Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Consciousness vs. Crisis, according to SloMo

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I studied with SloMo at the University of Cape Town in 2004.  Together, we set off on a two month epic through southern Africa.  Since, he is now in New Zealand and I in Taiwan.  We keep the conversation open, keep the thoughts rolling. I wanted to share some of a recent email dialogue, commenting on the ideas bouncing around this blog– particularly the role of racism in the response to global warming, white consciousness,  and privilege.

 “… I agree that racism permeates every system, from politics, to the economy [to the environment]. Further complicating it is the interplay with other issues of privilege such as gender, religion and sexual orientation to name a couple. These compound each other and work in conjunction to codify privileges to some and deny them to others. Therefore, what I am idealistically proposing… is to raise the conciousness of those benefiting from that privilege.

It’s very tough to think about for white people, and I admit it is unlikely for a sweeping movement of black conciousness to come over the entire white population (or at least the elite- because it is the elite that benefit the most from privilege and also rule the worlds governing organizations- formal/informal), or for a gender conciousness to come over males. However, that is the only solution to the problem. It is a recognition that the privileges we benefit from are not just and are disadvantaging others. Such empathy is Human’s worst collective emotion…

…What I argue hear is merely an individual responsibilty people such as myself and Miles bear by having been educated to view the world from a counter-dominance theory.

I must admit that collectively, although I pray for such a consciousness to emerge, I recognize it’s not going to happen. Something more earth shaking is going to need to take place… [The] history of conflict over resources, limited resources will always force conflict in some way. Whether that manifests in arms or economic exploitation or the creation of an ideology that justifies inequitable distribution. One of the scariest quotes I’ve ever heard is made at the individual but can be applied to the collective, “You can rationalize any action you make.”

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Written by Miles

May 16, 2007 at 5:18 am

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