By Jim Miles
Words are important. Using the word ‘rampant’ in the title gives the real image of racism: not some narrow right-wing ethos that surfaces occasionally into violence, but something that is “violent or extravagant in action or opinion, arrant, aggressive, unchecked, prevailing.” (Oxford English Dictionary).
All wars and significant amounts of domestic violence throughout the world can be accurately viewed through the perspective of racism, racism prevails.
It is a stubborn human trait, a perseveration of the ability of greedy and powerful people to persuade, somehow convincingly, that there is some ‘other’ out there – who [‘who’ is grammatically correct, but within this context ‘that’ would imply something ‘other’ than human] – that is to be reviled and over-ridden in pursuit of one’s own gain. Many recent events have highlighted the ubiquity of racism, as have many events of the recent and historical past.
In Palestine, a well-known and widely respected journalist and reporter was murdered by an Israeli sniper. In Israel, this is not unusual, that journalists are targeted, but it is significant in the obvious manner in which it occurred.
Marked clearly as ‘Press’, standing with others clearly marked similarly, Shereen Abu Akleh was killed with a high-precision shot that hit her in the face between her helmet and flak jacket collar. Israel came up with the usual excuses, denials, obfuscations and only after some international blowback to consider an ‘investigation’, the likes of which never produce any justice, and which currently, according to Ha’aretz, the IDF will not undertake.
The Canadian government, in its obsequious acceptance of official Israeli excuses for its colonial-settler society, did not acknowledge the criminality of the attack until the media showed photos of the IDF attacking the funeral cortege for the slain journalist. Nothing unusual there, as Canada’s own racism, its own colonial-settler past – and ongoing evasion of responsibility as far as restitution is concerned – is alive and well. Canada supports Israeli racism and is fully involved with US racism, the latter especially in its foreign affairs as it participates in many different forms of the rampant racism of the US.
Mass Murder? Domestic Terrorism? White Racism?
In Buffalo, shortly before the murder of Shereen Abu Akleh, a young white man, apparently well versed in racist propaganda, killed ten people in Buffalo, New York. President Biden said there was no harbor for “hate-filled domestic terrorism” yet this was only one of dozens of mass shootings in the US annually. With racism being an inbred component of US culture, this particular killing is noted for its total deaths and its specific targeting of black people. Given past performance, to expect any change in US culture – being its gun laws and the ever-present right-wing media outlets soft selling ideas like the current “replacement” theory – is an expectation of futility.
Denouncing this one incident so vociferously detracts in a way from the overall racist nature of US society and of US military adventurism overseas.
The prevailing manner by which the US determines its foreign policy is through military aggression: overtly (Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan); covertly (Iran, most of Latin America, many African countries); and politically (NATO expansion along with its overt military aspects in Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan and now Ukraine). Recently this has spilled over into economic aggression through the “weaponizing” of the US$, the World Bank, the IMF, et al (the Washington consensus of international financial institutions) and the application of US sanctions. Sanctions have been used frequently before, but never as widespread as they are currently applied, nor have they had the blowback that the weaponizing of the US$ is currently delivering to the global economy.
The US is the major sponsor of Israeli military actions, using Israel as a forward operating base in the Middle East. The “hate filled domestic terrorism” seen in Buffalo is perfectly acceptable when it happens in Israel. The murder of Palestinians is an ongoing attribute of Israeli racism, as are the demolitions, imprisonment, night raids, attacks on children, and the many other ways Israel controls its apartheid policies.
End of Racism?
At this point in history, if ever, the end of racism is not in sight. That is to say that current geopolitical forces, current domestic forces – especially in the US and its allies – have no real interest in curtailing the underlying racism of their policies. More and more frequently, as global financial, climatic, and military actions (or lack thereof) create an ever-increasing population deprived of basic human rights and humane conditions of living, the use of racism in its overt forms is likely to increase, supported by the underlying persistence of what appears to be, unfortunately, a very human trait.
Yet it is a trait that can be reduced through education and creating an equitable standard of living for all people of the world. The minority that lives in the empires of consumption and greed and the desire for power over others needs to be arrested – however one interprets that word – and a fair distribution of the earth’s produce – in all its forms – needs to be created.
Along with that, humanitarian services – education, health care, worker’s safety and fair compensation – need to be made universal as a right. Then and maybe only then can racism be tamed and the people of the world can interact culturally with respect for other cultures and in a society created for equitable and sustainable living on a healthy planet.