White Supremacy: A Matter of Time
Racism links civility and time. Racism makes history white history, progress white progress, and freezes the present as a Black present.
It’s your time to shine.
Use time wisely.
It’s the time of your life.
Don’t waste time.
Time is money.
It’s time to move forward
Time well spent.
Lost time is never found.
Time waits for no one.
Time is the most valuable thing you can spend.
You can’t make up lost time
The place was called Port Comfort, but it provided little comfort to the disembarking passengers. Their fate was to toil until death, a fulfillment for an entire race, God’s admonishment to Adam that: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”
What God apparently didn’t tell Adam was that some of Adam’s descendants would toil for their living, while others would forcibly toil for the welfare of others in what is called slavery.
An Old Institution
Slavery has been a human condition for millennia starting in Mesopotamia about 6800 B.C.E., where slavery held little regard for race, instead being a punitive economic condition occasioned by war. You lost a war; you could expect to be a slave.
Slavery’s link to defeat in war as a punishment and economic imperative continued until 1444 when Portuguese ships brought the first cargos of slaves from West Africa to Europe. This trade, called the Atlantic slave trade, no longer used military defeat as its raison d’etre, instead replacing this justification with the notion of civility. Christian Europeans laid claimed to superior culture and technology, and declared Africans to be inferior with regard to culture, technology, and most important, religion. Compared to Europeans, the thinking went, Africans were backward heathens frozen in their ignorance and naiveté; in other words, they had neither a worthwhile history or future and therefore were subject to enslavement and not worthy of controlling their own time; they were not by European standards, civil.
Slavery is nothing less than having your time totally dictated to meet the needs and whims of oppressors.
Black Bottom: A Neighborhood
Racism is about stolen time: time stolen from Black people, and time that continues to be stolen.
In the 1950s, Detroit city officials demolished a predominately Black neighborhood and replaced it with the I-375 freeway and the predominately white, affluent, Lafayette Park neighborhood. Families were forced out of Black Bottom and had their lives destroyed, causing them to struggle for generations to make up the progress they worked so hard to achieve, with many never recovering. Black Bottom residents were given 30 days to vacate, with many forced into crime riddled, rat infested public housing. And economic progress wasn’t the only time lost; also lost was time for joy and celebration, time for caregiving and community development, time for personal growth…time for just living your life.
Hundreds of Black Bottom residents didn’t just have their lives frozen in time, but were forced backward. Their time was stolen by white politicians. In this case, the politicians’ needs and whims were cloaked with the mantle of “Progress.”
Even cemeteries, those doors to our past, have been denied to Blacks.
Cemeteries are reserved as special places families and friends can pilgrimage to honor their deceased relatives. Because Blacks were prohibited from burial in “white” cemeteries, Blacks developed their own cemeteries. However, Blacks have been held in so low regard that even their pasts have been denied them. Black cemeteries have been dug-up, bulldozed, and paved over to make way for roads, buildings, and parking lots.
Racism, particularly institutional racism, is not relegated to our domestic institutions. During our Cold War with the Soviet Union, white NATO countries saw white Warsaw Pact nations as being held “captive” by the Soviet Union. Only white European nations could be considered as captive, despite the centuries of white imperialist nations holding Black and Asian nations as captive colonies.
Such institutional racist behavior is not confined to the recent past. As an example, the European Union sanctions countries considered tax havens for the wealthy; notable absent from that list are notorious tax havens such as Switzerland, Netherlands, Malta, and Luxemburg, while poorer nations, and Brown and Black nations, such as American Samoa, Anguilla, Dominica, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu are hit with sanctions.,
True, none of us has complete control over our time. Jobs, family and other social demands, and environmental factors such as storms and even the need to sleep and eat, all influence what we must do with our time. But what time is left to us is substantial and potentially under our control to determine the trajectory of our loves.
For human behavioral purposes, our time can be divided into three categories: Chronological; Social; and Biological. Racism disadvantages Blacks along all three measures of time
Chronological, (the time we’re most used to using) is the amount of time between a person’s birth and the present, and is most often used to study demographic phenomenon such as disease. Black people have chronological age stolen from them by racist healthcare institutions and polices, and other race related factors such as (but not limited to) policing practices. The Black/white life expectancy varies by region, but Blacks have consistently had a lower life expectancy than whites. As an example, children in New Orleans zip code 70124, which is 93% white, can expect to live 25 years longer than children born in the 70112-zip code, which is 60% Black. In 2016, under the Trump regime, the CDC stopped publishing Black/white life expectancy data.
Social, is a reflection of human life stages such as infant, adolescent, teenage, and adult. In a given society, your rights and responsibilities change as your social age changes. Access to quality education, access to employment, and most importantly, the exercise of the right to vote and otherwise participate in the political spere, are all part of our social time. Again, Blacks are at a disadvantage — -a disadvantage that is growing as represented by the current drive to restrict Black access to the polls. White politicians used to talk about how childlike were the mind of Blacks, justifying the exclusion of Blacks from politics. Now I hear white politicians talking about how “quality” is better than “quantity” to justify why Blacks should be excluded from political participation allegedly because they are not “informed.”
Social age also is affected by white perceptions of Blacks as described in an American Public Health Association paper:
One study indicated that Black boys were perceived as 4.5 years older than their actual age, indicating that a 13-year-old boy could be perceived as an adult.7 The study also noted that Black and White youths are rated as equally innocent until age 10 years, at which point Black youths are rated as less innocent than White youths.7 Moreover, research suggests that Black males are often perceived not only as older but more physically threatening. One study found that Black men were perceived as heavier, taller, and more physically threatening than White men regardless of their actual height, weight, and musculature.8 These perceptions then led to justification for more aggressive measures by police against Black men than White men in hypothetical situations.
Cleveland police reports rationalized his death of Tamir Rice by stating: “[Rice] is menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.”
Biological, has to do with epigenetics and is related to the changes in us caused by gene expression (such as puberty, sickle cell, breast cancer, and other genetic related conditions), where again Blacks are disadvantaged. Biological and Chronological time are closely linked but are influenced by environmental conditions such as housing and diet, mental stress, and access to quality health care, factors that enhance or ameliorate genetic expression.
Although Blacks represent 13.2% of our population, they account for 23.8% of the people living in poverty as opposed to a 9.6% poverty rate for non-Latino whites who make up 60.1% of our population.
Poverty causes biological pain:
A 2013 study by Ronald Anderson found that people with incomes below the poverty line were twice as likely to report chronic pain and mental distress as people earning $75,000 or more, and three to five more likely to have extreme pain and distress.
A 2015 study by Zaneta Thayer states that “Discrimination raises the transaction costs of simple things like getting a loan or buying a home. Maternal stress related to discrimination is associated with lower birth weights — -which are linked to worse outcomes on a number of progress indicators — -thus passing disadvantage on to the next generation.”
Time and American Democracy
The perpetuation of America’s racism, the attempts to freeze Black time, is maintained by lies and a lack of commitment to truth-telling; by white economic and political greed and the refusal to reign in the gluttonous avarice of the rich; and shunning moral standards that apply to all people. To continue doing so at this date in our nation’s history renders our democracy meaningless.
This country has never directly grappled with racial issues and look where we are now. Time is freedom — -freedom is time.
It is time.