Defining Anti-Blackness and Whiteness as Foundations of Culture in the United States
After years of tremendous research and review of literature, documentaries, work and lives of many phenomenal people (Maria Stewart, W.E.B DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Angela Davis, Peggy McIntosh, Theodore Allen, Fred Hampton, James Baldwin, Malcom X, Marcus Garvey, Fannie Lou Hamer, Toni Morrison, Bayard Rustin, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Asa Hilliard III, Robin Di Angelo and so many more...…….), I have finally drafted initial definitions for "Whiteness" and "Anti-Blackness" that will be used going forward in the Anti-Racism work I am doing. They are both intended to explain the phenomenon of U.S. culture in North America, as we know and experience today.
I will place them here for now.
"Whiteness is a collection of Eurocentric ideas and ideals established as cultural norms, beliefs, traditions, and standards; intended to supersede, dominate, destroy and replace cultural heritages of various Native American Indian peoples, initially; and various other groups subsequently. It defines everything referenced or known as “American” in modern-day United States culture (i.e. social, cultural and mainstream religious ideologies; political, legal, economic structures and systems; cultural standards, definitions and meanings of words – i.e. “smart”, “capable”, “competent,” “criminal”, “dangerous”, “appropriate” “attractive”, “beautiful”, “thin”, “young”, “old”, “straight”, “gay”, “patriotic”, “harmful,” “good”, “bad”, etc.); medical/healthcare standards; language; and everything considered an every day reality in U.S. culture. Beneficiaries of Whiteness are people who mainstream society identifies as White; as well as people who align themselves with the system. This includes rejecting ideas, principles, ideals, beliefs and practices not accepted, defined, intended or validated by White people (i.e. Southeast Asian standards as symbols of activeness; care for or well-being black and brown people of African descent, migrant name changes, foreign language vs. English etc.). White Privilege, White Comfort, White Superiority and White Rule are all embedded in the reality and existence of Whiteness."
“Anti-Blackness is a cultural condition developed through collective European (i.e. Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Irish, British) colonialist ideas, beliefs, ideals and ideologies that black and brown people of African descent (i.e. African, African-European, Afro-Latinx, African-Haitian, etc.) are inferior, animalistic and barbaric. In North America, particularly the United States, Anti-Blackness is the underlying foundational principle of racism. It can be observed through explicit laws and policies created throughout 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; which specifically targeted black and brown people of African descent based on skin color as “prima facie evidence” (i.e. Act of 1723, Negro Act of 1740, Casual Killing Act of 1669, etc.).” The cultural ideal was established to oppress, disenfranchise, demean, invalidate, surveil, diminish, minimize, degrade, and otherwise harm black and brown people of African descent; mentally, emotionally, symbolically and physically – using political, economic, legal, religious and social means."