The Spell of Whiteness

The notion of whiteness and the use of color as a primary aspect of identity arose out of a particular cosmological trick.

On the heels of the tragedy in Charlottesville, VA, I participated in a multicultural conference, which left me reflecting deeply on the concept of whiteness. In order to analyze and deconstruct white supremacy, we must look at the cosmological trick that led to using color as a primary aspect of identity. Whiteness claims purity at the same time as it produces oppositional thinking. I hope to reveal how the misuse of a symbol contributes to centuries of oppression. Breaking the spell of whiteness, as an aspect of collective identity, is a necessary step for stopping oppression and finding cultural healing.

One of the greatest errors in this world occurs when a person thinks that they are either inferior or superior to other people. The notion there is not that everyone is equal in all ways. It’s more an angling towards the deeper idea, that everybody has nobility of soul, and that life is the struggle to break open the shell of the ego and to release this nobility that’s inside the depth of the soul.

…I’m speaking about this because it’s deeply encouraging to know that there are rooms and events where people can go in not knowing each other, but carrying the wounds of culture. And by agreeing not to do more harm, they can open those wounds. And if there’s enough courage and enough trust, they can experience both the deep pain of those wounds, and also experience some healing that can happen when the wounds are acknowledged, instead of denied.

This episode is no longer available here, but you can access it through Living Myth Premium.


Living Myth is a production of Mosaic Voices, featured in partnership with Erraticus. This episode was originally released on August 25, 2017. Additional episodes are available at www.livingmyth.org.

(Image source: Galen Crout/Unsplash)

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