Full immersion into the bottom of these two rural cultures means:
- I do my own hair color and cut.
- I make most of my own meals.
- I haven’t had a professional mani/pedi in almost 2 years.
- I haven’t been to a movie theater in almost 3 years.
- I can’t get in to see a dentist for more than a year.
- I have one or no option for internet.
- Those around me ignore me into invisibility.
- I chose to nurse a deep puncture wound on my hand for months instead of seeing the one power-stealing male doctor in town.
- The natural environment around me is being destroyed.
- I use my own manual labor for property maintenance.
- My groceries cost me a third more to buy.
- Gas is a quarter more per gallon.
- I live across the street and next door to angry white men who rip their need for control right out of the animals and trees and grasses around them.
- The roar of trucks and service vehicles on my street is consistent.
- Passive aggression is a consistent barrier to my forward momentum.
- Inaccurate information intentionally offered is a barrier to my forward momentum.
- Practices based on outdated information and uninformed assumptions are barriers to my forward momentum.
- Opaque professional processes are a barrier to my forward momentum.
- No one believes or trusts me here.
- My professional credentials have no value here.
- I am judged by my zip code.
- POC assume I’m like all the other white people around me.
- Fear of punishment (retaliation, blocked access to resources, ignoring into nonexistence, etc.) is weaponized against me.
- If I screamed for help here, no one would hear me.
Little red and black stickers, just the first two months of goo:
- SR Water company Mary’s barely contained rage at the newcomer.
- The SRer on Foothill Close with his dog, Taco, flashing his light in my bedroom window and waking me just to stare through the window at my exposed body.
- The three SRer women at night on Antler with the white dog pushing their flashlight into my face, while I’m holding Sparkles, shouting that I’m being judged by SR “owners.”
- Mark Hellender on Leeward ignoring my shouts to “stop!” dragging the golden retriever by her neck on a choke chain all the way down the street.
- The many, many SRers on Highway 1 playing the slow-down game: “Steal everyone’s forward momentum who doesn’t have a little red and black sticker on their windshield.”
- The raging SRer next door shoving the mower around while a child screams from inside the house.
- The man on the beach–with the two cute little white poodles who distract and trip visitors—smiling and jogging away in the other direction as I struggle to stay upright against the tide.
- The “concerned” SR neighbors who “saw” Sparkles in the sewer, on the highway, near the sheep, and near their pit bull. (All inaccurate information offered intentionally– weaponized fear.)
- The SRer who let her dogs run at me on the Chapel trail, while smiling silently as I stand as still as possible in fear, objecting.
- The SRer in his little pickup on Timberridge who stopped while I was taking a picture just to laugh and say, “it’s just a tree—haven’t you seen one before?”
- The TSRA woman territorializing the Moonraker pool.
- The other SR woman at Moonraker sourly surveying the “colored” people and “renters.”
- The literally hundreds of offered smiles to SRers not returned, and their physical turning away from waves of greeting.
- The attempts at small talk that splat and die, unacknowledged.
- The intentional avoidance of eye contact with all “outsiders.”
- The totalizing effect of small town talk.
*This is an illustration of normal communication and practices found in one or both rural cultures. It is data.
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First Rural Portal Project edition anticipated January 20, 2020 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Center for U.S. Rural Cultures Studies is an Accelerate Publishing project. Accelerate: A Niche Publishing & Communications Consulting Co.,–est. in 2015–is a socially just for-profit small business in California.