[Adilifu Fundi, author of the books Trouble in Black Paradise and Moving on The Road To A Man-Song Sanctuary, posted a response to a video I reposted on Facebook regarding the remarkable exercise taught by Jane Elliott. This continued discourse regarding this subject is a remarkable lesson in and of itself. Please see Adilifu Fundi’s blog, https://renaissancemanjam.wordpress.com/ ]
First, please read the previous blog post HERE:
Re: Jane Elliott and a Conversation on Combatting Racism at its source: The Conversation Continues
[Adilifu Fundi, in response to the previous blog post above]
Thank you so much for bringing attention to such an enlightening subject thru this blog. It is rare (if ever) that a broader Caucasian populace sees whites themselves (such as Jane Elliott) clearly & graphically “defining” racism; clearly demonstrated is how its so normalized in daily white behaviors (where high-Holy moralizing is irrationally employed in explosive emotional rebuttals, which effectively deflects “sensitivity”). White gays not thinking they drag all that racist indoctrination along with them–& not realizing how deeply that racist baggage actually stunts their own tactical perspective (when pushing for gay progress) has gay towers being built on sand.
Stunted also is the greater insight on what substantial gay progress even “looks like.” For such a deeply hated, persecuted & castigated group (as is gays) to have its “urgency” for progress so watered down by whites here, who are so tied to their spoon-fed illusion of privilege–lulling them into self-absorbed gay cultural dismissal & abandonment–is a living breathing tragedy. White gays who really want their bigoted relatives to “walk the humanitarian walk” must take the first step.
You are the envoys that teach your relatives how to treat you (& your multicultural gay family) & Jane Elliott’s work will move you out of the realm of “toddlers.”
[My response – my personal observations:]
As with all of our potent discussion, again, you are right. It is never merely recognition of the existence of those racist attitudes that come forward, but the ‘illusion of privilege’ that sadly waters down the sense of responsibility as a human being to change this attitude in a real way.
For me the real way of moving toward change was to deny the illusion of privilege. As a gay man who has had to struggle with additional factors in youth (being ‘lower middle class’, a ‘victim of abuse’, etc.) I subsequently learned a lesson that I did not want to face, which was the responsibility I had for making those changes in my own life. Attempting to accept people for who they are, by the “content of their character” as Martin Luther King said so famously, is in and of itself tainted by the relentless and poisonous teachings of our youth.
It is the judgment itself that must be called to account. There can be no real and true judgment of another being without their assessment, motive and subsequent action being the only measure of judgment. In determining what I felt was necessary assessment I was forced to use these measures, and I did not like the person I found when that judgment was levied.
To this day I am of the opinion that people can and do change; that, when confronted with their own tainted belief, accepting that change is critically required.
What can be done?
In my case it was to agree to three very important changes. First, I had to admit that within me was teaching that must be discarded. And indoctrination that has been instilled using ‘illusion of privilege’ is most difficult to dislodge; it is an insidious thing. In fact I had to recognize that these ‘teachings’ existed, learned to work through my shame, and then make it my lifelong choice to work against those imposed teachings for the remainder of my life.
Secondly, it was important for me to understand that there is a path toward change that includes not only the recognition, evaluation and change, but understanding what this change really requires, and that is the understanding of the commitment I was embracing. Jane Elliott holds up a mirror and shows people the absurdity of their ‘illusion of privilege’.
As someone who wants a thing that all humans want – acceptance – I had to decide to which portion of this society I was directing that want, and if in fact I was morally able to extend such a hope. The pervasive teachings of those in authority with a mission to degrade the soul of those placed in their care showed me their callous desire for control. Learning how they continued their delusional methods of the infliction of pain as subjugation and acceptance as reward for following their dogma made me quite angry. I had to come to a conclusion that my understanding of my required change would mean not allowing myself to be deluded by such tactics.
Lastly, it was learning that this change was not and could never be instantaneous. This change was to be gradual because I cannot learn all these intricacies, all of this absorption of experience, knowledge, fact, and understanding merely because I want it precipitously. I have to balance what needs to change with how to change it. Recognition is the first step, understanding what is required next, and with the application of those two fundamental elements, perhaps I will come to the last; patience in accepting that real understanding comes with the life-practice learned in the process.
I cannot speak for anyone else, of course, but I know this to be true in my heart: I know that the things of which we often speak (knowledge gained, history learned, poison exposed, and teaching others ways to change the course of their thinking) are the only real ways that I can change myself. You teach me and enlighten me in so many ways, and in fact often show me how much farther I have to go to make some changes, but with enlightenment often comes not only the joy of release but the acknowledgement of the pain I have caused others. It is these two results of that enlightenment that force me to continue along my path.
Great change is a thing to work toward. Those who choose to ignore this change must get out of the way of those who understand that the only way for humanity to move ahead is the rejection of ‘illusion of privilege’ for that is in fact the most perilous of attitudes. Willingness to suffer painful recognition of the problem in the hope of change is the path that I must take. As to others it is my opinion that they must as well, but I cannot teach them by any method other than the one that I apply to my own soul, and I am of the opinion that I will never be a better man unless I am willing to admit my fault and work toward holistic, humanitarian and healthy approaches to these issues