Saturday, September 14, 2019

From Weeding To White Privilege

It has been a little cooler today. Still above ninety but not so humid and because of that I was able to get outside and finish up the garden weeding. I am pretty sure that I've never had a garden this weed-free in my entire life. Part of it I think is that I haven't been using hay as a mulch except for that which comes from the chickens' nests and so it has not seeded and sprouted the way it can. This has made things a lot easier. I love the way the chickens get in the garden after I've dumped that poopy hay into a pile and they scratch in it for bugs and seeds (which may explain having fewer weeds too) until it's all neatly spread about. Chickens can be very helpful garden assistants. They do like to snatch some of the field peas but I do not begrudge them that. And of course when the lettuces sprout this fall, I'll have to banish them because they do love a tender lettuce. They don't care a thing about store bought greens but they love the garden lettuces, the collards, the kale. They leave the arugula and mustard greens alone. I suppose they do not fancy the rich bitterness of the arugula or the spicy bite of the mustard.
I am glad I got to get out in the dirt because I badly needed it. I have been so bitchy lately. Just horrible. I fussed at my husband when he came out to kiss me goodbye before he left to go mow because he pulled a handful of weeds. 
"This is MY work!" I told him.
Poor man.
It's a wonder he ever comes home.
But it did me good to sweat through my clothes and rip those weeds from the dirt and watch the butterflies dipping and floating around the zinnias which they love.
And then a dear friend texted me and we carried on a little conversation and that was better than anything, a small sharing which led me to tears for a moment which leaked some of the hotness of my mean soul out to where it could not harm me anymore.
Bless you, friend. And thank you. I love you.

I came in and showered and cooled off and sat in front of the TV and did some embroidering on a pair of old kid overalls and watched a new Chelsea Handler documentary on Netflix. It's called Hello Privilege, It's Me, Chelsea and it was not easy to watch. There were extremely awkward moments as Chelsea spoke to people of color about what it was like to live in a culture where white privilege is so prevalent and taken for granted that many, many white people don't have the slightest idea it occurs. I heard the thing that I hear so often when people are disclaiming their various privileges whether of being white or being male or whatever, which is "I worked my ass off to get where I am. No one helped me."
Which is of course bullshit.
And perfectly illustrates a complete and seemingly conscious inability to understand what the whole issue is about.
There were some startling statistics. There was a heartwarming reunion of Chelsea and the man  who'd been her boyfriend when she was sixteen, an African American man who has spent fourteen years in prison.
I think the thing that gave me most pause was the fact that racism is not the problem of people of color to help us poor little white folks understand or to do something about.
It's our responsibility to do something about it. We got us into this fucked up situation and if there's any way out, it's up to us.
Chelsea Handler is a bit of a conundrum to me. I recently listened to her memoir Life Is Going To Be The Death Of Me and I found some things in it to ponder, to reflect on. Even to instruct, even as parts of it made me cringe. I think her heart is in the right place and I do admire her outspokenness.
Anyway, I think that the documentary was fine for a one hour Netflix piece and it could be a starting point for discussion and for thought. Chelsea seems to be using her powers for good. That's saying something.
Not a one of us is a perfect being, me least of all.
Here I sit in my beautiful old historic house, most likely built by slave labor. At least I realize that. At least when I think of the many, many ways this house pleases me and how it has sheltered so many generations, I am aware of that fact and in my heart I never fail to remember that and to give thanks to the people who felled the pines, who cut the boards, who constructed this place where so many people have probably been born and who have also died, who have lived hard lives and experienced joy. I will never know their names but I honor their souls, their labor, their artistry, their lives.
And I wonder where they lived. I wonder where they are buried.
And I thank them.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I think back (way back) on a conversation with a woman I worked with in my twenties. She was the chair side assistant to all the doctors at the dental school. I was the secretary. She was a beautiful young woman of color. Think of her accomplishment; this was in the sixties. We sat and chatted at lunch times. She and her husband were looking for a "better" place to live. I suggested they come look in the suburb where I lived. She didn't say anything. I was so stupid. Sadly, I have been my whole lifetime learning. I wonder about her.

  2. I tend to think I'm color blind, but a friend of mine has told me I cannot be because, somehow, that fails to acknowledge the impact that prejudice and racism has had on the person.

    Sadly I think the world clock has been turned back to a time when anyone who is other than white is suspect. I blame a lot of it on the words of 45 but we have our very own asshats here in Canada who spout similar rhetoric.

  3. Some days we're just cranky. That's the way it is -- we get up "on the wrong side of the bed," as people used to say. (And maybe still do.)

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you say people don't understand the concept of white privilege. (Or male privilege.) Many whites and men get defensive because they feel like it invalidates their achievements -- but it's just an acknowledgement that the road is paved for us in ways that it is not for others, who have to navigate potholes and sand and speed traps and god knows what else to get to a place where we simply drove. If that makes sense.

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  5. when the new neighbors moved in and we were chatting one day, I think before the election or could have been just after, I don't even remember what we were talking about, skirting politics. she was annoyed about something and she asked me, referring to white privilege, do you feel privileged? Yes I do, as a matter of fact, I told her. pretty much ended the conversation. don't know for sure because I avoided the question but I 'm pretty sure they're Trump supporters. we don't speak anymore, not after I called them gun nuts in one of my blogs and she took issue with it.

    I pulled some weeds too yesterday. not many and there is plenty. I should get out there today and weed while the ground is still soft from the recent rain.

  6. What Steve said.

    In Canada indigenous people are often treated as second class citizens which horrifies and embarrasses me. We all have a long ways to go before all humans are treated as humans. I just found out the other day that the Canadian government slaughtered 20,000 sled dogs in the fifties and sixties because they wanted Inuit people to stay in place. They took away the means of survival and transport of a whole society, to make they do what they wanted. WTF! And why didn't I know about this?


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.