Friday, March 27, 2009

Blue-Eyed Baby

I'm tired. I don't know if what follows will make sense. It is vague, I know. It's just a postscript at the end of a long day.

I'm thinking about mobs.

I don't like mobs.

Mob mentality concerns me. I am a student of history. Generally speaking, mobs are not good things. And the powers that be should be aware of that when attempting to use mobs for their purposes. The word "mob" comes from "mobile vulgus," or excitable crowd. It's the common people on the move. And usually this mobile crowd ain't movin' for good.

What happens is usually the other "suddenly" appears on the scene and that other is demonized and accused of causing all that is wrong in the neighborhood, state, country, or world. For a long while in Europe and parts of Asia (primarily Russia), Jews were the other and they were deemed the cause of all the ills of the world. Not enough food to eat? The government or some other wily organizer would point to the Jews and soon a pogrom was in the works.

In other places, you became the other if you were the "wrong" color, religion, or sex. In Russia, if the government thought you were an intellectual, you could be sent to the gulag. In China, if the government suspected you had any Western ideas you could be imprisoned. In the early years of the Americas, any Native people were considered the other so they could be enslaved and/or killed on a whim. During the French Revolution, any affiliation with royalty got you a trip to the guillotine.

In most organized religions, women were (and are) the other. In many parts of the world, women still are the other. All sorts of horrors have been meted out to women because they were looked upon as the other.

Lynching by definition and nature was a mob activity.

Immigrants, legal or "illegal," in most countries have been looked upon as the other whenever the economy tanks.

After 9/11, Muslims were demonized in this country by many.

I have been as appalled as the average Jill about the AIG bonuses. I wrote about it. But now the mob seems to be shouting for their heads—and their names and addresses. All rich people are not evil. By many definitions, most Americans are rich, including me and you, because we have food, clothing, jobs (at least for now), and a roof over our heads. Are they going to be calling for our heads next?

This is just a long-winded way of me saying—at the end of a long day—that I heard the Brazilian prez say that all the problems of the world have been caused by the white blue-eyed people.


Oh yes, let us make eye-color the determinant of the demon.

Scientists now believe that all blue-eyed people share the same ancestor. This blue-eyed monster probably came from northern Europe or southern Russia. I wonder what people thought when she was born. Had they ever seen a blue-eyed baby before? Did they demonize her? Did they think she was a medicine woman? She lived long enough to bear children: thus me and some of youse.

Maybe tonight I will try to swim to her in my dreams and say, "Hey, Grandma, the prez of Brazil blames all us blue-eyed people for everything that has gone wrong in the world." I imagine she'd say, "What is Brazil and what is a prez?" Then she'd look into my eyes and say, "You call that blue? Let me tell you about blue." And then I'd listen to her stories all night long.

I'm tired of people struggling to be separate and unequal just for the sake of blaming everyone else for these old troubles we've got. Go ahead and blame and then get going and do something constructive. I hope the president of Brazil goes to his meeting with world leaders and sticks up for his people, especially the poor, and does some good!

Me? I used to strive for separateness. No more.

Now I strive for connectedness. Community.

I wish Karl Marx had not called his movement communism. I have not seen communism work well anywhere. But I love the word community and wish there was another word that conveyed the idea that we are all in this together and that we should work and play together in our communities. Connectedism. Doesn't really have a ring to it, does it? Besides, isms ain't good for much.

Ah well.

I bet the president of Brazil has a blue-eyed baby in his family tree, too. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. He might have to throw it out with the blaming water. No worries. I'll reach out my arms and catch her. I won't even look first to see what color her eyes are.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Yes -- what you talk about is what used to worry me in protest marches I've participated in. You know, when everyone's chanting in unison "This is what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like..."

And I'd think "No it doesn't!"

All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.