It’s Not Politics – We Are All Racists

 

 

Making Sense of Noise

The noise is overwhelming and requires some attention and sorting out. We see so much national chaos at this point that we are losing track of major issues and what they represent. There seems to be little in the way of careful examination of issues and origins and so many things are getting lumped into politics where people are trying to manipulate the public. The foremost example at this moment is the issue of racism. Let me clarify.

The Title

The title of this blog post is the key point and does not represent anything approaching an excuse. On the matter of racism what we must see is that racism is not necessarily anything political. We are all racists. That is a fact and let me explain my view.

My Recognition

Long ago I took a job in the impoverished inner city of Baltimore. Our staff was triracial. Innocently we began our work and very soon, in spite of our shared commitment, we felt the impulse to point fingers. I will never forget the morning after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Baltimore was in a growing riot mode but I made it to our offices. In the conference room sat the black staff huddled together. They looked up as if I was a stranger. By mid morning everyone was at work and we began to work to break down the barriers. Over time we dealt with fundamental truths.

How We Are As Human Beings

I’m going to simplify this because the issues and origins are, indeed, complex. Of all things humans focus on faces. It begins early when we are infants. Our survival depends upon attachment and we hold our family (our people) dear. The implications relate to the fact that we are tribal creatures and cleave to our own. That is universal.

I recall a trip to Germany and standing in a city in southwest Germany captivated by the women riding by on their bicycles. My wife’s father’s family had come from a nearby region. I didn’t know it at the time but part of my mother’s family had originated in that area as well.I was seeing very familiar faces deeply etched in me. Of course they got my attention and I was drawn in.

We have a lot of people of German origins in the United States and after World War II when we sent our men in to help Germany pull back together it was easier because of the number of German names and familiar faces. These and related facts must be stressed.

Culture and Familiarity

As humans we also carry culture and how we act and what we like and on and on draws us together—and apart. If our voices or ways of doing things are different, it sets us apart. Every day we attend to differences and how we respond. And much of this reduces our discriminatory responses and helps create what we call racism.

A Simplistic Complexity

It boils down to these and many other subtleties that bring some of us together and others of us apart. Every day we need to be aware of how we are as human beings which means that we each carry some form of racism. From that fact grows a lot of things but now it relates to what we are terming our political life.

My people emigrated here over 300 years ago and it is crucial that we all remind ourselves of our origins, why our families came here and that we need each other. Owning who we are and our inclinations for racism is crucial and it must be done daily. Let’s dim down the noise and make ourselves celebrate the success which is our immigrant nation. We must not lose what we have built. And handling our own racism is an ongoing personal job. Right now too many people (including many of our leaders) are sabotaging our integrity and future as they call out and utilize their racism for political purposes. Our future demands honesty, integrity and management of how we are as people.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Discovering How Life Really is

 

Where Our Identity Comes From

Establishing an identity is a complicated process. It has to do with who is available for us to identify with, our ability patterns, intelligence, and our personality. And I think you can probably come up with other factors.

Given my dissatisfaction and lack of interest in many things which are supposed to interest and enthrall boys meant I sought other things. I chose to explore science, looked at the world as my family traveled, and sought to experience the world in general. That is hardly a comprehensive list because opportunities were always presenting themselves. For me I think personality was central. I wanted to seek out possibilities and unique opportunities.

My Father and I

Naturally my father played a role. I was closer to him than my brother was. Even as a surgeon he liked to get his hands dirty in the yard. He never got entirely away from his early years in rural Mississippi. We went deep sea fishing off Montauk on Long Island, he taught me to shoot which I liked as a hobby but not when it involved killing animals and he took me to ball games which I endured until the day when we went to a Yankee double header. The first game was 26 innings. Enough was enough. He was handy around the house and built furniture. Those things interested me.

Doing a Good Job

One thing that was particularly important to me was doing a good job. Power was not of interest. Getting things done especially in new ventures was of considerable interest. Too often though I saw men of power who lacked vision. When I took the job in the inner city Baltimore I was stunned.

