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Category Archives: black lives matter

Divide and Conquer – Let me paint you a picture

Divide and Conquer – Let me paint you a picture

I wanted to paint a picture today. I bought a canvas the other day. A big one. The first of this size for me and I’ve been pretty excited to see what happens with it. I really thought, I definitely planned on painting with real paint on a real canvas, but apparently, this morning I will be painting with words again.

Last year, I was walking through the mall next to the school I worked at in Tirana, Albania with a friend of mine who had also been raised in the USA. As we walked towards the escalator, we saw 2 women with a few children walking towards the escalator from the opposite direction. The two women were covered head to toe, with nothing showing but their eyes, the black cloth flowing entirely over them. 

Picture taken from pintrist JILBAB STYLE https://www.pinterest.com/pin/160370436710598011/

My friend said to me, “Crazy how the first feeling is fear, how we were taught to be afraid”.  And it’s true. The first feeling I felt as I noticed the group was a little jump in my tummy, a little moment of fear, a quick flash of the mall getting blown up. See, I’ve been taught burka’s represent a group of people who are “out to get me”, people I should be afraid of.  I’ve been spoon-fed the belief that all Muslim people are terrorists.  

Truth is though, these were just two women with their children shopping at the mall, just like we were. They were merely women who had a different religion than me, dressed differently than me. It was me that was wrong and I almost immediately censored myself and redirected to what I know is true.  I have lived in 3 Muslim countries, as an American, as a non Muslim, and not had anyone ever try to blow me up, yet my stomach still jumped in that first second. I still had that initial flash.  20 years of propaganda worked. 

How do you automatically feel when you see someone with obvious signs of being a Muslim?

I’ve seen all kinds of Americans react the same way, thinking that all Muslims are crazy, jihadist, extremists who will happily blow themselves up to blow us up. Divide and Conquer. In America, everyone is afraid of Muslims now, because we have had almost 20 years of propaganda to ensure that reaction. 20 years of adding Muslims to the list of divide-ees worked its way into my subconscious psyche.  I live a life that proves that propaganda is not true, but I still had that initial reaction. 

So who are these, the divided, the “them” that Muslims now are among?  Well, there’s women, LGBTQ, People of Color, immigrants, apparently the Chinese have their own ‘them’ group now aside from ‘Asians’. And we’re really pushing the Democrat vs Republican us and them groups hard. No longer are those terms for parties or ideals, but rather they are very much like Sneetches, with Sylvester McMonkey McBean at the wheel of that machine.  Division.  It’s how you win over countries, start world wars, eradicate groups of people, and apparently it is how you run America.

In this crazy thought blizzard that would not let me paint this morning until I wrote, I saw a bunch of pictures. So I ask you, What are your initial responses/thoughts/gut feelings when you see each photo? What do you automatically think about before you start to censor yourself?

all above photos from stock photos at canstockphoto.com

And now to the main idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. The reason I had to write this instead of break ground on my new canvas.

Did you think of the one individual in each photo or did you think generalizations about whole groups of people? Did you name the group? Were they positive or negative thoughts?

So, what about the photos below?

all above photos taken from Google search results

Did you think of whole generalizations, or do you think of that one person in the photo? 

Did you you name the group “white men….”? Or “American men….”?

We have been taught to think of American white men as powerful, just, smart, capable, lawful, inventive, breadwinners, heroes. 

One guy messing up doesn’t mean all of them are like that. We don’t think of them as a group in the negative. We single out negative ones, group together the positives.

Yet, the generalized narratives for any other group are almost entirely negative. All powerful women are ……..    All Muslims are ……….  All young black men are ………… All Asian girls are ……….. All gay men are ……..   All blondes are ……    And the positive ones are singled out.

That conversation from last year kept coming to mind today, a flood of pictures and generalizations. All the thoughts I have been told to think about people.

And I cannot figure out why it is so easy to dismiss the wrongs of individual white men. 

Why it is so easy to group other people together and give them all the identity of the worst examples in their group and why we don’t ever do that for white, Christian, American men.

Why can white men actually shoot up places, kill many people, be a mass murderer in action and be unharmed as they are arrested? Yet a black boy playing cops and robbers can get fatally shot by an actual cop. An autistic man can get a fatal injection of ketamine as he is apologizing for walking home with a mask on. 

Why can a white man go to trial for actually raping a girl and have the spotlight be for what an athlete he is? Yet a black boy can be hung for daring to look at a white girl?

Why can white men take over a government building fully armed and have no consequences? Yet peaceful black marchers can get tear-gassed and beaten with batons for marching against brutality.

Why can white men steal millions of dollars, billions of dollars through corporate crime and bailouts, yet every day black people were denied the ability to get a loan or buy a home, or even rent in some areas.

I do not understand why white men can DO the things people conjecture a black man could do, and have no bodily harm done to them.  Yet black men can be killed, black children can be killed, black women can be killed in their sleep having not actually committed any crime at all.  

I do not understand why white men get a trial, where they are seen as innocent until proven guilty, but black people seem to have the proof of their guilt automatically built into their skin, so cop’s think they can just kill without a trial. 

