The Tactical Heart of White Supremacy
White supremacy is a fundamentally deceptive concept invented in the context of Macchiavellian conquest. As such, Europeans have historically ‘conquered’ other countries through a combination of contrived lies, the invention of ‘race,’ and a host of other deceptive maneuvers summarized in Macchiavelli’s The Prince. More recently, Robert Greene published a book which summarizes these tactics called The 48 Laws of Power, in which he illustrates the essence of political deception and the individual requirement to deceive in order to dominate.
This necessary deception is illustrated by Robin DiAngelo in White Fragility, in which she outlines the deceptive nature of ‘whiteness’ vis a vis white liberals. DiAngelo notes that white liberals are focused most intently on maintaining their own perception of themselves as ‘good’ people rather than addressing anti-racism in constructive ways, and that they do so to protect white supremacy and their dominance. Sadly, white liberals lie not only to others but also to themselves when they take this tack, one which allows them to feel like ‘good’ people by shunning ‘bad’ white people. These bad white people are the more obvious racists who, even if they lack a true sense of morality or equality are, at the very least, honest about it. As a result, white liberal ‘goodness’ is, in this regard at least, more fundamentally deceptive — more Macchiavellian in its stance — than is even the most obvious racist. DiAngelo underlines this reality by showing the ways in which white liberals support the dictates of conquest.
The invention of ‘whiteness’ some five or so centuries ago had one binary purpose: support the false narrative of superiority of European peoples, thus guaranteeing that a plethora of (others’) resources will automatically accrue to white people, regardless of achievement, ability, or basic humanity. In other words, Europeans invented ‘whiteness’ so that they could steal the resources of a wide number of brown, black, and indigenous peoples worldwide and justify this inhumane brutality — uniquely elaborated on a worldwide stage — as superiority.
As such, white supremacy only exists as a tool for dominance. White supremacy is the first worldwide invention of sanctioned brutality, and it involves a minority of humans (Europeans, c. 10%) routinely denigrating a majority of humans (POC, 90% worldwide) and, in order to avoid facing the amorality of this choice, lying to themselves about it.
“White man speak with forked tongue,” a quotation credited to Chief Joseph (obviously a ‘given’ white name) when he realized Washington lied to him, expresses the core of white supremacy. It is a clever metaphorical representation of the deception required to steal land and create possession and property through brutality, then name it ‘civilization.’ This denial of reality — one which white people collectively continue to maintain — invents a degree of ethical certainty where there isn’t any. Sadly, white people collectively cling to this toxic and dangerous myth, one that has led to the murders of literally millions of people worldwide. This unfortunate cognitive dissonance in which many white people operate allows enough distortion of reality to continue to dominate AND simultaneously lie to themselves about it, which is the very embodiment of Macchiavellian dominance.
Unfortunately, the invention of white supremacy which allowed so much unearned benefit for white people at the expense of others, worldwide — a necessity of the zero-sum nature of Macchiavellianism and conquest — still persists. Due in part to an apparently-increasing white ‘ignorance’ — one which is required to shield from a despicable, centuries-long reality — white supremacy continues to operate actively.
This approach is typical of white liberals, whose ‘have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too’ stance requires either they admit their dominance or lie to themselves. As DiAngelo points out, white liberals tend to take the latter stance, thus letting themselves off the hook and — perhaps more importantly — keeping white supremacy alive in a fundamentally Macchiavellian fashion in which they deceive even themselves.
Channel-Shifting to Economics
In conversations about white supremacy, ‘channel-shifting’ discussions about race to economics is extremely common among white people. Because the concept of race always favors white people regardless of any other factor or trait, its elaboration exposes white people as both permanently and significantly privileged. In order to counteract this exposure — one which reveals white supremacy and its continued, significant power — white people often pick up the conversational ‘remote control’ and switch the ‘channel’ to class issues, typically underlining the presence of poor white people (‘Appalachia’ is a common reference) while neglecting to pursue the original topic of conversation: race. The conversation typically veers off topic as the white person discusses the need to change the economic milieu.
‘Channel-shifting’ is described in DiAngelo’s book, where she states that white people often talk about how ‘I was picked on because I…grew up poor’ as a response to discussions about race. (77)
This ‘channel-shift’ not only centralizes white priorities but also renders invisible their advantage. This attitude is reflected in Greene’s Laws #6 and #15 ‘Court attention at all costs,’ and ‘Crush your enemy totally,’ respectively. Note that, in centralizing white priority, this person guarantees that white priorities — in this case, economic disadvantage — matter most, that the attention is always shifted to whatever may be the issue for white people. As a corollary, channel-shifting forces the original central discussion point, race, to the periphery at best, and possibly even renders it completely invisible. This approach is a variant on crushing the enemy: in essence, anything that may help the subordinate (POC) gain equality is readily quashed. From a philosophical standpoint, this approach is about conquest, and one of the most important factors in the maintenance of leadership in the hands of ‘leaders.’
