Beware – Controversial Non-Kink Post

16 Dec

Sin did a post here about the elementary school children who were killed in Connecticut.    She asked some questions.  She wanted to know:

Why do these crazy people target our children? 

Is the answer tougher gun laws?

Is your principle really more important than your children?

In her comments on my post yesterday, Lady P asked similar questions:

Why do you want to live like this? Why do you permit the madness of allowing every man to have a gun? Why do you allow yourselves and raise your kids to live in fear?

So i’m gonna say some things, and they are not going to be warm-fuzzy things, and i may offend you.  That’s not my intent, but i’m ok with it.  If you leave a comment that i think is rude or mean, i’ll delete it. i’ve never had to do that before, but i will if i need to, so feel free to comment, even disagree, but be respectful, please.

Dear Sin, and Lady P,

This country was built on the premise that we had the right to kill anyone that was in our way.  When i say “we” i mean white people.  

We killed off almost all the Native Americans, and made sure the ones who were left had nothing.

We brought in slaves and built our wealth from their labor whenever possible.  When we had to set them free, we initiated Jim Crow laws to keep them from getting the wealth they’d made possible.  

Our sense of entitlement was overwhelming.  We insisted that we deserved whatever privilege we had. 

We made anyone who was in our way “other.”  In those early days, we used race and then ethnicity to dismiss people as less than us, less than human, less worthy of existing.  We diminished them and inflated ourselves to ensure that white men would rule.  

That’s how this country started.

But that was a long time ago, right?

It was a long time ago.  And i would suggest that as a culture we have never looked back with real regret, we’ve never recognized that what we did was wrong, we’ve never made any effort to make amends.

We’ve clung to our privilege desperately, fighting every inch of other people’s advancement.   Many Native American people still live on reservations.   We “let them” have casinos ~ aren’t we generous?  But if a non-Native American rapes or beats up a Native American woman, their courts aren’t allowed to have jurisdiction over the crime.

The Violence Against Women Act would change that, but the Republicans, who represent the Old Guard these days, won’t agree to pass. it.  i’m not making this up ~ look at this article.  Of course, it’s not just protection for Native American women that they object to, the law would also add increased protection for immigrant women and people in LGBT  relationships.

But they are “other,” so we don’t care about them.

Of course, our culture doesn’t care a whole lot about us white women either, ’cause you know, we’re women, and these days, we’ve gotten all uppity, and don’t know our place anymore.  But we are higher up in the pecking order than women of color, and that’s a whole other rant.

We have not, as a culture, essentially changed our beliefs about our own privilege and other people’s place relative to us since the days we were saying “Only good Indian is a dead Indian.”   We have not changed since the days we used the Bible to support slavery ~ there are politicians in the southern states right now who are saying that slavery wasn’t a bad thing.  

We are caught in a culture war.  On one side is the famous 2%, and the people who have some bizarre fantasy that they belong in the 2%.  Some of them are white folks who don’t have a pot to piss in but are comfortable and confident because they believe that being white makes them better than any African-American, Hispanic,  or Eastern man or woman out there.

It is greatly to the advantage of the 2% to keep those poor white folks thinking that.  If they ~ the financially struggling white people ~ ever realized that their experience is the same as their brothers and sisters of color, some real change might happen.

We do not want that.  If real change happened, we might have to give up some piece of our immense privilege and sense of entitlement  We own guns because we want to be able to kill anyone who tries to take our stuff.

It’s not about some theoretical principal in the Constitution.  It’s about being able to shoot and kill anyone who gets in our way.

We will not “own” this aspect of ourselves.  We refuse to recognize that we are killing ourselves by clinging to this stance.  

Add in consumerism, materialism, and the belief that having more is the key to happiness.

Add in no respect for the earth that sustains us.

Add in video games and media that promotes greed and separates us from our relationships with each other.

Add in easy access to all kinds of guns.

What do we expect?

We don’t want universal health insurance.  We don’t want it because if someone else gets something, we might end up having less excess, and that would be terrible, awful, horrible.   Then we wonder why so many people with mental illness go untreated.

AND this is about me too.  If i fall into the trap of making this rant all about “them,” then i am adding to the problem.  Before i point fingers at anyone else, i need to look at myself and the ways i’m complicit in supporting this culture of perpetrators, this culture that values the strong over the weak, the haves over the have-nots.

We are all about making people “other.”  We say that the young man who did the shooting was “an animal,”  we says he was “a weird five-year-old.”  We distance ourselves from him.  That’s human and understandable, but really ~

~  he is our child, just like the ones who were killed.  They are all our children.  

All of them, regardless of race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, they are all our children.

Lots of things need to change if we want our children to quit killing each other.

19 Responses to “Beware – Controversial Non-Kink Post”

  1. aimlovelive December 16, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    This is beautiful!
    And you show a lot of courage, writing this.
    I applaud you, admire you, and respect you.
    You may very well be the smartest American I had the pleasure of ‘meeting’. Thank you for this post.

