|Posted by loud&clear on August 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
The following is a recollection made by Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. I can deeply relate to her story, so I want to save it and share it here. And like Liz, I want to go back there.
Something happened to me last year, that I've been trying to wrap my mind around ever since. It was the middle of the night, and I got an email from an old friend who was enraged at me. The details don't matter here: We all know what rage looks like, and this was it. Full-on rage. Nothing held back. Normally, something like this would have thrown me into a pit of despair, defensiveness, anger, horror, sorrow...
But the timing was curious. Just that same week, it happens, I had been enraged at another old friend of mine. (Two completely different friends, two completely different circumstances.) I had been overcome with righteous indignation at how badly I felt I'd been treated by this friend of mine, and I had allowed my righteous indignation to come to its fullest boil, and then I'd unleashed it on this person. Which had made me feel better in the moment, yes, but not for long.
Actually, it had made me feel awful. And now, just a few days later, someone was doing the exact same thing to me, allowing their righteous indignation to come to a full boil, and then unleashing it upon me. Because I had just done THE SAME THING to someone else, I suddenly felt nothing but empathy for the person who was enraged at me. I knew exactly how much pain and fire my friend was walking through, to be so righteously indignant at me. I knew this to be true, because I'd just felt the same pain and fire myself that very week, toward someone else. I knew intimately that it IS hell, to be so explosively furious with someone. I could see that I had been in this hell myself, and now, a few days later, this person who was enraged with me was in exactly the same hell. Which meant that we were twins.
It was so weird, but I suddenly was able to rise above the details of all the drama, and to just see how much we all suffer, as humans, when we feel we have been harmed by another. I could see how badly equipped we are at managing that pain at times. I could see how we only escalate things by lashing out with such rage. I could see how I had just done it (escalated the amount of pain in the world by lashing out at a friend, because I felt justified in my indignation) and now it was being done to me, and I could see how these tornados of anger just keep happening (to us, and from us) and how it is, universally, hell.
Then I fell into this state of peace and compassion unlike anything I have felt since that moment in India when I believed myself to be sitting on the palm of God. Suddenly, I felt nothing but peace and compassion toward myself, nothing but peace and compassion toward the friend whom I had been blindingly enraged at, nothing but peace and compassion toward the friend who was now blindingly enraged at me. I could see that we are all the same, that all we want is to be peaceful and to be loved, but that it is SO DIFFICULT sometimes to be a mere person, and to manage these most poisonous and powerful of human emotions.
I was overcome with tenderness toward all of humanity for our universal struggle. Within moments, I felt like I was floating. I felt so still and serene. And I felt so certain of this fact: None of these stories that we tell ourselves about our emotions matter. Our indignation and our anger don't matter. It's all just a trap, a prison. Nothing matters except compassion. For the next 24 hours, I floated. I saw grace in everyone. I wondered how it was possible that I'd ever felt resentment, shame, blame toward anyone, when this state of love and understanding was so much better. I thought, "My God, this is the answer. This is the state I want to live in, always. Just be like THIS, Liz, and you will never suffer again, nor will you escalate anyone else's suffering." It was beautiful. And then I lost hold of it.
It lasted for a day, one of the most beautiful days of my life, and then I fell out of it. My own indignation crept back in. My own opinions crept back in. My hurt feelings made themselves known. I started building cases in my mind against the people who had angered me, or who were angry with me. My brittle little human ego returned. I couldn't access that serene, floating perspective again. t tried to fight my own ego, though I felt like I was the losing the battle just by having the battle, but it returned anyhow. (And hasn't budged since.) But I can still remember what it was like for that one magnificent day, when I felt like I was composed of nothing but compassion (for all the world and for myself) and nothing else mattered.
My question is this: How do you hold onto that?
I want to go back to there.
|Posted by loud&clear on March 9, 2012 at 10:00 AM||comments (1)|
My, my and all the fuss from a few family site members about my racial topics back in the day. Well kiddos, that's all anyone is talking about now, even making money off of the topic. Check out multiracial Beth Gray's rant below. A rant that I can totally understand, because it makes sense. Enjoy!
