Breathe. Sit Down. Listen.

If a person of color opens up to you about their experiences, they have a level of trust in you as an individual. There is no need to put yourself at the center and offer anecdotes to show how YOU are “not like that”. Also, there is no quicker way to derail your friend’s point.

And if you don’t see color, there is no need to balance the scales with the “not all whites”, “not all men”, “not all police officers”, sentiments when activists initiate discussions about systemic oppression. We all live in the same society and are surrounded by mainstream news media. The greater society has, does and will make that point to all of us every day without your help.

For real, it’s HARD to realize when the reason we are squirming is because for once, whether or not our feelings will be hurt is not the central most important thing in any conversation. It stops feeling right somehow! What we ARE used to, is feeling benevolent because we are engaged in the conversation, at all.

As non-POC, nothing prepares us for having to suppress our own natural tendency to take offense. To learn how to do that, we need only ask a member of any oppressed group. To keep a job, be a customer, walk down the street, live life, lesson the chances of getting thrown in jail for nothing – for them, it is a necessary skill.

Ask:

How on earth do you avoid getting offended all the time with:
**Assumptions made about your opinions, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Assumptions made about your interests, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Ignorant questions asked of you?
**Generalizations made in your presence?

They might agree to school you. Or better yet, do your own research.

Point is: We aren’t used to it. It’s hard to realize how quickly we rise to our own defense when the conversation does not have straight, white society at the center. Our peace is disturbed. Stop it. Step down a peg. Take a seat.

 

Why White People Shouldn’t Impose Their Feelings Into Conversations on Race

The link below brings to mind another reason why.the gap between the lower and middle class grows wider each year. Who can COUNT ON an additional $3,000 EACH year, “on average”? Some reading these words will think its no big deal, while for others, such a safety net would be a dream come true.

My hero was my first mother-in-law. I was waking up early to pray, taking two buses to get my kid to daycare and then going to work, taking the grocery cart on the bus, and feeling like I had alot on me, while she, with 8 children, worked, woke up at 4:30 to iron and plan breakfast and lunch, and went and got her diploma at some point during all this – cooking big Sunday dinners for all of us to come back to, without a complaint. We all crowded onto the chairs, stairs and every available space. All her kids turned out better than fine, each one with a faithful fine heart, and brag-worthy loving kids of their own – a family that stayed together and takes care of that mom now without a thought – because that’s what you do.
Yet, so many recipients of the financial safety net largesse assume, WITHOUT QUESTION, that they are at the very least, on a level playing field with their colleagues – colleagues like my Ms. Geneva, or the single parent with the special needs children, or the night school attendees, paying their own way by working.
The corresponding secret held close by those financial have-nots, is the deep-seated frustration at those who can’t see. It’s not the inequality that creates the resentment, really. It’s that the help with the rent, car and home repairs, down payment on the house, preferential treatment when applying for jobs, housing etc, freedom from student debt – these add up to unacknowledged (or outright denied) privilege. This refusal to expand one’s world view, this lack of perspective is what causes the resentment.
Openly expressed gratitude and appreciation, towards parents, by their adult children, would create happier families.
Offering of genuine respect by those same adult children, toward peers who struggle and achieve, year after year, without such aid – these would go a long way toward creating less divided and repressed atmosphere among peers. #1stworldproblems #rudetonotice #dontaskdonttell #tabootopics

Secret of Many Urban 20-Somethings

Oregon’s Bundy Brothers? No Charges

National Guard? Tanks? Fire hoses? Burning the building down? I don’t wish this. I practice and believe in non-violence.

But when authorities kill the innocent or execute those guilty of the pettiest of property crimes, this is what peaceful protesters face…No one cares if ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ or ‘I can’t breathe.’..in a country where the right to peacefully protest is guaranteed, as is the right to survive and have a fair trial.

Are there FBI plants breaking through barriers, inciting this situation to tip over? Unnecessary. It HAS tipped over. But no one used it as an excuse for public executions.

Public schools are closed! Townspeople are FURIOUS. Violent bullies upset over the effects of property laws have staged an unlawful armed takeover of an area that serves all. Closed it until further notice.

Take all the time you need, folks.

These bullies have stepped right past you and the legislative process and they have their own army.

Your anger is not being encouraged. The airwaves aren’t FILLED with fear-mongering about the violence spreading to other cities – even though THAT THREAT IS REAL. How about the inconvenience to the non-protesting citizens, the tax dollars wasted on this?

This is not brought to a speedy end. We are settling in.

You don’t have to explain why to me. I live here too.

I am trying to get you to notice two aspects.

1. Social engineering at work. How we perceive events in our world (or don’t) is managed and steered. Question where your attention is directed.
2. Why anyone who loves ALL people understands the reason that the slogan is BLACKlivesmatter.

For me to concern myself with the cause of these men, I would have to know that me and mine have the right to protest over not loss of land, but loss of life….and that our lives would be protected and our situation viewed in proper perspective – and not fear-of-a-black-planet perspective, either.

I am not even saying I disagree with how this is being handled. I just wish I could count on the same care being given to my concerns.

So, whose life do you NOT mess with?
Ah. We see. And who brings the real threat of a lawless society?

