Commentator Josie Gonsalves: Taking a Closer Look at the Race War on America's Streets

2 hours ago

Josie Gonsalves is an adjunct political science professor at CUNY and a member of the Anti-Racist Alliance of New York
Credit Josie Gonsalves

Last week President Trump visited both cities where mass shooters attacked earlier this month. In Dayton, Ohio, he met with first responders, injured victims and families of the nine people killed in Sunday's nightclub district attack. He then flew to El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed at a Walmart by a man apparently targeting Mexicans and Hispanics.

WBGO's guest commentator Josie Gonsalves, an adjunct political science professor at CUNY and a member of the Anti-Racist Alliance of New York, has seen enough.

"I left my country as a global citizen of an island nation under a parliamentary democracy with vigorous intellectual discourse and robust civic engagement. I entered this United States of America, where I was assigned the categories of immigrant, non-white, and "other." The othering of non-white designees in America has its political roots in the history of ethnic cleansing of Native Americans for their land and the enslavement of African families, individuals, and children as chattel to support the base of this capitalist economy. So fierce, the fight for ownership of human beings as chattel, America waged a Civil War from 1861-65 to maintain, property rights over Black bodies. In the over 150 years since the end of the Civil War, America launched de facto and de jure policies of racialized terrorism undergirded by the social mythology of white superiority.

This political ideology of racialized terrorism rests with every white designated person in this country. White neoliberals cloak themselves in a fantasy that the race war exploding on the streets of America rests discreetly in the hands of "crazies," "far-right wingers," "outliers" and even more mythic characterizations. So, America builds clinics and mental health hospital beds for White home-grown terrorists, but concentration camps and high-level security prisons for Black, and Black and Brown immigrants.

The killings in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend demonstrate, again, that the ugly of America is as mainstream as apple pie. This country's history and praxis rest comfortably in the mythology of white superiority. In choosing to "other" fellow citizens [undocumented and documented Black and Brown immigrants; Brown and Black; Muslim and Jew], white America has damned this democracy into the hands of White terrorists. White America has laid the burden of the debt incurred by white supremacy on the bodies and psyches of the "other."

Every year since the infamous destruction of the once pillars of American capitalism, we offer a national moment of silence and read the names of the individuals who died on September 11, 2001. But, there are never moments of silence, and the names of those killed from acts of domestic terrorism read out loud for the world to hear. Why? Names of the young Black and Brown bodies from police killings are not read. Why? Do we know the name of the baby who was crushed by his parents trying to protect him from a terrorist in El Paso? No? Why?

Why should we have to fight to be named? To be remembered? Why?

A race war is being thrust upon us. We cannot look askance. We cannot believe that it, too, shall pass.

The answers rest not neatly into discreet neoliberal civil laws or political ideology. We must boldly deconstruct the myths that allow us to say, “this too shall pass.” White America can no longer expect to pay for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with the red blood of those they want to Other, criminalize, dehumanize, disenfranchise, and marginalize. The demographics are changing, global capitalism is rotting, and the mythology of whiteness is long past its fantasy moment."

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