The generational curse of systemic racism and white supremacy is real! Here’s how you can break it, and start creating a more beautiful, safe, and equitable world, for ALL people!
There is a phrase that I hear many (not all) white people say, every time they are faced with the topic of systemic racism. It’s a phrase that is used to shield them from responsibility, accountability, and their explicit or complicit participation in systemic racism…
“I didn’t do anything.”
This phrase, and its sentiments, show up in many different ways, like:
“I never owned slaves.”
“I wasn’t born in the U.S. I’m not responsible for the past.”
“I didn’t create this problem, so I shouldn’t be punished for what happened in the past.”
At the end of the day, it all comes back to avoiding responsibility, accountability, and their explicit or complicit participation in systemic racism.
So let’s unpack the deep meaning behind this phrase, and this reasoning, to uncover the generational curse of systemic racism, and white supremacy.
There are 2 ways I’d like to look at the phrase, “I didn’t do anything”, and unpack what it truly means, when some (not all) white people make this statement.
The first way is, as a way to say:
“I didn’t create this situation. I didn’t ask for it. It’s not my fault. Therefore I have no responsibility or accountability related to it.”
Let’s dive a little deeper into this belief.
White folks, the reality is, when you were born into this world, you automatically received an inheritance.
This “inheritance” represents the benefits of systemic racism, which includes, but is not limited to:
– being free to live, move, and experience life and leisure, without fear of being harmed or killed, due to the color of your skin
– receiving the benefit of the doubt, in all situations.
– being protected by the systems, structures, and institutions in our society.
– getting chance after chance after chance to correct your mistakes, without being harshly punished for them.
– having limited interactions with law enforcement, and not fearing for your life when you do interact with law enforcement.
– not being treated differently or unfairly by your medical doctors (and nurses), and having your health concerns heard and taken seriously.
– not dying at alarming and disproportionate rates when you become pregnant, or give birth.
– not having your history erased, or lied about, through the education system.
– not having centuries-worth of wealth stolen from your ancestors, and your family.
– not being welcomed, and legally excluded from purchasing real estate in certain neighborhoods throughout the country.
– being taught that you are more superior than those who don’t look like you, and therefore deserve to always be in positions of power, over “those other people”.
– not automatically being seen as a threat, just because of the color of your skin
I could go on, but these are just a few of the unearned benefits that you inherited from your ancestors, through systemic racism, that “you didn’t do anything” to create.
The second way we can look at the statement, “I didn’t do anything” is to turn it from a statement, into a question:
“I didn’t do anything?”
So since learning that:
– “Compared with white Americans, Black Americans are 2x–3x as likely to die during childbirth and 2x as likely to die from COVID-19.” Source: CDCdotgov
– “The average non-white school district receives $2,226 less per student, and the persisting achievement gap means Black students are less likely to attend college, thus reducing their lifetime earnings by 65%.” Source: NPR and The Manhattan Institute
– “Black Americans are more likely to be turned down for mortgages and are dramatically less likely to own homes, which is partly why Black American families have 90% less wealth than white families.” Source: Brookings Institution
– “Black-owned businesses are 2x as likely to be denied loans as those owned by white people. And up to 95% of Black-owned businesses may have been shut out of the federal government’s recent Paycheck Protection Program.” Source: Center for Responsible Lending
– “Black families are more likely to live near concentrated poverty because of long-term segregation and racist housing and mortgage policies. A Black family earning $157K per year is less likely to qualify for a loan than a white family earning $40K.” Source: The Century Foundation
– “Besides being 2x as likely to be killed by police, Black Americans are more likely to be stopped by the police, detained pretrial, charged with more serious crimes, and sentenced more harshly than white people.” Source: Vera Institute of Justice
(Stats Source: UntilJusticeJustIs.org)
YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING?!
Wow! You’re actually proud of the fact that, being fully aware of all of these stats and facts, you haven’t actually done anything about it?
If you are, keep reading, because that brings me to my next point, and the focus of this article.
The Generational Curse of Systemic Racism and White Supremacy
In case you didn’t know, I’m a Christian, so I always view things from a two-pronged perspective; the spiritual, and the physical.
Let’s take a spiritual look at the generational curse of systemic racism and white supremacy, which you also inherited by the way, along with the unearned benefits of systemic racism, and white supremacy (they go together, like faith and works, see James 2:17).
Before I start, I want to clear one thing up, that I hear a lot of (not all) white folks say when we start talking about colonialism, chattel slavery, etc., and their legacy.
“I’m from ____________ (insert country outside of the U.S.). Our history is different, and we don’t have systemic racism here, like you do in the U.S.”
I have some bad news for you…
Anywhere settler colonialism/European colonialism took place, you have the stain of systemic racism, and white supremacy in your society and culture, and that happened all over the world, so miss me with that.
Now, back to what I was saying about the spiritual ramifications, and the generational curse of systemic racism and white supremacy…
Due to the evil actions of your white, European ancestors, you inherited some unearned, and unfair benefits, through systemic racism, and the notion of white supremacy.
What they forgot to tell you is that, there is also a generational curse that comes along with those benefits, and the lack of repentance of your ancestors, and on your part, regarding your participation in upholding these racist systems in our society.
“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” ~ Romans 14:12
What would Jesus do, if He were alive during this time in our history? Do you think that He would be telling Black people to “get over it, move on, it’s in the past, things are so much better now, just work harder, stop playing the victim, you live in the greatest country in the world, go make something of yourself”?
