Response to Open Letter to White Men

Dr. John Dorhauer’s article, above, suggests that white people train themselves to think bad things are not happening to them because they’re white.  Does that mean he thinks bad things ought to be happening to me?  I’d rather think that what’s happening to black people shouldn’t be happening to anyone.

The advantages held by white people are multiple.  Being the dominant group in America, and certainly not interested in relinquishing that status, whites in power are more likely to accord a white person the benefits of recognized human fellowship.  Differences in appearance, including both cultural and economic differences, as well as the will to dominate, form the basis for the refusal of whites to acknowledge blacks as fellow and peer.  This failure to recognize and include leads to deprivations and cultural separations that exacerbate the differences in a spirallic progression.

And then there is the history of violence and resentment between the peoples that is ongoing and self-perpetuating, because to stop it would require an admission of wrongdoing and taking responsibility for the relationship, which most people are unwilling to do.  I think there may also be a block to responsibility-taking in the hearts of African Americans due to understandable anger and blame.  Regardless of justification, we must all assume our respective responsibility for viable relationship to be formed.

In a truly progressive society, there would be many things done to remedy these ills, and we tried some of them in the sixties and 70s, but not enough create a critical cultural momentum to integration where all people were recognized as human, which means filled with a potential for beauty that is the sacred responsibility of all people everywhere to cultivate in themselves and others.  The plastic mold was only stretched a little, it was not broken, discarded or critically reshaped.

The other thing that I did not see addressed in the part of this article I read is that there is also undue, non-human-recognizing police repression of poor white as well as young white people.  While racism is a very frequent dispositor to harassment and arrest when driving while black, to a more limited yet still very significant extent anyone driving in a shitty looking car will get extra attention, more searches, heavier fines and sentencing.

These disturbances, levied on blacks and poor or young whites in differing degrees, provide obstacles to personal development because of the depletion of personal resources in the process of court defense and sentence fulfillment.  Also, prison in this country is dehumanizing and inimical to the development of sacred beauty spirit.

The “war on drugs” is a real problem.  Using drugs is a stress response to overly challenging circumstances, and it is such a huge problem because capitalism and hyperindividualistic ideology are out of control.  Drug use is natural, it has nothing to do with good or bad character.  Horses, monkeys, dogs, cats all have certain plant substances they seek out from time to time in order to alter their feeling states.  Cats have catnip, horses eat fermented apples, I forget the rest.  Pretty much all sentient beings are naturally on a quest for happiness, and if things get a little rough, they are likely to seek out opportunities for relief.

So to me, all this is class war, and this is really important to recognize.  It is also important to recognize that different populations are assaulted differently, with different strategies, and we have different histories that need to be addressed in appropriately different ways.  I think there is a huge spiritual wound in the heart of black people that needs to be tended, and they can’t do it alone, there needs to be healing of relationship, listening, admission of wrongdoing, and contrition for the healing to take place, and that may not be all, since only the African Americans truly know the needs in their own hearts.  Reparations need to happen too, to cure the accumulated deprivations, and systemic distributions of resources for all, such as education and healthcare.  We need to learn how to have healing communications and relations.

Above all, we need to restore solidarity in fellowship, and we need to somehow communicate to the 0.01% that their own humanity is at stake in this, because there is no Other, and trying to create social separations based on otherness can only result in a dehumanizing elite culture which will consume their souls in an abyssal well of suffering.  I note here extraordinary levels of drug use by elite youth.

The ones creating the separation will suffer the most, because the greatest fulfillment of human spirit can only occur in good relationship which is denied and obscured by efforts to separate.


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