White Guilt is an Indulgence

If you are classified as white in this country you live with the privilege of (at least) 400 years of racism and genocide. It doesn’t matter how you got here.

It does not matter that my great-grandfather came over from the Netherlands during WWI; he benefited from his skin color even though he could not speak or write a word of English. He benefited from systemic racism and genocide. I never asked for this, but I benefit from these as well.

My Ancestors were not barred from entry into this country because of racist quotas enacted by Congress. They never had to endure a blood quantum law to claim or be punished for who they were. They were not interned in camps during WWII. They were not killed for speaking out for their rights in the face of Jim Crow laws. They were not barred from practicing their religion after generations of genocide. I do not feel guilt for my Ancestors because they avoided these things, but whether or not I feel guilt, such feelings are immaterial to the issue of racial justice.

Guilt is an indulgence, especially when it inspires a lack of action and empathy.

Addressing problems of inequality, racism, colonialism, and genocide is not about white folks, white guilt, or white feelings. It is not about white people at all. I don’t care how bad you feel about your Ancestors’ actions. Gods know, if your Ancestors committed atrocities I want you to feel shame for it. If those feelings, or lack of feeling, gets in the way of you (and Them) actually making some sort of commitment to doing something, then it is an indulgence and a waste of time in regards to doing anything useful about racism and white privilege.

When hurt white feelings get in the way of equality, or especially, justice, that is not something People of Color or anyone concerned with justice in regards to inequality, racism, colonialism, etc. can afford. When the specter of that guilt arises and becomes a paralyzing thing that takes the focus off of People of Color, their problems, and the things that are actively killing them, it cannot be afforded. It is, in a word, derailing.

I don’t give a damn how you feel. I really don’t. If you lack the empathy to stand up for justice because your fucking feelings are hurt: Fuck. Right. Off.

White people do need to deal with our feelings, but not at the expense of justice or equality. It should not be the directive of folks to remind white people to deal with our feelings outside of the times and places where issues of justice, equality, etc. are being addressed. Our angst should not be aired during times of grief or moral outrage at the murder of black people by police. It is no different than walking into a funeral while a family is crying over a child’s casket, and screaming at them ‘Your crying makes me feel bad! I didn’t do this to you!’ You know what? You’re getting in the way of their need to grieve at that point. You’re an asshole. The funeral is not about or for you. Anyone, from the presiding minister to the family member on down to a complete stranger visiting in respect would be well within moral rights to ask or demand for you to get out.

This is why #alllivesmatter is either a cop-out or completely fucking tone-deaf. Not all the houses are on fire, and so, they do not deserve the fire hose equally. #blacklivesmatter is on-point and the topic at hand because black people are being systemically targeted by police, policing policies, jail time, jailing and fine procedures based on the color of their skin. They are dying because of this. The reason why our feelings as white people do not matter in this is because our fucking lives are not on the line for walking on the street while being black.

Blacks, as well as Native American and Hispanic peoples, are being killed in the United States far more than whites by police. In addition to this, because of jailing and fine procedures for minor traffic violations and misdemeanors in places like Ferguson, MO, they are now the leading victims of what has become the modern day debtor’s prison. Can’t pay your traffic ticket? Can’t pay your fines? You’re going to jail. What’s insidious about this is that there is financial incentive for counties and cities to do this, and that encourages these cities to increase incarceration.

You know what white people do not have to deal with? Being charged with 4 counts of destruction of city property due to bleeding on officer’s uniforms for having the shit beat out of them in a Ferguson, MO jail in 2009. Enough mewling about being judged based on the color of your skin; when white people get judged we might feel temporarily angry, guilty, shamed, or embarrassed. When black people get judged they get the shit knocked out of them and then charged with a crime because they’re getting their blood on officers’ uniforms.

