address disparities in employment, economics, and education. These phenomena reveal a legislative, administrative and judicial focus on the perceived deviance of members of the African Canadian community and ignorance of their underlying socioeconomic and historic causes.”
Usually when the word “racism” is mentioned there are denials and excuses. Some of the more famous and ridiculous pronouncements:
“I am not a racist. I have friends of all races. I treat everyone the same. I do not see colour.”
Racism is more than one White person making derogatory comments about a racialized person or a group of racialized people. It is more than some random White person deciding not to give a job to a qualified racialized person. Racism is the White supremacist culture that allows and, in many cases, encourages White people to act out their prejudices and negatively affect the lives of racialized people. It is the power invested in White skin which allows the discrimination and the prejudice to cause harm to racialized people.
In recent years there have even been White people who recognize and acknowledge the existence of White skin privilege and the scourge of racism. When Peggy McIntosh writes in her well-publicized piece, “White Privilege; Unpacking the Knapsack,” about the unearned privileges of White skin colour, she knows what she is writing about, being one of the privileged (http://education2.uvic.ca/Faculty/hfrance/White%20Privilege%20Unpacking%20the%20Invisible%20Knapsack.htm). After listing all the unearned privileges of her White skin, McIntosh writes:
“Disapproving of the systems won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if White individuals changed their attitudes. But a White skin in the United States opens many doors for Whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end, these problems. To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these taboo subjects. Most talk by Whites about equal opportunity seems to be now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.”
Cress Welsing, who will be speaking about her definition of racism at York University on Saturday, March 30, as an African-American who has lived in a racist White supremacist society her entire life says:
“The system of Racism (White Supremacy) utililizes deceit and violence (inclusive of chemical warfare, biological warfare and psychological warfare), indeed Any Means Necessary, to achieve its ultimate goal objective of White genetic survival and to prevent White genetic annihilation on planet Earth. In the existing system of Racism (White Supremacy) when the term is undefined and poorly understood there is general confusion and chaos on the part of the victims of that system (local, national and global). It then becomes impossible for the victims of racism (White Supremacy) to effectively counter the global system of Racism (White Supremacy). The African enslavement, imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, fascism, etc., are all dimensions and aspects of Racism (White Supremacy).”