Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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Beyond The Divide
Seeing The Uniqueness and Divine Connection of Others at the Same Time
Who Is a Racist? What Do We See When We See a Person of Color?
There is a lot of talk about racism these days since the recent murdering of numerous Black men and women. Am I a racist? Are you a racist? Is our system racist?
We live in the American empire which is a racist culture. All empires are racist, classist, sexist, ageist. They discriminate between the rich and poor, Black and White, gay and straight, etc. The American Empire is no different than any other empire. It was founded by people who experienced oppression, and then oppressed Native Americans, the ones who were already here. That is called genocide.
"Isms" all imply better than/worse then. This hierarchical thinking is the cornerstone of Empire Consciousness. Fear, belief in scarcity, and anxiety fuel the desire to get more, own more, have more, be more -- than someone else. All Empire Systems are hierarchical. Those at the bottom are viewed as less worthy tn those at the top. There is constant scrambling to get to the top, stay at the top once you get there. And there is the dehumanization of anyone who is different, and not at the top.
We are programmed by Empire Consciousness. We are taught early on that some are more entitled than others because of who they are, how they look, or their racial backgrounds or other characteristics. We are taught to fear, hate, discriminate, and oppress those who are "different," usually meaning "inferior."
So when we see a person of color, we cannot be "colorblind." We see them as brown, black, yellow, red, etc. Seeing them as the race they are does not make a person a racist. It is how we view them, the attributes we ascribe to them, the way we treat them which determine whether we our actions are racially motivated.
Jesus, the creator of the Christian tradition, taught people to see everyone as worthy, lovable, and deserving of a meaningful and prosperous life. This Oneness Consciousness was his alternative answer to the Empire Consciousness he experienced all around him.
The Unity belief system says that we are can notice the Divine in every person, no matter of their race, class, sexual orientation, age, etc. So, racism comes from making certain assumptions about a person of color. You can still see them as Black. You know that Black lives matter. And you know there is the same Divinity in them as is in you. That is more complicated than the question, "Are you a racist?"
White, Christian, upper class, able-bodied, heterosexual males have had more options and opportunities than others. Acknowledging this means that some people may believe they are more entitled than others. It is challenging to empathize and truly understand the oppression, pain and suffering that many others of differing backgrounds have experienced. So, we are different, diverse in that way.
However, we are alike in our Godlikeness. So Oneness Consciousness is acknowledgement of the EXTERNAL situation of the person in their uniqueness. It also offers the awareness of the Divine Interconnection of the INTERNAL nature all people. We are separate and ONE at the same time.
Empire Consciousness separates, isolates, and discriminates. Oneness Consciousness encourages deep connection, seeing the Divinity, beauty and lovability of ALL PEOPLE.
Racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, ableism -- all about limiting opportunities, choices, and access of a group of people out of fear and the need to feel superior.
Systemic racism is the continual limitation by economic, educational, political, health care and social institutions to provide access to prosperity and freedom for certain groups. We must realize that no one is safe until everyone is safe. No one is really free until everyone is really free. Empire Consciousness is built on fear, oppression, and suppression of individuals and groups.
We can experience both the uniqueness (age, race, abilities, class, sexual orientation, etc.) of a person as well as the inner beauty and Divinity of that person. We are not "colorblind," but we can ALSO deep our spiritual consciousness to experience the "Oneness of us all."
We can work to change institutional racism, systemic racism. We can work on moving from Empire Consciousness to Oneness Consciousness for the good of all creatures of the Universe.
Love and blessings,
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