So not only are People of Color far more likely to be targets for poverty, they are also more likely to be targeted by police for arrest. They are more likely to be jailed for their charges until trial if they can’t post bail, then fined for said charges, and then re-jailed assuming they or someone else could pay for bail in the first place. If they are successfully prosecuted they will pay fines on top of it, and may face being put into longer-term incarceration for failure to pay for these charges. That is, if they’re not simply killed outright by police. People of Color are, and have been for some time, targets in their own neighborhoods.

This is why it is so deeply disappointing to me that neither The Covenant of the Goddess nor The Troth got their collective shit together and did the right thing in supporting #blacklivesmatter and associated movements. Hells bells, why have no Pagan or polytheist organizations shouted out their support as allies for #Idlenomore either? It’s not as if these organizations are actually opposed to either of these justice movements! Right?

If we are indeed our deeds, then what are white people doing to help affect change? How fucking hard is it to say “I stand with black people for racial equality and justice!”? Did you really need fucking committees to decide on whether or not justice for all was something you stood for?

White guilt is an indulgence. If we are to be effective allies, it is on us to set it aside where it impedes action, and deal with it in our own time. #blacklivesmatter. Compared to those lives, our guilt is nothing. Step up or move aside, but don’t get in the way of justice.

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  1. Milo
    March 30, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Reblogged this on rotwork. and commented:
    Excellent post.

  2. March 30, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    “Addressing problems of inequality, racism, colonialism, and genocide is not about white folks, white guilt, or white feelings. It is not about white people at all.”

    “Angst should not be aired during times of grief or moral outrage at the murder of black people by police. It is no different than walking into a funeral while a family is crying over a child’s casket, and screaming at them ‘Your crying makes me feel bad! I didn’t do this to you!’ You know what? You’re getting in the way of their need to grieve at that point. You’re an asshole. The funeral is not about or for you.”

    “Step up or move aside, but don’t get in the way of justice.”

    All very well said. Honestly, I don’t care that much if a whole bunch of white people “move aside” rather than “stepping up” — their “help” probably wasn’t going to be all that helpful anyways.

    That’s why I thought the slogan “White Silence is Violence” was garbage — it’s true as a statement of fact about complicity and personal ethics, but the struggle isn’t about white people.

    • March 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      I had not heard “White Silence is Violence” before…what an entitled, privileged, “Hey, I deserve–no, DEMAND–cookies for being a self-identified ally!” type of statement. Yes, we should not be complicit, and we should do what we are able, but half the time, when the speaking up on white people’s parts does occur, especially at the expense of People of Color being able to speak, it is pretty useless anyway.

      Crikey…!?!

      • March 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm

        Yeah, you identified the problem with that slogan precisely. When I mentioned it, I didn’t notice the parallel to the title “White Guilt is an Indulgence,” which is a statement that actually has worthwhile content (whereas “White Silence is Violence” is essentially self-congratulatory navel-gazing without an actual message).

        For some reason, Sarenth’s title also makes me think of the indulgences for sins that were bought and sold in medieval Catholic Europe…

  3. March 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Yep. And I will point out that if you are considered white in the U.S. (and benefit thereby) but DO come from a history of genocide committed against you and your people (Irish, Jewish, etc), then you are even MORE obligated to do anti racist work, not less. Those of us still feeling the echoes of historical trauma should be even more willing to deal with our privilege and guilt without burdening people of color still struggling against those forces. We have a special opportunity to be allies. Don’t squander it.

  4. March 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    The greatest acts of barbarity are not taken in the name of evil, but in the name of survival.

    You are right, white guilt is an indulgence. It serves no purpose, means nothing, and accomplishes little except to make certain people feel better about themselves, because they acknowledge how “evil” they are because of what their ancestors did.

    Of course, the fact that their ancestors committed those acts to preserve their lives, and the lives of their children, is never taken into account. The Spanish burned, despoiled, and slaughtered their way through central and South America. Few acknowledge that they did so to fund their country so that they could avoid that same fate and tactics at the hands of Muslim invaders. England, France, and so forth, spread out, bought land, took land, and gave land, to avoid being taken over by the Spanish. And so the chain of dominoes goes. One barbarity, to escape another. Every race, every civilization, has committed barbarities to survive, and sometimes they will thrive after those barbarities, but that initial spark has always been about “survival.”