I see people posting, being so dismissive saying, “The government is trying to control you by telling you to wear a mask”! “The governor’s are infringing on your rights by putting the state in lock-down!”. “Don’t let the government tell you what to do! Vote them out!”

But the US government is openly, systematically, removing your rights, the checks and balances that hold our democracy together. Even as the parts they are doing behind closed doors get brought out into the open, it is ignored.

The government has been dividing us and telling us how to think about each group for centuries to keep themselves in power. You want to talk about control. Read up on the United Daughters of the Confederacy and their little side project the Children of the Confederacy. Or read more about the American Housing Project its purposeful prohibition of African-Americans from buying homes. Read up on why it was so sadistically meaningful to have a rally in Tulsa. It is not the mask that is controlling us, it these divisions being pushed on us through text books, commercials, training programs, signs on walls, in courtrooms, on newspapers.

I wanted to paint this morning, but I had to write this. I had to say this. I had to raise my voice to the injustice of propaganda. I had to raise my voice to state that saying Black Lives Matter IS saying all lives matter and saying all lives matter is removing the call to create justice for lives that do not currently enjoy the privilege of justice. 

And saying Black Lives Matter lays the foundation for equalizing all the Them groups, but saying all lives matter is an Us distraction that actually perpetuates the divisions. Once there is equality, then it will be okay to say all lives matter, it will be the most appropriate thing to say then. But until there is equality, we have to raise the voices of those unequal. 

We have to challenge ourselves to see individuals and stop believing the US and THEM talking points. Notice initial reactions and thoughts and challenge their validity.

Most Muslims aren’t out to blow you up.

Most black men are not out to harm you.

Most Asian …..   aren’t…….. 

Most …… aren’t ………

……..

I want to keep erasing that record, or CD, or whatever you want to call the loop that is playing in my background. It is okay to stop right here and realize it is time to change.  No one needs you or me or anyone to have a breakdown over the past, but we need to stop letting ourselves be divided, stop thinking in divisive terms. We should not be in a competition for our lives to matter. There is no harm in bringing others up. It does not diminish our star to have other stars around us. We are stronger together.

And we have to start SEEING the crime and terrible, awful things that white, American men are actually doing. Call it out, name it, and make an example of their crimes being punished. They cannot keep hiding behind the whiteness, especially as people are getting killed having done nothing wrong.

I will keep standing.

Love and Light everyone. Now I am going to go paint something on my canvas.

 

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An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

Dear Son,

I did not know then, but as Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I want to accept my shortcomings and failings, my ignorance, and even those things I chose not to see even though they were visible. You know I try so hard to be a voice against racism and have since either of us can remember. This year I have spent many hours trying to learn more, listen more, and think more about my path and how I can be the best advocate/ally I can be. I know that it is in continuous work that we unpack the nontruths we are raised with. In all of this, one day about a month ago, I was given another moment of enlightenment, of realness I had not known with this kind of clarity before that moment. I was given a glimpse into your current world and it has taken me this month since that moment, to open that vision more and look around inside it before I could write this letter to you.

This ‘vision’ gave me a fuller understanding of the difference between racism and white privilege and why white privilege is what holds racism together. I thought they were the same thing, even as I understood more and more about white privilege; even as I knew and you knew and everyone that knows me knew that I am not racist, what I didn’t know is how pervasive white privilege is in that even if you are not racist, racist crap is done in the ignorance of white privilege. I chose to walk around inside that moment and realized, understood some of my part in your pain. It helped me separate racism and white privilege so that I can examine them independently. And it is from this new understanding that I offer my apologies.

I am sorry that I raised you with the “I don’t see color” brand of racism.  It was not fair. I did not even realize it was racism. I thought it expressly wasn’t. But because I chose not to see your color, I did not prepare you for being a black man. I did not understand that you would not be seen in the world as my loved son, but you would be seen by all the world, except me, as a black man. I did not see color, I saw my son, and as beautiful as it is to have you as my son, I should have seen your skin. I raised you with white privilege, not just my own but I unknowingly bathed you in it as well. Your ability to see the world with open eyes was blanketed by my white privilege.  I did not learn the difference between non-racist and anti-racist when you were young. I fought for nonracism. I thought by not seeing color I was doing the right thing. I am sorry.

Your “knowledge” of what white and black “are” was dipped in that invisible white privilege tub. I was not ‘there for you’ the moment you realized you were black, because I did not get it. I understand now, but that moment is gone. It is part of the past that makes you who you are today, and it happened without my love for you as even capable of being part of it; because I did not see color when I should have. My lack of color-vision, my lack of intentional choice for you to see good black role models, my ignorance and the pervasiveness of racism told you that your being black made you all the negative connotations white privilege puts on black people.

I did not raise you white or black or brown. I raised you as my son. I thought that was right. I loved you from second one. I raised you in love, you know that. I supported you every way I knew how. But there was one especially important way I did not give you what you needed; I did not give you the knowledge of how to maneuver in the world as a black man, how to be proud of yourself as a black man. And now I can see how incredibly difficult it must have been for you to identify, articulate, or even really understand what and where that lacking was and came from.

