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For Coates, “white supremacy” is a kind of sediment, an accumulation of white crimes and black victimization, of whites plundering and blacks being plundered, a series of offenses deeply embedded in the American experience and American institutions “so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return.” Slavery and Jim Crow and lynching are part of the story, in this view, but so is every Starbucks in Brooklyn: “‘Gentrification’ is but a more pleasing name for white supremacy,” he writes, arguing that it “is the interest on enslavement, the interest on Jim Crow, the interest on redlining, compounding across the years, and these new urbanites living off of that interest are, all of them, exulting in a crime.” Unlike the self-righteous Pharisee who in his prayers thanked God “that I am not like other people,” Coates counts himself among the If that is what Charlotte Alter and others mean by “Our justice system is rooted in white supremacy” — that it is part of a long historical arc that has chattel slavery at one end and Williamsburg hipsters driving up rents in Brooklyn at the other — then there is almost nothing to say about it.Yes, America’s racial history has left a mark on practically every aspect of American society, from urban-development patterns to Mormon ecclesiology.If Jeff Sessions talks about the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” then that rings the alarm bells of “white supremacy” — not because of the content, but because Sessions is a white male Republican from Alabama employed by the Trump administration.That is nothing but ad hominem, as indeed is the mockery directed at Chait, which amounts to “Shut up, white man,” as though his being white and male were more important than his being banal and dishonest.For Coates, those facts — those crimes without redress — merely deepen the sediment of white supremacy and ensure that such considerations as due process and property rights remain mired in that sediment. are not making a fundamental error in selecting “white supremacy” as their description of this phenomenon.
The second, which seems to me closer to what Coates is actually talking about, is that the racial fault lines of American society separate blacks — specifically, the black descendants of slaves and those who were systematically and formally oppressed for many years after Emancipation — from everybody else. average, while certain socioeconomic heights are occupied by nonwhite minorities: The most educated group of U. citizens, as measured by undergraduate and advanced degrees, is Nigerian Americans, while the highest-earning Americans are of Indian origin.
In response to criticism that Senator Bernie Sanders (really! But give him credit at least for acknowledging that it is potentially helpful to have different words for different things.
) is an instrument of white supremacy, Kevin Drum, one of the sober voices at This is a terrible fad. Like Drum, he identifies Coates as Patient Zero in the epidemic of white-supremacy rhetoric: Coates places Trump in a different category than previous presidents when it comes to his treatment of race.
For a century or so, the master theory was Marxism and the master villain was capitalism.
For the countercultural radicals of 1968, the master villain was the Establishment, bourgeois society, the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; for the feminists, it was patriarchy (recently supplanted by misogyny); for 1980s postmodernists of a Foucauldian bent, it was “power,” nebulously defined.