Remember By Doing

Linksypie

Posted in Uncategorized by rememberbydoing on November 30, 2009

Check out this shenanigan by the Yes Men.

Look who’s making an appearance.

Some quality TV.

And a kind of weird article about why Euros are whiteish.

And lastly an article from Racewire about Britain’s white child refugees.

In the outdoors

Posted in Uncategorized by rememberbydoing on November 30, 2009

I just spent this weekend backpacking for a night.  It was wonderful.  I really love being outside.

Since it is just about Thanksgiving time, and I had recently been to Thangstaken, a show that “explore[s] the complex history of Thanksgiving and to acknowledge[s] the legacy of US colonialism and genocide against Native Americans,” my understanding of my time outdoors has been shifting.  Part of white upper-middle class culture is spending compartmentalized/segmented time outdoors in S/state-owned parks, gallivanting about with gear.  I grew up with this and see those times outside as little sanity-saving shots because the urban life (traffic, pollution, noise, etc), is so noxious.

There are a few layers that I want to unpack:

1. the privilege of being able to escape urban poisons

2.  the idea of national parks as a compartmentalized way of saving what wilderness is deemed valuable

3.  the history of genocide/colonialism in the US that played out through the designation of national parks on Native American’s sacred sites, and the path that brings it to today to continue to destroy sacred sites.

Let’s start with one.  Traditionally, white upper-middle class folks have been able to be more voluntarily mobile.  Class privilege and white privilege intersect, as misdemeanors (being on the trail at night) are excused by rangers with guns and tasers.  We were able to slip past law enforcement because we had the right gear/apparel, the right faces/skin color/genders, and the right words.  And, of course, we don’t often have to live in the most poisonous/dangerous/policed parts of urban areas.

The idea of national parks designating what is valuable and then in effect segmenting what ecosystems are up for destruction is reflective of a general misunderstanding of both natural systems and humans place within it.  Not only does it chop up something that needs to be continuous, because its layers are interconnected, but it excludes us from the systems and places Americans (specifically) in a position of being removed from their food production, water collection, energy generation, etc, an example of which is how people in California’s Central Valley, where most of our food is grown, are starving.  Parks are capitalism’s bandaids for our ecosystems in an extractive system.

Lastly, the designation of parks is today being used to help American Indians preserve sacred sites, but has in the past been used to police American Indians off of their sacred sites (ie the Badlands).  The desecration of sacred sites continues today in Vallejo, the construction of Walmart, Emeryville’s Bay Street Mall, and more.  As these parks are policed and segmented, and are only open as long as there is funding, these sites aren’t protected.

Being outdoors has taught me about how ecosystems work and my own connection to it.  This time is incredibly valuable and I’m sad I don’t see more people from every class/race/gender/sexuality/etc sector of America out there enjoying it and figuring out how to make the parks part of a more just, sustainable world.

Follow-up links to Richmond post

Posted in Uncategorized by rememberbydoing on November 3, 2009

A Racewire article that hits it on the head, and one that raises interesting points but misses the main one.