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.”

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.

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.

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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