Category Archives: My thoughts

Confessions

I’m trying to be a better person.

Each day my mind is bogged down with the many fights we as humans face. The environment. Marriage Equality. Income Inequality. Civil Rights. Racism. This is but a small list of the worries I carry with me, and each day I make a conscious decision to work on one of them. How fucking privileged is that? How fortunate am I that I have the OPTION to decide, as my life is not impacted by racism. I can DECIDE to help.

Look, I get it, the white folks I know aren’t going out of their way to be racist, but the fact remains it doesn’t take a white sheet and a hood to be a racist.

I consider myself an open minded, love everyone kind of gal. I don’t turn my back on a person due to sex, race, religion, etc. HOWEVER, this doesn’t erase the fact that I have unconscious biases.

Recently Dr. Stacey Patton, a reporter for The Chronicle for Higher Education, who holds a PhD in American History, posted on her Facebook page these humbling words:

Man listen, I’m about to go grocery shopping at the local Whole Foods and I am paranoid about shopping while Black around White people. Last night I went to a Latino – owned restaurant in Silver Spring and two young White men walked in and the anxiety was palbable. I felt the same tension and paranoia the other day while riding in an Acela train car packed with mostly White men.

After all these videos of White cops beating and killing unarmed Black people, many times after some White “citizen” called the cops on them for doing ——– while Black, and after the killings in Charleston, I am uncomfortable in public spaces with White people I don’t know. I can be riding the Metro, picking out tomatoes, heading to and from work and some White person can have a reverse hallucination and perceive me as a threat, as out of place, and call the cops and even assert their privilege to participate in my arrest or beating. We have plenty videos of this happening to Black women and teens.

We are all vulnerable. Our bodies are never ours. And none of us, male or female, you or old, rich or poor, have the privilege to take that fact for granted. You or I could be next.”

 

My initial reaction was one of wanting to help. How the hell do I make this better for Stacey and people who live life having to be constantly worried about white people (for god damn good reason)? How can I work to take away the paranoia of being in the space of white people?

I reached out with those questions in mind and Stacey, not one to sugar coat the truth, explained to all White People, this is not a problem to be solved by Black People. And she is 100% right. I felt like an asshole, asking the victim(s) of so many traumas to help me problem solve. I realized what a hypocrite I have been about being an alley, as I’ve had my own battles with those wanting to be allies to the LGBTQ community. How many times have I complained that it is not my responsibility to inform the straight community of the unequal treatment I have faced? Too many times to count.

With my hypocrisy clearly apparent, I had to take my own advise … I needed to really open my eyes to the day to day living of “others.” It is a simple process to be involved in the large campaigns of changing laws and grassroots movements, but when it comes the mundane day-to-day living, how am I being helpful? Sure, I’ve read books, watched documentaries, have had intellectual conversations with friends, strangers, and family, attended rallies, called people out when they make racist comments, etc., but what am I doing DAILY to help eradicate racism?  The answer … not much.

I walked into work yesterday with a different lens. I watched how people interacted with each other. I watched a color division almost invisible to my white eyes. I watched as a white southern woman bumped into a man from India and she waited for him to say excuse me. I watched a white man enter the shop without a care or concern, as if he owned the place, meanwhile the Spanish speaking woman entered the shop with timid apprehension. I saw only one black person enter the store. ONE!

I listened to how I interacted with all of these people, and I was disappointed in myself. I found that when a foreigner or person of color approached the cash register I was trying so hard to convey my acceptance that it must surely look like an act. I wanted so badly for “the other” to feel accepted that I made it fucking awkward. I blame some of this on the area I live in.

Utah is not known for its colorfulness. Utah is so white that I often complain about it. But growing up in this culture is bound to make a person an accidental racist. How can a person say they aren’t racist but continually be surrounded by only white people? Those that know me will rush to my aid and proclaim, “but Marcy, your brother in law is black, you have biracial nieces.” Here’s the thing … that doesn’t matter. That is just a card we flash to enter into a space where we don’t have to examine our own behavior.

