Why This Blog
Updated: 6 days ago
Being an American is Hard Right Now
Photo by Nothing Ahead from Pexels
Even before George Floyd’s murder, I’d had a sickening sense in my stomach when watching the evening news. Events staggering our country were—and are—dividing us like never before.
The pandemic, shrinking middle class, climate change, diminished standing in the world, college debt, LGBTQ and women’s rights, gun violence, internet rabbit holes, disinformation, American terrorists, terrorists abroad, etc., etc., and for me, “racism” especially, hit like a medicine ball dropped on my belly every night.
Photo by Life Matters from Pexels
The explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement brought millions of Americans together of all ages, classes and “races” (I’ll explain why I put race in quotes a bit later), gave me hope. I hoped a new era was dawning, a fresh wave of activism was growing; a new consciousness about “race” was emerging.
Then on January 6th, 2021, tears welled up as I stared at my countrymen and women storming our Capitol in an attempt to overthrow an election. Disgust overcame shock as I watched a Confederate flag, a flag representing enslaving traitors to our Constitution, paraded through the Capitol.
Who Will Lead Us Out of this Mess?
I wanted someone, anyone to bring us together, to help us regain a common purpose; to help us respect our differences without rancor. I didn’t care whether a politician, a business leader, a preacher, priest, rabbi or imam, a celebrity, or an unknown would rise above the muck of discord.
But no one can do that. That’s not how democracy works. I must participate and not just by voting. I have to contribute. I have to challenge and be challenged. I have to be curious and open to change without feeling that I’ve somehow “lost.”
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Mother Teresa
I hope the posts I make here and on my Medium publication of the same name will stimulate conversations and further understanding of “racial” issues and beyond. I invite my fellow white seniors to explore these issues with me. Let’s write about our experiences and how we’ve reacted and responded to them.
“Race” Doesn’t Exist. It’s Color Sweetheart
“Race” is an artificial construct with no foundation in fact. It is an arbitrary term created to establish and perpetuate a caste hierarchy based on physical characteristics—primarily color. Although “race” is ubiquitous in its usage, I’ll avoid it wherever possible. I’ll use terms like BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) caste, colorism etc., or the ethnic name most self-identified by the group. Words matter. “Race” doesn’t.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela
Old Whites Exploring Color and Caste Matters
My primary focus is on whites talking with whites about the overt and hidden benefits of whiteness in America. How and when did/does it start? How did/do we recognize racism past, present and future. How did/do we react and work to correct the injustice whiteness has inflicted on BIPOC? What does it take for whites and BIPOC to be anti-racist?
Let’s not depend on the presence of BIPOC folks to start the conversation any more. It’s a challenge that’s long overdue.
And that’s not all…
I’m also interested in conversations about what we’ve learned in more general areas of life and aging. Have we become more or less understanding and accepting of ourselves and others? How did that come about? What raises our ire and what do we do about it? Fume? Ignore? Complain? Confront? Laugh?
What makes us grateful, glad to be alive and brings joy to our souls? Family? Friends? Solitude? Work? Play?
Above I intentionally said exploring. This is a journey, maybe even a quest, in which I, and presumably you, have little time left to travel. I don’t know where—or if—it will lead anywhere. But, like Don Quixote, I start the quest for greater understanding with this post.