Healing White Supremacy:
Defining Liberation

Key Definitions

Liberation

The creation of relationships, societies, communities, organizations, and collective spaces characterized by equity, fairness, and the implementation of systems for the allocation of goods, services, benefits and rewards that support the full participation of each human and the promotion of their full humanness.

Liberatory consciousness

A way of living in a world characterized by oppressive systems with awareness and intentionality. It enables us to maintain an awareness of the dynamics of oppression without giving into despair and hopelessness and an awareness of the roles played by each individual in the maintenance of that system without blaming them for the roles they play. And it enables humans to live outside the patterns of thought and behavior learned through an oppressive socialization process to support us in being intentional about our role in working toward transformation.

Empowered Person of Color / Multiracial Person

A person of color who understands racism and its impact on their life, and can respond in strategic and self affirming ways to racist events and circumstances encountered through living in a racist society. Empowerment includes having pride in oneself and one’s social group, understanding racism as systemic, and and asserting one’s rights in strategic and persistent ways.

White Ally

A person who actively works to eliminate oppression. An ally is motivated by self interest, a sense of moral obligation, or a commitment to foster social justice and does not patronize or assume to “help” people of color in paternalistic ways and has explored the ways that whiteness and internalized dominance impacts their everyday existence. A white ally may engage in anti-racism work both in collaboration with other white people and in collaboration with people of color.

If you have five minutes...

Watch this QuakerSpeak video: Advice to White Men featuring Niyonu Spann

“Bring it. Bring it. Bring yourself more fully.”

Original video from QuakerSpeak.com, a project of Friends Journal.


If you have fifteen minutes...

Read this Friends Journal article: Hope for the White Supremacist Within by LVM Shelton, which presents white supremacy as an addiction and offers a 12-step framework for recovery.

Some individual spiritual practice for self‐examination is needed for progress in becoming whole. However, community—indeed, communion—is an essential feature of practicing a 12‐step program. Even those steps that are not explicitly interpersonal rest on the support and noticing of others around us. Joining in recovery with others who are willing, we can be patterns and exemplars of equality and integrity.

Source: Friends Journal, September 2016

Contemplative Practice

Cultivating Courage for Black Lives Matter: A Practice for White People Who Want to Show Up

Chris Crass shares his practice for spiritually grounding himself in liberation logic as he engages in anti-racist activism: We must be courageous against this death culture and breathe into a life-affirming, Black Lives Matter, collective liberation movement.

Questions for Conversation and Journaling

  • What spiritual/contemplative practices ground you and give you strength and energy?
  • Who inspires you, that you can call to mind when you need to be reminded that others have worked hard to get us this far, and others are working hard right now to dismantle white supremacy?
  • What would liberation look like for you?