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Sometimes you find treasures…

December 1, 2010

… as you dig through old gmail emails, searching for a lost letter. I miss this cool lady:)

A chat about life… unfortunately, it is heavily censored. But all those thoughts about activism and love and sex? It’s weird to realize that they are all still basically true. For some reason, I just assumed this past year must have changed me in this fundamental way. Actually no. There’s something nice about that.


me: hey what’s up, how are you?
Not me: hey, i’m ok
me: you know what my cousin told me the other night? He implied that i was kind of a loser careerwise
i was totalllly insulted
Not me: hahaha
well, today i was thinking that it would be entirely more honest and probably effective
me: i should be wayy more far ahead than i am right now; like no car, no house, no husband, no regular income…
Not me: if i left the non-profit industrial complex so to speak
me: hmm..
non profit industrial complex sounds like someplace you should leave quickly:)
Not me: and started doing some kind of honest work while joining a social justice movement more on par with being community than telling it what to do while being paid by funders who don’t effectively support change in power structures
but maybe i’ve been reading too much paul kivel 🙂
me: yeah; but one must get paid
and all experience is utlimatley good experience; i would totally sell my soul and work for USAID
(if they offered me a job in bangy)
i have no shame
Not me: 🙂
me: promise; no joke
Not me: shame is a matter of perspective
me: i have become deeplyyy cynical about “activists” and “people working w/ community”
Not me: what do you mean in terms of being more cynical?
me: i’m so turned off by their rhetoric

Not me: i think that is the first time i’ve heard anyone described as an oily creep 🙂
me: oh that’s the general impression i have of him, someone who is almost tangibly slimy
i feel like in a lot of ways those funders are a lot more ideological honest or soemthing
Not me: hmmm… that’s an interesting way of looking at it.
i don’t know about ideologically honest
but definitely, more adjusted to the fact that ideals are not always achievable?
me: i think for me atleast, I expect a certain cynicism w/ policy makers; but when i see the same hypocrisy in people who are “on the ground”, its a lot more demoralizing
Not me: yeah – i hear what you’re saying
me: that’s just me personally… i have this bad association w/ the phrase activist now..
Not me: 🙂
if you accept that it’s imperfect no matter what
me: and not at all because exciting work isn’t happening or that movements are not vital; but… it’s like no one’s really clean
Not me: whether you’re an activist or a consultant or whatever
yeah…but that’s life
me: i don’t know
Not me: we’re all striving towards being clean or pure or perfect, but none of us get there
me: i’m a lot less forgiving
Not me: i think the point is to maintain that struggle
and i’m frustrated because i feel like there’s many aspects of ngos/non-profits that choose to remain blissfully ignorant as opposed to even try
me: yeah
Not me: like especially in the whole “i’m going to work for xxx people because they need help from me, the more priveleged person”
Not me: it’s like the new and improved version of paternalism/imperialism/whatever-ism that these same groups are claiming to be fighting
me: exactlyyy
i never felt that vibe from HIPS staff, they were always talking about priveledge and class and were very aware of it..
Not me: yeah, i’m realizing i’m equally disappointed by american non-profs…
me: ah..:)
Not me: and by “private” funding efforts as much as public ones
me: what do you mean?
i mean howcome you are disappointed?
Not me: funnily enough, i think we just switched sides
i’m disappointed bc i feel like even though people are aware of it, that awareness is skin-deep
like, very shallow
at the org i’m working at, we talk a good game about how class and privelege make a huge difference in one’s experience of domestic violence, but do you see anyone working at our org who can speak to that from personal experience?
do you see anyone on the board who’s less than upper class income bracket?
me: yeah
Not me: do you see any efforts at involving exactly the groups we know are most effected by our services in any kind of leadership?
because when it comes to those discussions, we hide behind the term…well we need people with capacity…with skills
with resources coming in
me: you know i see what you are saying, but taking my past year..where i heard this a lottt, and i always took the back seat because obviously i am a priveleded, high class member here..
which i didn’t mind at all..(taking the back seat)
but then i know this sounds totally fucked up…
but towards the end i realized i knew something about class than a lot of people i was surrounded by
my parents worked at hardees, hyvee, barely scraped by; we are the classic poor immigrant family story
while someone like a*** who grew up in upper class india has never really seen that..
and they are the ones talking about capacities and community
Not me: yeah, but that’s my point – who are talking at the meetings
who are leading the meetings
me: but i guess that just proves your point:)
when looked at it from that specific standpoint, s**** does come closer to an ideal actually than say HIPS…
Not me: it’s like i’m sad at the speed at which we seem to forget how vigilant we must remain to not allow ourselves to fall into that same pattern
i don’t think they’re perfect
but i think the “risk” of having an organization which incorporates community as staff and leadership is much less than an org that “serves” a community that’s totally differently composed
Not me: well – i think part of the problem is hidden

like if you have obvious differences
between those who lead and those who you serve
then political correctness usually kicks in
but if there are not obvious differences
what happens is that people forget (or conveniently ignore?) that inequity exists within community too
me: yeah…
Not me: and that promotes just as much hierarchy (if not more) than the other model
me: yeah… no you are right..
Not me: i feel both like motivated to do more and frustrated at the sheer impossibility of everything
me: i feel motivated to work w/ community
people who are not activists
i’m distrustful of people w/ high morals and high ideals
Not me: so what do you do if someone “turns” activist on you? 🙂
me: if someone claims to be an activist to me, that’sss super obnoxiouis
and they are on my shit list
Not me: hahaha
me: i don’t know any activists who i like
maybe K***e from H**, she was really cool
Not me: aren’t we all activists?
me: nahh; i am nottt
i am hear to make money, gain glory, and fame
those are my goals
Not me: 🙂
me: i am doing everything for myself first
Not me: that doesn’t preclude being an activist though
me: too many activists trying to save the world
Not me: perhaps you are just a more honest activist than many of the rest of us
me: if you don’t do it for yourself, then it’s all a sham
Not me: that’s sort of my point with what i was saying before – if you’re not a part of it from inside the community (like if it’s not your life that you’re altering) it kind of doesn’t really do anything worthwhile
me: i agree
i think people do more harm by “doing good” than just doing a job
Not me: yup.
hence my argument for just wanting to get paid for my random hookups
me: hehe. lol.

*** ahh, i have to cut it short there *** Maybe I’ll paraphrase and post; good stuff:)

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