Wyatt O'Brian Evans

Just What's this Beast Called Racism, Anyway?

Filed By Wyatt O'Brian Evans | April 29, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: African-American, black males, Michelle Singletary, racism

Editors' Note: Wyatt O'Brian Evans is a Bilerico-DC contributor. This is part of the series "The Cancer that Slowly Consumes Our Very Souls: Racism" that we're running on Bilerico Project.

First, for one to fully understand the monster, it's critical to have an exact and detailed working definition of it.

racpicpart8a.jpgAccording to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, the distinguished African-American behavioral scientist/general and child psychiatrist who's famous for her "Cress Theory of Color Confrontation" (which explores the practice of racism), those who classify themselves as white practice white supremacy in order to ensure white people's genetic survival.

Welsing's functional definition of racism is "the local and global power system structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined; this system consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war). The ultimate purpose of the system is to prevent white genetic annihilation on Earth--a planet in which the overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white-skinned people. All of the non-white people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetically recessive white-skinned people...Together, the system and culture of white supremacy produce the phenomenon of racism."

She added, "In the collective white psyche, Black males have the greatest genetic potential (of all non white males) to cause white genetic annihilation. Thus, Black males must be attacked and destroyed in a power system designed to assure white genetic survival."

In August, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press (AP) reported that according to new government forecasts, by the year 2042, Caucasians will no longer be the majority in America. And by 2050, it is projected that whites will make up 46 percent of the population, Blacks 15 percent (a relatively small increase), Hispanics 30 percent, and Asians 9 percent.

More Dire Straits

Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, wrote in her recent column, "The Change That Hasn't Come," that although income for all U.S. households has stagnated, the stats are worse for Latinos and Blacks. Singletary further reported, "'They are likely to suffer first and to suffer more in an economy that does not produce widely shared prosperity,' wrote Amanda Logan and Tim Westrich in an updated version of 'The State of Minorities: How Are Minorities Faring in the Economy?' published by the Center for American Progress. From income to unemployment to health care to homeownership, Hispanics and African-Americans lag significantly behind whites, according to the data compiled by the center."

Singletary continued, "In 2007, nearly three times as many African Americans lived in poverty as did whites. Hispanics were only slightly better off than African Americans. The unemployment rate for African Americans was almost double that of whites. The differences in health-care coverage also are stark. The percentage of Hispanics without coverage was three times that of whites in 2007, while that of African Americans was twice as high as whites. Almost 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own their homes, while 75 percent of whites do."

racpicpt8b.jpgShe added, "I know there are some triflin' folks, of all races, who don't want to work hard and are happy with handouts. But that description doesn't fit the vast majority of those at the bottom. They want their own slice of the pie, earned by expanding the pie with their own hard work, not by slicing away someone else's wealth."

Late last summer, The Washington Post also reported that, "So far, the toll of AIDS in the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority population has mostly been overshadowed by the epidemic among African Americans and gay white men. Yet in major U.S. cities, as many as 1 in 4 gay Hispanic men has HIV, a rate on par with sub-Saharan Africa."

According to the Post, the attention the Latino AIDS dilemma has received from political and health officials has been negligible. "At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where only two of 17 approved HIV programs target Hispanic Americans, officials have added Spanish-language hotlines, confidential testing sites and other initiatives aimed at filling the gap. 'Hispanics are over represented in this epidemic, and we need to target our efforts to them,' CDC epidemiologist Kenneth Dominguez said in an interview."

This is part of the series "The Cancer that Slowly Consumes Our Very Souls: Racism." Originally published in Qbliss, the article has been modified slightly for online readers. For more information on Wyatt O'Brian-Evans, you can visit his website or check out his Bilerico-DC bio page.

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What can we do to fight this, in terms of personal actions or policy?

Agreed. Is there a solution? Or do you have any suggestions?

So are you endorsing the views of this Welsing person? Do you genuinely believe that 'people who [merely] classify themselves as white, are practicing white supremacy'? If so, I pity your depth of self delusion. This sort of piffle is the dimmest brand of pseudointellectual nonsense on offer. Racism isn't something that ONLY white people can posses, it is a universal human trait.

