A call to the beautiful white women of my community:
Last night I had a blink-on awakening to the fact that I live in a white supremacy culture. Not a new mental understanding, but scales actually dropping away from my eyes, all at once.
Up until then, I’d have considered myself to be a well-educated, progressive, spiritual woman, conscious about race. I’ve read seminal books, taken anti-discrimination trainings, and engaged in meaningful change dialogue about issues like inclusion, gender and race disparity, and intersectionality. In short, I’m not a newbie to human rights education.
Having something that enormous suddenly pop up before my unseeing eyes was appalling and convicting. It brought me to my knees in humility.
Over the years I’ve tracked the effects of cultural racism “over here”, and called it out “over there”, and worked against it “in that place”, but until last night I was blind to the fact that it’s actually the air that I’m breathing.
All at once I “saw” what had been invisible (to me) connections between “life in a white supremacy culture” and not only pervasive racism, but also gendered medical disparity and sexual abuse and body shame and more – many of the issues I address directly in my work.
Most of us in this circle have at least one of those tangential “coals” smoldering in our personal house – that may be why you landed on my platform in the first place – but we are all also, by virtue of our white privilege, complicit in the fire while the houses of Black and Brown people are burning.
If you’ve ever taken a class with me, you’ve heard me say “we can’t change what we don’t see”. And since the longer you swim in a culture, the more invisible it becomes, step one has to be to start looking for the water.
Like the 3-D image in a stereogram, the all-pervasive white privilege in our lives is invisible until we put our nose right up to the background, relax our gaze, slowly draw back to widen our view and allow the image to appear.
And just like the stereogram image, as soon as you default back to your “normal way” of seeing, it will disappear again. That’s one of the luxuries of white privilege – to not see or to un-see that privilege – and, by extension, our complicity in the damage of cultural racism.
It takes a willful, progressive and sustained effort to shift your consciousness, and as we know from our work together on making healthy lifestyle change, that shift is the very first step to any lasting transformation. Those of us who’ve been committed to the work of awakening consciousness and habit change for years already have some of those tools on our collective belt. Now it’s time to put them to use, not only for our own health, but for the health of our whole country.
If you’re totally new to this, awareness is a great place to start. Know that we can’t actually see things clearly yet, and that’s okay. We can educate ourselves – there are SO MANY resources available everywhere right now (and I’m including a few I’ve found invaluable at the end of this post).
Tune into the BIPOC voices that have been speaking out about this for decades. But it’s important not to flood their feeds with our thoughts. This is our work, not theirs. What they need right now is our ears and our feet and our money, not our words on their platforms.
This wake-up has been far too long in coming for me, personally. But all I have at this point is now, so I’m committed to listening, to continuing to “unlearn” and improve my racial literacy, and to using my white privilege and power in ways that help and will no longer harm.
I’m doing all I can to catch the fuck up.
I hope you’re with me.
Rachel Cargle’s resource list on IG is great: https://linktr.ee/1thatgotawayy If you need a place to start, choose the free #dothework 30 day course or join The Great Unlearn Community.
The books: Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad and Robin J DiAngelo and White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson
The work of Lace on Race (Lace Watkins) in her FB group is outstanding, but she asks for a real and enduring commitment if you want to join her circle. Here’s an interview she gave this week – she herself said not to be distracted by the conversation about Blackout Tuesday – the final 2/3rds have the real juice: https://www.vox.com/2020/6/3/21278165/george-floyd-protests-social-media-blackouttuesday-lace-watkins-on-race-interview