I wonder in my mind how I can engage with these political and cultural movements in a way that is both respectful for others but also protective of my own boundaries. At the end of the long day, after the energy of the shouting and marching crowd has dissipated, there are individual people, friends I have loved, who pass through inward turmoil and suffering which are inextricably tied into the fervor of these movements and their commitment thereto. And I see my frustration and weakness in the face of the human-animal suffering of every person who feels they are marginalized or under the boot-heels of tyrants, because they carry rare magic and silence in the face of what angers them is impossible, and I know I am one of them, and in their suffering I face my ineptitude.
I know my Whiteness is something I can never shed. It is this literal animal hide I carry upon me, as evident to my fellow humans as their ancestral hide is to me. I have to have some self-protective limits around it: my ancestors live in it and my own blue rivers run under it. I cannot take onto it all the pains of those who have suffered because of some parts of its history. But this white hide of mine is already as uncolonizedly animal as yours and convictedly no less wild or softly permeable to the heart beating beneath it than that of my darkest brethren. It did not come into the world begging anyone’s pardon, nor does it demand answer from others. My Whiteness can adapt and breathe and blend and expand its identity and self-understanding, but it doesn’t want to apologize for its existence.
Though I have rightly been angry at hateful “Social Justice” extremism, I shall not hate its practitioners. I shall listen with patience and speak with wisdom and courage. I will call them my fellow people. Though I have been demonized for my white skin, I shall not treat my fellow humans of darker skin with contempt. I will delight in their beauty and mine. Though I have been labeled a “settler”, I belong here just like you. I believe in the goodness of indigenization. I believe in the dreams of our ancestors, yours and mine. I give up and I gain culture, you give up and you gain culture. Let us conserve what is beautiful, true and good. Let us liberate for the love of these. I will stand by both the unity of my species and the righteous laws of my country. I am human and animal, White and Indigenous, domestic and wild, Liberal and Conservative. I am American, I am a Westerner: past, present and future. I live.
Your liberation is not dependent upon my subjugation. Your having a voice is not dependent upon my being silent. Your desire to “take up space” is not dependent upon my not being there. If you believe the strength of your identity is dependent upon “dismantling” mine, we’re going to have problems. But if your liberation allows for me to maintain my traditions, I will support you. If your voice and mine can can both speak without censorship, I will listen. If your “taking up space” allows space for both of our being, I will honor your being. If the strength of your identity respects the strength of my own, I will celebrate all that you are.
On a different night I met her whom I saw die bloodily, as I did not want to see, but how she threatened me, and what spirit stood over her to vanquish her too much I angrily don’t know but that I was floating there with it, gone from her violence against me, but witnessing her own self-brought destruction? What Question mark is appropriate when you face Wicked Chaos in the shape of a known face, and I have dreamt often, too often of female demons, terrible and manipulative and overwhelming as their insanity. She was cleaved in two halves, I saw her perish, vertically and what was inside was a mortal form as my own, and what was lost was unknown.
She appeared to me as if she were a priestess and I were welcomed back into her holy fold after expulsion. At last. But I did not adore her as if she were mighty. She was a beast who became lost in a human’s body, and could not grapple stably with the terror of human awakening, and she grasped for the watery depths of the dark earth where, in a room of well-lit and comforting candles, we spoke together and stood and rejoiced on a cob floor in creaturely dancing under festival lights strung for us, celebrating reunion. It had been a long time since I had seen her, since she left into anger and took no-speech as her feral tongue. She couldn’t go back, now. And I knew that I may have beheld in her only a shell that bore a rare spirit, visiting, as strange as our first meeting, stranger than the blue depths of her vanishing back again.
We forget that most men have long been extraordinarily good to women, even sacrificing their lives for women and children and other men. That’s what Honor, Chivalry, and being a Gentleman has always been about. A man deserves respect for his sacrifices and his commitment to defend women, children, and his fellow men by putting himself between those he loves and whatever threatens them. Instead of attacking masculinity, we should be rejoicing in the miracle of these our days when both men and women are less likely to die young and tragically or live in unending toil. We are more likely to grow old in marriage together with a shot at more civilized, prosperous and nonviolent lives of wellness, and feminism deserves zero credit for that triumph; technology and men and women working together made that happen. Men are full of deep wisdom, a loving fire and an irresistible masculine beauty and lovableness which women crave, no matter how arrogantly they condemn their own desires.
The West suddenly importing boatloads of refugees is dangerous, unethical and unsustainable, but not because it uniquely affects White people. We Westerners are not only White, for God’s sake! WE are both White and People of Color whose ancestors have been in The West for generations, or who are lawful, recent immigrants putting in deeply honorable hard work to culturally integrate into our society. Worrying about illegal immigration and incompatible refugees affecting only White children’s futures is an ethnocentric view of economics that we White people morally can’t afford if we’re going to convince anyone that our Whiteness is as soulfully human and as deserving of cultural honor as any.
What if I told you there’s room for compassion and nuance in response to the “White Genocide” claim:
1. Yes, I am sad and concerned about our declining numbers. Yes, we should respect our own heritage.
2. No, we’re not victims of genocide. There is not a mass plan to exterminate our European genes.
3. Yes, I am concerned about the growing intensity of public racist hatred towards White people. That’s real.
4. The part of this royal mess which our White ancestors brought upon themselves was in creating a globalized colonial legacy (both bad and good in extremely complicated ways) which both attracted People of Color to our native and colonized lands as immigrants in search of better lives, as well as our post-industrial quality of life being the highest in the world which inevitably lead to lower birth rates as witnessed wherever societies become more prosperous.
5. The tragedy of population loss has already been experienced way more severely in Indigenous peoples of the Americas. We can learn from this while having compassion for them and for us.
6. No, our fellow humans who are Brown are not trying to systematically exterminate us. I will never, ever stop supporting interracial friendship and families: this is an inevitable result of the interconnected world which our European ancestors started.
Something I really, really struggle with is changing my focus from one thing to the next. I am an obsessive, hyper-intense thinker and producer of human words; corraling my fire-active mind to the side while I try to do calm things is like trying to shove a sabertooth tiger into a kitten carrier. I see the humor here and my need for self-compassion while I grapple with this, but I also worry about how it affects the animals I work with when my human mind won’t shut up in the presence of their greater wisdom and extraordinary ability to always be in the present-moment. I hope these better beasts than myself will yet love me and forgive me while I have the ridiculous role of caring for these Masters of Mind in whose grounded magic we humans are privileged just to be close to. Matter over mind.