There's something to be said for Kitchen Table Wisdom - you know, like in the old days when people sat around the kitchen table after a meal and talked about life, the universe and the meaning of it all - as well as the gossip doing the rounds in town...

Well, that's what this place is - a place to share common wisdom, thoughts and feelings about things important and unimportant, that bring us joy, laughter and happiness and that trouble, sadden, confuse and anger us ...

What I write here is what's 'real' for me. It won't always be PC or 'nice'. We're missing out on true connection and chances to grow and change because there's too little authenticity, too little honesty, too much holding back what we really feel and mean.

Welcome to my world...

I used to have a copyright claim here, but I've removed it...

Ideas don't belong to anyone -

they come to those who are receptive and are to be used for the well being of all...

I find images and movies and music all over the web

and I use them to accent/expand on my thoughts and understandings...


If you feel you have experienced or received something of value in reading my posts,

please consider either:

Giving a Koha/Love Offering Here - Donate with WePay

or paying it forward to those who need

material and emotional/spiritual sustenance in this world...


Thank You


As You Think, So It Is - Your Beliefs Create Your Reality

If your Reality isn't Working for You, Create a New One!

Life Unlimited!


Namaste

(the Divine in me, recognises and honours the Divine in you)

Sahila




Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm Racist - There, I've Said It....


I am, though I cringe to admit it, a racist... I am... truly...

I grew up in a time - the 60s - and a place - New Zealand - where black faces were hardly ever seen...

I grew up with, was educated by and with, socialised by and with whites - mostly people whose roots were in the United Kingdom, some who came from various parts of Europe...

I saw brown faces and yellow faces and olive-complexioned faces here and there, but black faces not at all... at least not until I was in my teens and my mother rented out one of the bedrooms in our house to students from Africa who were studying at our local university as part of the Colombo Plan...

There's a studio portrait of me as a young child, sitting on the floor, playing with one of those (now highly collectible) metal money boxes, made in the shape of a young black child, with a moveable arm that takes coins up to his mouth and drops them through the slot that is his lips...


At school we learned to read using the stories of Little Black Sambo:





















we had that choosing rhyme: Eenie, meanie, minie, moh, catch a NIGGER by the toe, if he squeals, let him go, eenie, meanie, minie, moh...

and we had the BBC's Black & White Minstrel Show on television:


Nothing in this was thought to be disrespectful; in fact, it wasn't thought of at all - there was no concept of political correctness... and as young children, absorbing this through osmosis, without the capacity or experience to think critically about it, without a frame of reference/context to hang any of this on, how could we possibly know that there was anything wrong in this?

Of course, later when I got a chance to look at the world with mature eyes, to learn history, to travel and to think things through, I saw how caricaturish, stereotypical and inappropriate all of this was...

I don't know if anyone MEANT all of this to be actively racist... not in New Zealand anyway... I get the feeling that someone in education for example, working out a reading curriculum, saw the readers on the market, thought "how cute, kids will love these" and plowed on without thinking it through... while New Zealanders then were inventive and creative and bright and savvy in many respects, they were, after all, isolated down at the bottom of the world, away - in experience, distance and time - from much of what was fomenting in the US...

My point is that as a young child, I was exposed to, and took in, various disrespectful, RACIST images and messages about people of colour, mostly African and, by extension, African Americans.  And this stuff gets hardwired into the brain... it just pops up when a cue is triggered...

In 1990, I went back to school, to get a diploma in broadcast journalism.  As part of our coursework, we were required to undertake compulsory cultural sensitivity training.   I wrote about that here: White Privilege & Colour Blindness

To this day, despite that "sensitivity training" and my willing acceptance of the truth with which I was confronted in that class, certain images, sounds or real time 3D interactions will cause a racist thought to come to mind, a thought that was seeded in those early childhood exposures... I don't know how to stop those thoughts arising in a nano-second... I notice them, am ashamed and I send them packing...