Friends, I’ve NEVER had a boss who was black. EVER. How fucking sad is that? Work occupies a large chunk of our time, and in my years of work I can count, on two hands, how many co-workers were not white. I’m 40 fucking years old and I’ve never had a boss of color. How is this possible? Racism makes this possible. I participate in racism, without my consent, daily. And so do you. I know … you’re feeling defensive right now. It’s a normal reaction that needs to be eradicated. This defensiveness is killing Black People. This defensiveness is taking away from the trauma of a whole group of people.

Today I ask white people to try this exercise. How many of you have had a supervisor/boss/leader of color? Especially those of you that live in Utah. And if you answer is not at least 50% then concede that you participate in a racist structure, even if it is not of your making.

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under My thoughts

Day 12: Short Essay for Ecocriticsim

I am midway through this course and I feel as though I am lost.  The strange stranger surrounds me.  The concepts are slippery, just out of reach, yet my fingers brush by them, feeling that there is something to grab onto, something to help hoist myself up over the ledge of misunderstanding.  Just as I start to believe that I will be seated upon the plateau of knowledge, basking in the glow of understanding, the strange stranger passes my peripheral vision; shattering the illusory idea that ecocriticism can be nailed down and dissected.

Ellen Meloy, in her essay “The Deeds and Suffering of Light” divulges that she suffers from a neurological disorder which causes “’a reduction in mental acuity’” (5).  Though I am unaware of having any neurological conditions that could be clouding my understanding, I can relate to this statement:

“because there is the possibility of an abrupt slide into chronic befuddlement, I thought it might be useful to acquire some basic motor and tactile      skills, like pushing around cool, gooey paint in mindless, repetitive motions, as preparation for that freshly vacated space, that airy void between the   ears” (5).

This course is a blank canvas, stark white and waiting for an image.  As the weeks pass by, I apply “cool, gooey paint” yearning for a familiar pattern to emerge.  With each new paint that I am provided, my frantic fingers rush across the canvas.  I stand back and I am not satisfied with the blobs I have produced.  Perhaps it is the angle.  Perhaps it is the lighting.  I must come at this canvas sideways; casting aside my expectations of the image I thought I would produce.  It is time for me to abandon the rules of painting and create my own guide on how to see the world surrounding me.  Shattering categories is hard work.

How can one create a “visual aphrodisiac”? (226). For Meloy, the color red is ecstasy, passion and a signal of reproduction.  Squeezing the cold metal tube of red paint, I dab a small circle in the center of my canvas.  I create a focal point.  I create a place to fall into when the outer edges blur out understanding.  And perhaps that is the point, to abandon the notion that the “Name ha[s] to match reality, and reality [has] to be made uniform in samples, chips, and swatches” (229).  The image I create does not need to be codified to that which is recognizable.  The red circle is the truth I have created on the canvas.  It has become the place that I dwell in to seek understanding of the slippery concept of reality.

My time is spent staring at a canvas, taking shape in unrecognizable ways.  The canvas demands to be worked upon quickly, though I find myself begging for time to slow down so that I can lean into the red splashes.  I beg for the strange stranger to reveal itself, but Buell thwarts any time devoted to the uncanny.  Oppermann insists that I examine paints I have not yet touched.  Yet I find myself comforted by Meloy’s words,  “Our sense of wonder grows exponentially; the greater the knowledge, the deeper the mystery and the more we seek knowledge to create new mystery” (243).  When ideas sweep past my fingers, when the red dot comforts an unsure mind and as each theory is placed before my befuddled mind, I am comforted that it is creating a mystery. I now paint on a canvas that must be viewed sideways.

