Posts Tagged With: truth

Origins of the American Caste System

Note:

This post is only one of a number of posts regarding the white middle class in the U.S.A. The reality of social justice can only happen if we white people understand the where, how, when and why our privilege came about. I have recently had it shoved in my face (by someone I went to school with, and therefore they had the same information taught to them) that many of our white population’s understanding of history is literally “alternative fact” based.

Unless we white people understand our history and our European ethnic history, in particular, we white people — in general — will never understand how both institutional privilege and personal privilege have developed into what we have today.

Too many of us white people only EVER look at our personal and individual current conditions, ignoring that very important history. The “minorities” who live side by side with us cannot ever ignore white history.

I will try to post this at the top of every post I write in this series. I will attempt to keep each post to a summary, as re-teaching history to the US’s white population is a monumental task. I can only hope that my summaries will encourage my fellow white people to look deeper into our culture’s history and learn a thing or two.

To understand privilege, we need to go all the way back to ancient history to what is often arrogantly called “Western Civilization.” More often than not, “Western Civilization” is primarily the history of Europe and its colonies. “Eastern Civilization,” on the other hand, isn’t defined by a specific people or type of people. It is defined as essentially anything that is not European nor Europe’s particular colonies (in schools in the U.S.A. we attempt to separate ourselves out from being a “European colony” but…as adults we should face facts…our founding WAS as sets of a number of different European countries’ colonies.

OK, so back to what has been considered the history of “Western Civilization.” This “starts” with the Roman and Greek cultures, because our European ancestors glorified those cultures over any other culture that was alive, thriving and more technologically advanced. In fact, the Assyrian Empire, the Egyptian Empire (being ruled from Nubia at the time — yes, Nubia…the same country that our people of color refer to), Ancient China and Ancient India were ALL quite active and each had more advanced technology than what the Greeks had. One of the reasons Europe glorified the Greeks is simply the person of Alexander the Great. His tactics are still studied in many “Western civilizations.” The claim is that India and China made no impact on European culture, therefore they were just never “important enough.”

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Categories: inequity, Mental Retraining, Political Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex & the Doctor/Patient Relationship

 

I’ve been working on my “new patient” paperwork for evaluating a new doctor. I never assume that the doctor I am seeing will work as a primary physician until after I have an initial appointment with them. Unless they can treat me as a partner and equal in my own health, I won’t have anything to do with them.

Now, I haven’t had any real issues filling these out, but I’m glad that when the paperwork is more than 2 pages long they chose to mail it out early to give me a chance to fill it out (whereas it would not be filled out completely if I had had it at the time of my appointment — it’s 4 pages, plus pages to explain my issues).

But I came across a question that I have never seen on a new patient intake form before.  They want to know if I’ve had more than 4 sexual partners.

I understand that sexuality is an important part of one’s health. Letting your doctor know about your sexual activity (and its relative health or ill health, as well as how careful or how ignorant you are about protecting yourself from STDs) is important. It is also important for them to know your sexual orientation and where you are on the whole gender spectrum.

But, it is a subject difficult for many people. Women who have had over 4 sexual interactions in their lives are told by our society that we are “dirty sluts” or “skanks.” It doesn’t bug me, but I could see some female patients avoiding the question for fear of being judged by the doctor. And that’s even BEFORE considering whether one should confide their sexual orientation, thoughts on polyamory/open relationships, transsexualism or any of thousands other issues that people fear to confide to anyone — let alone a medical professional who is supposed to have strict ethics.

It’s the specific number that bugs me. Who chooses that line in the sand? I know that “on an average” most heterosexual women have 4-5 sexual partners in their lives and most heterosexual men have maybe 6-8. I’ve never lied about the fact that my numbers are more than 10x the average for a heterosexual woman (which may be a surprise to one of my old boyfriends who found me on Facebook some months ago………I think I was still somewhere in the single digits when I was with him). But I can see some heterosexual woman (or even bisexual, not so sure about lesbians) looking at that and saying to themselves: “Oh, I’ve had 6. I must be a slut!!”

We are so very quick to judge ourselves worse than anyone else.

