The fear of teaching accurate American history and having honest discussions about race have seized many white parents across the nation. The mechanism employed by those promoting white supremacy ideology has been utilized for centuries. To encourage whites who had nothing to gain from supporting the Civil War, white supremacists spread the fear that blacks would be equal to whites and would seek retribution for their enslavement. When the enslaved were freed, the fear of savage blacks who only desired to rape white women was spread. White supremacists encouraged the idea that social integration in schools would lead to sexual relationships between black boys and white girls.
Gas lighting and fear mongering tactics presently being utilized have white parents in an uproar and educators intimidated regarding the teaching of accurate American history and having honest discussions about race in classrooms. Fears have been provoked that teaching or talking about race in schools are: divisive concepts; neo-racism that sows seeds of racial strife; that it is all anti-American indoctrination.
The truth of the ideology of white supremacy is that it sows racial division, racial strife and indoctrination. White supremacy ideology, an idea based on the myths of white superiority and non-white inferiority has been infused in American culture, laws and institutions. As a result of over 300 years of racial indoctrination, using stereotypical images of blacks in particular, white supremacy ideology has become deeply embedded in the collective American mind. It is precisely the lack of the accurate teaching of American history and the prohibition against honest discussions of racism in our schools that have allowed white supremacy to flourish with its devastating effects on our nation’s moral fiber.
Taken from the narrative in A Time for Change: How White Supremacy Ideology Harms All Americans (Bireda, 2021), some of the core elements of white supremacy ideology are outlined.
America is inherently a white country, in character, in structure, in culture.
- The culture of the United States was founded, developed, and undergirded by white supremacy ideology.
- The beliefs, values, norms, symbols, laws and institutions around which the culture is organized are infused with white supremacy ideology.
- The core belief that undergirds American culture is that those identified as perceived to be “white” are superior to people of other races.
- “Whiteness” is a social construction, without biological or scientific basis.
- To establish the superiority of whiteness, a comparison or counter-balancing core belief had to be created, reinforced, and perpetuated; that core belief is that “blackness is inferior’.
- Related to the core idea of white superiority and black inferiority are the beliefs that white “place” or position in the American racial hierarchy is at the top, and the black “place” or position is at the bottom.
- White supremacy ideology promotes control and domination as an American cultural value.
- Stereotypical images of blackness have flourished in the collective American mind for over three hundred years. These “culturally conditioned” beliefs define American culture and are enshrined in the nation’s cultural institutions - education, religion, health care, criminal justice, and employment.
- Stereotypical black images perpetuate the beliefs that undergird white supremacy ideology, promote racial separation, and most critically prevent the development of multiracial class consciousness.
America is at a definite choice-point in its history. The pandemic, the racially motivated killings of blacks, the protests have all brought us to the point of looking honestly at who we are as a nation and how we can heal this terrible virus of racism placed upon us over 300 years ago. We are not responsible as individuals for the virus of racism having been perpetuated in our collective minds, but we can be agents for removing it. The very first step we must take is to ignore the racist fears that have been used for centuries to hold us captive in the ideology of white supremacy. Secondly, we must insist that accurate American history be taught in our schools so that not one more generation of American students falls prey to the destruction of white supremacy ideology.
Finally, we must have the courage to engage in honest conversations about race and racism in our nation. Only then can racial healing begin.
Do we as Americans want to live 300 more years under the domination of white supremacy? Do we want to remain a racially divided nation? Do we want to have our minds and hearts influenced by hatred imposed by the myth of white superiority and non-white inferiority? Do we want our children to live and learn the false and invented history of their nation? Do we want our nation to live up to its ideals of freedom and equality of opportunity for all Americans?
We must learn more about and understand how white supremacy ideology has held our nation in bondage; then we must have the courage to individually and collectively become agents of change, to make America the nation it has the potential to become.