To me white privilege a mindfulness conversation of the reality that in US [and other countries] the basis is the white community as the ‘norm’ so to speak. A person of ‘color’, though I am not fond of that term, is most often seen as nefarious as is the undercurrent conversation that white is ‘good’ the rest less. White privilege is a mindfulness conversation that the black community is still rising and facing the undercurrent deeply ingrained negative conversations and views of the black community that came from slave times into times of Jim Crow and the poverty of this and residuals in modern society. White privilege is a mindfulness conversation for us as a society to be aware of all of this and to be conscious of this instead of project blanket views of black people are lazy, evil, violent, nefarious and less than. It’s about dispelling misconceptions and hatred rather than fuel it.
Now this is what white privilege is not: It is not about ‘white people are evil’ or ‘the root of all violence throughout time’. It’s not about superiority/inferiority. It’s not about shaming white people, the whole point is pull shame out of black community not project more shame into the world. White privilege is not about white people hating themselves, no one should hate them self. It’s not about blaming generations of white people for being white. To me those conversations actually cloud the experience and voices of the black community, not highlight. When everyone is considered a NeoNazi, ‘Neo Nazi’ means nothing. I find such implicatons dangerous as it minimizes actual racial violence. To me the white privilege conversation is about all of us being mindful, it’s not an action, it’s simply a mindfulness. If action is inspired & authentic cool if not cool, it’s simply about awareness. If there is an action being requested, people hear requests that are not shame laden but rather fueled by inspiration and call to community and unity. However, to say there is a need for action & shame those who do not, rather than support those who do, and to not lead by inspiration to me affects those who rely on their voices being heard the most. I would rather support the black community than hurt the black community.
Any conversation of white privilege that is fueled with hatred and division to me is not the conversation of white privilege but rather ‘white privilege’ being used as a banner to be hateful as any activism can be. The main conversation of white privilege right now I am seeing is fueling hatred and division and I cannot abide by that. To me the conversation of white privilege is about opening listening of the black experience in community and view point, as an expansion in human connection rather than restriction. It’s about awareness, mindfulness, understanding and inspiring human connection. My experience as an AfroLatina is different than a Caucasian in America and that is a fact. To deny that I would be bypassing reality. I also realized I do not need to use it to hurt myself- as I used to- rather I allow it to fuel my inspiration. Every experience in life is different, it just is, we are all different. I also know that what I am saying may never be understood. I no longer need it to be. I am not reliant on understanding to live a life of thriving. As long as I am aware of the reality of white privilege and do not use it to fuel self loathing or resentment or division or a interpret it as a wall of self limitation, rather simply as an awareness and a practice of compassion.
What do I want to see? What conversations do I want to support in the Black/Latino community as well as all communities? Aliveness! Art! Celebration! Culture! Joy! Play! Love. How? All rooted from authenticity rather than panic to ‘achieve’ or ‘prove’ anything. To slow down and relax enough to allow my actions to be an extenstion of my self care rather than an avoidance of. To me it all comes back to self care, which is prioritized through self love. Celebration of life, celebration the beauty of life that I am a part of and belong to! Simply celebrating the love of being, loving myself is the greatest shift I seek. Self love is an all inclusive conversation. My root is human connection. I allow myself simply to be.