    Feeling guilty, that your people lived at the cost of others, serves no purpose. It dishonors those who sacrificed their lives on both sides so that you might live.

    Why didn’t the Troth and the COG come out in support of #blacklivesmatter? Because, unlike some people, they do not divide a person’s worth because of the color of their skin. Do black people die more at the hands of cops? If you believe the narrative, they do. Of course I’ve seen stuff that says more white people die by cops than blacks, or that more latinos die by cops than blacks, buy we shouldn’t let those things get in the way. But does that make their lives worth more, because of their race and who they were killed by, or are all death of equal value, regardless of who they are and who killed them? To say that “one deserves it more because their house is the one on fire” is, itself, an act of racism and discrimination. And #blacklivesmatter, completely ignores all the Latino people killed by cops.

    But then, I forgot the important lesson of Trevon Martin: All Hispanic People are White. After all, Zimmerman who is hispanic on all his documents, was WHITE. And since Hispanics, despite all the negative stuff they have to deal with, are more widely respected, represented, and higher up on the economy than blacks, they’re white. Plus, you know, the fact that they’re mostly descended from Spaniards probably helps with all that nice whiteness.

    Because, you see, white isn’t about skin color anymore. It isn’t about if you came from some European country (where you were likely treated worse than any african american has been treated, especially in the present day, you should really study the Irish, the Jews, or the Eastern Europeans and their treatments by Muslims and others). Whiteness is about power+privilege, and everyone, Asian, Hispanic, Europeans, Middle Eastern, etc, all have a better place in society than blacks, so it doesn’t matter if they get killed by cops, or die in wars in higher numbers, or anything like that.

    • March 31, 2015 at 1:35 am

      This comment perfectly encapsulates derailing and bullshit.

      First off, this:

      “The greatest acts of barbarity are not taken in the name of evil, but in the name of survival.”

      Where is the wholesale slaughter of people a necessity of survival? Sorry, your assertion here is flat wrong. Look at the Milgram experiment on obedience. All it takes is for someone to feel like the authority to not do wrong is on someone else’s hands, and they give up their willingness, their gut-felt instinct to say no. The greatest acts of barbarity are taken when empathy is ignored, when wrongs are perpetuated despite the inner cries of “No! This is wrong!”

      “Of course, the fact that their ancestors committed those acts to preserve their lives…that initial spark has always been about “survival.””

      I don’t care what your reasoning is. You are justifying genocide now. Trotting out the tired line that ‘every race, every civilization has committed barbarities to survive’ only serves to expose your ignorance and willingness to justify genocide. Every civilization has not sunk into genocide to defend their people. Every civilization has not utterly consumed another just so it can go on. That initial spark has not always about survival, and to characterize it as such plays into the hands of those vile people who have turned themselves and the power structures on their own people, their neighboring countries, and others, to justify their own ends. The Kristallnacht was not about survival. It was about slaughter. It was about targeting and eliminating people.

      “Why didn’t the Troth and the COG come out in support of #blacklivesmatter? Because, unlike some people, they do not divide a person’s worth because of the color of their skin.”

      What they did was assume the most tepid of stances, if not gave comfort to those who profit from the system as it is, a system that overwhelming targets People of Color for arrest, jailing, and death. There were individuals in the Rede whose voices I appreciated. That said, the Troth and COG as groups should have come out in solidarity with black people and People of Color.

      “Do black people die more at the hands of cops…we shouldn’t let those things get in the way.”
      Yes, and if you are in dispute of that you need to check your sources and ‘the stuff’ you are reading. This ‘narrative’, as you put it, does not require ‘believing in’. The only reason you would put this is if you are seeking to deny the facts that People of Color are overwhelmingly arrested, jailed, or killed by police as compared to white people. This is at least a derailing tactic, and at most you are being intentionally obtuse.

