The Inhumanity of White Supremacy
There is no shortage of media, cultural consensus, or belief systems that emphasize the humanity of white people.
We, as a collective, are conditioned to default to explaining, empathizing with, and trying to understand what could compel white people (individually and at large) to hold contemptible views, or engage in violent acts, or exhibit behavior that upholds white supremacy.
We, as a collective, are taught to bend over backwards to allow for the humanity of a people who insist on upholding systems and structures and institutions that are inhumane. Systems and structures and institutions that rip the humanity from them. Indefensible. Immoral. Nonsensical. Unconscious.
These systems and structures and institutions — built on lies we’ve been forced to feed on, form the foundations from which we have learned to relate to each other.
When you are fed inhumanity — you must actively work to simply be human. That work includes opening your eyes to how you’ve been taught to dehumanize others. That work includes unlearning how you’ve been taught to dehumanize yourself.
We are taught to feel nothing in the presence of such brutality — to swallow our rage, and punish our sadness, when they both contribute so essentially to our wholeness.
We’ve been taught to center white supremacy in our understandings of what it is to be human. When we appeal to white supremacy, we are appealing to something that’s been constructed by humans. We are taught to show, teach, and help white people see our humanity — rather than ask them; what happened to your own?
Anything less than that is going to result in dehumanizing ourselves. Placing our pain on a pedestal to be excavated and examined by people who have been taught not to see it, or worse, to applaud it.
We all must travel different roads back to ourselves, but the objective is the same: learn how to be human, learn how to be love.
White supremacy presents a difficult barrier to this task. Because white supremacy is validated everywhere.
White supremacy is the bar from which the rest of us are taught to measure ourselves.
The truth is when you act from your inhumanity, you tell on yourself. You show us where your wounds are. It might feel good to shout a racial slur, or to make generalizations about who gets to belong here — but let me ask you this:
Who are you without us? Who are you without the people that you dehumanize?
What is white supremacy without contrast?
White supremacy is codependent.
It ceases to exist without us.
Because of that, it relies on creating contrast where it was never meant to exist.
The truth of who we are is anything but this — the truth of who we are, is holy and whole and magnificent.
So the work to CREATE that contrast is going to become increasingly pathetic.
What I’m describing, is everywhere.
Rising with increased urgency so that we can’t refuse to see it anymore.
White folks calling the police to report their black neighbors for simply existing in their presence. White folks becoming angry or violent in the presence of a language that they don’t understand. White folks moving to change the subject when the loss of life at the heart of a hate crime, or a massacre, is an afterthought. People are being massacred in Gaza — and the priority of those in a position to tell us about it, is to focus on the political implications of their deaths?
What I see is inhumanity.
False equivalencies and untruths, time and time again. Praying that we keep our eyes closed so that they can maintain some semblance of control.
But their sense of control is built on lie after lie.
Every white person in America is either an immigrant or the descendent of immigrants.
There is not a single white person in America who can claim otherwise.
And yet that did nothing to stop the President of the United States from referring to “immigrants” as “animals”.
That does nothing to stop the rush to separate families and penalize those who did the very same thing that your Ancestors did, save for the bloodshed that some of your Ancestors caused. You are only here because this country massacred and marginalized the people who were here first — how dare you pretend otherwise.
When you hear anti-immigrant sentiments, be clear on what you’re seeing; a people who refuse to see themselves.
A people who don’t know how to be human.
We are all taught to humanize white people.
But white supremacy ensures that white people are under no obligation to reciprocate.
The very act of humanizing marginalized peoples goes against what they’ve been taught.
That’s why they feel hurt, when we bring them our pain. That’s why they get defensive or deflect. They resort to threats. They rush to do something — anything — to not see what we’re showing them. The gift that we’re bringing them.
Seeing us would mean seeing themselves. Seeing these wounds means reckoning with all that they’ve taken. Seeing us means seeing the pain that their Ancestors learned to tune out.
Seeing us is an act of reclaiming your humanity.
Your Ancestors could never do what they did if they saw the truth of the people that they chose to brutalize.
So they lied to themselves. Entire systems and structures and institutions were built on those lies.
Those lies were taught to you. They are responsible for the brutality we’ve been taught to normalize and accept.
