May 6, 2023

Pinocchio Unbound: sprout’s origin story

Authors: Jeannette Bessinger (writer and illustrator) and Samuel Hollister (composer and pianist)

One of most subtle traps of anti-oppression work and activism for many White cis-women like me – with a history of trauma or shame – is that the truth about White supremacy can hook into our flawed belief that “there’s something inherently wrong with me”. For White people with shame-based operating systems, the concept of White privilege can so easily translate into either defensiveness or confirmation of our shame-based fears, both often triggering the survival response inherent in White fragility.

White supremacy culture raises and rewards White folx for betraying our true natures in favor of “puppeting” White supremacy values as personality traits. It’s easy to take the oppressions of performance and perfectionism right into the world of activism. White people can try to perform our way into goodness as social activists. Like Pinocchio, we can keep trying, in effect, to “be a real boy” and finally earn real love, acceptance and belonging.

Sprout tries to address this harm without activating a White fragility response – by illustrating, in spare comic form, an essential, spiritual mechanism for healing White supremacy in White people: to stop “trying to be real”, and instead to root down into co-regulation and resourcing with the earth and the elemental flow of the Spirit of Life, so that we can “sprout” (become) as the original trees we truly are – part of a vast, interdependent network of “forest”.

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Category: Video
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