By Thulani Conrad Moore, ROJ Trainer
In our ongoing struggle for racial justice and antiracism, we find ourselves constantly sidetracked by distractions that prevent us from addressing the root issue – systemic and institutional white male dominance.
While efforts have been made to promote diversity since the late sixties and early seventies, from diversity training to sensitivity training and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives, we still witness the perpetuation of white male dominance within our country's systems and institutions. Take a quick look at the makeup of the current US Senate, for example. This blog post aims to shed light on the persistent distractions and unveil the importance of focusing on interrupting white male dominance.
What we saw in Charlottesville:
The events in Charlottesville a few years ago, where young white males marched with tiki torches, showcased the deep-rooted fear within white male communities. Their chants of "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not
replace us" were clear indicators of their awareness that their privileged position is being challenged. In their desperation to uphold the illusion of superiority that underpins their dominance in society, they resort to divisive actions. It's important to note that these individuals are not the wealthy white men who benefit from societal divisions. Instead, they are manipulated into believing they share more common ground with the wealthy elite than with the rest of us. Tragically, they unknowingly contribute to their own oppression. As Lyndon Johnson once said, "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 somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." These individuals are the pawns, used as cannon fodder to uphold white dominance in the United States.
The Illusion of Progress:
Despite our best intentions, traditional approaches to diversity have yet to yield the desired outcomes. Recently, the Time Magazine article titled "Why Some Companies Are Saying 'Diversity and Belonging' Instead of 'Diversity and Inclusion'" highlighted a shift in terminology that reflects the acknowledgment that conventional D.E.I. strategies have fallen short. However, amidst these discussions, we must recognize that white male dominance remains unchallenged within our society and institutions.
The Practices of Distraction and Deception:
White male dominance is perpetuated through a web of practices that divert our attention and maintain the status quo. Distraction, deception, confusion, contradiction, and hypocrisy are employed to keep us divided and prevent us from focusing on the core issue. While we are distracted by manufactured upheavals and pitted against each other, wealthy white men continue to amass power and wealth.
The Manipulation of Advocacy:
As we raise our voices against injustices such as the denial of gender-affirming care, abortion restrictions, and voter suppression, the focus on interrupting white male dominance often gets overshadowed. The ultra-rich exploit this division, making us believe that immigrants, drag queens, feminists, Black Lives Matter, or Antifa are the source of our problems. Meanwhile, they quietly accumulate greater wealth and power, eroding the progress our WOKE grandparents fought to achieve.
Shifting the Focus:
To create substantial change, it is essential for historically oppressed groups to join forces in interrupting white male dominance and building sustainable alliances. We must question whether our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts hold significance if they do not address the underlying issue. While the debate between Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion versus Diversity, Equity, and Belonging continues, it remains irrelevant until we confront and interrupt white male dominance.
In our pursuit of racial justice and equality, it is imperative that we recognize and challenge the enduring power structures white males have put in place to maintain dominance. The distractions that divert our attention are intentional tactics employed to maintain the status quo. We can develop a path towards true progress by uniting against these manipulations and focusing our efforts on interrupting white male dominance. It is time to refocus our advocacy, bridge divides, and work collectively to dismantle the systems that perpetuate inequality. Only then can we achieve a society that embraces true diversity, equity, and belonging for all.
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