Guest Post: That Angry, Polytheist, Black Woman

This guest post is from K. Pythia Theocritos, a wonderful writer that writes for her own blog and is pretty powerful in her words.  She has written a guest post for Daughters of Eve and we hope to read more of her writing in the near future.  Enjoy!!  - Crystal

That Angry, Polytheist, Black Woman

by K. Pythia Theocritos

This post is very raw. While writing it I seethed with emotion and yes, some of that emotion was anger. The current political and economic climate not withstanding; my mind was weighed heavily with encountering, once again, the ‘genre tropes’ of my existence. The delicate dance between inspiring friendship and inspiring fear and knowing how easy it was to step over that line.

If there’s one thing that causes suspicion, and fear, in America it’s the perceived danger behind the anger of black women. The angry black woman has become such an archetype that many of us must walk on glass, quite aware that even the tiniest show of annoyance or adamance could lead to a break down in communication.

Pagans, by and large, tend to be a liberal group. Our community espouses the principles of acceptance and tolerance. Unfortunately, buried in the glitter of fairy wings and European poetry lurks the subtle undertones of covert prejudice and race-based assumption. With her hands on her hips, the ethnic shadow “bitchy black woman” is a constant weapon of subdoing. The experience of being “handled” with caution as this could get ugly; brings to mind the kind of treatment one gives to an ill-tempered dog or child. The, claustrophobic, feeling of held breaths in a room as a group of predominantly white, pagans come face to face with not only a black pagan, but a black Hellenic-polytheist who is also knee deep in the study of alchemy and Hermetics.

I have received the same bumps and bruises as any other pagan who has walked their path a little longer than they would like to admit. Unfortunately, all of this doesn’t matter if I refuse to fulfill the role of passive voice. If I show an unwillingness to become an empty, all accepting vessel seeking acceptance, and offering unconditional love, both to and from a random group of strangers whom share no commonality with me besides prescribing to an alternative religion. In essence, unless I am willing to be the Mammy to another’s Scarlet, my presence is threatening.

I can smile, laugh, offer witty comebacks with a hint of “sista-speak”, but never, ever, disagree or venture to correct. In the pagan community I’ve sensed being two steps away from the territory of“uppity negro.” I’ve seen it in the eyes of 40 year old women, hell bent on using their “Irishness/Scottishness” as an excuse to exercise poor manners at any given opportunity. I’ve heard it in the patronizing tones of leadership who instantly equate my eloquence as an attack on their institution and delicate sensibilities. To “know my place” means to be the constant beginner, willing to claim even the most undereducated one-book priestess as my better.

So why even bother seeking the greater pagan community again? For a long time I didn’t. I would step in only to remember why I had left; slinking back into my safe place of limited interaction with people I could trust. I found solace in speaking to Jews and Muslims who seemed at peace with themselves enough to handle rigorous philosophical and religious conversation without falling into a level of histrionics best left to soap operas

Maybe that does make me angry or maybe it just makes me like every other person living their lives, maintaining a full time job, and taking the lumps of their existence with as much grace as I can muster considering the circumstances. My path has been hard, not always because of my race, but because I choose to continue a life of diligence and honesty despite my race. Now I come back, no longer willing to play by the rules of others, and happy to live by my own principles. I’ve dedicated my time to finding those of like mind, and discipline, willing to get past looking for religious succor and, instead, are searching for some form of truth and growth.

Maybe I am that woman the movie studios and popular media have warned the Western world about. Maybe there is something, inherently, dangerous about being a woman of color unwilling to compromise, to pussy foot, and not ashamed to say that fact. But, I have a feeling the pagan community, and the world, will be hearing from many more such women very soon.

K. Pythia Theocritos has been a practicing pagan, both in and out of the community, for 11 years. She is currently a devotee of The Olympians, editor of He Epistole; A Hellenic Polytheist Newsletter, and proud purveyor of self-deprecating humor. Having studied eclectic Wiccan-influenced magical practices, she seeks to construct, for herself, a ceremonial magic system based on Greco-Roman symbolism instead of the, typical, Judeo-Christian archetypes. This project, combined with her studies in alchemy, have forced her to convert her blood into pure caffeine for efficiency. She is engaged in a wonderfully playful inter-faith marriage; is the personal butler of 4 cats, and is fond of a good drink, a few laughs, and profanity when it fits the surrounding company.

