White privilege must be addressed, along with the capitalist ego, if we’re going to evolve as compassionate, autonomous individuals

Note: My previous post was inspired by an article called “I don’t know what to do with good white people” by Brit Bennett, a black woman writer. The following is a response to a conversation I had with a friend, a white man, about that post (and more generally, calling out white privilege).

“The purpose of calling out your white privilege.”

The purpose of calling attention to white privilege is NOT to draw a line (further) separating whites and non-whites, so YOU can “figure out” what DO, or where you FIT, or how to ACT (see previous post). The purpose of calling attention to white privilege is to acknowledge an EXISTING condition (systemic racism), so you can LISTEN to the TRUTH from a better position. The truth is easier to accept when we’re closer to it, open to it, and facing it. If we turn away from the story of Black Lives exposing their truth, we will become susceptible to the lies of colonialist capitalism. Alternately, if we face historical reality DIRECTLY, the pain of existence will lighten, and we’ll open our minds to a more loving human experience.

I believe it’s the same for radical feminism and other equality-based justice. Unlike unending profit derived from the destruction of people and the planet, human rights are not just an idea someone had. The damage caused by capitalism is real, but the basis for it isn’t. Similarly, racism is fundamentally an idea. But the DAMAGE caused by that idea is 100% REAL. That’s in part why people can say “I believe in nondiscrimination” in the same breath as “but we shouldn’t hire certain ‘unqualified’ people” (etc.). Until you acknowledge discrimination ALREADY EXISTS, you won’t understand the reality of equality, but only the idea.

Setting qualifications is a legitimate way to survive in a capitalist society, but we need to remember that in addition to existing discrimination (based on wrong perceptions), the goal of our “work” is not simply to “provide” the resources others need to survive (or on the other side of the coin, to “attain” what is provided). Survival is in us all, we don’t need to work for it like capitalism would have us believe. It’s a dichotomy, wherein we’re tasked with “providing” and “attaining”, while simultaneously profiting and surviving. That’s why there’s no such thing as “trickle-down-economics”: the so-called provider, rich as they might be, is being tasked with “survival” by the economic-political system, making autonomy impossible. It’s the reason people can say “I believe in equality”, while simultaneously being racist. It’s the reason money can’t buy happiness.

I believe in our hearts we KNOW all humans are equal, but the social laws of colonialist capitalism hinder our progress to be truly empathetic. They have made us think our reality is “survival-based-success”, which isn’t Reality at all, it’s a construct. In order to succeed accordingly, we default to making it personal.  Personal reality feeds the ego. This is different than being autonomous, which means living our individual Truths free from external control. Being egocentric and basing success on capitalist ideas is destructive to the individual, the environment and humanity.

We need to discover what oppresses us (individually, culturally and collectively). Then, (eventually) we can reject the thoughts and objects that bind us.

That’s why I believe we HAVE TO call attention to our differences, our individual struggles and Truths. The point is not to divide us, but to uncover the PURPOSE of our Lives. Which is to matter. And be free.

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To the “good white people” out there

The following post is inspired by the article “I Don’t Know What to Do with Good White People” by Brit Bennett.

To the “good white people” out there complaining that you can’t seem to “DO anything” to “help,” try to remember that a narrative by a person of color that calls you out for misunderstanding your role is simply saying you are not the main character, not that your intentions are necessarily bad. While your good intentions can matter (the recipient(s) of your actions can decide how), your actions and reactions DO matter. But what matters most is your ability to listen and accept the message peacefully.

I don’t particularly like it when the response to people who ask, “what can I do if everything I do is wrong anyway” is “stop asking a black person, it’s not their responsibility to spoon feed you the answers” (which is true!), because it sounds like you’re saying, I’m not only a good White, I “get it”. More importantly, it puts the person of color who wrote the article or directly experienced the injustice in the third person, in the background. It’s a way of speaking for them.

I think the most positive thing you can do (if you’re asking) is continue to listen (and read), and then NOT act. Don’t act like you’re good, don’t act like you understand everything. Don’t act like the story was written for you to fit into. Let the story live (and thrive) without you. Then, cultivate your own. The idea is to weave our individual stories together into a collective work that illustrates the strength of humanity.

If you already have a story, because you take issue with the way things are and have formed beliefs based on experience and listening to/accepting others’ narratives, then say how YOU feel. Say why YOU hate the system. What do you care about, how is it connected to racism? (We can’t leave all the “personal opinions” to racists!) Express your support for Black Lives by being an individual with an open mind. Show your solidarity by understanding your privilege.

And if you’re confident in your story, let your actions speak. Go to marches, protest and support the movement to end police brutality and state violence against Black and Brown people by physically showing up. Your body represents you and your truth. But remember, what matters MOST is this Truth: Black Lives Matter.

 

Note: You can also refer to the list in the article “Eight Ways to Support Protests Against the Criminal Punishment System, if You Can’t Get Out on the Street” by Victoria Law.

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Facebook Climate Change Conversations

Carly Cassano: It would be nice if the senate votes against the keystone pipeline…X
Many likes

Person 1: And it will cost another democrat her Senate seat in Louisiana!!! Good times…..and the Senate will pass it in January anyhow.

Carly CassanoYes, that’s very sad. But it’s nice that it didn’t pass, because it’s nice when our govt acknowledges our demands and concerns at all. Every little bit matters when the goal is to hold back the progress of climate change and move forward on democracy.

