Memes are often used to make a statement or to entertain, and sometimes when it comes to people and their humor, it crosses a line. One such picture I came across today was of a muscular black man who had incredible sized neck muscles and below that was a picture from the movie Jaws saying, "We're going to need a bigger knee."
A lot of comments were attached to the post listing people in the comments and how everyone finds it so funny. Disgusting. As a nation we've become desensitized to violence, and by an extension we're also desensitized to racial inequality because so much of it involves violence.
The Germans have a word "schadenfreude," meaning to derive pleasure from the suffering of others. How petty must that mindset be? I can't claim to be above it though, because there's always pleasure in seeing someone get what they deserve. Racial inequality is something no one deserves, and why Black Lives Matters exists.
For some people and their attitudes, they are a complete loss. Their attitudes and prejudice will never change. Their hate, they cling to it as they would a warm blanket because they have such an ancestry connected to bigotry. These people are lost and have no place in the future.
The only future that makes sense is one that celebrates diversity. We have to build each other up without tearing someone else down to do it. And there can't be any tolerance for such people who get ahead on the suffering of others. If we can't win them over with love and compassion, then our only hope is to outlast them until the appeal can be made to their descendants.
Racism is a thing of the past, a shameful past. It's been around too long and deserves to be cut off at the head. We can't normalize jokes that prey on the weak, nor attitudes that find pleasure in the suffering of innocents.
"The Race Beat"
In grad school, there was an assignment the class had to pick a book to do a book report of our own choice. The choice I made was a book called "The Race Beat" by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff. A Pulitzer Prize winning piece on the history of the black press and the struggles it suffered over history. Additionally, this book also looks at history through the eyes of the journalists who lived through events such as integration, lynchings, and civil rights.
The recent events in the United States have resulted in an unprecedented amount of Black Lives Matters movement support. Also, the movement has shared literature, publications, movies, and several internet sources for people to gain understanding into the plight of people of color, as well as that of LGBTQ+ members. This source is another one to be lifted up for recognition from the side of those who chronicled systematic racism in journalism.
This time is an opportunity to reduce ignorance with education and understanding. Building bridges, instead of walls. Cowards love walls, heroes meet on bridges.
Something not mentioned in the previous post is that there was a fourth alternative presented by the man who posed the experiment to his followers on Twitter. If people who were participating refused to make a choice throughout the entire post, then DKnight blocks those people from his Twitter page. By not choosing, it was like consigning him to obscurity in the same way as untold stories of police brutality have occurred to people of color without the benefit of someone recording them. To literally let him go because he'd block you and you would experience the actual loss of him.
How many Arberys, Taylors, or Floyds are there who haven't had their stories told? Who was there to mourn these people? What was done to ensure their killers were brought to justice? And worst of all, who could be next?
The Black Lives Matter movement exists to answer that question by saying "no one, not one more."
There was a discussion on Twitter that I was a part of recently where someone who is black asked his followers to choose which person he was going to die as. The options were first Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed after a chase and battle with some white supremacists who had gone "vigilante" in their deeply disturbed minds. Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own home on the botched execution of a warrant at the wrong address. And George Floyd who was murdered in police custody, being suffocated on the street with an officers knee in the neck.
Originally, my stance on the options were none of them. Because I don't want someone, anyone to really be killed. After being pressured by the man who made the post, almost pleading me to make a choice between these three, I chose his method of death as that of Ahmaud Arbery. Although all three were murdered by cowards, he had the best fighting chance out of them all. Running for his life, and fighting out of sad desperation to his last breath.
After making the decision, he thanked me. He even promoted me on my page to his followers telling them that I would one day be a great writer. The kindness he showed didn't feel deserved, so I asked about the point of the exercise.
Making me choose the manner in which he was martyred, made me feel the remorse and pain for the deaths of the people who were killed. By putting me in the shoes of the killers and feeling the sensation of deciding his manner of death made it so personal. Making a decision that none of those three got to have.
