My brother is a white supremecist


#1

It grieves me to say it, but I have to accept the truth, my brother is racist.

I should’ve known when he started talking about going on his first deployment to Iraq. He would say things like, “I wouldn’t have a problem torturing an Iraqi, they’re like animals.”

I brushed it off, made excuses for him in my mind. I told myself he would stop thinking such things when he got out of the military. No such luck.

Since I’m home for summer break and he’s home for a bit while his girlfriend is at Fort Lewis, I’ve finally come to the painful realization. In discussing the recent tragedy in Norway, he said that “Europe has a big Muslim problem.” Just the other night while discussing the war of Rhodesia, he talked about how the ethnic Africans ganged up on the white people and mercilessly slaughtered them. When my aunt asked if they used child soldiers, his response was, “Of course, they’re Africans, you would expect that from them.”

I’m walking around with a load of bricks hanging on my heart. It fills me with a pain I’ve never known before to realize that the brother I love has sucumbed to such a poisonous way of thinking. I feel terribly conflicted. I both look up to my brother and fear him. I want him to love me. I feel angry that he would say such things, but when I show signs of being upset with him, he acts like he’s hurt or doesn’t understand why I’m angry with him. I’m his little sister, he wants me on his side, but I can’t be on his side if this is the lens through which he is going to view the world.

How do I deal with a family member acting like this? It’s really starting to wear on me. Words of advice and support would be appreciated.


#2

First, I agree that it is wrong to talk like that. But… never being deployed to Iraq, I can not speak from experience. I imagine it must be a very stressful thing. Perhaps his comment about not having a problem with torture was his way of soothing his guilt for what he was about to do.

And in ANY job, you build resentments and get catty. I remember once the company I work for want to have strict rules implemented and got auditors to make sure everything was done right. Whenever one would walk away a manager would point his finger at him and pretend to shoot him. I imagine soldiers way of coping is to mock the people the are fighting. It is an unhealthy way for them to bond as a team

So, I would think prayer is in order. It is NO way for people to live and it is no way to shape your brothers attitude.

And I hate to say it, but your brother has a semi point about Norway. Muslims are often involved in bombing and other such things. However, that does not excuse the tone in which your brother said it.

I suspect your brother did and saw things he would rather not discuss. Perhaps politely saying ‘I realize being in Iraq you lived through things I haven’t. I would love to be supportive but it does not change the fact that as a Catholic, I can’t help but think we are all children of God and should not make racist comments. If you want to talk about it, I really would prefer if you left the racist comments out’

I just want to emphasize once again, I DO believe your brother is wrong. I just want to give some perspective on why it is a struggle for him to do the right thing

CM


#3

Following up with what the last poster said, war is very unpleasant. People prepare themselves psychologically before combat and then seek justifications for what they did and what they saw during combat.

Whether your brother actually saw combat or not, I generally feel that racism is symptomatic. There are probably underlying issues that need to be addressed that are leading your brother into heresy (wrong mindedness).

Racism breaks apart the human community and makes arbitrary distinctions between people. This is the reverse concept of the Eucharist. This tendency is not only among racists but exists everytime we are uncharitable towards others, everytime we gratify the ego at the sake of others, and everytime we sexually objectify another person. Racism is another manifestation of this general tendency. Sociologically speaking, we can make an analogy to a concept called “othering.” Othering creates distinctions between groups by finding, or even creating, identifiers that distinguishes one group from the other. We run the risk when we “other” of heightening our distinctions and triumphalizing “our side” at the sake of the “other side.”

I say the best thing you can do, if he is Catholic, is partaking of the Eucharist and studying the Eucharist. At mass for instance, we sing the song “one bread, one body.” I’m convinced that one cannot have that kind of sacramental life and be a racist. If he accepts the truth of the Eucharist and therefore Christ, the Eucharist will work its way into your brother’s way of being and eventually erradicate his racist ideas.

I think the worse thing you could do is recoil. This would only gratify his alienating and atomistic tendencies that are fueling his racism. But more than any advice that I can provide, I pray that God enlighten you heart and mind with wisdom. We know that when we love others we love Christ. When we love, we cooperate with God who is love. Love your brother radically!

