Whiteness Means I am Smarter Than Who? (Trigger Warning)

I don’t know what made my brain connect the memory, perhaps it is because it is the least convinient time ever for me to go, “Oh… hey… institutionalized racism, fail on you Estancia New Mexico!” I swear, that town is the most ism fueled town I have ever seen. That is the town where I was burned at the stake, oh yeah, I am naming names now bitches. I should admit, my dear readers that I was angry before then. Between reading a crap ton of sexism about Zsa Zsa Gabour, my computer still acting up and so badly that I lost more data, more time, and had to reinstall things, and the rain… I woke up from my mad thinking it was six am, and suddenly this anger slammed into me. Likely I was triggered in my sleep but this anger was here first, not the idea, so my reaction may be disproportionate. Or not.

My revelation comes at the hands of my mother, I woke up and my first conscious thought was about the Gifted Program, a term I use lightly, and the special ed program. It was one shrouded in thunder like a horror movie revelation. Why were there no children of color in either program? Are you telling me that out of the majority of hispanic children there were no gifted kids? Wrong. Fail. Nope. This doesn’t seem factual, when some of the barbie doll white girls in my class were put back in regular cycles because they could not actually keep up with the school work and the gifted program was an at your own pace sort of class. Even the teacher, though she did a bang up job and did address racism, was the aryan dream. Well the first one we had was too but she was full of fail and was fired for being creepy, and has almost no bearing on my memories of the Gifted Program. Thunder Thunder.

I remember everyone they pulled out for IQ testing, and as an adult i know that the tests used were skewed not in my favor or in the favor of accuracy but these tests hailed from the days when white people tried to prove with science that black people and other “races” are just plain stupid. I am so glad that these tests failed but at the same turn there are more accurate assessments of a child’s needs and these tests were easily skewed. In fact, I remember clearly how angry the test assessor was that I passed the test and was deemed to be a genius. The twitching, the muttering with the principle who I clearly heard say, “Then we’ll have to deal with her and her mother, but you couldn’t just lie?” I asked what for, and that was it, I was stamped “Gifted but Troubled, beware the contents of this package”.

The thing is, they only TESTED THE WHITE KIDS. Each of us was taken one at a time, and it was announced on the PA. I won’t name their names, as these children did nothing to deserve being used as pawns for racism, but hello… the superintentendet was antisemitic, and clearly so, something I was aware of before the end of the first year of the gifted program. We were stuck in a windowless room our first year, with the teacher that was very much lost in her own illness both physical and mental, and mostly just futzed around. The cool part was when one of the boys’ fathers, who works at or worked at the time Sandia National Labs brought in a truckload of monitors, keyboards, and broken towers. Our job? Reprogram them, make them run then brand new XP, the Labs funded this, and set up the entire school district with an internet worthy network.

I was born for this. Though it was clear very rapidly my hands weren’t my mind was. I took over, and we split up into areas where we each excelled, I was the head programmer, and another person who was also less strong and agile helped me. We wiped hard drives, expanded ram, and essentially took several hundred computers, and mutated them into two hundred computers. Last time I asked, my brother and sister told me these are still the computers in use in that educational system. My teacher was fired, though possibly illegally I think there was more to it than I know. The next year we had windows and the teacher that I dream about often. Not sexually but as a guide.

She is still alive so I know this is just my imagination, but Miss S was the first teacher to teach me anything. I remember how surprised she was when for a project that required basic math, I asked for help. That was the first time I spoke in her class to say something productive, and the first time I asked for help. She had me stay in during lunch, and bought me pizza and we used pizza to get the problems solved. She then asked me if I wanted to type all of my assignments. Type? Really? I could use a format that didn’t send pain shooting through me and was so distracting that I could think my work through? I never said yes, instead I let out a squeak and ran away. All my assignments for all classes were then typed, printed, and I completed homework even in that year.

Yet still, all of my classmates were white. Not all of them turned out to be gifted, despite this test. I have had my IQ tested several times and with several tests, and I am left to wonder, why weren’t any of the hispanic students tested? Our future valedictorian was hispanic, and I think she was gifted. Sure she was mean to me, but everyone was and if you weren’t mean to me it was social suicide. I understand that as an adult, and maybe have forgiven some of the kids who confused me by being nice to me alone, but if someone else was around out and out cruel. I can think of several students, especially in English and Math, that didn’t even have to think about the work as they learned it, they more than excelled.

