XXIII - Much Better - You People - we people
I just finished watching the Netflix movie: You People.
This afternoon I completed eight hours of training (following six hours or “white bodies” training the day before) with Resmaa Menakem.
My tears erupted late in the movie - when it turned from doom and gloom to “redemption”. It’s message, in the end, was romantic, and hopeful - after exposing so much about myself George, a cis-gendered, privileged white man in my world of whiteness so incredibly deeply.
Resmaa Menakem’s message was deep, and my path, if I seriously pursue it, is one of circling back, over and over and over again. I must practice very seriously with two (future) fellow (white) partners - Somatic Abolitionism. My and our work - relies upon (against the odds greatly) white bodies, like myself, finally seriously rejecting most actively - so, so much - of the core parts of our lives - our white supremacy.
It would be so easy, if we could simply - figuratively swear on our bibles (or facsimiles) - and pursue a path of - “non-racialized being”, a fantasy like acting out of a (potential) distant - post-racialist world.
I, and we, the white bodies, need to do our work - digging deeply into the path of - transforming - the white supremacy culture - “winning out” - over both the apathetic participants in the status quo, and the forces - fighting to maintain their oppressive power.
We white men, a teeny, tiny - minority - of those present at this week’s training, have a lot of “do-gooders” - “woke”, oh so woke, privileged bodies. We rarely leave our comfort zones, and when we do, 99+% of the time go out only briefly, and tokenly. We are a “sleeping giant”. (Some might call us Emperors with No Clothes!) For centuries we have snored loudly, drowning out the voices seeking systemic justice, always the last ones to see blurry outlines - at best.
White women - often remain our allies, saving “the race” - over their humanity, when the stakes are great (particularly).
As Resmaa ably spoke to - those among us who are: trans, gay/lesbian/queer, or otherwise different - us Jews, us Aspies often don’t have it easy. At the same time, there are plenty of (Black) Bodies of Culture - who are quadrupably (spelling - sic) (2x2) and 8 and 16 and 32 and 64 … - times oppressed and hurt - when similarly trans… . (What I mean is that Black and other Bodies of Culture face many of the issues we face - when we face serious issues, and Racism Piles on - Additionally upon them - they have it worse (almost always).
You People - where our ears - and hearts - and souls, and more are open - shares our truths - of the great divides - between us. Excluding, the hurts - of one (for whom some of us may see a false symmetry) - in the movie, the divides between me - as a cis-white-bodied man and my life partner, a Black, Queer-Identified Black Bodied Woman - are deeply broken open. The young white man, and the young Black Woman of the movie - ably modeled - the life - I and my partner live in.
We will never, never - understand - really understand - the other! I, the privileged one, can live with ignorance - screw up over and over and over and over again, with generally minimal negative consequences. The love of my life - has nothing comparable to me! She need not even err - to pay a huge price - including potentially being literally, and figuratively maimed - or even killed - simply because she is Black.
The humor of the movie, contrasts seriously with the sobriety of Resmaa Menakem. Hollywood - can expose - truths - but it has its limits on staying beneath the surface(s) - in a torture chamber, or others spaces that are terrifying.
Resmaa and the producers of You People - both clearly expose the limits of our - book learning. It is valuable, but it doesn’t take us, pull us, drag us - those who are the oppressors, to be consistent, strong allies of all the others who - we oppress. Similarly, it doesn’t do the work - for the Bodies of Culture (Black, Native…) - to help their journey. They often had learned - to embrace whiteness - to (hopelessly) try to be “one of us” - when, in the end - it will never be enough (for them - they will always still be oppressed as outsiders).
Systemic - Forces - Systemic Energy - built over centuries - passively and actively - drag us - seeming to accept ongoing oppression.
We make decisions every day! Frequently, these decisions are choosing to not make a choice. This is a (weak, but effective) - decision - taking a side, the side of continued oppression. (For Bodies of Culture - they lose either way - for we, white bodies, we can remain in our privilge).
I (and you) can not do our work alone! We need allyship - on our unique and common journeys. We need to love - and care. We are not seeking revenge! We are not getting pay-back. We are trying, with no guarantee of success, to fight the odds, to build a much, much better world.
Not trying, nor giving up, is Not a(n) (viable) option! Our tears - are important! Our fears - are important! Letting our tears and/or fears - slow - our driving through the muck filled bog - is not an option. We need both patience, and urgency!
For me - I can choose to fail! For others - feeling (falsely) that they are failing - is part of their struggle. Their choice - passively or actively - to give up - generally seems very similar to a lot of their struggles - to push forward with strength. It is facing an unfair world, a horribly unfair world - putting them down - for their pigment (or a perception of who they are).
I hope - that my path - will build - and grow - and move ahead! I can not promise this, because my trying - doesn’t guarantee - that my spirit and heart within me- will in the end - continue - moving me forward!
(The Movie - is worth watching!)
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