NOT IN MY NAME

steve mcmanus
6 min readFeb 24, 2021

My whiteness, like my name, is my identity…

Whipped Peter
Hidden categories: Template Unknown (author)CC-PD-MarkPD Old

Unless you’ve been in a vegetative state during the last few years you understand that this is an intensely charged period in our history. There is an ongoing evolution of awareness unfolding in our society. As the winds of fortune have shifted, so too has the sense of urgency to deal with the formidable and pressing matters at hand. The issues we face are many, but one of the biggest ones is the fomentation of derision and polarization along political, cultural and racial lines. To say that the United States is in a state of crisis is to woefully understate the situation. We are fucked.

Let’s revisit a short but vitally important history lesson. It’s in the form of a brief chronological outline. The land we have come to regard as the United States and its territories has been in the slavery business for 600 years.

1441- Mauritanian Africans abducted by the Portuguese and brought to Portugal

1495- Columbus brings hundreds of African slaves to the Americas

During this same period let us not forget that the Spanish were very busy looting and murdering the natives on the west coast of the Americas.

1526- The Spanish bring hundreds of enslaved Africans to South Carolina

1586- Englishman Sir Francis Drake brings hundreds of slaves to Roanoak, Virginia

1616- West Indies natives are abducted, enslaved and put to work in Bermuda by the English

1619- A number of Africans abducted and brought to Jamestown, Virginia

1675- Nathaniel Bacon leads armed rebellion in Virginia against Governor Berkeley.

The common people, both black and white, slave and free, united to attack the wealthy over unfair treatment. Rattled by this, the Slave Codes are enacted and whites are fed a campaign of disinformation claiming blacks are their biggest threat. A wedge is driven between the lower financial class along racial lines. This psychological operation proves effective and is henceforth consistently and relentlessly employed — to this day.

1705- The Virginia Slave Codes establish slavery as the Law of the fucking Land

Some examples from the codes:

  • Any white woman that has sex with a black male slave becomes a slave for 5 years. If she gives birth, the county takes the baby as a slave.
  • Buying anything from a slave or selling anything to a slave lands you in prison and given 39 hard lashes.
  • White people can do whatever they want to black people to “correct” them and won’t be charged with any crime.
  • Escaped slaves that remain at large can be killed by the public or constables. Dismemberment and torture in front of other slaves to “terrorize” them and dissuade them from attempting escape was the law.

And it goes on…

It’s right about now that we started the extermination of 150 million native peoples across the continent — in fucking EARNEST.

1863- Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation frees the slaves

1865- Anti-Slavery Union forces win the Civil War

1865- The Ku Klux Klan is formed to terrorize the freed black populace into continued submission

1865- The 13th amendment is introduced

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This is the continuation of slavery by legislative subterfuge. In southern pro-slave states, former Confederate Army officers were now serving as judges and lawyers, while former Confederate Army soldiers became law enforcement, jailers and slave catchers (fugitive hunters). Laws were enacted making being black a far more likely reason to be arrested for even the most innocuous thing.

1865- Jim Crow laws are written denying blacks access to freedom.

Jim Crow was a black minstrel performer and he was the namesake for the “Black Codes”. These codes governed normal activities of Black Americans, placing draconian restrictions on them:

  • No mixing with white people,
  • No speaking with white people,
  • No living near white people,
  • No opportunity to earn a living wage,
  • No access to education, etc.

1964- The Civil Rights Act rescinds Jim Crow but at every turn there is a new effort to marginalize people of color. Veiled hiring discrimination, voter redistricting and gerrymandering, housing discrimination, etc.

The history lesson is over but I have more to say. There is a point to make here beyond the obvious historical points we’ve all heard before. And that reminds me — we’ve heard this before so why bring it up again? Because every time someone says, “That’s not who we are…” I shake my head. Yeah, motherfucker, it is. It is EXACTLY who we are.

Every time we bring up the phrase “White Privilege”, there’s ALWAYS white folks that jump right up and say, “Hey I’m not privileged! I’m POOR!” Well OK, let’s put this one to bed once and for all. When people of color speak about white privilege, they’re referring to the privilege of being able to go to the store and return home and never once give it the slightest thought that they should be worried about being stopped by the police simply because of the color of their SKIN. They never worry about encountering the police because the police don’t treat them the way they treat people of color. A person of color is actually ANTICIPATING being shot and killed for no reason by the police. Shot with .40 cal hollow point rounds fired from a Glock model 22 by a police officer who sees black people as a dangerous threat to society. All black people. But you are not a black person. You have the privilege of being white by accident of birth lottery.

When you hear “privilege” you immediately think money. Easy Street. Wealth. Status. That’s because the only thing that will likely kill you, my white neighbor, is poverty or disease. You don’t have to worry about being treated like a guy wanted in six states for violent crimes. Because you were driving to the store. While black. While fucking black.

So what is my point in all of this? This country is basically a very long crime spree. Racist crimes against humanity. Slavery of Africans, Colonization and extermination of Natives, Extermination of Incas and Mayans,

Ansel Adams, “Manzanar Street Scene Clouds,” 1943
COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Internment of Asian Americans in concentration camps, etc. All these things were done by a white society who thought they were the only true humans and the only ones deserving of the fruits of the Earth. All other people were seen as either sub-human servants or annoying obstacles in the way of what we wanted. Serve us or die. Mostly just fucking die.

My skin couldn’t be any whiter. I’m Irish on one side and Scandinavian / Nordic on the other. I grew up in a blue collar family in a blue collar town in the northeast U.S. and I lived in the only racially diverse neighborhood. All my friends growing up were Black, Hispanic, Native and Quebecois. As kids we didn’t care about race. All we knew was, if someone messed with one of us, they messed with all of us. I was lucky. I never learned to be racist.

When these racist crimes are committed, the same way they’ve been committed for the last 600 fucking years without a break, they are done in MY NAME. My skin is something I can’t change. I am not ashamed of my skin nor of my name but both of them identify me. They ARE me. For 600 years — 600 YEARS — white people have been inflicting terror, cruelty, horror and pain upon people of color and my skin is emblematic of that. I am angry over this. I grieve for all those people. I cannot figure out how people get to that place in their psyche where they can do that to other people.

Maybe we could ask the people making little brown kids sleep on cold concrete and drink out of toilets as they watch over them and hold them at gunpoint. All for the crime of running north for help. Not in my name, motherfuckers. NOT IN MY NAME.

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steve mcmanus

Producer and Writer of the online radio show Forbidden America. Writing an online TV interview show set for production in 2021. An emerging Voice-Over Talent.