Facing what seems like an endless stream of news about racialized conflicts and violence, many people call for us to get beyond our history and find solutions for today, concrete actions we can take immediately, ways of expressing love right now to help us cope with the pain.
This yearning is understandable, but it’s just as important that we grapple with history, realize the inadequacy of any actions we might take today, and accept the limits of love in the face of political and economic realities. Better that we start with a harsh, but honest, assessment: The United States has always been, and likely always will be, a white-supremacist country.
Start by (1) remembering that the United States is the wealthiest and most powerful country in the history of the world and (2) realizing that this wealth and power has depended on the idea of white supremacy. Recognize that the material comfort of the United States is the product of three racialized holocausts, rationalized by white supremacy.