LJ Cunningham

White Supremacy Starts In The Family

I was raised in white supremacy – having learned it from my family. And it’s taken me a lifetime of asking questions, therapy, and education to accept this fact.

Post Published: September 4, 2023

I was born on October 26, 1981, in Ashtabula, Ohio. I was raised in white supremacy – having learned it from my family. And it’s taken me a lifetime of asking questions, therapy, and education to accept this fact.

White sheets aren’t needed to raise a white supremacist. All that’s really needed is an ideology that connects everything a child knows about life and death with whiteness being Godly.

I’m not someone who finds it easy to speak the truth. The words get tangled in my mouth, or my body tenses up; anticipating “something bad” happening to me.

Nevertheless, let me sin as well as I can, choosing my words carefully. I am grateful for all those who have provided me education no one else would: Black and Indigenous folks worldwide. It is from those who are most abused by white supremacy who teach me most how to unlearn.

I Learned That Living In the United States Is God’s Will

Ashtabula County is the largest county land-wise in the State of Ohio. Setting at the northeast corner of the state bordering Lake Erie and Pennsylvania, it’s also rural. Farmland and factories, small towns, and churches dominated my childhood landscape. The beach was the refuge from all else. It was the saving grace of living in the “Snow Belt” where winters could be exceptionally frigid. I swam and packed snow balls on Lake Erie’s shores my whole childhood, content at the beach in any season.

My family was always separated at that time. Adults didn’t like one another in the families, and it was in this setting that I learned to see Jesus as white, colonization as a way to spread Jesus’s Word, and that living in the United States was God’s will. At the heart of each congregation, Bible study, or teen group, was an emphasis on whiteness and American colonial romanticism that was as normal as apple pie. There was nothing else.

The United States was told to me to be the Promised Land for God’s Chosen People. And God’s Chosen People just happened to be the white Puritans “seeking religious freedom” from a “tyrannical” English King.

My First Exposure to Christianity and Colonizing the Americas

Recently, I came to accept that what I was studying about de-colonization was causing me to have literal flashbacks. Despite my family denying me my truth: insisting that I’m not part of the most religious portions of us, I have a PTSD diagnosis that says otherwise.

Imagine my surprise, in my un-learning of white supremacy, that I was having uncontrollable physiological responses to decolonial ideologies. My central nervous system would make my body get up and move reading about the horrors of family separation, and first-hand accounts of Indigenous survivors of Residential Schools.

My first exposure to Christianity told me that global colonization was to help all the other races and religions have the chance to know Jesus before the End Times. If I asked a question or noted how this harmed people, (we did learn about the Trail of Tears, after all), that was met with an emotional outburst by an adult. I learned to stop pointing these things out when I was younger as a result.

The conditioning still impacts me to this day. Challenging colonization in my childhood was to challenge God Himself; and met with swift anger from adults.

As I aged, the Christianity presented to me became more politicalized. In retrospect, this looks like intentional stages. In the first stages, I learned that Jesus loved every child. I also learned that via colonizing the Americas, we are able to prosper. The Puritans seeking religious freedom were here to do God’s work, and teach the world about Jesus! How wonderful!

The White Supremacy Family Grooms For Armageddon

By the time I was an adolescent, I knew that I would live to see the End of Days. I was taught how to look for the Antichrist, and to never, ever, renounce my love of Jesus. While it was emphasized that I had to ask Jesus to live in my heart, I also had to withstand torture and imprisonment during the End Times. Because it was “foretold” that Christians would be the victims of anti-Christian laws because of the Antichrist. I even recall practicing how to always reaffirm my love for Jesus, even under torture and threat of execution.

I was groomed to be paranoid. To be suspicious of someone the Western World thought would be a Savior. To reject injections from the State, who would surely side with the Antichrist leading up to Armageddon. The outcome, as I recall it, was to survive. Reject the Mark of the Beast (which, I was educated on, would likely be from a state-sanctioned microchipping via injection).

Humanity For “Other” Signals the End Times

The family was divided, they said, by religion. As a result, the whole of my childhood was severed. Much of the family never interacted. Men were almost always absent: working, sleeping from working. Or they no longer lived with their wife; but didn’t divorce because that was against God.

I learned about sex in a way that was exposure to unavoidable adult nudity and sexuality. But great shame surrounded being either too feminine or too masculine. Toys like Barbie were seen as sinful, as was anything overtly “attention seeking” and feminine, or too “Tom boyish.”

Having children after being married was just the way people lived. There were no other options. Considering that neither of my grandmothers drove or worked regularly, an inherent sense of doom for my future hung over my head. The messages were confusing to the point it was practically intentional. The adults were vastly different on having no boundaries, or having too many.

This translated into hatred for anyone outside these limits. Especially when it came to women who wanted abortions and birth control. Before the Internet, everyone’s religious uncle railed against society in a loud booming voice at family gatherings. And every political advancement of marginalized groups has always signaled the literal End of the World for these men.

