When a family member you love shows you that the love, kindness, concern, generosity and care you’ve associated with them your entire life is based not on their love of humanity as a whole, but only for the white elements, it’s deeply disappointing and horrifying. But it was there all along. All you had to do is be willing to look harder and admit it to yourself. So that disappointment and horror is not just about them. It’s for you, about yourself, for being willing to tiptoe around it in a sort of don’t ask, don’t tell dance of denial with them, because you didn’t want to know -for sure- that somebody you love is a racist white supremacist.
I’m sharing this because I KNOW I’m not alone. We hueless need to stop acting clueless about this and be radically honest about our loved ones, and whether the ways they think and behave are welcoming and safe for anyone outside of the same skin color as that we share with our family. If we insist on pretending they’re unproblematic, then we need to understand why people with Black, Yellow and Brown skin likely (and rightfully) find us problematic for that, even if we ourselves are working to be anti-racist and abolish white supremacy.
For now, I find myself in a position of limited and critical engagement with family members like this. As conditions change, yes, I could find myself needing to also change my relationship to them. I’m unwilling to be confused for holding the same beliefs as them, and more importantly, I will not stand by idly if their white supremacist beliefs turn into harmful actions that they attempt to justify via Christofascism.
It’s heartbreaking, no matter what. Discovering someone you love holds such hateful ideas that are built on Klan lies is vomitous and leaves you rethinking a lifetime of things you’ve witnessed with them.
But avoiding doing this emotional work inside myself would mean I am accepting their racism and white supremacy claims as tolerable and unworthy of pushback. That’s how we got to where we are now, generations just passing the work onto the next.
I can’t abide.
I’m not going to keep the peace for the sake of polite gatherings. And if that makes me the problem, so be it. I don’t like that outcome, but I accept it as a possibility.