Well — this has been something I’ve been kind of struggling to write for a while. Not because I’m nervous/anxious about writing the topic itself. Far from it. I’ve always been one to call out racism, bigotry or prejudice anywhere I see it. But this…well it’s difficult to write about this, because it’s pretty damn rampant, which makes it ever more awkward to even begin to interact with other Slavic pagans, polytheists, witches/magicians or Rodnovers (whatever label they individually choose for themselves). Because it’s so rampant that it’s actually nauseating. And this is the type of stuff I’m afraid I’d have to deal with, should I ever go out and do public events with others of my general belief type.
Such as, for example, this lovely discourse that took place on a group I’m part of on Facebook, that’s to do with Slavic religious practices. I just lurked on this one; because I was at work and only caught a bit of it before my break ended. So then I took these screenshots (and then obviously privatized them later), to write about later. Because this is the type of thing that needs to be called out and addressed directly.
So, black name next to image is the guy who was spouting all the BS that happened to go down this time. I colored other people’s responses in other colors, just to make it clearer who was saying what.
But, in short – he is being an asshole to another person on the group, who so happens to be Serbian (per his profile). Which leads to nasty comments like “true Serbian” and “stereotypical Serbian” as opposed to a true “Slavic Serbian™”; then the even ruder comments about how this other member of the group is Orthodox, and that means they’re disqualified from being in the group. Then it devolves into nasty comments about racism and starting wars.
And then there’s this nasty bit of wisdom that another man had to post in defense of Asshole #1. Which is just disgusting and makes me angry. Because this is the kind of BS from Asshole #2 that gets a lot of groups bad names–when people post stuff like this; when people believe stuff like this, it just harms everyone. Not to mention–this is the type of anti-Semitic rhetoric that we saw in the past, pre-Reich and -Holocaust; not to mention you still see BS like this today. It’s horrific and awful, and it causes a huge punch to the gut to any human being with any decency.
Back to Asshole #1 though. Here we have him going on about BS like genetics, DNA and cultural as well as “racial” heritage; as well as a heaping side of religious intolerance. All of which are bullshit, again, because I damned well know from his profile that he’s no geneticist, scientist, or doctor. And no one of any actual credibility would ever post these kinds of things.
Though this is a pretty good cross-section of the BS that gets tossed around in Slavic/Rodnover circles though. Claims of who is genetically most Slavic, who is “faking” or not really of the correct blood, etc. Oh, and then his second comment here, where he states that he’s got Nordic/Aryan features. Which is a slap in the face to someone who has studied racism, Holocaust, and the harm that this type of eugenic-like thinking entails. Oh, and his nasty comments about the physical features of other people–blatantly just calling them all identical, and inferior. He also puts in a good jab about how he’d kill himself if he was a Serb. (and the self-loathing of his whole “I’m dark-haired and eyed, so I’m already ashamed of my Slavic heritage”, blah blah…)
And the last, highly inflammatory BS that Asshole #1 posted. More vitriolic rhetoric against Serbs for being not “Nordic/Aryan” – which he equates with being the same as true “Slavic” features and race. And more insults about how Serbs are just Orthodox pawns and that Serbs are not Slavic; because they “deal with the Ottoman problems”. And then he just insults the man by saying that he’s just a Turk.
Now, first points first. There is nothing wrong with being of Turkish descent, of Bulgarian, Polish, Serb, Czech, Russian; of any type of Nordic descent. None of that is shameful. And someone’s ancestry is no reason to attack them. One’s national and cultural heritage is beyond their control, and there is nothing wrong with where your family comes from. I don’t care if a practicing Slavic pagan comes from anywhere in the world. I don’t care whether said practitioner is majority “Slavic”-descended, or whether their ancestry comes from Nordic countries, Gaelic or Gaulish countries, any European country predominantly influenced by the Greeks or Romans in the south of Europe, from Turkish, Middle-Eastern, eastern Asian, southern Asian or Islander descent. If you are respectful in your beliefs and actions while working with Slavic deities–I don’t care where you or your family’s from. None of that matters.
