We mistakenly identify racism as only brazen discrimination and physical violence. To protect ourselves, it is convenient to treat White supremacy as an anomaly unrelated to the specific social perils of today or as chauvinist attitudes that exist in the minds of extreme individuals. Racism is also the theological, historical, ideological, cultural, structural, and interpersonal practices that advantage one race group and disadvantage other groups as a result of race and skin color, which create and perpetuate mass disparities. The white noise sounding from our televisions and textbooks, pulpits and corner offices, city halls and congressional chambers masks the truth about racism and quiets us into hibernation when humanity needs us awake and attentive.
White noise denies us a chance to live alert and conscious – to embrace a revolutionary realism – because we refuse to release the illusions of exceptionalism and greatness we harbor and advance when we cherry-pick from history. White noise protects us from the class-based racial nightmare in the United States, which started in the colonial context of stealing Native Americans’ land and Black Africans for labor. White noise persuades Americans that we are all the Christopher Columbuses of the world, free to expand our particular values and innocently discover “new places” for that expansion. Our national fables coax us into identifying with the Columbuses, Winthrops, Washingtons, and Adamses as one nation under God. We forget that so many of us better reflect the experiences of the Native people condemned to the treachery of disease and disinheritance. In the comfortable cribs of these illusions, we elect to spotlight the diplomatic genius of a slaveholding rapist like Thomas Jefferson, ignoring the carnage that slavery exacted due to his political hypocrisy concerning the equality of “all men.”
From “Silencing White Noise: Six Practices to Overcome Our Inaction on Race” by Willie Dwayne Francois III Brazos Press