Pumpkin Scones And Identity Politics

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Scones because sometimes you just need a baked good to bring it all home and pretend you have nothing else to do than sit in a cozy room and drink tea. Scones because sometimes a lot of things happen in one week that point to the same question and it’s a hard question. Scones because I usually keep my mouth shut about politics because what could I say in light of the vastness of it all? But especially scones because I’m about to go out on a limb and actually talk about politics so first a food offering to show that I come in peace.

How do we talk about politics without pointing fingers?

I think this is my question for the week. Underneath it is a bigger question. How do we relate to our individual identities–to diversity–and to the inequalities, and yes violence, that we can experience based on these without pointing fingers?

The media does not report the news objectively. It does so based on categorization of gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, and more…you name it. The media is written, read, and created by ordinary human beings. We do not regard each other objectively. We regard each other based on the aforementioned distinctions and so many others.

Both daily inequality and largescale violence arise from these distinctions. Examples in my mind this week (it’s been a hell of a week for violence and inequality): the shooting at Charlie Hebdo, the bombing of the NAACP in Colorado, Scarlett Johanssen’s latest casting, and one’s woman’s experiment on walking down the street.¬†There’s religious and ideological aggression, there’s race aggression, there’s the silencing of race and religious aggression, there’s gender aggression. And in all cases the aggression tends to go both in the direction of aggressors towards victims and victims towards aggressors. Which makes us all aggressors in the end.

If we generalise, we can maybe sum it up like this: extreme religious groups versus liberal cultural groups; racial majorities versus racial minorities; men versus women. This week’s prime aggressions range from the grave taking of lives and the attempt to do so, to the silencing of a certain group’s experience by erasing them from the media, to the daily antagonisms created by generations-long habits (because apparently men are used to having space made for them and do not get out the way when walking in the street).

At the end of the day, it’s a lot of violence. What I wonder is this: does outrage at violence do something other than create more violence? And if it doesn’t, then how do we react differently to create something other than violence?

I see all this stuff and it makes me heartbroken. It also makes me exhausted and angry. Looking at my own experience, I would postulate that positive change happens when we work from the heartbreak, because this is our love for others. When we fall into frustration and anger, we only sow the seeds for further violence and aggression. Can we rally for each other without rallying against some one else?

Still waiting to find out. And trying to start by keeping my finger pointed firmly at myself; change begins here. Because until I clarify my own aggression, I don’t think I can do much for the rest of the world.

Other than make scones. Recipe…

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