I Don’t Do Therapy Any More
I had this comment thread dialogue recently with one of my white ex-fans (as opposed to ex-white fan). My comments are embedded within the text bold and italicized:
Max julian said…
The truth is always harsh to those in denial.
Sea’s Blog said…
And being WITH someone as they feel the harshness is different than aiming it at them. (shake shake) (Harsh truth is “aimed,” as opposed to “expressed,” unless the black “shooter” commits to “being WITH” his white “target.” This shifts the ultimate burden of dealing with racism created by whites onto its non-white victim. Niggas get to be the victims of racism/white supremacy, then we have to be there after we tell white folks what they did to us, as the white person shakes in guilt-ridden dismay at how easily they kill and mistreat us. Message to self: HELL NO!)
So, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to BE with the oppressor while they process what we tell them they are doing to us? The burden and energy it takes to find one’s own black voice and speak truth is quite a load to bear; its not my job to be a mammy to a new generation of privileged whites.
Sea’s Blog said…
You’re right. You get to choose whether or not to take that on. But it is a choice. And I’m not asking you to be anyone’s mammy. (Right, you’re just asking me to play one on TV.)
I’m not asking you to counsel white people. I did ask you once if you were prepared to do that–because the things you are saying will bring up feelings for white people–and at the time you thought you were…It’s okay if you aren’t ready to do that. You may never be. (Not READY?! How about, “NOT willing to waste my time?! After all, a nigga trying to convince a white person of their racism is met similarly, to the cries of gang rape by the sistah at Duke University. WE are not to be believed and furthermore “you niggas and nigettes brought it on yourself!” Hello!!! Again, why should I be a white person’s wet nurse who doesn’t respect me anyway? My only responsibility is to tell the truth; they can decide what to do with it from there.) It has to make sense for your own liberation. (It doesn’t.)
But someone’s got to do it and I’m in line. (GOOD) You can show us how angry you are and I’ll be there to counsel the white folks as they fall in the aisles. (Here is the stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Man’ a.k.a. the ‘BAD NIGGA.’ They gonna fall out in the aisles from what I SAY. Check that…we fallin’ out dead in the street from what they DO. How bout, “ya’ll some weak muthafuckas that can’t stand to hear the truth?”) I told you how badly people feel about themselves gets in the way of being able to change. (No, they use their paper-tissue feelings and guilt as an excuse NOT to change. Its not like they have an oppressor on their back eating up all their time and life-energy, standing in the way of their getting help. They self-inject guilt and use it as their balm for personal paralysis. If you try to shock them out of it, they blame you for disturbing their white slumber.) That’s why I’m opening LFC. That’s half the reason. I will actually first serve poc (Serve them what?) and raised poor folks. It is for healing from being targeted by oppression. The other half of the reason is to counsel the oppressors. (Are you sure YOU’RE over YOUR programming by the racist oppressor? Are you sure YOU’RE ready to be an anti-racist “counselor?)” We would never ever go along with racism if we hadn’t already been put in “our place” as children. (Yes, “put in your place” ON TOP of US; therefore it follows that whites would go along with R/WS simply cuz they love the extra toys they accrue on their eternal White Christmas. Agreed.)
But I am close to more than one black person (Playing one nigga off against another)who feels that moving one white person forward out of their racist conditioning is worth their time. No one mothered me, they listened and then they told me the truth about what racism does to them and their family.
I’m hoping that you can keep showing me how angry you are. I’m honored (Really? Okay.)
Essentially you’ve chosen to take on the white privileged of this generation. Your blog is written to that audience. We discussed that. Your goal has been to wake up white people. Correct?
You were ready to go back and facilitate with an organization that caters to white people’s feelings. I don’t advise it. (Just what I need from bwana: mo’ advice from an expert white person. Thanks.)
Don’t attack me for counseling white people through and out of their racism.
Also, I’m not going to support you in irrational policies towards white people. (Note to self: You’re being an irrational, bad nigga again. Revert to Bagger Vance stance and let the love flow.) I can listen to you put me down, that is my job. I consider that peer counseling. But I do expect you to turn around and counsel me like we did the other day. I won’t mammy you. Why the f—k would I want to do that?
The words that I write cannot be “reduced” to merely ‘anger’, or “showing you how angry I am.” That’s an extremly reductive, stereotypical response of a white person to black powerful expression.