Since then, I agonized about how I was going to write this up in a post. There's a stronger resolve to fight more for the rights and lives of my brothers and sisters, (I hope I can call them family) in this movement, but more doubts as to the capacity to write about them effectively.
This might require more time between posts, so that I don't take over the narrative as I was beginning to do, I think. Instead of turning out a quota of content, the tone is going to be more for quality. For anyone who reads this, I am sorry for how the tone has been up until now. And I hope that you'll approve of further posts and content provided here.
Meanwhile, if you have Twitter, please give this man a follow. He's very wise in ways I can't begin to describe.
I went to my hometown for a Black Lives Matter demonstration yesterday. However, I was given a bogus location. Even before then I couldn't confirm a time or place on social media, and I heard about the location through a second hand and unreliable source.
So, after driving around looking for the demonstration I wanted, I went to go grocery shopping. No demonstration there, just people coming and going. On my way back home though, I passed by a lake on the highway and saw three teenagers on the side with signs and demonstrating. One I could see clearly from the road was "Smash Racism."
I wasn't able to stop or return, having perishables in the car and a bunch of groceries for my mother. However, I was very impressed with the three teens I saw. One male, two female, and white. It's not our place to take over the conversation of racism, but I was pleased to see three young people who used their privilege to add their voices to the cause of equality and compassion.
On the Spot...
I realize that by telling you reader, that I missed the demonstration I said I would go to is something that might make me appear disingenuine to contributing to helpful change. However, if I were the kind of person who would fabricate a story saying "sure I was there" and creating a fiction of having partaken, I wouldn't be any better than the opposition. I ask for forgiveness, and I will move on.
On recent developments on social media, I have seen that "habeas corpus" has been suspended in New York City. This grants officers an unprecedented freedom to arrest and detain without the due process. To do so reveals that even the New York police don't even follow their own rules when a crisis hits. To abandon such a doctrine is to have already lost the moral high ground, on top of everything else they have done to make this problem worse.
Defunding the police is also something I have seen as a course of this movement. And I agree with that sentiment, because I know of some of the expensive toys that the police are given that can and are abused in typical use. Some of the horror stories I have heard of have been used in a prison.
One device was a taser shield. I worked with someone who had worked in a prison, and had to be certified to use this device. Exactly as its name suggests, it is a shield that one normally uses for mass uprising in a prison population, and has the electric shock needed to incapacitate someone. My coworker as he was being certified was subjected to the normal use of the shield, so he was shocked and immediately incapacitated on the ground. However, the training officer didn't stop there, he kneeled down and held the shield on him for a little while. Much more than was called for.
Another device, is a grenade that explodes rubber balls. Sort of like the rubber bullets being used now, but it is meant to be used in a wide open space. The same coworker told me about rounds he was making with another officer. The other officer, turns to the guy I got this story from and goes "watch this." He then takes one of the grenades and throws it into the cell of an unsuspecting inmate and shuts the door. The inmate had to be hospitalized.
The thing I am trying to get across is the kind of people we are facing. People who are sworn to uphold the law, who are suspending the law in a moment of convenience. People who use their weapons as playthings against each other for amusement. People with no regard for innocents. It's literal madness.
I know people would say things like, "Oh it's probably just that one officer." Or, "you can't judge from a few bad apples." Regardless of the simple arguments that can counter both of those statements like "if you thrown a rotten apple into a barrel the whole barrel is rotten in time." I'm going to give you another reason to take me seriously. It may have just been one officer, but that's the one you know about. How can you be sure that the next one you don't know about isn't in front of you now?
People love to use the argument that "looting isn't protesting," but my favorite counter is "murder isn't policing."
As scary as all of this sounds, it's an absolute horror to conceive of for people of color. The burden of law enforcement is supposed to be that they are to be held at a higher standard of conduct than an ordinary citizen, because even though ignorance of the law is no excuse, a police officer cannot claim ignorance of the law because they are responsible for learning it and enforcing it.
Defunding the police is about doing away with a budget that is disproportionate to arming police with these vindictive weapons, and investing it into the communities that are less fortunate. Helping one another, instead of running the police like a business.