You could not have said to me, no one could for that matter, that I was racist or that I did not love you, or that I wasn’t trying my best to overcome racism all around me. So how could you explain to me the deep injustice you felt, the injustice I did? The injustice I served out as love. I still do not fully understand and honestly never can. But I can apologize and hope that we can come to a mutual understanding of where to go from here.

I apologize for not being a strong enough advocate for you against the racism that permeates the family of the man I was married to. I chose not to see it because I thought I could love you enough for all of us. That was not fair to you. You had to grow up not aware of why you were seen as so different, treated so differently. To be honest, though my ‘not seeing’ was partially in ignorance, and thinking that mistreatment was due to how you were conceived, not that you were black, it was also partially from wanting to not have to see it.

I was 16, married almost a year when I was raped. Then as a stupid 16-year-old with no support system, I went on the only kind of spiral I knew. The kind of spiral that screams Help Me but is only ever seen as “what a stupid girl”. But when I discovered I was having you, that spiral came to a screaming halt. Nothing in the world could stop me from giving you the best mother I could be, in every circumstance life threw at me. So, when I say I raised you to be my son, it was with all the love I had. I tell you on your birthdays, “You’re the first …. year-old I’ve ever had. You’re my guinea pig, I’m probably going to screw it up, but I’ll try my best and we’ll love each other through it.”  I never saw you as black, or white, only ever as my son. I was trying my best. But not seeing, not identifying, not allowing you to own your skin was not fair, and it was not enough. I see that now. It was all I had and all I understood. I do not berate myself for this. I cannot feel guilty about it either. I did not know any better then. But I do now, and I can apologize for what I did in my ignorance, and for what I did not do. I can apologize from now and where I am now and what I know now.

I am sorry for thinking that trying to explain away your blackness, because that was “on me” and my circumstance, rather than try to help you accept who you were no matter what, was enough. It is not that I did not accept your being black, I just did not understand that accepting your blackness, seeing your skin, went beyond the shame I felt for my circumstance. I spent decades trying to understand how to release my shame. Part of my healing is to speak out and not hide, and that remains true, but I did not see that I projected that shame on to you whenever I talked about it. I did not understand that not only was I not protecting you from that shame, I was creating it for you. I did not see how the rest of the family’s underlying racism deepened that shame and that my not speaking out for you hurt you.

I thought my love for you automatically removed the shame for you. But it did not. I thought every time I told you how much I loved you I was creating a safe harbor. Instead I gave my shame to you as an undercurrent, something you could not speak of, or see, or name because my words forbade it with every proclamation of how much I loved you. I am sorry. I didn’t know.

YOU have nothing, NOTHING to be ashamed of.  I am sorry that I created that in you. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but my lesson, my healing should not have caused you pain. I am sorry. The part of my life that was before you, was erased because of you. You brought me life; your life brought me to life. You taught me how to love. Do not ever feel ashamed of that.

You are allowed to feel all the feelings associated with the complicated mess of being black in America, of the only father you’ve known being racist and having a mother that did not understand how to navigate raising a mixed child in that environment. I wish that shame was not part of it, but I understand now that it is, I put it there. I am sorry, I did not mean to.

Son, be a proud black man. Be the strong black man that you are. You have love, strength, compassion, empathy, tenderness, and intelligence. You are talented, brave, and work hard. I am sorry I did not tell you before this that you are all those things as a black man. That you are worthy as a black man. YOU ARE WORTHY just because you exist, regardless of any misdoings, and in spite of anyone’s words or actions that say otherwise. You are worthy of the love you were denied because of your skin color. You are worthy, you are enough.

I am sorry I did not prepare you for things like shaving the right way, putting your hands on the dash, having people follow you around a store, or the understanding that you were given the worst ‘end of the stick’ in so many situations because people thought the black in you made you naturally ‘bad’.  That is not true. You are only inherently awesome. Nothing about your skin color determines the kind of person you are. I should have advocated that more for you.

I am sorry that your white privileged upbringing set you up for the belief that ‘black’ means violent, untrustworthy, and prone to criminal behavior. It does not. That is a white privilege talking point, a way for uninformed white people to categorize and maintain a level of ‘fear’ and therefore keep power. It is an unspoken belief that underlies the family you know. The truth is, for you, the violence you know came from watching and being part of abuse at home. That abuse came from a white man, so do not chalk that up to some inherent blackness. But also, do not allow it to be part of your life. You are better than that.

I am sorry I did not see color when you were young. I am grateful I do now. I have always been grateful you were given to me. From your first flutter, you have taught me how to more fully love everyone. Being your mother taught me to SEE COLOR in that moment when I learned what I should have taught you about shaving. That was my first understanding that you are black; and you were 19 or 20. That sucks.

I am grateful that you are my son and for the many ways you have helped me see the very different experiences people have in life, simply because of their skin color. I have understood through 30 years of being your mom, I need to remove the white privilege blanket that covers everything. To step out of that bath. I keep growing, being your mom helps me know that seeing color is the only way to create change, to see the disparity, the real world as it is. I am grateful that because you are my son, I had that moment of clarity a month ago to help me better understand the pain you are in now because of your childhood.