Yours in Christ,

Thomas Augustine (a big brother)


#4

That's quite an aggregious leap to call your brother a white supremacist based on a few comments he made that are largely true from his point of view, even if uncomfortable to admit. I doubt he thinks Hitler was some kind of genius, and I would not throw those words around so easily. Have you ever known any supremacist of any race? They are a whole different ballgame from ordinary folks with ordinary distrust of other cultures. Robert Mugabe is a racial supremacist and murderer by any standard. Does he bother you as much as your brother?

The fact is, very few people are able to completely rise above their distrust of other cultures, and that often means other races. Moreover, if you were asked to kill the enemy as your brother was, you would find a way to dehumanize them, or you would not be able to kill. That's the way ordinary people cope with war. It is against our nature to kill another human being, and we must first prepare ourselves to do so when necessary. You have to also consider that he has come up hard against the questionable assertion that Islam is a religion of peace. That may be true if peace comes out of the end of a cheap Soviet era rifle. In many regions of the world, it presents itself as a religion of violence and death. Some will dispute that, but perception is reality after experiencing your first bus full of exploded school children.

I would give your brother some time -- perhaps a decade even. I know WWII veterans who are still mad at the Japanese and Germans. That's what happens when you go to war, return home to the farm, and fail to leave the county again for 65 years. Your brother probably won't do that. Be patient and pray that he can learn to forgive. Quit calling him names like "racist" when he probably has a lot of internal healing to do. Also, quit contradicting what he saw and knows from experience you can't understand. War is ugly beyond comprehension even when sometimes necessary. It takes time to heal the scars.


#5

I’ll post properly later, but how has your brother reacted to the news that it was a right-wing “Christian” who carried out the bombing and the shooting spree?

According to a Norwegian friend of mine, Norway does not have a “huge Muslim problem”

Just interested to see how he’s reacting to having his preconceptions challenged.


#6

i would pray for him, from my own personal experience its almost impossible to stop them from being racist and about the africa thing he’s semi right there is alot of gang rapeing but not just on white girls but blacks too its a evil thing that’s going on there


#7

I do not carry distrust of other cultures in my heart, and I see no good reason why anyone else should. I see it as a very primitive and destructive way of thinking. Viewing others as inferior because of who they are is not about who they are, it’s about who you are.

Thank you everyone for your insight. And thank you for reminding me that someone’s view of the world is formed by their experience of the world. I suppose prayers are in order not only for my brother but for all who would seek to promote such an evil way of thinking through violence.

Perhaps it would be helpful to tell my brother those kinds of comments bother me without specifically labeling them as “racist” or “ethnocentric.”

And thank you most of all for giving me hope that someday my brother’s heart, mind, and soul will heal.


#8

I would imagine that hating the "enemy" makes it easier to do the job you have to do when you're part of the military. All you can do is ignore your brother's comments, or say a little prayer when he says things you don't agree with. It's a difficult situation for sure.:gopray::gopray::gopray::gopray:


#9

He is military. That means some people of other cultures may have tried to kill him! He may have seen things that he cannot or will not talk about. It is fairly common, from what I understand. My Godson was in Afghanistan. He came back and said he saw things that he cannot talk about with anyone except his military colleagues. We do not push him. Depending on situations, it is kill or be killed.

And unfortunately, some countries DO recruit their soldiers from children. Most people will trust a child coming up to them. The enemies learned that if they boobytrap the child or train the child with a weapon, we can be killed!


#10

I empathize with your pain and confusion. I will offer my prayers for you. :hug1:


#11

And unfortunately, some countries DO recruit their soldiers from children.

Yes, I’m well aware of that. I did an entire research project on the subject my senior year of high school. I’m also aware that children of all colors are recruited by street gangs here in the United States as young as age 8 and get initiated by killing someone. Americans are just as capable of such evil as Africans.

I do blame the military for corrupting my brother’s heart into believing that other people are somehow inferior simply for the fact that they are not White-Anglo-Saxon-American. At the same time, the first time my brother ever told me he loved me was during the short phone call he was allowed to make from boot camp. I feel so torn.