This is a wound that you can heal for them. This is a wound that you can witness for them.
This is a wound that lives in you.
You have been taught to protect this wound above all else. Because if you don’t, then you would have so much to see. You would have to see how this wound infiltrates everything that you think you know. You would have to witness, and feel, the grief and the rage and the loss that this wound has caused.
You would have to accept that the promise of America was denied and betrayed well before it’s inception. What a powerful and telling irony — that the founders of this country would come here to escape persecution, only to then turn around and become the persecutors.
There is so much for you to see.
Healing this wound means taking responsibility for how you uphold the systems, structures, and institutions that are built from this wound. Healing this wound means excavating your belief systems and learning to be in this conversation, and in this process, without getting defensive. If you are doing this work, then by all means keeping doing this work! But don’t do it for us — don’t bring us your process, or seek our approval, or elevate yourself above others for the work that you’ve done — do it for yourself and for the hope of your wholeness.
White supremacy is a wound that only white people can heal.
Because white supremacy is a wound that reflects white people’s relationship to themselves.
We are taught that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s given to us as a passive instruction — but in truth, it’s an active indication.
In truth we love our neighbors AS we love ourselves.
We treat our neighbors how we treat ourselves — in the quiet of our minds, and the chambers of our hearts, when no-one is looking.
Our judgements, our harshness, our disgust brought to those who aren’t like us — is a actually just a reflection of where we are in our relationship with ourselves.
When I see the President of the United States refer to human beings as animals, I see a man who does not know how to love himself. I see something tragic. I see someone wounded.
What does it say about us, that this is the person that’s been elected to lead. Someone so categorically unfit.
He knows so little of love. And rather than inform him, rather than hold space for his healing — this country elevated and empowered his wounds. People in this country chose those wounds, steadfast and reliable -over the unknown and unanswered question — of what might exist if we choose something else.
Let me answer that for you: healing.
A world in which we mirror the earth we’re privileged to call home. We talk a lot about who gets to belong — but the Earth does no such thing. The Earth simply loves us. Providing everything we could ever need and then some. Even while we belabor under the lie that we can destroy the Earth while we continue living on it; the land asks NOTHING of us.
We are worthy just because.
Worthy as we are.
And yet we are taught to seek our worth in the worthlessness of another. We are taught to be inhumane and codependent. We are taught to seek love, and approval, and belonging in people who have been taught to hate us.
We are taught to hate and destroy ourselves. There is no shortage of wounds that stem from white supremacy and exist alongside white supremacy. There is no shortage of work to be done or ways to help and heal.
Nobody is absolved from the task at hand: Learn how to be human, learn how to be love.
We are taught that our power relies on something that we must search for and earn.
But I’m here to tell you that our power comes from somewhere else entirely.
We get to choose.
In every moment — we get to make a new choice. Our choices are reflected in how we spend our time, and our focus, and our energy. Our choices are elevated by our hearts, and our dreams, and our magic. Our choices are empowered by our clarity and they are given life through our community.
Nobody is meant to do this alone.
Once we make a new choice — everything after that changes. But even change is subject to choice. In every day, in every step forward, in every path we take, individually and together, we must recommit to choosing more of the same:
Learn how to be human, learn how to be love.
These wounds have caused more carnage and condemned more children than we could ever hope to account for. But these wounds could stop with us.
I believe that we have it in us to really love one another.
And as overwhelming as that might sound — it really comes down to making a courageous choice.
It starts with learning to love ourselves — and to then extending that kindness, that generosity, that practice to others.
There’s no need for shame or judgement.
If we falter — we learn from it and commit to doing better.
We can see the world we’ve created with our complicity, the systems and structures and institutions built from our wounds, and we can choose something else.
We have to set and enforce our boundaries.
We can have compassion for the man who sits in the oval office and still decide that someone that wounded is categorically unfit to be in any position of leadership, let alone the position that he currently occupies.
He must be corrected, he must be informed, and he must be invited to heal.
We can claim that he doesn’t reflect who we are but that’s not true.
So now what do we choose?
Our circumstances are what they are, but our creativity is infinite.
We have it in us to choose something us.
I believe in those who choose love.
I believe that love will win.