Without you, maybe I would have kept on in my invisible privileged life, but I am not because I have you. It’s a long process, but with each new layer I can uncover, each new thing I can pull out, I learn how to love better, how to be a better human. You are the reason I choose to keep looking for those layers. I am grateful that maybe I can help others see too. I am, have always been, and will always be proud to be your mother. I love your skin.

White privilege is a crap sandwich. It is known as invisible because, it’s like the people who have never been fired unjustly and cannot see why that person is so upset. Or like people who do not have children yet, make all kinds of judgments on parents who do things differently than they think they would. White privilege lives in the ignorance of not having been through a thing. It’s subtitle should be white ignorance, but that would probably go over less well than white privilege….

Just like people who haven’t been catcalled, whistled at, hollered at through a passing window, followed, and know to hold their keys a certain way, don’t understand why other people do that; white people do not see the complexity of being not-white. I did not see the complexity of your not being white.

 Just like people who have been raped, see the world more clearly and try to survive in it anyway, black people, people of color do see. They live and survive in the world they can see better, more clearly. They see it and I did not give you that sight when I should have. There is this world in which you live that I did not prepare you for but put you out in it thinking I had.

Healing requires us to speak about the wrongs done, put it in the light and examine it. My recognizing each piece of white privilege as I see it does not induce disgrace, but spurs the choice to move ahead doing better because I know better. White privilege is a not-knowing. And where racism can be examined, seen, explained, and criticized, white privilege is unseen, unfelt, misunderstood, and hidden. It is all the ways we do not know we cannot see.

So, I apologize for what I did not know, what I did not see, what I did not do. I apologize for what I did in my ignorance. I apologize for those things I pushed to the side, so I did not have to confront them. I apologize for not standing up within my home the way I stood up outside of it. I apologize for not giving you what you needed to be a proud black man. You know I love you. You know I have always given you everything I could. But I can see that everything I could was not always enough, and I am sorry.  

Sincerely,

Your ‘thought she was woke but realized she’s still waking up’ mother

Is “White Privilege” a useful concept in the current UK context ...
Trying to pull out what I can every time I see something in there.

#inspiration #motherhoodrising #honestlymothering #doingthebestican #onceyouknowbetterdobetter #blacklivesmatter #iamnotcolorblind #seecolor #unpackingwhiteprivilege

 

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This is why I stand against Police Brutality

This is why I stand against Police Brutality
It’s going to take me some time to fully form how to respond to the issue of police brutality and still maintain enough presence to get through my day to day job in this crazy time.
But, just in case you don’t know or don’t remember, my brother was killed by the police. He was shot trying to show all he had was a phone. He was shot in the belly, in the arm, and not given any life saving or even respectful treatment as he died. They didn’t call an ambulance until after he was dead. They killed him.
He died because the police are trained to kill, because his looks take after our native heritage, because cops know they can get away with murder. So I will keep standing up against police brutality, against abuses of power, standing up for the absolute need for police to be retrained and for other services to take the calls force is not needed for.
People of color are also brave men and women, who walk around every day in their uniform of color, branded by society as threatening, by their mere existence. As a person of color, simple traffic stops are life threatening, sleeping in your own bed is life threatening, being a child and playing is life threatening. Because people can still hold their head up and say that police are brave but African Americans aren’t, because people can say I’ll call the cops and tell them you’re threatening my life when clearly they aren’t.
While people can still say I wasn’t born rich so that means I don’t have privilege, those of us who can see truth need to keep standing up. I will stand up for my brother. I will stand up for my son. I will keep standing up and being a voice. Police brutality must stop. All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.
 

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We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.

I will never forget my children’s words that day.

I remember where I was when I got a phone call from a friend, who knows I don’t watch much television, and especially not news.  It was early in the morning; the kids had just left for school.  I was cleaning up breakfast.

Turn on your television.

What? Why?

Just turn it on, I don’t even have words, I can’t…. just turn it on.  Turn on the news.

And then, hours of staring in disbelief as one of the Twin Towers was in flames after being plowed through with an airplane.  Then the second airplane. The second Tower. The people running covered in dust and ash.  The horror.  The tears and emotions I couldn’t even describe or put reason to.

I lost all track of time until my youngest son, only in Kindergarten, so only half days at school, came in the front door.  It took me a second to register that he was standing at the door looking at me.  I immediately called him over to the couch to sit with me.  I put my hands on his head, kissed his head, his face, and pulled him close.

How are you?  Did you see what happened?  Did they say anything at school?

Mommy, it’s so sad.

I know Boo.

He turned at looked at the TV, stared for a minute.  I could see so many thoughts going through his young mind.

What are you thinking?

There are so many kids without their mommies or daddies.  So many kids that won’t get hugged tonight.

This child blew me away.  I thank the stars for his incredibly sensitive teachers.  I don’t know that he came to that realization on his own or with their help, but I do know that if they had not been very sensitive to the fact that they had very young and impressionable children in their care, while they were trying to deal with their own emotions that morning, he could have had a very different outlook that day.

Those words would be enough, the enlightened realization that other children would be not just suffering, but unable to find comfort from their parents.