  • Schulzcaral

    You words have power and I’m honored you shared them with us.

  • Schulzcaral

    You words have power and I’m honored you shared them with us.

  • Flower321b

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I thought it was only me. I was just rudely and without notice kicked out of a coven group. It was our regular meeting night. And this particular night it was “Extremely cold in the “head priestess” house. So I said in a nice way, “It’s really really cold in here.” Expecting her to turn down the air like she’d done weeks before when a couple of the other people said they were cold. This time she did not, she just looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re cold?” and threw me a blanket, which I couldn’t even use due to the work we were doing. So, so I took it upon myself to just send her an email just to discuss the situation. What did I do that for? Anyway we ended up talking by phone to discuss and clear the air. I thought all was well. Well, three weeks later after our meeting the next day she sent me a raging email, saying that I make her uncomfortable, and she say saw me as a, “tiger” lol ready to pounce on her at any moment and that she was kicking me out of the group. Maybe because that particular week I refused to kiss her cat, which she insisted every one do. She even remarked that one of the other lady’s said I had a funny look on my face one week.  I knew that it was just them being unable to adjust to cultural differences. And like you said in your post often times i feel like I have to always cower and walk on eggshells. But I also realized that this so called priestess who claimed to be a psychic, shaman and some other stuff really didn’t know anything. And is just making it up as she goes along. And after some thought I was glad to be gone even thought it felt very high school and hurtful at first. But in the end I made up my mind that no more was I going to try and walk on eggshells and cower to people just so they can feel comfortable. I’m  just going to be me and if that’s too “tiggerish” for them then oh well!
    Thank you again!!
    Love and Light

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

      [TW for racist hyperbole]

      Have mercy. First of all, thank you K. Pythia. You have given voice to an old old problem. I’m a biracial woman in an interracial marriage. My white husband frequently accuses me of “yelling” at him, when my voice has not risen one decibel. There seems to be a real gap in perception. Why is imminent violence assumed just because I won’t kiss someone’s ass? Why is insisting on being treated as an equal human being seen as a militant act? Since when is disagreement taken as a declaration of war?
      Flower321b, I had a similar situation happen when I first started down the Path 7 years ago. I didn’t get kicked out, but I removed myself from the group because what could have been an opportunity for growth and better communication instead was blown into some Jerry Springer-esque he said/she said that had me seriously questioning my newly adopted faith. So I just withdrew. I was vindicated recently when the person who painted me as some savage spear-chucking loose cannon subsequently utterly betrayed the group and hurt a lot of people. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the rest of those people, and we’ve since reconciled, with many of them apologizing for not recognizing her propaganda for what it was. So take heart. People who are open to Spirit seem to be willing to admit when they are mistaken, and if they don’t, well who needs people who aren’t open to Spirit in their lives?

    • http://snoozepossum.blogspot.com/ Snoozepossum

      I LOLed at the “funny look on my face” thing – I had someone get offended with me for “having a look” on my face while she was talking at an event, and I only found out about it a month or so later when she and two friends of hers quit speaking to me. I thought about letting her know  that I’d had fairly uncomfortable gas cramps and felt really lousy but came to the event in spite of it  because I didn’t want to miss her talk, but then decided she wasn’t worth explaining anything to. ;0)

  • Flower321b

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I thought it was only me. I was just rudely and without notice kicked out of a coven group. It was our regular meeting night. And this particular night it was “Extremely cold in the “head priestess” house. So I said in a nice way, “It’s really really cold in here.” Expecting her to turn down the air like she’d done weeks before when a couple of the other people said they were cold. This time she did not, she just looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re cold?” and threw me a blanket, which I couldn’t even use due to the work we were doing. So, so I took it upon myself to just send her an email just to discuss the situation. What did I do that for? Anyway we ended up talking by phone to discuss and clear the air. I thought all was well. Well, three weeks later after our meeting the next day she sent me a raging email, saying that I make her uncomfortable, and she say saw me as a, “tiger” lol ready to pounce on her at any moment and that she was kicking me out of the group. Maybe because that particular week I refused to kiss her cat, which she insisted every one do. She even remarked that one of the other lady’s said I had a funny look on my face one week.  I knew that it was just them being unable to adjust to cultural differences. And like you said in your post often times i feel like I have to always cower and walk on eggshells. But I also realized that this so called priestess who claimed to be a psychic, shaman and some other stuff really didn’t know anything. And is just making it up as she goes along. And after some thought I was glad to be gone even thought it felt very high school and hurtful at first. But in the end I made up my mind that no more was I going to try and walk on eggshells and cower to people just so they can feel comfortable. I’m  just going to be me and if that’s too “tiggerish” for them then oh well!
    Thank you again!!
    Love and Light

