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White and Might Make Right:   Morality is in the Eye of the Oppressor

by JASON MILLER



We of the privileged *Caucasian race have been dancing without paying for centuries. And the piper is seriously pissed.

Rudyard Kipling encouraged America's fledgling empire when he wrote The White Man’s Burden. However, by that time the Unites States had already committed genocide against the Native Americans, engulfed half of Mexico and turned Hawaii over to a handful of wealthy White plantation owners. White Americans were already "bearing the burden" of ruling those who were "half-devil and half-child".

In the early 20th Century, confidence in their moral superiority and Manifest Destiny spurred Americans to slaughter tens of thousands of civilians in the Philippines, prevent a sovereign nation from emerging in Cuba, and negate Puerto Rico the autonomy it had negotiated with Spain.

As one of the most brutal European imperialists, Spain played a significant role in the ongoing oppression of the Filipinos, Cubans and Puerto Ricans. When the United States defeated them in the Spanish-American War, they essentially sold the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico to their new masters in Washington.

Taking off the rose-colored glasses

Casting aside the history books written by the “superior” White race and viewing history through the lens of reality, one readily sees that European nations like Spain, Great Britain, France, and Portugal committed unspeakable atrocities against millions whose only “crime” was that they were born on the continents of Africa, North America, or South America.

“Brave and noble” pioneers and explorers like Columbus and Cortez came to the “New World” bearing gifts. Their hosts were “blessed” with “gifts” like Small Pox, servitude, and genocide. As they convinced themselves they were “civilizing the savages”, the European invaders dehumanized their “converts”. Human beings became tools for empire building, or if they impeded imperial expansion, little more than insects to be exterminated.

In the area of North America which eventually became the United States, one of the ultimate ironies occurred. Refugees from oppression in Western Europe became ruthless oppressors themselves. Victims became abusers as our ancestors nearly drove Native Americans to extinction.

Similar patterns emerged in Africa as various European nations carved up the Dark Continent like a juicy Thanksgiving Day bird. Humans and resources alike became subject to the will and whims of their colonial rulers.

Encountering a shortage of labor and an over-abundance of economic opportunities in the “New World”, the “intrepid” imperialists were undaunted. They simply started capturing indigenous people from various tribes in Africa, selling them into slavery, and shipping them to the Americas. Valuable new commodity emerges. Labor shortage problem solved. One can’t help but admire their ingenuity; that is if one suffers from anti-social personality disorder.

To summarize, our European and American ancestors raped, pillaged, plundered, enslaved, and nearly annihilated the “lesser beings” they encountered on several continents in their “glorious” bids to expand their empires.

Barren desert never looked so good....

After the invention of the internal combustion engine led to wide-spread use of automobiles, the Middle East became an area of particular interest to Europe and the United States. With the revelation that vast quantities of black gold oozed from their sand, the heretofore unappealing arid lands of the Arab and Persian “savages” suddenly became indispensable commodities.

Once again the “onus of domesticating the barbarians” was thrust upon the West. In the process of sharing their “enlightened values”, the United States and their fellow imperialists in Europe have derived the “ancillary benefit” of exerting a great deal of control over the precious Middle Eastern oil. Assuaging their guilt for the Holocaust, they also “found” a homeland for the Jewish people. To this day we “noble” Americans are enabling genocide against the Palestinians to make this homeland possible.

The illusion of freedom and autonomy

While virtually all of the former colonies are now “autonomous” nations, Europe and the United States possess many means to continue exploiting the people and resources of the “developing world”. Imperialism is alive and well in Africa, South America, Central America, and the Middle East.

So called free trade agreements perpetuate US and European multi-national corporations’ virtually unfettered access to cheap labor and valuable raw materials. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund ensure powerful Western influence by deeply indebting impoverished nations. The debtors are then obliged to tailor their economic policies to benefit their Neoliberal masters, leaving a majority of their citizens miserably poor.

Utilizing direct and indirect military intervention, the Neocolonialists have long guaranteed the loyalty of their “subjects” by ousting leaders elected by the people and installing dictators friendly to Western interests.

Close call for the wealthy ruling elite

Consider one of many examples. With a long-standing tradition of constitutional rule and leaders elected by the vote of the people, Chileans made the “grave error” of electing Salvador Allende as their president in the early 1970’s.

Allende suffered from the delusion that it would be just to nationalize industries and end years of multi-national corporate exploitation. In 1973, the zealous efforts of Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and telecommunications giant ITT bore fruit. Their three year campaign to destabilize the social, political, and economic conditions of Chile softened the beach-head for a bloody coup, which included the assasination of Allende. General Augusto Pinochet, America’s man, took the helm.

Pinochet “rescued” the people of Chile by abolishing the minimum wage, crushing labor unions, lowering taxes and privatizing the pension system. It came as no great surprise that American multi-nationals like ITT were able to continue their plunder.

2100 murders, 1100 disappearances, and 28,000 torture victims later, Pinochet resigned in 1990. Since his arrest and detention in 1998, Pinochet has been stripped of his immunity as former head of state and indicted for crimes against humanity. There is hope for justice.