It is a well known fact that prisons run by private corporations are a "for profit" business. And that there are lobbyists of these corporations that are making hefty donations to politicians who are in a position to keep major punishments for small offenses on the books. Police are a part of that industry, whether they know it or not, even in the best of times. We have to rebuild the system of policing and of making laws from the ground up so that they don't discriminate against people of color.
I'm going to keep todays post brief today, because I am nauseated at what is happening in our country. Peaceful protesters are being shot in the face with rubber bullets that have the lethal capacity as a conventional firearm. Police opened fire on a gay bar, because the owner was handing out bottled water. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/06/police-opened-fire-gay-bar-owner-handing-water-protestors/
Journalists are under active fire and arrest for covering the protests. People are being killed or maimed with disproportionate uses of force. And the president invokes George Floyds name to praise himself for a slight improvement in the unemployment numbers. So excuse me because this is all a little much to take in at once.
Something I have been doing recently is telling my friends, people I follow on social media, and even strangers now is something I think of as an oath. One of the harshest criticisms of the Black Lives Matters movement is when someone tells them "All lives matter." It's a phrase that tries to dismiss, trivialize, or downright tear down activists. Although all life is important, the movement is about tackling a system that treats certain citizens by different standards than others.
My oath, even though it's just one sentence, is my affirmation that all lives are important but without the dismissal. Simply put, my oath is...
"Your life is precious to me, and your wellbeing is important."
I've told a lot of people this, whatever their skin color or attributes. And I never say it without meaning every word. Sometimes I may preface the oath saying, "I know we don't know each other well," or "I know we have never met." However the sentiment is genuinely there.
Saying that "all lives matter," but not doing anything about it is an expression of privilege that previous posts have discussed. The hypocrisy that I have pointed out in discussions with people using that phrase, is to put them on the spot. Because I believe that if they really believed that "all lives matter," then they should be marching or adding their voices too when someone is killed with police brutality.
I may only have a blog and a website, and no money to donate to the BLM and related movements. A protest is scheduled in my hometown on Saturday, which I plan to attend. I haven't marched previously, so in the grand scheme I haven't done very much yet. However, doing something is a world away from doing nothing, and an entire universe away from actively opposing BLM protesters.
My readers, we are all on the precipice of a radical change in the society of the United States. The government has put the military, police, and unidentified (DOJ?) persons in the path to oppose the protests and to keep the status quo. In other words, trying to keep "business as usual."
Make no mistake, this is tactic used in Middle East countries where a tyrant has installed themselves as a force above the law. Now is the time to make a stand for your own liberty and independence, because this crisis won't go away. Business as usual has brought us to this point, and has not merely identified a broken system of justice. The system isn't broken, it's working as it was designed to do to keep the people down and under control. The system is working against our united front, because the powers have risen through a divided house.
If you take in nothing else from this post, then take in at least one thing I say to let it sink in. The American President is afraid of the American People. Why is that?
White privilege is something that is widely disputed in our country. Does it exist? Do I have it? The answer to the first question is "yes," it does exist and it is widely used. The second question, "Do I have it?" If you're white, then yes you do. By point of fact every white person has privilege and are presently using that privilege in one way or another.
I am a white person with white privilege.
It's not something I thought I used very often, which is why I want to distinguish activities in this privilege between the terms "passive" and "active." Forms of passive white privilege include ignorance and indifference. Ignorance in this sense is something I define as being unaware that your privilege has come to your benefit. Things such as exercising outside, gathering for a family barbeque, or just driving down the street. Normal activities that aren't themselves probable cause for detainment or arrest, however if you were someone who is non-white you are more likely to be stopped by the police or have the police called upon you. This still does not elevate the level of suspicion to probable cause.
This brings me to the next point of indifference. Because if you are aware of these things happening with a racial disparity and unmoved or not concerned, you have expressed your white privilege. Indifference is probably the worst between the two passives that I have outlined because it is the informed, but don't care attitude.
