July 03, 2003
Yes Tyehimba, this is an excellent essay!
I came here as an angry white person, a person born through no fault of my own into the 'enemy camp'. Every day it seems, I discover new tentacles of this monster of my privilege, none of which I ever sought or inherently deserve.
One of the things that makes it so difficult for whites to come correct is because we have this virtually inborn sense of entitlement that permeates nearly every aspect of our lives, even if we may consider ourselves 'conscious.' There is always more work to do.
Whites are attracted by the livity of Rastafari because they feel, often unconsciously, ah here is a chance to relieve myself of the burden of being the 'bad guy'. Well that is okay as far as it goes, wanting to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, but what is required after that is some painstaking work of self-examination which, because of this very privilege and the intellectual and moral LAZINESS that goes with it, most find too difficult to do.
And so they want to short-circuit the conversation and resort to platitudes about love. They also expect blacks to relieve them of the burden of guilt they feel. As if black people exist simply for their comfort. This is no different than the worst slavemaster.
Well one and all knows that ultimately Love yes is the answer, but people who labor under the burden of privilege also labor with an imperfect understanding of love. Love and Truth, for example, are one. So where there is not Truth, there can be no Love. It is most definitely NOT loving to come to a justifiably angry black person and say 'hey get over it let bygones be bygones. I personally am not downpressing you I am your sister. One Love.' This is truly grotesque and displays the worst kind of ignorance.
What white people have to deal with, one and all, and this is painful to the extreme let I tell you, is that by their very existence in a white skin they benefit DIRECTLY from a system that mangles black people. And to retreat into the bushes and pretend that they don't carry their privilege with them anyway is a terrible dishonesty.
We must find the way in each of our lives to use the resources we are given for free as a result of our privilege and dedicate them to educational purposes to defeat this system of white supremacy which holds both black and white in bondage.
Many of the whites here who sight up Rasta are from a middle class background, or more. It is a matter of personal integrity for people to get a grip on how they use the excess they have been given, and dedicate what is beyond their personal physical needs, both time and money, to bring this system down.
I am in the midst of coming to terms with this, and it is very challenging, and seems in many ways like it's the 'last thing to go.' It is all well and good for me to engage other whites in this conversation, which I do every day of my working life and here as well, but another to make my life a testament and witness to these beliefs. Some days I'm squirming like a worm on a hook, facing more ugly truths, just when I thought I was free and clear...
'Feelgoodism' is the way of white privilege. We hear the Afrikans here speaking their pain, and it is the way of courage and integrity to listen, and respond in very real ways, life-changing ways, not just ganja, dreadlocks, and reggae as symbols of solidarity. No. not the symbols but the real thing itself.
Change your life to align with the truths you know. And the very thing you have not been looking at is the very thing you must address.
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