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Old 11-30-2013, 09:11 PM
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You know LovingRadiance, something in your post stuck in my mind and (fortuitously) drew it back into the official thread topic:

Re:
Quote:
"We often think that we know this that or the other thing; but if we haven't actually lived through it, we can't know it. We can know *about* it. But we can't *know* it.
That is a strong argument made in many arguments about racial discrimination.
But it's also true of other things. Like struggling with depression or other mental health issues. Struggling with physical health issues. Struggling through the loss of a child or a spouse/partner. Even having a partner versus having multiple partners."
I know that no one besides me can ever know what it's really like to live inside my skin and brain. Things that are easy for other people aren't easy at all for me. So while someone may glance at me and say, "He looks perfectly able-bodied to me," that someone doesn't realize how many demons I have to fight off every day just to get out of bed.

In that way, I think it's virtually impossible for me to truly know what kinds of challenges many black people must face. Oh I can imagine and try to tap into my empathy abilities, thus gaining something of an appreciation for what they struggle through. But I'd have to *be* them in order to really get it, and no one can really *be* anyone except themselves.

So while I still think imagining and empathizing is good and necessary up to a point, there also needs to be a point when we admit to each other, "I can't really know what it's like to have to face the kinds of hardships you have to face. I can only use my imagination and get a blurry picture of the tip of the iceberg. But if you'll forgive that shortcoming in me, then maybe you'll still be willing to help me better understand how I can help you."

People with mental/emotional disorders get discriminated against for things that other people *can't* see. People with a "minority skin color" get discriminated against for things that other people *can* see.

Which may be one reason why it was so easy for me to reach out to those blacks who were around me and want to mingle my company with theirs. Because, I don't know what it's like to be black, but I do know what it's like to be a misunderstood outcast. Put it this way: There's a good reason why I soon tired of being back in Utah after my stay in Detroit. When marital engagement offered me the chance to run back from Utah to Michigan, I seized it.

And by the by: on further reflection, I remembered the clutch of black neighborhoods in Mt. Clemens which is a small city north of Detroit. I was a piano teacher in Mt. Clemens, and thus had opportunity to engage each week with a good handful of black students at least. So, there again, I learned a little more about "the black culture in that area."

Which, wouldn't ya know it, proved to differ from one individual to the next. Once again, breaking a race down into separate cultures doesn't tell you the whole story. You still have to break separate cultures down into single individual people because no two people are *really* the same, no matter what.

Sad to say, one black girl was my student and I struggled with her. I never disliked her per se, but her "ribbing sense of humor" was worse than mine, and her weekly goal seemed to be to find some new way of getting under my skin. (Pardon the "skin" expression.)

Usually lessons with her were just 30 minutes of minor annoyance, and sometimes even playfulness with her facetiousness. She didn't at all practice like she should have, but by then I'd learned to tolerate that in a student as long as said student was still reasonably respectful towards me as a teacher and as a fellow human being of theirs.

But man, I'll never forget the one piano lesson where that student really did get under my skin. I was passing from youth into my middle-ages, and as a result, she saw opportunity to point out that my fingernails were getting ridges on them, and she thought that was gross.

Hell, I think she meant that as a joke/jibe/poke in the ribs. But God did that hurt, and I didn't even know why. I wasn't even mad. I was just ashamed. I started trying to hide my fingernails, the owie was that bad. [shaking head]

I had another young black lady as a student and, bad as I am at names I still remember her name: LaRenna. I neither confessed nor acted on the thought in any way, but, in addition to having much personality charisma, she was also physically gorgeous and I secretly crushed on her a bit. Her sense of humor was also unflagging and she and I always had a ball poking each other in the ribs, but she also failed to practice much at all, and I was too new of a teacher back then to realize that not practicing doesn't necessarily a bad student (let alone person) make. I eventually "dismissed" her from my tutelage because she wasn't a productive student. God did I grow to regret that decision. My loss.

For awhile, a black man was a student of mine. He had a few Stevie Wonder songs he wanted to learn, which actually helped me to "discover" Stevie Wonder's music and fall in love with it. I didn't get to know the student in question all that well, but I got to know him well enough to learn that he had personal (often relationship-related) heartaches in his life, as, well, frankly, we all do. And no matter what, he was always as gracious and courteous toward me as if I was a king and he was a prince, or the other way around, who could tell. He had to cease taking lessons all too soon. I'd have liked to spend more time with him and get to know him better.

My longest student-teacher interracial relationship was with two young boys who were being raised by their grandmother. I don't think piano was really their thing. After I moved to New Mexico, they started getting into sports and stuff. So they were, well, deplorable in the practicing area. And they were trying at times! another "Odd Couple" type of relationship between me and them. They must have had ADD or something, I couldn't get them to concentrate on the task at hand for more than a few minutes. But their sense of humor was so infectious that I couldn't help but like them. I'll never forget the time when the younger brother grabbed the older brother from behind, and the older brother looked at me and cried, "Mr. Kitchen!" [yes "Kitchen," I eventually had my entire name legally changed] "Help me! He's hate-raping me!" At which point I collapsed into my chair, laughing against all my better judgment. Those two brothers were nuts!

