06 March 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

I have been having a bit of a ding-dong with a group of African-American women on the net who seem so obsessed by race. Having been there I can honestly say it is not the healthiest route that black people can take. Of course, I don't understand everything about the American culture, nor can I really understand what it must be like to live in a society where you are defined by your race and gender so overtly as in the US.

But...I know that the way to make changes within any society is to make changes within yourself first. Attacking those who you deem to be attacking you may be the way to go until things calm down. I want black people to get smarter in terms of asking some questions before we dive in fists flying: What? Why? Where? When? Which? and How?

If we strategise, mobilise, cogitate, support, and educate with a cool head those changes which are necessary will materialise quicker than we think. Although that is not to say if someone is being physically attacked by ignorant people based on the victim's race that we should stand idly by and let it happen. No. Again whilst dealing with any issue or problem we should still keep a cool head.Whilst trying to move a woman out of a dangerous situation we should still keep a cool head. Whilst wiping dog shit off the mat - posted as a 'loving' gift from the local non-vocal racist neighbour' we should still keep a cool head. We should be cool.

Because only those who make a stand and think will succeed. Why waste energy raising your blood pressure, damaging your vital organs and enabling others to set your agenda and then nothing changes?

I now know that people are sheep and they think what they have been taught to think - hence religions. People are primarily sheep. If you go along to a meeting where everyone is having a 'love fest', basically there to be told how wonderful they are and you are the sole dissenting voice - see how many will support you, even though you are raising issues which are difficult and especially if you are focusing on the bigger picture. Answer: Very few.

It takes guts to go amongst a group of people and mention things they don't want to hear. It takes guts to draw people to the fact that race and racial differences are stupid.

Since the civil rights movement, how much has really changed? Has racism disappeared? Have black women's values been raised amongst societies, especially within black American culture? Not when you see Lil Kim, Beyonce and the like promoting and profiteering from the 'black woman sexual animal' stereotypes. Not when the images that young people of any race see are of black hip-hop artists 'bitching down' black women and flaunting the proceeds through 'bling'. These images are pumped into their brains on a daily basis.

Attacking me for raising my hand and saying 'hang on a minute' or 'what's the big deal?' isn't the answer. The answer lies within us. If you have children you have a responsibility to think about the kind of the world you want to raise them in.

Maybe you should consider how polarised your own life is. How do you talk about other people? Do you have friends who are a natural normal part of your life who happen to be of another 'race'? Do you have people who happen to be gay or bisexual in your life - or have you dismissed them because of some biblical text telling you 'it's against God's law'? Honestly ask yourself the question: Am I sheep? An open mind is just that - open.

Your children weren't/aren't born stupid - they may become that way by adults pushing them away from critical reasoning - away from analysing situations and reaching logical conclusions and also relating to people as people. They are a product of you.

Living your life by example is a good start. The great thing is you don't have to agree with me for me to have a dialogue with you. You don't have to agree with me for you to be my dearest friend. In fact, some of my friends are hardcore theists and I love them regardless. I see and understand their experiences and we share our views without heat and anger. Maybe you could try some of that today and tomorrow.

8 comments:

chandy said...

I agree with your assessment and it's how I'm choosing to live my life. Having made this decision, I feel less burdened, and surrounded with more positive energy.
The question I continuously ask myself is: "If the tables were reversed.........?". It helps me to be empathic (not a doormat or dismissive, mind you) in order to approach whatever situation to further my benefit.
I'm benefitting greatly from my position in life (emotionally, financially and spiritually) and my intent is to share all said benefits, irrespective of differing views, approaches etc, but I will deign to be less vocal (I'm not living stateside), albeit supportive.

It is lovely though to have a kindred spirit (on the blogsphere!)

Zee Harrison said...

Chandy,
Thank you for comment. I think the world needs more people who are trying to embrace all peoples.
The great thing about the internet is that we can reach across the world and 'meet' people we would not ordinarily know in our day to day lives.
Thank you again.
Zee

focusedpurpose said...

Zee-

i came back to visit you. i want to see your perspective. i am trying to find a middle ground. unfortunately, i have not been able to just yet.

there is no way to divorce race from the equation. it is due to race that black women, collectively, are in this box sexual animal box. there have always been those blacks that have participated and profited from the dehumanization and suffering of blacks. what does that to do with anything?

again, you are from the u.k. not outerspace. you, too, have a history of white supremacy, violent white dominance, and racism in your country. in fact, americans are the bastard, criminal children of england. no? do you disagree?

intermarrying does not change these fact. refusing to deal with the facts does not change the facts. ultimately, it reveals you to be selfish while riding the coattails of those that dared to fight for freedom. chandy, take notice as well. i, too, could opt out of the resistance and struggle for emancipation--- i am the exception in so many ways. however, i feel indebted however to my ancestors to continue to pay into the account, from which i withdraw for freedom, so that those coming after me will also share this blessing. do for self as i understand it, means for the collective not just for individuals. individual interpretation is why we have the beyonces and those blacks that dealt in the slave trade.

i fully understand that we do not all have to agree. i am, however, looking forward to the blog with which i can agree. my mind is open to different perspectives.

blessings to you!
focusedpurpose

Zee Harrison said...

focusedpurpose,
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog and also for revisiting the site to share your views.

Where do I start in my response to you? It is difficult.

You state that there is no way to
divorce race from the equation. What does that actually mean?

