I went to a protest.

Disclaimer:  I’m putting this baby right up top here.  This is my blog; this is me unlearning.  I want to make change, and I want to help.  But first — I need to unlearn some massive concepts, things that have simply been my way of life until now.  So if you come to my blog, and if, while here, you see something that I’ve written that is offensive or blatantly wrong, please help me to unlearn.  Yes, I understand this is my own duty, ultimately, but if you find yourself here on my blog, please help me to unlearn.

This is the second post in my Unlearning series.  If you’re interested in following my entire journey, please start here: “Yes, I am a white woman.”

Since trump’s inauguration, we’ve experienced a deluge of increasingly worrisome news about his administration.  Recently, trump issued an executive order that curtails the refugees and immigrants that are allowed into the United States.  The ban targets seven Muslim majority countries and Syrian refugees.  (This has since been blocked.)  So… I went to a protest, my first protest, last Sunday, January 29.

In less than 24 hours, a group of four local, Detroit women mobilized an estimated ten thousand plus people to protest trump’s Muslim ban at the Detroit Metro Airport.  There were protests in cities and airports across the country, and we were just one of them.  It was beautiful, and large, and loud (and cold).  There were people from all sexes, races, and ages.  There were uplifting posters, angry posters, and one massive papier mache Donald Trump head.  The crowd would intermittently erupt into cheers of “no fear, no hate,” “no ban, no wall,” and “this is what democracy looks like,” among others.  Except for one guy from a group of anarchists who got tackled by Homeland Security Police, it was very peaceful.

I felt proud to be there, among so many people who were standing up for what is right.  I am happy that my introduction to proper protesting/activism was part of such a successful, local movement.

But… It’s not enough to stop there.  This is just the beginning.  For one, I will begin attending meetings of the Showing Up for Racial Justice — Washtenaw chapter, the first one being February 19.  The group’s mission statement is below.

SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.

Until that first meeting, I’m working to balance educating myself on what is going on in this country and distancing myself from the rampant toxicity.  Earlier this week, I read this article (via Little Red Tarot) about staying outraged without losing my mind.  It gave pointers like take a break from the news, make activism fun, and a list of ways to take care for yourself.  I nodded along with the article, but kind of pushed it to the side.  (With self-care that’s so easy to do… am I right?!)

Yesterday, I pulled a card from the Slow Holler Tarot and the Okanagan Oracle:  the Ten of Branches (wands), and Mindful.  The collective message here was to be mindful of our energy and where we’re directing it.  It’s so important to build up positive habits, to take time for self-care.  Even working non-stop to educate ourselves, or fighting 24/7 for social justice issues can be harmful and constricting.  That heavy feeling, that angst and outrage?  Self-care is what is going to combat it: take a walk, draw a bath, stop reading the damn news, get in some yoga flow.  *sigh* I’m trying.

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Today, my partner pointed out to me that I’ve generally been in a foul mood for the last couple weeks.  I can’t exactly pinpoint the source, but I know that trump and his shenanigans are not helping.  Either way, I know self-care needs to become more important.  I wrote a recent post about my resolutions/affirmations for 2017, and holy crap if January wasn’t a bust on all of these fronts.  In January I did set up everything for my tarot shop, so it wasn’t a complete waste, but self-care was pretty lacking.  But, hey, my word of the year is practice so, I’ll try again in February and….I guess I’m off to a good start to 2017, then.

On February 1, the day before Imbolc, I took a long walk outside.  The weather was mild and it was a bright day.  Spring was on the air.  It was a tangible reminder to plant seeds for the coming season, to prepare for blossoming, to dream and plan, and begin co-creating — what Imbolc is all about.  I feel that this sort of mindful, directed self-care is a kind of protest in it’s own way.  Do what you enjoy, make the magick you believe in, embrace your weird and fringe qualities, and give trump a big fuck you by living the life of your dreams.

So, I’m trying.  Not all of my efforts will be successful and grand, but I’m trying.  I’m thinking and processing, and — hey — just opened my tarot shop, which while not “self-care” exactly is something for myself about which I’m so excited.