[continued below]
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  #162  
Old 11-30-2013, 09:11 PM
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[continued from above]

Their grandmother (also coincidentally black) was totally supportive towards me as a teacher and person at all times. Never questioned my methods or approach (though many white parents and students did). She just tried her best to get those two wiggly boys to do *some* practicing and do *some* of what I asked of them. She was always respectful and deferential to me in a way that made me feel like I had raised her to be an equal without even trying to.

So when I add up all the experiences I've had in my all-too-short (and our lives are all all-too-short) life, I overall have to say that I've learned to not only love black people but respect and want to honor them as well. For they honored me. Except that one darn student with that remark about my fingernails. That stings, even today. I always look at my nails and think, "Oh crap, they're ridgier than ever today." But in my heart, I now realize that she never meant to hurt me. She just loved joking around (including practical jokes) too much to give it a rest. Not the world's most obedient student, let's put it that way! I could scarcely talk her into sitting on the piano bench, let alone actually trying to play a song. 50-75% of her 30 minutes' lesson time was spent on her rifling through all my papers and files, looking for stuff to make fun of. [shaking head] Talk about incorrigible ...

So you'd think I'd have soon learned to take all her rib jabbing into stride. But I never quite did. That fingernail remark really hurt my feelings, and that can only mean that her opinion mattered a great deal to me.

So the times I've spent with black people have taught me a thing or two about their culture and personalities, but even more than that, I think those times taught me a thing or two about myself. They forced me to see my own weaknesses. They coaxed me into embracing just a little bit of my own humanness. They helped me see that it's okay for me to be imperfect. I don't need to be a perfect teacher. I just need to be a faithful friend.

Oh, but there was one sad time. A black lady was taking lessons from me -- and she was diligent at practicing. But alas, one day we were chatting and the subject of holidays came up. Upon which, I confessed to her that Halloween, rather than Christmas, was my favorite holiday. I even carried on a bit about how/why I loved that holiday, how it's like a celebration of the imagination in my eyes, etc.

Oh dear. Well this was a very Christian black lady with some very hard-core "Christian" views, and her pastor had definitely let her know that Halloween was no less than Satan's personal brainchild. This lady castigated me for the rest of her lesson time, warning me that I'd best learn the value of Christmas and cut it out with this Halloween crap. And then her lesson ended, she left, and I never saw her again.

God dammit.

I did apologize before she left, but the damage had already been done. Sigh. Well that wasn't a race problem, that was definitely a culture problem. Or should I say a church problem. Well whatever.

The point I get from all this is that breaking a race down into cultures isn't good enough. You have to break the cultures down into individual people before you can really understand them, no matter what the color of their skin.

Even from that last sad story, though, I did learn (just a little more) that I have a poor sense of what is and isn't safe to share in a social or public setting. Some sentiments are best kept private within one's own mind, or at least only shared with great caution and care (not wild, carefree enthusiasm). Sad lesson to have to learn.

And there was the young black lady who was Mormon, chose to serve a mission, and was in my ward (read: congregation in typical Christian jargon) when I was ward mission leader. She was a quiet, sad, angry person. I never knew quite how or why, but I supposed that white folks must have somehow wounded her deeply. She never trusted me. She never trusted my motives. I wonder if she was pushed into serving a mission against her will. I'll never know.

In science, it often seems that for each question we answer, ten new questions spring up in its place. That's how the problems of racial/cultural divides seem to be. Whenever I think I've got the answer to one question, I suddenly realize I have ten new indispensable questions on my hands.

Well what the heck, let's complicate the issue by mixing polyamory into the batter. Now I find myself flooded in a sea of questions. By now I almost want to skip the polyamory part and just figure out an answer to the one question: How have black people affected me, and what does that say about me? Am I just naive? Do I just want to believe that I care about black people because I'm ashamed of the church and heritage looming over my own white-centric childhood and background? Do I feel guilty for being white? for being a product of a race that once chained black people against their will, tore black families apart, and made them work harder than the livestock were forced to work?

Sometimes I'm sad that a chasm seems to exist between many black and white people. Sometimes I'm sad (and ashamed) to be white. But then I remember I'm also a hopelessly selfish person, and I feel fortunate to not have to go through the crap that so many black people have to go through.

Do I want them to "come to my poly potlucks" just so I can "apologize" to them in some indirect way? "Sorry about what my people did to your people." Would such an apology even matter after some 150 years after Lincoln was slain?

Some black folks have hurt my feelings. Most of them have helped heal the sickness in my heart (the genetic sickness, and the socially-programmed sickness). But all of them have left an impression in my soul that is eternal.

