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All posts for the month June, 2013

Synchronicity

Published June 30, 2013 by Sandee

pathway

At the bus stop, on my way to work, a woman came after I did, beginning a competition to board first.  She inched her way beside me, amongst others who were more or less orderly.  Generally people respect the ones who were there first.  Though aware that it was stupid, I couldn’t help myself and maneuvered between the people to stay in front of her, and she did the same, so we got to the steps of the bus shoulder to shoulder — like fucking idiots.

She dipped her Metro Card into the fare box first, winning the competition.  “You are so rude!”  I said, repeating, “You are SO rude!”   The woman, from Africa somewhere, wore a long head covering (a burka maybe) with pink and purple circles and a tunic with similarly colored circles.  She wore black pants and sandals beneath it.

Again I said, as I tend to focus and drive it home, “You are SO rude!”

She said in a melodic accent, “I don no why you doin’ chop chop!”

Oh I know why I was doin’ chop chop —  I was a fucking idiot with a toothache who had slept very little the night before.  If this woman had done this another day, I would have gladly stepped aside to let her on.  Today my spiritual energy was low.

I eventually worked it out, going easy on myself for behaving badly.  As an old man from Harlem said, generally, “If someone steps on my foot in the subway station, I apologize.”  It’s not that I’m a pussy, it’s because I understand that we’re paranoid, scared, defensive, and carry a lot of baggage, etc., and I’d like to be as helpful as possible.  But I know this shit will happen again because I’m not Saint Auntie Sandee.  But when things like this do happen, I wonder how I might do better next time.

Walking to the bus stop after work I thought about ‘chop chop’ lady.  The bus comes and guess who’s on it? — ‘chop chop’ lady!  She was smiling vaguely.  I had to smile too.

The bus got crowded.  A young couple got on.  The woman asked to sit in the inner seat next to mine.  “Sure,” I said, rising to let her in.  The man stood by the outer seat next to me and chatted with her.  Later, the person behind me got up.  The man sat in that seat.  I turned and said, “Let me switch,” so that he could sit next to the woman who got on with him.

“You’re a nice lady,” the woman said, and her male friend thanked me.  “Thanks again,” she said down the road when they got off the bus.  “Have a good evening,” I told them.

So.  I’m redeemed.  How nice if we could be like this all the time and not have ‘chop chop’ lady incidents?

I wondered if seeing ‘chop chop’ lady again meant that it was synchronicity, a sign that I’m supposed to be communicating something.  So I wrote this.  But this wasn’t the only interesting synchronous-ey thing that happened this week.

A few days ago on the way to work I thought, though I’m not influenced by mainstream ideas and think for myself, I’m not getting any validation from the tribe.  I don’t have any ‘certifications’ — so to speak — since I’ve rejected certain ‘customs’ and ‘rituals’.  I’m not trying to be hip, this is just the way it is, from when I was young.  Maybe I just have some kind of syndrome.  Anyway, I muse, while I think for myself, etc., I’m kind of ass out, because I still need to have some validation from my tribe, right?  So I get to work and read this companion pamphlet to an installation in the gallery where I work.  It talks about mainstream influence on thought patterns, group mentality, and how most people desire validation from each other in a society, etc.  And I think it basically criticized sheep mentality.

Synchronicity.  Holy shit.  Great.  Then I read this blog post yesterday, ABOUT synchronicity.  Wow.

Last week I wrote a post with some divergent ideas about society.  I wondered if this message from God and the universe means that it will be received better because of the coincidence of thinking about what it is to be different and having that thought validated by the pamphlet, and it all being in line with the different perceptions in the post I wrote about society.  What am I supposed to do with synchronous moments?  Are they the universe’s brass ring?

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Johnny Depp on David Letterman talking about Tonto

Published June 28, 2013 by Sandee

native american

These people were trampled by the white man, David Letterman and Johnny Depp    say — exploited.  Johnny Depp’s hoping he’s done a fine representation of the native American character, to have the character fleshed out beyond the humiliating side-kick role for which Tonto’s traditionally known.

