My Wish For You

It never ceases to amaze me.

From the time OUR young people hit puberty, brown and black youth face unsolicited feedback from the environment. It’s anything from the I-don’t-see-you face, to one of suspicion and harsh scrutiny.

Bosses go on vacation and tell staff “don’t hire any black people” for vacant positions. That is a true recent story. Luckily my young friend hired the best applicant anyway (coincidentally black). But how common is that noble demonstration of character? Yet, no one is racist and no, we don’t live in a white supremacist society

A white woman walks into a clothing store behind a young black mother buying their toddler’s very first pair of shoes. The salesperson ignores the mother. The white woman gets approached first. “May I help you?” This woman’s response? “Yes, you can HELP HER. But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society

This, kind of micro-aggression goes on 24/7. It can be so much worse than that. At best, in place of casual friendliness, there is a constant drip drip drip of negative, fearful, hostile or zero feedback from the environment, resulting in a constant chipping away at a healthy life force. It either weakens or steels the heart, if not the soul. But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society

As everyone knows, the only socially acceptable response from a person of color, when at the brunt end of this kind of treatment is: NO response. Zero. Politely pretend not to notice. Anything else and you become THE ignorant angry black person. Why, you’re making a scene! But no one is racist and we don’t live in a white supremacist society.

How about if a non-POC, points this out – even to “FRIENDS”? After friends recover from the first uncomfortable dialogue, that person soon enough finds themselves relegated to the “careful, gotta walk on eggshells with them” category – “too interested in politics”,  or “too sensitive”, “takes it too personally”. My wish on the magic lantern is that every white person would be like that white guy who was meeting those two fellows for a business meeting in Starbucks. “What the hell is going on??” And notably, what did those two men ask for?
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“Robinson and Nelson also settled with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a pledge that the city will create a $200,000 program for public high-school students who aspire to be entrepreneurs.” 

“We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” Robinson told the Associated Press. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”

Here is what amazes me. Among even the most kindly, well-intended white people, there is a jagged stone wall of resistance, up against even considering and discussing the obvious benefits of white privilege, over a lifetime. The reason cited most often in my world is, “Well, we all have serious problems. Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled, had it hard, encountered much unfairness.”

Yes, life is hard for lots of us. So somehow, it follows that there isn’t much interest in pondering on how to support or listen to brothers and sisters who live side by side in our communities facing these invisible barriers and ever-present fears, on top of everything else.

You see, I’ve come to notice that as white people, we are the objective ones. We understand everything. We have the true perspective. We know. We have nothing to learn from our brown and black brethren. We explain to THEM how to feel and how to perceive their encounters. And we are offended when that doesn’t quite work out to our satisfaction.

Yet somehow, NO ONE IS RACIST. I have never met a racist. I HAVE met a homophobe and many transphobes. Because they distort the Bible to back themselves up, so they try to defend hate against love. Imagine!

With the exception of white people who are centering their lives on this situation, to this day, I have not met any white person who will admit that our society is still structured on white supremacy. Not a liberal, not a conservative. It seems the way it goes is, “If I haven’t experienced it, in my heart of hearts, I just don’t believe it. They are exaggerating, misunderstanding, dramatizing.”

Laws MUST be put in place and laws must stay in place, and be enforced to protect EVERYONE in our society, for that very reason. You see, no one is doing it. No one. YET, IT IS DONE.

Even though science has established that there is no such thing as race, most still have a tribe that extends past families, and most cling to this as a primary identity.

Yet, in my experience, it is only by living and loving each other, ignoring that imaginary race barrier, that we understand the truth of our shared humanity, in our guts, our minds and in our hearts. Without knowing each other, and knowing each other WELL, it’s very hard to get past society’s walls.

Still, there are those of us to whom destiny calls, to create or be born or be parented and nurtured in families that ignore these cautions and barriers. Beyond the walls, we find a rich and beautiful tapestry, a depth of understanding, and lots of love. It’s love that by it’s very nature, extends out to all peoples of the world.

That is my wish for you. May you continue to expand your circle of love, increase your wisdom, and reap your joy. I will be right there with you.

 

Breathe. Sit Down. Listen.

If a person of color opens up to you about their experiences, they have a level of trust in you as an individual. There is no need to put yourself at the center and offer anecdotes to show how YOU are “not like that”. Also, there is no quicker way to derail your friend’s point.

