Acknowledging and resisting racism and white supremacy ideology, does not mean defining the entire world in terms of them. Knowing the difference between that acknowledgment and resistance and errant empirical generalization is the mark of intellectual maturity and the minimum for tactical and strategic progress on a global scale.
I have written extensively about the need for Afrikans to begin to study and think globally and not let their “minority” status in the US and other parts of the Western Hemisphere define their entire worldview. I believe this is one of the reasons that Pan-Afrikan movement in the US lags so far behind the ones in the rest of the diaspora in terms of empirical progress at building institutions and coalitions. Afrikans in the West have been taught by Eurocentrism to view the West as the framework for all global analysis and tragically when they view the world this way, they actually think they are being “Afrocentric.” Some Afrikans are so far back in that intellectual closet that they are oblivious to the fact that while racism as well as white supremacy exist on the continent, the more immediate and significant factor in conflict there is ETHNICITY a concept that has been almost entirely obliterated in the US, but without which you cannot understand the homeland.
Most US activists are stuck essentially in a US or Western Hemispheric time warp with scholarly canons and methodologies and organizations from the 60s which is when most of their theories and frameworks were developed. When you drag out 30 and 40 year old theories based on realities from that time and try to use it to analyze the world in 2014, you’re doing poor scholarship and poor analysis and not really going to get the kind of global strategies you need for the global Afrikan condition.
I have a strong critique of white supremacy ideology and attack it, but I know better than to consider it the entire global picture of oppression, it is empirically not. I also know that Eurocentrism itself has much more than white supremacy ideology in its arsenal. Its system of global oppression is not JUST about “race.” In fact “race” is not its philosophical basis but ethnocentrism and “race” is but one factor used with sex, gender, sexuality, nationality, and so on to maintain the illusion of cultural supremacy and the power that accrues because of it.
There are parts of the world where the very concepts of “white” and “black” as people in the US do not exist as such and where there are no Europeans of any kind in any appreciable part of the population that still discriminate on the basis of real or imagined physical characteristics.
White supremacy is not the ONLY global racist ideology, which one learns if one goes beyond the narrow US framework of “white” and “black.” Japanese society, as but one example, developed a virulent pseudo-biological supremacy ideology which was not based on “whiteness” but on ethnic nationality and it led to the persecution of Chinese, Koreans, and many many other peoples in Asia and beyond.
White supremacy is an ideology, that is a system of beliefs. Racism is a set of discriminatory actions. One is cause, the other is effect. The terms are therefore not interchangeable or synonyms, any more than Christianity a religious ideology is a term interchangeable with evangelism which is an action that ideology may generate within and among its adherents.
One of the reasons Eurocentric oppression and community separation in terms of gender and sexuality and nationality and other things has been so great is because of the singular focus on racism to the exclusion of its other components and thus while activists were focused on fighting race discrimination, the system was fashioning systems designed to divide, weaken, and conquer the masses using those other variables. We must grow wiser and conceptually wider. To use a scriptural analogy the Beast has more than one head like the mythical hydra. Many a would-be hero would cut off one head and then walk off celebrating victory as a mere precursor to being devoured by the others.