I’ve been told that if it weren’t for suffragettes I would be ‘barefoot in the kitchen’. Nothing like how quick people jump to remind me of my ‘place’ and ‘use’ as a woman than those irate over me using my own individual voice and speaking facts about the suffragettes.. I have human rights thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, without him I would still be at risk for being hung, not the luxury of barefoot in the kitchen. The suffragettes appealed to the KKK for support as, again, their basis for existence was not ‘equality for all’ but outrage that black men were going to be able to vote even though black men earned it. Men, black and white, were dying for their privilege to vote. The suffragettes were made up of an elite group of rich white women and lived better than most men and women. They supported the KKK and the KKK supported the suffragettes. They did not want the black community empowered and empowering black men would be a step in that direction. The suffragettes, used black women and white women of poverty to get their numbers up during what they called ‘woman’s suffrage’. As soon as the white elitist suffragettes got the privilege to vote, they joined together to ensure black women and white women of poverty could not vote as they raised the education and literacy requirements that most of these women could not afford. Asian women and Native American women were not in the conversation. Native American men and women would not have the privilege to vote until the 1940’s. So I find it disrespectful all of the continued outrage of these rich elite women not being able to vote, while ignoring we took the lands from Native American’s who were then forced to apply for citizenship in the very lands they originated so they could have any rights or privileges. To me the suffragette praising is one of the biggest smokescreens. The outrage of these rich elite women while black women were their house slaves and black men went to war to keep them safe and risk their lives for freedom, along with the white men who had been doing going to war as well and did not have the privilege of living like the suffragettes and forget white women of poverty. Ida B. Wells- my heroine- Black woman called the suffragettes out and prominent suffragette and her colleague did everything in their power to try and shut down her voice. Ida B. Wells did not subscribe to the mainstream mentality and through persistence, Ida was finally heard by parliament in Europe in her please for support.
There were women pre-woman’s suffrage with property who were already in higher positions of power than most men who did not have the wealth to own property. Women were indeed able to have say in property and vote and were already voting in the 1700s. Women have been in the medical profession, including surgeons as far back as the 11th-12th Century. Trotula is said to be the first woman professor of these earliest times in Europe. It’s time we stop keeping women from their actual history and speaking to women as if women had no idea how to think before the suffragettes arrived. Women have been powerful since the first woman existed and I’m not basing that simply on academics. I do not owe my strength as a woman to suffragettes, my strength as a woman is innate & mine. I’m a sovereign being as all women are, as are men. I know the history of the suffragettes and I’m not interested in praising them. Ida B. Wells, that’s my heroine. She stood strong in the face of the illusion of the suffragettes and stood for the black community getting support during the time of lynching’s. Ida B. Wells is a powerful woman I will always hold dear to me. When speaking on the privilege of voting we must also remember that many men died for their country and were unable to vote, even up until 1971 where men of every ethnicity were not able to vote due to the voting age requirement of 21. These men died to keep the war from our doors and to allow us to live a privileged life.If after reading this you still want to praise the suffragettes, by all means, that’s your choice. For those who hold the suffragettes as an icon close to the heart, I hear you, I get that it’s important for you. Whatever icon works, great. People are entitled to have whatever icon they wish. Go for it. I’m not here to demonize you for your choice in icons. It’s called individuality we will all never all think the same. I’m not here to pretend I have the power to strip people of choice, nor would I want to. Not my interest. I’m sharing some well needed unknown facts about the suffragettes and my curiosity as to why these facts are not common place.
Let’s say I take a moment to step into the world of those who perceive suffragettes as ‘heroines’. Let’s say I completely live that viewpoint for a moment. I would still say, if the point is to praise these suffragettes, these women who in your perception stood for ‘all women’ then why are you using them as a weapon against women who have a different narrative than you? Be you man or woman, if you’re perception is the suffragettes ‘stood for all women’ then why aren’t you? So what if these women coming forward and speaking up about the suffragettes don’t think like you? That’s a reason to be vicious towards them? If you support suffragettes under your perception that they stood for ‘all women’ and ‘equality’ then why not live from this perception? Equality is not just for those we agree with. I could personally care less if someone is a feminist, MRA, liberal, conservative, Hilary supporter, Trump supporter, atheist or religious. I could care less. My concern is not how you choose to identify, have at it. My concern is not who you choose to praise, or not. I care about human rights for all people, absolute agreement not required. I don’t need you to agree with me for me to see you as a human being who does not deserve to be dehumanized. When these self chosen icons, such as these suffragettes are used as a weapon, that’s when I take issue. And even then, by take issue I mean share awareness. Take the awareness or not, I’m not attached to it and I will speak it. If a woman, or man, choose to not support the suffragettes based on their history, that’s their choice as much as those who choose to support the suffragettes. To use anyone idea as a weapon is simply taking a banner, any banner, and using it to shame another human being. A way to justify being vicious to a human being and falsely claim that’s for a good cause. No. We are who we choose to be. We are who we excuse ourselves to be. No matter what the banner, we ultimately are responsible for how we view men and women. Most important, above absolute agreement, is laying down destructive narratives in how we see each other as human beings and joining in supporting human rights for all.