Automated ‘Leadership:’ Current Embodiment of Manifest Destiny
The concept of European ‘leadership’ was established as a necessity of conquest. It is strongly implied by the invention of white supremacy, and in the particulars, was reflected by another toxic concept: Manifest Destiny. In summary, Manifest Destiny is yet another invention of Europeans in which they claim that God has chosen them as the leaders of the world automatically. Unfortunately for the dictates of human morality, this distorted concept still exists in the minds of many white people and as such, as part of collective white belief. At some level, most white people still behave as if they deserve to be the leaders without regard for whether or not they are in possession of many, some, or no leadership traits. In essence, this expectation implies that white people have an automated right to be leaders simply by being born white.
DiAngelo outlines some of the ways white people react to challenges to their automated assumptions of superiority by showing the ways in which white people assume their ‘leadership.’ This illustrates the fundamental, embedded belief that white supremacy is legitimate and, in the case of white liberals, allows them to lie to others and themselves about this fundamentally immoral stance.
DiAngelo states that white people have an ‘internalized superiority and sense of a right to rule’ which reflects a deep internal state of presumptive dominance regardless of actual achievement. (100)
Throughout her book, DiAngelo emphasizes the (subconscious?) ways that white people assume their leadership position. For example, white people often respond to discussions about racism by stating ‘I will be the judge of whether racism has occurred.’ (121). In this case, the white person’s presumption that he/she can judge racism despite the fact that white people do not deal with racism (as a manifestation of prejudice and power) directly underlines collective and individual white investment in automated superiority. That is, white people deem themselves in charge even in cases where they are least likely to understand the situation; ie, in all contexts, supporting the original crime of Manifest Destiny.
In another example, DiAngelo reports that white people often blame POC for NOT explaining racism to them, as if it is the white person who decides limitations for POC (104). Again, this stance implies strongly that whites perceive themselves as the deciders for POC, also implying that POC need help in making conclusions about their own experiences — from white people!
The fundamental Macchiavellianism of this approach, one which dictates that white people are always the leaders, is illustrated by Greene’s Laws #11 and 31: ‘Learn to keep people dependent on you’ and ‘Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal’ respectively. Law #11 is embodied in the idea that white people decide when racism has occurred, how bad it is, and when they are the white victims of domineering POC demands for equality. In other words, by dictating that they are always leaders, white people as a collective force POC to be dependent on them through actual statistical reality. In the highly homogenous, white-dominated managerial and executive positions in Fortune 500 companies (white males) and virtually all publishing companies (white women), this belief that white people deserve leadership just for being white is illustrated in their routine choices. The assertion that only white people know when racism is happening despite the fact that they’re least qualified based on intrinsic experience reflects this distorted belief; that is, whites get to be in charge even of things about which they have no knowledge.
Greene’s Law #31, ‘Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal,’ illustrates the fundamentally deceptive white belief that they are allowed to force others to play by their rules; that is, they are automatically deemed ‘leaders’ in any context.
By creating a system in which whites automatically ‘win,’ regardless of intrinsic contribution or the presence — or complete dearth, as is often the case — of actual leadership traits, they gain the power which they use to force others to ‘play’ by white rules. Because this is a centuries-long embodied reality, the system creates a vicious cycle in which the ‘ignorant’ white person — in possession of this belief in superiority AND a refusal to admit it, in the case of white liberals— continues to fester, maintaining the rot of that ‘ignorance.’ By doing so, white people are able to control outcomes in their favor AND refuse to admit that this stance embodies the black-and-white (so to speak) binary of conquest.
White supremacy is a one-trick pony: it exists for conquest only. Yet, these approaches — which should never have happened in a context claiming ‘equality’ — persist even centuries later. This persistence is achieved through a deliberate ‘ignorance’ on the part of white people as a group — a refusal to see that continued maintenance of white supremacy is a direct and indirect result of both overt white supremacists and covert white liberals.
In fact, within the formal dictates of Macchiavellianism, white liberals are more deceptive — even towards themselves — and in this context embrace the dictates of white supremacy more than any other group.
White ‘ignorance’ is well past its expiration date after centuries of this sort of binary behavior about which they have been informed for decades. At some point, POC will have to decide that this sort of covert participation in the active maintenance of white supremacy is the same forked-tongue behavior Chief ‘Joseph’ underlined four centuries ago and proceed with only true allies by POCs’ sides. It has long been time to eliminate the tactical heart of white supremacy: let’s put a stake in it.