Op-Ed: It’s Time to End Dictator White Privilege
By Frederick Venus
As an International Studies major, I have read countless histories of authoritarianism and dictatorships, heard lectures on the plights of citizens under fascism, and lectured on the ideologies driving warmongers to power. Yet, no matter what I learn, I am haunted by one simple fact about the image of authoritarianism:
Too many white people.
When asked the question, “who is the worst dictator of all time?”, the answers are limited and obvious: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Jeff Bezos, etc. Never mentioned, however, is the name of a person of color. Gone are the days when a man of any nation, color, or creed could step out into his country and look upon his starving citizens with dignity and pride. Forgotten are the days when someone other than a white man was remembered as the strongest, most brutal dictator of our time.
Can you name a current, non-white dictator? Unless you’ve poisoned your mind like me, you can’t. For too long, representations of men and women of color in brutal autocracies has been lacking and our children will be the victims of this great omission. These autocrats may have killed millions of children but their omission from popular culture has killed the dreams of millions more.
This is 2019. A time when anyone can commit genocide, enable famine, and engage in the slave trade without, like Dr. King once said, being judged for the color of their skin. We must all stand up for equality amongst dictators. All races are welcome within the walls of the International Criminal Court.
People of the world: the time has come to tear down the racialized walls of authoritarianism. No longer shall the diverse dictators of the world be silenced in their ceaseless quest for brutality and infamy. Let us ring out the great names of Kim Jong Un, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hassan Rouhani, Bashar Al-Assad, and so many others who aspired to be an inspiration to budding war criminals around the world!
I can only hope and pray that my children will feel inspired by the efforts we must make. It is my dream that one day, any child can look upon our world and dream of slaughtering thousands. Let us break this glass ceiling the same way we break the Geneva Conventions and fight to end white privilege for dictators.