Let’s Lose Caucasian

Lithograph of 8 variations of "Caucasions"

Dead sexy!

I cringe inside every time someone calls me Caucasian.

Why?

First of all, because it implies heritage in the Caucacus Mountain area, and although my ancestors were a bunch of wandering bastards, to my knowledge none of them lived in that vicinity….

But more importantly, because of the man who coined the word. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a German scientist and classical anthropologist. He was influential among racial theorists of his time for dividing people into five different races:

He named white people Causasians because:

I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind.[6]

Was he smoking crack? Ok, crack wasn’t invented then, he was probably hitting the laudanum a little too hard!

Anyways, Blumenbach was a major influence on Hitler and US segregationists.

I can’t hear the word Caucasian without linking it to it’s legacy of bigotry and hatred.

I don’t get mad when people call me that, because most people don’t know any better, but I hope we can all educate ourselves and do better!

Let’s lose Caucasian!

It’s the Black Kids

A brown-skinned kid and a blond, blue eyed kid smile from behind a lap top

A very nice micro-dreadlocked older woman held her umbrella for my daughter to huddle under at Pride. We got talking.

“So where do you live?” She asked me.

“I live in XXXX” (neighborhood with a reputation for rich people/Jews/rich Jewish people.) “With my parents.”

“Oh, I live in the Boston.” She responded. “But my daughter’s in the Metco program, and she goes to school in YYYY” (Neighborhood with a reputation for even richer people, WASPS, and rich WASPS) “Do you have any METCO kids in your school?” She asked my daughter.

“She does,” I replied as my daughter gazed at her in befuddlement. “But I’m not sure which ones are in the Metco program.”

“It’s the black kids!” She responded. Clearly, I was a little slow in her estimation.

No kidding!” I replied with more bite than I intended. “But there are black kids who live in XXXX. So I’m not sure which kids are in the Metco Program.

“Oh.” Clearly, this had never occurred to her.

Not Normal

For kids of different colors. Slogan "It doesn't Matter if you are black, etc.. or normal"

This is a response to Putting the white into multiculturalism

I hate when people say they are colorblind. You do too see color, quit lying! It’s a damn shame that many people would rather make things homogenized than celebrate the diversity of the human experience.

I personally love being in spaces with people from a multiplicity of backgrounds. I feel like when people see all kinds of different people around them they become more humble, more open, and more likely to be receptive to each others experiences.

I am going to admit to feeling a little-bit of that hurt feeling of exclusion when I hear the term POC or WOC, because it is a word that does exclude me. It makes me feel like I must be colorless, blank, clear. But I try to just acknowledge that feeling and move on, because I know how important those terms are–as well as my exclusion from them–to people who need to feel proud of their identity and heritage.

I think it’s a damn shame that white people tend to be so ignorant of our heritage(s). If they did a little research, they might learn that most of Europe was once a collection of Pagan tribes living off the land–until they were brutally enslaved and stripped of their culture by the Romans. Thousands of years of religious and cultural oppression can twist people badly. (Serfdom, enforced Christianity, Witch Trials, etc…)

Those with Irish heritage, in particular, might learn how Saint Patrick “drove the snakes into the sea”. (Thousands of pagans committed suicide rather than convert to Christianity.) How marriage was illegal without the lord’s sanction, leading to the tradition of “jumping the broom,” a tradition that they shared with their fellow black slaves: after the Potato Famine (which would not have been a famine if the British weren’t shipping all of the edible food overseas) forced many into debt-slavery in the New World.

Understanding that my heritage included such abuse helped me deal with my feelings of white guilt. Seeing slavery and institutionalized racism from the context of a (mentally) enslaved people perpetuating their own oppression, I could compare it to a child abuse victim duplicating their own abuse.

Still NOT OKAY. But maybe something that can be understood and healed.

I hope.

Temps: Second Class in the Office

I have a confession to make: as a single mom living in my Mom’s basement and working as a Temp, I don’t often feel privileged (hell, I can’t even spell privilege, which you would know if not for spell check!)

