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  #31  
Old 12-31-2009, 01:26 AM
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I think that the issue is that people who are marginalized don't have a choice about having to make that trek out of their comfort zones. They are faced with having to do this on a daily basis in order to get the very same things that come easily for those in the majority. From a position of privilege, it could be seen that wanting to address the fact that they don't have that choice is "bashing people over the head with their marginalization". The privileged position has the ability to dismiss it and remove themselves from the conversation. However, those in the margins get privilege bashed over their head on a daily basis and they don't have the choice to dismiss it or remove themselves from that. The only agenda is wanting to break that cycle.
Yes, and that is why I see myself as an advocate for those who either don't have a voice or are unable to for whatever reason, be it their own anger or that they are so marginalized they are unable to make the journey across that ocean. the whole thing sucks for those that don't have a choice. I see it as a life long goal to make sure they do through me.

Thanks for your words CielDuMatin. I appreciate that there are others out there that know what I mean... I don't think I am the only one who sees it this way, but I can tell you I sometimes feel marginalized just for dealing the way I do.
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  #32  
Old 12-31-2009, 01:56 AM
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I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized. I also need to make a trek from where I am to meet people where they are at. How do I do that? By living my life without apology or trying to fit in.... living my life in honesty, openness and staying calm and understanding that others are not where I am... keeping my frustration and anger over other peoples agenda in check.

Interesting. I simply disagree with making the entire trek. It is something marginalized and oppressed peoples have always had to do.

Meeting in the middle is not an unreasonable request and I fail to understand how asking that the privileged step outside their privilege is bashing them.

I often see such an assertion by those used to privilege who are frightened or threatened by the concept of others having the rights and privileges they have. They are even more threatened that they may have to contribute in some way or give up their privilege in order for equality to occur. I am also unsure what you are responding to in your statement about frustration and anger over other people's agendas.


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I have made some amazing friends who consider themselves mainstream and who I consider them so also. The feed back I have had over the years has been that they are grateful to me for "inviting" them to talk about stuff they don't understand. Making the space for them to ask me hard questions... I have not judged them for their difference and have not seen them as across an ocean of stuff that they just don't get. Instead I've been inviting and accepting of what they don't know and have asked if they are interested in knowing. Assuming they want to know really. sometimes I have been blind sided with "fuck off" but often times I have been seen as novel and interesting. Someone to ask questions of and someone who will answer any question... just by being me and willing to put myself in situations where I step out of my own comfort in order to make a difference. I think being "inviting" while not giving up what is important to us is more appropriate than saying, "that's not acceptable"
The best dialogues I have engaged in and witnessed, which in turn resulted in the greatest strides towards equality being made, have been with individuals of privileged backgrounds and individuals of marginalized backgrounds meeting in the middle. Both being open and willing to cross borders engaging, teaching and learning from each other. Again, making the entire trek is unacceptable. How is it justifiable to say "you constantly make the trek to bridge the gap to my side. Keep on doing it because I'm not getting off of my silk pillow."

I find that mentality abhorrent and rife with privilege entitlement. There needs to be effort on the parts of all involved.


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Actually, I find many people in activist communities to be more closed off to discussion than those in mainstream society... sad, but true for me. I used to identify as an activist for years. I don't openly identify anymore although I still think my heart is there. I don't because I don't want to be thought of as someone so radical that I am unapproachable. Which is often how mainstream people see activists. Quite often activists are so damned angry they miss the real opportunities to make change in the world. Anger is blinding it seems.
That is quite interesting again. There are quite a few thinly veiled judgments within your post but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Anger is a legitimate emotion. I have seen it often highlighted as an excuse of the privileged to shut down and not engage in dialogue or bringing change usually because of a sense of guilt. Often the complaint is one of being attacked. Just to avoid dealing with the underlying issue or with the reality that they have been placed at a point of privilege and will have to act as well as anyone else to lift the oppression that has been caused by that.

~Raven~
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Last edited by Ravenesque; 12-31-2009 at 02:05 AM.
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  #33  
Old 12-31-2009, 02:00 AM
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I think it should be said that people can experience privilege in some aspects of life and can be marginalized in other aspects of their life at the same time. It's always a dance, but I always work hard to keep aware of both situations in my life.
Intentional and conscious living. I try to do the same.

