To me, TheFreeSlave's post moves the consideration from the arena of "politics" (having to do with the use and distribution of power) to the arena of "spirituality." Don't misread me here. I don't mean warm-and-fuzzy-esoteric-new-age-mumbo-jumbo type stuff. I mean down-deep-in-the-gut-where-the-rubber-meets-the-road-and-the-individual-psyche/biological-being-meets-history type stuff. In the end, what I call my spiritual being gives birth, I think, to my political perspective (which is how I see the personal and political as connected). Being one's whole, unmitigated, unapologetic Self (again, for me) does not, then, wash all the "color" out of the visible image, but rather actually heightens the color (continuing the metaphor). It shines the light of acceptance of all beauty on each individual image.
A rose garden can be lovely, but the kind of garden I like best is an explosion of all different kinds of flowers: different colors, shapes, heights, sizes, scents, etc. Each flower is beautiful because of the characteristics of the specific group it represents. No flower in such a garden is the only one of its type, though every flower is different in it particularistic manifestations of its group characteristics. Such flowers don't jockey for position, don't hold knock-down, drag-out battles to establish hierarchy, don't engage in sneaky, underhanded and manipulative attacks (either publicly or privately) out of ego or greed or ignorance. They just bloom and shine and pass the bees and butterflies one to the other.
Admittedly, though there is such a thing as weeds, humans are grossly more complicated than flowers. But I think that's part of what TheFreeSlave gets at so well in his post. We complicate the shit. We make it ugly. "Fighting the good fight" (if you will) often creates people and groups not wildly different from each other in important and frequently negative ways. And, of course, capitalism has left virtually all of us all but ruined as keepers of the flame of life.
Do African-Americans need to band together to survive and bring about change? I think so. Do women and men need to educate themselves about the patriarchy and take organized action against it (again to survive and bring about change)? I think so. Do immigrants and poor people and prisoners (and others) need to see themselves as similarly situated and act accordingly? I think so. But that does not negate the Truth inherent within TheFreeSlave's post.
"Resigning" as a White person (something I did some time ago, I guess, when I started using the term European-American and then started referring to other European-Americans as "people who look like me") does not mean I stopped honoring the beauty and experience of people in general and people of color as definitive groups, in particular. But it means that I see all Life (and not just all human life) as sacred. In order to do that, I must be fully Conscious. Conscious of others' struggles (because of the socially-constructed political notions of "race" and "gender." And Conscious of any ways in which I have participated on any side of those struggles -- in order to be healthy mySelf. This is obviously a lifetime process of Becoming. But it's the bottom line for me at the end of the day.
I am not antagonistic toward and don't have any argument with those who feel that they must be in a different space at this point in time. In fact, I often support them uncategorically. There's a reason that, in the only photograph we have of Martin and Malcolm together, they're grinning like delighted children. We don't have to be clones to be effective or to be allies.
And I am incredibly Conscious that enemies stalk the Earth, that there are many humans who do not support Life and the other perspectives that rational, loving people naturally support. I do not make them enemies. They make themselves enemies. They may destroy Life on Earth, if they are allowed to do so. I am going to do what I can to stop that process and nurture Life instead. And my full Self represents a number of groups and experiences of which I am an amalgam. But I am also an individual and stand individually responsible for everything that emanates from my center.
It's not easy to make sense of all this, but it is reality, to my mind, and therefore, a crucial aspect of the dialogue that will carry us into a sustainable future, if there is to be one.
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