Friday, June 15, 2012

♬ The wheels on the white supremacy bus go round and round...all through the world ♬ (Part 1)

There's no doubt that white supremacy's roots can be traced back to the old colonialism of European empires--intent on controlling the world.  Spreading like those wandering Jews that will take over your garden if you let them (pun intended), white supremacy morphed into its latest neocolonialist iteration after adding the fruit of the same poisonous tree--the United States.

In exacting detail, Kwame Nkrumah described how the old became "neo" in his 1965 book,  Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism.   In his chapter on The Mechanics of Neo-colonialism, his definition of neocolonialism was as prescient then, as it is truthful now:
Faced with the militant peoples of the ex-colonial territories in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, imperialism simply switches tactics. Without a qualm it dispenses with its flags, and even with certain of its more hated expatriate officials. This means, so it claims, that it is ‘giving’ independence to its former subjects, to be followed by ‘aid’ for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’, which has come to be known as neo-colonialism. (emphasis his)
"Accomplishing objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism" remains white supremacy's obvious MO and there's much in the succinct wisdom of our ancestors that bears that out.  For example:  I'm willing to bet that if you are Black, born and raised here in these alleged United States and are at least 45 years old--you've heard someone in your family say, "Every good-bye ain’t gone, and every shut eye ain’t sleep!”  For me, it was my grandmother and my father's grandmother; then later, my mother and her siblings.

That piece of passed-down, spiritual wisdom meant--at least on the surface--that though someone had died, it didn’t mean they weren't still present, guiding you through life’s ups and downs.  However, just like those old Negro spirituals, pregnant with so many coded meanings for enslaved Africans (particularly in the Deep South)--that's hardly all it means.

In his 1977 essay, "Every good-bye ain’t gone" (scroll to pages 64 - 74 at the link), James Baldwin addresses a couple of its other meanings.  The first, speaks to those  physical and spiritual comings and goings through which new and profound revelations emerge, as in his eloquent and truthful explanations about why he said, "Goodbye" to America for France in the first place--and why he didn't stay "gone."  One of my favorite take-aways:

"I had not conceived then, that I had only to study the hieroglyphic of my circumstances if I wished to decipher my inheritance."

While I watched the video below from Asabanga's, "Racism in France" post, a second, at once sinister and promising meaning, pounded so loudly in my head that I jumped--as if my Gra'mama was standing right behind me, saying over my shoulder, "Hunnah ain' no'??  Evry good-bye ain’ gone, and evry shut eye ain’ sleep!"  And as I sat on the edge of my seat transfixed, it was clear how her nugget of wisdom applied to what I was seeing.

In this case, I saw the first part of the wisdom as sinister, because, as we saw with the riots in England last summer, the French colonialists-cum-neocolonialists in the video, continue to flex their same-shit-different-day, privileged, white supremacy ("Every good-bye ain't gone!").  They just refuse to let go of that whole "Divine Right" thing, no matter where they are (even if it means propping up a face that looks like ours to maintain it!)--and we continue to let them.

But, the second part of the wisdom is so very promising in that, playing out right before my eyes, was an extremely exciting, non-empty-suit-wearin,' no big "Race-Speech"-givin' exception--in the person of one, Ali Soumare′.  This Socialist candidate of West African parents who, unlike the Changeling, is walking his talk for the marginalized--unashamed and, uninhibited by political expediency ("Every shut eye ain't sleep!").

Baldwin gets this other meaning beautifully!  On page 72 of his piece, he described exactly what I was seeing:
I have been in and out of my country, in and out of various cauldrons, for a very long time, long enough to see the doctrine of white supremacy return, like a plague, to the continent which spawned it.  This is not a bitter statement, it comes, to tell the truth, out of love, for I am thinking of the children.  I watch here, for example -- French and Algerian  children trying to become friends with each other, reacting to, but not yet understanding, the terrors of their parents, and very far indeed from having any notion of the terrors of the state.  They have no way of knowing that the state is menaced and shaken to the degree, precisely, that they, themselves, the presumed victims, or at least, the wards of the state, make manifest their identity -- which is not what it might be, either for better or for worse, if they were still in Algeria.  They cannot possibly know that they, ex-slave and ex-master, cannot be used as their fathers were used -- that all identities, in short, are in question, are about to be made new. (emphasis mine)
Keeping Mr. Baldwin's words in mind, please watch the video.  And as you do, 1) compare the experiences of those in the French "suburbs," with those of us "Others" living here in America, and 2) contrast, if you can, the behavior of the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy (WSCP) here and abroad:

On page 74, Baldwin again, in no uncertain terms, states the "every goodbye ain't gone" meme:
So, I could talk about the European panic, which takes so monotonous a form:  but what is happening in Europe, now, to blacks, and to other unprecedented niggers, has been happening for a very long time.
And 35 years later--it still is.