As per all of my articles, don’t ever take my word for it, research for yourself.
I have explored the conversations of ‘race’, or rather conversations of ethnicity and history, and where I’ve come to is, I see the importance of the conversations and I ask myself, what’s next?
As a Black/Latina looking at history it is painful and terrifying that not too long ago in this country, simply for my skin color, I would have had no human rights. I would have been segregated to the bare minimum needed to survive and treated like an animal. I would have had dogs let loose on me, fire hoses against my body, watched black men and women being lynched simply for being black and standng for human rights. Their body parts cut off for souvenirs, often many of them tortured first or burned alive. When the cotton industry was not doing well the owners of the land took it out on the Black community and lynched. Knowing how the Democrat party fought so hard to keep the Black community from being treated as humans. How the Democratic party enforced ‘Black Codes’ which were past in 1865/1866 as retaliation to the Civil War created to restrict the freedom of the Black community and force low wage labor. These ‘codes’ were in place until 1868/1870 dispersed by the 14th and 15th Amendment. Though it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Movement that human rights of the Black communty began to make lasting changes.
In 1890 Ida B. Wells an American journalist stood up to the lynch mobs including standng up to the Suffragettes who were appealing to the KKK for support and in this supporting the lynchings. The first KKK was created in 1866 by confederate veterans in Tennessee. Ida B. Wells bravely stood up to them and traveled to Europe to bring awareness to what was happening in America. Ida B. Wells is a hero to me who was unabashed in supporting the Black community even when Suffragettes did all in their power to shut down her voice.
I’ve heard such callous projections as ‘Get over it’. Well, as human beings telling another human being who is present to pain to ‘get over it’ never works. All it does is shame and dissasociate from the person as a human being. It’s not about ‘getting over it’ it’s about transmutation of the pain that is present. Being present with it, feeling it, really allowing it and if needed reaching out to talk about it with someone who would be supportive. To me there absolutely is a healing needed in relation to this history, to all of history honestly. There are affects of slavery to this day in the black community. That’s not something a phrase as simplistic and cold as ‘get over it’ is going to change any time soon. I remember being in class when we were taught about slavery, when I saw the horror of the history of the black community, what the Civil Rights Movement had to endure and I was shocked. I was so shocked I couldn’t even talk to my white friends for a long time. I was processing all of what had happened. I felt angry, betrayed, even though they were innocent, they had done nothing to me. How could I feel anything other than that when faced with the brutality of what had been done to the black community? They would look at me with shame and wince as if to say they were sorry for what happened in history. It is an intense reality to process. No one helped us process this. I felt like I had the rug ripped out from underneath me. When we watched movies and videos about the holocaust I was devestated. Between Black history, the holocaust, I was shocked that humans could be so evil towards each other. History is important, raw and real, so that indeed it does not repeat itself with any ethnicity. I do believe it’s important to be able to support each other when being faced with the brutality of humanity. The reality is humans have done horrific things to each other, to the Black community, Jewish community, the Irish and Italian immigrants, the Native Americans, Latinos, the Asians, everyone has experienced deep horrors. I believe it is so important to heal the wounds of history, for all of us as there is not one ‘group’ of human being who has not been touched by violence and suffering.
