The Transformative Question in Deconstructing White Supremacy and Unmasking Racism

No matter if it’s sitting across the coffee shop table from or sharing in a social media thread with fellow white people, I have found that one phrase can unmask racism and begin the unraveling and deconstruction process of white supremacy:

ARE BLACK PEOPLE LESS HUMAN THAN WHITE PEOPLE?

The above question usually comes from me right about the time my white friend, acquaintance, family, etc…begin to use excuses as to WHY statistics show black people are poor, incarcerated, killed by police, suspended from school, are farther behind in academics, at higher rates than white people.

Before I share the transformative question conversation, I first must define the idea of deconstruction and the term white supremacy.

Deconstruction in the social concept is the idea of examining ideas, concepts, assumptions of any system. It is not breaking down necessarily. Its objective is to investigate and expose and understand a concept. The real idea would be to deconstruct a social system, like white supremacy, deem if it is necessary for us, and if it is harmful, then we would dismantle it, and ultimately dispose of the system

So what is white supremacy?

At first glance a white person will get a puffed chest about this term, immediately going to thoughts of white robes/hoods or skinheads. Their opinions are that white supremacy is for those that are a part of the KKK, Proud Boys or Aryan Brotherhood, extremist groups that are vocal and visible.

White supremacy is an entire system of power or ideology that allows white politics, economics, culture, to take center stage over any other system.  White supremacy is a system set up for whites to succeed in and for all others to be second class. The whiteness in the term has little to do with a people group or skin color. Anyone can be born into white supremacy or indoctrinated into the system. Yet, prominently those that hold to white supremacy are white skinned people. (Links to help explain white supremacy and racism http://www.dismantlingracism.org/racism-defined.html & https://www.uuworld.org/articles/idiots-guide-critical-race-theory)

Now, let’s return to the transformative question:

ARE BLACK PEOPLE LESS HUMAN THAN WHITE PEOPLE?

White people love to use justifications and racist tropes as to why the statistics exist for black people, statements like…”But what about The welfare queen, What about black on black crime, why aren’t black men more involved in the children’s lives, etc.”

These learned responses from white generational storytelling about black people are ingrained into the white mind.  These statements and worldview aren’t looked at or even condemned as racist in the white mindset. Whites see racism as using the “N” word or reserved for white supremacist groups.

White people don’t think they are racist and love to validate one another with statements like “Well I’ve known him/her forever, they don’t have a racist bone in their body!” This statement gives a glimpse as to why those of us that are deconstructing our white supremacy daily and unmasking our racism hourly, have to ask the hard question to our white counterparts:

ARE BLACK PEOPLE LESS HUMAN THAN WHITE PEOPLE?

When you first ask this question to your white counterpart, 99% of the time you will get the reaction you hoped to achieve. The response that will give you hope, that reaction that can lead to transformation: ANGER.

I am not saying ALL white people will react this way, but those that I have encountered and in which I have asked the question to, get angry. That anger shows that somewhere, within the corrupted data of white supremacy in their minds, is a beacon of hope blinking, waiting to be activated. Push that button. The light goes on, and the spotlight that’s created by the transformative question slowly ( and I MEAN SLOWLY) begins to illuminate all of their racist thoughts about black people, and how, the generations before them were conspirators that conspired to keep black people marginalized.

It indeed is a rebirth, that is, being born again out of the system of white supremacy.

The transformative question makes most white people angry because it exposes a core belief of most whites, that we are all equal. White people, especially the southern ones that I have known, have a deep patriotic spirit, and that usually includes a component of “We The People.” These good ‘ole boy white people will tell you Slavery is over, and so is Jim Crow, and there was even a black President!..”See racism is over, we are all equal, they(black people) gotta work hard just like I do to get ahead” they will say.  When you hear them say statements like this, zero in on the equality part, this is where you can push them to the transformative statement. If they believe that equality exists (or can exist), then we have to ask them then WHY? You ask them “Why are Black People more poor, incarcerated, killed by police, suspended from school, are farther behind in academics, at higher rates than white people.” If they give you the usual answers, give them the transformative question:

ARE BLACK PEOPLE LESS HUMAN THAN WHITE PEOPLE?

The response, after anger and red faces, is usually something like “well no, I didn’t say that black people are less human,  you are putting words in my mouth!” and then I will push “then explain yourself, why aren’t white peoples statistics greater or equal to the damning statistics of black people?”

Typically there is silence, and then, from what I have seen comes an ” I don’t know.”

“I don’t know” is the open the door to transformation. Doubt and questioning is deconstruction. While your white counterpart is on the ropes and doubting, ask them “could you entertain the possibility that there are systems and history behind these statistics?” Most of the time, you will hear, “well…..maybe”.

And this is where transformation begins, a nagging question in their mind, that maybe, just maybe, there is more to the story, and the story might include the culpability of all white people in the system of white supremacy.

The transformative process of a white person deconstructing their white supremacy is slow and tedious since we have so much to unravel. So many layers to peel away.

THE premier work that white people that are currently on the path of deconstruction have to do is communicating with and helping guide fellow white people to the way of deconstruction of white supremacy. Once our mind starts to deconstruct and decolonize, a newness begins, and things that we never saw before are revealed.

ARE BLACK PEOPLE LESS HUMAN THAN WHITE PEOPLE?

Of course, the answer is NO!

We white people that can have conversations with our white counterparts that get the positive response from the transformative question must push beyond the transformative question, after it has been asked, and ask a new question:

WHY ARE BLACK PEOPLE TREATED UNJUSTLY, AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

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