Todays class was…I want to say interesting. But that would be a cop out. It was a good class. we learned a lot about oppression. But there was an activity that left me unsettled.
We played Spill the beans, a game where you take a bean if the question applies to you in a positive way, don’t take any beans or give any back if it doesn’t affect you, or give a bean back if it is negative. Everyone in the group starts out with 5 beans, so we were all on equal footing. Of course, in our particular group no one would be on equal footing if we were just out in society. we were a mix of just about everything you could possibly get in a single randomly put together group. (granted, I’ve got all the targets wrapped up in one. I’m a female disabled person of color that identifies with the LGBTQ community and lives below the poverty line.). The Spill the Beans questions mostly focused on LGBTQ issues. Things like” I can marry the partner of my choosing, (lost a bean) I don’t have to teach my children to survive (lost a bean) I can live where ever I want without discrimination. (we ALL lost beans) and I can see people like me on TV (Lost a bean. Yeah right. A Native American on TV?) By round five I was beanless, and there were still 20 questions to go.
I wasn’t embarrassed about going bean- less. Not really anyway. I’m so used to being a target that it doesn’t affect me, really. To me its like…”yeah.I’m in a group that gets oppressed a lot. now lets move on to another topic.” When another group member suggested making bean soup (jokingly) I said that I’d make Turtle soup since I didn’t have any beans left. What really bothered me was that there was an instructor taking that class as well, and she was in my bean group. She saw how fast I went Bean-less and heard the discussion we had afterward. Actually she didn’t say much in the discussion and just got everyone else to talk. (Interesting).
I had a lot to say in the discussion, but it wasn’t anything I had said in my other class. In my other class I hadn’t identified openly. So now she knows a lot of things about my life that apply to her class too, and I’ve never participated in discussion in her class. Its kind of a weird situation. This is someone that I respect, and now she knows that I’m barely surviving, my medical status, that I am fighting an adoption battle, that I don’t like cities,That I miss my partner so much it hurts,my 13 year old rides rodeo, My family looks like a model UN, And that I really DO have opinions that are relevant to her class. And all I know about her is that she’s really uncomfortable having me in her class with my medical conditions . Which I could actually tell,since she seems to cringe every time I stand up or stretch. (If she only knew that I’m pregnant,too) What if she wants me to talk more in class? does she think less of me now? It seems weird that she knows so much about me now.! I had been trying to stay invisible in that class. I don’t have the strength to be a target right now!
and as to targets and Allies, the class was very good about that. And learning about action plans and how to do them was great. My problem is that there are so many things I want to do and no way of doing them. Of course we have to do an action plan for this class too. that means I have to do two, because I’ve already been told that I have to do separate ones for her class and this one, and she WILL check. Oh well, guess I can’t cheat. Not that I was really going to. =)