Yahoos in Deliverance Country

Saw this exchange on a friend’s page. It’s between one born Southerner (B) and one transplant living in the South (A). I needed to take it on a tangent, so I will do it here.
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Party A: Saw somewhere that states with higher wages and taxes were doing a lot better than down here in Deliverance country and states.
Party B: “Deliverance country “? And people wonder why Trump was elected?
Party A: Yeah, folks like you who are permanently fooled and scammed.
Party B: I rest my case, sir. You are, if nothing else, consistent.
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Me: I’ll tell you what serves no one: these lighthearted sweeping slanderous generalizations like ‘Deliverance country’, and related references to incest, etc., when talking about people who live in the South – or for that matter, in rural areas, period.
 
This entire country has issues with race from coast to ever-lovin’ coast. Now. Today. It’s everything from willful ignorance (because we can), to casually minimizing the factor it plays in daily life (denial), to in-your-face hate or behind-your-back hate.
 
But the rest of the country gets to routinely scapegoat the South and rural areas, and tell some fantastical story about the nobility of the North that caused the slave trade (in its previous form) to be repealed. The rest of the country gets to brush all the dirt onto the South and on people who live closer to nature.
 
ALL living in the South are habitually patronized and insulted by the rest of the country like it’s nothing – blacks for over-emphasis on the church and family (which originated for excellent reasons) and whites for an assumption of right-wing politics and lack of INTELLIGENCE.
 
And don’t forget – a Southern accent or dialect = lack of education. C’mon, non-Southerners, you know I’m right.
 
This goes on among academics who know better. It IS a factor in the currently decried ‘elitism’ and too, in the casual corruption that Trump voters rallied against.
 
I say Black Lives Matter because OF COURSE all lives matter, you blockheads! And I fight for it every day. We must fight for oppressed peoples. That is the dealbreaker for me. That’s BECAUSE all lives matter.
 
But it is not the dealbreaker for some of the Trump voters, who see all the same corruption, ignorance and patronization that I see in the mainstream. Some of the Trump voters are just who they are played out to be. It’s true. The ones that assaulted or supported the assault of innocents in the rallies – the silent cheerers.

And Trump himself – the biggest liar of all, gets to play the role of truth-teller. Don’t get me started. I’ll get sick to my stomach.

But there are others whose privilege makes it so that the lying and stealing in corporate America is all they see. The shenanigans that were exposed. The hypocrisy. These thought they were casting a protest vote against it. An F U vote. I hate it. I tried to stop it. But it was.

 
It’s the divide-and-conquer press narrative that creates the mentality. Allies go unrecognized where they exist. It all encourages this ‘anything but the status quo’ for some voters.
 
The us and them. Minds that could be opened go unchanged. Dialogues fail to occur. Prejudice (pre-judging) rules the day, the week, the month and the year. Opportunities to craft new solutions recede into the distance. Us and them. 
 
The South is amazing. There is nothing wrong with prizing nature in more than cerebral way, and claiming it as home. She is the birthright of us all. There are safe enclaves across the country, from coast to coast, including the South. There are areas that seem safe, where terrible things occur – all across this country. People ARE people.
 
From the Dream Defenders, to Rev. Barber, to Brittany “Bree” Newsome, the Sacrificial Poets, just the tiniest drops in the ocean of today’s leaders, visionaries and prophets spawned in the warmer climes of the USA. They are just the very first that pop into my mind.
Some of the finest historically black college and universities in the country are in the South. Where do you think these fine minds reside? Don’t flatter yourself. Many stay in the South.
 
It doesn’t help.
“Deliverance country”. “Those yahoos.” 
It doesn’t help.
That’s all I’m saying and I am sure someone else could say it much better.
But I think about it often.

Not All Whites

Beqi Brinkhorst: “Yes, white people should take a backseat when discussing racism. Someone’s going to have to take a backseat, that’s how it works. Why WOULDN’T it be the section that isn’t the victim of the subject? By making your own hurt feelings (as a white person) the focus of the discussion, you are proving the point of racism, not fighting it.”

Me: What she said. We find it SO HARD to just not be the center and to have someone else’s concerns be THE focus. The end. The hurt feelings, the painstaking parsing, the “but not all whites”. As someone else wisely pointed out, Of COURSE ‘not all…’. That’s why we’re sitting here having this conversation together! The assumption is, that is understood, UNTIL you felt anxious and just HAD to derail the topic because a conversation on race cannot take place without that insertion. “Yes, there, there. Of course we know it’s not all whites.”

Doesn’t matter that POC spend 90% of the time carefully appearing not to notice and staying focused in a world that is filled with micro-aggressions towards them, and dealing with assumptions made about them. That’s different. White people’s hurt feelings must always be the priority if they are present. And that is just as it should be. But oh, it’s everyone ELSE that’s “too sensitive”. Sigh.

I’m Not Cynical

I’m not cynical. It’s the opposite. From time to time, when I give my take on a topic in the news, I receive a surprised, “You’re so cynical.” People getting to know me don’t expect it, because I AM so positive. They expect rays of sunshine and daisies to flow from my lips. Hey, sometimes they do!

