White is Right – Not!

Go Lean Commentary

White Supremacy has been “weighed in the balance and found to be wanting“, invalid and fallacious.


Yet still, in many circles around the world in general and the Caribbean in particular, there is the impression that “White is Right“.

Why does this fallacy proliferate and how can we dispel this false notion?

The origins are tied to a religious orthodoxy. In a previous blog-commentary, it was related that the Universal Catholic Church …

… permitted trade with Barbary merchants, in which foodstuffs would be given in exchange for slaves who could then be converted to Christianity.[11] This was the de jure authorization of the Slave Trade.

From this origin, the foundation of the New World was established.

All stakeholders have now renounced this history. It is accepted that “Whiteness” is only a social construct, a product of a bad history in social development;  (see the AUDIO-PODCAST in the Appendix below). Though it is a different world today, some things still linger; think Colorism where “White is Right” on one end of the spectrum, while all things non-White is … “Less Than“.

One more lingering item is language. The 5 major languages in the New World are English, Dutch, French, Portuguese and Spanish – all from previous European colonizers. One other language not listed above but that held sway over the New World was the “dead language” of Latin. This was the ancient language of the Roman Empire, as described here:

Undoubtedly, Latin is the language that has the most longevity in the Roman Liturgy: It has been in use for over sixteen centuries, that is to say, from the time when the official liturgical language of the Church went from Greek to Latin – a change completed under Pope Damasus (+384). The official liturgical books of the Roman Rite are still published in Latin today (editio typica). – Vatican Office of Liturgical Celebrations
CU Blog - White is Right - Not! - Photo 1

So “White is Right” was a natural extension from all the religious activities that transpired in the dead language of a European culture, White Romans. To the simple mind, this logic flowed:

Language is White

God is White

White must be Right

This orthodoxy or liturgy continued, with Latin as the only language of the Roman Catholic Church … until 1963.

What happened then and why is it deemed that this change actually changed the world? See the full article here on the Second Vatican Council, informally known as “Vatican II”; this addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world[3]:

Title: Vatican II Changed The Catholic Church — And The World
By: John Pope, Religion News Service

CU Blog - White is Right - Not! - Photo 3Fifty years ago on Thursday (Oct. 11), hundreds of elaborately robed leaders strode into St. Peter’s Basilica in a massive display of solemn ecclesiastical pomp. It signaled the start of a historic three-year assembly that would change the way members of the world’s largest Christian denomination viewed themselves, their church and the rest of the world.

It was the first day of the Second Vatican Council, more popularly known as Vatican II, which was designed to assess the church’s role in a rapidly changing world. Leading the prelates was Pope John XXIII, who said frequently that he convened the council because he thought it was time to open the windows and let in some fresh air.

For many Catholics, the air came in at gale force.

As a result of Vatican II, priests started celebrating Mass in the language of the countries in which they lived, and they faced the congregation, not only to be heard and seen but also to signal to worshippers that they were being included because they were a vital component of the service.

“It called for people not to have passive participation but active participation,” said New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who chairs the Committee on Divine Worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Prayer is not supposed to be a performance. We’re supposed to be actively participating.”

CU Blog - White is Right - Not! - Photo 2The changes didn’t stop when Mass ended. As time went by, many nuns shucked their voluminous habits in favor of clothes similar to those worn by the people they served. And men and women in religious orders started taking on causes, even risking arrest, when they spoke out in favor of civil rights and workers’ rights and against the war in Vietnam.

Such changes represented an about-face from the church’s defensive approach to the world before Vatican II, said Christopher Baglow, a theology professor at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

“It wasn’t that the church wasn’t committed to human dignity before Vatican II,” he said. “With Vatican II, the church began to look closely at the ways with which modern thinkers tended to promote human dignity and showed how they and the Gospels are complementary.”

With Vatican II, the Catholic Church sent out the message that it was part of the modern world, said Thomas Ryan, director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry. “Not against, not above, not apart, but in the modern world,” he said. “The church sought to engage, not condemn.”

The council documents say there must be a conversation between the church and the world, Aymond said.

    “The church, by its teaching and by its discipleship, has something to say to the world. At the same time, the world is saying something to the church.”
    “We can’t just say we’re not going to be involved in these conversations,” he said. “As the church, we have to be in conversation with others who agree and disagree with us.”

This shift included the Catholic Church’s attitude toward other religions. Before Vatican II, Catholics weren’t supposed to visit other denominations’ houses of worship. “Catholics looked down on other religions and thought of them as condemned to hell,” Ryan said.

