They Didn’t Teach Me White Nationalization in School*

Bren Kelly
11 min readMar 1, 2024

Black American History is Missing 20th Century Federal Systemic Racism

(BHMLYS — Black History Month Leap Year Special — so glad it gets an extra day for me to write)

Legal versus Illegal Segregation by states Law Shows how America Legally Grew Racially Divided into two different countries of Green and Red States
Legal versus Illegal Segregation by states Law Shows how America Legally Grew Racially Divided into two different countries of Green and Red States — “Required by law” versus “Forbidden by law”

Some of the wickedest acts of national government white racism happened in the twentieth century. Sure, there was first Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, and Al Jolson in black face, and the Birth of a Nation that spread the Hollywood myth of the fear of “Negro Rule,” where the White House screening help propel the Klan into a nationalized “empire of the south.” But what followed was far worse.

While “personal white racism” appears visceral, brutal, in your face when captured in pictures or on video, like a beating, a cop’s knee on the neck, or a viral clip of someone screaming the N-word at a customer, systemic white racism doesn’t have to involve nasty name calling or dirty looks. It can appear peaceful even. Sure, everyday type white racism that individuals conduct is bad, and lynchings were horrific spectacles “back then,” with full-fledged bonfires burning black bodies in public squares for the first 35 years of the 1900s.

Yeah, OK, that sounds horrible. But in reflecting on the bland, everyday systematized white racism, it occurred to me that even “good whites” are forced to engage in it. That is what makes the system systemic. This started occurring even in communities in the North that previously didn’t have much systemic racism in comparison, like cruelty of whipping and beating under slavery so often associated with white racism under chattel slavery times. Individual brutal acts did happen, but not so much systemic ones ‘up there.’

It was when the government required all whites to institutionally commit white racism against blacks that became nationalized systemic racism for the first time. It was because of some key federal acts that ruined the opportunity to right historic wrongs. Instead, it wronged historic wrongs further by “cleverly” nationalizing the hurtful practices of white racism — quietly. What was once contained to a handful of states, systemically, suddenly exploded nationally. The opposite of democracy was institutionalized: Inequality.

White racism can come for the pressure of social group conformity, peer pressure of…

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Bren Kelly

Engaged in new Ideas and old Inequalities, dismantling the system in systemic, born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, still seeking injustices.