Faux-pression: Racism and the Cult of White Victimhood
By Tim Wise
Racial bias on the part of black folks, even the most vicious and unhinged bigotry on their part, is pretty impotent. King Samir Shabazz hates white people and thinks "cracker babies" should be killed. And yet what kind of power does Shabazz have? None. He is in a position to kill no one, and if he were to try he would go to jail. Forever. That's not power. Power is when you can deny people jobs, housing, health care, decent educations, or their physical freedom via the justice system, thereby wrecking their lives. And there are virtually no black folks--and certainly no black folks wearing berets, fake-ass military uniforms and carrying nightsticks--who can do any of that. But there are white folks in positions to do those things, and who do them with or without bigoted intent regularly, as I have demonstrated in previous essays and books.
Likewise, even the NBPP's ability to intimidate white voters (in theory, since there were no such white voters in the instant case) pales in comparison to the actual denial of the right to vote to millions of black men--one in seven nationally, and as many as one in four in several states--because they are ex-felons. As law professor and scholar Michelle Alexander discusses in her brilliant new book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, despite serving their time and paying their debt to society these people of color are disallowed from voting forever. Not by white thugs standing outside a polling place, but by perfectly legal actions taken by state legislatures many years ago, for blatantly racist reasons, and which the courts have said are acceptable despite their racial impact.