I’m a Racist

iStock_000001291278XSmall–Shauna Aura Knight

Hi, I’m Shauna, and I’m a racist. No, not one of the ones clearly defined by the pointy hats and white robes. And not one of the racists clearly identified by hateful invective.

In fact, I’m in some ways the more dangerous kind of racist; or at least, I was. Once upon a time, I was the kind of racist who didn’t realize how bigoted I was. I still struggle with my own blind spots and how much this impacts my thoughts and actions on a daily basis.

How did I come to be this way? This kind of racism is systemic. It’s ambient. If you’re raised in it, you can’t see it any more than you can see the air you breathe. But just because you can’t see the air doesn’t mean you aren’t breathing it in.

I used to believe I lived in a post-racial society, that I was “color blind.” And then…I used to believe that Pagans couldn’t be racist. Yet within the broader Pagan communities, we do unfortunately have problems with racism just like the dominant culture does.

But what do we do about it? Because #BlackLivesMatter .

Admitting There’s a Problem
It’s said in AA, and in a number of other places, that the first step is acknowledging that yes, we do have a problem. And with racism, if we want to actually dismantle it we have to acknowledge how much we each are a part of that system. The challenge here is that, for most of us, our egos don’t want to admit to something so heinous. “I’m not a racist,” we want to say.

If you were raised like I was, bigots were the bad guys.

Except, we get all this mixed messaging from the culture we grew up in. In the Immanion Press anthology Bringing Race to the Table, I have an article “Facilitating Inclusive Rituals and Events” where I discuss some of the mixed messaging I grew up with.

I was raised in an almost all-white town. I was taught that the N-word is impolite…and yet, I was also taught to lock my car door if a Black person was nearby. I was taught that it’s polite to try and be “color blind” and not make judgments about someone based on their skin color. And yet, there were jokes and phrases I heard at family events and at school that I only really later understood were offensive.

I recall hearing white people say “Yes, Mass’ah,” as a sarcastic way to indicate that they felt put upon by someone asking them to do a task. One older family member was fond of saying, “I’s a-shufflin,” as a sarcastic way of implying he was hurrying, but at the pace of a lazy slave. I also recall lots of jokes that were basically saying things the way a Black person might say them, or with a Mexican accent, to make them sound funnier—and people would laugh. And I would laugh. Because, if there’s one quick road to an easy joke, it’s making fun of someone for being or sounding different. I knew that overt discrimination was wrong, but a lot of it was stuff I literally couldn’t even “hear,” it was just stuff people said when I was growing up.

Let’s take it a little further. Recently a Black woman was looking at my paintings and she asked me if I ever painted Black people. I admit, I was a little stunned. The thought that crossed my mind was, why would I paint Black people? I’m white. And then I was further stunned by that thought. People have similar responses to things even as seemingly innocent as what child’s toy to buy. Barbie toys, for instance. The Black Barbie isn’t considered the “real” Barbie.

Taking this still further, I will hear someone speak a racial stereotype. “Black people are lazy,” or, “There are more criminals among Black people.” When challenged, they say, “Well, it’s not being racist if it’s true, right?”

Privilege and Racism
I know, you’re probably sick of the P-word. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen throw an absolute fit when they get privilege-checked. In fact, I was that person a few years ago. At that time, I thought, how could you possibly say I’ve been privileged? Do you know what I’ve been through in my life?

Remember: The concept of privilege isn’t to downplay anyone’s pain, or to say that just because you aren’t a minority you didn’t suffer. The concept of privilege is specifically that, because of skin color or gender or sexuality, some people will be automatically discriminated against and thus have less opportunities.

Here’s an example. My parents were pretty broke when I was growing up. I was the kid at school that was teased for being poor and for getting the free lunches. Many of my classmates got cars for their 16th birthday. However, I grew up in a safe area. I could play outside. And I got an excellent education at a high school that offered AP classes. Kids in my school were expected to go on to college.