I'm just humbled and honored to be able to have the kind of opportunity that this thread represents. And when I move (less than a week away now) to Seattle, I hope I'll treat any minority folks I meet there in a way that honors them and doesn't wound them any further. Alas, I'll probably have to learn that skill by trial and error.
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Last edited by kdt26417; 11-30-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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  #163  
Old 11-30-2013, 09:21 PM
Dirtclustit Dirtclustit is offline
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.....So what I'm saying is that whilst it is clear that kdt hasn't had much experience with people from other cultures, races, planets, etc, he hasn't been offensive at all. The few times he has walked the line with his comments were because he was led to do so by other major contributors to the thread who aren't as PC as they think they are. He was responding defensively to their imagined slights against him and in teying to fit their warped version of "This is how you don't be racist", he actually started to say things that could be construed as racist. (But don't worry, kdt, it wasn't your bad)

I'll go back to when I said that us ethnics get pissed off by (often unintentionally racist) white people who want to be the judges of what is and isn't racist.

When a person constantly and intentionally makes it a point to spend a lot of time right next to that line, I don't care if the one step over was an accident, so naturally, it's hard to accept apologies when they obviously did not care -- all the while claiming the opposite -- then goes from difficult to not being able to accept apologies because sorry implies a willingness to change the behavior.

But I almost feel I was being unfair in not mentioning specifics in order to not embarrass kdtrenumberated. I am very proactive when it comes to exercising freedoms, [color=blue]*almost*[/quote] as much as I am as to each freedom's responsibility that must be lived up to as I do not believe there is a worse debt one can fall into.

Honesty plays a large role in the previously mentioned responsibility. Many things that are right -- or at least not wrong -- become wrongs committed, for only the fact that lies are involved, and in the event you don't feel you can be honest, it is perfectly fine to state whatever info you wish to lie about will not be divulged because every person is certainly entitled to privacy. Whether that be in their own home or dwelling -- even if that dwelling is their physical body or car -- -- even if it is just a hard drive with their journalings which they did not publish -- -- or whether it is what they did with whomever last week, it is certainly OK not to share such private information with or without whomever a person likes. If you have some sort of power exchange relationships with slaves whom willfully submit, more power to you buddy ol pal, but you have no power over me, and anytime you feel you do it is a violation, because I do not submit to blackmail, threats of violence or any kind threat really except to make sure that those who threaten me follow through with their word.

I takes away their power to terrorism and intimidate

Honesty is a big deal to me, and I believe it is THE ONLY way to successfully gain rights or even just to shed the social stigma, so I don't appreciate stories which are made up, falsified , even when they are seemingly justified in order to gain ground in the poly world, so to speak. I know that everyone fibs here and there, so plucking little heart strings here and there to sell book, that's one thing, and not wrong per se however I do believe you should think about changing direction as to the whole monogamy is bad and unenlightened while pologamy is good, evolved [sic] and highly enlightened.

Sex and spirituality or religion are the most sacred aspects of my life, I was raised Mormon, but I am not an active member of the church, but just because I am not I would never attack any religion just for the hell of it, when I do, it is answering or addressing their position or civil rights, I don't believe you were ever as active as you claim and I sure as hell do not believe you went on a mission, so while my religious beliefs do not align with Mormons I certainly do not appreciate hearing derogatory words about them as a culture, especially from such a passive aggressive person such as you. But maybe it is just me, as I feel the same way in regards to several members here, you, helo, marcus, monkeystyle, and occasionally numerous others when they appear willing to pass out or go along with your deceptive style of made-up first hand experiences of people you know nothing about.

You are right, I don't a rats ass if you or anybody doesn't respond to me, but when it feel it pertains to me, or is unacceptable behavior towards anybody else that I am witness to, I will answer and I will speak up.

It's not that I thing you are wrong for not answering or acknowledging my words, and not that I am right, I do however feel it is mighty cowardly to post from more than one profile for whatever reason -- so -- so long as you don't do that I don't care what you do, or if you feel you must that you don't use other profiles to push disengenous experiences as I do not believe such stories actually help people but it's likely to detract from this site being able to help.

But of course I am more paranoid than anything so if none of it's true feel free to assume it's all in my head, that is certainly your right to believe in your position and hold your beliefs as truth in reality. I realize not all members here are from United States, but I for one thank God everyday that my beliefs do not align with certain people, and it sounds like both of us are happy for such freedom

sounds like we have come to a thoroughly guten understanding

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Old 11-30-2013, 11:50 PM
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So while I still think imagining and empathizing is good and necessary up to a point, there also needs to be a point when we admit to each other, "I can't really know what it's like to have to face the kinds of hardships you have to face. I can only use my imagination and get a blurry picture of the tip of the iceberg. But if you'll forgive that shortcoming in me, then maybe you'll still be willing to help me better understand how I can help you."

People with mental/emotional disorders get discriminated against for things that other people *can't* see. People with a "minority skin color" get discriminated against for things that other people *can* see.
YES! I Agree.
One more thing I think it helpful in crossing over these sometimes invisible and sometimes visible distinctions we make;
Is to accept that while someone may not know EXACTLY the struggle we face; they know what it is like TO STRUGGLE.
Which is a common ground.