Beth's rant begins now--> My initial reaction to this article was disappointment. Instead of reading a story told from the point of view of its subject, it was about the writer's thoughts and feelings about her cousin's choice. Why was I surprised? Haven't the reactions of monoracials (especially the "black" identified) to mixed race issues most often been about their agendas, opinions, and judgments rather than about our experience?
After a second reading, however, I decided that the article did indeed have a certain value. Primarily that an obvious "mulatta" who self-identifies as "black" states for the public record that she realizes that she cannot dictate or demand a certain identity from her cousin because her cousin has had a different experience. What a concept! Since mulattoes who are annexed to "black" identity are some of the worst "one drop" offenders, her admission amounts to treason. She "gets it" that her cousin looks "white" because she mostly is "white" and has been "raised white". Has Ms. Parker now attained enlightenment about the multiracial experience or will she remain a dedicated member of the 'Soul Patrol' "gifted with The Sight" and with a self-ordained mission to "out" people?
Much of the article centers on the writer's own conflicts about race, color, identity, and reasons for justifying the espousal of the "one drop rule". Despite equal name calling by "whites" and "blacks" she allowed both groups to determine her identity for her. She surrendered her right to self-determination. She makes excuses for the cruel remarks of blacks but deems it "unhealthy to surrender to white sensibilities". Is it really less racist or less hurtful to be called a "half-white bitch" by a black person than it is to be called a "nigger" by a white one?
The article is also an exposé of the contradictions inherent in the psychology of black annexed mulattos. On the one hand they police themselves with "one droppism" (and police others with "racial kidnapping"), while on the other hand they maintain a family tradition of preserving "white genes" (see articles by A.D. Powell)
Like most thought provoking journalism, this article raises far more questions than it answers. A lot of these questions are ones that I would hope the writer, and those like her who read it, will begin asking themselves. Is "one drop" "dropping science" or is it really dropping science fiction? Is "one drop" truly a valid or desirable premise for forming "a common cultural identity"? Why interpret another person's self-identification as a personal rejection? When will some serious inner work begin on separating "black" from "ugly"? Hasn't her inability to separate those two words also been a "surrender to white sensibilities"?
One of the worst aspects of the legacy of slavery and racism is this internalization of "white antipathy" (see article by W.J. Nelson) that has made self-hate and self-denigration such a large and destructive part of "black identity" in the U.S.A. It is this that Ms. Parker wants and needs her cousin to suffer along with her. She is against "dilution and division" and fears being "Swallowed up…in the mainstream". Why? What is it exactly that she wants to preserve?
'Amalgamation' is what would have and should have continued to occur if it hadn't been for the Walter Pleckers of the world and the self-appointed "race police" who enforced and who continue to enforce his specious doctrine. There can be no undoing of U.S. history. There can be no reparation for slavery. There could, however, come a day when the descendants of former slaves and of former masters are indistinguishable.
Wasn't that great?! Stop on by our Facebook page Speaking My Mind (Speak Yours Too) where you will find many interesting current and historical articles pertaining to these types of topics. If you wish to participate, 'Like' the page and feel free, but if you are one of those that attack rather than comment, you and your comments will be deleted. There are several admins and none of us are writing books or making money. We're just spreading the word, that the "one drop rule" is long dead!
|Posted by Kahlil Digitalx on July 23, 2011 at 6:59 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by loud&clear on March 13, 2011 at 9:55 PM||comments (1)|
A blog prompted by the comment below from a mixed person, who self-identifies as black, on the article that is referred to further in this piece:
Mixed person's comment: Here's the issue, whites have never acccepted those who are different from what they are. This is the reason why it is easier to assimilate to open arms than a closed fist. This concept of multicultural whiteness blows my mind!!!!!!!!
