How could anyone in their "right mind" (more accurately their heart) believe and propagate that which; on the one hand is such a nonsensical paradigm, on the other hand, continue to use this paradigm, that advantages them so completely, while creating so much suffering for so many?
Towards the end of last year I became re-involved with a local organization that is entirely focused on the wellness of Indigenous First Nations people. I was involved (as a volunteer) some years ago now. At that time the organization was run by a Catholic nun. She has a heart of gold. However for all the good the organization brought about - it was still met with a fair bit of resistance from the indigenous community and rightly so. The flaw in the premise was, how do you connect and administer healing (emotional, spiritual etc.) to those that have suffered at the hands of colonialist systems, with more patriarchal mindsets? (that again I will point out, was over seen by a nun).
I felt called to find out what became of this organization, I had lost connection while I was traveling etc. As it turned out they were still operating in the community, in a new location, with a new mandate. They had "indigenized" (their word not mine) the founding executive director had retired (though I believe she is still involved on the board) for the most part the board is comprised of first nations members and the focus of the activities, gatherings, resources etc. is to support and empower first nations people.
My involvement currently (as a volunteer) is to participate in the Tues. evening dinner that is enjoying a growing attendance. Fortunately for all concerned their are those there that tend to the direct food preparation... my contribution is generally maybe some chopping, setting up the dining area & clean-up. God knows with the challenges some of the participants face, they don't need food poisoning from my lack of culinary prowess as well.
Mine is (in my estimation) a distinctly privileged position (in this I refer to the honour of being welcomed to attend - the opportunity to be of service & maybe in some small way be part of "a solution.") I wanted to make that distinction, so that it was clear I wasn't speaking of "my privilege as a "white male" - I'll get to that.
In that vein, I am the only white person in the room. Most of my life I've never felt superior to anyone. It's taken a lot of work to believe I can walk beside anyone (not greater than, not less than). So in that regard I certainly don't consider myself to ever have been a "supremacist." Still, obviously I have had a lifetime of advantage by virtue of my skin colour and gender selection. This was automatically handed to me - without my having to do anything. I didn't "earn" it, there's no rational reason for it - if I got up out of bed and stepped outside - it was mine. My position now is I don't rail against "advantage" - I want it equally distributed to everyone!
We have a talking circle after dinner. Again to be allowed to witness and hold space for the stories to me is stunning, humbling and healing. "We" (the "royal" we) meaning white "civilization have fucked over First nations people - well, all non-white cultures! In this there is no "supremacy!!" Absent is any human decency. It is wrong on any & all levels.
One might consider that I am putting myself in a place of considerable vulnerability. As the only "white" person in the room. Don't I run the risk of being targeted and the projection of everyone's pain? This has not been my experience - not here, nor in any of the other considerable number of circles, I've been honoured to be invited to. I see modelled grace, honour, dignity, generosity, integrity, compassion, gratitude. I am no more vulnerable here than I am anywhere else - which is contingent on how open I'm willing to be with anyone. Perhaps any notion I might have of the need, to fear retribution - is an example of the product of the Patriarchal system I've been steeped in. It doesn't have to continue to be my operating system - but I still need to be aware & acknowledge how it has warped my beliefs and thinking first.
Sure there's one fellow that I met when I first became involved years ago... he jokes and calls me "our token white guy" - I laugh along with him. It reminds me to be aware of what it is to "feel like a minority" - it gives me direct cause to expand my compassion. This same fellow has invited me to accompany him to Sweat lodge - that speaks to me far more loudly than his "ribbing!"
To me the problem with the lasting colonialist imprint, is that it was based on the idea that there was an "Indian problem." There never was & there never will be, an Indian problem. The problem is that white people, believe the first nations people are the problem, rather than clean up their own white privileged back yards.
I resumed involvement in this organization because I wanted to give something back. I get so much from being there, I am both immensely grateful & I often feel I'm not giving enough. Still I believe that nationally, reparations with First Nations communities, is a huge issue; that continues to suffer a great deal of neglect; until I get a better idea - my answer is connecting hearts and gaining understanding ... one person at a time, at the street level.
We sure can't rely on the country's politicians. As usual any real change, needs to happen at the grass-roots.
Racism remains in our midst in the form of wounds that continue to fester from the past, as well as continued traumatization, from current unbalanced policies, and the blatant ignorance & fear based behaviour of would be supremacists.
I'd say it's time for the "Whites" to drop the attitude of "Right" & take a step toward doing the right thing, each and every day.