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  #34  
Old 12-31-2009, 02:31 AM
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I think it should be said that people can experience privilege in some aspects of life and can be marginalized in other aspects of their life at the same time. It's always a dance, but I always work hard to keep aware of both situations in my life.
yes I try to do the same.
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  #35  
Old 12-31-2009, 03:19 AM
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(i'm not sure how I managed to make some of this post blue etc, but I don't have time to change it.... so you'll have to bear with me, thanks)
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Interesting. I simply disagree with making the entire trek.


yes, well sometimes I do to. It depends on the response I get and my gut feeling of a person.

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Meeting in the middle is not an unreasonable request and I fail to understand how asking that the privileged step outside their privilege is bashing them.
nope, not an unreasonable request at all. There is definitely no harm in asking from the outset to see where one gets for sure. I'm talking bashing in terms of some of the events I have been too where I have seen angry activists yelling, screaming, spitting on the public or simply even trying to out wit, out smart, out word others and then come off as cocky and like they won some kind of competition. Just watching politicians gives me this same sense. No one is talking just trying to get their point across by making the other look the fool. Activists seem to do that sometimes.

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I often see such an assertion by those used to privilege who are frightened or threatened by the concept of others having the rights and privileges they have. They are even more threatened that they may have to contribute in some way or give up their privilege in order for equality to occur. I am also unsure what you are responding to in your statement about frustration and anger over other people's agendas.
Sorry, what was my assertion? I kind of get what you are saying here, but am unsure. Could you please explain a bit more?

I was referring to my frustration and anger about some peoples ignorance in mainstream groups. I get frustrated for sure, but try and take a breath and then go at it from a place of empathy and with a warm heart in the hopes that they are just ignorant and not stupid or unwilling to see another view.



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The best dialogues I have engaged in and witnessed, which in turn resulted in the greatest strides towards equality being made, have been with individuals of privileged backgrounds and individuals of marginalized backgrounds meeting in the middle. Both being open and willing to cross borders engaging, teaching and learning from each other.


Yes, me too, meeting in the middle is the best way. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen.

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Again, making the entire trek is unacceptable. How is it justifiable to say "you constantly make the trek to bridge the gap to my side. Keep on doing it because I'm not getting off of my silk pillow."
Again, for me, sometimes it is acceptable and sometimes not. I'm not one to let people sit on their silk pillow. I will continue to engage until I either give up or movement happens.

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I find that mentality abhorrent and rife with privilege entitlement. There needs to be effort on the parts of all involved.
I'm not sure how to respond to this as it appears you are judging me. To me I sound like an old lady (i have no idea how old you are, just stating that I feel old )who used to be a hardcore activist on many levels and got tired... I'm glad that others are taking over where I left off with their passion and unwillingness to bend for anyone. All I'm saying is I get something different now, with experience and some wisdom that there are other ways and we all have our way.

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That is quite interesting again. There are quite a few thinly veiled judgments within your post but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Anger is a legitimate emotion. I have seen it often highlighted as an excuse of the privileged to shut down and not engage in dialogue or bringing change usually because of a sense of guilt. Often the complaint is one of being attacked. Just to avoid dealing with the underlying issue or with the reality that they have been placed at a point of privilege and will have to act as well as anyone else to lift the oppression that has been caused by that.
Yes, please give me the benefit of the doubt... I certainly do that for others on here and in life quite a bit... I would appreciate the same respect. What is a forum if it isn't a place to discuss and share our opinions/judgments/thoughts/experiences....

I'm not sure if you are directing this towards me or not, so forgive me if I got it wrong but, yes, you are right, anger is a legitimate emotion and I assure you I feel no guilt for anything I have done in my life or what I have said. I have seen people attack others with their opinion in anger... I think that is abusive, rather than helpful, compassionate or respectful...people don't say they feel attacked or feel someone is angry with them as a way of avoiding, it's because they are not feeling safe. Good communication starts with safety for me. If someone says I am attacking them then I do what I can to change that and make them feel more comfortable... otherwise they naturally shut down and are not willing to address anything with me... counter productive no?
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  #36  
Old 12-31-2009, 04:16 AM
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Some have said it would be good for the government to step out of marriage all together. Is that similar to what you're saying? Something made me think of it.
Yes! Let marriage be marriage according to one's own traditions; let legally binding relationships be legally binding relationships according to, surprise, the law of the land.

It's one giant let statement, so when someone asks if x+y+z=marriage, the answer can come from whichever morality to which one might subscribe. When the question is more "will x+y+z=a union recognised and legitimised by our government, so I have the same rights formerly restricted to monogamous heterosexual couples", the answer will come from legislation passed to ensure those rights have been extended to all.

