My noncelebrity/nonexpert ranty rants:

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  • On Rachel Dolezal:

It is not my place, nor is it my expertise, to micro analyze the inner workings of why this woman identifies as a different ethnicity. “Passing” is not new concept, but to be honest, I haven’t hashed this one around long enough with enough people to decide if Ms. Dolezal’s decision to tell the world she believes herself to be a woman of color is horribly offensive, or just something we all need to calm our collective tits about.

What I do know is that I’m white—chalky, pasty W.A.S.P white. 75% of my lineage comes from across the pond. The other 25% is Native American. (The percentages are off. I’m talking long lines of ancestry, not immediate. So, no, I’m not ¼ Native American.) Thing is, I don’t have an issue with my ethnicity. I’m not proud. I’m not ashamed. The way I figure it, it’s all just happenstance. Some genetic dice were rolled, and here I am. I identify with what my eyes see in the mirror. No blue/black-gold/white dress debate going on for me. I’m lucky in that respect because I don’t have to struggle with my identity.

My white skin has also afforded me many privileges. I’m not routinely detained by police. I don’t have to worry about my sons being brutalized by police. No one questions my choices to have children, or how I was accepted to university. One of the other privileges is my being able to observe and listen to ethnic voices who tell me what life is like for them, so I can see outside the W.A.S.P nest in which I was born.

Having said that, I never felt the need to appropriate a culture, serve as president of one of their largest institutions, and even sue for racial discrimination. If I want to know what it feels like to be a woman of color, I ask one. I have that conversation because I can also accept that anecdotal data is just as valuable to me as if I’d lived it myself. Why? Because I know that I can trust those voices. I don’t question their credibility simply because their skin tone is different from mine.

I’m not calling Ms. Dolezal to task for that, but I will say, if this is what she’s doing, appropriating a culture for her own benefit and 15 minutes of fame, then shame on her. She deserves all the repercussions she will suffer, because you don’t need to fraudulently claim an ethnicity to help others understand that ethnicity. All you have to do is stand beside them, and let their voices be heard.

  • Police Brutality:

Don’t get me wrong. This is a real issue worth much discussion. Our discourse isn’t very deep about this subject, most because we’ve been taught to respect police, and the suspect is always wrong. We are finding these old standards to be false increasingly with time. However, what I’ve also seen an explosion of are lots of false claims of police mistreatment. With increasing frequency, I’ve seen some schmuck decrying being brutalized by the police, when this person was the one antagonizing and escalating the situation.

As a citizen, it is your duty to abide the law. If you find that law to be insufficient, there are ways to change that. Breaking that law, and then causing problems for law enforcement when you’re arrested is not the way to do that. And mind you, I’m not talking some civil disobedience, here. That’s a different story. Instead, I’m talking about people breaking commonly accepted laws, only to be indignant when they are arrested.

Many times these vigilantes will poke the bunny, so to speak, by refusing to show an ID, disclose their identity, or even inciting officers by becoming belligerent and physically aggressive. They, then, expect officers to show them courtesy. Nope. Sorry. Not the way it works. You’ll later see their video, which only shows an edited portion, on some social media outlet.

Look, I know there are bad cops. Cops are human. Of course there will be bad ones. Honestly though, there are more good than bad, and these jokers, who just want a little face time from the media, make their lives difficult.

You want media coverage? Do something good. Help an old lady, or save a cat. Do something positive, for gawd’s sake, and leave the cops alone to take care of real issues.

  • Being Altruistic

I want the world to be full of rainbows and fluffy clouds. I want every human being to experience the goodness of life instead of the shit paved roads so many have to walk. I also want people to learn the definition of this word: Accountability.

Ask anyone who knows me personally, and they will tell you I am a giving person. I help where I can. Don’t be mistaken, though. My kindness and understanding have limits.

It’s not hard for me to understand that substance abuse and addiction are terrible, but the people caught up in that life are still human. I get this. I know these are the children, siblings, parents, and loved ones of someone. I would help anyone who really wanted to turn their lives around. What is also clear to me is while addiction is a disease, at some point it was chosen. It is not cancer. At some point, someone picked up a substance, and for whatever reason, consumed it. I’m not here to place blame or state the obvious, but I think it needs to be said that addiction is 100% preventable.

I say this because while I will help someone who wants to be clean, I will not…NOT…let anyone drag me or my family along with them on the fucking dirty spiral that is addiction. So, if this person is not accountable and making very distinct steps towards being clean, I’m done. Stab-me-with-a-fork, Put-me-on-a-platter DONE!  There is no way I will sacrifice myself, my life, my family to help someone who doesn’t care enough to be accountable for their own actions and help themselves a little.

Some might call that selfishness. I call it self-preservation.

(Image Source: http://theaviso.org/2012/03/13/blog-controversial-opinion-piece-shows-editorial-process-at-work/)

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A Call For Peace and Resolution

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The recent events concerning police officers killing suspects has raised many questions. We have now opened up dialogue about not only racism and race relations, but also police brutality. Another subject I’ve seen brought to the table is accountability.

