Monday, September 15, 2008

The Inner Slum, Part 1: Noise Pollution

Dirt. Noise. Chaos. These are the first three things you notice whenever you enter a slum neighborhood.

The dirt. Rundown buildings. Garbage overflowing in the streets. Broken glass on the ground. People throwing garbage down onto the ground around their feet.

The noise. How very loud everything is. The shouted conversations held with people who are standing two feet away from the speaker. Shouting and yelling for people down the street. Shouting and yelling for people across the street. Loud cell phone conversations. The ever-present loud music. Music so loud that you can feel the drumbeat vibrating in your bones.

The chaos. Unattended small children darting in and out of the street. Clusters of idle, grown men standing on street corners. Clusters of idle, grown men standing around discarded sofas and chairs in the middle of vacant lots. Entire families sitting on their front stoops during what should be normal work and school hours. Swarms of teenagers yelling and cursing while waiting at bus stops. Traffic disruptions because a driver is making frequent stops in the middle of the street to throw gang signs at pedestrians.

These are the signs of an outer slum.

Inner slums have similar signs. Inner slums consisting of dirt, noise, and chaos exist within people's hearts and minds. Without frequent cleaning and renovations, your inner environment will quickly turn into an inner slum. A slum that you carry around with you.

When you don't refresh and renew your mind you will find that no matter where you go in life, The World is a Ghetto.

The prevalence of inner slums is one of the reasons why Black folks are in such a sorry state. Yes, there are external problems and opponents. However, these external obstacles are so successful in slowing our roll because of our internal weaknesses. We generally refuse to address inner weaknesses. We fear introspection. We fear silence.

Even those people who actually want to renew their minds face hidden problems with their efforts. One such problem is that it's impossible to renew your mind in the midst of noise pollution. Noise pollution is a slum value. When I say "slum value," I'm not referring to income levels. I've seen many Black professionals who live slum lifestyles with slum values. I've seen many poor Black folks who do not live with slum values. Noise pollution is so prevalent that most of us perceive it as normal. This is what makes it a hidden problem. We can't hear how noisy our living spaces are. Silence has become an aberration for most Black people. What we fail to realize is that silence is part of the internal cleansing and renewal process. Periods of silence take you out of your daily routine. Silence forces you to take a fresh look at yourself and your surroundings. I believe that this is why most Black people are deeply afraid of silence.

Noise pollution is a slum value whose origin is often found in another slum value: Using the television as a babysitter. Many people in my age group (40s) were among the first generation of Black children who were raised by being propped in front of the tv for hours at a time. Many of us have raised our own children in the same fashion. And so the cycle repeats, and becomes accepted as normal.

As a result, there are now several generations of Black people who live with the television on 24 hours a day, every single day. The tv is never turned off while people are inside the home. People will often have the tv and loud music playing simultaneously. In many modern Black households, conversations are shouted over the din of the tv and music. Meals are eaten around the tv.

We often say that Black people need to turn off the tv and read. This is true. What we don't realize is that many of us simply can't do this. Many of us are literally addicted to noise. I've watched small Black children immediately turn on the tv the moment they enter a room, even though they have no intention of watching it. I've watched Black adults do this as well. They've been conditioned to be ill at ease with silence. Most of us are deeply afraid of silence.

There's a difference between noise addiction and a purposeful use of noise. There is purpose in using these distractions to pass the time in an unpleasant setting (such as sitting in the auto repair shop, etc.). There is purpose in using the tv, radio, and phone to keep oneself company when alone; although it's better to seek out actual company.

There's also a difference between cleansing silence and other uses of silence. Sometimes silence is used as a barricade to keep other people out of our lives and our hearts. Sometimes silence is used as a weapon to punish the people closest to us. This is not the kind of silence that I'm suggesting you practice. I'm also not suggesting that people go "cold turkey" and abruptly turn off their tvs, computers, radios, and iPods. That's just too big a step for most people who are deeply conditioned to living in noise. I'm suggesting that we use daily moments of silence to refresh our perceptions, and thereby refresh our minds. For example, why not:

Observe one minute of silence and stillness at various points during the day. A minute of silence before beginning your work. A minute before going to bed. A minute of silence wherever you can fit it in.