But, from the mouths of babes we find real truth.  I’ve told this story before, maybe 20 times.  But it has not felt more poignant than today.

President Bush came on the television later that night.  The kids and I all watching, listening as he said “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Then, as the President ended his speech, he quoted a bible verse and said, “May God Bless America”.

Now, I am perfectly fine with that in general.  I believe that if you are American, you should pray to whatever your version of God is, that America stays safe.  That’s cool.  I’m even ok with the President quoting a bible verse, even though I do feel there is a little mixing of church and state in that, which by all technicality shouldn’t really be done. But, since the President is Christian, and he is doing his praying to his belief of who God is, ok, he’s entitled as well as any of us.

What surprised me, and has stuck with me is my oldest son, then 11 years old, looking at me, a million questions in his eyes, and saying,

Didn’t the people who flew the planes into the Towers do it because they think their God is better?

Sort of.  These people were very extreme, but yes, they claim they did it because we don’t have the same faith.

Then why would the President say God bless America? Isn’t he doing the same thing?  Isn’t he saying our God is better than theirs? Won’t they come do something else to prove their God is better?

And then my 3 young children and I had a pretty incredible conversation about how the pilgrims first came here to flee religious persecution, and why that was the main reason our Founding Fathers created a government that was separate from any church, so that religion would not guide the way our country ruled itself; allowing the tired, poor, huddled, homeless and tempest tossed because they understood that religion can rule the home, but should not rule the state.

We talked about how the President’s words could make people like those who flew those planes want to hurt us more, but that freedom is what our country is standing for, not God.  That’s why we have freedom of religion here.  Some people don’t want freedom for everyone, they want to control everyone instead; and very often they use religion to control. Being ruled by one religion is exactly the opposite of what our country stands for.  Freedom is what our country is founded on and what we hope to preserve.

It has been so difficult to watch the events of the last year, as the freedom our country stands for is being turned on its heels, when the words of President Bush,

“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.”   (Emphasis added),

have been twisted and turned in on themselves.

We are now in a time when our beacon of freedom and opportunity have been shut off.  Our doors are being shut to the religiously persecuted.  We’re pushing out or shutting down anyone that doesn’t suit the religious beliefs of the ruling party, fit the physical description of the ruling party, or the ‘class’ of the ruling party.

We’re being regularly lied to, gaslighted, slight-of-handed, and fed a stream of incompetence disguised in power.

On one level, this has been very good for the awakening of the people to see how we just haven’t come as far as we thought.  Merely pushing things under the rug, doesn’t make them go away.  Hiding under “that’s just the way it is”, isn’t going to work anymore.

Now more than ever we need the prayers, to whoever you see as God, to pray for America to make it through this intact.  Those who help build our country, feed our country, and strengthen our country, have had their sense of security and safety threatened… by our own government.

Those lucky of you not to feel threatened by this, try to understand that just because you don’t feel threatened, doesn’t mean no one else does.

We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.  Our government is trying to close off entrance to our bright minds, our families, our doctors, scientists, our workers, that come from Muslim countries our government doesn’t have business interests in, or Mexico because “they’re not like us”.

Our government is not only trying to rule using religious beliefs as a motivator, it’s trying to push an elitist, xenophobic, misogynistic back-peddle.

I know it’s going to hurt a lot of feelings out there, but America is not a Christian nation.  We are a nation that allows freedom of religion.  Our founding fathers separated church and state on purpose, so that we could not have a national or state religion.  You cannot claim to stand by the Constitution and also say America is a Christian nation.  You can’t, it’s not true; the First Amendment makes that idea illegitimate.

Church can rule the home, but it should not rule the state.  Choose to or not to use birth control, depending on your beliefs, but NOBODY’s personal religious beliefs should be determining the choice of other Americans.

I don’t believe in abortion personally, I have never had one, but my belief should not rule out the ability of another woman to make that heartbreaking choice.  It’s their choice.  Let God do his own work in the end, it’s His/Her/It’s decision on who is ultimately “heaven” worthy, not ours.

I understand the concept of it being murder, but while there is no viable ability for the fetus to live outside the womb, it’s inside her body.  That gives her the choice to choose how to best take care of her body.  Some people take vitamins, some people take a prescription to keep their bodies and minds healthy.  Sometimes, a woman may need to terminate an unplanned pregnancy to keep her body and mind healthy.  It’s never an easy choice, it’s not made lightly, and it’s none of anyone else’s business.  Trying to create laws about abortion is a religious verdict, and has no right to be part of our country’s laws as such.  And planned parenthood does SO MUCH MORE than abortion services.  Abortion counseling, that happens before any services are rendered, clearly indicate and elaborate on options other than abortion.  Planned Parenthood also offers adoption counseling….

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “make” their women wear hijabs, (to cover themselves, to protect themselves from unwarranted stares).  They must stay covered up? That is terrible.  That is abuse of male power.

But, yet it’s acceptable to “make” someone have a child, no matter the circumstances.  No matter their ability to emotionally or physically or financially take care of the child.  It’s acceptable to “make” someone risk getting pregnant, risk getting sexually transmitted diseases, risk not detecting breast cancer.  That’s ok.