In truth, while I've had a lot of interaction with people of all skin colours, from many countries, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender identifications, I still feel confused and foolish when I am around people "other" than me.   I feel ignorant and diffident around them... I am ALWAYS afraid that my ignorance will cause offence in some way... that I will do or say something that is unintentionally hurtful, demeaning, perceived as arrogant, patronising, RACIST...

And then I get pissy... I know I'm a good, kind, loving person who honours all beings, who is sincerely interested in deep, meaningful, respectful connection with others, who is not intentionally racist.   Why should I be on the back foot all the time, feel defensive in even the most superficial encounters with others who are not like me?

And then, finally, it all comes full circle, when on a Twitter thread yesterday some person I don't know comments in a discussion on poverty and education (with a sub text that poor black children have it harder than poor white children), that all white people are a plague on the earth...

I guess that might be poetic justice, that a person of colour makes global statements about the white race, just as whites have made global statements about blacks... But is that an improvement, an evolution?  

There was a complete unwillingness to acknowledge that oppression happens to all of us, to varying degrees.  That I might have more privilege than a black woman, but that I have less than a white man... and that black woman has more privilege than a Native American woman... That we humans have ALWAYS found ways to marginalise each other, to get power over each other, since the dawn of time, within our own families, clans, tribes and in relation to the "other", the "outsider"... We are in many respects, no different to wild pack animals, who have complicated rules around dominance.  We pretend we have risen above all that, but we haven't... we're just a lot more subtle - though no less brutal - about how we enforce it...

Nothing can/will change until we human beings deal with each other as unique individuals, without all of the baggage history has left us with... we can't turn the clock back... we can't undo what was done... in many cases, we can't fix it, though some countries, like New Zealand, are attempting to right some wrongs and heal some wounds...

What is to be done to help us move forward in some kind of state of grace?


Who Wins the Prize for Being the Most Victimised?


It's really stressful living in a country where the original sin of genocide and land theft hasn't been addressed, which is then overlaid by the atrocity of slavery, which is then overlaid by convict deportation, which is then overlaid by false promises of equality, freedom, justice and liberty for all... so much dysfunction... and so much jostling for the role of "most damaged victim"...


In my opinion, the ONLY people here who need justice and restitution right now, are the original people living in this land, on this continent... the rest of us arrived as immigrants and we all - of every skin colour - have huge privilege, taken/bought on the backs of that indigenous suffering, displacement and genocide... 

Deal with/heal that original sin/wound and much of the other victimising/victimhood will fade away...

Let me say up front, that I recognise and own my status/privilege as a white formerly middle class woman with the advantage of a good education... having owned that, and at the risk of being vilified, I'm going to admit that I can't be bothered finding my way through the maze of which race in this country, on this continent, on this planet, has been the most victimised...

I totally get that since I left The Netherlands/Holland as a child, I have been an immigrant to four countries and lived well in each, which comfort was paid for by the suffering of the indigenous people who had been colonised in times past; in some of those countries the first colonisers were white... in others, they were brown or yellow skinned...

I know what its like to be an outsider... coming into a country, speaking a different language, not knowing the customs, being of a different class... being teased, bullied, "oppressed" by other whites - yes, racism DOES exist within groups sharing the same skin colour...

and... I totally get the pain of the wounds inflicted by the colonisers... and wherever possible, reparations and restitution should happen...

and... this whole tendency to oppression thing is something it seems all humans on the planet have within themselves, individually and collectively... there's black on black oppression, yellow on yellow, white on white, brown on brown, 'red' on 'red' oppression... I've seen it, everywhere I've gone... In Singapore, for example, until recently it used to be white on yellow, yellow on brown and brown on brown... now that most of the whites are expat business people, not colonial rulers, it's yellow on brown, brown on brown...

and... we've been doing it since the beginning of gathering together in groups... check out the history of human interaction - conquest and colonisation - on every continent...

so, at some point, don't we have to give up on holding on to it all, because, really, aren't we ALL guilty?


