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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Comments

Alice

I dont' think you're sexist and the other folk on here don't either. That said, I don't think I'm a racist, but I am. Our brains hide so much from us.

More to the point, we may be as enlightened as Buddha but we still must deal with the perceptions of others. Which we cannot change.

liz

i don't hear self-loathing in your post. i hear living water. you are a powerful artist and you have a gift for creating the simple clear picture/poems of the least simple or clear parts of life.

thank you for this gift to yourself and the rest of us. you know all about good fridays.

Jake

Pretty heavy realization.

I wonder if you're being too hard on yourself?

Maybe not...maybe sitting with it for a bit is good.

But, eventually, I would hope you'd come to realize that being conscious of this to some degree disarms it.

I did not realize I was a chauvenist until I raised two daughters. They helped me see it. I was raised as a chauvenist. Most likely it will always be the first response I have to some situations.

But, over time, I've learned not to always go with the first response. To pause, and think it through further. To choose not to play that old tape. I guess you could say the best I can ever hope to be is a recovering chauvenist.

The same is true with various prejudices. Once I identified them...by being honest...they were not as powerful. It also helped to identify the memories at the root of the prejudices.

To a degree, these "handicaps" (which is what sexism and racism actually are) are a form of suffering. In them we see our own brokeness, and realize we can't fix it.

But we can seek help from a higher power who will at least help us stop making new victims.

Sorry...getting a bit preachy.

To live is to suffer. Most of those who expend so much energy avoiding the suffering have experienced some kind of deep pain. The avoidance is often the symptom of unresolved trauma.

But, in our case, it is also a message reinforced by our culture.

It's enough to cause one to become a Buddhist, isn't it?

Karen

You're a good man CB or as it stands, BC. I think you are very hard on yourself. You are one of the few that actually brings these things up from time to time. I agree with Jen. Go ye therefore and rejoice in your wondrous self.

jen lemen

bob. i think you are giving yourself a hard time about this, no? it could be that you pulling rank and cozying up to the "insiders". OR. that a lot of women and others that fall into the "OTHER" category are not inviting you to the party they are quite happily living. you might be being excluded without even knowing it! you might be feeling horrible about not including more women, when the women you know are happy as clams working under completely different rules that defy the system that oppresses even the privileged who subscribe! i say, no more self-loathing, guilt (survivor or otherwise). you are a human being, open and curious about the experience of those whose lives differ greatly from yours. this is clear to so many of us who have long ago stopped feeling tortured by tables that are fabrications of the imagination anyway. the lines only exist (like the emperor's new clothes) if we keep saying they do. i double dog dare you to opt out and stop reinforcing the argument by defining yourself by the old definitions.

i don't see you in these terms along with so many others i know and love. it would be your greatest gift to us (and maybe yourself, too!) if you would see yourself the way we see you--an awesome human being who's one of the most delightful party guests ever. no matter what the occasion.

my two cents, brotha. :)

Christy

Bob -

You are a hell of a lot less sexist than the vast majority of Christian men I know, if that's any comfort. As for practical suggestions, in my experience, the single most effective way of grappling with racism, sexism, etc is to intentionally place yourself in an environment where you are in the minority and white men are not in charge, whether it's church, a volunteer situation, etc, and then stick around, even when it's hard and people piss you off. You'll learn a lot that you can't learn any other way. The ONLY way to understand what it feels like to be marginalized is to actually be marginalized and to build solid relationships with people different from you and fight through the hard parts.

Very few people are willing to do this - particularly white men - probably because it really sucks sometimes and it's painful. If you don't have much experience being the outsider, it's particularly difficult because it means learning to connect to a whole mess of deep pain. BUT it's also tremendously freeing not to have to defend the status quo.

Oh, and read James Baldwin - Notes from a Native Son...

Laura

For the record, you are the least sexist, racist, homophobic guy I know. Fb friend demographics should not be looked upon as a microcosm of who we are or what we believe. As humans, we're more likely to link up with people who share our interests and tastes. More often than not, that happens to be with people who also share our demographics (regarless of new age enlightenment). I admire your introspection and willingness to call yourself out, but disagree with your take away on this.

Jennifer

Bob,

This is a hard thing.

My honest opinion is that until it is considered okay for Christians to have close, intimate friendships with both genders, we will never bridge the gap. As a married woman, it is so painful to be told that I am unsafe for deep friendship with married or single men. How can we talk about women leading faith communities when we cant even talk about them being equal in friendship? :-(

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