It’s morally right to have no option for gynecological health care, but to make someone wear a head covering, no.

And yet, a woman who is raped, will be asked that horrible victim-blaming first question, “What were were wearing?”

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “don’t allow” their women to have freedom.  They must be accompanied always.  They’re under their man’s thumb constantly; that’s so terrible. That is abuse of male power.

But yet, it’s acceptable to “not allow” women to have a legal foundation to argue upholding or gaining their legal rights as citizens, because American citizens are still allowed to be treated differently by gender.  Women face far more difficulty fighting for their rights as citizens, if those rights have been violated because they are women. The government can still pass laws that consider men and women as different kinds of citizens.   Yes, still. Yes, in America.

I don’t want any more terrorists in America.  But I sure don’t want an America that sits inside its walls shivering in fear either.  That’s what Shrump is trying to do.

‘Everyone that doesn’t fit into the plan, OUT.’  ‘Quick! build the walls, their coming to get us!’  ‘Aren’t we great?  Look all the bad guys are out there now.’ ‘America first, America only.’ ‘Why doesn’t anybody like us? We’ve been so good to them before.  Look at all those good things we did, very good things, the greatest things, that’s why we’re great.’ ‘Fine, we’ll show them!’

All the -isms are being put out in full force for the masses to feed on.  It’s so familiar.  We’re ok, the -isms don’t affect us.  The -isms are only going to find the bad guys. Only bad guys fall into the -isms, and they’re all bad guys.  Sure, there’ll be a couple mistakes along the way, but it will be mostly the bad guys.

America, wake up.

Please.

This isn’t going to make America great.  It’s going to make America fall.

I want a great America, for my children, for my future grandchildren.  I want a great America.

But, for that to happen, we need our beacon turned back on.  We need to stand for freedom and equality for ALL. We need to have compassion, dialogue, and a standing respect of the land.  Greatness does not come from supreme powers, greatness comes from shared values, mutual respect and understanding.

It certainly doesn’t come from cozying up to Putin, or devaluing the media, or having no ascertainable ability to tell the truth, or repeating propaganda, or hiding personal ties to whatever, or telling everybody in the world fack off, America first, or religious persecution, or racial profiling, or any of the astounding non-American things that have happened in what is days away from only the first MONTH of Shrumps administration.

This guy is what is going to make people like those who flew those planes want to come back again, not saying God bless America.

 

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Ok, I’m writing….. I don’t know where this will go

I’m not really sure what it is I’m supposed to write about exactly.   I feel like it is something having to do with abuse in whole, specifying what happened in Mozambique.  But, friends, thinking about it all is overwhelming.
The last two years have been head spinning for me, and have seriously altered the way I see things.  The healing that has come from the last two years is far more important to me.  Yet, for some reason I am being led to continue to write about the events of the last two years.
First, I think it’s important to say – While back in the US after my time in Mozambique, an interesting phenomenon began to occur.  Simultaneously with my spiritual healing, I also began to see more of the dark side of things.  Fear began to overwhelm me at times.  I have never had panic attacks before.  Now I do.
I am realizing that along with seeing the greater good, comes seeing the greater bad.  I’ve always been decent at seeing both good and bad in situations, trying to weigh each against each other and making decisions based on how I feel the long-term outcome is more good than bad.  But now, now I am in a league I didn’t even understand existed.  I can’t NOT see the ugliness humans are capable of, and I also see the good so much deeper than I did before.
It scares me frankly.
My ability to be right here, right now is a cactus to hold on to.  I see the future impact of what the right here and now can bring.  It’s not an easy lens to look through.  But mostly it is difficult for me because, though I struggle with the adult land of all this, it is the children I am having the most difficulty with.
And by that I mean, seeing how the obscene scale of abuse that humans are capable of, and pull off constantly, affects our children.
Our beautiful children come in to this world innocent.  It is our societies that hone them into future abusers and we are all abusers.  Let’s be real about it.  Even if we don’t consciously abuse others, we abuse ourselves so regularly.  White privilege affords many of us the “right” to be abusive without feeling that it is so, or knowing that we do.  It shatters self worth across the board. It creates such a systemic divide and conquer system, that everything we do is in it and we don’t even know it.
How do we overcome?  We are creatures of habit, of comfort.  Even as we explore and expand, we maintain those spaces in our psyche that keep us comfortable enough to push past this boundary or that boundary.
And how do we deal with those that push abuse past the “acceptable” places?
I am currently friends with someone who pushes my verbal boundaries all over the place.  To be fair, though I would never have been ok with some of the things that are said, I wouldn’t have been so emotionally torn over them before the last two years.  I have never been ok with the nigger, ho, etc., being thrown out every fourth word in a sentence, but I have tolerated when people around me have spoken like that, saying to myself, “it’s the vernacular”.
But, it’s the vernacular of people who have been oppressed and degraded to a point that these derogatory words are put into common language, in order not to be hurt by it.  I own these words so they don’t hurt when you say them.  Because, guess what, words really do hurt.  Even the rhyme is meant to deflect, push away the hurt that comes from people saying mean things to each other.

