In 1944, William Terry Couch, a “fair-minded, progressive Southerner,” who served as the director of the University of North Carolina Press, along with white “racial liberal” sociologist Guy Johnson, had an idea for a book outlining the concerns of Black America. He enlisted Rayford Logan, a brilliant Howard University history professor, to compile a series of essays called What the Negro Wants. The list of contributors featured the who’s who of Black thinkers, including poet Langston Hughes, W.E.B Du Bois—one of the founders of modern sociology—and labor organizer A. Philip Randolph, who forced the U.S. military to desegregate and later went on to organize a little event called the March on Washington.
When the white liberals saw the initial draft of essays, they thought it was outrageous. The list of demands was insane. They had written about full equality, desegregation and even civil rights! There was no way these were the people who represented Black America.
“I had been hoping that at least two or three of the 15 authors would raise the question of how far the negroes is responsible for his condition and deal with the problem of what negroes can now, regardless of what white people may do,” Couch wrote to Logan. “The things negroes are represented as wanting seem to be far removed from what they ought to want. Most of the things they are represented as wanting can be summarized in the phrase: complete abolition of segregation. If this is what the negro wants, nothing could be clearer than that what he needs, and needs most urgently, is to revise his wants.”
"Just as the Colonists at the Boston Tea Party wanted out from under tyranny and oppression and taxation without representation, the Chinese want “out,” The Indians want “out,” and the colored Americans want out.
Throughout America today, many people are alarmed and bewildered by the manifestation of this world ferment among the Negro masses. We say we are living in a period of “racial tension”... The tension rises out of the growing internal pressure of Negro masses to break through the wall of restrictions which restrains them from full American citizenship. This mounting power is met by the unwillingness of white Americans to allow any appreciable breach in this wall."
And just like that, the woman who had built an entire university from $1.50, the woman who created the “Black Cabinet” that came up with many ideas for the New Deal, the woman who saved the program that gave us the Tuskegee Airmen, the best friend of the president’s wife, just because she said racism existed, Mary McLeod Bethune became a communist.
Bethune’s name appeared in six reports in the House Committee on Un-American Activities and five times in Senate reports on people suspected of communist activity. While she was cleared of any involvement, the message was clear: Confronting racism and white supremacy is un-American.
This is why white people are my bellwether.
Whenever I am trying to decide whether or not a particular movement, policy or person benefits Black America, I wait and see what white people think. While that might sound racist, there has never been a movement, policy or person that benefitted Black America who was simultaneously embraced by white America. In this country, a stance against the trauma-inducing brickbat of whiteness is perceived as a stance against America. And anyone who disagrees can feel free to prove me wrong. Name one person who fought for Black liberation who white people agreed with.
Don’t worry; I’ll wait.
But while I’m waiting, I came up with a list of Black movements, people and ideas who were called anti-white, communist, Marxist or Un-American simply for wanting Black people to exist.
In 1938, during congressional debates against H.R. 1507, a bill outlawing the extrajudicial murder of Black people, Rep. Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.) stated this about the “Prevention and Punishment For Lynching”:
"Why is it now, after three-quarters of a century, at the instance of a few, politicians, a few negrophilists or Negro lovers, and a handful of mulatto Negro voters, that an attempt is made at this late date to cram down the throats of the South this insulting, undemocratic, and un-American piece of legislation?
...But I want to tell the advocates of the bill one thing: If you succeed in the passage of this bill, you will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of this measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon white southern men will not tolerate."
Ronald Reagan won the presidency partly by stoking white fears that affirmative action was anti-white reverse racism, fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump feels the same way. Jesse Helms called it a “gateway to communism” that hurt qualified white people.
Whenever anyone does anything that includes the word “Black,” it immediately falls under the classification of Marxist and anti-whiteness. White people hate being left out, even though they are acutely aware that there is nothing more valuable in the known universe than a white life. White people will slit a Black baby’s neck for a white woman’s life.
OK, maybe that’s a little harsh.
Let’s just say they will beat a Black baby to a bloody pulp, tie him to an industrial fan with barbed wire and toss his lifeless body off a bridge. Is that better?
But I understand why they vilify Black movements with Marxism.
White people don’t know what Marxism is.
According to a 1970 Harris Poll, 64 percent of Black Americans had a favorable view of the Panthers, while 92 percent of white Americans had a negative view. It’s probably because a lot of members of the Black Panther were Marxists, which is different from communism. Basically, Marxism is a way to examine history, economics and societies through the lens of class, while communism is actually Marx’s economic and political theory in which...wait. For a second I started to believe that there was some logic to white supremacy.
