Thank you, Marley, for articulating the difference between one’s individual perceptions of one’s relationships and the actions that people take when they are consciously and unconsciously participating in a system of racist oppression. At least, that is the way I understood what you were saying.
It seems like people miss the point. We have a similar issue in Canada, where people believe they are good people. They believe Canada to be one of the best countries in the world. They forget the history of the Canadian genocide upon which the country was founded, the dispossession of Indigenous land and Canada’s apartheid system. They forget that it is the same system that we use to rationalize the ongoing theft of land by fossil fuel corporations, the marginalization and incarceration of Indigenous people, the breaking up of Indigenous families through state imposed Social Services, who apprehend children and remove them from their families.
They become offended and defensive when they are called racist for perpetuating a culture of systemic racism, thinking that this is a natural condition of life.
If we are not fighting against systemic racism, then we are most likely supporting it, whether unconsciously or not. Given what we are experiencing now, it is willful ignorance that prevents people from seeing themselves as participants in a system of White Supremacy.
For myself, something broke when Trump was elected to power by the community that nurtured me. I started to understand the system that I had been participating in. I needed to educate myself about how I have been complicit in building these systems of oppression and how they had built my own mental prison system.
Writing has been a helpful way to deconstruct that old racist architecture in my soul, so that I could start to replace it with an architecture of love.