When I came in through UK immigration most of the people manning it were brown. When I applied for visas they were all brown. When I get here there’s a brown man in line for Prime Minister. Upper caste brown people are just the latest people in line for whiteness. We’ve clambered up the ladder to kick down; never, ever to flip it over and share the ground.
This all seems new and unusual, but it’s not. Brown people were always administering the White Empire, they never stopped administering it, and the same bad medicine is still going down. Our troops were the boots of the East India Company, the mace of the Queen, the enforcers for the white man against our own people. Our elites were the rulers of neutered kingdoms, traders of stolen goods, getting paid off with wealth plundered from our own land.
This shit never changed, it just became more devious, laundered through democracies and ‘economies’, with coups and the IMF coming in to quell the restless natives and ensure that the blood money only pumped one way. Back to the still beating heart of White Empire, relocated in a multiple bypass after World War II to the United States of America.
As much as I talk about how what white people have done to us, the fact is that brown people have done to us. The fact is that as much as they put us down, we never stood up. Divide and conquer was a hell of a tactic. We still fight among ourselves—our proximate neighbors like Muslims or Tamils or China or whoever—and never once focus our attention on Whitey. Why beat ’em if you can join 'em? Beat the other colored man and become whitey.
As Noel Ignaetiv (and others) have written, whiteness is a fluid and ultimately clear category. It hides in its fluidity, like water. He said,
“Another work searching out the origins of whiteness is Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race. Allen declares that, when the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no “white” people there, nor would there be any for another sixty years. How the English, Scots, and other European servants, tenants, merchants, and planters in the American colonies were assigned a single status, so that the most degraded “white” was exalted over any “nonwhite,” is the subject of his study.” (How The Irish Became White)
In Ignaetiv’s own research he found that “the striving of the Negro for full freedom carried within itself the vision of a new world for everyone, while the assimilation of the Irish into white America meant merely more of the same.” His book examined how “one group of people became white. Put another way, it asks how the Catholic Irish, an oppressed race in Ireland, became part of an oppressing race in America.”
And this has now come full circle. After the Irish-descended John F. Kennedy somewhat controversially became President in the 1960s, the Irish-descended Joe Biden became President in the 2020s entirely without mention. Irish have gone from being neighborhood beat cops to politicians passing ‘crime’ bills that have incarcerated the most people (mostly colored people) in human history. Irish people—once oppressed in Ireland and then in America—have become part of the oppressing race. It’s the American Dream.
Upper-caste brown people (whatever that means) are on the same trajectory. In business, we have taken over institutions like Microsoft and Google and Twitter while their dilettante white creators run off and drop acid. In politics, we’re Vice President in the United States (Kamala Harris’s mother comes via Chennai) and possible Prime Minister in the UK. We’ve got to the top of the ladder and we didn’t get there by resisting whiteness. We got there by preserving it. By becoming it. The one rule of climbing the ladder is that you must kick down most viciously.
I can see it in ads on the tube recruiting for the Metro Police. The faces are of black men, brown women with pottus, people like me. The novelty of this deeply hierarchical land is that you can move up the caste system, starting as boots of policemen, the bloodless hands of lawyers, eventually even the ‘thinking’ part of governing. Unlike a rigid caste system, this gives western caste much more power. As Bruce Lee said, “water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
By seeing racism as a color we miss its true power. We just end up with colored people in stock photography and even positions of power, while the actions of that power remain as brutal and hierarchical as ever. We don’t really want to end the injustice, we just want to be on the beating end, not getting struck. And so we end up running and upholding the White Empire as we always did.
Racism is in fact about invisibility, not color. The reduction of race to a personal failing when it is in fact a social success has made everyone stupider. We are fucking drowning in something and we can’t even name it. When we open our mouths to scream, it just fills us up, cutting off oxygen to the brain. As Ignaetiv said:
“The reader will note that I have written a book about racial oppression without using the term “racism.” I consider the term useless. As Barbara J. Fields points out, it is applied to the view that one “race” is inferior to another, as well as to its direct opposite, the view that its members must be held down because they are superior, and has been devalued to mean little more than a personal preference for one complexion over another. The sooner the term is retired, the better it will be for clear thinking all around.”
Within the conventional thinking about ‘racism’ it is impossible that brown people could preserve it, that is literally getting colors wrong. And yet brown is white. We’re the next in line for whiteness, just as the previously denigrated Irish were last century.
The fact is that the real color of whiteness is invisibility. When a brown man can ‘run’ for Prime Minister with little mention, his ‘race’ has already started to disappear. When another one becomes PM without mention in a few decades, our true colors will be revealed. In a world full of diverse races and tribes and ethnicities, he will be nothing. That is the greatest superpower.
Just as diverse Scots and Englishmen and Irish and Italians who previously hated each other became one inchoate thing, so the diverse Punjabis and Sinhalese and Tamils and Gujaratis become that one thing, dissolving like earth into the ocean, rising and crashing on distant shores, becoming the great barrier keeping everyone else out, some of us rising like foam on the ocean, others joining the other wretched poor at the bottom, forever drowning, with only memories of the sun.
Nobody asks what standing on land would feel like, the thought is as impossible as it was to fish long before. What would that even mean, standing side by side, equal distances from the heavens above? What would it mean to stand for a minute and just breathe, instead of forever scrambling up? No, instead of land, we aspire to yachts.
We don’t want to escape the bloody ocean, we just want to float to the top. We just want to crest like waves of whiteness, ignoring the million dead enslaved at the bottom of the ocean, the billions of wage slaves today, and the fundamental emptiness when you do make it to the top. And so brown people like me continue to run the White Empire, as we always did, in more and more noticeable positions until we finally become invisible. We are the White Empire. The invisible empire. We flow like water, until the whole thing comes crashing down.