Create a quiet room or space in your home (to whatever extent this is possible).

I'd like to hear about your experiences with silence. Did you enjoy the experience? Was any part of it difficult? How do you feel about silence?

29 comments:

Anonymiss said...

I've managed to wane myself off of "white noise" like TV over the years.

I still struggle with going to bed without the TV on. It helps put me to sleep. At least I think it does, LOL!

Khadija said...

Welcome, Anonymiss!

To my way of thinking, that's a purposeful use of "white noise"---to use it to mask other sounds that might otherwise keep one awake at night. I often go to bed with my iPod softly playing Quran recitations or soothing music.

My concern is with the legions of Black folks who literally haven't heard silence in YEARS.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

Khadija, this topic is a great departure from the usual. It really provokes thought and helps me to see how some folks live.

I live out in the country on a farm. There are tons of silence out here except for natural animal sounds--like birds, sometimes. I listened for a few minutes after I read your post. There's absolutely no noise except for the slight whirring from my laptop.

On a typical day, I don't see anyone except for family members because there're no people out here except for us on any given day. I only see sheep, cows, mules, horses, and wild animals. So it's easy to get an overdose of tranquility out here. LOL!

I decided I wanted to live a more contemplative life. That's why I opted out of the world of work--at least work outside my home. To people who believe that they've got to constantly hustle to live the "good life," well, I totally disagree. I live a wonderful, comfortable life. I have everything I want.

However, the fact is that no person needs to have much money to live a simple life of contemplation because you can always make your lifestyle match your income.

Anyway, sometimes, my husband and I just sit together in the morning and listen to the silence as we have coffee. As you said, it is a renewing experience to go inside yourself, push the distractions aside, and just be with yourself. That's a joyous feeling. I do that several times a day.

We have a TV connected to satellite, but I don't know how to operate it, so most of the time it stays on one channel. We never listen to the radio. I listen to fiction stories on my Ipod. That's usually how I go to sleep at night.

Hagar's Daughter said...

Khadija,

If you get a chance to drop by before your hiatus, check out the Honest Blogger Award you've been presented.

I practice the silence everyday. It is a spiritual discipline that I MUST have daily.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Evia!

Yes, you would probably be amazed, and not in a good way, about how a LOT of Black folks are living. I'm constantly amazed (and not in a good way). It makes me praise God everyday for my parents.

I keep stressing that this isn't about money because it's NOT about money. My parents grew up poor in tenements in Chicago. Some of my older relatives grew up in a tenement apartment that was above a corner grocery store.

My mother grew up in an apartment in a building that was kitty-corner to a tavern. Mom & her siblings "jokingly" called the nearby tavern "The Bucket 'O Blood" because of the fights that would break out during the weekends.

Despite living in an urban slum, both sets of grandparents NEVER had the sort of noise, chaos, and confusion in their homes that is cultivated in many modern Black households.

My friends who grew up in the rural South have also noticed the non-stop noise pollution. Before we talked about it, several of them simply assumed that this was normal for Northern, urban Black households. It's NOT. It's not about income or educational levels; and it's not about rural or urban.

It's about the legacy & consequences of people using the tv as a babysitter.

You might be interested to hear that there are researchers who are recording & documenting the natural sounds in places like where you live. I saw this mentioned in a documentary a few years ago. You see, the places where one can hear ONLY natural sounds are shrinking in this country. Similar to the way the glaciers are melting.

Noise pollution is encroaching upon previously quiet places. The researchers talked about how the time period between noise intrusions (such as overhead airplane flights, train whistles, etc.) is getting smaller and smaller in quiet areas.

Yes, in some ways this topic is a departure from the usual conversations. However, I believe that calling attention to, and then eradicating, these inner slums is vital to lifting the quality of life for Black women & girls.

