I've been thinking a lot about folks I’ve heard who have said – of their votes for "45" – that their votes for didn’t have anything to do with anti-semitism, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. What is the connection within ourselves as individuals – the micro – and citizens of this country, this planet – the macro? We've talked a lot about ourselves as individuals, what we need, what we give, and a few other things.
Now, let's think about the macro angle - about how we place ourselves as individuals in the realities of the world we live in now. In this story it's relatively clear - there's slaveholding royalty, and there's slaves.
For us as American Jews (and our allies), placing ourselves is getting more confusing now, and it takes more work to navigate because we have to hold a lot of different realities within ourselves. As Jews we suffer from anti-Semitism every day. Also, we are white and experience the privilege granted to white-passing people in a society built on racism.
What does it mean to both benefit from and be hindered by white supremacy?
What other parts of ourselves are foundational and live in places that are bigger than we are as individuals?
What good does naming privilege do? Does it feel uncomfortable? What do we risk?
What good can we gain from the ways we are that are subject to discrimination?
Ok so we can’t solve this, but it seems to be deeply wrapped up in our individual liberations because it’s about, among other things, what makes us feel powerful and what gives and takes power without our permission. We learn at the end of the Exodus story that those who had been slaves were not permitted to enter what the Bible calls "the promised land" - it's explained that their mindset of slavery would not allow them to experience the freedom or practice the leadership and other skills necessary to the entitlement of claiming a land. How are we impacted by our surroundings and political histories, as the Hebrews were? The events we encounter will permanently change how we see the world - naming those things can sometimes help us to see more closely *how* we see.
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