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

      [TW for racist hyperbole]

      Have mercy. First of all, thank you K. Pythia. You have given voice to an old old problem. I’m a biracial woman in an interracial marriage. My white husband frequently accuses me of “yelling” at him, when my voice has not risen one decibel. There seems to be a real gap in perception. Why is imminent violence assumed just because I won’t kiss someone’s ass? Why is insisting on being treated as an equal human being seen as a militant act? Since when is disagreement taken as a declaration of war?
      Flower321b, I had a similar situation happen when I first started down the Path 7 years ago. I didn’t get kicked out, but I removed myself from the group because what could have been an opportunity for growth and better communication instead was blown into some Jerry Springer-esque he said/she said that had me seriously questioning my newly adopted faith. So I just withdrew. I was vindicated recently when the person who painted me as some savage spear-chucking loose cannon subsequently utterly betrayed the group and hurt a lot of people. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the rest of those people, and we’ve since reconciled, with many of them apologizing for not recognizing her propaganda for what it was. So take heart. People who are open to Spirit seem to be willing to admit when they are mistaken, and if they don’t, well who needs people who aren’t open to Spirit in their lives?

    • http://snoozepossum.blogspot.com/ Snoozepossum

      I LOLed at the “funny look on my face” thing – I had someone get offended with me for “having a look” on my face while she was talking at an event, and I only found out about it a month or so later when she and two friends of hers quit speaking to me. I thought about letting her know  that I’d had fairly uncomfortable gas cramps and felt really lousy but came to the event in spite of it  because I didn’t want to miss her talk, but then decided she wasn’t worth explaining anything to. ;0)

  • meia

    LOL!!!  Its about time our folks started speaking up!  I, for about the third time have been told that I am judgmental, that I think I am better than others, etc…you know.  And I’ve been taking it to heart, re-evaluating myself, and each time, I sort of come up…well confused.  At these times, I couldn’t seem to figure out how I was being judgmental, and in particular how I was thinking I was better than others.  What I did notice was that I was being honest, forward, and understanding.  Things that were not expected, nor appreciated from a black woman with the highest education in the room.  Hmmmnn interesting.  And yes, you are right, a lot of folks are not what they think they are, nor who they say who they are.  Many are just playing and fooling themselves and others and they hate being reminded of their own shortcomings.  OH well, their loss for sure.  I continue to grow, and develop and learn and enjoy my life while doing all these things.  It is so interesting though.

  • meia

    LOL!!!  Its about time our folks started speaking up!  I, for about the third time have been told that I am judgmental, that I think I am better than others, etc…you know.  And I’ve been taking it to heart, re-evaluating myself, and each time, I sort of come up…well confused.  At these times, I couldn’t seem to figure out how I was being judgmental, and in particular how I was thinking I was better than others.  What I did notice was that I was being honest, forward, and understanding.  Things that were not expected, nor appreciated from a black woman with the highest education in the room.  Hmmmnn interesting.  And yes, you are right, a lot of folks are not what they think they are, nor who they say who they are.  Many are just playing and fooling themselves and others and they hate being reminded of their own shortcomings.  OH well, their loss for sure.  I continue to grow, and develop and learn and enjoy my life while doing all these things.  It is so interesting though.

  • Simone Bennett

    Well said.  The walking on eggshells and the culturally insensitive comments or faulty interpretations of what others have said or mean because of the lack of understanding or covert (even to themselves) predjudice is so completely tiring and frustrating.  I do agree that more voices will be heard; as we all seek to grow spiritually – it will be about connecting the voices and not adjusting them down.  It is hard to want to re-enter into the larger pagan community; the pain and anger are great - but as the term “pagan” becomes too small for what it happening in terms of global growth, the exclusivity of one cultural/socio-economic voice as the yardstick of the “Neo-pagan” community will have to turn into a multi-plumed fan that can bring life and connection to the worldvoice.  As a person of a racially mixed background and upbringing, I have found that it also brings its unique challenges and assumptions into a spiritual community. 

