The erosion of the white monolith

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 9:44pm

.

Graphic by Hibah Chugtai

The compounding evidence of Euro-American crimes against Brown and Black populations is slowly eroding the white monolith, revealing the structure on which said monolith was formed — a structure of hatred, oppression, subjication, genocide and theft on all accounts. So why is it presumed people must adhere to the same laws and regulations which made the looting of Black and Brown lives and identities legal? This direct irony, in its correlation to present day political looting, is what I aim to illuminate. 

With the birth of the nation we see the beginning of the white struggle which was remedied by the intellectual property of Native Americans. After white America learned to survive on Native land, they began using tactics to systematically dehumanize Black and Brown populations. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 stands as a watershed moment in history by which Native populations were forced off their ancestral lands and forced into lands that were slowly encroached upon as well. This can be observed as the impetus for the systemic removal of Natives from American nationhood — rationalizing their subjugation and genocide to the major population. In this sense, colonial America can be viewed as hollowing out the shell of the Native American nation. All while creating laws that legalized injustices and crimes against humanity. What is seen now in Native America are the remnants of the genocidal movement that often goes unexplored and ignored. 

Due to their culture being rooted in collectivism rather than individualism — as is seen in Western societies — I stand in my belief that Native Americans, having the same ability as white Americans, would not have committed such horrific crimes to humankind, but I digress. 

The magnitude of white America’s crimes against humanity have far exceeded affordability — the petty theft involved in looting is a nominal cost to pay. Today, the modern day movement has the capacity to illuminate the existence of a power hierarchy that places the fruits of capitalism above the lives of the marginalized fractions of society.

With the introduction of the new Jim Crow laws, a new form of slavery and dehumanization was institutionalized. These laws constructed a legal system which puts Black citizens into indentured servitude, restricts voting rights, controls where they live and how they travel and seizes children, extorting them for labor. Essentially this and the aforementioned movement were ways to prevent people from being able to be people, from being able to build wealth and pursue happiness. However, I argue looting and protesting became ways of pursuing happiness — freedom. 

What exists in the United States is a major displacement of wealth which fundamentally demands some sort of rectification. In terms of looting, the destruction of property serves as proof that things which white Americans value more than lives can be taken away just as easily as the system takes away lives through the prison-industrial complex. In order for any society to optimally function, there needs to be basic public goods provided as collateral to creating a government that supports its people. But as things stand people are denied the right to a peaceful life and instead need to fight for their most inherent human rights.  

Ana María Sánchez-Castillo can be contacted at catilan@umich.edu.