I'll be blunt: There are a number of downright SAVAGE lifestyle practices that Black folks have adopted in recent decades. These savage lifestyle practices aid & abet the barbarism that we now see in Black residential areas. We weren't living this way before; which is part of why we weren't doing these depraved things in such great numbers before.

Many of these uncivilized lifestyle practices are obvious.
Some other savage lifestlye practices (such as having a home filled with constant noise & chaos) aren't so obvious to people who've been surrounded by them all their lives. A lot of us really don't know any better! This is why I hope to call attention to these matters.

Peace, blessings, and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Hagar's Daughter!

Wow! Oh my goodness...{blush} Thank you sooo much for the award and the appreciation. I'll try to honor the award rules before I go on hiatus tonight.

Yes, contemplative practices such as silence are VITAL to our well-being. This is why EVERY major religious tradition has some form of contemplative practice. Have you noticed how even self-identified "religious" Black folks avoid contemplative practices, ESPECIALLY silence?

As I mentioned in my response to Evia's comment, I believe that the prolonged & total absence of silence in most Black folks' lives is why there's such a prevalence of inner slums among us. Living spaces that are FOREVER FILLED with noise pollution & chaos are helping to fuel the savage behavior that we're witnessing. Many of us (on so many levels and in so many ways) live like savages, and so we act like savages.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

roslynholcomb said...

I was very fortunate to grow up in a home where there was only one tv and it wasn't watched all that much. It was more or less my father's domain and was always on sports or the news channels he liked.

We don't have a tv in our bedroom, nor will our son. These were conscious decisions to keep the outside world out of our inner sanctums. We use a fan to make white noise so we can sleep, but not the radio or tv.

We have one television and it's in the den. My son has a set number of shows he watches each day and that's it. I really enjoy my silence (as much as you can get with a 4 yo! -lol-)

I do think it's crucial to have silence as well as time to connect with the natural world. I think this too is an element of life many people are missing. How often do we look at the moon and stars? The birds in the trees?

Khadija said...

Welcome, Roslyn!

I grew up much the same way. When I was small, there was one tv and it was in the family room. My parents controlled the tv. You either watched what they watched, or you didn't watch at all. And they weren't watching a lot of tv.
I'm always amazed when I go to people's homes and see tvs in almost every room.

I'm also amazed at how so many modern Black parents allow their children to turn their bedrooms into studio apartments with phones, computers, tvs, stereos. All they need are toaster ovens or microwaves in there to complete the individual apartment.

I was not allowed that sort of isolating & destructive "privacy" as a child or as a teenager. The phones (that I had access to) were all in common areas. There was NO such thing as going into our parents' bedroom to use their phone. All of which meant that my parents were steadily walking in and out of the room during my oh-so-intense teenage phone marathons.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackgirlinmaine said...

Wow! A great post. Growing up in my home the tv and radio were on all the time. It was funny because my Dad really hated noise (he grew up in rural Arkansas but my Mom was raised in Chicago) but my Mom hated silence.

When my Mom was sick and dying, I spent several weeks to help my parents and I recall when my Mom went in for brain surgery, it was the strangest sensation being in my parents house but there was no noise. For 1 week it was just my Dad & I and without my Mom around, there was no tv or radio..strange.

Anyway as an adult, I have grappled with the noise factor. Only in recent years am I comfortable with silence but it actually took the move to Maine to make that happen. My hubby used to joke about the fact I could not sleep without the tv on.

I now find the tv on to be a distraction, though I do sleep with the classical radio station on.

Silence is good for the soul, as the mother of a young child, I don't get as much as I need but I now need it to hear myself and think.

Enjoy this time away, I almost wonder if this is a sign since I am pondering reducing the distractions in my life. Sadly the downside if working at home and on the computer is that sometimes I am too plugged in with the world and not enough with myself.

Evia said...

Yes, in some ways this topic is a departure from the usual conversations. However, I believe that calling attention to, and then eradicating, these inner slums is vital to lifting the quality of life for Black women & girls.

