Dear Fellow White People…
It is not our fault we are racist; we’ve been programmed.
It is, however, our responsibility to acknowledge our programming, accept that it is such, and tirelessly labor to dismantle the system that made us this way.
This is ideology: it is programming that affects everything. It affects our behavior. It affects how we perceive ourselves and the world around us, and it affects how we relate to and interact with others.
We aren’t inherently evil. We are born into systems that program our minds, and we act as automatons on their behalf. Our goal should be to waken and deprogram.
When others hold us accountable for acting as we’ve been programmed to act, we often take offense to this, as though they are executing final judgment against our character. Insulted, we dig in our heels and defend against our own pain. However, accountability is not about shame. The purpose of accountability is justice, and when we set aside our insecurities and allow ourselves to be shaped by the experience of correction, allow ourselves to debug and deprogram and download entirely new software, everyone benefits–including ourselves, in spite of the injury to our pride–because there is healing and growth and redemption on the other side.
This is something life has taught me: accountability is painful, but it’s tantamount to growing pains. The alternative is stagnation and moral depravity, which is tantamount to cancer. To ignore or deny accountability is to rob oneself of solidarity with humankind, to rob oneself of love, of grace, and of humanity.
I am not a Christian, but I do appreciate the words of Jesus Christ in the gospel when he says, “The last will be first and the first will be last.”
We are all born into a morally depraved system of oppression, but we who are privileged socially and economically are blind to its injustice because we are so distanced from and untouched by its abuses. Our siblings, who are born without this privilege, see it all too clearly. We cannot dismiss the world as it exists, simply because we’ve filtered the dross behind rose colored glasses.
Our BBIMP (Black, Brown, Indigenous, Melanated People) aren’t condemning us. They aren’t judging our inherent human worth. They are begging us–pleading with us–to remove the rose colored glasses so that we can see the world as they see it–as it actually is. We are the ones condemning and valuing the inherent worth of our BBIMP siblings by continuing to live out our unconscious biases. Every single time we silence them, every single time we dismiss them, and every single time we react to their accountability with defense, we are executing judgment unpon them.
White people, we need to grow out of this!
Once we mature, we aren’t going to ever fully deprogram. We must be willing to listen, willing to yield, and willing to transform, without cowering or burying ourselves in humiliation.
Believe me, our BBIMP siblings are gracious as fuck. They are not looking to beat us over the head, to punish us, to shackle us. They only want justice, and to grant them their due, we must persevere in humility.
We are not bad people because we uphold white supremacy. We are programmed. We are brainwashed. But we are responsible to wake up and we are responsible to reboot. When we actively resist accountability, we persistently deny justice, and this is the point at which our souls are damned.