I am not often deliberately autobiographical here at Heidi Li's Potpourri. But sometimes an ally asks you to join in a project and ...
Apparently, some in the Pumasphere are playing the following game: if tagged we are asked to write six things about ourselves AND tag six other bloggers to do the same, as part of a way of supplying some diversion for those who will be sauntering the web with care over this weekend. So, in name of community building and camaraderie:
1. Yes, I am 5 feet, 9 inches tall. If you have seen me in person, and you are insightful you know this and will not get bogged down in discussions of whether height is relative and what my height means for you. Recently, I attended an event where a very insightful person questioned my height, and when I asked whether he really did indeed want to get into a conversation about the nature of reality, he quickly replied that given his full head of dark brown hair, completely ungreyed, he saw no point in going there.
2. According to my mother, I never asked for a brother or a sister (after me, my mom went through some pregnancies that the babies didn't survive) but when I was about three or four I requested a cat, so I would have "somebody to talk to" when she and my father were talking to each other. I named the cat that arrived Mischief Funnyface Feldman, and no better black and white alley cat has ever been a better companion. Mischief was also an excellent conversationalist which was fortunate since my parents were plenty able to spend time in good conversation with each other.
3. I love to nap.
4. I love to laugh, and probably the reason I am still with my husband and always will be is that he is uniquely able to crack me up.
5. I was raised in a fiercely anti-racist home, really one that was unusually like that for its time and place. My mother, in particular, instilled in me the attitude that skin color simply is not relevant to evaluating a person. She and my father established the authenticity of their own view by not batting an eye when the first person I ever lived with - and the person who became the aforementioned husband - turned out to be brown with a name that most Americans find to be quite the tongue-twister. They met the young man and the first thing they said to me when we spoke in private was that THIS was a person who showed the sort of kindness and intelligence that they thought would make me happy.
Now I knew that this color-blindness was quite uncommon. Still is, I imagine. I was not, and am not, naive about the lack of color-blindness in this world. And until this election year I felt my life was nothing but the better for having had instilled into it both anti-racism and color-blindness - for never thinking that color of a person's skin was relevant to his or her value. But here is a paradox: while I understand intellectually that the election of a non-white to the Presidency of the United States of America is historically remarkable, I cannot become interested in President-elect Obama's imminent inauguration simply because of the color of his skin. And that's because I have never really paid attention to the color of his skin. So, in a slightly perverse way I am alienated from the obviously authentic joy other people take in the fact that we are about to have our first non-white President. Again, I stress that I get it on an intellectual level. I do not even think that it is per se racist to be moved simply by color of the our incoming President's skin. The paradox arises for me because skin color has simply mattered so little to me throughout my life, I cannot suddenly make it matter to me now.
6. In a way, I wish I could make it matter, because I admit I feel a loss at not being swept up in pure joy that many people of good will are genuinely feeling as they see the upcoming inauguration like Rev. Jesse Jackson does: “It is a huge civil rights moment,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “Barack Obama has run the last lap of a 54-year race for civil rights."
The last lap: from where I sit, with no ERA, with 51 Percent's goals far from realized, with misogynist, homophobic Rick Warren about to bless the new president's term we have laps and laps and laps still to run. But I do hope the inauguration of Barack Obama is at least part of the tortuous path in the quest for a truly liberal society, one where accidental features of individuals - their skin color, their gender, their sexual orientation, their nation of origin - have nothing to do with how we measure one another's worth. Only time will tell.
I will be extending invitations to the following blogs' authors to join in the game of tag. (Note, given the evolving nature of how people use the term "Puma" I am taking the liberty of identifying blogs I find interesting and in keeping with the self-governing independence of thought that to me characterizes the emerging core of Puma political thinking).