      #blacklivesmatter does not ignored Latino people, it is about black lives. That would be why it is written as that hashtag. It’s not that Latino people’s lives do not matter, but that is also not the crux of why the hashtag and associated activism was started in the first place, and to try to make this about black vs. Latino lives is another derailing tactic.

      “But does that make their lives worth more, because of their race…or anything like that.”
      You’re going completely off-base from here on out. It is not an act of racism and discrimination to say ‘That house is on fire, and it needs water. That house is not on fire and does not need water.’ That’s basic discernment. If that offends you, so be it, but you are arguing against basic logic here.

      Your entire tirade about ZImmerman is also tired and stupid. You’re not some defender of or for Latinos, so stop trying to play the white knight card.

      By the way, the person Zimmerman killed? His name is Trayvon Martin. If whiteness and white privilege was not about skin color he, and countless other People of Color would still be here.

      That whole line about how “Where you were likely treated worse than any African American has been” shit? No really, fuck you. Also? Fuck your hatred of Muslims. Fuck your xenophobia. I’ve studied what happened to these people. You talk out one side of your mouth about how all people have committed barbarity as though it is a leveling or leveled playing field, and then howl about how horrible the Muslims treated these or that people.

      Further to the point, Lucius, all you have done in every post I have made on race is to come in and try to make it about how the white people are put upon, or how focusing on how People of Color are outrageously and overwhelming victimized about white people. These issues are simply not about white people, and that you cannot, or will not wrap your head around this is not my, nor anyone else’s problem save yours and for those whom you make it their problem.

      You have, alongside others in the posts I have made decrying racism, prejudice, and hate, made every effort to derail. This goes for you, and anyone else who has a mind to spout the bile you have: I will not tolerate it anymore. Enough.

      • March 31, 2015 at 1:38 am

        oh my god thank you for tackling that pile of bullshit. Plus, even if in some bizzaro world genocide was required to survive then well we should just let ourselves die instead. I’m serious. There are some things we should die before doing.

      • March 31, 2015 at 1:47 am

        The last post I made on this, The Northern Gods Are Not White, I received a veritable shitstorm of hateful comments, far too many to keep up with. I don’t delete comments because I want people to see the true opinions people put out there. I won’t do others the courtesy of covering up their bullshit arguments, racism, xenophobia, and hate.

      • March 31, 2015 at 2:50 am

        As for the whole sale slaughter of people being needed for survival? Perhaps not, but it always starts there. Someone has something you need, or someone is a threat because you have something they need, and one death leads to two, and three, and so on, until after many long years and much, much bloodshed hatred flows through the veins of mortals like aged wine, drunk and red. But then, I doubt you can name me a race that has not done such things. Whites, Asians, Native Americans, Middle Fasteners, they’ve all done it. Hela, Africans are doing it to each other as we speak in their homelands. No one is perfect, and all mortals revel in the blood of their enemies, no matter who their skin color is.

        And that’s justifying genocide. I don’t need to justify genocide because in the end, genocide doesn’t need a justification. It just needs a lot of hate, a lot of intolerance for other people and differing views, and the solid, uncompromising belief that you are right, your enemy is wrong, and you will never have a decent world while they live.

        Which trust me, isn’t me.

        Oh, and that xenophobia? It’s just plan old history. Plan as the maps on the globe and the nose on your face. I do not fear another people, I really don’t care who they are, or even really what they’ve done in the past. Occasionally, I do care about what they do in the present, but really there’s little point in that. They’re just so happy to kill each other or flagellate themselves. It would almost be funny, if it wasn’t so tired and sad and the oldest rerun on tv.

        So no, I’m not some grand defender of the latino community. They don’t need one. They’re not victims. They don’t need some little old insane blogger to make their lives better, or keep them safe. It’s no never-mind to me if their ethnic identity is washed away for the sake of some other group who is always the victim. After all, it’s the black house on fire, as you say. They need that water more. The rest of us? I guess we just get to use the dirt, as they say.

