One of the most dangerous things supremacist culture teaches is that intentions matter more than impact.
But it’s not everyone’s intentions that matter more, it’s only those of the privileged.
This is true for me as a Colombian born and raised pastor. I am judged by how my words and actions impact people. Most of the time I don’t get to hide behind phrases like “I didn’t mean that.” But I see my white American born friends hide behind that phrase all the time.
In fact, the marginalized are always judged based on impact regardless of intent.
That’s why we tolerate children being hit by parents, but the opposite is unacceptable even though small children never hit because of bad intentions.
That’s why men scream in anger and are perceived as naturally frustrated but women and non-binary folks are hysterical.
That’s why wealthy folks can cheat and are perceived as business savvy but the poor are never seen as desperate to survive but lazy or criminal.
That’s why white folks are expats who bring value to a country but Brown and Black folks are migrants taking resources.
And on and on it goes.
Of course this isn’t the case for every single situation but in general we have been conditioned to see the intentions of the privileged as pure, regardless of impact; and the intentions of the marginalized as nefarious regardless of impact.
This is a conditioning of living inside of a supremacist culture, nobody in it is exempt from having been conditioned to give the privileged the benefit of the doubt, and to meet the marginalized with suspicion.
All of our brains and subconscious patterns do this without our prompting.
And therein lies a big reason why we struggle so tremendously as a society with accountability, because when privileged identities are being held accountable, all of our brains scream INJUSTICE!
And when the marginalized call for accountability our brains scream VICIOUS!
But neither one of those subconscious reactions that are prompted in our brain and traveling through our nervous system are an accurate depiction of what’s happening, and it doesn’t matter, our brain told our body something, so it’s real for us, regardless of what’s truly happening.
This is why some of the invitation of healing from this supremacist culture, in order to disrupt it and have a more equitable society, is to become conscious and aware of our biases.
It is the work of asking oneself: is that which I am perceiving what’s really happening? Or is it societal conditioning?
It is important that privileged identities become accountable people that listen and understand that when they are held accountable others around them will feel like it’s injustice, and they’ll have to push back on that narrative though it’ll feel good to be given an out.
Otherwise they’ll always be able to wiggle themselves out of accountability and they’ll actively slow down our move toward individual and collective healing and wholeness.
It is important that privileged identities become accountable people that protect how the marginalized are perceived as they lean into accountability.
Because again, in a supremacist culture the marginalized are perceived as vicious, regardless of intent.
It is important we understand that the courageous ones when the privileged are held accountable are the marginalized who held them accountable, not the privileged for receiving accountability; that should be expected behavior. It is good to raise the bar for the privileged.
Supremacy culture doesn’t stop at making us believe some are superior and better than.
Supremacy culture affects all of the ways in which we interact with one another and perceive one another. A society submerged in supremacy culture will always cause harm to most all of those living in it.
If one doesn’t want to cause harm, then addressing supremacy culture and dismantling it from within and around, is not optional.
You can’t keep ignoring your privilege and others’ marginalization, and how those affect our experiences, if you are committed to equity and justice.