1 Comment

Filed under My thoughts, School

Day 11 – Essay on Patriarchy and Capitalism

Remember that commitment I made to write for 100 days … yeah well it will be 100 writings in one year, it seems to be the only time I have as recent.  Remember when I said I wouldn’t count my school writings, yeah turns out I lied 🙂

Marcy Taylor

Heidi Hartmann Presentation

Text:  The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a more Progressive Union

 

It was a well designed plan for Capitalism and Patriarchy to meet.  Years of starvation, monarchy, and patriarchal rule had the people ready – thirsty – for change and when Capitalism walked in, well the people saw the benefits to their relationship.

According to Hartmann, this relationship wasn’t mutually exclusive.  The people gasped in horror when they realized that Capitalism and Patriarchy were, in all actuality, fuck buddies.  They were not exclusive to one another, but the couple assured its people that this “arrangement” is not destructive to the masses.  And Hartmann was there to write the story so that the people would understand this quasi marriage.

Hartmann lets us know that the fuck buddy system isn’t always wine, fooling around, having a cigarette and heading out the door.  Quite the contrary.  Like the time when Capitalism was being stalked by Socialism … yeah, Patriarchy enlisted McCarthy to kill Socialism.  It was an ugly time for both of them; they barely had time to copulate!

But copulate they did … on a massive scale.  All the democracy babies where running around, being cute and shit, but then another argument cropped up for Patriarchy and Capitalism.  The kids … I mean Capitalism saw the benefits of the kids and women working in factories, pumping out profits faster than women could birth them!  Patriarchy got all uptight; talking about a woman’s place is in the home, taking care of the kids (because, well, they were sick, broken and hungry.)  And more importantly, Patriarchy was harping on women making money, which means his harem of women at home would be diminished.  Hartmann quoted this proclamation as “The material base upon which patriarchy rests lies most fundamentally in men’s control over women’s labor power.”  Whatever this means!  Patriarchy just wanted women in their rightful place.  Capitalism ignored his pleas to keep his women at home.

This got Patriarchy pissed!  He sat at home, sad that his women were gone to work, thinking of ways to get back at Capitalism. He was in awe that Capitalism didn’t see the problems with this money making scheme.  I mean, who would be in charge of sex if women got it their heads they were worth more than being a glory hole?    As the women came home, tired, depressed, dirty and unwilling to cook a “decent” meal he left to go hang out with the guys at the pub.  An idea popped into his head as he sipped on his suds and his stroke of brilliance would dazzle the men and create heartache for his lover Capitalism.  He suggested “unions.”   In unison the men sang out, “Unions?”  He explained that if they all got together and DEMANDED that men get paid a family wage then the woman could come back so they could cook, clean and breed.  Of course these unions made shit happen for Patriarchy.

Capitalism basked in the glory of being fought over!  Overcome with joy, she made compromises and allowed a family wage, but also kept women and children at work.  The workers would be segregated but she promised Patriarchy men would be in charge of when, how and how much the woman workers would be paid.  This pleased Patriarchy.

Hartmann made a prediction at this point.  Hartmann claims that as the need for a second income becomes prevalent, the divide of income will increase.  Turns out she’ll be right …

But back to Patriarchy and Capitalism …   During all this time, they are shacking up, usually lying in bed after a good romp, disagreeing and agreeing on how to go about getting their minions to squabble.  If they could get the people to disagree they wouldn’t notice that they were puppets in a well orchestrated Capitalist/Patriarchy show.

But the people took advantage of Patriarchy and Capitalisms fuck sessions.  At some point a group of “progressives” took pity on the children and demanded they be left at home, not working in deplorable conditions.  This got Patriarchy and Capitalism juices flowing.  Patriarchy decided that children would be the woman’s concern, as they were no longer productive and well, he didn’t have time for that shit.  Plus he was glad to have his women back in the kitchen.  Capitalism, not as pleased, did see another source of income … The housewife.  Oh she’d love a new stove, dishwasher, or other shiny object.  There was peace amongst them again.  Lying back, sweaty and tired, they congratulated each other while smoking pot …. “Hey, this could be worth some money Capitalism.”  Don’t be stupid Patriarchy; I need workers who want to work …” Anyways ….