I, for one, didn't mind at all if you departed from the usual. LOL! But I realize that everything is connected. Yep, many black women and girls need to be provided with "ways and means" to detach from the usual and uplift themselves or what I call "Live Well." So I'm sure that what you've said will speak to some of them.

I grew up on a rural farm, so I'm used to rural "quiet" life, but 'm sure you realize that silence/quiet is considered "boring" to many black folks. I've noticed how sometimes when there's a pause in the conversation, some folks get frantic and will start creating noise--looking around, tapping, humming, etc.

I could be wrong, but I think that aside from having gotten accustomed to noise pollution, many blacks are scared to be quiet because they might start **thinking** and thinking "too much" is STILL discouraged among some segments of blacks. Reading and intellectualism are definitely frowned upon. I'm not an intellectual, but I've been told often in my life, "You think TOO much." On the other hand, it's possible to be quiet and not think at all.

I'll be blunt: There are a number of downright SAVAGE lifestyle practices that Black folks have adopted in recent decades. These savage lifestyle practices aid & abet the barbarism that we now see in Black residential areas. We weren't living this way before; which is part of why we weren't doing these depraved things in such great numbers before.

Some younger black folks who come to visit us here on the farm think we have such a BORING life and complain about how dark and scary it is out here at night. We usually have a couple of bonfire social events out here during the fall where we roast hot dogs and marshmallows and sit/lie around a roaring fire--wholesome fun. We invite some of the teens from the local black church that's in the heart of the local black community. Well, some of those TOUGH teenagers who some would consider "hardcore" or "bad-to-the-bone," teens who have seen or been involved in beatings, stabbings, drug-dealings, and other savage behaviors in their environment are scared to walk a few feet into the woods after dark out here. They said, "Oh, it's too quiet out in the woods. We're not going out there! And they will refuse to go more than a few feet away from the fire. LOL!!

There are no dangerous animals in the woods around here, unless you consider rabbits, racoons, groundhogs, deer and such to be dangerous, but even these little harmless animals scare them. However, sitting around with drug dealers doesn't make them nervous. SMH

I constantly beat the drum that AA folks need a new culture or a NEW way of life. There's a great need to scrap most of the old and start anew.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

I know you're on hiatus now, but I wanted to chime in.

What a great post, and as Evia noted, a departure, but a good one.

It is a topic many don't even think of, and it is an important one, because of the overwhelming influence of the media today...

Don't even start talking about the video and ps3 games. A youngster I know was supposed to be home schooled by his mother and father. Instead, he spent a whole lot of time in front of the ps3 playing Grand Auto Theft. He was about 10 or 11 at the time. Otherwise, the television was his baby sitter. Pathetic.

I stopped watching tv when I was in junior high. I just didn't find it interesting. This trend continued into high school, college and graduate school.

Even now, I'm not well versed in the programs people watch. I recall the inanity of people at work talking about the latest television broadcast from the evening before. American Idol? Survivor? Totally beyond me.

I believe television should be limited to certain times of the day, ie., the evening news, or children's programs if there are young ones at home. Prime time television from 8 to 9 and thereafter should be for adults only, when the kids are in bed; then they might watch their television programs, movies and so forth.

Otherwise, I'm glad that I have not lived in a big city in years. I just could not stand the noise pollution and the crowds.

Sister Seeking said...

@Evia

My husband and I are moving the same direction as your family.

I once attended a Mocha Moms meetings where the leader was discussing the S word ( you know the shock statistics). Long story shorty, did you know that black children have higher levels of anxiety which create neurological disturbances becuase their neighborhoods are filled with "noise" pollution? Our group leader went on to inform us that black infants in slums actually show signs of post-traumatic disorder due to the sleep being interrupted by: emergency sirens, shootings, fighting, loud music, and land shifts.

My husband just bought a town home but we are trying to find away to sell it back, and relocate to a more rural area.

Smile: )

Khadija said...

Black Girl in Maine,

Thank you for your kind words. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've also noticed the empty spaces where living sounds used to be with relatives that have passed. [Distinctive footsteps, etc.]

