Archive for the ‘racism’ Tag

I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND   4 comments

AM I GLAD I’M ON MY WAY OUT AND ANXIOUS TO GO? OR AM I SO FASCINATED I WANT TO STAY FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

The day is dreary. I need to turn a light on just to read. And I fall asleep to make up for what I lost last night remembering how my family was hurt by a friend who turned on us – an old hurt long handled but insistent on returning with full force every once in a while.

And then I open my favorite magazine, YES, page 11 to be exact, and I find an article whose point is summarized as follows.

“ … The pandemic is a crucible burning away and altering the structures that comprise the old paradigm, remaking who and what we are. When we emerge, we will have crossed a permanent threshold, from which there is no return, because there is simply no more “normal” to which to return. The question before us is this: As we pass through the threshold, will we extinguish everything in our desperation to cling to a past that has run its course? Or will we recover the courage to embrace the strange uncertainty of a different paradigm? …

“Only the choice that considers all and not a few will get us across the threshold into the crucible, and through the portal to the other side. Many of us are already taking that leap. We are stronger when we take it together. I’ll meet you there.”

So here’s the question I ask myself. Do I want to live through the turmoil that’s sure to come? Or do I want to be around to see the world where polluted skies, homelessness, hunger, racism, prejudice, injustice, destruction, and an unfair health system go out of style as we move to a world where children – all children – can grow with joy, health, confidence in the future, and happy success?

I guess my best evidence is my reaction when my Acura was flying through the air on its way to a hard landing back in 2015. I was just plain fascinated with what was happening even though a part of me knew I could well end up dead.

I guess I’ll choose to hang in as long as the cosmos will let me

A DROP OF MIDNIGHT BY JASON DIAKITE   Leave a comment

I just finished reading this amazing memoir – moved to the point where I’m shaking. I’ll post this review on Amazon later, but I want to write it here on my blog before being influenced by what others have to say.

I chose this memoir when I was asked by Calumet Editions to list books similar to My Father’s House which will be published under my maiden name because it is so Swedish. Of course I headed to Diakrite’s book – in large measure a Swedish memoir – Swedish as in Sweden and of mixed racial heritage. “That will be an interesting contrast to mine,” I thought. “I so deeply cocooned in the nurturance of blonde, blue-eyed Swedish/American heritage compared to his clearly more complex life source.” Little did I know that his beautiful writing and powerful personal and historical story would break through the Scandinavian throat-level gasket that stops emotions somewhere around the throat level. I cried, not necessarily out of sadness.

Sure, I knew about slavery and poverty and brutality. Sure, I’ve said I can’t imagine how it would be to raise a black son – certainly not by allowing the kind of unabashed freedom available to my own child. Yes, I wrote high school essays in Connecticut about the cruelty and unfairness of racism. I remember being horrified by Senator Bilbo’s horrible attitudes. Sure, it aroused my anger and dismay. But no, I didn’t know. I couldn’t know. Diakrite’s book on the other hand won’t let me escape knowing. The facts, the effects, and the survival methods – including a reason for choosing Donald Trump. All wrapped in the beautifully honest family story.

I can’t say anything more about the book. I don’t have the words. Except to say I wish everyone – American, anyway — would read it, and break through the throat level barrier.

Of course I will give it five stars on amazon.

 

NO NEWS AFTER NOON   13 comments

My latest health move. I’m cutting myself off the news once noon arrives. It’s just too sleep-disturbing any closer to bedtime. So much horror!

Of course I’m sickened by the awful things happening in other countries – human greed and cruelty. The awful beheading of a dedicated American journalist. The killing and isolating of communities of Christians – and other religions and groups unacceptable to ISIS.

But what keeps me awake is what’s going on right here in the United States. A majority of our citizens wanting to send refugee children back to misery and death. (Not the first time we’ve been so cruel. Check out the refugee ship SS Saint Louis in May-June 1939. And the innocents still imprisoned at Guantanamo. Just for starters.) But this is today. Militarized police becoming judge and jury.

I was naïve as a child and youth – even into adulthood. I really thought the function of the police was to serve the public. I believed “arrest” meant “arrest,” i.e. to stop or prevent crime. Truth be told, I know police for whom that is the mission. But I fear they are out-noised by the killers among us. I honestly thought that when a police officer shot it was intentionally a non-lethal injury intended to prevent further crime/assault. I didn’t understand that the first duty of a cop is to kill and beat folks after they had surrendered – even after they were handcuffed – or locked in a cell.

I didn’t understand that the first duty was to treat protestors as the enemy – to confront them with guns drawn.

I didn’t understand the right of civilians to kill someone because they were scared – that just ringing the doorbell to ask for help is so scary that killing is legitimate. I thought the idea was to retreat to a safe place and call 911. Or worse yet, I didn’t know it’s OK to be scared that maybe the person turning away from a confrontation might be getting a gun out of a car, making it legitimate to shoot him.

I didn’t appreciate the depth of racism that makes someone scary– and therefore the potential object of beating/killing — because he’s black, and blacks are scary. (I try to imagine from my white advantage what it would have been like to love and raise a black son.)

I didn’t understand the apparent right to beat and/or kill a man for being homeless and acting crazy – which no doubt he was.

I didn’t “get” that it’s OK to beat an autistic young man because he has a bulge in his pocket – his colostomy bag.

In fact, I just don’t get the right to beat anyone who is already subdued.

I wonder if those same cops go home at night and complain about people who want to establish sharia law.

I could go on, but I’ve got to read my disturbing e-mail before noon so I can focus on peace and quiet and classical music and my projects for the rest of the day.

Maybe that will help my sleep.

Posted August 21, 2014 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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GERUNDS, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, AND “YES.”   5 comments

Yesterday I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. In the conversation I said something like,” I’d like to talk about gerunds.” Her response was immediate and enthusiastic, loosely quoted, “It makes me furious.” There was no need to explain my intention. So when did it become correct to say “”I appreciate you coming with me,” instead of “I appreciate your coming with me?” Obviously it’s now acceptable, but when did it happen? My sister, the former teacher and MFA, can explain in detail the new relationship. As she pointed out, we learned the gerund rule way back in grammar school but we have to accept that language usage changes, even though it causes ear pain. I for one, though, expect to continue saying, “I appreciate your coming.”

But then, what does it really matter when the cover of the “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center says “The Year in Hate and Extremism: The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes” and spells out in the interior contents the details of growing racism, hate, and consequent violence.

In the same reading session, however, I found an article in “Yes” magazine where Frances Moore Lappe says “A new way of seeing that is opening up to us can form a more life-saving mental map. I call it ‘eco-mind’ — looking at the world through the lens of ecology. This worldview recognizes that we, no less than any other organism, live in relation to everything else.” Gong on, she elaborates six inherent traits we can foster, once we learn to navigate the world with the map of eco-mind.

1)    Cooperation

2)    Empathy

3)    Fairness

4)    Efficacy

5)    Meaning

6)    Imagination, Creativity, and attraction to change.

Pages 12-15, Yes” Spring 2012. www.yesmagazine.org

I want to believe those traits will overcome hate. But then, I didn’t say I expect they will.

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