My reply: I'm sure there is someone who could explain this much better than myself, but I think the thing to understand about multiracial whiteness, at least from my prospective, is that it applies to those with remote African or mixed ancestry. They have, in other words, 'one drop', if any, so they are very much European (white). They might have a drop of Ameican Indian, Asian, or African, but they are ex: 75-95% European. Their parents, grandparents were white on both sides. It does not apply so much to biracial individuals unless, of course, a biracial person would want it to. This comes from history and the elder peoples who, grew up in the era of and, still believe in the 'ODR'. They pass it down thru the generations accusing those who are physically and genetically white of only 'passing' as white, when they are factually only claiming to be who they really are. I have distant and close cousins of many shades, some lily white, passing as black, which is just saying, "I'm black even tho I look white". No one ever believes them. They do this because of tradition, or remote mixed ancestry. Some of them, even the white in appearance, do not have open arms if you openly claim your whiteness. You must be colored aka black to be fully accepted. So you see there are some cultures in our country who are reverse of the younger generations multiracial/biracial movement (which I support). I have never had my fists closed to any of my relatives, no matter their shade, now they, on the other hand, sometimes have their fists closed to my white. I don't think people understand multiracial whiteness. It's a concept that arises because of the past and the still present interracial conflicts over skin color. I think this may be where the mother's uncertainty in this article, Dont be black on my account is coming from. I think we all generalize too much when we accuse 'whites', or 'blacks' of something. Every person is an individual with their own experiences, thoughts and beliefs. It is my hope that more biracial individuals would understand and support multiracial whiteness for all of the whites out there with some remote mixed ancestry.
|Posted by loud&clear on February 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM||comments (1)|
Another old post from the Myfamily.com Archives:
As it always is, I am focusing on my controversial maternal family history, and the ancestors and descendants who were/are not dark-skinned people, or who don't feel that they are Black or African American just because they are a different shade somewhere between Black & White. I hope only to be a voice for so many elders who are living something that they don't understand or think is unfair. They are people who are divided on their own history. It is my opinion, however, that a 'one drop rule' for anything is not a good thing, because it takes away from all that a person is or has the right to be. I most certainly agree that much of America is of mixed heritage, but they just haven't fully realized it yet... also not everyone looks obviously multiracial or multicultural. The world would be a better place if everyone felt that race didn't matter, but unfortunately it still matters to many people.
The ancestors have a fascinating story and the more I research the more I learn about the American Indians and the White European's, all of whom are ignored... the story has gotten so twisted and turned over time that it isn't in any way accurate. For me that is something to care about. For any of my ancestors to be accused of "passing for white", because they were so damn white, is obsurd in this day and age. Most of them just lived their lives, did what they had to do. If they moved from the area to expand their lives, if they lived a white life it was only because they were, in borrowing a variation of author A.D. Powell's book title, passing for who they really were, which wouldn't be passing at all.
The author of a work-in-progress book, titled "White Slaves and Indians in the Family", Cary T. Faison, Jr.", a Black man, or I should say a multiracial or multicultural man, who looks Black, (since it is only a color), speaks in his book of researching what he thought to be his Black African family tree. He was surprised to find unexpected people in the branches of that tree. He found American Indians and he found what he refers to as "white slaves". He learned that White slavery had been a common, well documented but forgotten part of American history. The lighter slaves were usually favored as house servants, but did not necessarily have it made living in the house. Although their chores may have been lighter and they dressed finer, the lighter their skin, the more they were susceptible to the men's advances. Sometimes they even welcomed the advances because they benefited from them, and there are even instances of true loving relationships. This is exactly what my ancestor's first slave Hannah was (first because there were two Hannah's), a house servant passed around in family Wills. She was according to Will, eventually paid monies and set free. This Black author learned that his great grandfather was most likely White because of the amount of white genes he inherited down through the generations from European male ancestors.