Second: there is nothing wrong with Orthodox religion. At least, not in this case. And so what if any individual comes from an Orthodox background? It’s not like there are many Rodnovers who come from a Rodnover background–most of them came from Christian, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, atheistic or theistic backgrounds. Let’s be honest–most Rodnovers come from “Western” cultural backgrounds–which means the majority were raised some denomination of Christian or probably agnostic. Some probably atheistic by their families. But there are probably none/very few that had any real “Slavic pagan” upbringing. — Because in this circumstance superstitions, folklore and folk traditions do not really count. These are cultural things deeply ingrained, and are not done for their old “pagan” reasons; they are instead done as cultural habits that are deeply ingrained.
And possibly the most hilarious thing about Asshole #1’s whole diatribe?
By the whole “Aryan” BS that he’s spouting–the whole Aryan idea–that’s all a very specific set of beliefs and understanding; anyone who has studied the time period, beliefs and political ideology knows this.
Yeah, Slavs were considered subhuman and not part of the whole Aryan master race. This whole Aryan thing, it hearkens back to the Third Reich, Nazism, and everything that goes with that in terms of eugenic/genetic beliefs. At least, in the way he’s talking, it hearkens back to that time and those beliefs. And if nothing else, the Reich under Hitler was very damned clear on what they thought of the Slavs (i.e. USSR at that time, but still, Slavs). There’s a whole section in Mein Kampf specifically about what Hitler thought should be done to Slavs. They were subhuman, to be used as labor, to be killed and moved about without any consideration. The whole point of Lebensraum im Osten according to the Nazis was that the Nazis were to sweep in, overrun all Slavic lands to the east, destroy the USSR and her armies, and then resettle the “master race” into the emptied lands.
Which means that Asshole #1, with his whole diatribe about how he’s a “real Slav™”, and therefore better than others, at his subjective floundering…in his own little scenario, he would be one of the subhumans being removed to benefit the master race. According to the doctrine that he’s subverting, parroting and paraphrasing, he’s no better than slave labor, and taking up space that belongs to the right, actual people. He would be as done for as the other people he’s talking trash about, according to his beloved doctrine. So actually, he’s an idiot, and absolutely stupid, on top of being racist.
But back around to the beginning.
This is not the first time I’ve come across this hyper-nationalistic and racist language within the Rodnover and Slavic pagan community. This belief set is the most vocal of the people I come across. I know there are people within the community that are not like this at all. And those people I appreciate. However, there are huge voices along this line that need to be shut up, shut down, and the community needs to own up to the fact that it has a huge problem with racism within the ranks. And actually–this is against other Slavic peoples. Not even non-Slavic people. Which is not better either.
But this is the kind of thing that makes me hesitate to have anything to do with other people. I don’t want to be a part of this type of community. These are beliefs that are toxic, vicious and absolutely abhorrent. I cannot stand these types of things. And this is the type of person that usually draws the attention of others, of outsiders. So this is the type of image that people get.
Hell, I’ve said before that I have major issues with labeling myself—here it is. I will never call myself a Rodnover, at least, not with the way it is seen right now; and I cannot see my opinion changing on this anytime soon. It is too poisoned for me, by prior experience. And then this type of thing crops up, making me ever more reticent to admit that I’m even related by general belief in Slavic deities and spirits with this sort of person.
So I’m ever further pressed on how certain Slavic pagans, or Rodnovers, or whatever, act and speak in online forums. This kind of thing is like a punch to the gut to a person like me who was raised to be respectful of people from all backgrounds, and to not judge anyone based on their heritage, religion, or background. I was raised to judge people on their own actions, beliefs and words. And to even have to see stuff like this, it just angers me.
This is the type of thing that makes me dislike my own community. It’s racism and bigotry of the highest order. And I don’t like it. It’s poisonous to the community, and does absolutely nothing beyond show how low a person is, to spew this rhetoric and then to double down on it when called out by others.
Racism is a huge issue, even in general. But within my community, it is deep. And it needs to continue to be called out. Because so long as people still have these opinions, it’s difficult to be part of such a community. And also, it is not for us to allow such abhorrent beliefs to continue. We need to continue to move forward and to call out these beliefs. I can only hope that after much work within the community that these types of beliefs will be removed as the harmful dredge that they are.
In the meantime, I continue to remain well outside the community; cautious and actually quite nervous to fully interact with it, so long as things like this still continue to happen.∗