“You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true: If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson and not yours. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind, which hurt and hinder you and everyone around you.” – A Course in Miracles (ACIM)
Greetings mighty companions,
It’s time to look at the lessons in our mind that “hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you.”
This letter is an invitation to open communication surrounding an issue that desperately needs our attention: the issue of racism in the world, and how it factors into the Course in Miracles community.
I’m specifically speaking to my companions who also appear to walk this world, like me, in a white body.
Before you read any further, please remember how important it is to be radically honest with yourself and with Holy Spirit about what is arising in your mind. As you read, watch your mind with vigilance and veracity because I’m going to likely say things that trigger the ego. Notice the faintest hint of defensiveness, guilt, or fear that arises in the mind as I bring up issues surrounding race. These feelings arising must be acknowledged and taken to Holy Spirit.
In addition, if you are already noticing resistance arise or an inclination to dismiss what I’m saying because this is an issue “of the world” or that “I’m making it real” I hope you will acknowledge that, take a breath, and keep reading.
I am not “making racism real” by talking about it. Racism is built into the fabric of the very dream we are dreaming. Those of us in white bodies simply have the privilege of being able to easily ignore it. Just as we have experienced many “aha” moments in our studies of A Course in Miracles, it’s time to start experiencing “aha” moments surrounding our own unchecked racism.
I started following black and brown anti-racism educators after two online racist incidents occurred with two separate popular, white, well-intentioned spiritual teachers a few years ago. Since then, my eyes have been opened as to how well-intentioned spiritual teachers and teachings can perpetuate racism, even in our beloved Course community.
It is time for students of A Course in Miracles in white bodies to take responsibility for our unexamined racism and supremacy.
You might immediately think, “Racism? Supremacy? That’s definitely not referring to me. I love everybody!”
Remember what I said about watching what is coming up in your mind and looking at it with Holy Spirit. There is going to be an immediate tendency to deny that I’m talking about anything that applies to you. If you are in a white body, this does apply to you, as it applies to me. If you have the thought that there is no racism in you and you are certain that I am wrong, please keep reading.
By racism and supremacy, I am NOT referring to you having negative feelings or conscious hatred towards black or brown people. You can love black and brown people and still have unchecked racism and supremacy within your mind. You can be married to someone of a different race, or be the parent of children of a different race, but have overt and covert racism and supremacy within you.
Scott Woods says it best in his book, “New Framings on Anti-Racism and Resistance:”
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”
Unless we are actively engaged in lifelong, active anti-racist work, we are likely walking around with hidden biases, unacknowledged privilege, and unseen racism. And the fact that we don’t see these things actually makes us more likely to cause harm to people of color.
By the way, if you react against the word “anti-racism” because you don’t want to be “anti” anything and are only “for” peace, please take in these words:
Just as A Course in Miracles prompts us to be vigilant and take an active role in bringing our perceptions to the Holy Spirit in order to heal the mind, to heal racism requires taking an active (not a passive) stand. “Anti-racism” means being vigilant and wholly committed to healing the racism and supremacy within the mind so we stop hurting people of color.
Racism is in the air we breathe, and we uphold racism and supremacy when we don’t acknowledge it or take action to dismantle it.
Being in a white body means that we’ve been born into a system that favors white bodies at the expense of brown and black bodies, and has thus influenced our perceptions, our opportunities, most if not all aspects of our lives, and even our spiritual practice. And it is really hard to see our own racism without help. We can easily ignore it. You can easily ignore it.
As we know as students of A Course in Miracles, we must see how the ego hides out.
And I truly believe we are being called to look at our own racism and supremacy, an issue that is not discussed in A Course in Miracles, but that is playing a huge part in our lives.
The purpose of this letter is to address how we can mistakenly (and unknowingly) use the teachings of A Course in Miracles to actually keep racism and supremacy in place.
The purpose of this article is not to expose your hidden racism, but I do have recommendations for how you can begin anti-racism work at the end of this letter. It is work that requires a lifelong commitment and is not complete from just reading a book or article or affirming that you love everybody.
By shedding light on this, I hope that we, as a Course community, can take a “giant stride” in our efforts to heal the mind, and therefore heal the world.
My hope is that this letter will ignite a desire in you to move into action to deeply engage with anti-racism work and exhume these unseen blocks to love in your mind.
