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.

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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.

Thank you, Mr. Trump

I for one, am happy Mr. Trump made his statement that NFL players should be fired for kneeling. He has, thankfully, eliminated all the games and put the responsibility for this diabolical mess exactly where it belongs. On the shoulders of his supporters.

There is no more arguing; no more debate. No more pretending the protest is about something other than what it is. Nor, pretending the backlash is anything other than racism.

Mr. Trump had more conviction in his criticism for football players peacefully protesting than he had for the white nationalists who have Heather Heyer’s blood on their hands.

Make no mistake, calling for the punishment of a group of people for not being subservient is hateful, inciteful and plain old racist. It not only speaks of his character, or lack there of, but of the character and moral fiber of his followers.

Nobody is surprised by Mr. Trump. He is what he is and he incites hate like always. But, the people who support his behavior; who are proud of the ugliness he spews, can no longer hide behind words like: Christian, patriot, humble, honest, fair, equal, unbiased, friend, love, peace, or unity. Thanks to Mr. Trump, the only words left for them to embrace are: White Supremacy.

For all of those who say, ‘voting for Trump doesn’t make me a racist.’ Maybe not. However, supporting racism does, in fact, make you a racist. Mr. Trump put it on blast: he supports and encourages racism. If your leader is a supremacist and you follow his lead… well, you know the old sayings: You can tell a man by the company he keeps; If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas; If it looks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a racist whose racism is totally exposed.

For those who say, ‘Trump was God’s choice.’ You may be right. If it is God’s will to bring your hypocrisy to the surface and reveal how deeply you fear and hate, then yes, it worked, rather well. We see you clearly, and we know behind your self-righteous facade, you are damaged and damaging to others.

For those who are silent. Your silence is cowardice. Frankenstein tried to run from his monster too. Pretending you have no accountability, increases your accountability.

It doesn’t matter which category is yours, the choice is the same, you either deal with the truth or, you continue to embrace your legacy of hate. As long as you realize, the rest of us aren’t gong to cooperate with your extremely limited world view. (You know, the one in which everyone lives according to your plan and for your purpose.) Just as we see you, you get to see us for who we truly are: Real Americans who don’t give a damn about fitting your image.

Tantrum all you want. It won’t stop us. We will stand. We will kneel. We will fight. We will love. We will win.

 

Those Precious Statues

Saw a meme asking how removing the Confederate Statues was going to improve my life. Idk. Addressing lies and obtaining justice feels like a positive step to me.

After all that talk about us needing to forget slavery and move on, you’re losing your shit over relocating some statues. (Seriously, when was the last time you posted a picture of the family standing beside the Statehouse with the capture: ‘Thanks to this sculpture of Justice Taney, we know the Dred Scott ruling was wrong.’?) You don’t want to own your hate, but you want to keep your warm-fuzzy supremacy mementos on display in case we forget who you are.

Not to worry. We will never forget who you are. Quite frankly, suggesting that moving Confederate statues is erasing and/or sanitizing history is as insulting as it is unintelligent.

Because of your proclivity to erase and sanitize history; I can’t tell you which African Country I come from. Jesus is supposed to be European. America was ‘discovered’ and founded on Christian principles. Slavery happened so long ago it’s no longer anybody’s fault. The Civil Rights Movement cured everything. Cultural appropriation isn’t real. And, white-privilege doesn’t exist.

We don’t need to go any further than the Dakota Pipeline to know your true feelings when it comes to preserving heritage and history. Add that to your attempts to ignore and/or justify the present and you have the answer to the question, ‘What is going on in our society?’

Those statues are a subliminal message for people of color.

‘Here is a person whom we honor for his outstanding efforts to crush your entire race. May it be a reminder, there will always be people who want to belittle and hurt you and your children, because our race is better than your race. If you ever attempt to succeed beyond our permission, our race will rise up in the spirit of this leader, and our vengeance will be upon you.’

You’re not fighting to preserve the truth; the truth isn’t going anywhere. You’re fighting to keep your version of history on display regardless of it being a lie. You are fighting to preserve supremacy, and, you are losing.

That’s what’s going on.

It’s having your power stripped away that’s making you uncomfortable. White supremacy isn’t as scary as it once was. Black people aren’t staying in their place like they used to. Those symbols and subliminal messages aren’t getting through anymore.

You don’t know what to do with that. You’ve always been the dominant race. Taking away your dominion is taking away a part of your identity. That’s a problem for you, I get it. But you were never supposed to have that dominance, to begin with.

I don’t know how you are going to solve it — figuring out who you are, now. What I do know is, in spite of your fear, in spite of your confusion, in spite of your anger; regardless of who you are or who you will eventually become, we are not going back to your good ole days.

We’re not going to pretend white-washing equals truth.

We’re not going to accept that the problem is us. You act. We react.

We’re not going to call it anything but what it is. Supremacy and your desire to keep it.

Rather than irrelevant temper tantrums over false narratives and powerless symbols, you may want to invest in learning actual history, engaging in real dialogue, and I don’t know. Maybe, just stop.

You have an opportunity to address your history of hate and do better. If you waste it, your failure won’t get whitewashed. No one is going to throw up a statue to your lost cause.

The Question of Kaepernick

If given the choice, would you choose right or wrong? Moral or immoral? Love or hate?

Let’s find out.

Do you think Colin Kaepernick has a right to earn his living, or do you think he should be punished for expressing his beliefs?

Let’s be clear. It’s not about whether Kap can play football. It is an insult to everyone’s intelligence (including yours) to pretend the blowback for teams so much as entertaining the thought of signing him has anything whatsoever to do with his ability throw a pass.

It’s not about whether you like him as a person or you disagree with his stance (However, If you believe racism, inequality, and police brutality are things to be proud of, you are a special kind of you.)

