It’s my culture’s cultural practice to culturally appropriate other culture’s practices. Red light.
Cultural sensitivity. Green light.
Cultural sensitivity about white people: yellow light which changes to green if said white people relieve us all by being in some way exotic and have (pray god) adorable tribal roots — like…they can demonstrate photos of themselves in colorful traditional garb. Green light, green light! Relief.
Cultural sensitivity for plain ole white folks: red light; feelings of intense discomfort, because we know they have a culture too, but we’re not sure how much to conflate it with the one currently homogenizing everyone to the point that we have to remind ourselves about cultural differences in the first place. But even if it was, that’s still a culture, albeit a dominant culture. Which means we’re not honoring culture, we’re honoring non-dominance. Which is…too much to think about, so anyway just red light.
Black lives matter. Green light.
Blue lives matter. Yellow light that changes to green. Some cops are black and Hispanic, we remind ourselves.
White lives matter? Everyone everywhere guffaws. Silly goose! People of all colors unconsciously agree: white lives matter. It’s an issue of trying to get the other colors to matter as much as white.
The term “racism”, by itself, implies these skin colors over here are agitating against those skin colors over there, and vice versa, etcetera and so forth, with each skin color essentially valuing itself and holding predetermined negative assumptions about the other/s. If only it could be so straightforward.
What we’re experiencing isn’t racism, it’s a dominant ideology of whiteness. Dominant ideologies aren’t beholden to the normal burdens of having an identifiable perspective or argument or advocate, any particular ism associated with it. A dominant ideology is the water in the aquarium and we’re the fish, oblivious to its omni-presence. Dominant ideologies can only be guessed at through examination of their surrounding isms, the labeled bubbles of thought which have birthed themselves in opposition to dominant ideology.
This is why whiteness and white “culture” cannot be spoken of, or honored, unless it wears funny little hats and demonstrates the solidarity of oppression at the hands of, probably, an even whiter aggressor, of which there are many so that’s lucky. If we speak of The Great Whiteness, we…feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to speak of The Great Whiteness in criticism, in the process of valorizing all the peripheral isms that it ain’t, but since we can’t explain to ourselves why it’s okay to praise some cultures but not others — well, really every skin color association but this one, which we don’t know how to think about at all, because it’s a dominant ideology and that’s not easily thought of — we avoid praising it, ever, because that’s Aryan.
And since we know we’re supposed to praise cultures, and we definitely aren’t supposed to praise this one, and we can’t quite sort out why, the whole topic must be avoided at all costs, or if it’s not successfully avoided, then we’re okay if we offer a criticism, like paying our bus fare. Or if we ever are in the tough position of having to acknowledge something good about homogenized, homogenizing, white, linear rationality, we thankfully and immediately refer to the Greeks. The Greeks! Yes, it’s okay to be proud of them, thank God. Possibly the Romans as well, but not as much.
The Great Whiteness works like a god but in reverse — we must not speak of it except in scorn, but we offer this scorn humbly, like corn pollen placed upon an enormous, world-spanning alter. The Great Whiteness is both the problem and the solution — because of it, many other ways of valuing our world are recognizable through contrast, but they exist like museum dioramas. If it weren’t for The Great Whiteness, those dioramas would come to life and…who knows? Like, it would get real, fast. Also The Great Whiteness currently stands somewhere between Us and The Muslim Problem so we’re not in too much of a hurry to dismantle it.
Multiculturalism is no challenge to The Great Whiteness; multiculturalism is its inevitable result, and so is evident “racism”. I’m using that in quotes because it’s far too simple a term, but in common context — ie police brutality, Amy Cooper versus Christian Cooper, the fact that we only bomb dark-skinned countries but never light-skinned countries, Jim Crow laws, etcetera ad nauseam — it’s brutal as only simplicity can be. The Great Whiteness is a dominant ideology that each of us have internalized, regardless of skin color, and so it expresses itself through each of us in terms of our own level of adherence to or conflict with that internalization. Dominant ideologies are challenged and changed when they themselves give rise to isms vocal enough, strong enough, persuasive enough, antagonized enough to “pull” the dominant narrative onto a new track — like a big freight ship surrounded by little tow boats.
