This land is your land, this land is my land

I suppose I don’t need to state the obvious by saying it’s been a while since my last post. I haven’t lost interest in writing or learning but I have been brainstorming ways to reimagine this blog. The theme will still be centered around learning but it will be broader, encompassing my interest in less traditional forms of education and learning. Thanks for your patience with my lack of posting! Speaking of learning…Please read the below post to LEARN AND DO SOMETHING. And then spread the word, start conversations, and learn some more.

Yesterday, as I was sitting outside of a local coffee shop I witnessed something that isn’t unusual, and yet it is still so important to talk about. A group of four young people consisting of two white passing people and two brown skinned people were chatting about their fledgling adulthood experiences when a woman drove by and stopped her car by the curb to yell at the group. She yelled profanities about how two of the group members with brown skin should go back to Pakistan or India before she drove off. The young people at whom the hateful words were aimed at were only slightly fazed and essentially expressed that “it could have been worse.” The thing is, they’re right. It could have been worse, and it has been worse for many people.

So, how do we talk about this scenario? I honestly feel like I don’t know how to talk about it because it’s layered and because of my place of privilege but I’m going to try to anyway because I have to. We all have to. First of all, my initial shock is a sign of my privilege. The fact that I was even a little surprised is my privilege because this type of racism isn’t a part of my daily life. Second, although I didn’t have the time to confront the woman in the car, I did have the time to address the young people. I wish I had said I’m sorry that happened to them. I wish I had said that the woman’s ideology is disgusting and entirely wrong. I told myself it doesn’t matter what little old me says anyway, but I think that’s the beginning of a larger issue isn’t it? We can all DO something, even if it’s as small as saying “I’m so sorry that happened to you, it’s not right.”

Lastly, the woman in the car was African American and I have a lot of trepidation talking about this. This phenomena of horizontal hostility as explained by Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer, MA, founder/CEO of Bridgebuilder Consulting, is when “marginalized groups fight against each other instead of working with one another to fight systemic oppression, because a perceived scarcity of power and resources.” (Anna has more to say about this, and more, in her blog called “A Place On Earth”- check her out!). The actuality of scarcity of power in our country is very real. Consequently, I see why this fear exists as it is validated by systemic oppression. However, the idea that fighting against each other will solve the problem cannot be right. But as a white woman, what does my opinion mean? I don’t experience the type of prejudice and hatred that people of color in this country do. I know my place in the world allows me to suggest that love will always beat out hate and I really want to believe it.

SO, I want to talk about this. I want to know what you think, and I want to hear your insights. I want to learn more. Together.