Kin Lane

The Power of White Supremacy to Defend Itself

There are people in my family I won’t visit or be around anymore because of their racist views. I am not talking the occasional ignorant racist comment, I am talking complete denial that the holocaust ever happened, and that there is a superior group of white people who exist in a part of the world that will save us all if we follow their ways. Despite my history with these people I find it unacceptable to have them in my life, so I stay away from family gatherings where they will be. It is hard for me to stay away from other friends and family, but I do not want to be the one who brings conflict to family gatherings, as I find it impossible to remain silent when racist and anti-semitic things are shared. It is easier for me to just stay away, but sadly I become to the focus of resentment due to me not coming around anymore, making my convictions the point of focus, and not the illnesses we need to cut out of our communities. Unfortunately all of this has gave me a first hand lesson over the last four years about how white supremacy protects itself, and maintains control over our society.

When encountered with a coded or even blatant racist or anti-semitic statement from a family member at a gathering, I find that most people are pretty well trained to not speak up, or cause trouble because they just don’t want conflict. When these statements are delivered in a calm, matter a fact, and sincere tone, stating they are just trying help, then people are further disarmed when it comes to being able to push back. Nobody wants to be the one who caused the blowout at the family BBQ. However, when you are the person who can’t be the one to keep quiet when faced with well polished racism and hatred for others, and you begin filtering yourself out of family gatherings because you can’t remain quiet, then you become the bad one. You are the intolerant one. You are the one who is angry and out of balance. You are the one who brings problems around. You are the one who doesn’t put family over politics. You are the one who isn’t soft spoken. You don’t show up. You are the problem. This is how white supremacy defends and perpetuates itself.

It breaks my heart that people I care about can sit around while such hatred exists in their midst. That someone wouldn’t want unpack what is behind someone questions whether the holocaust happened, and would just shrug it off and take the conversation in another direction. That someone can’t question a conversation around a belief in a master race of white people who live a pure life on the other side of the world, and all we need to do is live the way they live. That someone coming to every family and sharing their belief that our financial system is going to perpetually collapse due to a single group of people, and that if you just buy into their pyramid schema built around a foreign currency isn’t questioned or unpacked in any way. In this white world you don’t see this as anti-semitism, you just see it as quirky, and will even entertain being part of this pyramid schema. Its cool. Why are us white people so ill-equipped to ask questions, push back, and resist these realities in our immediate world? It is because we are comfortable. We don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to be ostracized. It breaks my heart to see this play out, and to see everyone be so fearful of speaking truth, and be see those who speak truth be pushed away.

I could easily just show up and keep my mouth shut, and put a smile on my face. But this is what white supremacy does to your soul. It eats away at it, weakens you, until you are unable to fight. I can’t do this. I try not to be angry with my loved ones at the edges of this. I do love them, and I know they are just scared and unsure of themselves. I wish they would just rise up and fight, showing solidarity for what is right–but they don’t. Somehow the notion that you must endure family at all costs because it is family carries too much weight. I wonder where the line is for them though? For me it was my daughter, and empathizing with her having to live as a queer person in this world. I didn’t want to expose her to this reality. I don’t want to teach her to just keep her mouth shut and put a smile on her face. Like me, she is accommodating enough of other people’s shit, I don’t want her to feel like she has to sit around and be silent around my family, she already has to do that enough with her family. I’ll take a stand on my side, and she can fight the good fight to be a voice of reason around race, gender, and the other issues she is passionate about with hers. My family is always welcome around me, I know them, and happy to have them in my space. However the people they have invited into their lives who are racist, anti-semitic, and intolerant of others are not welcome in my life. Since I can’t hold this line at shared family events I do not show up. It breaks my heart to not be at many meaningful events, but I hope people understand the line I am drawing, and someday they’ll see the line too, and respect me for showing them it. Until then, I’ll hold the line, and keep up the good fight.