31 May Blackbird
This is a personal blog piece and I speak here only for myself. Racism is one of the core drivers in my life that lead me to want to create the Peacing Together project.
I have hesitated to write this at such a time. I’m not sure that it is possible to find the right words when soul crushing events are manifesting before our eyes and breaking beautiful hearts. I had been resisting the impulse to play the Beatles song Blackbird … It holds the optimism of the 60s; the Beatles singing out that change was ready to be realised. The Beatles took a stance refusing to play to segregated audiences. I lived in America at the time of that rising optimism. Eventually I played the song. I just cried and cried and cried. How did we ever imagine that “people of colour” (I don’t really feel comfortable with the term) could fly, unless we participated in healing the wings that we were part of breaking?
I will take a chance that this is the right time, praying my words will not add to the pain. I don’t ever want to see another moment like this again, and sadly, I know that it will take a miracle for that to be possible. Moments like this happen all around the world every day. This one caught the horror of disconnected, “un/consciousness” staring us in the eye; operating in plain sight for all the world to see. This is what humanity looks like in a soulless state, separated from love, separated from sacredness.
The danger is that words might seem to trivialise a man’s life, or reduce it to the realm of the conceptual, or something to be debated and intellectualised. The hearts of George Floyd’s family, friends and loved ones are torn apart, people of colour once again have watched as insanity unleashes itself, placing them at its sacrificial altar. There is no excuse.
Talking heads offering reasons to explain the insanity, in effect, reveal that we understand full well the cause, and know the cure. We just aren’t taking the medicine and doing the work. Fear is the only block. It is so strongly established within our minds that it has twisted us into ugliness; evidenced by the ugliness of the systems we have built to control that fear. It will not go away until we face it down. It stands in the way of freedom, peace, love and happiness. It’s time to be brave.
I know that I hold a view that to some people is controversial. I categorically believe that racism is taught and that we are born “colour-blind.” At one point in my childhood I lived on the New York / New Jersey border. We lived in an apartment block that was completely multi-racial, although at the time I had no idea what that meant; I was 7. I had moved many times as a child and this was my first home where people of all nationalities lived side by side. To me, skin colour was just like eye colour or hair colour. It was interesting to notice for a moment, but not that interesting. My friends were from, or originating from, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Philippines, China, Poland and Africa. We had the best time together; laughter filled days, playing at the creek, running barefoot, imagining, dreaming.
A year later, just before we were about to move home again. I heard an adult talking about my association with black children, “I swear she loves those black boys so much she will end up being married to one!” The words were spoken and received with the energy of … dismay … gasp … fear… horror… the suggestion was that something was dangerously wrong and going to cause great upset.
I didn’t know what they were talking about and had to ask who the black boys were. The explanation given made no sense whatsoever. I protested and offered up my tanned arms to prove that I was nearly as tanned as they were and yet I had already picked up the sense that my friendship with the now labeled “black boys” could be weaponised. That was the first time that particular layer of the “Spell of Separation” showed up in my life and attempted to infect my heart, mind and soul. Perhaps you can remember when it first happened in your life?
I think I was lucky to have made it through 8 years without that darkness coming into my sphere. It’s a dirty little energy, people that are infected with the beliefs pass them on like a virus, filling open minds with suggestions of difference. With the newly pointed out suggestion of difference comes transparent layers of implied superiority and inferiority bonded to them. It’s a bit like a jelly fish, slightly opaque, with lots of tendrils beneath the head, carrying poisons of varying levels of deadliness. It might swim by and miss, but there is good chance you will still feel the first touch of its sting. Possibly more than one tendril might strike. The next transparent dart suggests disapproval, and possible ostrecisaton, if the association with those “others” goes on much longer or becomes much deeper. If you are really unlucky the poison gets in deep, promising gain for your agreement ~ “you’re better than them”. Some poor souls are raised straight off the bat with hard core prejudice ~ black and white beliefs. It happens in all countries and cultures; black to white and black to brown and all other combinations, depending on the power structure of the land.
