BIPOC and what it must be like for Black Americans and indigenous people

Listening to solid news coverage about the struggles of immigrants and refugees, I was struck today about how disheartening, depressing, and even traumatizing it might be for Black people (and, now that I’ve been thinking about it, for indigenous people in the US) to have excellent passionate and committed activism and news coverage about the current issues facing immigrants and refugees. Even if Black and/or indigenous people fully support the rights and causes of immigrants and refugees, I can’t help but wonder (and I suspect google would bear this out) if Black and indigenous people might feel once again as if they don’t count or are invisible to the “allies.”

What I mean is this: Black people in America (and indigenous people here) have been terrorized and brutalized for hundreds of years, but they’ve barely made the news. Or, if the issues they face make the news it’s either covered from a white supremacist perspective or it only flashes in and out of the public eye.

Later this morning I saw on twitter an acronym I didn’t recognize: “BIPOC.” Instead of asking the tweeting person what it meant (they are an indigenous rights activist in Canada, I think? and I’m sure are bombarded by white people asking them to explain things) I googled it. It means “Black, indigenous, and people of color.” From what I’ve read, it’s used to help center discussions and work related to racism on people who tend to be marginalized when the term POC is used. For example, POC can refer to anyone who has Black or brown skin (or who identifies as a person of color). But, in general, Black Americans have enormously different histories than do those people who have come here voluntarily.

These days, as I’m hearing about the important good work being done for our neighbors who don’t have documentation stating they are legally allowed to live here, every news story I hear or read I think about how many stories about Black people being arrested and jailed for jaywalking or being systematically shut out of every single institution in the country. At this point, I’m not doing much more than thinking about it, but as I was noticing it, I felt like I wanted to share it.

As always, these notes are quickly written and are by their nature not inclusive of all aspects of these complicated issues. But, I’d rather say something than nothing at all when I’m in a place where it’s appropriate for me to speak/write. (For example, writing on my own blog is an appropriate place for me to take up space.)

still blog-floundering, what’s up with me lately

My friend Paula says we should just blog our hearts out (my paraphrasing, with great liberties). I used to write lots and lots and post it on here. But, that was before the days of “everyone has facebook.” I’m still not sure what I want to do here, though I know I want to lean less on facebook.

Moments ago, I posted some photos on facebook, and it felt weird. I used to share photos of our family’s activities all the time; it was super-fun! And, it’s true that most people I know use facebook. So, a lot of people I care about will see the photos of me and my daughters and our Christmas. Posting photos of my daughters on here feels strange, mostly. What is this blog for, then? I’m still not sure. Maybe just little updates?

I’ll give that a try, again…

I’m still recovering from the concussion I sustained in June, but I’m doing really well. I’ve “graduated” so-to-speak from occupational therapy, physical therapy, and soon will finish up with speech therapy and talk (emotional) therapy. I’ll continue with osteopathic manipulative treatment (“OMT”) and acupuncture for a while now, though at my next appointments I’ll be discussing with the providers how long they think I should continue treatments. (By the way, OMT is amaaaaaaazing and I recommend it highly!) My symptoms (headaches, a certain kind of confused thinking, trouble prioritizing, inability to multi-task) are much less frequent.¬†When they come back, I know what to do to get better and a return to mostly-normal happens pretty quickly. For example, 5-10 minutes of eye and brain rest can get me thinking clearly and just about headache free in most cases.

I’ve stopped writing for the Bangor Daily News, which is a serious disappointment. I was told by someone on staff that opinion columnists who didn’t get enough clicks weren’t getting their contracts renewed. But, I’ve gotten a new regular writing gig about which I’ll share details as soon as my first piece comes out (yay!).

Finances are still quite tight, though bridge loans from my parents after the concussion have made it a little less stressful. Now that I’m able to work on the computer for much longer periods of time without causing terrible concussion symptoms, I should be back to work at the level where I’m not terrified every month about whether or not I’ll be able to pay my bills. It’s not close to how it was when I started writing about being “newly poor,” but it’s closer to it than I’d like. I’m perennially grateful my parents were in a position to provide the bridge loans to me. What I’ve been through with this concussion could have ended much worse if it wasn’t for my lucky birth circumstances.

As I think about and ruminate over how to use this blog, I’m thinking about my father’s annual Christmas letter. Each year, it’s truly a work of art. (There’s an excerpt from this past Christmas’ letter on his blog, here.) Maybe writing to an unknown audience as I do on this blog could still be an intimate space, I could write stuff like this but maybe rather than train of thought, I could put some more writing effort into it.

But, oh, I don’t know what I’ll do here.

In any case, thanks for reading this far! I hope to make posts worth your time in the future. :-)

me by the treet

being away from Facebook

even just a little bit, cutting back on the number of times I just check, being “away” from Facebook has changed how I feel about it. I knew I didn’t like the way Facebook has crept into every facet of our lives (so many of us, though I do have friends who “don’t do Facebook,” they do exist!). but now, when I “go back to Facebook,” it feels like noise. mostly that’s because Facebook has forced all kinds of garbage onto what I see, but it’s also a product of our chaotic time.

the lesson here for me is to continue the slow weaning process I’ve started.

I’m going to post more freely here, not worrying about whether or not what I write is “share-worthy.” moving away from Facebook seems almost radical at this point, so I’ll keep inching along the road where it’s easier to breathe.

trivial

I’m not finding it easy to use this website/blog as a place to share my random thoughts and updates (like I would usually do on Facebook). Here, it’s a bit of an echo chamber (even though I know my parents get the posts via email (hi, Mom and Dad!)) so I know someone is reading them.

Things I might share on Facebook that aren’t personal updates seem too trivial to waste a post on (so I skip them altogether). That’s an upside to this new exploration.

Transitioning this to a place where I just write and share “whatever” is awkward. Most of the posts on here I thought about a bit and edited and made “worth sharing” (in my mind).

Hm.

what the heck, why not? let’s pretend it’s 1998!

A couple days ago I shared this on Facebook:

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Since then, I’ve been thinking about the days when my website was just me blathering on about whatever I wanted to blather on about. It was a quieter time, as not many people were Internetting (late 90s) in those days. I mean, a lot of us were, but not like it is today.

Sometimes I think about giving up Facebook. It goes against my values on so many levels. But, as the mega-corporation intended, I know I’d miss my connections with friends and family if I cut it out entirely; too many social activities depend on Facebook membership for me to delete my account.

That said, I think I’m going to get real casual about this blog. Who knows if anyone will read it? Some might, but most won’t. The Internet is a loud, loud place. There isn’t room for train-of-thought journal-style posts in the world of high click/reader counts.

I used to enjoy writing about whatever I wanted to write about. Sometimes people read it! Sometimes people “signed my guestbook,” I think it was called back then. Oh, the hand coding felt so fancy! I remember making a guestbook with my earthlink account’s website. Not sure where the server was, it’s all kind of a blur. Anyway… I think I’m going to start posting little life updates and thoughts-as-I-have-them here again instead of posting to Facebook.

This one, I’ll share on Facebook and twitter. After this post, I’m not going to “promote” any of this. I’m just going to have fun. :-)