Category Archives: Understanding

You Knew

There is an old story about a little girl and a half-frozen snake. The snake begs her to help him get warm but she is leery. He pleads until finally she has pity on the poor creature and tucks him inside her coat to get his blood circulating. As soon as the reptile’s body thawed, he thanked the little girl and bit her.

She cries out, “Why did you bite me? I saved your life?”

To which, the snake replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Every day there’s something . Some controversy. Something racial. Something religious. Something cultural. Something political. Something. It’s tiring. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much to deal with and process. You almost have to ignore it to gain any peace. You don’t understand why people are so obsessed with everything and you can’t think about it anymore. You have to ‘tune it out’ and focus on the ‘positive’.

I think that’s bullshit.

Yup. That’s right. I didn’t use the initials. I didn’t find a nice, clean, polite word. I called it what it is. Bullshit.

In my opinion, you’re not tired and overwhelmed by much stuff happening. You’re tired and overwhelmed from having to face the truth. From all sides, from all angles with no escape.

To be clear, I’m not talking about people who are worn down by all the hate and bigotry that’s put on them—that is tiring. Nobody deserves to be victimized by other people’s judgments. But, victimization is different from cause and effect. It’s different from getting what’s yours. If you have participated in creating this divided environment (silence is agreement, btw) you’ve earned the backlash, twenty-four/seven, non-stop. You don’t get to opt out of what you’ve sown now that reaping season is here.

You don’t like this never-ending Trump-circus? You knew what he was when you picked him up, but you were too busy collecting a prize to care. He is your sin to own, you don’t get to be tired now. You want to rest? Close that pandora’s box you flung open.  And, if by chance you are happy with him, then, hate is your thing and you’re not tired at all.

Are you fed-up with the videos showing the unfair treatment of people of color? Can’t handle the proof that negative white privilege is a thing? You knew what it was when you embraced the idea that some people were less than, and you should be the judge of who is better than whom. The race card is a game you invented. One, you can’t win.

Feeling like your brand of Christianity is under attack? Couldn’t have anything to do with all the attacking you’ve done in the name religion? Nooooo… You knew it was control when you dialed it up. News flash: It’s not persecution when people don’t let you run their lives. And, speaking of lives, you’re not pro-life. You’re pro-supremacy.

Sick of hearing about gun control? Control your guns… and your gun users. You want rules… for other people, not anything you need to follow. But, no amount of pretending the government wants your toys is going to wash away the stain of irresponsibility.

Wiped out by the NFL controversy? That controversy you created by changing the narrative of a real issue to one of deflection and control? The one, where the objective is to create division and to silence people of color. You knew what it was when you created it. It’s the same act you’ve been pulling since you got here.

Overwhelmed and confused about the illegal immigration situation? No, you’re not. Separating families is an old go-to. Something supremacy-people have been doing to other races since… always. You don’t want America to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. You made it into the land of the greedy and the home of the cowards.

You are afraid of everybody and everything and every circumstance you can’t control. You actually need guns and racism and religious rigidity because your idea of prosperity means poverty for everyone else. Your idea of freedom means slavery for everyone else. Your idea of truth is a lie to everyone else. Your idea of life means death for everyone else.

But, nobody is playing by your rules anymore, We’re not staying on your plantation. We’re not leaving it either. We’re burning it down. When you intentionally make other people’s lives hell, you get to live in hell.

You knew what every item of hate was when you picked it up. You’re tired because that supremacy-snake is biting you. Hopefully in the ass.

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White History Month

Can we get a white history month, please?

I don’t mean so we can look at pictures of the forty-three presidents who came before President Obama. I mean so white kids can learn where George Washington really got his teeth. (Hint: They weren’t wooden.)

We don’t need to spotlight the signing of the Declaration of Independence -that’s just history. We do, however, need to spotlight the Second Amendment is about arming slave patrols.

We do need to teach the real reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.

And, just because someone uses the Confederate flag as a symbol of their heritage, doesn’t change the fact that it is a symbol of a would-be nation founded on the love of slavery.

We need a white history month so white children can understand the logic that thinks it’s okay to trade the lives and freedoms of others (Immigrants or poor people for example) for objects (walls, tax breaks, and whatnot) is the same logic that stole land from people and people from their land. We need to teach them exactly what supremacy is so they may learn to do better.

