In a recent article, Teodrose Fikre, founder and editor of Ghion, described how U.S. citizens are conned by both political parties.
"Standing too close to either elephants or jackasses prevents one from seeing how both parties are using the same blueprint to divide the nation and reap political boons. Sadder yet is that people on both sides end up fighting each other instead of uniting to defend their common interests. As I noted in the past , if you strip away politics, most liberals and conservatives would agree on the core issues. " https://www.truthdig.com/articles/americas-never-ending-southern-strategy-and-urban-bamboozle/ No doubt about it! However, I would suggest adding one factor to his analysis that reinforces a significant number of people's accepting what he calls a great bamboozle. I refer to White Supremacy as a social contract offered by the elite to working-class white males dating from the Populist era. This contract has assured us of preferential political and economic treatment so long as we promise not seriously to organize in opposition to the interests of U.S. oligarchy. In short, we get to bully people of color with permission of the elite, and with their assistance, however only as individuals not as truly organized communities. Some pretense of white-warriorship is allowed within the context of a narrow sort of Christianity, but even this is highly monitored by oligarchy As a consequence, our allegiance to ethnocentrism, accurately noted by Fikre, has a deep, sad, and profoundly debilitating psychological root.
To accept his invitation to unify we must acknowledge how our ethnocentrism has masked our opportunism in a way that fills many of us with guilt and self-disgust. Guilt at accepting status as black Cinderella's favored white sisters, self-disgust at not defying our evil stepmother, U.S. Oligarchy, for contextualizing family in such an obscene fashion. In the final analysis we do choose to get ahead as bullies rather than as players, however, we must also acknowledge that oligarchy is extremely powerful, and that its influence began when we were kids. Defiance would have been terrifyingly risky.
If many white males are socialized to express racial prejudice from an early age, whether they feel it or not, and are meaningfully threatened with social ostracism should they defer, this is not to suggest that as adults we should disclaim responsibility for our past actions. But as we begin to feel compassion for those we harm we must also reject self-disgust in favor of compassion for ourselves. Actually, these actions are intertwined. Without both we can do neither.
Clearing away the psychological debris we can perceive how acceptance of White Supremacy has weakened our ability to address the destructiveness of oligarchy --fascism-- to the detriment of all of society, our own demographic as profoundly as others. Fortunately, those we have bullied in the past will for the most part welcome our transformation. They will define us not as incorrigibly evil, but as woken. As Fikre puts it, we're all in this soup together. We thrive in unity or collapse in conflict.
David Weiner received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1964 and subsequently taught at SUNY/Buffalo and The University of Houston, where he received a Teaching Award. He currently teaches community college (more...)