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.
16 thoughts on “Staying Home”
Is it possible that these people were instead trying to say, “I notice you are possibly the only non-white here tonight, and I wonder if you are feeling lonely, so I thought I’d come up to you and remark on what I noticed.” ?
I wish it were so…… The idea did cross my mind but sadly did not match the experience. These things happen more than one would expect.
I’m sorry. I always want to believe the best intentions, but I suppose that’s not realistic.
No need to be sorry! It seems important to give others the benefit of our doubts. When I spoke to Jennie about those experiences, she just said she was not surprised given the players….. She was surprised I was taken aback.
To those of us who are sensitive acts of bigotry are so painful that we can barely breathe. You will never cease to see the best in others because that is your nature but bigotry is an attack on the soul. In this present mean climate sometimes you will need to be scarce when all becomes too painful. Take care of yourself, be well so that your voice will continue to say what is really happening. My energy is with you as is the presence of others of like vibrations. Do what you can to hold the light in these unsettling and uprooted times. And know when to retreat in order to care for yourself. This is how I council myself.
Thank you Gretchen. I am aware that retreat is needed and dangerous as it is easy to get caught there. So I am trying to be choosy with my time and where I go. There is no safety but there is solace.
Your avoiding public events probably isn’t good – but it keeps you safe and you are in control of your being. If you want to keep tally – I am on the side that sees you as a giant of a man who is compassionate, intelligent, insightful, respectful, and an excellent writer. I don’t say that to be politically correct – I say it out of respect. Peace to you as you look towards Spring.
Hi Pat, Yes, staying home isn’t good. I am pouting and raw so staying out of situations I know are likely to be ugly helps. Te other issue is that as my mobility declines, more places are difficult or inaccessible, and that furthers my frustration.
Thank you for the many kind and appreciative words. I am touched and letting your appreciation in.
I think I can understand the pouting and rawness. After being kicked a few times, it only makes sense to hide. Every so often I retreat for a pity party – I once told my doctor that I wanted a 15 sec. pity party and he just looked at me in assent. When I started voicing my frustrations I could only go 5 secs. 🙂 I know that I have stopped a lot of activities because of fatigue and pain, and no longer want energy draining, mean, self-centered people around me. I don’t have enough years left to waste it on people who don’t enrich my life and play nice. The trick is remaining active and social under those conditions.
Very sad that you’re having to consider staying away from the very places that might provide community Michael.
Andrea, it is not so much that I have to stay home. It is moire that I need a break from all the nastiness, so I choose to stay home. Last night we invited friends to come to our home and share the equinox. It was lovey and largely devoid of nastiness, which I think everyone found a relief.
You would never retreat and dissappear. I do understand your reservations about retreating. And for me I sometimes must back away from a situation that consumes my energy. Breathe and settle. Then when I return I am more effective and refueled. Many blessings, g
Gretchen, My guess is that neither of us is likely to disappear. One does get tired though. Yes, let’s breathe..
Unfortunately, there are many unhappy souls in our world Michael. When these feel threatened, they use the old way about attack first to avoid themselves to be the ones to be attacked. They are insecure souls and not able to view longer than to their own nose tip. What are happening to them and theirs are more important than anything else in the whole world.
Just my view.
Irene, I suspect that is the essential human condition, that mostly we are programmed to take care of the short term, ourselves, and our communities. Very few people seem to be able to take a longer view.
Sad but yes, you are right Michael.