The Persistence of White Supremacy: A Conversation with Margaret Kimberley
From 1776 to COVID-19, the story’s been the same
On, April 24th, I interviewed Margaret Kimberley by phone. Kimberley is an Editor and Senior Columnist at the Black Agenda Report, author of the book, “Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents,” a contributor to the anthology, “In Defense of Julian Assange,” and serves on the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace.
We discussed “Prejudential,” US foreign policy, the 2020 elections (including Bernie Sanders), Russiagate, how the COVID-19 virus is disproportionally affecting Black Americans, and the historic opportunity for fundamental change that is presenting itself during the current crisis.
What follows here are lightly edited excerpts. You can listen to the full interview, which is Episode 7 of my new podcast, “Voices for Nature & Peace,” here.
Kimberley: Americans don’t like to think of themselves as being propagandized but we are. Most definitely propagandized from childhood on, about the nature of this nation, which was founded as a settler-colonial state, which means that the original inhabitants — the indigenous population — were immediately the victims of genocide. And that continued with chattel slavery. So we have two great crimes which impacted this nation, its founding, and its history to this very day.
We can see these terrible crimes committed at various points in our history from the very beginning. From George Washington on to Donald Trump. There’s a chapter for every president [in her book “Prejudential: Black Americans & the Presidency”] and we see how in their interactions with or treatment of black people, they have all defended the system. When the system in the early days was supporting chattel slavery, which was a major major economic generator for the country, ten of the first twelve presidents were slaveholders and that tells you how important that was — the so-called “peculiar institution” — how important it was to the American economy.
There was a war. The only way to end slavery was through the Civil War. But Lincoln is problematic. He was not the “Great Emancipator” we are taught. He wanted a white…