Fear is Not the Way Out: Cultivating Indomitable Spirits in a Land of White Supremacy
Soulforcers, we are a people who commit to growing spirits unyielding to domination of any kind. And one of the things Christian Supremacy does most successfully is plant the seeds of fear, shame, and self-policing deep in our hearts.
Christian Supremacy makes it morally justifiable that Black communities are subjected to a constant fear of death and violence. While this fear has helped Black people to survive and protect our communities, it can also make us hide ourselves, live as an apology, or feel endlessly in grief’s waiting room because of the threat that lies just around the corner.
This kind of fear kills. It corrodes our spirits. It shrinks us into the smallest version of ourselves. It separates us from one another as human beings.
Christian Supremacy pretends that it is conceivable, justifiable, even absolvable for individuals, communities, and whole nations to do violence unto anyone deemed “Other” -- Black people, Queer people, Trans people, Women, Indigenous people, people deemed “foreign,” and so many others subjected to this ideological violence.
We see this dynamic play out in everyday acts of white supremacy and anti-blackness. Christian Supremacy assigns goodness and holiness to whiteness; it categorizes Blackness, and anything else in its proximity, as inferior and deserving of domination.
It makes people feel morally okay about responding with fear to anything which doesn’t fit their definition of “goodness”. It tells us to fear “chaos”, which is the opposite of order, lawfulness, and righteousness. It tells us that Black communities and bodies need to be controlled. It aligns whiteness with the norm, the orderly, the lawful. We’re taught that people of color need to be controlled to enact order, which is ultimately the will of God. And that white people have been ordained by God to enforce that order in order to alleviate their own fear.
All the while, our experiences tell us that perpetual fear is its own kind of death because it keeps us from living our most full and abundant lives. It denies the possibility of the fullness of our authentic selves and our sacred worth and that of those around us. Putting someone in perpetual fear of their life is spiritual terrorism, and it is evil.
In this way, global anti-blackness, which aims to control Black people and denies our people’s sacred worth, is spiritual terrorism.
As Soulforcers, we are people who commit ourselves to ending spiritual violence. In a world dominated by systems that use fear to control bodies and spirits, we must deny fear its power over our souls.
Because if we stay in that fear without interrogating it, we unknowingly submit to the role that white supremacy and Christian Supremacy have created for us. We lose control over our lives and work toward appeasing white versions of holiness and order. Maybe worse: we believe that staying small out of fear for our lives is the only moral and good way to navigate the world, and we police others for not acting fearfully too.
The truth is that while the fear may keep us safe, it isn’t our only option and it doesn’t make us more worthy of our lives being protected and cherished. We believe there are ways, both big and small, that we can cast off that fear which would control us and reclaim the ways in which Black people are representations of the Divine.
Regardless of how big or small you feel that your reclamation is, it is enough. Maybe no one except you ever sees how you reclaim your own spiritual power. Maybe you offer your strategies for combating fear and shame to the next generation, even though you don’t feel ready to take it for yourself. Maybe you only practice fearlessness with other Black people. That is enough.
We believe that this work -- all of us, one-by-one, casting off the fear that separates us from our greatest dignity and worth -- is what will make us collectively powerful and resolute enough to end the systems of oppression that dominate us.
You can take a moment, or many moments, and remember and reclaim the ways in which you are a reflection of the image of the Divine. Share with us or the people in your community what that looks like for you.
It may help to reflect on these questions:
What am I doing to respond to the fear that has indoctrinated me to be small?
How can I honor the fear that has protected me in my life?
What kind of fear do I choose to let go of today, so that I may live into my most abundant self?
How can I act in a way that encourages others to engage their own sacred worth and the divinity of those around them?