Updated: Jul 8, 2020
My Fellow White Americans
My Fellow White Americans - We are a people who can trace our lineage from the same continent and whose ancestors made the journey over the course of 500 years to inhabit and make our own; this land of America. Our ancestors labored, exploited, fought, and sacrificed to create a place for us to thrive as a people gifted with the privilege of manifesting our own destinies.
We do this through hard work, maximizing opportunities, and leveraging circumstances toward our own personal betterment. We have been taught the values of fierce independence and take pride in our individual achievements so we may celebrate our collective success as generational nation builders and consumers of all we survey. We are a great people. We are White Americans.
It should be acknowledged that our ancestors didn’t always make perfect decisions. Certainly, there were a necessary few who have been harmed in the wake of American institutions such as slavery, expansionism, the upholding of racial ideals through the law, and its ruthless execution. This harm is simply a natural consequence of what it takes to make a great nation for all White Americans. Survival of the fittest depends on great people making difficult choices for the betterment of their next generation. It is simply an unfortunate outcome that it must come at the cost of another's.
It should also be acknowledged that there are some of us who have lost their way. Their ancestors ceased to pass down the values and proud morals that we stand on to make this country great. They are still our kin. They are still our brothers and sisters in whiteness. We have a responsibility to them to strive on! As they continue to benefit from their positionality as white, they will come to understand our struggle to preserve it. They may not stand with us but they won’t stand against us; for to do so would be to forsake their very identity of self and the benefits it affords.
Finally, as to the responsibility and response, we must take in the face of the inappropriate actions of the horde who believe their rights and very livelihood to be under attack by the perpetuation of our whiteness upon the framework of this Great Nation: We must stand in solidarity to oppose them. For they are perpetually second class Americans at best: Either hailing from the many conquered peoples our ancestors dominated over to forge this great nation or from the poor and wretched souls our ancestors held in dominion to sow and harvest our first fruits of liberty! These people are of no consequence: They will either heel to our supremacy as a people or they will perish in their ghettos.
This nation was founded on the principles of freedom and justice for all white people. It is written in and between the very lines of emancipation and declaration: On the parchments of our constitution, laws, and rights that we are founded upon. For generations, we have let slip our perspective of hierarchy over all other races. By God’s grace, we must remember: We are the inheritors of this land. We are the victors of this conquest. We are the rulers of this nation. It is up to us to Make America Great Again!
My Fellow Kin
My Fellow Kin - This is the silent sliver that festers in all-white bodies. This is the common secret whispered into our youthful ears. This is where whiteness places us if we are unwilling to examine it, understand its origins, and then dismantle it. We are either those who work to uphold it or those who allow others to uphold it for our benefit. This is internalized-Superiority. As long as we identify as white, we can not be anything else.
The starting point is acknowledging what it means for me to exist as a white American. I am privileged because I am white. I am white because my ancestors created the concepts of race to uphold supremacy over this land and the peoples we encountered in its subjugation. Whiteness is a construct not rooted in ancestry, genetic lineage, or country of origin but in ideals of supremacy. If I do not work to dismantle this construct then I am a slave to it and destined to enslave others with it.
This starts with me and those that look like me but it can not be finished without the inclusion of all those of this nation. However, our work as white people must start with us. We do this by dismantling our identity of whiteness and reaching back to our own indigeneity. It can not be dependent on creating a new personification, for that will only take the place of this present identity. It is dependent on remembering an ancient one: One that far surpasses even our best knowledge of what it means to be European-Americans.
It is the knowledge of those that came before. Those that were in a relationship with the land, generationally tracked the movement of stars, followed the herds, and ice flows toward a better future. It is a place that has been marked as perilous territory in the maps of our minds. It is beyond the dark edges; where huddled bodies work desperately to warm themselves with the skins of animals and the invention of fire; among desperate masses in damp caves. This is where our collective common origin begins.
We have been subtly taught to fear this ancient memory of our selves. More importantly, we have been taught to believe it. To see our ancestors through a lense of tragedy and desperation. A struggle for survival against the elements, the land, and nature. Fighting back against ebbing glacial tides in hopes of gaining a future foothold in history.
This story may certainly hold some truth about our ancient ancestors but what is lost is a deeply enriching and important language that showed them the way. They certainly would have contended with natural obstacles that you or I may find loathsome to think of; savage barriers and cruel events that halted their advancement as a civilization. However, they did find their way. Had they not, you nor I would be here.
They found their way because they held to stories of origin that have long since been lost to the death of gods and the invention of the written word. Passed down from mother to daughter, from father to son were the stories that guided their morality and taught their history. Stories that didn’t stop at the simple logic of an anecdote but were a deeply woven matrix of human dreams. Our ancestors were not stagnant in their growth as humans; they were not halted by their limitations to acquire and to process. They were ever moving forward toward the inevitable. With every step into that inevitability, they brought with them their ancestors and the ways of knowing and being.