Johnny Depp says he spent time with native Americans on their reservations and got their approval.  Go see the movie, it’s wildly entertaining says David Letterman.  There’s a slap-sticky clip where this ‘noble’ version of Tonto outsmarts a white man as they ride the top of a train.  I don’t recall the exact choreography, but it’s something like Tonto ducks and the white man gets it.  Wow.

Do I have to tell you about the 800 lb gorilla?  These people who have been trampled, exploited by the white man, can’t even get a role playing one of themselves.  Hm!

Really.  How do David Letterman and Johnny Depp talk about how evolved this role is with straight faces?

Or is it that Johnny Depp is one of the thousands of Americans claiming to be that exotica called “a quarter part Cherokee?”  Bahahaha!

Oh and what’s up with that brown pin-striped suit JD wears in every photograph he’s in lately?

I’d respect you more if you didn’t talk about all that nobility crap, and just took your money and went home.

Goodnight…

But if you put some butter on it

Published June 25, 2013 by Sandee

butter

Under the same standard responsible for punishing Paula Deen, if we asked big business owners, politicians and blue-collar workers — Asian, black, white, Latino, Samoan — if they ever used racial slurs and they told the truth, we’d have no one to run the country, no goods or services, no Honey Nut Cheerios, or computers — the highways would be fucked up from disrepair and there would be no elevator inspectors or pilots.

Paula Deen got caught out there, because let me tell you, she ain’t the onliest one.  I think what happened is an over reaction and that she’s a scapegoat.  When a high-profile white person is branded racist black people think of them as part of the institutions that control our lives negatively.  But we shouldn’t let knee-jerk reactions muddy our thinking.

All I read in the New York Times is that she admitted to using the “N” word years ago, but I didn’t read in any reputable journal anything about her saying she wanted black people dressing up as slaves.  Maybe I missed something and if she did say this then she can kiss my ass and she should be dropped from the Food Network.

I saw this video and frankly I appreciated her honesty in recounting her experience as a southern white woman, even though she makes a crack about the guy being as black as the board.  But how many black people make cracks like that about white people? — stand-up comedians — and that stupid Wayan’s brothers movie, White Girls.  What if two white guys made a movie in black face called Black Girls?  Huh?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/21/paula-deen-racism_n_3480720.html

I don’t condone quote unquote racism and don’t want to be called the N word, as I’m sure white people would not like to be called the C word.  And we should all play nice blah blah — and try to do better.  But we’re human and xenophobic and white xenophobia is kinda scary, no, yes.

As Wendy Williams said (I watch Wendy Williams — what?!), what we do and say with the blinds closed and curtains drawn at the kitchen table is our business, but in public another story.  It’s ridiculous to think that we’ll ever stop saying mean things about people.  Maybe we’ll get better but I don’t think this behavior will go away completely.

As a public personality, Paula Deen should be held up to a higher standard, especially if she’s getting endorsements from companies supported by the public, but I don’t think that she needs to be lopped off.  In the case that she offended someone with a racial slur, her business should be fined and she should be given a warning, I think.

Mood Swings

Published June 23, 2013 by Sandee

PeggyLeeStageDoorCanteen

I didn’t have a bad day today — but — ever have a day when you’re all, like, weeeeee!  But then something happens, and you’re all like, daaamn

I had this Peggy Lee album, and loved that these two songs on opposite sides of the spectrum were back and back — hahaha!

Weeeeeeeee!  “So take a deep breath, and throw away your pills!”

Daaaamn…  “If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing, let’s drink up the booze, and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”

This song happened to me, “Is That All There Is.”  The part where her dad takes her to the circus.  Shortly after my parents divorced, Dad took me to the circus.  He wanted to look out after his ‘little girl’ — I was twenty.  It was so sad, that circus, and it reminded me of this song.