Like you, I suffer from mental health issues (and some physical health issues) that limit my abilities in a way others can't readily see. To look at me, one would easily assume I am "able-bodied". But in fact, I'm not.

But-when someone says "I understand", I assume that they mean they understand what it is like to struggle. I don't assume that they are trying to say they know EXACTLY WHAT MY STRUGGLE is like.

The difference sometimes seems like it shouldn't matter. But it can be the difference between defensively angry or graciously appreciative.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:56 AM
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@ LovingRadiance ... love your post. Thanks for sharing a little common ground with me, and I do think it means a lot when someone can relate to pain and struggle, even if it's not your specific pain and struggle. And it's surely got something to do with getting diverse cultures (poly or otherwise) to come together.

Ahem; so much for the easy job. Now I'll make an attempt to make some kind of peace with Dirtclustit. God help me. Sez I the atheist. Perhaps I should say, Science help me? Okay, no more joking around for the next few posts, I promise. Okay, I'll *try* not to joke so very much. [sigh]

---

Re:
Quote:
"When a person constantly and intentionally makes it a point to spend a lot of time right next to that line, I don't care if the one step over was an accident, so naturally, it's hard to accept apologies when they obviously did not care -- all the while claiming the opposite -- then goes from difficult to not being able to accept apologies because sorry implies a willingness to change the behavior."
As I contemplate this (typically mysterious) paragraph, and ask, "Is it I, Lord?" I gradually come to suspect that maybe my sin was that I didn't spend a lot more of my years learning and studying about cultures worldwide. My failure to thus learn and study made it inevitable that I'd step on some cultural minority people's toes. Thus I am culpable for the toe-stepping even if I technically I did it on accident.

In Law & Order, they mention this thing called "reckless endangerment" where someone got killed because someone else got careless. The careless person didn't intentionally kill the other person, but the careless person did put the other person in a clearly life-threatening position that was likely to lead to the other person's death. In such episodes on Law & Order, that person was considered guilty of an "indirect type of murder," so to speak. They knew a death might result from their carelessness but they went ahead and threw caution to the wind anyway. Reckless endangerment.

A similar example (and quite possibly a subset of reckless endangerment) is when a drunk driver kills a pedestrian. The drunk driver can plead, "But it wasn't me that caused that death! It was the alcohol's fault! I didn't even know what I was doing!" Ah, but they did know what they were doing. They were getting themselves drunk, and then proceeding to get behind the wheel of a car, a combination that any reasonable person will admit puts lives in danger. So yeah that's probably a type of reckless endangerment.

And maybe that's the crime I'm guilty of. I didn't learn/study enough about other cultures, therefore it is ultimately my fault if I offend someone from those other cultures.

Tempting as it is to come up with this or that rationalization (or even lame excuse) about why I didn't learn/study more about such an important issue, I'll simply enter a plea of guilty and maybe look for a plea bargain. Okay, I was born ignorant and I willfully remained ignorant. So: to all you of any cultural minority who may be reading this post ... would you be willing to forgive me? Would you first of all be willing to clear yourself of any ill-will you might be tempted to harbor against me, and if so, would you even be willing to trust me as a person who at least wants to do better? Can this thread count as the start of my long-delayed education?

Yet I'm not utterly uneducated. I did get to know some black people here and there in the years between 1984 and 2007. But that doesn't clear me at all in the areas of getting to know Hispanics, Native Americans, Chinese, handicapped persons, etc., so I guess a guilty plea, an apology, and a request for the plea bargain of forgiveness based on me starting to learn about other cultures on this thread here and now, is all I've got to offer all those other minorities.

I don't suppose there's some easy reading material I could start with? I'm really bogged down and double-booked these days, though I know that's just an excuse. But isn't the real thing I ought to do, that I should go and live amongst cultures far and wide so as to truly get to know the people themselves? and how long does one need to live within one given culture before one's knowledge about that culture can be considered adequate?

I'll tell you what's ironic: I don't know the *white* culture/s like I should. Why would I say that? because I'm an introvert. I don't go out trying to get to know people ... except on the internet, if that counts for anything. The biggest "live social thing" I do is go to poly potlucks. It's been hard for me to get to feeling a bit comfortable and familiar with the white poly New Mexicans attending those potlucks, and now here I am about to move to Seattle, so then I'll have to start all over.

My habit in meatspace is usually to only get to know one person at a time, very cautiously. I don't usually like crowds, and I suck at walking up to a stranger and introducing myself or otherwise starting a conversation. So even if I live among whites I don't learn much about them in proportion to the amount of time I spend among them. Heck, I basically know nothing about the people who live right nextdoor to me. About all I know is that one neighbor has a dog or two with a really obnoxious bark that said dog employs long and often for seemingly no reason. As for the people who live above me, all I know about them is that now and then they bang around up there. My ceiling picks up the vibrations.