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Categories: Body Health, Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Damned Stubborn To Stop

There is a lot of discussion of resiliency among people in therapy. Why? Probably because they’ve heard their therapist say something about it, and to quote Inigo Montoya (Princess Bride) “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

There are people who use this word to describe people in other classes. For some, the actions and choices of the rich define what they think resilience is.  On the other hand, there are quite a few professionals (not necessarily all involved in psychology) using the word as a goal for the poor, because if they can “just be resilient” then life will be all unicorns, rainbows and butterflies.

Guess what, people? It ain’t that way in the real world.

  1. There are resilient and not-so-resilient people in all economic classes. Neither your economic status nor your relative financial success/failure defines your ability to be resilient.
  2. To quote the American Psychological Association (APA) Psychology Help Center’s brochure on “The Road To Resilience” resilience is defined as:
    “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”

Let me say this loudly:

The ability to persist
IS NOT
being resilient!

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Categories: Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Epiphanies of Shame

I’ve started and stopped this post repeatedly over the last few weeks. I can only describe this particular difficulty with posting as the writing equivalent to avoiding someone’s eyes. As I stated in March 1’s post, this relates directly to the same reasons I was physically incapable of controlling my eye contact with my therapist when we pinpointed a particularly painful memory.

The basics of the memory are described in that post. However, since my therapy session, a few other experiences kept poking at that same set of emotions, choices and actions. This repetition is what caused the epiphany. And, like many such revelations, it hit like a Mack truck.

It’s been so hard to face that epiphany that I have had anxiety attacks just about looking closer at it or dealing with the understanding.  I’ve been having to focus on things that deal entirely with mathematics, even though my ability to do so has been seriously retarded by my cognitive issues. Dealing with pure equations — even though it takes me at least 10x as long (in fact, almost 70% of the last two weeks has been spent creating a completely math-based set of data collection for my physical and mental health). Before my breakdown, the data collection set up for simple data entry would have taken at most 8 hours).

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Categories: Feminism, Mental Retraining, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teenaged Angst: 31 Years Later

Yes, another therapy post. You can pass on by if you want.

We were discussing relationships, and she asked me a somewhat off the wall question, at least from my perspective. I can’t exactly remember the question, but it was essentially one where she wanted to know if there was any specific memory that seemed to be associated with what I was feeling.

It took me straight to Homecoming of my senior year in high school.  Now, you have to understand a few things about my high school. It was a boarding school, and I was what could be called a “scholarship student.” I worked as a dishwasher at least both my junior and senior years, and my parents got loans either from family or from the church body that owned and ran the school (yes, it was a religious boarding school owned and run by a very conservative, evangelical Lutheran synod). We were not allowed dances, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have those “special days.” It just meant that it was more about speeches and awards than about having some — hopefully — semi-clean fun. We had a joke about it (that I told my therapist) that we weren’t allowed to have sex because “it would lead to dancing.” Also, since it was the 80s, and most of the huge anti-hazing laws had yet to be created, there was a form of hazing for incoming freshmen. Anything (short of illegal or against the rules) that an upperclassman (juniors and seniors) told them to do, they were supposed to do.

I was, for a good portion of my high school years, the almost asexual, advice-giving friend. My senior year, I decided to take a risk. I asked an older freshman that I had been hanging out with to go to Homecoming with me.  I wasn’t expecting some huge romantic relationship, just having an escort for my last Homecoming of my high school career.

He stood me up.

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Categories: Mental Retraining, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What the Citizens of the U.S. Don’t Seem To Remember

The United States, as a nation, is fairly young. Most of our acknowledged founders came from Europe, primarily from England/Scotland/Ireland (because the 18th century included turbulent wars and rebellions between these countries), France and Spain with a few others from assorted other Western European countries. I emphasize acknowledged founders, because they were not the only ones fighting for freedom, nor were these founders involved in creating our country.  The unacknowledged founders included many women and so-called  “minorities.” I’m not just talking about the wives of the founders nor any minority that filled the roles of slave or indentured servant. Just because your history classes never covered those roles nor acknowledged their existence doesn’t mean they were not involved.

