Hairy stuff

I was planning on writing about hair. And all the wonderful people who care for hair. People who have devoted their lives to beauty and service. Removing unwanted hair, styling it attractively, highlighting it to look a bit more lively for the holidays.

Instead, this post headed off in a different direction.

There are much better writers on the subject. Historians, anthropologists, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, ancient and contemporary political pundits, teachers and leaders. Definitely the philanthropists addressing the fall out. All of them have weighed in mightily on the topic, but for all the elucidation, evaluation, chronology, toxicity and destruction, the topic remains polarizing.

Racial discrimination is the topic today, not hair.  Why couldn't I just stick to hair?

Having lived most of my adult life in the uber-liberal, tree hugging, granola munching, freedom loving, energy channeling, chakra spinning, body working, organic food cooking, diversity is our strength, do-your-own-thing West Coast, is it any surprise I am still stunned by the hatred that is generated on the topic?

Excuse my text, but W.T.F?

I don't enjoy being troubled. There's an inherent simplicity to my views on the subject because I was born into the comfort of majority blinders. There was never a seat I couldn't take, a store I couldn't enter, or a neighborhood I couldn't live in because of my race.

And when I look beneath the surface, I see my own assumptions and fears.

In no small regard, I have bitten off more than I can blog-fully chew.

Perhaps this would be a good time to think about contrasting highlights and low lights?

I'm reading about American history and multiculturalism.  Within this context, I am horrified and appalled by the institutionalization of racism.

I was distracted in high school when we went over the creation of this great nation. Which is still a great nation with some very bad behavior.

The text books available on mid 20th century western history glossed neatly over killing all of the native people or romanticized it into a ballad of the brave pioneers. And that was just the beginning.

The marauding new comers kept coming.

Imagine attacking the owners of land you covet, then invading their capital city and strong arming them out of HALF of their country. Hello Mexico.

Sitting in a circle with twenty other women, intent on "diversity training", we go around and introduce ourselves. Every woman of color starts with her name and race. The Caucasian women skip announcing our race because it doesn't even occur to us that we're white.

Thirty years later I remember that circle with a sense of wonder.

The perfect example of a "fish don't know they're in water" moment.

I occasionally get hateful emails from people who practice racism. Last week a neighbor went off in public with the epithets of racial slurs in reaction to the changes around him. From otherwise loving and gentle souls who have good educations, tidy houses and plenty of food for their kitties.

As I think about it, the subject is so embedded in the lizard brain maybe the pre-frontal cortex is always disconnected and all we see is threats of loss of life and limb and the inherent inferiority of the "other".

Fighting for survival against the color of someone else's skin.

As my friend wryly observes, "what a primitive planet."

I try to imagine if short haired cats discriminate against long haired cats? Are orange cats racially superior to striped cats? Are white cats guaranteed a better life than tabbies or gingers?

Some of my younger friends are choosing not to bring children into the world because of the suffering and discrimination they will endure at the hands of other humans.

When I think about the hatred we've historically inflicted, I am hard pressed to disagree.

Is change possible?  Are we capable of living respectfully?  Can we learn to appreciate the reality that an injury to any is injury to all?

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