The heads of the psychiatry department were utterly lacking in vision and the psychologists were no better. The latter group invited me to join them and in the first meeting they spent the entire time talking about how they could try to seem more important to the psychiatrists. I never went back. There was substantive work to be done. And even worse there were no women in the central halls of power. Oh yes, there was a nursing department but what I saw out in the programs on the street was their frustration as they did battle with the men in power. At basic levels there were women nurses and social workers who contributed to diversity of viewpoints. But at the top levels there were men only.

Closed Systems

Because of the import of the job I had to face a closed male system. And it was inevitable that I would come to view the men as struggling with their image of themselves and the threat involved by the women struggling for recognition and a say in a new enterprise. As it turned out this was just at the cusp of the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960s and their meaning and substance utterly engaged me.

Masculinity

What kept emerging over time was seeing in men a central problem in their discomfort with masculinity. They often seemed to feel they did not measure up but when you stepped back it was essential to wonder why there had to be a universal code of masculinity.

But it seemed that fear was a core element and that also surfaces in discussions of patriarchy. It seems likely that progress in our various intersexual relationships may require clearly facing the issue of fear. And honestly I think this will be a monumental task. Men have financial interests in league with the matter of power which is an impediment to change. But at base I think the most important issue and the one which will relate to a turning point is the matter of fear.

What issues do you feel will be crucial? Please let me hear from you at: roger.burt@earthlink.net

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Self Examination Is Not Enough

 

Beyond Dealing With Subjugation

If we are to end the subjugation of women in all its forms each of us (men) must engage in self examination. Such an examination may be informative but at a personal level it is unlikely that the richest forms of discovery will be made.

Certainly there can be worthy endeavors in discussion with women about their experiences. And reading on the topic is worthwhile. But, since there are surely cultural elements as part of the setting, a group examination by men would be worthwhile if not essential.

A Collective Endeavor

Examination is a worthwhile but the problem between men and women is a rich field of endeavor which requires in depth and diverse study. Women have raised an issue to our awareness and now feel enough power themselves that it will not be totally hidden again. But it is also up to men to speak up and together examine themselves personally and their interactions. We men must compare “notes” and experiences if we are to go into depth. The abuse process has been visited upon men themselves as they failed to support potential of all kinds. And there can be cruelty and victimization as the will of someone may be imposed on their fellows. And, regardless of stereotypes it is not at all clear how “real men” really are. Just as with the beginning of the women’s liberation movement when women sat together and examined what had been happening and their belief in a future, men need to begin by sitting together and reflecting. We may be shocked at what we uncover.

Beyond the Issue of Power

Much of the discussion at this time focuses on the issue of men exercising power. But it is essential that we look at the very real possibility that men have been victims as well. There is a distinct element of pressure for focus on specific activities and viewpoints. And certainly the male culture contributes heavily to sexual assault and abuse. And included must also be the concern about self esteem and belief in what constitutes the self. What will surely be found is that the components of this process of male domination and abuse is complex. We must ask what it is that men do to each other. How are they subjugated as well in their own way. Surely there will be surprises and this endeavor will be interesting and surprising.

And then later, or in separate groups, we can sit together, men and women, to evaluate and to share. When the sharing occurs there is the real opportunity for real change.

Please let me hear your thoughts. roger.burt@earthlink.net

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

An Important Post For The Moment

Recently I said I’m trying to stay away from politics on this blog. Some things have happened recently which some would see as political. Instead I have to say I see them as events which relate substantively to who we are and the future of America in the world. Below is a post from the delconsuiltblog of my friend Helen Delaney. I had to share it.

Unfollow me, unfriend me.

by delconsult

 

Just three days ago, a friend asked me why I stopped writing my blog. One of the reasons, I told him, was that I just didn’t believe in talking unless I had something to say. I told him that I had run out of things to say, and that I just couldn’t bore my friends for the sake of maintaining a blog. Besides, I wanted to turn my energy toward my second book. That was three days ago. That was before my ancestors came into my consciousness and nudged me in their ever-so-gentle way. The way spirits do.

