Friday, January 15, 2010

30 days of livin' like a queen

I'm feeling like this "30 days" is such an exercise for the privileged - and I'm suffering and struggling through that thought this week. Especially in light of Haiti...and Congo....and Ethiopia....and Bangladesh....and, you get the picture. Looking at national GDP and other data, it's astounding to really reflect on my own wealth. This isn't a new thinking and linking exercise for me. I use this to help my students think about wealth. Go ahead, I dare you.

So I ask myself, who the heck has the luxury to give up things that aren't essential anyway?  Answer: me
This has been a little thorn in the whole program for me - but this week I have been totally sunk by it. It's a worthy exercise, and I like the lessons that are obvious (and not so obvious) takeaways. There is a piece of this, however, that is like indulging a game, a contest with myself and against powerful social forces, or indulging a tension and working to triumph over the tension of spending vs. not spending. What I'm thinking about today (this week, more accurately) is the conflict between an exercise and a transformation.  I'm a little concerned about finishing 30 days and saying, "oh, that was cool, now bring back the Chipotle!" You know?

When I was taking my Healing Racism class we talked about white guilt. Many people of color have no tolerance for white guilt. My white guilt is their waste of time. For GOOD reason. Being a good ally involves action, not guilt. Like white guilt, there is NO advantage to wallowing in the guilt of my possessions, or my power. Only the force of action is going to bring change into my life and the lives of others. Understanding MY PRIVILEGE is essential (just like understanding my whiteness is essential). So...I rally my personal agency for good and try to keep my personal 'becoming' happening and progressing. That's what I can do right now.

30's happening as planned this week. No extras, except for our donations for relief to Haiti. Haiti isn't an extra - it's an essential. Because that's our obligation to humanity.

1 comment:

jayme said...

I'm *so* right there with you. We've been having lots of good conversations around here about what our ethical obligations really are going forward.

In other news, I am really looking forward to the white privilege conference.