Monday, September 14, 2020

The Journey now includes learning about systemic racism, poverty, colonialism and climate change.

 

New blog entry. 

9/13/2020

 

Okay.  I have decided that for now this blog will have a new focus.  I am learning about systemic racism and poverty, colonialism and even climate change and how all of these things are interwoven with each other.  I am also learning about antiracism.  I will share this journey in this blog and you are welcome to join me if you like.

 

In reading and in “attending” numerous webinars I have discovered some new ways that I am looking at the United States, North and South America, and even Europe.  Just this minute, as I started typing on this subject,  I realized that I must put in a disclaimer.  I am continuing to learn and I recognize that I am totally a student in these matters.  I also understand that teaching is something that appears to come naturally to me in the sense that it is something I enjoy very much.  I suppose that I can be both a student and a teacher at the same time, however,  I must emphasize that as I am still learning, I may need to make corrections to what I write.  As I make new, or different discoveries, I will do my best to share those with you and make my best attempt to share what has been corrected. 

 

 

In the United States the currently dominant people group is white, caucasion, of European descent.  This is how this group of people seems to be defined in questions on all kinds of forms these days.  As the Han are dominant in China….so it goes.  It seems to me that the dominant people groups in a country are usually descendants from the people that invaded a country in the past.  This would mean that people who were colonizers in the past, settled in the country that had been invaded, and grew in population size to become a larger group than the original inhabitants.

 

In the North American United States of America (also known as Turtle Island by indigenous people) we have Native Americans who were the first people on this continent as far as I have read.  Christopher Columbus thought that he had found India (he was way lost) and named the people he found here Indians…..but that really is not a correct name.  Indians are from India. 

 

Then we have black Americans, currently known as African Americans.  Primarily these are descendants of enslaved people that were taken by force, and without choice, from the continent of Africa, starting about 400 years ago.  They were brought to the Eastern shores of the North American continent and also taken to many other places along the way.  When I taught Theology and Bible at the Nile Theological College in Sudan and South Sudan I had students ask me why there are black people in Haiti.  I really dislike having to explain about the colonial and enslaving history of the United States to other people.  It causes me to be ashamed.  And I was.  However, those students launched me on the path of finding out more about migration, colonialism, etc.  Students are wonderful sources of questions that open up new vistas for learning.  Like the students in China who asked me why the United States was involved in the Vietnam war.  That too was an embarrassing one….

 

At any rate, we have 1.  Native Americans, 2.  African Americans, descendants of enslaved Africans and 3.  The group of people who are white, of European descent and thus descendants of the original colonizers of most of this country.  We also have 4. immigrants from other countries, and 5. refugees from other countries.  6. As well, as the United States expanded her territory to create a land from sea to shining sea, there was land that was appropriated from Mexico.  As it turns out I have read now about how Mexicans and “Americans” moved back and forth freely over the U.S. southern border for a long time because they had been doing that already for many years.  Until that changed.

 

I trust that as I go along in this learning journey I will learn more about people groups that live in the United States, and the reasons that they do.  I am going to stop here for now as this is long enough for a first entry.

Blessings,

Debbie

 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

A Hurricane Katrina memory.

 15 years ago I was staying for three months at a guest house in East Jerusalem on the grounds of a hospital that served a Palestinian population. Everyday I saw Muslim women dressed in abayas and everyday I ate green olives in the hospital cafeteria. I was there with an international group as an EAPPI. Ecumenical Accompaniment in Palestine and Israel. I know this because I remember watching the news about Hurricane Katrina on the television with the other people in the group. I was horrified, gripped with sorrow and also mortified because this tragedy was occurring in my country; the country that at that time people looked up to. It is hard to have the failings of ones country splashed across the television set when one is with a group of people from all over the world. Now we've been living that for well over three years

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Grief.

I think I am possibly moving a little bit beyond denial and for this moment am understanding that life is not going to unfold as what I had envisioned at one point. I think I am also realizing that this is a grieving process, and it is not 😓going to be linear.

