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Jasper, Indiana, United States
OK, I really despise these bio things. I'm a pretty open person but I don't prattle well with no aim of direction. If you want to know something about me there are plenty of ways to get in contact with me listed here; so just ask.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hidden Figures and Visible Oppressions

So... I finally got to see Hidden Figures, and it's been a long time since a movie shook me so deeply. At the risk of coming across Spicer-ish, I don't think a film has so heavily hit me in both the thoughts and the feels since Schindler's List.

I was SO proud on behalf of my friends of color as well as female-oriented folks. Watching the strides taken in rights, fought for EVERY step... The dedication of running a mile in the rain to pee because the job is worth it, the courage to step onto a ladder to work for all to see, the risk of standing up to cis-white-patriarchy by placing your name where credit belongs, and to scream out frustrations when the work people place upon you is too much to bear and is work that never should be yours... I wanted to stand up and scream with thankfulness at each moment that the powerless seized their own power back from the oppressors.

But even more than pride, more than gratitude... I was furious. I shook with rage. I watched a black father sit with his sons, watching coverage of a fire-bombing of a black house of worship perpetrated by white hate and power that killed black children the same age of his child, and I watched his fear and rage as he told his wife that distasteful as it was, YES, his children HAD to see that, NEEDED to see that, because it was their lives just as on the line. And all I could think of was that in 70 years, black fathers are still teaching this to their children in anger and fear. Houses of God are STILL not sanctuaries to anyone whose skin isn't white, and whose G*d isn't the "right" G*d.

I watched a black woman escorted by police from a library because white fear outpowers black rights. I watched her scream not in anger but in fear of the police who put their hands on her sons despite her children being nothing at all involved. I watched her explain to those same babies how the were NOT flawed. I watched her have to reinforce to those growing, learning, internalizing your folks that they were worthy, they were valued, they were capable, and they were NOT wrong for existing. I watched her demand her right to anything at all that was a public service. I watched her soothe frightened nerves to reassure these oh so impressionable children that no matter what the world around them thinks or says, they are PEOPLE. And I sobbed that it has been 70 years, and black mothers STILL have to work overtime to raise children who know their worth, have to educate them and ingrain the basic human right to believe they are allowed to exist.

I watched a black mother watch a peaceful protest and pull her children both close and away, even though the protesters were doing nothing but calmly and politely asserting their Constitutional and Birth Given rights - rights that both that mother and those children KNEW they themselves were being denied. I watched the fear of police, snarling dogs, fire hoses, and violence designed to keep rights away, to keep castes in place, and to frighten those who just wanted to live with death because power doesn't believe in the right to those lives to exist outside its own version of how it should be. And I went mindless with being overwhelmed at all the black parents who hug their children extra tight every time they leave the house and every time they come home, 70 years later. I watched police brutality that has grown exponentially in power and hate. I couldn't breathe to consider ALL of the children those mothers could not save from that belief in non-existence, all those babies who never came home again because they had the simple audacity to believe that they were human.

I wilted to see a white, cis, able-bodied man in power take a crowbar against white supremacy by taking away segregated bathrooms. I wilted and cringed because I knew that as much as it meant for the rights of women of color... It didn't happen because they deserved it. It happened because it was more of an inconvenience to that same white power to keep that practice than to abolish it.

To my friends of color who saw this movie and were overflowing with pride, I love you deeply, you deserve every drop of that pride and more, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS, Lord. To my women and femme-oriented friends who were empowered by the moments of smashing patriarchal of oppression, you deserve EVERY ounce of pride. SLAY MY QUEENS.
But to my white friends who pat yourselves on the back? Call me. We REALLY need to talk. To those who find this post full of reverse racism and misandry, to those who believe in white guilt being something we should be free of... In SEVENTY years, nothing has changed. People fought with every ounce of their lives to change laws, to individually be given the minimum consideration and access that everyone deserves. But socially and institutionally? No. Nothing has changed in OVER half a decade, individuals are still fighting to exhaustion because of propped up and endorsed systems of oppression. Should you feel white guilt because your grandparents owned slaves but you don't believe in slavery? No. You had no ability to change that. Should you feel white guilt for still benefitting from that slavery? Should you feel white guilt for accepting systems of oppression that STILL benefit you at the expense of others after so many decades of nothing changing? Should you feel white guilt for recognizing what was done then was wrong but refusing to change it now? YES. You should be DROWNING in it. And if you're not? Call me. We NEED to talk.

And after you've called me, after we've talked. You need to WORK. I need to WORK. EVERY one of us in places of privilege needs to be working every second with every drop just as hard as those without that privilege do in order to ensure that EVERY life is lived with dignity in full capacity of inherent dignity. Because if we don't, we're nothing but those people in the film by whom we were disgusted, and NOTHING like the ones we admired who we so brazenly believe ourselves to be.

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