Thursday, June 25, 2015

News on Race, Love and Getting after it

It's okay to document every day micro-aggressions.  It pushes us all to be more robust in our thinking and approach about the relationship between race, culture and class, among the several others.  Here's what happened to me recently: 

1) In May, I was on a plane heading west to Las Vegas seated next to an older woman from Cleveland, OH.  She was sweet from the moment I squeezed into the seat next to her and clearly ready for conversation, she said: "There are so many people on this plane with passports!  Now which country are you from?"
2) Misa and I were in Boston and Chicago last week and if prompted she might tell you first about one of our best cab rides into the city.   We had a few hits and misses, but this one was a hit in spite of how it started.  The first thing the driver asked me was if I was Chinese.  Seriously.  No context, no purpose - just if I was Chinese.  After telling him my family is from Guam and we are Chamorro, he followed up with: "Oh so you're Portugese?" 

3) Finally and thankfully the last experience happened at a Boston Red Sox game in one of the outside bars at the infamous Fenway Stadium and our super enthusiastic server said, "You look like my nieces best friend.  Let me show you a picture of her  . . . She is Thai.  Are you Thai?"

Sheesh. I hope to get a break for at least a few months from these every day acts that represent how stereotypes, discrimination, biases and prejudices generalize.  The real deal though isn't about others and their mostly unintentional demeaning actions; it's more a responsibility I have to reflect on what I do and can do better.  

In the professional world, I spent time with a group of teachers and instructional coordinators engaged in critical literacy work.  During one incredibly important discussion where contention turned to really good work, I felt psyched to be a part of #TheWork to facilitate understanding about critical literacy.  The fact that teaching literacy ought to be planned and thought about through the lens of privilege and power -- the essence of social justice and critical race theory made the process fun and exhausting both, the kind of work at the end of the day that tells us all there obviously is more work to be done. 

So now it's 15 days since the last day of school and I'm sleeping and running and climbing.  And thinking and feeling and reading.  I finished reading three books I'd recommend:  Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chaste - if you are a fan (or not a fan) of cartoons, still pick this up.  It's a great memoir.  Also check out A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Conner which was especially purposeful to me as her beautiful complexity and forthright questions along with a full range of emotional upsets and realities both startled and connected me to back to that place of love and spirituality.  If you're interested in writing education, read Thomas Newkirk's Holding On To Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones - it's resourceful and makes you think.  If y'all have recommendations, I'm ready for a few new ones to add to my summer list. 

Here's what the climbing scene looked like yesterday at the Lake.  Flat Iron is so classic and kinda f'in hard.  Brad held his own climbing and being the ultimate spotter-boy and Lisa unlocked the sequence and made the problem classic-fun.  The good thing about quartzite is it takes you back to climbing basics: footwork and super subtle micro moves that make big differences. 

 view from the edge

brad still in mocs, still got the footwork

warming up


micro-foot placement

deadpoint or not

spot the poison ivy

if you roll your blood will flow - what did I do without this?
In other news activity oriented . . .

this was a 9 minute train during my run

a long days play ends with John-Pio doing his own work

reminds me we're always in training

Wanted to share my favorite quote:

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked while the bamboo or willow survive by bending with the wind. --Bruce Lee 

Get out there.  Find the bamboos and willows.  --V

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