Cary dosen't adhere to the 'one drop' rule and considers his people, who descend from American Indians, Black slaves, and European White slave holders, to be white slaves, therefore white people...and that is what any of those who descend from Hannah should be able to say. I'm White, I'm Native American, I'm a Black, or I'm multiracial or multicultural. Instead everyone has to say they are Colored or Black or at the least don't mention being white or having white ancestors because it can cause a big stink with some, which in turn, I think that kind of ignorance stinks!
|Posted by loud&clear on February 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM||comments (1)|
Everyone has an opinion on this subject. Call it a one drop theory or call it a one drop rule it matters not. It is only certian groups or cultures in society that still believe in the theory/rule and it's not necessarily white folks. I personally have no problem with a person identifying with only one part of their heritage, especially if it's the way they appear (I can get in to trouble for saying that too). For instance Obama, in my belief, is being more realistic in choosing black because he looks and feels black. I also took his choice as an example to people who are so white, calling themselves black, to maybe re-think their right to claim their obvious whiteness. He should still be referred to as our first biracial, or even multiracial president because that is factually what he is.
As for Halle, she can't say that her daugther can, or will, choose for herself when Halle has already, in her own mind, labeled her daughter black. This will most likely influence the child, if not totally confuse her. I am all for the mixed/biracial/multiracial stance, but lets face it... there are different levels of mixed and people do have the right of choice, but appearance, in many instances, does play a part. It's just reality. I don't think we'll ever chase race away. I refuse to feel that whiteness or any appropriate label is negative. Now, I could say more, but I'll leave it at that. Stop by my facebook page anytime: http://www.facebook.com/speakinmymind
|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 7:41 PM||comments (0)|
"The Lives of Jean Toomer: A Hunger for Wholeness"
I have not read any of Jean Toomer's work as of yet, only articles, some of his poems and this book about his life. The authors try to keep Toomer's varied accomplishments in perspective. They aim to correct misunderstandings regarding Toomer's position on race and offer his concept of the "universal man"; as one beyond racial boundaries. They also look closely at Toomer's inclination toward mysticism and spirituality. The authors find that Toomer's intense need to be perfect and whole gave focus to the many passions he embraced throughout his life. Jean's self-description in 1922 was as follows:
"Racially, I seem to have (who knows for sure) seven blood mixtures: French, Dutch, Welsh, Negro, German, Jewish, and Indian. One half of my family is definitely colored.... And, I alone, as far as I know, have striven for a spiritual fusion analogous to the fact of racial intermingling."
Later in his life, about 1948, when he is plagued with illness, there remains continual unresolved problems with the black heritage of his racial make-up (his daughter Marjery was not informed of any of her racial heritage). He then says of himself:
"I do not really know myself, who I am, my selfhood, my spiritual identity, or what I am. I have some information about it, but also some misinformation, some misunderstanding, but much illusion. Real motivations? What is my aim, assuming that I have but one aim? I do not really know my wife, my child, my closest friends. I do not know anyone or anything."
I feel Jean Toomer was a man who was troubled by his heritage. He may have been better off to make a choice than to spend his life searching and hoping for a different world where race didn't matter. Although, I also feel that Jean was a head of his time in his thinking when he states that the racial issue in America would be resolved only when white America could accept the fact that its racial 'purity' was a myth...On the other hand, racial purity among blacks was just as much a myth and only encouraged defensiveness and unconscious imitation, like that of an adolescent who defines his revolt against his parents by the very values he is trying to renounce. Race, he said, was a fictional construct, of no use for understanding people." More of my review at Amazon.com
|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM||comments (0)|
Seriously, this is good!!! It's not just a recipe.
Mom's Festive Recipe For Sauerkraut & Pork:
Quantitiy by amount of people being served. Measure to taste
- Bagged sauerkraut
- A good cut of pork
- Brown Sugar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- A can(s) of your favorite beer
- Apple chunks
*Optional: This year on New Year's Eve I had to revise the recipe by adding a little extra something. Let me explain because this is a doozy!
