Dangerous Compassions

when to throw cards away

My friend gave me a shoebox stuffed with greeting cards, the kind charities send free, trying to get you to donate.

I never donate, so I don’t get these cards, but I would buy some at thrift stores.  Then I would use them to write letters to friends, or we would use them at political prisoner letter writing night, to write to prisoners.

For a while I had a ton of wolf ones.  The SPCA thrift store in Sacramento has cards, and on a sale day, I’d buy a huge stack of them for ten cents each.

I was looking through the cards my friend gave me.  It was fun to see the different pictures, to read the sappy messages in birthday cards, to evaluate the cheapness of the production, the different shapes–some are long instead of a regular card shape.

I found these cards from a Christian school that teaches Native American kids.  I felt sick because I have the idea, these schools, there’s a horrible history.  The Christians would want to “save” the kids, but they would be destroying their culture, taking them from their parents and families and homeland, not letting them speak their own language…  The Christians might have believed they were doing good, but it’s evil.

Boarding schools, promise of a better life, but then the kids were abused and traumatized, lost everything.

I was telling Ming, maybe it’s not so bad anymore?  He was like, why are you giving them the benefit of the doubt?  I was like, well, how could they live with themselves?

I had a student when I lived in Bishop.  She was really Christian, and she loved kids, a soft-spoken white lady who seemed kind.  But she had a medical condition that gave her a beard, which she shaved off, but I think no one in that small town wanted to be in a relationship with her.  So she didn’t have kids, though she wanted some.

She ended up going to teach at one of these schools in Arizona.  She moved there, and it was supposed to be good for her, a job, and she could work with kids.  I remember people being positive about it–she was getting out of Bishop and out of her parents’ house.  But I was thinking, uh, this is not good.

This student and I were kind of friends, and for a while, she sent me the update/fundraising letters for the school she was teaching at.  It sounded like a train wreck.  They had trouble retaining students.  They had trouble paying teachers and staff.  They were in a remote area.  It seemed like they were trying really hard to make it work, begging Christians elsewhere to fund them in saving the souls of these kids, but the school was failing.

It reminds me of some pro-lifers–dedication to one ideal at the expense of everything else.  “Killing babies is wrong,” so the solution is throwing all women under the bus. 

They want to save the souls of the Native American kids, so the solution is genocide?  It’s kind of like the immigrant kids being separated from their parents in detention centers and then adopted out.

So I’m wondering, what do I do with these cards?  I think I need to throw them away.  I can’t advertise these schools.  Not like someone I sent a card to would say, oh, what a good idea–I’ll give this school money.  But just, how could I advertise evil.

This morning I was telling Ming, some of the cards are really creepy, depicting happy Native American kids in this cartoon way, a stereotype…

Well, sorry, this blog post is depressing me.  I gotta wrap it up.  I think I’m going to keep the envelopes and throw the cards away.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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