There are infinite ways that privilege impacts our lives, and it’s not a binary. It’s not, yes you are privileged, no you are not. Though I had access to a good education, I was faced bullying because I was the fat kid with acne, and I still face discrimination for being fat. It’s not an either or.

But I’m Not Bad
The problem with privilege and racism is that, by definition, we don’t see it. It’s like warm bathwater. You can’t see it, so you have no idea you have it or you’re doing it. When someone points out that we’re coming at something from a place of privilege, or that our comments were racist, it can be a confusing and painful moment. Unfortunately, the way our brains are wired, often our first reaction is usually a defensive one. We feel attacked.

I often write about the challenges of personal growth work, in specific, any time we are working with ego and identity, we’re facing some big challenges. Ego has a big job, and Ego isn’t bad. But Ego sometimes also overdoes it. In specific, one of Ego’s jobs is to make sure we feel good about ourselves, which means maintaining a positive self identity. Usually, when someone tells us we did something “bad,” we hear it as, “You are bad.” Instead of apologizing and saying, “Sorry I did a thing that was bad/hurt your feelings,” Ego instead rejects the notion that we–who are “good,” could do anything “bad.”

Here’s an example. Person A: “You broke my favorite dish!” Person B: “Well, you shouldn’t have left it out on the counter!”

Person B probably went through the whole process of rejecting that they did anything bad, because that would mean they are bad, and instead launched a counterattack making the other person “wrong.”

It gets even worse when someone calls someone else out on privilege, misogyny, racism, homophobia, or anything else in the big bucket of bigotry.

“What you said is racist” immediately generates a defensive response because, we don’t want to believe we’re racists. Racists are bad, right? Ego can’t handle being bad, so we reject it. It’s cognitive dissonance.

Complaining: The Shrieking Eels
As a strategic designer, I recognize that complaining is an important part of problem solving. If the first step is acknowledging we have a problem, the second step is outlining that problem–in other words, complaining. Without the ability to give voice to the problem, there is no way to successfully engage a strategy to resolve a solution.

Except when we’re talking about something like racism, the denial-engine is so huge that nobody wants to listen when Black people and other People of Color speak up and say, “We are being oppressed.” White people will keep holding to this strange idea that we live in an equal society. If you’re coming at the racist problems in society from the outside, from a place of privilege, there are a number of behaviors that are almost automatic.

Black people are seen as whiny, not as activists. When Black people talk about discrimination in the workplace, you’ll hear people say, “Well, if you weren’t so lazy and just worked harder.” I have family members who uttered things like this and yet who would never identify themselves as being racist.

You see this denial also with misogyny. It was rampant in GamerGate. People victim blame others. They say, “Oh, that hasn’t happened to me so it couldn’t have happened to you.” Men who haven’t experienced misogyny don’t see it, don’t understand it. They may not be engaging in it…or not intentionally engaging…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

On a Facebook discussion thread, someone used the metaphor of the “shrieking eels” from the Princess Bride movie, and I find it apt. Whenever a minority begins speaking up about their experiences and demands equality–whether it’s a woman, people of color, a religious minority, or any other–the people who are in the position of privilege, in the position of the status quo, hear it as shrieking eels.

They just want the shrieking to stop. They just want people to stop talking about it so they can go back to their lives. You see it all the time when people say, “The only one making this about race is Black people.” I see so many white people who are sick of the race conversation, sick of the privilege conversation. They just want the shrieking to stop so things will be “ok” again.

But they never realized, it wasn’t ok to begin with. We cannot dismantle racism until we notice how complicit we have been in the system, and how our thoughts, words, and actions keep the status quo.

Shifting Perspective
I think that some of the most important work any of us do around this is just that shift in perspective to get someone from “That’s not a problem, you’re overreacting” to acknowledging, “I didn’t see it before. I’m sorry that happened to you.”

Instead of shouting down the Black voices who have stood up to protest the Ferguson shooting and verdict, and instead of shaking our heads at the violence of the rioting, maybe instead we can ask, “What about their lives was so horrific that they would do that?”

