I will admit, I was a part of the same crowd I’m now picking up a pen to speak against. I too once went around foolishly talking about “white privilege” this or “white people are evil” that. This was not too long ago; a time when I used to see justice through colored binoculars and I was part and parcel of the very divisive culture I thought I was speaking against. It took two years of hardship for me to finally shed my blinders and see injustice as it is without putting an adjective in front of it.
What I have witnessed from South Carolina to Colorado and countless regions in between as I sojourned from state to state and mission to mission is this. Poverty comes for all and it does not discriminate based on the preposterous labels we append to ourselves. These designations of white and black are insidious but boy oh boy have they have worked perfectly. Black and white were constructs meant to ghettoize people behind prisons of contempt in order to fracture humanity. There is not one person in this world who is black nor is anyone white; these words were imposed upon us by monstrous men who had everything to gain by dividing us.
Over generations, we have accepted these hateful labels and made them a source of pride. Why do I say the labels are hateful? Go ahead and look up the definition of the word “black” on Webster’s Dictionary. You will discover nothing but one slander after another as black is used to describe things which are worthless and insignificant. At the top of the definition, you will see that vile label ascribed to “black people” followed by words like dark, evil, wicked, and most pernicious black is defined as those things which don’t have light.
People don’t understand, the word black is used to dehumanize us and to imply that we don’t have God’s light in us. Now go ahead and and look up the word white in the same dictionary. You will see white described in the most glowing ways. White is defined as the full presence of light and it has also been affixed to people who come from Europe. White is defined as pure, clean, of good character and free from blemish. As we are dehumanized, other groups are elevated and in the process the world is shattered into a battle between “black” and “white”. This is how the 1% are able to conquer and subjugate the 99%.
Don’t you see what these demonic men were up to in the past when they came up with the constructs of “black” and “white”. They were insulting us to the core and saying that we are valueless as they elevated themselves to the status of heirlooms. Now I know some people will try to say “they don’t get to define what we are, we do”. This is absurdity of the highest magnitude, the word black was given to us to define us by “them”. Trust me when I tell you this, our ancestors in the continent we now imprudently call Africa were not calling themselves “black” before foreigners invaded and colonized the continent of Ethiopia and shipped off her children to live a life of chattel in chains.
By accepting the word “black”, we accept inferiority. But too many people overlook this fact and instead choose to lash out and bang on “white privilege”. But calling people “white” is the privilege itself! No one is white, the minute you say someone is white you might as well get on your knees and say “master” for that is the implication of the paradigm of the labels black and white. Black mires us in third class citizen status and white confers upon people from European descendants the prominence of the preferred tribe. Do you know what the word “negro” means? It’s black by another dialect, so is a word less insulting when it’s spoken in English than when it is uttered in another language?
The source of our enslavement is within, this is why Bob Marley sang that song “free yourselves from mental slavery”. Accepting our identity through the identification others gave us is nothing more than accepting bondage. Words are super powerful, nothing in this world matches the potency of the tongue and the words that flow from it. By saying we are black, we speak inferiority into existence and calling others white confers superiority unto those who call us black. Sadly, the loudest idiots get the microphones; thus we are led by a herd of unoriginal thinkers who convince us to get on bended knees and beg for acceptance instead of lifting ourselves. There is money to be made after all in race hustling but actually teaching people to feed themselves takes away future customers.
These things have real life consequences, we spend all our time protesting outward while turning to rhetoric of hatefulness instead of fixing ourselves from within. Like I said, I’ve done this too—I’m not speaking from a point of piousness. But we’ve been following the same playbook for generations; banging our heads into walls will not knock the walls down, it just leads to migraine headaches. Being given pains does not give us the right to pass on pains to others. Blaming the masses of our less melanined brethren for the sins of a few is no different than when a “white” person says all black people are thugs. Bigotry is bigotry—we don’t get a pass just because we’ve felt a bigger injustice.