I'm also familiar with the "plugged in yet disconnected" sensation. That's why I periodically walk away from the gadgets, and only interact with people, places and things directly.

If you do decides to "reduce the distractions" around you, please let us know how that all works out.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Evia,

{chuckling} Oh no, I'm not suggesting that there's anything amiss with departures from the normal. I'm just emphasizing that the internal topics that I hope to discuss (as the Spirit moves me) are critical to our collective advancement.

It's funny. Even though I will at times indulge my own sense of amusement & entertainment with this blog (Alvin Ailey anyone?), the main point is to raise topics that lift consciousness. This isn't a "mission from God." It seems that everybody else gets the clear-cut "missions." I just get nagging thoughts that I need to do something. This is part of my effort to do something.

I'll 'fess up: My first thought when presented with dark places (of any sort) is wondering about being snatched into such places. I'll also admit that I've had reactions to the rural dark that were similar to those of the young urban Black folks that you've hosted.

As I've explained to my rural hosts, the tag line from the movie "Aliens" explained the fear: "In space no one can hear you scream." Well, in an area where the next home is faaar away, I start to wonder who could hear me scream. I know, I know...it's irrational.

Black folks' mass aversion to thinking, critical thinking, reading, or anything that smacks of any intelligence whatsoever is a whole other lengthy conversation. I can rant endlessly about the "keepin' it real" and "grassroots" crew that promote this fatal celebration of stupidity. I can feel that froth forming at the side of my mouth, so I'll stop now...

Yes, any Black person who wants to have joy and abundance in life is going to have to disconnect from internal & external barbarian lifestyles and practices. Quickly. Or else. Things are coming to a head. The sensible people among us are paddling away from the Titanic.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Pioneer Valley Woman,

The "Playstation instead of actually playing" syndrome angers me to no end. So, let's see...Many parents are setting their children up to:

1-Develop carpal tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive motion injuries at an early age.

2-Be poorly socialized due to spending the bulk of their time playing electronic games in isolation.

3-Not get any consistent excercise from outdoor activities such as bike riding, baseball, tennis, etc.

4-Which leads to an epidemic of childhood obesity among Black children.

5-Which leads to an epidemic of Black children with Type 2 diabetes.

6-Which leads to a reduced quality of life; and often to an earlier than necessary death.

{insert primal scream here}

As far as the tv watching goes, it's no wonder that we're not productive as a people. Many of us invest the bulk of our free time into watching tv. Don't get me wrong. I do understand it. As one of Elijah Muhammad's followers said (on their community access cable tv show---ahh the irony--smile), "After 8 hours on the slavemaster's job, you don't want to do nothing but lay down."

This is quite true. However, anyone who wants to accomplish anything is going to have to limit the amount of time they waste with empty pursuits like tv. I call it empty because it does absolutely NOTHING for people, unlike sports or other activities that at least provide exercise.

Also, full disclosure here: I LIKE science fiction tv shows like Battlestar Galactica. However, I still don't watch tv regularly because I'm not willing to adjust my day's activities around ANY tv show. I'm also not willing to get deeply involved in programming the vcr.

I don't let things like tv commandeer my time. Life is too short. The last time I did that was 20+ years ago. When I succumbed to the fad in college of scheduling my classes around All My Children. LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

I don't let things like tv commandeer my time. Life is too short. The last time I did that was 20+ years ago. When I succumbed to the fad in college of scheduling my classes around All My Children. LOL!

My reply:

Now this does take me back as a member of "Generation X!"

Smile and LOL!

I remember the fad, but I wasn't a part of it.

The television just sat in my dorm room, for show. I read and listened to music of all sorts, but not rap!

I started to watch more movies, though, when Blockbuster came around, and even though I had the extensive cable programming for awhile, I was starting to watch too much television, just to justify having it. So away it went, and in came Netflix, to avoid being under the thrall of the networks deciding what I watch, and just to be an iconoclast and refuse to see movies when everyone else does!

Khadija said...

