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.

Someone Asked About a Boss From Hell

Rather than post a long comment on someone’s page why not just write a note here? Okay, I will.

Boss from Hell? I was on the team that helped select this person. I argued for him to get the job and tried to aid and include in every way I could, once he succeeded in obtaining the position. But once he had the job, he bizarrely began misjudging me as unworthy of his trust, and gradually began to suspect me at every turn. He accused me falsely of various work and “anti-team player” crimes. This last was especially galling.

It took me a long time to even believe it was happening!!!! You see, I had been the right hand person of every boss I had ever had before that, my entire life. So it was a real glimpse at how the other half lives, for me. It was a learning experience that I never forgot and would not want to relive, ever. Luckily, it was a one time deal!

Eventually, I was working by myself in a building across the parking lot from the rest of the department (They needed someone to volunteer, so I did – later realizing he  used my willing nature to manipulate me). He gradually arranged for my job description to shift to tasks for which I had no professional background, as well as dropping all the projects which I had led before he came on board. He was falsely friendly to me, and even subtly mocked me, much in the way he seemed to fear I was towards him. Even now, I wish I could correct his false idea. But it really is not my problem. He creates that around himself.

I refused to be defeated. But it really took a toll on me emotionally and physically. It all seemed so senseless and unnecessary. Like I say, looking back, I was SO unsuspecting – a real sitting duck.

Once I got over the shock, accepted the reality of what was going on, calmed down, and satisfied MYSELF that I could leave without feeling like I had been run off I did secure a better position closer to home. But I refused to even LOOK for another position until I felt better. That was the spiritual struggle and victory inherent in that  situation for me. It was how I made a valuable experience out of it.

I found out, through friends, that basically, every guy (and woman) working under that person left too, in the succeeding year or so. I guess once I was not the focus, he turned to others. Then HE left and he’s had about 3 jobs since. I really liked the crew there before he came along! We had built up some close friendships and we had fun! But no one was going to stand up to Mr. Tough (a pseudonym I came up with here to substitute for the real nickname given to him by a few of his male staff). People would come up to me privately though, and express their sympathy. That was my only reality check.

Through research, I discovered that I was involved in a phenomena called workplace “mobbing”. When an insecure boss is hired, curiously, they sometimes feel threatened by and develop a focus on a well established, high achieving, well-liked “head down” workers who seems like they might be easy to push around.  Every source on this topic has a quote something like this:

The pattern of Workplace Mobbing indicates that those at high risk are most likely:
High achievers
Enthusiastic (those who volunteer)
Those with integrity
Those with ethical standards
Promoters of human rights, dignity and respect

Who knew?! Anyway,  I stayed as long as I wanted. And at my next job, my work was again respected and my professional reputation remained untarnished. Onward, older and wiser.

Here are some beginning points to research workplace mobbing:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Folks that know me are probably sick of hearing my two fave sayings, one of which is: Normal is someone you don’t know well enough yet.

I am having a hard time right now. Sometimes, people have hard times. I’d be having a hard time regardless of the holidays. I’ll get over it. I’ll figure it out.

After reading my niece Lori’s post today, I am moved to share my evil perspective. Year round, we are pressured into at least halfheartedly attempting to emulate the contentment and satisfaction portrayed in the ridiculous phony TV world. The backdrop to the happy existence we are promised, if only we can make our lives normal enough – is consumption.

In the holiday season, this all works up to a feverish orgasm. In the quaint, but expensive TV holiday world, no one has to work TOO hard to make it happen.

There are folks only too happy to spend time preparing wonderful food, spending money they have put aside all year for just this special purpose, and showing the spirit of the baby Jesus by putting up with cranky mean Uncle Tom or lonely worried Aunt Mary. No one turned away, no one left out, and every child eye gleaming with the sparkle of that special wish fulfilled.

People start revving themselves up to have this mindset just before Thanksgiving – or at least to pretend they have it. It’s part of being a good citizen.

Swimming in this bizarre and emotional and soup, each and  every one of us MUST compare our individual quirky existences to this imaginary phantom ideal – even as, intellectually, we know it is ridiculous.

Fact is, all the same stuff is going on that goes on the rest of the year – but there is more to do, and everyone is completely out of the calming influence of the routine.

This is it, right now: the tip of the spear – for the next week or so. How do each one of us measure up?

Well, the holidays were a bad time for me growing up – profoundly bad – nothing but fearsome trouble with a capital T, family fights, big drama and heightened deprivation. So now, without a small child to take pity on, and make magic for, I am no big fan of any of this but the days off. It’s really not in any part of my history. You can say it: Bah, humbug. But I don’t really believe it. My eyes are clear. I can do good things for others year round. And I try to do so. This week is: a week.

And what if, during this week, we just happen to have genuine conflict or sadness – the kind that is only heightened by contrast with this ideal being shoved into our eyeballs and ears except during sleep – how well can we pull ourselves together to avoid calling attention to this inappropriate and embarrassing situation? We wouldn’t want to be ‘one of those’ who can’t get into the spirit! Chin up! Keep that twinkle going!

Life is life. It is beautiful it is awful, it is magic, it is sad, it is joyous, it is surprising, it is perplexing, it is infuriating, it is educational, it is rewarding, it is sometimes hard to bear, and sometimes too good to be true – year round. Each one of us is unique and in the midst of writing our own never-before-told story, if we allow space for that to be. It does not have to be written for us. Our calendar is our own. Love and peace to all, each and every moment of every day…especially to those who are sad for any reason. You have my heartfelt prayers for your strength, forbearance and progress.