"White Man" = bogeyman
America’s grand historical deception: Why it pretends White Supremacy no longer exists
Violence against Black Americans is real and documented, so why does White America continue to deny it?
By Chauncey DeVegaFrom initial colonial and Imperial encounters, to the later intimacy of slavery and bonded labor, Black and brown people, aboriginal and other First Nations brothers and sisters, had to invent language to describe “The White Man” they encountered for the first time and then later came to regret having ever known.
“The White Man” became a ghost or a monster. (In fact, the robes of the Ku Klux Klan represent the ghosts of the Confederate dead who have returned to avenge themselves on now free black Americans.) He haunted. He killed. He raped. He destroyed.
And:Tales of “The White Man” would be used to scare children into obedience, and like most folk tales and children’s stories they were lessons to prepare those youngsters for life in an unfair world. But “The White Man” is not a chimera. He is real. We see him when cops kill and abuse innocent and defenseless Black and brown people in America. he choked Eric Garner to death. He shot Tamir Rice, stole his childhood and his life. ”The White Man” maces and electrocutes Black people who are suffering from a stroke while sitting in their car. But America does not want to confront “The White Man,” because that would mean reflecting on its own behavior and culture of racialized violence.
The innocence and nobility of Whiteness and “The White Man” are bedrock lies for America and the West that dissolve under even the most minimal levels of critical inquiry. If America looked in the mirror at “The White Man” looking back, it could be either a moment of catharsis, where the violence and meanness of White Privilege and White Racism were owned and internalized with pride (yup! that is us, White America, what a good thing, let’s stop pretending we are surprised or ashamed!) or where upon seeing “The White Man” in his full glory a moment of White Fragility would freeze the viewer in stone as though he or she were touched by Medusa.
Comment: For more on white privilege
, see Black Professor Criticizes White Men
and Whites Can't Handle Racial Stress
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