I think I have just laid myself open to criticism from less privileged people, that "it's OK for you, you're white and at the top of the pyramid"... and yes, theoretically I am quite high up on that scale... My skin, gender and education get me privileges that other people might not have... AND... at the same time, poverty hurts my child as much as it does a child of any other skin colour... being an outsider, a minority anywhere is hard for any child of any colour or creed... how are we ever going to heal any of this if we don't find some commonality somewhere?


and just to prove the point, this article crossed my path today, highlighting the sad fact that this separation and bigotry is happening currently, amongst Native American people: On Card Carrying Indians and Those Indians Who Don't
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Well... I've Been A Long Time Gone...


... and a lot has happened in that time...

the boy and I were homeless - in Seattle, on Vashon Island and back in Seattle... though we never had to sleep in the van or in a shelter, thanks to loving people in our lives, old friends and new...

we are now in transitional housing - we have a warm, dry, comfortable house to ourselves with our cats, with a big yard full of tall trees, in a beach-side neighbourhood just a bit north of the Seattle city limits.   And we have some breathing space to rebuild our lives here, seeing the courts said I couldn't take the boy back to Australia to live...

found out a while ago that the people the boy's father hired to represent him and give evidence in court on his behalf were FATHERS' RIGHTS people.... wondered at the time what was the hidden agenda being played out, given the weirdness of these peoples' actions and attacks - now I know... I didn't stand a chance against them, especially without an attorney representing me...

and I have to say I am seriously pissy that total strangers, with an anti-woman axe to grind, have managed to interfere in our lives so much!  There are things to be done about that - all in good time...

have pulled back from much of the social activism I was doing, including this blog, obviously!   Much of what I was seeing going on in the world and was dealing with personally, was making me angry and bitter and cynical, and using that anger to fuel my social justice advocacy, and having that arena as a place to vent my resentment, wasn't working any longer... I had to step back and focus on our own immediate environment and needs...

and I have been doing a second go-around with breast cancer... After a year of dithering and playing around with alternative ideas regarding treatment, I finally put my hand up for some neo-adjuvant chemotherapy to shrink the tumours prior to surgery and radiation... it hasn't been much fun and the novelty really and truly has worn off!  

and we have been doing unschooling stuff with classes on basic electronics, geology, astronomy and chemistry... and the boy started Aikido three months ago, loves it and has already earned his yellow stripe... he's aiming for a black belt, he tells me...

looking forward to the arrival of daughter number 2 in December, staying for a month... Haven't seen her for almost 10 years...

and so very, very grateful for all the kindred spirits in our lives, who have loved and supported us, and continue to do that, as we are walking this path... 


speaking of this blog... am kinda committed to getting it back up and running... I notice that on many older posts, the embedded videos no longer work - Youtube pulled them for various reasons.... I don't have the energy right now to go and find new pieces to replace them, and I probably never will have the motivation!   Sorry about that!





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Abolition Was A Con...





I have often said that the oligarchs were very clever in abolishing slavery...

In business, the biggest cost is labour; with slavery, profits were weighed down/eaten up by the costs of keeping slaves - housing, feeding, keeping them healthy...


By freeing slaves, the oligarchs transferred most of their costs back onto the slaves, who continued to work for almost nothing because they still had to, to survive...

And then they lost those jobs to industrialisation and the mechanisation of plantation agriculture...

Abolishing slavery was not a humanitarian act; if it was, the abolitionists would have ensured the newly-freed slaves had a life of dignity to go to - which, supposedly, was the whole justification for the anti-slavery movement...

What is humanitarian about letting beings out of cages, setting them free, sending them off into the wild to fend for themselves without giving them the skills and means to do so?

We don't do that with animals we re-introduce to the wild, but we did it with people...

Abolition was a con...


On the other hand...






Sunday, July 15, 2012

Truth & Courage...



 
You know...
 
Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr - all just ordinary people, like me and you...
 