None of the hispanic kids in my class actually left that town. All of them are trapped in tendrils of what is institutionalized failure. I know that my mother probably didn’t see it as racism as she said “Now you don’t have to be with them” but I did think she meant the horrible hispanic children. There are a lot of racist moments in my family as we know and a lot of moments where my mother failed but she actually fought for the gifted program to exist, because it was what I needed. My older brother also could have benefited but by the time she won this fight he was gone. I don’t think she would have done it for just me, but maybe? Maybe.

I asked the then Superintendent about it, and the answer I had was, “Well you are just smarter than them.” Them again. How can you know without testing? How? It makes absolutely no sense. I knew I was smarter than most of my classmates but I had some doubts. Sure I was the smartest in the gifted program but as an adult I still cannot add or subtract without a great deal of struggle and even then I have to use a calculator to verify my results. I have been told that is Autism which is ableim when said, just like my white skin automatically makes me worthy of the funding for this test.

I have no doubts I am smart, not many do. In fact the general presumption people have when meeting me is that I have several degrees. I don’t have any, which bothers me, because I wonder… if I was hispanic, black, or a person who is of First Nations descent, wouldn’t they presume I worked at taco bell, or am faking disability for the benefits? Is this why no one was tested but the handful of white students, and some of those were bumped up for appearances?

The popular girls were actually thrust into this class, and only two could stick it out. I remember the two that did because they were nice to me even infront of others after a month in the class. I think they saw that there was more to me than the beligerant and mean student who targeted every weak point with military prescision. In fact it was those girls that gave me some good memories of school, in the very cliched hollywood way that things went down. They could keep up with the advanced work, and yet… again… with the boys the entire football team was tested, the head cheerleader and football guy, no idea his position but I know it was his thing and he banked his future on it. They came into the class and were lost with some very basic things, which in the test you had to have in order to be used. Reading. Writing.

I am not saying they cannot be gifted, but how can you take a test that is WRITTEN if you cannot read it? They certainly didn’t read the questions to me. Theyhanded me the test and said I had all afternoon to complete it. I didn’t need that much time, which lead to another argument, me having to retake the test because I had to have cheated… but… you have to be able to read to do it.

That bothered me then, though then I thought it was just their popularity that got them in. Now I think it was the whiteness of their skin. Would my mother have even managed to make federally mandated special education programs availible if she wasn’t white? I doubt it. I think on that town and how everyone with any power is white. The mayor? WhiteyMcwhiterton, the superintendant? Hispanic last name but she has gone off the deep end with the bleach and presented as white. She may still be the super but I don’t care enough to check. The principals? Only one was not white. The high school principle also used his whiteness to bully teenage girls into sex acts. The track coach? Same. His kid may not want me believing that but I knew the man, and I never trusted him alone because of his grabby hands. Sorry, no need to name names, a simple google search reveals all.

This town, this town so chock full of religious extremism, racism, and of course crime… more crime than I can believe… this town also has the worst educational record in the state that often is the worst or second to worst. No point in differentiating when you are last out of fifty, and this school is last out of however many my state has?

Now, there is something else that I remember. I wasn’t put back in the gifted program in Highschool but instead the special education program, which I was familiar with. There I found most of the white football players from the gifted program’s first year… and a lot of hispanic kids that did know the basics of reading, writing, and had no actual issues that I could see. They were just deemed less than. My reason for being dubbed inferior was having mental health issues, though I still had my freshman year made of awesome between winning a national computing award and being valentines princess (Prom Queen equivalent). Still, the kids from special ed that I knew in Middle School, some of whom I kept in contact with after the advent of becoming “Gifted” because hey, lets make a term othering and one that can cause the majority of students to feel bad too…

None of those kids were in these classes. They were in a third level class, where they had even less instruction than the special ed class. I think that they tried to rename it remedial everything but that was too little too late by the time theyear was most of the way through, and yes I did find humanity in some of my fellow students in that class and vice versa but it wasn’t the Breakfast club, it was an educationless room where we were passed ahead, without knowing or learning anything unless like me you read a book and surprise surprise, the others got curious so you ended up teaching them some reading skills and had a book club. It was short lived because I broke down again. However, it was a start. If I could teach kids I loathed and thought were no better than animals, why couldn’t the teachers?