Nerissa Belcher | April 29, 2009 11:40 PM

Things I find astonishing:

1. Racism, per Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, can ONLY be practiced by "w"hites as opposed to "B"lacks or "H"ispanics. Is this all Whites or only some of us? What about Blacks or Hispanics who wish to be racists? What natural phenomenon prevents them from being so?

2. That all the activists in the minority communities can't convince their respective communities that unprotected sex transmits HIV. Perhaps their time would be better spent doing this than criticizing Whites.

3. That the people mentioned in this post can not see their problems are mostly examples of classism and not racism. In the USA it is people with money that get the goodies since we stand alone in the civilized world in having such a weak social support network. The major reason for this is the power of our conservative churches to block liberal causes. I.E. the types of churches most minorities frequent.

I'm White and I find this post insulting. If a White person made a similar posting about non-Whites we'd be ostracized and rightfully so.

K. Travis Ballie | April 29, 2009 11:43 PM

Interesting Article.

Also, what about racism within the poc community towards other fellow people of color?

We focus so much on racism from whites towards non-whites, we forget racism of some hispanics to blacks, some blacks to asians, some asians to native peoples and vice versa

First, I want to thank everyone for commenting. Let me answer everyone in this one post.

To Bil and Alex--two basic things need to be done for change: the eradication of institutional racism (which continues to thrive), and creation of a significant change in attitude. You can destroy institutional racism by making policy and personal changes. Throughout this series, I've been presenting comments from experts in this regard. And, I'll continue to do so.

Also, my management and I are developing a series of national workshops that will address this issue. I'll keep you posted.

To Blake: When you really "open up your mind" and think outside the box, some of what
Dr. Welsing says makes sense. I'm simply putting different viewpoints out there, so we can have an open and honest dialogue about racism--which we really haven't been doing. Only then can we bring about the change that is so sorely needed; so that, in turn, we can have a healthier society. And, let's stop being so defensive. That's not helpful. And by the by, your referring to Dr. Welsing as that "Welsing person" is a sad attempt to diminish her. To set the record straight just for you, this is a brilliant woman, with degrees and credentials up the "ying yang."

To Nerissa: Read my previous column on colorism. And, continue reading the series. And, read what I just wrote to Blake.

To K: Good points. In my new novel, "Nothing Can Tear Us Apart" (gay/ethnic/erotica), I address the racial tension between Latinos and Blacks.

Thanks, guys. I'm "causing a scene!" Wonderful! Just what I wanted. Only then can we institute positive change.

A. J. Lopp | May 1, 2009 2:31 PM
Thanks, guys. I'm "causing a scene!" Wonderful! Just what I wanted. Only then can we institute positive change.

Wyatt, some "scenes" are useful for instituting positive change, and some aren't --- so let's be careful here.

One thing about this post that concerns me greatly is that some of the social inequities that you cite are attributed totally to racism as a matter of course. As other commenters have pointed out, economic inequity, including inequity in health care among various minority groups, might be only partially attributable to racism. My growing belief is that they can also be attributed to flaws in capitalism itself, because recent economic happenings have shown so clearly that not only does capitalism (as it is found in America) favor whites over non-whites, but it also favors a small sub-set of whites over the rest of the white population.

After decades of preaching about "the markets will take care of themselves" and "the markets are self-balancing, self-adjusting, and self-regulating" we see presently that that just isn't so --- unregulated capitalism drove itself into a credit and currency freeze. It now seems more obvious to some economic thinkers that an intrinsic trait of capitalism is that, not only does it produce wealth, but it also, if not regulated or otherwise modified, concentrates wealth into a relatively small capitalist group. How else do we explain Wall Street stockbrokers receiving millions in bonuses while retired auto workers --- whether white, black, brown or purple --- negotiate in an attempt to hold onto their pension income and health care coverage without strangling the goose that gives them these golden eggs?

When you quote Logan and Westrich who remark on "an economy that does not produce widely shared prosperity" these elements, that have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with capitalism, must be included in the big picture. Otherwise we might look at the distortions in our funhouse mirror, and attribute those, too, to racism.

using racist hate terms to "define" racism is NOT racist?
god save us from racist hate. but, the cure for racism for god's sake is not more racist hate. especially the kind of sick racist hate that focuses on black men's sexual power. that really is sick and perverted.


I'm amused that Dr. Welsing is singled out as much as she is.

What's really interesting is that there is very little--if any--discussion about the beliefs and data of Michelle Singletary (in this post), Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and the other experts whom I've been presenting in this series. Just why is that?

