Mind Cleanup – Summer edition

In Dutch we call this time of year “cucumber time”… I’m not sure if it’s also an expression in English though…

We use it as a way to express the time during summer when nothing really happens and newspapers and TV channels have very little news to report on but still manage to fill the pages and daytime TV with non-news about nothing-really-happening. I guess they call it that because  a cucumber may be a pretty large vegetable, but has hardly any nutritional value as it consists mostly of water. It doesn’t really have much taste eitherOstrich Head Out of Sand

All though in all honesty it’s not true that nothing is happening, is it…? My goodness, so much is happening, it’s actually hard to take in… I feel so small and hopeless in the presence of the “real news” and shamefully admit I’m pretty much in cartoon-style-ostrich-mode. Not proud of it… Working on it… I promise (myself) a more substantial, thought provoking piece next time…

Anyway… September is knocking on the door, which means “the r will be back in the month” (another Dutch expression signalling the end of summer and the return of scarves and warm coats); and it was an Olympic summer!

olympicrings400.png          Olympics          olympicrings400.png

To be honest, us Dutchies were a bit disappointed by Team NL’s results at the Olympics. This feeling stems from the fact that we weren’t able to bring home precisely those medals that we thought we had the best shot at. Ergo, the matches that we were all watching, were actually the ones we weren’t able to cash in on.

Which ones were we counting on?

  • Epke Zonderland
    (fell on his face)
  • Dafne Schippers
    (she did take home silver, but she was so pissed off about it that it felt like she fell on her face too)
  • Yuri van Gelder
    (was sent home for behaving like the bad boy we always knew he was)
  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo
    (others were just faster)
  • Jeroen Dubbeldam
    (crossed the finish line a heartbreaking o.02 seconds late)
  • Hockey
    (if only they gave out points for ball possession (and pretty faces))
  • Judo
    (don’t really know what happened there…)

Which ones did we unexpectedly win?

There were also sports where we didn’t win a medal at all but were still ecstatic about anyhow; For example our gymnast team, who finished seventh and our ever-smiling runner Churandy Martina, who made it to the 200m final for the third Olympics in a row and was just proud and grateful for the gift he had received from the big almighty.

And finally, I guess we were all pretty proud of our royal family.

emoji music           Music           emoji music

As it’s been a pretty warm and sunny week, I feel some dreamy, slow summer songs are in place. I envision a hammock, a cold drink and the absence of to-do lists, and the following songs playing in the background:

JP Cooper

Daniel Gidlund

Axel Flovent

On a different note:

I can’t believe the amount of songs Rihanna is kicking into this world… and this one is so surprising! (and so recognizably co-written by the amazing SIA!!)

Speaking of soundtracks: Every song I’ve heard from the Suicide squad movie has gotten stuck in my head straight away. Worth a listen! Haven’t seen the movie yet though…

Interesting stuff others wrote

Vox

Trump is on the front page of every newspaper, tabloid and what not and for obvious reasons. I felt this article in Vox showed an interesting theory about his brainfarts, though. Some quotes from the article:

Donald Trump is not a conservative — it’s no secret that he came to Republican Party politics after decades as a Democrat. He’s a populist, and so are his core fans.

Trump still hasn’t really learned how to speak conservative. At best, he just repeats key phrases; at worst, he unleashes some mutated monstrosity, like a conservative talking point that had survived and evolved for generations underground.

The problem with treating Donald Trump as the conservative id, though, is that Trump isn’t a conservative. He’s not saying things he believes because he doesn’t know he’s not supposed to say them; he’s saying things he doesn’t believe because he thinks other people do.

Being Woke

Fellow blogger “Being woke” posted a blog on the Burkini ban, that was installed by the mayor of Cannes on the 12th of August, followed by… very little actually. No collective public outrage, very few critical opinion pieces and no sign-carrying feminists on the streets. As the blog painfully points out:

“This ban has not liberated anyone or stopped any kind of “Islamic” extremism. What it has done is stopped women enjoying a swim, provided further ammo for gendered islamophobia and and once again shown the political system does not ask the opinions of those it effects.”