Active white privilege is any activity in which someone expects beneficial treatment for being white. And I'm certain that definition doesn't come close to describing all active white privilege. My only defense on that is that I'm still learning about the different ways that white privilege is applied.
A lot of my friends are taking an active stance on the recent developments in the world, most on the side of the protesters. And they come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds throughout the world. Those of them who are white, have made the same decision as I have to use our white privilege to add our voices to the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement.
For those who aren't active, or are active on the other side, it does occur to me that I will have to reevaluate those friendships in the due course of time. I do feel that trying to take a stance of neutrality is the same as siding with the broken system that has enabled this treatment against people of color. Lacking compassion and kindness are two big warning flags about people in my mind. However, I will maintain my voice and try to keep the conversation open. Although, if they only believe the news they want and everything else is "fake news," then I feel no guilt or sadness towards removing those people from my life. Because they are trying to cling to their ignorance while expressing their ignorance.
Some people, like myself, for a long time were struggling for a way to support BLM and other equal rights activists. That's why I confessed to a slowness of mind when it came to finding my voice and my platform. In addition to making my website a platform for advocating such causes, I also wanted to demonstrate how anyone who wants to help has a means to do so.
I can't change the name of my website from my own name, and in a way I feel as though that is somewhat shameless on my part. However, it is also binding me to my word. Hate groups typically rely on their anonymity to protect them from the consequences of being hateful. So I won't hide cowardly behind a sheet or a manifesto. Additionally, I don't want my voice to drown out the marginalized. I want my voice in harmony with my activist friends and the use of my white privilege to be in their benefit.
However, I also want to be forthcoming with further information about who I am.
I once tried to become a police officer. Well actually twice, but the more profound attempt is the first one. The interview process was a lengthy and time consuming affair, and I passed everything up until the final step of the process, psychiatric evaluation.
The results from a seven hundred multiple choice answer sheet and the interview with the psychiatrist led them to the conclusion that I wasn't aggressive enough to be a police officer. Not only that, but I was told that I wasn't obnoxious enough to be one either. That police officers should be more instigators rather than responders.
At the time, I was crushed because I wanted to be a good police officer. However, with the recent events in the world I feel as though it was a Godsend that I didn't get in. Either two things would have happened if I had. One, my sense of compassion and respect for others would have been beaten out of me. Or I would have had a target on my back because I would cling to those beliefs so dearly.
Honesty is a virtue I hold dear. That's why when I was given a te-test examination of the psychiatrist, I answered the same as I did the first time through. I figured that if I was going to be judged that I would stand by what I had said the first time around. That was almost sixteen years ago.
The second time I tried to be a police officer was for another city and another department. I wasn't selected to go past the physical tests because I put down the truth on my application about why I didn't get in to the police force the first time. They said it would probably be a waste of money to go through the testing process any further.
I am confessing all of this because I want to be transparent on here. Adding my voice to the BLM movement, in my mind, requires a large degree of accountability. The fact that I tried to join the police force at all may be viewed negatively by some, but I want that information available so that I can be judged appropriately.
I never thought I'd see in my lifetime a government crackdown on the country. A time when the president would call in military troops to subdue protesters to use a church as a backdrop and a bible as a prop to take a picture. Although when it comes to Trump, I supposed nothing is off the table, except for human decency.
The country itself is in grave danger, but not from the protesters. It's from a leader who is unhinged and dead set against American life. Not only that, but his supporters are enabled to be weapons for his cause. People who share his views and who are ultimately pawns for his needs. The MAGA cult is easily stoked by even the merest hint of support from Trump.
The devout Trump supporter doesn't realize how disposable they are to him. He's never so much as spoken out against any of their actions, as though they have the immunity to cause any social chaos that they want because it's a win-win situation for him. Individuals can infiltrate the protesters and BLM movement to trigger a looting and destruction binge as we have seen officers in the Minneapolis police department do. Spreading the chaos so that military force could be brought in, as it has been now.
