Showing posts with label Identity politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Identity politics. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dealing with the Politics of Life

We are awash in political happenstance each day. So much so that I think we often forget that there are people there with real emotions and real justified fears. One of the growing number of progressive groups I'm a part of asked a very valid question regarding the other side of this national debate wondering how to move forward in our new today so we can actually have a bearable tomorrow. It was a valid question that started with an article about identity politics. Before I post what I said in response to this counter news story I want you to really see this as it is or at least as I see it.

I find the words 'identity politics' a misnomer.  The truth is we all have an identity that we closely relate to and define. The implication of this article is that only 'othered' populations garnered attention and by negating the 'norm' or read White Male Christian Straight it alienated those populations. My issue in general I realized while reading this piece and I wont actually link it because the news source is baited at best, is that within the dichotomy of inclusion for some populations it assumes the need to exclude all others. Its a very basic 'us vs them' mentality that is literally pulling this country apart. 

While making a point to stop being so aware of those other populations is a blatant call to disregard the true fabric of this country and its people. The GOP didn't win by a landslide as the rhetoric here implies. They won by small traceable margins that can be correlated back to very specific points including upheaval of the Voting Rights Act which allowed several states where GOP candidates won by less than 100,000 votes to deny sometimes upward of 300,000 voters to be counted. Stop! Reread that sentence slowly and let the weight of it hit you:

They won by small traceable margins that can be correlated back to very specific points including upheaval of the Voting Rights Act which allowed several states where GOP candidates won by less than 100,000 votes to deny sometimes upward of 300,000 voters to be counted.

Yes the gutting of the Voting Rights Act allowed unconstitutional restrictions on voting to be put into place to sometimes prevent almost 3 times as many people from voting as the margin of victory for some candidates actually was. 

What we need to focus on now is information control because the calls to 'get over it' we won are hiding what they now know to be the last gasping breath of a dying rhetoric. They pulled every trap door, they used every ACME emblazoned scheme and still only barely inched out a win. Now what they need to do is convince us of a false narrative which is that there are more of them then there are of us. So they try and overwhelm us be centralizing and controlling tiny communities on the web. They seek us out on our 'liberal left biased media' you know like The New York Times and Reuters to tell us how inaccurate our perspectives are. Its classic gas-lighting. Especially when you realize that all media has always leaned conservative in America. The only reason it is not anymore is because Americans aren't leaning conservative anymore.

There is nothing about what just happened that truly reflects our reality of who this country is really occupied by. Despite the hype, this isn't a problem of not relating to needed populations as its the fallout of a legal sand trap to hamper what they knew was going to be a problem going forward in politics. Those populations and that identity is not a fluke or a whim its America. 

With that being said we can't do this without them. We need the other side of America. They went low, the lowest this country has seen in a long time.  And now more than ever we need to go high. Trust me this is difficult to write because just a day or so ago I was a biting seething mess of F&#% you to the world. But the truth is we don't actually have space time or the liberty to be petty. We have to be inclusive. This was my response as to how to pull those people back who are concerned with the concept of 'identity politics' :

"This is long and something I think about and alter constantly but this is where I'm at today. That one is difficult because I'm not sure identity politics is the problem. I think inclusion is. The truth is a lot of the concerns of the working class that voted Trump are the same as those that are classified as identity political instances. The issue is that no one really treats it that way. We call them idiots for voting against their own interests, while true it really is in the competitive way that it's done sometimes. The best way in my opinion to do it is to remind those lost voters that the only people who do understand their issues are the 'othered' populations in America.  
We need to include them as an 'othered' population. So many of us have been 'othered' for so long it's odd when people talk about it. So when someone does it feels like change. Where Democrats fell deaf this time, where Obama didn't was he didn't have to remind people he was an 'othered' population member. All he had to do was speak the lingo at the right places at the right times.  
Hillary was draped in too much rich white female and it irked them because no matter what she said they seemed to think she looked down on them. A few well publicized comments later they have proof. Emails she's so above the law.  
Trump pretended he was with them and said you can trust me because 'wink wink' I'm white like you and I know you really aren't like these 'othered' populations, no you're special.  
There will always be a decent amount of that side that are just hateful towards anyone that isn't in their group. That's a fact of life. However there are many that just want a group to belong to and that one in many ways was comfortable and felt accepting.  
The national dialogue has changed. They grew up with expectations that 'othered' populations didn't really have and I'm actually very empathetic to that. Had my mother not prepared me for the reality of being a black woman in America I can't imagine how confused I would've spent my life.  
But I try to see it from their perspective, they are seeing people that look like them as not gaining ground and are surrounded by imagery of 'othered' prosperity after a lifetime of expecting different. They don't really always attribute that to hard work. They attribute it to the system being rigged against them. What needs to happen is Dems say yes it is let me introduce you to the people that have been figuring out how to game it back for years. Here they are with open arms.  
There's been tons of butt hurt on both sides. I've been an instigator myself. It's hard for me to swallow that the safety and humanity of people I love seems to mean so little. They are worried about finance and some people are literally worried about survival. The cost is so different but if we can make it about all of our lives and deaths maybe we can find each other. So I'm not sure how to get it there besides doing the work one on one."

