Only last week, I sat in on a forum of nonwhites. In their presence was a white female who was doing research into the experiences of nonwhites in attempting to get access to services. The attendees complained about the council not recognising their group but paying lip service to it in their reports so as to tick the boxes of their “equality” criteria. (In a routine manner, these “blacks” did not exist beyond the “uses” and “purposes” of the whites. They were objects, or chattel, for these uses of these “professionals.”) The attendees fretted and ultimately enquired as to what the researcher would do with the information they gathered as if it was to collate a report, the idea was not new. They even informed her that many reports had been published in the past. It got worse when one person claimed that they need to inform and educate the council on how to help them. It was at this point I all but wept. It was as if these nonwhites still did not get it; the council has no regard for people it has no concern for. It cannot be reformed; it cannot be educated. It is beyond ruin.
These nonwhites still clung to their faith in “human” beings and imagined, as it were, that these whites were operating within a moral framework. It is this idea of a moral framework which may soon become a recurring theme. Syed, for instance, has repeatedly brought to our attention the work of a Nigerian based writer who claims that what the nonwhite world did not realise about Europe was that the Europeans were not operating within a moral framework. (This reiterates what Marimba Ani noted in “Yurugu” when she spoke about the “rhetorical ethic” which sees Europeans utilise language as a weapon to neutralise or deceive nonwhites.) Although I have contested this idea of a moral framework with Syed, he seems to prefer that idea. I prefer to say that they have a different concept of language that is not shared by nonwhites; that unlike nonwhites, whites draw upon language to maintain their regime, and so, to begin with, they are starting from a different place; a place of power. I do not see it as an issue of morality; I see it as an issue of language and a matter of power. It is from this place I have to be suspicious of this lady when she speaks of “white supremacy”. Is she trying to pull a T.I. and “bring em out”?
With my colleague I explained the subtle dynamics implicit, and in the background, when speaking with this white lady. I can tell her that she is in a position of power and that I am very cognisant of; that it has an impact and dictates how I can respond to her. I cannot, for instance, answer her “question” and “explain” to her, Neely Fuller’s functional concept of “race” as “white supremacy.” I cannot speak openly with any white person about race because whiteness is a political party; that there is generally a possessive investment in whiteness; that she is a person but I am not one under the current arrangements; that I can volunteer information to her that she hijacks, subverts and uses against nonwhite peoples. I cannot “inform” her of her whiteness and what it entails in terms of her being a warden as opposed to a prisoner; that at any time, a white person is a police enforcer; that I am under her rule and at her mercy; that she is in charge and in control. I can only do what she permits; and yet, she must acknowledge, and even confess this, but that isn’t everything.