Monthly Archives: June 2015

Racism is Racism

State’s rights, huh? You mean a state’s right to deny human rights to, well, you know, humans? Got it. Values. Priorities. Beliefs. Truths. Hate. Those who make the argument that “state’s rights” was a worthy cause illuminate all of these about themselves in a light that burns as bright as the sun, while being as cold and lifeless as the dark side of the moon.

There, that’s out of the way. I know I can get a little long winded, so I wanted to make sure anyone who looked at this and either didn’t want to read further, or fell asleep trying, read the main point. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get into the rest of the reasoning for this.

You all know I’m an opinionated person. When I believe something, I believe it. Usually because I’ve done the homework to make sure what I’m saying is accurate. Usually. This however isn’t like a sports opinion, or opinions on movies, or whether the Braves should have left Atlanta. Not at all. And that’s why my conviction here is stronger than it is with anything else. Last night I came across some more things that just enraged me. And I posted that I was pretty much going to be angry all day, post angry things, angry responses and unfriend anyone who disagrees with me. Well, that’s only very marginally true. The latter is true, but it is going to come without the first actions. But I’m writing this so people will know (if they care) why I unfriended them. Because I promise, somewhere in here you’ll uncover why. I also just want to completely wrap up my stance on this entire issue, and do so in a docile state, without personally attacking people, calling names, or anything else that takes away from the point I’m making by giving any sort of veil or distraction to it.

My heart has been broken over the past few days, weeks, months, even years. The things I’ve seen from people, people I have known my entire life, just hurt, hurt me deep. And there’s no single sect of people (though it is concentrated, that’s for sure) who I see this from, it’s everywhere. From friends I’ve had my entire life, best friends, family members, people I long thought to be very smart, very good people, I’ve seen horrible, horrible things. I’ve seen abhorrent things and mindsets that make me question just how smart you are, or how good a person can you really be. They make me question me for having forged a relationship with someone like that to begin with, and for having kept it so long. You want to know why I’m so angry about this? That’s why. I’m hurt and I’m mad. I’m mad at me. I’m mad at me for the many ways I was a lot like many of you. I’m mad that I’ve stood by silently while you all were busy being, well you, even when I no longer agreed with you in the slightest. I’m mad that I feel betrayed. I’m mad that I feel let down. I’m upset because I have to say goodbye to people I’ve had in my life for the longest time. Because I absolutely have to.

One credence I will always stick to is that you can tell more about a person by what they’re willing to defend, than anything else. The defense of racism, in any way, is racism. It’s that simple. And standing by watching people say racist things, do racist things, and just be racist, while saying nothing, may not be “defending it”, but it’s definitely accepting it, to the point of condoning it. Look, we all have flaws, every last one of us, and we all have shortcomings. And many, many shortcomings, most even, I can “accept” as just, people having shortcomings. But there are a couple that, no, no, it’s not a “shortcoming”. It’s an unacceptable set of beliefs that I can no longer idly stand by in the shadows and give silent approval of. I have to say something. I have to say I will not tolerate it. And I don’t know at the expense of who that will come. Best friends for half my life? Family members? Teachers? Sports fans? I don’t know, and at this point, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t do this with hate or malice in my heart, though sometimes it may seem that way with things I have said, or angry reactions and replies, and foul language, even for me. I do this because I simply can’t stay silent, and because this does make me angry, I’m asking for it to breed hate, and I’m not wanting to do that. But the more I see of it the angrier and angrier I get. There’s really only one solution. A wise little green guy on Dagobah once said that “anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, and suffering leads to the dark side”. I’m not going to go down that path.

But I don’t want the hate that racism is born and nurtured in in my life. I used to think there were three types of racism; Ignorance, fear, and hate. I’ve since come to the realization they’re all rolled into one. We as humans fear what we don’t know, and we hate what we fear. That black man walking towards your car in the gas station that makes you immediately lock your doors? You don’t know anything about him, yet you fear him. You hate him. Wait, I take that back. You do know one thing about him. You know he’s black.

Bottom line, if you defend or justify the acts of treason committed by the confederate states, you’re wrong. If you take pride in, and honor, a culture where an entire race of humans was dehumanized, you’re wrong. If you argue the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, you’re wrong. If you honor and glorify the men who led the south into this war, you’re wrong. If you make heroes out of men who fought to keep other human beings enslaved simply because they were born the wrong color, you’re wrong. And don’t even try to tell me how there were black people fighting for the south. Stockholm Syndrome, ya heard of it? If you are proud of, and celebrate, a heritage that murdered humans, put humans in shackles and forced them to work for you while affording them no freedom when they have committed no crime (other than being born with dark skin, as sadly, even today, that still is a crime, even if not a “crime”), you’re wrong. If you value the right for a state to rule a federal law null and void within their borders more than you value the God-given rights that every man should have (you know, the very sorta thing we supposedly founded this country on that so many flag worshipers swear they’re so proud to fight for), you’re wrong. If you place more value on flying a flag that honors and symbolizes, well, basically anything, but especially one that honors and symbolizes inhumane injustices forced upon an entire race of people over the amount of hurt that flag causes millions of people, you’re wrong. I could go point by point and specifically point out why you’re wrong, but to many that I’m talking to, that would do no good. But still, there’s a couple I want to go into more detail about if any of you that I haven’t lost yet wish to keep reading.