For a lot of us the lives of those we hold dear are literally at stake. Do the work. . Our republic is worth it. Our people are worth it.  ALL of our people are worth it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Art of Discrimination

All of my journey and my striving to be better than I was yesterday was never really for me. It was and it wasn't. It was about love. All of my life because of what I am and being influenced by American ideologies about women specifically dark women, I've sought to be better than that description because I never wanted to find myself in a situation where I loved someone who wouldn't see me as being good enough to love. It has been my worst fear since the day I found out that I was not the kind of person who deserved love. For me that happened when I was very young the age being impressionable as I was told by many many people in positions of power that people who looked like me didn't deserve love. So I wanted to make sure that I was extraordinary in some way. I wanted to achieve and be able to say to the world I too deserve love do not deny me because of my race, my economic status, my gender. Identity politics as it were at its finest. It wasn't called that then. It was just the way the world was. I thought that if I could be something other than what was normally expected I could change that. I was naive.

I learned that the way I saw it isn't how discrimination works. Discrimination is about deciding things like this about people without considering who they are individually. Discrimination is about setting values to a human being that mostly dehumanize them by implying that they don't need or deserve the very basic needs for sustaining a human life where they can act in love, care and compassion for others. Its about determining that they do not deserve to have the same rights others enjoy. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that. The trick of discrimination is it doesn't matter who I really am, what I fight for, what I care about. The person discriminating never cared enough to find out. Its the ultimate catch 22 because its like deciding that a box contains nothing but garbage because its wrapper is green and you've never actually opened a green wrapped package assuming its all garbage. How do you break through that haze of misinformation when the person who believes in it believes so fully that they refuse to even test it once.

In a lot of ways I believe that's what we are experiencing in a wide array of ways in this post election environment. We've had reputable news outlets determined as garbage. Whole populations of people determined as garbage. Ways of life and loving declared garbage. Its exhausting to live each day knowing that there are people within your vicinity in your grocery stores in your neighborhood that believe that some people and their lives are garbage. You can feel it in them. In the way they look at you. In how they search for the parts of you that confirm that you're the garbage they were told you are. They negate that any perceived faults are merely human ones that we all suffer and battle with. They usually judge you on a different scale not allowing even the slightest bit of error. The benefit of the doubt means nothing because you never deserved it. Its not that far of a step to be so entrenched in the idea that even the best possible people are muted and muddled because of your need to view them as garbage.

I have so much hurt in my soul and my spirit for us as people. We stare at each other from across a cavernous gulf that literally does not exist. Each side yelling the exact same thing each getting louder trying to be heard and never noticing that they are yelling the same thing. They are yelling "I'm human, I hurt I bleed I matter. I matter." 

A lot of these issues are sparking fresh for me as I write my next book which examines that very extreme juxtaposition between a creative minority female and a privileged rich white male.  I always found the seducing the millionaire books lacking because they ignore a very fundamental aspect of socialization which is social groupings. Its not easy to disengage from one social grouping and become fully accepted in another. Its even harder to pull off the love it takes to make the person perceived as less then seem worthy. Love can begin to bridge this gap but we are social and social circles greatly effect the way relationships are conducted maintained and thrive. I know its fiction, you say. Yes it is but if a fairytale has no hope of coming true then why tell it?

In confronting this I realized that there was only a few ways to dig deep enough that a true love could grow. So I did a terrible thing to my male lead. I showed him the absolute truth of his lifestyle. And now he's going to turn around and show my female lead the absolute truth of hers. Its not going to be an easy thing to write because all of my misgivings about beauty, protection and the state of trying to be a joyful carefree black girl in the south will be right at the surface. In many many ways I am her. Weird, artsy with strong headed opinions and a lack of fear that is utterly appalling if you care for this person. The male lead, the idea the person that I've been told all my life I have to find a way to matter to. The person I have to convince that I'm human and deserve love.

I've rarely gotten through my tougher scenes without needing to stop and weep. I feel like now more than ever its so important that I get this out. Lance the wound and let out the infection that has haunted me and crippled me for most of my life. Because you realize one day that you haven't spent your life trying to prove to 'him' that you're human and matter. You were never fighting the masses for your humanity. Discrimination and representation are much more insidious than that. Because some days you ask you really wonder am I really less than human? Is that why joy seems so far away so removed from my life. Are they right? Has God decided that people like me only deserve hell and scraps from the table of humanity like a dogs.  Did He just create us to suffer at the feet of those who will never treat us with the care and concern we have always given them? The problem in those questions is that you aren't looking for those answers from those other people.

The trick is that the arguments and the positions the situations are so compelling you start to think it must be true when you are beat with them everyday for hours on end in almost every encounter in almost every instance of life. You know in the deepest part of yourself that to deny the teachings is in its own way denying reality. Others who need to keep this as a reality beat it into the ground using repetition to control your pattern based brain to guide it to their designs. But then you learn and you grow and understand reality is not a static instance, the use of repetition is folly within itself as the proof that the narrative is incomplete and must be false.  Reality is ever changing, no single moment is identical to any other moment, sunrise sunset and it is ultimately a tool that shapes life.  Like any tool it can be used to the advantage of some and to the disadvantage of others.

When you reshape and re-purpose the tool you see where the trick really lied. It told you that you needed them to acknowledge that you were human and deserving of love when the first and finest principles of philosophy had already given you that power. I think therefore I am. When you unmask the wizard and pull back the curtain you see yourself staring right back at you. You've spent a life time trying to prove your humanity to yourself. That is the only person who needs to believe in your dignity, your grace, your humanity, your right to be loved as you are is you.

When you're newly freed you shed that reality and that world and you began your own alchemy.