  • Simone Bennett

    Well said.  The walking on eggshells and the culturally insensitive comments or faulty interpretations of what others have said or mean because of the lack of understanding or covert (even to themselves) predjudice is so completely tiring and frustrating.  I do agree that more voices will be heard; as we all seek to grow spiritually – it will be about connecting the voices and not adjusting them down.  It is hard to want to re-enter into the larger pagan community; the pain and anger are great - but as the term “pagan” becomes too small for what it happening in terms of global growth, the exclusivity of one cultural/socio-economic voice as the yardstick of the “Neo-pagan” community will have to turn into a multi-plumed fan that can bring life and connection to the worldvoice.  As a person of a racially mixed background and upbringing, I have found that it also brings its unique challenges and assumptions into a spiritual community. 

  • Camille Guy

    Well said. I would like to add my two cents. There are times when I admit I can be a tad pointed in my questioning. But I am not rude. I do not attack physically or verbally.  Why is it that as soon as I question something I am viewed as a “threat”, liable to fly off the handle and who knows what else. I was raised to believe that a belief held is a belief worth defending. If you cannot speak clearly and succinctly about your belief, then that belief should be re-examined and clarified. I am willing to believe that your truth is true for you. I am sometimes just trying to understand why.

    May be, as has been rather eloquently said, this is due to ignorance of our culture. My non-Black brethren, when we ask you a question, we are not being hostile we are becoming engaged in the discussion. When I do attack, you will be the second to know and I would not be using questions. I would pointedly tell you that you are full of it. Stop assuming hostility where none exists. In doing so we both lose an opportunity to walk away richer in belief.

  • Camille Guy

    Well said. I would like to add my two cents. There are times when I admit I can be a tad pointed in my questioning. But I am not rude. I do not attack physically or verbally.  Why is it that as soon as I question something I am viewed as a “threat”, liable to fly off the handle and who knows what else. I was raised to believe that a belief held is a belief worth defending. If you cannot speak clearly and succinctly about your belief, then that belief should be re-examined and clarified. I am willing to believe that your truth is true for you. I am sometimes just trying to understand why.

    May be, as has been rather eloquently said, this is due to ignorance of our culture. My non-Black brethren, when we ask you a question, we are not being hostile we are becoming engaged in the discussion. When I do attack, you will be the second to know and I would not be using questions. I would pointedly tell you that you are full of it. Stop assuming hostility where none exists. In doing so we both lose an opportunity to walk away richer in belief.

  • http://twitter.com/Will_Dees Will Dees

    “What other people think of me is none of my business” –RuPaul. 

    Even though Pagans like to believe they’ve changed paradigms and are no longer operating in a patriarchal mindset, many never have *all* of their preconceived biases challenged or altered. 

    Don’t play into other people’s fantasies of who you *should* be. If they can’t take you for who you are, then they aren’t grown ups. 

    Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/Will_Dees Will Dees

    “What other people think of me is none of my business” –RuPaul. 

    Even though Pagans like to believe they’ve changed paradigms and are no longer operating in a patriarchal mindset, many never have *all* of their preconceived biases challenged or altered. 

    Don’t play into other people’s fantasies of who you *should* be. If they can’t take you for who you are, then they aren’t grown ups. 

    Great post!

  • Anonymous

    You look so *not angry* in that lovely pic of you!

    Even though white pagans fall mostly on the left side of the spectrum, they are like many other white folks in our culture  in that they’ve grown up unconsciously ingesting the same racial stereotypes as everyone else. The angry black woman is one of those stereotypes.

    Maybe it’s because our accents are often different than theirs and they just interpret that as sounding angry somehow. Or maybe it’s because we don’t do that “sounds like we’re asking a question when we’re really making a statement” upward lilt in pitch at the end of our sentences like many white women do. I dunno. But yeah, having to constantly reign yourself in so white folks don’t get intimidated gets old, pretty quick. 

    I’ll put up with that in work situations where I have no choice and I’m getting paid. But not in a spiritual setting. No ma’am.

  • Anonymous

    You look so *not angry* in that lovely pic of you!

