Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Great Struggle of White Supremacy to Remain Relevant

This piece is on the struggle for relevance by white supremacy and privilege as exhibited by the Republican party and a conservative almost repressive agenda.  Some readers may believe that white supremacy and privilege may never recede but I beg to differ.  Change is inevitable!

Watching conversations on MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS, etc., social media, and coffee shops, engaging conversations with people regarding progressive discourses on gender, sexuality and the politics of identity, reveal a struggle for relevance.  I find that for significant numbers of people their struggle, more so their frustration is about relevance.  Relevance, the idea or concept that something is important to that which is at hand or an association or a type of interconnection becomes, at least for me, a conversation on narratives of segregation, and Franz Fanon’s white gaze which historically has determined what is or is not relevant.   I believe relevance is significant and important since eventually that which has been considered irrelevant, in time and space, becomes very much relevant to the construction of daily life.  This has been the case historically as those and their circumstances, situations and challenges were, for the most part, considered irrelevant to the privileged and established European aristocratic colonial powers, becoming, through frustration, relevant, i.e., the French Revolution.  I reflect further on the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and present day protests against police brutality, racism, sexism, poverty and the various parties who argue and struggle for relevance in socio-cultural and political discourse.  A reading of Michel Foucault’s book Society Must Be Defended and his study of subjugated knowledges intimate that relevance is determined by discourses of power.  

What is considered relevant develops out of a primary discourse and this discourse out of normative leanings which historically have emerged out of white supremacy and privilege and its terms of knowledge exchange.  As one who identifies as a Black, female and transgender I find that relevance is very much about contextuality and the discourses within that particular context.  As I hear of a man in Manhattan Beach, a city in Southern California, pushing forward a proposal on the sodomy act more popularly known as the “kill the gays” proposal and then Indiana making discrimination against gay people and by implication anyone who does not identify with the pseudoism of racial heterosexuality, lawful on the grounds of religious freedom I ask, “who are they appealing to, who is their audience?”   The political discourse which undergirds these ideas is rooted in very narrow, oppressive, and at times, repressive theological interpretations which are the foundations of white supremacy, privilege, lynchings and the prison industrial complex.   And then Ted Cruz announced that he was running for President of the United States, to reclaim the so called hope that was lost.  Of course he did this in Lynchburg, VA one of the most conservative areas in the United States and home of the moral majority.

As a matter of critique these three acts, at least in my opinion, seek a particular relevance to a U.S. American narrative which is gradually shifting the narrative of color, hue, terrain and symmetry.  More and more I believe the motivation behind the repressive policies is one of relevance.  This is the preeminent concern of a conservative agenda put forward by a Republican Party oriented towards white supremacy and privilege as the United States transitions from the primacy of white discourse and white imagination to a diversity of discourses and imaginations without a center or dominant discourse.  This concern necessarily has psychological, sociological and by implication law enforcement consequences which were reflected in the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, considered a flashpoint in the struggle for relevance as it was discovered through an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that law enforcement, composed for the most part of white men, was used primarily as a tool to inflict personal and structural injustice upon a community of African American and people of color. 

Daily insults of the first African American President and the First Lady, the gradual dismantling of voting rights, challenges to immigration, historically a positive narrative for a nation of immigrants, and those of the middle passage and slavery, now an issue, as more and more people from Central and South America seek citizenship, a consequence of disastrous Republican military and political policies inflicted on the people and their institutions of Central and South America call into question traditional models of identity predicated on an economy of white desire.  Now I will suggest here that Identity, that precious albeit precarious subject of heteronormative and racial supremacy and privilege is in the throes of transformation but more so it is actually being queered as Franz Fanon's white gaze, historically the authoritarian critique of all things of socio-cultural and of political import and associated discourse is organically displaced by an identity matrix delinked from the traditional vision of the white citizens council.[1]

We must be mindful that the philosophy and ideals of the white citizen’s council are powerful and entrenched in the U.S. American psyche. Those of us who engage this psyche whatever our identity construct must do so with an unyielding hope.  I experience this unyielding hope as I rise each day with full knowledge that as a Black transgender woman I and those similar are at great risk of danger and harm.  This risk of danger and harm does not deter me from walking in the light of this unyielding hope but it strengthens my resolve to embrace the hope embodied in the sacred acts of the revolutionary and the queer.  Beloved reader of this blog post the great fear of the powerful and the established who have become the masters of destiny as defined by white supremacy and privilege is that you and I know that we are relevant and in this hopeful and engaged in a great cultural and societal struggle of immense proportions. 

[1] The White Citizen’s Council was a group of white men in the south who were responsible for making sure that the regime of white supremacy and privilege and segregation were maintained in the South at the expense of Black people.