Black Men and Women Love the Iraq War

Or so you’d think by glancing at antiwar rallies across the US or groups like Code Pink and Veterans for Peace. All of these groupings claim to be of the people. The claim only begins to be true if one conceives and accepts a racially stratified US society as being the best or only possible conception. And even race withstanding, these groupings, Veterans for Peace being an exception here, are rigidly middle to upper-middle class. The ironic and most disappointing feature of these and similar groups is that they attempt to oppose, resist and confront the class structure of US society that is responsible for the initiation and sustenance of the war culture. But they attempt to do it with a strict classist structure of their own. The best indication that all I have said is true is the glaring absence of the most stridently antiwar ethnic group in the country and the ethnic group most adversely affected the diversion of public resources to private military enterprise, black men and women in the US.

If you doubt this, look at the unemployment rates in black communities across the country. Fake US Labor Dept statistics downplay unemployment, catering to white sensibilities that the economy is doing great and that this the greatest of all countries….yadda yadda yadda. Black people know and have always known that these statistics are lies. So many folks stop officially looking for work after months if not years of not being able to find it through traditional channels. These people are not counted in traditional labor statistics. And don’t think the gov’t doesn’t know that they are out there. Like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex is booming and these black bodies are needed.

Circumstances in US black communities are dire in 2007. But not so dire that black people would rather spend their time with whites of the antiwar community (movement is a misnomer) and similar groups. The black situation is not so dire that black people would subject themselves to the acidity of white aversive racism that is so rife within not only these groups but almost any white dominated organization or group in this, a white supremacist society, the United States of America. The causes, at least rhetorically, championed by the antiwar community and other white peace groups are ostensibly in the interest of African people in the US. The internal dynamics of organizational structure and individual consciousness (the lack thereof) prevent these groups from being more than marginally effective. This is tragic when one considers how much both sides, whites on the one hand and on the other, African, the indigenous people of the Americas and Asians, need progress in these crucial struggles. It is tragic when one considers the level of consensus ALREADY EXISTING amongst these stratified populations. Populations just waiting to be galvanized in collective struggle, waiting for the obstacle of white racism on the Left to be destroyed or in some way overcome. It is all the more tragic when one considers how much hard work, sweat and tears many whites in these groups put into their causes. Most of the work is for naught as there racially segregated groups rarely have the numbers to accomplish much anything substantive and lasting.

For instance, look at Veterans For Peace, a national organization that, if race were not the primary contradiction of the organization would probably have at least half its membership be people of color. Taking into account basic sociological history in this country that informs us that whenever there is a social movement, people of color tend to be the most radical and the most militant. And considering the extremity of these times, politically and socially, when people are calling for radical and revolutionary leadership, people of color should be at the fore of organizations such as Veterans For Peace.

On the contrary, it is an almost all white organization with little leadership from people of color.

It is at this point that we see an interesting dynamic occur. At the point when these groups are analyzed and criticized for their oh so obvious lack of ethnic diversity, and no less leadership; it is at this point that the reasoning is given that black people just won’t come out and support or join in these organizations. This is interesting to me because this rationale, if given by other organizations, say…organizations linked to the Republican Party and the Right Wing generally, it wouldn’t be given a second thought. The same whites on the Left that use this rationale would simply explain that the racism of the Right Wing, not some arcane mystery, is the reason Africans don’t work with them. However, when Africans and other peoples of color don’t work with whites on the Left, the reason becomes a puzzle to them. Or at least they pretend it is.

I never believe them. I take no pleasure in not believing them for if I did believe them, my life would be much easier. For I could just tell them why it is that black people don’t/won’t work with them. And because they are not racist and simply don’t understand, with understanding, the problem would be alleviated. But they do know why African people and other people of color don’t work with them. It is because whites on the Left practice aversive racism which makes it so obvious that they do not like or appreciate the culture of non-whites. I should state straight away that I don’t believe this is volitional. Because the nature of the entire society remains white supremacist, aversive racism is simply a function of being and living uncritically white. The disproportionately white antiwar community is rife with aversive racism that, until confronted, will leave the antiwar effort stuck as a racially stratified movement hardly worthy of the name.

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