White heathens, we need to talk.
A lot of us are already doing it, but it seems we need to talk about it once again.
We have a white supremacist problem. And to be frank, we have from the start.
I see a lot of really bad information floating around out there. A lot of people saying shit with confidence that just isn’t true. It’s a weekly occurrence that I see someone on Tiktok defending Odinism, or claiming that Asatru started out as an anti-racist religious movement.
So let’s be perfectly clear: Heathenry and Asatru and other germanic religious revivals have their roots in nationalist, racist german romantasism movements that ultimately influenced the Nazis. There is no getting around this. These are the roots we must reckon with. And these roots show. Racist movements like Odinism and organizations like the AFA and other folkish and volkish movements are powerful and growing.
Now. Heathenry is not the only pagan religion with a white supremacy problem. Far fucking from it. And other groups pretending that they don’t have to worry about racism because the AFA is in the news more is its own insidious kind of issue. But I’m a Heathen, so I’m going to stick to talking about Heathenry.
Let’s also be clear: white supremacists are not our fault. But they are our PROBLEM. We may not have caused them, but they are present in our religion, or they co-opt our symbols, or both. And that means we have the responsibility to do something about it.
And many of us are. Myself and many others work tirelessly to guard our spaces, to spread education, to denounce racists and facists and nazis wherever we can.
But we don’t get to put this work down. And we don’t get say “we don’t claim them” and just wash our hands. That’s bullshit, and it’s lazy, and it does NOTHING to protect the people we claim we want to support.
I get it. Decolonization is HARD. I struggle with it all the time. I have fucked up, do fuck up, and will fuck up again.
But we still have to do the fucking work. We have to fight racism, including in ourselves, at every turn. We need to do MORE to make our spaces actually safe for marginalized folks, including disabled, queer, and BIPOC people. It is not enough to say “well I don’t support it.” You, and I, have to be better about being allies.
That means vetting people who come into your spaces. Gatekeeping is a good thing. That means making space for marginalized folks and shutting the fuck up and listening when they talk. And believing them when they say things. That means coming to their aid when they face persecution. That means lifting their voices using our privilege.
We can do better. We can be better. And we must.