Day 16: Sometimes I Dream in Farsi
We've made it to Boulder, Colorado. I didn't know if I was going to. The drive was much harder than I remember at 27. Thank God again for adaptive cruise control. Without it, I might be a goner.
I was fairly bummed before we got to Denver. First, there was the hail storm. I didn't think that was a big deal, until we looked at the car the next day. It's covered in all these tiny little dents. I'm not sure how I can get them out. I filed a claim with Geico. Hopefully, they give me some good news.
Besides the dents, I got a message from a dear friend telling me to look out for seeing everything as racism. That took me aback, and made me realize how difficult it is to talk about going through an experience with discrimination. For whatever reason, some folks have a trigger reaction to doubt you. I suppose it's easier than the alternative.
I asked Aaron how to deal with it, and he said it wasn't my responsibility.
"They can look this stuff up online," he said. "I don't like how people are making you the person to explain things to them. It's not your responsibility."
That was the first time someone's said that to me. It took a while to set in.
I guess I've always felt responsible. It must be how most first generation immigrants respond. You've got to be the go-between with your parents, so when the waiter asks about some detail on the menu, you've got to be the one that explains that two portions of bread is not going to cut it for an Iranian family.
"We're going to need more," I might explain, and then I'd order a plate of pickles for extra measure. "And pickles, too!"
I suppose jokes are one way to relieve the pressure about these differences. But to not be responsible? I couldn't imagine. I've always been made responsible. Maybe that's the ticket though. If people really want to figure things out for themselves, they can watch a video on the Internet or read about it.
We submitted to another of our grants. I'm hoping we get something. Dents cost money. Movies cost even more. We did get a nice note from one person. They told me they liked that I was tackling the issue of racial trauma and suggested I make it clear it's not because I'm Iranian, but because the person was simply a racist. Hold on. They said it much better:
"That horrible person didn't refuse to cut your hair because you were Iranian. They refused because they were racist and they projected their negative perceptions. W.E.B. DuBois begins Souls of Black Folks with the sentence, "What does it mean to be a problem?" This is an unfortunate burden with which non-white people have been forced to engage. We can recognize the problem of racism without problematizing and stigmatizing race."
I'm glad I'm getting so much wisdom from people. I want to understand more too. Tomorrow, I'll be reading Souls of Black Folks, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I'll also be reading a few new books: Mixed-Race, Post-Race: Gender, New Ethnicities and Cultural Practices, and The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality, and Gender.
I should probably be preparing for my PhD defense in August, but I can't stop myself. I also realize I haven't said much about the road trip. It's not because a lot didn't happen. It did. I suppose I'll talk about what happened in Boulder tomorrow. I still need more sleep to recover, and I'm dying to finish Deep and Simple: A Spiritual Path for Modern Times.
I love everyone. Bye.
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