White Supremacy

Scott WoodsIf we know nothing else about white supremacy it is that it possesses a fluidity second to none in the political realm. Of all the tools that exist to run a society, white supremacy is the Swiss army knife of value systems: more flexible than religion, more widespread than nationalism, and more insidious than patriarchy. It is a system so chameleon-like that most direct answers about how to combat it are easily dismantled because they don’t apply to enough situations to make a difference in the lives of people as they are lived. The problem isn’t that the answers are bad; it is that people often interpret broad answers as complete answers when in fact they are tools that are supposed to be applied to our lives as we experience it. So when someone says we must “do away with systemic racism”, they’re not telling you what to do so much as where you need to start your process. “Do I know what ‘systemic’ means? Do I know what ‘racism’ means? How many ways does this apply to my life? Why does it often feel like I’m the only one working on this where I am?” Fighting racism isn’t a checklist; it is a constant and ongoing interrogation of the world around and within you. That requires that you not only read but consider, that you imagine, that you apply the sum of your experiences and gifts to the process of discovering the depth and range of racism in your life.

The science behind the magic trick of answers seeking to combat racism is that the heavy lifting is largely individual in practice. You have to not only ask the questions but find YOUR answers because racism is affecting you in some unique way that has to interact with your experiences, values, knowledge base, skill set, and ethical capabilities. The fight is largely in the journey, so basing the success of your fight on an outcome instead of the process is frequently a recipe for failure. When someone asks you to think outside the box, it’s really a call to open your box, unpack it, analyze the contents, find some new content, and wash off the racism you find on the old contents, assuming they can or should be restored. 

The so-called constructive criticism of a revolutionary criticism that basically says “this study/interrogation/philosophy is incomplete because it has no solutions” misses the point of not only most criticism but the basics of anti-racism problem-solving.


Redacted Racism From The Executive Level | I'm Stronger Than Fear

This is a post that reminds recruiters and readers that often ask me “why do you focus on diversity” or say “haven’t we talked about diversity enough?”  A post for those who suggest  Affirmative Action, EEOC, D&I initiatives, and the various reports from Silicon Valley are enough.

What to the African American is the 4th of July?

OneUnited BankblackWhat is the meaning of the 4th of July to Me?
There is a rhetorical question, and there is a personal answer. It is easy for each of us to ask the rhetorical question. The conduct of our daily lives provides the personal answer.

This question has been resonating among Black folks since Frederick Douglass famously asked in 1852, "What to the slave is the 4th of July?"

Building New Institutions

Carl WestContributing Correspondent: C. Dwayne West

A celebrated elder and civil rights icon recently asked me what I thought about Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. I responded with much flair but with also much well deserved respect. 'I think Rev. Jackson is a part of the old leadership model but his continued work is needed even though not much appreciated by those in my generation.' And I went on to explain why....

School Choice... Whose Choice?

The appeal is simple, but the massive funding of school choice by a cartel of wealthy patrons raises concerns about the real agenda of the advocates of school choice.

The Families of Victims -- as seen through the eyes of the shooter

We must face the fact that we have an impoverished underclass in America.  It can be found in Appalachia, the barrios, rural areas, and for certain, in the urban inner city.  The violence is most egregious in the urban area because of the organized subculture that historically sustains various conditions of violence, i.e. the lifestyle of gangs.

What is the meaning of Black History Month to me?

Freedom and Education
For me the celebration of Black History month centers around the struggle for freedom and education. These two themes are critical to the success of advancing in this society. This is best captured in the thoughts and ideas of Frederick Douglass and Carter G. Woodson, and is reflected in the excerpts below from two important works of these men.