It was white supremacy.
It was never just about “discrimination” or “privilege” or “racism” or “anti-blackness” or “lack of diversity” or “hate” or “intolerance” or “police brutality” or “inequality” or any of the symptoms of America’s longest-lasting pandemic.
There is no synonym for white supremacy. No euphemism exists that makes this disease more tolerable. If we are going to destroy the sickness that ails our nation, if we truly endeavor to make ourselves immune, we must first know the true name of the virus we are fighting.
It was always “white supremacy.”
In fact, The Root managed to find some exclusive footage of white people reacting to the news that white supremacy might be finally dismantled.
This is why none of us (except for Terry Crews, maybe) are worried that the current climate has gone too far. Black people are acutely aware that whiteness is an impenetrable deflector shield that makes our Caucasian countrymen immune from truth, justice or the social gravity that keeps the rest of us tethered to the earth.
Yes, white people can fly.
For instance, take controversy surrounding Apple TV’s hit cartoon Central Park (that I never heard of before yesterday) and Netflix’s Big Mouth. Apparently Kirsten Bell and Jenny Slate recently decided that they could no longer voice the biracial characters on the shows that I just looked up on Wikipedia.
While these admissions worried a few white people who are concerned with the pervasive “cancel culture” that really doesn’t exist, after I looked up Kirsten Bell and Jenny Slate in different Wikipedia tabs, I came to the conclusion that I really don’t give a damn.
Nor did I give a damn on Monday when #CancelJimmyKimmel was trending on Twitter for comedy sketches where comedian Jimmy Kimmel wore blackface:
I had even fewer fucks to give when Tina Fey graciously decided to remove episodes of 30 Rock that featured actors wearing blackface.
My apathy didn’t have anything to do with the fact that there are bigger fish to fry than policing cartoon voices and comedy sketches (there are). I know it’s a big deal on Twitter. But my indifference comes from knowing something that has always been true about America:
Tina Fey, Jimmy Kimmel and Kirsten Bell will never face a single consequence of their actions and I’m not sure if they should. I’m not even sure it’s their fault. They benefit from living in a country that enables them to soar above the clouds and convinces them that the reason they can fly is that God gave them the gift of wings or they just flapped their arms harder than everyone else. America, for white people, is like the yellow sun for Kal-El.
Truth be told, a lot of white people aren’t racist or privileged or anti-black. That would be giving them more credit than they deserve. I seriously doubt if most white people sit around conjuring up ways to advance their white race. They don’t put that much effort into sustaining the system that sustains them. They aren’t clever or intelligent enough to do that.
That’s not how white supremacy works.
Here’s how white supremacy works:
Those are the photos of every single person who who earned an executive producer credit on 30 Rock. In 138 episodes, only one black writer (Donald Glover) contributed to more than a single episode. So who was going to stop the blackface? Who was going to speak up about stereotypical roles?
And the same goes for newsrooms that silence black voices or chastise black journalists for not being “objective.” The same is true for corporations that resist diversity initiatives so they can hire whomever they please. The same is true for white voters who cast ballots for people who they feel they can “have a beer with.”
It’s not that they hate us (although some do). It’s not even that they are uplifting white people. It’s that they don’t give a fuck about anything other than themselves. And because, for them, everything is is a mirror, they only value people who look, think, talk and act like them.
They’re just white people.
You think Jimmy Kimmel remembered yesterday that he had performed in blackface? You think he just realized it was kinda fucked up? You think Tina Fey began scouring her work for racial stereotypes when Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck? Do you believe Kirsten Bell’s first inclination toward equality and inclusion was when she sat down to tweet about a cartoon you never heard of? They’re already flying, bruh. They know we can’t jump high enough to bring them down—even if we stood on each other’s shoulders.
Do you know why birds of a feather flock together?
Neither do they. They just do.
That’s why whiteness will never be canceled—because the people who wrote, created and cast the American story were born with the wings of whiteness. They hire people who make them feel comfortable and support people they are already familiar with. These motherfuckers aren’t conspiring to keep cartoon voices Caucasian or keep black actresses unemployed. They ain’t shit but white people doing what white people do:
So fret not, my dear white people. You will never be “canceled.”
Because, even if you are willing to fight police brutality, acknowledge privilege, erase racism, battle inequality, advocate for change and push for a more tolerant society, you will always and forever have an advantage over everyone in America until you accept the fact that all the podcasts and redesigned pancake boxes in the world can’t eliminate the disease that caused all these symptoms.
You gotta say “white supremacy.”