Purity: A Loss for Thesaurus Words

By: Patrick J. Derilus

-Thursday evening-

I typed purity in the thesaurus search engine yesterday. One of the few synonyms that came up was,


I regressed for a few seconds and had to glance at whiteness again. I had been gullible and felt so used that I didn’t know I had been used. I think my whole life, I had been forced to glance at whiteness — it was internalized white supremacist ideology; the toxin that it was, that virulently imbued white purity through the inside of my exhausted bones veiled by my black flesh as a black boy. This “blessed” perversion imbued within me disfigured my black identity, but no—

This whiteness was not the cleanliness of my teeth, the whiteness of a void, the dribbling white paint on the walls of a house or the off-whiteness of my sclera.

This whiteness was the Western world: America, the people of the Caucasus region who have long ago been conflated with whiteness.

Whiteness is the systemic racism run over 400 years in America along with the rest of this World.

Whiteness is the voyeuristic condescension of many countries exploited by colonialist and imperialist practice.

Whiteness is habitual racist objectification, exploitation and commodification of our black bodies.

Whiteness . . . is the follow-up desensitization and hashtagging of black existence.

Whiteness is Western civilization’s complicity in our commonplace black nihilism, the black nihilism I had not discerned with, within myself until I confronted my blackness, acknowledged my black identity and its significance to white America. It took me years to finally notice the racial cues and adjust to the fact that I was never considered human in this racist country.

Blackness is meaningless to white America unless it is possessed, fetishized, manipulated and exploited. And part of all that it took, was a thesaurus: a distant lexicon of the dictionary, bearing all sorts of words, denotations and associations we assign to them, a linguistic tradition we have pedagogically been coerced to follow since the 18th century and since then there have been many semantic evolutions to words yet. . . today, purity still means,


We, among the rest of the colonized minds of our American society, have been conditioned with an unconscious predilection to favor, and show fallaciously invented justification and immediate repentance to white people, to heterosexual, able-bodied, white men above all else, disproportionately more than we value our melanin, our dark skin, our . . . blackness.

No matter how heinous the actions of heterosexual white men were, the institutional systems they had already set in place had protected them from sound judgment. Historically, they sheathed themselves in their westernized connotations of whiteness: untouchable innocence, irresistible sententiousness and . . . purity, which also protected them from true justice—like a parent who looks at their white cis-male child, and submissively murmurs,

“How could I ever say no to that face?”

While white children never have to worry of their “purity,” we look at black children and hold them to the same standards as white people. If they do not fit the mold of internalized white purity, they are distinguished as “inferior” black people among black people. We tell them to “keep doing good.” We tell ourselves to “keep doing good,” as if reaching goodness is a means to an end . . . as if, black children, black you, black me . . . are not intrinsically good. We are supposedly evil. The believability of our goodness is an implicitly habitual, racist practice; our goodness is impetuously defenestrated when we “resist arrest” from crooked police, “protest improperly” or “act like niggas.” I did not see it before because of my own internalized racism, but I know, for some vague reason, that all black people are good. Not “some,” as most individuals say to patronizingly describe us as if there are a rare breed of us. All of us are intrinsically good, although at first our implicit biases of ourselves and them will not allow us to see goodness. No black individual among us is patronizingly exceptional in the sense that they blindly deny their blackness by claiming they have so-called “transcended” it.

A lot of us have helped by supporting the ongoing fight against social injustice while others have stood in solidarity with marginalized groups to ameliorate this world, let alone American society, our human values and the potential of our collective being. Nonetheless, we have not achieved egalitarian justice because our rights to assign ‘humanist consequences’ to whiteness have been denied validity, and whiteness has once again, shielded itself in its invented, westernized connotations to evade repercussion from true egalitarian justice.

True egalitarian justice is foreign to me. However, I am aware that it has been a utopian mirage. True egalitarian justice, nor democracy have ever existed in this police state of whiteness: America, and we have always been victim to the life-depriving minutiae of illusions, having only experienced perceived equal rights. In actuality, we are still objects, slaves under the thirteenth amendment.

We have been ingrained with these white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal ideologies, subjected to believe that the white savior complex, white male normativity and heteronormative white male homosocial sadomasochistic culture are inclusive traditions. A lot of us do not question when two or more people engage in a fight, fists are thrown, they are on the ground, bleeding, and like heteronormative white male homosocial sadomasochistic culture, which has indirect correlation to black demise and nihilism during slavery, a time of gathering for white people, let alone white men when the slaves had been continuously been raped, murdered, mutilated, and lynched, was one way white people commemorated their whiteness: by happily scrutinizing the decimation of black life. We unconsciously gather around these bleeding persons, these persons who are fighting for their lives. In this regard, we, unfortunately, do not question our thoughts, ourselves, because this had been so-called “tradition” to us. Ourselves had not been ourselves when we were first brought into this world.

We had all been born into this world with a white-washed upbringing. Heteronormative white supremacist patriarchy prowled into our psyches before we knew it. Thus our black pain, our collective pain…has never been our faults. We had never brought injustice upon ourselves as that has been white supremacy’s way of gaslighting us into believing what my ancestors and I have experienced at the puppeteering hands of heteronormative white supremacist patriarchy, was not real.

We, I reiterate, have been conditioned, unconsciously justifying the heinousness of white men: Christopher Columbus, King Leopold of Belgium the II, Roy Bryant, J. W. Milam, J. Edgar Hoover, Timothy McVeigh, Dylan Roof, Ryan Lochte, Brock Turner, and the list goes on.


Heteronormative white male terrorism to American society is oxymoronic. We have yet to deem “whiteness” as “terroristic,” though it has been for centuries.

The more an abuser psychologically, emotionally and physically assaults their victim, the victim’s reality becomes distorted. He cannot distinguish pain from living life, feeling unpunished. He will eventually believe the abuse that has been done onto him, is “normal.” The victim, victim-blames himself for the abuse, real and invented, and uncomfortably holds himself responsible for the pain his abuser has caused him.

Abuse victims finally become aware of their abuse when they muster the strength to liberate themselves from it by practicing to speak out against their abusers.