The truth is that both sides of this conflict are being played against one another. Infiltration triggers the looting and destruction to make the protest look bad, and the MAGA cult is put in play as the pawns that they are as Trump hides in a bunker like the coward he is. Par for the course, he makes others fight his battles because he believes himself to be above them.
There is no reward or benefit that comes to supporting Trump or playing on his terms. He needs voters to get a second term, and then when he has nothing to lose we're going to see a new side of him. Possibly even more intense than his first term, and his MAGA cult will have served their purpose. There will be no more rallies, because he doesn't have to pander to the base anymore. He can set them all adrift while robbing the country blind.
Although I may lose friends, I am unafraid to stand in full support for the Black Lives Matters movement and support for every marginalized community that strives for peace, justice, and equality. The murder of George Floyd, David McAtee, Ahmaud Abrey, and so many other men and women of color, done in plain sight is a testament to the cruelty that has found such a feeding ground under the Trump administration. Derek Chauvin showed no shame, no hesitation, and no concern as he kneeled on Mr. Floyds neck. Murder in plain sight and he didn't care.
Black Lives Matter. Kindness matters. And if we don't win in the end, then we go down in style. We have to come together, for the sake of every human being to be treated with honor, dignity, and a respect for the sanctity of life. Because if we don't adopt kindness, and equality then no lives matter.
I haven't written on this website in a long time. Originally published as something to promote my writing career. However, it has been very difficult to talk about myself and market for my books. Especially when no one has been buying them.
Over the past few days, there have been a lot of protests and uprising of people who are frustrated over the murder of a man named George Floyd. This man was killed in police custody and murdered in plain sight of the public. He was a black man, and the police officer kneeled on his neck until he was dead. Even being on video did not deter this officer from what he was doing.
Across the nation, communities rose up in protest. Unfortunately, violence broke out in addition to looting and destruction of private property. However, I don't fault the movement or the public, because these have been grievances for such a long time. Grievances such as systematic racism, differential justice, and crimes of hate.
I have to confess a slowness of mind. Although my heart is in a good place, it takes me awhile to think of an idea that will help. Something I have long believed in is that opportunities don't often come to you, and instead of waiting for an opportunity one must create the opportunity.
We have all probably asked ourselves at some point, "I agree with my friends who are oppressed, harassed, and exploited. But what can I do about it?" I don't have a lot of money to donate to charities and establishments active on these fronts, and I don't live in a location that is close to a major demonstration site. It bugged me for so long, until it finally hit me. There are talents, skills, and gifts that I have to offer. I have a voice and a platform with this website, so I need to do something with them.
I have friends all across the world. Friends who are people of color, in the LBGTQ+ community, and of different faiths and forms of belief. So I have decided to use my voice and the privilege that I have to speak out in support of them.
The phrase "hegemonic ideology" was a new phrase to me when I went to graduate school a few years ago. A hegemony is nothing more than a ruling or authoritative body. Hegemonic ideology is a belief and the practice of methods that are good or beneficial to a hegemony.
Our country is suffering under an ideology that is implied, if not stated with actions that to get ahead in this country then you must be a white male. In differential criminal justice you can tell how different treatments are applied between different ethnic groups.
Acknowledgement is only the beginning of the fight. I am a white male, and the fact that I can go throughout my day without being attacked or harassed has been a privilege that I didn't even know I was using. As they say about the law, "ignorance is no excuse."
It's not something malicious or vindictive of me, and I humble myself to admit that I have privileged from the color of my skin. Skin color is not a choice, but what I do with my attributes is my choice. So I say, no more. I refuse to be silent about the inequalities of the treatment of others.
Our society has an element of interdependence on each other. As the phrase goes, "no man is an island," we need each other. Coexistence is the truth of our reality, and mutual respect should be the heart of our moral code. Not competition, or feeling superior. That is for the weak minded.
Common goals should unite us, and our diverse history and talents should make us formidable. It shouldn't take a tragedy to bring us together, we already are together. And we must make mutual respect and equal treatment and protection our priority. Today I have, and I hope you my dear readers will do so as well.