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

In general, I support a nonviolent approach to protest. However, I also fully recognize that there is a time when people have been oppressed, and there is no longer patience for diplomacy. For asking for a seat at the table. For waiting for things to change. Here is a great article by Cat Chapin-Bishop that articulates some of why “peace” can become a silencing word.

People of color have faced horrific injustice. And this injustice is built into the system.

I started out this blog post saying I was a racist, because acknowledging my own prejudices helped me to see the places I was keeping that system going, supporting it, feeding it, all while unaware.

Awareness and Change
If we can become aware of the thousand ways we each support that system, we can begin to change it. This change isn’t easy, but it must be done. #BlackLivesMatter is important, and #AllLivesMatter is a distraction. Saying that Black lives matter doesn’t mean that I believe anyone else matters less. It doesn’t mean I’m saying that I no longer support feminism or the rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, or trans and genderfluid people.

It means that I’m throwing my focus to an issue that has (and needs) attention right now.

Here’s a secret–solving one problem with discrimination actually inherently helps others, because any time we combat bigotry that helps all the oppressed. It’s not an either/or.

This article is an excellent overview of the many deflections and complaints of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. http://tcorganizer.com/2015/01/16/common-objections-to-the-black-lives-matter-movement/

Pagans and Racism
You might be asking what this has to do with Paganism. First–Pagans, too, face discrimination. What I’d ask is, how can we not have compassion for other minorities and what they go through?

The other is that the broader Pagan community is a lot more racist than you might think. I admit, I have been shocked a few times in the past months to read some of the comment threads out there. I’ll admit, when some of the Black Pagans I know would talk about racism they faced, I used to think, “Gosh, I bet they are just oversensitive.”

Nope. The Ferguson rulings, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the subsequent push for many Pagan organizations to put out statements in support of Black community members, all generated a lot of comment threads on Pagan groups and pages. And I realized how very wrong I was. My Black friends were not oversensitive. They were not overreacting. They were not being melodramatic.

This was real. I watched Pagan voices speaking racist, discriminatory, and bigoted rhetoric.

Here’s a series of events that illustrates the ambient racism within Paganism, if you want to see it in action. First, a number of Pagan organizations began issuing statements in support of #BlackLivesMatter
http://wildhunt.org/2014/12/blacklivesmatter-reaction-and-response.html

However, when Covenant of the Goddess released their statement, many Pagans pointed out how inadequate it was, and how it was even phrased in a way that was in fact offensive to Pagans of color. COG later released a revised draft statement and you can read both here.
http://covenantpio.blogspot.com/2015/01/update-cogs-response-to-blacklivesmatter.html

If you have Facebook, however, a quick read through the comments thread on the original release of the statement reveals a horrific amount of racism.
https://www.facebook.com/covenantofthegoddess/posts/840385572651207

Crystal Blanton, a Pagan who is a tireless activist for justice for people of color, resigned from Covenant of the Goddess (as did several others) in response to COG’s release of their statement, and explained some of why she did so.
http://crystalblanton.com/?p=1080

Without going too far into the details, what I have heard from several sources is that people of color in COG offered feedback on the offensiveness of the original statement, and that feedback was ignored. Later, after the statement was released, the main COG discussion list had heated debate on the topic of #BlackLivesMatter and then all discussion of said topics was banned from their list and the conversation was silenced.

I’m not a member of COG, and I respect a lot of what COG has done for the Pagan community over the years, however, I find this to be quite disturbing.

What was, perhaps, more disturbing for me was just in realizing how many Pagans are also racists, and probably don’t even know it. For me, this was a real wake up call, just as it was shocking to me when I realized how often I have acted or spoke in a discriminatory way.

There are plenty of examples of racism in the Pagan community, but you probably won’t see them unless you realize how immersed in racism you already are. So how do we change that? How do we begin to eliminate this systemic racism so that we can each be better allies?

What Can We Do?
First, we can educate ourselves. I am by no means an expert here, I’m still learning. I still find myself horrified at how often I realize I’m coming at things from a racist perspective.

