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Wiley Wandering

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May 5, 2009

Is Freeing Our Minds the Answer?

In a blog I wrote a month ago titled Interracial/Anti-Social Implications of Dating we covered quite a bit of territory in our discussion on the societal underpinnings of interracial dating. We not only engaged interracial dating, but various types of different dating scenarios. Though I didn’t go into same sex dating in that blog, I recently posted an In My Opinion in the Press Republican (April 28th) on the implications of one of our elected officials criticizing same sex marriage in what I saw as complicated ways because of the problematic language she used. In essence, her critiques/concerns about same sex marriage reflected the same language that people used to prevent her, as a woman, and other now so-called liberated people from achieving their equal rights.

One of the conversants in that blog discussion, the never shy, always eloquent Whaler, inspired some intriguing questions from certain statements he made. Though it was in the context of interracial dating, Whaler asserted that “Real freedom from oppression starts within.” Does It? Whaler likes to tease me about what seems to be my default position, which is challenging him about his privilege. The reason I go there so quickly with him, others, and myself, is because it is exactly dimensions of our privilege that prevent us from seeing what others who lack our privilege and yet are oppressed by our actions, see.

If we look at relationships again and the oppressive condemnation that our friends and family can leverage about our choices of partners we choose for intimacy, does the real freedom from oppression start from within? Or does real freedom from oppression start from efforts to educate those outside of us about the impact of their judgments/hypocrisy upon us? Yes, many people, many of us have the audacity to want to hold others to standards of actions that we ourselves don’t adhere to. What is that all about?

Let’s be real about this. How many of us have been curious about pursuing a relationship with someone who is somewhat outside of the norm of the type of person our friends, family, or associates would expect to see? How many potential relationships have we not gone after because of “whispering, nudging, snickering, pointing, or gossiping?” What would your friends say, in this the year 2009, if you dated someone of a different race? What would your friends/family say if you dated someone of the same sex? How would your peer group respond if you dated someone 10-15 years younger or older than you? Would your friends be able to appreciate your judgment without questioning your taste in dating someone from the other side of the tracks? Would it be a curiosity to your friends if you fell deeply in love with someone who was wheel chair bound? Why does it even have to be deeply in love with someone wheel chair bound? As two human beings, what would your friends think if you just had a hot sexual relationship with someone wheel chair bound? If I were wheel chair bound I would hope that whatever hot sex I was having before becoming physically impaired wouldn’t have to necessarily stop, though it might have to change.

Is Whaler correct? Is the key to transcending the limitations on these different relationships freeing our minds? Or, does the key reside in creating an environment, perhaps a society where we can be comfortable enough to free our minds? Since there are communities that are all Black, all Latina/o, all White, all Asian, all Native American, etc. also predominantly gay communities, predominantly middle class communities, nudist communities, etc. is it necessary or worthwhile for bi-racial people to have their own community? Would it make people involved in winter-spring romances more comfortable if they lived in a community where this was the norm?

Can I really free my mind if others continue to impact it? What do you think (or am I in your head so deeply at this moment that you actually can’t think until you remove me)?