Person 1: The science on climate change (used to be global warming….funny we don’t use that term anymore isn’t it) is controversial AT BEST and downright fraudulent at worst. Why we would make any decision based on that baffles me. We, for better or worse, do not have a democracy either. It’s a representative republic. Your individual opinion only matters inasmuch as you can cajole your state rep or senator to see things your way. Out there people have seen fit to elect one of the dumbest people in congress (Nancy Pelosi), though she has been bright enough to use her position in government to make herself and her husband richer than most of us could ever aspire to…..yet she somehow has the average person’s interests in mind? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad actually.

Person 2: Hi! The reason that we don’t use the term “global warming” anymore is largely a result of Republican strategist Frank Luntz deciding that “global warming” sounded too frightening to people. “Climate change” was deemed to be a less threatening alternative, and, given the fact that the right-wing has an entire “news” network behind it, it has become what we’ve used today. Since “climate change” has come into use, the very real threat of “global warming” continues to go unaddressed. If you have kids, or are thinking of having kids, this should concern you.

Memo exposes Bush’s new green strategy The US Republican party is changing tactics on the environment, avoiding “frightening” phrases such as global… THEGUARDIAN.COM|BY OLIVER BURKEMAN

Person 1: The term changed largely because starting in 1997, the average global temperature started going down. A simple Google search verifies this. Assuming that you refer to Fox News, it hardly passes the stink test that they changed the terms and forced…..oh I don’t know…..CNN, NBC, PMSNBC, ABC,and CBS to go along with it. More likely the advocates realized that since the planet has been COOLING for 18 years, the term is hard to justify.

Person 2: October 2014 Was World’s Warmest October on Record: NOAA The global average temperature for the world’s land and…WEATHER.COM

http://www.wnd.com/…/2014-is-hottest-year-in-recorded…/ A Free Press For A Free People Since 1999

Carly Cassano: Hi! While you were talking, I was taking in the sublime nature of Yosemite, whose falls were falling after some much needed rain. I recommend reading this article:

Earth’s Temperature Tracker : Feature Articles NASA scientist James Hansen has tracked Earth’s temperature for decades, and he is confident the global…

Carly CassanoClimate change and human rights are inextricably linked, which is one of the reasons indigenous peoples are at the forefront of the fight against the pipeline. Fighting for democracy and against the mechanisms that negatively impact the climate is not only a global cause, it’s something that deeply effects individuals and marginalized communities. Living in your home safely, with the resources we need to survive (like clean*, affordable drinking water) is a human right. Fighting against the keystone pipline and dirty energy (and the money, corporations and govts that would support it) is necessary in terms of minimizing the effects of global wamrning on a large scale. It’s also one of the greatest ways to support human rights. To deny people who suffer because of the dangers of fracking is wrong. To assume it’s safe is ignorant. Plus, jobs change with when our demands change, so while I understand there are people who would benefit from the creation of pipleines (like fossil fuels and nuclear energy), I know (safer) work goes on without it. Social dignity and the right to work is something I strongly support, in conjunction with the people’s climate movement. I believe economic justice is an esential force for environmental justice because it’s where one of the greatest disconnects lies. If we can’t see beyond the struggles of one given day, how can we imagine a brighter future without the chains of capitalism, or any authoritarian, imperial machine? Beliving we can be part of the solution to end tyranny means understanding our priveledge. Equality (race, age, sexual orientation, gender, economic, regilgious, animal, etc.) will naturally reduce the damage people do to the earth. To sum it up, It’s a fundamental human right to live as safely as possible, while speaking your truth. Anyone can do that (as long as we have free internet and other necessary freedoms) as this convo illustrates. When we don’t listen to people (esp. oppressed peoples), then we’re can’t completely understand how to make positive changes, or why we fight for them. My voice is only small part (specific to my experience and beliefs) of a movement that is greater and more powerful than science (though it’s certainly based on scenitifc evidence) or any article or google search, or even on the weather (rain on, california!). A democratic climate movement is about the right to express our love for humans and the ecosystems that support our life on this beautiful planet.

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Systemic Suffering

“It’s important to realize that we are not being manipulated by a clever group of powerful people who benefit from this process. Rather, we are being manipulated by a deluded group of powerful people who benefit materially, but are also victims of their own propaganda.”

To read the full article, click here.

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This Most Special Boston Marathon

I wish I could be in Boston for the Marathon this year to show my support. I went every year I lived in Boston (and drove out for it when I lived in Buffalo) to marvel at the spirit it takes to run 26.2 miles!

I was there last year, standing at the bomb site a half hour before the explosions. Friends and I had safely crossed the Mass Ave Bridge into another world where we didn’t experience the immediacy of the events. I felt like it was happening a million miles away, especially because no one I know was hurt.

This Marathon weekend, I’m sending my love to everyone directly affected, along with a message: sometimes proximity is less about nearness to a place, and more about sentience. Love can be felt wherever it comes from. Let’s show our appreciation for human resilience, and support people everywhere who have known fear. 

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Money is Not Speech

“A split Supreme Court Wednesday struck down limits on the total amount of money an individual may spend on political candidates as a violation of free speech rights, a decision sure to increase the role of money in political campaigns.”

To read the full article about McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court decision, click here.

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Why We Have to Fight Fracking

“We codify our values in the law, and Western societies have treated nature in law and culture as a “thing” to be dominated – amoral, without emotion or intelligence, and lacking any real connection to human beings. In this way we justify and rationalize our exploitation of the natural world. Nature is seen as a possession or as property, rather than as a system that governs our own wellbeing. These ecosystems have no legal standing in most courts of law.”

To read the full article about Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, click here.

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No Fast Track Legislation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

Please urge your representative to vote against fast track legislation on the TTP, and support social, environmental, and economic justice!

To read the full article about TTP Fast Track legislation and why it should be opposed, click here.

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