USA for USA

Published June 22, 2013 by Sandee

When the World Trade Towers were bombed I was devastated because of the thousands of people who were murdered.  We had never experienced anything like this here.  I didn’t eat for a week.  Part of the landscape of my backyard had been destroyed.  Even all the way up from where I was in Harlem that morning, I could see black clouds surrounding the towers.

Later that day, going back to uptown Manhattan where I lived, I trudged by foot for a few miles with hordes of people, because there was no public transportation.  We were surrounded by The National Guard and their automatic weapons.  The air was tight.  When and where would the other shoe drop?  The towers were destroyed and thousands of people on the island had been killed.  We weren’t ‘safe’ here anymore.

I had become attached to the iconic image of the towers as part of the island that I grew up on.  Shortly after, on a flight coming into New York, looking at lower Manhattan and the absence of the towers, I turned away and squinted to keep back tears.

“How dare those motherfuckers come here and blow up the World Trade Towers!”  My father had said.  It was disorienting for me to feel so angry in agreement, since the World Trade Towers represented big business, dirty dealings and everything opposed to what I was about.  (And in some circles, there is still debate on exactly who those ‘motherfuckers’ are.)

On the night of September 11th, hearing the people chant USA, USA! outside my window,  I experienced a shiver of adrenaline and felt further impassioned in my love for my country.

How could I not be in love?  As a child of this country, I was weaned on the ideal fueling trail blazers and freedom fighters for almost every conceivable cause.  I have roots in the south here, and my ancestors were slaves.  I am proud of my people for their resilience and ingenuity with this adversity.  While I am also proud of my African roots, today, as part of the black race, I share a national identity that begins here, in the United States of America.

Despite the fall-out because of the history of slavery, and problems arising from the coming together of all of the different types of people here for freedom, with this country’s history and fortitude, I believe that we have the power to transform ourselves into the leaders in even greater areas.

I don’t usually make comparisons between what it used to be like in this country, and how much better it used to be, because I am black and have segregation and slavery in the past.  But also I don’t look at ‘now’ as necessarily good or bad in comparison to any previous time, because life is just all a process.

Perhaps part of the process began with the surge of people moving from continent to continent with technology so that we could get to the point we are now, merged more closely together.  The United States has been the pioneer in thought and technology in the past.  With this dynamic history, and with more effective communication between the people all over the world, I believe we could develop an even greater ideal to supplant the materialism that has dominated our culture.

I know this is weird but okay, now, this song, well, yes — I’ve always loved it because of the genre —  most people know I’m a hardcore fan.  I like this song despite some of the implications, plus, I was just a huge fool of a fan of Peter Steele.  He was young when he wrote this, so, factor that in — ha!  My appreciation of this song has probably to do with the weird-ass eclectic tastes I developed here as an American — it’s kind of the same way I love that song Sweet Home Alabama:

Call me Goofy

Published June 12, 2013 by Sandee

I’m a visionary type, idealistic.  I glaze over details in politics, and take in the gist of what’s going on.  I read historical books and essays to understand the back bone of the system.   After years of reading all the papers, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and papers from around the world, I gave up trying to remember minutiae, because I discovered that my mind processes things abstractly.   I tune into news reports and periodicals here and there but I don’t think it’s necessary to do so every day.  It becomes a bombardment.  News organizations are generating business for themselves and sometimes it’s all too obvious.  When there’s a crisis I tune in more regularly.  But I might have stopped paying attention because a lot of politics is a game that I just don’t compute because I don’t have any quile.

I see how someone might think that what I wrote yesterday about the market system was simplistic, idealistic and naïve.  Generally, the message I wanted to convey is that there’s a connection between injustices and the way that the market works, and that if you’re indignant because these injustices keep happening, maybe you should look more closely at that connection.

While I didn’t mean to say necessarily that we should be a tribal world community, I do think that there are some great opportunities to come up with a better global market system now that the world is smaller.

