The Generational Curse of Racism

For the past few months I have been digging deep into mine and my husband’s ancestry. It has been something I dove head first into and it is linked to wanting to know more about where I came from and where our children came from. It has become a fun project, with twists and turns and deep holes of information and familial stories that have failed to be passed down.

Without revealing too much, but also wanting to share with you, the reader, my quest is not just for the historical facts. Over a year ago I began a spiritual walk to connect to my ancestors. The more I learn from them, the more I learn about myself.

As I go down the rabbit hole or shall I say – up the ancestral tree, I am discovering a familial curse. The curse of bigotry. Passed down from one generation to another. Changing and developing and full of finger pointing. And like a cancer that spreads through the body, the disease of racism, spreads and touches each and every person on every branch.

As I research I have come to see a prominent theme among families that did not own slaves that migrated to the south and fought in the Civil War. There is not one branch on either my husband’s side or mine that did not fight in the Civil War. Even the Creek Indians on both our sides fought for the Confederacy. The Knights, from my side, had nearly a dozen men, grandfathers, fathers, and sons that fought for the South. While I would never think of joining the Daughters of the Confederacy I would more than qualify.

For those who fought, who were working class and owned not a slave, after they came home they were no longer the working class but the lower class and poverty stricken as they had lost much of what they had before they went off to war. In their communities they were worse off than those that had been enslaved in many regards for their businesses had been destroyed, their farms taken from them or lost, and they had nothing from which to rebuild. Some did not have a home to even go to. And in a twisted and ironic fashion those who had supported the Confederacy became enslaved but in a much different way than the Africans or other indigenous people.

Bitterness set in. Hatred. A righteous indignation. A superiority. Because after all, they were at least white. But they were poor “white trash” and in their communities it had its own special kind of hell and prejudice. They clung to their racial purity, many having come from English and Irish stock, and their Puritan beliefs as they had nothing else. Their Bibles gave them reason to hate otherness, justification for slavery, judge others, and give them the hope that the poor would inherit the kingdom of God if they just followed certain rules. It also gave them a foundation for ethnic purity and superiority of being God’s chosen, where as those of color were heathens, pagans, and idol worshipers.

And this was especially true of my husband’s family, who lived mostly in rural areas, separated from their familial roots and culture, and educational resources. Many of them had been farmers or merchants, having come home from the Civil War finding that what they had built was now ashes and that they would have to forfeit their land to larger, and wealthier land owners, squatting and share cropping on lands they had once owned, often alongside black people who had either once been slaves or the descendants of slaves. Shame of losing their social status and fear that colored people they saw as beneath them, became as much a part of their lineage as their last names.

Deep resentment and fear set in. Not just towards African Americans, but towards the wealthy, and for the educated. Those that had been enslaved were now competitors in the work force. The wealthy, who had had the means to pull themselves up by the boot straps, had been able to stay afloat often keeping their slaves on as hired help and providing them shelter and food after the war. Their children did not have to miss school to work in the fields or end up in manufacturing jobs as industry moved in to the rural areas, capitalizing on the desperation of the impoverished and the defeated just to remain fed.

As I investigate scans of Bible baptisms, marriages, old letters and wills, newspapers, and personal journals I see the beginnings, the stirrings, the desperation that fueled and has continued to fuel a hate for people of color. It was this resentment and loss of wealth that fueled the development of the Ku Klux Klan. It is the same resentments that fuel the beliefs that white men are getting shortchanged and that we need European or Northern ethnic nationalism. It is fueling right wing extremism not only in America, but across the globe, and deepening fears of those who come from other countries and practice different religions that will threaten their lives or livelihood.

With the loss of wealth, there also was a loss of education. Children did not go to school. Mothers who had once educated their children at home were not only keepers of the home but were often taking on jobs that had been done by slaves or having to find work in factories because their husbands either died or were maimed in the war. The textile industry saw a big opportunity and moved manufacturing into rural communities. Children as young as five could become factory workers and source of income for their large populated families. Because work was always available education was put on the back burner and most young adults had no more than a sixth grade education. Having a high school education, much less a higher education was reserved for people of means. Instead of being seen as an accomplishment or something of value it was seen as an entitlement, out of reach by the poor.

As I study archived census records I see in the rural areas many who could not read or write, and because they were able to learn trades and be gainfully employed they believed a minimum amount of schooling was necessary. It wasn’t until the 1980s, as manufacturing began to move out of rural areas and outsourced to other countries that completing high school became a priority and seeking higher education became a necessity. It was trade agreements, like NAFTA, that destroyed much of rural America, but especially in the south, where cotton was king and so was the manufacturing of American clothing. American farming also took economic hits and corporations began to dictate farming and food production. This loss of jobs and outsourcing, to China and Mexico, and other nations populated by people of color furthered resentments. It was like adding fuel to an already stoked fire.

