White people didn’t come from some other planet 500 years ago, aliens in a ship sailing the solar winds, or a sub going through wormholes in the time-space continuum. They too were born here on earth, one generation at a time. They have mothers who bear them, communities who care for them, and they are as biologically human as any person of color.
It is a travesty that white people have been told that they do not have any connection to the earth that they live on, and that they’ve been told they use the earth with impunity. It is unconscienable for the rest of the humanity to push them out of their human birthright of connectedness to the only planet they live on. Their ancestors lived off the land, were nomads and gatherers, before they turned into farmers. White people can hear the wind whistling in the trees and feel their connection to the earth just like the rest of us. The fact that they have not steadily practiced or eschewed it is elementary.
Their attempts to cast off their human connections to the earth were theirs to make in the throes of their cultural adolescence. None of us has stronger faith than when it’s tested and proven to remain with us. For white people to stray from the path that pays homage to our ancestral home was only natural. They have come to a place where they can begin to see their mistakes, and want to come home to connectedness. If the rest of us push them away saying “you went astray” then we’re telling them they can’t see the light of day… but it turns out they can now. Because they are not their ancestors, and like it or not, we can’t treat them as if they were. Today they struggle to find themselves anew, and when they can’t, they build replacements.
If we want white people to come around to respecting homelands and working actively to preserve them, we’re going to need to let go of the feeling that says they don’t belong here. They may have conquered, dominated and occupied throughout history, but that won’t change with antagonism or dismissal. We need to envolop them in love and protection so they can see their way clear to a new way of living. White people may not currently have much skills or experience living in the wild all told, but they have in their hearts a great love and respect for the idea and its benefits, in principle. We can help them bridge the gap between their idealized fantasies, and the reality of making the world a better place.
But we must realize that we can’t expect to materialize our ideal earth without them. Asking them to live separately, or banishing them from the earth entirely would be no different than turnabout, which may be fair play, but isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. I don’t believe in the modifier “reverse” as applied to racism, because the term is already inclusive. Exercising racism against oppressors feels like vindication. But all it does is show the damage done to our moral compass and our emotional wellbeing.
It’s true that white people continue to abuse others. I am not going to, and could not if I wanted to, diminish the truth of that severe dysfunction. The very reason we must find a way to make these relationships work, is exactly because it’s not possible to erase that pain nor generations of oppression.To leave them alone would be to let them go, almost like a form of tacit approbation. Instead, we must continue to hold them accountable and involve them in addressing these very real problems. Punishing them alone does not drive them to action, and we need them to stand up and make reparations.
It’s not that we need to cater to them or their desires to get there, but we do need to realize that if we expect them to empathize, they will first need to find a way to relate with us. If we can help them to warm up to us and the idea that they’re responsible for their own behavior, they can begin to extend their great affection of self to other people and the world around them. It may take some work and effort to finesse, but white people want to form lasting connections. The legacy of disproportionate attention they inherited can be corrected with some attitude adjustments.
We can help them refocus their efforts, and they can join us in building a greater future. If the problem has been their lack of commitment, or compassion, or inability to compromise, it’s in everyone’s best interest to engage in appropriate behavior as good examples. It may be stressful or irritating to constantly educate perfectly capable human beings. But white people, for some reason, need personal attention if we want them to learn and retain anything. As much as it requires even more time, white people need to “feel like” doing something. It’s up to us to show them how to connect with other people and the big rock they’re standing on.
Of course there’s no actual obligation on our part, but at the same time we should own some simple truths. Brown people do not own personal connection with the earth, keeping white people in some dirty corner. White people don’t own the entirety of “progress” nor technology or the future in general. It’s up to all of humanity to realize that we don’t allow each other to live on this planet; we all have a right to be here. We may disagree with what other people do, but that’s a component of free will and the human experience.
No matter what decisions anyone makes for better or worse, it doesn’t change their right to exist on this earth, or emotionally connect with it.