I ran across an article the other day saying that we all need to admit that Amy Cooper wasn’t wearing a MAGA hat, and identified as a Democrat, and acknowledge that white liberal racism is a thing. On the one hand, I was like “props” but on the other hand, that’s like dipping one toe into the water and calling it a deep dive. “Racism” pits skin colors against one another; dominant ideologies pit people against themselves as a rule and against each other as a side effect, and people pitted against themselves wreak havoc. We have here a situation where it’s not okay to be any skin color at all (except it’s still slightly more okay to have a white skin as long as you apologize for it).
One of my favorite Abraham Hicks quotes is “you can’t solve the problem at the level of the problem”, and we can’t evolve the dominant ideology of whiteness at the level of skin color. Let’s use a nuclear family example, to represent the whole human race, with Teal Swan’s basic perspective as a starting point. Children are born into a family that preferences certain characteristics and behaviors, and disapproves of others. Children learn early to accentuate those parts of themselves which elicit positive feedback, and deaccentuate those parts which elicit negative feedback. Children tend to suppress, deny and disown those latter parts of themselves long-term, identifying only with the former. Some children, though, become the family “scapegoat”, the pressure relief valve, and it’s their job to exhibit all the suppressed, denied, and disowned aspects. All children, in any case, grow up to encounter experiences which evoke and invite the healing of those suppressed, denied, and disowned parts, in order to become increasingly whole.
A shorter way of saying it: we start out in life having to qualify ourselves strategically, but those strategic qualifications can only get us so far, and if we intend to flourish and thrive, we must go on to dismantle those self-qualifications.
The shortest way of all to say it: we get too big for our childhood adaptation britches.
We are collectively too big for our Great White britches, currently, and the seams are busting out everywhere.
How does life cause us to dismantle our adaptations of early childhood? Well, let’s say a little girl was raised in a family that disapproved of her anger. She will identify as a non-angry person — she truly feels she’s always happy, positive, and calm. Her anger doesn’t “go away” because it can’t — anger is an emotional response we need, whether we validate it or not. Her suppressed anger will leak out everywhere but recognizably to her. The universe will helpfully give her opportunity after opportunity to merge with her own anger. These “opportunities” will feel like shit to her, until and unless she heals in this regard, and salvages her anger.
What opportunity are we being given, over and over, and what collectively abandoned aspect of ourselves are we being invited to salvage? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a greater adherence to the priorities of our nuclear family, represented in this case by The Great Whiteness. And it’s not greater adherence to those aspects of ourselves valorized by and because of The Great Whiteness, as useful as those aspects may be. We’re invited to salvage and reclaim that which we disowned in the face of The Great White disapproval. What might that be? Well, just look at our Great White history for a refresher on what it’s not: violence. Organized militarization. Enslavement to linear cause/effect rationality. Compartmentalization. Hierarchy. Dominion. Strategerie. Dismissal. Possession without connection. Rigidity. Brittle sensibilities. Brutal consequences. Analysis. Calculation.
We’re ALL already good at those things, more or less, thanks to dominant ideology’s constant approval mechanism. Where we stand to make our gains, heal our adaptations, is via the road less traveled: mercy. Cooperation. Intuitive spontaneity. Connection. Versatility. Husbandry. Acceptance. Connection without possession. Spiritual resilience. Broad appreciation. Forgiveness. Inner guidance. Present moment awareness.
How does this fix racism? By losing interest in it in favor of some new framing, which is the only way you fix anything. What about the victims of racism? Well, first of all let’s consider: they’re not victims of strict racism, because if they were, more of them would be white — just as true multiculturalism would include more European stuff, but it doesn’t need to because, aside from specific cultural celebrations, it’s all European stuff. They’re victims of dominant ideology, The Great Whiteness, our backwards god, which has colonized us all. Yeah yeah yeah but practically speaking, what about the victims of racism? Well — the victims are just fucked — that’s kind of how it works. Which gives rise to dissent, which gives rise to discussion, which is either more or less productive. That’s dominant ideology 101.
