Practitioners of the dark art of bigotry find a perfect camouflage behind impenetrable walls of denial to mask their wicked ways.
“The likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been observing a deafening silence on the victims of oppression.”
An estimated 13% of an iceberg is visible above the water surface with a hefty 87% submerged and invisible. Fact is the tip provides the only clue of the existence of the frozen monstrosity below. The tip’s figurative effacement can be a perfect ploy to bury and obfuscate enduring problems that would otherwise irk those wielding power in their undying efforts to construct alternative and massaged realities. The popular metaphor of this phenomenon submits that what lies underneath the surface and hidden from view, especially in terms of social justice, inequalities and racial metaphysics, is a truer reflection of reality than the smaller visible tip. Practitioners of the dark art of bigotry, on the other hand, find a perfect camouflage behind impenetrable walls of denial to mask their wicked ways: if it can’t be seen, it doesn’t exist. Without resorting to the iceberg metaphor, we have recently argued that the veiled aspects of racism outweigh their conspicuous facets on account of the racist’s furtive methods and more importantly, their ubiquity. Their pervasiveness confers a deceptive normalcy to a contemptible, detrimental and denigrating situation. It is a beast designed to outfox legal challenges. A carefully fabricated mishmash of gray and fuzzy areas would throw any legal entity into an insane, vertiginous spin.
And that is how it was intended in the first place: to keep victims of the racist project muddled and with virtually no recourse to reparations or remedial actions. Humanity and dignity are left in a permanent state of suspended animation, just as racist atonement is maintained in perpetual modes of rescheduling. The racist beast is the mythical hydra in modern day human form. It is in a constant state of flux and always evolving. It undergoes continuous metaphorical mutations; it is akin to a microbe that eludes the body’s defenses. No sooner does the first line of defense engage the invader, a newer version of the microbe emerges that leaves the defenses in renewed ignorance of fresher danger signals on hand. In sum, it is an artificial malady meant to remain incurable and always readying itself for rebirth, leaving defenses with useless memories of a past, obsolete version. Therein systemic racism derives its enduring and uncompromising nature. Little wonder that attempts at ameliorating and reforming it are rendered vain.
“The racist beast is an artificial malady meant to remain incurable and always readying itself for rebirth.”
Kamala Harris recently made a statement that is apt for the iceberg metaphor. She declared that America is not a racist country. In the same breath, Ms. Harris avers “…that truth must also be spoken about the history of racism in the country and racism today.” On one hand, America is not a racist country, implying racism does not exist in the country. On the other, she implores her audience to speak the truth about a problem she just declared to be non-existent in the country. The statement was echoed by Republican Senator Tim Scott who, despite his patently Uncle Tom upbeat assessment of the country, goes on to express the hope that "…And that's why I believe the next American century can be better than the last…". The Senator offers no clues on how exactly a non-racist country can benefit from improvements from one century to the next. Non-racism should require no upgrading and if it did, to what ends should such a measure aspire — additional or nobler versions of non-racism? The old axiom that says you can’t have too much of a good thing is being pushed to its absurdly tragicomic limits.
These assertions nonetheless portray an existential conundrum understood only by the two protagonists themselves. We are being treated to a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t sleight of hand by an Uncle Tom and an Aunt Jemima remarkably adept at performing their designated functions. They provide perfect entertainment for their White Supremacist puppeteers who can only watch with glee as their two marionettes slug it out in public. In fact, they have come to join the ranks of modern-day gladiators for the exclusive amusement of their Supremacist lords, in the tradition of the heyday of imperial Greece and Rome. All furnished to us pro bono.
“We are being treated to a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t sleight of hand by an Uncle Tom and an Aunt Jemima remarkably adept at performing their designated functions.”
The gladiator culture is well entrenched in the racist scheme of things. African American athletes who constitute the bedrock of this gladiator culture are given celebrity status, a staple of American culture, only for as long as they can dunk, make baskets, conjure home runs and touch downs. As soon as they stray into opinions of concern, or make token gestures of dissent or opposition to the racist status quo such as taking a knee, their illustrious careers face imminent dissolution, with the former racist-in-chief Trump having weighed in on this question insisting that any athlete (he obviously had African Americans in mind) disrespecting the American flag that for African Americans has been a symbol of centuries-old oppression, should be fired. With few exceptions, the gladiators’ celebrity status is quickly consigned to anonymity as soon as they leave their fleeting moments in the sun.
Now these wreckers of the proverbial tip of the iceberg espouse a blinkered morality that comes nowhere near challenging the American empire’s role as the sole guardian of the racist universe foisted on colored residents of the planet. Their views on racism are worthy of a retarded five-year-old. While the empire’s perpetual divide and ruin tactics keeps the bulk of humanity on edge even in these desperate times of Covid-19 together with all its variants, they are concerned with defending the indefensible. What can possibly explain the lack of leadership and vision among these shameless reps in calling out the nudity of the king that even the hypothetical retarded five-year-old would giggle at? Once upon a time, much of the progressive movements in the world made common cause with African American warriors who dared call a spade a spade and calling attention to their plight as the empire’s knee brutally pressed on their necks. Once upon a time, masses of progressive African Americans made common cause with anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa and elsewhere and engaged with pride in cultural revival of their African roots. Yet some misleaders have placed the interests of one of the world’s surviving apartheid regime, Israel, at the top of their priorities, while African American congressmen are deep in the Israel Lobby’s pocket
“Defending the indefensible.”
Yet self-appointed African American leaders in the form of the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton among a whole slew of misleaders have been observing a deafening silence on the victims of oppression and bloodlust either by the American empire or their puppets abroad. They have in fact been reduced to feeble voices to be heard only after the shooting of unarmed African Americans, which requires little to no political acuity or foresight. Their half-baked whining does little to tweak the status quo in the direction of long overdue dispensation of equitable incomes, real policing reforms, addressing judicial and jury compositions and biases, massive incarcerations, housing, education; in short, issues that are indicators of real, not cosmetic change and progress. Toiling over the obvious is the easy way out for these intellectually lazy and inept clowns. Not surprisingly, these ageing faux leaders no longer even have the appetite nor the energy and motivation to lock hands and pretend to sing “We Shall Overcome”. In their world, there is little to overcome save for the occasional moans about police brutality. Their brains seem to have lost the creative mettle in summoning fresh ideas capable of galvanizing their ever dwindling flocks. The churches of these reverends must be inhabited by spiritual zombies oblivious to the goings on around them.
When such leaders have their palms generously greased by foreign powers via lobby groups, they fail to see what lies beyond their noses as their “free press” imposes a blackout on their country’s secret wars in Africa backed by at least 29 military bases in 17 African countries with troops in excess of 6,000 — likely a gross underestimation. As Africa becomes silently recolonized with the complicity of African leaders, the fierce liberation wars that once evicted colonial rulers, offer no signs of making a comeback to fight against neocolonialism. The unconditional moral support that African liberation movements in the colonial era received from progressive African America and elsewhere in the world is now no less remote. Scattered militia groups remain and their existence comes to light only when foreign troops suffer fatalities as happened to American troops in Niger, Somalia and Kenya. The tip of the racist-colonialist iceberg has been clipped both locally and internationally. Thus, the proverbial iceberg itself remains as elusive as ever.
Kweli Nzito is a retired scientist now living in Thailand.