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.

Yahoos in Deliverance Country

Saw this exchange on a friend’s page. It’s between one born Southerner (B) and one transplant living in the South (A). I needed to take it on a tangent, so I will do it here.
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Party A: Saw somewhere that states with higher wages and taxes were doing a lot better than down here in Deliverance country and states.
Party B: “Deliverance country “? And people wonder why Trump was elected?
Party A: Yeah, folks like you who are permanently fooled and scammed.
Party B: I rest my case, sir. You are, if nothing else, consistent.
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Me: I’ll tell you what serves no one: these lighthearted sweeping slanderous generalizations like ‘Deliverance country’, and related references to incest, etc., when talking about people who live in the South – or for that matter, in rural areas, period.
 
This entire country has issues with race from coast to ever-lovin’ coast. Now. Today. It’s everything from willful ignorance (because we can), to casually minimizing the factor it plays in daily life (denial), to in-your-face hate or behind-your-back hate.
 
But the rest of the country gets to routinely scapegoat the South and rural areas, and tell some fantastical story about the nobility of the North that caused the slave trade (in its previous form) to be repealed. The rest of the country gets to brush all the dirt onto the South and on people who live closer to nature.
 
ALL living in the South are habitually patronized and insulted by the rest of the country like it’s nothing – blacks for over-emphasis on the church and family (which originated for excellent reasons) and whites for an assumption of right-wing politics and lack of INTELLIGENCE.
 
And don’t forget – a Southern accent or dialect = lack of education. C’mon, non-Southerners, you know I’m right.
 
This goes on among academics who know better. It IS a factor in the currently decried ‘elitism’ and too, in the casual corruption that Trump voters rallied against.
 
I say Black Lives Matter because OF COURSE all lives matter, you blockheads! And I fight for it every day. We must fight for oppressed peoples. That is the dealbreaker for me. That’s BECAUSE all lives matter.
 
But it is not the dealbreaker for some of the Trump voters, who see all the same corruption, ignorance and patronization that I see in the mainstream. Some of the Trump voters are just who they are played out to be. It’s true. The ones that assaulted or supported the assault of innocents in the rallies – the silent cheerers.

And Trump himself – the biggest liar of all, gets to play the role of truth-teller. Don’t get me started. I’ll get sick to my stomach.

But there are others whose privilege makes it so that the lying and stealing in corporate America is all they see. The shenanigans that were exposed. The hypocrisy. These thought they were casting a protest vote against it. An F U vote. I hate it. I tried to stop it. But it was.

 
It’s the divide-and-conquer press narrative that creates the mentality. Allies go unrecognized where they exist. It all encourages this ‘anything but the status quo’ for some voters.
 
The us and them. Minds that could be opened go unchanged. Dialogues fail to occur. Prejudice (pre-judging) rules the day, the week, the month and the year. Opportunities to craft new solutions recede into the distance. Us and them. 
 
The South is amazing. There is nothing wrong with prizing nature in more than cerebral way, and claiming it as home. She is the birthright of us all. There are safe enclaves across the country, from coast to coast, including the South. There are areas that seem safe, where terrible things occur – all across this country. People ARE people.
 
From the Dream Defenders, to Rev. Barber, to Brittany “Bree” Newsome, the Sacrificial Poets, just the tiniest drops in the ocean of today’s leaders, visionaries and prophets spawned in the warmer climes of the USA. They are just the very first that pop into my mind.
Some of the finest historically black college and universities in the country are in the South. Where do you think these fine minds reside? Don’t flatter yourself. Many stay in the South.
 
It doesn’t help.
“Deliverance country”. “Those yahoos.” 
It doesn’t help.
That’s all I’m saying and I am sure someone else could say it much better.
But I think about it often.

Our Government Is What We Used to Call a Pot-Stirrer – Fight Back With Joy, Hope, Brains

Saw this New York Times article

on November 15, 2014 and wrote the following:

Face it. Our government is all in our s*** . Not that I am surprised. To be clear, I had already read from other sources that our government infiltrates peaceful law-abiding groups that it decides are potentially “troublesome” and FACILITATES THE TROUBLE by gaining trust and then instigating more extreme behavior. This hastens the demise of the group. Fits perfectly with what I have observed over the decades.

But wow anyway. This article assumes that and goes WAY FURTHER. Itreally hurts to see it right there in the New York Times. It’s a good hurt though – because it pushed me to a realization of sorts.