I’m a Failure

I am a failure at the white supremacy my family taught me. I’m a failure at following directions, listening to and respecting my elders, and I ask too many questions. At some point during my adolescence, I was relegated to the “hopeless” pile.

Despite the inherent isolation I lived in, some of which was enforced intentionally, I rejected and challenged, to my own detriment, these ideologies. As I got older, the racism and antisemitism was no longer hidden. Even if I didn’t recognize exactly what it was at the time.

I’ve wasted half my life having attachment to other humans who have never seen me as a person. In doing so, I’ve gained a valuable education by immersion.

Perhaps it was intentional lack that made me so rebellious: lack of friends, water, food, fun on one’s birthday or Christmas. Perhaps it was the fact that every dad and grandpa were de facto deadbeat dads: present only to berate someone; or a man so absent physically and/or mentally that he was like a shadow and not a man, at all.

Any attempt on my part to “fit in” and play along inevitably failed. This was most notable in church settings, where I was perpetually embarrassed by my inability to connect with how others said they connected to, Jesus. At teen Bible studies, I was had to use the Table of Contents to find passages in the Bible, to the delight of backbiting peers.

I’m Unlearning White Supremacy

It’s quite a trip to be groomed to live in the End Times and be living in the United States right now. In unlearning the white supremacist presentation of Christianity I was shown, I’ve learned to let go of this fear by learning historical facts.

White Christian nationalist frameworks are as old as human history, and reaches back into 1300’s Europe. The antisemitic politics of aligning the Spanish and Austrian Holy Roman Empire first began targeting Jews then. This led to the Spanish Inquisition and aligned so-called “blood-line” “Royals” to doing God’s literal work on Earth.

God’s Chosen People

The significance of uniting religion to European monarchies was massive. It allowed royals of specific family “bloodlines” to be able to govern themselves and have Divine Right. They were designated speakers of God Himself for their “realms”. It also granted European royals and nobility a form of intergeneration land wealth and power never before seen, and facilitated Christopher Columbus’s trip out of Europe.

King Henry VIII of England battled the Church in the early 1500’s. A well-known early family annihilator, King Henry won favor from the Bishops around him by publicly executing multiple partners; separating his own children from their mothers; and excommunicating and publicly torturing detractors to death.

Image of the cast in costume from Showtime's series The Tudors. Left to right are Gabrielle Anwar as Margaret Tudor; Sam Neill as Bishop Thomas Wolsey in a red cap and red robe; Jeremy Northam as Sir Thomas More in black, standing next to the Bishop. Seated before him in black wearing a crown is Maria Doyle Kennedy playing the role of Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England and Catholic daughter of the Queen of Castille and King of Aragon; beside her standing in gold wearing a crown is Natalie Dormer as Lady Anne Boelyn, Mistress to King Henry VIII and Queen of England; next to her on the right of the image, seated, is Jonathan Rhys Meyers, playing King Henry VIII, King of England
The Showtime Series “The Tudors” is a stunning and brutal depiction of European history that directly impacts the Americas to this day.

The results of Henry VIII’s reign and intermarrying with Irish and Scotch people led directly to some of the first colonizers and enslavers in white Christian colonies in the Americas.

By the time England had become embroiled in Civil Wars in the 1600’s, descendants of English and Scotch nobles were already floating around the world in the newly-born industry of the transcontinental human trafficking of Africans to European colonies and lands.

I’m Learning Facts

The repeating themes of U.S. history are reflected back in earliest recorded European history. Brutal public killings, torture, and death were commonplace for those deemed to be “heretics,” and, based upon geographic location.

In short; a group of rich Europeans began to interbreed to keep their blood and word of God pure. Then they used their political and birthright powers (they created and bestowed to themselves) to kill everyone else. Social shunning was the least of anyone’s worries.

The same mentality that writes off the past as unimportant and unchangeable should know: some white Americans in the present, still take this battle very seriously and literally in the 21st century. I know this, because this is how I was raised; and I’m surely not the only person living in the U.S. today raised like this.

It’s ridiculous to me to hear some white people talk about a “civil war,” but this is an emotional reaction. Once I let the emotion pass, I recognize the speaker to have a similar upbringing to my own.

The ideology I was raised with was inherently favorable of war. The Bible was used to prepare me for war: that in the End Times, “brother against brother” would mean that we would have to kill our own who renounce god.

I refuse to participate in this framework. It’s been done to death, and one fact stands out to me: it seems like no one has ever just refused to participate. For, at the heart of most if not all white Christian nationalism, in the U.S., is the belief of British Israelism. Hand-in-hand with the glorification of U.S. colonial romanticism is the belief that there is godliness in white, “Anglo-Saxons.”

