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Rabbi Message: June 21, 2020

Most of what I understand from being a white skinned liberal is in question for me now. The events of this summer have moved my understanding from my head into my heart and body.
I am not defending myself by repeating that I have Black family members.
I am not defending myself by repeating that I choose voluntary simplicity over intergeneration class privilege.
I am not defending myself by repeating that I have Black skinned friends and work for justice and fairness.
I am not defending myself by repeating that I am a Jew, a member of a different oppressed group.
Etc.
I am not defending myself.
I have white skin privilege because I walk in the world in white skin. I was born into it. I have never experienced anything else. I have no idea how it feels to not have white skin privilege.
I was born into a system and miseducated in a system that gives Whites supremacy in every aspect of institutional life. Therefore, I am a white supremacist. Say it with me people, if you are white skinned. We are white supremacists because we are in a social structure that gives us automatic supremacy. Not because we are evil or racist, individually.
The only possible response to KNOWING this is to actively work to dismantle racist structures and thoughts. This is White on White work.
I know that many of you are further along in the process of dismantling racism in yourself and the social structures around you. I experience myself as being at a new beginning of a life-long work. It is the inner work that I am urgently calling myself to now. Our progressive social work and our alliances with non-white people will not be properly grounded if we skip this step.
Please excuse me to the extent that I am preaching to the choir. I find that many of us need to, as Robin D'Angelo says "sit in the discomfort."