Reflections after seeing I Am Not Your Negro

I am a woman born in the mid-20th century in Northern Europe.  I am not African, Middle Eastern, Asian, nor am I Christian.  I saw the biographical film about James Baldwin last night with two friends at the Women's Museum in San Diego.  It drove home the truth of the past and present situation in the United States once again: a dire, systematic, brutal, oppressive, constant, blinding, discordant subjugation of some of our people by others of our people.

The awareness and realization that nothing will change unless and until we (you and I) change came home deep inside me once again.  I'd read James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Eldridge Cleaver when I was a kid and smugly thought I understood, with dollops of compassion, what the black experience was.  I cannot, nor will I ever, know the reality of living in the United States since it was founded on principles of racism and subjugation, with those in power (and living in terror of the loss of that power) needing to believe that their fellow human beings with a skin color other than theirs are inferior beings, more akin to animals than humans.

Much of my focus over my lifetime has been an attempt to understand 'the other' as I do myself. Being an outsider helped me do this, however awkward and uncomfortable. It's important to be uncomfortable and hard.  My discomfort is nothing compared to those who don't have a choice, but are "othered" their entire lives.  I can slip in and out of ease, with ease.  

My privilege...I believe I've inherited privilege and ignorance of that privilege.  However much my attention and examination goes to my biases, I'm sure I have more that I'm unaware of.  Such is the nature of being a white female, I guess.  But I can try!

Angst and the Spiritual Doldrums

Angst: 

a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity (teenage angst), according to Mirriam Webster.  

Spiritual: 

  1. of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit :  incorporeal spiritual needs

  2. a. of or relating to sacred matters spiritual songs b :  ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal spiritual authority lords spiritual

  3. concerned with religious values

  4. related or joined in spirit our spiritual home his spiritual heir

  5. a. of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena b :  of, relating to, or involving spiritualism :  spiritualistic

Doldrums: 

  1. a spell of listlessness or despondency fighting off the winter doldrums

  2. often capitalized, oceanography :  a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms (see 1 calm 1b), squalls, and light shifting winds

  3. a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump out of the economic doldrums

So, lately and uncharacteristically, I'm waking up feeling sad, anxious, listless, disconnected and dispirited.  I think these three definitions pull together the sense of what's going on with me pretty accurately.

I went to the Impeachment March in downtown San Diego yesterday and immediately saw the group of men and women (boys and girls, really) who were gathered on one end and looked like they were ready to rumble.  Things moved along and got louder and louder, with oppositional forces coming into close contact.

I'm very frightened that the vitriol, the happiness displayed by the agitators who were pro-Trump, anti-impeachment... no - the glee on their faces at making an impact that schoolyard bullies must feel ...has brought me to an even deeper sense of worry and - yes - angst.  There was no way to make them shut off their bullhorns that ended up just squawking to drown out the speakers.  It was the opposite of inspiring, and it worked on me.  I left. I couldn't take the feelings of outrage, inability to effectively communicate, the impossibility of engagement or connection.  

I'm not feeling very hopeful today, so I'm making ice cream.  Peach and strawberry ice cream.  

 

SD Art Institute Intersectional Feminism Panel 3-6-17

Intersectionality, as coined by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is the “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”

Panelists include:
1. Melinda Guillen
2. Artemisa Clark
3. Angie Jennings
4. Eunsong Kim
5. Jillian Hernandez
6. Andrea Chung
7. Maria Mathioudakis

Intro

First speaker

Second speaker

Third speaker

Fourth speaker

Fifth speaker

Sixth speaker

Seventh speaker