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:23 am #

      Thank you, aimlovelive!

      It’s nice to meet you too – and of course, a pleasure to hear such kind words.

      Thank you for reading, and for commenting.

      hugs,

      aisha

  2. Sir Charles December 16, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Soviet Russia is the paradise you describe, the have-nots being in control of the haves. They even did away with pesky religion, and they still had the evils that we suffer today, and worse. The only way we achieve the utopia we all crave is by removing humanity’s freedom of choice.

    If your postulate is true, then I should have murdered several people by now, at the age of 47, to get my way. People have stood in the way of my success, often. Murder would have been much more simpler than hard work and patience. I have guns, I was in the Army, and I know how to kill someone. Then as a white, and by your standard; a racist American; why did I not murder my way out of problem solving and being successful?

    The children that did Columbine, and this poor lost soul that did this were all from wonderful loving families that hated guns. The parents did not know their children had all these guns. They all had mental care and health care. They still perpetrated these heinous crimes.

    American society did not do these crimes, Aisha; individuals did. Freedom of choice allows for a person to choose murder. They do it freely and without remorse, until it has been done and they have been caught. Crime is not about society’s ills, Aisha. Crime is an individual’s choice to take from another individual.

    • jadescastle December 16, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      @ Sir Charles,

      This book contains excellent research and discussions which highlight how society creates “lost souls.” This is not about what one individual chooses to do to another. Our range of “choices” are determined by our race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disabilities, and socio-economic status. You may enjoy this book a great deal. i certainly did.

      http://www.amazon.com/Meaning-Difference-Constructions-Orientation-Disability/dp/0078111641

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:27 am #

      Hi, Sir Charles,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I would disagree with some of your premises – for example, this latest killer did not come from a family that hated guns. But I certainly don’t blame the individual’s family for the crime in any case. i can only imagine how devastating it would be for your child to be a killer.

      I appreciate that we can agree to disagree with no hard feelings ~ and it’s always nice to see you!

      aisha

  3. appy December 16, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Dear Aisha,

    I’m am so glad with your post. It is good to know that there are American people who are so honest.

    Thank you.

    appy

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      Thank you, appy! Certainly things are very different in your part of the world. Thanks for commenting.

      aisha

  4. jadescastle December 16, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Aisha,
    Good for you for speaking your truth and for the work you do. In my mind, you truly do work that is representative of Being the Change you wish to see in the world.

    We do indeed live in a country where 90 percent of the wealth is held by less than 5 percent of the people. As a culture, we adore our rich, our famous. Many people can no longer seem to distinguish between famous and infamous.

    We have stolen, beaten, murdered, and oppressed everyone and everything that gets in the way and doesn’t fit in. Blacks, women, immigrants, disabled people, Native Americans, other countries, gays, lesbians. i am three of these master status groups. My Beloved is four, in essence, because she is with someone who is disabled. So, this is personal to me. The political is always personal. And the personal becomes political. Because the people who need it the most do not have the power.

    We turn on each other. Native American’s have turned so far from their own traditional values that rape is rampant. When people feel low, feel dejected, feel like nothing….sometimes there is not much else they can do besides turn on someone lower than they are to feel better. We don’t teach a better way.

    It happens with immigrants today and our whole culture teaches to the White, Upper Class Standards. It tells everyone that this is the gold standard. Our culture teaches to to assimilate, its the price you pay for entry into the American Dream. With all of this, its a wonder we don’t have more American Nightmares.

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:29 am #

      Hey, Jade,

      i don’t need to say much in response – you say it so well yourself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

      hugs,

      aisha

  5. night owl December 16, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    All good points, Aisha. Sir Charles’ comments are examples of the convoluted rhetoric that keeps our society as a whole bogged down in the mire. “I don’t abuse gun ownership so why have gun control?”

    As individuals, we distance ourselves from the consequences of our individual greed (me too). Over two hundred souls died in a factory fire in Bangladesh a few weeks ago making cheap clothing to be sold to Walmart. Walmart (Target, Old Navy) of course disavows any responsibility for pushing prices so low that factory owners found it necessary to lock their employees in a firetrap building. We as consumer, of course, disavow any responsibility in demanding cheaply made foreign goods (Dollartree, anyone?) that create the climate for these abuses of humanity.

    By the way, successful, educated, high functioning people report having been abused physically, sexually, or emotionally at a rate of 33% in this country. We don’t even take care of our own children well. 67% of all Americans report at least one adverse childhood experience (neglect, spousal abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, single parent homes).

    I am just as guilty as you all. I am in the process of purging rooms full of consumer goods that I bought at prices proportionately lower than I would have paid 30 years ago thanks to cheap overseas labor. I bought all this *stuff* trying to fill the emptiness inside me created by low self-esteem from my own childhood abuse which was passed down through generations and perpetuated by a society that chooses to turn the other way when we see people hurting.

