Ashley and I have had a hard time expressing what we've learned so far. It's like we just want people to be here in South Africa with us, only THEN could they actually understand some of the things we've experienced. Additionally, we set about with the goal of "listen and learn" while we are here, so that means we've done a lot of listening and not a lot of talking. (The picture above is from our visit to the Slave Lodge; one of the oldest buildings and Cape Town and was originally used to store and sell slaves).
For example, the other day, we were talking to Shelby and Neil about Christianity and religion, and we also talked to another friend Rachel about how she has come to learn 4 different languages, and we didn't really have a lot to say in response. It was mostly just, "Yeah? Wow! Tell me more about ______." with the occasional follow up questions like "What about ____? How did you feel about that?"
Sometimes listening and learning doesn't include room for an added expression of what you think. Sometimes, it's JUST listening. That can make you really uncomfortable when you actually do have something to say. You have to swallow it down like a burp that had a little something extra. Knowing when to hold your tongue and when to speak is actually like super freaking difficult. My natural inclination is to talk blah blah blah blah blah because, hey, I have a B.A. in theater so I need attention and I know how to get it, and also I'm an interesting person. However, I've also come to learn that I actually don't know that much, and I do have blind spots in my perspective, especially when it comes to race.
We recently went to a friend's house who has three adorable little girls. They look like they're white, but their dad is "coloured," which means they are technically "coloured" according to the old racial classifications. But would anyone see them that way and guess it right away? Certainly not. Isn't that so weird!? Ashley has the same problem; her dad is Puerto Rican, but she doesn't immediately look like she is, so she has to choose what to put down on paperwork when it asks for your race. I don't have that problem; I'm super white.
But, also, I was reading in "White Fragility" that Italian people were once not considered white. Neither were Armenians, Irish, and Russians. Who decided to change that classification? Other white people.
Why does it matter to them so much who's white and who's not? Because it determines who gets to benefit from the system. The economic system, the social system which undergirds everything. #RACISM #YELLITFROMTHEROOFTOPS #RAACISSSMMMM
This stream of consciousness writing is hard. I don't know what I'm writing about anymore, and I'm trying not to read anything I've written already. I know I was talking about listening and learning earlier, but maybe I don't have that much to say about it. Why? Because that's all I'm trying to do. Listen, and learn. Not "listen, learn, and write a blog about it so everyone can learn the same things I'm learning."
I feel like someday I'll be able to express myself about these things, but maybe not right now.
Oh wow, look at all those birds. They're flocking around the rooftop and chasing each other. I think flocks of birds look like three-dimensional waves. Watching birds is kind of like watching the wind. You never actually see the wind, only it's effects. In the same way, you never actually see a "flock." It's just a word that means "a lot of birds."