I found that articles on microaggressions were a good resource to begin to understand some of my prejudices as well as harmful behaviors, and to understand that I’ve had a lot of bigoted things come out of my mouth out of ignorance and assumption. Here are a few of them, but just do a Google search on the term.

http://www.microaggressions.com/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/racial-microagressions-you-hear-on-a-daily-basis#.uyG8mY1ge6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression_theory

You might also watch the vidoe of the Pagans of Color panel from the Pagan Activism Conference Online.

https://vimeo.com/112712634

Here are a few other articles on things allies can do, or what is offensive to people of color that you may not be aware of, but this is just a brief sampling. The internet is a wide world of resources.

And here are some articles on a Pagan perspective of Ferguson and militarized police:

http://wildhunt.org/2014/08/culture-and-community-ferguson-and-its-importance-in-todays-society.html

http://wildhunt.org/2014/11/culture-and-community-special-edition-the-unfolding-of-ferguson.html

Our community is starting to gain more resources for Black voices. Crystal Blanton and Immanion Press have released several anthologies, Shades of Faith, Shades of Ritual, and the just-released Bringing Race to the Table, all of which are resources worth exploring.
http://www.immanion-press.com/info/books.asp?authorID=89

Why It Matters
Some Pagans say, “This is a Black issue, not a Pagan issue.” What does a Black person hear from that? “You don’t have a place in our community.”

“Press Releases won’t fix anything.” That’s true. But, if Pagan organizations put out big press releases for a marginalized group for something like gay marriage, yet when the Ferguson decisions came in they didn’t speak up in support of Black people, that also says, “You don’t have a place in our community.”

“I don’t have any Black people in my group, why should I bother?” See above.

The below blog post covers a lot of ground. It’s specifically in reaction to the Covenant of the Goddess statement referenced above, but I believe that it’s a great overview of the issue of why this should matter to Pagans.

“denying, dismissing, or ignoring the racial bias in our society, and especially our justice system, is unconscionable. I believe that it is our sacred duty to stand up to and speak out against injustice wherever we may find it, and even more so when that injustice actively harms other people.

http://mystiknomad.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/cogs-statement-a-response/

Also, here’s an excellent (and concise) example of a statement in support of #BlackLivesMatter on the Bay Area Reclaiming web site http://www.bayareareclaiming.org/solidarity/statement-from-racial-and-gender-justice-circle

Change the System
Black people are threatened by our system. Physically, emotionally, financially threatened. If you’re white, you probably aren’t feeling that threat. But, just because you aren’t feeling it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. When you see a person of color who is angry at the injustice in the system, instead of telling them to calm down, ask yourself, “Why am I not pissed off at the system and fighting too?”

Question your own assumptions. If you’re getting upset that Black protesters stopped traffic or set fire to stores, put yourself in their place. What would you do if Pagans were oppressed in that way? If women were oppressed in that way? Would you want someone telling you, “Now is not the time for anger, now is not the time for violence,” when yet another member of your community was shot and killed unjustly?

I’m not the best person to write about many of the topics that I bring up here. And I’ve made mistakes and said offensive things while trying to be an ally, and I’ll probably do it again. I’m not a perfect ally and I have more to learn. However, as a white person, I can at least offer the perspective of my own slow awakening to realize how much I came at things from a place of privilege, a place of prejudice and bigotry.

It wasn’t a happy awakening.

But, having seen what I cannot now unsee, I can begin to slowly shift my assumptions, my behaviors. I can see how racism plays out in society and within the confines of the Pagan subculture. I can speak out about it and at least bring awareness to it. We can’t change it if we can’t acknowledge our own problems.

Racism is part of our problem. It’s not a Black people problem, it’s a human problem. It’s a Pagan problem too. Will you keep your head buried in denial, or will you work to confront it and dismantle the system one brick at a time?

