My plan was to avoid the conversation all together but my plan has evaporated. About a week ago I saw, on facebook around 9 PM, a picture of Hugo Schwyzer with a red circle and strike on it. I opened the page, “Feminists Against Hugo Schwyzer“ and watched the “like” tally roar. I think I went to bed when it was at about 160. Now it is at 566 and the debate has bled all over the pond, small pond but one of the ponds I frequent. I am not certain I want to get in the fracas but my thinking is mine, I own it and offer it.
It seems that there are a lot of very strong opinions, strong like coffee or a scent is strong. There is little that is subtle or mindful or aware or refined or worthy of many of the writers. I am choosing to believe that many of the voices around this pond are gifted thinkers; by that I mean I would like to hear from them on the actual subjects of privilege, gender, leadership; the entire oppressed/oppressor paradigm. I am sincerely flummoxed that the conversation always includes names and never takes a leap to arching lessons, tenets, ideas, general social conclusions, etc.
My unfolding in activism has always been parallel with expanding my understanding of humans, of organic physics, of the science of leadership. I have to admit, this keeps me sane in the face of Roe eroding, Prop 8, unforgivable suicides and so much more. I do not use it as an excuse but as a shoring up of my heart in terrible bloody waters.
I want to talk about the role of a white person in racial civil rights. I want to talk about a rich person’s responsibility to the economically depressed. I want to talk about the best place for a senior when surrounded with young people, young legs, young minds and new ideas. I want to talk about straight allies and their fundamental necessity in the LGBT movement.
Most of what I have learned on this subject is from Robert Greenleaf and Margaret Wheatley. The finest leader I have read about is Leo in Hesse’s Journey to the East. He meets a group of western pilgrims and builds them a fire, cooks their food, arranges their passage through the Himalayas while never mentioning that he is the Abbott they are searching for at the monastery which is their final destination on their treacherous trip. They think he is their servant, their Sherpa, their inferior and all the while they are traveling; warm and safe. They are becoming independent and Leo knows that his invisibility is integral to their mutual success.
I think Malcolm X is another powerful example. He did not want privileged white people anywhere near his movement until he circumambulated the Great Mosque seven times, found his own higher self and, then, considered the place of blue-eyed people. And we have to see that Branch Rickey brought up Jackie Robinson but Robinson ran the bases. I believe that HRC should have a straight ally on their Board of Directors because there is no movement without expansion out of our queer ghetto but the majority, the leaders must be queer.
All of this seems to me to be a worthy conversation. It would be a worthy conversation for anyone who is interested in the matrix of domination, who cares about the empowerment of the disenfranchised, certainly anyone who has studied The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Not only is this a conversation that the current circumstances could benefit from but our intersected futures as well. Instead of keeping the conversation so puny as to be about one human this could have been about the physics of change.
Oh I have opinions about Hugo’s past, his teaching, his writing, his devotees. As a member of Alanon for almost 40 years, I have opinions about addiction. I have a boatload of opinions about rape culture, violence against women and men, about the mis/use of the word feminism. However, what I really care about is the rising of the oppressed which will release the oppressor from our shared cycle ~ advancing all of society. Hugo and you and I are just a few players who have a lot to do that is way beyond personal, beyond name-calling, beyond defenders v. attackers.
The MOVEMENT needs us to prioritize and study leadership. Settle for nothing less. Learn to build your own fire, to travel your road and pave it wide enough for all of us. These two pictures are all I have to say about this individual controversy ~ now I gotta get back to work.