This link has been severed for us: A link that spans the distance of our written history 15 times over. We, modern humans, are a proud creature that stands on a lonely hilltop of our own creation surrounded by mountains of indigenous human histories towering over us.
Given the best approximation of 20,000 years of written human history, we can still barely piece together some rabble of an origin story. Our ancient homo-sapien ancestors appear to have walked this planet for over 300,000 years. Ours is a written history that is a mere grain of sand in the hourglass of human existence. Do we really believe ourselves to be so advanced that all of this ancient knowledge lost to our collective colonization should continue to be discarded? Is it not possible that the cure to our current disease of decadence may well exist in the stories and teachings of our indigenous ancestors?
I would not wish to idolize our ancestors but I do want to highlight their ways of being and knowing as a prescription for our cultural dismay. They came with human flaws and human pain but they found a way of being that far surpassed ours: in historical time and depth of understanding and navigating the world. To our great benefit, these ways of being are not completely lost to us. Indigenous peoples and the oldest civilizations around the world still hold to these stories and values. They cling to them and have rebuilt them from the ruin of cultures that we have so gleefully discarded.
How can I be so sure of the power of these methodologies to heal? Here we sit at the pinnacle of recorded human history and we find ourselves on the cusp of collapse. Certainly, we may well survive as a species, this indignation of dominion, but we will not come out better for it. It will irrevocably harm us far deeper than we have already experienced: 20 millennia of vivid slaughter, warfare and conquest have only brought us damaged plunder. Our ancestors made it 300 millennia before their annihilation at the hands of an astronomical leviathan: a comet impact in the North American ice sheet 12,800 years ago.
Our path forward is found in their ways of knowing and methods of being. If possible, we should labor to find the indigenous traditions of our own peoples of European descent. It is unfortunate that millennia of colonization of the European continent has extinguished most of those flames of human history to the void.
However, we are not without already trying to reach back and understand as a civilization. The prevalence of eastern and ancient teachings such as yoga, meditation, and fasting in the United States today is an example. The desire of many to contrive, adopt and emulate the practices of Native American other traditionally indigenous healing practices is yet another. There is benefit in this assimilation of another’s spiritual disciplines and indigenous practices into our spiritually vacant society. However, because we are unable to separate ourselves from the beingness of whiteness and the colonization of all things surrounding it, we are unable to utilize these practices without adopting a positionality of supremacy over them. We make them ours without properly acknowledging their origin.
Observe how we have distanced ourselves from our indigenous roots in order to better consume what we want from it without identifying with it: the word indigenous is synonymous with primitive, inbred, or unaquired in the modern thesaurus. Aboriginal groups are still referred to as savages among some scientific research. Modern medicine refuses to acknowledge any benefits to naturopathy and plant-based medicine; even though many modern medical practices and prescription medications were derived from healing plants and indigenous techniques.
To be white is to be the ultimate consumer. It is inherent in our colonized background, mythology, and perspective. Manifest Destiny demands that we assimilate and consummate the world we live within. Our ancestors and those of indigenous ways of knowing would see this as abhorrent. It is an abomination of what it is to be human. They didn’t assimilate the world into their own, they co-existed within the world as it was. They did not render extinct nature's gifts and mana, they gave thanks for them and cultivated their benefits for future generations.
Because the elimination of our indigeneity is so complete, we are a human being that has been overlaid with the identity of many conquerors. From the assimilation of the Neanderthal into our own genome to the assimilation of the tribes of Gaul into Roman civilization; a long river of conquest traces our ever-disappearing origins. As such, we are a people without a true human foundation. We are a blank slate, a whiteboard. We are an empty vessel in need of constant fulfillment rather than a part of the earth that the vessel was formed from.
It is this originless existence that allows anything to be placed within it and consumed by it. From the perspective of a Christian White Nation, our origin story becomes a poor adaptation of another's origin story; that of the Hebrew origin story of Genesis. Our very foundations are assimilated from another. This assimilated history does not begin with Jesus but with Constantine; the first Roman Christian Emperor.
Constantine ruled Rome between 306 - 337 AD; a fairly short rule but a very impactful one. He is attributed with bringing together the fractioned empire of the time: uniting the Eastern & Western Roman Empires in 324. This connected the Roman roads that would allow for his next and far more impactful act to take seed and grow.
Constantine's father was a Roman general of Illyrian heritage; a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting parts of the western Balkans. His mother was Greek and a Christian. Although he would have been raised in the pagan beliefs of Roman society, his mother also taught him the doctrine of Christian beliefs.
