By Thulani Conrad Moore, Roots of Justice Trainer
Congratulations to Wes Moore and Aruna Miller for their hard work to break the pattern of rich white male dominance over the governorship of Maryland. Maryland, like most of the United States, has always voted for candidates based on race and gender. The only time we hear people question that is when a candidate is a person of color or a woman. It is then that we hear, “don’t you think voting is too important to vote for a person based on race or gender?”
Check the statistics for your state. How old is it? How long has it maintained white male dominance in government? The system of white male dominance requires that whether Democrat or Republican, the candidate has to be white and male. My state, Georgia is also a white dominant state as it relates to the governorship, with the same shameful historic white dominant pattern.
There was a time when those in power felt secure in actually calling it the “white primary” in Georgia. This was until Primus King sued to interrupt white dominance in Georgia primary elections. I’ll say more about Primus King in a later post.
Wes Moore, an African American male, was sworn into the office of Governor of the great state of Maryland yesterday. Aruna Miller was sworn in as the first South Asian woman of color Lieutenant Governor. Moore pledged his oath with his hand on the bible of famed abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass. Douglass was an African American man who was held hostage on a Christian forced labor camp in Maryland. He escaped and rose to fame as a staunch adversary of human trafficking.
For 390 years Maryland has been ruled by rich white men. It was ruled by rich white men before the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and by rich white men ever since. But in November Maryland broke with the tradition of voting based on race and gender and elected an African American male to serve as Governor. Bravo Maryland.
However, as in the election of Barack Obama, this election does not signal the end of white male dominance over politics in the United States. Obama’s election to the highest office in the land triggered fear in the white dominant establishment. Fear triggered a fight or flight reaction from traditional white supremacy. We saw white male fear on display in Charlottesville, VA with the tiki torches and chants that expressed a fear of no longer having someone to look down on.
White supremacy culture is a zero-sum ideology. The concept of multicultural power sharing does not fit their thinking. An example of this is the Charlottesville chant, "you will not replace us, Jews will not replace us." White supremacy culture requires that, as former president Lyndon Johnson put it, "If you can convince the lowest white man that he is better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him someone to look down on and he will open his pockets for you.” Of course, their superiority is now and always was an illusion. But perception is reality.
So again, I say congratulations to Wes Moore and Aruna Miller. They won with an impressive 63% of the overall vote. Bravo to the organizers who made this possible. Their next organizing task is to prepare to fight the poor and working-class white men who will be scratching and clawing to hold their perceived social position as just a bit better than Black people.
Poor and so-called working-class white people will be clawing, scratching, and fighting tooth and nail in an attempt to hold on to the illusion of superiority. That is what we saw with the storming of the U.S. Capitol in D.C. on January 6, 2021. Interrupting rich white male dominance is no easy task. Rich white men have an army of poor and working-class white people to use as cannon fodder to secure their continued dominance over the rest of us. In a mind poisoned by the illusion of superiority, equality is a step down. The loss of a perceived superior social position is a bridge too far. So, For the rest of us, it is time to be alert and aware. Because the struggle continues.
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