As were all the other "heroes/heroines" of social change...
 
With the same fears, needs, human personalities, struggles...
 
ALL they did, was speak what they felt/thought was the truth and ACTED on it...
 
Stuck to it, stayed true to it, refused to give it up, even though they knew there would be a price to pay for speaking up...
 
 
We all know what is 'the right thing to do" - our gut tells us so, and it and our conscience "niggle" at us when we turn our backs on that...
 
Most of us pretend we can't feel/hear that niggle - we rationalise, justify, excuse our way to ignoring it...
 
  
 
What would the world be like if WE STOP TURNING OUR BACKS ON WHAT WE KNOW TO BE TRUE?...
 

LYRICS:

Try and remember now just what has been done.
Enslavement, displacement of every nation.
And now to one nation, everyone hold their grudge.
Kind of makes me wonder about which side I'm on.
I don't defend white, and I don't defend black.
I defend truth and rights and all of that.
I work on situations where I'm at
Hold my position and never fall of track.

Chorus
Nah give up my faith!
Though Babylon rage,
I and I will strive until
the end of my days.
go against society, Rasta courage.

I never give no good vibes
and I never give up no truth.
Never trade my sanity for living in Babylon crew.
Vanity will never drive this man insane.
This man will walk alongside Jah again.
We see all of the pressure to conform today,
And I may sometimes bend,
but only as not to break.
Cause a life of iniquity for laziness' sake
Is a deal with the devil Rasta just can't make.

Chorus

Looking back now upon all of the evidence
400 years and what those years have
really done, we talk of peace but at the
first sign of war. Bredren and bredren and
sistren ain't sistren no more. Without forgiveness
how will any war cease, while the heathen rage
Rastaman sitting at ease. No one will move a
muscle for some moral justice and with no justice they won't live.



Work = Slavery...



(This post leaves out, deliberately, the issue of work, slavery and poverty in the third world)

Did you know, realise that...


A long time ago, we lived in small groups, we spent time together and individually doing what was needed to ensure we had food, shelter and something to protect our bodies from any harm exposure to the elements might cause...

Then, somehow, things changed...


 



 


 



 



I guess his/her parents just don't work hard enough

Just because we've been doing it this way for thousands of years, doesn't make it sane, sensible, right...



I've been having a dialogue on whether or not people should have to "work" for a living...

I don't think so...

As you can see from the quote above, Buckminster Fuller didn't think we should have to either...

Nor do many philosophers and economists...

I've been thinking about this idea on and off for almost 20 years...

What brought it to the forefront of my mind again the other day, was my decision to stop my public education advocacy/activism...

Most of the reason was because of where things stand now in that arena, and my inability to control/handle my frustration at what I see as teachers' refusal to fight for their profession, their jobs and the wellbeing of their students (see previous blog entry Closing Doors...)...

A smaller part of the reason relates to the fact that I had turned my advocacy into a full-time UNPAID job, and I wasn't getting any nourishment/support back from it - either to help live in the material world or emotionally/spiritually...

As I wrote on a Facebook status update: 

"One of the things that is kinda hard to process right now is that I've been asking for donations both on my blog and on MisEducation Nation for a while... 

I've been asking:

IF you feel you've received anything of value in my writings/efforts AND

IF you have enough for yourself and your loved ones 

THEN would you please consider sharing something of what you have in excess with me and the boy... 

The blog gets around 250 page views a day, often more...

50 people a month (600 people over the year), giving a one-off $20 donation over a year, would be enough to keep me and the boy housed for that year...

I've had a couple of people recognise my efforts on the blog and honour the energy exchange with a donation, which has been lovely - THANK YOU...

Because of my efforts, MisEducation Nation has reached 1300 "likers" over two years, with those numbers continuing to grow at the rate of about 10-15 a week, so those people would only have had to give $27 once to keep me financially viable for three years...

Was what I was producing/offering worth $27 once in every three years, to each of those 1300 people, to the larger world?

