The moment you read or hear about “weapons of mass destruction,” your mind forms a picture that has the world nuclear in it. You think about war, people suffering, displacement, dying, and so forth.
A weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or another device intended to harm a “large number” of people.
The lexicon that defined the above excluded one additional weapon, and that is the weapon called racism.
Racism harms a large number of people, so why is it not seen as one of the weapons of mass destruction?
Black, Brown and Indigenous people have been targets of this particular weapon.
The definition of racism:
Systemic racism, unlike individual racism, has little to do with whether white people are friendly, good or kind.
Systemic racism is policies, practices and procedures deeply embedded in our society that give white people an “undeserved” advantage over all other races. It manifests as discrimination within areas such as; criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, education, and political representation.
Systemic racism, in a nutshell, is anti-Black practices.
Is it not a weapon of mass destruction:
Historically, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people were murdered, enslaved, and abused. Considering that not much has changed in the present day, why is racism not seen as a weapon of mass destruction?
Is it because we can’t “see” the destruction being detonated like a bomb or watch the “live footage” of Black people murdered like George Floyd, etc… that we think it’s not harmful?
Is wage disparity not harmful, and does it not equate to the continued damage done to Black, Brown and Indigenous people?
Are unfair housing practices and unfavourable interest rates from financial institutions not contributing to the “downfall” and continued “enslavement” of people, not harmful?
What about the daily mission of policing Black people — from traffic infringements to watering their gardens, even when you aren’t police (the Karenicity) of white people, who have to stick their nose in something that is not their business?
Is this type of “harm” not within the definition of “harmful to a large number of people,” as per the definition of weapons of mass destruction?
I haven’t even started to delve into the mental, psychological and emotional “harm” that racism causes.
These are a few examples of what it is like living in a society that is hell-bent on traumatizing and subjugating Black, Brown and Indigenous people.
If we need to look at the harm racism has caused in the past to date, then racism more than qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction.
Definitions should be as brutal as possible to prevent the harm racism causes. We can’t continue to use flowery language that purposely downplays the brutality of racism.
Our idea of what weapons of mass destruction are needs to change. After all, not all weapons are visible to the naked eye, but just because they aren’t doesn’t mean they’re not deadly.
Perhaps if we change the definitions and include racism in this context, racism may be viewed as the deadly weapon it is!