———————————

I want to take a moment to offer a special acknowledgement to Crystal Blanton. She has offered me a lot of perspective and education that helped me to understand what Black people face in general, but in specific, what Black people face in the Pagan community. Many of the thoughts I’ve offered here in this blog post come from things she has posted on her Facebook wall or the ensuing comment threads.

—————————————————————————————–

BioShauna2

Shauna Aura Knight writes on the topics of community leadership, spiritual transformation, and activism. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path, and Spiritual Scents, as well as a contributor to many magazines and anthologies, as well as a fiction author and fantasy artist. Shauna travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of ritual, facilitation, leadership, and personal growth.

Check out her blog on Pagan leadership and community building or her web site for more information.

25 thoughts on “I’m a Racist

  1. Heather Freysdottir

    Reblogged this on Loki's Bruid and commented:
    I really like this piece by Shauna Aura Knight. I’d add to it that on my FB wall recently, there was a conversation about privilege, and one of my friends talked about discussing it in his college class. “We examined our privilege and our biases and nothing bad happened. We didn’t die. We didn’t become bad people suddenly because we realized that we had some biases. Everyone has them.” I’m blogging his statement because I’d like my fellow white people to consider that in examining our biases, we truly have nothing to lose, and much to gain in kindness, compassion, humanity, and a more just world.

  2. Amanda

    Excellent article Shauna. I definitely grew up in a racist environment, and have been conditioned to be racist. Up until recently, I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at not being racist- I never used the “N-word”, I had friends that were Black, and I would’ve happily stood up for them if I had witnessed any discrimination against them. But with the recent discussion, I see that I still have a long way to go, and that it definitely is a problem for everyone, and by working on this, it will help other groups that are discriminated against as well. I agree that the first step is that white people need to stop being defensive and actively listen. Thank you for taking the time to talk about this.

  3. Phaedra Bonewits

    Thank you for this; it’s important work. Yes, it is so very hard to understand ambient cultural prejudices. I know I’ve done dumb things, but I want to believe I’m working to see the water in which we fish swim.

  4. Corwen

    I think there is an unconscious racism and exclusivity built into many Paganisms. As a sometime practitioner of Druidry I am constantly disturbed by references such as ‘indigenous Celtic’ or recently a flyer for a Druid event which promised, in a phrase reminiscent of the Third Reich to celebrate the spirituality of ‘our land’. Unconscious ‘othering’ of non white and non Celtic people seems almost intrinsic to contemporary neo-Druidry.

  5. Dahne ni Don

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been dealing with. Being a minority makes one sensitive to the needs of other minorities, but does not give you the ‘privilege’ of speaking for all other minorities. Or knowing what they feel. Or how they need to act to be ‘accepted’.

  6. R

    Reblogged this on A Druid Companion and commented:
    Racism exists as a system and tends to affect everything within that system. It is only by looking outside of ourselves to understand the word “racist” as descriptive rather than pejorative that we can begin to address it well from a place of deep power.

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  9. Corvus (Corvi) Black

    Reblogged this on Cosmic Twist and commented:
    I admit, I wasn’t sure where this article was going at first or if it would be a trigger for me but I’m so glad I read it. A very thought provoking and encouraging post about racism, the influence of ego, and the pagan connection.

  10. Lucius Svartwulf Helsen

    Reblogged this on Son of Hel and commented:
    So I’m reblogging this partially to mark it so I can come back later, and partially to respond. This is in now way a full response, but this is what I have at the moment.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I am Svartwulf, and I am a racist.

    Oh, I didn’t start out as a racist. I was taught we were living in a post racial world, that everyone was equal, and that no man or woman was different from each other. We all could do the same things, be held to the same standards, and that the color of one’s skin didn’t matter.