The teachers at this school, with a few minor but fantastic exceptions, don’t care and don’t try. Actually that’s the educational format for this state before you get culled out usually by education and color, or being form out of state between the local community college with it’s basic courses and the university for the “more advanced”. Yeah. They said it that way for a few years there. I think they stopped but wowza.

So there it stands… my entire memory collective of these events. In a town where the population divvies up between white people who are inbred with each other (literally) and a few outsiders who you just don’t talk to if you are local because they aren’t part of the Cult of Estancia, the town with a catholic or baptist (and that one methodist ) church on EVERY CORNER. They have one bar, and at least ten churches I can think off off of the top of my head… then the rest are hispanic folks, a lot of them are not legal, though every student was here legally born in either Albuquerque or Estancia itself. Even the doctor was racist, and would treat people’s ailments with some sort of outdated “medicine” that killed a lot of people.

In a town of 90% color vs 10% Whiteness, why is it that almost all of the white children are in a special class? I wonder now if this is why that awesome teacher with the pizza (and a lot of other extra time spent teaching me things like advanced beading and how to focus even when angry) chose to teach us about the Nuremburg trials. She took history and made us reenact it. We had to work together to write a script, and every time I was triggered she would let me go for a walk as long as I came back. I was allowed to do what I had to in order to be okay with the work, and actually made more progress with my PTSD in her class than I ever had in an institution up to date. I played the roll of Herman Goerring, and we had the honor of performing our class play, which was actually ripped fairly much from trial transcripts, infront of holocaust survivors, one of whom presented evidence and reprised this actual event. Each survivor brought a piece of atrocity with them, and it stuck with most of us, these lamps of human skin, chairs with bone, and bits of humanity were all that the Nazis valued of people who weren’t like them. Infact, when these survivors thanked us for our portrayal (I even faked hanging myself) I was scared. I didn’t understand the waves of emotion, and I still cannot. I do know that the men and women that sat and watched children with great seriousness learning, and for some of us seeing when we held the actual items, such as a Nazi flag, the horrors that the impact was great, not great as in good but massive. Huge.

I remember many things about my teacher, including when she left. She left the school system when I went to high school, or as I oh so fondly remember it.. the land of no one cares because we’re almost done with you horrible children (except my computer sciences teacher who was known as an evil witch because she actually cared and had expectations the horror..) She left because they would not change the system. She told each of us goodbye and said, “There are things in your town that aren’t right. When you go elsewhere, people aren’t treated this way based on how they look but what they know or could learn. Keep that in mind, you aren’t the only smart people here.” I took this as a get out while you still can, and I still think that was a part of it. She wanted us to keep our minds open.

My teacher in her lesson on Nuremburg taught about not just the Jews but she taught about all of the other peoples targeted, she herself was of german descent, and as I said was the Aryan dream in appearance. I wonder if her teaching this was based on seeing the potential for the same crimes to occur, and feeling guilt because her family name is tied closely to the Nazis. I wonder… but all I can think of is… if I am the most successful by the traditional money money money standards, and also by my own out of these students what went wrong? I had the least amount of potential to succeed being that I was actually preparing to kill them all rather like a cartoon villain. What lead each of the smart women in my class to become pregnant and then housewives without fulfillment. I won’t say every housewife is unfulfilled but when I ended up back in that town a few years ago, it was clear that they wanted out. I even had one ask me why I wasn’t married and how I had managed to survive without a man. The outsiders were now insiders, married to someone else there, I think the fact that everyone in that town who remains has relations to someone else is a bit horrifying and someday I may write a horror movie based on the phenomenon… yet even with everyone there being mostly blood related, it was those deemed more than the others, because of last names bearing whiteness, skin, hair, in fact the entire gifted class had only one person without blonde hair in it, and one was me.

So… why was it that this old idea of whiteness being superior shaped the futures of children? How fair is it? Yes, my otherness nearly cost me the gifted program, but that is more proof isn’t it? They wanted the children with the “super good” label to be the ones who matched what they see on TV as superior. There was never consideration that the twins or their brother could have been smart. THere was never consideration that anyone excluding myself with a mental illness could be smart, or could be super frigging bored because there were a total of four teachers in my entire experience there that taught (though a few of them I had more than once). Why was it all of our teachers were white too…

The hell Estancia. How can a town that has such a rich history, one with so little whiteness, be so sick? Most of your white people are CRIMINALS. Most of your hispanics, at least while I was there, ran businesses,worked to make the town a better place. Sure, the serial killer that nearly got me there was a man of color but, he was the exception to the criminal scum there not the rule. Then again your town embraces criminals so why am I bothering to scold you? I just wish for the future children, those being educated now, that you weren’t run by racist scumbags. So glad I am out of there.