As each generation experienced poverty and lacked erudition, their communities experienced hardships, and progressive changes as the information age came about, decades, if not centuries of racial discrimination and xenophobia was passed down just like red hair or blue eyes. As individuals and families have failed to acknowledge what has prevented them from advancement and conscience and unconscience bias towards higher education has resulted in cognitive dissonance, racism has spread like a cancer through family trees that we see still prevalent today.

We often hear that alcoholism, unwed pregnancies or some other perceived sins are generational curses but like other inherited traits we need to look at the social prejudices and stereotypes passed down from our ancestors so that we do not pass them on to our descendants.

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4am Morning Thoughts

I am up at 4am.

This is not unusual for me but it is unusual for me to get up, grab a cup of green tea and sit down and write.

I’m not a morning person.

The house is quiet. I spent a few minutes petting the animals and then lighting candles. And then I sat and read through Facebook and a few articles here and there. I have one song playing over and over again in the background.

When the Night is Over by Lord Huron

This morning I am thankful for wellness and mental clarity. I am not sure if I am the sharpest I have ever been but I am the sharpest I have been in some time. I am not struggling for my words. I feel confident. I will be honest, I feel aggressive and determined and charged.

I see so much potential before me.

I have been listening to Brene Brown’s Dare To Lead again.

So. Much. Wisdom.

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Abandoning Jesus

I no longer can be tolerant. I can no longer excuse blatant hate and hypocrisy.

I am done.

The truth is, much of Christianity has abandoned Jesus. They are so far removed from the message of Jesus Christ and so set in their politics and social beliefs they have no heart for grace.

Right now the “church” and I don’t want to even call it that, has forgotten who the Jesus at the well was. They have departed from the man who fed thousands from a few loaves of bread and fish. They have forgotten the Jesus who wandered the dessert and washed Mary’s feet.

Conservative Christians have abandoned Jesus for their politics. Their political beliefs are a departure from the very teachings of Jesus Christ and they have distorted not only who Jesus was historically but also spiritually.

Relationships over rules.

Did not Jesus come to fulfill the law or lest you forget?

Jesus was about the whole. Jesus was not about segregation but about community. Jesus was not a nationalist – He was a globalist. Jesus was a wanderer, He was homeless, a person of color, an immigrant, and he did not put conditions on His love, acceptance or help.

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Is Trans Trendy?

I will be the first to admit that I do not understand what it means to be transgender. I love being a woman and have no desire to be a man. While I do have a strong personality and a lot of dominate traits that are labeled masculine and have even been called butch there is nothing about being a man that appeals to me except maybe peeing standing up without having to pull down my pants.

I have known or been around people that are transgender my entire adult life. They have been few and far between. Many of them have been male to female but in more recent years I have met a few female to male individuals that are now in my circle of friends. It does seem to me that this is a more widely spoken about and experienced than twenty or even ten years ago and I do have to wonder why this is. Is it a fad? Or is it just people try to find out who they are? And how can one tell? Especially when it comes to children? I have all these questions, and I think they are questions many people want to ask but are afraid to ask for fear of getting the smack down instead of just wanting to have honest dialogue.

I will tell you that it is hard for me to use proper pronouns if I have known someone for a long period of time as one thing and then that changes. And its even more difficult for me if the person looks a particular way. I get aggravated that some allies and transgender individuals get defensive and pissy about this. This is something I am working through and I know, before the hate mail and comments come, that its harder for the trans individual than for me but I don’t think it does anyone any favors to berate people for using the wrong pronouns or learning new names to call someone.

And I am that person who will not be calling a single person “them”. Call it indoctrination or grammar dogma but they and them are plural and unless there is two or more people standing before me or Siamese twins its just not going to happen. You will not see me on board with anti-gender reveals or parenting children without gender. I don’t think we should rip something joyous and fun for the majority of couples to satisfy naysayers. Have your gender reveal parties, have your gender specific nurseries and baby clothes. I don’t think there needs to be any more division in the world over something that is really benign. And if at four your child tells you they are specific gender that doesn’t correlate to what they are physically have another gender reveal party! I’m all for having a party, with cupcakes of course.

And with all that being said I will also say that I think its important to love and accept your children, and people in general as who they are. If your children come to you and identify one way or another, I think you should honor that. If they don’t know, you should honor that as well.