You can’t call yourself a patriot and fly the rebel flag in the name of pride for your heritage. Simple as that. You simply cannot do both. You can’t scream “Murica” and then on the other side support a confederation that literally, ATTACKED AMERICA.

You cannot celebrate Fourth of July and the “freedom” of being an American while simultaneously honoring people who ATTACKED AMERICA in order to keep human beings from being free. On no planet does it work that way.

Standing in support, or even having pride, in the ideologies of the south, which is what this “heritage” thing is all about (I mean, if you’re not proud of it, why would you boast of it and wear it so “proudly”?) means you go against the very thing we supposedly founded this country on, that all men were created equal. Clearly, you do not think so. Black people didn’t suddenly get “created equal” because laws told us to treat them as equals in the 50s and 60s. They’ve always been equal. You don’t get to justify treating them as inferior people, as not even humans, by saying, “well they were different times”. I don’t care. They were still people then, just as they are today. Just like everyone we share this planet with. So if you at any point in history are okay with humans not being treated equally, then, to this day, you still don’t see all human beings as equals. Because our equal standing on this earth hasn’t changed. Government enforced laws don’t dictate how you personally view other people. But when you support laws that do dehumanize people, then you yourself are the one dehumanizing them. You may as well have owned slaves yourself, because it’s very clear, that if the law allowed it today, you would. Because only the law apparently defines equality, and not your heart. Because in your heart, there isn’t any.

One that gets me the most is watching people I thought to be highly intelligent arguing the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. State’s rights? Yeah, the rights for states to enslave people. Oh, right, it was about an oppressive government. An oppressive government that didn’t want to continue to allow slavery. You do realize that there is NOTHING more oppressive than slavery, right? So please, tell me how the south was on the “good” side of the argument of who was more oppressive. Did the north, I mean, did the United States of America, you know, the little institution that those southern states belonged to, perhaps introduce legislation that might make things hard on the south? Sure. But did you stop and think that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, if the south hadn’t been so steadfast on continuing slavery, the United States wouldn’t have felt the need to so aggressively try to put pressure on the southern states to back off their stance? That perhaps, had the south been willing to give up slavery, that all these other “oppressive” (I still love how I’ve heard people use that word to justify the south’s position) actions by the north, er, the United States, might not have taken place? Maybe if the southern states weren’t so vehemently against the United States wish to bar slavery in all new-found territories, there might have been more concessions from the United States? But no, the south wasn’t budging on that. All exploration west began in, oh, right, the south. The south wanted to occupy the rest of America, lay claim to it all, and enslave people from coast to coast. And the south had a leg up on getting west, due to simple logistics. They didn’t like that the north, dammit, I mean, the United States, didn’t want to allow them to take their crimes against humanity to places beyond their borders.

If the United States had come off of every other “state’s rights” issue except slavery, do you think war would have been averted? No. In fact, at no point was such a compromise ever even on the table because there was no two ways around it. The south was fighting for one thing and one thing alone, to continue to have slaves. Did their ability to thrive economically depend on that? Perhaps. But whose fault was that? Maybe the south shouldn’t have become a one trick pony built on the backs of enslaving other human beings. Maybe they should have been more forward thinking, and instead of enslaving human beings, all worked together for more prosperity. Nope, they were set in what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to do it. They made the bed, they had to sleep in it. And they couldn’t sleep in it without slavery. Had the United States come to the southern states and offered to keep slavery, but still enact every other “oppressive” act, what do you think happens then? I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen…. the southern states do not attack the United States.

So for the love of God, if you consider yourself a somewhat intelligent human, PLEASE stop saying the Civil War was not about slavery. Because if it wasn’t about slavery, then maybe it should have been. If the south had made it about slavery, but being willing to give that up in exchange for other compromises, then there wouldn’t have even been a war. So, even still, if I grant you it wasn’t about slavery (which I won’t, and not sure how anyone with a somewhat functioning brain can), it NOT being about slavery, still made it about slavery.

I also find it particularly hypocritical, in a so sad it’s funny, but yet horribly depressing way, when the topic of black people still harvesting anger at white people for slavery comes up, the typical response of a white person seems to be, “that happened 150 years ago, it’s the past”. Or even better, “hey, don’t blame me for what my ancestors did, that was them. I was not a part of that, that was not me”.

Funny. Because you glorify those who did it. You glorify those who owned slaves under the guise of “heritage”. Men who literally were willing to kill other human beings so they could have the right to continue to enslave human beings are now embronzed in statues glorifying their actions. And all in the name of heritage. All in the name of, “that’s my heritage, that’s part of who I am”, blah blah blah. Really?

