There’s been a relatively new phenomenon in White supremacist culture, who the neophyte within has come to identify as hyphenated racism. To stay viable post-Civil Rights, Whiteness has had to change its face. Gone are the days of overt acts of Black hatred. The racism of today mostly lives in the realms of semantics. Virtually no one is racist today. Even a Ku Klux Klan member will distance themselves from racism. Today you’ll hear them say things like, “I’m not racist, but shout out to (insert name here) for killing that Nigger.”
Racism isn’t cool anymore. It’s more dated than the high-five. Even the most bigoted people in our society will distance themselves from that association, and they would be somewhat justified in their claim. You see, racism is never the act of one individual. It is a collective construct, which requires the cooperation of a body of participants in order to be effective. In order to be racist, you must be able to dominate people of other races on the basis of politics, economics and education. No one person is capable of injecting racism in a situation—thus the claim—no one is racist.
The only people who are dumb enough to cop to being a racist are the type who have the least to gain from the identification, otherwise known as Middle Americans, and even they tread lightly. Besides, we haven’t seen these folks in the media since the Golden Era of talk shows when they were frequently featured on shows like Donahue, Geraldo, and Oprah—who has since become White, middle-aged Americans’ Black nanny.
The new secret handshake amongst racists is the Constitution. The truth is: Since it went into affect, the Constitution has always been the manifesto of oppression in this country. Racists figured out 50 years ago that there’s no need to self-identify when it’s been written into the document that governs this system. If there’s ever a need to evoke more racism in this country, one simply has to add or repeal amendments.
Long ago, there was a more rigid definition of Whiteness. Jews who were white couldn’t belong. The Polish, Irish, Italians and other Eastern Europeans were also not allowed to be in the club. When racism started to lose more followers, those who were once regarded as second-class citizens were granted access. The new rule became: As long as you’re white, you’re alright.
White Chicks and All That Jazz . . .
Overt racism has had to endure a lot of blows over the last century. The beginning of its demise can be traced back to when this new, sexy, Black music was developed in New Orleans that the White man quickly commodified and called, “JAZZ.” Seeing as how insecure this made White men feel to see their most precious asset next to money—White Chicks—go crazy over the Black men who created this art form, they hastily crowned Paul WhiteMan the “King.” When the Jazz Age waned, Swing was the new thing and its King, Benny Goodman.
It was around this time that Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, began his crusade on making marijuana illegal. His biggest contention: “Reefer makes Darkies think they’re as good as White men.”
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
– Harry J. Anslinger
An interesting thing happened during World War II, partly due to the recording ban of 1942 – 1944, which opened a space for Black musicians to be less entertainment oriented. A new underground expression was unearthed, and its chief architect was Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Bebop was born and the group of counterculture White kids that followed became known as The Beat Generation.
This trend of White youth adopting Black culture continued with the hippies of the ’60s, during the disco era in the ’70s, whomever Michael Jackson and Prince converted in the ’80s, and in the Golden Era of Hiphop in the ’90s. Likewise the trend continued of placing White icons at the top to distract White Chicks from lusting after Black men, be it in the form of Rock and Roll’s Elvis or The Beatles, disco’s Bee Gees, R&B’s George Michael, or Hiphop’s Vanilla Ice and Eminem.
The Race To The Finish Line
Now that they’ve exhausted all possible demographics of white skin, they must turn to people of color. As racism becomes more covert, so must their front-runners. They make great scapegoats for the post-race ideology. In the current lineup are guys like Barack Obama—basically a White, Liberal in blackface, or Bobby Jindal. The most prominent member of the clan in the media at the moment is George Zimmerman.
Because he’s of half-Peruvian descent, he blurs the line. They can now say that he didn’t racially profile Trayvon because he’s a person of color. He can’t be racist. This is true, but neither is Don West, Mark O’Mara or the jurors. No individual is racist. They don’t have to be; the coding is built into the Constitution. All you have to do is say that, by law, Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon if at any point he feared his life was in danger and it makes it cool to murder a Black child.
Dad Killed It: Modern Day Lynch Mob
The defense sold the narrative that Trayvon struck the first blow and the jury bought it—even though there is no evidence to support this theory. The bloody picture that was presented in the case doesn’t prove that. For all we know, those were self inflicted wounds, which I’m inclined to believe because there’s no way after Zimmerman’s head was allegedly banged on cement 25+ times, by his testimony, that the result was those two little scrapes.
Had they done a proper investigation, they may have found that there was none of Trayvon’s DNA on Zimmerman’s mouth and nose, an area he claimed Trayvon was brutalizing. Proper measures weren’t taken at the outset because it’s automatically assumed that the young, Black “thug” got what was coming to him.
Theme from The “Assfault” Jungle
And even if Trayvon did strike the first blow, why didn’t he have the right not to retreat and evoke the “Stand Your Ground” law? Is it not plausible that he, too, was in fear of his life that night? Sadly, Trayvon was cursed from the day he was born. In America, the act of waking up Black is a crime. To be of African descent, is to be marginalized, politicized, and criminalized. And as a result, anything in your reach becomes a weapon—even the pavement.
In America—under the feet of a non-Black man—a sidewalk is just a sidewalk, but in the hands of a Black man, that same concrete is distorted into a murderous weapon.
It’s not people who are racists, it’s the policies.
– Nicholas Payton