 

I have never expressed my personal political views on this blog or any public media outlet because I saw no value in it. My position was that people will believe what they want to believe, and that my political views, no matter what they were, would attract anonymous, angry people with nothing better to do than to sling mud from behind the safety of their darkened rooms and backlit computer screens.  I don’t enjoy conflict, online or off, and so I kept my views to myself. But now, I’m done. I’m done, because I am here, alive in my body, in this country, on this tortured night, representing my ancestors.

 

Let me introduce them: My maternal grandmother: Her name was Sarah. Her father was German, her mother African American. Her husband’s mother, my great grandmother: Her name was Elizabeth, and she came to this country from Syria. I’m sure that wasn’t her name when she stepped up to the immigration official to be registered. Then, there is my paternal grandfather. His name was Edward and he was all or part Native American. Cherokee. His wife, Helen, came from a family of Irish indentured slaves. My parents were the “mixed blood” children of those I have named. They lived in South Carolina before and at the turn of the last century. In this country, they were all either indentured whites (in our case dis-owned by their families), or Negroes. I’ve seen the census reports.

 

I cannot imagine the bravery, courage, or the depth and breadth of love it must have taken for them to raise families of seven, eight children. Or just to stay alive. I also represent their children, uncles who fought in both World Wars, my father, who wore a policeman’s badge in Philadelphia for 35 years, a man of color who could not rise in the ranks but who nevertheless served and protected all the citizens of that city, my mother, who broke ranks with her family to come North with my father so that I and my brothers could live a life that was free of harassment, degradation, fear, and sorrow. Or so they thought.

 

When a black man was elected President of the United States, my husband and I sat before the television set and watched Barack Obama and his family write a chapter in history unlike any before it, except, perhaps, the one written by Abraham Lincoln.  At last, I told my husband, the tears running down my face, our country has become what it said it would. It has marched steadily toward its own ideals. It has kept its promise. My husband, who was Irish American, nodded, tears blinding his own eyes. We were proud of our country. We were proud that the idea of freedom, that the experiment in equality, the stumbling, difficult climb into a true democracy, and the repudiation of all things indecent, had made us the most powerful, important nation on the planet. We were not to know, on that night, that it was only a moment in time.

 

We have taken a step backward to a place my ancestors would recognize. My tears tonight are ones of grief. I am not proud. I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I must accept sympathy from my friends around the world. I am ashamed that our doors are slamming shut against people like my ancestors, and that all sense of generosity, compassion, and conscience seem to be absent from the hearts of those who could make it different. I am ashamed that once again, my ancestors are the subjects of hate and derision. No wonder they won’t let me alone.

 

And now, I’m done. I can no longer be quiet. I speak for those who came before me, those who gave me life, and for my children and my grandchildren. Today and ever after, I disavow the indecent, hateful bigotry that is despoiling my country and the man who is the face and the voice of it.

 

And I say to you, whoever may be reading this blog – if, after what has happened in the past two days, indeed in the past year, you can still support the man in the White House, his ideas, his language, and behavior, you support everything I, as an American, as an African American, as an Irish American, as a German American, as the great granddaughter of a Syrian woman, and the granddaughter of a Native American man, abhor, and I ask you to unfollow me. If you are a “friend” on Facebook, I ask you to unfriend me now.

 

This is the time to take a stand. It is time to speak clearly. No more excuses, no more mealy-mouthed explanations.  No more burying heads in the sand. It’s over. The President of the United States is a racist. I repudiate that hateful concept, and I repudiate him.

 

Matthew said it: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Choose your camp.

 

 

 

 

Book Contest Awards Received

I’m pleased to announce that awards have been received for Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power. It is the first book in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

It received awards from:
New England Book Festival
London Book Festival
Hollywood Book Festival

 

 

Coming this spring is book 2 of the trilogy: Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise.
We will be moving swiftly into our future.

