White supremacy is an historically-based, institutionally-perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of establishing, maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.
~ Mickey Ellinger & Sharon Martinas
Race is an arbitrary socio-biological category created by Europeans (white men) in the 15th century and used to assign human worth and social status with themselves as the model of humanity, with the purpose of establishing white skin access to sources of power.
~ Maulana Karenga
1. Power is the legitimate control of, or access to, those institutions sanctioned by the state.
~ Barbara Major; People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, New Orleans
2. Power is the ability to define reality and to convince other people that it is their definition.
~ Dr. Wade Nobles
3. Power is the capacity to act.
was defined in a speech by Frederick Douglass as follows:
~ Lerone Bennett, Jr., Before the Mayflower. New York: Penguin, 1984. p 161
Race Prejudice exists wherever societies subscribe to American or European concepts of "race" as a biological construct. Unlike cultural prejudice , in which the concept of "culture" has a basis in reality, race prejudice has no such basis, and is, therefore, irrational. Nevertheless, among members of each, so-called, race in the United States can be found many people who are afflicted by "race prejudice" and confuse it with cultural prejudice. Such prejudice is conflicted because the unreal concept of "race" often cuts across more than one (often many - e.g.: Asian Americans (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) cultural or ethnic groups which have distinctly different cultures. [JL]
Racism is race prejudice plus power [See Racist]. People's Institute calls racism "the big foot that boots [people of color] in the rear and knocks you over."
People's Institute calls Internalized Racism "the big foot inside your head [of people of color]."
Other definitions of Internalized Racism include:
1. The process by which a person of color accepts the definition
of him/herself that the white supremacy system has created.
~ see cite under White Privilege, below.
The term people of color was adopted to refer in a positive way to all people who are not considered "white" by "white people." In American "racial" terms, it refers to any one who claims other than European ancestry on either side of their family. It is a proud heritage representing 80% of the world population (but only 20% of the American population). [For the American Legal bases for exclusion as "not white" see Prof. Randall's "Legal Construction of the White Race: The Racial Prerequisite Cases" Ian Haney Lopez ]
[as in "white people"]
The term "white," referring to people, was created by Virginia slave owners and colonial rulers in the 17th century. It distinguished European colonists from Africans and indigenous peoples. European colonial powers established "white" as a legal concept after Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 to separate the indentured servants of European and African heritage who united against the colonial elite...The creation of "white" meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of biological and social inferiority.
~ Margo Adair and Sharon Powell, The Subjective Side of Politics San Francisco: 1988. p 17
A privilege is a right, favor, advantage, immunity, specially granted to one individual or group, and withheld from another.
White Privilege is:
1. Preferential prejudice and preferential treatment of whites based solely on their skin color and/or ancestral origin from Europe.
2. Absence of oppression based on skin color and ancestral origin from Africa, Asia and the Americas. "White peoples were exempt from slavery, land grab and genocide, the first forms of white privilege [in the future U.S.]."
~ Virginia Harris and Trinity Ordoņa. "Developing Unity Among Women of Color: Crossing the Barriers of Internalized Racism and Cross Racial Hostility," in Making Face, Making Soul . Edited by Gloria Anzaldua. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Press, 1990, p 310
A Racist is one who participates [as a member of the dominant "race"] in a social system in which race prejudice is backed up with power .
~ People's Institute
It is thus synonymous with White Privilege, a systemic term to describe all white people, especially those in the United States. It is not an issue of personal attitude or behavior. Personal attitude or behavior, however, may reflect the fact of white privilege.
By this definition, people of color cannot be racists because as groups within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities or acts of discrimination. [This does not deny the existence of prejudices, hostilities, acts of rage or discrimination. See Race Prejudice.]
A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to shift responsibility for changing a racist system from whites, to blaming people of color for the racist system [called "blaming the victim"].
A non-racist is "color blind."
Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing our racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent.
[If applied to white people] a person who makes a conscious choice to act to challenge some aspect of the white supremacy system.
Among people of color there are many different definitions which range from survival within a white supremacy system to all forms of resistance to that system. Common synonyms are freedom fighter, warrior, liberation fighter, political prisoner, prisoner of war, sister, brother, compa, etc.
A Whiteist is any person who partakes of and acts to perpetuate [or does not act to destroy] the privilege associated with being assigned to the "white race."
A New Abolitionist is a person who gives no credence to concepts of "race;" who therefore wishes to destroy the white race as a social construct, thus removing from it the privileges of "whiteness."
What the New Abolitionist believes:
The white race is a historically constructed social formation. It consists of all those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from it, in return for which they give their support to a system that degrades them. The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race in other words to abolish white supremacy. Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates every issue, domestic and foreign, in U.S. society. The way to abolish the white race is to challenge, disrupt and eventually overturn the institutions and behavior patterns that reproduce the privileges of whiteness, including the schools, job and housing markets, and the criminal justice system. The abolitionists do not limit themselves to socially acceptable means of protest, but reject in advance no means of attaining their goal.
To oppress means to dominate, persecute, keep down by unjust and cruel power.
An oppressor is one who uses power to keep another down, or who refuses to use power to challenge the injustice of oppression.
An oppressed is one who is kept down by another's power to oppress, and by those who consent with their silence. In the U.S., there are many forms of (often) interlocking oppressions: whiteism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, etc.
In a white supremacy system, all whites [except the ruling class] are oppressed by that system, but they are also oppressors of all people of color. It is not a personal attribute, but a part of the structure of white privilege.
An oppressed white person who wishes to cease being an oppressor
of persons of color needs to
act against that oppression.