White people hated the Panthers because they had guns and pushed for armed self-defense. For some reason, those America-hating negroes believed “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
I have no idea where they got that crazy idea from.
When Black people marched on Selma for voting rights, they were called “communists.” The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was called “Un-American.” Of course, the 2020 election was about “socialism” because so many Black people voted.
Southerners, conservatives and white people, in general, have never pushed for a single law to expand the electorate because they are the only true Americans.
Amelia Boynton. Callie Guy House. Ida B. Wells. Mary McLeod Bethune. Ilhan Omar. Rosa Parks. Ella Baker. Josephine Baker. Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama. Nikole Hannah-Jones. Serena Williams. Young Black girls. Old Black women. Pregnant Black women. Babies who aren’t just born.
The one thing that dumbfounds me about white supremacy is how much white people trust each other. They just trust the explanations for their fellow white people. In all this debate about CRT, I have yet to see one person who opposes CRT who can also explain what CRT is. And many of the legislators who are against funding K-12 teachers who absolutely do not teach CRT are already funding the leaders’ movement, such as Richard Delgado, the professor at state-supported Alabama Law School who wrote a little book called Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.
All they know is that it has the word “race” in it, so it must be bad.
Legislators opposed the Civil Rights Act because it was “Marxist.” The House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for communism. The FBI did, too.
In a 1964 New York Times survey, a majority of white people said that the “Negro civil rights movement had gone too far,” and a quarter of those people said their resentment was growing. They were right. Two years later, a 1966 Harris Survey, revealed that 85 percent of white respondents thought civil rights demonstrations “hurts the negro.”
Apparently, to white people, fighting racism is worse than racism.
The people who rail against “cancel culture” never acknowledge that cancel culture is a right-wing creation. Like when Angela Davis was canceled from her job as a professor at the University of Los Angeles California because she was a member of the Communist Party. Or when she was falsely charged with murder and kidnapping because she was a member of the Communist Party.
Of course, being a member of the Communist Party is bad.
Hey, remember the time a member of the Ku Klux Klan was on the Supreme Court?
Hmmmm...Let me see if I can go way back in history and find something on W.E.B. Du Bois being called a Marxist. It’s gonna be hard. I’ll probably have to dig into the archives of a defunct newspaper from years...
And if you think I’m kidding about white people not thinking Black people were smart, according to the National Opinion Research Center, it was not until 1963 that 50 percent of white people believed “Negroes” were born with the same intelligence as whites.
The fight against what politicians have deemed the Marxist, Un-American 1619 Project is actually a fight against teaching the history of slavery more accurately. And it is not new. White people said the same thing about teaching abolition. The United Daughters of the Confederacy said the same thing about the Civil War. White school districts in the North and South said the same thing about Jim Crow. And Black History Month.
Plus if white kids learn about America’s racist past, they might start saying: “I’m not going to do that again,” and then, what will happen to white people?
In 1955, when Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the majority-white people did not agree with integrated schools or integrated neighborhoods, according to the National Opinion Research Center. In 1965, a decade after Brown v. Board, most white people didn’t agree with integrated schools or neighborhoods. In 1975, it was the same.
Colin Kaepernick is the greatest example of Republican hypocrisy. They hate cancel culture after they canceled Colin Kaepernick. They don’t want politics in sports but cheer when politicians protest sports. They claim to like peaceful protest but derided Colin Kaepernick for protesting peacefully. They love freedom of speech but...
I think you see where I’m going.
In 1966, a majority of white Americans had a negative opinion of King. When he died in 1968, 75 percent of Americans disapproved of him. Now they love him...
Because he’s dead.
Remember when I said 92 percent of white people had a negative view of the Black Panther Party in 197o. The interesting thing about that survey is 82 percent of white people had the same view of the NAACP.
But that’s gone, now. Oh, wait...
According to the Republican Party, universal healthcare is communist. Or maybe it’s Socialism...except it’s sometimes Marxism. In any case, it’s definitely un-American, mostly because it’s called “Obamacare.”
They love the Affordable Care Act.
In August 1963, days before the March on Washington, the event’s unfavorability rating was 80 percent, according to a Gallup poll. That’s probably because 85 percent thought that “the communists” were involved in “the demonstrations over civil rights.”
This is why we must never ignore white people.
While we should never, ever do what white people collectively want, history has shown us that if something is good for Black people, white people will hate it. And if they vilify something as racist, communist or anti-white, you should take a second look because, nine times out of 10, it might be worth considering. When it comes to freedom and equality, the easiest thing to do is to see what white people have to say...
Then do the opposite.