Excerpt from Rev. angel Kyodo williams in Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation
What I get to hear is largely about white folks who are trying to figure out how to fix the people of color problem. That’s what people ask me all the time: How do we invite more people of color? What I don’t hear in that is: “I’m suffering. I’m experiencing trauma. What is it that I can do to help myself?”
Recognize that Whiteness hurts white people.
Whiteness relies on erasing your identity and genuine bonds in favor of allegiance to a manufactured identity that doesn’t give a shit about your history or desires. It celebrates inherited intelligence to the exclusion of experiences and values–individual or communal. It relies on dividing individuals into pieces, to make for easier consumption. Cruel math.
Once upon a time, you weren’t white. You were Irish, German, Italian, Spanish or wherever your people came from. In order to gain access to a better life, or because you had been conquered: Ó Ceallaighs became Kellys. Ewalds and Margeurites became Walts and Margarets. Giannis and Juans became Johns.
If you don’t know where your people come from, you’ve been denied. If you know where your people come from, but don’t know any of the languages, food, or myths, you’ve been denied. If your people didn’t own slaves in this country and you find yourself in the position of defending the history of those who did, you’re doing unpaid emotional labor.
Once upon a time you weren’t white, but then you submitted and Whiteness became your master and commander. Ever wonder why everything is so top down in our society? It’s because you can’t spell Whiteness without domination.
Domination hurts, especially when it leaves you in pieces, but dammit if those pieces aren’t tasty to the machine that manufactures Whiteness.