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news, america and mental health
singapore sunset
amw
Last night i barely slept due to the news of the weekend and kept checking my phone, expecting another shoe to drop. I keep hoping America will wake up and revolt. Dump the entire regime.

Today i spoke to a Chinese girl who shared with me an opinion that i have heard a lot around the world - that many American people are friendly, that the American countryside is beautiful, but "i would never go to America". Because it's dangerous. Because everyone has guns. If you are not white you are at high risk of being shot. This isn't propaganda. This didn't start over the weekend. Just since Trump was elected several anti-racist activists have been shot, stabbed and killed by American neo-Nazis. Mosque and synagogue attacks have spiked all over the region, Canada included. There was a mosque bombing just last week. Misogynists and serial sex offenders have been shown to infest every level of American industry, even in "progressive" Silicon Valley. To any self-respecting woman this is, of course, not news. Refugees have risked life and limb - literally - escaping to Canada in the dead of winter. Black people and indigenous folks are shot and killed by the police so regularly that it doesn't even hit the news at all - they've been getting casually murdered by white men in America for hundreds of years. So when Chinese people read in the newspaper that yet another of their daughters studying at an American university has been murdered, it's no surprise.

The Graun recently posted an excerpt from a book by small town white girl who left her bubble and eventually landed a job as a journalist in Turkey. It relates to this whole thing and was quite a good read: Unlearning the myth of American innocence

I am not sure exactly when i became so disillusioned with America. I think it was while i lived in Canada and i finally wised up to the fact that my life-long dream of emigrating there would forever be blocked by their insanely broken immigration system. (Even with 15+ years of experience i wouldn't qualify under Trump's proposed Australia- and Canada-influenced "points system".) Or perhaps it was during Occupy when just hearing my colleagues spout the kind of selfish, libertarian nonsense i had done in my younger years started nauseating me. With the perspective of living in Europe as an adult, visiting Namibia and now flitting around East Asia for a while, it seems inexplicable to me that anyone would want to settle there, especially to raise a family. God knows it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but there is so much racism, bigotry and inequality it's horrifying.

When i was traveling i probably got better sleep because i always had something to occupy my mind from one day to the next. Just small things like... where am i going to stay tomorrow? Do i need to buy a train ticket? Why don't i take a walk over to that mountain and see what's there? With those simple thoughts of freedom i can sleep soundly. But, sure enough, the moment i settle down for longer than a week, i am back to the usual insomnia over stupid political developments on the other side of the world. This is a big reason why i set off on this journey in the first place, to reclaim my mental health. I wish i could ignore it all. Am i weak for caring about the livelihood my friends over there? When i was traveling it's not that i didn't care, i just had more immediate concerns. Now i am busy - i am trying to learn a new language and culture - but the routine leaves me with too much dead time. And what i do in that dead time is stay up all night reading the news.

Today's class was a write-off, i was so exhausted. I need to find peace again. I need to sleep.

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This post brings out something I've been meaning to say over the course of many of your entries.

In college I was a history major. Once I became a senior, I changed it to the interdisciplinary concentration of American Studies (which included courses in history, religion, English). My desire to do so was based in wanting to know my own culture, not in a vacuum, but as it contrasted to other world cultures. In essence - this goal was not realized.

In ALL four years of college, I took no Asian or mideast courses, nor did they offer any. Even Russia was not mentioned except as it had to do with the 1917 Communist Revolution and the Cold War. It's like they didn't exist prior. Bottom line: I know next to NOTHING about these regions of the world. I know little of their culture, people and history. Clearly my courses were US / Euro-centric - showing the bias of which you allude. I took World History, which had precious little mention of Asia -- and also European History, which was only a little more in depth study of World History. My knowledge is incomplete because a huge percentage of the world was pretty much ignored, except as it had to do with relations with the US and less so, Europe.

Granted - this was back in the late 1960s / early 1970s, but I don't know if much has changed. But -- is it any wonder that we - as a country - cannot see past our nose?

I am literally devouring your entries in order to get a sense of this culture.

"American Exceptionalism" was -- *and still is* -- an actual belief system that our (white) culture is what all other cultures must compare and identify themselves. But - we don't bother to do any of this comparison because we covertly think it's not necessary because we "just are" and it "just is". I remember learning about this concept, and it was explained in such a manner to make us feel pride, not as if there is something askew. I was taught (and raised) with the "American Exceptionalism" mindset. It is also the root of the Neo Nazis, KKK, Alt Right, and white supremacy movements - at least those which have roots in the USA.

This is one essence (imo) of the Black Lives Matter premise. White privilege which we don't acknowledge or recognize. You can't tame what you can't name. And, I admit that I didn't even SEE this until BLM came onto the scene.

Trump is in office, and this comment is getting long. I could go on -- but whenever Trump comes into my consciousness, my mind - and words - swirls around in overwhelm, fear, confusion, and anger. Trump's rise is all related to this (and so much more), and I want to collect my words, but they are a moving target. I don't know how or if we can withstand this and what it will look like on the other side. The United States IS on the edge of a cliff, and Charlottesville has pushed us even closer. Sorry for the ramble...

This is such a great comment, and i have wanting to reply more substantially for a while. Today i am too tired (same old same old). In any case, thank you very much for sharing.

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