I am seeing a LOT of white people in my circles who don't usually post about anything to do with social justice, sharing and commenting on the most recent instances of terror and death being inflicting on Black bodies (and the resulting riots).
I want to offer a few of my own reflections, and an invitation.
I think of myself as decently justice-informed: although up til this point I have been more vague and archetypal in my writing about it, I have spent the past four years in a very deep process of consciously rewriting my white, privileged narratives around the reality of the daily horrors faced by people of color in this country, and the ways that white folks contribute to it in small and large ways every day. I read a lot of books, took multiple courses, worked with healers and therapists and just stayed “up” on the social justice convo in general, and it factors in a huge way into my work with Activist Astro (you’ll finally get to experience that a little more when the ebook comes out.)
I know I’m still just at the beginning, but I also know that my own understanding of the world has had to FLIP THE FUCK OVER in order to integrate the heartbreaking truth of the VIOLENCE perpetuated by racism and colonization, and the fact that us white people are still 99% making that shit worse. This is really a lifelong process, an excavation of patterning running deep down the ancestral cord. It’s about patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism as well as racism—though “whiteness” does seem to be a condition that brings them all together.
Anyone who identifies as “white” - especially in America, the country that became a global hegemon by stealing the land, labor and lives of millions of people of color - SHOULD be feeling an existential crisis right about now. (Actually, this is the onset of the US Pluto Return).
What I want to invite is a moment of pause with that.
Yes, it’s great to share the news and tributes if you feel called. But don’t feel like you HAVE to do it just so you don’t miss the woke wave, or so your following doesn’t think you don’t care.
More importantly—DON’T think that sharing the things is doing the work.
White people have made a nasty, terrifying, heavy and heartbreaking spiritual mess here, and it is our responsibility to clean it the fuck up. But we can’t clean it up without actually looking at it, taking the time to get to know what’s there. All the oppressive systems are DEEPLY invested in us remaining ignorant of their atrocities and the structural nature of white supremacy, and they’ve done everything they can to miseducate us. The programming runs deep. It doesn’t come out overnight.
So—if you’re a white person who is feeling a new urgency about these issues, I want to invite you into a slow-down, and a longer-term process.
Yes… you’re racist. I’m racist. We are all carrying generations worth of racist programming in our neural patterning.
And, you’re a human being with a soul. One of these does not negate the other. From the autonomous place of the soul, we can start to make the choice to rewrite the narratives, to clean up the mess. It requires diligence and devotion, caring about these things not just when the adrenaline is pumping and when social media is paying attention, but every day, in ten thousand small moments that you’ll never get recognition for. It requires extra time spent feeling uncomfortable, reading books (not just articles & Twitter feeds) by authors of color that will take you to places that feel like shit. It requires keeping pace with an evolving discourse, holding duality, and humbling yourself again and again. And, it requires LISTENING, centering voices of color not just on your platform, but in your own mind.
Here’s the thing… when white people start to talk about race issues, it becomes evident within seconds to me whether they’re actually educated on the subject (for example, on the sharing of trauma porn—there are no clearcut answers, but it’s super obvious when someone posts without even realizing there’s an issue). And a lot of the white folks whom I see offering their commentary on the deaths, and now the riots, have clearly not done this work.
So please, white friends, I beg you, watch your egos in this moment. I know you want to contribute. But in the history of anti-racist work, white folks who go out trying to “save the day without engaging their own re-education usually just make things worse.
Because we are carrying all that racist programming, it’s very easy for us to perpetuate racist harm unconsciously. If we truly accept that, then maybe we’ll start putting energy towards the essential, foundational, invisible work that will make all the difference in the end.
If you’re in a place where protests are happening, by all means, go, put your white body on the line. If you’re not, then share as you wish, show solidarity in your ways, but please consider being mostly quiet, and starting to engage the unwitnessed work, away from the camera, away from the dopamine hits and away from your white savior complex (don’t think you have one? I think you haven’t done the work). Spirit is watching. Much is yet to be revealed.
I can help you with resources if you need. I love you.