It’s a verbal avoidance display of the hierarchy that comes with divide and conquer societies.
And I can’t handle it.  I can’t listen to it.  I don’t want it around me.  I screams in my face about so many things that are wrong about how we raise our children in this society, how we have it set up to raise them, even when we are doing everything “right”.
Reading through some of my light summer reading… (haha) I ran across this from Chris Biffle;

“Listen carefully to how rebellious students talk to each other… there is a continuous struggle for hierarchy, authority and power inside their group. They support each other out of fear of not being supported and of being ostracized, but their ongoing battles build up enormous reserves of bitter energy.

…harassing each other is their way of life, the way they maintain rank in their group. Think of a clique of challenging students this way: you’ve got Leaders, Followers and Bottom Dwellers. There is usually one Leader, call him El Supremo (or La Suprema, if you wish) and many Followers and Bottom Dwellers. El Supremo maintains his position by harassing Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Followers maintain their position by harassing other Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Bottom Dwellers maintain their position by harassing each other, and, when it is safe, joining in the harassment of Followers who are being harassed by other Followers and/ or El Supremo. So, these cliques are small societies that run on humiliation, intimidation and reprisal. They are only truly united when they face Outsiders, especially Outsiders who are in Authority.”

Biffle, Chris. Whole Brain Teaching

Add to that how society teaches our boys not to feel any emotions outside the “be a man” box.  Which btw, not feeling emotion is a part of a sociopaths profile.

Think about that for a minute.

And I guess that brings me to the sociopath that I had the misfortune to connect with, John Goosen.

The last few days I was in Mozambique, the every ready and apparently effective, “I’ve got an illness, feel sorry for me” tact was thrown and hooked into the people that I should have been able to count on to help me.  The available, yet meaningless tears as he said his I’m so sorry, to them.  Said he was diagnosed as a sociopath, and had decided to go off his meds when he left for Mozambique the year before.  (Though to my knowledge there is no such thing as a medication for sociopaths.)  His sorry for them having to take me in, his sorry for my putting everyone out.  He shouldn’t have been so aggressive, but he didn’t understand why I was causing everyone else to have difficulties because of it.

It’s a ploy.  It’s not real.  It’s meant to distract and diffuse.  Once he was “sick”, I became “unreasonable”.  I became the abuser because I needed help, and kept demanding justice for what he had done.  People don’t want to see abuse so much so, that they will turn on the victims even while they’re still black and blue.

And interestingly enough, I am watching this same style of scenario play out, yet-a-freaking-gain.  And again, the players involved are magically unable to see the power hungry abuser for what he is.  He keeps everything clean and above board around the people he needs to.   Shakes the right hands, greases the right wheels. He’s got just enough twisted around the players just below those, uses just enough of the looking like a good guy, says what they want to hear, and bam, they turn their head to everything else; the abuse of power, position, the verbal abuses, and yes, even the physical abuses.  Just choose not to see it, not to do anything about it, and in fact keep him right where he is because they choose to see only the “look like a good guy” things.

Frankly I’m amazed at how easily we choose to see what we want, opposed to what is.  I kinda still wish I could.

My ex-husband always looked like the good guy to people at church, or work.  No one could believe the things that he would do at home when only his family was around.  And I played my part as well.  I was the happy wife when others were around.  I was the one who caused any issues.  I took all the blame, until I didn’t any more.

Then it got worse.  Until I stopped playing the game, started seeing the truth instead of what I wanted to see, it escalated only slightly through time.  But then it escalated rapidly.

And even after I left, he played on everyone.  “I’m so worried about her, what is she doing?  Do you know where she goes?  I need your help to help her”.

I guess this is just a general rant……   but the main point I’m seeing in this rant is

We need to wake up and start looking at truth.  The real truth.  And change it.

Fear of the unknown is powerful, and that’s what we’re heading into.  All of us are living in a world that is rapidly deteriorating as an inhabitable place.  All of us will be dealing with how to get basic necessities like clean water and uncontaminated food before too long.

Sadly, we need to see how we treat each other faster than we need to see how to treat our power supplies.  

Because once we’re in the depths of the struggle for our collective lives, how we treat each other will be the final determiner.  How quick we are to just blow each other up instead of share and compromise and work together will be the truth that decides if we all die or find a way to live on.

Being all in for me and mine will leave a very lonely planet.

So how do we wake up?  How do we help others wake up?

I hear, “that’s just how it is”  “stop being so sensitive” “this is how it’s always been, since the beginning of time” and it makes me want to vomit.

Yes, of course this is how it has always been, why do you think it is so deeply entrenched in EVERYTHING.  But that DOES NOT mean that it needs to remain so.

Our world is all filled up with people.  We don’t need to go conquer new lands any more.  We have automatic everything, we don’t need to enslave people anymore.  We live in a globally connected and political world, we don’t need to have wars any more.  We have complex languages and lots of people that can speak any number of them, we don’t have to have language barriers and lack of communication any more.  We are not living in the same scope as the people who created these hierarchical systems were.  We don’t need them any more.

Yes, it’s been this way for 4000 years, ok.  Truth is truth, but WE DON’T NEED TO ANY MORE.

