Poverty is Black and White

Photo by Shail Sharma on Unsplash

There’s no such thing as white people.

You read that right. To be more correct, before forming this country, there was never such a thing as white people. They were referred to as European.

And in that context, they were Irish, English, French, German, Danish, Scandinavian, etc.

Pick a country.

And in that context, they each had a language, art, music, history, dance, food, religions, and culture that was rich and nuanced and specifically their own.

They often warred with each other, repeatedly invaded each other’s countries throughout all of European history, going back to the fall of the Roman Empire and continuing into the World Wars, costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives.

But here in the United States, these immigrants came and were unified under one thing by the rich, skin color, to separate themselves from the slaves they imported to do their bidding.

The old hatreds, the ancient competitions, the old biases of Protestantism vs. Catholicism were all laid aside or at least muted. In this process, they cut off these African slaves from their historical and ancestral roots through forced conversion to Westernized Christianity.

Yet the irony is, to deny black people their history, ‘white people’ had to deny themselves their own. They forwent their ancestral roots and their ethnicity, and their cultures. They gave away that depth for the eternal shallowness of a color. They traded truth for power. It has bled a nation and continues to exude a country of its intelligence and makes dark a nation’s future prospects.

See, ignorance and knowledge can’t exist in the same space. The truth of migrant’s inherent struggle to come to this continent, whether by force or by choice or through sheer desperation, is covered up by embracing this shallow doctrine. This hedonistic, barbaric, and willfully stupid construct of “whiteness” is like a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face.

When I think of White Culture, I think of death. I see Slavery. I see Jim Crow. I see a Civil War. I see Lynch Mobs. I see the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. I see the Third Reich. I see Nazism. The Holocaust. I see Trumpism. Proud boys. And Qanon. I see the rise of Religious Fundamentalism. Nationalism. I see terrorism. In its shallowness, white culture is death culture. It’s poverty culture.

That’s what I see.

African American’s were ahead of the curve when they began to embrace a past, a truth, a connection to the world that they had been denied, by embracing their roots. The same with Latino or LatinX people. Asians. Any type of hyphenated people who exist and contribute to America’s melting pot.

My opinion is not a product of ‘white guilt.’ I don’t feel guilty for my skin color, but I don’t feel a special attachment to my skin color, either. While it has provided me a special privilege in this country, as does my gender, and my religious background as a protestant, it is also attached to those mentioned above in a way that has cursed my mind with a truth that is so fucking uncomfortable to observe as I look at human history and current events.

Because that’s all racism is. It’s a curse. It’s damnation, a brand burned upon our souls by the decisions of monarchs and parliamentary powers that began to engage in the theft of bodies centuries ago and is still maintained by modern-day oligarchs to retain status and wealth.

It’s a distraction and an easy one. It’s nothing more than a way for rich people to get poor people to hate other poor people while the rich rob them both blind. We have Qanon conspiracies when the real plot is that the rich are stealing people’s retirement, denying people adequate healthcare, poisoning Flint’s water system (which still isn’t resolved), among others throughout the country, it pumps pollutants in the air and convinces us it’s progress, it pumps guns into the streets for whites and blacks because why not let them kill each other and themselves, it wants to take away public education, it sends ‘thoughts and prayers’ when little boys and little girls are mass executed in public schools, or at a concert, or at Church for God’s sake and it tells you abortion is a sin when their mistresses will be taken care of.

The list goes on into perpetuity.

With racism present, there is no way to fight back against the onslaught of these would-be tyrants. Only through the embracing of one’s past, of one’s roots, of the willingness to see our ancestors’ inherent struggles to bring us to this point in our country can there ever be hope for a country inherently multicultural, whether by choice or by force. Our differences shouldn’t be our distraction but our salvation. “The Struggle,” as they say, is real, and it’s universal.

So as far as ‘whiteness’ goes. I’m out. I am absolutely out. I want nothing to do with it. I don’t want to be attached to that curse any longer. So much so that when governmental and statistical forms are filled out by me, I’ll be Irish-Scottish American who has roots in Sub-Saharan Africa as there is Nigerian blood in my veins. Who has Angolan or Congolese in my veins and whose 7th great grandfather was 100 percent Persian.

See, I’m not a cracker. I got some flavor. I’m a crouton, y’all.

The acknowledgment of that inheritance of my blood grants me a past that walks my lineage back to the tenth century and beyond and, in turn, brings all that past with me as I participate in this country, as a child of this country, and as a citizen of the world. That is where I’ll be from now on.

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Frederick E Feeley Jr

Frederick E Feeley Jr

Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.