One of the better articulations of the indirect yet powerful Neocolonial rule imposed by the United States and Western Europe comes from a speech Salvador Allende made before the United Nations (as the Nixon Regime was covertly wreaking social, political, and economic havoc under his very nose):

Our economy could no longer tolerate the subordination implied by having more than eighty percent of its exports in the hands of a small group of large foreign companies that have always put their interests ahead of those of the countries where they make their profits…

These same firms exploited Chilean copper for many years, made more than four billion dollars in profit in the last forty-two years alone, while their initial investments were less than thirty million…My country, Chile would have been totally transformed by that four billion dollars…

We find ourselves opposed by forces that operate in the shadows, without a flag, with powerful weapons, from positions of great influence….We are potentially rich countries, yet we live in poverty. We go here and there, begging for credits and aid, yet we are great exporters of capital. It is a classic paradox of the capitalist economic system.


The coffee is brewing, can't you smell it?

Live in denial if you will, but we Caucasian descendents of Western imperialists living in Neocolonial nations owe a tremendous moral and fiscal debt to those whom our ancestors and governments have egregiously wronged. Our wealth and power insulates us to an extent, but those we have oppressed are beginning to extract their pound of flesh.

Significant numbers of “illegal” immigrants are evading detection and entering the United States. They are passing through the grossly immoral border our ancestors created after stealing the land comprising our nation from the Native Americans and from Mexico. Xenophobia, paranoia, and racism are again rearing their ugly heads as some White Americans clamor for the arrest and deportation of 11 million immigrants and the creation of an American version of the Iron Curtain.

Despite his assurances that he does not intend to militarize the Mexican border, George Bush's latest agenda for our southern boundary includes deploying 6,000 National Guard troops and adding prison beds for "illegal" immigrants. Not a whiff of militarization there.

Bush's discourse made it quite clear that despite the fact that he did not support mass deportation, the "illegals" who had established themselves in the United States would only be eligible for citizenship if they wrapped themselves in the American flag, steeped themselves in the lore of the Empire, and became fluent in English, the global language which is the key to self-actualizing and getting into heaven. Once the "illegals" reaching for the brass ring of American citizenship have sold their cultural souls, Bush wants to grace them with the opportunity to "get in line" behind those who won the lottery in their country of origin and obtained documents to enter the United States legally.

While Congress struggles to create an immigration bill to pacify the Decider, business interests hungry for cheap labor, and racist forces eager to expel non-Anglo individuals, the deportation sweep is already taking place. On 4/21, the federal government announced that it would treat employers hiring “illegals” like criminal organizations. They promptly arrested 1,000 undocumented immigrants at IFCO, a German container manufacturer with locations around the United States.

Here in the Kansas City area, immigration officials are tenaciously pursuing the deportation of a 31 year old Mexican named Myrna Dick. Myrna is married to an American and has a child with him.

Also in Kansas City, a law abiding 38 year old father of two has been victimized by anti-immigrant laws. Adam Hernandez lived in the United States for 26 years and is married to an American citizen. Last week our federal government deported him to his native Honduras because he stole a car when he was a teenager. Human compassion in action.

On 4/24 Missouri state senators voted to empower state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws. If you have brown skin and are in Missouri, you better be able to prove you are a “real American” or you may find yourself “south of the border”.

Unabashed imperialists that they were, the Romans at least granted limited citizenship, and ultimately full citizenship, to those they conquered. America is content to simply exploit its foreign subjects as it bleeds its colonies dry of wealth and resources.

Interestingly, our fellow imperialists across the Atlantic are coping with their own influx of people they have abused for centuries.

Each year, tens of thousands of desperately poor Africans make a perilous journey of 2,000 miles or more to seek better lives in Western Europe. However, Europe is also in the throes of xenophobia. 4,000 victims of the fallout from the colonization of Africa have been detained by Spain so far in 2006. With increasingly zealous enforcement of immigration laws, Africans are forced to take more dangerous routes to enter Europe. At least 1300 have died at sea so far this year.

Many of the African migrants attempt to gain entrance to Europe through Morocco in North Africa. To counter what it claims to be a tide of millions of African immigrants, Morocco has militarized its border, built high fences and dug deep trenches. Despite these measures, tens of thousands of African migrants make it into Morocco. Many of them are unable to make it to Spain, their ultimate goal. They remain stranded in Morocco where most live in abject poverty.

Like their counterpart in the United States, the French National Assembly is now debating immigration legislation. They are considering severe restrictions on the entry of unskilled laborers from African nations. Several French human rights groups and churches have denounced this measure. They recognize that such laws would lead to a flood of educated African professionals immigrating to France. Those left behind in Africa would find their situations even more dire as their doctors and engineers left for greener pastures in France.

In South America, two indigenous leaders have risen to power through legitimate popular election. Following the lead of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are boldly defying their Neocolonial masters. Much to the chagrin of Western imperialists in Washington and in the European Union, Chavez is committing such heinous acts as utilizing Venezuelan oil revenues to provide education, housing, medical care, and food to the poor. Morales recently nationalized Bolivia’s vast fields of natural gas. Perhaps Allende has been given a second chance through a double reincarnation.

