There were never “lessons” on Race. Later, we knew about colored people and white people, but never to the extent those terms would become clear during the late sixties and early seventies, when I was coming of age.

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When I was a child, my Mother and my Nana didn’t talk about Race as an intellectual exercise and certainly not often if my brother and I were within hearing distance. There were never “lessons” on Race. Later, we knew about colored people and white people, but never to the extent those terms would become clear during the late sixties and early seventies, when I was coming of age. They never actually sat us down to explain the situation. There was never the “talk” Black parents know instinctively today to have with their children or the talks I am almost positive parents routinely had with their children in the South about white people. When I was about seven or eight, I could have been Emmett Till in Chicago before he met his untimely fate in Money Mississippi, unaware of the danger of being Black around white people. …


“How could the use of a seemingly benign color wheel to ascribe value to the performance of children have any connotation inside of the White Supremacist ideology when clearly the idea lives outside of it?”

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Photos and graphics by Unknown Authors are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

My soon to be seven year old grandson came home excited about his performance in school. His mother asked him, “what color did you get today?” He pretended nonchalance, sighed once, and asserted, “I got Purple.” His mother was pleased.

I asked him what the color for his performance that day represented and he told me it meant he had done a “Great Job.” Other representations for performance in his first grade class were measured by the colors, Pink for “Outstanding,” Blue for “Good Day,” Green, for “Ready to Learn” Yellow, for “Stop and Think,” which was third to the worst. Still others were Orange, for Teacher’s Choice, and the worst, Red, for Parent Contact. These color swatches for behavior and achievement gave me an uneasy pause for the apparent dubiousness these distinctions posed through the use of benign colors. …


This egalitarian society envisioned in the 1960s, however, could not have been further from the truth, and what Black people really got instead was much more insidious.

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When the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 and amended in 1968 with the Fair Housing Act, many Black people in the United States thought they would finally receive an opportunity for Racial parity. The emphasis on desegregation and integration into white spaces and places, specifically within education, housing, and employment, was positioned as a panacea for equality, equity, opportunity and justice. The idea was strictly economic; sharing these spaces and places would cause an equality paradigm shift through erasure of color as a distinction. It was thought that if a viable comparison could be drawn among Black and white people through shared economic struggle, an intersection could be placed smack in the middle of economic success and a colorlessness nation could finally be achieved with Black and white people living and working together. Most who believed in a colorless nation even went so far as to pretend the founding fathers were actually attempting to accomplish the very spirit of a more perfect, colorless Union, by transmuting their newly collective ideas about the races in the wake of the words, “all men” and “created equal.” This egalitarian society envisioned in the 1960s, however, could not have been further from the truth, and what Black people really got instead was much more insidious. …


Abraham Lincoln knew all too well about the assignment of the superior position of the white race by virtue of the assignment of the color white to human bodies.

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“…and inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” — Abraham Lincoln


The Paradox of Having It Both Ways

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During the last half of the twentieth century through part of the first quarter of the twenty-first century, the Post-Racial Color Blind Era literally caused the color white to disappear out of the lexicon of American discourse after years of being prefaced with the word, “man.” For a nation that began its rise using a Racial color wheel, this Era was extremely consequential, even within the apparent invisibility of the Era’s movement through time.

For people who identify as “white” today but would rather be referred to as “normal,” a “colorless” distinction placed them into another position of separation from everyone else in the nation. Moreover, in having been moved off the color wheel, they were once again effectively excluded from the entirety of humanity without even realizing it. In fact, today, the paradoxical, push-pull of white vs. normal and white vs. colorless in the United States is dividing its white citizens against themselves. …


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Racism is often misunderstood when people are given to convoluted expressions of bias borne out of the ideology of White Supremacy and are inadvertent victims of the Post-Racial Color Blind era where “individual behavior” virtually became synonymous with the term, “Racism” and rendered it an abstract concept as opposed to an actual, working system within all American institutions.

For average, everyday white people, much of what is unknown or allowed to be made willfully ignorant of with regard to Racism lies in both the bootstrapping and meritocracy myths perpetuated on these “everyday” white people by those in power who share their color and who subjugate them economically. These myths propagate the notion of achievement to the highest levels of success, attainment of which is only garnered through sweat, blood, tears and hard, hard work. None of these prerequisites of course, are even remotely the reasons for the achievement and distribution of wealth among the ultra-wealthy and powerful, since most of the wealth is heir reinforced all the way from the Gentry class of white people in the burgeoning new states of America during the 17th century to today. Since economic success is the typically the only measurement by which the average white person is able to construe his or her achievement and experience in the United States, many believe economic success is a valid measurement for the existence of Racism in the U.S. When behavior is coupled with this notion of achievement or lack thereof, it presents a warped view of Racism, i.e., …


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Today, the Nation is in a position not very unique from just before the Civil Rights movements for change or even the period just before the Civil War erupted, even as it feels like nothing the nation has ever experienced before in its history. It may very well be that two or more eras will mark this period of time, people, and experiences in the future. One thing for certain, however, is the generational division which still exists among the nation’s people on account of Race.

Yet, the Nation continues to feign shock and surprise over the rise of White Supremacy and the proliferation of Racism. This fantasizing over its greatness and denial of what it actually looks like to the world, coupled with tacit ac­know­ledge­ment of the failure of its promise, and the reliance on pretense, is now jeopardizing the very Democracy upon which this country was built. …


(Excerpted from the upcoming text, tentatively titled, White Supremacy and the Post Racial Color Blind Era: Exploring Visible and Invisible Whiteness and Racism in America — An Unbook Look)

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Texts, studies, and discussions surrounding Race and Racism were already popular, principally in Academia within Sociology circles, with the idea of Race and Racism existing as social constructs. While history teaches that Race and Racism were undoubtedly constructed, many popular interpretations for their existences only added to the hundreds of convoluted narratives and characterizations of Race and Racism being formulated and presented in reference books and academic studies on the subjects. …


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At the Republican National Convention opening on Monday, August 24th, 2020, Nikki Haley was one of those chosen to give a speech in support of Donald Trump’s America. One of the most striking remarks of her speech was her declaration, that Racism does not exist in America. She declared that it is simply “fashionable” for the Democratic Party “to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country.” She didn’t say, “anymore,” or “finally.”


In honor of the revolutionary’s birthday, race essayist Dr. Cynthia Alease was tasked with addressing his ideas, and her connection with them as an educator and Black woman. She doesn’t hold back, and we think Mr. Garvey wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I can be described as not an ordinary anti-racism essayist and educator, which probably means absolutely nothing to people who don’t subscribe to the subjective meanings of terms such as ordinary and normal. However, by prefacing my essay about Marcus Garvey on the fact of my non-ordinary status, I am giving myself license to be different than those who celebrate Marcus Garvey totally and utterly. You see, I am somewhat ambivalent about him; his intent and interest in going back to a place he had never been, and his motivation for wanting to do so. …

About

Dr. Cynthia Alease Smith

Anti-Racism Essayist & Educator offering discussions about Race, Racism, White Supremacy and the language used, from perspectives not ordinarily considered

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