But I have gotten a bit off topic, expressing my personal feelings and all and my desire to understand. The questions and comments I often here about transgender being a fad or something trendy for people to jump on the bandwagon over is what I want to address and something that I continue to address with those opposed to LGBTQ rights.

Being transgender is nothing new. In fact it is as old as time and has been part of the human experience since the start of man and it was not seen as a sin, repulsion, or anything bad but actually as a gift. Many tribal cultures and social groups recognized transgender individuals as having a “third gender” or a “third spirit”. They were honored and allowed to marry who they pleased. They were revered in spiritual circles and often thought to be seers. And even after colonization, and introduction of Christianity, gender fluidity and transgender has been a part of the human experience. It was not considered a disorder or mental illness until we had a more modern society that had been greatly influenced by the Christian religion.

It is when it became taboo, it is when it was no longer talked about, and when it was judged to be a sin worthy of hell fire that we saw transgender individuals blend into our societies, often not knowing the existed or only left wondering. I’m sure there are some teens and young people who are saying they are transgender for attention, drama, or out of rebellion, but the truth is, its not a new trend or a fad. It is just that the climate and culture has changed and science has caught up with history that allows these people to be who they are and identify as who they are.

The bottom line is that there has always been gender variance and instead of rejecting it and forcing people into one box or another we need to go back to our ancestral roots where “third gender” and “third spirit” was accepted.

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Monday Musings

Everyday in American politics is a shit show.

I was watching Trump during a press conference Friday in the Rose Garden and I imagined some of our former great leaders who have stood there and spoke to the American people with intelligence and I imagine they are sitting somewhere on the other side horrified.

But we, the people, created this. We did this by design by having career politicians, allowing corporations to have rights like people, having no term limits and high salaries on our representation, and letting lobbyist become the ultimate puppet masters in government affairs. America sold out. Became greedy. Members elected to our government care more about money than its people and I am not so sure it hasn’t always been that way to some extent.

I am embarrassed that I once ever subscribed to the beliefs of the Republican party. That I once went to Young Republican meetings and believed that the GOP was the more moral and ethical of the two parties. I was young and foolish and quickly came to realize that the GOP was about white men and their egos than about equality and justice for all. The GOP sold itself on being the moral majority, the more godly, and the fiscally responsible and now, now I am not sure what it stands for. Right now it looks like the inside of a truck stop bathroom with overflowing toilets full of shit and piss, and used condoms tossed on the floor.

This shutdown will hurt our country and largely the working class and poor. The fact that Trump says that people will be able to manage without paychecks goes to show how out of touch he is with regular people who work for a living and have fixed incomes. There is no daddy with a trust fund to bail these people out.

And the Christian Right keeps holding on tighter and tighter. It is like they have ditched their Bibles and the message of Jesus. I am sickened by the number of pastors who believe Trump is somehow going to turn this country into a theocracy and how they all seem so blinded. They really believe he is ushering in the second coming of Jesus.

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2019 Goals

It has been a long time since I have blogged. I could list many good excuses for not writing, for ignoring this little space but I won’t. Instead let me start off the year with not a list of resolutions, but goals.

  1. Restored health. This by far is my biggest goal. It has nothing to do with weight loss or looking younger but about moving more, feeling better, and being able to live in less pain. Not only will I still be recovering from brain surgery but from all the medicines that were poured into my body in 2018. Exercise and movement is important because for the last few years I had no energy or was completely unable. Now I do. I am sure I will be doing some pseudo science bullshit that people will joke about but frankly I don’t care, because what has been offered to me medically in way of helping my health will either deteriorate it worse or cause me additional problems.
  2. I’m finally going to get that tattoo. Now that I am out of the woods from infections it is time.
  3. Purple hair don’t care. I am not sure if I will get a mix of shades or do it all one color but these locks are going purple and there is no time like the present since I am growing it out from having had it shaved.
  4. Write more. Now that my brains are working again and I can string my thoughts together without it taking long periods of time to get them typed out I plan to be clicking away on the keyboard – here, there, and at The Sisters’ Hood.
  5. Hike. This may be something that fits with #1 but really its not. I want to get out into the woods more with friends, Mr. K, and also with the kids. It has been awhile since I spent quality time in the woods and I need the connection.
  6. Kayak. I have not kayaked in over 15m. Having a brain tumor tend to limits you and this one of the limitations that was imposed on me. I miss being on the water. I miss being on the Delta. Mr. K has already cleaned the kayaks up and I have set aside the gear to go so now we wait for a good weather day.
  7. Gardening. The last few years I have been making attempts at gardening and have only been successful with sweet potatoes and eggplants. I would like to have a flourishing herb garden and other vegetables.
  8. Family vacation. It has been a few years since we have taken a family vacation. My kids deserve one as they have not had one the last four years. This year we will probably do something that doesn’t involve roller coaster because I need this hole in my head to heal.

