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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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White Supremacy, Racism, Patriarchy - alive & well at Freedom Plaza!

We MUST address racism, sexism, classism, homphobia if we are indeed going to build a new world order and have a successful movement.

The driving force here on the plaza is one of grasping at "color-blindness", avoidance of critical examining the "isms" that we bring with us, and not wanting to be committed to building a foundation that recognizes, commits great resources to abolishing, and has a ZERO tolerance for the "isms".

Instead, I am seen as "divisive" and the oppressions I witness and challenge, including racism, sexism, homophobia, are reduced to "my personal problems".

The organizers especially are taking the stance that mentioning the "isms", pointing out inequities, striving for a valuing of diverse voices is my personal issues that are "interfering" with our "real" work.

I am very saddened and feel quite alone now that Kevyn, my strong ally and support, has left for California. I am committed to raising consciousness as compassionately as I am able but I don't think the "others" appreciate the act of love it takes for me to face their attacks and respond with attempting to engage in dialogue and build understanding.

The way to accept feedback!

I witnessed a white male facilitator silence only two people in a very long, maybe 2 hour meeting. The two people he happens to silence are both African American.

One is a male who speaks for the first time and after he speaks a few words challenging our view of homeless people and our 'stuff', the facilitator hushes him by waving his hand and telling the man we've heard what he had to say.

I should have interrupted immediately and said "I want to hear what this man has to say" but I remained silent in the group but approached the man and told him I support what he said 1000%.

The second time, before this womon had a chance to open her mouth, the facilitator calls on her and qualifies it with "don't talk too long, just stick to the subject".

Not once were either of those things said to any other person in the circle. I approached the facilitator later and told him what he had done.

He was not defensive at all but taken back. He told me he didn't realize he had done that (of course), and he really appreciated me bringing it to his attention so he can be aware the next time.

I told him after all the defensive, negative (racist, sexist, etc) responses I've been getting on the plaza, I so appreciated his response and taking responsibility.

And I do. It is so simple. I have to remember to suggest an appropriate response for folks when I challenge their racism.