        But tell you what, I’ll give it to you. #blacklivesmatter and that’s all it is. And those poor, cowardly little peoples who make their tepid little stances about how everyone’s life matters equally in the face of proverbial house fires truly are the lowest of the low. You, with your hashtag warriorisms are the true, the proud, the noble. Why I’m sure with every tweet you’re out there stopping bullets and putting out housefires, teaching ignorant little snits like me all about how racist, xenophibic, and horrible we are and making the world a better place.

        But you’re never going to change people. Black people, white people, any people. They’re all going to hate and love and fear and embrace. Derailing? There were never any rails there. You want to complain about black people being killed by cops, but the amount of black people who die by cops in this country is a fraction of the people killed by ISIS, or any of those lovely dictators in Africa, or in the gang wars in central and south America. Hela, more people are killed in traffic accidents. You want to put it all in a nice little box with a bow, but the world doesn’t work that way. People die, all the time. None of it is ever pretty. No one ever thinks any of it is ever right. You want to say #blacklivesmatter as if it was some shield against the evils of the world, as if it was something you could do to make the world a better place, but you can’t. Because for every death you protest, millions more go unremarked, and you don’t care. Caring is tepid, it is weak, it is selfish and racist and ignore the plight of those black lives who die at the hands of cops because that number is so small compared to everything other death out there….it’s unnoticeable.

        But there, I’ve put it back on the rails for you. Go, save those black lives that matter. Stop the violence of cops against African Americans. I’m sure all the people who have their homes burned, their lives ruined, their mothers, sisters, daughters, and sons sold off as sex slaves, who watch their entire villages be slaughtered will be happy to know that you saved someone else. That you stopped the greatest evil in the whole world. I mean, sure, they’ll be dead, and they won’t get a hashtag, they might get a blip on the runner bar on CNN, but hey, who cares if 40 girls were raped and butchered, we need more protests about one black man being killed by a cop in a cops self defense. Or who cares about an entire religious group being burned alive, we need to have a serious conversation about race in America because a black kid was shot. Because, you know, America, that’s what’s important in this world.

        You want to know why I have managed to derail every post you’ve had about race? Because I work with the dead. All of them. Be it in Helheim, or Midgard, or Hades, or anywhere else out there. And every time I see one of your #blacklivesmatter posts where you rip someone apart for daring, DARING, to do a milktoast claim of #alllivesmatter, it makes me angry. It makes me angry for all the lives you do not give a shit about. IT makes me angry that you consider the life of some innocent girl who is gangraped and murdered, along with her entire village in another country unimportant in the face of your glorified political agenda of #blacklivesmatter. It makes me angry because you come out and you say that all lives do not matter. To you, only certain lives matter. And sure, maybe the “black house is burning” but guess fucking what. At least they have a house to burn and you to scream about how someone needs to put the fire out. Everyone else? They don’t have a house, so they don’t get the water.

        Enough?

      • March 31, 2015 at 3:02 am

        I can’t believe that you just compared the racist police brutality claiming so many black lives to traffic accidents. I mean really, what is your argument here? Bad shit happens everywhere, so just roll over and ignore it all? It is perfectly possible to care about the white supremacist attitudes that devalue and destroy black lives AND atrocities happening around the world. It says something unflattering about you that you can’t seem to understand that.

        “…it’s the black house on fire, as you say. They need that water more. The rest of us? I guess we just get to use the dirt, as they say.”

        You are really abusing the crap out of that metaphor. If you’re white your Race House is already in great shape. It’s certainly not on fire. So I am not sure where this hand stapled to forehead woe as me nonsense is coming from. Also I find it hilarious that you’re dogging on Sarenth for supposedly being an online armchair warrior when you’re writing entire novellas about how your white privilege is totally not real and stuff.

      • March 31, 2015 at 11:55 am

        @redvulture. People die. Car accidents, cancer, racism, the list is on and on. Do you know the number of blacks killed by Racist cops this year? How about last year. Did you know you can go to wikipedia and they have a list of everyone killed by cops? They do. Do you know who the vast majority of people killed by cops are? Criminals attacking and trying to kill people. The cause of death, in the end, matters little. Hide in a hole if you wish, you will not live a moment longer than your fate. Be it a racist cop or a meteorite out of the sky.