And if you don’t see color, there is no need to balance the scales with the “not all whites”, “not all men”, “not all police officers”, sentiments when activists initiate discussions about systemic oppression. We all live in the same society and are surrounded by mainstream news media. The greater society has, does and will make that point to all of us every day without your help.

For real, it’s HARD to realize when the reason we are squirming is because for once, whether or not our feelings will be hurt is not the central most important thing in any conversation. It stops feeling right somehow! What we ARE used to, is feeling benevolent because we are engaged in the conversation, at all.

As non-POC, nothing prepares us for having to suppress our own natural tendency to take offense. To learn how to do that, we need only ask a member of any oppressed group. To keep a job, be a customer, walk down the street, live life, lesson the chances of getting thrown in jail for nothing – for them, it is a necessary skill.

Ask:

How on earth do you avoid getting offended all the time with:
**Assumptions made about your opinions, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Assumptions made about your interests, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Ignorant questions asked of you?
**Generalizations made in your presence?

They might agree to school you. Or better yet, do your own research.

Point is: We aren’t used to it. It’s hard to realize how quickly we rise to our own defense when the conversation does not have straight, white society at the center. Our peace is disturbed. Stop it. Step down a peg. Take a seat.

 

Why White People Shouldn’t Impose Their Feelings Into Conversations on Race

Open Secrets

The link below brings to mind another reason why.the gap between the lower and middle class grows wider each year. Who can COUNT ON an additional $3,000 EACH year, “on average”? Some reading these words will think its no big deal, while for others, such a safety net would be a dream come true.

My hero was my first mother-in-law. I was waking up early to pray, taking two buses to get my kid to daycare and then going to work, taking the grocery cart on the bus, and feeling like I had alot on me, while she, with 8 children, worked, woke up at 4:30 to iron and plan breakfast and lunch, and went and got her diploma at some point during all this – cooking big Sunday dinners for all of us to come back to, without a complaint. We all crowded onto the chairs, stairs and every available space. All her kids turned out better than fine, each one with a faithful fine heart, and brag-worthy loving kids of their own – a family that stayed together and takes care of that mom now without a thought – because that’s what you do.
Yet, so many recipients of the financial safety net largesse assume, WITHOUT QUESTION, that they are at the very least, on a level playing field with their colleagues – colleagues like my Ms. Geneva, or the single parent with the special needs children, or the night school attendees, paying their own way by working.
The corresponding secret held close by those financial have-nots, is the deep-seated frustration at those who can’t see. It’s not the inequality that creates the resentment, really. It’s that the help with the rent, car and home repairs, down payment on the house, preferential treatment when applying for jobs, housing etc, freedom from student debt – these add up to unacknowledged (or outright denied) privilege. This refusal to expand one’s world view, this lack of perspective is what causes the resentment.
Openly expressed gratitude and appreciation, towards parents, by their adult children, would create happier families.
Offering of genuine respect by those same adult children, toward peers who struggle and achieve, year after year, without such aid – these would go a long way toward creating less divided and repressed atmosphere among peers. #1stworldproblems #rudetonotice #dontaskdonttell #tabootopics

Secret of Many Urban 20-Somethings

Find Out the Truth

Our mind and your concerns are managed, when they fall in an area that threatens the powerful. It takes concerted effort to break out and get a more accurate picture. I will give you an example.

Those who favor healthcare as a right, outvoted others by at least a few million. So naturally, there are huge movements to save healthcare.

Yesterday, as an opening shot, there were rallies – big rallies. I know it did not come up on my news, but What came up on my news was this headline: “Trump Promises ‘Insurance for Everybody’ as Health Law Replacement”. What comes up on my news is that it is bound to happen and already in progress.

I knew of the rallies so I searched for them specifically. With a little trouble, I did find many articles. They were carefully crafted headlines that minimized the scope of the resistance. Most telling, was that most of THOSE articles had photo coverage limited to close-ups of Bernie hunched over the podium, or of two people walking holding up a sign.

So a person whose online profile clearly favors healthcare as a right, who thinks THAT is where my taxes should be going, not to war, like me – I get a very skewed picture. It is a demoralizing picture that misleads me as to what is going on. Here, after a long search, is a decent article.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-bernie-sanders-michigan-healthcare-rally-20170115-story.html

 

Get involved, find out what is going on. There IS hope.

