Nine years ago, I began to slowly awaken to my racial prejudices and white privilege. It was a rude awakening. During the past three years, I’ve blogged about that journey from racial ignorance. Recently, someone asked me what have been the biggest surprises along the way. What do I know now that I didn’t know before? What follows is a short list of some of my bigger epiphanies and the posts where I shared these revelations.
I didn’t know that for a short period after the Civil War black people made significant progress in political and economic terms. I didn’t know we had black US Senators and Representatives, that many southern states had black legislatures, that black literacy rates skyrocketed and blacks make significant economic gains. I didn’t know about the reign of terror necessary for whites to end this moment of possibility, murdering thousands of black men, women and…
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Nayaano-nibiimaang Gichigamiin means “The Five Freshwater Seas” in Anishinaabemowin. The cultural impact of the Anishinaabe on the region is everywhere, as evidenced by this map.
The toponyms that appear on this map are listed below. They include the Anishinaabemowin name, translation, and the English name.
Aabitibiiwi-zaaga’igan (In-Between Waters Lake): Lake Abitibi (ON / QC)
Aazhawayi’iing (At the Canoe-crossing): Oshawa, ON
Adikokaan (Caribou Grounds): Atikokan, ON
Amikwag-endaad (Beaver Abode): Beaver Islands, MI
Animbiigoo-zaaga’igan (Dog Waters Lake): Lake Nipigon (ON)
Anishinaabewi-gichigami (Anishinaabe’s Sea): Lake Superior (MI / MN / ON / WI)
— ALSO AS Ojibwewi-gichigami (Ojibwa’s Sea): Lake Superior (MI / MN / ON / WI)
Baawitigong (At the Cascades): Sault Ste. Marie, MI/ON
Baketigweyaang (At the Side-flow): London, ON
Bakeyaabashkiikaang (At where a Muskeg is off to its Side): Hayward, WI
Biidaasige (Shine): Petosky, MI
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White people are uninvited to the “cookout” or the symbolic gathering of the black collective. Their whiteness has been politicized in such a way that they are deserving of their own collective. They can call it the “potluck” and put all the raisins in the potato salad they want.
When you’re black in America your very existence is political so this isn’t new to us.
But because white people have enjoyed the privilege of not being politicized by virtue of whiteness being categorized as the default and/or the standard, it is often assumed that their affiliation would put them on the same side of the political spectrum. Whether it’s the assumption that all white women would not support the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice who has multiple sexual assault allegations or that white Southerners all oppose LGBTQ rights or even so much as telling a racist joke with the…
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Still here. Also still on LiveJournal, but I back up my posts to my computer in case the LJ site’s completely taken down by Mother Russia. Still trying to keep a written journal as well, but it gets tedious to write about the same awful political and environmental issues. I think I left some of my fighting spirit at Standing Rock. It’s the last time I felt like I was part of something bigger, taking a stand and fighting for what was right. I haven’t been this uncertain about what the future holds since I was a little Jehovah’s Witness kid growing up by the nuclear power plant in the Cold War 80s. I was constantly prepared for Armageddon, and it took its toll on me. It took me years to recover from that mindset, to make plans for the future, years into the future, and take it for granted that we’d all still be here. I do now what I did then – I escape in books, commiserate with likeminded people, and tell myself that in the very grand scheme of things, all will be well with the planet. We as humans may screw it up to the point where we can’t survive here, but life has arisen from extinction several times in the past. Like I said, the very grand billions-of-years view. I just want more people to fight back, though, to stop what’s happening. Every day, the bar is set higher for what someone has to do to get fired from leading the country, and I am past hoping that others in power will stop this trainwreck. My ancestors didn’t survive persecution, slavery, and attempted genocide just to have me give up this easy. No matter what happens, I will fight against the hate and greed. I throw my lot in with my Black and Native kin, and will fight against what’s happening to people and to the land, air, and water. We are all we have, there is no Planet B, and my freedom is tied up in theirs. And that’s as good a reason as any to stay in the game.
We all know, because we’ve been told, that 40 ish is a difficult time for the smart lady about town. You are not young. You are so definitely not young! Ha ha, you said young like it might apply to you, you are RIDICULOUS. But also, you are not old. Not really. These days, 50 is the new 40, so essentially 40 is the new 30 and you are both 40 and 30 and you have gone back in time to warn your 30 year old self about the wtf is about to happen sometime around 2016, because 40 is the new 12 Monkeys. I mean, you are basically 20. Times have changed. Fiona Bruce is 53 and she barely has to think about her age as a TV presenter. It’s a pretty sweet deal for women now – they get to present programs with old things, so that they…
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Suppose there was a national steering committee for Black History Month. Now, if I was chair of that committee these are a few of the ideas I would suggest.
For Black History Month black folks should be allowed to trade in on white guilt for things like free coffee at Starbucks, 75% off all purchases at Target, criminalizing white women who wear cornrows, not answering for the stupid shit other black people do, job promotions based on potential not qualifications, preferential seating at restaurants and a free meal if we put up the power fist, not being harassed or shot by the police, extra medical care for black women both during and after child birth, giving black kids the benefit of the doubt before kicking them out of school and the overall recognition of our humanity. That would be soooo dope!
Further trading in on white guilt (and pouring salt…
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