But one document from the council acknowledged that these disparate faiths had a common belief in God, said Ryan, who described it as nothing less than “a revolutionary approach.”

Perhaps the biggest of these changes came in the church’s approach to Judaism. Before Vatican II, Jews were stigmatized as the people who killed Jesus Christ. That changed with the council, when the Catholic Church acknowledged its Jewish roots and Jews’ covenant with God, Ryan said.

    “It had the effect that the sun has when it comes up and interrupts the night,” said Rabbi Edward Cohn of New Orleans’ TempleSinai, whose best friend as a child had to get permission from the archbishop to attend Cohn’s bar mitzvah. “It was no less dramatic than that. It provided an entirely new day. It changed everything.”

Not all the changes brought about by Vatican II have been welcomed, and many would say there haven’t been enough changes regarding the status of women. This spring, the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog launched a full-scale overhaul of the largest umbrella group of American nuns, accusing the group of taking positions that undermine church teaching and promoting several “radical feminist themes” that are incompatible with Catholic teachings.

Although Vatican II was a catalyst for a great deal of change, it didn’t happen in a bubble, Aymond said. The 1960s was a decade of change, with protests against racism, war, sexual behavior, the status quo and authority in general.

    “If that’s going on in the world and in society, that’s bound to affect the church because we’re both a divine and a human institution,” Aymond said.
    “Vatican II isn’t about replacing what the church is,” said Baglow, the theologian at Notre Dame Seminary. “It’s about helping it be more vitally what God intended it to be in the first place.”

(John Pope writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.)

Source: HuntingtonPost Posted Oct 12, 2012; retrieved March 19, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/vatican-ii-catholic-church-changes_n_1956641.html

Accordingly, it took something drastic to force this change on Christian (Catholic) society. Such an entrenched society would need a revolution to change.

As detailed in the book Go  Lean…Caribbean (Page 241Bottom Line on European Colonialism) the revolutionary event was World War II – upheaval of the European continent (mostly Christian nations), plus 55 million deaths. That global war was a watershed event that led to revolutionary change amongst the European powers – and their overseas territories – including their religious institutions. The changes included:

  • Decolonization
  • Human Rights Empowerments
  • Religious Orthodoxy Neutralization

These changes brought implementation challenges; many of which we are still contending with. These efforts belie Caribbean society. Our focus in this commentary is the historicity of the Second Vatican Council and its effect on the “White is Right” fallacy. See this excerpt here from Wikipedia:

The Vatican II formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.

CU Blog - White is Right - Not! - Photo 4 the most important and essential message of the council is “the Paschal Mystery as the center of what it is to be Christian and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons”.[5] Other changes which followed the council included the widespread use of vernacular languages in the Mass instead of Latin, the subtle disuse of ornate clerical regalia, the revision of Eucharistic prayers, the abbreviation of the liturgical calendar, the ability to celebrate the Mass versus populum (with the officiant facing the congregation), as well as ad orientem (facing the “East” and the Crucifix), and modern aesthetic changes encompassing contemporary Catholic liturgical music and artwork. Many of these changes remain divisive among the Catholic faithful.[6]

Of those who took part in the council’s opening session, four have become popes: Giovanni Battista Cardinal Montini, who on succeeding John XXIII took the name Pope Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future John Paul I; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became John Paul II; and Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who became Benedict XVI.[7][8][9]

The consequences from Vatican II were impactful!

Consider this one quotation regarding the Second Vatican Council recommendation henceforth related to the horrors of war:

In addition to general spiritual guidance, the Second Vatican Council produced very specific recommendations, such as in the document Gaudiem et Spes: “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.”[48]

The concept or fallacy of “White is Right” was never an agenda item of Vatican II. The same as White Supremacy was never an official doctrine of the Church, only a bad community ethos among its adherents. The Go Lean book defines “community ethos” as …

… the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; the dominant assumptions of a people or period.

