The conjuring of ideas and concepts as it pertains to the idea of race and the experience of Blackness- after reviewing observations and the inquiry of inceptions of thought, I find that the belief in an idea will canon itself when people come together and agree upon its power [to shift in their favor].
Ideas of inferiority based upon skin color and geographical location were prompted by the adjustment of power- in order to uphold or begin to uplift particular narratives, a rationale of assumptive and physical differences were made which included aligning darker skinned people with animals and caricatures that dehumanized them. The other-ing reinforced perceptions of human hierarchies which increased the idea’s capacity.
The framing of human hierarchies sprung race to the forefront in a war over “social domination”. The idea of race inferiority directly intersects with social class and other conceptualized classes that exist of which people can live- written by Sunil Khilnani, there is an exploration of Isabel Wilkerson’s, World-Historical Theory of Race and Caste. A concluding thought, “things work more smoothly when everyone stays in their place,” is a reflection and observation of “how individuals who have historically benefitted from prejudice and discrimination” remain in their position, class, or caste when there are no disruptions to a system put into place to extinguish possibilities of a “common humanity”.
The responses and hard inquiries for the articles written similarly reflect on the concept of power and what that looks like. Wilkerson mentions, “caste solidarity over principle, tribe over empathy,” and a question is asked, “if people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?” I consider the abstraction of whiteness and its ambiguity to include all people who do not have the capacity to experience Blackness- the arguments advocate for humanity and the peripheral observations extend, but do not deconstruct the conceptual hierarchy.
Based on the text, The History of Whiteness by Nell Irvin Painter, the information held a perspective I had yet fully considered: the history of whiteness. I consider the inception of Blackness- the space between[from] African and[to] Black- the elements that take up space and consistently revive, create, and destroy. The idea of Blackness lives as an imposition and an active, out of bounds alchemy. [w]hiteness, I have yet explored in this way. It is equally as fascinating.
I have generally argued that a person who does not have the capacity to experience Blackness, does have the capacity to activate themselves as white. So, it was refreshing to see that be explored. In the text Introduction, Painter reflects, “...the history of unfree white people slumbers in popular forgetfulness, though white slavery (like black slavery) moved people around and mixed up human genes on a massive scale.” On a micro level, liberally, people entertain the idea of pronouncing their differences with the assurance they are heard and seen. On a macro level, the system of whiteness upholds itself that even when “a single abstraction [imposed onto] multiple realities inevitably creates friction,” if someone can align themselves with whiteness, the argument is- they will.
This makes me question how those who do not experience Blackness who are not of European descent envision a deconstruction of power without including themselves being removed from the position of which they have the capacity to navigate in. The “vague” understanding of whiteness is, I think, intentional and by design. As Blackness came to exist, as did Whiteness-
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas by Ibram X. Kendi
The History of Whiteness by Nell Irvin Painter
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