I will never cross your border again, I will never look back again, unless triggered like so. That is all you are to me you cesspool of a town, you are the worst years of my life. You contain my lack of recovery, a lack of love, and hatred. THe few exceptions stand out with gleaming clarity because they are EXCEPTIONS, and even those were tainted by my being other. Every moment in that town was a torture. Even the moments when I learned the most,s omeone was in pain at all times. How is that healthy? No being white doesn’t make you smarter. Neither does my autism. Just because you were forced to follow laws you have to find a way to sully the idea of smarts? Good frigging grief.

Trolls

I have been thinking about internet trolls lately. I think the internet trolls are likely the same people who I end up making angry in public for daring to exist. My blog is a relatively troll free zone, yet I write in a state of vulnerability, I write about social justice, and I write about many of the same things that are written about by other bloggers.

Am I being sheltered from the Trolls because I am a white woman? I noticed that Renee of Womanist Musings is constantly dealing with the trolls. They attack from all sides endlessly. Most of her guest posters end up with the trolls. Even when I do guest post there I have much fewer instances of what could be called trolling, and their venom is much less potent.

I am a member of minorities by being homosexual, by being disabled, and by being a woman. This does not seem to bring out the hateathon and although I do not WANT the trolls here I find myself wondering if this is another area where I cannot quite understand what they go through because I am sheltered.

I have been looking at the other blogs I read, and all of the blogs with persons of color have much more trolling than my little corner of the internet. Even blogs where you expect the gender trolls to come out and play are less busy than the blogs by people of color. I have decided a few things, and as I grasp for understanding have broken them down as follows.

1. A troll is a puppet of the patriarchial male white cis society.
2. Most trolls are men.
3. Most trolls are white.
4. Most trolls spend countless hours trying to silence people.

Why? I do not understand. I don’t think I can but, I have a challenge for you readers. When you witness Trolling how often is it based on color of skin before all else? The second thing Trolls target seem to be women. AS I said I have had a few trolls but I don’t bother posting most of what they have said, I decided quickly that I will just let them scream in the silence, and it has helped me to refrain from exhaustion but with the small amount of Trollshit on my blog, this is something that can be done. For others with a higher readership this is not possible.

Nor is it possible for anyone to not read the comments posted. I do not know how to stop the trolls but I must say I admire the writers that are trolled a great deal more. I admire the strength it takes in order to keep going. I don’t know that I could manage as well as Jaded16 and Renee do. I cannot stop thinking about this connection. I don’;t have all the words but I must say, I hope to always be a pillar of support for Renee and Jaded16, as well as anyone else that is right and works hard to share their views and change the world. I know sometimes I need support but, with extra trolling (about a million times more trolls per post than here) so do they. Anyone who has not read their blogs should. I am going to point you at my side bar, here or any other post because their links are everywhere here.

This is my way of showing support for those who are trolled. I cannot apologize for them because that is ineffectual. I will however offer my support in the ways I can. I admire your strength and appreciate the energy it takes to write when you know every word means someone is going to fling their poovlige at you in order to try and make you disappear so that their world can be free of anyone that disagrees with them. Keep fighting.

The Difference Between Politically Correct and Respect

I am contemplating my internalized racist self right now. You see, I feel shame for I did not know that Juneteenth was anything at all. Not only is this a holiday that should be NATIONAL, HUGE, and marked with celebration…. but yesterday there was whitewashing. I choose this term deliberately. In the fight between the racists and the victims of the racism I noted the same erasures and when an apology was made I was left to think… what is it that is different about being PC and actually respecting people and why is the latter so hard to find?

People make fun of being politically correct all the time. I have been called a member of the PC police because I will not let people discriminate against me. When I think of people being politically correct the image in my mind is of a white guy being snide about someone’s otherness. Other being of course not white or male. Usually he is complaining that he is not allowed to be racist, ableist, etc. Then he complains further that the target of his isms doesn’t have a sense of humor for being hurt, offended, or angry.

Politically correct is another way of saying that you are too good to respect humans. It makes it acceptable again for you to be racist if you say you are just not into being politically correct. It means you can make it about the other thems, whichever political party you do not agree with. Politically Correct means absolutely nothing in this world because if you are treating people like they are people out of not wanting to stick your foot in your mouth you are an Ist.

