(Written 3 weeks ago) In 2003, I returned to Germany after over almost three decades away. In the years since, I developed a very bittersweet view of Germany, by actually living and working outside of the sectors, places and professions where “foreigners” are more commonly seen or present. Not just visiting on occasion or even regularly. Even beyond the topical, Germany seems very progressive in many ways: sexuality, multiculturalism and ethically, and my favorite (not) how well they handled culpability of the European Holocaust. Yet if you ask the majority of POC who live here and European or allies in the know, you almost always receive a bemused smile and a head shake….if not an outright negative. Most of the progressiveness is applied exclusively to white people, as rigidity of mind and the practice of stereotyping is so adamant, while simultaneously believing themselves open-minded and/or open to whomever being allowed to do whatever they want. Untreated trauma, deep neuroticism and self-pity is a heady drug.
As one participant in my documentary on Native stereotypes in Germany expressed (and with which I agree), most of the supposed freedom of this kind is used to support being bigoted. On one hand: “Sure, do or be whatever you want”, and the other hand, “But you are ____, ____ & _____”. You are their stereotype of you, which they use to justify all types of censure, repression, and exclusion of you. You will never ever be but a stereotype to many Germans, which seems okay to them because it might be a stereotype they like or have fetishized. While I may seem overly critical, this type of behavior is applied to their own people, too. A vicious cycle of traumatized people who are unwilling to break the cycle, where surviving and resorting to unapologetic self-centeredness is considered a positive trait and normalized. Even when it includes racism, white supremacist ideology, sexism, ableism and pure hedonism.
But enough about that.
My point is, there’s a very deep trauma. They hurt each other, they hurt others, and they ignore it or consider it normal, i.e. “a dog eat dog world”. And like their white American peers, the demographic who are academics, professionals and similar do not and vigorously reject they are racist in behavior, even when they are racist in behavior, action and beliefs. They largely keep a genteel face on their dehumanization and continuing violence against others, hiding behind the argument of civility and niceness. Or they simply do not recognize those traits for what they are.
Many are trying to wake up. They are trying to break the cycles of violence, lack of empathy, emotional brutality and uncaring. And they’re trying to do it in a better way that just appropriation or misusing other peoples and cultures. Because in some cases, cultural appropriation is a way some people try to cope with their unloving, competitive and compartmentalized societies. It is a response.
One of the best ways to help create change is through education. Of adults, too, not just children. We’ve all been taught wrong behaviors, practices, responses and information. Harmful, unnatural behaviors and knowledge. Wrong ways to treat each other, to interact. Wrong ways of teaching, of guidance, too. Or…they’ve forgotten their original ways.
Like my previous post on rejecting any invitation to debate systemic racism, my time and energy is better served helping those who want to be helped. Those who want to create and be part of positive change and creating better intercultural relationships. Those who believe it is critically necessary for a better future for all children. Along with them I’m focusing on education, which outlines the valid criticism but with solutions and healthy support.
(Written this week, after filming on Sunday) I am feel better today to start back working on the writing or projects that I can do. Spending some time with other people who “get you” helped with that, talking about your stuff, challenges, hurts, past, present? And they get it? That rarely happens with Germans or white people so that I mostly stopped doing it. And of course, that makes you sad. It hurts. It’s not that you don’t like them anymore. It’s that most are almost like “cut-outs” going through the motions of life, but not doing anything really either. Not trying to help anyone but themselves, and seeing how much and what they can get. They don’t know how to take care of each other, to care about others because the stereotypes, the differences, the racist/individualist fundamentals have been preached to them, in addition to the infinitely hurtful/harmful statement that you should be able to take care of anything by yourself if you are a 1) real man, 2) real woman. Supposed encouragement that is actually competitive BS that is derogatory.
I remember hearing from so many other cultures and ethnicity real, good living is about helping others. And that’s the exact opposite for many of them. Then they still wonder why they lack, and are always looking for something new to make them better when they don’t even know what’s wrong in the first place. Cultural appropriation, exploitation and spiritual misuse is largely about what is lacking in themselves and/or their societies, for which they are understandably searching. Understandably! Yet having learned exploitive, racist, colonial practices combined with a lack of knowledge and understanding of accurate history and why the world is how it is, and who it benefits? It’s a perfect storm of abuse. They perpetuate it on others all while crying and believing they have it worse than anyone or we’re all one people now or the “that’s the past” mentality where you can and should conveniently (for white people) skip over all that was done and is still being done.
They are genuinely traumatized people who never admitted, had it deliberately erased/buried for them, plus the rewriting of their brutalization by that “lovely” group of white guys, who fictioned themselves into heroes, while also hurting and misusing the best, the brightest, the most sensitive and wonderful of their own demographic, too. It’s no wonder. Yet another reason why Indigenous and other knowledge and perspectives are so needed. We all need to get away and get rid of their racist, sexist, hetero-patriarchal systems that has destroyed billions, the creatures of the Earth and the Earth itself.
When you work with the topics of racism, white supremacist ideology and structures and oppression mainly, it is exhausting anyway, but especially when you are subjected to it every single GD damn day. I’ve also been tired a long time of lateral oppression and violence, bigotry, prejudice, gossiping and in-fighting from other Native people and often what is exclusion from Black people and the African diaspora, too. Especially as the single parent of a young adult with ASD and special health needs, that has taken an enormous sacrifice of finances, time and energy of me, but which I do because that is what needs to be done. It was never a question of making hard decisions and helping him on his path, even when it meant losing “friends” and others who showed they were actually homophobic, transphobic and prejudiced. Hurt like hell, it still does, but I keep going and will keep going and supporting others who need help. In turn, that helps and supports me.
No time for the “More Native than you”, or “We only support Natives who live in their homeland” bullshit, or the Blood Quantum police. Especially in that the majority of those doing so have never asked me one question, never spoken to me or anything.
No time for the “You’re bougie” or “You think you’re better than us, you’re just Black” or the coconut or apple comments. What’s funny about all that is none of them know my life, my experiences and what has made me who I am today even if they have selectively learned bits and pieces here and there. Like anyone else, I continue to learn, change and try to be a better person. No time for it.
Whoever they are, the people who want to do better, work together, support, help and love each others, no matter your ethnicity, background, skin color, sexuality, gender or anything else? That’s who I am going to work with and work for because I’m really tired of dealing with the traumatized folks trying to put their prejudices and issues on to me. Life is hard enough, living is hard enough, without trying to tear down others trying to do good and survive.
What happening next? Major surgery for my son in October, so there is a LOT of planning, stress and hard work that before and even more afterwards.
Current Projects or Work? 1) Trying to finish my documentary film project ALMOST, 2) continue development of my Indigenous future video game, and find a distributor for my former documentary, Forget Winnetou! Loving in the Wrong Way.