You Cannot Be Neutral On a Moving Train

Violence against BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) has been a mainstay of the United States since well before its founding. The bones, blood, and bodies of countless numbers of them lay in the earth beneath the United States of America’s foundations. Even now in death there is no peace for them, as Indigenous graves are being disturbed so flimsy walls, monuments to an out-of-control president’s ego, can be raised.

Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Latinx Lives Matter. People of Color’s Lives Matter.

Why don’t I just write All Lives Matter? Because until the lives of BIPOC matter as much as Whites’, that statement is a bald-faced lie. It’s a salve meant to soothe and numb, to hide the sting that the truth of the matter puts to it. Each time a cop or white supremacist murders or harms a Black person for existing, for each Indigenous person who is murdered or harmed, and the countless Indigenous women who disappear, for the countless People of Color, especially Latinx, who are shut up in concentration camps while viruses and death run rampant in them, all of it exposes the statement of All Lives Matter for what it is: a lie.

Howard Zinn wrote an amazing quote that has stuck with me: “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

So I will remain as I have. I am not neutral here. I am anti-racist. I am against white supremacy. I am against Heathens who desire to make Heathen religions White-only places. I have and will continue to make donations and amplify the voices of BIPOC and to those who work for the betterment of BIPOC. I have and will continue to do what I can, where and how I can, to make changes in Heathen and adjacent spaces so everyone who wishes to be and is a Heathen, Northern Tradition Pagan, etc is welcomed in frið and grið. I invite every Heathen, every Northern Tradition Pagan, every Norse Pagan, and anyone adjacent who wishes to operate in this good faith to do the same. Some of the work will be very quiet, and that is as good as being loud and on the front lines. Not all of us can work the front lines of the protests or other work needing to be done. Much of the work, truth be told, is done in little actions done over time.

It is not enough to sign a Declaration or to mouth words. It is not enough to say “I am anti-racist”. Our conduct must comport with our words. Our words must be strong, resolute, and carried out in what we do. Our words, our prayers, our magic, and our action must be united in purpose. Lives are on the line. Futures are on the line.

I cannot tell you how to proceed. That is between you and your Gods, your Ancestors, and your vaettir. That is between you and those in your innangarð. That is between you and any communities you wish to render aid to. Saying anything at this point too broadly misses the mark.

What I will advise for White Heathens and adjacent folks who wish to make a difference is that you do your research and speak with the folks in your local BIPOC communities first and foremost. Listen to them, amplify their voices, and if, when you offer help they accept it, render that help in the manner that they tell you to. Do the work you need to do so you are a useful and good ally. It will be ongoing. Gods know I have work to do.

So, let us get to work.

7 thoughts on “You Cannot Be Neutral On a Moving Train

  1. You asked for us to stand up for the rights of BIPOC and yet you still support Galina Krasskova and Kenan Filaz, both of whom have spouted racist bs and/or platformed known racists such as Steve McNellan in the guide of “free speech”.

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    • Yes, I did ask for you to stand up for the rights of BIPOC.

      Let me make this abundantly clear: I do not support Kenaz Filan. I do not care for his rhetoric or his stances. I unsubscribed from his blog sometime back and have no contact with him.

      Insofar as Galina Krasskova is concerned I do not generally agree with her politically. She’s right and I am left. Where we disagree I talk it out with her privately. I do not agree with her stances on the AFA and given my previous posts here in regards to Irminsul Kindred and any who align with their ideology, my position on racists and white supremacists within Heathenry should be plenty clear.

      She is a friend, a colleague, and my Elder. She brought me into Heathenry and gave me support and help at the most tumultuous time in my life. She is not someone I will be turning my back on. I will not eat my Elder and friend to appease you or anyone else.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I want to say, before anything, I’m not replying to this to gloat about your lastest blog on cutting ties with her. I understand all too well. I have people I love and know dearly, some of whom are family, that share alt-right views with Galina. When I first posted my original comment, I was frustrated because I myself had been wrestling with what to do with the people I love who share such terrible and racist views. Do I cut ties with them? Or would that be a betrayal, to these same people who have helped me and taken care of me so much? Was maintaining frith with them more important than maintaining grith with the rest of the community? I saw hypocrisy in what you were saying because you still had ties to people who denounced BLM and Antifa. But if you were hypocritical, then so was I. I didn’t know how to reply to your comment, so I never did. I just felt more conflicted than before.

        I had not expected you to write your latest blog post, but it felt like…a relief. I do not know yet if I have the courage that you have to stand up to the ones you love, but I deeply admire you for it. I’m Italian-American, and family is core to us, you know? If I stand up, I’ll be losing most of them. It’s something I still have to wrestle with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate that. I don’t feel like you are gloating or anything, so please be at ease there.

        We all have folks in our life we have to struggle with and be true to our inner compass of what we are and are not willing to accept, even from those we love or have deep attachments to. In my own case with alt-right family members I’ve made my stances clear on a host of issues. I do not speak to certain family members unless I must for this reason.

        I still generally agree with the stance I took earlier, re not eating our Elders. In this case, rather than ‘eating my former Elder’ this is rather a consequence of choices she and Sannion made. To my mind folks are far too quick to jump on the ‘you are hypocritical!’ wagon. Holding these views and keeping friends who disagree with us can be a healthy thing provided our lines are not crossed, and only we can really decide when we have had enough.

        From my view as a Universalist Tribalist Heathen I look first to those in the tighter circles of my innangarð then out from there. Galina and Sannion were definitely in tight with me. I determined maintaining frið with these folks, who had, among other ties, of hamingja and loyalty, that took place before the larger community of Heathenry. Yes, their views were/are toxic, and yet, from where I was when I began working with each of them to where I am now, both of them had no small hand in shaping that.

        Yes, there is no small amount of relief here. Pain, anger, frustration, and sorrow too. As both a Heathen and former Catholic, I understanding that family is the core. You have no obligation to make a hasty choice. You still have to be able to live with yourself at the end of the day, and what you can or cannot accept, where your lines are, and what you are unwilling to deal with are personal choices. You have my sympathy and understanding. These things are not easy, especially when our hearts are tied up tight in them as well.

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      • I really appreaciate your reply, and thank you. I hope that when the day comes, I’ll be able to make the right decision.

        I wish you all the best and thank you for your advice again. And I’m sorry again for the hostile first comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome. If you’re thinking about this, analyzing your reactions, and then making your choices, I believe you will make the right choice.

        You are welcome, and as far as the first comment goes, you were fully in the right to challenge me on those grounds. Perhaps you could have worded things differently, but I get it. Thank you for having courage enough to state your truth.

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    • Something that should be pointed out is that Galina Krasskova’s husband is a POC (Sannion is a Native American of Blackfoot descent on his father’s side). So considering that she is married to a Non-White individual I would say that this definitely disqualifies her of even being accepted in White Supremacist circles. I understand that loving a POC does not mean you can’t be racist at all (I know this from experience as a mixed race individual whose White father is not exactly the most culturally sensitive person) but I think we can say for sure that this is a nuanced situation and that the idea of Galina Krasskova being a White Supremacist is just not accurate

      Liked by 3 people

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