07 Mar, 2017
TO WHITE PEOPLE, when a POC points out your privilege, asks you to stop, and you feel hella defensive:
Look, your ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ were close to Native American people of 500 years ago in that they were connected to land and a kind of migration/cyclical/seasonal-as-time geo-temporal spirituality, but something happened and they (your ancestors) got hit with a thought that broke their heart and created the concept of time, and the verb “to be.” No one knows where the thought came from or why. After that, the heartbreak shot from Asia across Europe like the force through billiard balls and eventually into the hearts of all so-called Western peoples. Your people among them. (Cut to montage of so-called “progress”).
Today, when you hear what you deem an overly sensitive complaint by Indigenous people in your midst and you feel a pang of defensiveness, you are feeling a grief response to the fact that you know you had a natural origins and a culture like them, somewhere along the way, but you don’t anymore. That is, you are descended from a long distant past people that knew where they came from – like these indigenous peoples – and were clothed in a culture that reflected that deep knowing.
Today you are a pobrecito. You don’t have even the merest shred of that intact indigenosity, and instead, you have this: a verb to-be, a time-dependent language called ENGLISH, and a gigantic un-fed void-pool of un-wept grief that, in its never-ending attempts to run from the fact of its non-existence, creates the very culture that makes the pain in your chest when you try /not/ to feel what it feels like when you are confronted with your own non-origins. I.E. when an Indian gets mad at you and you take it personally.
So, here’s a suggestion. Track ENGLISH back to the roots. Weep. (A beautiful language that holds, in equal measure, the hidden roots of your own lost origins and indiginosity and the impossible grief of your having lost it, simultaneously) Track EUROPEAN ancestry back. Weep. Read the book PARCIVAL and understand you are the main character. See how he LEARNED to take criticism without crying victim every time he was handed a lesson by a supposedly lesser being (usually either a woman, an animal, an old man or a cripple) and learn that when you get entitlement checked by brilliant people on the Internet, it’s not always because they’re overly sensitive. Feel your body, feel your soul, feel your heart. That pain? It’s telling you to open your ears, open your heart, and open your story to an invading force called wildness. Learn to make a place for it in your heart, and one day, maybe you can earn the right to call yourself a true ally, a decolonizer, a re-wilder.
In the meantime? Best just to keep quiet, feel the burn, and pray for the knowledge and strength to understand and belong to this crazy world you secretly fear you have no place in.
(With great debt to the ideas and teachings of Martín Prechtel.)