Nov 272010

If you see someone and, in your mind, you do the equivalent of holding up a Dulux colour chart to decide what you think of them… could I ask, in all seriousness, what goes on in your mind? What drives the cogs in your brain? What colour is the sky where you live (without resorting to a colour chart)?

In what way is the colour of someone’s skin an indicator of their worth or value – to society as a whole, or you as an individual? Is melanin an indicator of badness; the more you have the worse you are? Could you please provide scientific (neurological) evidence that melanin plays such a role? Otherwise, I’m just going to have to assume that such beliefs are irrational, naive and (because no other word is suitable) stupid.

During the course of my online life, I’ve had occasion to talk to, debate with and (I’ll admit) ridicule people who identify themself as white supremacists. Their premise is that white people are superior to black people. They see it as self-evident and, if you disagree with them, you are labelled as a traitor to your race… if you’re white. If you’re black, they’ll have all sorts of other labels for you – none of them complimentary.

For those who believe that skin-colour makes a difference to who a person is, I’d like to provide a little historical insight regarding the supremacy of white people. When civilisation first began, the first block of stone was levelled onto another block of stone to make the first city in a land that, today, is known as Iraq. They invented the wheel, crop irrigation, writing and the bow and arrow. Around 2500 years later, on an island off the west coast of Europe, people of a very different culture arranged a group of stones which would later be known as Stonehenge. The henge-builders were a lighter shade on the Dulux chart than the inventors of cities; 2500 years earlier.

If the supremacist in you isn’t convinced by the ancient evidence of your non-supremacy, and you point to examples in the modern world to back your claims, allow me to burst that bubble, too. The industrialised (mostly white) Western world was built upon the exchange of goods between 3 key regions: Africa, America and Europe. The “goods” from Africa were slaves. So, sure, the Western (mostly white) industrialised (technologically-driven) advancement over the “inferior” blacks in Africa makes white people (in your mind) “superior”… but never forget how that so-called supremacy was derived.

Africa is a recurring theme amongst white supremacists. They highlight it as a flawed continent that proves the inferiority of black people. Whilst (somehow) forgetting that Egypt (and its ancient civilisational wonders) are in Africa, they highlight how flawed the continent is. Again, they should always be mindful of the role that white people played in that continent. The slave-driven rape of its people aside, for now, modern Africa is a divided continent, with those divisions drawn on the maps of white empire builders.

Sure, Africa is reknowned for corrupt governments, weak democracy and poorly-organised, famine-ridden poverty zones, but the Post Empirical condition of those weak democracies are the direct result of a foreign political climate imposed upon those who weren’t familiar with such a system. Africans, for the most part, lived nomadically or rurally under the guise of tribal leaderships. If it is taking them some time to establish stable democracies, within non-tribal state-boundaries, appreciate (if you can) the prolonged, blood-bathed turmoil that Western democracies undertook whilst trying to do the same thing – over a much longer timeframe.

White supremacy, my hairy (white) arse.

As white people, we’ve been lulled into thinking it’s safe to be around other white people. We’ve been taught since birth that it’s the people of that other color we need to fear. They’re the ones who’ll slit your throat!

Yet as I look back on my life, a strange but unmistakable pattern seems to emerge. Every person who has ever harmed me in my lifetime—the boss who fired me, the teacher who flunked me, the principal who punished me, the kid who hit me in the eye with a rock, the other kid who shot me with his BB gun, the executive who didn’t renew TVNation, the guy who was stalking me for three years, the accountant who double-paid my taxes, the drunk who smashed into me, the burglar who stole my stereo, the contractor who overcharged me, the girlfriend who left me, the next girlfriend who left even sooner, the pilot of the plane I was on who hit a truck on the runway (he probably hadn’t eaten in days), the other pilot who decided to fly through a tornado, the person in the office who stole checks from my checkbook and wrote them out to himself for a total of $16,000—every one of these individuals has been a white person! Coincidence? I think not!

I have never been attacked by a black person, never been evicted by a black person, never had my security deposit ripped off by a black landlord, never had a black landlord, never had a meeting at a Hollywood studio with a black executive in charge, never seen a black agent at the film /IV agency that used to represent me, never had a black person deny my child the college of her choice, never been puked on by a black teenager at a Motley Crue concert, never been pulled over by a black cop, never been sold a lemon by a black car salesman, never seen a black car salesman, never had a black person deny me a bank loan, never had a black person try to bury my movie, and I’ve never heard a black person say, “We’re going to eliminate ten thousand jobs here—have a nice day!”

I don’t think I’m the only white guy who can make these claims. Every mean word, every cruel act, every bit of pain and suffering in my life has had a Caucasian face attached to it. - Michael Moore, Stupid White Men

To embrace Michael Moore’s concept fully, we’d have to accept that white people are worse than black people. That, to put it mildly, would be untrue. Some people are good. Some people are bad. The key ingredients which make them like that aren’t decided by the colour of their skin. The above anecdote should, however, be kept in mind by every white person who decides that black people are the ones they should always be wary of.

Of course, xenophobia isn’t only found amongst white people regarding black people – but that subject will be for another post, another day.