As an introvert, I have no excuse for offending people of any race, nationality, culture, or color. Because I've spent a lifetime *not learning about people.* I'm trying to do a little better in that area now and poly potlucks are kind of my way of making a start. Poly forums are another way of making a start, but I know that doesn't count for nearly as many points as live contact would.

---

Re:
Quote:
"But I almost feel I was being unfair in not mentioning specifics in order to not embarrass kdtrenumberated."
Oookay ... I'm sure some kind of insult is buried in my new nickname, but I can't tell what it is. What does "trenumberated" or "renumberated" mean? Wiktionary's no help. Please, embarrass me by revealing the insult.

Nobutseriously: I'd rather be embarrassed and know exactly what I've done wrong, than I would bumble around in the darkness bumping into things. Please turn on the light switch so that I (and all of Polyamory.com) can see what I'm doing wrong. I just hope I don't find out I forgot to clothe myself today. (Okay that last sentence was a joke. And it was hilarious too, wasn't it ...)

Re:
Quote:
"Honestly, and in the event you don't feel you can be honest, it is perfectly fine to state whatever info you wish to lie about will not be divulged because every person is certainly entitled to privacy."
Wait ... Do you mean that if you told me what I was doing wrong, it would threaten or violate your privacy? If so, well then that sucks for everybody. I guess you'll have to decide whether you want to put your privacy at risk. I can only ask you to give me that private information; I can't (and wouldn't want to) force you to. Only you can decide whether your privacy (and the freedom that privacy enables) is worth more than my sorry-ass "race crusade."

Wait wait wait ... Is this actually a problem of me proposing to pry into the private information of cultural knowledge? For example, if I try to learn more about how black people feel about things and what they experience, does that constitute me trying to violate those black people's right to privacy? Well if so, that puts me in a pickle. I'm damned if I do learn about a culture because then I'm violating their privacy, but I'm also damned if I don't learn about a culture because then I'm remaining intentionally ignorant. Well hell; now what am I supposed to do?

Oh well, I guess the most important thing is that I don't pry into other people's private lives. Which is, perhaps, why I prefer being an introvert? D'oh.

[continued below]
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:57 AM
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[continued from above]

Re:
Quote:
"If you have some sort of power exchange relationships with slaves who willfully submit, more power to you buddy ol pal, but you have no power over me, and anytime you feel you do it is a violation, because I do not submit to blackmail, threats of violence or any kind of threat really except to make sure that those who threaten me follow through with their word."
Ummm ... that's okay, I won't try to insist that you submit to me. I can't inflict violence on you because I don't know how to physically locate you, and even if I did, I wouldn't do something like that. I deplore physical violence.

I can't blackmail you because I don't have any incriminating information about you, and even if I did, I doubt I'd use it. I just want to live my own life, not rule over yours. Sorry if the advice I gave earlier was offensive; I didn't mean it as a command, just as a suggestion, but I apologize if I stated it assertively and thus made it sound like a command.

The only "threat" I have threatened you with is the threat that I'll stop bugging you by ceasing to reply to your posts. Now come on. Replying to any member's posts is a voluntary action; I was never under oath to answer any of your posts in the first place. So please, let's not consider that one a threat, let's just call it an attempt by me to draw some healthy boundaries around myself.

And I guess I should be following through on that "threat" right now, but I admit, your latest post here was more interesting than it was distressing, so I guess I'm indulging temptation and playing along for a little longer.

No I don't think I have any power over you. This is an open forum, the mods can't babysit everything, and you have a goodly amount of freedom to express yourself here just about however you want. The limits to that freedom are an issue for you and the mods to work out, and no you don't have to worry about me "ratting you out to the mods." I've no interest in doing that.

Uh ... as for slaves who willingly submit to me, I guess that would be my dog and cat? I've no others that I'm aware of at this time.

---

Re:
Quote:
"Honesty is a big deal to me, and I believe it is *the only* way to successfully gain rights or even just to shed the social stigma, so I don't appreciate stories which are made up, falsified, even when they are seemingly justified in order to gain ground in the poly world, so to speak. I know that everyone fibs here and there, so plucking little heart strings here and there to sell book, that's one thing, and not wrong per se however I do believe you should think about changing direction as to the whole monogamy is bad and unenlightened while polyamory is good, evolved [sic] and highly enlightened."
Umm ... you're addressing me? Ahem. Okay in case you are? let me just give you my assurance that I'm a pretty darn honest person, not that I've never ever practiced deception before, but let's just say that everything I've posted on Polyamory.com has been 100% bonafide true, insofar as I know the truth when accounting for my limited knoweldge.

Re:
Quote:
"I do believe you should think about changing direction as to the whole monogamy is bad and unenlightened while polyamory is good, evolved [sic] and highly enlightened."
Now here's where I really can't tell who you're addressing. Have I somehow gave the impression that I think monogamy is bad and unenlightened while pologamy is good, evolved [sic] and highly enlightened? If so, then I've miscommunicated beyond my wildest dreams. I completely hold that monogamy and polaymory are equally good, evolved, and enlightened, so long as whoever puts them into practice does so honestly, sincerely, and considerately. If you were addressing me then you must have me confused with some other member; I do know that some people feel polyamory is somehow superior, but I'm not one of those people.