To begin, we can all relate to how A Course in Miracles states radical ideas. Rather than actively deny what the Course says, (e.g. “I don’t do that! I don’t attack my brother!”) we are asked instead to look carefully how we may, in fact, do what the Course says we do (e.g. “have hidden attack thoughts,” that we “attack God” etc.).
I invite you to use the same spirit of openness with this topic of racism. Rather than saying “I don’t have racism or supremacy in me” please consider that you actually DO have these things in you. I have these things in me. We just don’t see them. This is not a cause for guilt or shame. It is a call to get to work.
Anti-racism work is how you begin to expose and heal internalized racism.
I must immediately mention though, that Rachel Cargle, a black anti-racism educator says, “Anti-racism work is not self-improvement work for white people.” It doesn’t end when YOU feel better. “It ends when black people are staying alive and they have their liberation.”
If you don’t engage in anti-racism work, your own racism stays hidden, keeping a system of white supremacy in place, and your brothers and sisters of color who you claim to love, keep dying, suffering, and crying out for you to see them and to hear them.
So here is my first point:
1. When black people, indigenous people, and people of color are systematically oppressed by the white majority of which you are a part, when black men and women are murdered at the hands of white police, simply reaffirming the Truth in your mind (that we have not left God, that we are dreaming, etc.) with no other action is likely a spiritual bypass and an excuse to do no further work.
By spiritual bypass, I am referring to using spiritual ideas to avoid doing inner (and outer) work.
Yes, only the Truth is True and nothing else is True. Yes, we have not left God. Yes, this world is not our Home.
But let me ask you this; If you were walking by a lake and saw someone drowning, would you yell to them and say, “Hey! Don’t worry, it’s not real!” Or would you throw them a life ring?
We MUST be where we are. I’m sure you’d throw that person a life ring because we very much believe we are these bodies. Simply telling yourself “I am not a body” is not going to heal your belief in a body. To learn that you are not a body and have experiences of this teaching, you do your Course in Miracles work.
In the same fashion, because we believe we are bodies, telling yourself “I am not racist” doesn’t make racism go away. In fact, it keeps the problem in place because it goes unseen and stays in shadows. Instead, we need to look at our own internalized racism to clearly see it.
Similarly, simply stopping at “we are one” or “only the truth is true” with no other exhuming of hidden beliefs will keep racism in place. Yes, only the Truth is true. This makes YOU feel better. It restores YOUR peace. If you stop here, this is your white privilege in action, using Truth as an excuse to spiritually bypass the anti-racism work that we desperately need to do to heal racism.
The world is not external to you. It is in YOUR mind. We know this as Course students. So racism IS your problem, not “society’s problem” or someone else’s problem. It is a manifestation coming from within your mind. And you can help by engaging in anti-racism work.
The Course DOES teach that as we heal we do not heal alone, so your affirmation of Truth on some level must be helpful, but your own internal racism goes unseen and continues in the shadows of your mind. This needs to be exhumed.
True healing brings about a healing for ALL. All of us in the Course community have been engaging in our forgiveness work, and I truly believe we are now being asked to forgive our OWN internalized racism and supremacy. For this, we need to do additional work beyond our affirmation of truth. We must come to see how racism and supremacy are alive within us so we can begin to dismantle it.
2. Be willing to acknowledge differences instead of jumping to our Oneness.
I recently had an exchange with someone online who was troubled that an article highlighted a “black scientist.” They said, “why does it have to be highlighted that the scientist is black? This divides us when we are all one!”
I shared that if they had not highlighted that it was a black scientist, most white brains would have thought that the black man in the article’s photo was a model or an assistant. Not the lead scientist. This is just one example of internalized racism in action (and it is only one reason of many as to why it is important to highlight that the scientist is black).
When we jump to statements like, “we are all one” we are using our supremacy to deny that the day to day life of black people, indigenous people and people of color are very different than yours. For instance:
- Coronavirus has disproportionately affected people of color. Black people are dying of Coronavirus at almost three times the rate of white people.
- Black mothers die in childbirth and from complications three to four times the rate of white mothers.
- Majority of COVID-19 business loans have been given out to white businesses.
A dear friend of mine is a clinical psychologist. She obtained her Ph.D. in what I consider to be the most rigorous psychology program in existence. She makes great money, drives a nice car, and is one of the most brilliant women who I know. She is black.
