White Supremacy: The Grand Wizard of All ‘Quotas’
In professional settings, the word ‘quota’ is often used by white people in discussions about diversity and inclusion. When corporations require courses in diversity and inclusion, they often substitute words for action, creating a tokenized system which ultimately supports white supremacy because it fails to represent others in a comprehensive way. Tokens are used to symbolize the corporation’s focus on diversity while simultaneously maintaining a gross over-representation of white people, usually men, in higher level positions. In order to achieve this goal — speaking one thing while doing the opposite, AKA hypocrisy — a great deal of gaslighting and general deception is involved, inclusive of the deployment of the word ‘quota.’ As Robin DiAngelo points out repeatedly in White Fragility, a number of defensive mechanisms are deployed to maintain white supremacy. The word ‘quota’ is effectively utilized for a number of psychological reasons including a refusal to acknowledge the ongoing impact of our history — in particular with regard to African-Americans — and manipulative semantics that distort its genuine meaning. All of these issues could be addressed if white people who respond defensively would instead exhibit honesty in consideration of the word ‘quota’ and then, act appropriately.
Typically, in these corporate settings, the word ‘quota’ is used to significantly alter the meaning of attempts to correct centuries-long historically unfair policies. For example, in a meeting which includes discussion of how to increase inclusion (which would, by definition, decrease the significant over-representation of white people), white people often react as if they must unfairly cede their positions, etc to a black, brown, or indigenous (BBI)person. This attitude fails to acknowledge history which, most would agree, is a significant exclusion.
To allow BBI peoples representation is not ‘help,’ it is removing the very significant barrier of white supremacy that automatically favors whites, sometimes regardless of whether or not they are producing actual value, and leads to a gross over-representation of white people at higher levels. What white people call ‘quotas’ are merely reactionary to the original quota: whites only. When it comes to ‘quotas,’ these noxious white supremacist assumptions can be evaluated honestly in two general ways:
1. Attention to history and the way it still impacts human beings today; and
2. The manipulation of language in order to maintain white supremacy through deception, AKA ‘gaslighting.’
Attention to History and Its Resonating, Current Impact
The original quota, the Grand Wizard of all quotas, is the invention of whiteness. It was highly exclusive. When Europeans travelled worldwide, they employed European philosophers, scientists, artists, anthropologists, etc etc, all of whom declared the rest of the (nonwhite) world ‘subhuman.’ This shirking of basic humanity then allowed them to capture African peoples and, in succinct terms, use their African bodies to generate income that only went to white people. During this period of time — centuries — only white men were allowed to vote, generate income, own land, hold government positions, run their own businesses. Now, that is a quota: the Grand Wizard of all Quotas: only white men, or 5% of the human race, are EVER given opportunity. This is the first discussion point that should take place in any discussion that includes the word ‘quota:’ the Grand Wizard of Quotas is simply being born white, at least since this same group of people invented whiteness. This backdrop is the entire basis of our current dilemma.
2.Psychological Mechanisms of Denial: The ‘Bait ‘n Switch’ of White Supremacy
Often in these discussions about ‘quota,’ white people fail to acknowledge that all societies are connected to history and that, because white supremacy is still virulently active, it is not only historical but also current experience. We are still a white supremacist society as evidenced by the significant over-representation of white people at higher, power levels (corporate leadership; Congress). The word ‘quota’ itself implies a forced necessity, thus implying in turn that BBI cannot achieve without extra help. The implication is that the BBI is an indiscriminate choice, with its attendant implication that whites are the discriminate choice. This attitude persists through a collective system of denial.
Because it employs such profound denial, this conclusion is patently absurd. An honest definition of ‘quota’ is not BBI peoples getting a ‘free ride,’ as some will frame it, but the ‘free ride’ whiteness has conferred since it was invented for that very purpose. It may be worth noting that the affirmative action policies meant to provide some (however miniscule) opportunity to African-Americans and other BBI peoples often went, instead, to white women in disproportionate numbers. This, again, favors white supremacy regardless of the patriarchal implications.
As a result of establishing a functionally fascist quota — that is, 95% of the human race excluded — it obviously becomes necessary, in a society which is nominally equal at best, to ACT as if equality matters in order to compensate for reality. Self-deception is employed by those lacking the courage to face these facts directly. Continuing these discussion points without acknowledging that the original quota is still operative in its favoritism towards white people is profoundly embarrassing in its exclusion of facts. Most non-white peoples aren’t looking for 100% representation and the complete exclusion of everybody else — which is the foundation upon which Europeans invented whiteness — we are merely looking for equal representation, something that should have happened long ago in a country whose defining document, the Constitution, has claimed equality for centuries.
Speaking about equality in the condescending manner often deployed at these diversity and ‘inclusion’ meetings whilst continuing to come up with forms of manipulation and self-deception are not expressions of ‘merit;’ they’re denial, and more of what we’ve witnessed for centuries.
BBI peoples do not need the ‘help’ of white people in the form of ‘quotas.’ BBI peoples need whites to admit that they instituted the original ‘free ride’ for themselves — by making sure that nobody else had a chance, thus creating a one hundred percent quota — and then act in ways that acknowledge this profound, unearned privileging. This approach includes not only the examination of actual statistical facts but also the acknowledgement of the insidious psychological mechanisms some white people turn to when they want to maintain white supremacy while simultaneously conveying outwardly that they support equality. This hypocrisy cannot be sustained and must be met, by white people as a group, with a sincere attempt to perceive it accurately and then, to take appropriate action.