But Hartmann turned out to be a traitor to both Capitalism and Patriarchy, as she was telling the people “women should not trust men to liberate them after the revolution, in part, because there is no reason to think they would know how; in part, because there is no necessity for them to do so.”  BITCH Patriarchy yelled.  Capitalism was laughing until she read, “we think the sexual division of labor within capitalism has given women a practice which we have learned to understand what human interdependence and needs are.”  Asshole Capitalism yelled!!  Patriarchy and Capitalism where not happy!

Hartman wanted to organize people into practicing techniques to struggle against Patriarchy and Capitalism.  WTF?!  After screwing away their angst, Capitalism and Patriarchy calmed down, as they realized most people won’t read the story Hartmann pushed into the public, because most of them were suckling on the glass teat of TV (an invention that Capitalism still threw in the face of Patriarchy … though he did enjoy Leave it to Beaver.)

The people have questions!!  They beg for answers.

Why is this marriage so unhappy?  Besides the satire I provide above, do you think it possible to examine Feminist Thought from economic factors alone?  Why or why not?

Hartmann calls for a new analysis of feminism, one that would include examination of Capitalism and Patriarchy, however, in this new analysis, who sets the parameters and definitions?  Who will be the authors of these theories?  Are men and women included?  Should there be restrictions?  We could do this all day!

Hartmann suggests that men should relinquish their privilege.  How do men give up their privilege?

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under My thoughts, School

Day 10 – Rally Speech

Friends, I want to thank you all for providing me a space to give voice to my angst. Let us remember that this OUR state capitol as well, and it is should not be blinded by a persons sexual orientation.

I want you to know that I come to you impassioned and angered.  I come to you battered and bruised.  But I also come to you …. Battle ready!!

Far too long we have asked … BEGGED, on one bended knee after another, to have full equality.  Far too long we have been told to be civil.  Far too long we have been degraded, harassed, violated and shamed.  I say Enough!  Enough!

All of us: gay, straight, religious, non-religious have waited long enough for equality for all human beings.  Now is not the time to squabble about definitions.  Traditional vs. Gay.   All of this doesn’t mean shit.  What matters are compassion, decency and empathy.  This war … is one waged by ignorance, fear and tyranny.

We are past the point of needing or wanting you to understand.  It is clear that the tears, heart ache, and devastation do not speak to your hearts.  We are past the point of civility, as calling us unnatural, asking us to stifle our love and promoting only one type of family as traditional is beyond being civil.  Instead, we TELL you …. We will not be diminished.  We will not be ignored and with all heartfelt sincerity, we will marry!

We will triumph.  We will walk hand in hand, with our heads held high, loving our families as we always have, only this time we will be cacooned in the warmth of legality.  We will continue to raise our daughters and our sons, only now we will be safe in the web of legal jargon.  Soon, my partners insurance card will no longer claim her to be single.  Soon, ALL OF US will be on equal playing field.

And with time …. these times of angst will be nothing but a blip in a history book.  And with time those that have fought hard against us will come to understand that they were the threat to our families.  With time, all of us will co-exsist and our grandchildren will be amazed that this rally even had to happen.

Harvey Milk said it best, “It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom.”

Before I conclude my speech I would like to remind everyone here that there are many groups of people that need legal help.  The trans* community needs the support of everyone that stands before this capitol.  The trans* community can not be forgotten or fought for any less than the passion you brought with you tonight.

 

Because …. Together we stand in solidarity.  Because … Together, we will be victorious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Frustration, My thoughts

Day 9

I expressed, in an earlier post my new found love of Timothy Morton.  In this writing I take one of his ideas (strange strangers) and place it over the article (also referenced in an earlier post) “There’s a Gene for That.”