Ok, I had the ingredients all together in Mom's roaster pan ready to stick it all in the oven to slow cook. I sat the roaster on the stove top burner to remove one oven rack that was in the way; wouldn't you know, lo and behold the whole roaster pan with all of these wonderful ingredients slid off the burner and came crashing down on the oven door that was hanging open. Much of the special concoction landed on the floor and all over my clothes. My socks were saturated. Some of the kraut made it as far as the dinning room.
Well, I managed to salvage as much of the pork, kraut and liquids, from the oven door, that I possibly could. I used paper towels to sop up the liquid and ring it back out into the roaster ... no I didn't re-use any liquid from the kitchen floor, but I had to add a tad more liquid since so much was lost, so I used some leftover Riesling wine that I had in the frig, put it all back together, cooked it at 275 degrees for several hours and WALLAH! It turned out to be the best sauerkraut and pork we ever had; as good as Mom's and better.
So ... together with Mom's recipe and my mishap we have come up with the best sauerkraut and pork recipe ever! If you would like to try it, I suggest adding the listed ingredients along with a little wine, but without spilling and splattering it throughout your house first. Although, the oven door and the paper towels may have helped make it what it was ... tasty to the palate. I'll find out next time. My only concern now is that, I hope, this isn't a sign as to what my New Year is going to be like ... One Big Mess!
Happy New Year 2011 Everyone!!!
|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
RACE: Are We So Different?
Learn more at:
We went to see this exhibit a few years ago. It was very interesting.
At the "understanding race" link above you can take quizzes and watch videos. There is one video titled, "A Girl Like Me", it's sad, but I have a problem with it because it stems more so from very inaccurate teaching & thinking that causes this problem to "still" exist. I've written a little spiel below. If interested, read, if not pass it by. Do check out the site and the various links and enjoy them in your own way.
Eleanor Roosevelt said,
"No one, can make you feel inferior without your consent."
The negative I saw about this exhibit was that young African Americans who are more accurately, Black Americans, feel they have been stripped of their culture. Well, I'm a Slovak on both of my paternal sides and my Tabler sides have many European cultures, in fact more European cultures and Indian cultures than African. I do not call myself a Slovak American. I'm not from Slovakia, but that culture makes up a part of my being. My grandmother is gone now and with her went most of the traditions of her culture that she brought with her. Time changes things. That's the way life and heritage is most of the time. I live in American, not Slovakia. I'm not upset by any of the mistreatment my Slovaks endured long ago from those who mistreated them then ! I'm not not extremely upset, or holding a grudge about the slaves that I descend from who were mistreated here in America. Of course it was wrong, it was sad, but I didn't even know them; what they looked like, or what kind of lives they had. In many cases they could have lived better lives than what we would imagine. I can only appreciate any hardships that all of my ancestors may have endured. Either way it's too long ago to hold onto. It's just a shame about the skin color issue that exists from those early times. It seems to exist moreso within the black, or mixed culture itself, but as with anything we all have to find the strength to overcome whatever our life challenges may be. The more Black Amerians, especially younger generations continue to go on about their skin color, being stripped of their culture and all the so called "white privelege", the less I can feel empathy for them. I don't buy into the "white guilt" trip that they are teaching our kids nowadays.
There was/is so much mistreatment, and discrimination in the world based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical/mental challenges, severely dysfunctional families and/or less specific charges such as bullying, name calling, malicious gossiping, etc...why do Blacks want/need the focus for themselves only. They have every opportunity and then some. Reverse discrimmination, if it makes them feel better, it just keeps the pot stirred in my opinion. The sympathy card must really work for them. What a racket !!
All countries have had and still have these types of problems. American is the most accomodating country of all; trying to bend over backwards to make up for the past that no longer applies in the present, trying to appease any and all cultures, no matter how they came to this country. Too much appeasing in my opinion. We have our new "Black" President now, will this help? Has it? NO.