#blacklivesmatter: reaction and response

Heather Greene —  December 10, 2014 — 176 Comments

On Dec. 4, Crystal Blanton, a Wild Hunt columnist, author, Priestess and activist, issued a challenge to the Pagan community, as a whole, after noticing “the silence of the Pagan organizations in light of recent unrest.” She said, “This is an opportunity to stand up and support the people of color within the Pagan community … Tonight, I am saying to the Pagan community, I see you. The question is, do you SEE us?”

 

That single Facebook post was a catalyst for an avalanche of response from individuals, small groups and organizations across the nation. Over the past six days nearly 50 public statements and articles have appeared in blogs, websites and Facebook status updates, making this, quite possibly, a historic moment of unprecedented solidarity. Moreover, the responses aren’t limited to the so-called Pagan community. Responses have come from Heathen organizations and Polytheists, as well as a large variety of Pagans from a diversity of traditions.

“The response of many organizations and leaders over the last week has shown something we haven’t really seen before in our community; a willingness to speak up and speak out about the needs of Black people and ethnic minorities,” Crystal said, expressing her surprise.

Due to the number of reactions, it is impossible to share in detail each and every statement or article. It is even more difficult to encapsulate the grief, anger, frustrations, power, hope and even confusion expressed in many of these statements. A full list is included at the bottom. Of course, it is important to also remember that this list is not comprehensive. More statements and discussions are published every day.

Before Blanton issued her call-to-action, several Pagans had already made public statements on the #blacklivesmatter national protest campaign On Nov. 25, T.Thorn Coyle, who wrote an “Open Letter to White America.” In that statement, Coyle called for empathy and compassion, saying, “I pray that we remember: We are responsible for one another’s well-being.” On Nov. 29, Peter Dybing posted a photo of himself holding up sign that read, “White Privliege is real. Stay calm and listen.” Like Thorn, he was speaking to white Americans, asking them to stay silent and listen to those oppressed.

[Courtesy Photo]

Following Dybing’s lead, author Christopher Penczak also posted a photo of himself holding the same sign. He issued a heartfelt statement, saying:

I have tried to take the advice of a friend who said one of the best things we could do, particularly those of us in a place of privilege, is to listen …  I know sometimes I don’t want to, but its so important, particularly at this time. So I thank Peter Dybing for asking me and others to let people know that listening while keeping calm in uncomfortable situations is absolutely necessary at this time. Blessed be.

These statements came shortly after the Ferguson grand jury decision. However, after that announcement was made, other similar incidents made headlines, including the choking death of Eric Garner in New York City and the shooting death of Tamir Rice in Ohio. At that point, the tone of the public conversation changed from simply “stay silent” to “act and acknowledge.” Additionally, the messages, which were originally aimed predominately at white Pagans, also changed direction. This wake-up, so to speak, was expressed by Jenya T. Beachy, who wrote in a blog post, “I’ve fallen prey to the ‘nothing is right to say so say nothing’ theme.”

Crystal2014

Crystal Blanton [Courtesy Photo]

After Blanton’s facebook post, most of the first responses came from the blogging world. Similar to Beachy, the writers opened up discussions of the issues, as each of them personally grappled with the reality of the national crisis. Not all of these posts were specifically in response to Blanton’s challenge, but all deal with the situation head-on. Polytheist blogger Galina Krasskova  discusses her obligation, and that of other white citizens, to speak out. Drawing from her religious practice, she wrote that we have an “ancestral obligation to take a stand against racism.”

Other bloggers and writers who responded include Shauna Aura Knight, Jason Mankey, Anomalous Thracian, Sarah Sadie, John Beckett, Kathy Nance, Rhyd Wildermuth, Peter Dybing and Tim Titus. Patheos Pagan Channel has posted a static link list of all posts that reflect on Ferguson and Police Brutality.

Some of the topics raised within these varied articles include white privliege (e.g., Tim Titus and Anomalous Thracian), how it all relates to Paganism (e.g., Jason Mankey and Shauna Aura Knight), and the need for decisive action (e.g., Peter Dybing). Some bloggers, like Tom Swiss at The Zen Pagan, also incorporate a discussion of spirituality. Swiss wrote, “If you’re not outraged by all this, you’re not paying attention.” He goes on to say, “Buddhism realizes the place of wrath, and assigns significant deities to its proper function — the “wrathful deities.”

In addition to bloggers, there was a flood of solidarity statements from individuals and leaders (e.g., Ivo Dominguez, Patrick McCollum, Starhawk); from small groups (e.g., CAYA coven, Circle of Ancestral Magic, Bone and Briar, Vanic Conspiracy) and from national organizations (e.g., Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Circle Sanctuary, Covenant of the Goddess, Ár nDraíocht Fein, Aquarian Tabernacle Church, Cherry Hill SeminaryThe Pantheon Foundation and Heathens Against Racism).

Some of these statements were specifically meant as calls-to-action in support of the public protests around the nation. The Coru Cathubodua Priesthood used powerful language saying, in part:

We are angry … We want justice … We who are the priesthood and war band dedicated to the Morrigan stand and take our place in the streets as allies to justice.”

While they used strong language in their call to action, the Priesthood also said, “We have hope.”

Similar to the Priesthood, Free Cascadia Witchcamp organizers used potent language saying, “We will not be complicit through silence.” They added, “We grieve the irretrievable loss of integrity for all those who participate in, and uphold structural opppression, and we grieve the tragedy of those impacted by it.”

Not everyone used forceful words in their calls for action. The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) asked its membership and friends to “act as partners in the work to create more justice in our broader communities.” They added, “None of us can be truly safe or free when some lives have value and others don’t.” Other similar calls to action, both strongly worded or not, came from Bone & Briar in Pennsylvania, Solar Cross in California, CAYA coven, Patrick McCollum, Cherry Hill Seminary, and others.

Some goups focused their words on recognition and awareness. These statements were in direct response to Blanton’s statement “Do you see us?” In these public expressions, organizations and groups acknowledged bearing witness to injustice and are essentially saying, “We see you.”

This was well-expressed on Polytheist.com, where representatives stated, “We see the harm. We see the fear and the hatred. We see the injustice … Together, we stand for something better.” Circle of Ancestral Magic, Blanton’s own coven, wrote, “We say this most of all to the people most affected by these atrocities. We see you. We hear you, and honor your lived experiences.” Other similar treatments were made by groups such as Vanic Conspiracy and Immanion Press.

Rather than make a comment, Circle Santuary chose a different route. It opened up its regular Tuesday night Circle podcast to host a round-table discussion on racial equality. In retrospect, Rev. Selena Fox said:

Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League are committed to working for a world with freedom, equality, liberty and justice for all, and where people can live in harmony with one another and with the greater circle of nature of which we are all a part.  It is our hope that this solution-focused Pagan community conversation can enhance awareness, inspire considerate communications and encourage effective, collaborative actions to help manifest racial equality

In a statement for Ár nDraíocht Fein (ADF), Rev. Kirk Thomas ended on a spiritual note saying, “We must all look deeply inside ourselves to root out prejudices we have been raised with that linger in the dark. Only then can injustice end. Only then may we all live in peace.”

Several organizations, due to internal processes and the distance between its board members, were unable to issue their statements in time for publication, but told The Wild Hunt that they were currently working on words. These organizations included The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, The Officers of Avalon and The Troth.

Lou Florez

Lou Florez

In response to all this activity Lou Florez, a spiritual counselor, rootworker, Orisha priest, told The Wild Hunt,

I wish I could say that these acts of violence, racism, aggression, and brutality on black bodies were rare, but unfortunately, they are not. These experiences are the lived reality for a vast majority of People of Color. While it is very touching to see the outpouring of support, discussion and commitments, I see this as just the beginning of a first step. As witches, Pagans, magicians, conjurers, and clergy we are mandated to transform the world as we transform ourselves. It’s time to awaken to the ramifications and reality of power, privilege and oppression in our circles, and communities.

Turning back to Blanton, we asked what she thought of this flurry of reaction to her Facebook comment, as well as the opening up of conversations and the calls to action. She said, with a hopeful tone, “I am so humbled to see such clear, fast and strong responses and it renews my hope that we might be able to actually do something together with that energy in our community.”

*   *   *

The following is a list of the public (only) statements, posts and articles that were issued since Dec. 4 and referenced above. This is not an exhaustive list and more statements will undoubtedly surface over the days to come.

