There’s only one way to break a someone who is living in an extreme fantasy world, but it means risking the mind of the person themselves. It is tantamount to throwing the baby away with the bathwater. You must accept that this throws out the baby as well (a metaphor which suits Donald particularly well), because they do not–cannot–function properly outside of their bathwater. They have not learned how.
Facebook is not a news feed. It is an opinion feed where subjective ignorance is lauded and verified journalism denigrated simply by creating a false equivalence. It is a he said-she said feed. And I cannot stay in a relationship with anyone or anything which undermines my ability to trust in myself. I am thrown back into gaslit trauma where there is no security, no clarity. It is the screeching of chaos and now I must make my own order.
What I see when I look in the mirror is someone to fear. Someone who will cost society money–a liability as opposed to an asset. And I’m scared. Terrified even. I feel like I’ve fooled those I love and who love me. I’ve always wanted to be loved and to be the kind of person worthy of being loved. And now it’s as if they’ve got a present wrapped up in a shiny bow but opened it up just to find something ugly and vile inside. Me.
Like the flare up of an allergy, and since the shock of the midsummer brexit, I am now in hypervigilance. I see potential harm long before it turns into active threat. And when the red rage comes, I fight or flee to remove that potential from my environment, from my children’s environment. With the Trump presidency, I cannot. It is everywhere. I see it everywhere. Threat is everywhere.
You’ve heard it in so many wise texts; power is a gift, use it wisely. And what is wisdom? Wisdom is understanding that you know very little and that that is a natural consequence in being human. You are human. And you know very little.
We attach to those of our ilk, beyond rationality. And few of us have enough self-awareness to overcome it. The law and our systems were designed to counteract this; ‘the law is reason free from passion’. The very concept of the American electoral system is based on a fundamental belief that some people are able to be more objective than others and will vote for the benefit of all. And yet because of the strength of their own self-interest, the strength of their own reptilian instincts, they will naturally fail to do so.
So white folk, we have a task in front of us which might seem huge, but really it isn’t. It is to face our own prejudice when the most obvious and comfortable way to survive is to stay in our bubble. It is to step up and be accountable for our ignorance, even if ignorance is part of our humanity. I will hold your hand as we overcome our fragility and cultivate empathy and battle our minds which tell us that it’s not our problem.
In-groups are formed by what we consider to be ‘relevant’ familiarity. Children, and even adults, process most of our information visually which means that varying skin tones might be not only the first but also the only indicators for who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’.
Your limits are otherwise known as your boundaries, they’re what you use to protect your power, to govern it responsibly. They’re what allows you to interact healthily with others.
One reason why this immigration was considered successful had nothing to do with Sweden’s ability to integrate immigrants; only that the type of immigrants arriving were more easily ‘integrate-able’ as is still the case today for me. At first sight therefore, when immigrants are able to fit into Swedish culture at a level which allows them to peaceably live and work within the system, we do not see backlashes against immigration.
But when people are dear to me, I feel they deserve more than ghosting. They deserve at least an attempt to explain why our relationship will be changing. The choice is not binary of course, we could simply be less in each other’s lives. I could reduce contact, fobbing them off with excuses until I achieved my desired effect. But that reduces their power of consent. If they knew how I truly felt about their values and/or consequent actions, then they may choose to cut contact altogether.
There are some instances where objectification is entirely appropriate and needed. For a short while–for example–a baby cannot walk, and cannot feed itself. They have no agency, no power to decide on where they go or what they do. As parents or caregivers we take on this agency. We are literally a baby’s arms and legs… we dress them, we feed them, we pick them up and put them down.
Because I went. I saw Tarzan. I objectified, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so, thinking it at best harmless fun and at worst a sort of inconsequential revenge for all the years that my sisters and I have been objectified. This is what the men go on about, I thought. Yes, it’s fun. Besides, surely the price of a cinema ticket makes no difference in the grand scheme of things…. does it?
I’m not laughing anymore. I’m crying because what this farce of an election has done, is to uncover evil in my own home, in my own friends and yes, also in myself. It has torn the veil off those relationships I believed were rock solid. Not because my world or social circle are anything like as extreme as Trump, but because extreme or not, his vile behaviours–like the objectification of women–are so commonplace.
Welcome to the Swedish hen do–not a penis in sight–but where instead you can dress up as a pantomime cow to play five-a-side football.