Looking to Evolve

Let me root out those little flaws
Tear from character my bias
I fear

Am I a racist in my core?
Has this poison weed grown in me?
Grow fear

I pull it out and till the soil
Plant brotherhood and compassion
Sow fear

Tenacious root burrows deeply
Chokes new growth that I have planted
For fear

Primal fear of unknown peoples
Open both my mind and my heart
More fear

I own my ignorance and change
See the truth of privileged living
This fear

Learn the history not written
I see the lies perpetrated
Less fear

Stand up and let my voice be heard
Vote for justice, Black Lives Matter
No fear

This is a poetry form created by Deb Gundy called Synchronicity. It is composed of 8 stanzas of 3 lines each with a syllable count of 8/8/2 and it has no rhyme.

It has been over a month since the first protests and in my little town things have quieted. In nearby Chicago the threat of federal intervention has thrown more fuel on the fire. I am appalled by the heavy handed tactics of the present administration. I understand the anger and the the violence even if I do not condone the rioting. I have seen the progress that detente can achieve. There are some who would stress that detente only works when one is in a position of power. That is exactly what we have – one side has all the power and the other side is using the means necessary to be heard. It is known that to achieve a societal change there must be a pain point. This administration is escalating tensions to reach a point where one of two things will happen – 1. The US slides into a police state where white males will control the actions of minorities, women, and any who they deem a threat to the status quo. 2. We will have change that re-balances society. That reform will provide legislative, judicial, educational and economic protections for all Americans (with a clear and logical path to citizenship). No one should be complacent. It will take some time before everyone has had the opportunity to do a little self education. Some will read (I have), some will have conversations among family and friends (I have), others will listen to the news or other pundits (I did too). The real test is to come to a consensus on what steps need to be taken to right the imbalance of power. Will it start with economics policies? Changes in policing? Political representation? A change of heart or mind or resolve? Probably all of the above. But first it will necessitate a change in the leadership of this nation. There is power at the ballot box. Let’s exercise it!

I love to be in control. That is why I so very much dislike amusement rides and why I don’t drink or take drugs. I’m a planner and a list maker. Yet this problem of racism is beyond my scope to change on a national level. The only person I can change is me. I’m not sure how many little weeds of racism I may have growing in me. The process of weeding them out may take some time. It reminds me of a summer when my best friend Anita and I spent nearly every day for a week combing through the grass looking for 4 leaf clovers. That is what it is – a fine examination of motivations, emotions, decisions, and preferences. This could take awhile. But the thing is, I like completion almost as much as control. I am tenacious and patient and I’ve got a lot of time on my hands because of COVID….

58 thoughts on “Looking to Evolve

  1. I applaud both your open honesty and your attitude in this post Val!

    Bigotry can be fear based, masses of ignorance and our own life backgrounds all thrown in the mix. Black and native people have had to survive appalling conditions and it needs to change asap. Maybe due to all my travel from a young age I don’t have that kind of bigotry … but have met some mighty arrogant pricks from one particular country. And blogging is my tool to tackle that bias 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our world has shrunk and ignorance recognizes no boundaries or nations… I’m hoping that if I can change myself that will have a ripple effect and assist others to change. A shift in attitude is overdue!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Most children are taught not to comment on differences and by shushing and hurrying them away they learn that different is bad/scary/to be avoided. I would hope that my children learned differently (I’m pretty sure they did)…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. as a child I would bowl right up to them and ask questions before my mother could stop me … I hope more do that! Once I knew why they were in a wheelchair, had a missing limb, or their eyes were different I got on with it. Got to know some fascinating people and my biggest fault is that I forget their challenge and one poor lady had much physical discomfort from walking too far with me … I asked why she didn’t say. She said but you treat me like a person, you don’t even notice … she was a thalidomide baby with two prosthetic legs +

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            1. See. That is exactly what I’m talking about! I had a classmate who was a thalidomide baby – only had one arm. I always accepted that that was just the way she was and it was never a big deal. Most of the time I never noticed…

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I am also engaged in staying the course for the same changes as you mentioned. I remember when Dr. King pointed out that the 50 year detente (GREAT word!) of the community of the former slaves had accomplished nothing toward the life of equality. That only egregious sanctions had made life harder for any spirit of goodness to live or thrive in their hearts in that time span. I thought we had done enough work in the 60’s and 70’s. I was appalled when it became clear we had not!