As a child, no one was really protecting me or to what I was exposed. So in the poor section of Miami Beach, I saw many things and experienced many things, too. Most of all, I saw really wealthy people come to act out where no one knew them. ALOT.

And at the apartment, I lived with an intelligent and curious person who was so done with being a parent and was still an abuse survivor as well as overworked, distracted and beaten-down-by-patriarchy.

So I am not surprised by things in the news that others are debating whether to believe at all. And to me, it is a KINDNESS to speak the truth and not look away from it. It’s what we can do!

Rape and child abuse are HUGE in this country. Note: My only question re Cosby is: Who did he piss off? What deal did he try to get out of that it is now suddenly Cosby open season? Of course he did it. But to think it is so uncommon…that is the part. Which well-paid underling was steering these hopeful girls to Cosby? Same with Jerry Sandusky case – only it should be a wake-up call and not “now we got that bad guy”. How many underlings looked the other way? For how many years? How many faceless peers shared his “interest” in founding Second Mile children’s charity? What did they tell themselves? So sad.

But a villain is found and scapegoated, thrown to the wolves so the rest can continue in quiet. If this is news, sorry to wreck your high.

You think it stops because it’s unpleasant to you when you notice it?

I REALLY don’t get the “staying positive” thing!!!! It looks to me like doing your part to support business-as-usual. And yet we wonder at the Holocaust and those reprehensible slave-owners. “How could this go on for so long?”

I am not for sensationalism. I get no kick. Check this: I don’t even rent movies with violence and sadism in them! That leaves out wide swathes of popular culture, that I would otherwise enjoy, let me tell you.

How come we are so into it on the screen but it’s so “inappropriate” and “extremist” to stand up to it in real life??!!!

I have an idea. How about learning to feel elevated, liberated and kind and good when you recognize an unpleasant reality for the first time? I think anything OTHER than that is CYNICAL!! Because it’s not telling the truth when deep in you, you know. How do YOU define cynicism?

And you have to ask, who are you protecting? And why?

Anne Frank, Slavery, A Piece of God, the President, Choice

Anne Frank

Annelies Marie Frank was born 85 years ago today in Frankfurt, Germany. She would be one of the more than one million children who perished in the Holocaust, but her diary endures. On her birthday, learn more about Anne Frank, read some of her original writings, and help us pay tribute to her and all children who lost their lives during the Holocaust: http://bit.ly/1l4JYSg
Photo: Anne Frank Stichting
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Anne Frank would have been 85 today. We try to act like the most famous and horrific injustices and war crimes, such as the Holocaust and United States officially sanctioned African slave trade and culture are ANCIENT history.

In the case of the Holocaust, some survivors still exist. My father arrived here as a small boy, long before WW II, his parents escaping the Cossacks with the clothes on their backs. But I understand that much of my family that had found it’s way to Europe was lost to the Nazis.

Still, we have rampant memes and story lines, the incessant drumbeat, “all Jews come from money, stick together and are scheming to (or have) taken over the world.” Sadly, I know that these narratives are SO pervasive and convincing that odds are at least one person reading even my extremely progressive (“Hurry up, world, I got grandkids. It was supposed to be better by now!”) posts is actively struggling not to buy in.

Then some BORN into generations of American slavery passed away only recently and their 1st generation non-enslaved children and grandchildren still walk among us, suffering the effects of generations of systematically abused and abolished families and destroyed cultural heritage. The fruits of the efforts to find, restore, reclaim and rebuild are nothing short of stunning. But, still…

We all know the range of ways that we accept and face this or find ourselves being fed some flavor of the “that should have no effect on today, hey, X immigrant group were derided, discriminated against and denied employment too, we all came from somewhere”, whitewash.

In honor of little Anne Frank, who never got to do more in life, than write her hopes and insights (“I still believe people are really good at heart. “) into her diary, let’s resolve to speak out against corruption, torture, slavery and abuse, including of our Earth, still existing in today’s world instead of being part of an equally ongoing, unchanging it’s-not-so-bad, whitewash.

Our president is not a descendent of enslaved destroyed families. His mom had a fine start in life and he never knew his African academic father. He wrote an entire book about his efforts to piece together his paternal background and to understand the choices of this man.But still, his skin color is routinely pointed to as proof that “Everything is all better now. See?” As our President, he would be the first to look around and explain to you why that is not the case. We got work to do – not for the good of some of us, but for the good of all of us.

Still, we persist in dismissing our ANCIENT HISTORY. “How could THAT have happened?” “Oh it was long ago. That would never happen today.” Yes, it could and is. It’s always so complex. There are always so many factors. Money and power struggles are always involved.

Buddhism teaches the three poisons of avarice, anger and stupidity, from which all evil stems. All human beings have an inherent enlightened nature too, though – a piece of God or Spirit within, if you prefer. There is always a choice as to how our life force manifests moment to moment. Follow ingrained habits and tendencies? Or break free?

Today, I will try to love as if I honor and cherish the hopes and dreams of little Anne Frank. I am proud to live in a community where so many fight the good fight to support, restore, repair, build anew, where hope is very much alive and action is the name of the game.