Sometimes I remind myself that I am a single mom living in my Mother’s basement in a safe neighborhood. People don’t shoot each other, shoot up, or smoke crack on my block. That is a huge privilege! My mom and stepdad invested their hard-earned money to live here for it’s “good schools” (they really are good) and concentration of Jews.

I try to remind myself of my remarkable ability to not get stopped by cops very often–or talk my way out of tickets when I’m clearly in the wrong–and sometimes don’t even have my paperwork together. Or my ability to walk through most stores without being followed (I say most, because they always follow me at the Roxbury Goodwill).

But when I’m at work as a temp Admin, it’s hard to remember I’m privileged. It wasn’t so hard at my last job–there was a lot of other temps, and when they would complain about–say–group emails touting the benefits program we were ineligible for–I would adopt a world-weary attitude based on my my year-and-a-half of temping, and point out that Temps were supposed to be like tissue paper: there when you need them, disposable when you don’t.

Even at that job it was hard though. The kids and I got sick–and even with the blessing of MassHealth the bills went way up. I worked for three weeks before I got better, and had to go cry in the bathroom when I got an email telling me to go home.

I worked the job before that for three months before getting a call on a Monday night (as I was working late, right after they showed me how to lock up.) telling me not to go back.

The thing is, when you’re a Temp, you’re making less than everyone else, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Everyone around you is squealing about their bonuses and going over their vacation plans. But you don’t get a bonus. A “vacation” for you, is an unpaid break between jobs, where you yo-yo between manically job-hunting and slumping into a deep depression.

Today everyone in the office got out two hours early and went to a Bachelor’s Party for this adorable gay man in our office. I couldn’t go. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

I know it’s little, but all those little things add up. My life is on the edge. All of the time.

As I endlessly faxed and collated documents, I tried to turn the experience into a teaching moment. “This is what it’s like to be a second class citizen.” I told myself. “Only it’s just a taste.” Sometimes it’s the little things– like watching others drink from the nice clean fountain while you practically have to press your lips against the dirty rusty one–the small ways that society tells you you are “less than,” that eat you up inside.

While my coworkers blithely drank and ate penis-cake, I was moping but trying to take it as a lesson.

You Gotta Fight For Your Rights

Found on Stud With Swag

Eating Pussy is a Civil Right

Barney Frank on Hitler Obama Bullshit

Thank you Frank! At least we have one representative with his heart in the right place who is not afraid to speak his mind.

Party of Hatred: Death Panel Lies and Fear Mongering

I can’t help but think (hope) that the republicans are shooting themselves in the foot with all of the lies and fear mongering they are currently engaged in. It hurts me with an almost visceral pain to hear every day people arguing against their own best interests, and in favor of the same health insurance that has been dicking them around for the last 90 or so years.

Face it. The Republican party long ago stopped being the party of Lincoln and fiscal responsibility. (Don’t even get me started on “family values.)” In recent years they have become more and more the party of fear and hatred.

The brilliance of the Republican Party is: they protect the companies that rape the land, exploit the people and then move on to other countries where they can do it cheaper. Then this same party turns around and taps into the legitimate anger of the people, twisting it against the people who want to help the situation, and leveraging that into political power that they use to further bolster big business.

We don’t need a death panel to kill Granny. Granny’s already dying from cancer caused by corporate pollution, from a medical industry hell bent on extending her life as long as possible, regardless of how much excruciating pain she suffers in the process.

When people such as Sarah Palin, people with the mantle of respectability and authority tell blatant lies to their constituents, what does that say about their opinion of their own peoples intelligence and gullibility?

Of course, it worked. So Maybe they were right.

People are angry. I’m angry. People should be angry. Even this bill is just a bandaid on a hemorrhaging wound. (A real solution would be too frightening to the Democrats financial Sponsors) But at least a bandaid is better than nothing.

When the dust clears and the duplicitous lies of the party are exposed, lies promoting hatred and fear, maybe the dedicated Republican voters can look around and see whose really hurting them. Its not immigrants. Its not abortions. Its not government death panels. Its the snake that they have clasped to their own busom: The Republican Party.