We Are All Sisters (we are)
“Racism is prejudice + power.” Miranda Deebrah, Brown Girl Magazine
“Those who reap the benefits of past actions — and the privileges that have come from whiteness are certainly among those — have an obligation to take responsibility for our use of those benefits. Not because we’re “guilty,” or to blame for the world as we find it. But because we’re here, and this is the world as we’ve found it.” Tim Wise
Realistically, this country was never designed for “the people.” It was designed for the wealthy, for the landowners, the business owners. The rest of us, from early childhood, (because it’s important to get that propaganda in early, while the mind is in an uncritical stage), were taught in school the following words from the Gettysburg Address, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” in such a way as to imply that “the people” — (a phrase that’s supposed to make it sound as if it’s referring to “you and I”) — have a say in a government that cares about our well-being. Regrettably, that phrase, “the people” was referring to wealthy land — and slave — owners. It didn’t — and apparently still doesn’t -mean us common folk at all. So the system doesn’t work quite the way that was implied that it did in school, and it was never really meant to.
Racism is in the best interest of the billionaires who run this country. It helps to keep the average and below-average wage-earners focused on the differences between themselves so they won’t notice what’s going on higher up, won’t notice how their rights are being stolen out from under them. The plan has been working pretty well.
We — those of us who are not billionaires… most likely not even millionaires — have been and still are being manipulated big time. The latest attack on public school systems (AKA Betsey DeVos) is designed to put the nail in the coffin. Teachers have never made a lot of money (I know, I was married to one who taught in a “ghetto” school for 14 years) and their situation has only gotten worse. By extension, the situation for students has also worsened. It almost seems to me (dare I say it?) like a plan: make sure the kids don’t learn too much because, in doing so, they might learn how to think, and if they learn how to think, then they just might figure out what’s going on, and then they might do something about it because thinking people will eventually figure out that you’ve been screwing them. It’s no wonder the elite want to privatize the internet… too much damn information there. Why, just about anyone could get their hands on it.
Well, some of us have figured it out and now that we have, we have to get past our differences in order to present a unified and outraged front to the very small percentage of people that would, if they had their way, keep everything for themselves.
We all need to pay attention; this includes those among us who call ourselves feminists. If feminists are busy bitching at each other, the road ahead is going to be an even longer, tougher slog than it already promises to be. Feminists have a strong common ground: they are all human beings. That is where the focus needs to be, on being human, but it seems apparent that before that can happen, there are some things we need to get out of the way.
I have never considered myself “white,” but whiteness is there, among my genes, and most people looking at me probably think of me as white. I never did until my mother made a point of it. I was about 8 or 9 at the time. But her insistence on my whiteness didn’t make me fit with the uber-white girls at school, and the ‘Spanish’ girls weren’t havin’ me either because I didn’t speak Spanish, something that was withheld from me by my parents on purpose. They needed their private time and they got it by speaking in another language. Those of my siblings who now speak Spanish learned it on their own as adults.
It took a fair boatload of talking-to from black women in order for me to understand that despite the fact that I am biracial — and very much looked it as a child, when my skin was quite dark — and was sexually trafficked by my own very white grandfather because of it — the fact is that I was “raised white,” and, as I spent more and more time indoors and out of the sun, I grew into my adult years looking the part. Regardless of what I went through as a child and the fact that, inside me, in my heart, I am a dark-skinned person, who I look like now is — and gets treated like — a white woman. It was hard for me to learn that I had to own that to others I am something that I grew up despising… but there it is.
My small history, I have had to learn to accept, is a drop in the bucket of misery that generations and generations of people of color have endured. Despite the years of abuse at the hands of rich, old, white men, even though there may not a be racist cell in my body, there have been countless ways I have — through no particular desire of my own — benefitted throughout my life simply by being pale skinned enough in a country that was specifically designed for white people.
We all need to do what we need to do in order to help humanity and we need to do it now. We all need to accept ourselves and others, as they are. We need to let go of petty things and move on, united in a living human dream.
The more we nit-pick and squabble amongst ourselves, the more we distance ourselves from attaining the kind of government that we were taught to believe we had. So let’s all get over ourselves, our projections, and our petty word-parsing… me included.
United, as the subset of the human race that is termed female, we stand a chance.
PS: Mary Truth, seen above, is really Mary Truth.2. Mary Truth.1 was the baby doll I earned by bravely throwing a fit in the toy store because my dreaded white grandmother refused to buy her for me. My mother finally stepped in and got her for me but Mary.1 ‘disappeared’ when we next moved house and she’s been only recently replaced.