 

Timothy Morton’s book “The Ecological Thought” introduces the concept of “strange strangers.”  For Morton, the strange strangers are the gaps found within the “mesh” (interconnectedness of all things) and they cannot be defined or labeled.  “The strange stranger, conversely, is something or someone whose existence we cannot anticipate.  Even when strange strangers showed up, even if they lived with us for a thousand years, we might never know them fully – and we would never know whether we had exhausted our getting-to-know process” (Morton 42).  These “strange strangers” are the uncanny and each time we try to pin them down other “strange strangers” appear.

This concept is difficult for me to grasp, so I have chosen to utilize this notion in my readers response, with the thought it will push me to try to understand the vast connotations this theory suggests.

An article, written by Pankaj Mehta, immediately came to mind while reading about “strange strangers.”  Mehta is discussing the problems of biological determinism, such as racism, sexism, classism and he suggests “there is a gene for just about every inequality and inequity in modern society.” [1]  Mehta goes on to claim,  “[a]rmed with large genomic datasets and an arsenal of statistical techniques, a small but vocal band of scientists are determined to hunt down the genetic basis of all we are and all we do.” He goes on to say “… the genetic determinist’s playbook in the genomics era is clear: Collect mass quantities of sequence data. Find an ill-defined trait (like political preference). Find a gene that is statistically overrepresented in the sub-population that “possesses” that trait. Declare victory. Ignore the fact that these genes don’t really explain the phenotypic variance of the trait. Instead, claim that if we only had more data the statistics would all work out. Further generalize these results to the level of societies and claim they explain the fundamental genetic basis of human behavior.”

These scientists are continually seeking “The” answer to biological difference/sameness.  The gaps, or unfamiliar, is what genetic scientist are trying to chase down and make familiar.  Genetic determinist research is in a stage of “getting to know” process that can only reveal more unfamiliarity.  Morton would insist “[e]ven if biology knew all the species on Earth, we would still encounter them as strange strangers, because of the inner logic of knowledge.  The more you know about something, the stranger it grows” (Morton 17).  The argument could be made once a species has been identified and the more you try to understand that one species, the less you will know or understand about the identified species.

Mehta states “[b]iological determinism seems plausible precisely because it gives the illusion that it is grounded in scientific observation.”  Morton would agree and take this thought even further by stating, “the trouble with pure semblance is that it’s like an illusion … Monstrousness and illusoriness go together” (Morton 74).

In essence, when scientist seek out the “strange stranger” they are categorizing and trying to contain these illusory ideas, creating greater harm to the “strange stranger” which, as suggested earlier, could very well be ourselves.

Categories are typically created for inclusion or exclusion and for Morton “[r]ather than a vision of inclusion, we need a vision of intimacy.  We need threshold, not spheres or concentric circles, for imagining where the strange stranger hangs out” (Morton 78).

Mehta points out the problems of biological determinism by illustrating the harms it can create by inequality and power due to our capitalist structures.  Morton would expound further and say that by narrowly focusing our interest of the “mesh” to biology alone, we have limited our view of interconnectedness.  “At its limit, it [the ecological thought] is a radical openness to everything.  The ecological thought is therefore full of shadows and twilights” (Morton 15).

Ultimately, there is nothing “natural” about anything.  Science will not find why boys may be “naturally” inclined for aggression.  Science will not find why girls may be “naturally” inclined to be submissive.  Nature is the strange stranger and the more we try to unveil her/his/its “nature” the more “unnatural” it will become.  Life (in all forms) is a messy jumbled monster enmeshed in interconnectedness that does not allow to be quantified.


[1] Mehta, Pankaj, “There’s a Gene for That”, jacobinmag.com.

4 Comments

Filed under My thoughts, School

Day 8

Alicia Rizzi and Marcy Taylor

We met in jail.  You read that right!  We both worked for Weber County Sheriff’s Office, as correctional officers, when we struck up an intense friendship.  From that friendship the most magnificent relationship was forged.  For the last 9 years we have had the privilege of not only being partners, but being best friends as well.