And juuust in case you meant "polygamy" rather than "polyamory:" I don't hold polygamy on a lower or higher plane either, unless we're talking about child brides or women who've been brainwashed into submitting to patriarchal polygyny. "Messed up polygamy" is worse than healthy monogamy as well as worse than healthy polyamory.

[continued below]
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:58 AM
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[continued from above]

Re:
Quote:
"I don't believe you were ever as active as you claim and I sure as hell do not believe you went on a mission, so while my religious beliefs do not align with Mormons I certainly do not appreciate hearing derogatory words about them as a culture, especially from such a passive aggressive person such as you."
Ohhh ... then this isn't about me dissing black people; it's about me dissing Mormon people. (Which is dissing a culture, certainly.) Well that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Where to begin? I'll try this bit of honesty (yes, I claim that it's honest but you're still free to disbelieve me of course): I've struggled with a lot of bitter feelings I held against the church when I was in the process of leaving the church, and for several years after my name had been removed from the roles of the church. It's taken me a long time, but I'm finally starting to feel better about the church and its culture. But that doesn't mean I think everything about the church and its culture is hunky dory, either.

Look, you're talking about a church/culture that has (had at least in the past) warped ideas about blacks (and how they came to be black), yes relinquished patriarchal polygyny here on Earth but still promises patriarchal polygyny in the eternities and in fact, has led and/or let its people believe that Heavenly Father has many Wives, has spent a fortune on killing same-sex marriage in California (before California recently won that back), as well as on buying a mall in Salt Lake City when lots of churchmembers can't even afford to feed their families, reserves ultimate authority in the church for males only, exercises what amounts to brainwashing in my opinon, threatens those who leave the church with eternal damnation, and (in my opinion) has fibbed right and left about bad/nasty/dishonest stuff it and its leaders have done in the past.

I don't consider any of that to be an act of stereotyping on my part, because yes I certainly have had many years (really 1965 thru 1995+) deeply immersed in the church (and its culture), and have done much study (in meatspace books and on the internet), etc.

Now before going postal on me, let me say that I have many friends and relatives who are (ranging from fairly to very active) churchmembers who I very much respect and admire. Heck, most of them probably disagree with (most or all of) the cultural memes I've described in the paragraph above. Judging an individual is a whole different ballgame than judging a church or a culture. I can take issue with the bad parts of the church and its affixed culture, while still appreciating the good parts of the church, its affixed culture, and the truly kind and Christian members who are active (or even inactive) in it.

A few years ago I lost (to complications from diabetes) my favorite uncle. He was as loyal to the church as one could ever ask, yet he was accepting towards all people and a Catholic or atheist would be made to feel as welcome in his home and presence as would his home teachers. He truly exemplified what I think an active Mormon ought to be.

My oldest brother is almost obsessively loyal to the church and has even been known to get on my nerves with his obsessive conservatism ... but I still respect the hell out of him because he's the most giving, selfless person I've ever known and he wouldn't hurt a fly.

So you see, I have mixed feelings about the church and its people. I only pointed out the "fence-riders" meme to illustrate why I might be mentally challenged in the area of accepting and understanding black people. Not that I mean to excuse myself, just that I mean to put my ignorance in some perspective. Ultimately none of that was the church's fault, any more than an individual Nazi soldier could blame Hitler for whatever role that individual Nazi soldier had played in the Holocaust. We can't always blame our upbringing. Sooner or later it's our responsibility if we cling to notions such as the "fence-riding blacks" idea.

Luckily for me I sloughed off that particular meme? doctrine? before I ever even met any black people. But I'm just saying, I don't think the Mormon church and its primary Utahn people do much to help prepare a guy like me for understanding and appreciating the various cultures of black people around the world. I'm on my own in that area. I have to break away from the traditions of my and my ancestors' past in order to get the perspective about black people that I need to get. That's not the church's problem; that's my problem. But again, just trying to put my position in perspective here.

Crud. Now if you need proof that I was an active Mormon and that I indeed served a mission in the Detroit area, you'd need to delve into church records ... hmmm, or not, since I did have my name removed from the roles of the church. And then I had my name legally changed -- to a common name, Kevin Thompson. Not sayin' what my middle name now is because it's not a common name. See the thing is, I like a certain amount of privacy too, so if I was gonna change my name, I wanted it to be a common name so that I wouldn't "stick out." So that people couldn't google my first and last name and easily find me here on a poly forum, for example, since my two V companions do not want me to out us.

And for that reason, I must reluctantly decline to reveal my birth name to you, as then that name would be affixed to this poly site, and people (like family members of mine) could google that name and find me mentioned in this post on this site. Uh-oh. Then I'd be outed as a polyamorist, which I promised my poly companions I'd avoid like the plague. Guess you're screwed if you want to believe me, because I can't post a shred of conclusive evidence on this site without outing myself as a polyamorist.

