My child, metta to white men
As a political solution, regrettably this “hopes and prayers” is all I can offer.
In the blog War over White Men, I put forward the contention that the political move to the right (exemplified by the puppets Trump, Bojo and Scomo) was based on a strategy of financial manipulation of the egos of white men primarily. I did and do not leave it there sparking a deep and meaningful conversation.
Thay’s book “Reconciliation” made me start a conversation with my own inner child – my wounded child. [Even at 67, even with the work of the Treatise and Manual, talking with my wounded child has brought out healing. It is a technique added to the Manual (not yet added), and is very much a part of the process of integrating fragments in the Companion (chapter not yet added).]
Talking with your wounded child helps explain a great deal that goes on in your life. This “Inner Child” work can be deeply personal but I don’t offer this for public consumption. I remember a conversation with my mother late in her life in which she asked me to respect family privacy, and I still honour that. But it is no matter of privacy that my father was a white man, and that culturally my ancestry is a line of MAWPs. My wounded child has been asking me about how I am as a white man? To be free my wounded child and its ancestry wanted me to be white and proud, this is where the conversation has come from.
In my life the last description I would use of myself would be white and proud, being white and proud is owned by the right. But it is not just the vociferous right of white supremacy but the “white and proud” nice white people whose greed identifies with Tory (Republican) because they own houses – even though the Tory-masters (1%) would repossess as soon as look at them if the matter arose. I am not white and proud of the right – loud or quiet, I am neither deplorable nor a tacit supporter of the deplorables – even though the quiet’s tacit avoidance would deny that they are supporters.
But I have been trying to tell my wounded child that I can be white and proud in some things. I do not belittle the hardship white men cause to non-white men and all women as discussed in the blog, but white men like me do have something to be proud of, we have been subject to extreme conditioning and have rejected it. Proud is a word I use only in answer to my child’s desire for pride – pride is part of a desire to survive. There is no doubt in my mind that the wounds that led to my fragmentation as a child (my wounded child) enabled me to follow the path at the age of 23, following the path is something to be proud of even if fragmentation stumbled me onto the path. There are many white men who are trying to follow their path, there are many white men who are trying to be compassionate even if that compassion is often tainted by the compromises of liberalism. This path and compassion could enable a cry of “white and proud”. But my child I still cannot use those words.
I am white and proud in this compassion but being white and proud is associated with bell hooks’ white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. This patriarchy is created by the 1% and its foundation is white and proud men. The puppets are white – Trump, Bojo and Scomo, the corporate leaders are usually white. The institutional practices these white men indulge in are racist and sexist. If you observe my body alone, you see a white man of privilege contributing to the oppression. Even when I am known it is often that women and men of other races blame the nearest white man for the patriarchy that oppresses – blame the image. But I have been privileged by that patriarchy, I have to accept that. I am equally “proud” of taking the required responsibility (required of those who are privileged) to struggle against the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. But I do know of many who have been privileged yet they ignore their responsibility. They might call themselves white and proud, they might say that they earned their “amount of greed”, and they might criticise women and other races for their prejudice; but my child I cannot do that because I know I have had privilege.
On the contrary I am proud of my struggles against privilege, on reflection I say I could have done more but I could have done far less. But my struggles were never for being white. Quite rightly the balance of the actions of white people in history has to bring me shame. As a child I was never conscious of being white as I went to a white middle-class school which had never been introduced to liberal values of working against prejudice, let alone being anti-racist or anti-sexist. I chose to teach in an Inner City school, and my sense of justice took me to seeing the black students suffering in the school. My study of this led me to see that this was caused by a white system despite the efforts of many colleagues (amongst whom were white men contributing).
My contact with African exiles led me to see that the legacy of colonialism pervaded my UK life and had given me the privilege that had shaped my life. I could not be proud of this colonialism even later in Africa when some black Africans told me white people had brought benefits. As a person I had to be proud of my efforts on the path, on struggling for justice, on being compassionate, but I had to feel shame for the white system, and therefore for having white privilege. When less understanding black people apportioned blame on my identity, I would acquiesce and could not talk of being white and proud for my struggle; sorry, my child.