    Maybe we are all hurting so much that we *can’t* see anyone else’s pain. I certainly have to put blinders on when i go out into the world and see tired women yelling at their children, angry men flipping off other drivers in traffic, the homeless men panhandling at the exit ramp. I live a life of tremendous privilege yet there are days when I struggle to get out of bed, my pain is so deep. How can I ask of you what I can’t do myself?

    Thanks Aisha for calling us on our shit.

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:32 am #

      Dear Night Owl,

      i read the end of this and laughed ~ i had not thought of it as calling youall on your shit, but yes, you certainly took it and made a thing of beauty from it

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. Beautifully said.

      hugs,

      aisha

  6. Wordwytch December 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Aisha, a well done post. Thank you for writing it. Lots of hugs!

    Wolf is Metis. That’s French Canadian and Native American. His Great-great grandma was black, yet to the average world, he’s just a funky white guy with curly hair. The reason I mention this is because as a nation, we have mixed up the gene pool enough that you can’t always tell who you are insulting or putting down simply by appearance. As people, we need to stop labeling people and treat people as we would want to be treated. Yeah, the Golden Rule.

    We need to recognize too, that some people need help, and not giving it to them is just as much a crime as being a bigot. A friend shared this. It’s worth a read. http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:37 am #

      Hi,, Wordwytch,

      Good points, and a link to an excellent article.

      You’re right, when we don’t help people get the help they need, it hurts us all in the long run.

      hugs,

      aisha

  7. jadescastle December 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/

    Today, after i read this blog post, i heard Elie Wiesel remind me that the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. We are all capable of this. Apathy is indeed lethal.

    It’s lethal to humans, to animals, to our entire planet.
    i do believe that thoughts are things, that they manifest our intentions clearly, loudly. What does it cost each of us to meditate on peace for five minutes a day? What kind of change could that bring in the world? We think in terms of dollars and cents. Elie Wiesel pointed out today the importance of a genuine smile. i can say that the things that mean to most to me are very often free.

    (Like the man the other day who warned blindy me in spanish that i was fixing to step in dog poop. i was breaking the Spanish down very s-l-o-w-l-y and realized what he was saying just in time. See? Free. But what did it mean to me that someone bothered to help me just to be kind? Everything. My whitecane does not warn me of impending poo. Or traffic. This week, i have been saved from both from total strangers treating me with human kindness)

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 6:39 am #

      Dear Jade,

      Yes. You are so right. And Elie Wiesel is a source of great wisdom. Thanks for sharing this.

      hugs,

      aisha

  8. heather1 December 17, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Bravo! You said it better than I’ve heard since the shooting happened on Friday. Thank you.

    hugs,
    heather1

    • aisha December 17, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Thank you, Heather!

      aisha

  9. Katherine December 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Thank you for this insightful piece and gracious comments that follow, i appreciated your ability to link a range of social ills but avoid demonisation. Coming from the other side of the pond, as in I’m a white English speaking European, i struggle with the ways in which the American constitution has become for some a literal text of equivalent value as the Ten Commandments – and yet it does get amended and qualified, although i think sometimes this gets forgotten in the debate about guns – but societies move on and the codes we live our lives by change too, so it would make sense in my humble opinion for laws to meet the needs of the times? But then people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, so i am anxious about commenting. Anyway…

    So it does seem to me that it is not entirely fair to see the USA as exceptional in all this, and you do have a remarkable and complex culture of which you can be proud, because while yes, it has its shameful past, it also resisted tyranny and is a creative melting pot of ideas and peoples, it therefore has the capacity to do as you ask. And coming from a country with enough historical baggage to sink a battleship or ten, i sympathise with the need to recognise our past errors and not glorify them as tradition, something not really happening at the moment in the U.K. – which makes me sad – and i agree with you until that’s done and acknowledged, then the future won’t change much.

    Along these lines, of laws and change, i saw this too which made me think, and i would like to share, especially in response to Sir Charles, a quote from John Oliver, ” one failed shoe bomber and we all take our shoes off at airports, thirty one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns”.

    i would like to honour the dignity in grief of the people of Connecticut, your post has given me ideas about how, in a small way, i might do that. Thank you.
    (Please excuse my poor grammar and i hope the idioms work, UK English and American English don’t always translate well.)
    Kind regards, Katherine.

    • aisha December 18, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      Thank you, Katherine, i sure appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

      i agree, the USA isn’t the only country with major “historical baggage,” ( and what a nice way to put it!) But we are the ones who just lost 20 kids in a shooting, not the first of it’s kind. So we need to look to ourselves. But yes, we do have some amazing strengths as well, thanks for reminding me!!

      i love the idea that you have thought of a way for you to stand with us in our sorrow. That means a lot to me.

      Your grammar and idiomatic expressions were perfect. Thanks again for commenting.

      aisha

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