I tend to write when i am trying to work out how i feel about things, and so much about recent politics has been clear to me. The outstanding question for me is how i frame and understand The Others in my political world. It's tempting to generalize "The Fox News Watchers."† Surely there are racists. I have a strong impression of people who feel economically besieged and "we can't afford to help."
And i suppose i care about understanding that group because i recognize my inner, constant refrain, the excuse of "i can't afford" the time, the energy, the risk.
Work is giving me the day off on Friday to "reflect." I've posted on Facebook that i am willing to talk to people about race tomorrow (because of this gift, i can afford it). That was kinda scary.
I flew through the first few days of White Supremacy and Me. I think that working through my own experiences of male supremacy, and then my own cis privilege and cis fragility, has provided lessons that were easy to transfer to owning my white privilege and white fragility.
I am very fortunate i wasn't directly taught racism. My parents never disparaged people of color. My dad's mother, with her multicultural background, did not bring entrenched racism to his upbringing (countering what ever horrors his south Georgia upbringing could have embedded in his soul). My mother's mother was Swedish, and from understanding the class society there in the 1800s, probably brought her a whole bunch of her hang ups, but not racial hang ups. My grandfathers were problematic, and that's why my mother didn't share a room with a black woman when i was born in Alabama in 1968. But my parents first response was that it would be fine. My dad told me that story with shame in his voice.
It's with that upbringing (relatively progressive for the Carolinas, with a racially mixed subdivision, and my parents supporting me in black friendships as a small child), that my first memory of discussing race was being horrified at with a friend who was insisting "those people were lazy" and me trying to discuss opportunities denied. I don't know where i got that - perhaps my parents, perhaps the books and news magazines they chose. It was either my freshman or sophomore year of high school in South Carolina. At the same time i was naive of the horror of swastikas, and received my first education on that when friends got in trouble for their swastika graffiti far beyond the graffiti.
When i probe memories of the three years of school in South Carolina, i know that was probably where i was in large population of African Americans, in marching band with African Americans, but the memory of being teased and picked on and finding a geeky community of guys who included me (and taught me a good deal of internal misogyny, thank you so much) overwhelms.
White silence though. Well, yes. This is where i begin.
† The echo chamber is clearly not limited to Fox and a particular political point of view.Christine watched an hour of talking heads roll their eyes about Trump taking ... whatchamacallitquine. (I'll call it Q.) It was a pretty information-light hour. I think the one useful bit of content was the observation that the White House is well supplied with medical equipment and there are medical staff to supervise his health, and thus the risk for the president in taking Q is mitigated by that care which is not available to others. That was a message that could have been amplified. An hour spent rolling eyes and bemoaning the familiar problematic behavior just served to heighten emotional reaction and enforce a certain perspective. I suspect this does not compare to some of the Fox propaganda, but it was disappointing.
* Perhaps an extreme example was on first hearing about the DC military intervention and threats of further military intervention. I said "i have no words," Christine replied, "I am scared and sad." I added, "And i'm angry."