Archive for the ‘OPC’ Category

Monday, January 5th, 2015

“Love is challenging in all its forms. Familial love, love in friendship, love in romance. Love in our relationships with ourselves. There are all sorts of definitions for love, all sorts of ideas about what love is. In All About Love, bell hooks talks about love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”. I like that definition, it sounds right. And simple enough in the way a definition of love off simple.

Only it isn’t simple at all. Because in order to extend one’s self for anyone’s spiritual growth, including one’s own, one has to first be capable of extending one’s self, and then be willing to choose to do so.

And extending oneself, for the purpose of anything, let alone love, is really fucking scary.” — Mia McKenzie

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

“I would like to be remembered as somebody who made the path a little easier for somebody behind me” – Heather Flemming

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

“I’m not interested in a world where men really want to watch porn but resist because we’ve been shamed; I’m interested in a world where men are raised from birth with such an unshakable understanding of women as living human beings that we are incapable of being aroused by their exploitation.”

On white supremist heteropatriarchy in America

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

“When White people made the rules hundreds of years ago, they never counted on us being free. This is what [Ferguson] is about.” – A Black Grandmother

I’ve become very passionate over the last two years about social evolution, which means I’m paying a lot of attention to social justice. Racism and Sexism are my staples. Which means I listen to a lot of black feminist women talk about what they see and experience in their lives.

This passion has caused me to get into a lot of conversations about social evolution, including those about race. Sometimes, I save myself a little time (and some extra grey hairs), and send people here.

Note: Though it is absolutely possible to have assimilated to white supremacist thinking while also being a person of color and for this information to be helpful in those cases, the purpose of this page is to speak directly to white people.

Basically, it all boils down to this: Being a racist, (or sexist, or rape apologist, or any number of other sorrid things) in this society, does not require intent.

More importantly: Believing oneself inherently immune, or inherently irreparable in regards to these behaviors is a destructive no-win fallacy.

While the majority of white people ending up on this page wanting to learn more about racism will likely be motivated by their desire to set *other* people right, the ONLY way to do this work, and I truly mean this, is to be doing it on yourself. Though there is an educational and historical element to antiracist work and it’s helpful to have statistics to cite, there simply is no shortcut here: You have to be doing the work to discover and grow away from your own racist beliefs.

I think the single most important element to being antiracist and making headway in this fight is to be educating yourself and changing your own perspectives, which you then become more and more adept and comfortable speaking and acting from from with empathy and tact, including the voice you use to speak to yourself.

Here’s how you can rise to the occasion:

Realize your privilege exists, everywhere, all the time, always: Your White (cis, male, able, etc) privilege is not an attack, it’s simply fact.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-crosleycorcoran/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255.html

Dismantle your identification with the Just World Fallacy, the belief in which helps you to disregard the oppression around you (including, perhaps, your own):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

(which is important to do because of this: http://feministing.com/2014/08/19/fatal-hypothesis-how-belief-in-a-just-world-is-killing-us/)

Contemplate the dynamics of our White Supremacist Heteropatriarchal society which may be contributing to how hard showing up to these conversations may be for you (it’s called White Fragility) and yes that’s a real thing:
http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/

Consider the distress one tends to feel when something they’ve always had and felt fundamentally deserving of seems to be changing and how that may apply to you. http://weeklysift.com/2012/09/10/the-distress-of-the-privileged/

Learn about the Helms White Racial Identification Model and consider how you have, both in the past and present, related to it. http://www.pittstate.edu/dotAsset/bda607c0-bbc7-4d4b-8e92-4d0e00c48e94.pdf

Learn about the multiple forms of racism that thrive in all levels of our society, both individual and systemic, and how to talk about race with others effectively (I am still working on this): https://www.raceforward.org/research/reports/moving-race-conversation-forward

Learn how to be helpful, rather than a hindrance, toward the POC who are resisting this social dynamic: http://theangryblackwoman.com/2009/10/01/the-dos-and-donts-of-being-a-good-ally/

Which, if you are an advocate for women’s rights, likely includes rethinking your feminism, too: http://www.thefrisky.com/2014-10-06/10-things-white-feminists-should-know-to-better-understand-intersectionality/

And then get to work: http://www.mashupamericans.com/issues/be-less-racist-12-tips-for-white-dudes-by-a-white-dude/

Remember to take care of yourself along the way: https://medium.com/@courtnee/an-open-letter-to-guilted-whiteness-93ef22590428

As well, two books I highly recommend on are The New Jim Crow and Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

“There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” – Scott Phil Woods

On thing that I run into a lot in my often slogging, infuriatingly frustrating conversations with other white people about racism, is that when many people talk about “Equality”, what they’re actually talking about is a perceived utopia which allows them to continue accepting their predisposed societal advantages and avoid the actual work of creating an equal society.

A better term that addresses the existence of oppression dynamics and the need to adjust in order to right them is “Equity”.

An example of equity is this: If you want everyone to be able to see over the same wall, you would not give the 4 foot tall person, or the toddler, or the paraplegic the same sized crate to stand on as the 6 foot tall person. You would only give each person an equally tall crate in a situation in which equality already exists.

What I hear when most people talk about their view of “equality” is that ‘all people’ getting the same-height crate to view over the same wall is a good enough solution, according to them. This lack of distinction, along with a belief in the Just World Fallacy mentioned above, is often the basis of stubborn, ongoing ignorance.

Your re-education as a white person is an integral first step to being a part of the healing and restorative justice that we so desperately need in our country. But that doesn’t end here, for us, with our voices speaking our truths about what we want to see and how we’ve come to want to see it, or worse with us deciding how we think this gets fixed and taking it upon ourselves to do whatever that is.