And it had better pass. *thumps her newspaper into her palm*
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  #37  
Old 12-31-2009, 04:33 AM
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nope, not an unreasonable request at all. There is definitely no harm in asking from the outset to see where one gets for sure. I'm talking bashing in terms of some of the events I have been too where I have seen angry activists yelling, screaming, spitting on the public or simply even trying to out wit, out smart, out word others and then come off as cocky and like they won some kind of competition. Just watching politicians gives me this same sense. No one is talking just trying to get their point across by making the other look the fool. Activists seem to do that sometimes.

Sorry, what was my assertion? I kind of get what you are saying here, but am unsure. Could you please explain a bit more?

An assertion that it is bashing with marginalization to make a reasonable request such as meeting in the middle. Those were your words. Quote: "I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized." I did not advocate bashing in my post. Perhaps you could elaborate on this.

I am sure there are some activists who are as vehement as you say just as there are privileged persons who righteously and jealously protect the sociopolitical structures that lift them up and crush the rest.

I did not see anyone refer to angry activists in this thread. I stated that I was progressive and radical. Ceoli agreed. Perhaps you can explain why you brought angry activists up and their relevance as I do not follow.


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I was referring to my frustration and anger about some peoples ignorance in mainstream groups. I get frustrated for sure, but try and take a breath and then go at it from a place of empathy and with a warm heart in the hopes that they are just ignorant and not stupid or unwilling to see another view.

Yes, me too, meeting in the middle is the best way. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen.

Again, for me, sometimes it is acceptable and sometimes not. I'm not one to let people sit on their silk pillow. I will continue to engage until I either give up or movement happens.

I'm not sure how to respond to this as it appears you are judging me. To me I sound like an old lady (i have no idea how old you are, just stating that I feel old )who used to be a hardcore activist on many levels and got tired... I'm glad that others are taking over where I left off with their passion and unwillingness to bend for anyone. All I'm saying is I get something different now, with experience and some wisdom that there are other ways and we all have our way.

Yes, please give me the benefit of the doubt... I certainly do that for others on here and in life quite a bit... I would appreciate the same respect. What is a forum if it isn't a place to discuss and share our opinions/judgments/thoughts/experiences....
Ah. I see in regards to your anger and frustration.

No, meeting in the middle happens far less than it should with the marginalized usually crossing the divide. This is problematic.

Not a judgment but an observation of broad judgmental statements you made about activists. Though I am unsure why you brought up activists, you definitely paint them most intriguingly. The mainstream sees activists as so radical they are unapproachable? I did not know that activists were unwilling to bend for anyone either. It's an interesting window into your perspective.

You stated you grew tired and stopped being an activist. That is the very feeling the marginalized who make the trek feel. Tired of walking, tired of reaching and not being met in the middle. Even when they make the trek the entire way, upon arrival, being expected to change to conform to the mainstream rather than be accepted as they are. Not even being met once they reach the ones on the cushy pillows.

As you stopped because you were tired others want to stop and it makes perfect sense to say "no you make the trek to me now. Get off the pillows and use your legs" Indignation and disbelief is usually the response as if it wasn't to be expected.

One of the accusing and prejudiced statements lobbed at those who are fighting for equal rights on the social level and the governmental level is that they are acting as victims. This again comes from those who are used to privilege and guilty of the roll they play.


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I'm not sure if you are directing this towards me or not, so forgive me if I got it wrong but, yes, you are right, anger is a legitimate emotion and I assure you I feel no guilt for anything I have done in my life or what I have said. I have seen people attack others with their opinion in anger... I think that is abusive, rather than helpful, compassionate or respectful...people don't say they feel attacked or feel someone is angry with them as a way of avoiding, it's because they are not feeling safe. Good communication starts with safety for me. If someone says I am attacking them then I do what I can to change that and make them feel more comfortable... otherwise they naturally shut down and are not willing to address anything with me... counter productive no?

Expressing anger is not an attack and such an assertion is often used to invalidate the emotion and ignore the underlying cause. Using the anger someone else feels in response to oppression, the oppression which enables one to be privileged, as a justification to shut down and not address the issue of oppression is counterproductive and a cop out.

A friend who is following this thread stated something I agree to and I will post it with her permission:

"People with such entitlement don't get how much they implicitly attack others with their privilege, yet need others to be gentle with them when their privilege gets called out."

