Patriarchal white supremacy should be seen as a major cause of death, disability and despair based on multiple indicators — personal, practical and philosophical. The coronavirus crisis is triggering all kinds of mental health issues as well as increased risk of suicide (with symptoms even among people who are usually stable) due to the ongoing exposure to gaslighting, lies, greed, callousness, lack of necessary resources from many politicians to support solutions and inspire hope for improving basic conditions. Human beings do not live on bread alone, so it should come as no surprise that the tone of people in positions of power can impact individual and collective functioning. Citizens depend on timely decisions by representatives elected to (supposedly) serve them well, and should not be left to flounder indefinitely when matters of public health and social justice involve life or death.
Being governed by officials whose indecisiveness enforce rather than relieve oppressive conditions is a recipe for disaster. The suffering is especially pronounced when a combination of a lack of competence and absence of compassion are evident in policies proposed by those in authority. As some governors announce plans to reopen states, prematurely against recommendations, others have extended Stay-at-Home orders to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In the midst of these uncertainties, of course we can be thankful for the relatively few, true leaders in public and private sectors who consistently demonstrate empathy, reason and approaches grounded in common sense due to understanding facts that impact health, rooted in science and information from experts in the health/medical fields.
The failure of many officials to be effective can be attributed to various reasons, but white supremacy and patriarchy stand out most at the national level during Trump’s administration. It is deadly because it drains life energy by preventing clarity while demanding credibility. It requires major efforts to sort through mind-boggling levels of shallowness. It reinforces questionable realities based on the perceptions of people convinced of their inherent admirability and exceptionalism, as if they should be considered beyond reproach. These parameters demand compliance by overlooking the real motivations of those in authority. So much so that many working class whites accustomed to some privilege by association with the white elite, are willing to sacrifice basic objectivity and integrity despite the accumulating costs.
This includes willingness to support white male Republicans (and some Democrats) in power who are rarely held accountable for untenable, unethical and immoral actions. Out of desperation for maintaining a sense of tribal dominance, many among the white masses keep looking for loopholes. They seek and find justifications. They make fun of the ongoing hubris by simply shaking their heads, as if the pain can be lessened by minimizing it all. The mounting excuses threaten to normalize the real extent of psychological, physical and socioeconomic violence perpetrated by pathological narcissists with white identity. No matter how inappropriate and ineffective they are in leadership roles. No matter the ongoing harm they inflict on others — the “outsiders” — as well as more people in the white race, as well.
Patriarchal white supremacy prevents doing things differently because it demands viewing white males as the primary sources of authority to define and problem-solve almost everything that affects the masses. Despite the fact that collectively, whites and males tend to repeat patterns of thinking that serve to replicate and produce the same stale social solutions, which only reinforce systemic problems. These are due to attempts to maintain status quo rather than embrace and integrate necessary changes that are responsive to the real needs of diverse populations in the context of an interdependent society.
There is value in understanding and sorting through personal, political and objective truths, and doing so is key for people interested in rising above the cultural programming that has caused chaos and confusion stemming from auto-pilot acceptance of patriarchal white supremacy. Think of all of the historical and generational systemic inequities, ongoing barriers to care and lack of adequate resources. We do not need repetitive studies that keep rehashing the same issues. We need readiness and willingness to implement workable solutions.
Patriarchal white supremacy can only serve a small segment of the population, and inevitably causes harm to the rest of diverse humanity. That’s because a major tool in the playbook of patriarchal white supremacy is to scapegoat others — diverse women and people of color (blacks, Hispanics, Asians) for everything wrong in the world. This means never or rarely holding white people in power accountable for serious damage they do. When corrective measures are not considered, patterns of dysfunction tend to continue. It is necessary to name the problem. One can never resolve any issue without first accurately defining it in-depth, by describing what it really is.
Patriarchal white supremacy thrives for various reasons, but not because white people are inherently superior, better equipped to lead or more able to comprehend complex issues. It thrives because white people are complicit in supporting and maintaining systems to give them unearned privileges and unfair advantages. This is true even when most whites would benefit from more equitable systems that include leadership and other mainstream contributions offered by blacks and other people of color, to help solve societal problems rather than keep repeating historical failures.
Willful ignorance, denial and other defense mechanisms serve as foundations of stability among people who buy into false superiority/inferiority ideologies. These ingredients help maintain racial hierarchy with an uneven playing field to reinforce socioeconomic, health and other disparities, as if they are natural and inevitable. As anti-racism activist Laurie Robinson-Hay wrote: “Think of all of the historical and generational systemic inequities…and we see why the coronavirus discriminates, being more deadly in black communities in the U.S. than elsewhere. And once again, white people are acting like this is the first time we’ve heard of racialized disparities.”
Consider evidence offered by ‘The Race Card’ — a resource tool for all Americans, developed by Mike Green. Green wrote: “The Race Card” offers 11 measures of life in America across the black-white racial divide. The purpose is to provide a snapshot of life in every city, every region and state wherein a significant population of black Americans reside…The Race Card (is) a resource tool to help frame a national narrative and expand the discourse on race away beyond individual experiences, anecdotes and misconceptions about racial stereotypes. (It) addresses institutionalized policies and practices that contain ingrained biases and produce racial disparities with measurable impact across America. The information offers eye-opening conversation-starting insights derived from credible publicly available resources.”
Many blacks and other people of color in America have experienced or witnessed the severe impact on their communities of racist policies. Now, increasingly more white people are getting a glimpse into similar socioeconomic indicators of health related to death, disability and despair, but fail to attribute most of their problems to their own ideological stagnation. The major misinformation and confusion alone created by incompetence and delayed actions is clearly reflected in governmental responses addressing and responding to Covid-19 in America.
And because so many people are worried about the ego of the patriarchal white supremacist in the White House, we have to rely on media warnings similar to this summary on 4/24/2020 from email@example.com: “Trump pushes fake health news — Lysol issued a strong reminder to customers: Do not use disinfectant products on — or in — your body. The company’s statement comes after US President Donald Trump, without scientific backing, hypothesized about dangerous and deadly uses of disinfectant and ultraviolet light to fight the novel coronavirus. Misinformation and fake health news — especially when pushed by world leaders — can have fatal consequences.”
The deadly virus of patriarchal white supremacy can be challenged by examining most societal issues from multiple perspectives. These include: Personal Truths / Political Truths / Objective Truths. These three areas are crucial to consider when assessing core truths, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, who teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication via his MasterClass. I agree, based on my own personal, professional and ongoing education and lived experiences. Identifying problem areas does not mean getting stuck in cycles of blame and shame to target only certain groups of people. It should be a starting point to unravel points of stagnation in order to achieve significant breakthroughs. When we can embrace these paradoxes involving “and/both” aspects of reality, we will be better equipped to go beyond “either/or” simplistic thinking. From there, we can evolve beyond the status quo toward a society that is more responsive to common human needs.