Kin Lane

The Gravity of White Supremacy Has Made Us Weaker

I’ve been unpacking the impacts of white supremacy on the world around me for some time now, and recently I have been thinking more about my shortcomings as a human being due to growing up white and male in a world where I am afforded so many visible and invisible benefits. I feel like I suffer from an illness that most white men suffer from, in that overall I am softer and weaker due to the light gravity I experience in contrast to that of people of color and women. Think of it as spending too much time in space, and what that will do to your muscles and bones, but on a more emotional and cognitive level. We just don’t have to endure the hardships, and the heavier gravity in a world that is so structured to benefit us, and we are weaker because of it. We are worse off. Which is why so many of us take our own lives, sink into drug addiction, are fall prey to toxic masculinity and other social diseases that inflict white men in this day and age.

One quick test for this weakness can be done by simply challenging us on any idea ranging from race and gender, to any other topic we consider ourselves competent in (which is all of them). The more defensive we get, the greater the damage done to our emotional and cognitive state over the years. Even with many years under my belt of working on this, I am still very, very weak. 2010 through 2015 if you called me out on some sexist thing I had said or done, I would get very defensive, red in the face, and work real hard to kick up a bunch of drama to deflect from my ignorance. 2015 through 2020 it was very much about being aware enough to be able to spot conspiracies, fake news, and ways in which folks are being gaslighted or gaslighting-—I would often quickly become disoriented in conversations, lose my balance and fly of the handle. 2020 and into the future I feel like race is the area I will have to work on the most. When I say or do something racist, and you call me out, I still get that feeling of heat in my head, and have difficulty using my words. I recognize I have a lot of work to do. I need to close my mouth, open up my mind, and expose myself to a wide range of voices from black and brown communities in coming years if I am expected to evolve and get stronger.

Another area you can see how white supremacy has made us all weaker is when it comes to making the conversation all about me. People of color face mistreatment by the police—-well so do I! Life is hard for people of color-—it is for me too! In the absence of comparable mistreatment and hardships, we have created a kind of narcissistic vacuum that immediately pulls everything towards us. This weakness prevents us from progressing and moving forward. We don’t listen, learn, and evolve in our thoughts. We only deflect, distract, and shut down conversations, and we push and run people off, or double down on the need to isolate ourselves. It makes it very difficult or completely impossible for us to have any type of difficult conversations about race, gender, or any other topic where we feel uneducated, ignorant, or just on shaky ground. You see, we have existed for most our lives without being challenged, or having to listen to, and respect diverse opinions, so we become incapable of doing so, and anytime a conversation moves into this territory we immediately seek to shut it down.

A third aspect of this weakness I struggle with is when it comes to education and knowledge. I’d say this is one area I do not suffer from as badly as some of the previous areas I mention, but I still have a lot of insecurities around not having a high school diploma or college degree. I am very smart when it comes to a specific slice of the world around me, moderately aware of a wider portion, while also pretty fucking clueless when it comes to a lot of what is actually going on. I know enough to know that there is a whole lot about the world I do not understand or see. If you start talking Marxist theory and then ask me if I know some detail about it contrast to capitalism, I will squirm. If you throw out some Shakespeare, and expect me to know which story it came from, I am going to be annoyed. I just don’t have the academic base that I should at my age, due to the information starved environment I grew up in. I’ve worked my ass off to evolve beyond this reality, but I am still weak from the nutrient starved world I grew up in, and I get very defensive when I don’t have some practical knowledge that the rest of the world might already possess. I’ve gotten better at just “leaving it”, but I still often times get all twisted, angry, and defensive when put in these positions because I didn’t go to University and obtain some essential bit of knowledge. More importantly, I wasn’t put in an environment where I had to develop, express, and defend my ideas—-thus I never developed these muscles, and I am much, much weaker because of it.

I often lack the necessary skills to effectively face the world around me. I grew up very ignorant of the sexism and racism that flows around me. I don’t have deep experience in listening to other people’s ideas. Truly listening to them, without injecting my own ideas into the mix. I haven’t been challenged on a lot of my ideas and pushed to prove and defend them on a regular basis. I grew up in a conspiracy fueled world where you just make shit up. You can hear some fairy tale about aliens or Mother Nature and you spin it as some truth. You can fly off the handle and intimidate people to get your point across, or just have a gun on your hip or laying on the table and you don’t need to get angry at all, people will just fall into line. As all of this ignorance, insecurity, and fear of the world gets all twisted up over time, and since you are growing up in a world where the gravity is lighter for you, other sicknesses can begin to take hold. White supremacy, toxic masculinity, religion, conspiracy theories, and an overall lack of trust will flourish in this environment. Infecting you so deeply that they almost become the only thing keeping you alive and going. I couldn’t see how dangerous the condition was until I began to work on it. I just couldn’t see how much it had effected me, and had defined my physical and mental health.

A severe tax is imposed on your soul when you think you are superior, but know deep down that you are mediocre at best. Operating at the easiest game level doesn’t make you high scoring player, and is is something that will ultimately impact your character. Being ignorant of white supremacy, the patriarchy, and knowledge, truth, facts, and the other underpinnings of our reality doesn’t make you strong. It makes you weak. Hiding out in our small town, gated community, or other bubble, doesn’t protect you from the effects of the reality we’ve collectively crafted. It is why so many of us are so unhealthy, both physically and mentally. It is why addiction and suicide often seem like such logical choices. It is why guns comfort us. It is what makes us susceptible to conspiracy theories and misinformation. It is what makes capitalism so appealing, because it presents us with millions of different transactions we can set into motion at any moment to try and fill the void. It is why we feel so empty. It becomes impossible to feel true joy in this state. We are left feeling that our way is the one true way. We can’t accept or deal with other ideas. We can’t acknowledge that anyone else’s view as valid. We isolate ourselves, and shroud ourselves in only our thoughts. We don’t grow. We don’t change. We don’t challenge ourselves. All while our fellow human beings are suffering and unable to live with the dignity and peace of mind we take for granted. While I don’t think I will achieve any state of “strength” in my lifetime, I am determined to spend the rest of my time on this planet challenging myself and continuing to grow, despite what I have experienced during the first 40 years of my life.