On her drive home from a shopping trip to the mall, she got pulled over. The cop saw all of her shopping bags in the back seat. He made her show him every single receipt to prove she did not shoplift her items. This would never happen to me as a white woman.
And then there is this sign:
So, please, stop saying we are all one in the world. In Truth, YES, of course we are all one. But we are identified with bodies in this world, having vastly different experiences. And this needs to be acknowledged instead of dismissed. Please SEE that people of color are having very different experiences than you in this world.
3. Be willing to get uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, and often.
It is a privilege for you as a white body to not have to think about race. It doesn’t seem to affect you so you may see yourself totally dissociated from the problem.
As I mentioned earlier, racism and supremacy are built into the fabric of the way the world works. White bodies benefit from systemic racism. We need to see this clearly.
As students of A Course in Miracles, we are asked to look at our blocks to love and hand over those blocks to Holy Spirit. As long as you deny that the blocks of racism and supremacy are yours and in your mind, and as long as you don’t see how racism and supremacy influences how you interact with the world, you can’t truly “hand it over.” Racism is not “out there” totally dissociated from you.
To do anti-racism work, it requires you to get uncomfortable. You are going to feel defensive, triggered and upset, all of the ego reactions that we don’t like experiencing.
To heal racism, we need to be willing to get uncomfortable and be willing to feel all of the feelings that are going to arise and not turn away from the work.
4. “Not feeling guided” to take action can be an excuse for actually being fearful to take action or simply not knowing what action to take, or for just being lazy.
It is true that we must ask for guidance always. But what I’ve found in my own life is that if I don’t know how to take action, or if I’m afraid to take action, it is a very convenient excuse to simply say, “I don’t feel guided.”
“Not feeling guided” can also be a smokescreen for being lazy. And laziness in this area is white privilege, showing up yet again.
Watch your mind carefully in this area. Seeing this requires radical honesty with Spirit.
5. Stop saying ALL LIVES MATTER.
To quote my friend and fellow Course teacher, Joe Baker, “This sounds Course-like, but it co-opts the fact that people of color are disproportionately targeted.”
If you need more of an explanation as to why saying “all lives matter” is damaging and hurtful to black communities, read more about this topic here: https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter
6. Stop talking and start listening.
It is not a time to make YOURSELF feel better by simply reminding yourself that this “isn’t real” or that your part is simply to “love everybody.” One of the kindest things you can do is to listen and listen deeply. Making what is going on for black people and people of color about you or taking what they are going through and analyzing it under spiritual teachings is unkind. It is dismissive.
7. Get curious about why our Course community seems to be mostly comprised of white bodies.
I have not been to every study group on the planet, but by far and large, every Course in Miracles conference I’ve attended or spoken at, every event and gathering I’ve been to, and every study group I’ve attended predominately consists of white bodies.
A climate of safety is established when people in white bodies become aware of how they have caused harm to black people, indigenous people and people of color, either intentionally or unintentionally and take responsibility for it. And they talk openly about it.
We have caused hurt through what we thought were only loving words.
We have caused hurt by our silence.
We have caused hurt by our lack of understanding of (or refusal to understand) our own internalized racism.
We have caused hurt by making a racial issue about us.
A black friend told me that A Course in Miracles circles are not safe enough for brown and black people, and I agree. And for the people of color who stick around, I believe they are quite a demonstration of tolerance and forgiveness.
And please don’t approach the person(s) of color in your study group to try to make yourself feel better regarding the safeness of the group. Instead, it is important for white ACIM teachers and students to exhume racism and supremacy in the mind through actively engaging in anti-racism work. This must be done to make our community safe for brown and black people. Resources are below.
8. “Seek not to change the world but seek to change your mind about the world.”
The Course teaches us that the entire world is a projection of our minds. And so the only way to heal the world is to heal the mind.
We are highly motivated to look at the beliefs in our mind that impact our day to day life. We are motivated to change our minds surrounding finances, lack vs. abundance, sickness, physical pain, our relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, etc.
If it is personal, we’re motivated to look at it.
Racism is personal to you, even if you don’t immediately see how. My hope is that you will feel motivated to look more deeply at what is buried in your mind surrounding supremacy and racism. A knee-jerk reaction of “this is not my problem” or “I don’t have a problem of white privilege or white supremacy” is a red flag that there is, in fact, more to be examined here.
