Remember the Dred Scott decision (Dred Scott v. John F.A. Sandford)? The case where the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6, 1857, ruled that Dred Scott, a freed African-American slave who lived in a free state and territory where slavery was prohibited was not entitled to his freedom; that African Americans were not and could never be citizens of the United States; and that the Missouri Compromise (1820), which had declared free all territories west of Missouri was unconstitutional.
How the Whitewashing of Historical Truths Supports White Supremacy in the Here and Now
Just as our decisions and actions as individuals, have shaped our present reality so too, when collections of people form laws, and rules, they reveal the values undergirding and shaping the present nature of society. But the educational systems our children experience, omit or disguise the horrific truths relating to white supremacy, in both its past and present manifestations. Class and racially based differences, concerning access to every societal good - house, employment, health etc are thus maintained from one generation to the next. What a terrible legacy!
But now, due to access to the internet, we are not held hostage to the limitations imposed on us by white historians’ lies and omissions. Access to the internet has let in other voices which can make a difference. I found highly significant for example, learning about the Dred Scott decision unearthed by Marley K. She asks (rhetorically no doubt) if we the readers remember this decision? Of course we do not, for none of us were alive in 1857. This is why the teaching of history is important! However, white supremacy has whitewashed all its crimes, in its concoction of the history curricula and we are left floundering, trying to make sense of our experiences of systemic oppression. Meanwhile, even white people of good will, can continue to be deluded about how they came to dominate every aspect of society and generally be better of than people of colour.
For Marley K. to unearth this ruling and then to position it in relation to the denial of racism in present day ‘democratic’ Amerikka is an act of educational brilliance that clears away the fogged up whitewashing of our reality.
The more such nuggets of information and acts of analysis are shared, the more the delusional state of mind that white supremacy relies on for its perpetuation, can be undermined. Only then, as the superiority complex of white power is revealed in the ugliness of its roots: denial of the rights of black people going hand in hand with severe levels of exploitation of everything and everyone. When clear lines are drawn connecting past injustices to the present realities, we might be able to organise ourselves to ensure equitable improvements in the lives of the next generation.