Because of the lack of factual real-life education, we live in a society of fragile, privileged, angry white people who cannot cope with reality. They have been taught everything begins with them – if it doesn’t, erase the history and make it begin with them. They have been taught American equals white -white thinking, white acting, white looking, etc. Anything outside the white assumption is somehow bad or wrong. And speaking of assumptions, they frequently confuse assumption with fact. Their understanding is the only understanding to be had; their opinions are the only opinions that matter; and, they are the final judge in any given situation.

They need to be untaught.

But, not at our expense.

We don’t need the temper tantrums. The racism. The lashing out. The jealousy. The hate.

Which is why we’re not tolerating it. We are lighting up hypocrisy and blowing up supremacy.  We are torching fragility and killing the use of privilege for negative purposes.

Offended at the idea that Black Lives actually Matter? Who gives a damn?

Mad because NFL players take a knee for injustice? Good.

Scared of Muslims and people from the hood? Wakanda Forever.

There is a reason beyond their trauma, the kids from Parkland are resonating with so many of us. There is a reason a high number of sexual assault incidents are being exposed. There is a reason we say: Wakanda Forever (besides the obvious: white people can’t shut us down or steal our joy). There is a reason every ideal with its roots in supremacy is under attack.

Because we’re done. We are putting truth ahead of everything.

We need white children, who are a part of our future, and innocent of hate, to never get there. We don’t need them trying to resurrect the ignorance of their history. They don’t need to grow up learning lies. They don’t need to find out the hard way, equality and human dignity is a thing beyond their control.

If we committed a block of time to teach them (to teach everyone) things like:

Retaliating against a black president with a racist president is not a good plan.

Imposing upon or denying the rights of others is a bad idea.

Altering facts and whitewashing history is a terrible thing to do.

Etc…etc…etc…

There is so much to be learned from white history that when put to proper use, we, as a nation, might actually have a shot at forming that ‘more perfect union’ the Constitution’s writers wanted.

Besides, unlearning is hard. Many allies have had to go above and beyond to get there. They’ve had swallow bitter pills. They’ve had to go against family and friends, and be accountable on behalf of others. Of course, they come out fighting on the other side, but why make it necessary in the first place?

In minority neighborhoods, we teach our children historic truths so they can maneuver through the lies white society has perpetuated against us. Wouldn’t it be great if white people taught their children historic truths too? Even if it was only for a month.

Your Roots Are Showing

How is that time travel thing working out for you?

You know, when you wanted to go back to a time when America was ‘great.’ You were done with community, and democracy, and growth, and equality. You just wanted racist nostalgia.

So you let the KKK  and white nationalist crawl out from under their rocks. You went full-throttle on the supremacy-moves (Blue lives matter; football players can’t kneel, racists and sex offenders running for office. Now, you’re pushing for slavery again. Make no mistake, trading the lives and freedom of other people-in this case, the Dreamers- for an object (the wall) is the same formula that had the cotton industry booming in the 1700’s. Doing anything to control other people’s lives and freedom is a form slavery.

Taking away health care for children and now, wanting to substitute food stamps for canned/boxed goods – like you did to the Indigenous People you shoved on reservations must give you warm fuzzies. You’re trying hard to own a plantation, aren’t you?

If by MAGA you meant hate-filled chaos, congratulations. You got it. Sure, you had to sink very low and abandon human decency. You embraced hypocrisy. Turned your political party into a circus. You bought and sold lies as if you don’t know what they are. (Locker room talk; Mexico is going to pay for the wall; biggest inauguration ever; I’ll reveal my taxes; fake news; very fine people; sons of bitches…) You’ve even thrown in a few of your own (Russia meddling doesn’t matter; kneeling is disrespectful; confefe is secret code…)

Of course, no one expects you to actually accept responsibility for anything you’ve done. (It’s Muslims; it’s Blacks, it’s the media, It’s the Liberals, it’s the Deep State…) It’s everything but the truth.

That’s okay, the rest of us know the truth.

It’s not all White people it’s you. They don’t like your racist’s ways any more than the rest of us.

It’s not all Christians -it’s you. True Christianity is a religion of love and has nothing to do with  the crap you push.

It’s not all Conservatives – it’s you. Their belief in family values isn’t limited to your portion of the population.

Hiding behind those labels won’t improve your reputation one iota.

You know what else we know? This is all about you and your self-hate and insecurities. You have nothing, and you’ve done nothing. Your claim to fame is supremacy. You can only make yourself (substitute America so it sounds good) great by seeing others as less than. You have to hate in order to hide the truth. If you compete on equal terms, you might lose. You might be wrong. You might not be better than anyone else.