It is true that to change the world we must change our minds, but this will remain a while off unless we take an active part in exhuming what is hidden.
9. Please don’t ask your black or brown Course in Miracles friend(s) or study group participant(s) how you can be an ally.
They’ve been carrying the emotional weight of racism and supremacy far longer than you’ve been aware of it. Don’t ask them to educate you. Please check out a resource like this instead and do more internet research: https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies
10. A Course in Miracles is uncompromising about where healing occurs but we often miss an important point to maintain white body comfort.
A Course in Miracles teaches that healing occurs at the level of the mind. But if we stop with this thought we are missing something VERY important that is central to A Course in Miracles. Healing happens THROUGH OUR RELATIONSHIPS. This is what makes A Course in Miracles unique from other pathways.
You alone cannot heal the mind.
“The lamp lit in both of you for one another.” (ACIM CE T-20.III.11:6.)
You need your brother (note: by “brother” I am using Course language and am referring to ALL of us). You need your black and brown brothers. Healing takes TWO. You need to see the Truth in your brother. AND you need to see how you have caused harm to your brothers in black and brown bodies in order to fully release the guilt and fear in BOTH of your minds.
11. Harm happens when we use the teachings of A Course in Miracles to gaslight people of color when they try to raise these issues for us to see. One of the most damaging responses we can say is, “If you are not happy you are doing this to yourself.”
This turns A Course in Miracles into a weapon.
White bodies play an active part in upholding racism and supremacy, but when we refuse to see this or learn how this is so, we are telling a brother of color that their suffering is totally their responsibility. It is time to stop doing this. It is time to take responsibility for the part we play in upholding racism and supremacy.
Instead, when black and brown people try to raise these issues for us to see, our job is to listen. And listen hard.
My white mighty companions, we have refused to see. Please let this be a true new beginning where we no longer deny our role in upholding racism, supremacy and harming our brothers of color.
You may respond by saying that a person of color is making a mistake by identifying with their body in the first place. But your brother cannot know their Christ Self until YOU release them by seeing that YOU had a part in maintaining their identification with their body through your unseen racism and supremacy.
It is time for those of us in white bodies to take responsibility, to listen, and to see.
12. Again, remember this teaching from the Course:
“You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you.”
Let us stay open to learning what we have refused to see. Let us exhume the racism and supremacy in our minds, which has gone unchecked for far too long. Let us do the important work of learning how to be anti-racist, so we can be truly helpful and truly extend love to our brothers. Please explore the resources below for next steps and for black educators to follow.
>>> If you resonated with this letter, if you are willing to commit to exhuming the ego’s hidden racism, supremacy, biases and assumptions within your mind to help the healing of the Sonship, PLEASE SHARE THIS LETTER on your platforms, with your communities, with fellow students of A Course in Miracles and with your teachers of A Course in Miracles. <<<
With love, open eyes, open ears, and an open heart,
LET’S KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING!
This letter is just a beginning. Active anti-racism work is lifelong. Here are a few resources to get started with diving into your unexamined racism and supremacy. Please note that this list is NOT exhaustive. Please feel free to add additional recommendations in the comments below.
- Anti-Racism Resources:
- 75 Things White People can do for Racial Justice:
- Systemic Racism Explained (This is a great video)
- The Good Ally by Nova Reid
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- Do Better by Rachel Ricketts
- Heal your Way Forward by Myisha T. Hill
- God is a Black Woman by Dr. Christena Cleveland
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
- How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Mindful of Race by Ruth King
BLACK ANTI-RACISM EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW:
- Ruth King: https://ruthking.net/
- Rachel Cargle: https://www.instagram.com/rachel.cargle/
Check out Rachel’s Great Unlearn: https://www.patreon.com/thegreatunlearn
- Layla Saad: https://www.instagram.com/laylafsaad/
- Brittany Packnett Cunningham: https://www.instagram.com/mspackyetti/
- Sherrie Shepherd: https://www.instagram.com/sherrieshepherd/
- Austin Channing Brown: https://www.instagram.com/austinchanning/
- Ibram X. Kendi: https://www.instagram.com/ibramxk/
- Glennon Doyle has a list of additional educators to follow on this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6A-QGjIr0/
ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT:
- The Loveland Foundation: https://thelovelandfoundation.org/
- Additional organizations are listed in the compilations above.