White Supremacy and White Privilege are Intertwined, Here is How?
The African Context
In my native African language, Whites have two distinct names. Muthungu, translated the superior one or the special one, describe a powerful figure with higher status/hierarchy. In the colonial context when these words were formed, Whites had power over blacks insisting on being saluted, and being called Sir or Madam, by grown men dressed in shorts because pants were reserved for Whites.
Mundu Mweru, translated the white one or light skinned one, refers to the race or skin color of the Caucasians. These are the terms my grandmother used to describe the colonisers. These terms have ironically been passed on to describe powerful Africans/politicians as Muthungu, and fair skinned Africans as Mundu Mweru but still carry weight in their original meaning.
Master- Servant Relationship
Now, it baffles me so often when I come across Caucasians rant about white privilege and white supremacy or the lack thereof. Yet, in the history of black people, white people have insisted that we treat them as special and superior because, they are white and we are black, and they are more powerful than us. Blacks were meant to serve Whites and work for them, and not the other way round. That’s white privilege which to date makes waiters and vallets more likely to treat white patrons better or special than black patrons because white privilege is stamped in the psyche of black people after years of servitude in what is a master-servant relationship. Freedom from colonialism or slavery hasn’t erased this toxic power dynamic.
White privilege deniers insist they were not born with privilege or at least practising it, andat the very least claim white privilege is imagined. This could be true, if the ancestors of white people were not white and didn’t insist on being treated superior by other races. White colonisers and slave owners reacted with force and discrimination when their authority was challenged meaning they wanted black people to know they were in charge. Yes, you white kid were born to privilege whether you like it or not, that doesnt make you evil, just makes you another victim of white privilege and white supremacy.
It’s the same relationship I have with my parents, I have been taught to obey my parents, even toxic ones, because of their age and the fact that they brought me to the world. They are special people and deserve respect, and off course the promise of blessing. I will never be an equal to my parents for the simple fact that they came before me, and there is nothing I can do about it.
Most white people have never seen black people as equals. Not even when they found rulers and kings in Africa, they decided to oppress native Africans and take over their lands and kill those who resisted. This is true in Asia as it is in the Americas.
The narrative has been skewed to favor and give Whites the upper hand in everything especially in wealth and power. Even in matters justice, its his word against mine, unless of course there is video evidence, yet even then, some will not believe what they see if facts incriminate the white person. No wonder white males are still the most wealthy and powerful in the world today.
In racially diverse nations, centuries of exercising white supremacy and white privilege, and most of all institionalising it benefits generations of white people than blacks if rhe country does not reform. That’s true in America, so there is nothing to gasp over systemic racism because it exists thanks to this twinning advantage that comes with being born white. White people were not your average guy in colonial Africa, even the poor ones were taught other races were beneath them. Never in the history of American slavery did a black person own white slaves, it was always the whites owning blacks. In very rare cases did freed blacks own slaves unlike the oppressive African regimes.
I chanced to hear a conversation of a lady who schooled in an international school in my country of origin explain how she experienced racism when Obama ran against McCain. The Caucasian kids favored the white male, which tells you even for 14 year olds in the same school as rich African kids had this superiority complex with them which may help you see what conversations they heard at home about the two candidates. Yes, even white expatriates carry white privilege with them, and it sucks. The lady went on to describe how they were humiliated because of their hair by their teachers which made them feel suicidal. You might be wondering, if their parents were so rich and powerful, why not punish the teachers. You fail to understand that like any black-white confrontation, it’s always the white guys word against a black guy. The expatriate teachers will even claim immunity as foreign citizens or UN diplomatic exemptions for parents, and the loathsome British or American government will give them more privilege to shield them from prosecution.
Just like there’s generational wealth, there is generational white privilege and white supremacy that cannot be easily shaken off. Yeah, many white people I have met today are ordinary people but every so often you will meet one with an air of superiority. This tells you that while some are eager to shake it off and see others as equals. Others will grift over white privilege and white supremacy and pass it on to their kids like the ones I described at the international school.
I will not tell white people how to behave, but because many loathe the term white privilege, may be I needed to open an eye to see where it came from and who started it. May be white privilege is stuck on you for good, what are you doing to do with it?