I am so grateful for that year. I think it might have given me a small level of inoculation. It may even have made be “positively” racist. Yes, that is an oxymoron, but in the interests of complete honesty, for the rest of my days I have had an inbuilt reaction to faces of colour that is positive. I get an instant surge of happiness and joy, my spirit lifts and my expectation is high. I guess it is a form of positive prejudice, and I suspect that perhaps we all do this to some extent, based upon our experiences. I do not believe I am an exception or in anyway unusual. I was lucky, and I could just as easily have been unlucky and have been poisoned before positive experiences with friends of colour had been integrated … then I too may have ended up negatively prejudiced and full of fear around “otherness.”
When I heard about the video of George Floyd I couldn’t watch it. It could have been one of my beautiful joyful friends. For all I know it may already have happened to them. If I met them again now I am certain the stories they would tell me about their lives would break my heart.
We are all infected …
We can call it fascism, racism, ultimately it is fear, hate, ignorance, insanity, sickness. The Spell of Separation (me/not me) is the deadliest and most evil spell in existence in my view. It is mutli-layered and completely poisonous. Race is just one layer of the Spell that breaks our wholeness. It’s all story and narrative and it only survives through our consensus, our agreement. We urgently need a Better World Story and it is within our power to create it. Yoko wrote, and John reminded us …
“A dream we dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
Words can be turned to poison or healing. The choice is ours. If racism is learned it can be unlearned. Love, acceptance and openness can be learned in its place. When the Beatles wrote Blackbird they probably believed that within 50 years we would look back at the song wondering how humanity ever could have been in that place. We aren’t out of it. People of colour cannot sing their way out of a system designed to stand on their throats; physically, economically or spiritually. Slowly, in some countries, we recognised that we had to take positive action to stop the oppression of women – this is no different, and neither job is done yet.
Children are born “colour-blind.” If we are going to continue to make them see difference then we need to ensure that they see it for the purpose of celebration of diversity. More importantly, right now we need to make them aware the spell their culture has been infected with, to stop it in its tracks, to refuse it entry to their hearts. Where they have positive privilege empower them to use their voice to protect and serve, until such time that our system gives them that. Teach them to use their voices to help and empower their sisters and brothers of colour, and to keep doing it until the systems of abuse of power are dead and buried. Wherever possible provide the chance for them to build beautiful memories with children of diversity. Personally I wish that nobody had ever implanted the notion of difference in my mind at all. Morgan Freeman spoke about wanting us to stop validating difference by no longer calling it into reality with our language. For now though I suppose we have to deal with the fact that we are still under the Spell.
A few moments from Morgan Freeman’s 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace in 2005.
Are We Ready For Peace?
The time is now, to do all that we can to increase the light in the world. Starting with our thoughts … Let us all examine the ones we give a home to in our hearts and minds. From our thoughts we hold our beliefs together; those beliefs fuel our emotions, cementing their place in our psyche and driving our actions. Where the conditioned mind reacts, the beautiful heart responds. We can change the Spell of Separation to a Spell of Wholeness.
It has been so long … this fear, this hatred, this pain and suffering, manifesting in all its forms across the planet … Perhaps we were only waiting for this moment to arise? Or maybe the moment has been waiting for us to arise? The moment is here, let’s take it together before a worse one makes it into manifestation. The time for excuses is over. If we don’t rise up and change, it will only be a matter of time before the next layer of darkness takes hold. And if we tolerate this, then our children will be next.
May we all choose to build pathways to healing. May we all choose forgiveness, for every child accepts the world as it is taught to them. We would have to travel back to the beginning of time to find the source of the first infection, so we may as well begin with our own self.
May George and his loved ones be wrapped in the arms of grace and love. May we all choose love, choose peace.
By : Samantha Koshare Edouardes, Founding Trustee.