If you want to fight injustice, great! But for God’s sake stop putting adjectives in front of injustice. Don’t fight for black justice or brown justice, fight for justice on its own for doing anything less makes you part of the very injustice you fight against. This system of oppression that is robbing hope from the masses and bleeding people the world over thrives only through division. Its weakness is unity. So when people take to the podium to speak of “white privilege”, “Muslim terrorism” or “Mexican illegals”, they are feeding into the divisiveness which is fueling the fire of global injustice. In what world is it right to blame the whole for the excesses of a fraction who happen to be of that identity? If it is wrong when we are all lumped together and characterized as such, it’s equally wrong to do that to anyone else.
If you insist on saying “white privilege”, take a drive down to the Appalachians or failing that go down to your local homeless shelter. There you will find teeming masses of so-called “white” people who are mired in perpetual hopelessness and indigence that will shock your conscience. I dare you to go up to a “white” homeless person and tell him he has “white privilege”. The same root of injustice that robs the inner cities of Chicago of hope and hobbles “black” folk into cyclical poverty is what cripples “white” folks into dependency and privation in states like Idaho, Alabama, and Texas.
The way to find the liberation that has been eluding us for centuries, the only way to heal from the wounds of generational injustice, is to find love within. Malcolm X was beloved by the elites as long as he was preaching the divisive language of “white devils” and “white privilege”. Once Malcolm traveled to Mecca and saw the sea of humanity praying together and realized that the quest to end iniquity should be pursued without exclusion, he stopped speaking of “white devils” and instead embraced universal justice. That is when the powerful eliminated Malcolm. So discount every “black” leader and author and every “white” firebrand who preaches from the pulpit of “us versus them” as frauds and see them as only demagogues who work and get paid by the same system they speak against.
If you want to know how Donald Trump got elected, look no further than this “us versus them” paradigm that the fraud Obama was elected to eradicate only to breath butane into the fire. “White” folk got tired of being made guilty for the endless ways the system of oppression hobbles the masses in America and throughout the world. A culture of endless grievances made them feel aggrieved too. The same way “black folk” turned out in mass to vote for an empty suit Obama because he spoke our pains, “white folks” did the same as the pugnacious pig that is Donald Trump spoke to their pains too. This is what happens when we keep being led by emotions; dark souls will keep coming around to lead us by the nose. We end up getting the government we deserve.
Enough of the nonsense, stop acting the victim and complaining about what the “white man” did to you and realize that they suffer too. I know some will cite examples of how “white people” stuck in poverty don’t have it as worse as “black folk” stuck in indigence—this is such folly. Poverty is poverty and those who are stuck in it have minimal chances to escape the clutches of destitution. Once someone is mired in homelessness and gets sentenced to a life of concrete mattresses and newspaper blankets, they have little hope to go from that level of despair to finding renewal. Instead of judging who has it worse and turning the suffering of people into abstract philosophical debating points, how about we stop seeing through color and just help people who suffer as we are best able?
But first, heal thyself for you can’t help others before you mend within. Stop tearing others down from without, let’s take a pause and find a way to fill our hearts with love rather than letting anger be our guiding flame. Loosen from our souls hateful words of pejoratives like “black”, “nigger” and “habehsa” given to our ancestors to dehumanize them and make them the lesser. Lastly, if you really do care about ending injustice and want to fight for equality, here is a radical proposal. How about we see both humanity and injustice without appending an adjective of color, class or ideology in front of it. Be about love for everyone or else count yourself as part of the injustice that takes from all. #WhiteIsThePrivilege
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” ~ Marcus Garvey
If you appreciated this write up and agree that we should not put an adjective in front of injustice and instead fight for universal justice without respect to the endless ways the powerful divide us, share this article on social media using #WhiteIsThePrivilege
Speaking of Marcus Garvey and the notion of self-confidence, I challenge EVERYONE to watch this video, it is a bit long but within the first five minutes you will see how we have been manipulated all along to accept hatred as self-love.
For God’s sake, stop seeing injustice through color, you would not say hateful things to children, so why say it to each other? Peace on earth will only arrive when we accept each other as one big family instead of abstract enemies to conquer.
Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.
Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.