Coru Cathubodu

Bone and Briar

Free Cascadia Witch Camp

Immanion Press

The Family of the Forge in the Forest

The Firefly House

Shauna Aura Knight

Hexenfest and Pandemonaeon

Vanic Conspiracy

Heathens United Against Racism

Polytheist.com

The Troth

CAYA Coven

Solar Cross

Anomalous Thracian

Starhawk

Pantheon

ADF

Circle Sanctuary

CUUPS

Peter Dybing

T. Thorn Coyle

Jason Mankey

Courtney Weber

Patrick McCollum

Officers of Avalon

Jenya T. Beachy

The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel

Covenant of the Goddess

Christopher Penczak

Tea & Chanting Sangha/Dharma Pagans

Lykeia

Galina Krasskova

Cherry Hill Seminary

Ivo Dominguez Jr.

Tim Titus

Lydia Crabtree

John Beckett

Rhyd Wildermuth

Kathy Nance

Tom Swiss

Circle of Ancestral Magic

Sarah Sadie

Aquarian Tabernacle Church

The Pantheon Foundation

 

Heather Greene

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Heather is a freelance writer and journalist, living in the Deep South. Professionally, she has worked for Grey Advertising Global, Coca Cola Company and GCI. She has collaborated with Lady Liberty League and has formerly served as Public Information Officer for Dogwood Local Council and Covenant of the Goddess. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History from Emory University with a background in the performing and visual arts.

  • I see.

    So no matter what I’ve said and done, this is what I am to do now without fail.

    All because of the color of my skin.

    • We are as responsible for our ancestor’s actions as we are for our own. Their wyrd is tied to our own – we are a tapestry woven from the threads of the lives which came before us. When a father falls, his sons are obligated to pay the wergeld the father owes. This is no different.

      • dantes

        Concerning the Wergild you’re talking about direct family and that’s understandable but I don’t see the connection here.

        I do believe that we have to acknowledge our ancestor’s actions but we are not responsible for them. If someone in my immediate family committed a crime or something else that both I and society would judge horrible, I would bear shame, guilt and responsibility, but I won’t feel as involved if we are talking about a more distant past.

        • Northern_Light_27

          In the sense of direct causation, no, we’re not responsible for what our ancestors did. But direct causation isn’t the only mover in the world. Also, we’re collectively fond of being proud of what our ancestors built. “Look at the things Ireland gave the world”, say Irish-Americans, “I’m proud to be of Irish descent!” “Look at our incredible art and beautiful architecture”, say Italians, “I’m proud to be Italian!” If we’re willing to own a portion of the pride when our ancestors made something remarkable, we’d better be willing to help fix it if what our ancestors made was a mess. In this case the waves our ancestors made ripple into the present; in some cases their descendants make just as much of a mess as their ancestors did– in either event, we can only heal their legacy by refusing to disown it and absolve ourselves of it.

          • dantes

            I agree that one cannot only pick and choose the good parts of a nation’s history. That’s what I said that we have to acknowledge the parts we don’t agree or are comfortable with.

            It’s the same thing for culture and religion. a Druid might love old Celtic culture but has to acknowledge that all the human-sacrifice thing might not have been all that necessary. A Heathen might love Vikings and disagree with their involvement in slave trade. Does that mean we should feel guilty about our ethnic/national/religious past? I don’t think so.
            I think one should always focus on the positive parts of a culture/nation/religion/ethnicity but acknowledge the “bad” parts in situations such as this current one.

            Do I make sense?

          • To be frank, guilt can be an indulgence, especially when it impedes or stops action from addressing wrongs.

            What we need is not so much guilt, but a clear admission of responsibility, decisive words and especially decisive actions to address the wrongs committed against people.

          • dantes

            Words of Wisdom above !

      • Michael Olaf Kappele

        no we are not, what sins are u saying, as a heathen we are born clean, no sins, that a xitian thing, and if am goin to stand for someone, let them have honor and be respectful,,,,,as far as i see, people breakin a law, do not get any respect of honor….

    • No, you should do it because you are a decent human being who recognizes the value of speaking up against injustice.

      • Ember

        This. Thank you.

        There is something deeply wrong with a religious view that serves primarily to give us excuses to care less about the lives of other beings around us.

        A seed planted in good soil should grow. If you’re shrinking instead, something’s wrong in what you’ve surrounded yourself with.

        -E-

      • Michael Olaf Kappele

        good men, yes. but not one that breaks laws and beats old men, this thug broke laws,

        • In what way does summary execution of black folks selling loosies on the street encourage a frithful society?

    • Ember

      Do you not expect to be known for your actions? Do you not expect to have reputation in the community affect you? Do you not think that your silence speaks as loud as your words?

      This is not about jumping on a bandwagon, it’s about having the courage to speak up when it’s a lot more convenient to let the status quo continue to benefit us while harming others.

      By all means, do what is most honest for you. But you have no reason to object if your honest lack of support for other people in crisis is not something that impresses your fellows.

      -E-

      • Franklin_Evans

        I ask a favor of you. It is a sincere request. Please point out in the posts on this thread where “[NeoWayland’s] honest lack of support for other people in crisis…” is explicitly defined.

        Thanks.

        • The fact that he turned the ongoing slaughter of people of color by American police into a whinefest about how he was being judged by the color of his skin rather explicitly shows his “honest lack of support for other people in crisis.”

          • Franklin_Evans

            It would be helpful if you included in your post that you are not Ember or responding on behalf of Ember.

            In the meantime, that’s a non-answer. Quote where NeoWayland defines a lack of support for other people in crisis, honest or otherwise.

            If words have meaning, you can find the ones that have that meaning.

          • Actions speak louder than words. When one behaves like a narcissistic, entitled jerk it is appropriate to assume that person is a narcissistic, entitled jerk. Even if he doesn’t identify as or call himself one.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Ah. Then I can only assume that you are in fact equating words or their lack with actions (or their lack).

          • No, I am equating behavior with character. When somebody tries to derail conversations about the ongoing murder of people of color with complaints about how the subject makes him uncomfortable, I consider that a clear sign that said person is a narcissistic entitled jerk.

            In this case inaction has nothing to do with it. NeoWayland could have chosen to ignore Blanton’s call to action. Instead he actively worked to draw attention from it and used it as a sounding board for his injured feelings. That is quite different than disinterest, no?

          • Franklin_Evans

            You are aggressively ascribing thoughts and behaviors to NeoWayland — and I would ask: to me as well? — that cannot be supported by the posts in question. You are interpreting, offering an opinion… not that that in itself is wrong, nor do I imply any attempt to shout you down here.

            It also appears to me, your clarification gratefully accepted, that you are ignoring hir attempts to expand and clarify hir intentions. I’m no paragon, but I have no better way to phrase this question: If I’m willing to engage with Kauko and accept responsibility for my own lack of clarity, why are you so unwilling to even just acknowledge NeoWayland’s attempts to correct your misunderstanding of hir intentions?

          • “It also appears to me, your clarification gratefully accepted, that you are ignoring hir attempts to expand and clarify hir intentions.”

            Because I am more concerned with the fact that people are dying in the streets than with NeoWayland’s whines about how we hurt his feelings and misunderstood him. You may prioritize those issues as you see fit.

          • It’s a perfect valid conclusion to come to.

    • We carry the sum of our ancestors’ actions, good and bad. And while it’s cute to point out that, in recent memory of one’s previous generations, “no-one owned Teh Slayvz”, one who is regarded as White benefits in several ways from white privilege; while one has no control over those benefits, they are still very real and one is responsible for addressing that.

      If one is caught with stolen property, even if one did not do the stealing, one is typically still held responsible to some degree, and is expected to address that.

      This really isn’t a difficult concept.

    • To those who took the time to reply, please think about this.

      You don’t know who I am. You don’t know what I’ve done long before Ferguson. You don’t know what I’ve done since.

      Your only basis for condemning me is that I won’t succumb to a hashtag or post an article in support of an activist position.

      To you I am guilty because of the color of my skin. And the only way to redeem myself from that “sin” in your eyes is by acknowledging that I am guilty and my ancestors are guilty in a ritualistic method approved by the community.

      Please think carefully about what you are asking.

      • Yep, just cry your white tears.

        • Not that it should matter, but mutt or mongrel would be a better description in my case.

          As far as I am concerned, there is one “race” and it’s human. This whole “black lives matter” thing, does that mean that Navajo lives don’t matter as much? Does that mean that Hispanic lives don’t matter as much? Does that mean that the only way to claim power in our society is through victimhood?