Yes, people who aim to actually respect the human beings around them still screw up from time to time. Some more than others. I am hardly free of that feeling like I swallowed a basket of live snakes, that moment when I know I screwed up and didn’t just step on someone’s toes but took part in Isms. I sometimes panic, sometimes I apologize, and sometimes I say nothing because I am afraid of the reply. The latter is something I try to extinguish but it is there. The urge to make it all better ignores the rights, feelings, and perceptions of people that your (or my) privilege victimises.

Sorry also doesn’t cut the pain down, it may prevent you from doing this again but in reality I have had many people who “don’t subscribe to the PC thing” or only are being nice because they fear concequences do more harm with an apology. Apologizing can even be used as a way to make it okay for you to do the same old behaviors over and over again.

So, are you Politically Correct?

For more information on Juneteenth please visit Womanist Musings at this link here.

Green Lantern’s First Flight Review

Green Lantern’s First Flight

Hal Jordan holding up his glowing power ring, glaring at the viewer through his green mask. Hal is a white man with brown hair.

I am an avid Green Lantern Fan. My DC comics reading goes Batman, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern. Darkest Night made me one happy fan girl. I finally sat down and watched First Flight. I am going to tell you now, I do not have anything really positive to say about the film. In fact I have several questions for the Warner Brothers.

  1. Have you ever cracked open a comic book in your life?
  2. Are you all really that sexist?
  3. Do you hire writers who also are unaware of source material and or don’t know how to put together a story?

I get it, this movie is for kids. I hate that excuse for poorly written slop. You know why? As a child my reaction was the same to poorly written slop. I am not going to bother seeing who acted in this slop, who wrote it, nor can anyone convince me that this film was worthy of my time.

My first complaint is the sexism.

Only two female characters speak and they are really treated as after thoughts. Carol Ferris is the ball buster, she was written as I perceive her in comics mostly, except there was no show of her softer side, her connection to Hal. Boodika was turned evil. REALLY NOW? REALLY? Not only was she poorly drawn and miscolored (as most of your aliens were) but she had to be evil? Sinestro had no side kick in the comics and that took away from his actual and abhorrently Hitler based evil.

Second point on the sexism. Abin Sur: “Find HIM.”

Do human males really have the only capacity for Will Power? Let me see… NO. I am always told I would be a ring bearer because of how much will I have. I know plenty of women with AMAZING will. I know plenty of people that would be Green Lantern Corps material. Most are women.

Third

Arisa looks terrified the entire time, has no lines, I am fine with the costume change but good lord… she is a Green Lantern. She has to be rather TOUGH.

Second:

Sinestro. This is where the crappy writing shows. It would’ve been passable writing otherwise, or maybe even fantastic writing. You see, Sinestro is written to be as obtuse as a brick wall. You can see he is the villain from the get go. Sinestro’s evil came from his oblivious lack of free thought. He was blind to any flaw with the Guardians, and wouldn’t talk about them ala Guy Gardner. Well he was more bitter than Guy would’ve been but calling them gnomes et al is a Gardner tactic. Sinestro was the perfect lantern, he was the one that set the bar before Hal Jordan outed his evil. A good Sinestro blindsides a new reader/viewer with his evil. You know, you could even make him likable to make it sting more. It is supposed to hurt. Instead I was bored with waiting for the villainy to start so the movie could be OVER.

Continuity Errors:

Lets just talk about the ones in the film. Obviously no film can be completely perfect when based on another medium. I didn’t expect perfect. Continuity errors include the whole yellow impurity, a vague mention of a green impurity and then the writers ignoring this and having EXPERIENCED Green Lanterns blasting at Yellow. Yellow being effect… there were more but this was the most cumbersome.

Lots of the voice acting was crappy, there were words that were mispronounced. Poozer was pronounced POSER repeatedly. This was just an element of bad acting. The voices were all awkward, jarring, though I admit the Hal Jordan voice was better than when David Boreanaz took the ring. Geesh.

Another element of this movie that sucks is that the Green Lanterns wait, even after rings are powered to act while Jordan gets his rear handed to him by Sinestro. Not only do I have to endure really poorly designed constructs (a construct is anything you imagine and it’s wads of light and clamps?!) but there is also the issue of these folks having Will. The entire corps is portrayed as if it lacks will. The guardians have names, which I guess makes them identifiable to kids? Not sure why but it was weird to hear the varying styles of names used.

