[News] Racism and War in America and Beyond
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 11 11:19:53 EST 2014
December 11, 2014
*'I Can't Breath'*
Racism and War in America and Beyond
by RAMZY BAROUD
America's ruling elites are blatant in their intentions of maintaining
"white privilege" at home and economic dominance by military means abroad.
Their "democracy" in both of these regions is a ruse, and it is yet to
deliver any degree of social justice and equality to the millions of
disadvantaged Americans which are comprised mostly of black and Latino
communities. The unequal distribution of wealth in the United States is
simply staggering. In fact, 75.4% of all wealth in the US is owned by
the richest 10 percent, according to the authoritative Credit Suisse
Global Wealth Databook
This influx of wealth comes at the heels of a major economic recession,
of which rich bankers were mostly to blame, but were never held
accountable. Instead, millions of lower-middle class and poor Americans
became even poorer. And since America's political and economic classes
largely overlap and feed upon the privileges of one another, millions of
American lost their homes and savings, while the rich got richer
Good branding aside, the "land of opportunity" has always been
overrated, as has American democracy, which has been rigged for
generations to produce more or less similar results. The media -- with
overt and covert racial supremacy displayed by the likes of Fox News --
is there to ensure that consent is manufactured
<http://www.chomsky.info/talks/19890315.htm> in such a clever way, so
that ordinary Americans constantly feel trapped between a ruling class
of two strands, Republicans and Democrats, all vying for votes with the
ultimate goal of maintaining their privilege.
Considering low presidential ratings
and the ever decreasing credibility of Congress
most Americans are not impressed by the ongoing political charade.
However, as most Americans are held in bondage to debt, constantly
striving to pay bills, incessantly working to remain financially afloat,
many feel disempowered -- thus politically disorganized.
After the deadly attacks of September 11, 2001, the government grew even
bolder in manufacturing, perhaps coercing, political consent by playing
on real or imagined fears. Under George W. Bush the "global war on
terrorism" became a tool in which Americans found themselves losing
fundamental rights, herded, shoes in hand, in line to strip naked at
airport scanning rooms. All in the name of "national security".
The "see something say something" mentality, empowered by
unconstitutional <http://rense.com/general94/patr.htm> and divisive
PATRIOT act laws
has turned communities against one another. Whatever tolerance that
existed prior to Sep 11 has vanished thanks to the constant stream of
hateful media propaganda, phony experts on Islam, or brown people in
Thus, it was no surprise that a month after the attacks, an ABC poll
indicated that 47 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Islam. 13
years after the deadly events, and despite the killing and maiming of
millions of Muslims so that Bush could tap into greater oil wealth in
the name of fighting terrorism, only 27 percent of Americans carry the
same view today
And why should anyone be surprised when around-the-clock news networks
continue to dish out the ever selective news of Islamic terrorism from
Nigeria's Boko Haram to the Middle East's ISIS, and so on.
But this matter hardly concerns the media and the ruling class alone.
The American sense of "manifest destiny", accompanied by the "white
man's burden", never truly faded into mere historical references. They
are real notions that continue to exist and define "white privilege" at
home, and military crusades outside.
Indeed, "democracy", coupled by the upholding of "human rights" have
been injected time and again to justify all sorts of undemocratic
measures and numerous wars and military interventions
have mostly victimized -- let's face it -- brown nations across the globe.
These are not random thoughts compelled by the ongoing turmoil in the
Middle East -resulting from American interventionism and its complete
failure to take responsibility for its own actions. Yes, they are partly
due to that, but they are also on account of the Grand Jury verdict not
to indict a New York police officer who choked to death an economically
disadvantaged black man named Eric Garner
This only days succeeding the refusal to indict the officer who shot and
killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and after
12-year-old Tamir Rice
faced the same fate by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio. Both also
happened to be of African descent.
And in case you are wondering, yes, there is a clear link between racism
at home and war abroad.
US media insists on reducing the highly involved issue to simple
terminology and sound bites, barely scratching the surface of a deep and
long existing racial divide. Fox News is finally taking some
intermittent breaks from demonizing Muslims, to demonizing blacks, as if
they have not been victims of systematic and historic discrimination
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws> that extends centuries into
Some liberals and progressives -- who enjoy basking in the glory of
appearing liberal and progressive -- are quick to protest the moral
outrage of their country's historically rigged social and economic
system, of which many of them benefited, at the expense of others. They
are outraged as if the news of Garner's and Brown's fate are anomalies
in an otherwise harmonious system.
Yet, the system has always been rigged
and none of it was ever a secret. It was designed that way so that the
privileged remain wealthy and protected by laws that were enshrined for
that specific purpose: protecting wealth
As for police violence targeting black communities, a report in 2012
indicated that a black person is killed every 28 hours
in the United States. Rarely do such killings call for mobilization or
any kind of collective soul searching on the part of the white majority.
While the killing of three Americans by ISIS was enough to take the
nation to another useless war that has already killed thousands, the
routine killing of unarmed black men and children fails to yield even
proper trials, needless to say indictments. The moral inconsistency is
not difficult to spot.
One recalls Bush's insistence that American soldiers, no matter how
hideous their crimes were aboard, were never to face a trial before an
international criminal court
The message was simple: those who serve power will not be disowned. This
remains the case whether the victim is an unarmed black American child,
an Iraqi man or an Afghani woman.
The Washington elite refuse to take responsibility. The onus, instead,
is always on the victim to do some soul searching to improve their
chances for living better lives; blacks simply need to behave
themselves, and Iraqis need to appreciate the perks bestowed on them by
"American values" and democracy. The US, however, is free to carry out
the very violent policies that yield terrorism in the first place.
But how does one quit being the color of their own skin? Black people
didn't choose to be slaves; didn't devise the Jim Crow laws; didn't
construct the insurmountable system of social and economic inequality
and apartheid that has been set in place for too many generations to
count; they didn't design the unfair tax system that keeps the poor poor
forever; or the prison system that disproportionately incarcerates black
All of this has been the work of a well-devised system that has access
to wealth and a monopoly on power that is protected by willing goons who
don't hesitate to choke an ill black man to death because he was
"caught" selling cigarettes to feed his now fatherless 6 children.
"I cannot breath," were Eric Garner's last words.
He died, but many millions from New York to Missouri, to Kabul and
elsewhere are still gasping for air.
/*Ramzy Baroud* is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media
consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His
latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story
(Pluto Press, London)./
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