White People Working to End White Racism and Genocide

Our central work and agreement as Co-Counselors is to re-emerge and recover our full humanness. Eliminating the oppressor recordings of white racism and genocide is key to this. The damage done to people who are targeted by racism and genocide* is severe and brutal. And racism and genocide also deeply damage and confuse those of us who are defined as “white.” They damage our integrity, understanding of the world, and all of our relationships. Still our inherent human characteristics of goodness, intelligence, zest, and cooperation are intact. Our work is to free our minds from the recordings of white racism and genocide.

We began this work early in RC but have done it more steadily and consistently since 2001, when the Community established that the elimination of racism would be central to its work. [Goal 1 of the RC Communities, adopted by the 2001 World Conference and reaffirmed by subsequent World Conferences, 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.”]

We get to be pleased with what we’ve accomplished, and we get to notice that there is much more to be done. Recordings of white racism and genocide have dominated the planet and been a major force in bringing the entire world to the challenges our species now faces. “White people” as a group need to deepen and accelerate our work, so we can move forward more rapidly to end all oppression, reclaim all white people (even those heavily in the grip of oppressor distress), fully recover our humanness, and build a just and cooperative society. This will involve looking again at where we’ve come from and how we got here and understanding more clearly the pseudo-science of race and how it has affected us as a group. The concept of race and the hierarchy of races were invented to justify a system of exploitation and domination. The identity of “white” was created as part of that. Our work is to claim the identity, clean it up, and throw it out—for our own re-emergence and as a major part of ending racism and genocide.

ISSUES FACING US AS A CONSTITUENCY

Here are some of the key issues facing white people as a constituency:

Unity

How do we become a unified force to end white racism and genocide and their damaging effects on all the efforts to build a cooperative society and end environmental degradation? The current state of white people is disunity and vulnerability to being manipulated by those in power into acting in ways that are not in our best interests and certainly not in the interest of the survival of our species. The disunity among us is based in class oppression and our history of wars and ethnic conflicts and exacerbated by the installation of white racist and genocidal patterns—all of which have been fostered to keep the class system in place. The challenges now facing humanity require that we figure out how to work in a concerted way for the liberation of everyone.

Leadership

We need leadership that will speak to us as a group about our goodness and intactness as human beings and our need to make common cause with all people to end all oppressions, especially white racism and genocide. Without this we are vulnerable to irrational leadership that will manipulate our fears for survival and our recordings of racism and genocide that would have us divide, blame, scapegoat, and exploit. In the recent period, a lack of rational leadership has led to reactive, militaristic, nationalistic leadership, including Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and so on, in the United States; Marine Le Pen in France; Vladimir Putin in Russia; and others of their ilk around the world.

Alliances with people targeted by racism and genocide

We want to build a movement that will stand with people targeted by racism and genocide and support their efforts and thinking, while also being an independent force to end white racism and genocide. We need to have an independent perspective, be a voice from the outside, and follow the leadership of people targeted by racism and genocide without disappearing or removing our thinking. This will mean developing our own program for eliminating white racism and genocide; discharging recordings of domination, superiority, and isolation; and reclaiming our significance and goodness. It will require building close relationships with and challenging all the ways white racism and genocide separate us from people targeted by these oppressions.

Freeing ourselves of racism and genocide recordings

To free ourselves of white racism and genocide recordings, we will need to keep the work central to our re-emergence. This will require that we keep the conditions in place that allow it to happen. We will need to remember that our goodness is intact; that relationships with people targeted by racism and genocide, like all relationships, are our birthright; and that discouragement is always old. We can keep building the safety and skill for discharging how we got damaged by recordings of white racism and genocide. We get to be experts in helping each other discharge them—especially the recordings of domination, superiority, and entitlement and their equally confusing counterparts: timidity, shame, and self-hatred.

IN THE RC COMMUNITY

The RC Community has moved the work of eliminating white racism and genocide from the margins of the Community to being more steadily at the center. Support groups focused on this work are happening more consistently, and the work is being infused into other liberation activities and brought into fundamentals and ongoing classes. We have done a good job of using Goal 1—of making eliminating racism central to the work of the Community.

There is now less confusion and ambiguity about how to do the work. We are more grounded in the basic contradictions [to distress] of our goodness, our birthright to be close to everyone, and confidence and hope. We have made progress in caring about each other and showing it. This has allowed us to look at where the oppressor distress has affected our integrity, our sense of the world, and our connections with everyone. We are discharging more effectively on the damage white racism and genocide have done to us as white people. We are getting better at facing and discharging the recordings of domination and superiority. This has allowed us to build closer and smarter relationships with each other and to move forward in building close relationships with people targeted by racism and genocide. We have done good work on the intersection of racism with other oppressions, especially classism, sexism and male domination, and anti-Jewish oppression.