Moving Forward Together – For Change

 

Complex Issues

Of course men and women do form partnerships. We marry and we do have each other as friends and colleagues. But what we are coming to see is that there have been severe limits imposed and we aren’t clear why they are imposed. We have a sense of how it might be and do participate in some evaluation of how we relate to each other from time to time. But there may be so much more.

The Patriarchy

One definition of patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.” Certainly there are exceptions, but, in general, we see that the participation of women has been limited. In the United States we are seeing greater participation of women in government and business but we are experiencing the resistance to their participation. It goes beyond even what we call “the glass ceiling”.

Last year began a new series specifically about patriarchy. It proved to be complex and it was only possible to touch on it lightly in this blog format. Surely there are detailed studies and formulations to be explored, but at least it needed to be introduced. Thinking about it led to the recognition of the need for the Masculinism movement.

Posts Already Published

These posts can be found on the blog http://www.cuspofreality.com.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 1 – Shifting the Focus Regarding Women. (7/31/17)
We are seeing what’s called radical feminism related to the call to end subjugation. There are a number of definitions, each worth thought and exploration. Then we have to ask what the justification is for subjugation. And then there are questions regarding supposed perceived benefits for the maintenance of the patriarchy.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 2 Why Are Women Subjugated? (9/11/17)
When the question “Were women always subjugated?” is asked, it opens a fascinating history. Cavemen dragging women away by their hair is one common image. But there are women warriors in history. One supposition is that subjugation began in earnest with the agricultural revolution when more and more children were needed as workers.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 3 The Meaning and Substance of the Subjugation of Women (10/2/17)
It takes some exploration, but it is fascinating to think in detail about why this happens. Certainly one usual assumption is that it has distinct benefits for men, but often that assumption is simplistic. Examination requires looking at losses for women and society. It is also apparent that it is carried in the extrasomatic stream of culture.

More to Come
In the series about patriarchy there is more to come. Clearly thinking about it led to the series related to a masculinist movement. As we enter this period where we are seriously reevaluating these issues and the demands for change are increasing, there will surely be many more posts. This is going to get really interesting.

AND your thoughts and sharing are invited. Please send to roger.burt@earthlink.net.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Time For Men and Women to Move Forward Together

 

Women May Lead the Way Into Our Future

Through history at least fifty percent of our population (women) have been subjugated. The Amazon women and Viking Shield Maidens are examples of exceptions.

In the 1960s, when the Women’s Liberation movement flowered, I was intrigued and, at a conference, saw the opportunity to attend a women’s group. I went to the gathering but was turned away because, in that dawning era, the women sought to discuss the issues among themselves only. At first I felt a sense of disappointment, but finally saw it was best for them to probe the issues and set a course on their own.

A Cultural Surge

And now every day women are calling out regarding the need for their empowerment and expressing their outrage at things such as sexual harassment and the glass ceiling. Among other things they point to specific men, incidents and misogyny. We can’t turn back now. Women generally feared coming out and pointing at the men who abused and harassed them. But now the door of confinement has been broken open and it cannot be closed again.

Coming Together to Shape Our Collective Future

Now it’s time for men to come together, not in opposition, but to permit men to reveal who they are personally, how they have been and the processes and alliances which direct their development. The reformulation of our societies is not to be done by women alone, as they call for an end to subjugation and an evaluation of misogyny, its origins and how to control it. This is an opening to a special once in a lifetime opportunity that will surely expand and evolve. Now that we begin the process of empowering women we release a new rich fund of creativity and intellectual prowess to benefit all of us.

As women are empowered, we advance the opportunity for them to fulfill their full potential. And now men need to face themselves and find a way to fulfill their own full potential. Yes, the male culture and the attitude of men are often holding them back and all of us as well. And now we may seize that most fruitful partnership with women and the bounty it can yield. It’s important to be clear that the end to subjugation of both men and women, in all its forms, holds unforeseen possibilities leading us collectively into an enhanced future.

Please let me hear from you. roger.burt@earthlink.net

 

 

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt