All Lives Matter...
25th June 2020
This quote spoke to me today:
“I hate the practice of race discrimination, and in my hatred I am sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind hate it equally. I hate the systematic inculcation of children with colour prejudice and I am sustained in that hatred by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind, here and abroad, are with me in that. I hate the racial arrogance which decrees that the good things of life shall be retained as the exclusive right of a minority of the population, and which reduces the majority of the population to a position of subservience and inferiority, and maintains them as voteless chattels to work where they are told and behave as they are told by the ruling minority. I am sustained in that hatred by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind both in this country and abroad are with me.”
I’m no expert on race and I’m writing this from a position of white privilege and someone who has major gaps in my knowledge. I do however have quite a lot of understanding of scapegoating and ancestral trauma. Scapegoating is the the process of projecting all the disowned parts of yourself, all the things you dislike and are ashamed of onto another person, group or community. It happens in the school playground when a child is bullied for being different in some way. It happens in groups of teenagers where there is gang rivalry and we all do it to people who are receptive to those projections because of low self-worth. The scapegoat often holds a difference, whether visible or invisible and they consciously or unconsciously take on what is projected onto them and even embody it to the point where they believe and become it too.
I genuinely believe that white people have been projecting their own shadow material to coin one of Jung’s phrases onto black people for centuries. You cannot objectify, de-humanise or abuse another human being unless you are projecting that they are bad and denying your own deeply repressed violence and rage. It has been convenient for white people to deny and whitewash the part they played in the slave trade and for the millions of lives lost and to scapegoat black people so that they could stay in the position of power. You’ve only got to watch ‘13’ on Netflix to see that the whole war on drugs during the Reagan administration was in fact a strategy for putting black people behind bars.
Ancestral trauma is a term used in therapy to describe the legacy of trauma we carry in our bodies from our ancestors. There is research that proves that for example the children of those who were tortured in concentration camps experience extreme anxiety, traumatic flashbacks and suffer mental illness even though they themselves have not been through the traumatic experiences – but their bodies carry the trauma passed down from their parents.
It is clear to me that the black, brown and indigenous communities have been scapegoated long enough and they carry the ancestral trauma of generations. Their pain is visible and now it is very important for white people to face this. All lives matter and by using that line you are in fact participating in deflecting away from the shame of how our white ancestors behaved. We have to own this abuse of power, entitlement and privilege and recognise the moment as a consequence of our actions.
I am someone who has spiritual beliefs that on an existential level we are all the same, however I can also see that white people need to look at the depth of these patterns if we wish to change this for future generations. We have been projecting onto people of colour because we gained a lot, instead of recognising the trauma they carry and thinking of ways in which we can support them to grow and heal. In the process we have been blinded by our own egos to the point where our humility is non-existant and there is total unwillingness to take responsibility for what we have created and sustained. Spiritual communities also have major blindspots about racism in the name of transcendence. Where are your blindspots? What have you been pushing into 'the other'?
Martin Luther King said that a riot is the language of the unheard. He also said:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
We will never achieve this vision until we face the unarmed truth which means to stop defending and own the toxicity of racism within us and around us, stop scapegoating and truly listen with humility. We owe one almighty global apology. Then perhaps we can learn to love everyone as equals for the first time in a long time.
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