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Racism: Evolution, Iteration and Revision

Updated: Jan 1


You are going to need to put on your lenses and your critical thinking caps for this one. What you need to know moving forward regarding Racism in the United States: The definitions in dictionaries and other sources contain only one context: the one that matches the *flavor* of Racism white supremacists have been pushing for at least two generations; that of an individualistic, and personal behavioral, racial bigotry -- solely on the basis of one's color -- *any* color. This *brand* or iteration of Racism also suggests a source other than the obvious white supremacist ideology from which the original system was spawned, eliminates accountability, and dissolves the responsibility of collective *whiteness.* Of course, systemic Racism contains those individual elements since it could not operate for so long and successfully without them. However, what most people disregard is the *what* it is, NOT the *how* it operates, and most shy away from the *who* is responsible. Fundamentally what Racism is (and was): "The systematic subjugation within established institutions in the U.S. through structurally designed denial and limited apportionment of opportunity, equity, equality and justice, to control the formerly enslaved and their descendants after the Enslavement ended."

These were the

original fundamentals of its creation -- the backbone, if you will, and what continues to work hidden in the background today unabated, with impunity and in perpetuity. To gain a better understanding of the evolution and revision of Racism in the U.S., or the "flavor" of Racism Blacks and Whites experience in different ways today based on their own perspectives of this revised conditioning, you should etch the "what it is and was" into your conscious mind and mix it with your own "conditioning." Moreover, you need to stay within the confines of the United States when considering this discussion, since I am not dealing with worldwide white supremacy at this time. I am dealing specifically and fundamentally, with this country. Now, fundamentally how it operates: Racism operates as power plus prejudice and bigotry in the form of White and Whiteness as "superior," and the "Black" formerly enslaved and their descendants as "inferior." Put succinctly, the ideology of white supremacy in the U.S. By way of history, recall or research that as of the first census in 1790, with a total U.S. population of just under four million, the only categories for "Race" were: "Free White Males" and "Free White Females," "Other Free Persons,"and "Slaves." Keep in mind, however, that while there were free Black people in the U.S. it is not clear if these people counted as "Persons."


This is how the construct operated and continues to operate, evolved and revised to suit generational changes, albeit in background, as in "hidden." Recall in the 60s (or research if born after 1968), Racism was revised as the euphemism, "Segregation," and "Integration" was introduced as the only way to eliminate this euphemized iteration of "Racism." This fallacy of ending the Jim Crow, legalized segregation of the Southern states became *the way* to declare the successful "end of Racism" in the U.S.Bear in mind that segregation was but a tiny part of the subjugation of Black people. It was a false representation depicting the "end of the denial of *opportunity*." It created the appearance of "integration" as "equality." It did not address true equity, equality, or justice within any notion of real "opportunity." What it only offered was limited desegregation through Black entry into a few institutions, including the White economic caste system (which by the way, only served to enrage white people, who thought Black people were *taking* livelihoods and in some cases, their "superiority" -- if that was all they thought they had -- from them). Nevertheless, "integration" and "segregation" are other subjects for another time.


Finally, how Racism has evolved, how it has been bleached and revised, and how it is expressed today: Today, the individualized, personal, biased behavior of people of any color, based solely on color is considered Racism. All non-white people are *equally* enjoined with white people in this latest iteration, which is the twisted, white supremacist version of "equality," where the "oppressed" are now *equally* as culpable for Racism as their "oppressors." Essentially, color changed from simply a tool for purposes of identification of descendants of the Enslavement, to the entire *basis* for Racism.Moreover, since the 60s version of "Segregation" (as the end of Racism) was not eliminated, Racism's true, "what it is and was," needed a new mask with which to hide; to stay in the background. White supremacists now condition the masses with color as *both* a tool AND the basis for Racism, itself, using it to combine, accommodate and control its expanding non-white demographics. These revisions continue to succeed, while in true vindictive fashion, also continues to punish their original targets for whom the System was originally designed. Indeed, it is important to understand the past in order to know the dynamics of the present, and to enable you to positively and effectively affect your future.

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Copyright 2020 Cynthia Alease Smith, Ed.D.