I appreciate the fact that you took the time to respond.
Let me elaborate my explanation:
White supremacy is the system under which we all operate, worldwide. This is because Europeans colonized — dominated — countries worldwide by traveling across the world and taking control of other people’s resources; that is, money was stolen and the culture was altered to reflect whatever those Europeans thought important.
As a result, we ALL operate under a system of white supremacy, concentrated in the US and perhaps Britain because of the more aggressive attempts to justify it: ie, all other humans — anybody pigmented — are simply ‘subhuman.’ But present, worldwide, in some fashion or another.
We all still operate in this context, in part due to implicit bias. That is, even if our conscious intentions are good, our unconscious intentions tend to be more self-centered. For white people, this appears to seem natural: it defends their right to be first in line for resources. This is what we see when we look at groups in the US as a whole: white people always have more resources, whether it is medical, financial, or in terms of promotions, awards, or simple cultural ‘facts’ — blonde hair is ‘better,’ blue eyes are ‘better’ — which immediately frame that person as superior just for being born.
White people, as a group, still operate to maintain their power and dominance. One of the ways they do so is by automatically assuming that others are more violent, criminal, etc. This results in the very real statistical reality that we see: black men in particular, but also brown men, are overrepresented in the criminal system. From drilling down on data, it becomes clear that white men receive less time and less punishment overall for equivalent crimes. This is part and parcel of the coddling that all white people get, a consequence of the constant privileging that they give each other.
This subordination of black and brown to white peoples is partly achieved through semantics: by verbalizing the belief that brown and black people must be the dangerous ones. This is what I read in your writing.
Black people are classified this way because they are opposite of white in the binary; thus, they must be inferior in order for whites to maintain their dominance. Thus, from a cultural perspective, black men in particular are continually classified as ‘violent’ such that the dominant psychology of the group as a whole can continue to treat brown and black badly while simultaneously justifying it as “OK.”
“Arabs” are subject to similar stereotyping. That is, they are automatically considered violent until proven otherwise. This is a form of power maintenance: it allows white people to classify ‘Arabs’ as bad, thus making it easier to scapegoat when there is any question as to the criminal behavior.
It seems to me that you came to this conclusion so readily that you felt fine put it in writing for the world to see. This, to me, tells me that either you are deliberately cruel — that you want to classify violent people as Arab — or simply do not see how easily you were able to scapegoat one group of peoples without having any factual knowledge whatsoever about them. I prefer to assume your racism was unconscious. Regardless, it is just as harmful to brown/black peoples whether you meant it or not.
Like the writer of the piece, when I looked at that picture, I saw white men.
Your paragraph conveys two things to me:
- A strong tendency NOT see these men as white. It seems that others are perceiving them as white. I perceive your efforts to see them as other than ‘white’ as a form of denial.
- A strong tendency to see them as specifically ‘Arab,’ out of all the ethnicities that any light-skinned brown person could be — since you already seem to have concluded that they are brown — and this is hundreds of ethnicities.
So, this is what I see when I look at your response: the typical response I see from white people who are not willing to look at their very significant cultural privilege: that is, the readiness with which they absolve white people AND also implicate others, automatically, without thinking about its impact on the bulk of the world’s population.
Brown and black people comprise 90% of the human race. These sorts of conclusions which continue to scapegoat us, whether we are black or brown, should no longer be acceptable to anyone. That ten percent of the human race, worldwide, should be examining their psychology: why they are so willing to see others as inferior, whether it is conscious or not. Impact matters more to people of color, as a general rule.
I thank you for your willingness to engage in discussion.