Singletary and the others have shown conclusively that institutional racism continues to thrive. Since that's the reality, you have to ask yourself, "what are the causal factors behind this reality--and why?"

Hmmm...maybe some of what Dr. Wesling is saying indeed makes sense--and is valid. And, let's play "Devil's Advocate"--if her explanation is valid and correct, is that being racist? Think about it.

i am caucasian. in some legal documents, the only way to express that is to check off "white." i see that i am, therefore, intrinsically racist.

maybe i better stop attending that "black church" i go to now...they might finally see through the veneer of caring, loving attentiveness and see me for the racist pig that i truly am.

what a piece of foolishness.

While racism bothers me I have to say that the approach of Dr Weilsing is troubling in as much as racism is attributed only to whites.
I'm certainly not confusing the positions that you, Wyatt, have expressed when speaking for yourself with the positions expressed by Dr Weisling.
Interesting series here and the position of people like Dr Weisling definitely needs to be looked at and made part of the discussion.
I grew up in an adoptive family and was lied to about some aspects of my own racial heritage. Then I met my real parents and found out more it.
Racism is a nasty bugger, but I think that we need to be careful in attributing it to a particular group because we lose sight of the phenomenon. Racism becomes anthropomorphic and so it become synonymous with 'white people' and then 'white people'become the enemy and not racism.
In this same way some groups treat 'straight people' as the enemy rather than homophobia.
When this happens we lose sight of things such as internalized racism or homophobia and other locations in society for racism.
If we look at a broader more worldwide view of racism and ethnocentricity we see the patterns differently. Consider the ethnic cleansings of Africa or the long history of them in Asia. Consider that the same racist policies of the English toward Africans and Asians were the same as their policies toward the Irish and allowed them to kill far larger percentages of the Irish than most other ethic groups. They did not consider the Irish to be the same race as themselves.
IMO racism is a nasty thing which can be engaged in by anyone of any race and can become culturally institutionalized among any people of any race toward people of any other race. In the US the dominant form of racism and ethnocentricity has been white, specifically Anglo (English), protestant christian based. This allowed the Scotts to be brought here as indentured servants to work the early plantations, then Africans to be brought here as chattel slaves, the Chinese, Polish and the Irish to be treated as subhuman labor. The First Nations peoples to be exterminated. Catholics to be treated as second class citizens and other minority faiths to be discounted completely.
Even worse it has cause many of those people and groups to internalize those beliefs of inferiority and to also practice racism.
But that means that it has been the dominant racism but not the only racism and ethnocentricity.
Racism has to be dealt with in all of its forms, within every race, every institution and internalized racism has to be dealt with.


Thanks tremendously for your heartfelt, extensive post.

Also, thanks for your second sentence, which
EACH AND EVERY reader needs to thoroughly take in. Your sentence accurately states and reflects my position as compared to Dr. Welsing's. I hope everyone "gets it now."

I'm simply educating the public and presenting various points of view--to effect an open, honest dialgoue about race, to help cure this insidious, chronic, destructive cancer of the mind, soul, heart and character.

Rob, do read my last installment of two weeks ago, which focuses on Black-on-Black racism (internal racism, colorism). And, keep reading--I continue to explore racism in all its forms.

Thanks again!

Keep 'em coming. I enjoy this sort of discussion.

Malcolm on whites:
* The young whites, and blacks, too, are the only hope that America has, the rest of us have always been living in a lie.
o Quoted by Alex Haley, after a college campus speech, in the epilogue to The Autobiography.
* I remember one night at Muzdalifa with nothing but the sky overhead, I lay awake amid sleeping Muslim brothers and I learned that pilgrims from every land — every colour, and class, and rank; high officials and the beggar alike — all snored in the same language.

"Since I learned the truth in Mecca, my dearest friends have come to include all kinds -- some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists -- some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!"