        And “My Race House?” How fracking racist is that? Seriously, that is just about the most racist phrase I’ve heard. As for my “white privilege” you know what, maybe it is real, maybe it isn’t, I really don’t care about privileges of the living.

        I care about the respect for the dead.

        Which you and sarenth show none with posts like this. More people die in traffic accidents by drunk drivers, but they’re loved ones don’t matter, nor do their deaths. Entire villages wiped out by racists in Africa and Iraq? But that’s Black on Black and Brown on Brown, so Screw them, they’re not black american, let them die. Some black kid got shot by a cop (white cop, black cop, don’t matter, he’s a racist cop), lets get those signs out. Lets solve this racism problem. 100 deaths to 1, but you don’t give shit. So you wanna get mad at me because I think that the death of a black man killed by a cop, after that black man beat up someone, robbed a store, and then tried to kill that cop is a little less important THAN THE BRUTAL RAPE AND MURDER OF 40 YOUNG GIRLS well fuck me for being a “racist.”

    • Teka Lynn
      March 31, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      *jawdrop*

      … You do realize that black Latinos exist and are real people as well, right? Why the divide and conquer rhetoric?

      Furthermore, Christians and Jews were treated honorably as fellow citizens in Moorish Iberia. It was after the Reconquista that Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain. For 700 years they had lived together peacefully.

      • March 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        why the divide and conquer rhetoric? You tell me. I’m not the one who whitewashes latino identity. That’s the media and other racists who want to divide people based on their skin color.

        So pick your jaw up off the floor.

        And that honorable treatment? Who was that recorded by. the Muslims in power? I’m sure they felt they were doing a completely honorable job to their second class citizens. The fact that you can also find records that the Muslim rulers and invaders engaged in acts as barbaric and violent as ISIL. So, you know, competing histories. Why should we belive the conquered? Vae Victus. As for that Peaceful living, you might want to re check and note that the Native Spanish spent those 700 years trying to take back their Native Country. But hey, you know, as long as an invasion is done with “respect” according the conquer, that makes it alright then?

  5. March 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Guilt is a useless emotion if you don’t act on it. Sitting around feeling guilty about something changes nothing. The only way to make guilt useful is to try to change whatever it is you feel guilty about.

    I’m in a little bit of a weird (Wyrd?) position with regards to race stuff and how my family got here. My mother was born in Germany to a German mother and an American soldier who was over there fighting WWII. My grandfather brought his German bride and young daughter back to the USA, and immediately they had to deal with anti-German prejudice. The way my grandfather dealt with it was to forbid my mother from speaking German, even at home, to lose her German accent and German heritage and assimilate into American society and become Generic White People as quickly as possible. The racist Nazis ruined the reputation of my German ancestors and made that side of my family ashamed to be German.

    On the other hand, if WWII didn’t happen, my mom wouldn’t have been born, so I wouldn’t have existed either, so yeah, I’ve got uncomfortable feelings about this whole thing. But of course none of that has to do with African-Americans or Jews or other groups of people that are oppressed today. It’s not their job to pat me on the back and make me feel better when race stuff comes up.

    I also want to make it clear that I’m not saying that my mother having to deal with anti-German backlash is in any way equivalent to the suffering of the people the Nazis murdered. She was able to assimilate into Generic White People society relatively easily once she lost her accent and forgot how to speak German. It just disappoints me that she wasn’t able to preserve more knowledge of our ancestors.

    Perhaps even more so because of this family background, it really, REALLY ticks me off when some Heathens start to repeat Nazi-ish sounding stuff about racial purity. We should know better by now. We should learn from history. Sitting around feeling guilty doesn’t accomplish anything. Racism needs to be fought whenever and however we can.