It is possible to “weed out” bad community ethos and debunk societal fallacies. Notice here, how these previous blog-commentaries have detailed how to “weed out” some identified bad community ethos:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10629 Learning from the Bad Ethos of McCarthyism
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10532 Learning from Bad Stereotypes
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10222 Waging a Successful War on ‘Terrorism’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10220 Waging a Successful War on Rent
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10218 Waging a Successful War on Stupidity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10216 Waging a Successful War on Orthodoxy
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5529 American Defects: Inventory of Crony-Capitalism
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5527 American Defects: Racism – Not Over!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3780 No Sacrifice; No Victory

Debunking fallacies has also been a frequent past-time for the Go Lean movement; consider these previous blog-commentaries depicting this theme:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8381 Economic Fallacy – Casino Currency – US Dollars?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8379 Economic Fallacy – Self-regulation of the Centers of Economic Activity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8377 Economic Fallacy – Phillips Curve: Fallacy of Minimum Wage
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8373 Economic Fallacy – Student Loans As Investments
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8370 Economic Fallacy – Austerity: Dangerous Idea?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8351 Economic Fallacy – Independence: Hype or Hope

There are a lot of manifestations from the bad “White is Right” ethos.

Two momentous expressions are presented here: 1. Housing Discrimination and 2. White Flight.

  • Housing Discrimination – Many urban communities suffered from a legacy of racial segregation; as those patterns started to breakdown after World War II and minorities integrated previous White neighborhoods, there were many upheavals and protests. See this sample blog-commentary highlighting the bad trend in American northern cities. In addition, the experience was the same for many Caribbean immigrants to European cities; see a previous blog-commentary here with that theme.
  • White Flight – Decolonization meant a lot of countries that were previously ruled by White minorities came suddenly under a Black-or-Brown majority rule. Many dysfunctions ensued. See this sample blog-commentary highlighting the lessons-learned from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Zimbabwe ascended to majority-rule in 1980; there was an immediate movement of nationalization – forfeiting and seizing commercial farms and mines. This turned out disastrously for this country. Next door in South Africa, the strategy, tactics and implementation was different. This latter country ascended to majority rule in 1994; the first President there, Nelson Mandela saw the futility of this nationalization strategy amongst the precedent African nations that sought independence, so he pursued an alternate approach to assuage White Flight and keep the capital and skilled labor in the country. But the continuation of the status quo of the White minority permeated the White is Right ethos. This sample blog-commentary depicted how majority rule therefore brought no revolutionary change for the average man there in South Africa.

Considering these case studies, we see lessons from history; we get a new appreciation for best-practices in “weeding out” bad community ethos … in the Caribbean region. This is the quest of the Go Lean book, to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); to spearhead the elevation of Caribbean society. The book seeks to reboot the region’s economic, security and governing engines, hypothesizing that the European colonial stewards did not have societal efficiency in mind when they structure administrations of the individual “overseas territories” in this region; (many times, their attitudes reflected the defective White Supremacy fallacy).

In general, the Go Lean/CU will employ better strategies, tactics and implementations to impact its prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and mitigate internal and external threats.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book, all 370 pages, stresses key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to transform and turn-around the eco-systems of Caribbean society. Imagine the messaging campaigns.

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to empower and elevate Caribbean societal engines. It is out-of-scope to impact the Vatican and the religious orthodoxy of Europe; our focus is only here at home in the Caribbean. Already we are advocating for the Greater Good ethos as opposed to orthodoxy. Our former European colonial masters now realize the futility of the actions of their ancestors and predecessors who advocated for White Supremacy and White is Right; They are now battling to try and weed-out the last vestiges of racism and ethnic supremacy in their society.

In conclusion, “White is NOT Right“. There is good and bad in every ethnicity.

The quest of the Go Lean movement is just to move forward, not to prosecute any “bad actors” from previous generations. We cannot go back in time, so we do not want to be shackled to the past. Instead, we want to move forward. Our 21st century quest is to do the heavy-lifting to “weed out” the bad, and bring on the good – the Greater Good – to make our Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play.  We urged everyone in the Caribbean to lean-in to this roadmap for change. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix AUDIO-VIDEO – What Is Whiteness? –  https://the1a.org/segments/2017-02-27-what-is-whiteness/

 What Is Whiteness?

Posted Feb 27 2017 – Biological races do not exist. So why do we continue to rely on race as a key defining factor in our society? A new crop of scholars and artists have turned their attention to examinations of those who identify as white. We talk with some of them about what “whiteness” is — and isn’t — and what the dangers are in the context of a renewed call for white supremacy in America.


  • Sandra Kim founder of Everyday Feminism and Compassionate Activism.
  • Tim Wise anti-racism activist; author, “Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority” and “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.”
  • Mat Johnson associate professor of English at the University of Houston; author of “Pym” and “Loving Day.”
  • Carol Anderson professor of African-American Studies at Emory University; author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation’s Divide.”
  • LeRonn P. Brooks Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Lehman College and Curator for Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute.
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