I don’t think there’s any wrong or right way to look at the world, because it’s really all just a process.  I just wanted to share ideas that people would think about.

I’m sure that environmentalists and naturalists might have considered that their ways for harvesting food and having community stem back to people in small tribes from around the world.  I’ve seen adages and proverbs from these tribes on walls of some of our institutions, such as the Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Wisdom from these societies is in our faces but we’re not getting it.

I cried after Hurricane Sandy thinking of climate change and what we’ve been complicit in doing to the environment, because it occurred to me that there were tribes and indigenous people who thought of the planet as a living thing to be respected.  I want people to realize that these people who have been dismissed as barbaric and primitive may have a lot to teach us.

I’d love for us to experience a heightened consciousness that helps us to see the connection that we all have to each other.  When you trample over some of us, or dismiss us as insignificant or as a drain, in the long run we’re only hurting ourselves.

I can understand that there’s a philosophy of living that is hedonistic or dog eat dog at the root.  Just don’t complain about crime, crooked politicians or wonder why you’re all depressed. There are other social maladies that can be attached to this type of an existence.  Call me goofy, but I think this is just the price we pay for ‘living well’ in a material world.

 

“Racism…Everywhere” continued…

Published June 11, 2013 by Sandee

I want to thank Meizac for writing that great post on The Outlier Collective entitled Texas and Racism…Everywhere.  I thought I would respond but it turned out to be a post-sized comment.  So I decided to write my own thoughts — somewhat — in that vein.

I’m very conscious as a black woman, so my response to some of the injustices that occur under our political and economic structure might seem detached – at times.  In a sense I’m thinking, “What do you expect?”  I never strived to become a prototype for this system, or an imitation white person.   My standard of beauty even differs, while I do appreciate beauty in all cultures.  My pride in my African roots and respect for the remnants of those African cultures gives me the strength to deny a victim mentality, because I know that the western slant on the world is not concrete.

I don’t wear my ideology on my sleeve but I’ve taken action, and have been outspoken and have participated in marches etc. to protest crimes committed against black people and against Africa.  But overall I don’t see how any of these ‘injustices’ will go away under a world economic system that demands cutthroat competition for resources and money.  It must have scapegoats — reprobates and ‘genetically inferior’ people, so that they can be cut out of the competition with ‘justification’.  It’s built into the system.  The system wouldn’t work without these ideas.  While a degree of xenophobia might be natural (part of the reason I rarely use the word racism – it’s become a canned phrase for the most part – but I do use it when it’s so fucking obvious), something we have inside us from ‘the old days’ so that we could protect ourselves against other tribes, it’s used in the United States and elsewhere to effect policy and propaganda.

It’s hilarious that western countries have trampled all over the natural institutions in Africa and elsewhere, then go back like superman to save the day, making these people look more helpless and pathetic than ever, while they were doing just fine before Europe ever got there.  This is where we can get rid of the notion of white people being more capable of ‘handling’ (‘handling’:  therein lies the problem) their environment.

I believe that there are other ways to view the world, ways that we could adopt from dismissed tribes in Africa and other areas that had been trampled by the machine.  Our view of our world and ideologies can be shifted.  Maybe with the merging of the world in cyber-space the mutual respect can be more easily accomplished.  I respect all cultures, but I mean, how advanced is this society really?  More than half of us are on antidepressants – why?  Shit! and there’s more, but that’s another post.

This system may be the best that we could do for now and it’s great that Meizac and other people help to build awareness of some of the outright hypocrisies that exist.  These are the seeds that some of our young people need to help us to build something better than this.  For now we’re all brainwashed, black people as well, which is understandable — striving to keep up with the dominant culture without seeing the truth.  But we’re all in the struggle together — haha!  — who the hell really knows what we’re doing here?  We can learn from each other and teach each other without having a victim mentality or a mentality of superiority.