          Again, you don’t know me or what I’ve done but you are judging me by the color of my skin.

          Words matter. Actions matter more. Intentions don’t.

          • Now you’re derailing. You were better off crying your white years before trying to suggest after being call ed out that you somehow might not be when, in your very first comment, your whole point was that it hurts your feels to address your white pribilege.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Right on, man. Right on. You are not alone.

          • Yeah, I hear that people like you like to start little clubs.

          • This is another Kenny Klein moment for Paganism. When Klein got busted, it was easy to spot the people who were whining about “sexual freedom,” “gossip and shunning,” “burning Times” or anything other than “a scumbag elder took advantage of our children.” Once they had so proven themselves, we could see them for what they are.

            I’m honestly impressed that so many Wild Hunt readers are grasping the issue here. It makes it easier to spot the bigots, whiners and entitled jerks who don’t. And thanks to the magic of the Internet, their antics are now eternally preserved in electrons to be trotted out whenever necessary.

          • dantes

            I don’t know if this really can be compared. On one hand we have a serial sex-offender and on the other one an anonymous post on a forum. While I acknowledge the fact that Neowayland’s word might be hurtful or vexing, there’s ultimately much less harm produced in the end.

          • It’s a quantitative rather than a qualitative difference. Certainly unquestioned bigotry and self-absorption is less dangerous than an inability to stop groping underage people. But that doesn’t mean we need to tolerate it, or that we shouldn’t call out offenders so that others can see them for what they are and treat them appropriately.

        • Olaf-Thorgrim Aka-Michael S-Ka

          i see a bigot statement and a raciest one there Ruadan

      • “To you I am guilty because of the color of my skin.”

        Nobody here would have known the color of your skin if you hadn’t felt obligated to share it with us as evidence that you didn’t need to be concerned about Ferguson.

        • Please reread what I wrote.

          I didn’t say what I thought about Ferguson one way or another.

          I objected that I was expected to ‘give penance” in the ritually approved and public manner because of the color of my skin.

          This is wrong.

          “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
          — Martin Luthor King, Jr.

          • Franklin_Evans

            I do believe you are caught in the catch-22 of having shorter posts “expanded” with unwarranted assumptions and longer posts being cherry-picked because of the too-long;didn’t-read syndrome.

          • It’s really annoying when white people appropriate MLK Jr’s speech so they can avoid addressing their own relative privilege of skin colour.

            See, the default for white people is to assume they are not being judged by their skin colour, but by either “content if character” or, for those who lack institutionalized privilege in another area, that the judgements we receive is due to some other unprivileged characteristic (such as sex, gender, socio – economic class, sexuality, etc…).

            You’re already not being judged by the color of your skin, nit in any meaningful way. You can’t use the words of a Black man to justify your white tears.

          • dantes

            Well, to be fair there is difference between acknowledging someone’s ethnic background and negatively judging a person based on said background.

            I believe that’s what NeoWayland meant.

          • Yes.

          • If intent were magical, then why teach kids to apologise if they accidentally step on someone’s foot? Because you can not intend to hurt people and be a jerk all you like, the fact remains that it still happens, and the way we react to our own missteps, whether we address it or adamantly refuse to, separates the decent people who did something jerky from the real jerks with an entitlement complex, respectively.

          • dantes

            You can not intend to hurt people and be a jerk all you like, the fact remains that it still happens

            Agreed, but maybe it’s just me but I will always have more tolerance for offenders who did not intend to offend than for those who straightforwardly and willingly did so. The former can be talked to but the later not so much. But again, it’s just my point of view.

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        You’re the only person of sense on this whole list of comments. I cannot explain in words how happy I am to read them. Finally. Thank you!

        • You’ve also claimed that racism doesn’t actually hurt people. Yeah, that makes sense, considering the source.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Racism doesn’t hurt people. Actions do.

          • You can say that as much as you like, you’re still wrong.

      • mptp

        Your only basis for condemning me is that I won’t succumb to a hashtag or post an article in support of an activist position.

        No, our basis isn’t your inaction, but the fact that you called attention to your inaction, and complained about it being an unfair thing to judge you by.

        • ^^This. Right here.

          I mean, ffs, man….

        • But you don’t know if I’ve been active or inactive.

          You just know that I won’t use a certain hashtag or post an article.

          Surely those can’t be the only acceptable actions.

          • mptp

            We know that you choose to call attention to your lack of certain actions. You’re now attention seeking like a derailing showboater.

          • So are those the only acceptable actions to fight racism?

          • mptp

            Did.
            I.
            Or.
            Anyone.
            Else.
            Say.
            That???

            No-one, but no-one, would have known what actions you were or weren’t taking until you decided to complain about being judged for not taking specific actions.

            You’re a whiner and a drama hound.

          • I’ll admit the whole bit of public compassion irritates me to no end.

            It irritates me more when certain crime stories are blown out of proportion to serve a political cause while others just as serious are deliberately overlooked.

            So you tell me. Should I be quiet in the face of injustice? Even if it’s not the injustice of the week?

          • On the good side, at least he stopped trying to backpedal and imply he might not be white, in spite of the fact that it’s one of the very first things he said in this thread.

          • You’ve yet to offer any other actions you have taken other than whining about how a #hashtag is racist and oppressive to your tender white feelings.

      • Olaf-Thorgrim Aka-Michael S-Ka

        honestly i am white and heathen, i will not apologise for being white, those who say white privagle, u do not understand being a heathen 35+ yrs in christian america, for those who demand something, cold
        day in hel

        • The possession of white privilege does not mean that one may not be oppressed in other areas, or vice-versa.

          If you need to have that explained better, check out this post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-crosleycorcoran/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255.html

          …it says everything I possibly could on the matter, and saves me the job of doing it, myself.

          • I had a polite message about “white privilege” twisted by someone on a list I’m on. Yes, she is facing bancruptcy through none of her own fault (but there are indeed others to blame in plenty), and this is putting stress on her, but the remark was not directed at her at all. She chose to equate her being equal with 1%ers because she was white, in spite of having grown up poor.

            I apologized, and one of our wiser members wrote, and I presume was accepted by the woman above, exactly what I could not have said in my own defense. Rev. J did say what you said, possession of white privilege does not mean that one may not be oppressed in other areas.

          • dantes

            That’s actually a very intelligently-written article. Thanks for posting it. I finally know what this intersectionality concept is about.

    • arjil

      Why is it that when I read this article, I don’t take it as a personal condemnation, and you, for some weird reason, do?
      just something to consider.

      • dantes

        Maybe because you are two different persons?

        • Yeah, the former doesn’t want to address hus own privilege and potential for benefitting, even in a small way, from racism –and the latter has no problem with doing either of those things.

  • Crystal Hope Kendrick

    Thank you for this write up, Heather, and thanks to the Wild Hunt for speaking out on this very important issue. It’s good to see Pagans everywhere standing up.

  • Merlyn7

    It’s encouraging to see so many pagan leaders responding to this issue.

  • David Salisbury

    So happy to see this. Finally, our movement and its leaders taking a stance on something so important. May we all continue to show up, listen, and (when asked to do so) act.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Another great polytheist and pagan who is not on BaceFook, and who is a (paid!) supporter of The Wild Hunt, also made a statement about this on December 5th, and it is also policy in that person’s group now.

    https://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/it-needs-to-be-said-again/

    Just thought you should know. 😉

    • Thanks for adding your link here. The number of supportive messages was overwhelming and I am fully aware that not everyone was listed. I hope others will add links to their own posts, as well.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        In fairness, I’m wordy, and usually attempt to weave connections between things, so it may not have been obvious that the post in question had that as its main purpose. 😉

    • I see what you did there. 😉

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Ain’t I a stinker? 😉

    • I just now read it, and agree. I will likewise stand up, because not only is it just, it’s better for everyone when true justice is served and pervades our world.

      Sometimes I will stand up for something that only remotely and in a tiny amount, benefits me (if at all), because it offends my sense of …whatever it offends.

  • GoldenBough

    So, in order to be an ally that counts, we have to issue a press release? I’ve posted in support since the summer, but since it didn’t go out on letter head in response to prompting, then it’s not worth anything? So much of this “leaders respond” thing seems very self-aggrandizing, especially since it’s all after the fact, and I suppose those of us who have been allies all along, but who aren’t friends with the Wild Hunt Pagan culture clique don’t get a mention… Why do we need a mention, anyway? It seems very self-promotional with “leaders” hitching their star to the cause du jour.

