The zero-sum game of racial politics

Adrien Schless-Meier:

The most recent projections from the Census Bureau name 2044 as the point when people of color will collectively outnumber white people in this country. This demographic reality has fostered a deep sense of paranoia about a pervasive existential threat, not just to white people but also to white institutions, values, and culture. White folks are, irrationally, afraid of being wiped out.

The irony of this fear shouldn’t be lost on us — white people simply wouldn’t exist as we do today, embedded within and sitting atop a racial hierarchy, if it weren’t for systematic violence against Native people and African slaves in the early years of colonialism. We have learned, over the course of generations, that the path to power runs through the graveyard.

And so, the zero-sum game of racial politics is a throughline to the epidemic of state-sanctioned violence in this country. It lives and breathes the idea that white people are made safer by a police state that makes people of color less safe. The brutal and relentless crackdown on undocumented immigrants of color and the xenophobic rhetoric that supports it are evidence of this mentality, but more importantly, of its consequences — families unhinged, children denied asylum from violence, persistent poverty.

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