When it came to women my lack of moral imperative early in my life added in part to the oppression of the women I met. Even early following the path I still was controlled too much by lust, and didn’t always behave with the same understanding I showed to the oppression of black people. As I grew older I would not allow lust to exert moral influence but I was not responsible enough to the requirement of this white male privilege to fight injustice. Whilst I was following the path initially I did not hear the liberal cries of female injustice sufficiently, and it was only later that I could consider myself as part of the feminist struggle. To the less understanding women I was white and male and an oppressor because of my body – and initially to a less extent because of who I was.
Throughout my life I could not say to black people and women that I was white and proud because of the conditioning I had overcome, I could not say this because the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy was too oppressive. To my wounded child I am apologetic because if I were to stand and say I was white and proud all that would be heard was that I was a bigot. I know you want me to be proud of my ancestry, of the efforts my ancestors put into their lives but I cannot. My grandfather provided for his family and home, my father provided for his family and home, but my wounded child that is not enough for me to be white and proud. To be fair to both of them they had been involved in world wars, and fear of war was a lynchpin of the community I grew up in. But that fear has not turned into an abhorrence of war and its exploits. My community allows the government to export war. The profits of war are deeply integral to the British economy especially in the South of England, my community has tacitly accepted that those profits are made elsewhere; how can I be proud of this?
My child, being the white and proud of my ancestry brings with it conformity, a conformity that I can see in my wider family to greater and lesser degrees. This conformity accepts being white and proud to varying degrees, and asks that the next generation conform; in a sense it is socially procreative. The white and proud home is a platform for mainstream education, an education that will lead to a profession, marriage, home and children. This is the conformity package. But surely it is natural to have children and to want to give them a home. I do not deny this but there is denial in this conformity package. And that denial is very dangerous – the kilesa of aversion, a major contribution to our defiled world. Conforming to nature is fine, conforming to the white and proud package is defiled.
Conforming to white and proud need not be racist and sexist but conforming to the white and proud package is. Some of this is privilege. Growing up in white and proud regions usually provides an education that leads to a profession. On the one hand it is often correct that parents and children have worked hard for this “rite of passage”. But it is a privilege because others who are not white and follow the same rite with equal determination and ability (and in many cases more) but do not get the “success”. This is often denied by the package attributing various derogatory labels to those who are not successful - this denial is of course racism.
Politically being white and proud is being manipulated by the 1% so that we have right-wing puppet governments. Until the nice white and proud people dissociate from the deplorables, these manipulators will continue to have puppet governments promoting the human downgrading of the deplorables. Why can’t nice white people call for compassion and decency instead of remaining quiet voting for their houses (greed), accepting the delusions propounded by the Tories that they will represent your interests, and denying the realities of planetary destruction, war, wage-slavery, racism and sexism that their vote ensures?
My child, if I stand up and question the white and proud about these political realities what happens to me? Within the white and proud home (remember I am not discussing personally), there are various levels of repression and violence to support the white and proud package. In the home of deplorables such questioning would be met with violence, and usually means that the children dish out the same violence as adults. In the homes of nice white people such questioning is derided and is usually not welcomed, greed can accept that your own children will be successful – privilege, but it cannot accept that your loved ones are not worthy. In truth they might well be worthy but we can never know because of privilege.
Because of the discouragement of such questioning and the violence/repression that follows, these children as adults equally repress the questioning unless there is a fragmentation “revolt”. In other words the truth of compassion and equality can only come out through the trauma of fragmentation, fragmentation caused by the repression and violence of the white and proud package. What is worse about this already unpalatable situation is the question of love. When we love there is compassion for all. Our love must lead to questioning of the white and proud, and denial requires there can be no questioning. Therefore denial is in conflict with love so the white and proud package has a potential conflict with love. But duty is strong within this package especially amongst nice white people so if love between parents breaks down there is the duty of loving children that keeps the family together. But overall love can never be fully expressed. There is never the full love for nature without resource exploitation because the white and proud package lifestyle depends on the exploits. There is never the compassion for all peoples because we know privilege protects our family interests.
And my child, you keep telling me all people are the same, would black or Asian families let go of an existing privilege? My child, I think not but the reality is that the silence of our white and proud package with its privilege and denial is the current package of power, it is the current package of racism and sexism, it is the current package that is leading to the destruction of our Mother Earth. It is our votes that allow the 1%-puppets to deregulate and destroy in the name of profit, and although we are only voting for a status quo to protect our limited personal greed, that vote is so destructive. I cannot deny this, my child, I cannot be white and proud of that.