#12

Unforutnately, the military is an unnessary evil. All thoses soldiers are sacirificing their lives so we can have freedom (even though it is far from perfect). Please find it in your heart to forgive the military. Those guys are fighting a good cause

And if the only time he told you he loved you was in that call… I think that is the proof he went through some stresful stuff. They prepared him for what was to come

CM


#13

In a perfect world you are right. I am a white English Canadian that grew up in the French part of Canada. I have been bilingual since I was 6. Not only do I know what it is to be mocked for being a minority, I was often at social functions were strangers would knock the English in front of me not knowing I was English because we share the same skin colour. I always thought racism was wrong it was hard to be an INvisible minority.

Well, now I live in the English part and work in an office with a lot of Chinese and Muslims. We can no longer call it a Christmas lunch. It is a holiday celebration. How offensive that all these Muslims use my important religious holiday to get a free lunch but I can not call it what it is.

Canada is July 1st and we get a ‘summer pinic’ because a ‘Canada day pinic’ makes the immigrants feel unwelcome. Yet whenver someone comes back from China I am suppose to be polite and thank them for the Chinese treats that make me want to barf. They can run around the office hugging and saying ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ while I am working because they have the right to uohold their culture.

Sure racism is wrong. But when ‘equal rights’ starts to turn into prejudice towards the white Catholic, it is too much to take

CM


#14

Sure racism is wrong. But when 'equal rights' starts to turn into prejudice towards the white Catholic, it is too much to take

In all sincerity and honesty I'm afraid I don't understand your point.

I understand a little better now why my brother may think the way he does, but in no way shape or form does that mean that I accept or endorse it. Being in the military does not exclude someone from moral responsibility.

It will be a challenge, showing my brother that I love and honor him while I do not at all love or honor his ethnocentric attitudes, but with the good advice that I've recieved on this thread, I think I just might be able to pull it off. I do like your earlier idea of simply asking him to leave such comments out of any conversations we may have. I respect him and his experiences, but he must also respect me and mine.

And thank you grasscutter for the prayers, something tells me I'm going to need them.


#15

[quote="apromisemade, post:11, topic:249520"]
Yes, I'm well aware of that. I did an entire research project on the subject my senior year of high school. I'm also aware that children of all colors are recruited by street gangs here in the United States as young as age 8 and get initiated by killing someone. Americans are just as capable of such evil as Africans.

I do blame the military for corrupting my brother's heart into believing that other people are somehow inferior simply for the fact that they are not White-Anglo-Saxon-American. At the same time, the first time my brother ever told me he loved me was during the short phone call he was allowed to make from boot camp. I feel so torn.

[/quote]

Your brother may not be thinking straight with the stress and trauma of being in a war zone. It is obvious he loves you and vice versa.

Maybe you can talk to him about the issue at a time when he is relaxed and you can perhaps can advice from others like a priest, on how to handle this. He himself may need counseling.

My prayers for you and your brother.


#16

apromisemade

I used to go out with a guy in the military who had several deployments to Iraq. Part of the problem is the “de-personalization” that is part of military training. Also, racism is a great way to enable yourself or others to be able to kill someone. If “they” are different, then they aren’t really human, if they aren’t human, then killing them isn’t murder… I imagine that some of your brother’s fellow soldiers held these kinds of views before they entered the military. If your brother was being exposed to these views during his training, he was vulnerable to their influence, due to the sort of training he was undergoing. Or he may have started to say these things without really meaning them, to sound like “everyone else”, and they have become part of him. I’m not excusing, just trying to explain.

I can think of two ways to tackle this. One would be to gently discuss with him the attacks in Norway. Point out that the person who carried out these attacks is white, right-wing and Christian. He bombed the centre of Oslo, then travelled out to the **youth **camp of a left-wing political party. Dressed as a police officer, he asked the participants to gather round him, then started shooting them, killing at least 85 people (I think they are still searching for bodies). Point out that it is not just people who are a different race, religion or political affliation to him who do terrible things, someone just like him has done this too.

The other would be to write him a letter and leave it in his room. In it, tell him how much it hurts you to hear him say these things. Tell him you’re not criticising him, just the things he believes, that you understand that what he went through in Iraq must have been awful even if you can never understand the experiences themselves. In all of this, don’t be someone telling him he’s wrong, be a heartbroken little sister seeing the big brother she loves and worships become a person filled with hate. Perhaps the shock of realising how much pain this is causing you may make him re-examine these ideas.