In summary, just because the 'ancestors' lived in a particular way or experienced things in their lives does not mean that they should be mine. Why should I live a life filled with pain? As a theist you are pre-disposed to focus on pain and suffering, I choose not to. I have experienced racism and misogyny but choose not to allow those kinds of ignorance to swamp my life and define who I am.
Of course, you live in an environment where your race is paramount to who you are and I understand why and how this has happened. As a theist you are taught that suffering is a good thing and you will get your reward 'in heaven' - I don't believe this.
If you have a purpose (again something I don't believe in) then why not change your outlook and enable others to truly view life from a different perspective?

The non-native Americans came from all parts of Europe and England played a fundamental part in the so called 'founding' of the USA. Horrible, barbaric events took place but when has that not happened throughout history - in all cultures? Humans, homo sapiens, are animals. It's a dog-eat-dog world - nothing has changed, unfortunately. For that reason I have decided to use the most evolved part of my brain to ensure that the minute amount of time I have on this planet, this one and only life, is not spent needlessly on things that are negative to me. Of course if I can help someone I will. If I can enable someone to change their lives for the better and I have their permission, then I will. I am known for assisting and sometimes, on occasions, being too helpful. I have been part of groups organising against racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. and can empathise with all those who find themselves dealing with ignorance.
But...I now view one of the biggest problems we are currently facing is theism. Believing in things which are fabricated to ensure control of the masses. Believing in stories relayed to you as 'the written word'. Why is this happening? Why do people believe in god/gods? It is irrational and helps to keep those chains and shackles (I notice the pictures on your blog, interesting) firmly placed around the very people that you are campaigning on behalf of.

You have a choice. I have a choice. My choice is different to yours and we can berate each other because of our views. We can attack each other as not being 'black enough' or maybe that because we decide to not exclude someone from our lives due to their race that we should not have a voice in this arena.

The future generations will no doubt look back at our period in history and be appalled at just how ignorant and short-sighted we have been. I challenge you to give me reasons why black people should follow your route. I challenge you to tell me why I should focus on the pain inflicted by ignorant people. I challenge you to help me to understand how your focus soley on race will help the struggle.
Zee

focusedpurpose said...

Zee-

hi. with all due respect, i decline your challenge. my writing is very clear. if you are interested to see my position, it is there for you to read.

my focus is the uplift of black women and girls in this country and around the world. i am a black woman and the reasons for my focus should be obvious. the collective refusal of black people to focus on ourselves and our collective betterment can be seen in the our collective condition world wide. the neglect shows for all to see.

i am focused and conscious that time is the precious coin of life. i am mindful of how i spend mine. your challenge doesn't seem a wise expenditure.

blessings in abundance to you!
focusedpurpose

Zee Harrison said...

focusedpurpose,
You represent the reason why the status quo is maintained. You refuse to think outside the box and do something different from the herd.
If you took the time to familiarise yourself with the fact that we are all one and differences inflicted upon us are all superficial and meaningless then you would be part of REAL change.

I don't need 'blessings' as they are also meaningless and irrelevant.

Thank you for communicating your views.
Zee

focusedpurpose said...

Zee-

in your words i can see that you have no real understanding of my views or position.

racism/white supremacy, classism, religious persecution, sexual orientation discrimination, etc etc are all mere distractions. i am clear, and have no questions.

anything only becomes "real" or "relevant" when one believes it to be. hence my work with black people. most believe they are inferior and act accordingly.

there is an element of disrespect to your words. it was my initial impression. despite that i still sought to understand your perspective. i think my behavior is indicative of a willingness to think/come outside the box. disrespect is intolerable to me, as such, i will bid you a peaceful journey.

blessings in abundance.
focusedpurpose

Zee Harrison said...

focusedpurpose,

Thank you again for responding.

I have said that I am not interested in a 'lovefest' for the sake of it. I want to analyse actions that will effect change for ALL peoples on this planet.
Because I don't agree with your methods doesn't necessarily mean I don't understand elements of the situations you are faced with. Not all but some.

Only through proper dialogue and sometimes hard-hitting conversations can we learn from each other.

When I started this blog I was clear about my aim: To tell it like I saw it. If I am blunt, then that is just how it is. You have chosen a route, which I feel, has focused on division. No, I don't live in the US and have the same day-to-day experiences you have but as an 'outsider' I feel able to comment just as you can legitimately comment about the UK and Europe - I am the last person to defend any country.

If you detect disrespect in my tone then that is unfortunate but if you read my current blog you might ask the same question that I am asking. The US has a history of persecuting and subjugating atheists, demonising those who do not believe in the supernatural and I refuse to be silenced.
(I have not experienced that in the UK or Europe.)
It is the biggest problem on this planet. Remove the beliefs in the mythical stories and examine the truths that are evident to us - things for which we have evidence.

I have people sending me comments (which I do not have permission to publish) which outline how afraid they are to 'come out' as non-believers/atheists/free-thinkers, etc. Is this not the biggest problem? By all means fight the horror known as racism but don't be homophobic (I'm not saying you are homophobic, I hope not)and then praise god/gods.The racists use the same texts, praise the same gods, etc. Let's remove it from our worldview or at least categorise it in its correct place: myth and fiction, whilst fighting racism and all the other isms.

You have disregarded my comment regarding 'blessings' - but that's okay.
Zee.