Forgiveness and Letting Go of White Supremacy

Lately in therapy what has come up for me is forgiveness. I did all this hard work to shine a light on the past, so now what? How does the past pull me from the present. If I let go and live fully in the now, can I achieve the clarity I desire?

The past is defined in a lot of ways in therapy, as trauma, as cognitive distortions, as past events, as our whole identity. We think we are real because of the memories our brain has stored. The good and the bad blend together to be the truth. I guess I am really knee deep into that truth.

The #StopAsianHate hashtag really brought to light a significant truth I’ve been holding on to, that the world became White for me as a child on the playground. Not just the physical assault or name-calling, but the deep othering of my existence in this society of the United States. I remember bicycling away thinking how this truth would now come to define my entire worldview, as if I must now endure the unendurable for the rest of my life.

I vividly recall simply trying to settle this disturbing idea that I didn’t belong.

It was probably the start of turning the lens onto myself in negative ways. I couldn’t be proud or comfortable being a child of Chinese immigrants, I was sort of this ambiguous blob of being. Even though yes my school and neighborhood was primarily white, I had for a while simply understood I was a unique person in a collective. I remember aligning myself with other classmates with fully European names, the Swedish girl, the Irish boy, as if I lived in the United Nations. For a time I emulated them in creative arts and sports.

Body image, self-image, self-judgement, it all neatly ties itself back to adopting a fundamental mindset of being othered and gazed upon.

The early 1990s wasn’t an enlightened time, and I have to accept that nobody knew the answers then. In the vein of all self-help advice to “live in the now”, why do I continue to judge myself against the expectations of a child. The child didn’t know, couldn’t know, and it’s time to put those conclusions to rest.

I can’t banish the Whiteness that is perpetually this country’s foundation, nor can I ignore its effects on my life and Black lives. But to move ahead means banishing one’s perceptions and self-limitations of that supremacy.

Of course I do not mean to forget it does not exist, or that it has a history, or what it does today, but to understand how it holds you in the past, is no longer important. What letting go of White Supremacy is for you will be vastly different and meaningful.

I think about the bullies in the playground and wonder what came of them, perhaps they’re now part of “militias” and alt-right groups. I also think about the friendly classmates who I admired who are also part of that worldview. I have the pleasure to know that at least one of them advocates for black lives at the highest levels.

Transfer power from the past to your present moment and as Eckart Tolle says, forgiveness will become unnecessary.

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