35 thoughts about being a white woman in america. 3 facts. 2 end notes.

  1. i have no valid opinion based on the experience of being black to speak about.
  2. as a white american, i am used to having my opinion heard, and used to taking for granted how my experience informs my opinions.
  3. experience and opinions are distinctly different.
  4. so are opinions and facts.
  5. i must learn the difference.
  6. to learn the difference i must unpack the unique privilege i live with.
  7. privilege as a white american is my experience.
  8. to be informed, that means i have to thoughtful about that.
  9. thoughtfulness about privilege means understanding my experience of safety, connected directly to my color, is a privilege of birth.
  10. i have never had my safety threatened because of the color of my skin.  that’s the privilege part.
  11. my experience of safety being different from someone else’s does not make my opinion about someone else’s safety experience valid.
  12. i was taught by my mentor teacher when i was 25 yrs old that when i have more resources than someone else, my job is to serve those with less than privileged resources than me.
  13. that’s the informed part.
  14.  safety, as a middle-class white american, is a resource i have plenty of.
  15. it makes me uncomfortable to recognize this.
  16. it disgusts me in fact, and makes me feel powerless.
  17. i try to imagine what people of color live with every day.
  18. that makes me feel emotional again and powerless and GUILTY.
  19. guilt makes me even more uncomfortable to speak about my privilege. that due to nothing other than my color of skin i will not have to worry for the safety of my life or of the lives of my bio fam or my white friends.
  20. my uncomfortability is not my opinion, it is my experience.
  21. emotions i experience = my own subjective experience that only i can speak to.
  22. that’s why i am speaking about being a woman with the privilege of being white in america.
  23. one opinion i have is that other white people’s uncomfortability is confused with their subjective experience, which means their lived experience of safety.
  24. another opinion i have, informed by the fact of my profession as a trauma-informed counselor, is that because people in general have been taught to shame their emotions, they don’t know how to manage or process them as a normal, metabolic function.
  25. informed opinions are opinions based on fact.
  26. my informed opinion is that humans in general aren’t good at creating their own distinction between their emotional response and thoughtful, informed opinion.
  27. what i mean is their emotions (their experience in their body) gets in the way of seeing facts clearly.
  28. another opinion i have is that not seeing facts clearly leaves us with lots of emotional, often aggressive or hurtful opinions.
  29. it’s a vicious circle, dig?
  30. fact: we call that circle cognitive-behavior.
  31. we (informed professionals,) when discussing the cognitive-behavior of whites when it comes to privilege, safety, and race, call that unconscious bias.
  32. the unconscious bias of white people bums me out.  that’s a personal truth of my lived, subjective, emotional experience.
  33. truth and fact are different, too.
  34. that difference is what i love about being human…the endless creative potentiality of the collective personal truths of human resilience, curiosity and open-mindedness, connection, meaning-making, and soul.
  35. in that regard, all people consistently, in my eyes, can be continually redeemed.

here are three facts.  they are different from opinions.

  1. the right to assemble and practice freedom of speech (protest) is a right guaranteed to all americans under the first amendment
  2. peaceful assembly to practice free speech is different from rioting and looting
  3. there is a clinical relationship, proven by nueroscience, between people with the complex trauma of long-term, chronic environmental exposure to violence acting out violently as a means of their *perceived* only option

End Notes*

*to understand what it is to perceive something, head back to the above and the difference between thoughtful reflection on experience, and emotional reaction

*i am happy to provide you the data for fact number 3

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