How to be an Antiracist Part 2

 How to be an Antiracist, Part Two

This week we are revisiting a book we have discussed before: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. We are going to be unpacking a couple more ideas from the book and delve into them a little; we will talk about current racism as well as the history of racism in America and how it continues to hurt our brothers and sisters of all different colors. One of the worst things about growing up in a redneck state full of white supremacists is that I never had the pleasue of meeting and making friends with people from diverse backgrounds. Everyone I went to high school with was either white or Latinx, all the white kids were members of the same Mormon church and grew up together, and most of the Latinx kids went to the Catholic church and kept to themselves. Because of all of this, I am able to really see modern American racism for the first time in my life. It is ugly, and it is beneath those of us who choose to walk the Path. 

Having a Black president did not “solve” racism. It is alive and well in this country. Those of you in Idaho know that people there will proudly display what they think is the rebel flag with absolutely no irony whatsoever, somehow forgetting that not only is Idaho one of the northern-most states in the Union but it also did not exist as a state until after the Civil War was over. Never mind how objectively stupid it is to fly a flag that stands for racism, treason, and surrender. Do not think about how the Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history. Instead, think for a second how a person of color might feel seeing that flag and knowing the person displaying it openly supports racism and slavery, and their neighbors either agree or are too afraid to argue. You can drive through a small town in Idaho and see three or more of those flags. If you were Black, would you stop in such a town, even for a moment? I would not. Our own Courtney has expressed to me her fears of even driving through Idaho for any reason, and I do not blame her; I would be concerned for her safety if she ever had to visit or pass through Idaho. While it is not the only state that a Black person or other ethnic minority would not consider safe to visit, we must acknowledge that there are no entire states where it is unsafe to be white.

Race is purely a social construct, with no basis in biological reality, but artificial segregation and systemic oppression have created completely disparate cultures as well as outcomes. All of this is deliberate; intentionally racist laws and policies remain in place in many jurisdictions and organizations. For one example, Black people were treated as second-class members of the Mormon church until 1978. Their segregationist p0licies denied people of color the opportunities for networking and building mutually beneficial relationships that are the only things that the Mormon church is good for anyway. The last state to repeal its laws against interracial marriage was Alabama in -wait for it- the year 2000, and my beloved Courtney’s great-grandmother was the first in her family not born into slavery.We still have laws in place that were written specifically to give police an excuse to arrest black people. I am not just talking about stop-and-frisk laws that police use to disproportionately target Black and Latino men. I mean the fact that heroin is against the law, but tobacco is not. Both are addictive and harmful if abused, but white people like their cigarettes, and we have been brainwashed by Drug War propaganda to think that heroin is somehow worse than nicotine or even alcohol. Even legal heroin, by which I mean opiate painkillers, is handed out to white people like candy at a parade, while most Black people, especially Black women, are given Tylenol or, most often, nothing at all. But the Nixon administration wanted a reason to bust the Black Panthers, so they made heroin illegal and then sold it to Black people so they could arrest them later. What is interesting about this is that it is practically common knowledge -in fact, it has been openly and publicly confessed by those involved- but nobody seems to care very much about what this is doing to our brothers and sisters of color.

The way of the Path is toward Serenity and Enlightenment, and embracing antiracist ideas is a big step in the right direction. Followers of the Path are encouraged to look past superficial diversity to see the spark of divinity within another.


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