31 March 2016

You. Yes you. Stop being a racist d*ck.

I can't make everything right. I can't magically fix the world. But every now and then I have the opportunity to stop the world being a little bit stupid by pointing out what is painfully obvious to almost everybody else but which some people just don't get.

This is one of those times. 

The following expressions, and many like it, mean you are a racist. Maybe only a little bit racist (thanks AvenueQ for the earworm) but still - racist.
  • "Them Chinese are shoddy."
  • "Well he WAS an Indian taxi driver."
  • "Couldn't find a real Australian at the fete for all the Asians."
  • "Are there any of your kind at the school you attend or is it all, you know?"
  • "Oh no, not a local black, a foreign black, you can trust them."
  • "You can't be Kanye without a black face."
  • "Why did a pretty blonde like you marry an Oriental?"
  • "Aboriginals are all addicts at heart."
I get that you might not recognise you are racist - because you certainly don't get that you're unkind and making a prize twat of yourself whenever you open your mouth, but it's not okay people. 

It's not okay to say it to somebody you are serving in a bank.

It's not okay to assume a blonde women is the nanny if her children have Asian heritage.

It's not okay to make negative generalisations about an entire race based on your disdain for anybody that doesn't speak English as a first language.

It's not okay to dispossess a native people and then buy the bloody Daily Telegraph and absorb it's hate as gospel.

It's not okay to badmouth people at the next table to yours because you don't think they can hear you.

It is not okay to refer to people of colour when you are artificially orange. #drumpf

I could go on. But let's stick with it's not okay to make any kind of negative judgement based on any kind of visible difference ever.

It's definitely not okay to assume that because I have the fair skin of my Celtic ancestors and English as my native tongue that I'm a racist arse like you and want to participate in conversations perpetuating hate. 

It's just not okay. It is especially not okay to say it to me, in front of my children, around my friends, about my friends or about the guy over that I really don't like because he's a knobstick.

I don't want to have to tell my daughters that you're talking bullshit. That you are spewing hate and that you are clearly an idiot because you think somebody's skin colour or racial heritage means that you are better than they are. 

I don't want my daughters' friends exposed to casual racism, deliberate racism or any other kind of racism because they have a more melanin in their skin. I don't want my girls to notice the colour of their friends skin for any other reason than they love to get these things just right when they do their colouring in.  They know that some of their friends look different to them but they don't care because they choose friends on the basis of shared interests and, BECAUSE THEY LIKE THEM, not because they have a matching skin colour. 

Kids might be weird but they are a whole lot smarter than us in this regard.  We're the ones that fuck it up for them with our petty prejudices and skin related arrogance.

So. Just. Stop.  Stop with the racism.

You're embarrassing yourself. 

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23 March 2016

I met a beekeeper

An apiarist if you would like to use the correct term.

They have a farm up near Emerald. They sell their honey to Capilano which is great because that's my favourite honey and it's always nice to contribute to a conversation with a stranger with something positive even if completely pointless.

She was one of fourteen children, had nine of her own over a quarter of century. The youngest is now a quarter of a century old. They live all over but not far from home.

Except for one daughter. One daughter she hadn't seen in almost ten years. Married to a lovely fellow, two gorgeous kids, works for a televison company. Very clever she is.  About to turn 40.

In fact, she was flying in as a surprise to celebrate the 40th. Her son-in-law and some of her other daughters had planned it.

This was her first time flying.  She was in her 70s and she'd never been on a plane in her life until yesterday.

She was in parts terrified, excited and overwhelmed.

But most of all so touchingly thrilled to be seeing her daughter.

We chatted on the plane, through the airport and out to where she was meeting her son-in-law. She'd never seen so many people or so much commotion in one place in her life.

When she saw the son-in-law he gave her a big hug, then she gave me a big hug to say thank you and got in his car and away they drove.

I cried. I was so ridiculously happy for her.

I don't even know her name. But I will be thinking of her for a long time.

I hadn't seen my babies for 36 hours and I had missed them so much. To let your children fly free and live their own lives, even if it means you don't see them for 87, 600 hours... well that's a whole lot of love.

A whole lot of love indeed.

Be the beekeeper people. Be the beekeeper. Love freely.

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8 March 2016

There was a little girl

Once upon a time in a made up town in a sheep paddock, there lived a little girl.

That little girl lived the life she lived. And she did alright at the living bit because one day she become a woman.

This wasn't because she was blessed with the monthly bleeding that signals possible fertility, or because she lost her maidenhead to a fair prince who took a chance, or any of the other myriad reasons that people mythologise as part of their ongoing depictions of women, but because she turned 18 and legally became an adult so people stopped referring to her as a girl.

To be honest, she didn't feel very different from when she was a girl. Life made no more sense than it ever had and quite often she felt like an imposter. She wondered at the confidence with which other people lived their lives and marvelled at the intelligence of the people around her.

She lived her life in the shadow of insecurity but talked enough to cover it. She did lots of amazing things and lots of mundane things and lots of things of which she was very proud and lots of things of which she was not proud and lots of things that were kind and lots of things that were probably not kind and sometimes she got it very very right and sometimes she got it very very wrong.

Life took her from one place to another and never involved magic or fairy godmothers or lucky beans. But the thing that she did start to discover as the years went by in a way that had not been clear or obvious to her when she was younger was the power of 'other women'.

Some 'other women' where villainous and cruel and generally not very nice and for a while she thought that this was because of her. Oh dear readers, how arrogant was this little girl to believe that people's ugliness or otherwise was directly attributable to her. Alas and Alack, she is not alone in believing this and it is a stronger and more durable spell than any that has been conjured in a Disney movie.

But then, like all stories without any kind of decent plot and with not even a halfway decent segue, she discovers the power of 'the other kind of other women'. These women were like the trail of glitter that comes out of a gassy unicorn - dusting everything they landed on with a bit of sparkle.

They revelled in the successes of other women. Supported them in ways that were loving and kind. They laughed. They cried. They profaned. They advised and sometimes they agreed that life was a bitch and then on those days, the days we all have sometimes, they said nothing at all, they were just there.

And there was so much to learn from these other women. It was a relief to the little girl to finally just be the very best and very worst of who she was knowing that there was a lot of 'the other kind of other women' out there. In fact they were in the majority. And like all women, they had been little girls and weren't really sure sometimes exactly where they were going to end up, or even what the fuck they were doing, but that didn't mean they had to tear other women down to get there.

It wasn't that they liked everybody. And it wasn't that they were perfect in any way. It was just that the magic happened in focussing on the positives, and not the negatives when it came to their very femaleness, and it was just generally a much nicer way for women to live. Especially because pay gaps, inequality, sexism, misogyny and all that.

Nobody wants to fight that shit on their own.

So to all the amazing women out there who started off as little girls without a clue and who have grown into resilient, battered, powerful and glitter coated women (quite possibly still without a clue) - Happy International Women's Day. May there be no need of it or any other fairytales some time soon.

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