It’s not about his socks. There are people wearing white sheets and hoods. There are people with Nazi swastika tattoos. There are enough Confederate flags and offensive tee-shirts to go around. You can purchase those socks from Itsy, Amazon, and Nike. Did you stop buying from those companies because they were disrespectful?

If the Ravens or any other team is concerned with fan reaction to Mr. Kaepernick playing, it is, I believe, because the organization already knows what the right thing is. What they don’t know is if they are brave enough to do it. They don’t know if integrity or opinion will make them the most money and what will bring the largest ridicule.

The reasons for not wanting Colin Kaepernick are a basketful of opinions: He disrespected the flag; he dishonored Vets; he diss’d America; he’s not worthy; he can’t play; he sucks; whatever, whatever… opinion.

The reasons for supporting him are facts: He stood up for marginalized people. He brought national attention to an age old problem. He put his time/energy/money where his mouth is. He has been treated worse than players who have actually committed crimes, created chaos, and/or do not play as well… facts.

If you think negative opinions matter more than positive facts, then, you are the reason, people like Colin Kaepernick— people who favor integrity —have to disrupt your game to get your attention. Otherwise, the suffering you inflict would continue to go unchallenged.

Stepping away from the intentional blindness and all the usual diversions— Colin Kaepernick didn’t break the law. He didn’t even break a rule. And, he spoke the truth:

Supremacy and Privilege have caused a lot of damage. It needs to stop. Period.

Denying the truth is choosing to be wrong.

Doing nothing to address the problem is choosing immorality.

Punishing Kaepernick for speaking is choosing hate.

Guess what? Regardless of who you are or all of the great deeds you do; if you knowingly and willingly choose to be wrong, immoral and hateful, you are on the side of privileged supremacy. Your empathy is deficient. Your integrity is absent. Your understanding is insufficient.

You may as well own it because nobody is fooled by your doublespeak.

It behooves me to point out: you also lack the ability to scare us, stop us, or make the truth go away.

I’ve heard a lot of denial on the topic of privilege and supremacy. I also know there are a lot of football fans.

Unless Kaepernick gets to play, this football season isn’t about touchdowns. It isn’t about cheering for your team. It isn’t about the Anthem. It isn’t about socks. This season is about supporting supremacy or supporting truth.

My Cheesy-Ass Stereotypical Grin

I went grocery shopping because lack of food makes me do that from time to time. The store wasn’t crowded but I managed to bump into everyone who was there. Literally.

I did the cart-dance with a guy in a gardening hat. We laughed and sidestepped.

While searching for—I don’t know what— something, something in a chicken package, I almost had a three-way collision with two other women; one searching for something, something in a beef package, and the other searching for something, something, something. We laughed and admitted we didn’t have a clue to share.

My journey continued and I met the Twirly-girl. She was about five or six. Spinning, spinning, singing and giggling. Her ponytail was just three rotations from becoming a memory. Her face was gooey, her hands were sticky, and her shirt had evidence of a recently devoured purple popsicle. She was missing a flip-flop. Somehow it got stuck on the rack under the cart. She didn’t care, she was twirling and she was the perfect picture of summertime. I had to pull some serious maneuvers get out of her way (you don’t mess with happy twirlers).

She was so adorable, I was still smiling when I rounded the corner and HE almost bumped into ME. This twenty-something…something shook his head, rolled his eyes and said, ‘Cheesy-ass, Stereotypical grin.’

He was around the corner and gone before I could make a helpful suggestion of where he could go and what he ought to kiss. I stood frozen, debating going after him.

For what purpose? I know what I heard, but could I have been mistaken.

What proof did I have? None.

What could this lead to? That is a very real point to ponder for a person of color. I live in an area where I am outnumbered and I didn’t recall seeing any other minorities in the store.

Finally, he didn’t say or do anything illegal. Or, even, to me.

I chose to let it go. I accepted the damage. Hate won.

I didn’t ‘bump’ into anyone else. I didn’t have any more light, pleasant exchanges. My smile was gone. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone and I suspected the motives of every person I passed. I wondered who was a President ‘Mean-Girl’ follower and how they would justify the incident and/or blame me.

With head bowed, I finished my shopping and made my way to the checkout.

The lady behind me had a basket full of items, I had a cart full. I let her go ahead of me. She was genuinely surprised and thanked me. When it was my turn, the cashier and I exchanged pleasantries but were interrupted by a crash. The person behind me dropped a jar of jelly.

There were no other lines open and no available associates to help. The customer was apologetic, the cashier was full of assurance, but it was a sticky mess.  As it was just the three of us, this was the time for action.

I jumped in with the plan. “You get the stuff to clean it up, you go get another jar, I’ll hold the fort and keep people out of the way.”

“Are you sure?”

“You don’t mind?”

“Nope. It’s a race. Go!” We made it fun.

A guy got in line, and after hearing my explanation, offered to drop a jar of peanut butter so we could all have a snack.

Next came Twirly-girl and her mom. I immediately warned her of the glass and pointed to Twirly’s missing shoe. Mom didn’t know the shoe was missing. She scooped Twirly up, deposited her in the cart and thanked me.

The Jelly-lady returned and thanked me for watching her cart and holding her place in line.

The cashier came back, made quick work of the cleanup and thanked me for waiting so she could get it done.

And right at that moment, the woman I let in front of me, came over to thank me once again for being so nice. For some reason, she was extra appreciative. The cashier said that I was really nice and helpful. The other patrons agreed.

I thanked them for thanking me and the last thing I saw as I left the store was that Twenty-something, last in line, frowning as the people around him imitated my cheesy-ass stereotypical grin.

Hate did not win.