Paranormal evidence points to the fact of reincarnation. Near-death experiences, reputable psychics and mediums, the seer Edgar Cayce, out-of-body experiences, electronic voice phenomena, past life regressions in psychotherapy, and instrumental transcommunication together combine to show that most human beings have lived multiple lives on earth – some estimates suggest in the neighborhood of 85-100.
Given this figure, and given the fact that the American “brand” of slavery stretched over 400 years, with the kidnapping from Africa of approximately 388,000 people and their subsequent descendants, what is the likelihood that most whites now living in the US (or who have lived in the US for the past few generations) lived at least one past life as a slave? If today’s white Americans knew that they had lived and suffered as a person owned by another person (or people), and if they could tap into the emotions and hardships of that existence, would it not have a bearing on their thinking about African Americans and racism?
Since racism affects other groups of Americans as well, we can also postulate that at least some of us of all backgrounds lived past lives as Asians, Native Americans, Latinos and others. Because powerless, oppressed peoples far outnumbered rulers throughout human existence, the mathematical likelihood is much higher that we were among the oppressed than the rulers. (Our past lives can be accessed regression therapy from a qualified practitioner and/or through techniques outlined in Michael Talbot’s book, Your Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook.)
Reincarnation and the law of karma go together, according to the paranormal evidence. The law of karma – that is, the law of cause and effect – states that all of our misdeeds must be put right, whether in a current life or another one. This has major implications:
- If we were a slave owner and mistreated a slave in a past life, our behaviors must be made right.
- If I was oppressed in China centuries ago, would I not want justice for myself and my family? Perhaps in my current life, I am in a privileged and powerful position over others – which is my chance to exercise that power for the benefit of those with less power.
Switching gears, but still keeping our eyes on racism in the US, there is the very scientific field of genetics. DNA research has moved so quickly in the past decade that it is now possible to trace our ancestry back 200 years, or six generations. Research now shows that the average African American has 24 percent of European ancestry. (Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses this in his book In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, and on the PBS series, Finding Your Roots.) While this high percentage does not often come as a surprise to African Americans, since it is common knowledge that white slave holders were known to impregnate their female slaves, it should be a wake-up call to those of us who are white: we are, in many ways, distant cousins of our black neighbors. We are kin.
What is even more startling, however, is that the reverse situation, especially in the American South, is also true. The most recent DNA data shows that 4 percent of whites have at least 1 percent or more of African ancestry; this is known as “’hidden African ancestry.” How many ostensibly “white” Americans walking around today would be classified as “black” under the insidious Jim Crow-era “one-drop rule”? Judging by the last US Census, 7,872,702!
Scott Hadly, in the 23andMe blog on March 4, 2014, cites the work of Kasia Bryc, a Harvard Medical School researcher. Included in her findings are these significant points: “Southern states with the highest African American populations tended to have the highest percentages of hidden African ancestry. In South Carolina at least 13 percent of self-identified whites have 1 percent or more African ancestry, while in Louisiana the number is a little more than 12 percent. In Georgia and Alabama the number is about 9 percent.”
Let’s now bring these three threads together:
- It is highly likely that many current US citizens were enslaved Africans or other oppressed persons in a previous life. It behooves us to think and feel that lifelong pain and trauma, since it may actually have been our own pain.
- Most African Americans alive today have nearly one-quarter European blood in their DNA.
- Over 7 million Americans who consider themselves white have at least 1 percent African blood in their DNA. The vast majority of those whites live in the states that had the highest percentage of slaves before and during the Civil War.
Here is where ethics, politics and theology converge. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” comes into vivid clarity – why would we want to harm, devalue, torture, kill, lynch or discriminate against someone who was either myself or my ancestor? The bottom line, as the best of the world’s religions teach, is that WE ARE ALL ONE, no matter how we look at it.
To reach our fullest potential as individuals and as a nation, our personal ethical behavior and the laws and cultural practices in the US must mesh with that truth. Racism and other types of oppression are not only ethically abhorrent but counter to our own best interests. Fighting racism is not some kind of “special interest political correctness,” as a certain segment of our population maintains, but an ethical and political imperative for the betterment not only of our beloved country but of our very selves.
Abrahamsen, Valerie A. Paranormal: A New Testament Scholar Looks at the Afterlife. Manchester Center, Vermont: Shires Press, 2015.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past. New York: Crown Publishers, 2009.
Talbot, Michael. Your Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook. New York: Crown Publishers, 1987.
For information on racist and white supremacist groups in the US, see the Southern Poverty Law Center website and their publications.
Many organizations have been involved in the battle against racism for decades. An Internet search brings up a wide assortment. Black Lives Matter is one of the newer movements.