How are you faring in this new world?  How have you been doing with self-care lately?  Are you getting more locally involved in protest/activist efforts?  Let me know in the comments below.

Exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Yes, I am a white woman.

Disclaimer:  I’m putting this baby right up top here.  This is my blog; this is me unlearning.  I want to make change, and I want to help.  But first — I need to unlearn some massive concepts, things that have simply been my way of life until now.  So if you come to my blog, and if, while here, you see something that I’ve written that is offensive or blatantly wrong, please help me to unlearn.  Yes, I understand this is my own duty, ultimately, but if you find yourself here on my blog, please help me to unlearn.

A lot has happened in the last week.  We got a new president in the United States, and then millions of people from around the world protested the day after.  I myself did not march in the Women’s March on January 21.  As much I wanted to be out there with a sign, cheering and chanting and fighting for my rights as a woman, I wasn’t.

But in the days following the march, in the soaring joy and hope I felt at the massive success of the march, it was quickly apparent that I, as a WW, I have a very narrow, limited experience in the issues that face women in this country and around the world.

Yes, I need feminism because sexist comments are common in my workplace.  Yes, I need feminism because my maternity leave at my job just isn’t long enough.  Yes, I need feminism  because men’s voices are continually considered more important than my own.  Yes, I need feminism because I want my reproductive rights.  But, as I said, it’s become quite clear that my struggles are laughably simple in the face of what women of color (WOC) experience in the United States.

There are few things in my life that are absolutely certain.  Two of those things are that I am white, and that I am a woman.  I am a white woman (WW).  I can’t help that, and I can’t apologize for that.  And so I am trying to unlearn what that really means.

To be sure: I am privileged.  I have read a lot of people around the internet talking about all the “hard work” they have put in to being successful, but — let’s be real — working an after school job for 12 hours per week in high school, studying real hard for your college midterms, going on a couple unsuccessful interviews is not the kind of struggle that is relevant here.  Hey, I’m happy that you’re successful in life, but guess what?  If you consider the above examples (and other similar examples with slight variation) “hard work,” you’re not really the targeted demographic of the recent Women’s March.

You’re not really the targeted demographic, and you may not really understand why such a fight is necessary.  You may make the above “hard work” argument, you may state that there is no “problem,” that you’re able to take care of your family, and that your rights are not trampled upon day in and day out.  You may even be a woman who mocked and belittled the Women’s March and its participants.

The Women’s March, and feminism in general, is about ensuring human rights are honored for women the same as they are honored for men.  The Women’s March, and feminism in general, is about equality across the spectrum of the sexes.  It’s about all women: Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women.  It’s about LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice (see the Women’s March’s principles here).  Feminism is about you and your rights, whether you believe that you, and this country, this world, need it or not.

There are articles and activists around the internet blatantly calling out WW on our obvious lack of concern about such issues until November 8, 2016.  Of course, there were WW activists prior to trump’s election, however, if I’m using a blanket statement, I might as well just do it: white woman are just not politically and social justice motivated.  Why would we need to be?  I just outlined my experience as a WW and it sounds pretty fluffy compared to the extreme experiences of WOC.  Bottom line is that I have never been scared for my life because I am a white woman.  So, yeah, I’m in a position to do more work here.

There are articles and WOC activists around the internet stating how tired they are of carrying WW on their shoulders during political and social justice fights.  And I don’t blame them.  I am woefully under-educated in this sphere.  I’m quick to post something to social media, I am quick to make comments and calls — but beyond that, I have no idea what I’m doing.  Am I supposed to rely on WOC to show me the way?  How is that any better than before.

And that’s about where I am in my unlearning.  I am a white woman, and I’m trying to figure out what this means in this new political nightmare.  Stay tuned to this space for more unlearning.

What are your experiences with feminism and the Women’s March?  How has this changed since November 8, 2016?  And, most importantly: can you recommend me any reading to help with my unlearning?

exploringly yours,
Alaina x