It is Past the Time for Whites to Listen. DO SOMETHING NOW!

Say Their Names

“To Love Is To Know Is To Act” ~Eknath Eswaran

Whites, it is time to change yourself. Forget other people, look in that mirror, and change yourself. DO SOMETHING NOW. Whites have not been listening until now and now is not the time for learning but the time for action. The challenge comes with how do we change ourselves and the systems around us when we feel so helpless. I suggest to you, a mantra (or mantram).

“The mantram is a short, powerful spiritual formula for the highest power that we can conceive of – whether we call it God, or the ultimate reality, or the Self within. Whatever name we use, with the mantram we are calling up what is best and deepest in ourselves.”
– Eknath Easwaran

In a new meditation group I’ve joined, one of the first things we are asked to do is to choose a mantram. Though I’ve been familiar with the word as mantra or mantram, the way Eswaran talks about it and explains how the mantram works makes more sense to me. Yes, it is a calling back to meditation phrase or word. Most meditation texts state that.

However, the place where Eswaran is clearer is in HOW a mantram works to help us in meditation; how it can be used as a hammer to get through the hard places inside of us. For those unfamiliar with meditation, we who meditate do so in the practice and desire to be better and more loving human beings. Eswaran goes on to say that the mantra “has the capacity to transform consciousness when it is repeated silently in the mind.” My suggestion is that all white people need a mantra like the one below to hammer into our souls.

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter. Why is it taking people so long to understand this? I have never understood this AT ALL. It is especially horrific to hear people who say they are of faith speak or support anything that would harm another. People of faith should be adding love, not harm to the world. Black lives matter and are created and loved by the Creator of all!

We white people who see that this is wrong, now race to read everything we can to make a change. I include myself among whites who want to do better and yet somehow have failed our sisters and brothers of color. Why haven’t we changed this before? People of color, black people, have been asking this of us since being forcibly brought to this land. What has taken so long? What IS taking so long? Why has it been so hard for us white people to change? We destroy several nations of Native American people, enslave Africans and then seek to destroy them too. Then, wait, no – it is NOW that there are still people of color being detained at the border (once over 2000 children CHILDREN). As I search for an exact number, one doesn’t come up for today’s date, June 17, 2020. Why?

Then, I remember the article I read in the New Yorker yesterday about Pandemic as Punishment. What the government doesn’t want us to know is that there are five times as many blacks in the criminal justice system as whites. Read the entire article and have your heartbroken. Modern slavery exists. The ACLU summarizes it this way:

Racial Disparities in Incarceration
• In 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population.
• African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.
• The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women.
• Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested,
42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially
waived to criminal court.
• Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US
population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015.
• If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites,
prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

As a person of faith, belonging to a community we say is led by a great brown man who was Jewish, what am I doing NOW to make things better? How am I loving more? Am I standing up for what is right by standing against oppression? If so, how can I make a difference living here alone on my mountain of peace?

Writing this article is only a start. Reading books, well, I’ve been reading books on social justice all of my life. Those readings have changed my heart and mind through the years, but society hasn’t changed much at all if the recent murders of innocent blacks show with brutal clarity. I have not watched the video of George Floyd being choked to death. It is devastating to read of such inhumane actions much less to SEE and HEAR such injustice. Get out and vote!

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

Use your white power to vote to stop this horror so that no one lives in fear of being harmed by the very “authority” who was supposed to protect his citizens. A person who murders with such audacity takes away the hope of every person ever born in this country much less anyone seeking to find “asylum” in such a country.

My life has been blessed to know good and kind people. Even so, some of those same Southern people have been racists and perhaps still are. Some of those “good” people died thinking that whites are the superior race. However, as long as we white people do nothing to change our way of thinking, being, and treating other human beings, WE are the lesser race and a blight upon humanity.

Transforming one’s self is hard work, I know. It is hard as I struggle to make simple changes to my diet to be healthy. Systems can be healthy, but we must be willing to make the sacrifices of old patterns and ways of thinking before the system will heal. Violence won’t heal the injustices that are occurring. Voting won’t change a lot with all that has happened in our government, but it is a start at least. VOTE!

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

Many of the human and civil rights that were on record to make our country kinder, safer, and respectful of the environment are currently being reversed by those in office. We must stop this bleeding first. Our country is wounded to the gut and we will bleed to death if we do not somehow stop the government’s dismantling of all of our rights. We must vote. It is more important than ever to exercise your right to vote out those who are dismantling and obstructing true justice.

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

That however is only a part. Transformation requires of us a constant practice. Just as a mantram requires that we repeatedly hammer away at that which keeps us from being a peaceful or decent human being, we must also practice with every breath seeing the person beside us as a sacred life. Say it every time you are afraid. Say it when you see someone that smiles at you. Say it again and again until the practice changes you because once you do, love will embrace all of life.

In the past, my mantra was Love one another. What more says LOVE ONE ANOTHER than this? Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

[1] “Passage Meditation.” God Makes the Rivers to Flow: an Anthology of the World’s Sacred Poetry & Prose, by Easwaran Eknath, Nilgiri Press, 2009, pp. 261.

[2] ACLU, A. “Family Separation by the Numbers.” American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, 2 Oct. 2018, www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-and-detention/family-separation.

[3] Aviv, Rachel. “Punishment by Pandemic.” The New Yorker, 22 June 2020.

[4] Ibid. aclu.org/issues/human-rights/human-rights-and-criminal-justice

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