    • dantes

      Clique?

    • Did you post in support since the summer because you were expecting a pat on the head and recognition for being a good White person? Or did you post in support because you were a supporter?

    • Ember

      I admit that my statement was written directly in response to Crystal pointing out the dearth of overt support. But it wasn’t written to earn my group a mention in the WildHunt it was written to respond to a need that was brought to my attention. I am pleased they are mentioned here simply because that means it’s more likely they’ll do some good.

      Was there some other reason for all of your supportive remarks?

      -E-

  • River Devora

    I am sincerely hoping and praying that all this conversation results in substantive changes in how us pagans and polytheists run our organizations and address issues of racism in our communities. I am very proud of a number of the organizations (listed and not listed) who have said strong things, and this show of solidarity is really important, in my opinion. And I would love to see this show of solidarity turn into a movement of solidarity. Organizations are generally stronger than individuals – if each of the listed organizations actually used their organizing power to help dismantle institutionalized racism and other forms of institutionalized oppression, we may actually get somewhere. This is my prayer.

  • Tracsar

    When I saw the movie for Mockinjay I couldn’t get that song out of my head. When I cried at the news of Eric Garner’s killer going free, I wrote this. Only wish I could do more. To the tune of the Mockingjay song:

    Are you, are you, coming to the street?

    They shot another man who doesn’t look like me

    Not allowed a trial, bringing grief to families

    Are you, are you coming to the street?

    Are you, are you, watching your TV?

    Seeing all those tanks destroy communities?

    We only value war slightly more than property

    Are you, Are you, glued to your TV?

    Are you, are you, coming to the street?

    The cops killed a man who said he couldn’t breathe

    Welcome to America, the home land of the free

    Are you are you, coming to the street?

    Are you are you, coming to the street?

    Someone killed a boy with Skittles and some tea

    Strange things have happened here, these killers get off
    free

    Are you, are you, coming to the street?

    Are you are you, coming to the street?

    “Stealing cigarettes” means death for all to see

    If we don’t do something, there’ll be none to speak for WE

    Are you, are you, coming to the street?

  • Gwendolyn Reece

    I don’t have a website or a statement…I do have a White House petition that I am asking people to sign which would require the federal government to annually gather and publicly report all arrest-related deaths with demographics and at the level of jurisdiction. I think that would be useful. As I think of other actions, I will take them. Please consider signing and sharing the petition…100,000 and the White House has to answer. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-annual-gathering-and-public-reporting-all-arrest-related-deaths-us-through-bjs-including/3JmZgFBB

    • Ember

      Ooh that’s a good one, thank you for bringing it up! -E-

    • Bruce

      I would add that the Federal government also collect statistics on the deaths of LEO’s and demographics. To be honest, I think we are having the wrong conversation, but I think if people had enough data, they would see a more complex picture, other than the narrative the media is fostering.

      • Gwendolyn Reece

        Hello Bruce. The Feds do collect and publish the LEO data each year in the Uniform Crime Report. Arrest-related death stats are not collected nor reported annually nor with the same granularity for analysis.

    • signed–thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • Raksha38

    For the record, my lack of some sort of public statement as a Pagan is not the same as silence. Reblogging some angry post to my, like, 7 Tumblr and Facebook followers isn’t going to do shit. Instead, I’ve written letters, signed petitions, and donated money to the Ferguson library and the family of Eric Garner. It’s not as obviously visible as a public statement, but I hope it’s more effective.

  • Gwion

    Heather, thank you for this post and for the work that you and others have done in keeping this front and centre.

    And to paraphrase PSVL, another supporter (paid!) Of the Wild Hunt posted something recently on various social media pages including this link on my website http://www.tobeawitch.com/blacklivesmatter.html

    I will also be at the March in SF this wekend

  • Eridanus Darryl Kummerow

    Katrina Hopkins-Messenger, my Minister, Teacher, and Elder of the Order of the Elemental Mysteries.

    I will continue to learn from her about these things. I will not experience these things. I will never understand these things. But I can be educated! And learn how to be ally!

    In her words, Katrina Hopkins-Messenger:

    There are at least two things I need to say. This post is thing one.

    ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ is not fad, a meme or a trendy slogan for me and mine.

    It is Life.

    When you post that the problem is the labels, instead of four hundred years of violent oppression… or show more concern for things like stores or property than the precious lives of black men, women and children….or show more compassion for the “hurt” feelings of cops during a protest then the extreme violence brought against those who peacefully protest as is their right under the Constitution….or claim that a crime, that which for whites usually means a summons or a finger wagging, is proof that the shooting of black people is somehow justified…or….

    When you post this nonsense in facebook, I may not respond to your post, and….I may just remove it quietly from my feed, and I will probably not even delete you as a friend….

    But you need to know this….

    To me, your posts will say that the lives of black people are of little to no consequence to you.

    And….

    That you hold the precious lives of my niece, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews …..and my beautiful sister, my glorious brothers and my dear cousins, …and my fearless mother, father, uncles and aunt,….and my brave grand mothers, grandfathers, great aunts and great uncles…

    That you hold the lives of all of me and mine …in contempt.

    So…

    If that is not what you intend…..Prove It.

    • 1000 times: THIS. Oh, so very this.

  • Macha NightMare

    The proper link to Cherry Hill Seminary’s statement is http://cherryhillseminary.org/about/blog/news-releases/solidarity-december-9-2014/

  • Franklin_Evans

    Our world has become intimately immediate in ways undreamt by our ancestors both of blood and of spirit.

    • Franklin_Evans

      I’m posting this part separately, in case people decide to speed-read my first post or stop reading it at the point where they simply must react.

      Given my personality quirk, I cannot exaggerate my gratitude to those who do speak out, regularly and loudly — I’m thinking especially of T. Thorn Coyle — and keep at it consistently and eloquently.

      I’m not offering a blanket “you speak for me” in everything they say. But they are my voice where it fails to be heard from my own mouth.

    • Thank you for that long if somewhat difficult to follow piece, wherein you showed us that you owe us no proof of who you are or the actions you must take. So how do you feel about our militarized police force and its ongoing war against people of color?

      • Franklin_Evans

        Thank you for asking, but before I type my answer I have a question for you. What is your opinion about the ethical statement I described thus: “

      • Franklin_Evans

        I see that I didn’t provide a direct answer to the current situations. I see a very complex situation that started with the attacks of 9/11/2001, and the lack of a national outcry for the invasion of Iraq — which I believe should have resulted in articles of impeachment — and the passage of The Patriot Act. People who already had the power to oppress all of us using it mostly against people of color was and is the status quo, and that it got worse for everyone else didn’t seem to cause any response, let alone more explicit protest over how minorities were already being treated.

        The current oppression is just more of the same, pushed harder into the public awareness perhaps, but nothing new. It has to start with local action and build up to a national avalanche. I don’t personally believe that will happen, though I remain hopeful given the most recent protests.

    • Except Crystal Blanton’s statement was explicitly lamenting the lack of response from Pagan organizations and not individuals (“the silence of the Pagan organizations in light of recent unrest.” as was quoted in the very first paragraph of this post) By failing to acknowledge that and make this about you, you’re just as much derailing the topic at hand as others in this thread. It comes across as no different than the people who bristle and get defensive at the mere mention of privilege, because they cannot distinguish between the concept of privilege and a personal attack on themselves.

      • Franklin_Evans

        I always read your posts with great interest. I mean that sincerely.

        I would ask your opinion about how I should respond to your claim about “[my] failing to acknowledge [Crystal’s intent]” in light of my writing “Above all, respect the medium’s limitations and refrain from arguing with the simple fact — not assumption — that silence can mean exactly one thing: silence.” in the same post.

        I would agree that including a comment on her intentions would have served to clarify some of my other comments.

        • But nonetheless, it’s hard not to read what you wrote here:

          “If this or any community needs me to prove myself on every issue with a public proclamation of my devotion or litany of my actions, that community needs to wake up to the realities of personal communication, starting with: I have a day job, a weekly commute of nearly 300 miles, and a daily fatigue from staring at a screen all day in often tense circumstances.”

          as anything but a criticism that read Crystal Blanton’s statement as chiding you personally for not making a public response, when, as I pointed out, she specified that it was the lack of response from organizations that was bothering her. I certainly don’t think that anyone should read any individual’s ‘silence’–if silence is being understood here as a lack of formal, public statement–as a judgement on that person.
          But, going back to the lack of response from Pagan organizations, imagine how that feels to Pagans of color, especially black Pagans, to see so little reaction to something so important on the national stage, and to them particularly. Pagans as a demographic generally aren’t shy about speaking up about injustice and tend toward activism. So, given that, can you not understand how upsetting it could be for someone like Crystal Blanton to experience public silence from her religious community’s organizations about something like this?

