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View Diary: This #@!!&%*%$ is what Indians still have to put up with (296 comments)

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  •  Racism, bigotry, a lot of '-isms' ... (22+ / 0-)

    Much of it is insidiously woven into our culture, our heritage, our history...and even that's a far too simplistic description of it.

    Yesterday - Mother's Day - Denise posted a diary that had just about hit 800 comments; a hot topic wasn't just racism, but how we talk and disseminate news, information, and communicate with each other locally, globally and in-between on all matters, great and small.

    I wrote a few comments there that had tidbits that I thought were worth gathering; I've strung them together and added a bit, hoping for coherence. It's almost like a mini-diary, so if you don't read thru that's fine. It touches a little upon the elements I mention in the paragraph above, but also the concepts of 'microaggression' and embedded racism (and not only racism) and the impact/influence of the dominant culture (an effective & accurate term I became more familiar with as I worked with folks in NAN) that I've come to learn more about through the writings of Meteor Blades, navajo, Aji, Denise, Shannika, Justice Putnam (actually, more from his tweets) ;) - anywho, I wanted to coalesce and blurt it out somewhere. I think it might fit here, as the incident cited by MB in the diary seems to exude the ignorance and embedded nature of racism as practiced and reinforced within the dominant culture.

    If not, my apologies.

    It's written as open musing, but remember - it was culled from several aspects of comments I made in Dee's piece, and cobbled together with ceiling wax & bits of pocket fluff.


    There are many, many factors affecting our capacity to recognize embedded racism/oppression/etc. which all roll up into what is often described as "dominant culture" behavior. Getting caught up in is easy - learning to recognize it for what it is? That part's hard.

    And doing the right thing usually means doing the hard thing.

    "We" are both a whole a nation of indivual people, and a people of diverse nations. "We" are still steeped in both barely veiled and overtly blatant racism, homophobia, agism, xenophobia, sexism, ableism, misogyny...1

    Recognizing, and acknowledging, embedded racism forces people to face the additional, inherent and concurrent gender, racial, religious and other biases that are "comfortably ingrained" in dominant culture talking points; exposing such incidents - ones that touch upon race, religion, gender, education in ways that could get people to question some of the default knee-jerk jingoism and break down additional barriers toward eliminating such microaggressions2 - isn't just doing the right thing.

    It's also disabling the various devices that many conservatives, right-wing pundits, one-percenters and their paid enablers want to continue to quietly preserve, as it enables them to better manipulate people, policies, politics and power.

    Racism, sexism, religious bigotry all work on and play on fear, and when so deeply embedded within a dominant culture as to be virtually unrecognizable and unassailable by the general populace, they work effectively, acting to create knee-jerk enablers who fight against calling out the incidents, or even deny that it's an incident - "it's a joke, get over it" - and the oppression it continues and expands.

    "We" need to be the ones to speak up and speak out, to point out and underscore when such things are uncovered. "We" need to be the people pushing back against those who can't be bothered to care, or - worse yet - those who don't care for the harm that is done to others because doing so would be an inconvenience to them, or uncomfortable.

    "We" is a polymorphic term, and it can be divisive as well as uniting, defining as well as confusing; it can both preserve & protect as well as undermine and misrepresent.

    "We" aren't perfect. But isn't that the point? "We" are human, all of us. Imperfect, somewhat clever at times (and at times too clever for our own good), and all capable of tremendous things.

    Sometimes, we need to ask things of ourselves - question our path, our past, our present, our community. In doing so, we sometimes find answers - if we ask.

    Do "We" live in a bubble of convenience, or are "We" more a part of the world than we often realize or admit - or sometimes claim in erroneous, self-(National) serving ways, instead of as patrons and defenders of humanity?

    Sometimes, what matters less is the question we ask ourselves: sometimes it's the way we choose to respond, to react, when we learn to recognize wrong from right, wrong from "comfortably numb," and decide to use our voices to say something - to do something - to change it.


    1I'm likely missing a few, and then probably dozens of variations of those that are listed.

    2 Hat-tip to Aji for reminding me of the term "microaggressions" - References:

    • Microaggressions - Fordham University
      According to Sue and colleagues (2007) microaggressions are common verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional ...
    • Unmasking 'racial micro aggressions'
      Some racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on—which may be especially toxic for people of color.
      Two colleagues—one Asian-American, the other African-American—board a small plane. A flight attendant tells them they can sit anywhere...
    • Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life : Psychology Today
      Oct 5, 2010 - Microaggressions in Everyday Life. A new view on racism, sexism, and heterosexism. by Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., and David Rivera, M.S. ...

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