Leadership and the Environment

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365: Assaulted again and scammed

Here are the notes I read from (maybe better just to listen):

Yesterday two things, I'll start with second because more poignant.

Ran into old friend a few weeks ago, clubbing, Submedia.

Met at bar, first time since March, ready to walk away, wasn't going to order doof. But distant, outdoor, nearly empty.

Talking for about an hour, a lot on how I transitioned.

Talking about TV show.

As an aside, he remarked knowing my regular background made stewardship more compelling and interesting than just tree hugger.

While talking, some guy starts rooting through trash can on street, throwing trash everywhere. I remark, almost act.

Then he starts yelling at us, threatening.

Dave, fresh from kickboxing stands and advances toward.

Guy points at me! throws bottle, shatters, leaves.

Five minutes later comes back, hauls off and throws bottle hard, shatters huge, all eyes are on situation.

Dave advances, I back him up. Gut yells at Dave, hard to understand since mostly Spanish, threatening, fists up, mostly at Dave, partly me.

Guy crosses street, Dave pursues, guy has lost advantage.

Dave crosses street, in guy's face, less threatening physically, but aggressive.

Through broken Spanish while still threatening Dave and me becomes clear.

He felt we were putting him down for having to eat from trash.

Instead of resolving or trying to reach understanding, throws bottles, so still crazy but different, not just malevolent or hurtful, defending.

Dave and I walk away feeling compassion, sad that he's in that situation, and sad that his resolution involves assaulting us.

Coming back workmen curious, cop asks a few questions.

You may have heard that I swam across Hudson River two weeks ago today for first time since 2008, twelve years ago. At nearly 50 years old, sort of risky.

Major life achievement. Why am I holding back on posting it? Because I wanted the video. Here's that story.

Two years ago

Last year, friend commits, backs out for reason he could have known.

Invite other friend, he loves it, life goal for him too I knew he was swim instructor, life guard too. Says he'll bring equipment.

I say, so I don't need to bring a camera. No, he has one.

Before swimming, I interview Joe De Sena and get invited to Vermont.

I invite friend, who is overjoyed, another life achievement.

He's marketing his coaching, sees huge benefit to webcasting from Spartan Race farm.

Joe and I have hit if off, hence the invitation to an invitation-only event, plus as I've shared, my carrying my rowing machine and kettle bell to roof. I offer to introduce him to Spartan community. As long as I'm there, I intend to share friends with friends.

We swim across, I'll share in post about swimming.

Ferry approaching us, scary. He jokes, good to have white person in facing authority.

After we reach shore, I hold on to his swimming equipment so ferry people don't identify him as swimmer they thought breaking lawn Before Friday, he says he can't drive. Family needs car.

I feel disappointed, but contact Spartan Up people. We go into overdrive finding someone I can ride with.

Many potential options, but only one works. I have to take train to.

Connecticut early next morning, but I make sure space for my friend.

Turns out he can't make early ride.

After we get back I text him how he would have liked it but next time, and ask him about video. No response.

Read text trail.

Our mutual friend defends him. Says I'm making a big deal about nothing, but sends twenty texts. What's going on?

I give up. Confused about what to do as weeks pass that I can't share about life event without explanation.

Finally yesterday he emails me. Read email.

My read of situation: I didn't bring camera because he said he would create. Never discussed charging.

Now I have huge interest in something he has uniquely and holds it ransom, having said he would take care of it so I didn't try, as I would

have.

So I figure I'll write him and remind, when I offered, it sounded like major life event. I invited as friend. No thought to charge for conceiving or planning, but what price would he consider fair?

No thought of introducing him to Joe and Spartan community, happy to help him make that invitation into making him look great to his community.

Now, of course, I see I dodged a bullet as if he started nickel and diming them, it would have made me look bad.

But no thought of charging him for introduction. On the contrary, put in extra work to make sure he would be welcome and could get a ride.

All he had to do was send a link to a file. Instead he holds it ransom for two weeks, maybe indefinitely, and tries to make money off me.

Cheap nickel and dime stuff. I don't make money on my blog. I don't know where he's coming from, but taking advantage of my huge demand and scarcity he created, whether intentional or not, deceptively.

When I asked him if I said anything offensive, I knew I hadn't. I was giving him an out from behavior anyone I know would feel embarrassed and ashamed to be doing.

Race and gender seemed to play roles in these interactions. Would the guy have thrown a bottle at us if we were female? He was definitely

racist toward Dave. Would friend have tried to scam me if female? Comment on race while swimming would have been called micro aggression or macro if reversed.

Was I targeted because I am white or male? I can't say because I don't know their hearts and minds.

But I know this. When I share how I suffer, people consistently tell me how others suffer more. Nobody ever asks my experience.

Do I need for the bottle to hit me and knock me out, for the guy with the knife to cut me for people to stop telling me to put it in perspective?