          • Franklin_Evans

            I do take your point. I regret not serving her intention with better clarity in my post.

  • Trickster3

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512000625738935/

    http://www.olorishasunited.org

    Mid way through our month long Unifications event. Cleveland ohio to Denmark, Ireland to New York, Miami to Los Angeles, Chicago to New Orleans, Houston to Atlanta.

    This website was organized to coordinate the events that will take place in December 2014 during World Peace and Healing week. These events will take place in many cities throughout the United States, as well as in Mexico and Venezuela. We strongly encourage other Orisha communities to become a part of this initiative by sponsoring events in their home towns.

    In addition, we are encouraging olorishas, regardless of the system that they follow, to show their support for world peace by wearing white during World Peace and Healing week, which begins on December 10, 2014, lasting until December 21, 2014.

    We are suggesting that every city plan, host and participate in the five proposed activities:

    1. Agban for Babalu Aye

    2. Nangaré ó—ritual communion with Olodumare and the ancestors

    3. Wemilere (Añá, Ayán, drumming) for Obatalá

    4. Wearing white for ten days (Dec 10 – 21, 2014)

    5. Closing prayers- optional

    Please join us as we pray for the health and well-being of our communities!

    Make a statement on behalf of a common cause.

    BREATH OF LIFE

    You are here — Inspiration, the true breath

    Of life, hope, and unity.

    Breathe your Ase into me,

    Oh, my Creator, Olodumare.

    Lift me high above the clouds,

    As though I ride effortlessly

    On the soft wings of a soaring dove.

    I shall carry your message of peace

    To those living on Earth,

    And all brothers and sisters

    Will answer your call to unite

    In harmony and love.

    I am inspired to humble myself

    To serve my brothers and sisters

    With a generous heart, overflowing

    With your sacred love.

    Let the whole Earth pulse in unison

    With your sanctity and purity;

    Then Earth will be in divine rhythm

    With one heartbeat,

    One purpose,

    And one global family,

    Thriving in peace.

    © Lily Clement-Brown, November 24, 2014

    Ile Orunmila Ogunike, Houston, TX
    http://www.OloshasUnitedTX.com

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I’m sad (but not surprised) to see the defensiveness this evokes. That one is personally blameless does not mean one is not still living in the shadow of the horror of slavery, with the choice to take action in the moment or be silent.

    • dantes

      Some people today still live in slavery, and not merely in its shadow.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Quite true. My point being that hostile memes behind unstated assumptions about the racial Other go back to slavery: intentional cultivation of mutual animus between kidnapped Africans and transported Englishmen in the same economic circumstances so they’d never unite. It worked. It still works.

        • dantes

          Well indeed, the racial situation in the US is indeed the direct result of the Triangular-trade.

    • Franklin_Evans

      Again, writing only for myself: I can readily concede that I’m coming across here as defensive. I’ll just reiterate that perceiving being judged for my silence can just as easily cross the line between an attack that isn’t there and an actual attack. My subjective choice stands as I wrote it. Observing some other posts here to this point, I do believe there is evidence to support an actual attack.

      • “I’ll just reiterate that perceiving being judged for my silence can just as easily cross the line between an attack that isn’t there and an actual attack.”

        Neither situation is nearly so bad as getting shot by a cop while reaching for your ID, is it?

        • Franklin_Evans

          Yup. You’re superior logic defeats me.

          • My superior grammar defeats you as well. I would have expected you to do more with your place on the Bell Curve,

          • Franklin_Evans

            Sometimes, its deliberate. Their is some of us who grew up useing propter gramer as nurturely as breathing.

            I must admit, you have a well-developed BS meter. But your sarcasm awareness seems to be weak.

          • Your awareness of the point seems to be weak. This may be my fault and perhaps I should state it more clearly.

            Every 36 hours a person of color is killed by American police: only rarely are the police held accountable even in the most egregious situations. This strikes me as a pressing issue which demands immediate attention, both as a moral concern and as a direct threat to my well-being. (I don’t want to live in Judge Dredd world and I certainly don’t want my daughter growing up in a police state).

            Discussions about this topic make some Wild Hunt readers uncomfortable. They feel they are being “white-shamed” and held unfairly accountable for the actions of others. I can appreciate their discomfort — your discomfort — but I don’t see it as an immediate threat to anybody’s well-being. Hence I see lengthy whining threads about their feelings as a narcissistic overreaction that draws attention away from far more important issues.

            Is that easier to grok?

          • Franklin_Evans

            My sarcasm was aimed at your posting style, not its contents. As I hope you grok from my reply to you on another tangent, I not only “get it”, I’ve witnessed it firsthand and lived amongst victims of racism nearly my entire life.

            You truly know nothing about my “discomfort” so far. I’ll meet you half way and own my part in that. In the meantime, use of statistics and dueling citations tends to obscure rather than illuminate in any topical debate. There is something rotten in our society. It is endemic, ubiquitous, and no individual or small group is going to effect much against it.

            I wish to offer one thing I hope you appreciate: I have two daughters. The elder is the mother of my grandchildren. The younger is a college senior in Chicago. They are both active in social issues, in their separate ways. I fear for them just as you fear for your daughter. We are in dangerous times, no matter how good (as I described elsewhere) it may seem right now.

  • Dana Morgan

    “Moreover, the responses aren’t limited to the so-called Pagan community. Responses have come from Heathen organizations and Polytheists, as well as a large variety of Pagans from a diversity of traditions.”

    So-called?? SO-called?!?
    I expect that condescension from corporate media types. Never expected it from one of our own. Also totally unnecessary in the context of the discussion at that point. What was with THAT piece of phrasing??

    The rest of the piece was fine. The discussion is verging on absurd, with straw men popping up faster than FBI infiltrators at a protest march. I’m glad Crystal Blanton raised the question(s), and glad you cared enough to follow up. But about that two word totally condescending phrase used for no particular reason …

    • Every 36 hours or so a black American is killed by American police officers. And your greatest concern is that somebody used the phrase “so-called” to describe the Pagan community.

      • Gotta derail and justify white tears, somehow.

      • Word. Let’s keep some sense of proportion, here.

    • I don’t speak for Ms Greene, but I would’ve used the same phrasing for the simple fact that it’s hard, if not impossible, to say exactly who and what a community IS when those who identify as a part of it are hesitant at best, and too-often downright hostile to offering a positive definition that community can use to identify itself.

      The current community definition of late is that “the Pagan Community is united in its shared interest in Paganism. What is Paganism? Nobody knows! That’s up for every Pagan to decide for oneself. ^__^ We can only say that it’s SO MUCH MORE than simply ‘not of an Abrahamic religion’, but how much more is up to you!”

      That’s not a useful definition at all. Even less useful is Jason Mankey’s “I can’t say what Paganism is, but I know it when I see it.”

      • JasonMankey

        Thanks for bringing me into a conversation I’m not really involved in and taking my words completely out of context! Bravo!

        • Considering the context was your reluctance to define paganism, your implication that I’m erecting strawmen fails.

          • JasonMankey

            I think you are misremembering this:
            “I have never run into a Pagan group that I failed to recognize as Pagan. Kermetic, Druid, Wiccan, Eclectic Pagan, Ceremonial Magick, Feri, Dischordian, Womyn’s Only (I walked past an outdoor ritual once), I have participated or witnessed all of those different types of ritual and while they were all different they were all easily recognizable as Pagan. Perhaps the idea of you know it when you see it is rather simplistic, but it’s true. Ancient gods, love of nature, a dash of magick; no matter what was going on in all of those rituals there was at least one or two threads common to my own Pagan experience.”

            Reluctance to define Paganism? At the top of Raise the Horns is a link to “Defining Paganism.” I’m certainly not running from definitions.

          • And at the end of the day, that whole page is too vague to to be much good: “Pagans may do X, or they may no. They may do Y and Z, or they may hate Y and Z.” While yeah, maybe you don’t have the hostility toward actually defining “pagan” (capital (not -ol) P or not) that I mistook, but I’m seeing nothing that commits to saying what it actually is. Maybe that’s an intentional choice you made to placate those who actually are hostile toward defining the word, but it’s not really convincing me that you’re all for defining the word in positive terms.