Remember that for white supremacy to truly be addressed and neutralized, it’s imperative that we as whites who benefit from that worldwide system take ourselves out of the role of the rationalized, dominant oppressor, in every way that we can, and unlearn having to be the one who calls the shots and speaks for those we perpetually silence.

People smarter about this than me

Mia McKenzie
Laverne Cox
Bell Hooks
Audre Lorde
Mikki Kendall
Christa Bell
Feminista Jones
Grace Lee Boggs
Quinn Norton
Elon James White
Zaron Burnett
Cornell West
Jessica Pearl
Ijeoma Oluo
Jay Smooth
Dr. Stacey Patton
Kiese Laymon

10 amazing Black women to follow on twitter.

Why poor people stay poor

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

It’s amazing what things that are absolute crises for me are simple annoyances for people with money.

Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable.

So let’s just talk about how impossible it is to keep your life from spiraling out of control when you have no financial cushion whatsoever.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/12/linda_tirado_on_the_realities_of_living_in_bootstrap_america_daily_annoyances.html

Bad/failed relationships? READ THIS.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Oof.

This AMAZING article is saying all the stuff I’m living but hadn’t articulated yet.

Preparing us for marriage is, ideally, an educational task that falls on culture as a whole. We have stopped believing in dynastic marriages. We are starting to see the drawbacks of Romantic marriages. Now comes the time for psychological marriages.

http://www.thebookoflife.org/how-we-end-up-marrying-the-wrong-people/

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

“There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” – Scott Phil Woods

The Pomplamoose Problem

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

This explosion of vitriol illustrates the absurd standard America holds artists to. It’s a dangerous, impossible standard that is repressing self-expression and killing culture. It’s not dissimilar in impact to the political arguments that keep so many living in poverty by voting against their own interests for politicians who take away services that were at least intended to make the middle class accessible to all. The American artist is expected to be both a saint and a martyr.

Operate outside the capitalist system and we’ll praise you for your creations, call your poverty a quaint kind of martyrdom that has nothing to do with us, and at the same time resent you for being holier than thou. Try to operate within the capitalist system and we’ll call you out as an imposter.

This resentment is something we have to take a long hard look at. We might think it comes from the idea that a tiny percentage of artists can get famous and filthy rich, or that others – despite financial struggles – have interesting and exciting lives where they perform and create while we’re stuck in a 9-5. But really, this resentment comes from the fact that when we devalue the arts, we devalue our own creative impulse.

http://www.artistempathy.com/blog/the-pomplamoose-problem-artists-cant-survive-as-saints-and-martyrs

These are the places rape culture starts

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

This is an amazing account of the very real corrosion and trauma that results in loved ones blaming the victim of sexual abuse/assault in the name of trying to make everything ok again. I related to this, and I am glad I got away.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/michelletea/my-stepfather-the-peeping-tom

Friday, October 31st, 2014

“I’ve watched men go through two phases, myself included. First, you have to unlearn being sexist. Then, you have to come to the realization that your silence is approval of sexist behavior. That second one is hard. Both involve having to make peace with the fact that your previous self was responsible for harm.” — Shabbir Imber Safdar

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.” — Malcolm Gladwell

Enlightenment as rationalization for inaction is pacifism as pathology.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Sometimes I find myself getting angry at the heads of corporations or at politicians who design and implement murderous policies. But then I always have to realize that I am part of the problem, because I, too, drive a car. I realize that most of all I need to have compassion for politicians. They must suffer, simply being who they are.

What about compassion for the murdered?

The comments around the circle took me back a few years to a panel discussion I heard at an environmental law conference. The panelists were Buddhists, addressing much the same topic, and saying much the same thing. There was talk of compassion for wounded wretches who wound us all, of taking pleasure in the dailiness of our lives, of living simply, but not much talk about how to slow or stop the destruction.

Afterwards, a woman from the audience stood to ask her question: “Everything you say makes perfect sense, but what do you do if you are standing in front of someone who is aiming a machine gun at a group of children, or is holding a chainsaw in front of a tree?”

The members of the panel on Buddhism blew it. Each in turn stated that the most important thing is to have compassion for the killer, for me to see the Buddha-nature in each of us.

That was a very fine, enlightened position, I thought, but one that helps neither the children nor the trees, nor for that matter the murderers. Nor, in fact, does it help the bystander. Enlightenment as rationalization for inaction. Pacifism as pathology.

As Shakespeare so accurately put it, “Conscience doth make cowards of us all.” — A Language Older Than Words

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“Social change is not going to come from knowing more information, but from doing something with it.” — Pia Mancini

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

If ever confused about where one stands on an issue, figure after the “, but” is where their priority lies. — Courtnee Fallon Rex

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Words put in my mouth taste like turd. – Courtnee Fallon Rex

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” – Juliette Lewis

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” – Carl Jung

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“How we call down judgment upon ourselves is simultaneously the most horrific and the most beautiful thing about us.” — Zadie Smith

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“Healing wounds requires a strong enough sense of self to be able to accept the crap we have pulled in service to them.” – Nekole Malia Shapiro

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

“Wounds are the means by which we enter each others hearts. Healing is the means by which we remain there.” – Courtnee Fallon Rex

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” — Jean Kerr

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

“I found your jeans today . . .
. . . In the box with the Christmas lights
And old feelings
Came like parachutes
To rest me on the basement floor. . .

You know . . . I really liked you
I think you were the best playmate
I’ve ever had . . .
Even now . . .
I have some plans . . . left over
Like your jeans”

– Meritt Malloy

Monday, July 7th, 2014

“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave, you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.” ― Caitlyn Siehl

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

“The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.” – Bill Watterson

Monday, June 30th, 2014

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” – Ram Dass