When thinking of how to put on paper our story, it felt impossible.  How do you show the middle of the night comforting sessions for our children when they get sick or have bad dreams?  How do you render, with proper timbre, the family singing songs in the car while traveling across so many states for family vacations?  How do you articulate the pain of homophobic slurs being hurled at a family of five minding their own business in a bookstore?

Instead of using my words to explain our relationship, I reached out to family and friends to explain who we are.  This is what they had to say:

“Two people who love, balance, honor and respect one another just as they are. Never trying to change the other, just completely supportive and unbreakable!!!”

“You are two of the most supportive, strong hearted, encouraging, nurturing women I’ve had the fortune to meet, making a life together against the odds. The beauty lives in the way you approach life together and it overflows to those lucky to know you.”

“Two souls entwined, balancing and complimenting each other. Two people who love, honor, respect, support and challenge each other and in doing so, touch all who know them. They make me smile and get a warm glow in my heart.”

It was on a December evening, as I sat with friends at a local pub, that Rizzi asked me to marry her.  I was unaware of the changes made by the Federal courts, invalidating Amendment 3.  It took no thought.  Of course I would marry the person I had already committed myself to.

On Christmas Eve our family (kids, parents, sister and her family) arrived at the home of Amy Wicks, a city council member for Ogden City.  It was a bitter sweet day.  The rush to marry, before a stay was put in place, had me angry.  This is not how I imagined we would marry one another.  I wanted a party.  I wanted a Halloween wedding, with costumes, black cakes and an open bar.  I wanted written wedding vows that would make my parents cry.  I wanted to be treated normal.  I wanted to be something more than a rush job.  But as we faced each other, staring into the eyes of the woman I have loved for nine years, the wants disappeared and the realization that we would be protected legally set in.  I cried.  She cried.  And as we kissed and our tears intermingled, I realized our family was protected.  As I hugged our kids a new notion of taking care of them was born.  Our kids would no longer be relegated to status of “other”, as they could proudly proclaim their moms as married.

But the euphoria would only last 17 days.  The insurance card in her wallet, that claims she is single, will remain a lie until the court process is completed.  Our children hang in legal limbo.  But what is sustained are the very things my friends and family wrote about our relationship.  We still love with a fierceness that can never be defined by paper.  We still respect, love, cherish and enjoy our day to day family life.  That euphoria will remain much longer than 17 days.  It will take an eternity for us to be apart.

2 Comments

Filed under My thoughts, Relationships, Story Time

Day 7

I will be speaking at a rally next Tuesday at the capitol, so a lot of my time is spent writing and refining it, so this post will be short.

I will, however, share a funny public transportation story.  While getting on Trax I overheard a woman say to her companion (also a woman), “did you hear that?”  The companion answered no.  “It was a helicopter circling, which can only mean one thing … the police.”  The companion, without hesitation, agreed that it was a bad omen.  Meanwhile, I”m acting like I am reading my book because, well … I don’t want in on the craziness.  Of course they had a petition in their laps, which meant they would be hitting me up soon for a signature.  Within 30 seconds of being seated these women asked if I’d sign a petition.  When I asked what it was for they explained that it was for the Independent American Party.  When I asked what their platform was they had no answer … NONE!  They seemed stumped by the question.  One of the ladies pulled out a card with 10 platforms.  The first read, “That God will be brought back into everyones life.”  The second stated that socialism will be eradicated and the third stated they would bring back traditional marriage.  I didn’t bother reading the rest of them.  I explained I wasn’t interested nor did I subscribe to any of their platform statements.  Needless to say, they wanted to “convert” me.  The conversation was long, but when they finally figured out I was “one of those gay people” they were stunned.  They went as far to say that I “seemed so nice.”  My comeback.  Yeah, you both seemed so nice yourself, I mean you have a dog picture on your hat, who would have known you subscribe to Nazi notions of creating separate “containment” areas for gays.

It was a long day …

1 Comment

Filed under My thoughts