  • I am trying to make sure here if I have NeoWayland right. He appears to think that we are judging him “because of the color of his skin.” Yet I did not see any statement from Crystal Blanton, or anyone else, saying “NeoWayland is a racist” or “NeoWayland supports police brutality.” Apparently the mere mention of racism, in NeoWayland’s world, can be nothing but a direct personal attack on him and on his politics. He certainly has spent several posts describing how horribly offended he is because he is being judged by “the color of his skin” — even though nobody knew the color of his skin until he made an issue out of it. (Neither, for that matter, did anybody say “NeoWayland must do this because he is white” or even “NeoWayland must do this.”)

    This kind of narcissistic preening, posturing and navel-gazing serves to derail any kind of intelligent discussion on race, class or other issues and the ways in which the Pagan community can better deal with these problems. Instead of talking about how a militarized police force is killing innocents en masse, we’re expected to spend time soothing his injured feelings and reassuring him that we don’t hold him personally responsible for slavery. Instead of fighting institutionalized racism, we wind up defending ourselves against charges of “reverse racism.” (Because, apparently, posting a call to action on a Pagan forum is the same thing as shooting an unarmed teenager). And instead of changing the world, we end up reassuring ourselves how we are much better than those muggles and above those silly behaviors.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      “This kind of narcissistic preening, posturing and navel-gazing serves to derail any kind of intelligent discussion on race, class or other issues and the ways in which the Pagan community can better deal with these problems.” Yes, thank you for describing this irritating phenomenon so succinctly. As an avid WH reader but rare commenter I really do get tired of these folks showing up and eating up the entire comments section with their overly delicate-feelings-rants when there are serious issues to be discussed that require a certain level of maturity.

  • Laura Liles

    The coven of Our Lady of the Woods consensed on the following
    statement after a lengthy discussion this evening. This is the first step in a
    four part program which will include letters to local papers and government
    officials, and connections with like minded organizations in the state.

    Some years ago, we connected with a coalition of liberal
    churches and religious organizations in Santa Fe to pass an anti-hate crimes
    law, and were successful in getting that legislation passed. We are optimistic
    that a similar effort in this case will yield similar results long
    term.

    Our statement —

    Black lives matter. Indeed, all lives matter..

    Martin Luther King Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
    everywhere.”

    Although it is not a new phenomenon, there have been many stories in the news recently about young black men who were shot by police officers for offences that did not merit the use of deadly force or for no offences at all. Worse, the officers in question have not been indicted by grand juries for even the most minor charge. Not murder, not manslaughter, not even reckless endangerment. This is
    completely unacceptable to us as a religious organization committed to the
    sanctity of life and to equal justice for ourselves as Witches and all our black
    and brown brothers and sisters of color as human beings.

    We call upon the State of New Mexico and all of its police jurisdictions to commit to
    ending this appalling situation wherever it occurs in New Mexico. Law enforcement needs to be educated in methods of dealing with difficult situations that do not involve the use of deadly force, as well as the unconscious assumptions we all make in confronting persons of different races and ethnicities.

    It is our understanding that training budgets are often cut as an economy
    measure. When this happens, an officer who has only been thoroughly trained to use his or her weapon in tense situations turns to the tool he or she is most familiar with. It has been said that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Law enforcement officers need to be trained in more than one way to deal with difficult or confusing situations.

    We support making funds available for better trained law enforcement.

    We applaud the Department of Justice’s agreement with the Albuquerque Police
    Department requiring new officer training and guidelines for the use of deadly
    force and hope this will prevent future situations like that of Oriana
    Ferrell, whose van and family were shot at by a New Mexico State Patrol officer for leaving the scene of a traffic stop.

    We support the Department of Justice investigations into the deaths of Michael
    Brown, Eric Garner and others who are the victims of suspected unjustified use
    of deadly force by law enforcement.

    Sincerely,
    Laura Liles (Rowan)
    for Our Lady of the Woods

  • Bruce

    I don’t ask Muslims to publish statements denouncing Terrorism, I don’t ask “Black” people to publish statements when a “black” guy kills a “white” guy, I don’t ask Americans to publish statements when the US goes on a drone killing spree, I don’t ask women to publish statements when a woman kills a man. I don’t ask Brits to publish statements when a Brit kill an American, and I don’t demand Mexicans to publish a statement when a Mexican National kills someone north of the Border.

    In truth, I see Crystal Blanton’s post as manipulative, an attempt to “shame” the NonPOCs into supporting her political agenda, a tactic I am well familiar with from my Christian past. I do not respond well to “shaming” tactics. A well thought out essay, appealing to my heart, and my mind, can work wonders.

    • Franklin_Evans

      I respect your reaction, but I can’t agree with it. I read Crystal’s original Facebook post the day she posted it. At no point did I take her clear call for explicit action as condemnation of those who hadn’t to her knowledge acted, nor as a blanket assumption that those who didn’t explicitly join her disagreed with her call or its motivation.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      Ah, I see. Her call to be treated equally under the law is a “political agenda”. Yeah, maybe some people do need some shaming.

    • I might be receptive to the notion that there’s a reason to be upset at being “shamed” or “manipulated” into supporting a political agenda, were the “political agenda” in question anything less than supporting full equality for Americans regardless of race.

      Those who think that confronting bias and excessive use of force on the part of American police departments toward communities of color is a “political agenda” may need to engage their own minds and hearts with the copious testimony that people of color are being systematically mistreated in our country. In fact, it’s hard for me to fathom how anyone who doesn’t live under a rock has avoided doing so already.

      Your mileage may vary.

    • dantes

      Well in all honesty she seems to have started her action in order to gain support for a cause she judges right. I have not seen any real “shaming tactics” in her words. She seems rather straightforwards in her call and one could indeed wonder if the Pagan community in the US has indeed shown support of her cause.

      I don’t know myself, but deep down it’s just a question she’s asking.

    • Muslims are regularly asked to denounce terrorism. Every time a black person commits a crime, comments sections around the Internetz light up with “where is Obama/Sharpton/Holder/Jesse Jackson/the NAACP/etc. now?” The fact that you don’t ask for these statements doesn’t mean that they aren’t being asked.

      Let’s frame this a different way. Crystal Blanton is an elder in the Pagan community who has contributed to said community for years. Crystal Blanton’s brothers and sisters are being systematically murdered by an oppressive, militarized police force. Crystal Blanton has asked her community to stand up to support them against injustices which are widely acknowledged.

      In doing so, you feel that she has attempted to “manipulate” you and “shame” you. I can only presume that you, like NeoWayland, assume that any time a person of color talks about racism it means that they are calling you a racist. Or that you would rather talk about your traumatic Christian past, your white innocence, or anything other than racism in America. This would suggest that a truly monumental insensitivity and self-absorption. But, of course, I wouldn’t want to say that and shame your poor Jeebus-scarred honky soul. (Oops, and now I’m being a bigot too… ).

      • dantes

        systematically murdered

        ?

        I mean, everyone with a brain will acknowledge that cops are likelier to arrest/hurt/prosecute/shoot you if you are not white but your choice of words evoke very different thing to me.

        • Based on what you’re saying it sounds like my choice of words evokes exactly what I intended it to evoke. We have an ongoing pattern of police acting as judge, jury and executioner; we have an ongoing pattern of these incidents going unpunished. That qualifies as systematic murder in my book: in fact, I’m not sure what else you would call it.

          • dantes

            I understand your point, but when I hear “systematically murdered” I see first and foremost intent, which would then imply the implementation of an actual policy.

            In such cases the first image that come to my mind would be the Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front and not the US Police in the Deep South.

          • Oscar Wilde once said, more or less, “To lose a parent is a tragedy. To lose two seems like carelessness.”

            These extrajudicial executions are not isolated incidents. They are part of an ongoing campaign of brutality and oppression. To date nothing has been done to stop this campaign. Hence I can only assume that somebody is happy with the current state of affairs and that this ongoing campaign is no accident.

          • Franklin_Evans

            It’s really about context. By that, I mean there are places and times that contradict your blanket assertion. I do get your intention, I share the sentiment and the principled stand, but How the message is delivered can sometimes damage that intent… and yes, I include our other exchanges in that observation without hesitation, our positions reversed.

