The snow has let up, the sky has noticeably brightened, and the birds have spent the morning on the feeders. Over the past couple of days we’ve stayed home, as our region experienced the largest snowfall ever recorded in March, and the 3rd largest ever recorded (it may end up second on the list). I guess the storm decided we needed the snow after all. At the moment we’re wondering where the guy who plows our driveway has disappeared to.
Twice last week I had the following experience. I was attending a civic event in a public space when a person, who should have known better, came up to me and started talking about how there were only “white people” in the room, and lecturing me on their version of what Natives thought about things. ( Now I must admit that it appeared that only white people were in the room, but I try to keep in mind that, this being Vermont, skin tones and colors can be very deceiving.) Instantly, my identity was effectively erased. I was a bit taken aback; in fact, I found myself tongue-tied each time and said nothing before the offending person, one male and one female, walked away.
The odd thing is that both people, both of whom identify as white, know me and should known by now know I identify as Native. So I am left with the quandary of sorting out what these events might mean. Perhaps both people, persons who see themselves as politically savvy and liberal, simply forgot my ancestry, or maybe they were being intentionally hurtful. Both seem like distinct possibilities given the personalities involved. Then again, maybe these were simply more examples of America’s newfound tolerance for open bigotry.
There is, here in the U.S., a well documented backlash against being polite and thoughtful, a way of social interaction now referred to as “political correctness”. The result has been a remarkable degradation of social discourse, and a marked increase in acts of both micro and macro aggression.
I simply can no longer tolerate the acts of erasure. As a result, I find myself staying away from political gatherings, church services, and other forms of social engagement. This can’t be good.