You could save yourself a lot of heartache, lies, and Jesus-claiming if you owned the reality and moved on.

The rest of us have.

Back in your good ‘ol days, you had the power. That’s gone. Exposed. Nothing you have thought, said, or done concerning equality has been correct. We know it, you know it, and thanks to social media, the entire world knows it.

So while you’re traveling back in time, looking for moments you can hug, why not go back to the moment you thought you were going to win and just quit?

The Best of Us

Bad things happen to everybody; it’s called life.  When they happen to someone who is so good he borders on angelic, it makes your blood boil. But when that person calmly and courageously takes it all in stride with no anger, resentment or reflection on their wounds or trouble, it makes you humble and appreciative.

Today, I am appreciative. I am appreciative my husband is alive.

My mom’s apartment is in a well-to-do neighborhood where everybody knows everybody. My aunt & uncle own the building and have lived on that street since 1968. The area is well-lit and many of the houses have surveillance. (Unfortunately, the one that would have helped us was not recording.)

About three months ago, the house next door was burglarized. It was an anomaly, as the last criminal incident near my aunt’s apartment building happened twenty years ago.

One notable plus/minus to my aunt’s house is a well-known and busy street just a few blocks over. Sometimes prostitutes discreetly and not so discreetly apply their trade. When the police are out and about, a client may have to drive around the corner to negotiate the terms of service -that’s the minus. The plus is when the police are out and about, they frequently drive through.

All that is to say: of all the inner city locations Matt has gone to (and he’s been in some dangerous spots), this neighborhood was among the safest.

Until last night. On his way home from work, Matt stopped to pick up my mother for her Christmas visit. Before he got out of the car, he replied to a text.

Three minutes changed our night.

A band of wanderers spotted him. Ten guys of varying age. The car was running while he texted. I speculate they tagged him as a John. (A John wouldn’t know anyone on the block; would take a while to get help; and depending on his personal life and/or career, might not want to involve the authorities at all.) They surrounded him, grabbed the door, and demanded he get out. Matt thought they may have been armed. He didn’t see a weapon but ten on one means you comply. As he was getting out, one man sucker-punched him. A second guy stole the car, and the rest took off.

Because he was at my mother’s house, he was able to get help right away. They called the police, then they called me. I was able to block his cards. The thieves threw his phone away (A Good Samaritan found and returned it), but his wallet, keys, everything else is gone.

The rest of his night consisted of reports, medics, a trip to the police station, and my family in varying states of hysterics and outrage.

My uncle is in his eighties, He is recovering from major surgery. He was out of his bed, questioning the neighbors – if those guys came from the area, he would know.

My brother works with Matt. He took over the job-related details.

Our daughter waited up and our son-in-law was prepared to leave his job and drive two states over to pick Matt up.

I drive the speed limit… All the time… Unless my husband has been attacked.

The family was on full alert because Matt is the very best of us. When you attack the very best of us, the rest of us can’t sit still.

Until Matt speaks.

The entire night, Matt remained calm. Forgiving. Upbeat even. He did not despair.

His eye was bleeding and swollen shut. – He didn’t utter a complaint.

His car, his belongings, and his identity was stolen. – He shrugged off the amount of work before us.

He hasn’t said a thing about the perpetrators other than praying for them. (No, he didn’t mention to the police that he’s a priest. He does nothing to bring attention to himself. Even when he is the center of attention.)

He did have the nerve to blame himself, once. “I wasn’t paying attention. I thought they were kids playing around. The next time, I’m out like that, I won’t linger…” (Not to worry, I nipped that in the bud.)

The lack of focus on his attackers is a big deal. Although the attack doesn’t appear to racially motivated, this could have been a billboard moment for white-privilege if he wanted to use it. Black people attacking white people for no reason is a great excuse for racism and supremacy. Since it actually happened, he would be justified in feeling that way.

But Matt is the best of us.

According to him: Some people did a bad thing. Hopefully, it will all work out. And, thank God it wasn’t worse.

How can you not be humbled and appreciative of someone like that?

The Shooting Sickness

If you want to say the mass shootings aren’t a gun issue, okay. What is it? What exactly is this mental health problem that seems to be running rampant amongst white men with guns?

A – We know it’s mostly a white disease (Sickle Cell is mostly a black disease. It happens.) People of color indulging in similar activities are almost always given a different diagnoses: thugs, extremists, terrorists, whatever.

