Does anyone have any pointers on what to say to someone who has just said something to the effect of "why am I being hassled at the border? I'm White."

I don't want to "win" over this person. I want to change their minds. Or at least get zer to question what ze's saying and why ze's saying it. Or at least not just sit there and feel awkward... again.

I fear saying "what you just said sounds kind of racist/xenophobic/intolerant" or even "can you explain that remark" will cause zer to get defensive, which will turn this from a dialogue into an argument that appears to be over racial profiling but is really about egos.

I was thinking of leading with something along the lines of:
  • Airport security doesn't actually make any sense. It's theatre
  • The big threat right now in the US is from domestic terrorists (think: militia, the fringe of the Teabaggers), most of whom are White. (Implication - if you're in favour of racial profiling and you're White, get ready to wait...)
  • While we associate the recent heightened security with terror fears, a lot of American border security actually actually has its roots in the "War on Drugs." Which is also stupid.
  • Actually, a lot of people have problems with borders for no good reason. Although granted a lot of power, many border guards are never trained to question their own biases. The same goes for their superiors.

Is there an index somewhere of anti-oppressive etiquette? Some digital love-child of Emily Post and Leslie Feinburg? I could really use this.
Often when I reflect on my life, I criticize myself. I try to figure out a better way of solving the problem. But so many problems are context-specific; tied to a situation that will never repeat; tied to not knowing things that I know now.

I'll do better next time, I think.

Next time? The next time I'm a teenager? The next time I had a strange self-sheltered naiivite that I've now overcome?

Even if we suppose there's a life after this, it's like a written exam: you can take notes all you want, but you don't get to take them in with you.

Not "What do I think I should do?"

Nor "What do other people think I should do?"

Or "What direction do I seem to be heading down?"

But. "What do I actually want to do?"

It's a scary question.

It leads you down all sorts of unforeseen paths. Work. Love. Gender. Family. Religion.

Ask yourself this:

What kind of a person do you want to be?

And what's stopping you?

Your answer need not be simple, or constant or complete.

It should bring up fear, or pride, or both.
Conversations with my aunt over the weekend reveal the following:

I speak from experience when I say that it is easy to state that you are in favour of a just society and do little more, which frequently means abetting injustice. Learning to see and question social privilege and oppression is a lengthy and grueling process that repeatedly cuts to the heart of how you feel about society and your role (and sometimes your loved one's roles) in it. If it isn't, you are not doing it right.

The upside I've found is that, in that taking a role in examining, then fixing injustice, even a small part of it, or at the very least, trying not to add to a problem, I can move from feeling perpetually guilty and angry about the world, to feeling resolute in that I am helping it and/or fixing it.
[I've made a little edit]

The renaming/rite/of-passage/initiation is a little less than two weeks off now and it is dawning on me that this is a pretty big deal.

With "Sasha" I let an experimental pragmatic name hang on me to see how it affected my balance, so to speak. With "Amy," I am not only taking on a new name; grafting it on rather than simply wearing it. I am not only divesting myself of "Sasha," returning it to the not-so-big pool of transitional names. I am also discarding "Graham" as a name from my extended adolescence, and shedding some of the things that go with it. Furthermore, this also doubles as an adulthood ritual (and my Archaeology assignment).

It's also a symbolic death, and judging by the countdown on my wall calendar, this particular variant of my identity has about twelve days left on this Earth.

On that note, here's what may be the most useful advice that I've picked up in the last twenty-six and some years....

My ears = pierced.

More specifically, after taking the fine suggestions of several people, I went with Rowan to the Sacred Heart outlet on Nelson. There I saw Stephanie who took excellent care in picking out where exactly to poke me. She labeled first, I double-checked, and Rowan, who was wearing corrective lenses unlike yours truly, triple-checked. I think they look good, but if you want to see for yourself...

Very pleased.

This adds an appropriate connection to home that should be a nice thing to have with me, or in/though me, in Ottawa.



Now, this is a gendered rite of passage and reflects on what my Uncle spoke to me about when he drove to Vancouver to meet for dinner.

His big question was, "What about the loyal opposition? Do you have people that care about you, that love you, but who are also willing to caution you against doing something potentially foolish and/or tell me that I'm full of shit?"

I think so. You know who you are. But it's an important question for everyone, so I'm writing it down.

He filled this role well insofar as he tossed me a query that I've been rolling round in my head since - and it applies to so very many things.

"To me, the word 'passing' brings to mind Blacks in America. How important is this to you? How or when is your emotional integrety directly or indirectly dependent on either a mirror or the impression of others? Do you have to 'fool' people to get by?"

I... feel, that part of the issue is that I've seen some lives disrupted, shattered and/or ended by the shit that accompanies transition, and yet, outside of my mind/body psychic turmoil, and serious questions about how to integrate this into my dating life, I've been okay so far, but often due to circumstances that most people don't have, and which I have come to without planning or effort. So I find myself between I-hope-that-doesn't-happen-to-me and why-am-I-so-lucky-in-regards-to-this. A mix of fear and survivor guilt.

Passing comes into this. Not exactly sure how.
Before venturing into the land of the damned, I require a protective amulet.

Erk - uh, too much Prehistory of Religions for me!

I should say before I go to Ottawa for the CFS conference, I want to get my ears pierced. I'm looking to do this on Monday.

Any suggestions on where I should go? Where I should avoid?


In any case, my Prehistory of Religion class kicks ass insofar as it takes "an experiential approach to the foundations of human spirituality."

Or, in other words, "assignment due in week 2: talk to a tree. Week 3: find the sacred axis in your house, and report on the closest thing you've had to an ecstatic experience. "

And so on.
                The hardest worthwhile things:

                        3rd        changing your life

                        2nd       being yourself

                        1st        trying the above, failing, then getting up and trying again
Many people, often including myself, are ashamed to feel bad. Perhaps we think that we have no righ to experience regret, remorse, anger, sorrow, resentment, or even discomfort.

This is not a good way of doing things.
If something is bothering me, then it really is bothering me. Shrugging it off, denying it, or chastising myself won't work. Nor will feeling bad accomplish anything for anyone. I may seem to have no right to feel as I do, or I may actually have no such right. Entitled or not, the feeling will remain.

First I admit to myself that I am upset. Then I try to establish exactly what is contributing to this - be it the source of discomfort itself, other related problems, or other stressors entirely (which would also merit being addressed). Then, if an ear is available, I bounce it off of someone else and they confirm that I am not crazy. Checking in is especially effective for resentment and I find that having a discussion (not a debate) with someone at whom I am annoyed does a world of good with few exceptions to date (even if it leads me to the conclusion that the other person really is just "non-mutual," just like Number 6). Having reached this point, I then try to draw up a goal series (as outlined in a previous post) to set my discomfort to rest, which often means fixing or ameliorating the problem.

This works. It leaves me happier and more functional as a member of society.

The only downside is the mountain of backlogged issues. Still, it's better than leaving it to grow.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth
        - Baz Leurman

One of the most valuable things I've learned is goal setting; which could also be called "temporal action mindfulness," but that would be silly. I would like to share this with you

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