Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Joy that Awaits Us

I delivered a presentation on October 27, 2019, as part of a gathering oriented around the question of how local communities can be more intentional about engaging with and dismantling white supremacy. My reflections were made particularly with those in positions of relative privilege and power in mind, especially other White folk. The following is an excerpt and is lightly edited.

After reflecting on my own upbringing,noting how prevalent and casual racism was in my community in southwest Missouri, as well as how that dynamic fed into a long history of maintaining unjust systems of power and privilege: 
That it took so long for me to access that kind of learning, and that there were no people in my life growing up that both knew it and were willing to share it with me, should be shocking. But it isn’t shocking, it it? Because this kind of ignorance is part of the plan. ... Our history, and our economic power, is built on the bones (and intergenerational trauma) of enslaved Africans, displaced Native Americans, and exploited immigrants. Yet the majority of White people have, at best, remained oblivious to both the history and continued impacts of systemic racism - even while carrying, and passing on, the trauma of white supremacy. This has empowered those in power across all of US history, and not just the Trump administration, to continue on a course of exploiting the weakness of White folk for clinging to a view of the world that is not grounded at all in reality - that is, in the lived experiences of marginalized and oppressed people, especially BIPOC. ( )