This post was the first one I wrote for my new blog, Burning Down, Raising Up.
We white people designed a capitalist machine that generates comfort and complacency for ourselves by consuming the bodies of Black people, exterminating Native people and raping their lands, and drawing power from the labor of Latinx, Asian, and other immigrant people. Sometimes we can not direct the machine sufficiently and it also consumes the lives of white people, but we feel that’s the price we have to pay. We use up the Native lands like they are refuse. Then we use up other nations’ lands like they are refuse. We use up oceans, lakes, and rivers like they are refuse. And if we were to take a clear-eyed look, we’d realize that we have nowhere left to throw our refuse, because we’ve turned the whole world into a dump. Even the atmosphere has become a dump for numerous chemicals and particulates, as well as carbon dioxide and methane that are heating up the body of our Earth.
And if we could truly think about, feel, and be with what we have done and continue to do, we would see the straight line between our exploitation of our fellow human beings and the exploitation of a planet which is our mother, our sustainer, our everything. And if we saw we would understand and if we understood we would collapse and if we collapsed we would realize that we need to stop this now, to stop all of it, to turn off the machine, disable it, tear it to the ground.
But we don’t see because we are afraid. We are afraid to lose our comfort, afraid to step into the unknown. The only life we have ever known as individuals is based on exploitation of bodies, human and planetary. And so we can not rely on our individual memory to challenge this system. We cannot rely on our individual bodies, minds, and efforts at all. Instead, we must look to our collective memory, body, mind, effort.
We must find a way to remember our ancestors, who did not always live in this way, but we also cannot dwell in a remembered past. Instead, we must use the strength of our ancestors to connect with one another in the present. I must develop a sense of radical love and empathy for others, both in affinity with other white people and across difference with my Black, Native, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all siblings. Through this radical love, we can envision a new way of being together on and in harmony with the Earth. I believe that we must, and so I believe that we can. I believe that we can, and so I believe that we will.
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