More and more of us are taking our work into the wide world and sharing how racism and genocide inhibit all liberation struggles and the unity within all constituencies. Our RC wide world projects to date—United to End Racism, Sustaining All Life, and No Limits for Women—have built many relationships and moved the work forward.

There is also more to be done:

Strengthening and deepening our work

Up until now, our primary work has been to discharge the oppressor patterns of white racism and genocide that were imposed on us. It has been correct and necessary to do this, in part to prove that as a group and an organization we could and would make ending racism and genocide our key issue.

What more can we do to recover our full humanness and lead all white people toward a just society in which racism and genocide are eradicated? We can build a stronger foundation for freeing our minds by renewing our work on who we were before the identity of “white.” This includes discharging on what from our lineage we need to recover, clean up, and throw out. We can look again at the strengths and treasures of our lineage as well as the struggles and distresses that made us vulnerable to the lure of being “white.” (In the United States and other places, many of our ancestors had to leave their countries of origin, mostly because of oppression, and then face aggressive demands to assimilate and give up their identities and languages to become “white.”) Doing this will give us a firmer foundation from which to continue our work to end white racism and genocide.

Developing more structure

How can we use more effectively what we understand about leadership, referencing, liberation programs, policy statements, and so on, to move our work forward and unleash our initiative and power? Every group needs to be thought about and referenced to achieve full liberation. Do we need a draft liberation policy statement? Do we need more structured referencing? What would that look like?

Creating spaces in which we do the work together

As we build close relationships with people targeted by racism and genocide, and after we have done enough work in our separate spaces, we can do the work of eliminating racism and genocide together in honest and genuine ways. People targeted by racism and genocide can model what the struggle against these oppressions looks like, thus giving us a hand [help] in places where we can’t give it to each other. We can be a voice from outside the internalized racism and genocide by backing [supporting] targeted people in their fight to free up their minds. There is much to figure out here to make this work truly doable, but unity is our goal.

ISSUES FACING THE WORLD

White racism and genocide frame almost every major challenge we face on this planet.

The oppressive society

White racism and genocide divide people and derail any movement to build a classless society (white people, particularly working-class white people, can be manipulated into cooperating with this). White racism and genocide are therefore two of the main vehicles by which the owning class keeps the class system going. They divide people within oppressed groups, thus keeping the oppression in place (for example, they keep white women, women targeted by racism, and Native women from uniting to end sexism). White racism and genocide are part of every conflict, war, and act of “terrorism” (for example, along with anti-Jewish oppression, they perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). As white people, we have a significant role to play. We can stop being part of maintaining an irrational, oppressive system.

The environmental crisis

White racism and genocide are about exploitation, greed, and profit—the main things that keep people from thinking about and prioritizing the health of the environment.

The larger, moneyed environmental organizations are white dominated. The issues they address and the strategies they employ exclude people targeted by racism and genocide, and their perspectives and stories. (Recently this has begun to be addressed, but much more needs to be done.) This, of course, makes these organizations much less effective. People targeted by racism and genocide have been fighting environmental degradation effectively for ages, often on a grassroots community level. White people need to support and follow this important work.

Because of where they live and their lack of material resources, the people hit hardest by environmental degradation are people targeted by racism and genocide—along with poor people, women, and children. And they have contributed the least to environmental damage.

Our rightful position

White racism and genocide recordings keep us white people from addressing the challenges facing this planet. They make us vulnerable to manipulation by the reactive forces. They get in the way of our doing things boldly, powerfully, cooperatively, and effectively. They derail our individual and group efforts. We are divided and isolated from each other, demoralized, and discouraged. This can be discharged, and we can take our rightful position on the planet alongside the majority of the world’s people—people targeted by racism and genocide. We can follow their lead while taking initiative to build a cooperative, human society.

Dvora Slavin

Seattle, Washington, USAand others

(Present Time 188, July 2017)


* In RC we are currently using several phrases to refer to people of African heritage; Central, South, West, Southeast, and East Asian heritage; Pacific Islander heritage; Chicano/a or Latino/a heritage; and Native/Indigenous heritage. Given the work white people need to do to keep the reality of racism and genocide front and center in our work for our re-emergence, I have chosen to use the phrase people targeted by racism and genocide.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00