B – We know this illness in undetectable by mental health experts and is not questioned on firearm registration forms. In fact, it’s not even considered an illness until after the shooter is identified as white. No matter what he does, how he lives, or how many guns he collects, it’s not an illness — it’s not anything —until accountability is required.

C – We know this sickness is isolated from any ideology or group trait that would reflect poorly on the white population. Regardless of what they watch, who they follow, or how many Bibles they own, a white shooter can in no way have been influenced by his teachings or environment.

It’s just an ambiguous, unexamined, mental health problem.

So what is the name of this mental health issue? What is this mysterious disease that makes white people react violently with hatred and evil; want to devalue life; and wield power over the weak, innocent, and/or unsuspecting? What illness is it whose current treatment is to create more of the same: more white people toting guns, deciding who lives and who dies. Certainly, a mental health problem such as this would have a name (otherwise people might think it was a deflection).

Fortunately, a name does exist. It is a well-documented phenomenon known as Supremacy.

A – Supremacy is not a large black or brown problem. Black and brown people lack the necessary power a race needs to suppress others (you can’t have supremacy without power). White men commit the highest number of mass shootings because according to US history, out of all the races, the white race has the vaguest understanding of the word: consequence. When you believe white=might=right, there is no limit to the boundaries that get ignored.

B – Mental health experts and firearm registration forms don’t detect supremacy because a large portion of white Americans refuse to acknowledge there is a troubling trend in their midst. Many won’t admit supremacy still exists.

C – White-privilege is not merely an ideology or group trait. It is an intricate aspect of their character. Privilege doesn’t influence the white environment, it is the white environment. So, no, it doesn’t matter what they watch who they follow, or how many Bibles they own. They don’t  get indoctrinated into white privilege — they are infected with it. They carry it with them where ever they go.

(**Note** That ever-growing list of sexual predators is a result of the supremacy-sickness too.)

Because self-evaluation is the leading technique white people apply when determining supremacy (followed closely by having a black friend) the illness continues to go unchecked.

But, wait. There is a cure! Along with thoughts and prayers for the victims, there is something to be offered that can stop the flow of hate.

It’s a little pill called truth. It’s not easy to swallow, but it is a veritable wonder-drug. And, while, it can be habit-forming, it is readily available and more affordable than a cup of coffee.

Many, many white people have already partaken with amazing, life-changing results. Not only are they not interested in perpetrating heinous crimes against humanity, they have no desire to suppress others at all: not in their workplaces, not in their neighborhoods, not even at football games.

Keeping to the daily recommendation of vitamin-truth dismantles the ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality because it removes the heart-warts caused by the unnatural fear of others. VT flushes the system of the assumption of a superior race and allows the body a healthy intake of empathy for non-white issues. The healing properties of the truth-pill can reverse the negative effects of privilege to such a degree that white-privilege can actually be used as a force for good.

In fact, none of the symptoms associated with the previously unnamed ‘mental health problem’ remain after exposure and acceptance of the Truth-cure.

So, maybe, white people, if you don’t think the problem with mass shootings is gun-related, you might want to acknowledge that it is supremacy-related and you may want to start dosing up on some truth.

The Other Side of Race

Being in an interracial marriage of different social classes forced Matt and I through a trial by fire. We had no choice but to learn how to get through supremacy and privilege, injustice and miscommunication. We wanted our marriage to work so we had to commit ourselves to tearing down the systems that kept us from being who God created us to be. We’ve had to face truths, heal hurts and do the work to become greater than our history.

Our lessons began at the beginning of our relationship. Even before we identified it. It was just bad things about me and my family and quirky things about him and his family. (Yes, you read that right. We were both conditioned to think of black as negative and white as anything but.) That changed. But some of those early lessons included damaging our daughter and suppressing my identity. Not to worry. Those hard lessons our family endured have become nothing less than weapons in the hands of skilled warriors. All three of us. We know what we know because we’ve lived it. Are we perfect? Not even close. But, in our house, we live on the other side of racism. Among other things, we know when to talk, and when to react. Both are necessary.

Matt and I have been doing race for more than a quarter of a century. We saw this storm brewing years ago. We tried to help. Because we lived in a white community and the people around us were largely blind to anything beyond their Conservative, Christian bubbles, we offered to share our insights. We tried to communicate. We tried to prepare. In our naiveté, we assumed good Christians would want to learn and grow and be in a position to A-do the right thing. B-weather the storm and C-become instrumental in helping others work through the chaos.

We were wrong.