    But, it turns out, I was wrong. The color of one’s skin does matter, it does place you above or below people. I was told that there were privileges to being white, and that while other races also had their privileges, these privileges did not matter, that they distracted from the truth, that the white person had superior privileges. This was often placed in the jingoistic language that life in the USA was how life was everywhere, that the privileges of white people in the USA were universal privileges round the world. That these privileges, nebulous and indescribable and invisible that they were, were so ensconced in society as to be irremovable. That even checking these privileges wasn’t enough, that placing others of different races than me above myself in order of speak or relevance was not enough to remove these privileges and their horrible taint on society. That as a white person, I was always going to be of the superior race for as long as that race existed.

    I was taught that my religion (Asatru/Heathenism) was racist because it celebrated “white” heritage, culture, and that it was racist because it preserved them, spoke in the languages of “our people” and that it othered because it said that we had our gods, and that other people had other gods. I was told that this was racist, that it did not respect them, that it mistreated them, because we had something. Something that others had their own of, but because had ours and said it was ours, we were racist.

    And then I saw where this was leading. I saw that all lives did not matter. Covenant of the Goddess taught me this, when they said that all lives mattered and were flayed alive in the proverbial public square for it. It was black lives that mattered, because they were not privileged, because they were not white. It did not matter who those that died had been, it had not mattered in their life what they had done. What had mattered was that they were black. And as I saw their anger (which was understandable) and their call for justice (who could not agree) I saw the black brunches, I heard the chants, and I saw the violence, and I understood something.

    As a white person, I was privileged. As a white person, I lived in a system that was going to always be nicer to me (even as it would leave me broke, unemployed, homeless, and on the street). As I white person, I came to understand that this privilege was going to never going to cease to exist until white people were gone.

    Until all the white people were dead. Because it was a system built by white people, apparently for white people, to benefit white people. And sure, the dream had been that all people could have a fair chance, that all their lives mattered, but this, I have come to understand, it a white dream, for white people.

    So I was faced with a choice. I could continue to live the white dream, the dream that all people were equal, all had a chance, perhaps not the greatest of chances, but a chance, to make their lives better, to speak their minds and live as they saw fit under the law. Or I could give up this dream, accept the fact that apparently white people were in a superior place, made superior by our place, and that there was a choice of going back in the dream if I could give up all my privileges (which was impossible, for by being white I would always have these privileges)…or I could be a racist.

    Because racism, is, at it’s heart, nothing more than group preference. My religion, after all, preferred itself and its ways and that was what made it racist. So the only way I could give up my privilege, the only way I could give up my racism, was to give up my faith, my people, our ways and our dreams. Perhaps, even, to give up the lives of my people because the systemic racism of the system cannot be eliminated without eliminating the white people who make and run that system.

    I believed in equality of peoples. I believed that all beings were equal. But then I was informed that my beings, my people, cannot be allowed to exist because their existence is oppressive, and if all are to be equal then those that are not equal, those that are above, must be eliminated.

    And I cannot be part of that genocide. I cannot in good concious look at my assigned people, “white people” and say that they are worthy of destruction simply because over the course of hundreds of years and with oceans of their blood, built a place for themselves that occasionally stood on the back of others. After all, that is the history of all peoples in this world, and my people do not deserve death and dissolution simply because they played the same game, by the same rules, and managed to win in a few geographic locations.

    Racism is group preference. So I chose to prefer my group, because in preferring my group I preserve my existence, my people’s existence, our heritage, and our ways. Because I am a racist who believes that #alllivesmatter, including white people. This may make me evil, this may make me a horrible person. But though evil, though unpleasant, though horrible, it is the only choice I can make in good conscious. Because I will not see a people attacked for simply being born who they are, by an accident of birth, and the fact that it might have made their life just a little bit better than someone else’s.

    I am Svartwulf, and I am a racist.

    Leave your thoughts below.

  11. C.H.

    I am a White Pagan Female, and I am racist. I was raised that way -very much as ‘bringing race to the table’ discussed above. Our new society has a problem with it – I don’t. While I don’t go around advertising it or calling people names etc – I do feel … privileged.

  12. Rev. Dragon's Eye

    I gave up on the “race” argument a long time ago.