The main writing issue however is again the Alien’s use of earth colloquialism. It is understandable in the comic after a time, as the Corps has been exposed to human idioms and therefore assimilation on both sides occurs. It is not okay in this film because not only does it destroy various character personalities (as does the abject cowardice portrayed) but further more even with a translation by the ring the phrasing wouldn’t BE with words used in slang it would be a grammatically perfect translation. I somehow doubt Sinestro’s world has gnomes.

Over all this was a waste of my time. This was a waste of your funding, and for anyone new to the Green Lanterns it is a waste of enticement. This film does not entice new fans, but instead drives existing fans away with it’s horribleness. A climactic laxer light show does not make up for an hour and some odd minutes of BAD WRITING. I wanted to see a creative construct. I wanted to see a good movie. I expected less. This was still below my basement level expectations.

It’s enough for me to give in and write out my comic character proposal to challenge Warner and DC’s blatant sexism. There was a moment in Green Arrow and Green Lantern’s team up book where Hal’s racism is called out. It looks like time for a girl to hand Guy, Hal, and Kyle’s butt’s to them on a platter of green glowing light.

Privileged

We live in a world of priviledge. White, Male, Able bodied, and sexual are merely a few. My awareness of my disability became a journey into the cryptic world of truth. This is a part of what has lead me to become a reporter for a local paper. The staff understand that due to my limitations I cannot always “do it” but in turn I understand they have questions about who I am. My questioning mind seeks information out, and I never stop analyzing. This means I also have some very high standards for my social interactions with people. I know what I like, and screw you if you cannot maintain a consistent approach.

Having a diverse friend base, this does at times cause internal friction though I have only told the people I am rejecting to go away. I resort to the screw you if I cannot get through to them with the concept that I am not their friend. This as an adult has occurred with two people repeatedly. Today I told my fiance about a woman, Cynthia McKinney who was kidnapped in a foreign country. He hadn’t heard about this. I admit since we rarely watch the TV this isn’t a surprising factor, though when I mentioned that not many others had, excluding the twitter users and bloggers none bothered to talk about her capture, he was floored.  He then said the most wonderful thing, for it filled my heart with joy that I live with a man who is aware of his privilege. “It’s disgusting. We have these rules, that allow people to do that crap and feel better. It’s a band aid over a slit throat that’s dirty, old, and infected. Sure, we think we’re fine but our body is dying.”

Our body is dying. I think on privilege often. Neither of us can ignore it. As a disabled woman, I run into privilege daily. If I leave the house it is there. Yesterday, I was told just how convenient my wheelchair is because it has a sunshade. In my brand new effort to not be Super Cripple, I said, “Absolutely, I only had to break my spine, become homeless, and develop an allergy to the sun in order to have this convenience. Want me to help you get one? I am sure I can find some way for you to become disabled.” I said it with a smile. The cold knife of sarcasm caused the cashier to falter, she looked down, and then I was invisible. She handed MY change to my fiance. He tried to correct her and pointed to me but she just set it down.

i made a choice to use the cutting words, yet this is not the first time that this same cashier has said this. She doesn’t seem to remember that she has done it, and I don’t need to be exposed to her ignorance each time. My fiance and i talked about it before I went home by myself, wanting the sun on my skin and knowing that the side walk was safe between the shopping center and the house.

He asked, “Are you okay?”

I replied with a frown, “Yeah, well no. I am so tired of that same behavior. I think I may write the store manager about it, though the other employees also do the same stuff.” Each time we go in, I have someone leaning on my chair, patting my head, and in general am treated like a child. This is a national chain, and my fiance having worked there knows that Walgreens prides itself on how it’s employees are given sensitivity training. With a higher than average rate of ableism in this store, I think the trainer was flawed.  Every time we go in, I am required to educate someone. It is a burden. I usually just need a cool drink to lower my body temperature so that I don’t faint. I may actually just want to get a candy bar. Why am I forced to deal with their ableism? I cannot do so in silence, or it will get worse, but it is exhausting.

He nodded, “Maybe you should offer to retrain them. For a fee.” I laughed but seriously am considering this. I also plan to detail for the management just how much we buy at their establishment. My fiance is lumped into a new category with me. Each time we are out he is given the pitying look by someone, and often has mostly older persons (yes, an entire generation of people oblivious to privilege exists) whisper to him how nice it is that he takes care of the wheelchair woman. Most actually say “Stupid cripple.”

