Sunday, July 30, 2006

Harshness in parenting. We've seen it across cultures, certainly.

But what is it really? It's a less harsh scenario than what that parent grew up in.

They've managed to lessen the blows they pass on to their young one.

But how?

Through sheer goodness. Through sheer love for their child.

And sheer hatred for what happened to them.

They decided back then, back when it was so hard, to never inflict that same crap--the harshness they found themselves receiving--onto another human being. Ever.

And now you'll hear them lament that they are "just like their mom", "just like their dad."

They aren't.

They are less harsh, less mean--even if only by a fraction. But their parenting lets you get a glimpse of how it was for them as children.

But that stuff happened. And it goes into one's brain like a recording.

It doesn't seem to matter whether I saw someone be mistreated or I was actually mistreated myself. Being that small and mostly unable to stop the unfair and senseless harshness--in whatever form--is a hurt.

And hurts become oppressor patterns down the road. (In the case of POC internalized oppression.)

Unless!

Unless a natural healing process is allowed.

A young person will automatically reach for this. Watch them.

If hurt, bored, frightened, etc. a small child, before she/he has been stopped by well-meaning adults--will release the tension which is in the way of their "life-is-good" awareness.

One reason it gets hard for parents to listen to the young one is they often need someone to "blame" for their hurt, their "ow".

So the parent--who is the safest and closest person around is perfect for that need. "I hate you!" is a fine thing to say to get out the sense of helplessness and disappointment our young one is releasing at that time.

"I want to be alone" translates into, "Please stay nearby. This feels really bad right now." (And "Please don't take this personally and start dumping your parent-shit on ME.") So "I hate you" is hopeful. Things are going well in that household. So get down on the floor and smile lovingly at this brilliant being.

I swear some parenting advice on "respecting" your child is so confused they might as well say, "Respect your child's distressed confusion."

No, you can be respectful and thoughtful of the human but that means having the information that human beings thrive on closeness-particularly when they're feeling bad.

Going off alone by one's self is NOT, imo, the way to deep healing of an issue. It's a good way to "cope," to learn; "I just have to deal with this because no one else can support me here." It's a way to settle for isolation. It's giving up.

Don't give up on your young person.

(But just know you are going to need support because all your impatience, all your own victim stuff, all your insecurities will come up the minute your child shows you how hard things are inside.)

I can teach you to counsel your children.

Just like I can teach you how to not rub a black person's head unless you're really close friends and they've consented. I can tell you not to call a black man or young person "boy".

But that isn't what ends your racism--and it isn't what will end your adultism as a parent either.

Listening to you will.

I'd much rather teach you and a friend how to unravel your racist ignorance than give you a list of cultural etiquette to follow.

In the same way I hesitate to "teach parenting classes".

I teach nothing.

But connection.

Connection brings our humanness back. It brings back our natural inclination to cry out the racism, to cry out the harshness that happened to us as young ones. To rage out, shake and tremble out, to laugh hard--releasing the tension--(the tension which for POC settles the racism within themselves where it is turned on their own group or affects their health etc.)

So, no. No "list" of how to "not be racist" or how to "be a good parent".

You are a good parent.

And racism got stuck to you but it is NOT YOU! It rolls off easily through connection and time to tell how it got there. You need time to tell me/your peer HOW did racism come to be plastered all over your once fine and unfettered mind?

What's your first, your earliest recollection?

And none of this, "Oh, no that's not me. I'm not racist."

Okay then, so you live in a world of white privilege where folks of color are suffering and you do nothing about it. You're maybe trying to save the environment?

You don't think that apathy itself is racist?

Let's back up a little.

You're good. You're a good parent. Let's say you're white. Do you notice you're white? Is that comfy for ya? Or not?

If it's pissing you off that I call you white girl/guy, the self-studying soul that you are (TIC) then embrace it!

Why the hell not, dear baby boomer, embrace your discomfort, take my word for it for five seconds and know that you've been deeply conditioned to hold racism firmly in place with your VERY smug self-righteousness!!

And this trains your children to do the same.

If you don't beleive me, take your white child right now deep as you can into the heart of a black or brown large family or town and get in real close. Settle yourself down on the couch or the floor and stay awhile.

Your child (if not you) will begin a show of just how far y'all have gotten as white folks from really being "colorblind."

You're not. That's right. You're about as colorblind as a hummingbird.

Go be the minority for a few hours.

The feelings you feel are the racism stuck to you.

But there is hope!

(It's not a natural state to be uncomfortable around a large group of POC. You actually get to get through this. :-))

There's hope for ending harshness in ourselves as parents and there's hope for melting out fucking rigidities around race and class!

It's not a gimmick. It's not snake oil. It's not a cult, trademarked or patented.

It's called time, attention, listening, processing, connecting and ACTION!

Sea Ganschow leads white people in punching the time clock to talk about, process and END racism.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Joy Berry said...

Sea,

I tried to respond to your article on the website that you sent me to,
but I
wrote too many words and my message wouldn't send.

What I wanted to say is this--

To truly understand racism, one only needs to move to a neighborhood in
which you are the only white person standing in line at the local
grocery
store.

No one says a word, but that doesn't mean that they aren't talking to
you.
Indeed, their message is loud and clear.

"WHITE BITCH! We know who you are. We know what you think. We know what
you
do. And we HATE you."

"But you DON'T know me!" I want to scream.

But they simply can't see beyond the color of my skin because, in
truth,
they are just as racist as their white counterparts.

And so the vicious, destructive cycle continues...

Joy

12:21 PM PST  

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