Constantine was an active member in making Christianity the institutionalized religion of our modern age. He was integral in forming the First Council of Nicaea; the first ecumenical meeting of the Christian Church, in 325 AD. Leaders and scholars hailing from all of Christendom formed this counsel and worked to develop the first doctrine of correct belief and orthodoxy called the Nicene Creed; 300 years after Christ’s death. It was amended in 381 by the First Council of Constantinople; however, Nicaea is generally recognized as the foundational moment in which Christianity became the dominant religion of the modern world as influenced by Roman rule and roads.
This doctrine adopted the foundational documents of Christian origin which were known in the Hebrew language as Bereshit: In The Beginning. This is the first book of the Torah and serves as the first book of the Christian bible as well. It tells the Hebrew origin myth of the creation of the earth and all things that inhabit and surround it. It provides a description of the first man and woman and their choice to fall from communion with God and into sin or separation from God. It tells of the first murder of a farmer (Able/Civilized) at the hands of a hunter-gatherer (Cain/Savage). It talks of giants that voraciously consumed the earth and of the first civilizations; the people that inhabited them and their inevitable destruction. It describes the rebirth of human society and the dawn of the modern age of civilization starting with the first peoples and kingdoms of ancient Mesopotamia.
The document of Genesis is less of an origin story for human beings and far more of an origin story for human civilization. Due to its adopted nature into the Christian faith, it becomes a doctrine of time-rooted fact rather than the mythological conveyance it was intended to be. Story is removed and set aside in the interest of building an orthodox perspective for the proper viewing of one's personal journey towards redemption with God. The collective bond of tribe and culture that is inherent in origin stories is removed and replaced with an individualistic perspective of being. Just as Cain the savage killed his brother, Able the Civilized; Christianity provides a mirror to this event as it kills the tribe and fosters civilization.
No journey can begin without an origin. Therefore, one is adopted and placed into a constructed narrative developed by the Council of Nicaea and has swayed our society ever since. In essence, Constantine is responsible for the creation of our modern western orthodox - not just that of the Christian faith but of the individual's journey absent of the tribe's collective values as well.
Through this emergence of the individual journey in Christianity, we are introduced to the individual nature of human existence. Never before has it been possible to survive as a species individually. It is the prime lesson of indigenous peoples to understand that the only way forward is together. To remove the collective and replace it with the individual, functions as a form of cultural suicide for an instinctive part of the human consciousness; it becomes dead to the cares of those beyond its own circle of interaction.
In pursuit of these ideals, Europe would spend 1500 years in the ebb and flow of human growth; in the colonization of the continent and its inhabitants. Until, finally, there was no more room to grow. The peasants and noblemen alike were pressed firmly against the wall of European expansionism and growth. This was evident in the emerging evangelical ideals of the Spanish Monks & Conquistadors and the humble puritanical ideals of the first settlers of North America 200 years later. Europe was full. New ideas, individual pursuit, and emerging empires would have to be endeavoured in a new world.
This new world inhabited the doctrine and orthodox of the individual better than any world before it. The declarations and edicts of its original colonist would set the foundations for the individual pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. All other goals would become secondary to this aim; regardless of moral affirmation or harm to another: an individual's pursuit of happiness would be the ultimate fulfillment of one's ability to manifest a destiny.
Such a doctrine of values is what allowed for 400 years of human trafficking and slavery to take place. It is what makes possible the precisely planned annihilation of two entire continents of indigenous peoples and it upholds the boundary that keeps white Americans from seeing their brothers and sisters of color as themselves. It has created a society that, although it caters toward whiteness, creates an opportunity for all who wish to practice in the religious fever of individual pursuit. All are welcome to seek out the fortunes and betterment of the self at the expense of the collective good.
Are we not all destroying the very path we tread upon with our avaricious consumption? Every gallon of gas we pump, every exotic metal we possess in our digital devices, every drop of water we suckle from plastic bottles is the exploitation of a land and a population who inhabits it, extracts from it at our bidding and lives downstream of the wound left in the earth. These things we consume come from somewhere else to perpetuate an American Dream. An American Dream that will never truly come to fruition but always be an aberration because we consume the path we walk to obtain it.
We live in an age of decadence where our sins of colonization can be hidden behind false social interactions, digital ad space, and brand identity. The giants among us are the corporations that carry forward the banners of our colonization. Our empire is vast but our empire is unsustainable. We are the creators of our own demise.
America is the greatest country in the world: especially if you are white, male, and heterosexual. For all others, the path to opportunity and the pursuit of happiness gets a little steeper and little rockier with every shade of brown and every spectrum of gender. When my white, male forefathers wrote our stories of origin down, they forgot the heart of the tale:
I am because we are.