I just read Mike Adam’s latest Natural News article and it blew me away. It’s called “Racism theater: How the media, Obama and the racism industry are tearing America apart for their own selfish gain.” He has made it clear that Black Americans, including Obama, need to basically shut the f*ck up about racism; if we at all talk about realities of things like racial profiling (like Obama implied in his talk after the George Zimmerman verdict), then we are promoting “the racism industry for our own selfish gain.” If you don’t know who Mike Adams is, he considers himself the “Health Ranger.” He advocates healthy eating and exercise as a way to be liberated and healthy.
Mike Adams positions himself as an expert on my and most Black Americans experiences with racism as a system. He is completely enraged that Obama is part of the “racism industry” in the USA, simply because Obama spoke frankly about Trayvon Martin in July 2013. Obama let us all know what it means to be read as a Black man in a country in which Obama’s propensity for being racially profiled is far greater than that of those like Mike Adams (white, straight, economically stable, and able-bodied).
In his latest article, Adams writes:
“The myth of systematic oppression of blacks in America
The very premise that black people are systematically oppressed in modern-day America is a myth. America is a nation where the President is black, the Attorney General is black, most of the highest-paid athletes and sports figures are black, the highest-paid entertainers are black, and black people hold key positions as mayors, governors, senators and members of Congress. If anything, the racial composition of our nation and its political, entertainment and business leaders is absolute proof that the era of black oppression is ancient history in America. I’m not saying there aren’t isolated cases of one-on-one racism that still go on, but the idea that there is systematic oppression of blacks is absurd.
What he wrote really scared the hell out of me because of his confidence and entitlement to speak for the entire demographic of Black people in the USA. Furthermore, he clearly has a strong backing from a plethora of [white] commentators who support the notion that ‘the era of black oppression is ancient history in America.’ And yes, my response of disgust isn’t just from my experience as a Black woman, born and raised in the USA. Unlike Mike Adams, I have a PhD in social science training that focuses on how racism operates at systemic, institutional, and structural levels. No this doesn’t make my perspective 100% right, but it does imply that I studied extensively for years, as well as researched, how racism operates in the USA. I developed a critical race literacy for a “post-civil rights” era that a significant number of white Americans do not seem to have. For this collectivity, racism is a thing of the past (i.e. racism is understood as the violent act of lynching a Black person or the institutionalization of antebellum Black slavery). In the Mike Adams article, no where can I identify any social science research that backs up his claim that ‘the era of black oppression is ancient history in America.’ It just comes from his subjective experience as a white male who has never experienced anti-black racism. Well Mr. Adams, there are a plethora of peer-reviewed social science articles and books that show that the system of racism in the USA is not a thing of the past. This canon of research shows that racism deeply affects the well-being of Black Americans (see the list at the end of this article). By the way, since you are a”health ranger” Mike Adams, I just wanted to point out that getting shot is unhealthy and negatively affects well-being.
It is quite clear to me and from Adams’ supporters that there is a tremendous amount of hate towards Black people who simply don’t know their place and just can’t shut the f*ck up about how they experience the consequences of racialization in the USA. Also, I do not understand how anyone who is part of any privileged group can be so confident to speak for the Other. It’s like me, a CIS gender-privileged woman stating, “The idea that there is systematic oppression against transfolk is absurd.” I would never do that. I would never say that. I don’t believe that. I am benefiting from a system of trans-hating heteronormative USA logic. I can’t speak and never will speak for the embodied and visceral experiences of the collectivity of trans-identified people in the USA. It’s so arrogant to do so; so colonialist and dismissive of the pain and suffering that a significant number of trans people must live through.
Nor would I write an article that supports my able-bodied privileges by telling people living with disabilities that structural ableism doesn’t negatively affect them anymore. Just imagine if I started rambling,”I mean, we have handicap bathrooms, paid disability leave, and wheelchair ramps throughout the country. And look at all the famous [able-bodied] celebrities who play roles about people living with disabilities. If anything, I as an able-bodied woman am more likely to be discriminated against. I know I was better qualified than that woman who got the job I should have gotten, but they just gave it to her because she is legally blind.”
I also think it’s really ridiculous that there are so many attacks on Trayvon Martin’s character. He has received these attacks by mostly white people who have marked him as the boogie man who would have committed some heinous crime anyway when he became an adult. So let’s be glad that Zimmerman nipped that in the bud! It’s just plan disgusting to argue that Martin deserved to die because he was obviously a ‘bad kid’ and his mother had ‘just kicked him out of her house’ (Read comments to Adams article, as people make these claims). Yea, let’s prevent all children and young people from becoming criminals by simply killing them; after all, only a good child — a redeemable child — is one who is white, middle to upper class and grew up with two married heterosexual parents— because every time a young white male makes the news for opening fire in a school house or in a movie theater, the media starts getting confused on how such a person from a good family could be so violent. Sorry folk, but that is all about race-class stereotyping that is part of the systemic racial narrative in the USA on who gets to be seen as born criminal and who gets to be seen as Well, they probably aren’t innately criminal, let’s give them some grace’; they certainly don’t represent the entire demographic of white people in the USA.
I have been thinking about how people on Adam’s article have commented on how Martin’s history ‘shows’ that he was obviously ‘bad.’ I can list a plethora of white semi-famous to famous youths and those in their 20s who have ‘criminal’ history in which the mainstream do not speak so violently about. One big name that comes to mind is Lindsey Lohan. But no, we don’t have the same rhetoric around the criminal behavior of white, conventionally pretty young girls in this country as we do when it comes to the rhetoric around the brown and black boogie man/child. Whether it be Martin, Lohan, or other youths who have displayed ‘bad’ behavior, killing them as an answer is not an answer. Speaking badly of the character of a dead child is so unmindful, sick, and unloving — I don’t care what their ethnicity, race, nationality, etc is. I can’t imagine what Martin’s family must be going through, having to constantly read and listen to how their child supposedly deserved to die, regardless of what really happened that night. What kind of human being takes pleasure in making these types of comments?
Mike Adams, the “Health Ranger”? Whose health are you really concerned with? I consider health holistic; that it is not limited to the audience that you seem to be targeting with your products and rhetoric. If you truly cared about the health of everyone, you would be open to understanding how everyone’s health is affected by all types of systemic oppressions; and that these systems of oppression are maintained by those who are incredibly frightful of losing resources from what their privileged social locations have afforded them.
Thank you for reminding me to just shut the fuck up about the systemic racism I may witness or experience. Thanks for reminding me that if I’m not silent about it, I am only helping to “tear America apart”. Being silent about systemic abuse PROTECTS me, but even more, it protects someone with your multiple levels of privilege; and we wouldn’t want you or your supporters to feel unsafe or compromise their health and safety.