Some folks are saying that criminals should not be forgiven, and they effectively get what they deserve. While this is true to some extent, we cannot ask for accountability on one hand,calling these men horrible names like “thug” and “animal”,  and then let those who we should be able to trust the most cross lines without repercussion after they have unquestionably pushed their allowable boundaries.

This, my friends, is what the greater part of us activists are seeking.

At no time should there be a call to openly assault law enforcement officers. There should never be violent defiance or retribution. This solves nothing.

No one ever said criminals should walk free. If any of these men who were killed by police committed a crime, they should have to answer to that in a court of law. However, the same follows for law enforcement officers.

If police are to be held in high regard, then they must act thusly.

Without debating what requires a judge and jury to decide in the cases of the three men killed by law enforcement in recent days, I would like to say at no time have I heard anyone from my camp say they should just get away with crime. All we ask for is the same accountability in law enforcement many of you have asked for from civilians. Law enforcement officers are, after all, human and prone to mistakes, just as any other human being.

What myself and many others want is a higher standard of accountability from law enforcement officers—an institution that has some members who have gone astray.

These officers are sworn to uphold the law—something that goes beyond the duty of a normal citizen. Being that as it is, they then should have no problem with citizens videotaping incidents, or answering to allegations of malfeasance in a court of law. As much as they are here to enforce the law, they are also employees of the citizens. Our tax dollars pay their salaries. We have the right to question their authority. I do, though, believe this is a place and time for ONLY peaceful protest. Additional violence will not end violence. In fact, it only puts police on high alert, making them even more prone to pull a gun.

Let’s face it, what has happened as of late is something tragic for all involved. As much as things like racism are intertwined in these events, this is not a time to be divisive. Rather this is the time when we should all come together to find solutions. We only stand strong if we are united. Divisive behavior will be the end of this thing we call our own. Let’s think before we speak and act. Let’s pull our Nation back together so we can face the woes together, and find amicable solutions for our problems both now, and in the future.

(image source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/bluerobot/5493833292/in/pool-protest)

Graphic Racism: Why We Say BLACK LIVES MATTER

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I guess one might say I’m a little tired of having this circular argument with people who will not accept that racism plays an integral part in what has happened to Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner. Paired with police brutality, we have major problems in our system that have been brought to light. I don’t want to debate innocence or guilt of those victims, because that is not clear. In fact, it’s not only not clear, but barely relevant given the fact none of their alleged crimes carry a death penalty sentence.  What I do want to point out is this:

During the 1960s, Charles Manson led a group of people know as the Manson Family on a crime spree, culminating with the brutal murders of several innocent people in order to spark a race war so that Manson could, effectively, take over the world. When he was captured by police, he was not only kept alive, but protected so he could stand trial for his heinous crimes that shook not only California, but the entire United States.

Ted Bundy kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 30 women across the US, and participated in mutilation and necrophilia during the 1970s. Even after his escape and murder of a young girl in Florida, Bundy was taken back to prison and kept in protective custody. He received a fair trial, and was allowed to gain publicity by helping solve the Green River Murders. This man, who committed atrocities against more women than we may ever know, was more often described as “charismatic” than monstrous.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. It was an act of domestic terrorism against the US Government. 168 people died, and countless more were injured. McVeigh was held in custody, received a fair trial, and was not assaulted in any way by law enforcement officers.

I can continue to list names and cases of white individuals who killed, maimed, and committed crimes far more heinous than petty theft, carrying a toy gun, or selling bootleg tobacco. Jeffery Dahmer lured young men into his apartment, drugged, murdered, and ate them. I repeat-ATE THEM, yet police let him live to face trial. We must question then, why men like Michael Brown are described as “demons” and murdered in the street, while men like Dahmer are treated with respect?

And I know, sometimes police pull guns on white people. It’s happened to myself and my son at a sobriety checkpoint when the officers thought a piece of a cellophane wrapper from a CD in my back floorboard was drugs. Point is, no one thought my 6’2” son looked like a “demon”. We were not shot, roughed up, or even talked to impolitely. They were new, green, and overzealous, but we lived to tell the tale. The three men in the bottom portion of the graphic above were not. They were not treated with the same dignity afforded to serial killers and terrorists. That speaks legions.

So, deny racial bias all you want—looking straight at you white folks! It’s your white privilege that allows you to do so. If you thought you or your child could essentially be lynched in the streets, you might think differently.  And that is why we are standing in the streets screaming BLACK LIVES MATTER. All lives matter, but as you can see, some lives are given more importance than others, and that needs to end.

For all of you fixated on “riots” and “looting,” you need to remember that is what the media allows you to see. They are worried about sensationalism and big ratings, not truth. Those aren’t all Black faces out there. Most of the protests are peaceful. If all you believe is what you see on your television–if you believe the only truth is what the media is feeding you, then you need to wake up and smell the bullshit. You’re being lied to. Search for what’s real. Stand up for justice. End the atrocity.
#ICantBreathe #BlackLivesMatter #EqualityandJusticeForAll