Theories of white supremacy infiltrated every sector of life

From “Know Your Place: Helping White, Southern Evangelicals Cope with the End of The(ir) World” by Justin R. Phillips

If we whites experience the world where white is actually a synonym for normal or universal, it means anything that interrupts our daily existence, or makes us uncomfortable, is abnormal and is cause for swift defensive measure. As the majority culture, our whiteness creates a safe bubble where we are rarely confronted to think about uncomfortable things and when that bubble is burst by, say, someone calling out an insensitive comment, we tend to melt like, as the internet trolls say, delicate snowflakes. We have no desire or the necessary resiliency to deal with the simple historical fact that our ancestors’ actions might have provided an advantage for us. Some of these consistent defensive measures are a tendency by whites to attack less importance to racial identities than people of color do. White people are less likely to accept structural or race-based explanations for inequality. Instead, we often adopt “color-blind ideologies” to explain how individual success in America “is fair, meritorious, and race neutral, that hard work and effort are the keys to success, and that any individual can succeed if she or he tries hard enough,” which essentially shields white people from having to consider how structural injustice actually functions.

To summarize for the non-sociologists: White people accumulated power and wealth. They imagined themselves to be fit to rule because of their skin color, a rationalization for their conquests, which then dictated the manner in which they ordered their world. They would say that race did not matter for achieving success, and that the structures were not biased or did not even exist. Finally, in head-spinning logic, whites claimed hard work could secure the good life for anyone, even though the good life had previously been deemed unattainable due to their God-given race. 

The resulting theories of white supremacy infiltrated every sector of life – science, public policy, art and literature, philosophy, and theology – in order to suit the purposes of those in power. Racial theories became concretized by pseudo-science, ideas of American exceptionalism, and violent practices of enforced separation, all the while being blessed by religious authorities. If this story seems to be a little more confusing and contradictory, well humans can be malevolent creatures, prone to self-deception in order to justify our sins.