I had been on the highest peaks and I had
been in the deepest shadowy depths with one foot in the grave of America, and
everywhere it hurt me to see the increasing fossilization and fortification
this warmth and openness is subject to - a warmth from which I could still
benefit as a foreigner, but which has long ago petrified into fear, hatred, and
bitterness towards fellow-Americans, who live more isolated and in greater alienation from each other than any
other people I know of.
But the violence goes on - the violence against all
oppressed people. Our own European violence against the Third World each year
kills more people through underdevelopment and unbalanced trade than were
killed in the whole of World War II and will drive millions towards our shores
as refugees and immigrants.
Yet another body are we ready to cover up, but just how many are
we prepared to dispose of in our fear of a deeper personal change which better
serves the interests of the entire world population.
This man was murdered where
I lived in New York right across from a ghetto mural (seen behind the shroud)
which he perhaps never paid attention to and perhaps was unable to read.
late evening we find at the same wall two crippled Vietnam veterans who have
been out defending "Western civilization" - and who now have to beg in the
streets. The scene is changing.
The colonized peoples - their backs to the wall -
now must serve as colonizers and oppressors and are sent out over the oceans
they came from. Our inhumanity has come full circle. We have finally managed to
create them in our civilization's own sanguinary image.
Having been oppressed during this
presentation you may now feel:
Guilty, paranoid, frustrated, drained, upset, numb, tense,
angry, pissed, silenced, dumb, confused, unworthy, cautious, inferior,
powerless, fearful, meek, passive......
Further oppression could also have made
you... protective, inattentive, hostile, turned off, shrewd, playing games,
deceitful, plotting, manipulative, retaliatory, superior, observant (of the
oppressor), crafty, destructive, detached, cagy....
.....and finally violent!
These emotions are the same as those experienced by blacks
living under the oppressive patterns of American society, by
Muslim immigrants in Europe, by Palestinians under Israeli
occupation and by many other oppressed groups in the world.
The hurt accompanying
these emotions forces people into paralysis, hopeless and self-consuming anger.
The irrational and powerless behavior that results in turn fuels white racism.
Being aware of how this vicious circle works gives us the power to work together
to free ourselves from these oppressive patterns...
...for the love of humanity and our own selves!
But we should not forget one important thing.
Having been "oppressed" ourselves through this presentation we now run the risk of ending up in the
other end of the oppression pattern:
Without an appropriate or constructive outlet for our pain, we
may end up using our new knowledge to become even more sophisticated racists
I therefore urge you attend one of my racism workshops, or to
"let go" of and share your emotions in a safe setting with a close friend.
The pain, compassion, anger, guilt or sadness you may feel now
demonstrates the human caring in each of us and our deep longing to see things
Sharing our feelings and deep concerns about racism is a
meaningful first step toward breaking out of the fear and inhibition that keeps
us stuck in hurtful patterns.