It is a justification for intolerant behavior and an unwillingness to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that comes with realizing one's privilege and how that privilege continually attacks others. Along with this comes constant requests to be given allowances and treated softly as a one would a child.

Constant allowances are given. Hence being privileged. There appears to be a self-imposed blindness from the nature of the world when it comes to these issues.

Going back to the matter of polyamory being accepted. Adopting the normative values of mainstream society proves divisive within alternative communities. It is a process of erasing the characteristics which made the community different from the mainstream and repeating intolerance towards those who do not adopt mainstream values. Equality should be attained with differences being respected not downplayed and removed.

~Raven~
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Last edited by Ravenesque; 12-31-2009 at 05:21 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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  #38  
Old 12-31-2009, 06:14 AM
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An assertion that it is bashing with marginalization to make a reasonable request such as meeting in the middle. Those were your words. Quote: "I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized." I did not advocate bashing in my post. Perhaps you could elaborate on this.
No thanks, I don't have anything to elaborate on... I don't feel the need to continue talking about it. I was simply talking about my experience with some activists in my past and that I know today. Not everyone, or anyone in particular.. if it read a different way I'm sorry, that's all I meant.

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I did not see anyone refer to angry activists in this thread. I stated that I was progressive and radical. Ceoli agreed. Perhaps you can explain why you brought angry activists up and their relevance as I do not follow.
I don't remember anyone bringing them up either. I am not suggesting I think you or anyone else here is... again, just my own thoughts on what we were talking about and my experience

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Not a judgment but an observation of broad judgmental statements you made about activists.
I don't remember stating anything that was judgmentally broad. If I did, I didn't mean to.

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You stated you grew tired and stopped being an activist. That is the very feeling the marginalized who make the trek feel. Tired of walking, tired of reaching and not being met in the middle. Even when they make the trek the entire way, upon arrival, being expected to change to conform to the mainstream rather than be accepted as they are. Not even being met once they reach the ones on the cushy pillows.
yup, that's about right it seems to me.

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As you stopped because you were tired others want to stop and it makes perfect sense to say "no you make the trek to me now. Get off the pillows and use your legs"
Ya, that's about right too for me...

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Indignation and disbelief is usually the response as if it wasn't to be expected.
I don't know what you mean by this...

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One of the accusing and prejudiced statements lobbed at those who are fighting for equal rights on the social level and the governmental level is that they are acting as victims. This again comes from those who are used to privilege and guilty of the of the roll they play.
agreed.

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Expressing anger is not an attack and such an assertion is often used to invalidate the emotion and ignore the underlying cause. Using the anger someone else feels in response to oppression, the oppression which enables one to be privileged, as a justification to shut down and not address the issue of oppression is counterproductive and a cop out.
Yes, you are right, it is a cop out.

I have found that often my anger on an issue/topic is not seen as mature, but just that I am a child acting out because I have discovered that the world sucks at dealing with the shit it creates. I find that people shut down because of this and don't take me seriously.

The whole thing is uncomfortable for everyone it seems. Perhaps if each side, marginalized and privileged alike, treated each other as children are treated by understanding parents, rather than ones that demand obedience, then the divide would be bridged more easily and respectfully... (seeing as we are talking about treating others softly and gently as a child).

We are all privileged in one way or another. We have the privilege of being able to articulate ourselves on this topic it seems (at least I am trying to anyway ).... there are others that don't have that ability and consider us privileged.... when I think of dealing with others like they are my child I become tolerant, gentle and soft, yet firm about what I value. What I think is important I can then explain carefully, calmly and as much to the point as I possibly can.

I have a child and talk to him this way. Do I think that people are children, whether they are privileged in some way or not, no.... I am using this as an example, it is simply the way that works for me.

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Constant allowances are given. Hence being privileged.
Allowances are given, tis true. I don't see how this indicates privilege. What's wrong with privilege anyway as long as one uses it to better the world, rather than keep others down so they don't become privileged also... Why the fight to call people on their privilege as if they are suppose to feel guilty. Why fight against privilege anyway? Do people without privilege want to be privileged...? Just a thought I had right now.... I dunno... personally I would prefer to be different than mainstream... they can keep it and their privilege. Poor bastards. I'm far happier living my truth than trying to be mainstream (I'm speaking in terms of polyamory here btw )

