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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Saturday, December 06, 2003

White privilege and tragedy-riddled lives

 I stop at the Coop to stock up to get back on the road and return to the Bay when outside, there is a white, straight couple standing behind my truck taking pictures. As I approached them, the womon began talking excitedly about my truck. "I LOVE your truck" she gushed. “I made him pull over so we could read your truck up close and take pictures".
The man rolled his eyes and grumbled stoically: “Yup. She made me drive across three lanes of traffic to park four blocks away…”
The womon ignored his comments. “I am 54 years old and I know I have had one of those fortunate american {white} middle class lives that has been pretty much void of tragedy.”
“Wow, OK,” I raised my eyebrows but she ignored me and continued, “I know, I know, I’ve been lucky.”
I held my hand up, smiled, before correcting her. “You’ve been privileged with white skin and the accompanying wealth.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “I married my high school sweetheart” she added indicating the older white man standing a few feet away from her. “I’m still married, no divorce; I’ve raised three children and they're all alive, no drugs, no jail, no teen pregnancy.”
“I’ve been able to live 50 years with life's challenges and tragedy-free until now,” she moans, tears swelling in her eyes.
"The day the supreme court gave that man the presidency was the first tragedy that ever happened in my life". Tears began streaming freely down her cheeks. I moved to embrace her. I could not believe that this woman had managed to escape misfortune for so long and yet here she was now sharing this tragedy. The two of us sobbed softly for a moment in each others’ arms. Her voice was full of anguish. She continued, “And it has been a tragedy for me and for the american public and the world ever since."
            Her voice grew with passion as she recounted some of the many tragic events that have been inflicted upon us during the past three years: the murder, maiming and rape of the Afghan and IraqI people; Congress wimping out to the bush regime; the u.s. american public pretending that everything is just fine; and worst of all: turning our backs on each other and all human beings around the world, especially those we’re presently bombing.
It always comes back around to this for so many who have escaped the tragedies of racism or the pain of the betrayal on the part of the u.s. american public. How can so many be so ignorant? How can so many be so willingly duped, so willingly led to believe whatever those in power deem us to believe?
And of course, the womon who had stopped to see my truck with her husband was actually talking mostly about white, middle and upper class people. This includes all of the people have been duped into thinking that they should or could strive for these luxuries in the first place. These same people have been duped also into thinking that there is such a thing as equality and fairness and democracy in this country.
By the end of our exchange, the woman and I both agreed that womxxn need to take over and that we are going to do our damnedest to make sure it happens. Of course I gave her flyers and told her about CodePINK Womxxn for Peace as she promised to do her part in her corner of Arizona.
We embraced again and her husband took more pictures on all sides of my truck.
“Do you want me to take pictures of you with your husband?” I asked Gayla.
As he steps forward, she exclaimed:“Oh no, you and me, Xan, you and me.”
We finished taking pictures, smiled grimly, waved, and I watched them as they walked away arm-in-arm, trekking back to their parked vehicle and their privileged but now tragedy-riddled lives.