In a Homeric tragedy, the Middle East has been the epicenter of a maelstrom of venomous hatred, brutality, subjugation and war dating back to the Crusades. While instability and conflict have plagued the region for many years, the demand for oil has taken the unrest to new heights. Western support for brutal, tyrannical regimes, like that of the Shah, Saddam Hussein and a continuous parade of Israeli leaders, has fueled an intense and understandable hatred amongst many of the indigenous people in various Middle Eastern nations.

Committing egregious acts of terrorism and murder “justified” by the warped notion that military personnel simply cause “collateral damage” when they kill innocent civilians, the United States, Israel, and their European allies have triggered a violent backlash from the denizens of the Middle East. While the violence committed by both sides is abhorrent, the violent reprisals of the Iraqi Resistance and groups like Hamas represent a rational response to invasion, terrorism, murder of civilians, and acts of genocide committed by avaricious and powerful invaders.

 

Aside from the obvious moral imperatives, we have several pragmatic impetuses to change our malevolent ways and redeem ourselves. Our victims out-number us. They possess both the will and the means to do us grievous harm, both militarily and economically. The days of their meek submission are long past. Iraq, Iran, nuclear proliferation, oil addiction, a notable increase in the percentage of minorities in American and European populations, and fears of “homeland” attacks are painful reminders of the increasing inability of the Caucasian-dominated West to dominate the world as it once did.

How do we in the United States finally shoulder the real White man’s burden?

If we implemented the following social and political policies/strategies, much of our debt would be repaid to those we have abused and exploited, our creditors whom we victimized would leave us alone, and humanity would no longer be on a path to self-destruction:

1. Slashing insanely bloated military budgets by at least 2/3 and using the savings to balance the budget, fund domestic social programs and to increase foreign aid. (It is delusional to believe that the US needs to account for over 50% of world military expenditures per year to protect 5% of the world’s population).


2. Forgiving World Bank debt and closing the doors to both the World Bank and the IMF

 

3. Withdrawing US forces from the Middle East and closing many of the US military bases around the globe


4. Ceasing US military and financial aid to Israel


5. Ending the Cuban Embargo


6. Adhering to the Geneva Conventions by ending torture, rendition, and wars of aggression.

7. Adhering to decisions rendered by the UN


8. Banning the use of depleted uranium


9. Allowing the millions of “illegal” immigrants who have established stable residence the opportunity to earn citizenship


10. Putting a stop to our support of murderous tyrants like Pinochet, Marcos, Suharto, and Saddam Hussein


11. Placing severe restriction on the powers and rights of corporations


12. Summarily removing the members of the Bush Regime from office, arresting them, and extraditing them to the Hague for war crimes trials


13. Implementing tax increases on the wealthy and on corporate giants while eliminating the loopholes which often enable them to shift the tax burden onto the poor and middle class


14. Amending the US Constitution with a Separation of Business and State clause to stop the revolving door between corporate America and the government and to stop corporations from buying our leaders


15. Holding internationally-monitored elections to replace the current criminal regime. The elections would need to be publicly funded, include a Populist party to represent the middle class and poor (since Democrats and Republicans are de facto representatives of the rich), and ban the use of electronic voting machines.


16. Repealing the Patriot Act and restoring the Bill of Rights


17. Closing Guantanamo Bay, the torture facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the CIA’s network of secret prisons


18. Ending the “separate and unequal” public education system by infusing more public money into predominately Black and Hispanic school districts


19. Creating a system of national health care which charges premiums based on financial capacity


20. Ending the “War on Drugs” which has failed miserably, has filled our prisons with non-violent offenders who committed the “crime” of self-destructive hedonism, and has been used as a tool of military intervention in Central and South America


21. Focusing more law enforcement resources on rehabilitation and education and less on punitive measures


22. Facilitating an equitable distribution of resources, land, and power between Jews and Palestinians in Israel

After enduring years of Caucasian hubris, arrogance, abuse, invasion, exploitation, state terrorism, and genocide, it is small wonder that some non-Anglos are enraged enough to commit acts of terror and many others are desperate enough to risk death by attempting entry into the US or Europe.

Odds are the de facto ruling class of the United States will not rush to implement my suggestions to satisfy our moral debt and inject more humanity into the world. Property, power and money move their worlds. Surrender of their precious imperial, racist, and plutocratic system is out of the question until they feel some serious pain. Given prevailing conditions in the world, that time may be closer than these Masters of the Earth believe.

I recently wrote that some Whites believe that we Caucasians represent the pinnacle of human evolution. A reader emailed me to ask what proof I had that we do not represent the pinnacle of human evolution. The answer is intuitively obvious to the casual observer. Highly evolved human beings registering at the top of humanity’s scale would have willingly forged a sociopolitical system based on peace, economic justice, social justice, and universal human rights long ago.

I rest my case.

Now let’s get to work on repaying our seriously past due balance.

*including the Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean sub-categories of the Caucasian race, loosely referred to as Whites

Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at [email protected] or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian .blogspot.com/.

 

 

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