One of the most insidious and damaging elements of current-day oppression and kyriarchy is the construct of whiteness, and particularly the ideology of white supremacy.


(This section draws heavily on the work of Tema Okun et. al. in identifying what she has named "white supremacy culture." Additionally, much of the material linked from this hub page assumes a basic familiarity with the history of how race was invented as a tool of oppression and subjugation by European empires during the height of their colonialist expansions, starting in the late 1400s. For an introduction to that history, consider some of the recommendations in my Collected Resources on Anti-Racism. )


Whiteness and white supremacy have, in our day and age, become a de facto anti-culture in that they serve to suppress, erase, and disrupt the usual functions of human cultures and societies, i.e. giving people tools for living well and finding meaning, purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment in our own existence.


This works largely by creating mass-scale states of near-permanent stress and trauma, and preventing people from accessing knowledge about how to heal from it. In particular, white supremacy insists that we should only accept knowledge and instruction from those with "the right credentials." This cuts us off from both ancient, traditional understandings about how life really works, as well as more recent discoveries and experiences that are informed by present-day conditions.


The link between whiteness and trauma is deep and fundamental. But contrary to the expectations of many people, white supremacy isn't just about traumatizing non-white people - it targets white people, too, although in subtly different ways. In fact, whiteness relies on creating a fear/threat reaction in white people to keep them from confronting the realities of their own participation and place within systems of oppression.


Moreover, as the favorite economic strategy of white supremacy, capitalism relies on keeping the workforce in a perpetual state of fear and low-grade trauma in order to sustain itself. The unchecked greed of colonial-imperial, white supremacist capitalism continues to generate violent conflict and exploitation across the globe, and threatens the very stability of life on our planet.



White supremacy is not the only thread in the tapestry of oppression, but it is a very important one, because the de facto reality of our age is that huge amounts of power are locked up within societies, countries, economies, and cultures that are heavily defined by whiteness. Challenging white supremacy will not eradicate oppression by itself, but it is a vital step towards unraveling the net of oppression that strangles us all.