There’s more in my words than anger; there’s truth, there’s wisdom and there’s information that the average white person DOES NOT want to receive. Can not receive. I’m trying to reach the people, be they white or black or yellow or red, who can see that, feel that.
Also, I don’t talk down to people; I seek to speak from the level I’m at and invite them aboard.
And I don’t need a tool or a technique like RC to assist me in “listening” to people; probably neither do most folks of color.
I think its dangerous when people create idols that may be false, idols out of technique, or idols out of people. I’ve seen too many people become more enamored of proving the correctness of the technique, than continuing to grasp the truth they were seeking in the first place.
Its sad that whites would “fall” in hearing my words, but its wonderful that you are there to catch them. I’m not willing to catch them, as my people are falling. The only difference – they are falling dead, disproportionately diseased, jailed, etc. Nobody’s there to catch them. I’d rather catch them, since they suffer more. And they suffer, BTW, at the hands of a system of Racism/White Supremacy, the same system that causes white folks to “fall” out at mere mention of the truth.
As for the “irrational policies” I advocate towards white people, I’d love to hear what that means.
Sea’s Blog said…
Hope you’re well today. I imagine you there loving your beautiful daughter. Such a good dad! (Is it just me, or does that sound condescending as hell?)
“The words that I write cannot be “reduced” to merely ‘anger’, or “showing you how angry I am.” That’s an extremly reductive, stereotypical response of a white person to black powerful expression.”
Sea’s Blog: First of all your words are powerful. Second of all we were talking about a specific thing, a place where you began aiming some stuff at me. I said I’m glad you’re doing that. (Damning with faint praise…)
You said:”There’s more in my words than anger; there’s truth, there’s wisdom and there’s information that the average white person DOES NOT want to receive. Can not receive. I’m trying to reach the people, be they white or black or yellow or red, who can see that, feel that.”
I agree wholeheartedly that there is much more to your words than anger. I have been so happy ever since you came into my life. The fact that you are focused on ending racism and are here in Portland and are writing so openly about what you think is just busting open my heart! I was just blogging into space it seemed and then one day an email came and I found you were blogging too.
I’ve been thrilled to watch you and learn together with other bloggers how to develop our sites and blogrolls and html and etc its really fun. More importantly, I’ve gotten to read your writing and begin to get a picture of your vision and how YOU ARE creating it into reality. I want to make it clear that I want to be a part of that!
I agree that the truth, the wisdom and information which you share is something many many white people cannot hear and don’t (seem to) want to. (I do operate upon the assumption that people are good and WANT things to go well for each other. That just gets way confused and covered up.) (I operate from the assumption that people WERE good, but aren’t necessarily and may or may NOT want things things to go well – for others. They may also have unconscious motives for their behavior, contrary to their consciously stated objectives. Further, they may be so mentally colonized and compromised that they are lost forever.)
I see that you are trying to reach the people. I’m glad that you have corrected me and that it’s ALL people you are trying to reach not just white liberals. Cool.
When you say the average white person cannot receive it, I guess I see my niche as creating a more fertile ground amongst white people to be ABLE to hear and receive the information you bring. (In this way and also more direct ways I am an ally to poc). (GREAT)
You wrote:’Also, I don’t talk down to people; I seek to speak from the level I’m at and invite them aboard. ”
LOL, yes, I have a wee problem with classist responses. Hello! We were joking about that at breakfast the other day? Well, I don’t think it makes sense for me to hide in the sand in shame. (Don’t hide in shame just admit it and also admit you‘ve been AIMING that bullshit at me, which I DON’T accept.) I’d rather DO something and SAY something which means I WILL MAKE MISTAKES! I will look foolish many times over and I’m so GLAD I’ve decided to speak up and reach out to people. It has made a vast difference in my life and those I’m close to that I’m working on ending the classism within myself (as well as the racism, etc etc). I’m pleased with myself and how good and smart I am and that is how I keep showing up to do this work. It’s not an excuse for being a classist, racist idiot–which I’m not anyway most of the time (Are you sure how often you’re not?) –but it is an admission to where I struggle. Sorry for the many times I’ve probably already talked down to you. That’s really hard for me to break that habit. Thanks for pointing it out. (Keep doing that, okay?)
