Beyond the KKK: Understanding White Supremacy as a System of Power

The phrase “white supremacy” is often invoked in reference to the Ku Klux Klan or white nationalist extremism, rather than as a system of power with long historical roots. Crystal Marie Fleming, author of How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide, offers a curated reading list examining how systemic racism has been deeply entrenched within our economic system, social and political institutions, public policies, and cultural symbols.

Letter from a Region in My Mind

James Baldwin • The New Yorker

From 1962: “Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.”

Resisting the Power Structures That Keep Colonialism Alive

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson • Yes! Magazine

We must look at the roots of capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and anti-Blackness to leave settler colonialism in the past.

To Be Clear, White Supremacy Is the Foundation of Our Country. We Won’t Destroy It by Toppling Statues

Crystal Marie Fleming • The Root

Slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and centuries of systematic racism all happened under the star-spangled banner.

White Supremacy Has Always Been Mainstream

Stephen Kantrowitz • Boston Review

White supremacy is a language of unease. It does not describe racial domination so much as worry about it.

Jonathan Metzl: White Supremacy Is Literally Killing White People

Chauncey DeVega • Salon

Working-class whites are suffering but still willing to defend racism, says author of “Dying of Whiteness.”

Angela Davis: ‘We Knew That the Role of the Police Was to Protect White Supremacy’

Lanre Bakare • The Guardian

The veteran civil rights campaigner on growing up in segregated America, the opportunity of the Black Lives Matter movement, and what inspires her to keep fighting.

The Problem Is White Supremacy

Barbara Smith • Boston Globe

‘Systemic racism’ conveys the pervasiveness of racial oppression, but white supremacy goes further by indicating that there is a rigid nexus of power that protects and enforces it.

Why Be a ‘Model Minority’ When You Could Dismantle White Supremacy?

Dae Shik Kim, Jr. • The Nation

Too many Asian Americans have put proximity to whiteness over solidarity with Black people. It’s time for a radical readjustment.


Podcasts and Videos

Under the Blacklight: COVID & Disaster White Supremacy

Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw

The different locations where White Supremacy has been deployed and unveiled amidst crisis — from voting booths in Wisconsin, royal handshakes at 10 Downing Street, and gun stores in the “American heartland,” to overcrowded jails in Chicago, public housing in the American South, and the chambers of Congress.

Crystal Fleming on White Supremacy

Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior

On the anniversary of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the hosts continue with the Get Un-Gaslit Summer Reading Series with an interview with sociologist Dr. Crystal Fleming.

James Baldwin Discusses Racism

The Dick Cavett Show

James Baldwin has an open discussion of racial prejudice, civil rights activism and policing. (1969)

Provost Lecture: Charles Mills – Liberalism and Racial Justice

YouTube

A striking feature of the literature on social justice produced over the past
few decades is the marginality of racial justice as a central theme.

The White Supremacy of Being Asked Where I’m From

PBS NewsHour

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “white supremacy”? For actor comedian Peter Kim, it’s facing the commonplace cultural assumption that white is the default race in America.

White Supremacy and the Second Amendement

The Intercept

The sanctity of the Second Amendment for all Americans is a myth. It is a myth today and it has been a myth from the beginning.

About the curator

Crystal Marie Fleming is a professor and sociologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is the author of two books—How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Beacon Press) and Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France (Temple University Press). She is currently writing a book for young people about racial justice, as well as a book about the cultural lexicon of social change. Follow her on Twitter: @alwaystheself. 

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