Somebody please tell me, when are we going to realize that doing the same things only gets us the same results?!  Soumare′ seems to realize it, hopefully he can hold onto it.


I'd intended to offer my own blow-by-blow observations of the video, but the post would never end!  So I'll just pull out a few gems:

- Mayor of Villiers-le-Bel (1:27click): "It is the second night of violence in Villiers-le-Bel. This violence is unacceptable. The anger can be understood, but what has happened can’t be understood."

Or in this case, a French gendarme or two, running two teenagers over with their vehicle as is expounded upon in the video by lawyer, Houcine Bardi (3:01 - 3:47 click):
“How did the situation develop?  Two young people on a motorcycle, aged 13 and 15, refused to stop when the police asked them to do so. The police gave chase and ran them down.  These two young men were killed. Why?  Because they disobeyed the police signal.  So it was out of spite.” (emphasis mine)
Not only does Monsieur Vaillan not understand the anger, he has no clue why what happened, happened!  Baldwin clears it up on page 68 of the essay though:
The power of the social definition is that it becomes, fatally, one's own...Rage and misery can be a source of comfort, simply because one has lived with misery and rage of so long.  But to accept this rage and misery as a source of comfort is to enter one of the vicious circles of hell.  One does not, after all, forgive the world for this horror, nor can one forgive oneself.  Because one cannot forgive oneself, one can not forgive others, or, even, really, see others--one is always striking out at the wrong person, for only some other, poor, doomed innocent, obviously, is likely to be in striking range.  One's self-esteem begins to shrivel, one's hope for the future begins to crack.  In reacting against what the world calls you, you endlessly validate its judgment.
 As WarIndia Arie  and the only TV judge I've ever given the time of day, Judge Lynn Toler have all articulated, "The world is a ghetto" (French "suburbs" included), one constructed by the powers-that-be.  Per Toler:  "Black is who you are, what you were and what you have survived.  Ghetto is a state of being, something thrust upon you, something that happens to you."

No shit.

- Thibault Bacca (2:07 - 3:04 click) identifies the main reason the "ghetto world" doesn't stand a damned chance--the Fourth Estate.  Still controlling the global narrative, it defines what is right and what is wrong; what is worthy of coverage and what is not; constantly spinning and manipulating the masses, depending on which way they, the Estate, lean--rather than just giving them the straight out facts and letting them decide for themselves (such is patriarchy).

Soumare′ cosigns Bacca's observation, and, most importantly, he refuses to sugarcoat French society's responsibility for their socio-economic shortcomings (unlike our, "a rising tide lifts all boats," "take off your bedroom shoes and put on your marchin' shoes," first, Black president--who bailed out the damned banks, while Black, wanted-to-be homeowners, suffocated under the weight of the crooked deals struck by those he saved).

-Narrator (4:47 click):  "At the time of the 2007 riots, Ali Soumare′ was asked, by the victims' families, to act as their spokesman.  That experience, led him to start a revolution of his own--to run as a candidate for the Socialist Party in the French regional elections of 2010." (emphasis mine)  Well now!  That's head-and-shoulders above, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," no?

-Dominique Lefbvre, Cergy mayor (5:20 click):  "Ali has fought for socialism for a long time.  He joined the party in 2002 in Val D'oise and has been a part of the team in charge of Villiers-le-Bel since 2005...He knows these suburbs and the poorer areas because he grew up there.  He is the right candidate to establish dialogue and good relations with the people there." (emphasis mine) What a concept, right?!

-Lawyer, Houcine Bardi on ghettos (6:06 - 6:46 click):  "They are a product of history.  The French authorities and the political environment played a large role in establishing them."  Does anybody else besides me hear Judge Toler's words reverberating?

