Thanks for the kind responses, Sam, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to address a couple of your points. This is a long response, so please accept my apology in advance.
It is also vital to note that white racism is unique. It is unique with its manifestations. It is unique with its theft, exploitation, and profit. It is unique with its rationalizations. And it is unique with its global exporting of white racism.
I would say there’s two factors here that need to be considered. One is technology, and the other is cultural. I would agree with white racism is unique in that because of available technology, especially when it comes to communication and logistics. Slavery is as old as humanity, but not before the advent of true oceangoing vessels was slavery able to be propagated across the seas on an industrial scale. What’s more, the original motivation was not white supremacy, but trade and profit, beginning with sugar and cotton. For example, look at the first paragraph of the Mississippi Articles of Secession:
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
I should note that I grew up in the MS Delta, and the schools there *never* showed us this, but always told us the old story about “It was all about state’s rights”. It was only with the advent of the internet that I ever saw this document.
The fact that trade and profit were the original motivation does not detract at all from the fact that after slavery was ended, the motivation quickly changed from money to white supremacy, which hearkens back to the social dominance theory I posted.
But while the motivation was white dominance, the enabler was the advance of technology. The goals of the white supremacists were made much easier by the growth of mass media, and the growing “Lost Cause” canon of the Deep South was able to take root and spread its poisonous vines. This is what made white racism unique.
The second factor is cultural, and it is my contention that the cultural component is at its base no different at all from the racism by any other ethnic group in the past or today. Yes, genetic makeup can be altered by trauma and many other cultural and environmental factors, but any particular change will not apply to the whole race across the planet, but only in a region or (at most) a nation and (to an ever-decreasing degree) the surrounding nations. For example, there are many racists in Canada, but racism is not nearly so institutionalized as it is here in America.
It is my belief that as long as there is more than one race, there will be racism…and even if we ever get to that point where there’s only one race, prejudice (of which racism is “merely” a subset) will never disappear as long as there are different ethnicities, different religions, and different sociopolitical beliefs.
This is why I say that white racism is unique, but not because of “whiteness”, but because of technology…
…and here’s how that will change in the coming decades. The election of Barack Obama (of whom I’m a bit of a fanboy) scared the hell out of white conservatives. The proof lay in the fact that the GOP-controlled Congress voted almost in lockstep to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, but just a few years later, after Obama was elected, the GOP cheered (again, almost in lockstep) when the Supreme Court gutted that same Voting Rights Act.
That same fear is what drove the Right to follow the most racist candidate, even with that candidate’s obvious ties to and influence by Russia. But what the Right doesn’t get is that America is browning. In two decades or so, America will be majority-minority, and nothing this side of nationwide catastrophe can stop it. What we call minorities today will be the majority of the future, and all the efforts by the Right to stop immigration, to hinder the prosperity and growth of nonwhites is not much different than trying to stand on the beach and holding up one’s hands to stop a slow-moving tsunami.
America is irrevocably browning, and the white conservatives are scared to death. Someone needs to teach them that they have a choice: they can either adapt to that tsunami and learn to surf it as best they can…or they will get swamped by it. As for myself, I’m eagerly looking forward to that day, because my grandchildren will hardly even look white at all.