    Even though white pagans fall mostly on the left side of the spectrum, they are like many other white folks in our culture  in that they’ve grown up unconsciously ingesting the same racial stereotypes as everyone else. The angry black woman is one of those stereotypes.

    Maybe it’s because our accents are often different than theirs and they just interpret that as sounding angry somehow. Or maybe it’s because we don’t do that “sounds like we’re asking a question when we’re really making a statement” upward lilt in pitch at the end of our sentences like many white women do. I dunno. But yeah, having to constantly reign yourself in so white folks don’t get intimidated gets old, pretty quick. 

    I’ll put up with that in work situations where I have no choice and I’m getting paid. But not in a spiritual setting. No ma’am.

  • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

    Having studied eclectic Wiccan-influenced magical practices, she
    seeks to construct, for herself, a ceremonial magic system based on
    Greco-Roman symbolism instead of the, typical, Judeo-Christian
    archetypes.

    Oh, I so wish you were in East Central Illinois!

    • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

      I wish I was too! It seems like every place in the U.S. has a great ceremonial population EXCEPT the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

  • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

    Having studied eclectic Wiccan-influenced magical practices, she
    seeks to construct, for herself, a ceremonial magic system based on
    Greco-Roman symbolism instead of the, typical, Judeo-Christian
    archetypes.

    Oh, I so wish you were in East Central Illinois!

    • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

      I wish I was too! It seems like every place in the U.S. has a great ceremonial population EXCEPT the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

  • http://snoozepossum.blogspot.com/ Snoozepossum

    (applauseclapclapwhistleXenayellclapclap)

    I’ve found that the people who most often feel the need to teach  me to “know my place” are the ones least qualified to do so.

    We’re so busy being self-absorbed victims we don’t even notice that things might not be all about us personally. I’ve even gotten the “you’re attacking meeeee!” or “you’re an antagonist” reaction out of people for asking for clarification of a statement, or saying “you’re free to think that, I just can’t agree with it for myself”.

    Part of the problem (other than an idea that it’s impossible to differ without being rude or being thought rude) is people thinking that a successful community is one where there is an appearance of peace and harmony, and skewed definitions of peace and harmony. Dorothy Thompson said it well:

    “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.”

    • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

      “Part of the problem (other than an idea that it’s impossible to differ without being rude or being thought rude) is people thinking that a successful community is one where there is an appearance of peace and harmony, and skewed definitions of peace and harmony. Dorothy Thompson said it well:

      “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.”
      This. You’ve summed up so well a thought I’ve had about the “pagan community” in general. It’s very difficult I think because, culturally, many black Americans are taught to stand up for themselves. Don’t be a victim or a doormat. When you attempt to throw that into a community filled with;

      A. A large group of people whom have socially been conditioned to believe their feelings are more important than anyone else’s

      and 

      B. A hive mentality based on false “togetherness” formed by everyone agreeing to have the same mantras and thought-processes

      There are BOUND to be issues. And believe me, I’ve encountered more than one Moon-Feather Ravenclaw who has attempted to “school” me, but then turn defensive or downright accusatory the moment it’s obvious I am not backing down and may know a lot more than she does. It gets old.

  • http://snoozepossum.blogspot.com/ Snoozepossum

    (applauseclapclapwhistleXenayellclapclap)

    I’ve found that the people who most often feel the need to teach  me to “know my place” are the ones least qualified to do so.

    We’re so busy being self-absorbed victims we don’t even notice that things might not be all about us personally. I’ve even gotten the “you’re attacking meeeee!” or “you’re an antagonist” reaction out of people for asking for clarification of a statement, or saying “you’re free to think that, I just can’t agree with it for myself”.

    Part of the problem (other than an idea that it’s impossible to differ without being rude or being thought rude) is people thinking that a successful community is one where there is an appearance of peace and harmony, and skewed definitions of peace and harmony. Dorothy Thompson said it well:

    “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.”

    • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

      “Part of the problem (other than an idea that it’s impossible to differ without being rude or being thought rude) is people thinking that a successful community is one where there is an appearance of peace and harmony, and skewed definitions of peace and harmony. Dorothy Thompson said it well:

      “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.”
      This. You’ve summed up so well a thought I’ve had about the “pagan community” in general. It’s very difficult I think because, culturally, many black Americans are taught to stand up for themselves. Don’t be a victim or a doormat. When you attempt to throw that into a community filled with;

      A. A large group of people whom have socially been conditioned to believe their feelings are more important than anyone else’s

      and 

      B. A hive mentality based on false “togetherness” formed by everyone agreeing to have the same mantras and thought-processes

      There are BOUND to be issues. And believe me, I’ve encountered more than one Moon-Feather Ravenclaw who has attempted to “school” me, but then turn defensive or downright accusatory the moment it’s obvious I am not backing down and may know a lot more than she does. It gets old.

