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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

Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Guilt, The Bad, The Problem...

In my line of work, confronting bigotry, racism, sexism, sometimes liberal whites respond with declarations of guilt caused by the info I'm revealing to them, or maybe perhaps the way in which I'm revealing it.

Often they also say they feel like they’re bad people or worse, they are part of the problem.


This happened today at a reading in Madison when an older white womon told me I was making her feel guilty. Liberal whites expect that to be the end of the conversation, well maybe the end after I apologize for laying a guilt trip on them. For it seems to be a condition of liberalism to avoid like a plague making anyone feel guilty or bad or ‘the’ problem.

So I asked her what she feels guilty about but she quickly claims just doesn't want to feel guilty.

Ok, who does? I ask her  “I’m wondering why you disparaged my veggie oil truck?” to which she responded with cautious smile she never did. I look at her with my best disbelief expression “Really, you didn’t? Last week at the grocery store you put down my truck’s paint job and told everyone who would listen that a 5 year old could have done a better job?”

“No,” she is leaning toward me, firm and sincere, frowning now.

“Well, maybe that wasn’t you,” I concede and she begins to slide back, “but I know it was you who broke my cell phone and then hid it in the garbage can.”

She jumps upright in her seat and demands to know what the hell I’m doing, to which I respond “I’m trying to make you feel guilty. Do you feel guilty?”

“Hell know, “ she responds, “I don’t have anything to feel guilty about.”

“That is my lesson for this day. I don’t believe anyone can ‘make’ us ‘feel’ guilty unless there’s something we’re doing to feel guilty about.”

Everyone in the circle, including Sarah, nods slowly as I explain.

So I urge my participants to try something different, when they’re talking about or being confronted with racism or sexism, or any ugly truth etc. If and when feelings of guilt, of accusation, of I’m a bad person comes up for you, take a few minutes and step back, open your mind and thoughts to figure out what exactly it is that you have to feel guilty about, to feel bad about, to feel like you are part of the problem.

And then change it.