The Big Fat “White” Lie

You know, the one we’ve been taught for generations.

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Let’s talk about the lie of whiteness; something that’s been taught and fed to whites for most of our lives. This is not a new lie, it’s ancient and possibly the most destructive lie ever told by humanity, period.

It’s the lie that says whiteness is somehow more superior than others, more deserving of peace, and more qualified to run the world.

This lie showed up when I was a child sitting in a Baptist school when we lived in Georgia. The teacher told us that whites are more worthy, but only if we followed the word of God.

Back in Canada, it showed up in my Grandfather when he said there were too many immigrants and that he was disgusted by their presence. Yet, in his early years, he fought against the Nazi’s in Germany.

“But Grandpa, didn’t the Nazi’s say the same words? And didn’t you help to stop him?”

“Ack, that was different,” he’d say.

The lie was there when I got older and made new black and brown friends, and I was told by white people within and outside of my family, that they weren’t “like us.”

The lie was still there when I began my career as a young adult, and I was told not to include multi-racial families in a health education strategy. They said it was because they didn’t represent your “average home-grown family.”

How have we allowed this lie to continue?

Simple — because we believe it; because it works, and because it’s woven into the structure of every mundane aspect of our white lives.

Also, because we opt for the easy road rather than the challenge of self-awareness, tough conversations, and owning our part. We’d prefer to retreat into our fragility, guilt, and self-pity over the responsibility of becoming better people.

We also opt to call “blame” whenever someone utters the word responsibility — because to speak of responsibility is like kryptonite for the lie, which feels like a “disturbing of the peace.”

Sometimes we hate how we feel about the lie, so we try to be an “ally.” But we do so without doing the work of going inwards to find the cellular threads where the lie has attached itself and corroded our thoughts and beliefs.

Also, instead of doing the work of cleaning and repairing the damage of whiteness, we flip it back to others who shouldn’t have to clean up our crap.

Whiteness places itself at the top of the food chain, like a mutated predator, who’s lost what it means to live in balance and equality with its surroundings.

The lie is fed by a grotesque sense of “tradition” that we think is cute or family-like. We talk about the good old days when things were more “simple.” Yet, we look past the hatred of anything other than whiteness, that underpins that “simplicity.”

We don’t educate our children about the facts, we change the story to cover the truth, we refuse to learn something new, and we burn down history in favor of the all-consuming big fat “white” lie.

We refuse to change or grow out of this lie because after all, it’s just so easy to stay at the top and enjoy our, so-called, peace.

We love the lie so much that we eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

In fact, some of us love it so much that we’re willing to kill others for it.

Some of us believe that anything not white is unpalatable, will take our jobs, and is waiting for us behind every dark corner. So we believe the lie is like an inoculation or superfood that wards off the “bogey-man.”

We believe this lie so much that we can’t even see that it’s actually us hiding in those dark corners.

I will not eat this lie anymore. I will keep digging within to extract its poison from my cells, even if it takes a lifetime.

It is an ancestral and generational lie, and it will keep going until we do the hard work of divorcing ourselves from it.

We do the work, not because of guilt, or to appear “good,” but for goodness’ sake.

Because it is the only right thing to do.

Former nurse turned writer. Focus on mental health, addictions and wellness. Writer for Elemental, Mental Health and Addictions Community & Beautiful Hangover.

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