            Philadelphia was as bad as Ferguson. The similarities are there to see, as frightening and enraging in the 70s as Ferguson (and other places) are now. If one stipulates your phrasing “an ongoing campaign”, that’s what it looked like in Philly. Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t look like that now, and the media reports and court track record prove it.

            I grew up in a bordering suburb to West Philly. You couldn’t find a more racist community on either side of the Mason-Dixon line in the 60s and 70s. Our local police were no better than Philly police, they just didn’t see many people of color around. Even so, even there the situation is vastly improved, and the demographics of my hometown would cause many of the adult neighbors of my childhood heart attacks.

          • dantes

            I agree that there is indeed a culture of impunity regarding White Police killing Black folks and that this culture is part of a broader discriminating attitude directed on people of colors.

            But the way you put it, it almost sounded like there’s an ongoing extermination campaign directed towards Blacks.

    • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

      Yup. Right on.

  • In a year and a day, the news from Ferguson will have slipped deep below the surface. But children will still be killing children on the streets of Chicago and Los Angeles. The Federal government will still be selling “surplus” military hardware to police agencies nationwide. There will still be massive arrests for non-violent drug crimes. These things are signs of a deeper problem that extends far beyond “white privilege,” and yes, they affect a much higher percentage of “people of color.”

    These issues were problems a decade ago and a decade before that. Yet somehow these issues never made the same headlines as the “police brutality” cases when the cop was light-skinned.

    I can only hope these issues will be gone a decade from now.

    • In a year and a day, the news from Ferguson will have slipped deep below the surface. But children will still be killing children on the streets of Chicago and Los Angeles

      Ah, yes, that helps put police brutality against minorities in the proper context. Savagery is the only language savages understand and all that.

      The Federal government will still be selling “surplus” military hardware to police agencies nationwide. There will still be massive arrests for non-violent drug crimes. These things are signs of a deeper problem that extends far beyond “white privilege,” and yes, they affect a much higher percentage of “people of color.”

      Let me guess: you put “white privilege” in quotes because you think it doesn’t exist. And you put “people of color” in quotes because you don’t see color. Amirite?

      As far as your other points, I agree wholeheartedly that the militarization of police forces is a real issue which must be addressed. But it’s telling that you spent several posts whining about how you were being judged based on your skin and forced into a “ritual apology” — a problem which solely effects you and which may not exist outside your ears. Only now do you come to a problem which has already killed thousands and which stands to kill many more if not reined in. Which is precisely what I was talking about when I complained of the suffocating narcissism pervading the Pagan community.

      I also see that you’re a libertarian. Let me guess, you think Ron Paul was framed and those KKK/White Supremacist links blown way out of proportion. Amirite (2)?

      “These issues were problems a decade ago and a decade before that. Yet somehow these issues never made the same headlines as the “police brutality” cases when the cop was light-skinned.”

      Good to see that you’re helping to shine a clear light on things despite the efforts of the race pimps to stir up trouble.

      • I put it in quotes because we’re human.

        I think most of the “racial” divisions we have are perpetuated by certain nameless people who have a vested interest in convincing other people that they were victims yesterday, are victims today, and will stay victims if government doesn’t step in and help them on demand, but only in carefully selected cases and never enough to make a lasting difference.

        You have rights because you are human and not because you are Pagan, “black”, transgender, or got hit on the head with a baseball yesterday.

        I’m not looking for allies. I want neighbors.

        • H.

          It’d be nice if we really had rights for being a human and only for that. But as long as the *isms exist (e.g. sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, christian privilege, and, as for the topic here, racism), it’s just sticking one’s head into the sand to ignore and even actively erase the facts and the context of the facts. At least that if not even an active defense of privileges and the structures enabling privileges.

          And facts *are* that there still is racial profiling by the police where I live – against opposing case law – that there is police violence that might occasionally hit people read as “from here”, as white, but that hits people of color much much more.

          And those facts themselves exist within the context of racism(s). A racism/racisms that are not exactly the same as in the times of MLK or slavery (or, e.g., in the country where I live, the times of the NS regime or the many antisemitic precursors that also used racist notions and intertwined them with their antisemitism). But it’s still racism(s) which/whose effects we’re observing.

          • Pardon, but if you accept the concept as useful, it will stay.

            Just as one very obvious example, is “racial” profiling by police more of an example of “racism” or that the police have been entrusted with too much power? Or perhaps something else?

            Sometimes defining the problem limits the solution you are prepared to see.

        • It’s comments like this that’ve gotten me too numb to be surprised or disappointed by the tendency of pagans to be completely content with the status quo.

        • H.

          P. Sufenas Virius Lupus wrote about exactly that, and much more elaborate and possibly better than me, at https://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/why-the-best-label-is-human-is-crap/

    • H.

      >>These things are signs of a deeper problem that extends far beyond
      “white privilege,” and yes, they affect a much higher percentage of
      “people of color.”<<

      Now, if you yourself write that "they affect a much higher percentage of
      people of color" (extraneous quotes removed by me), what does that show other than that there *is* racism involved here? And what is white privilege (again, quotes removed by me) other than an aspect of racism?

      And know that white privilege on its own isn't something you or I are *guilty* of. So having white privilege (and perhaps, that being pointed out to you, or me) isn't something we need to be defensive of. It's part of being light skinned, being read as "from here" (note the constructed nature of even that).

      It *is* however something we can take responsibility for/with. How do we who have white privilege live with it? Do we use it to marginalize people of color or do we posit ourselves critically towards it and try our best to act as good allies to people of color?

      • The quotes aren’t extraneous.

        They are in fact rather central to my point.

        We are human.

          • Yes.

            “Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other.”
            – Sojourner Truth

          • Goddamn, you’re like that little white boy in Song of the South: you just can’t stop appropriating the words of Black people in an effort to make yourself seem smart.

          • That is my point.

            They’re good words and they fit. I don’t care about the skin color of who said them.

            Do you prefer others?

            “Allowing harm to continue unchecked is not ‘harming none’. Rather, it harms everyone.”
            — Doreen Valiente

            “There is a danger in the New Age movement of ‘open-mindedness’ and ‘universality’ becoming a new dogma which only serves to separate ‘us’ who pay lip service to these ideals from ‘them’ who do not. Far better to be a flexible, open-minded traditionalist than a rigidly doctrinaire liberal.”
            — Ya’qub ibn Yusuf

          • mptp

            Before you start writing Doreen regarding the rede, understand first that the rede is not a commandment to harm none.
            http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos661.htm

          • *grins*

            I’m not Wiccan. I just really like the thought.

            Sometimes no harm is possible. Sometimes it’s a question of choosing the least disruption.

          • They’re good words and they fit. I don’t care about the skin color of who said them.

            Except that, in context, they’re not really relevant to you.

  • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

    All lives matter. There are scores of people from every creed, color and nation that are harmed or killed every single second of every single day. Yet I don’t see calls to action for them, no protests for them, no marches, no standing up against violence. Nope. Why is that? Oh that’s right, because we all know that violence and discrimination suck but you don’t rally in the streets over every murder, rape or harm done to someone. The more of this crap I read the more I want to distance myself from the Pagan label and community altogether. Because lets face it, folks. All this is is another banner waving moment for people to declare how not racist they are, or how accepting, or how tolerant or how whatever badge they want to wear. I promise you, that mask of tolerance and acceptance is torn off the moment someone disagrees with what’s being said. All lives matter. White lives too. You know how much black on black crime there is? Heaps. Yet huh, we don’t see rallies, protests and marches about them do we. White privilege my butt. No one has every handed me anything for being white. You have got to be joking. Concerned about silence from the Pagan community? Where’s the call to action for the 58 year old man who was just stabbed to death last night on the train here in MN? Where’s the outcry for the store clerk who was held up at gun point last week? How about the woman who was raped? Yet funny, we only see crap like this when someone can win points for being the most PC. Give me a break.

    • This.

      Stars above and Earth below. This.

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        You’re welcome. (:

    • Again: Not at all surprising from someone who thinks racism doesn’t actually hurt people.

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        Again. Racism doesn’t hurt people. Just like my thinking you’re an obnoxious person doesn’t hurt you does it. Now if I came over to your house and bashed in your head for being said obnoxious person we’d have a problem wouldn’t we. Actions hurt people, not thoughts, not beliefs. Actions. What is with you and thinking someone having an unpleasant thought about someone else is hurtful? Pull up your big person panties and quit whinging on about crap like this.

        • So, pray tell, how do racist actions exist without racist thought? Furthermore, if you’re going to limit your definition of “being hurt” to physical violence, you’re betraying your own ignorance and inexperience.

