Category Archives: white privilege
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.
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 first month of any class is the toughest. Creating routines, getting basic English words for keeping the class moving along as they learn new material, and learning English phonics.
It’s right around week 5 when I get to start seeing the little lightbulb moments as they recognize they’ve learned and can understand.
We’re just getting there in all my classes. This week I saw three little lightbulb moments. And this afternoon, as I was walking around the island, two little girls were walking down one of the side streets. They were quiet and walking hand in hand. They happened to look up and the one little girl , who is my student in the preschool class, opened her arms wide and ran to me, teacher Mari!! Without any hesitation she jumped in my arms and let me pick her up.
She gave me a beautiful hug and as I put her down, in her best new English she tried to introduce me to her friend and coached her in how to say, my name is…
The two girls and I parted with them smiling and happily laughing.
As I kept walking down the coast, I started hearing, teacher Mari, teacher Mari! I looked up further and a small group of my elementary age students were gathered and called me over. I was so happily surprised with how well they were using English to explain the game they were playing and show me off to their friends.
My evening adult class is a newer class, only two weeks, but they finally understood the pattern I’ve been teaching them this week and three of them right away started using other words they know in the same pattern!
It’s these moments that I teach for. These moments when they realize they know, they try to share, and they take it farther on their own.
I LOVE teaching. I LOVE it.
And it breaks my heart, shatters it, to have to leave right now, just as it’s getting better for them.
Why does such terrible circumstances have to stop this progress?! Who the fuck is this “nice guy” that everybody likes, that feels he has the right to keep me in a room against my will, and use ANY, let alone the amount of force, to make me listen to his drunken rants. Who still maintains that if I had just sat and listened instead of trying to reach the door, he wouldn’t have hurt me so bad.
And as he’s all nice and calm again, admits he has a disease,
Well gosh! I should just let it all go, what’s the problem? , he’s going to get help.
Yeah. The fucking problem is that is a TRIED AND PROVEN PATTERN OF ABUSERS.
Diagnosing a disease doesn’t change the fact that abusers pick and choose, are in full awareness, and know how to look remorseful, and put on enough charm to get away with it. They use time to make it feel like it wasn’t that bad. And they use their friendships to make it look like the victim is making too big of a deal out of it.
Tried and true classic pattern.
And the heartbreaking reality is that it doesn’t just affect me. The bruises are gone, I can almost put my backpack on, get dressed, or scratch my own back again without my shoulders hurting. My wrists still hurt but you can’t see anything wrong. People don’t look at me and flinch, or ask how I am. Time is passing. But it’s a time bomb, and I know that.
A time bomb that I can’t be here to see go off.
The bomb may not go off here, if I leave. So in order to protect those that are helping me right now, I’m leaving here.
BUT THAT TIME BOMB WILL GO OFF SOMEWHERE IF LEFT UNCHECKED
I can’t leave that bomb unchecked. I will pursue the trial and whatever else is necessary to put checks and balances in place to ensure I’ve done my part.
Abusers don’t stop. They don’t get talked out of being abusers by the people around them.
The charming person isn’t who they are, it’s their cover up and protection against consequences. The charming side makes sure people, “can’t believe it” could be something the abuser would do.
This was a thought out act of violence. And because of it, my students will suffer. My work here will be paused for who knows how long. These children don’t know what happened, all THEY will know is that I left. The adults have just another person who comes to help and leaves.
The heartbreaking reality is that it’s not just me that got hurt. But it’s me that will be doing the hurting of leaving.
And that sucks so much.
These tears fall with conviction. If education is my target, let violence be my arrow, and awareness be my breath.
On Sunday night I left the pier where I’d been sharing some fun photo ops. Using light to create hearts around the newly married couple. Laughing, dancing, having a good time.
The man I was having to live with, had been drinking all day. He had been being rude and belligerent all day. He was still.
I decided to leave. I made my apologies to everyone and headed back to the house.
I was working on school work when he knocked on the door. I let him in, he lived there after all.
I quietly went back to my work when he started verbally assaulting me.
Without saying a word, I quietly got my purse and shoes. As I headed for the door, he asked where I was going. I calmly replied I was leaving.
The next half an hour consisted of his locking the only door out, being slammed up against walls, while he spewed threats and profanities at me, twisted my arms and wrists, having my arms repeatedly wrenched back and up towards my ears, being picked up and thrown on the floor over 20 times, being thrown up against walls, strong-armed onto the floor where he put his forearm against my throat while telling me he was 4 times as strong as me and twice my size, repeatedly hit me while telling me it was too easy, held me down with his knee in my abdomen.
Miraculously I was, “allowed” to make a phone call while in the bathroom, where he stood watch as I changed the pants I had peed in, and finished emptying my bladder where he had held his knee into it moments earlier. Afterward, he tossed me across the room again where I begged him to let me go. Then, as I crawled across the floor he picked me up and threw me again, grabbed me by the throat, tightened his grip to the point I couldn’t breathe and began banging my head against the concrete wall.
Caroline came just in time. As she knocked on the door, he had his hands around my throat, choking me until I was unable to breathe.
I remember thinking if he hits my head one more time against the wall I wasn’t sure if I’d make it.
As he shoved me out of the house, screaming at me, Caroline was amazed at the state I was in and the amount of sweat he showed.