What happened to Colin Kaepernick happened to us. On a much smaller scale, of course, but the same routine. No one (but me) ever used or even thought in terms of racism. But, my unwillingness to submit to whiteness was at the heart of every problem. Silencing me was always the end game.

We didn’t achieve racial understanding because racial conversations didn’t happen. Whitesplaining happened. A lot. But, racial conversations could not get any significant traction. We were coerced out of churches, groups, and gatherings because who we are is not who they wanted us to be. (Those are the same mindsets who spout: you’re disrespecting the flag, get out of my country!)

We were also treated to the punishment of silence. My existence in its purest form is such an affront to their imagery, they refuse to see me. The billboard message from those who ignore racism was brought to our front door: Your race is not my race. Therefore, your race is unimportant.

People I have known for decades (some, Matt has known his whole life) will not exchange two words with us because no matter how much they don’t want to see color, they can’t unsee me.

Does that make us sad? At times. But, the price we paid to live on the other side of racism is the loss of connection to those who didn’t want to come.

Over here, there is a freedom that fits the definition of freedom. People are seen for who they are. Respect is required but agreement is optional. And, history does not get the opportunity to repeat itself.

And, now, seeing our own personal journey playing out before the world, in the form of the anthem protest, is as redemptive as it is humbling.

Colin Kaepernick told a truth and took a stand for his beliefs. People with a certain ideology lost their shit. Called it (and him) everything but what it was. They lied, denied, withdrew, diverted, attacked, and judged. But his truth won’t go away.

Neither will we.

Every time someone takes a knee, my heart swells and my chin goes up another notch. The truth Matt and I told becomes a little more solidified every day. My family didn’t piss off thousands but, we’ve done our part.

Tragic Tragedies

What happened in Las Vegas was a shocking tragedy; no one can deny it. The fear, the anger, the pain of injuries and the unnecessary loss of life; the struggle to understand and the need for empathy and unity are all part of what it means to be human.

Imagine if help had been delayed or denied those victims. Imagine if Mr. Trump would have tweeted negative things about those people while they were still struggling to survive.

Now, imagine not helping those people at all. What if they were called names and told their experience wasn’t real, didn’t happen? What if they were blamed as if they deserved it; as if no crime had been committed? Imagine if their desperate pleas for help were mocked, challenged and/or ignored. What if people said, those victims are not victims and calling attention to their own suffering is unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag? What if Mr. Trump said, wealthy athletes who use their platform to help the suffering, are sons of bitches?

Can you imagine that? No. I don’t think you can. If you could imagine it, you would be able to empathize and experience it with the rest of us who are fighting supremacy.

Make no mistake, this is supremacy. That you have no trouble seeing the horror of a majority white tragedy but you argue, and categorize, and demean, and dismiss, the very real suffering of others.

For the rest of us, empathy is not that hard. We don’t have to be country music fans to cry with Las Vegas. To want answers. To want to stop it from happening again.

We don’t have to be Puerto Rican to want faster and better help for our Island siblings. Or, to be insulted by judgmental comments and tweets.

We don’t have to live in the inner city. We can be professional athletes and still want police brutality to stop.

We don’t attack other people’s pain. We can want better for everyone because we empathize.

But there is a dark side. Thanks to you, there’s a limit.

There now exists, some of us, who beyond sincere acknowledgment, can’t place too much focus on this latest shooting. It’s not desensitization. It’s self-preservation. White privilege didn’t care about Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice, and so many others. The not-privileged are learning to save their sympathy for the people and communities who suffer first harm and then injustice. Dylan Roof wasn’t labeled a terrorist (he wanted to start a race war). In fact, most white men aren’t given bad names no matter how heinous the crime. We don’t give a damn what you call Stephen Paddock (it wasn’t son of a bitch). You’ve shit on our hurts so many times, we are running out of energy for yours.

Your hearts are hard, we can’t trust you. Because you wanted to ban Muslims after the San Bernardino attack, your words of shock and outrage about Las Vegas, with no action attached, ring hollow in our ears. Your tears are suspect. Your empathy appears to have an on/off switch. Your concern is a matter of your comfort and self-benefit, and we must be leery of you and by extension, your causes.

You did that. To us. To yourself. To all of America. Deciding who has the right to pain. Who’s suffering is legitimate. Thinking that you own this country and you can decide what’s important to other people. The hate, the anger, the division that’s running rampant is because of your supremacy. Your lack of love for your fellow-man is palatable. This is the America you have created.

Oh, you don’t like it when people assign blame. That’s too bad. You earned it. You paraded it. You pushed it. You voted for it.