Essentially this year is about reclaiming my life. A life I had to put on hold.

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Thoughts and Prayers

There was no God.

That is one of the comments I read from a Christian mother and her reasoning behind this latest tragedy in Parkland, Florida. She went on to say that had we not removed God from the classroom things like this wouldn’t happen.

You either believe in a all knowing, all powerful God that is everywhere or you don’t. I don’t think God gives two shits about the separation of church and state or abides by secular legalities. But I see this is just the naive gut response for trying to rationalize the issues our country is facing.

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The Price of Lifetime Limits On Medicaid

Click on image for article

By putting lifetime limits on Medicaid our country would be hurting the most vulnerable. I want to explain this to the pro life conservative that would like to end abortion for fetal deformities and genetic defects. I want to explain this to all of you who share pictures and videos of children with disabilities that get your thoughts and prayers. This will hurt parents with premature infants with lifelong disabilities, people who have sustained life long injuries that do not qualify for Medicare, and those with other disabilities that will Be life long and debilitating.

For years now the GOP touted that “Obama Care” would have death panels. THIS kind of legislation will be a death sentence to hundreds and thousands of people. Instead of instant death in concentration camps and gas chambers in World War 2 Germany under Hitler for the disabled it will be slow, agonizing death filled with pain and suffering, draining families and community resources to continue caring for these people. Families will be forced to make hard and agonizing decisions. Euthanasia will become prevalent, either through consent or mercy.

Ask yourself is THIS the America you want? Is this the “self reliance” and taking of personal responsibility you are looking for?

You can click on image for link to article.

(And yes you are welcome to share – and I welcome Conservatives and Trump supporters responses)

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Living In The Moment

Ever since I had spinal meningitis I have learned to not take things for granted. Life is precious. All the cliches you have heard about facing something life altering are all true.

It is the little things. The moss growing on the bricks that line my flower beds. Literally watching flowers bloom. Kittens playing ram curiously. Even the bad things don’t seem so bad anymore.

Last week I lost my wallet. I’m pretty sure my brain tumor made me do it. The week prior I had been in a flare and I could not remember most the week. When I finally was able to be myself again my wallet was gone.

Normally I would lose my shit. I would scream and yell and let the panic wash over me. My kids would scramble in fear I would turn into a complete raving lunatic when I had one of these anxiety filled moments. But this time that didn’t happen.

Yes, I was panicked and I furiously looked for it with my kids and the neighbors children. We turned the now dead van upside down (more on that) and scouted the yard. I called all the places we had been to and even some I had not. I looked everywhere. My kids looked everywhere. Furniture was moved, trash cans were gone through, we even looked in the freezer.

And then, anxiety filled and wondering what had happened to it it became funny. My wallet was gone. God help anyone who finds it and thinks they can use my credit card. I just hope they think those pills were not illicit drugs because there were deworming pills. And I needed to renew my drivers license anyway.

Either an animal helped in its disappearance or it was me. No one to blame and no pointing fingers. It was only a matter of time that I truly, truly forgot where I put something. Hell, I couldn’t even remember FOUR entire days.

And this is my life. I truly just strive to live in the moment. Right now is all that matters.

My oldest son, who has dealt with my anxiety crazed rages through the years more than he should had said later “Mom you didn’t lose your shit.” And my response was “when you have a brain tumor that tends to put everything else into perspective”.

Maybe I am becoming a better version of myself.

Maybe.

And the day I discovered my wallet was missing my minivan died. It was on its last legs but I was hoping I could push it one more year. It wasn’t even trade in worthy, I had to sell it to a junker.

The next day I bought a new car, without a drivers license, without a down payment, and without a trade in. I literally called the dealership and told them what I wanted and asked if they would take my pre approved financing. It was the easiest car buying experience I have ever had.

This week has been a good week. Little pain. Less nausea. Less stumbling. Decent sleep. And most of all I have soaked in all those little moments and I can remember them. 😜

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Grudge Holding

I’ve held a grudge for nearly six years. A deep, soul churning grudge. I had hoped that with time I would find myself over it.

Therapy didn’t help.

Prayer didn’t help.

Begging the Divine has not helped.

I would like to let this shit go.

I can’t.

I used to pride myself in not holding grudges and letting go. I didn’t hold off forgiveness. I believed in second and third chances. And then poor associations and deception followed by unadulterated evil entered my life and poisoning it.

I still hope to let it go.

One day.

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