  • The Library Witch

    I’ve been out of the loop for awhile, so I’m coming to discussion a bit late, but wanted to add my half a cent:
     
    There are times when I question whether I am missing opportunities to learn from, as well as contribute to the greater Pagan community by being a Solitary Witch. Then,  I remember that on the few occasions when I have ventured forth, I have experienced exact what many of you have described: the tension, feeling the need to walk on eggshells, etc., and I once again say, I too old for this sh*t and I dont need to dim my light for anyone. 

    @937689cc6752c8bcb4d3392995011b27:disqus I have a question for you Why-In-The-Hot-Buttered-Hades did the woman you mentioned want people to kiss her cat??

  • The Library Witch

    I’ve been out of the loop for awhile, so I’m coming to discussion a bit late, but wanted to add my half a cent:
     
    There are times when I question whether I am missing opportunities to learn from, as well as contribute to the greater Pagan community by being a Solitary Witch. Then,  I remember that on the few occasions when I have ventured forth, I have experienced exact what many of you have described: the tension, feeling the need to walk on eggshells, etc., and I once again say, I too old for this sh*t and I dont need to dim my light for anyone. 

    @937689cc6752c8bcb4d3392995011b27:disqus I have a question for you Why-In-The-Hot-Buttered-Hades did the woman you mentioned want people to kiss her cat??

  • Scylla (Root and Rock)

    I am deathly afraid that being raised by racists, in a racist culture, will cause me to unintentionally harm those persons-not-lilly-white with whom I associate.

    I want to never worry that my grandmother’s words are going to pop out, and that I’m going to hurt someone, but they are always there – kicking around in the back of my skull, unbidden and unwanted. I want to look around the Circle or Gather and see faces that reflect the infinite variety of the human condition – but I am terrified. Terrified that I may cut or wound a person

    I do not believe that this is the case for all white Neopagans, mind you. Living where I do I know there are genuine, intentional, prejudices. But there are also people like myself, scared that their ignorance and inexperience will cause pain, who just don’t know what the hell to do about it.

    In short: HELP! Where do we start? What do we do? How do we not be assholes?

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

       By not being assholes? I grew up in the South around racist attitudes and yet I don’t ever worry that racial slurs will just spring out of my mouth unbidden.

      • Scylla (Root and Rock)

        Some have heard turns of phrase their entire life that they don’t KNOW are something not-said-in-polite-company.  Until they learn otherwise. So, “Well, then just don’t do it!” … how,  if you don’t know what you’re doing?

        One of the main threads of this discourse on privilege has been that people in the position of privilege don’t understand that they are behaving stupidly, insensitively, or poorly. 

        I once said some rather innocent-sounding phrase my grandmother used to use very often. The friend I was with, herself a person-of-color, recoiled in horror and explained it to me. I was aghast. And since then I’ve wondered “Well, if that was racist, what else was?” Not racial slurs – I’m not that ignorant – but some thing I consider innocuous that might not be.  Phrases I grew up with that might be lurking monsters.

        And if -phrases- I grew up with might be lurking monsters, what about other things? Other attitudes? I see friends behave in ways I consider racist, and know there are other attitudes I’m NOT seeing. And I want to be able to see the difference.

        I address issues with friends. But that’s offline. The internet dialogue needs internet voices.  This is one hell of a delicate topic, but one I’m happy to stick my neck out on. I’d rather be taken for an ignorant hick for saying “I don’t know if I’m being an asshole!” than quietly nodding my head, reading along, and patting myself on the back with a shaky assurance “No, I’m not one of those inconsiderate people. I’m reading this blog, after all! No need to comment. I’ve got this covered.”

  • Brandy Williams

    Thank you for your post. As a white Pagan woman practicing Theurgy, I know I have a lot to learn about the experience of others and am working to educate myself. I deeply appreciate your willingness to speak.


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