    We can’t change stony hearts, only God can. But we can insist on changed laws that make things better for persons who have been too long ignored.

    I’m also watching myself for all of the things you mentioned and know that I can slip in my life with bad moments or uncaring arrogance. I’m a human, but I have the ability to see what I have done, make amends, and find a resolve to avoid doing it again.

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    1. I think that is so true. I’m not an overt racist but there are small things that point to a privileged mindset. I too will make mistakes – I will learn from them. Hopefully any mistakes will be gently pointed out and with dialogue I can find the truth…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “The only person I can change is me. I’m not sure how many little weeds of racism I may have growing in me. The process of weeding them out may take some time.”…

    Wow, i am so humbled by your honestly Val. Its takes a lot of wisdom and courage to do what you have done and for that you have my highest respect.

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    1. It isn’t done yet. There is still a ways to go before I can say that I’ve made real progress. I’m glad this made an impression and hopefully it will serve as a nudge for others to follow suit!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bravo!!! and well done, I say. Even just seeing that one is privileged by virtue of skin color, is a large shift, me thinks. And it needs to be done, as you have, at the individual level.

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    1. Thanks Kim. I’m not sure I am worthy of accolades for doing what needs to be done (and has been overlooked for a long time). Anyway it may take a long time to sift and sort through many years of living…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You know I was just thinking a similar thought: if you have the privilege of having the opportunity to live in other countries, keep your mouth shut if you don’t like the politicians or leave. I have traveled to other countries and not agreed with the politics or always the religion but I keep my mouth closed and my eyes wide open. Havea good weekend.

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  6. A wonderful post and poem, Muri. The synchronicity poem is new to me. I’ll have to give it a try. I like how you’ve made “fear” a sort of echoing refrain. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? You’re doing what we all need to do–educate ourselves, open up conversations, look critically at our contribution to the problem, resolve to vote on November 3 for those who will help effect the changes we seek. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Joan. I’m tickled you liked the poem. The synchronicity is a fun one to do and it does allow for a little repetition for emphasis. If we all did some self examination of conscience maybe things won’t go sideways…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Having thought about this a lot (as you know) lately and listening to friends around me I now think that the solution to racism is familiarity. From living in a very mixed neighborhood for a long time, I don’t see color that much. Living here for a while, where there are very few people who are not white, the color stands out. Racism against Hispanics is part of the culture here and I think it’s weird. My life has been spent (until 6 years ago) in a culture that was more Latino than white. The only friends I left behind in San Diego were Mexican and not everyone in the family spoke English. After those life experiences, I found myself somewhat wary around white people whose fears, assumptions and opinions (even regarding me) could be so strong and so ignorant.

    When I moved here people first wanted to know what church I went to. I don’t go to church. People assumed I had the same political views as they, and I may or may not. People are individuals and I think we need to develop authentic interest in others as one step toward ending all kinds of negative “isms.”

    I also think there is such a thing as making an irrational appeal to tolerance. Some things should not be tolerated — like racism or government deployed fascist armies going into American cities to punish Americans for behaving as the constitution has guaranteed their right to.

    I think it’s important to distinguish between unfamiliarity and actual prejudice against people on the basis of the surface color of their skin.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely! It seems we self segregate when given the opportunity. My neighborhood was designed as a “rich” subdivision that was initially completely white. It has only been in the last 5 years that the neighborhood has finally seen some diversity. There are indeed some things that cannot be tolerated. Racism and fascism are two that fall into that category. The current situation in Portland is untenable and if this POTUS doesn’t get some very good advice he could very well end up as the WOAT even though he is trying for GOAT. I always thought it would be hard to beat “W” but 45 makes “W” look like a brilliant angel!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Living a simple life, is all about peace and being just. Racism does not enter into that formula. Be simple, admire simplicity, be happy. Love the poem Val.

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    1. Thank you Zakiah! There is so much going on that is wrong and unfair. It makes me sad and angry and leaves me feeling helpless. I read about the protests and the wish I could do something. On the bright side we have not had any violence in my town. Instead there has been a lot of serious discussion and a meeting of minds – the city councils are taking action and the police are examining policy. It has been respectful. I’m hoping for progress…

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  9. I had the bounty of spending two weeks, six of them in a hurricane shelter, with a wonderful mix of people-of four racial groups: White, Black, Hispanic and Native American. This experience helped me root out several more little weeds of my own.

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