Yet, today, most Americans still believe white supremacy refers to the KKK or avowed white nationalists who announce themselves as such and appear in the streets with tiki torches. Those are the bad guys! White supremacists! Racist! CNN and MSNBC sponsor the appearance of pundits to argue whether or not Trump is a racist. This late date! As if the whole of the liberal corporate media is blind to Trump's past dismissive, racist comments about blacks, brown, and indigenous people since the Trump child became Donald J. Trump.
Racism is an event: someone calling a black the N-word or the sudden appearance of a noose at an office were a few blacks work. Racism is something that is perpetuated by racists. Everyone knows this! Every one! White supremacy then has nothing to do with the majority of good Americans, who are not offended by "black" music or who converse at lunchtime with a Latina co-worker or who accept the black daughter-in-law.
The only Americans who want to talk about white supremacy are those Americans such as the one and only Rep. Steve King, recently posing a question: what's wrong with saying white supremacy? White supremacy exist in the US, so what's the problem with identifying with white supremacy?
This guy stands in for the president and his base shouting for a wall! This guy flies the Nazi flags, stockpiles high-powered weaponry. This guy is the only America invested in producing and distributing print calling for the subordination of people of color, women, and LGBTQ-again!
Make America Great Again!
As individuals or as active hate groups operating in the US such as the one featured in a PBS and ProPublica documentary series, these Americans are to be taken seriously. The loss of life at the Tree of Life synagogue was no allusion. Dylann Roof was for real.
So is former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke because Laquan McDonald isn't among us, is he? And why not?
And there's another video gone viral. See the young white high school students, males, with Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats, jumping about and shouting. The one sporting the smirky smile eyes Nathan Phillips, the indigenous elder, if as if it's the indigenous who is the loser. MAGA suggests America was great when whites wore blackface to the delight of the ladies. MAGA suggests America was great when the land, covered as far the eye could see with native homes, was torched so inflamed homes would burn to the ground only to rise once again with new occupants.
So the white male student who passes a camera speaks about the loss of land: You lost it! Yeah. That's how it goes! Since then, he and his fellow Covington Catholic high school students must have heard and read the narratives within their curriculum: whites worked hard. Cultivated the land, even. Civilized the "natives" and the "Africans."
The smirk can't see the humanity of the elder, the activist, who has fought most of his life for this land, for mother Earth, for all life. Did you see that?
NPR makes a decision to talk to an "expert" about camera angles. The incident, in other words, has nothing to do with racism, and so the expert, who never mentions the word "racism," asks that listeners listen carefully to the spin on this latest rearing of racism's head: It's all about angles. Where the camera is placed. In front of the student or in front of the indigenous protester. It's about angles, folks. Good folks! If you see it from this angle or from that angle...
And, you know, for most of us people of color, who stand and have stood where Phillips stood, and who are forced to hear the account of what happened to us--it's all about distraction. Talk about "camera angles" and the listener will envision the innocence of the young white man. Keep the listener, philanthropists, and the advertisers happy. Change the subject so no one needs to think, let alone ask questions. And the money continues to flow. Truth be damned!
So don't wait for NPR to pose questions to listeners that would prompt them to stop and think, critically. Do you know, listeners, these students were brought to Washington D.C. on a bus not to protest with the indigenous activist against the US abuse of land, no? They were chaperoned by e-d-u-c-a-t-o-r-s! What were the students told in advance of their arrival at the Lincoln Memorial Mall in Washington D.C. from Kentucky? What were these young men told they would do once at the Mall? Would they participate in protests against the government shutdown affecting so many fellow American citizens?
No, listeners. Few in the media engaged their audience in a discussion about why it was considered useful to transport these young people, in their MAGA hats, to Washington to oppose the right of grown women to maintain autonomy over their bodies. Because that is why these male students were present at the Lincoln Memorial. One hundred plus strong, backed by the authority of teachers, school administration, the political organizing of the fundamental evangelic and Catholic congregations were exercising their right as whites and males to speak and be heard, come hell or high water.
See for a moment what the indigenous elder Phillips saw. Understand that the very real fear he felt as he sang and drummed the prayer song has an historical precedence. Phillips didn't stand alone. And neither were these white students who appeared to identify with America's willful embrace of ignorance--even if innocently.