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Old 12-04-2013, 05:00 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
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Since the Polyamory and Racial Minorities thread (of which this thread is but a branch) is rather recovering from a "hijack nightmare" (thanks in no small part to the enabling of yours truly), I deemed this thread as a good place to mention two interesting links. They were PM'd to me by Loving Radiance and I think she said it was okay if I shared them, so here they are:
The first link deals with words in general and the difficulty in coming up with a word and definition that won't offend anyone when discussing a certain topic. Given that this thread's current title is "What Should We Call the Descendants of Southern-States Slaves? etc.," I found that first thread to be on-point and to address important matters we should all consider.

The second link deals with the difficulties of being poly and black in America, outlines lessons to be learned from BDSM folks trying to attract more minority races/cultures into their midst, and suggests a general fram of mind that would help poly folks have better luck in connecting with their minority brothers and sisters. Admittedly that second link would fit the "Race/Poly" thread well, I still want to give that newly-owied thread a bit more natural [read: uninterrupted by Kevin] time to heal and gain its balance and proper topic atmosphere.

In the meantime, I like how the second link (in the above list) rounds out the topic of this thread. If you'll read my Post #6, you'll notice that I "added" (to the thread topic) the question, "How would you like your own race/color/culture to be treated, especially if you're of a minority race/color/culture, and the person/s 'treating' you are of the majority race/color/culture?" This question was open to majority opinion on how to treat minorities, though not too strongly ...

Anyway, the point is, the second link in the above list talks about why some black polyamorists
  • feel they must stay deep underground,
  • feel unwelcome among white polyamorists.
We know that most of us here are either polyamorists, or interested in polyamory and/or loved ones of polyamorists. So, have a look at the second listed link (which will take you to an article written by a black American), and find out firsthand how a minority person would like to be treated by majority persons (as well as how he'd like to see minorities and majorities alike reciprocate good behaviors towards each other). Black polyamorists are certainly a minority group, on multiple levels. So this is a pretty good place to hear one such polyamorist speak for himself.

My favorite quote of that second article was at the end:

"Scratch the itch of curiosity and research a bit about the various cultures and subcultures present in polyamory. It's not necessary to be an expert on every culture that exists, but a strong community has members that can deflect most common misconceptions about its people. Sit down and talk to other marginalized groups in the poly community. Listen to them, not just hear. Try not to get defensive; remember, their experiences and pain are just as valid as yours. Listen to ways you can help to lessen the negative impacts of your culture on them, and share ways they can help lessen the negative impacts on yours."
From the first article, a couple of quotes perked up this logomaniac's ears:

"Acceptance without understanding, because there are some things we simply won't ever understand."
Yes! This. A newcomer to the company of a race, culture, or ideal doesn't always know what terminology is safe and which will offend. I've had recent occasion to be shocked by how some words I took for granted as innocuous, turned out to be inimicable to at least part of my audience. It has taught me to be a little more careful, which I guess is a good thing.

It's been said that no one has any right to "pretend to support" or "purport how to treat" any race or culture until one has immersed oneself in (i.e. or e.g.? both studied in literature, and physically lived in the midst of) it. But since we can *never* truly know a race or culture (without *being* that race or culture), it behooves us to show whatever acceptance and support we can for that race or culture with whatever little knowledge and understanding we've got. And sure we should try to learn more about them, but that's what the threads like this are (supposed to be) all about.

"Some of us think that the world will be a better place when we all see each other without differences. Others of us think that seeing the differences and learning to accept them is the key."
Jeezh man, I think it'd suck if we were all a bunch of clones. Isn't the world a lot more interesting and exciting when every new person you meet is a new experience? Heck even identical twins have slight differences. If nothing else, there's Brother-Husband (of my V polycule) who has a twin brother. You almost can't visually tell them apart, until you look a little closer, notice his brother's slightly fleshier face and one slightly "lazy eye." Then go a step further and inventory their lives. One brother is monogamous, one is polyamorous. One is Catholic, the other is "non-affiliated." One has several kids, the other would be terrified by the prospect of childrearing. So even identical twins aren't necessarily clones! and that's a good thing (in my eyes).

"Assumptions are at the base of discrimination."
I like that. Short but sweet and speaks volumes.

"We can't make a future of peace if we're still fighting over the past of war."
Haha, love it! That is a quotable quote -- on par with George Carlin's "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity."


And some general commentary aside the quotes (bear with me, it's all at least indirectly related):

As it happens, I don't mind being "called a polyamorist" since that's technically what I am. In the same way you could call me a "Caucasian" and that would be true. Or a "hetero vanilla cisgender male" and that would be true. Or a "native of Utah" and that would be true. Above all you could call me a "mortal" and that would be all too true.

But I'm so much more than what any of those individual labels describe. I'm loaded with hopes and fears, dreams and awakenings, interests lost and interests gained, and much to say to the world as everyone on knows. Therefore, the one label that covers it all is just to call me "Kevin." I don't mind the other labels as long as people use them with the realization that they don't describe "all of me," by any stretch of the imagination.

Sometimes I think many polyamorists identify so strongly with this "new polyamorous ideal" that they've discovered, that they start thinking of polyamory as if it were the core defining essence of their being. And then of course they start assuming similar poly-centric-identification about other polyamorists. Well, I for one live polyamorously only as one small facet of my life. Just as we don't assume "mongamist" is a label that describes "all you'd ever need to know" about a monogamist, so I view polyamorists in general.

A monogamist has lots of interests, hobbies, frequently kids and grandkids, and a lifetime of unique experiences as well as genetic mystery that makes hir who xe is. Of course xe loves hir partner/spouse too; romantic optimism assumes that. But people seem to naturally understand that a monogamist is so much more than the "monogamist" label. Why then is it so counter-intuitive to view polyamorists that way? Weirdness. It's that "poly hype" that makes me think people (both monogamous and polyamorous) sometimes tend to make too big a deal out of polyamory. All polyamory is, after all is just a style of romance. It isn't like changing into Superman or something.

Re: "my" definition of love ... hahaha, check which way the wind blows, which planets are aligned, and how the entrails line up, and then I'll be able to tell you what my definition is for today. Love is arguably the squishiest word in the English language. "My" definition completely depends on the context in which I'm both speaking/writing and reading/hearing it.

I suppose sometimes we have to agree on a "temporary definition for the sake of argument" before we can (especially in large groups) coherently discuss any word. Especially words as squishy as love and poly for example. Even "race" and "culture" are highly squishy words, as we've seen.

Anyways, the first listed link yields up a good article overall and says much about the strengths and weaknesses of the various ways words and language are examined.

I liked both articles really, just had more to say about the first. Any time words (can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em) come up as a subject, it gets the ol' KDT wheels spinning for some reason. And wow have the semantic battles ever been heating up on lately ...

Let's try not to let this one become a battle. Let's make it a place where minorities can speak up for themselves of how they should be treated and what they should be called, and where majorities can listen and learn (and submit questions and comments where appropriate).

Hope that all helps to tie some things together.
Kevin T.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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