Yet, there is something to remember here. As a nation, we are only 240 years old (if you take the Declaration of Independence the start of our nation as opposed to when our Constitution was signed in 1789, which makes our nation only 227 years old). The foundations of Western Europe were laid at the devolution of the Roman Empire (approximately 500 C.E.), making the nations of Western Europe approximately 1,516 years old.

If we choose 40 years old in a human being to be their reaching middle age and equate the age of Western Europe as with it, that means that our nation is essentially a 6-year-old (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:240/x). If we take the founding of our nation based upon Columbus’ “discovery” of America (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:227/x) it still only makes us just 13-years-old. Personally, I think we are closer to the development of the 6-year-old given what I see in our cultural development.

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Categories: Political Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Your “Faith-Based Appeal to Reason” Rings False

NOTE: Remember — while I am a Wiccan now — I am also an evangelical pastor’s daughter, attended religious schools from 5th grade until my sophomore year of college and continue to have Biblical discussions with my entire family, including the nephew who is following in his grandpa’s footsteps. That wealth of  Christian doctrine and Biblical understanding doesn’t just disappear simply because I converted to a different religion.

I’m seeing and hearing quite a lot of people who are on the conservative side of the spectrum trying to talk those who are on the liberal side into “giving President Trump a chance.” Heck, even President Obama is encouraged the country to do so.

And many of them take the stance that since he is President that he was anointed by God to that position.  Looking at it from a Biblical standpoint, that stance is supported by the Bible. It is particularly noted that many of them also use Mark 12:17 (“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”)

But, that is also where the problem with this stance comes into play.  They have chosen to look only at Mark and not some of the other chapters and verses that discuss this in more detail. Let’s look at a couple of places taken from the Bible that speaks to this specifically:

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Categories: Christianity, Relationships, Religious Ruminations | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Loving Your Enemies — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Christmas 1957 Sermon (PDF, 0.192 Mb)
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Too many white people, including those who consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a role model, forget that not only was he a Civil Rights leader or a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate but also a Baptist minister. They seem to only think about the one speech — “I Have a Dream.” Coming from a very religious family background, I cannot forget he was a minister.  And as such, I have been trying to read through his sermons.

Sermons are essentially lectures with a Biblical basis (usually a particular verse or set of verses). Watching my father prepare his sermons and listening to them in church, I can also tell you from personal experience that they also teach you about the character and integrity of the minister.

Particularly important to our current situation is this sermon from November, 1957.

There is a culture of hate and demonization that is splitting this country apart. Sadly, I am seeing many  parallels between our current situation and both the causes of the Civil War (1861-1865) as well as the Civil Rights movement (that most of us seem to date as only being inclusive of 1950-1970, but truly is still part of the whole issue that the Civil War brought to light and honesty – and still continues today, because it has never ended).

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Categories: Political Opinion, Religious Ruminations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Divination, Prophecy & Fear

 

The real difference between divination and prophecy is that prophecy claims to be a communication directly from the prophet’s form of the Divine and is purported to give a more globalized view. Divination, on the other hand, is a way to assess trends in one’s personal life (either the diviner’s life or the person they are doing it for).

However, both come through the mind of the person giving the pronouncement. Many prophets claim that since the source of the prophecy is the Divine that there is no interpretation. A good example of this is Book of Revelation in the Bible. Except, even though this is considered to be the “inspired word of God” (essentially directly from God through the pen of the writer — with no interpretation) there have been centuries worth of assorted interpretation of it in different ways.

But, it doesn’t really matter what claims that are made. It doesn’t even really matter what the prophet or diviner thinks about it.

The reality of the situation is that no matter the source, communicating that information still has to come through the mind of the person making the proclamation. This means that the information received is given a subjective twist.

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Categories: General Contemplation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romance: for the sake of love

 

I have quite a number of hang-ups about my romantic relationships. Frankly, enough to put a few therapist’s children through college.

And, no, it isn’t about my ex — other than to be yet another clue about why I stuck around so long.

It comes down to a fear of being alone.  But it is a very specific kind of being alone: only romantic loneliness.

As an ambivert, there are times when I need to be alone, and times I need to be around people.  And I’m good with that.  I don’t have a lot of fear about friends and family.

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Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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