What I am speaking to here in this article is the pain of the Black community. When someone says to me ‘You’re not picking cotton what are you so upset about’ that to me is such a grotesquery. I am not nor have ever been a slave, nor should I be ‘grateful’ for not being a slave today. Simply for being Black that does not mean I am predisposed to being a slave and therefore should be grateful I am not. I find that statement to be completely ignorant and a shaming tactic to put Black people ‘in their place’ as a reminder that we should be slaves. This is a phrase that has been spoken across ethnicities including people in the Black community. No. Do not address me as slave. I am a human, I am free. And I am very aware of history and the effects of the Black community. I can’t pretend that never happened. The people who say such things as ‘you’re not out picking cotton, get over it’, I do not hate them. I find it upsetting and I recognize it is an unconsicousness that I do not need to feed. Just as I am human, so are they. They have their pain, their view of the world that even though I do not understand, I don’t have to hate them or try and force listening where there isn’t. I don’t have to take it on either nor do I silence myself. I just find another focus where my voice will make the most difference and hopefully create a thread of unity even in the disparity.
I don’t believe in minimizing the pain of the Black community processing history. Especially since there are still conversations underlying in society that view Black as nefarious. And guess what? I also don’t have to take that nonsense on. I make stories such as ‘Black people are nefarious’ insignificant. I am sovereign and simply do not need to enroll myself in or take on any hurtful stories simply because they exist in society. There will always be hurtful stories in society. It’s just part of humanity at this time. I do not need to give it power. I do not need to believe in any hateful stories aimed at me as that is not who I am. The hateful stories are not even a reflection of those who spew them either. Pain begets pain. I just don’t have to wear it anymore.
What I do believe in is, it is time to heal the pains of history, support each other and continue to rise. The after affects of slavery are real. The Black community has come a long way and will continue to. To me that is inclusive of facing history and really feeling what is there and healing it. It’s time to break the cycle of pain. It’s time to bequeath the new generations of the Black community to be free from being bound to the pain of history. To be present with the pain if it comes up for them too and release it and grow. Not to forget history, but to let go of the shackles to the past once and for all.
Me personally, I am stepping out of the conversations of ‘race’. They are important and for me where I want to focus my energy and voice in relation to this is on poverty and the poverty line beginning with conversations of self love. To me some of the most important conversations are the conversations of self love, self worth, self care and self-nurture. These conversations can transform so much in every ethnic community especially those who are in poverty. Conversations can lead to fund raising, taking a look at inner city schools at homelessness and more. Supporting people raising from poverty level into success to me is the conversation and ACTION I want to focus on. I’m tired of the yelling and virtue signaling and celebrities saying they are standing for the Black community and yet leaving everyone across the board with nothing but wounding. Stirring up history with no conversations of healing, just to stir it up to rip at wounds and leave the Black community raw and hurting. Celebrities just ripping at wounds to fit an egoic personal agenda or some unconscious game of ‘savior’. Just riling up pain to drive campaigns of division and hate. No. That’s not what the Black community needs. We need healing and focus. Putting that energy towards what actually supports the Black community.
For me focusing on the conversations of how to alleviate poverty support the Black and Latino communities as well as all ethnicites touched by poverty, Asian, White, Native American, Latino, everyone. I am a New Yorker and here in New York City every day I walk past people who are starving on the streets. Starvation knows no ethnicity, no age, no gender. We can all unite to make a permanent difference in America. Our homeless are starving to death slowly in the streets. It’s a prolonged torture, a slow death. I walk by Black men, Black women, Latinos, White men and women, pregnant women, Veterans. Our veterans who fought for our freedom, are on our streets! Human beings laying on the pavement braving all matters of weather, begging, BEGGING for a scrap of food. It is physically painful for me. Every single time. To walk by my fellow human laying on the streets, squishing themselves onto a small step to cover at least a small part of their body from the rain, it is painful. This is not normal yet we have normalized it. People starving in America is not normal. I do believe that people deeply care about this issue yet can feel at a loss or helpless to make a difference. We need each other. We need each other’s ingenuity, each others passion, each others brilliance, each others hearts. Of all the differences we have, political, religious, historic, whatever the differences are I ask myself, where is the common thread? I support everyone’s voice out there speaking their passion regardless of what you believe, whether I believe in it or not, whether it triggers me or not, I support your voice and passion. Everyone getting clear on what we DISagree with I believe is necessary alchemy for us to be clear on yes, our disagreement and I don’t believe it ends there. I believe in the clarity of our disagreement is where we find the clarity of our agreement. Not absolute agreement, just one thread. A common thread that unites us. In the midst of all of the debates, I believe we also find our common ground.