Nonetheless, I fervently vow that I was born into the church, into a very active family, baptized at eight, deacon at twelve, missionary at 19, all the things that good Mormon boys are supposed to do (except that pesky masturbation thing but hey, I confessed that to my bishop and received his official pardon). I was married in the Washington D.C. temple in 1987 and served many other callings for the next 10+ years: ward clerk assistant, choir director, organist, Priesthood accompanist, Primary accompanist, ward mission leader, home teacher of course duh, and possibly others I've forgotten by now. I've lost count of how many blessings I've done with consecrated oil for the sick and afflicted. As a youth and missionary I was awarded various honors for excellence in learning the scriptures, missionary discussions, etc.

Frankly, I don't understand why you don't believe me. What would my motivation be for lying about this stuff? You do realize, don't you, that bishops and even General Authorities have been known to leave the church, so it's not like you can say, "No one who was that deep into the church would ever leave."

And how's this for evidence, even if it's not conclusive: Ask me questions about church doctrine, culture, and traditions. See how many questions you can trip me up on. I bet you'll be surprised how many questions I can answer accurately. For crying out loud, I still have a (large print) quad (the text of which I read cover-to-cover as a teen) and 1985 hymnal (which I've musically analyzed cover-to-cover) sitting up in my closet, and I still refer to them now and then (especially the quad). I haven't lost my interest in the church, I just don't want to be an official member anymore. And I couldn't be an official member anymore, not unless I lied my way back in, because the church strictly forbids the type of polyamory that I am practicing.

I guess if that's not good enough evidence for you, then you'll have to disbelieve me and consider me to be a lying liar about the church and my relationship with it. Not saying I've never ever fibbed or been dishonest in my life. But I swear in the name of everything I hold dear and holy -- e.g. my poly companions, my pets, science, NASA, etc. -- that I was every bit as active in (and loyal to) the church as I've described, and that I certainly completed (with honorable release at the end) a mission in the areas in and around Detroit (1985-1986). What more can I give you but my solemn word? I've explained to you why I can't reveal the name my parents picked out for me.

[continued below]
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:58 AM
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[continued from above]

Despite all the bad stuff I've said about the church, I'll still gladly agree that the church does much that is wonderful and good. If ever a natural disaster such as a hurricane devastates a city, the church will supply some of the first volunteers to help with the clean-up, rescuing of disaster site victims, and re-building. The church teaches its members to believe in some weird stuff that I don't approve of, but it also teaches its members to be kind and giving and polite and there's nothing wrong with those things. It has built fantastic temples (I love awesome architecture) and thus beautified the ground on which they stand. It has helped people kick drug addictions, helped the old, sick, and feeble, and transformed hard-core street gang criminals into peaceful, loving disciples of Christ. I am grateful it has done (and continues to do) these things.

I'm even grateful for the path the church set before me. I didn't always understand why I was following it, and sometimes I thought I'd made a terrible mistake by continuing to follow it. But ultimately, it's that path that led me (as a missionary) to Michigan where I met the beautiful woman with whom I'd share 26 years of marriage, to Detroit where I met some of the people I've most loved and admired, and from Utah (as a returned missionary) back to Michigan to live with my wife in her home, thence to become a piano teacher in Mt. Clemens and thence to also become an organist and choir accompanist for a Lutheran church in New Baltimore, and that's where I met the two people who today are my brother-husband and my lady-lover in a poly-fi V. Without the church, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't have met the wonderful, beautiful people I've met. I wouldn't have the friends I now have. So even if much of it was serendipity at work, I still can't deny that I owe the church a debt I could never repay.

When I left the church, I left in a state of bitterness, anger, and a determination never to forget or forgive. I can't claim to have gotten over all of that, but I feel that I've gotten over most of it. Today I remain separate from the church simply because the church and I aren't a compatible match. Our beliefs are too divergent to allow us to live together in peace. It wouldn't be good for me to return to the church, and it wouldn't be good for the church either. I'm grateful for the single trail I and the church hiked on together for so many years, but now we've passed a fork in the trail. The church took the fork to the right; I took the fork to the left.

I don't blame the church for having a "brainwashing culture." That's just what happens when one generation passes its memes onto the next generation. My parents didn't mean to screw me up by indoctrinating me with their beliefs. They honestly wanted the best for me; namely, eternal marriage and glory in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. What decent parent would want their child to have anything less? and could my parents, in turn, if they wanted to, blame their parents? No, and for exactly the same reason. A devoted Christian father and mother always want their children to inherit Heaven and companionship with God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit, and nothing less. You know how they say it's the thought that counts? Well, I appreciate the thought my parents had in the gift they tried to give me. It saddens me to have rejected that gift. I know my parents must fear for my soul, but I appreciate the respect they've shown for my chosen path in life (even though they don't know about the poly part).

I suppose you'll accuse me of trying to spoonfeed you a feel-good story so that you'll believe me without the requisite evidence. Alas, the best evidence I can offer is the knowledge that I have of the church and its culture -- its Utahn (and Michiganian) cultures at any rate. I don't know much about the church's Oregonian culture, though coincidentally my wife was born in Oregon and is now buried in the sleepy little town that was her birthplace.