I am "getting" it. This virus has changed life as we know it. This is a grieving process and is not linear.😓

Sunday, July 5, 2020

July 1, 2020 Ruminating

Three countries are on my mind. Sudan. A very sleepy me listened to a webinar on Sudan early this morning. Sudan needs international help. Now that the dictator Omar El Bashir is gone Sudan is hopeful that the designation of a terrorist country can be removed. Hong Kong. My heart aches for these people who are experiencing the loss of freedom. I am grateful that the United Kingdom is offering citizenship to those that are eligible. Taiwan is offering shelter, however, Taiwan might not be the wisest choice considering their close proximity to China and the relationship between the two. Palestine. With illegal support from 45 in the white house Israel is planning to jump on annexing up to 30% of Palestinian land. This is against International Law and the Geneva Conventions. From the beginning of this modern day and secular Israel the idea of having the country spread from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River has been a blueprint that was closely held by the leadership of Israel. Over the years since the 1948 al-Nakba, "the disaster," Israel has swallowed more and more land that diminishes the Palestinian children of God that live there. 45 is not the first of the problem, he is a disastrous latest piece that is causing Netanyahu to take bold steps in stealing land just in case 45 is not re-elected in November. One of the principle issues with the United States is that "we" consistently veto in the United Nations the steps that the rest of the global community would like to take. Stopping Israel in its tracks. Today is the day that the particular evil of annexation is slated to begin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Book review of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

t feels like it has taken me months to slog through this book.. What I find hard to believe is that I finished it yesterday, Sunday May 31, 2020. There was an excellent Inside Story on AlJazeera yesterday which I watched twice to make sure I had actually heard things right. I had just finished a book that spent an amazing amount of time on the War on Drugs, the incarceration of young black men and a culture of racism in police departments. The female speaker talked about police departments and need for change in the culture in them. And protests around the United States were/are turning violent and the anger is continuing.....in response to the death of a young black man who was murdered by white cops. I am quite sure I have never had the timing of a book coincide so perfectly with current events.
It has taken me so long to read it because it is hard to read. Not reading comprehension. This has more to do with the subject matter. It connected with some of the recent books I have read. Democracy in Chains, Waking up White are two that come immediately to mind. Oh yes, and The Color of the Law.
Michelle Alexander, who wrote The New Jim Crow, shares that incarceration is the New Jim Crow because it continues to be a system that controls young black men and disenfranchises them for their entire lives. African Americans have been in prison for 400 years, since the ancestors of those who are alive now were dragged from Africa to North America. The name of the prison has changed is all. First it was slavery, after at least two reinventions of itself, a racialized form of control, it is now the prison system.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has thought about "prison reform". Really, for anyone. To get through all of it requires some commitment. (less)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

May 6

Okay, I need some help trying to figure some things out. Community brain storming perhaps.
I am assuming that there are actually currently countries that are providing their citizens with a basic income each month.....and of course we are the only industrialized, developed country in the whole world who does not provide health care to every citizen and other person dwelling in our borders at a cost only through taxes. So, if other countries have had their economies fall apart as has the United States' economy....how do other governments manage to continue providing life giving and sustaining food/rent/health care to their citizens and others if they are not getting tax revenue either? Now it is true I am making a bunch of assumptions here that there are indeed countries with a basic income and that there are indeed countries that are continuing to provide essential services to citizens and others. Or perhaps the rest of the world is failing as heartily as is the United States.
I remember when I lived in China a student being very surprised to find out that the United States did not have universal health care. She said, "the richest country in the world does not have that?" I said that perhaps we are rich because we do not take care of our vulnerable.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Different lenses.

So here is the thing that I have been considering today and contemplating as unanswerable, and yet still important. I have seen/read in different sources (news, Sojourners magazine) recently that literally more conservative Americans are receiving a different version on their news sources (Fox, etc.) of what 45 is doing and saying. One might say (and yes I am saying) that they are not being told the truth. So what I have been thinking about is: if they were being told the truth, or that which mainstream media is laying bare, and they were to see/hear that it is different than that which their own usual news sources presents, would that make a difference to 45's base? So to take this further: what I am really trying to figure out is, if his base was exposed to what it is that mainstream news sources (CNN/MSNBC) are broadcasting, and that base was to realize that it is different from what their own news sources are broadcasting, would they question their own news sources? Or just believe automatically that the mainstream is biased against the president? Since I believe the mainstream version of things that I hear/read everyday would they do the same with their own sources, or would they be curious as to why things are different? Are there truly groups of people in the United States so different from one another that what I am unable to accept as acceptable is truly okay with another group? Like, what is going to happen in November? Am I going to be stuck living in a country with this president still in office because other people in this country find his stupidity and his lying and his immorality acceptable?