It's bitter sweet, now that I've announced my decision to quit public ed advocacy, to have lots of people on the page, talking about how much the effort I put in made a difference, how they spread what I posted to other arenas, how it actually did change perceptions and how much they value my passion and voice, how much they will miss it etc...

No one translated that appreciation for the value of the work into even a small donation.    In fact, when I first asked 18 months ago, someone castigated me for having the temerity to put the idea forward at all...

and I have some very robust ideas around the issue of volunteering... 

here: Volunteering - Service Or Exploitation? 

Put into the circle what we can, take out what we need...

What I do apparently has value and yet it's not valued enough to warrant an energy exchange that allows my son and I to house/feed/clothe ourselves? 

How are we going to move forward as a world, if this doesn't change?" 

It seems to me that people have been conned into agreeing, even welcoming, living as slaves in this world...
From a spiritual perspective, I agree that one of the reasons we're here on this planet, in this reality, is to be of service to others...

AND I agree that there is value in carrying out tasks with mindfulness, that the most humble activity does have sacredness to be found within it...
AND...
There's a lie we've all been brainwashed with, that there is "nobility", "dignity" in working... that if you have to, you will do anything to survive, to provide for your children, up to and including cleaning other peoples' toilets...
Do we really believe that?  That there is dignity in cleaning other peoples' shit, so we can buy a crust of bread for our children?
Our world is being raped and pillaged to such an extent by the oligarchs and we have such a high degree of technology operating now, that there are insufficient good, satisfying jobs with dignity left for all of those who need/want them...
People with PhD's are working two and three jobs as service workers in coffee shops, restaurants and supermarkets, just to pay the rent, never mind being able to pay off their student loan debts...
Real under/unemployment in the US stands at around 30% and in European countries it's even higher, with youth unemployment reaching 60% plus...
We can't go on this way.   We can't keep pretending that we can "grow" our way out of this - one cannot have infinite growth in a finite system (the earth) - the environmental and social damage/cost is enormous...
AND there are ways to change this...
The Abolition of Work is an essay by Bob Black that puts forward the idea that no one should ever work.   He gives a brief background on where this thinking comes from and why this is something we need to consider at this point in the development of our human existence.
Robert Theobald also thought we ought not to have to work... In fact, he said:

"My goal is to create a situation of full unemployment - a world in which people do not have to hold a job.  And I believe that this kind of world can actually be achieved." ~ Robert Theobald 




For more information, go here: Basic Income Guarantee

All of this is possible - we just have to start thinking about and DOING things differently...
For example, we need to consider a shift to a resource-based economy rather than hanging onto one based on money...
And we have to stop using and extracting resources out of the earth to go to work, and to make more and more stuff we don't need...
Buckminster Fuller agreed with François de Chardenedes that petroleum, from the standpoint of its replacement cost out of our current energy "budget" (essentially, the net incoming solar flux), had cost nature "over a million dollars" per U.S. gallon (US$300,000 per litre) to produce.  From this point of view, its use as a transportation fuel by people commuting to work represents a huge net loss compared to their earnings.
He also said that during the 1970s, humanity had attained an unprecedented state,  that the accumulation of relevant knowledge, combined with the quantities of major recyclable resources that had already been extracted from the earth, had attained a critical level, such that competition for necessities was not necessary any more. Cooperation had become the optimum survival strategy. "Selfishness," he declared, "is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable... War is obsolete."
~ Buckminster Fuller
Think about this next time you're standing in the supermarket (or any store) thinking about buying soap, or shampoo, or beans, or dishwasher liquid or milk or any other consumable:
Why do we allow businesses/profiteers/corporations to use slave labour here and in other countries, to make large quantities of one item, then use millions of dollars packaging and 'branding' it as different products, so that we believe the lie that we're being given choice, and then we spend more or less money buying it (depending on our "station in life" and our own illusory fabrication of who we think ourselves to be)...
How much did the slave "earn" to make that product?   How many hours at minimum wage do some of us have to "work" to "earn" enough to buy it?
How many hours do you have to "work" to pay for a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food in your belly and the means to get you around in this world (seeing how the layout of our cities/communities now makes access to services and resources difficult)?
What happens in our world, if you don't "work"?  Eventually, you have no home, no shelter, no warmth, no food, no clothing, no cleanliness, no medical care, no recreation, no leisure activities...
And yet, the United Nations declares that, amongst other things, we humans each, by virtue of being alive, of existing, have a BIRTHRIGHT to food, shelter, medical care and education... 
Ironically, it also states that we have the RIGHT to dignified, meaningful, work... NOTICE - nowhere in the Declaration does it say that the two sets of rights are connected - that we must work for our food, shelter and other necessities of life...
LYRICS:
I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied I don't need you
I've got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free