I don’t personally see that we’re anywhere near a productive discussion on this or virtually any other subject, which a form of pessimism that limits, more than anyone, me. I mean, I’m writing a blog in my jammies, not getting published in major outlets, thanks in part to my pessimism. I do feel interested, vaguely, in this trend of white self-identified liberals investigating their own unconscious bias, at expensive dinner parties designed for that uncomfortable purpose, etc. I’m not sure victims of bias appreciate unconscious bias any more than conscious bias, possibly less so in fact, but I suppose any step in a new direction can evolve into the right direction, eventually. I just see this particular step as being one click too externalized to change much. The world is our mirror, and those of us most likely to kneel on the necks of external symbols, there, also tend to be the least likely to ask, “Which of my limiting beliefs about reality does this man symbolize, upon whose neck I’m currently kneeling?”
There was a picture of a big sign or graffiti or I forget what it was, of this ask: “White people — do something.” I’m white so I guess this is me doing something?
Ah! I have it. I have the solution, which would actually work in the real world. Non-white-skinned people need to get really rich. What I mean is, victims of the lesser god must become Emissaries of the Over-God. Frankly, I haven’t heard a lot of racial churn from those distinct little reservations where gambling made everyone filthy rich. It’s interesting how money makes race just — poof! Disappear. Which speaks to an even more dominant dominant ideology, or perhaps only that very wealthy people are granted, essentially, honorary doctorates in Great Whiteness.
This is an interesting thought experiment, right? Imagine if everyone in a crime ridden ghetto (what the fuck else would a ghetto be “ridden” by) was suddenly massively, exponentially wealthy? Not like new car wealthy, but like calling the shots at local and state level government wealthy. Yeah, people would spin out too — white trash with cash has paved the way, in terms of demonstrating that you can’t buy taste — but what I’ve learned, in my personal and professional life, is that if you add enough money to any equation, the issues smooth themselves out one way or the other.
So maybe everyone, myself included, is barking up the wrong tree about race? Obviously I get that race and wealth and access to wealth interact in complex ways — I mean, I grew up white on a reservation, and if it taught me anything, it’s that darker skinned people are likely to assume I’m walking around with a lot more money in my pocket than I am. We never object to neutral or positive racial stereotypes, you’ll note — just negative ones. Obviously. But I think, just in terms of a hypothetical thought experiment, that the ticking time bomb of racism could be most directly and effectively diffused at the level of wealth, if we’re taking it as a given that we’re all incapable of spiritual introspection, which is safe because mostly we are.
Now I just want to point out that you, the reader, probably interpreted that whole thought experiment from the presumption of wealth flowing, somehow, *from* The Great Whiteness *to* one or more of its isms. That would only solidify the problem. Redistribution of wealth sounds good, but you still end up with the dynamic of the person who treated everyone to lunch, versus the people who got treated. There’s a smugness to it, and a resentment.
I’m just imagining this scenario where let’s say black communities, or poor Hispanic communities, or entire tribal nations throw in together on some cryptos that go to the moon — the odds aren’t great, but they’re not impossible. And then with some wise re-investment of those returns, a sizable chunk is attained — enough to throw its weight around. This would be amazing, right? I mean, this is essentially what the Mormon church has accomplished. Yeah, I know, it’s a bastion of whiteness, but it’s also a cult with an extremely flimsy origin story, driven mercilessly, and with a high degree of irritation, from its native home and forced to put down roots elsewhere. You just wouldn’t expect it to become — you know, this major financial big dawg. And that’s the objectionable part about wealth. In order to accrue it, large scale, you must become that which you seek to destroy — the miser, the controller, the acquisition-er.
Whiteness and Wealth. You can clep into whiteness given enough wealth, or you can clep into wealth given enough whiteness.
Wealth is changing. I don’t know if I can say the same for Whiteness, but I can say it for wealth. We can’t get it the same ways we used to; we can’t keep it in the same places we used to; fiat currency’s check engine light has been on for a while, now. In this over-extended, debt-based national economy, The Great Whiteness has never been propped up by a flimsier kickstand. I wonder — I’m just vision sharing right now, sometimes that’s a very useful thing for everyone involved in a shared vision — I wonder if the imminent collapse of the momentum of wealth as we’ve known it, while admittedly catastrophic, could also signify a change in the balance of racial power?
Isms, peripheral to The Great Whiteness, becoming very very wealthy: that would just change everything, in the most wickedly delightful way.
And that’s something to think about.