          And your apparent insistence on ungendering me IS hurtful. Especially since it’s not at all hard to find out what I am.

          Answers to all this and more: http://www.justgit.com

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            LOL! I love how you cannot win. If you use neutral terms, you’re offensive. If I said she, I’d be being offensive. He, same thing. You’re a hoot a minute. Just another victim looking for some attention I see. As for your question, no no. YOU said racism (which is a thought process, a belief) hurts people. Not I. Actions based on beliefs DO hurt people. But just being a racist hurts no one. Being a Republican hurts no one. Being a Christian hurts no one. Adherence in one’s mind to a viewpoint hurts no one. Actions hurt people. Dang you’re scary. You’re almost sounding like if there were thought police you’d be for it. Yikes.

          • If you use neutral terms, you’re offensive. If I said she, I’d be being offensive. He, same thing.

            So you’re basically admitting that you’re too lazy to highlight my name with your mouse and right-click to to a search and find out that I have a gender/ I mean, that’s basically what you said. And unless you’re an especially slow reader, I’m sure it would’ve taken you less time than typing that bullying dismissal out.

            But just being a racist hurts no one.

            Except when it does: http://www.justgit.com

      • Northern_Light_27

        I…

        they…

        Okay, I retract my comment to that commenter. That degree of ignorance is actually painful. Or perhaps it’s pinching the bridge of my nose that hard that’s painful, because it wasn’t prompted in any way by reading that comment, because actions are completely divorced from belief and worldview. …Ow.

    • mptp

      “All lives matter”
      Do you go to cancer research fundraisers and disrupt them by saying “all diseases need more research funding” or go to a particular funeral and say “other people are dead, too!”

      If not, how do you explain your apparent lack of consistency?

      If so, how do you explain your apparent lack of compassion?

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        Oh I’m already complicit in it because I’m white! LOL! I don’t even have to post on this thread and I share in the guilt already don’t I. Did you miss that bit? All diseases do need more research funding for that matter. But notice they aren’t shaming and blaming another group, holding rallies and marches, not to mention engaging in criminal activities against others in the name of their apparent “oppression” Do you really believe the whole black lives matter is about compassion? Wow.

        • mptp

          Oh, look, another person who appears to be more devoted to order than to justice.
          Fact: blacks are punished, for the same crime, harsher than whites.
          Fact: the prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury in re: Michael Brown’s death is also the president of a group which raised money to defend officer Wilson, which to many, white AND black, inside AND outside of Missouri, is a gross conflict of interest.
          Fact: most grand juries return indictments … Unless they’re looking at a cop who shot someone.
          opinion, based on what you’ve written – you are woefully ignorant about race in America.
          whether that is intention, or from apathy, only your further words will yield the clue.

        • Northern_Light_27

          This is such odd thinking from a Pagan. I know there’s immense diversity of thinking among Pagans, but by and large we’re ancestor worshipers. By and large we’re not convinced that linear time is a thing. If I were to say “the actions of human beings have influenced global climate patterns”, it would be mildly controversial but generally supported by the bulk of Pagans. How this is somehow true of climatology but not sociology is a mystery to me. How we’re continuing, by our presence, to build the world we inherited from our forbears is thought of one way in terms of religion and a completely different way in terms of, again, sociology is a mystery to me. How we salute recurring patterns in nature but we’re quick to say “is not!” in humanity is a mystery to me. We inherited a racist human climate, just as we inherited a system where some diseases get funding and others don’t, and if we’re deciding we’re by and large going to say and do nothing about that, we just helped keep building that world. We just helped pass that world on to our descendants.

        • “Do you really believe the whole black lives matter [movement] is about compassion?”

          Yes. Yes, I do.

          Consider the possibility that, rather than being “too sensitive” or “playing the race card,” the black voices being raised over this issue are reflecting a deeper knowledge and understanding of their own life experiences than you, a white person, possibly have gleaned by glancing over the pages of a newspaper or magazine in the last few weeks.

          Just… consider the possibility that someone else understands the circumstances of their lives better than you understand it for them.

      • Seriously, when Maya Angelou died this year and that (deservedly) got a good amount of media attention I saw quite a few comments from white people in various places online saying things along the lines of “So many people die all the time. Why does she get all this attention.” Because apparently, for these people, the idea that a black woman would achieve great things and receive the praise she deserved upon her death was just too much. I have little doubt that the people who wrote those comments would swear up and down that racism doesn’t really exist in America any more and that black people are just too easily offended.

        • I was taken quite aback when I saw quite a lot of vitriol in response to her various memorials in print, some of them even more ad hominem than you cite.

        • dantes

          Such cases exemplify a racism that does not assume itself.

    • mptp

      No one has every handed me anything for being white.

      Actually, yes, they probably have, you just don’t realize it.
      Were you ever stopped for DWB?

      Were you ever jacked up by the cops on the front porch of your house because your key jammed in the door, and someone thought you were breaking in, because you looked different than what they expected in the neighborhood?

      Were you ever shot by your own fellow police officers, at a traffic stop, when you never reached for a weapon?

      • Actually, yes, they probably have, you just don’t realize it. Were you ever stopped for DWB?

        You can’t explain these things to bigots like her.

    • Danielle, the reason the Pagan community is paying attention to the wave of incidents of excessive use of force by police against specifically black men and women is that it is so out of proportion. A young black man is 21 times as likely to be shot by police as is a young white man, and that is simply not explainable as coincidence or poor choices on the part of young black men. We are looking at a problem of system-wide racism.

      Ironically enough, because the bias in policing is systemic, it doesn’t even have to involve conscious, overt racism on the part of individual cops who pull the trigger. It can be enough to have implicit bias, something many of us have, and which studies show make white people under time pressure far more likely to imagine, for instance, that the innocuous tool in the hands of a black person is a gun than when it’s in the hands of a white person. Of course, there are overtly racist cops, too… but what is becoming clear is that the entire approach America is currently taking to policing is so vulnerable to bias and racial profiling as to be literally causing an epidemic of black deaths. Including, may I point out with sadness, the deaths of young black children, some infants or elementary school kids, shot to death by SWAT teams who had mistakenly broken down the door of the wrong apartment and opened fire?

      Please, for a moment, imagine that you are the grieving parent of one of those who has died in this manner… and interrupting the chorus of voices, black and white, who are seeking to name and change the problem that killed your child, comes a series of white people’s voices, shouting, “All lives matter! Why are you singling out black lives to protect?”

      Can you engage your empathy enough to imagine how that feels? Invalidating, right? Like denying the forces that have killed your child is more important to those “all lives matter” folks than your grief, or the grief of the next mom, or the next, or the next…

      The fact that all lives matter–that white lives matter, to be specific–is not what is in doubt. The question is whether, to our society, black lives can be allowed to matter enough to bring reform… maybe even the beginnings of justice.

      On the question of how it can be that a white person who has also faced many disadvantages and even traumas can still be considered privileged, I know of no better explanation than Gina Crossley-Corcoran’s essay, Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person.

      I really urge you to read it and think about it.

  • Olaf-Thorgrim Aka-Michael S-Ka

    cold day in hel when i honor a man that does evil and is a bully, color is nothing, a man actions is his honor, and when u prey on weak, ur a scumbag a outlaw as we heathens call them, i would gladdly protest if the man had honor and was good, prove to me he was GOOD……all i seen is this man had no honor, he was a thug, that preyed off people,,,,,,,,

    • dantes

      Besides the fact that Mike Brown might have broken the law at some point in this tragic incident, he still did not deserve to be killed for that.

  • Northern_Light_27

    Can we all at least agree that Black lives matter, and it’s seventeen shades of appalling that this is even mildly controversial? Yes, some of you downthread, I hear what you’re about to say. “Don’t (fill in the blank here) lives also matter?”, but let’s have that conversation tomorrow. Life doesn’t have to be a zero sum game where saying the simple thing of “your life matters, I hear you” has to be a fight, because only some lives get to matter. Don’t believe that lie. That lie kills people. We’d be a lot further along in hearing and seeing each other if we weren’t all force-fed that poison. What I hear the most in discussions like these is the unspoken “if I see you, I become invisible. If I say your life is valuable, I just gave you value that I can’t afford to give up, because I don’t think my life is seen as valuable either because I’m (fill in the blank here)”. There is enough. There is enough in this world for us to give up our death-grip on that fear, because if we don’t, too damn many people will actually die because of it.