I've fallen in love

I've fallen in love for the first time
And this time I know it's for real
I've fallen in love yeah
God knows God knows I've fallen in love

It's strange but it's true

I can't get over the way you love me like you do
But I have to be sure
When I walk out that door
Oh how I want to be free baby
Oh how I want to be free
Oh how I want to break free

But life still goes on

I can't get used to living without living without
Living without you by my side
I don't want to live alone hey
God knows got to make it on my own
So baby can't you see
I've got to break free

I've got to break free

I want to break free yeah

I want, I want, I want, I want to break free
 

(The David Mallet-directed music video, is a parody of the British northern working class soap opera Coronation Street. Mercury's character was loosely based on Bet Lynch, while May's character was based on Hilda Ogden. The video also depicts the band in what appears to be a coal mine and features a segment with the Royal Ballet, in which Freddie Mercury portrays Nijinsky)
I guess I'm back at my starting point...
  • I have value - I'm an expression of one of the infinite potentials of the life force
  • What I contribute to life has value; I change the world just by being in it
  • I have a UN-stated RIGHT to the necessities of life
  • At some point in time, ownership of the resources necessary for living passed from the community to a few people, who then demanded we pay/work for access to and use of those resources
  • There isn't enough 'work' to go around and what there is, increasingly doesn't pay enough for people to buy the necessities of life and to live with dignity
  • Our planet can't support more of us 'working', when 'working' really means using up resources to make junk we don't need to keep a broken, artificial economic model going
So - how about it? 
When will we all throw off our worker chains
and claim our freedom?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Closing Doors...




I've made the decision to step away from public education advocacy...
 
After four years of almost full-time focus on what's been happening in Seattle and nationally...
 
I like to think that I've had some small effect in slowing down the implementation of the ed deform agenda - at the very least, in WITNESSING it, declaring to the oligarchs: "I know what you're doing, it's not OK and you're not doing it in my name - or my son's!"

I'm driven by a sense of urgency not many other people have...
 
And I've been pushing and pushing against ed deform, pushing for people, especially teachers to wake up, stand up, step up, break free...
 
 
 
 
 
and on Twitter and all over the web and at rallies and school board meetings and in newspapers...
 
got lots of defensiveness back from both parents and teachers, coming out of fear I know...
 
I'm having trouble dealing with my frustration at what I see as teachers' reluctance to accept the reality, the urgency and to step up and do what's required to effectively push back against ed deform... 
 
Ed deform hurts children, abuses children, stunts their beings, uses them as cash cows...
 
And from my perspective, teachers, by continuing to implement ed deform, are complicit in that child abuse...
 
AND I do appreciate what it is they especially have to lose if they get serious about standing in front of the bulldozer of the corporate rape and pillaging of public education...
 
 
AND at some point, we each have to say "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more"...
 
 
I can't keep working in this arena with this degree of frustration, so I'm stepping away...

I have taken the boy out of the education system altogether and we shall focus on educating for and living life in as wholistic a fashion as we can possibly manage...

I wish we could do that for, and with, all children...
 
And so, we go on...