Our liberation is bound together. My personal suffering is not especially physical. My body is not dehumanized. I do not carry the weight, the history of dehumanization in my pigment. I benefit in ways I recognize and many ways I have yet to recognize from the white supremacy that is intrinsic to our globalized, corporate co-existence. We share a degraded existence, but my whiteness, the accident of my birth, shields me–not only shields me, privileges me.
I am not special. I am an average, white male beneficiary of white supremacy. This pains me, but it does not kill me, does not threaten to kill me. I am not hunted. I am not racially profiled. I am not 5-6 times more likely to be incarcerated than other white males.
Racism makes no sense, but systemic racism pervades our society. Here we are, in the self-proclaimed land of opportunity, home of the free, the paragon of democracy, and other cliches; here we are, willfully blind. If not willfully blind, beholden to mass media for our thoughts. Beholden to a miseducation system that inculcates a biased version of history in service of ahistory, in service of an economics of exploitation, consumption, and profit over people.
Economy. Look at the word. Look at the word ecology. They share a root, eco-, from the Greek oikos, which means “house” or “household”. Ecology represents our shared house–the living matrix from which we are born and in which we derive sustenance. Ecology is the place where we exist. Economy has to do with the management of resources and the functioning of complex systems as an “organic whole”. But that’s not how we practice economics. Our global economics is the opposite of resource management and regulating complex systems. Our global economics is explicitly one of production and consumption. We are consuming our ecology, not sustaining it. We are eating our planet and expelling waste into the degraded environment. Shitting and puking, fracking, belching the exhaust of fossil fuels.
That is my suffering: watching us consume our lives and those of our children, participating in that daily by simply existing. My suffering is existential and it is physical. The threat to my well-being is physical in the sense that we are destroying the planet, not in the sense that police or drones are profiling and hunting people with my pigmentation. My suffering is rooted in the cognitive dissonance that comes from surviving through participating in the economics that continues to degrade the organic processes that make life possible–plant life, animal life, human life; my suffering is also rooted in the cognitive dissonance that comes from being privileged by a system of white supremacy that I consciously reject. Okay, I can reject it. I still benefit from it. That’s troubling.
And so I am left with the possibility of action, of working to dismantle that system of white supremacy and of working to restore an ethic of respectful, reciprocal relationships to complex systems–not just human society, but to economics, to ecology. I embrace that possibility. I am one person. I need community. We embrace this possibility, the possibility of a human future–of a human future, not a corporate future. We must embrace a future that prioritizes the human experience, and the truly human experience is one of wonder and love; one where we realize the improbability of our planet, the preciousness of it; where we recognize that these speculative financial relationships not only will not sustain us but are actively destroying us–our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our souls, the very soil and water on which we depend, the animals we eat, the animals we depend on to maintain the complex organic systems that sustains us.
This shit is deep, family. And we are in deep shit. We need to exercise by shoveling that shit, not by going to the air-conditioned gym where we treadmill (yeah, that’s a verb) while allowing mass media to colonize our minds through TV screens and headphones. We need to deconstruct this shit by engaging in intellectual analysis of systems. We need to deconstruct the shit of history that we’ve been sold. We need to turn this shit into fertilizer.
I’m tired of this shit.
This is where I am now, what I see. My vision becomes less myopic daily, my mind less colonized. But I remain a product of colonial white supremacy, no matter my analysis, my love, my anger. I will always be a product of colonial white supremacy, and that’s important to recognize, even as I reject its claim to my body, my mind, my will, and my actions. As I actively reject the legacy of colonialism, racism, materialism, and militarism that has been sown in me, I must also reject the notion of becoming an enemy, of allowing myself to be scripted by the system into an extreme, a representation of duality.
Yes, I am against oppression. I am equally for respect, for mutualism. I reject the premise of duality that is foundational to this so-called civilization of consumption. I embrace the premise of organic wholeness. Not only do I embrace it, I see clearly that it is not a premise; it is reality. Sure, we can deconstruct, we can separate into constituent parts, and as an analytical practice in pursuit of equity and freedom, that is certainly a necessary practice. We must recognize that it is an exercise rooted in the structure of a constructed social reality. That constructed social reality is inherently unreal. Deconstruct in order to reject the construction, in order to move into an authentic space that embraces the improbability, the possibility, and beauty of being.
We simply are. And that is real.