Such ugly choices, being made in France… 😦

 Epilogue

Woah, my blog is really all over the place today…I apologize… which probably means I shouldn’t publish it yet… But I think I’m gonna anyway…

Please let me pretend it’s cucumber time one last time…

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Message received

argument stubbornI love being right almost as much as being proven wrong. I don’t enjoy being contradicted per se, but I do enjoy it when someone shines their light on a situation from a new angle, putting my truth to the test. I don’t mind admitting I was wrong (or at least incomplete) when new facts are presented to me in a fair way.

This happened to me a couple of months ago, when I got into a cyber discussion witih a Jewish FB -er. It happened to me again last week when a fellow WP-er, Being Woke, called me out on my use of the word “exotic”, among other things.

All though part of me is still a bit defensive and wants to emphasize how good my intentions are and that that should be what counts, I know deep down that she was right to cyber-slap me on the wrists.

polar bear facepalm.jpgLet me summarize what happened. I read a blog in which a muslim girl described how threatened she feels on a regular basis (and during one especially aggressive encounter in particular) by looks and remarks she gets about her muslim appearance.

Instead of stating straight away that I hated that she had to deal with these kind of reactions, I inadvertently channeled my inner oaf and pretty much asked her to sympathize with the burden of my white privilege.

I told her how muslim women (or anyone foreign looking in general) stick out in my predominantly white hometown and how I struggle sometimes with how to react. I tried to explain how I would want them to feel welcome and acknowledge their presence, but at the same time I know that they would much rather just blend in. So how do you forcefully help someone blend in, when in all truth they stick out like a sore thumb?

Making myself explicitly not look makes me feel like a silly child ignoring a former friend on the school yard. It doesn’t feel nice or friendly or welcoming or productive in any way. Looking at the person in question however, even if it’s just to give her a smile, might make her feel uncomfortable and exposed, which is pretty much the opposite of what I intended in the first place. My idea was to acknowledge the facts, show her that I see her but that this has no negative connotation.

And then I earned myself a one way ticket to hell by referring to foreign looking people as “my exotic compatriots”. It’s  really bad… right?

My comment was met with a verbal eye-roll and a couple of questions to top that off:

I personally do not believe your stares are required to acknowledge someone’s presence. Do you stare at people who look like you to acknowledge their presence? Or is that reserved for those who don’t look like you – and therefore are your stares for them or to fulfil your own curiosity?

The answer to the first question is probably “no” and I go back and forth on how to feel about this. I know she is implicitly calling me a racist here, and I myself have admitted at some point I am not perfect in this field. The answer to the second rhetorical question is “yes” and again, I know I am being expected to feel bad about this.

What I want to say is that I have been on the receiving end of stares myself. I grew up in a country where my appearance stood out and I was the odd one out in a crowd. I tread a fine line here; because even though my skin and hair color made people point at me and call me names that have a negative connotation I will always be privileged by the simple fact that I am white.

Or as Louis CK puts it:

So, yes I am white and “thank god for that shit, boy”.

I am guilty but I mean no harm. I am one of the good ones, I really am. I understand why it must annoy the hell out of you to be called “exotic” and have us whiteys defend ourselves by saying we meant it as a compliment. I understand you feel you are being compared to a tropical parrot or something.

I should have never touched the word. I understand that now. I do want you to know I didn’t mean it as a compliment… or an insult, for that matter. I used the word as an adjective, to describe all my fellow countrymen and -women that may have lived here their entire lives and maybe even their parents did too, but lack the Northern European look the majority of us Dutchies has. I wasn’t saying you are not Dutch. Or less worthy. Or extra sexy-feisty-squeezy-easy. Or whatever other negative connotation it may have.

So, let me be completely open and disregard all political correctness for a minute and ask some frank questions of my own:

    • How can I, as a member of the white majority population, find the balance between acknowledging your values, respecting your right to wear different clothing and help you blend in? The only way I can think of is stop looking all together, which is most definitely not what I want. I love my sense of wonder!
    • Can I, as a white person, ever say you are too sensitive? Thin ice cracking, thin ice  cracking, thin ice, thin ice…
    • Am I allowed to say “I understand” or is the impossibility of me ever getting the struggle of a person of color so evident that it would always be either a lie or a display of my ignorance?
  • Why does us discussing semantics feel so silly?

Anyway, I promise I will never stop trying to improve myself and trust I will find a balance at some point, all though I am starting to sense that it is almost inevitable to tread on some toes along the way. I apologize beforehand. I really do try!