* In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again — as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man. The true Islam has shown me that a blanket indictment of all white people is as wrong as when whites make blanket indictments against blacks.
o As quoted in Malcolm X: The Seeker of Justice (2003); also quoted at "Malcolm X - An Islamic Perspective"

* I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.
o Speech, New York City (12 December 1964)

* I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither white, black, brown nor red. When you are dealing with humanity as one family, there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being.
o Interview for the Pierre Berton Show. Toronto, Ontario, (19 January 1965)

* I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.
o Interview (January 1965?); quoted in By Any Means Necessary (1970)


isa kocher | April 30, 2009 2:13 PM

when you define racism as something one race does against another, it sets in concrete hate. it is a very fundamental biological fact that all racist categories are culturally not biologically based. all "white" or "colored" racism denies the basic human facts. when you raise the "white" flag, you abdicate your humanity. we are all humans. Malcom was assassinated for denying exactly what this racist article asserts. Racism is not a cure. not a solution. not an answer. the only answer is being human. we are all human colored.

A new multicenter study involving UCLA and the RAND Corp. has found that perceived racial or ethnic discrimination is not an uncommon experience among fifth-grade students and that it may have a negative effect on their mental health.

"The research shows that unconscious bias is actually fairly high throughout the whole population. And it can be manipulated, or influenced, by the showing of images, telling of stories, hearing certain buzzwords," powell says in the interview. This bias affects individual behavior and, from a public policy perspective, leads us to embrace and adopt policies and programs that end up having a racially disparate effect, even if that effect was unintended. "We need to be aware that we can be biased and that can affect our behavior even when we don't want to be," powell says.

powell calls the "practices, cultural norms, and institutional arrangements" that grow out of this bias "racialization," and wrote about its implications in detail in an article published in the Denver University Law Review. He uses the term, he wrote in the article, because:

read this" "the language of race and racism is understood in a way that is too limited and specific to help us acquire greater insight into the important questions posed" by today's racial realities in America.

Isa Kocher | April 30, 2009 2:24 PM

Malcom: "Whites who are sincere don’t accomplish anything by joining Negro organizations and making them integrated. Whites who are sincere should organize among themselves and figure out some strategy to break down the prejudice that exists in white communities. This is where they can function more intelligently and more effectively, in the white community itself, and this has never been done."

racism is not the answer. racist hate is just hate. we all have suffered enough from hate. arguing from racism against racism only instutionalizes it further, sets it in stone. it's time just to stop.

Chitown Kev | May 1, 2009 10:26 AM

I said this weeks ago when you intorduced Dr. Welsing to start this series. Dr. Welsing's "black supremacy" theories and especially (for a gay blog) her homobigotry turned off and alienated me and a lot of other black LGBTs when I first read it in the late 1980's. It's extraordinarily difficult for me to listen to anything wothwhile that she may have to say in light of that.

And hving framed the argument with Dr. Welsing's views, Wyatt, it's been difficult for much of what you have to say to get through as well.


Thanks for expressing your views, which I respect and take to heart.

Now everyone, this is the last time I'm going to make the following statements. As Judge Judy says when she taps on her watch, "I have other things to do."

1. As Rob stated in his first post, don't confuse my viewpoints with Dr. Wesling's. Why aren't you guys getting that? I'm simply presenting varied viewpoints to shed light on racism, which is continuing to choke the life out of our society. When we really understand what we're up against, we can take appropriate, effective action.

2. In order to find solutions to eradicate something like racism, you've got to open up your mind, think outside the box.

3. Just because you don't value some of what someone says, it DOES NOT mean that other points, etc., he/she is making don't have value. I suspect the President would tell you that. I think it's that old saying, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Kev, I am very proud of this series, into which I've poured my heart and soul. It is creating an open and honest dialogue on racism, which is long overdue. This series is already making a difference.

One more thing, and please don't take this the wrong way: if this series is offending any of you in any way, you should stop reading it.

Chitown Kev | May 1, 2009 3:34 PM

LOL, Wyatt

Yeah, that last sentence was a bit of a bitchy thing to write. I was wrong for that. My apologies.

I've been just a little too snarky in my posts lately. And some of my own -isms (classism, esp.) have been creeping in.

And actually, I have read your entire series and the work that you have put into shows. Some of your work rings truer than others (the employment and colorism articles were awesome!) And I surely haven't put the work into a series like this...well, not yet anyway.

Keep up the good work.


Can't everyone on here just get along?? and I am not even talking about Racism!!!

Wyatt, another great article, I am smart enough to know you are presenting your research about Racism and everyone does not need to be harassing you. You are just the messenger.

Keep up your great work and you have tremendous writing skills.

A true fan,