“Stay There!”


Overheard at the Union Square farmers’ market: A young man loudly whined; the young woman beside him muttered “Stay there.” As if to say, “Stay in your petulance! Listen to yourself! Take whatever time you need to remember that you’re a white, American male—the most privileged creature on this planet—and hear how you sound like a spoiled three-year old!”

That woman’s verbal eye-roll* reminds me of an oft-quoted Quaker story:

There is a widely told, entirely apocryphal, story that at one time George Fox and William Penn met. At this meeting William Penn expressed concern over wearing a sword (a standard part of dress for people of Penn’s station), and how this was not in keeping with Quaker beliefs. George Fox responded, “Wear it as long as thou canst.” Later, according to the story, Penn again met Fox, but this time without the sword. Penn then said, “I have taken thy advice; I wore it as long as I could.” Though this story is entirely unfounded, it serves as an instructive parable about Penn’s Quaker beliefs. (From Brief History of William Penn)

Of course, Penn’s individual sword-wearing-until-he’d internalized-Quaker-beliefs is one thing; the hatred, the racism, the violence we’re witnessing as countless white Americans act out in this time of incredible and radical and inevitable transition—and possibility—is truly terrifying! Right now, staying there is scary.

(And sad. I get that. I understand the sadness beneath the violence.)

And, given climate change, none of us have much time to ponder, to contemplate, to leisurely make peace with that sword. (Talk about incredible and radical and inevitable!) So let’s get to it. Now. Let’s do whatever’s needed, with love and with compassion and grace—whine, acknowledge our shame, our guilt, mourn, grieve, make reparations, accept; whatever—so we can embrace that Big Change that’s gonna come.



*Thanks, Anna


PS: One day later, I’m not comfortable with what I’ve said, here. There’s too much more that needs to be said. So, Dear Readers, please consider the words above as a Work in Progress.

To be continued (and prayed over) . . .



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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia, my so, so very For Always dearly precious and dearly special sister and friend who you’re For Always!!!!!! Sister, wow this is such an amazingly awesome blog post article here, my so, so very dearest friend!!!!! I so, so very much love and like how you used here to quote the young woman’s comment to be the great title of your astounding blog post article, sisterfriend. Patricia, I so, so very much love and like also Anna’s verbal eye-roll, and I can just somehow envision her very aggravated eye-roll towards the so hard to be patient with overly privileged young white man!!!!!! Wow, I love this, I just love this!!!!!! I’d be tempted to do a very annoyed eye-roll as well, sister!!!!!!:)!!!!! Wow, it is just great here reading your brilliantly masterful composition in the written word, Patricia, when you explain with such sharp descriptive clarity how Anna’s verbal eye-roll reminded you of an often quoted Quaker story regarding William Penn and his very wise words. I, too, love this deeply profound story and quote of our William Penn, sister! Wow, my so, so very special and precious white sisterfriend, Patricia, this picture which you’ve featured with your very fine and excellent article here is just perfect, just absolutely perfect here, sister of mine!!!!!! Wow, this picture just says it all, doesn’t it, my friend? As we know in our bond of sisterhood and friendship, sister, and as very, very many other women and girls and people know across all backgrounds, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, ability statuses, and socioeconomic statuses, the White Male Power Structure is very, very much real indeed, sister Patricia!!!!!! I do know for sure that there are good white men and boys out there who do try and who are such good people, though, but this very system of the White Male Power Structure continues to be ever present and evident. Precious white women like you, my sisterfriend, and other of my dearest and darling wondrously wonderful white women like you, my friend, my local white sisterfriends, and all white women, and all women and girls who are nonwhite as well bear the ginormous brunt of sexism, sexist oppression, and misogyny. And I will for sure acknowledge that sexism, sexist oppression, and misogyny can come from very, very many men and boys from all walks of life-not only from some white men and boys, but also definitely for sure from some black men and boys, and other men and boys who are nonwhite. Wow, do I know this for sure, sister, as I know that you know as well, sister!!!!!!:)!!!!!! As the black person and black woman who I am, I truly think, feel, and believe in my very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit For Always that you my precious white friend and sister, Patricia, my local white sisterfriends, and other white women are my very, very heart, my very, very heartsblood and lifesblood, and even with the racism, oppression, and discrimination which I’ve faced and that I know I’ll continue to endure and experience as the black person and black woman who I am that all of us together as women and girls of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, ability statuses, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses share our common denominator as being survivors of sexism, sexist oppression, misogyny, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual terrorism, sister!!!!!! Also, I truly think, feel, and believe in my very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit that not only must blacks and other nonwhite persons receive affirmative action, but in my very heart of hearts I think that white women and white girls must also be recipients of affirmative action, sister! Yay yay yay yay!!!!!!

    Patricia, you’re so right on in all of this magnificently empowering essay here!!!!! We very much as a people don’t have much time to make peace with that sword in both the literal and figurative sense like with how our William Penn also struggled within over his own sword, my friend. My friend, I truly so enjoy how you used the William Penn quote to perfection in order to make your so full of such astute and acute sagacity points here throughout this spectacular article!!!!!! Yay!!!!! I thank-you so, so very much, profusely, kindly, dearly, and deeply for very graciously and generously providing these awesome links with such great info here, too!!!!!! Wow, I so, so appreciate the article on our late Sam Cooke and his prophetic song, and the remarkable essay on reparations for blacks/African-Americans, sister!!!!!! Patricia, you are just such a true blue white sister and very powerful white anti-racist ally, activist, and advocate in the very spirit and solidarity for me as a black woman and your black sisterfriend, and for other black persons in thinking of me and all of us with your so, so very dearest, special, and very precious heart in choosing these very empowering links to feature in your very superbly super blog post article, sister!!!!!! Thank-you so, so much, my dear friend!!!!!! Yay!!!!! Wow, this all is just so, so very wondrously wonderful and great here, Patricia!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Patricia, YOU are my and our very, very joy and blessing, and each and every one of us as your very, very many grateful and appreciative readers are just so, so very blessed by YOU, sisterfriend, and by your marvelous writings, and all you do so, so very well in such very fine fashion, my friend!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! It is such a joyful blessing, honor, and pleasure reading your stupendous blog post articles and other absolutely amazing writings, and very, very joyously responding with my very heartfelt and thorough comments!!!!!! YOU, sister Patricia, and my very reading and responding are my very, very joy, honor, blessing, and pleasure, my friend!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Patricia, please have such a wondrously wonderful Wednesday, rest of your week, and weekend ahead, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!!! It is also my very, very joy, honor, and blessing to keep you, Patricia, your dear husband, David, your Loved One in the long-term care facility, all of the rest of your dearest and darling family, your so, so very pure in heart and blessed friendsfamily at your Friends Meeting at Cambridge, and all of your other friends in my daily and frequent thoughts and prayers with sending positive energy all of your way!!!!!! I can for sure feel all of your lovingly heartfelt and sensitively caring prayers, thoughts, and positive energy for me with our Great Holy Spirit Dove!!!!!! Thank-you so!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always dearly special and dearly precious sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman, Patricia, with Such Peace and Love To You For Always, my sister, and with Such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in the very spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

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