Do you think Jesus would focus on downplaying the pain, the trauma, and the daily harm and oppression that Black people face every day, in a society built on systemic racism, and white supremacy?
Or do you think that Jesus would turn to the oppressors (like He did to the Pharisees on so many occasions), and challenge them to repent of their sins, and the sins of their forefathers?
This scripture in the Old Testament comes to mind when I think about this:
“Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors’ sins they will waste away.” ~ Leviticus 26:39
The point is evil is passed down, from generation to generation, just like wealth is.
Also, not all evil is directly violent and blatant.
Indifference, ignoring, lying, and denial can also be evil.
Indifference looks like, knowing all of the stats and facts about systemic racism that I shared above, and instead of doing something to change it, you sit back and do and say nothing, because you don’t really care at the end of the day.
Ignoring looks like, having these stats and facts repeatedly shown to you, and shared with you on social media, or by Black people you know in real life, yet choosing to turn away, and pretend that nothing is happening.
Lying looks like knowing the truth, but creating a false narrative about how “racism is over”, when you know good and well, it is not.
Denial looks like you saying, “I didn’t do anything”.
Trigger Warning (Re: Abuse).
Please skip to the next session, with the subtitle, “Where We Are Today” if you need to.
Let’s imagine for a moment that your child is being abused, and they tell you that your partner is abusing them.
Abuse is pure evil. Period!
But instead of addressing the issue, pressing charges against your partner, and removing them from your home, you go the indifference, ignoring, lying, and denial route, so as to keep up appearances, and not sever the relationship with your partner.
Denial is also PURE EVIL!
They say that sometimes the abused can become the abuser. So due to your lack of action, responsibility, and accountability, this cycle continues for generations to come.
Do you see how a generational curse is created, and perpetuated, even by those who haven’t committed the initial act of violence, abuse, or harm?
Where We Are Today
White Christians, it’s time to repent! It’s time to repent of your sins (indifference, ignoring, lying, and denial as it relates to systemic racism, and white supremacy), and those of your forefathers, so that you can begin to break this generational curse!
What I hear many white people say (not all, for the devil’s advocates) is:
“Why can’t you let this go? Why do y’all keep talking about racism?”
It’s as if you believe in the notion of, “ignore it and it’ll go away”.
Well, I have some bad news for you…
IT’S NOT GOING AWAY UNTIL YOU REPENT, REPAIR, AND REPEAT!
Repent – to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. Source: Oxford Languages (It can also mean to turn away from that wrongdoing or sin, and completely change your behavior).
Yes, racism is a sin, and similar to the sin that you were born into, as a human being, it is something that you could not avoid, but also something that you can atone for. So what are you waiting for? Do it right now!
Repair – fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault).
Repairing the damage of systemic racism and white supremacy will take many generations, but you can still start now! Decide how you will begin to make reparations in your own life, business, relationships, community, church, school, family, etc. Then make sure you vote for people who are also committed to making reparations with Black people, both relationally, and through laws, policies, and practices.
Repeat – do (something) again, either once or a number of times.
As I previously stated, this is NOT a one and done type of situation. From a spiritual perspective, you are going to mess up, repeatedly, so you will need to repent repeatedly. From a practical perspective, you will then need to continue the process of repairing, and then teaching these practices to your children/students/nieces/nephews/grandkids, so that they can repeat this cycle, and break the generational curse of systemic racism, and white supremacy.
Oh, and by the way, just like with any form of spiritual warfare, you’re going to come against opposition, within, and without.
Opposition within – “You didn’t do anything!”, “You’re a good person! You are not responsible for this!”, “Don’t talk about this with your children! You don’t want to make them feel bad for being white!”, “You are already forgiven in Christ. You can keep on living as you have been. You’ll still get into heaven!”
Opposition without – “So you hate yourself? You hate white people now? You are against your own race?”, “Why are you trying to make me feel guilty/responsible for something I didn’t even do?”, “Oh, so you’re a ni—- lover now?”, “Haven’t you heard of ‘The Great Replacement Theory’? We have to preserve our majority position of power, or else ‘they’ will take over our country!”
So once again, you will have to decide if breaking the generational curse of systemic racism, and white supremacy is worth it to you, from a spiritual perspective. Or if you’re willing to die one day knowing, you did nothing to make things better.
One more thing…
For all of the non-Christians out there, who may think this spiritual stuff is a load of crap, keep reading.
Do you believe in Karma?
Do you believe that you’re a “good person”?
Well what makes you a good person, and who gets to decide that?
Shouldn’t your actions align with your self-assigned, “good person” status?
Do“good people” sit back and do nothing in the face of injustice?
Do “good people” watch other people being wrongfully and unfairly treated, harmed, and discriminated against, and say, “Not my issue, not my problem!”?
Or do they get up off their behind, and DO something about it?
If you believe in Karma, then you already know where this is going.
The Bible says, “you reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7).
You may not believe in the Bible, but I’m sure you believe in universal law. You cannot escape the consequences of your actions, or inactions, in the face of harm against other people, that you are connected to, whether directly, or indirectly.
At some point, you will have to face that reality head on, and reconcile it.
So what say you?
Where will you go from here?
My prayer is that this will serve as a wake-up call for you, and that from this moment on, you will forge a new path, and create a new way of existing in this messed up world, that ultimately makes it more beautiful, safe, and equitable, for ALL people, the way God intended.