Excerpt: “I Didn’t See Any Sexism in High School”

 

From the chapter entitled “Personal Story”

For someone like me, who comes from a place of privilege in confronting the ecological issues of our time, it was a real eye-opener to realize that the systems that cause the ecological damaged that I find so desperately heartbreaking are the same systems that also cause the profound injustices in our society, injustices that I was blind to, that I was privileged to be blind to.

But I also I learned that there’s a lot of power in seeing that those of us working on social justice issues and those of us working on ecological issues are fundamentally working on the same thing. There is potentially a lot of power in taking the awkward and uncomfortable steps of reaching across these divides, and joining our efforts together. We’re all working on the same thing: changing the worldview of Modern Mind, a worldview that sees both certain classes of people and the Web of Life as things to be used and thrown away.

This particular piece in The Holy Universe is autobiographical. I had recently taken a workshop on White Privilege, and was explaining what it was to my friend. The last four stanzas are almost word-for-word what we said to one another. It starts on page 259.

•  •  •

“Yard work time in about an hour?” asked
the Seeker’s wife, poking her head through
the bedroom door. Yard work time was something
they did together once a week.

They took turns deciding what to work on,
and today it was his turn.

……………………………“Okay,” said the Seeker. He was lying in bed,
……………………………reading a book entitled  Unraveling Whiteness.

She watched him as he read.
“Is that one of the ones the Sage suggested?”

……………………………“Yeah. It’s a real eye-opener.”

She thought for a moment, then said, “You
know, I wonder . . . I guess it’s still a big
problem, but it’s gotten better, right?” She
paused. “I mean, like back in high school—
I just don’t remember any racism against the
Asian kids or the African-American kids.”

……………………………The Seeker put the book on his chest, and
……………………………frowned. Then, after a moment, he looked
……………………………at her, and raised his eyebrows. “Well, yeah.
……………………………To be honest, when I was in high school, I
……………………………sure didn’t see any sexism going on.”

Her head gave a little jerk backward. She
looked at him with a frown, then bit her lip,
looked away, and said, “Oh.”

……………………………The Seeker gave a small nod. “Yeah.”

 

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