Matrix of White Supremacy
[New podcast] “Unplugging from the Matrix of White Supremacy”
Tami Simon speaks with Rachel Ricketts about spiritual activism, the presence of our ancestors, and the healing work of racial justice.
Here is what changemaker, attorney, and healer Rachel Ricketts said at the beginning of our conversation about her new book, Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy:
“I believe that our ancestors walk into every room and engage in every conversation that we have, whether we are aware of it or not.”
Tami Simon said: “When Rachel said that, I felt stunned and suddenly more in my body and alert. I also felt a sense of what I can only call the presence of ancestors, both Rachel’s and mine.”
We then proceeded to talk about, in Rachel’s words, “having a fulsome acknowledgment of our history, about all of the ways we have benefited from and been harmed by our ancestry.” And how racial justice work is grief work, how it requires the surfacing and confrontation of inherited traumas, and how this work holds the potential to create healing across time and space.
In this podcast, Rachel and Tami Simon discuss:
Rachel’s definition of spiritual activism as “daily, active, ongoing, anti-oppressive thought, speech, and actions that are informed, often, by a connection with something bigger than us”
Guidelines for engaging in a spiritual practice or tradition that originates in a different time and place such that we acknowledge and express our gratitude to the people who gave birth to the spiritual practices we value
Why Rachel wrote her book Do Better to white women and for women who are Black, Indigenous, or Women of Color
Some of the obstacles that arise for people when they begin to engage for the first time in the work of racial justice; in particular, wanting to be seen as “good people” and the need to “get it right”
How tending to the needs of our own “wounded inner child” increases our capacity to tolerate the full spectrum of our human emotions—which gives us greater tolerance of others and the intensity of their emotional experiences
Why Rachel doesn’t like “ally” as a noun but instead encourages people who are part of dominant groups to act in allyship in a way that is dynamic, ever-changing, and ongoing
This podcast on “Unplugging from the Matrix of White Supremacy” is being broadcast during Black History Month. In a sense, the very fact that there is one month of the year (and the shortest month at that) dedicated to Black history is a testament to how far we still need to go to unplug as a collective from the matrix of white supremacy, a matrix that clearly prioritizes whiteness.
Many of us who are part of dominant groups are feeling called at this time to do this work of racial justice in a sincere and concerted way, in Rachel’s words, to “do better.” May we do so with heart, with fierceness, and with an ongoing commitment. And in so doing, may we please, honor, and heal our ancestors.
As part of the efforts at Sounds True, to grow in both awareness of and accountability for racial injustice, Sounds True has created a collection of teachings freely offered to the Sounds True community called “Walking Together.” You can learn more here:
Working to dismantle and heal racism—in ourselves, in our organization, and in our world—is not a flash-in-the-pan effort at Sounds True. This is a long-haul commitment to the creation of a different world that is just, kind, and equitable.