    I’m a member of the Troth, but I was very disappointed with how they handled the Ferguson thing. There was a big argument about it on the email list, and there’s just recently been another argument about racism on the Facebook page. The official Troth position on racism seems to be to ignore it. Which I guess is better than actively promoting it, but it still seems pretty wimpy to me.

    • March 31, 2015 at 2:06 am

      Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry that WWII and peoples’ reactions to it made your family ashamed to be German. I am also really happy you wrote this, in no small part because it is absolutely true: “But of course none of that has to do with African-Americans or Jews or other groups of people that are oppressed today. It’s not their job to pat me on the back and make me feel better when race stuff comes up.”

      The Heathens who spout racist, xenophobic crap get my hackles up, but those who try to No True Scotsman the problem of racism and xenophobia in Heathenry, or who try to actively provide cover for racist and/or xenophobic Heathens are just as much a part of the problems. As you said, racism needs to be fought whenever and however we can. Sometimes that is by being silent when a Person of Color is sharing their story, raising our voices alongside theirs in solidarity, writing Congresspeople, sharing their story.

      The official Troth position, to me, is a big step backward when they could have taken a big step forward. I cannot abide that weakness, that cowardice, when racism and prejudice are known issues in Heathenry. The Troth’s inaction comes at a time when the largest growing groups in Heathenry are ones that promote obviously racist beliefs and policies. The Troth could have been a living example of standing in solidarity with People of Color within and without their own organization. It could have been the national Heathen organization that made a solidly anti-racist stance, empowering other kindreds and groups to do the same. Instead, as you said, the Troth position on racism seems to be to ignore it.

      • April 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        Thanks for your reply. I actually regretted posting my comment soon after I sent it because I was afraid I was turning things around to be about white people. It’s just that since my own grandparents were caught right up in the whole Nazi/WWII thing (I talked about my mother’s side already, but my father’s father fought for the USA against the Nazi’s in WWII too), the whole thing seems uncomfortably close to me. Especially when doing ancestor work.

        I really hope I don’t have any actual Nazi ancestors or relatives (or Nazi sympathizers), but I know very little about my family, so sometimes I worry that it might be possible.

        It seems like when Heathens go on about their pride in their Germanic heritage, they don’t do a very good job at dealing with this dark period of our history. The only good way to deal with it that I can think of is to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

        Acting like maybe the Nazis had some good ideas after all is NOT the way to do it!

  6. March 31, 2015 at 6:56 am

    It is shocking that this ‘pagan’ blog actually seems to be promoting anti-white racism! Racism at its heart is about denying essential human dignity, and Sarenth’s agenda (like that of so many political activists who appear to be posing as ‘pagan’ bloggers) seems flagrantly about stressing a dialectic relativism of dignity of the ‘oppressed’ vs the ‘oppressor’ to promote political confrontation, rather than seeking to promote answers and understanding through spirituality and religious exegesis. What next? A Pagan Taliban, correcting us with whips? That is where it is going – ‘you’re either with us or you’re with the kaffir/terrorists’. Hate on the Left, Hate on the Right. Rise above it – paganism is regenerating as a modern phenomenon because people are getting sick of the ‘old order’ which is invested in a politicized dualistic dialectic.

    • March 31, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      What so shocking, the intolerant love the smell of heretics like us burning in the morning.

  7. Jolene Poseidonae
    March 31, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    White people do need to deal with our feelings, but not at the expense of justice or equality. It should not be the directive of folks to remind white people to deal with our feelings outside of the times and places where issues of justice, equality, etc. are being addressed.

    So much this. Dealing with our emotional crap is important (getting to a place where guilt does not paralyze you is important — we can’t be allies without doing this inner work) — but to make every interaction we have with people about our feelings is, at best, proving the point that we have unchecked privileges.

  8. March 31, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    The whole idea of ‘White Guilt’ prefigures the idea that whites universally oppress blacks, which is frankly a racist construct designed to foment division and promote an internationalist socialist-capitalist agenda which thrives on the concept of ‘divide and conquer’ and seeks to undermine and control through the cynical polarisation of ordinary peoples.

