HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » "Today my 8 year old chil...

Sun May 31, 2020, 06:12 AM

"Today my 8 year old child asked if slavery will be coming back.

That is what your white privilege does.”

That's my black friend on Facebook today. Below her “status” I heard crickets for an hour.
I asked if I could speak freely. She said, “Have I ever stopped you? Even if I don’t agree?”

Outside the personal, here’s some of what I told her.
The rest I'm saying is to us here, in this nation and point in history.

The way I see white privilege is this.
Some actually own and revel in their white privilege. I’m not them.
What white privilege I have has been conferred upon me.
I'm not responsible for that. By accident of birth I was eligible for it.
For me (and most whites who are conscious of white privilege) white privilege has been conferred on me on the condition that I not abuse it.

I don't apologize for a system that's not mine, that I didn't make, and have fought against even while benefitting from it. And I don't deny it.

I’ve been privileged to not to be killed or sold; my privilege allowed me to work to pay to make my way; maybe to be loved, the fine print being that I'd better behave, or be ignored, dismissed, mocked, threatened, abused, raped, whatever goes with mistaking conferred privilege for freedom.

I learned how limited and conditional privilege is. I learned that my black friends didn’t even know what privilege was. They knew I had it cuz i was white. With a little help from my friends I had to sort out what they already knew.

Once I recognized that decades ago, I worked to revise my map of reality.
I learned that forcing women to give sex and unpaid labor on demand, on pain of death, created the first slaves. Making that deal, half the planet got to live, reproduce, and train their offspring to submit to dominators. The rest were murdered. Gender inferiority comes from that reality and is still not just a construct. Racial inferiority comes from that reality death deal and is still not a construct. Conferred privilege levels kept the dominated in their hierarchies and lanes.

So while that original violent system worked (and still works across continents) dominators across continents went on to play variations of it on each other — variously called “traditions” “cultures" “roles.” No real power politics existed for those with conferred privilege, just playing or surviving the dominators, with winners getting more money to maintain the hierarchal rules.
That violent system got scaled up to be used on "others" across the world under different power pretexts — “just wars,” colonialism, imperialism, every other “ism” — to prop dominators and the privileged who served them.

Today I’d explain to my friend’s 8 year-old that history books misdefine and mystify slavery. I’d tell him about those who got rich from all kinds of violence. 100 years ago they were paraded as celebrities. Now they mostly hide and hoard profit from the soft ’servicing’ of currency, social roles, religion, law, technology, who owns gold, who owns who, who owns God, who sets values and standards in all wealth sectors. Today they don't want to be seen.

If confronted, the hiders say, "it’s not personal, 's just business.” They gave us history from their convenient, self serving and absolutely privileged points of view. For the rest of us, life was lived to avoid trauma and betrayal through conferred privilege. One lived so as not to see any defensive amnesias and suffering of the oppressed — not to see black people, not to see trafficked sex and work slaves, LGBTQ humans, disabled, widows, orphans, elderly, caged children, all of whom, unseen, variously learn how to not be killed for just living.

Since the 70’s new histories of all those humans have been recovered, and everything's gotten so zippy and "complicated." However, today’s histories, combined, tell that the last millennium's old violent systems showed themselves through racial capitalism. Privilege and wealth hierarchies go from black people on the bottom to one white male on top.

Racial capitalism itself produced whitesplain history of US slavery, the US Constitution, military genocide of Indian nations, the US civil war, Jim Crow, austerity economics of the Chicago Boyz, globalism, and today's police murders of blacks, and arguments over property destruction from below, rather than from the privileged. To live in a bubble throughout all that has been privilege.

Walter Johnson, Harvard historian, has recently invoked the models of W.E.B. Du Bois and Cedric Robinson in proposing that the historiography of slavery be reframed around "racial capitalism.”
I see his work as a seminal rearranging of the historical map of human reality.
Those who own privilege dismiss his works as revisionism.
Even to not see the human histories of human suffering is privilege.

Racial capitalists still demand that their government, law, and the rest of us, value property over human protestors, children, women, whoever else. Fictional personhoods run the analog world and AI runs the digital world.

Racial capitalism's impersonal, unseen billionaires demand that those who make them billionaires get back to work, no matter the cost to personal life and liberty. Little more than trained animals or caged children.
Racial capitalism is today’s indentured servitude for white privileged racists, adjacent to all kinds of "black market” slavery hidden by fictional personhoods.

Racial capitalism. Where the front line humans work and try to survive the deadly COVID pandemic. Where only the weak humans die in a darwinian jungle of the privilege owners' making. We abuse our conferred privilege by even seeing them, knowing real numbers of deaths, or daring to cut through smoke and mirrors.

It's a privilege to say we're safe from those dense cities, to have a place of safety, far enough away from all the outraged cries of marching youth who give up having children, who nevertheless rage for a future free of climate disaster, fossil fuel, pandemics and death panels for our grandchildren.

400 years into this “democracy,” we of conferred privilege see that protestors are rightly and righteously blowing shit up over all that.
Alongside them we see the conditionally privileged whites throwing all that away and blowing shit up, too.


They are the new vision of an America that destroys property as the symbol, over history, of destroyed psyches and lives —

tattooed serial numbers
race jokes,
burning crosses,
confederate flags,
confederate monuments,
Indian mascots,
Wells Fargo,
Auto Zone,
police stations,
“developers'” urban removal condo buildings,
liquor stores,
cars,
cranes,
Targets,
McDonald's
Starbucks

— and they use fire, the poor rebels' dependable weapon.

Maybe they are the true “outsiders” who show the rest of us a new meaning of agency. Unlike provocateurs, they know the neighborhood. They are definitely not the in-and-out floaters. They're not the hit-and-runners. Not the non-committers. They show up and stay in solidarity. Wear plain COVID masks, no boogaloo masks, no balaclavas, no bullshit.

Women and black people are out, showing up in the class war arena. They and conditionally privileged men are seeing something there — that unity is not uniformity.
That all we have to do to unite is throw off our invisible, comfortable, fake privilege chains, ego point scoring, and care deeply about each other and our futures together, as fearless COVID maskers.

No small feat, right now.

But if not now, while venal leaders pick privilege lint from their rigged election navels;
if not now, when COVID deaths slow the racial capitalists’ machinery,
if not now, while we think through our particular trappings of privilege;
If not now, then when?
When?


If we can’t unite now, we will never be the United States. If we ever were.
If we can’t unite now, we'll never make the better, unconferred future that we could have made.

Never say never? I’m saying never.

We need to pull out the agency in us in the fierce urgency of the now that we have. Doing is being.

The whole world is watching.

We’re about to make a greater future, or make no excuse, when asked by our children and grandchildren, who will laugh at us and our "Yes, we can" stories.

I predict that the next five months is our chance to rearrange the human map of reality,
to be the agents who throw the racial capitalists' reality into the dustbin of false histories,
then blow that shit up.


Yes. We. Can.








2 replies, 607 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Today my 8 year old child asked if slavery will be coming back. (Original post)
ancianita May 2020 OP
NCjack May 2020 #1
ancianita May 2020 #2

Response to ancianita (Original post)

Sun May 31, 2020, 10:43 AM

1. wage slavery is wiping out the middle class.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NCjack (Reply #1)

Sun May 31, 2020, 01:45 PM

2. I hear you. There's that downward spiral of labor value going on.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread