Tone: Calm and loving ❤
Over the past four years, I’ve watched white people, who don’t believe in white supremacy, flounder in confusion at loved ones who support Trump, the latest mascot for white supremacy. I see them ask for advice on what to do, even now after his supporters committed a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capital.
As a Black person, whose life and family’s life are being put in danger by this belief system, I feel tremendous fear from people like this because they are part of the reason why the dogma of white supremacy still persists and thrives in this world. If this is you, your loved one has no problem with me being killed or arrested just for existing while Black (or perhaps they would even be happy to pull the trigger themselves!). Just “not having that conversation” doesn’t really cut it with a person like this.
If this is your struggle I have one simple question to ask of you,
what incentive does this person have to analyze their beliefs and change?
I know from my own personal experience as coming out as gay to my parents that you can get into these endless cyclical conversations where both parties say/scream/cry their beliefs, but in the end the conversation doesn’t change. Because families get in fights and it’s easy to just get into a “this is just how it is” mindset.
I think the reasons it’s so hard for you with loved ones who are white supremacists to know what to do is the same reason it was so hard for me to deal with my parents. To have some who you know loves you, carry beliefs that don’t align with the values and morals they’ve taught you is confusing, scary and just damn hurts.
This person, who has taken care of you every time you’re sick, given you money when you needed it, supported you in trying to get into college or a job, forgiven you when you’ve made mistakes. Someone who has taught you morals that lead you to be a kind, giving and compassionate person in the world. This person that has taught you how to survive.
I imagine you fear for who they are as a person or their soul itself.
The fact is we are all learning and they were just taught some messed up shit from childhood that has them lost in darkness. They just need to learn and understand something different. You are trying to pull them down a path of light to show them, but they don’t even want to look that way because they fear what it could mean. It could mean that they slipped up morally and that a fundamental part of their identity is just plain wrong, that is a hard pill to swallow.
In this video, Arnold Schwarzenegger, talks about the effect the guilt of participating in the Nazi movement had on his father and all the fathers he knew in the neighborhood:
So with this truth in mind, that it will only get worse if your loved one continues on the path they are on, I hope you understand that it is not only Black lives or the environment that are in danger from your loved ones belief system, it is your loved one themself.
If you truly love them you need to understand, pretending like everything is honky dory when it is not, is helping NO ONE. They have no incentive to change because everything they love and value is as present as it ever was. I imagine you probably think that avoiding the hard conversations is the best way to love them.
But that pain and stress you feel when you “try to avoid talking about Trump” or silently let a rant pass, it is chipping away at you. That darkness and fear that festers and grows in your loved one the further they go down the path of white supremacy is chipping away at them.
To repeat the old adage, this is an “If you love someone let them go” situation. It is no different than if you had a loved one suffering from drug addiction and refusing to go to rehab, eventually you can’t keep giving them money because all you are doing is helping them kill themselves.
It wasn’t until my relationship with my parents seriously degraded and I told them why, that things started to change for the better.
It’s very easy to go through life not reflecting on what we think, do and say if we are always surrounded by other people, the television and internet. It’s not usually not until life knocks down, usually through a loss of some sort, that we stop and look at where we are and how we got there.
So if you want to save your loved ones, I implore you to be brave enough to cut them off. It doesn’t mean you completely ignore them if there is a crisis or something, but you can’t just keep doing that regular phone call and going to every family event as if nothing is wrong.
Of course they will be upset and you should explain why, but if they love you like you know they do, they will eventually have to stop and ask, “Could the problem be me?” They love you and will do everything they can think of to get you back in their life, even if it takes analyzing their beliefs like you are asking them to.
People are not only stubborn but it took years for them to build up that belief system, so I will say don’t expect it to work overnight or months. And obviously, I don’t have the answer to everyone’s white supremacist relative problem, I’m just saying that if you haven’t tried this, you haven’t done everything you can to save your loved one and your relationship.
Moreover your relationship will become richer and be so much more beautiful without the shadow of white supremacy darkening it. I imagine they themselves will be happier and more fulfilled as well.
I think this clip of George Lucas explaining the dark side of the force, accurately describes what believing in white supremacy does to a person and society.
If you are are a believer in love and compassion over violence and selfishness which is part of the teachings of white supremacy, you need to understand that you must stand up for love and face your loved one. This is why humans continue to pass around stories about the fight of love versus hate, to remind us in hard times that we must always be doing the work, whether it be in ourselves or relationships with others, to keep hate and suffering at bay.
We must all do our part if we want love and compassion to reign supreme, it takes our actions to be maintained, not just words. You have to let your loved one know that you cannot follow them down the path they are going, it is the only chance you have to save them and bring them back to love and compassion.