Can you imagine lecturing a woman victim or a black victim about distractions from their experience?

All this prelude to what I'm getting at People often send me to articles describing how inequality feels when you have less. When you start the race behind the starting line.

Many of these articles describe how you can never escape feeling of being outside, being other, not being understood.That's how I feel. Maybe there's a white male suburban culture blind to suffering, where cash is free and no one hurts. I don't know. It's as foreign to me as

every description I've come across.

I'm aware of my sex and race every day, all the time, and how people see me as less than human, as fair targets for violence, as fair targets

for scamming.

Twice in two weeks after deciding to open up on race. Do you think that's coincidence? Sorry, three times. No, it happens all the time,

since my entire life. I could tell hundreds of stories like this.

I see marches full of whites saying how bad it is for blacks and other people of color. I see videos of white kneeling before blacks asking

forgiveness for I guess ancestors' crimes, or system I am not an ally for equality. Nobody wants equality more than I do. People of other skin colors or sexes don't because of their skincolor and sex know racism or sexism or homophobia or pick your stereotype and I don't or can't because I'm white.

I know it. I live it. If you can't accept that, I hope you get over your stereotype and see me as a person who feels pain, who is attacked,who started behind the starting line too and then gets beat up along the race but gets told he had a head start and says he caused getting beat up or at best those assaults downplayed or ignored, then told if I really understood I would see my privilege.

All these whites and men saying how bad it is for others, are they really not suffering? If so, I'd like to learn what it is to be white and male like them because it is as far from my experience as anyone else described their distance.

I think more likely, they aren't comfortable sharing their troubles and are only postponing actual open, honest talk and action about equality. Everything I see seems consistent with white bad, male bad, but we aren't bad. We're just like everyone else.

There is racism, sexism, homophobia, and more.

The path we are on will lead not to the end of these things, but to putting different groups on top or battling it out.

Anybody can see that when one group says the best thing you can do is shut up and listen, while also claiming diversity and inclusion, you can see who has the power in that relationship.

Everyone has their story. I'd like to say nobody got a free pass or automatically feels understood. Possibly many whites and males do, which is hard for me to grasp, but if so, their story is not my story, nor the story of many other whites or many other men and to paint me with their brush further beats me up on this privilege race track analogy I didn't make up but that people keep imposing on me. People who know me increasingly tell me that my story and experience are different, implying that maybe I do know suffering more than the

average white or male. Most haven't felt such lifelong repeated assault from women and people of color. Either I'm a special case, in which case it would seem my voice has value and people should listen more to me. Or I'm not, in which case we should recognize that all whites and all men suffer too and the starting line analogy starts falling apart.

Or maybe you say I haven't really suffered, in which case what more do you need? How many more women need sexually assault me, what some would call rape, how many men do I need to know sexually assaulted and raped, how many whites victimized? What does it take?

I believe everyone has known this pain. If not, maybe my voice can help illuminate what by any definition except white bad male bad heterosexual bad is exclusionary, non-diverse, sexist, racist, and all the other stereotypes exactly when claiming the opposite and trying to

achieve the opposite.

I believe it doesn't take much to pursue seeing equality of humanity in each person, but we aren't doing it. At least I don't see it in the protests nor the counter protests.

My issue is the environment. I believe working together on what ties us together and transcends skin color, sex, orientation, age, etc -- project-based learning -- can solve these problems more than marches.

Yes, there's police brutality, unequal access to resources, and more.

If you want to see suffering, as an American, look at what your system no matter your color or anything does to people everywhere for your comfort and convenience, to ourselves. It's not litter, it's sterilized, cancer, birth defects, war, famine on scales greater than the whole

population of this country, and not just this country, even within the countries suffering most, people there contributing to this system.

Even greater suffering, look at future generations to make today look like a walk in the park IF WE DON'T ACT TOGETHER TODAY TO STOP POLLUTING and reverse this system that relies on pollution and treating others as inhuman independent of their skin color or anything else.

Beneath everything else, we breath the same air, drink the same water, and eat the same food from the same land and seas.

Focusing on those things, I believe, can bring us together in common humanity more than anything else. In the past, sports, military, arts, science, and other cultural activity has helped us overcome stereotypes.

I think of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Ping Pong diplomacy, Zora Neale Hurston, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, Marie Curie, countless men sharing the same foxhole in battle who learned to love each other I believe that stewardship, loving nature, battling the systems that pollute, impoverish, and separate us will bring us together like nothing before.

Beneath skin color, beneath genitals, beneath it all, we breath air, drink water, and eat food. Frankly I see almost no one seeing that starting point, nor fighting the systems taking away even that.

But I am. If you see me as a white who doesn't understand non-white or a male who doesn't understand non-male or heterosexual who doesn't understand the rest of that rainbow, then you don't understand me

either.

Now let's restore the nature we all need to live together.

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