I don’t need to stop being so sensitive.

We need to help others become more sensitive.  Not only do women need to stop ” remembering their place”, men need to stop “being men”.  Let’s all just be people.  People who don’t subscribe to the -ism’s, don’t teach them to our children.  Let’s be people who work together for the greater good.  Let’s be people who leave a better world for our children, a world without abuses.

#noonedeservesvolence

I guess I need to just keep writing.  Whether or not I want to, and then what ever is supposed to come out will.  I’m trusting in my guides, who have been sending me every thing they have to tell me to write on here, so I will.

Peace and love to you all!

 

The Pendulum

The Pendulum

Today, this morning, my heart is heavy.  My soul is crying.  Every place I go, people harm each other.  The -ism’s abound. Racism, sexism, ageism, etc.  The historic ruling method of betterism is as rampant today as it has always been.

I am better than you.  My god is better than yours.  My house is better, my land is better, my job is better, my skin color is better.  My army is better than yours.  My views are better than yours.  And so the Pendulum swings.

Pendulum

One side getting pulled up, having maximum potential.  And as he comes crashing down at those below him, he meets resistance.  The other side demands, cries out that they must be equally high!

And they are right.  But, if they only want to be equally high on a Pendulum that swings back and forth, with brute force in the middle as they meet, only transferring energy from side to side. No one wins.  Equality will never be found.

We HAVE to stop the Pendulum.  We have to get off the ride.

depositphotos_10208334-Pendulum-ride-at-the-amusement-park.jpg

On this ride, no one gets to be equal in anything except their turn at fear.

We are passengers on the Divide and Conquer Pendulum, throwing insults and violence as we careen back and forth on the fear ride.

And this isn’t even a fair assessment.  White Privilege makes one side heavier.  White Male Privilege makes it even heavier.

The Pendulum is only being swung from one direction, knocking into everything else, causing only chaotic energy at the bottom, enabling a few to get pushed upward on the other side of all those in the middle, who are just getting smashed into, feeling the energy moving through them, with no way to get anywhere with it.

All the -ism’s are different ends on the same ride, different end balls getting smashed into by the same originating force.

Many people say I can’t understand what it is to be a black American.  That is undeniably true for the most part.  But, as a woman, I can understand more than you give me credit for.  All women, regardless of color know harassment just by being women.  We know the victim blaming that will come no matter how we were dressed or behaving. We know the fear and risk of deciding to walk down a street alone.

No, I cannot completely understand.  I cannot.  I know that as well.  My status as a white woman has given me privilege, that even as much as I understand, still provides me with more just because I am white.

But I can and do empathize with a great deal of understanding.  And because of that, I also know that the only way for all of us to get equality, is to stop swinging the Pendulum.  To get off the damn ride. To refuse to play.  To STOP killing, harming, insulting, and believing in the betterisms.

YES, it is far more dependent on those who have the privilege to stop swinging their balls.  I know.  I fight for it all the time.  I get into discussions regularly with people who say “I’m not racist.  I’m not privileged. I have black friends.  I treat girls well.”  Who also catcall and judge every girl walking down the street.  Calls anyone or anything that doesn’t behave they way the want a “nigger”.  People who turn their backs on, or blame Person A when a tragedy strikes, because Person A should have …..  People who blame ALL of this group because a few did something horrific.  People, everyday people, riding the ride, comfortable in their discomfort because it’s what they know.

We need to get uncomfortable.  We need to be willing to throw away Betterism first.  Once that one is gone, we can show that all the other ism’s are a form of betterism, and they too can be discarded.  Then, can we look at each other as equal.  Equal in our decision to get off the ride.  Equal in our humanity.  Equal in our choice to stop giving our money and time to fear of not being ‘as good as’.  Because, ‘not as good as’, is a strand of betterism, it’s the fear of not being enough, of being unworthy, of not being significant, of being deprived.  Betterism hits all the basic human fears.  And all negative actions begin in one of these fears.

fears

 

We need to be brave, face our fears, be accepting of each other, stop, JUST STOP needing to be better than in order to feel self-worth. And for Pete’s sake, STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.  STOP BEING VIOLENT.

I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement in part because I have a black son, but more importantly because any mother of a black child shouldn’t feel guilt for having had their child, shouldn’t feel fear every time they leave the house, and shouldn’t have to go to  their child’s funeral because someone else couldn’t face their own fears, and chose to be violent instead.

#noonedeservesviolence  NO ONE.

We have had amazing leaders who proved that peaceful protest is better than war, better than violence, unites instead of disenfranchises, and gets things done quicker.  When the aggressor feels there is justification in being aggressive, it only strengthens the viciousness of the cycle.  Peaceful unity, standing together in all of our understanding that we don’t really know how to do it just right because we’ve never had an example of how to before.  All we know is that we want to give our children a future that doesn’t involve the Pendulum; a future where we have stepped off the ride; a future where we are equal, blessed in our diversity, but equal in our humanity.

My hope and prayer is that enough people feel the same, that we can collectively get off the ride quickly.

Love and light to you all.

 
 
john pavlovitz

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