I did nothing, NOTHING to provoke this attack. I did nothing to prolong it. The only words I spoke were “Please let me go”, “we’ll talk tomorrow”, “you’re hurting me”.
Nothing short of someone else’s arrival was going to stop him. He was planning to kill me.
I tell you this because I need to get it out of me. I need to realize I didn’t cause this, I didn’t deserve it, and he had no right to do it.
And also because I want all of you to be aware. If you hear anything like this, like my neighbors staring out their windows as my friend came to get me, DO SOMETHING, don’t just listen.
If you’re in the position like I was, it’s not your fault, press charges, IT’S ASSAULT!
When I was married these things happened because he felt he had the right as my “partner”. This time it happened, though I refused to be/ wasn’t his partner.
It doesn’t matter the relationship!!! Assault is assault. Period. No-one has the right to hurt you. No-one has the right to keep you locked in a room against your will. (except police) No-one and nothing justifies these actions, ever.
And I write because I REFUSE to be a victim. I will not step back from reclaiming my rights as a human, to not be afraid.
Though the humanitarian in me believes that he also needs help, and for my own well being I need to forgive, I also recognize that forgiveness does not mean tolerance. Forgiveness does not mean allowance, or justification.
And though I know I will be back here, – I strongly feel for the people of this island and their education, – for the time being I need to leave. It will take a while. I need to finish classes so that I can raise money for the trial, flights, etc.
Who knows where to next, but wherever I go, I will be stronger yet. I continue my journey and get stronger and stronger.
I am a Phoenix, rising brilliantly from the ashes, my tears will heal others, my song will lead heroes.
I was listening to this popular song, maybe you’ve heard of it?
I’m all about the bass by Meghan Trainor.
I am all about people loving themselves and being at least tolerant of, if not just accepting and appreciative of others in all the many ways we are.
At first, I really liked this song. It has a cute catchy beat and what seems to be a positive message.
It, along with countless other agendas out there, claims to be about accepting self and others, BUT only if you’re not in a different category.
A few years back, one of the teachers I worked with was pretty famous for being a civil rights activist and teacher, on both sides of the coin. She claimed civil rights, others claimed racism.
I believe it was both; for the same reason that Meghan Trainor thinks she’s supporting loving yourself.
For the same reason that feminists are seen as both good and bad.
Because they put down, shame, and trivialize the groups that have been doing the same to them.
I want to state loud and clear that we cannot build up one group by bringing another down.
A while ago, a long while perhaps, I was having a discussion with a friend. She stated that chivalry was gone, that men don’t open car or building doors anymore, and that feminism had ruined manners.
I said I wasn’t sure that was so true, and she then stated that I must be one of those feminists that think no one should open doors for anyone anymore.
Not true. I am a feminist that believes that we should all be equal in how treat others and expect to be treated. I.e. whoever gets to the door first should open the door for the rest. Whoever is driving should open the passenger door. Whoever gets home first should start dinner. Whoever opens the trash lid to see it full, should take it out. If you make the mess, clean it up. If you lose your temper, apologize. If you have your heart set on something, mention it. If someone mentions “it”, pay attention and do what you can. etc.
You don’t get equality by everyone being rude, impolite, apathetic, or distant.
Men have long held a high powerful ranking in most societies. Yes, men have long abused that rank. And, yes, women have tried to use what they have to manipulate into positions of power. But this ever present male dominated society still dictates that even women with a powerful position are seen as inferior.
But here’s the thing, Equality means no one is abusing or manipulating. No one is more or less. We’re all just letting each other be and being good people to each other. If you’re good at something, you get to do it and you get to get paid the same as someone else doing the same thing. Plain and simple. There are no prejudices about who’s taking care of babies, bills, laundry, cars, or opening doors.
You can’t raise women up by putting men down. If you lower the position that men are on, you can only hope to raise women to the new, lower mark. Why make the meeting place of equality lower than the original position of high regard? Men need to stop hoarding the ranks through abuse, women need to stop whoring their worth. And I don’t necessarily mean sex here. I mean many women are willing to give up valuable parts of themselves, ie their personal worth, to gain position, instead of being able to gain position based on their actual worth.
We all need to be allowed to be the unique individuals we are, supported in doing the jobs we’re good at, educated without prejudice, and advanced through merit. That’s what equality is.
This teacher I knew would put a lot of emphasis and passion into teaching students about how awful white people were. Her reasoning was to help her minority students feel better about themselves because “their” people hadn’t done such awful things.
Ok, I can see her point and her reasoning. BUT, you don’t get equality by putting one group down to make the other feel better. YEP, that’s how the minorities got to be so left out, because the people of power shoved them down. But equality doesn’t mean lowering to raise, it means making everyone Equal. Why make the equal place lower?
White privilege needs to stop, it’s completely totally true. But that means removing the invisibility and treating everyone equally, not trapping everyone into the blanket. Look at South Africa right now, it’s just a topsy turvy of what it was before. That’s not equality.
And all this train of thought started with a song.
I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Ok, that’s great, but then there’s this:
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat
It’s just skinny shaming instead of fat shaming. WHEN THERE SHOULD BE NO SHAMING AT ALL. If every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top, then that should include everyone, the people in the middle, the skinny people, the fat people, everyone. You don’t create equality in who is seen as pretty by trying to make the current attractive the new ugly, you let everyone be attractive as they are.
What do you think?