There Is No War If We Don’t Want One

Because I was raised as a “girl,” my upbringing was less brutal in some ways than the boys’. I didn’t have exposure to learning to hunt and shoot, because my role was to be feminine and raise kids. The boys in my family were raised to be more militant, and some of them did join the military and/or police forces in adulthood.

I reject the grooming from my childhood that I will live in the End Times. The lies that uphold religious and white supremacy are obvious failures. It took me quite a bit of time and attention to recognize this; but it’s not impossible to see at all.

Whether it’s ruining the individuals born in an interbred family gene pool, or altering our very DNA by the trauma white supremacy inherently causes, or the climate crisis, the failure of white supremacy has repeated itself for centuries.

One clear pattern of history shows, too, that at least with Europeans and colonizing white Christians, this mentality is not only false and a mockery of any concept of a benevolent God, it’s also brutally inhumane. Not taking into account one’s own humanity and then ripping it from the other people’s of the world, is tiresome education for me; no one has told us a very simple truth: there’s no Armageddon if we white people choose against this ridiculous idea.

I’m living proof of it. My own bloodline is proof, my tattered central nervous system, and this written record are fruits of a brutal legacy of lust disguised as Jesus’s will, in the form of sexual and human enslavement; forced birth; family separation; rape, and murder.

The Violence We Create

Unlearning white supremacy is perilous because I’m simultaneously reconstructing my life to live without it while living within it’s constraints. Resurrected in the facts of my own heritage and the legacy left to me by my own people, I work to repair. I have no concern for myself or my family’s safety, because every Proud Boy on the street in Ohio is probably related to me.

My own great-grandfathers and uncles settled East Palestine, Berlin, and Green, Ohio. My family is large, rooted in the same nations mentioned above, for as far back as I can trace my lineage.

The violence we create gets perpetuated every generation to ourselves first. Even in the guise of white supremacy, white children and women are not seen as more than the children of heroes or the eventual heroes; or the mothers and widows of war heroes and land thieves as far as I’m concerned.

Men who aren’t war heroes or who are sick are stripped of their humanity usually also die without notation. I don’t expect any white supremacists to read this and stop being white supremacists: I’m just letting them know I’m not one of them, and that this isn’t the way. I refuse to accept violence or create it, any more.

White Supremacy In Families: Forced Birth and Enslavement

My family history is gory. On papers, we had many forced births, and children delivering babies. Enslavement of African, human women, children, and men, was common. Passing on other human beings as if they are objects to male and female heirs, happened. Many times, in fact.

White Ohioans in political positions today are doing what my forefathers have done: take on the American title of “Pastor” and abuse their powers to enforce and exalt their values of enslavement; by race or sex, and always by class.

They earn their living in denying the realities of other people’s humanness.

My Silence Is Violence

I look my own blue-gray eyes in the face every day and renounce white supremacy.

This isn’t a call to action, this is for informational purposes, because I recognize that my silence is violence.

There is no doubt for me that there are some folks who are violent and aggressively anti-government, racist, and antisemitic, and I’m calling my own people in. People of Ohio and the United States. People who were raised like I was–who know what it feels like to experience panic at the thought of saying anything like this out loud.

The silence and abuse inherently tied to family and God is no accident.

I am here to repair and acknowledge the destruction of those who made me in their image. Each day, I learn more about who I am, and how I, as a literal person, got here. The more I learn, the more I joyously dedicate myself to creating a new way outside of white supremacy.

I Am

When I look at the facts of how I got to Ohio, and the facts of my family’s role in global colonization, it’s hard for me to not feel like an intentional experiment. A failed experiment, one where white supremacists chose to focus on skin color and bloodline. Fortunately, I live in the 21st century. Since my first recorded ancestors came live, we’ve learned that human beings are the same; in some important ways. We all start with the same basic central nervous system, organs, and needs.

Basic human needs, like attachment to one caregiver, regular, predictable, schedules, feedings, language, and comfort are essential for all human infants.

Despite the best attempts of my ancestors and caregivers from childhood, I am. And I choose to renounce all of the so-called privileges bestowed upon me for being white. I know, from trial and error, that even in professional spheres, especially in professional spheres, the same adherence plays out to white, male, pastors.

White privileges only work as long as I stay silent, mind my business, and don’t ask too many questions.

I’m a failure at all of those things, and as I plan to live at least another forty years to make up for the lost time I had to those who wouldn’t recognize my humanness, the learning and writing will continue until a livable structure replaces white supremacy.

Over six hundred years of global failure have been more than enough. It’s time to repair.

Winter farmland. top of image is blue sky and white clouds, with dead fields in the foreground. A barn and farmhouse in the background
A farm in Berlin, Ohio. My family is some of the first occupants of this area.




Native Land


Henry VIII and the Reformation

Scotland and Slavery


Religious Trauma Syndrome: Examples, Symptoms, & 7 Ways to Cope



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