by Danny Haiphong
The white power structure in the U.S. controls the guns, money, communication media and levers of government. In a pinch, it can also call on the Black Misleadership Class, “America's neo-colonial elite that occupies a few privileged seats in Washington and corporate offices.” Stephen A. Smith is a soldier in white racism’s army.
Stephen A Smith: Lapdog for White Supremacy on the American Corporate Plantation
by Danny Haiphong
“Smith's tirade evoked the mythological image of a sub-human Black poor that has become so commonplace in the American mind.”
The Disney-owned ESPN Corporation has indeed become a circus show in its attempt to defend the National Basketball Association from public humiliation. Since the Donald Sterling fiasco, ESPN has done its part in protecting the NBA brand from another round of embarrassing racist comments, this time from a different owner. The NBA's beloved Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reported to the corporate media that he fears young Black men "in hoods," using white liberal notions of "impurity" to confine racism to a matter of prejudice and "bias." These comments elicited condemnations and subsequent accusations of racism from Black Americans on social media. ESPN quickly came to the rescue, parading out their number one Black demagogue Stephen A. Smith to defend white supremacy and the sports sector of America’s corporate plantation.
It should come as no surprise that elite whites so casually express anti-Black racism that most White Americans attempt (and fail) to harbor quietly. As Theodore Allen asserts in his text, The Invention of the White Race, white supremacy is rooted in ruling class policy of continental North America in response to class conflicts in colonial Virginia. European and African bond-servants united in rebellion against the exploitation of the capitalist planter class. Capitalist planters, fearing the loss of colonial power and profit, institutionalized white identity within the legal framework of colonial administrations. African slaves were forced into lifetime servitude and bondage. Exploited Whites were given the opportunity to identify with their exploiter, the newly endowed "superior" race, and avoid permanent bondage. White identity thus became the buffer between the colonial capitalist class and enslaved Black Africans. The marriage between white racism and the profitable enterprise of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade essentially built the foundation of what would become the United States of America.
“Exploited Whites were given the opportunity to identify with their exploiter, the newly endowed ‘superior’ race, and avoid permanent bondage.”
If white racism is the primary force of social control keeping oppressed classes from shedding their masters, what explains the likes of Stephen A. Smith? The character of racism is dependent upon the political conditions of a given historical moment. For nearly three centuries, Black America has been strangled as a class by both capitalism and racism, first in the form of chattel slavery followed by various forms of neo-slavery into the 21st century. The heroic slave rebellions that eventually forced the passage of the 13th Amendment actually legalized slavery “by another name” in the US criminal injustice system. Years of struggle against Jim Crow lynch mob terror, share-cropping, convict-leasing, and economic deprivation led to the development of a Black radical tradition that struck fear into the rulers of the capitalist system. The ruling class concluded during the transition to neo-liberal capitalism that racial politics needed to be manipulated in order to more effectively dissolve the Black radical tradition and revolutionary politics in the US as a whole. The ruling class employed the Black misleadership class to complete the task.
Stephen A. Smith is a corporate media pundit for ESPN and a member of the Black misleadership class. The Black misleadership class is America's neo-colonial elite that occupies a few privileged seats in Washington and corporate offices. This parasitic class derives its privilege directly from the exploitation of the Black working class and poor, and for that matter, the entire working class and poor of the planet. However, its success is not the result of a divine desire to "pound the pavement" as Stephen A. Smith puts it, but from the willingness to collaborate with the ruling class in return for a piece of profits and status accumulated from the wealth, blood, and labor of the exploited Black majority. So it should come as no surprise that Stephen A. Smith would shamelessly defend white supremacy and abhor Black America’s very existence. This has been the historically proven method to how one “makes it” in America’s corporate plantation.
“Black America has been strangled as a class by both capitalism and racism.”
Stephen A. Smith's comments are just as heinous, if not more so, than Sterling and Cuban's. Smith applauded Cuban for being honest about "prejudice", but did not stop there. He went on to chastise the Black community in minstrel-show fashion. In this period, it has become the official policy of white imperialism's Black leaders to dehumanize the Black working class and poor with white supremacist rhetoric of responsibility and personal defect. Smith pimped his personal success as akin to the "American Dream" and wagged his finger at the irresponsibility of Black men who wear "their pants hanging down." According to Smith, Black America apparently has no grasp of the colonial "English language" or the "due diligence" to "succeed" in the country that submits most of Black America to neo-colonial slave conditions. Smith's tirade evoked the mythological image of a sub-human Black poor that has become so commonplace in the American mind. As Barack Obama has readily reminded us, Black America is shamefully irresponsible, criminal even, and it takes the will to be more like White America to make it out of the misery he and his ruling class masters enforce.
Of course, radical and leftist forces in the US have the political responsibility to expose the criminality of the Black misleadership class and the ruling class they serve. Stephen A. Smith is but one of many of his class whose very careers work against the interests of Black America and oppressed people of the world. He is the perfect example of the neo-colonial elite in the United States that willfully ignores at best, or blames Black America at worst, for the growing poverty, imprisonment, police repression and murder, racist austerity, persistent discrimination, and imperialist war that ravages masses of Black America and oppressed around the globe. The time is now to develop a revolutionary class politics that places the collaborators among us and the corporate plantation they uphold in their rightful place: the dustbin of history.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: firstname.lastname@example.org.