As I noted in “Jeremiah Wright’s ‘Trumpet,’” Wright prefers the term “white supremacy” to “racism,” since you can’t have “reverse white supremacy.” Here’s the extended passage in which Wright makes this point. The passage is from the May 2006 issue of Trumpet, and a Wright essay called, “Looking Back, Looking Around, Looking Ahead!” Wright has been discussing the work of George Fredrickson, which compares South African Apartheid with American segregation, and the analysis of Fredrickson’s work by Dr. Lewis Baldwin, a professor of African-American studies at Vanderbilt University:
What Dr. Baldwin (a student of Fredrickson’s) does is point out the importance of Fredrickson’s insights. Dr. Fredrickson helps us to see that the real nature of the beast has to do with white supremacy. Baldwin prefers the term white supremacy over “racism” because it is far more accurate in describing what took place in South Africa and what still takes place in South Africa. It is also a term which puts its finger on the pulse of the reality of American thought and American practice!
“Racism,” in Baldwin’s opinion, is too nebulous a term. It is slippery and has many different meanings for many different people. I have even heard misguided (and ignorant) pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Tom DeLay calling Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and other Black people racists. I have heard the term “Black racism” and I have also heard the term “reverse racism.”
The misuse of that term ignores the fact that Africans do not control the military, the police, the legal structure or any of the means to enforce their race prejudice. To try to get misinformed whites and blacks to understand that fact is a waste of time.
You end up trying to make a blind man see something that he is physically and biologically unable to do. The use of the term “racism,” therefore, makes on enter into an exercise in futility and causes you to come away from that discussion frustrated, angry and wanting to do like Langston Hughes’ Jess B. Semple and smash something!
The term “white supremacy,” however, is much more accurate. White supremacy undergirds the thought, the ideology, the sociology, the legal structure, the educational system, the healthcare system, and the entire reality of the United States of America and South Africa!
By the way, note how Wright says that “Africans” do not control the military, the police, etc. As I note in “Jeremiah Wright’s ‘Trumpet,’” Wright and his fellow Trumpet writers tend to speak of “Africans” or “Africans in the Western diaspora” even more often than they speak of “African-Americans.” When combined with the direct attacks on America and on expressions of American patriotism, the overall effect is to make American blacks appear as strangers in a foreign land.