Look, few are going to take action to stop this. Since this is the case, articles like this in the corporate media intend to sow seeds of distrust between US, a fear of the covert part of our government and of being misunderstood and subsequently targeted by it. This affects how free we feel to question or disagree with current policies (uh, not very).

This issue spans the political spectrum, from right-to-lifers to pro-choicers, from climate changers and climate deniers, veterans and current reservists, nutrition or medical establishment reformers, those with geo-engineering concerns, just about anyone with a beef with the status quo!

So: I am going to launch an all-out personal empowerment and positive campaign and encourage others to do the same.

To me, this does not mean only happy news, folks. I believe that focusing only on happy goings-on is flat-out abandoning my brothers and sisters. I just won’t do it. That makes me too sad! So I guess that makes me some kind of activist. I don’t think of it that way at all though. Maybe someone else has a better word for when you refuse to ignore injustice in order to reduce the anxiety of the “sunshine and daisy police”.

What I will do, though, is reaffirm that the focus of my life is to remain joyful that I am still able to take action and support others, remain hopeful NO MATTER WHAT and never give up. I am so happy and appreciative for so many aspects of this world and those who inhabit it with me.

I believe there is still mystery, and still solutions to be found. As Einstein said, “”No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” So we continue to remain open to getting smarter in the deepest sense and to the unknown both within and without.

Not All Whites

Beqi Brinkhorst: “Yes, white people should take a backseat when discussing racism. Someone’s going to have to take a backseat, that’s how it works. Why WOULDN’T it be the section that isn’t the victim of the subject? By making your own hurt feelings (as a white person) the focus of the discussion, you are proving the point of racism, not fighting it.”

Me: What she said. We find it SO HARD to just not be the center and to have someone else’s concerns be THE focus. The end. The hurt feelings, the painstaking parsing, the “but not all whites”. As someone else wisely pointed out, Of COURSE ‘not all…’. That’s why we’re sitting here having this conversation together! The assumption is, that is understood, UNTIL you felt anxious and just HAD to derail the topic because a conversation on race cannot take place without that insertion. “Yes, there, there. Of course we know it’s not all whites.”

Doesn’t matter that POC spend 90% of the time carefully appearing not to notice and staying focused in a world that is filled with micro-aggressions towards them, and dealing with assumptions made about them. That’s different. White people’s hurt feelings must always be the priority if they are present. And that is just as it should be. But oh, it’s everyone ELSE that’s “too sensitive”. Sigh.

I’m Not Cynical

I’m not cynical. It’s the opposite. From time to time, when I give my take on a topic in the news, I receive a surprised, “You’re so cynical.” People getting to know me don’t expect it, because I AM so positive. They expect rays of sunshine and daisies to flow from my lips. Hey, sometimes they do!

As a child, no one was really protecting me or to what I was exposed. So in the poor section of Miami Beach, I saw many things and experienced many things, too. Most of all, I saw really wealthy people come to act out where no one knew them. ALOT.

And at the apartment, I lived with an intelligent and curious person who was so done with being a parent and was still an abuse survivor as well as overworked, distracted and beaten-down-by-patriarchy.

So I am not surprised by things in the news that others are debating whether to believe at all. And to me, it is a KINDNESS to speak the truth and not look away from it. It’s what we can do!

Rape and child abuse are HUGE in this country. Note: My only question re Cosby is: Who did he piss off? What deal did he try to get out of that it is now suddenly Cosby open season? Of course he did it. But to think it is so uncommon…that is the part. Which well-paid underling was steering these hopeful girls to Cosby? Same with Jerry Sandusky case – only it should be a wake-up call and not “now we got that bad guy”. How many underlings looked the other way? For how many years? How many faceless peers shared his “interest” in founding Second Mile children’s charity? What did they tell themselves? So sad.

But a villain is found and scapegoated, thrown to the wolves so the rest can continue in quiet. If this is news, sorry to wreck your high.

You think it stops because it’s unpleasant to you when you notice it?

I REALLY don’t get the “staying positive” thing!!!! It looks to me like doing your part to support business-as-usual. And yet we wonder at the Holocaust and those reprehensible slave-owners. “How could this go on for so long?”

I am not for sensationalism. I get no kick. Check this: I don’t even rent movies with violence and sadism in them! That leaves out wide swathes of popular culture, that I would otherwise enjoy, let me tell you.

How come we are so into it on the screen but it’s so “inappropriate” and “extremist” to stand up to it in real life??!!!