-Ali Soumare′ (7:33 click):  Marginalising these suburbs starts at the early stages of planning and construction...For example, this suburb is very close to Charles de Gaulle airport.  Not more than 8km away.  According to statistics, not more than 15% of the people working in the airport are from our suburb."  Can't the same be said for our airports, and those who live near them?
-Blonde, Miss Ann to Soumare′ (8:28 -  8:39 click):  "Let's make it a campaign of all people from all places and origin.  This is very important.  Jobs for all, France welcomes everyone, doesn't it?"
Soumare′:  "Yes, sure."  (Priceless!)
Just had to set that "delicate, white rose" apart from the rest. But please, do watch his body language throughout this little, quasi-tête-à-tête--wherein she dictates to him, not only what is good for France, but what France IS (as if he doesn't know).  Just more, inherently-fearful-cuz-I-know, same-shit-different-day, privileged, white supremacy bullshit.  Come on now, how many times have you heard that, "for all," and "welcomes everyone" shit when it looks like a Black man/person particularly--if they have the stones--jes' might get into a position to have some real say (read power) over how their beat goes on? I tell you, fear of being replaced by (or of reprisal from?) the "savages" is somethin' else, ain't it?

I know, I know--I said I wasn't gonna do this but, just a couple more, m'kay?

-Lawyer, Houcine Bardi speaking some racial truths that nobody in the WSCP dare own (14:40 - 15:09 click):  "His skin colour had a lot to do with the smear campaigns.  A black person or an Arab, particularly a black, is the 'other'.  He doesn't have the right to be part of such contests and to assume a position he is not allowed to have in the first place.  Meaning his color is his flaw.

-Ali Soumare′ (15:36 click):  "Media coverage was exceptional.  It was a circus.  There were news agencies from all over the world.  Particularly those who never showed up when invited to our cultural events.  But when i comes to this type of rioting, they re always around...News agencies were in a difficult situation and were often unwelcome.  In a crisis you can't welcome a media that stigmatises the suburbs. "  Imagine that!

There's so much more in the video upon which I  could  comment,  but as I said--the post would never end!  But please, don't get it twisted, I'm hardly blind to the alabaster skin of those who politically "support" Soumare′ (Hell, the Cergy mayor who spoke in such flowery terms about him--shares the same name as the UMP spokesman who, for all intents and purposes, called him a damned liar from the 14:08 - 14: 37 click! ).

What is important to me though, is his ability to form mutually beneficial alliances (unlike those we've previously formed, see Part 2 of this post)--from which, those he asked to trust him, can clearly see some demonstrable changes.  Hey!  I don't think that's too much to expect!

I want to end with my old buddy, Jimmy; he's always been a more than comfortable garment into which I could slip whenever I felt like I'm the one who's crazy:
"I suspect, though I certainly cannot prove it, that every life moves full circle--toward revelation:  You begin to see, and even rejoice to see,what you always saw.  You can even tell anguish to sit down, and shut up, you're busy right now--and anguish, as you should certainly know by now, ain't to go nowhere.  It might go around the corner, on a particularly bright day, and there are those days:  but anguish has your number, knows, to paraphrase the song, where you live.  It's a difficult relationship, but mysteriously indispensable. It teaches you. (emphasis mine)
Mr. James Baldwin

Be taught, family...


Asabagna said...

Didier Lapeyronnie (27:14 click): "It's symptomatic, he is black so he is a delinquent"

Sis Deb, your post is poetry in motion. It's so enlightening and deep, I had to watch the documentary again to fully absorb and appreciate the wisdom you dispel here.

Once you post part 2, I would like to link both post at AfroSpear. Unfortunately, most of our people won't get it, but that just proves the truth of the word of God:
"Many are called, but few are chosen"

Excellent post!

DebC said...

Thank you my Brother, it's been weighing heavily on my mind, and I can't lie--it feels good to know there are others out there, NOT willing to just "tilt at windmills."

I had some commentary on some of Monsieur Lapeyronnie's comments as well, but I didn't want to drone on (glad you watched it again!).

Whether "most" get it or not, I still gotta say it, Brother! And of course you can repost! Working on Part 2 right now; should be done with it tonight.

Thanks again, Man.

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