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Racism in America shouldn’t take center stage in the global fight against white supremacy


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 .

Read more: How activists in eight countries are fighting for racial justice

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.

Racism in America shouldn’t take center stage in the global fight against white supremacyPrime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photo with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall, UK, June 11, 2021.Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street / Handout / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Race explains the current tensions between the West and the Islamic world, and the West and China. (In 2019, US State Department Director of Political Planning Kiron Skinner said it was difficult to challenge China’s “long-term threat” because the country is “not Caucasian. He uplifts, shapes, represses, subjugates and destroys seeking and preserving economic power. Yet there has been a real lack of an honest global examination of his role.

Rooted in European-led colonization, the race is now entrenched in the structures and institutions of globalization. The big four of accounting, the magic circle of law, the big three of management consulting, the rating agencies: all these companies which have a huge global influence have their headquarters in the West. Liberal narratives are created to justify their practices.

In sought-after schools from Harvard to Oxford to Wharton, these stories are passed on to future business and government leaders around the world, normalizing and institutionalizing power differences. These values ​​are then transformed into institutions, regulations and laws that reinforce inequalities.

At the top is the G7. Its meeting in London in June was a stark reminder of the underlying Western assumptions. The group has no Arab, African or Asian representative outside of Japan, and has cited a struggle between “Western democracy” and “authoritarian China”, again calling for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

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A better world cannot be forged without unmasking and dismantling the global superstructure that perpetuates white and Western domination. Recognizing white privilege is key to this process, as centuries of Western domination have accustomed the world to it. This will be difficult and especially for Western liberals and millennials who think they are fighting the right fight by clinging to trendy trends such as opposing racism in sports and movies or supporting the BLM and related movements. Accepting that they are the beneficiaries of a global system of white privileges is an entirely different moral dilemma.

The end of white privilege can only begin if we have a global debate on what has been a taboo subject in international relations and business. Western institutions shouldn’t see this as an attack on whites or something rooted in anti-white or anti-Western sentiments. It is necessary to expose white privilege everywhere, not only because it is an injustice, but because by working to dismantle it, we will create a post-Western world which is more just, less confrontational, more united and better able. to respond to the existential challenges facing humanity.

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