Can I come onboard now? Where’s the welcome wagon Max baby? (Folks have to be up to speed to jump on with me – its really not up to me.)
You then said,”And I don’t need a tool or a technique like RC to assist me in “listening” to people; probably neither do most folks of color.”
Well, golly, then you are probably thrilled that I have found a tool that you already use naturally. Happy for me? (No, I’m not happy for you because I don’t believe in fetishizing techniques, making panaceas out of anything, be it AA or The People’s Temple. The tool should assist a person, not become an end, or a church or a totem, or “THE” pathway. When people start “mastering techniques” then they become expert “counselors or “leaders” because they know the “THE” way.)
“Probably neither do most folks of color”
Actually I agree with you, most humans don’t need “tools” or “techniques”–it’s our nature to listen well to each other. Too bad things aren’t set up real well to actually do it. That’s why I specifically have created listening situations. I mean, we wouldn’t need books to remind us how to feel good and visualize the world we want (Thanks Hicks et al) if the oppression wasn’t so heavy either. Is this really an argument we’re having? (Right, so utilize tools created by, who….the oppressor, that in look and feel have, ‘shackle’ or ‘noose’ written all over them. I’d rather use more liberatory feeling “techniques” like those recommended by Paulo Friere and his ilk, where there are no ‘experts’ or ‘counselors.’)
You wrote: “I think it’s dangerous when people create idols that may be false, idols out of technique, or idols out of people. I’ve seen too many people become more enamored of proving the correctness of the technique, than continuing to grasp the truth they were seeking in the first place.”
Yes, and does this relate to me somehow? Hell, yes, what you’re saying makes sense. I’m with ya. Don’t see the connection here. (Re-read the above and think about it harder and deeper. Then you tell me.)
And there’s more! 🙂 You say: Its sad that whites would “fall” in hearing my words, but its wonderful that you are there to catch them.”
Yeah, when I said “fall in the aisles” that was kinda a lighthearted way of talking–kinda like slang. I didn’t think you’d then turn around and criticize me for saying it that way. JJ, Give me a break. (You said it the way you meant it the first time; others can decide how “lighthearted” it was.)
Max: “The burden and energy it takes to find one’s own black voice and speak truth is quite a load to bear;…”
And it IS sad how many white folks (all born good)(or born neutral) might have big feelings about what you say. That is GREAT that you’re saying what you’re saying. Because then people will have to DEAL WITH the truth you speak, and how hard it is to deal with it and such ‘ike ‘at.
Yes, I have what I feel is a responsibility but that can’t be the reason I do it. Underneath that, it’s my own reclaiming of my humanness–I get to have myself back. The self that capitolism, colonialism, white racism has tried to be-numb and robotize.
Allywork has a quote on their site something like, “If you’ve come to help me please go home. But if your liberation is somehow tied up with mine .. then, okay let’s work together.” That’s why I want to be close to other white people and be an ally to ending racism within us as a group. And close to people of color because my liberation–getting my full humanity and the life and world I want–is tied up in black liberation. I may digress here but … back to the conversation.
Earlier you wrote: “…its not my job to be a mammy to a new generation of privileged whites.”
In a way, there actually ARE some similarities to parenting. Even though I’m not the “Mother” of folks in my constituency, it still requires patience. Like brownfemipower said regarding the revolution. It involves “talking to people you hate for hours and hours.” I have big feelings about many white people and it’s hard to listen, very hard sometimes, to the racist misinformation and classist confused shit that has been installed in their/our minds. But the more I’ve sat through my children’s tantrums or times when they are up all night ill with the flu (like last night) it helps me see that mainly that is all that racism is–something sick that requires immediate attention. You don’t have to agree with me. Sure, I’d like it A LOT if you’d back me. I’ll work my butt off to try and win your confidence. (Why try to win my confidence? You should wonder why. When white folks start looking for the blessing of people of color, then I wonder about their entire motive in their great ‘endeavor.’ Is it liberation they’re really after, or is it their own liberation, their desire to be ‘good white folks’ who get their goodness validated by Morgan Freeman or John Coffee?) But I can deal with my feelings if you decide I’m a foolish idiot who’s dream is phoney bull shit.