What if we didn’t need catastrophe to remind us? When catastrophe hits we put our differences aside and consciously and lovingly co-create. People naturally want to come together. We already are together, really. We are on this planet together. All of us born on this same earth.
I believe we can make a lasting difference in the communities stricken by poverty and in our homeless on our streets as well as support the middle class on the poverty line from crossing over. I believe it is an action that unites all ethnicities, all genders, all ages, and all economic levels. I believe we can do this. How? When? Where? I do not know yet. I don’t share it as a pressure to act out of panic and self neglect, rather as an opening to conversations and actions rooted in self care first. And I open to the infinite possibilities when I speak to you my fellow human being and do not shut you out because you look or think differently or because you challenge my set ways of being. I stay open to the possibility of lasting difference in this country and in this world by taking the time to self care, hold myself in the love I am, know myself as worthy and remember the innocence in me and the innocence in the people of this world. I believe in humanity and all the love and beauty and determination human beings are in being and in action.
I believe everything, all possibility, begins in my own healing, my own self love, self tenderness, the cultivation of my joy, inner peace, relaxation, health. It all begins in me. I can only meet you with the generosity I give to myself. If I am a miser to me, I will be a miser to you. I believe in generosity of spirit and I know that begins in me. I believe every human being holds a piece to a very important bigger puzzle, bigger than me, bigger than my identity. I don’t make our powerful differences wrong as a whole, as a matter of fact I believe that’s a piece to the puzzle too. Even if I as an individual have my own strong opinions politically, socially, etc and make certain conversations wrong, when I take myself out of it, pull back and look at all of the conversations, I do get the importance and value of opposing views. I belive it is opposition that keeps me honest. Without any opposing views, I would be concerned I had found myself in an echo chamber. As I have said, I do believe finding clarity of disagreement leads to finding a common thread amongst each topic of disagreement and perhaps even across the board. I believe lasting action isn’t birthed from anxiety but rather from the most powerful and radical activism I know- self love.
Anything is possible. I really do believe so. Starting with the call to my inner journey. Starting with how I view and treat myself. Starting with holding myself as precious. Starting with my own heart.
Attached meme created by unknown.
The wisdom of a friend shines through in these conversations of racism sharing with me those who speak such things they cannot help themselves, my soul family shares they know not what they do and my mothers voice pierces through the veil, there is nothing to forgive. I am left in tears of surrender.
So to be abundantly clear here, this does not mean I do not forgive or do not believe in the process of forgiveness. Of course I do. To me this touches a very specific place in me when my mother says these words that is hard to put into words as it is a feeling. Forgiveness is an important practice for me and these words touch something that is transformative to me. Can’t word it yet.
I am not a minority. I am a human being. Before I am a woman, black, Latina, ex homeless, single mom, I am a human being. Not a minority. Not marginalized. People suffer. That’s a fact. When we say ones suffering weighs more than another we dehumanize and scapegoat. It just doesn’t work and it’s just not a conversation of unity. It is not the conversation of finding how we work together as humans it is a stand still not forward movement.
Can you hear I am not a minority? Can you hear I am human? I am American and live in a beautiful powerful country where luxury is my daily life. I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and no one can shove me down and say I can’t because I’m black. Can you hear my freedom that Martin Luther King Jr gave his life for? Can you see the power in me from my ancestors?
Black people have ancestry of royalty. Because they were forced into slavery that is not who they were. They were majestic people of heart soul and power and to identify the black community for what was forced on them, slavery, is a disservice. Can you hear the reality of who the black community is and hear me saying enough of speaking to us like all we have to look forward to is the bottom of the barrel? We are Queens and Kings not the shackles that were put on our ancestors. I will not deny their majesty. I will not be addressed like a slave.