Sometimes I relish his responses, how can I relish the pain and shock his refusal to blend in with other people causes? I think it’s the freedom it feels. I almost feel like I don’t have the right to do this and that is when I start super cripping. It’s a stolen moment of equality, a moment which by all rights is mine, but has been taken from me by the limited acknowledgment of generations before. My favorite response to a person doing this was actually a few days ago.  He was more frustrated than I was, it was July 3rd and we had to get food. Sprite was tucked up in my sun shade and was very miffed that we hadn’t gone home, but without food there would be consequences. All of the local stores were closing early.

I had just cursed someone out (I really said the”f” word) to get her to keep her hands off of me, and it took the threat of bodily harm via the Scooter to get her to step back. I was seething, then my person, my wonderful person comes and gets what we need off of that aisle. He doesn’t know it’s the same woman, as we are walking towards the next section she sidles up to him, I allow this because I am sure she’s about to tell him how evil I am. She says, “It’s so nice you can tolerate that thing.” Thing. Dehumanized in one sentence. He turns a bit red with rage, but she’s about my mother’s age, old enough that hitting her is worse somehow than hitting someone in our age group. He wanted to, it was there. We were both seething with exhausted frustration. “I mean, cripples are such burdens.”

I heard his response though I dropped back. In all honesty and openness I was considering how hard to ram her, and ifI should try to break her hip. I wouldn’t really but at times the visual is so wonderful. Imagination can be a great equalizer. He replied with anger, “She’s not a burden. If anything I am a burden to her. I don’t always pick up after myself, I sometimes expect her to do things she can’t and she does this with grace. She’s not a thing. That’s my wife.” He likes to call me his wife and I really do like it too. “My wife is a real lady, unlike you. She deals with people like you every day and she hasn’t killed any of them yet but she’d be within her rights.” Sometimes I want to and I usually share this with him, to let off the steam. “Another thing, if she’s a thing so are you! You have the privileged of a working body, it isn’t a right. You can be in a wheelchair like that.” Snapping his fingers he then sped up. I zipped past her, and rode beside him with great pride.

We talk about in this house often. There are no children to educate, it is merely something we both see. He has grown, as I have. In fact, he often tries to subvert is priviledge where he can. When he sees someone no matter who they are, having a bad day, he allows them in front of us in line (barring so low energy that this is a danger to my health). He does this to try and brighten their day and does this regardless of gratitude. Most of the time there is a grunt of anger or acknowledgment and that is it. He doesn’t stop. I note most often he does this for women, children, and persons who are most often ignored, allowing the men to wait. I am not sure if this is an expression of privilege but it is also the sort of person I would leave waiting, so if it is it is one we share. He is a joy to watch in the world. I often feel a separateness from most people but not with him.

How many white men who are so privileged to be in their 30s and still have a credit card from their parents usually see their privilege? How many white men usually can see it? In my experience it is the able bodied white man who fears this awareness above all. I know, too, that a requirement for being with the man I love, is this awareness.

I don’t talk about this often, but, some of the exploitation of the disabled that we see includes the cost of being disabled. It is very expensive, especially when the insurance companies don’t want to cover the cost of a wheelchair until you cannot leave your house, and then you still may not qualify for the one you actually need. if you need a bathchair, it is almost impossible to get a prescription for it, where we live. The cost increases as the economy makes money tighter.

What is my fiance doing to try and bring equality to the playing field? He is using his skills with repairing wheelchairs (he has repaired mine when the manufacturer failed) to try and help. He charges cost of parts, because we have to in order to eat, and a loaf of a specific gluten free bread or two dollars per hour, which has so far been used to buy a single loaf of gluten free bread. This fee is even negotiable. It is an expression of privilege that he CAN negotiate yet, it is also something that he wants to do to help people who may “lose their legs” and not be able to get their wheelchair repaired. I live with a man who knows his privilege. Yes, he is still learning about it but, the fact that he is willing to take that journey is by itself a fantastic thing that is the truest show of love he can offer me.

For more reading about privilege, I recommend checking out two places out of the thousands that you could check first. Start with a peak at http://www.womanist-musings.com/ followed up by http://thewhatifgirl.wordpress.com/. Renne, the proprietor of Womanist Musings is a wonderful writer, who has a life long experience with privilege. I find her writing more direct, and often much more clear about what privilege is. She also often reports on news you will not find elsewhere. The What if Girl has recently begun to discover her privilege and is exploring that. On top of this, she is also a fun read. I enjoy both of their blogs daily. You can find further resources at their sites, if you do not enjoy their writing specifically.

