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Category Archives: noone deserves violence

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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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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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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