If I could, I'd take you with me in a time machine so you could see all the good things I'd experienced in the church. I wouldn't even want to show you the bad stuff. I'd like you to believe me, but I don't demand it. I respect your right to accuse me of lying, and don't begrudge you making the accusation public. Each person will have to decide for themselves whether they think I'm telling the truth, I suppose. Maybe I'm just a really slick liar and that's why so many people take my story for granted? I am surprised, though, that you're so suspicious toward me about this. It's an accusation I didn't see coming, so color me clueless I guess.

In a way, though, none of that matters now. Some may believe I've personally met a bunch of black people; others may not believe. But what matters right now is that I start learning whatever I can about minority cultures, from the people who belong to those cultures. I believe I've met some such people here on this forum, and that makes me happy. It's a start. We can all agree to start from here, can't we? regardless of what was or wasn't reality in the past. It's an imperfect world, so I, at least, am willing to settle for that.

---

Don't know that it matters, but, for the record: I solemnly promise that I only have one account on this site, and that I am the only person who posts using that account. In a word: Kevin = kdt26417 and kdt26417 = Kevin. It's exactly that simple, and not one bit more complicated. There's no conspiracy here that I'm aware of.

There is one final thought. Kind of along the lines of, I don't *really* *know* anything. For all I know, I could be just a brain in a vat. In a similar fashion, I suppose it's possible that all my memories of my past are false memories. Maybe it's stuff I think happened, but it really didn't happen. [shrug] Who knows.

Reminds me a bit of Blade Runner, where the one secretary had pictures of herself as a child, a full-length memory of her childhood, and stuff like taking piano lessons, which is how she could explain her ability to play the piano. And yet, the truth was, she was just a replicant. Created maybe a couple of years ago, implanted with false memories, coincidental knowledge, and fabricated photos to complete the illusion that she was a human being. It's sobering to imagine what she must have felt like when she realized that truth.

Or like the early scene in the Matrix, where Thomas Anderson (a.k.a. Neo) is offered a red and a blue pill. The blue pill will restore him to his apparent reality, a regular old city in which he has a nine-to-five cubicle job and hacks on the side. But he chooses to take the red pill, in order to get a glimpse of true reality. Once he's swallowed that pill, he soon discovers that his whole life has actually been an illusion, while his atrophied body has been wasting away in a glass shell, wired up so he could serve as a battery to the computers and robots that control the real world. In less than a minute's time, Neo's "real life" as Thomas Anderson has disappeared and Neo has become the real person who he is.

Fascinating movies, well worth the watching, and refreshingly thought-provoking. But we still have to decide what we're going to try to do in the world we seem to live in, even if we know we might find out that this world is entirely illusionary. Are moral/ethical principles nullified by a state of non-reality? I personally say no. We're always obligated to do the best we can with whatever reality we have as we understand it.

Now I apologize for giving offense, but if I believe (X) and (Y) has happened to me, then I consider it okay to work from that belief and post it here as the honest memory I have of the past in my brain as I know it. I hope you won't begrudge me that much freedom.

I guess the big question is: Did I just derail this thread? Allow me to suggest that the answer is no: Reason being, we're talking about cultural issues, and even if the focus shifts from black culture to church culture, it's still on-topic in that sense. Still ... we are getting off on an awfully big tangent here. Sorry about that.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:40 AM
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( I suppose I should NOT mention that my family is RLDS?)

LMFAO

I will leave it alone except to say, I walked away from Christianity as a whole and became an "i don't know or care to bother wasting more time contemplating it" person.

ANYWAY!!
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:07 AM
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Whoah now wait ... Doesn't that mean you're patronizing/stereotyping/discriminating against the Christian and RLDS cultures?

Wow folks. I'm gonna try to get us all back to our regularly-scheduled program soon. Please understand that this is the first time in my life that I've ever had anyone doubt my "stories about the church." It was so shocking, I figured I'd better write some kind of manifesto for the benefit of those "who want to believe."

Might go down in history as a dumb four-post post; after all, how do I know Dirtclustit isn't pretending to disbelieve my missionary story just to see how much verbiage he could trick me into pumping out? If that's what's just happened then congrats man, and sure enough I'm embarrassed. Four posts it took me to write that one post. I do believe that's my new record.

I guess it's just too hard to believe that I could have ever been a missionary in Detroit, because if I was, it would mean I had this meager six-month interval of "credentials" to brag about when "proving" I know how to "do the other races rite."

Dirtclustit: You've accused many Polyamory.com members (perhaps not always naming who you were accusing) of using multiple accounts -- like sock puppet accounts -- to create the false sense of agreement in their would-be discounted opinon. So I'll ask you: Are you projecting?

The walls of text you've just received have been brought to you by the letters W, T, and F ... and by Franklin Veaux. Stay tuned for more off-topic drama!
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