Racism – White America’s Irresponsibility for the Crime Against Humanity

"On This Spit Of Land Massa and I Reside." Pre-revolutionary Dutch Cemetery Brooklyn. Nona Faustine.

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Photo credits to Nona Faustine.

George Yancy, a philosophy professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, tells white America to acknowledge their racism, once and for all.

“In this letter, I ask you to look deep, to look into your souls with silence, to quiet that voice that will speak to you of your white “innocence.”

If you are white, and you are reading this letter, I ask that you don’t run to seek shelter from your own racism. Don’t hide from your responsibility… use this letter as a mirror, one that refuses to show you what you want to see, one that demands that you look at the lies that you tell yourself so that you don’t feel the weight of responsibility for those who live under the yoke of whiteness, your whiteness…

"They tagged the land with institutions and trophies from their conquests and rapes!" Nona Faustine (http://nonafaustine.virb.com/)
“They tagged the land with institutions and trophies from their conquests and rapes!” Nona Faustine (http://nonafaustine.virb.com)

I’m asking for you to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist. I’m now daring you to face a racist history which, paraphrasing Baldwin, has placed you where you are and that has formed your own racism… I’m asking that you open yourself up; to speak to, to admit to, the racist poison that is inside of you.

Again, take a deep breath. Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me that I’m the racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color. Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to hide yet again. You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may hate the K.K.K., but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism and benefit from racism. After all, you are part of a system that allows you to walk into stores where you are not followed, where you get to go for a bank loan and your skin does not count against you, where you don’t need to engage in “the talk” that black people and people of color must tell their children when they are confronted by white police officers.

As you reap comfort from being white, we suffer for being black and people of color. But your comfort is linked to our pain and suffering…

I know that there are those who will write to me in the comment section with boiling anger, sarcasm, disbelief, denial. There are those who will say, “Yancy is just an angry black man.” There are others who will say, “Why isn’t Yancy telling black people to be honest about the violence in their own black neighborhoods?” Or, “How can Yancy say that all white people are racists?” If you are saying these things, then you’ve already failed to listen… This letter is about you. Don’t change the conversation. I assure you that so many black people suffering from poverty and joblessness, which is linked to high levels of crime, are painfully aware of the existential toll that they have had to face because they are black and, as [James] Baldwin adds, “for no other reason.”

"Over My Dead Body," New York City Hall. Nona
“Over My Dead Body,” New York City, Tweed Courthouse built on top of the African Burial Ground. Nona Faustine (http://nonafaustine.virb.com)

 

"From her body sprang their greatest wealth." Site of Colonial Slave Market - Wall Street. Nona Faustine
“From her body sprang their greatest wealth.” Site of Colonial Slave Market – Wall Street. Nona Faustine (http://nonafaustine.virb.com)

7 COMMENTS

  1. I love the incorporation of the art of Nona Faustine and the letter by George Yancey. They all together speak with the equal volition in Civilized Circles that white America must atone for their sins! White America must take responsibility and begin to move the nation towards some Reconciliation. There country needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the Atrocities of White Indecency to Humankind. George Yancey’s letter speaks volumes to the fact that what you have in the US now is the pointing of fingers at African Americans to take personal responsibility! This is misguided and only serves to deny the facts of history. White America needs taking personal responsibility. No Black America! Thanks for sharing this is breathtaking.

  2. Heart-wrenching photography. Awe inspiring directness with the issues. Yancey and Faustine are surveying uncharted territory in directing the much needed attention to what happened during the Slave trade and the genocide and brutality that followed in the Americas for more than 400 years. American Wealth, and in fact much of Western wealth is built on the back of the Black Mother. This is the biggest rape of all. And maybe we have had enough!

  3. Oh yah! I have had enough. Oh yah! I can’t imagine how why we allow the Rape of the Black Mother to continue? I just don’t know why? But someday, one of these days, it needs to stop. And when it does, we need some much needed recompense. Or else!

  4. I have given this much thought. The best recompense is Tit for Tat. But I am Voodoo and I am sure this point of view is highly umpopular in the 21st century. Whatever it is you want, my people, let’s do. But somebody gotta pay!

    • You right you are unpopular. I mean, look at you? Still stooped in the backwardness of the Culturally primitive. No, let us forgive them for raping our Mothers and Enslaving the Children. Let us turn the blind eye and forget the pain and the suffering we still feel. Let us forgive them for they do not know what they do. Are you kidding? Revenge? No, no, no, not in the 21st Century African Mind – it is Christianized and Colonized for deadly effect. Yes, you are right! You are unpopular.

      • Battalion. You have humbled me with your sarcasm. I pour libation to all who see and hear. I pour libation to all who feel the pain of our ancestors. I pour libation to you, Battalion. May you continue to grow in Strenght!

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