    It seems that everything I said, was always taken as “racist” or “bigoted”. Gee. Not much fun when despite all attempts to “play be the rules”, you still LOSE!

    There again,
    When all decided to limit their vision to everything on the surface, never once peering into the realm of character, was when we realized we were truly blind.

    – And now, – – – The rest of the story.

  13. James Field

    I’m not sure how to say this properly. Yes, Lucius Svartwulf Helson is a racist. Also, he is profoundly stupid. So literally Gods Damned stupid (yes, I know what “literally” means) that he is not worth addressing directly. However his Aryan Nazi jerk off fantasies should be left on this page as a shining example of just how many racist idiots are part of our “Pagan Community”. Fortunately I know enough Heathens to know that this whining pile of bird droppings is not representative of Heathenism or Assatru.

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  15. Pegi Eyers

    Great initiative to educate Pagan Community Shauna! The level of ignorance, denial and bigotry in paganism is astounding, but is proof positive that just because someone is on a solipsistic spiritual path, doesn’t mean they are exempt from the systemic nature of racist imperialism. Just as there are oppressed people, there is another side of the dynamic, which is the oppressor. Everyone in the Americas who is descended from European Settlers is a member of the dominant society, without exception, and a “colorblind pass” does not exist! Our job as activists is to call people out on their racism and ignorance, but also to stay in balance and “call them in” at the same time (which is to engage with the difficult conversations). Great job on doing this Shauna! The basics everyone needs to understand is that racism was created by white European men; the Americas are a white supremacist society; white people are the dominant group with all associated privileges and entitlements; there is no such thing as reverse racism; and every single one of us continues to be affected by these systemic power imbalances. These facts have to be the basis of any anti-racism work – to clarify, to undo, to put the oppressed in front, and to work for the equity that will turn into equality. As white people it is difficult at first to accept these “hard truths,” but by taking responsibility to undo the mess made by our white supremacist ancestors, it definitely gets easier.

  16. john lavers

    I have come to realize that almost all paganism in the English speaking world is based on bigotry. it’s not just about colour. celtic people who were raised in and are essentailly from a celtic culture are expected to kow tow to amateurish translations, or out right mistakes in language, because and important person said it was so, and they are required to shut up and go away if they discuss the endless English war in Ireland or the north American genocide against natives. and are forced to respect endless ethnic stereotypes, often quite insulting ones. as we are all drunk or violent. (when in fact the endless anglo cultures have been at endless war throughout the world for the majority of the last five hundred years. and then if you object you are banned. anglo culture is racist, bigoted on class and ethnicity to its core and ite even worse among pagans. gardnarians are free to do what they want, but there is no ligitamate link to any celtic culture. they are completely making that up, and any celtic druids or other pagans following garnarian views are just not celtic, and should admit it and allow actual celts their place. instead they want to run the show and be really cool celts. druidry is totally tainted with this. and other anglo syncretistic fantasies. yeah Africans and natives have it much worse, but if you are borrowing from celtic cultures, maybe allow a few celtc in, and let them have free speech.

  17. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    PSA: John Lavers was trolling the ADF tradition’s Facebook group when someone posted a link to this blog post. His long, long, long stream of comments took the conversation largely off topic. Then he started messaging me on FB and I eventually blocked him. Then he dug up my personal email address to message me there, and now he’s commenting here. It’s likely I will just “trash” any further comments from him in the interest of shutting down his trolling, since I have heard from others that he is a regular troll in other forums as well.

  18. Krista Mann

    I want to thank you for this article. It is an important topic. I am a Black Pagan and I have to say that in general I am very proud of my Pagan community. I have not agreed with every article or position but I have to say that it is the Pagan community is still at the forefront of at least attempting to address these very sensitive issues of #BlackLivesMatter and White Privilege.

  19. Azzmador

    A racist is just a White person who hasn’t been brainwashed into being ashamed of himself anf his ancestors.
    You say you’re anti-racist. You’re just anti-White.

  20. Pingback: The Answer to Racism? More Racism…Apparently… | Son of Hel

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