As a white man myself, aggrieved by all the incursions on my special rights, mindful of all the times I can blame someone else for my problems, unsettled to see people who talk in funny accents passing me in the grocery store, I can certainly understand white supremacy. If white men ease back from our incessant push to keep up the illusion, soon no one will think we are supreme any more.
And that’s the heart of it: we whites are only supreme because we want to believe we are. All that claptrap about the source of Western civilization overlooks the complex and thriving societies that existed in parallel with Europe in China, India, Africa, Central and South America. We are so good at ignoring the massive contributions from other cultures to the learning we claim as European. If you choose to ignore who made stuff out of iron, there are still more, successful societies in North and South America, Africa, Asia.
It’s what we made of iron that makes us think Europe is the Supreme Pinnacle Peoples. In addition to useful things, we made swords. What Europe did to make the claim of Supreme Pinnacleship was go make war. We beat them all, didn’t we? I question that claim. There is a decent argument the centuries-long Crusades Tournament was fought to a draw against all them Muslims.
As far as I can see with my limited, white male vision, Europe had a fair bit of luck coming out with a claim at Supreme Pinncleship.
White supremacists seem to overlook that history moves on. England had a century of dominance, so did France. ‘Way back when so did Greece and Turkey. Iraq had a good run, back when it was known as Babylon. China had a millennium of dominance over their region, starting before we even knew they existed. Iran, then Persia, is one of the sources of the learning we seem to think was Europe’s alone. The United States is desperately clinging to its ending century of dominance. Russia wonders why they can’t have a century like that.
The land of Europe, the people who lived there before migrating to many other places, have no magical properties giving us, descendants of Europeans, any rights different from anyone else. There is nothing we’ve done that gives us any more claim to mastery of the world. In fact I’ll claim the opposite: we have royally screwed up the place where we live.
My point has just been demonstrated, again, in New Zealand. Still another sorry excuse for a white male exercised his God-given white male rights and killed people. He went to their church, on their sabbath, for the sole purpose of making sure we all know what he thinks of these pesky immigrants.
The man is from Australia. How many white men are native to Australia? None. He’s the descendant of immigrants. But it’s okay, they were European immigrants, and we’ve made the rules different for ourselves.
He took the lives of 49 people. He messed up the lives of countless more who lost friends and family, who were wounded, who will now spend months (or years, or the rest of their lives) caring for wounded people they love.
I agree with Jacinda Ardern , the Prime Minister of New Zealand. “They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home,” she said in a short statement. Those immigrants are now “us,” Just as the English, Welsh, Scots and others assimilated upon their arrival to New Zealand.
Another bad guy with a gun thought it was an us versus them situation. He was completely wrong. It was him versus all of us, together.
There is no them. There is only us. There is only the vast majority of us who believe in human rights and the rule of law, and the people who live outside the norms of civilization.
We are one community. And we are now mourning the loss of good people who were some of us.
There is no them. We’re all in this together.