Pioneer Valley Woman,

"Under the thrall of the networks" (and their advertisers, I might add) is a perfect way to describe the situation! LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

It's ironic that we are having this discussion. I've been "off" of noise for the last 10 years. Nothing drastic but enough to make me see things a bit more clearer.

I moved to Germany when I was 19 and it was different. One of the major things is the amount/kind of noise. (Please don't mistake what I am saying) They make plenty of noise in Germany but it is a different kind of noise. A gentle kind of noise.

From Germany I moved to Georgia and let's just say that is the south. I started hanging my laundry on a clothing line, going to state parks, and getting to know a lot of people who knew how to care for gardens. I wouldn't realize the change that had begun to take place in my household until I went to visit major surrounding cities. I began to notice how "loud" everything was.

Now, silence is so important my husband and I are building our lives around it. My children also benefit a great deal from not being subjected to so many different sounds. (they are still allowed to be children but can also sit still for a hour or two playing silently, reading, drawing, etc.)

I look forward to the day when my husband and I decide to purchase our family home. It will be surrounded by a minimal of 7 acres. I pray I'll be able to find an elder willing to teach me a bit about gardening so I can pass it on to my children/ grandchildren.

Until that time, I HAVE to limit the amount of noise I hear during the day, I have to.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Destouet!

Yes, I've noticed that other places are different when it comes to the type of noise that they have. For example, I was in downtown Vancouver for a couple of days recently. After a while, I realized that I didn't see a single person on the streets talking on a cell phone while outside. Not one. And we were shopping, and enjoying the downtown sights for 6+ hours on both days.

I don't know if they have a city ordinance against it in Vancouver, or if this is part of normal life in Canada. Whatever the cause, it was refreshing to be able to walk around busy city streets without having to overhear loud cell phone conversations.

I'm delighted to hear that you've been "off of noise for the last 10 years." I would like more of us to make this transition.

"Danke" for sharing your experiences with us! [Okay, I have now exhausted my single-word German vocabulary. LOL!]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

People are always looking at my strangely when they find out that I haven't owned a television in ten years and my home environment is mainly silent.

Many people are afraid of silence...they are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts...afraid to HEAR how scattered their thoughts are...

It is wonderful that you have mentioned this issue.

By the way, I was roaring with laughter when I read this:
"Traffic disruptions because a driver is making frequent stops in the middle of the street to throw gang signs at pedestrians."

*LOL* My people, my people, my people!

(smiles)
Lisa

Khadija said...

Hello there, Lisa!

Yep. As far as most Black folks are concerned, you are squarely in the "nut" category for not owning a tv. After all, that means that you're not watching & discussing American Idol, etc.

I hope to discuss the scattered thoughts (a subcategory of mental clutter & debris) that you mentioned in a future post in this series.

About the drivers throwing gang signs at pedestrians: Unfortunately, this is becoming really prevalent in Chicago's poor Black residential areas. I (and other normal drivers) have had to turn off onto side streets, etc. to get away from these thugmobiles. [After all, who knows when gunfire will break out around these drivers because they're throwing signs?] It's crazy & infuriating.

I'm happy that you're willing to claim these nuts. Me, not so much anymore. {sarcasm mode on} In fact, one day, I might have to claim to be "Cablanasian" to distinguish myself from them & their kin. {sarcasm mode off}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

focusedpurpose said...

Khadija-

i am catching up with my new favorite blog! at some point, real soon, i will be tagged cooperatively. for right now, i would rather be at your house, wading through your deep thoughts :-)

ok, you cracked me up with:

"I'm happy that you're willing to claim these nuts. Me, not so much anymore. {sarcasm mode on} In fact, one day, I might have to claim to be "Cablanasian" to distinguish myself from them & their kin. {sarcasm mode off}"

omg! hilarious. i stand in agreement, though i will opt to be a pink tulip or sunflower! this is america, i can be what i want to be, right? ok, i am done:-)

Khadija, i cherish silence. whenever possible that is what i deliberately secure for myself. my son and i have taken meditation classes since he was a young child. i have made every effort to teach him to learn to listen to his thoughts and what i call Godspeak. it is in that silence that clarity comes for me.

i agree with Evia when she says that some black folks are afraid of those that that "think too much". i have heard this often as well.

in retrospect, i have realized that those folks that i feel the closest to are those that i can sit comfortably with in silence. this is very important to me.

thank you for such an excellent post. i love it!

blessings,
focusedpurpose

Khadija said...

