Tuesday, January 17, 2012

White Guilt

I suffer from white guilt. You will not find this in a search of physical or psychological disorders, or I do not think you will. I have not really tried. I use this term to describe the gut feelings of shame and remorse and empathy I feel when I see racism and bigotry and discrimination. 

Case in point would be this article about the treatment of Native Americans by whites and the US government. I have been told, and do believe, that I have at least a small portion of Native American ancestry. One day I will locate pictures of my father's mother and his oldest sister to share, and you will see why. 

The White Owl in my online presence is in honor of these ancestors. 

Yet when I see news stories or blog posts about the treatment of Native Americans, or blacks, or Hispanics, or Muslims,[ or or or or I could keep going!] I feel this guilt and shame. I am not sure why I feel this way. I am not aware of anything I have ever done to anyone that would leave these feelings so deeply embedded in my psyche. I may have ancestors that were soldiers or settlers of some sort, but as far as I know there are no glaringly obvious examples of greed avarice or murder lurking in the branches of my family tree.
I am left to wonder if in our society's obsession to be "correct" we are becoming a horde of overly sensitive ineffectual lemmings.

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