Dealing with Noah’s family is complicated. I am not that inclined to shut my mouth and put up with awful because… I get no positive out of knowing them. I mean, his parents send money and his aunts send boxes of candy around holidays. If these windfalls evaporated from my life I wouldn’t miss them. I don’t plan for the money. I feel awkward about accepting it. I accept it because they are Noah’s family and they have the right to give him things.
I don’t care. If I never heard from any of them again I would be just fine. They are not integral to my sense of self. They aren’t my family. Why should I make myself smaller in order to make them feel like they are correct?
I have nothing to gain by keeping my mouth shut and letting the status quo continue. The status quo is not a good place for me.
Silence in the face of atrocity is how I ended up with the horrifying childhood I had. I’m never going to be silent again. Even if it offends the shit out of everyone. Even if I never get another box of candy.
Right now I’m watching a movie about Grace of Monaco. It is fascinating watching Nicole Kidman pretend to learn the history of the country so she can take on the role of princess. I can see why she learns what she learns for the sake of her children.
My children don’t need me to learn how to be a serene highness. Thank G-d.
But I need to consciously try to facilitate them having relationships with these racist fuckers. Why? Because they are family. I’m not part of the family. Not really. I am a facilitator. I am an extension. I am Shanna and Calli and Noah’s family. I am not Aunt Cookie’s family. I am not Aunt Candy’s family. I’m the mother of their great-nieces which isn’t the same as family. I’m unavoidable but I am not likable.
So I drive the kids around the country. And I take dictation as they write letters to these people. I will help them make phone calls when they get just a bit older. And the whole damn time I will be arguing with the messages they receive.
No, your family is not superior to other people. The relatives who tell you that you are better are lying. You are just a person. A wonderful person, but just a person. You need to earn your own merit. It is not automatic based on your appearance.
We had an interesting conversation yesterday. The Godmamas came up again. In reference to some people are ok with mellow yellow and some people really aren’t. Shanna made a comment to the effect that we are better people if we are more worried about the drought than the cleanliness of our toilet.
I told her that the two have no relationship whatsoever and she is very wrong if she believes that one measure like that decides what makes a good person. I am *not* a better person than your Godmamas. Well, they aren’t the Godmamas any more. I’m still not a better person. I worry about different things. I focus on different things. I spend my time and energy in different ways. Doesn’t mean I’m better. I’m different.
I don’t think I’m better than Aunt Cookie or Candy either. Even if they have opinions that are distinctly racist. Even if they have dozens of opinions that make me sick to my stomach… that doesn’t mean I’m a better person.
I’m a person with giant flaws, just like everyone else.
I need people to call me on my flaws in order for me to grow and change and become better. I am better than I was. I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do not aspire to perfection. I’m an asshole and ok with that.
The difference between me and the aunts is… I know I’m an asshole. They would hotly deny that they are. Even though they believe that people who end up homeless deserve to suffer. They think that their beliefs are just “justice”.
But I’m the only one who knows I’m an asshole. I think that human beings deserve dignity and support so I’m an unconsciounable asshole. Good thing I can live with that. I can be the kind of rude where I challenge racists in my life. I can’t be the kind of rude where I just shut up and allow people to be awful. I do not choose going along with the flow for the good of bigots. I do not care about avoiding conflict. If you want to avoid conflict with me you can leave the room.
That is the assurance that men walk around with. If you want to avoid an argument with them you can leave the room. I’ve decided that it is a trait and I want it. So I adopted it. I don’t back off.
I wouldn’t be here if I were more namby pamby.
I’m not important. I’m not special. I’m not someone who changes things. My reality distortion field only extends as far as my voice can reach. Maybe that is why I am so fucking loud now.
I didn’t used to be loud. When I was a child I was constantly in trouble for mumbling. No one could ever hear me. I got yelled at by dozens of teachers because I would raise my hand and then no one could understand me.
I don’t have that problem now.
I’m also getting better about being able to challenge people without having to scream at them. It’s progress. Now I can challenge in a flat voice. That’s a big improvement and I’m happy about it.
I have no interest in learning to avoid conflict. I do have interest in learning how to have conflict without acting like a harpy. Conflict is fine. Conflict is about challenging the status quo. I have a serious problem with the status quo. I want to change it.
The status quo involves too many people suffering terribly because of structural inequalities. I’m not ok with that. Structural inequalities need to be addressed. We are at a point in history where we have no justification beyond pure greed for continuing to allow this many people to live with starvation and homelessness.
We have major structural racial problems in the world. Not just in my country. Acting like they aren’t real is… not something I can do. Not even to make someone feel more comfy about how short sighted their world is. Can’t do it.
I will always be willing to point out real, hard things. Even if that makes me an asshole. I think that is my role here. Sometimes I’m wrong about the things I think I see. That’s highly inconvenient.
Sometimes I don’t know how to translate what I see into useful words that other people can understand. Frequently I don’t know the approach that will spur other people into seeing things as I see them. I don’t know how to be the universal translator. I wish I could be.
I wish I could be.