I had a great lunch conversation with two young white men today who are feeling the pressure to “produce and provide” and are looking for alternatives to succumbing to this stereotype and just joining the corporate project. After lunch, I wrote this:
As I think about our conversation more in the understanding of my daily work at a social services agency in town, I am reminded on the necessity to invite anyone and everyone with whatever ethnicity or background (age, sexuality, religion, political persuasion) to participate in the work of healing (and radical positive social change and happiness creation) in our society. There is enough pain to go around. Everyone can have a hand in creating peace. I think a place like where I work, is where push comes to shove, and the realization that we can’t find enough people (of ANY race, class or gender) to facilitate the creation of a new society, and not enough people to persuade others to stop beating each other in inter familial violence). It feels desperate.
There were some black people back during the time of emancipation, who didn’t want to participate in the mainstream US society, and they opted to farm somewhere and live in peace with their indigenous neighbors. Just a random thought about what it would look like if instead of clamoring to be just like white people (when I say white here, i mean the white people that southern black folks encountered…rich, conservative, separatist, tea parties, cult of true womanhood, Victorian, etc) and be accepted into their culture and politics, we searched the alternatives that our indigenous (to Africa) pasts gave us. but we didn’t for the most part.
I see that in our communities still today, we’ve eaten everything that white supremacy had to offer. Militarism, racism, and materialism (Sound familiar? Those are the 3 evils Dr. King talked about in one of his important speeches). The lure of power that whites had appears to be too strong to resist by many poor whites and blacks. I think materialism is the clearest example of the places Black people tend to be way overboard in comparison to your average white person. It will present a dilemma. It has presented a dilemma and created a culture of aggressiveness, bling, and power (real or imagined).
But there are black people who questioned and continue to question the system, just as some white people did and continue to do. So we need to get those black and white people together. That’s the question I leave with today, from lunch.
How can we create a new type of culture which benefits all and has the flexible institutions necessary to recognize diverse historic backgrounds, and has sets of values that explain and facilitate that peace and justice we so desire? This is why I’m a transnational radical black feminist and it’s also why I’m a spiritual person. The creation of any society (or even a small community of this sort) will need to embody feminist and spiritual values of safety, ethics, conflict resolution, play, education, politics, and cycle of life understandings.