Friday, February 24, 2006

From my personal journal:

I am about to go walk again. That is really fun. Because I am trying eating a big breakfast and a lot in the day but stopping eating at 6pm. And walking an hour. I felt more energetic this a.m. We all went to bed by 8:30-9pm. I got some paperback books for Z to read with me. His teacher sent home areal negative thing about him drawing too much!! I'm all SOOOOOO. but I'm going to read with him more for fun. I am totally not worried about his reading. He can draw all day long and that is brilliant as far as I'm concerned. He has reams and reams of sketches. She also sort of put him down about the fact that all he draws are little vignettes of Star Wars stuff. So WHAT! He loves that and he keeps getting more and more intricate. But still I did get a few books for us to read together. We read every night but--you guessed it--mostly Star Wars paperbacks (he's very into it). I got a few of the Newberry Award type books about--you guessed it--race-awareness issues involved--but also a book about painting. Well, a painter is in the story.

I dyed my hair with blond streaks to help out the dark roots and sort of garish all-over red. So it turned out funny but I'm trying to tell myself to be proud of it. It's all in the attitude, right? Eeek! Where I put blond streaks in, the red stayed but the blonde took at the roots so it looks kind of funny. But as the hair grows out it'll just look sort of radical or some folks might mistake me for queer (I notice my some of my queer friends in Portland do creative hair-dying so I wonder if it's part of the queer culture) or something which is good! It's good for me to realize the privelege I have just from being heterosexual and married--in our society you have more legal rights. It's not right, it just is. For so long, to me, it was a hidden privelege; one I didn't realize I had. It's also good for me to see the classist stares coming at me here and there. I don't get that much. I was shaking my head laughing a few weeks ago because I could practically walk out of a store with unpaid merchandise filling my arms and no one would question me. I'm so Martha-Stewart-ish in looks (before her fall I guess, when it's a good thing was a good thing. But incidentally, she did nothing that members of Congress don't do LEGALLY every day. Inside trading is a perk of being a Congress-person.) But back to the looks I was getting. The attitude, "You loser with the color-in-a-bottle hair." Well, I'm tired of being the baby boomer spending the big bucks at a salon. Where did I read someone teasing the baby boomers for spending thousands on clothes to look bohemian ... So there's a little learning curve involved. Whatever! I just don't want to spend $100 and up every time I want highlights. And then they don't even know how to play around and have a little fun with color. I did. I'll say. Sorry, but my own classist conditioning makes me think I look like a "bag lady." No one was following me around the store to see if I was shoplifting though. My husband teases me he says I could be in the front yard in paint splattered overalls and people would drive by and say there's an owning-class woman. (Owning class means you live on the profit made by someone else's labor.) The class background does show up in people's body language ... I can tell who was raised what now--after 7 years of discharging on it. I am usually right. Not that that is a highly sought after skill. As I write I feel like I'm pissing people off. But that's just because I've seen people get the most annoyed who want to be class-blind and color-blind. "There's no difference!" they whine at me.

Whatever! Interview a few folks and ask them what it was like to be raised poor, working class, middle class or wealthy. Listen to a few hundred and then have someone listen to you on what it was like to listen to that (and what it was like growing up with your class background). Then listen some more. I guarantee you'll have a different awareness of class and class-oppression than you did before.

Today I gave myself a couple minutes to just cry in my car after being at the Goodwill. I saw a white woman make a face as a black woman walked by her (the black woman did not see it) She scrunched up her face in disgust! Then just at the same moment and as I was smiling broadly at the black woman so the white woman could see me, a different black woman was waking toward me and so I moved to give her the space to get through the aisle. She said Excuse me smiling. I cried in my car about the face the white woman made but also because that black woman said excuse me to me politely. I wish nothing had ever happened that would cause her to feel I needed to excuse her. I was honored to step aside rather than make her step aside for me!

Just after that I bought lunch at a cart downtown. Some thai food. The gal, Asian also did the I'm sorry thing when she handed me the food. I said smiling , no you're good, it's fine. Even though I didn't know why she said it. But I want things to shift enough in our culture that folks of color particularly (some white folks are pretty damn apologetic and lacking in confidence too) really get it that they deserve life and they are equal to anyone else and that the white folks aren't superior in anyway.

But I was pleased with myself for remembering to cry. I was starting to feel suddenly tired and I knew it was actually restimulation from having feelings and trying to bypass them and just keep going. I stopped and cried and acknowledged that it was hard to be at the Goodwill and see that woman scrunching her face when the beautiful black woman walked by and then a more confident black woman walked by me and felt she had to say excuse me. I'll cry again. And know that it helps me think about the issues more clearly and take action to stop the confusion about race. We're all one race, true. But there's been some targeting going on for enough time that it now has to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Parts of the human race have been put under enforced servitude to build wealth for other groups of the human race. Then the land was wanted so there's been genocide and attempted genocide in order to steal this land. All of this could only happen after big lies were developed to try and justify treatiing the other groups this way. There is absolutely no truth to it, none. Skin color does not mean a difference in intelligence or worthiness...etc. Any time it looks like it's true is just because the oppression itself has taken away the resources for the person and has also stripped them of confidence. Long-term oppression (stress!) can make an intelligent person have a hard time thinking well--that's no reason to call them stupid or inferior. I am reminded of the quote that some people are born on third base and think they hit a triple...

And now I'll get my attention back out into the present and how good things are going by noticing the sunlight on the carpet and the plants that are happier in this room than they were upstairs in my office. I saw a street sweeper go by earlier and I'm hoping the street in front of my house will be next. I hear a roaring maybe that's them.


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