Updated: Mar 31, 2022
I am a White woman who has been an anti-racism educator for 30 years. I consider it an act of sacred activism to educate my fellow White Americans about this terrible stain in the U.S. I think this destiny was in my blood and bones. Certainly, it was a family passion that was passed on to me. Here is my story and how it shaped my view and my work.
I was born in 1961, at the very tail end of the Boomer generation. I am the same age as singer-songwriter, Jennifer Berezan and resonate with her words:
“I was born in ’61. Seeing the world had just begin. There were a million things you could put your faith in. I was raised on Herman Hesse, women’s rights, left politics, and Bob Dylan before he got religion. We knew that we could make it right and change this world overnight. We sang and marched and we believed. We knew we could make it right that we could change things overnight.”
I felt all this at a soul level, even though I was too young to participate in the Civil Rights, countercultural and anti-war movements.
My parents were liberal and supporters of the Civil Rights Movement. When we were living in Nashville, my birthplace, my father, who was traveling on business as the lunch counter sit-ins unfolded, he wrote in a letter to my mother, “I admire the folks who are doing sit-ins at the lunch counters. Segregation is a travesty.” Decades later, he was the Equal Opportunity/Employment representative for Campbell Soup Company. My father set the template within me for activism anchored in caring for all people and standing up for the underdog. I consider these to be spiritual values.
For the first 13 years of my life, my family lived in the white suburbs of New England outside of New York City and later, Boston. It was a privileged upbringing in places where there were no dark-skinned faces that I remember. Despite other ways I have been disadvantaged, such as being a woman, I have had many benefits that African Americans do not.
When I was around 6 or 7 years old, my parents sat me down and said that we were going to have a very special houseguest that night. They explained that his skin was black and that I was to remember that everyone, no matter their race, is a human being and is just like me. It is sad they even had to do this given the segregated nature of our community. I still have a strong memory of this warm, intelligent, caring, and kind man with deep blue-black skin and sparkling eyes.
At the age of 13, my family moved west to Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, where, for the first time, I attended fully integrated middle and high schools. There I experienced throughout my teen years the heightened tensions between Whites and Blacks in the 70s. No matter that it was in the North, the bloody stream of racism was alive and well there, as it was (and still is) in the soul and psyche of America.
No matter these tensions and the few times I found myself in the crosshairs, I have never been one to stereotype. Not only have I had untold numbers of positive experiences with African Americans, but to be frank, I have also had tons more negative experiences with Whites, including sexual harassment. Countless times, I have heard White friends and strangers make uninformed, ignorant, and often overtly racist statements, as well as revealing in their actions racist attitudes about Blacks, some consciously and some unconsciously. I myself have done so. I have had to learn.
So in the preponderance of negative experienced with Whites, do I then characterize all Whites as racist, violent and untrustworthy? Or instead, do I hold to stereotype all Blacks in the same way? Do you?
The point is that White people have the luxury of not having to think of themselves or be thought of as a group or as “representing” their race. Since slavery, we have had the upper hand and continue to, despite the ways some things have changed since the Civil Rights Movement.
Systemic oppression and discrimination is traumatic. It is constantly there—always in the background. It adds a layer of stress for Blacks that Whites do not have.
Historically, Europeans and their ancestors carried beliefs in their superiority over non-White cultures and races. It is not that Whites were the sole creators of this lower spectrum of consciousness, yet, for hundreds of years, we have been its main purveyors on many continents. This puts us in the hot seat to address its causes and conditions personally, institutionally and collectively.
Historically, when a destiny line of intercultural, interracial violence is activated and left unchecked, the frustration, grief, anger, fear, and unhealed wounds of the victims and the thought forms of separation and segregation in the perpetrators—also seeded by the same energies—are propelled forward with increasing momentum. It takes on a life of its own. Violence and oppression plant an energetic vibration in the bodies of both perpetrators and victims and, unless transmuted, becomes a collective sickness, or soul wound, from which we all suffer for generations upon generations.
This is how a destiny line of racism has continued from Europe into the U.S. The true history of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and onward—if you are willing to confront it—shows the map very clearly. Oppression creates unique challenges not experienced by those who have the benefit of being free of it. With that freedom comes responsibility.
A destiny line doesn’t necessarily shift overnight or quickly. It may take years—even decades—even hundreds of years. Because in divine timing, linear time as we experience it, is really only a flash in the pan. But, to harness our highest destiny lines free from racism, we must be proactive.
How do you step up into sacred activism if you are White? Because, as I have indicated, I see my mission as motivating you. Inner work and self-confrontation are a powerful dimension of this work. We must heal the ancestral stain of all legacies of oppression, war, slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia, domestic abuse, and other dimensions of the lower destiny lines arising out of Mind of Domination that lurk within us.
While this is something everyone on this planet needs to do to end violence in all its guises (we are all the walking wounded), doing it now as a White person in the U.S. is particularly important so we can partner with and support the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement. Thus, together, we collaborate in continuing the momentum of the new destiny line that was started by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement and many before them. So, even while there is ongoing White resistance and denial from many quarters of the grim reality of police brutality and systemic racism towards African Americans (and other people of color) in this country, the vibrational frequency of a shift to true equality continues to evolve until its promise becomes anchored reality.
Heed the call. If you are White, become aware of the legacies of racism within you, no matter how subtle. The time is now to shift the trajectory of the destiny lines of group-based hatred and violence into a world of compassion, equality, peace, and collaboration.
Rachel Mann, PhD is a sacred activist, social scientist, healer, and spiritual mentor. Through her Institute for Sacred Peacemaking, she provides an intensive 1-1 Mentoring Program and offers courses and retreats supporting passionate individuals with a vision to integrate the wisdom gained through their own healing and spiritual study into creative service to others as a healer/therapist, spiritual teacher, writer, artist, and/or socially conscious and spiritually awake entrepreneur. Through consulting and programs, she also provides businesses, NGOs, and nonprofits wishing to expand and anchor into the sacred values of positive inclusion, compassion, and a renewed, spiritual ethics with consulting and programs. Find out more at rachelmannphd.com.