Yesterday, a friend posted this on Facebook:
"PSA: There are no "white" people in the Bible.
The closest to being white are mainly the "bad guys" [Roman soldiers]"
I've seen variations of this for years. It is certainly not new or original. However, I was surprised to see the level of attachment to archaic definitions of whiteness:
"Actually, most definitions of "white" include people of North African and Middle Eastern descent, who are genetically close to Europeans."
"A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa."
Uh. Huh. I just bet all those middle eastern people are glad that they are now white. And the Africans of North Africa - Egypt, Libya, Morocco and so on should be jumping with joy. They now have the white card. They can buy houses easier, get credit easier, get jobs easier, buy band-aids that match their skin color, take world history centered on the middle-east, not Europe, etc.
I didn't argue too much on the thread because it is simply crazy. The middle-eastern experience is not the traditional white experience. It. Is. Not. All those middle-eastern people (and latinex people) getting profiled prove the fact that culturally, we do not treat them the same. We treat them as "people of color" because we make assumptions based on the color of their skin. Period. End stop.
This then brought up white on white discrimination. Whites v. Italians, Whites vs. Irish, etc.
Finally, someone chimed in with:
"What is the point of making mention of white discrimination against whites? Is that supposed to make the group(s) currently subjected to it feel better, or is it deflection? We just had to make it about white people didn't we. I ponder the same question during discussions about the transatlantic slave trade when people point out other instances of slavery."
The whole discussion points to the absurdity of race as a construct and the absurdity of white people to control the narrative.
Power and control is hard to shed. Should I even point out that most of the people, except my minuscule two comments and the final comment by a woman, were from men? Perhaps that is unfair. There were men in the conversation pointing out how ridiculous the definitions of whiteness were. Especially given that race was socially constructed in the 17th century. If race didn't exist for Middle-Eastern Jews (Jesus), then Jesus certainly was not white. Nor was anyone in the Bible.
We really are at a point in our history where we are at a crossroads of believing people's experiences up and against a textbook definition describing them.
The textbook says we are equal, therefore your experience of inequality cannot be correct.
The textbook says you are white, therefore your experience of profiling cannot be correct.
The textbook says ______________ , therefore your experience of ___________________ cannot be correct.
The question is, who gets to choose the textbook? Right now, it looks like white men are choosing the textbook that is defining everyone's experiences. I wonder what your experience is up and against the textbook of life? Does it measure up? Are there places you would like to modify the textbook?
This might be the only time I have thought of book burning as a good thing.
What book will you burn today?
The complete practice today includes:
- Centering with BIBO,
- Breath prayer,
- Music from Ray Charles, performing "It's Not Easy Being Green"
- Reflective quote from Noel Ignatiev from Race Traitor
- Links to scripture in the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions
- Prayers for the world
- Photo by Jace Grandinetti on Unsplash
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh (repeat a few times)
Breath prayer (repeat 3-5 times):
(inhale) Ground of love,
(exhale) Create freedom.
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
“Whiteness is not a culture. There is Irish culture and Italian culture and American culture - the latter, as Albert Murray pointed out, a mixture of the Yankee, the Indian, and the Negro (with a pinch of ethnic salt); there is youth culture and drug culture and queer culture; but there is no such thing as white culture. Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.”
― Noel Ignatiev, Race Traitor
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while mourning for the desecration of hope.
This week we pray for the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
the mercy workers working so hard to put out the fires
those faithful who practice nonviolence and peacemaking
the rains that come to refresh the land, especially hoped for in California
our political leaders, that their hearts may be softened and sensibility will prevail
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
those seeking food and shelter, especially those whose homes were destroyed in wildfires
those affected by hurricanes, especially Puerto Rico and the threat of withdrawn support
those who have been harmed by violence, especially those harmed by gun violence
those who suffer in systems of domination, especially the earth
those who will suffer when their healthcare is withdrawn
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to, we pray.
For the transformation from ME to WE, we pray.
Let peace prevail on earth.
So mote it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.