My child, the ramifications of the white and proud package are so vast. You want me to laud my ancestry but I cannot because of these ramifications. My child, I cannot stand up and announce my actions as white and proud, I cannot be proud of my ancestry even though it gave me my upbringing because my ancestry only contributes to my shame. I am proud that I have overcome my white conditioning and was fortunate enough to begin following my path at 23, I have always been white and done that. But I cannot be more than that.
But I do have a responsibility to my ancestry, my path accepts that, and there has to be change. It is not enough that my ancestry provided for their families, that ancestry has to now change to compassion. To earn money for parenting and the home is not enough - that is a delusion, my legacy cannot be in denial of the consequences of their actions, my actions. My child, I understand your need for familial pride but I cannot bring that pride into this generation because of the denial.
My child, I have spoken to you of ancestry but really I have only spoken of my father and grandfather. They are your real connections. You have the natural love for a father and you knew of grandfather, these are the connections of an inner child. But out of completeness I want to speak of proper ancestry. We are white and mostly English. When we examine the cultural history of white and English there comes only shame - quite rightly; here are two of my non-authoritative considerations of history - 1 and 2. Within this historical context we have our family's history. Zanetti is a common name in Italy but not so common in England when travel was not usual - back in the early 19th century. The first Zanetti was Vittorio, in the 1800's and 10's, as one of brothers; the family trade was gilder and frame-maker although somewhere there was a connection with auctioneers. In the Summer of currying paternal favour, I found a Zanetti connected to the brothers in the Manchester area until 1830s and 40s. From there I found no connection yet there appeared a Zanetti of gilders and frame-makers in Liverpool around the 80s and 90s (less than 30 miles away) - my grandfather's grandfather. I have no proof but see the connection. It matters not, that is my family history I know of - from Vittorio to me. What little I know I see not struggle only conditioning, the conformity package of providing for family.
In my wider family I see trades and profession, small business owners, accountants, the gilders and frame-makers eventually joined offices. On both sides of the family there were Irish, my father's mother and my mother's father. My father's mother was a devout teacher, and my mother's father was a good devout man who also acted. Wider on the catholic side there was much further devotion including the memory of a family nun who was the boss of a female monastery. A glimpse of compassion, my child.
We have a glimpse of compassion balanced perhaps by the "distant uncle in the past"'s business in Nigeria, however long that lasted. We are a family of conditioned complicity. I am not distraught about this, our family were typical of the wider community I grew up with, of nice white people living in denial. Our heritage ends with me although there are good signs of compassion and creativity in my brother's children, but given our nuclear family there is less than nothing we have contributed to them. There is sadness that along with so many my family did not step outside the conditioning and follow their paths (as far as I know).
Since the time of the Greeks white men have followed their leaders appropriating land then resources and now finance bringing the white hegemony into he brink of destruction. But as white people we can promote a new heritage, a heritage of following the path, a heritage of compassion - perhaps as pay back, in houses of learning (houses that have been built on accumulation) there can perhaps be insight, and throughout our heritage there have been creative people of note. White people can start to return to living in harmony with nature ending this endless addiction for financial accumulation for accumulation sake. Perhaps the women's movement amongst white people can be a return to the earth mother rather than transforming into an identity movement for equal misappropriation. This is the new heritage white people need to follow to avoid nature's apocalypse so many fear and deny. To you, my child, I can say that I have followed my path so you can be at peace with your father and mother for that. My ancestry gave me my path and I am "proud" to have followed that path for them - for nature, but that path calls for compassion and cannot accept the greed, delusion and aversion of its family history - even though I know it was conditioning. That path calls for living in harmony with nature.
So to the general white men that my child wants me to be proud of, my limited efforts have failed to heal them and I cannot offer pride. Now the worst of these white men have been called deplorable justifiably, and nice white men with similar views remain quiet, tacitly endorsing the deplorables. I can only offer metta (a meditation on loving kindness) and hope that they will begin to follow their path and go beyond the conditioning the 1% are using them for. Only hopes and prayers, no meaningful solution.
My child, this is why I wrote of being dispossessed in the Manual, and why I support #IndigenousLed. The only saving grace for white men is to recognise that they have been the subject of so much conditioning and human downgrading, to let go of the egos this conditioning has caused, and follow their own paths - and not the destructive addicted ways of their leaders. Through this way of letting go I can be sympathetic, I can offer compassion and empathy and send metta in the hope of destroying those egos. Metta to the white men with their extreme conditioning, please join us - join compassion.