Okay, fine. But just know, you can’t go around waving flags, or idolizing “heroes” that honor this, and promote this “heritage” that you claim is a part of you, and then turn around and tell a black person to stop blaming you for slavery, that you didn’t do it, and that they need to get over it, it didn’t happen to them.

I get it though, you’re allowed to celebrate the past, in all it’s blood stained, gruesome, despicable glory, but other people aren’t allowed to be hurt by it? Your heritage is who you are and a part of you, but the very thing that heritage fought the absolute most for, the thing that makes you apparently proud to be a southerner, isn’t a part of you? Okay.

And this is about the only part where I’m going to get somewhat personal. What amazes me is that the people who think like this, honestly must believe everyone else is just as dumb as they are.

And just how selfish can some of you be? I touched on this yesterday. You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to people and what isn’t. You don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. You just get to decide not to care. Exactly who gets hurt if the flag is taken down from government buildings and public buildings? Who gets hurt, and feels pain because some stores decide the message they think it carries, and the hurt it causes isn’t worth selling it anymore? Seriously, who really feels pain from that? You? You’re really going to ache and be hurt? No you’re not. But millions of people, when they see that flag, they ARE hurt. The fact that people are so selfish in that they can’t just be like, “ya know what, I don’t agree, I don’t understand the big deal, but really, my life is no different if this flag doesn’t fly, but it might ease some of the hurt of my fellow man if it comes down, so, fine, take it down”. Wait, that would mean recognizing everyone else as your fellow man…..

So the list of people I’m having to cut out continues to grow. And that breaks my heart. And I don’t know if even one person has read any of this, or all of this, or gotten to this point. But at the end of the day, I’m not cutting people out of my life because of their beliefs on what caused the Civil War, or whether police use excessive force in conspicuously inconsistent ways, and certainly not because of your beliefs over a flag. I’m cutting people out of my life simply because of their beliefs. Because when it comes to this issue, there is no gray area, there is no tolerance. I don’t want to see that, I don’t want to see those comments, those jokes, that insensitivity, popping up in my life everyday. And the belief set of some people ensures if they’re in my life, I’ll be seeing it. And I’m just tired of seeing it. Because I’m tired of being silent about it. But I’m not going to let it make me angry and take away the enjoyment I get from so many other things in life, and other people in life.I have no place in my life for it, simple as that. And maybe you don’t have a place in your life for someone who thinks like me.

The great thing is, we both have a choice. It’s not like we’re being held captive or anything…..

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Truthful Belief Racism Isn’t an Issue, or Plausible Deniability?

I think I’m beginning to understand more the need for the denial of racism by so many people. Despite this shooter blatantly saying what drove him, there are those who continue to insist this wasn’t racially motivated, as they continue to live in their utopia where racism ceases to exist. I thought it was just a combination of white privilege, ignorance, and a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their fellow man.

No. I think it’s more than that. I think it’s plausible deniability.

See, if these people acknowledge that race is still a huge problem in this country, then they’re forced to acknowledge something else, something of which the consequences (of which there could be many) scare them. They have to look in the mirror. And God, that’s a terrifying place to look, even when you are living right, that still can be a scary place to look.

But by acknowledging the foul stench of racism that permeates its way through our society in many forms, they have to acknowledge that they allow it. Not only do they simply allow it, in many ways, they condone it and practice it. They have to acknowledge they are the fertile soil in which seeds of ignorance and hate get planted and then are cultivated, tended to, and allowed to grow, bloom, and intoxicate the world around them.

The incessant bashing of a president despite having no political rational behind it; the constant and never-ending barrage of racial jokes, that really, aren’t jokes at all; the sneers given to the homeless guy they see on the street, or the complete fear that strickens them when a black man in the city asks them what time it is, or if they have a cigarette; the way they call a black athlete who commits a personal foul on a football field a thug, while when a white player does it it’s simply because they play too hard; the disdain for the NBA because it’s a sport played by thugs; judgmental remarks every time they see an old Cutlass or Monte Carlo; the presumption that a black man in corn rows is a criminal; the constant usage of the words “they”, and “them”; the way you look down upon “them” because they’re on government assistance programs, completely ignoring your white neighbor with an EBT card in their purse; the waving of a flag that’s hardly different from a swastika; the immediate defense and anger you feel about people who bring racism to your attention; the telling “them” to just go get a job (because that’s just SO easy to do); the way they consider good white athletes hard workers but black athletes are just blessed with talent; the way they blast songs by Garth Brooks about a wife shooting an ex husband and sing along at the top of their lungs but vilify rap music that talks about violence; All of these things and more are what creates the perfect atmosphere and environment for these tiny little seeds of ignorant hatred, and bigotry, and mistrust, and fear of people simply because of the color of their skin to manifest into what happened Tuesday night.

So of course people deny it’s racially based. Because if they don’t, then they have to accept some responsibility.

And God forbid they do that.

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