This series of micro-aggressions brought to you in parable form.
First, I went to the doctor’s office.
Someone at the front desk called the doctor and said “your 10:30 is here.” I was like whaaaaaat? I am nobody’s 10:30! I have a NAME. But yes, I was, in fact, somebody’s 10:30. How de-humanizing! (Um, obviously I’m fine, but it got me thinking about this.)
Then, we went to the park.
It is a pretty sweet park. There are chickens, and a garden, and what’s that? Even an ethnic garden:
Because plants totally recognize artificial imaginary human boundaries that criss-cross our climate. Who’s “ethnic?” Whose “climate?” Go read Ishmael. It’s this proprietary approach to nature that helped land us in this mess in the first place.
Don’t even get me started on the person at the post office who said “It’s really cold in Chicago! Guess ‘global warming’ really is a load of horse manure!” Luckily, the other person behind me said “Well, it’s actually ‘global climate change,’ and something is seriously wrong if it was 80F here this week and -56F there.” Good on you! (Link jumps to Jon Stewart talking sense, too.)
Next, we went to the little museum in the park.
As we enjoyed the manga / anime exhibit on display, we overheard some folks saying “It was no accident that we chose this exhibit – after all, we have quite a large Asian population.”
I blurred their faces because I’m not a monster, but this is how close they were standing to Jim Jim when they made this sweeping pronouncement:
How do you have quite a large Asian population? Did you buy it at the store? Did you get here first?!
(No you did not – don’t even act like you did. By which I mean continually reinforce this altered narrative through misleading possessive word choices.)
Then we went on an aggravating walk.
How are they going to cover from 13,000 BCE to today in a timeline that fits in this park? we wondered very briefly. 20 minutes later, we had finished the walk and found out how easy it is to skip most centuries because BORING.
According to this timeline we are all immigrants and that makes settler-invader-colonialism okay? <– SARCASM
13,000 years is clearly not the equivalent of “time immemorial” because everyone remembers where they were on Tuesday, 13000 BCE. Oh, wait.
Don’t worry everybody, it’s cool, it’s just part of “our” timeline (like “our” heritage):
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO INCLUSIVE?! I WANT TO BE THEIR VERY BEST FRIENDS.
Whoa, sorry that devolved into all-caps there. What I’m trying to say is that critical race theory and cultural studies will ruin your life, and your visits to the park, because you will re-interpret everything as tiny micro-aggressions that contribute to systemic oppression in the United States and globally.
BUT there is hope! I have New Years resolutions to prove it.
The year’s phrases I’m trying to avoid (yay, resolutions for 2014 that make me pause and think) include:
– “my students” — they’re not my students, they are students that I have the privilege of working with. I don’t own them. If anything, they own me because they are paying the school and the school is reimbursing me (slightly) for services rendered. But that’s not a very healthy way of thinking about the service industry, because it leads to stories like “our server was totally ignoring us and idk why it’s not like we were being really obnoxious and rude or he was hella busy cuz he’s underpaid and the place was understaffed!”
– “my sisters” — they’re not mine, I just have the good fortune to be one of four siblings.
– “my husband” — okay, he totally is mine, but that is just one really friggin’ creepy aspect of heterosexual couplings in a capitalist society. I try to say the dude’s name instead of “my” partner / ex-boyfriend / current husband / whatever to show that he has some (however limited) agency in this collaborative partnership.
– “my friend” — ditto above – I don’t have proprietary rights to another person whose existence is only validated through a relationship that I have with them. My first thought was to revise this to “a friend of mine,” but that’s just delaying the inevitable. Instead, I try to say “a really cool / smart / funny person that I know from school / work / wherever” followed by their name, because, you know, personal independent identity is valid.
Not sure if this is helpful to others, but it is complicating enough to make it entertaining to me!
Now carry on, my merry readers, and try to enjoy anything. I dare you! :-P