I have an idea. How about learning to feel elevated, liberated and kind and good when you recognize an unpleasant reality for the first time? I think anything OTHER than that is CYNICAL!! Because it’s not telling the truth when deep in you, you know. How do YOU define cynicism?

And you have to ask, who are you protecting? And why?

19th Birthday Kendrick Johnson

Two days ago you would have turned 19. Rest in a peace full of grace eternal spirit of 17-year old Kendrick Johnson.

You all know my cover photo is a remembrance for this young man and a recognition of the fact that the mystery of his death has never even come close to being solved.

So for his birthday, despite the fact that it is sad, amidst the world’s other troubles, I feel I owe it to his family to update the situation. At least THEY will know he is not forgotten by those near AND far, and take some small comfort.

You may remember that Kendrick was at high school, in the daytime, when he “tripped and fell into a gym mat, while looking for his shoe”. Then the gym mat “rolled around him, and he died of suffocation”. How unfortunate! Case closed. Uh….okay.

When his parents, unable to bear such disregard for the life of their child, hired a lawyer, had him exhumed, they found that he had instead, died of blunt force trauma to the head – right there at school.

Worse than this, and most perplexing, every single organ including his brain, was removed and replaced with newspaper. And then he was buried for the first time, THAT way, with no one the wiser, until the exhumation. They tried to get the funeral parlor in trouble for that.

That’s just one. There have been so many efforts to throw investigators off the scent and cause enough confusion to make all but the most sincerely dedicated to throw up their hands.

For example, after much hurry-scurry, hem-haw, Georgia school admits to editing the videos routinely aimed to monitor students at the school. They are edited to omit crucial points, and blurred at other points in ways that make identifications impossible.

They gathered many students for interviews, yes, but honestly, from what happened afterwards, it appears they did it to come up with a string of implausible stories: he went out with a white girl once a year before, and the white boys killed him for it. Yeah, that’s it. But darnit, that girl up and said she knew him but didn’t date him. And the boy said yes, he and Kendrick had a disagreement the year before, but not over that girl, and they had been fine when he died.

Then there was ‘blame the handicapped guy”. A young man, a caucasian named Dalton Chauncy, after intensive questioning, gave evidence that he heard other students talking about bearing responsibility. This was so easily challenged and shot down by the parents of the accused. Oh yes, one of the young people involved with this was the son of an FBI agent.

Poor Dalton was then charged with giving false evidence! Dalton Chauncey’s mom said her son is well known to struggle with mental disabilities, had been pressured under questioning to say what he did, and was being used as a fall guy, to distract and cause confusion. She believes the Lowndes County sheriff’s office is covering up the murder, who did it and the reasons for it.

So amidst all such, charges were brought, based on the phony stories, dropped based on the discrediting and then the CASE WAS CLOSED. Now apparently, the FBI is getting involved, but I don’t know how hopeful I am.

3min. Sept. 2014 Update:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydRcbIp7hgs

After all, horrifying as it is, there is a black market for organ-harvesting. Ghastly, I know. Is it worse to know, or worse to not care?? Plain and simple, that seems to be what happened in this and several other seemingly causeless murders of young black men, perceived to be powerless and vulnerable, for whatever reason.

These incidents come to light or they don’t. After all, rarely are bodies of young black men exhumed. We should be thankful to Kendrick’s parents!!!. The missing organ systems would not have been discovered had his family not pursued it.

Many people feel what’s done is done and “don’t make trouble”. Let sleeping dogs lie, even when that means ignoring the murder of a child. Fear is strong.

Even reading stuff like this is impossible for some people. So evil thrives.

My life has been touched by evil. And to me, the defenders are the angels of this earth, not the ones who “don’t want trouble”.

It is going to take more than this case to expose it. Most people dismiss this nd much prefer to live with head-scratching question marks or try to believe preposterous narratives offered up, one after the other.Death on school grounds by self-rolling gym mat?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J95JOupFmH8

http://www.re-newsit.com/2014/08/false-statement-arrest-in-kendrick.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/14/justice/kendrick-johnson-death-investigation/

http://www.wctv.tv/news/georgianews/headlines/Family-of-Kendrick-Johnson-Celebrate-What-Would-Have-Been-His-19th-Birthday-278873501.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyBFfISKjNE

KENDRICK JOHNSON MEMORIAL

For his 19th birthday, I join his family and loved ones in remembering Kendrick, and recognizing the significance of his completely unresolved murder. May he rest in infinite peace. Happy Birthday Kendrick until justice is done.