Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Colour Organizing
America has been deemed as the “land of opportunity for all” but rather, the truth is that it is a country dominated by social and economic injustices. The author addresses the problem of people of color trying to organize themselves on the basis of victimization and the oppression they get from the “superior” white race. However, this organization has never succeeded since there is “oppression Olympics” as each racially stratified group of the people of color is busy trying to determine who is more oppressed. Moreover, the organization fails as these groups do not even know where to start as they are distracted by various supremacy pillars set by the whites to disunite them, ensure that they serve the purpose of the White empire and at the same time continue oppressing each group. Even though these organizations are made under shared oppressions, each group is self-centered and the truth is that they do not share exact plights inflicted by the non-native whites or rather the colonizers.
The efforts for the women of color or the “people of color” get annihilate and even hindered by the fact that each group assumes that the white supremacy affects them in the same way. This has been a wrong move from the start and it has given the white man in America the ability to propagate racial stratification, creating classes based on racial prospects and spreading genocide among the people of color and the indigenous groups with the aim of expanding the white man’s empire and promote supremacy. The people of color have been treated as inferior and the fact that they assume that each oppressed group shares similar strategies in combating the oppressions is a serious miscalculation that has stalled the success of union against the white supremacy and dominance.
Each strategy that each group take is actually different and they tend to conflict as a result of the self-interest that each group has and the different oppression paths set by the whites for each group. In order to show how these conflicts of interest occur, it would be ideal to know that people of color from other countries (out of USA) employ the strategy of moving to the US with the aim f empowering themselves economically. The US-born people of color, on the other hand, believe that through joining the army, they will advance themselves economically. However, truth be told, the same army they join is used to annihilate and oppress other people of color outside the US, such as those of Arab origins in the Middle East, thus propagating the White supremacy in other areas, the same supremacy they claim to fight at home.
Apparently, With this understanding, the women of color, representing the “people of color” at large, have to adopt other strategies in enhancing their organization and union against oppression and white dominance. However, they have to understand the three pillars used by the White non-Natives in enforcing their dominance and oppression on the “people of color”. What these groups have not come to terms with is the fact that racism and white supremacy has always employed different strategies in oppressing the groups and in an interrelated manner aimed at expanding the White empire of supremacy. The interrelated logics employed include slavery/capitalism, orientation/war, and genocide/capitalism.
The people of color have been perceived to be the indigenous group, that is the Indians, the blacks, Latinos, Arabs, and Asians. In the slavery/capitalism logic, the black people are perceived as the lowest in the racial rank and treated as just property which can be owned and enslaved. The logic of capitalism continues to show oppression to the blacks by stipulating that “people of color”, particularly the blacks can be commoditised and their work utilized by others to benefit themselves. Under this logic, other groups have been made to think that they have an advantage since they are not lowest in the racial structure and cannot thus be enslaved. The slavery logic has been carried forward to the modern prisons where you find most of the prisoners are blacks as a continuation of the slavery system.
Another aspect that has been making the whites dominate their supremacy on these organizing groups is the genocide and colonization logic. The genocide logic has been used by European settlers in America since 1492 during the “discovery” of America. The aim is to annihilate the indigenous groups so that they take over their land. The process of making these groups disappear is through the use of genocide policies which include even killing them if possible so as to give the non-native whites the chance to acquire their land. The non-natives have thus made “rightful ” claims on these lands, took over their indigenous cultures and spirituality and even exploit the natural resources once owned by these communities.
The modern oppressed groups think they are free but the truth is that their mind have been conquered and white supremacy still dominates and they are used to actually propagate the white oppression to other “people of color”. The orientation logic has been used to define the west as the superior civilization with a determined opposition to the exotic groups which are viewed as inferior. The inferior groups have been perceived as a threat to the West-empire. It is through this logic that the United States has exploited the “inferior” groups to propagate war. For example, it is on this basis that the war against Arabs and Muslims has been propagated by the US. Moreover, the United States has used it to target people of color through anti-immigration policies, since they are perceived as a threat.
The organization of the “people of color” against oppression and spread of racism and white supremacy will never be possible until they understand that the United States has created dependency and promises to these groups so as to use them in spreading of victimization to the same groups elsewhere. A different approach other than the white/black binary or indigenous/ settler binary has to be used in curbing victimization and oppression. Heteropatriarchy has been used by the whites to propagate their agendas by advocating for submissive relationships between men and women while banning same-sex marriages since they are a “threat” to the family. It is only through new multicultural and political strategies that transformation can be enhanced.
A distinct concept that outlines the inability of “people of color” to organize themselves and liberate themselves from white supremacy, oppression, and even racial stratification has been outlined. The failure to understand how non-natives work in order to spread their dominance has made weak links among the groups. For example, Kate Shanley says that “native people are a permanent “present-absent” in the US colonial imagination…” means to show that they are optimistic that indigenous people will soon vanish so that they take over their land. On the other hand, the author says that “We become complicit in oppressing and colonizing communities from other countries”. This shows that the same vices these groups are fighting are used on them to spread victimization in other countries; this shows that white supremacy is not easy to ‘kill’ without a self-less organization based on unity by the oppressed groups.
The author articulates excellent arguments and clearly outlines the pillars used by non-Native white supremacists to annihilate other groups, oppress them, kill them and even expand their racial prospects so as to exploit the “inferior races”.
The above image shows black people demonstrating against white oppression and racism and the ability to stand up against them. However, due to the inability of such groups to organize themselves under a common strategy unified by different plights each group is facing, the same groups are used by the whites to extend their supremacy under the promise of better economic and political developments among other incentives. The colonial strategies have been able to separate the divide the “women of color” and thus oppression, racism and genocides will still occur generation after generation as white dominance thrives.
Smith, A. (n.d.). Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy. Rethinking Women of Color organizing, 66-73. doi:10.1215/9780822373445-007