“Happy” Anniversary (Trigger Warning)

Yes, that says “Happy”. I am not sure this anniversary will ever be happy. I chose today to teach a class. I am trying to wind my brain down from the horrors that are the sound of fireworks. I spent the entire day in my room being cranky with myself. I got over that fairly early actually and enjoyed a mental vent session by reading a site called http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com . Eight hours later I am feeling almost normal and great for a stressful PTSD triggering day. This was the first fourth of July where I did not get sick from the smoke.

I am still feeling like the world is made of sand paper against my skin, but, I can control my snarkiness now. It’s in my head, and that has always been the case. I like to think that even Spock from Star Trek actually thought vindictive things up. “Vulcan Blood. I’ll show you McCoy!” If not, well, I am definately not a Vulcan or a Half Breed so it doesn’t matter. I am just human. That has been the theme for the week. I am just human. I am not Super Cripple, Amazing Woman, or even Functional. Just human. In preparing for the class I am to teach in nine hours, I realized I chose this day on purpose.

This is where I pause, and hide the triggering things, so you have to click a link today to get to the rest of the juicy details. Continue reading

Tracey Ullman Fail

So called comedians often use minorities for their humor. I never find this funny, and usually question why I bother trying to watch comedy shows after a certain point. Today I noticed the on-demand section for ShowTime had the “Tracey Ullman’s United States” section added. I started the first program, and right off the script starts with bashing illegal immigrants, Tracey Ullman, a white woman, in black face. It moves on to her mocking the Indian Culture, Islam, and Italians. She also mocks the very real medical ailment of Restless Leg Syndrome. It may sound funny, but, your legs burning all the time, unable to keep them still? Very problematic.

Instead of funny this show seems to show her hate. She makes fun of mostly ethnic groups, minorities, but makes fun of just enough white people to get away with her bigotry by the standards of those blind to their privilege. She makes fun of those from the south. She makes fun of everyone.

Hold up a mirror Tracey. Hold up a mirror to yourself and see just how sad you are. She goes with victim blaming, rape jokes, and does she see what this does to people? This isn’t funny. It is aggressively disgusting.

This may be old news, but, maybe someone will read this and will take notice. It is never funny to demean someone. It is never appropriate to put on black face. That was never funny. Ever. It is not appropriate to have your Indian Woman character sing her sentences in a mock Bollywood production while her life is threatened. It isn’t funny to play out acts of Xenophobia.

This show was supposed to be about America. Why then does any non white person have a thick accent that is usually unintelligible? Racism. Bigotry. Crap.

Not only is this show anti female, it is anti human. I will never watch another Tracey Ullman special. I can’t stand the stench of her tastelessness.

I am sure somewhere online you can find justifications for how she creates her characters to mock bigots. If the effect is more mocking of the minority, you have fail.

I felt this after one episode, I am trying a second.

More black face. More racial cliches. Showing a woman of color as toothless, uneducated, and irresponsible is NOT Funny. Mocking the Veterans of the Iraq war? Wrong. We need to support our soldiers even if we do not support the War itself. These individuals signed up with the intent to protect us.

Making fun of erectile dysfunction I can let pass, but wait… for many non elderly men Viagra has been an aid in achieving some of life’s more pleasurable aspects. It can help the disabled male perform, which can be psychologically freeing. Stating that elderly men who use Viagra will use it to sleep with whores is disrespectful to both sex workers and the elderly. Who has the right to judge the partner of another? Not me. Not you. Not Tracey Ullman.

Making fun of Poverty is inappropriate. Saying that a kid is “Shit at Math” is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter if parents say this all the time, a kid will believe it and will stop trying. It is important to encourage children, way to reinforce negatives.

Making fun of hard working individuals, those who have disabilities, making fun of those who are more naive about the world at large. None of this is funny. Doing this two episodes in a row? Mocking religion, not okay. No matter what religion it is. No matter how controversial you want to be, being a bigot is just not funny.

There is plenty of comedy without oppressing people. When the “funniest” stuff you do is antihuman, which this crap is… you are failing. When the non racist bits aren’t funny how do you get called a comedian?

I therefore give the elusive and rare Corkscrew of Justice to Tracey Ullman. You. FAIL.

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