  9. ganglerisgrove
    April 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Gangleri's Grove and commented:
    thoughtful, fierce, and thought-provoking piece by Sarenth Odinsson…

  10. April 4, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Since I can’t seem to reply properly: ah yes, Lucius Svartwulf Helsen. I believe my husband called him out on his racist agenda bullshit in another forum. Thank you for pointing out this garbage. And thank you for calling us all on our shit. I believe that cowardice perpetuates more evil than all of the Christian so-called “seven deadly sins” put together. In that, you heathens are spot-on (says this witch).

  11. April 4, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch.

  12. April 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Honestly, I’ve come to see a great deal of white “anti-Oppression” work as Indulgences in the Catholic sense. Middle-class college-educated white people talk (and talk, and talk and talk) to their middle-class college-educated white peers about how horrible racism is; they cluck their tongues and wag their fingers at other white people for saying racist things; they engage the oppressor by calling him “Shitlord” and other equally meaningful names. (He, in response, calls them “PC feminazis” and feels equally accomplished for his part in the culture war).

    This all makes everyone involved feel warm, noble and self-righteous. But it does very little to engage with either the actual oppressors or the actual oppressed. It’s a badge of one’s Goodness and an absolution from one’s Whiteness that lets you be anti-racist without actually inconveniencing yourself or giving up privilege in any meaningful way.

  13. April 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I really love this, Sarenth. Especially this part: “You know what white people do not have to deal with? Being charged with 4 counts of destruction of city property due to bleeding on officer’s uniforms for having the shit beat out of them in a Ferguson, MO jail in 2009. Enough mewling about being judged based on the color of your skin; when white people get judged we might feel temporarily angry, guilty, shamed, or embarrassed. When black people get judged they get the shit knocked out of them and then charged with a crime because they’re getting their blood on officers’ uniforms.”

    BOOM. Yeah. Exactly!

    One caveat, though: don’t write CoG off quite so fast. Remember that CoG is a consensus based organization, and while the original statement the Board issued WAS tone deaf at best, the real question is whether they had to right to make the statement at all. Unless they’ve changed the bylaws a whole lot since the last time I was a member of that organization, I think they did not.

    No, any real statement from CoG is going to need to come from Grand Council. And remember, it’ll have to be consensus.

    You know how many organizations I belong to where 100% of the white people understand the issues behind Black Lives Matter? Zero. I suspect that there are few, possibly no such organizations.

    But if CoG presses toward consensus, even if they fall short, that means a very large number of white people from all across the country working toward getting it. It might not happen, but if it does–or even if the serious effort now underway to move the organization in that direction is sustained for any length of time–it will be far more meaningful than a press release in support of Black Lives Matter… because it will reflect a growing consensus among a large group of formerly clueless white people that the Black Lives Movement is right.

    That’s progress, and I love progress. I love it more than I love a good, well-written press release. In fact, thank the gods they wrote such a horrible press release, because now there’s a chance, at least, of the kind of actual change that might mean something.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this. It really connected for me.

  14. April 25, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Ironwood Witch and commented:
    “This is why it is so deeply disappointing to me that neither The Covenant of the Goddess nor The Troth got their collective shit together and did the right thing in supporting #blacklivesmatter and associated movements. Hells bells, why have no Pagan or polytheist organizations shouted out their support as allies for #Idlenomore either? It’s not as if these organizations are actually opposed to either of these justice movements! Right?

    If we are indeed our deeds, then what are white people doing to help affect change? How fucking hard is it to say “I stand with black people for racial equality and justice!”? Did you really need fucking committees to decide on whether or not justice for all was something you stood for?

    White guilt is an indulgence. If we are to be effective allies, it is on us to set it aside where it impedes action, and deal with it in our own time. #blacklivesmatter. Compared to those lives, our guilt is nothing. Step up or move aside, but don’t get in the way of justice.”

  1. March 30, 2015 at 9:03 pm
  2. August 20, 2017 at 2:05 am

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