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Equality should be attained with differences being respected not downplayed and removed.
I agree, this takes me back to what I was originally trying to say and that is, for me, equality should be attained by just being myself and calling people on their shit as it comes up. Also by being a living example of what I value and believe in (I think I do that.).... not necessarily by bashing people over the head with my idea of what is the "right" way to do things and how things should be ... (not that I am saying anyone here is ....for the love all things holy GAUD! heh )
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:21 AM
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The whole thing is uncomfortable for everyone it seems. Perhaps if each side, marginalized and privileged alike, treated each other as children are treated by understanding parents, rather than ones that demand obedience, then the divide would be bridged more easily and respectfully... (seeing as we are talking about treating others softly and gently as a child).
I'm sorry, but honestly, I would prefer to be treated like an adult. I've worked with people who take on the attitude you describe and the effect of it is very condescending. Instead of assuming that I know more about someone else's anger than they know, I'd rather listen to them as an equal. ESPECIALLY if I'm in communication with someone who is marginalized. To treat them as a child that I must take a parental role would just marginalize them further.



Quote:
Allowances are given, tis true. I don't see how this indicates privilege. What's wrong with privilege anyway as long as one uses it to better the world, rather than keep others down so they don't become privileged also... Why the fight to call people on their privilege as if they are suppose to feel guilty. Why fight against privilege anyway? Do people without privilege want to be privileged...? Just a thought I had right now.... I dunno... personally I would prefer to be different than mainstream... they can keep it and their privilege. Poor bastards. I'm far happier living my truth than trying to be mainstream (I'm speaking in terms of polyamory here btw )
Because privilege is the very thing that creates oppression. If I'm using my privilege to make life better for someone who is less privileged, I then become a gatekeeper to that person. Their life is only better because choose to allow it to be. The decisions are not in the hands of the people who are affected by it. This is not empowering and continues to allow those in privilege to keep it while still feeling like a good person. The person I'm helping is no better off. This is why a lot of charity work doesn't actually work. It tends to keep people in their place rather than equalize things. The only way to really make progress with oppression is for those who hold privilege to relinquish it.

Here's a practical example: One of the anti-racism workshops I that I was in involved a fishbowl discussion. In this case, the white people were in the room and listened to the people of color discuss their concerns and issues and hurts and such. We were not allowed to speak. We were only allowed to listen. That was one area where we gave up our privilege. Yet even that was difficult for some. When we finally were allowed feedback, one person brought up that a lot of those issues the people of color had could be solved with hard work and if black people just applied themselves more they would find the same opportunities. After all, other black people have managed that and this guy volunteered to tutor inner city kids. He couldn't see how saying that was another manifestation of privilege. The facilitator responded with this powerful question: "Who do you think understands the experiences and challenges of being a person of color in white privileged society? You or the people who have lived it all their lives?"

For me to expect these people to set aside their anger for my sake or for the sake of making the discussion more civilized or for the sake of meeting a middle ground that suits me more than they after these people had bore their souls of the hurt and oppression they've experienced all their lives is one of the worst ways I could wield that privilege.

So what's so bad about privilege? Probably nothing much for those who have it. Perhaps the worst thing about having privilege is that it really inhibits people's perceptions of the experiences of oppressed people. But for people who don't have privilege, it's a continual cycle of having to fight for the same things that others have been given without even earning it. This is the case for gender, race, orientation and sometimes people who identify as poly. The confusion around poly people and privilege lies in the fact that most people who identify as poly around these parts (I mean North America and parts of Europe) are white middle class or upper middle class privileged people. They can choose to live outside of such norms because their privilege lowers the societal cost they have to pay. It's not quite the same as not being privileged. However, when we go into things like the right to marry and partake of the unearned gifts of society around that, then it applies a bit.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:41 AM
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I'm sorry, but honestly, I would prefer to be treated like an adult. I've worked with people who take on the attitude you describe and the effect of it is very condescending. Instead of assuming that I know more about someone else's anger than they know, I'd rather listen to them as an equal. ESPECIALLY if I'm in communication with someone who is marginalized. To treat them as a child that I must take a parental role would just marginalize them further.
I agree, I would prefer to be treated as an adult also. The effect is condescending for sure. I just get so frustrated that quite often, my anger about a certain issues seems to make people think they have the right to treat me like a child. This was my attempt at sarcasm that probably dismally failed.... ya. it did didn't it...

I'm sorry, I just get so fed up with being serious about this stuff.... I get what you are saying, and I thank you for taking the time to inform me and everyone else, but, I just am not at a place where I can be serious about it all right now.

Tired, time for bed.
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