Oregon’s Bundy Brothers? No Charges

National Guard? Tanks? Fire hoses? Burning the building down? I don’t wish this. I practice and believe in non-violence.

But when authorities kill the innocent or execute those guilty of the pettiest of property crimes, this is what peaceful protesters face…No one cares if ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ or ‘I can’t breathe.’..in a country where the right to peacefully protest is guaranteed, as is the right to survive and have a fair trial.

Are there FBI plants breaking through barriers, inciting this situation to tip over? Unnecessary. It HAS tipped over. But no one used it as an excuse for public executions.

Public schools are closed! Townspeople are FURIOUS. Violent bullies upset over the effects of property laws have staged an unlawful armed takeover of an area that serves all. Closed it until further notice.

Take all the time you need, folks.

These bullies have stepped right past you and the legislative process and they have their own army.

Your anger is not being encouraged. The airwaves aren’t FILLED with fear-mongering about the violence spreading to other cities – even though THAT THREAT IS REAL. How about the inconvenience to the non-protesting citizens, the tax dollars wasted on this?

This is not brought to a speedy end. We are settling in.

You don’t have to explain why to me. I live here too.

I am trying to get you to notice two aspects.

1. Social engineering at work. How we perceive events in our world (or don’t) is managed and steered. Question where your attention is directed.
2. Why anyone who loves ALL people understands the reason that the slogan is BLACKlivesmatter.

For me to concern myself with the cause of these men, I would have to know that me and mine have the right to protest over not loss of land, but loss of life….and that our lives would be protected and our situation viewed in proper perspective – and not fear-of-a-black-planet perspective, either.

I am not even saying I disagree with how this is being handled. I just wish I could count on the same care being given to my concerns.

So, whose life do you NOT mess with?
Ah. We see. And who brings the real threat of a lawless society?

Precious Traditions

This beautiful educational minute starts out with the words “It’s important to carry on your traditions and your culture.” That type of sentiment always puts me through a change. I know a novel-worthy anecdote about how my father’s side got to this country and my mom’s side was first generation Romanian-Russian. Her mom never even learned to speak English and her dad was not someone I would brag on – more an instructive tale of what happens when people are unwillingly uprooted. Everyone is not an “I can do it. I WILL do it!” success story. Some people get affected and don’t really recover. I was not given the opportunity to know much about my cultural heritage – although some of it seeped in from who my parents and older brothers and sisters WERE – their predilections. I received no training and for most of my childhood, lived with one determined, unique woman. She was completely alienated from this culture and that of her parents. In the absence of a tribe, I claimed humanity as my family. I was equal opportunity. I continue to do my own work, and to love and fight for all.

It’s Noticeable.

Am I not supposed to notice?

It’s late December of 2016. One fine day, a series of seemingly coordinated riots happened in malls across the country. These were not racially motivated – garden-variety vandalism – bored kids making trouble. Mall was shut down.

In Kentucky, there were over 2000 youths. No one was arrested. Not one person.

When I know full well that an 8-yr old black kid was involved in a one-on-one fistfight on the school playground, the school felt the need to call the police. He got suspended and taken to the police station – all before parents were notified. Am I not supposed to notice the difference in treatment?

Am I not supposed to notice that children of color are handled as adults?

A 12-yr old black boy was playing by himself in a park outside. He scared some woman looking out a 2nd floor window from down the street. He had something in his hand – a toy, a bb gun? She was too far away to identify. But she was not to far away to feel personally threatened. ‘I’d better do something.’ she thought. She called 911, the police arrived and within 2 seconds the boy lay dead.
0 hr. 0 min. 2 seconds.
On film. Unarmed. No time to ask him anything. Later, experts were to conclude his hands were in his pockets and not reaching for anything, as the police claimed.

Drove up, got out and opened fire.
No indictments. No charges. The end, in more ways than one.

Some of you reading this, will not be able to help looking to excuse, defend and understand the perpetrators of these crimes against youth. If this is you, you are asleep. You are brainwashed. You are the reason I distrust and name our injustice system for what it is.

Your sincere and kindhearted fear, your trust in our society as it is, it’s why I fear for boys and girls, teenagers and men and women of color.

Tamir Rice, we speak your name.

But hey, I’m happy these 2000 rioting youth were given the benefit of the doubt and treated humanely. It’s how it ought be and how it is for some people I know. But it’s not that way for others.

Tamir Rice, we speak your name.

I promise never to stop noticing.