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Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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Ending White Racism


I don’t think there could be a better time than now to be doing the work to end white racism. So many things are more visible. It is easier to see our struggles. And it is easier to see the effects of our struggles on the planet and the people on it. 


I wish there was a greater understanding of our struggles as white people, but reaching that understanding is our responsibility, as we get clearer about what has happened to us. Three other groups that share a similar challenge come to mind for me—owning-class people, men, and USers. As with us, their hurts have set them up to oppress and dominate others globally.


During the last twenty years, standing shoulder to shoulder with others, I’ve had the good fortune to spend increasing amounts of time in RC doing the work of eliminating white racism. Now with all that is happening around us, we have a great opportunity to take a big step forward in ridding ourselves and other white people of the pandemic we call white racism.


It is a great opportunity for two reasons. First, racism has become more visible to us white people due to advances in technology and to the administration of the former U.S. president. I’ve had conversations with family and neighbors that I’ve never had before. The attempted coup on January 6 showed how confused we white people are, and how vulnerable we’ve been to the lies and scare tactics of the past administration and its backers and promoters.


It is also a great opportunity because of the Black Lives Matter movement. Goal 1 of the RC Communities, adopted at the 2001 World Conference, states, “That the elimination of racism, in particular the racism aimed at people of African heritage, be actively made an ongoing, central piece of the work of the Re-evaluation Counseling Community.” When we move forward on a key goal, addressing other issues—in this case, other forms of racism and oppression—follows. And it looks like that is what’s happening.


I propose two directions that will take advantage of the new openings: 


1) That all white people be encouraged to lead the work of ending white racism 


2) That we focus on building a united front of white people working to end racism


LEADING THE WORK TO END WHITE RACISM


Deciding to lead the work to end white racism means deciding to end our chronic patterns of white racism. And as we discharge to free ourselves from racism, we can take charge of the white people we are in contact with and help free them from this “disease.”


I invite you to join me in finding and pursuing the present opportunities. The combination of decision, action, and discharge will move all our material [distress]. I’m focusing on the acting piece now. I’m sure this will deepen our discharge and accelerate our decision to free our minds of white racism.


Since establishing the 2001 Goal, the RC Communities worldwide have moved the work to end racism from the margins to the center. I now invite us all to make ending white racism central to our RC leadership. This means making it central to ending sexism, male domination, men’s oppression, anti-Jewish oppression, classism, the climate crisis, and so on. Whatever and however we lead, ending white racism needs to be at the center. We can lead all white RCers to make it central to their leadership. This will accelerate our individual re-emergence as well as move our Communities forward solidly and speedily. 


We also need to lead white people outside of RC. This means building and deepening our relationships with people who are ready to listen to us as well as those who are not; with people we easily notice and go after [pursue] and those we have trouble noticing and moving toward. We need to show our caring and hopefulness in the places where they can’t be hopeful. We can say that we know they are good people. And when they disagree with us, we can let them know we would like to be their ally. (What conversations and interactions could that lead to?)


We can create the circumstances that will allow them to show how they have been made vulnerable to the confusions of racism, to the messages of “better than” (or “less than”), to the notions of deserving more, to the behaviors of domination and superiority. We get to not stay separate. We can show our white families, neighbors, and coworkers that all of us have been exposed to and internalized these confusions.


We can listen to people’s experiences of living in this oppressive, inhumane capitalist society and share that it’s possible to figure out another way to live—and that we have to do that if we want a livable planet. Doing this will increase our discharge on our own experiences. And we don’t have to know any more than we know now.


A UNITED FRONT OF WHITE PEOPLE 

We can create a united front of white people working to end racism. We can start from where we are. We’ll be inviting people to join us in a project of freeing the planet of racism (and of course all other oppressions), and we’ll be thinking with them about how to do this. We can share our perspective that we need all white people with us; not just those whom we feel comfortable with or who easily agree with us.


A small clump of white people—many of them male and working class—have displayed the way in which our insecurities and other distresses get manipulated into making us buy into [agree with] the lies and hateful language we’ve been hearing for the last four years. Some of them have been set up to carry out violent actions. (Of course, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and other oppressive attitudes and behaviors were part of our society long before the last administration so visibly expressed them.)


If we separate ourselves from these white people, if we see ourselves as smarter and better than they are, if we see them as racist losers, we are collaborating with the divisiveness that advances the goals of those who materially benefit from it.


There are no human enemies. The enemy is the distress patterns that have been imposed on all of us. When we get lost and see someone else or some other group as an enemy, we are part of the problem and not the solution. Harvey Jackins said, “I am a good guy, I am one of the good guys, and the bad guys are good guys, too.” This kind of understanding will be especially important in the next period. Capitalism is collapsing. There will be more and more divide-and-conquer tactics to distract us and derail our efforts to unite and create something different.


As we build the united front of white people around us, we also get to figure out how to do it in sisterhood and by following and supporting the leadership of People of the Global Majority and Indigenous people. 


STAYING CONNECTED, DISCHARGING, AND EVEN BEING JOYFUL

What do you think? What are your thoughts about all that is happening in this most interesting time to be living? Despite how scary, upsetting, or confusing these times are, they are opportunities—to listen to people and to share perspectives that will let them think beyond their restimulations. We need to stay connected, keep discharging, and maybe even be joyful about what we get to do.


Dvora Slavin


Seattle, Washington, USA


Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for white allies ending racism


(Present Time 203, April 2021)


Last modified: 2021-04-27 17:55:32+00