Then, sweet Maxjulian said, (why ladle that sugary ‘sweet’ shit on me? I ain’t hardly sweet, ‘specially right now. That doesn’t even sound right…) “I’m not willing to catch them, as my people are falling. The only difference – they are falling dead, disproportionately diseased, jailed, etc. Nobody’s there to catch them. I’d rather catch them, since they suffer more. And they suffer, BTW, at the hands of a system of Racism/White Supremacy, the same system that causes white folks to “fall” out at mere mention of the truth.”
Hell, yes. Racism is deadly and it is real. I see it as the core of all that is messed up in the world as a whole. It is horrible, tragic, it sucks what is happening RIGHT NOW in Portland, as you point out. And also the key confusion for the violence and oppression worldwide that is now. I back you on that message. It does need to be a priority to support, “catch,” back people of color. My center will and in my daily life I try to prioritize that as well. I’m just saying that PART OF my work is giving white people a hand where they are confused. (Help begins at home. Don’t be taking some expert stance that you can’t back up.)
Yeah, I don’t see myself as “catching” white people. And the reference to “falling” is a probably not the right word. (But you used it appropriately to condemn my speech. Stick to your guns. Don’t flip-flop; keep it real.) When people hear the truth you speak and they haven’t had a chance to have someone listen to them about all that gets in the way of hearing you, they (tongue-in-cheek expression) might be falling in the aisles … A metaphor might be catching them. But, I actually am not trying to take on like “all” white people. I’m not supersea. I mean I am getting in touch with my power and my power to end all oppression … and I kind of go one person at a time and build relationships.
I have allies who support me as a woman and a mom and agent for world change. They tell me I’m doing a good job which always surprises me. But they don’t just blindly tell me I’m doing a good job without really taking the time to listen to me and think about me. They would still, a good ally, would still NOT say, “Oh, good job!” in doing something that didn’t make sense. Which leads me to the next point …
You asked: “As for the “irrational policies” I advocate towards white people, I’d love to hear what that means.”
You haven’t advocated any irrational policies towards white people that I’m aware of–I was mainly, in the spirit of being an ally to you, trying to get across that I am THINKING about you. (‘I’m thinking of you’ and the “irrational policies” that you advocate towards white people?! That’s like when my ex-father-in-law told my ex-wife when we were dating that he didn’t like the fact she was dating a black guy, but then said later, ‘oh, I was just concerned about how you’d be treated.’ “How much did you say you’d pay for Manhattan?”) I’m not just blindly supporting every word you say or “being seduced by” a “lullabye”. I wanted you to know that I take being your friend and peer seriously–this is not a game where I just smile and say “Yes Max. Yes Max” all day long. I wanted you to know that I respect you enough that IF I thought something didn’t make sense I wouldn’t be afraid to argue with you about it. I think that’s what people who are close to each other do sometimes. They, I think, sometimes need to roll up their sleeves and get in a shouting match(BOOM!) It clears the air and then people know they can count on each other to really be there, not just be some disappearing fluff. (Not that I think you are I’m just saying how I think arguing has its place in good, long term friendships and alliances.)
So, when I say I’m honored I don’t mean to talk down … sorry … I just mean I’m happy (even though it’s not easy) that this stuff is coming out in the open between you and I.
So you can know that when you have me as an ally that I’m sincere and not just afraid to ever question you. That’s what I meant. (I determine who I feel is sincere and who can truly be an ally in MY life…and who talks like an ally, or who nquestions me to prove they are willing to.)
Also, I meant that I can listen to white people which I think–for me–is good personal policy because it leads to re-evaluation i.e. unraveling racism. If you tried to tell me not to listen to/counsel white people on their racism EVER I would not back that. And if you want a friend who never disagrees with you (which I don’t think you do because we have a good friendship) then, well, FUCK you! (Cool.)
And could you like answer the phone soon?
(Could you – and I say this as respectfully as I can muster – like, get underneath your image of yourself and get fucking real? Great that you want to be my buddy and do GREAT work with white folks and niggas, wanna heal us all so we can feel better about ourselves and alladat. I really just want ya’ll to stop killing my people, redlining us, poisoning us, warehousing us. If you all need my ear to FEEL better about yourselves in order to stop “supporting, maintaining and expanding a global system of Racism/White Supremacy that is destroying planet ear,” I’ll cut if off and mail it to you. Damn)