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

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.

 

Safety, Security, Happiness

Sometimes I get confused and think that strengthening a so-so safety net will FEEL better than generosity. I confuse the feeling of happiness with the feeling of becoming just a bit more secure.

I had no one to rely on in my birth family, and always had to work really hard with no safety net. So building financial security so I would not have to need with no one to help EQUALED happiness to me. When I found out I could make my own moves for myself I was proud that I worked my ass off.

This assumption about the ORIGIN of happiness, though, is encouraged by our culture. Even those of us that know that we are probably not going to achieve the stereotypical materially secure retirement this time around, feel it is IRRESPONSIBLE to choose generosity over trying to reinforce our position if we have the chance.

It’s a dog eat dog, right? We only have ourselves to blame, right? To counter childhood trauma, to fit in, to show society, we do our best not to need.

“This is what I am supposed to be doing, right? Okay, then. I can do that. I can BE that.” We all lose sight of the really big picture at points during our lives.

But if we are truly fortunate, we get to see a a choice, even with the help of a friend, and at a life crossing, we see we can decide between getting a tiny bit more secure or being generous in a meaningful way. We find out that the feeling of happiness we crave comes from giving to a worthy cause and not from another drop-in-the-bucket bank deposit.

LIFE IS SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful to not live a life of reactivity from start to finish and be able to grow. Like plants, we grow towards the light.

Women, Here’s a Time to Just Say Yes

Richard Branson quoteThis is my hope and wish for our next generation of women. All in the socialization.

A male friend once explained to me that this right here is the difference between men and women in the work force when faced with a step up.

Women feel dishonest if they take on something without being certain of all the steps, how it will unfold, if they can do it. They are not being good little girls. It’s scary and risky so it can’t be right.

Men know that, on the contrary, that is precisely the attitude required to ‘get somewhere’, ‘make yourself into something’, SUCCEED, discover and realize your potential.

All in the socialization. My wish for the current generation of young women and for all female children.