Hello there, Focused Purpose!

Thank you for your kind words about the post. I like your "pink tulip/sunflower" idea! I might have to borrow these thoughts one day. LOL!

You've also pointed out something that I hadn't really thought of about my closest friend: I can sit in silence with them comfortably. This is a blessing.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sabs said...

I believe that for many people, silence is scary because they think of the "calm before the storm." Some may become overwhelmed by their own thoughts especially if those thoughts are full of negativity and despair...but yet some aren't willing to work through that, so they fill up the void with 'noise' of all sorts. I grew up in a household where all the TVs, radios, record players would be on simultaneously and it was awful. It like we use noise as armor...even to go to the beach or the woods! We have to have our "tunes" rather than enjoy the sounds of nature. Now I just make time to savor silence at specific periods during the day. I find it very therapeutic.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Sabs!

You said, "It like we use noise as armor..."

I think you're right about this.

You said, "Now I just make time to savor silence at specific periods during the day. I find it very therapeutic."

Good for you! [raised fist salute}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

anna (tertiary#anna) said...

This is a really powerful post, and it's giving me a lot to think about. I think for me, my "noise" is the desire to fix every other problem besides my own. I'm starting to realize that it's like putting all my money in someone else's wallet, and me not having enough for groceries. I appreciate this post. You should really think about collecting some of your essays and making a book or something.

Khadija said...

Anna,

Thank you for your kind words about the post. I truly appreciate it. Yes, I'll eventually get around to compiling some of the blog essays into book form. I'm preoccupied with other writing tasks at the moment. [Business-related and working on a novel.]

You may enjoy checking out The Inner Slum, Part 2: Micro-Aggression.- I find that MANY of us (myself included) routinely do a number of things that warrant some scrutiny.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

E. N. said...

This entire post makes so much sense, especially the part about the noise.

For the past year I have been living with a family of relatives, and I could not stand it there. There is noise going on at all hours of the day. TVs blaring, kids running and up down the staircase and slamming doors (actually SLAMMING them to close them), people screaming - not talking - on the phone, and even the adult parents don't mind when their school-age children go to bed at 11:30 screaming and yelling. The adult parents are also very fond of door-slamming, too.

Needless to say, my relatives are ghetto, but I never realized it that way until reading this post. I've been accused of being "bougie" and a self-righteous brat for trying to voice my complaints against such barbaric behavior. I'm a naturally quiet and orderly person, and living with that family really put me into a state of depression because it was non-stop chaos until at least midnight. I would train myself to try and sleep around midnight and wake up before the kids did at 7am, but all that did was breed a sleeping disorder for me.

So thank you so much for posting this. I don't feel so crazy for feeling the way I did about my relatives. When I get financial independence - and soon - I'm hightailing it OUT of there.


E.N.
Sticks and Stones - An Emotional Abuse Survivor's Blog
http://theemancipatedsurvivor.blogspot.com

Khadija said...

E.N.,

You're welcome!

I believe that lasting, positive change only comes from the inside-out. Enduring victories come from the inside-out. We've tried various surface techniques over the past 40 years. For the most part, all we've done is exchange one form of oppression for another.

We have exchanged an external oppressor in favor of an internal one. We have exchanged external violence in favor of internal violence. In politics, we have exchanged White political hacks for Black ones. All the while, our collective condition has gotten worse and worse.

I want CHANGE, not exchange. This requires the renewing of our minds. We CAN'T renew our minds in an environment filled with noise pollution.

You might also be interested in the other Inner Slum and Inner Sanctuary posts. The Inner Sanctuary posts focus on solutions.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.