I will be praying for you and your brother.


#17

People prepare themselves psychologically before combat and then seek justifications for what they did and what they saw during combat.

Soldiers do not have to seek justification for their actions, when they fully understand what it is they are undertaking. Field commanders each have a Chaplain assigned to them, and his job is to explain to their troops the morality of what they are doing. Tip-toeing by being politically correct, only to have soldiers see the dirty truth with their own eyes, creates attitudes like the OP's brother.

Moreover, if you were asked to kill the enemy as your brother was, you would find a way to dehumanize them, or you would not be able to kill. That's the way ordinary people cope with war. It is against our nature to kill another human being, and we must first prepare ourselves to do so when necessary.

Soldiers do not have to dehumanize the enemy, anymore than a father needs to dehumanize a home invader before shooting them to protect his family. I agreed with the rest of your post, but this stood out. Soldiers are not ordinary people, which is why they way they cope does not make sense to the ordinary person.

I do not carry distrust of other cultures in my heart, and I see no good reason why anyone else should. I see it as a very primitive and destructive way of thinking. Viewing others as inferior because of who they are is not about who they are, it's about who you are.

I sympathize, but this is moral relativism. The dignity of the human person does not equal the dignity of the human conscience. The belief that others are primitive, or at least not as advanced as us, is only destructive if it is not true. This is why spreading democracy has not worked in Afghanistan. The people are not ready, simple as that.

The belief that all of humanity is thirsting for the truth denies the obvious truth that there is genuine evil in this world that manifests in people who are no longer seeking the truth. To pretend that this does not occur in concentrated areas of the world is naive and dangerous, especially given that the reasons they occur are completely different.

Yes, I'm well aware of that. I did an entire research project on the subject my senior year of high school. I'm also aware that children of all colors are recruited by street gangs here in the United States as young as age 8 and get initiated by killing someone. Americans are just as capable of such evil as Africans.

And therein lies the reason your brother is ignoring your protest. These two scenarios are nowhere near comparable, and pretending one is as bad as the other would be laughable if it weren't so serious. You are not helping your case by pretending that America is no better than the rest of the world.

I am a veteran. Not only was I a soldier, I was also a Sergeant, a leader of soldiers. Your brother's attitude exists because he has poor leadership in his immediate supervisor. Sergeants are there to inform their men of everything they need to know to survive not just physically, but mentally as well. Their spirituality is in the hands of the unit Chaplain, and most of them do a good job, but some people still manage to slip through. I don't believe that Islamophobia is racism, in that Islam is not a race. When you're brother returns from Iraq, ask him what he thinks about the Chaldean Catholics and Coptic Christians. I bet you'll get a different answer.

Prayer always works, but how fast is not up to us. :thumbsup:


#18

Good grief, you are painfully naive. The military did not corrupt your brother into believing that other people are somehow inferior for not being white, Anglo-Saxon, and American. Have you any idea how many non-whites and non-Americans serve in the U.S. military and feel exactly the same way as your brother? I am surrounded by people who feel that way, and less than half of them are white!

You have been taught to believe that white people are inherently racist, and anyone who isn’t white is inherently a victim of white racism. This is exactly what killed Amy Biehl. The world is just not that simple.


#19

While his statements are crude - they are hardly the rantings of a “white supremecist”.

To state Europe has a big Muslim problem simply means he’s been reading newspapers - to put it mildly Europe does have a “big” Muslim problem. From a nice lefty organization that preaches tolerence:

huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/02/the-big-muslim-problem_n_376767.html

I would hardly call the Huffington Post a “White Supremacist” periodical.

Ethnic Africans have ganged up and killed white people in Rhodesia - I’m sorry in the news offends you but you might want to check for yourself.

As for the African nation’s using child soldiers, that’s a common action that has been dealt with by organizations ranging from the US to the UN. Again, the fact that he acknowledges the world as it exists hardly makes him a “white supremacist”.


#20

OP, are you familiar with the Rwanda genocide? If not, please read up on that. Hutus killed Tsutsi’s in horrific ways.

Yeah, and don’t compare US gangs to the military. That is a low blow. Gangs generally run drugs and guns. The military defends freedom.


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