Protesters attend a Black Lives Matter protest to show solidarity with U.S. protesters in Sydney on June 6, 2020 and demand an end to the frequent deaths of Indigenous people in custody in Australia. Credit – SAEED KHAN / AFP via Getty Images
Last month, US President Joe Biden signed a law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, marking the day in 1865 when black people in the United States were freed from slavery. Emancipation has not stopped the repression of blacks, and this new gesture will not change much.
The bill was passed against the backdrop of the murder of George Floyd and the actions of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which brought the story of injustice to the world’s attention. Yet the past year has seen an increase in the activities of white supremacist groups across the West, which has led UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres to describe white supremacy as one of the greatest challenges facing the world is facing.
Despite this global awareness of the problem, it is still not clear whether Western nations have understood that the main driver of racial injustice – within them and around the world – is the need to retain power at all costs. white world economy. There is a growing awareness that social structures have helped develop racist mentalities and behaviors among white communities, allowing them to benefit from a construction that places whites at the top of an economic, political and hierarchical order. cultural. But dismantling them will not be easy, because they are the same structures on which the modern world is built.
The difficulty is that race does not usually figure in mainstream discussions of global governance. Yet it would be naive not to understand that the racist views of Western leaders have been factored into major decisions, including acts of aggression against others seen as inferior. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said ‘We think the price is worth it’ after questioning whether the death of half a million Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions was acceptable .
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Given the intensity of the racial discussion in the United States, it is surprising that critical race theory (which describes how social structures and cultural norms help perpetuate white privilege) is not applied globally. . why is this the case? One possibility is that usual analytical foci, such as laws and institutions, are less defined on a global scale. Many of these structures are also dominated by Western powers. Race is rarely mentioned, for example, to explain why, even in the 21st century, the leaders of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund must be nominated by the United States and Europe – an imbalance that has led to appeals. to a democracy reform of the voting powers within the two organs.
It is hard to understand how white privilege works outside the United States and Europe. In fact, there is a danger in placing racial-based American oppression at the center of global discussions of white supremacy. Let’s be explicit: racial oppression in the United States is the tip of the iceberg of a much deeper and more harmful global phenomenon of white privilege that has for too long been conveniently ignored. Applying critical race theory and other ideas on structured discrimination would help unravel a lot about how white privilege works on the world stage.