Marginalizing each other and ourselves

This is going to be a little bit of a rant.  Something many people do that has been upsetting me lately is the way we push others down in what seems to me to be an attempt to make ourselves seem bigger and better by comparison.  Or just the way we push others down in general, it’s not just using that as a method of power gain that is frustrating, but the practice in general.

I watched a movie the other day with a few friends.  Fast and Furious.  I probably should have known not to watch it…dumb.  Anyways, I doubt I have to go into the problems with those movies in depth: sexism, racism, classism.  What else is it ever?  What bothered me more than the movie was the reaction of my friends.  They put down the women who played their stereotypical gender roles for being “dumb,” or “boring,” or “weak,” or whatever else, and they put down the women who played their other stereotypical gender roles for being “butch,” or “slutty,” or “bitchy.”

I went to a party the other day with a few friends.  The occasion was either New Years or a birthday thing.  A few people were hanging out and talking after the action died down, and I was not very engaged in the main conversation but kept noticing language that bugged me, and pretty judgmental attitudes towards women that wore more revealing clothes.  People that behave/dress/look/talk/act/etc. like “sluts,” might have realized a way to glean some ounce of power/recognition/attention in a society that hates women almost no matter what.  Or they like how they live.  Or both.  I guess women that put them down might have realized the same thing.  It’s a logical calculation on both sides I guess, and that’s a problem for me.

It reminds me of the civil rights movement.  (Just like everything else.)  Watch this when you’ve got about an hour, it’s one of my two favorite speeches ever (the other one is Yeb Sano’s speech from the UN climate thing that I talked about in another post).  It’s Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots, and here is some stuff about it.   Basically all I ever think about is Malcolm X, I think his ideas are really important for feminists.  Maybe not all his ideas…but rejection of a societal framework that values some humans more than others is I think the basis of what he’s got going on.  It’s important for any oppressed group really, but I’m on a feminist thought-wave right now.  Ugh I’m done with this post.  The thoughts are still amorphous.

But I want to ask, if a black person refers to another black person by the n-word (funny sidebar, it took me like 5 minutes to decide how to put that) and they’re talking to a racist person, does the black person using that language against people who are hated for being exactly like him/herself remove him/herself in anyway from the oppressed identity?  Does the racist see them as less black?  Does it improve the situation for any black person?

I don’t know, but to me it seems like no, and it seems like oppressing your own identity.

I’ll have more later.  This will be on my mind all day.

Malcolm X (1992) on Jesus’ color

I feel like there is a wide acceptance, understanding, and knowledge that Jesus was not white. And that the disciples were not white. I’ve had this conversation so many times, never had much disagreement on the matter, and never gone beyond the recognition of the problem to an action on it. Why are we so fine with sitting idly by on this issue? We display “alternative” images of Jesus, but label them alternative rather than accepting a new and more realistic image of Jesus. What are we going to do about it? (this is a question I am looking for actual suggestions on…please let me know what you think!)

Hindu Sunday December 15, 2013

Hindu Sunday December 15, 2013

These articles are all from a single issue of the Hindu. So the water shortage is over because now more towns have water pumps women can walk to, the UN is warning about increasing water shortages if greenhouse gas emissions continue, and the airport expansion just finished and is already looking to whats next. Oh and people want access to their freedom of over-flight…and freedom of overflight is a thing.

coffee and chocolate.

So yesterday someone told me my breath smelled like coffee and chocolate.  I was taken aback and thought back to what I’d eaten, trying to figure out where that smell could have come from.

That morning I’d brushed my teeth with Ayurvedic toothpaste that someone had given me at Narayana Reddy’s organic farm.  The stuff is great, but is definitely more clove-y than coffee-ey or chocolatey.

Breakfast.  Mmmmm breakfast!  Had some dosa, chutney, banana.  It made me happy.  Obviously.  It was food.  Dosa is flat, round, porous, soft, made from rice and lentil flour, mostly a vehicle for chutneys (for me…other people like different ratios, Roshen is always telling me I do it wrong).  Chutney is…ugh.  It’s so good.  I don’t know how to explain it though, mostly because I don’t really know whats in it.  When we have it at Visthar it’s usually got blended coconut and chili peppers and curry leaves and other things that are a mystery to me, but chutney is a family of condiments.  It’s good.  Bananas are still the same, but better in Karnataka than Minnesota.  (I left out the coffee that I had at breakfast because I’m being tricky, but I don’t want to lie so I’ll admit that I had one…or three cups of coffee at breakfast.)

So that’s not where the coffee and chocolate smell came from…I thought farther along in the day, trying to identify the reason I had coffee and chocolate on my breath.

Maybe it was morning tea.  At 10:45 we took breaks from our paper writing (this week’s employment for SJPD students) for tea and snacks and hanging out.  The milk to sugar to tea ratio was really good yesterday.  We talked about it.  Sometimes there is more milk or sugar than I like, but yesterday it was perfect.  The snack was also better than usual (I thought).  At morning tea there is usually a sweet snack to accompany the drinks, coconut cookies or some other piece of heaven.  Yesterday it was a donut hole shaped thing with cardamom and banana pieces and dense yellow dough.  (I’m being tricky again, as I actually had coffee instead of tea, but its all part of the post so just follow me.  Also the cups here are so tiny it’s really not that much coffee.)

So it wasn’t morning tea…maybe it was lunch.  What was for lunch?  There was other stuff too but I had sliced carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes, sambar (a soupy thing with some eggplant and beet chunks floating around being delicious), a curry with chick peas and vegetables, a mixed cooked veggie thing (green beans, chili peppers, coconut, mustard seed, carrot pieces, other stuff), and something else that I have now forgotten.  No coffee this meal.  Lots of good food.  Indians eat a lot of rice.  There’s always two kinds of rice at lunch.

Afternoon tea must have been the culprit.  Since I had coffee and chocolate and it was five minutes before my chocolate-coffee smell was pointed out.

Wow.  I eat a lot.  And I really like it.  Not eating would be just the worst.  And there’s a little window into what I’ve been eating in India, the local cuisine for those who can afford it.

So…that was yesterday.  And today is the first day of a solidarity fast.  Please please please read about it.

Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims

These numbers are all too high.

CNN Belief Blog

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) — Ten years after 9/11, Americans are wrestling with their opinions of Muslims, a new survey found, and where Americans get their TV news is playing a role in those opinions.

Nearly half of Americans would be uncomfortable with a woman wearing a burqa, a mosque being built in their neighborhood or Muslim men praying at an airport.   Forty-one percent would be uncomfortable if a teacher at the elementary school in their community were Muslim.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values.

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Dziesmu Svetki

Yesterday I had a ginger cookie. It reminded me of a peparkuke (I have no idea how that’s supposed to be spelled), the kind of cookie Vecmam makes around Christmas. Then last night I went and found the lullaby Pop used to sing me on youtube. Then today I got on this latvian choir kick. Must be missing home.