Scouting Gun Control Issues

So I wrote the post (pictured above) after news of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. This is on the heels of a mass shooting in Georgia. I wrote it right before I went to bed, and I was feeling just done with the madness. Well, if you are a thinker or a writer, as usually happens, once I laid down in the quiet, the thoughts flooded in.

A little more on this….

Everything I said in that post is 100 percent how I feel. They’re my thoughts. My wish is that I knew what to do about it, knew how to effect actual, lasting change, but my belief is that it’s not a gun problem, but a heart and soul condition. (Shameless plug: I think I have a blog post about that somewhere.) I used to think that we just need to ban every single kind of firearm, but my thoughts on that have slowly, continually evolved. I still wish we lived in a world where they didn’t exist, never existed at all, but I can wish that until the cows come home and it won’t change a single thing. So….

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Learn better; do better. Thoughts evolve, and that’s okay.

My thoughts on gun control are evolving as over the years I have come to understand and see how these types of laws can affect communities that aren’t White, and communities that sit in the lower income brackets. This is true of so many of our laws and beliefs. I believe in our 2nd Amendment as I understand it (not in the fear-based, bastardized version so many self-appointed “patriots” vomit out), but I don’t believe just anyone deserves to own a firearm either. So what are the correct parameters? I doubt we’ll ever find agreement on this either.

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The Black Panthers showed up and we clutched our pearls.

Remember that time in 1967 when the Black Panthers showed up on the steps of the California State Capitol and then-Governor Reagan (R) and his NRA cronies decided we needed gun control laws right away? Well, I don’t remember because I was barely 3 years old, but it’s not hard information to find. But yes, the NRA wanted gun control laws after that incident! (If you never stopped to wonder “why,” here’s your chance.) What I do vividly remember many times is White men and women parading, storming, and protesting at various state capitol buildings, other federal buildings and lands armed to the freaking gills. What I also remember about those incidents is the government, the twisted NRA, and many so-called patriots saying NOTHING and doing NOTHING about it. Essentially, what I’ve seen is blatant inequality, and the silence I hear is actually an action, a stand.

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Well now, that’s a problem.

So there I was with a pretty strong thought about guns and owners, heels dug in, rock solid sentiments. The problem is it centers my own personal fears and knee-jerk reactions rather than the whole picture. It leaves out the welfare of a whole lot of people. Is this the crossroads or a complete shift? I guess I’m not totally sure yet, but I know it is different, and I know that if my thoughts or actions contribute to hurting another group through inequality or inequity, then that’s a clue that some shift needs to happen. It’s a clue tapping at me letting me know that something is unbalanced, unfair, and requires more thought. I have always chosen to be a scout rather than a follower — someone who continually seeks out a higher consciousness and willing to change direction when or where I see I can do better. I’m not afraid to find out I’m wrong. I’m not afraid to change. I’m not afraid to realize my thoughts may have been imitated without thought and it’s okay to change direction. All of that might piss off some folks, but that isn’t always what’s most important. So I adjust, transform, or switch directions.

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So here I am with little direction, nagging thoughts, armed with a scout mentality.

I’m going to stay in this inquiry until I have a solid direction. It’s important to me that the footprint I leave on others isn’t one on their backs. It’s important to me that my activism supports our Black and Brown communities in equality. It’s important to me to self-examine regularly and make sure I’m in alignment with what I say I want in the world, and that I’m not aligned out of fear. I’m going to have a conversation with a friend of mine whose ideas have also changed around gun ownership, whose ideas were much like mine and have also evolved quite a bit over the past year or so. I was invited to go to a shooting range event by that friend, and my husband and I are going to attend. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never shot a gun in my life, and they’ve always scared me. I have no clue what I might learn, who I might get to talk to, but I’m open to it all because personal evolution is calling. I’ll blog about my experiences and thoughts.

Always choose to be a scout.

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Revolution won’t happen without evolution, revelations, and reevaluation.

It’s a System and I Take It Personal

I know you might find me confounding and even exasperating at times. I know you may not understand (or care) why my voice is so loud and my energy so explosive.  It’s possible that you think I don’t handle things appropriately, whatever that means to you, and I’m sure some of you think I do too much and others think I don’t do enough. It is what it is. I’m sure I could use some balance.  I am sure of a lot of things, and I am sure that I will not apologize for any of this. I appreciate the truth in matters, even when it forces me to change direction or it makes some “side” look bad and it doesn’t feel good. I may not always get it right, but I know I get it wrong less. I am a human being first, and a mother second, but the second feels like my most important job. Like most people I am a lot of other things as well – hooks and edges, bumps and curves, questions and answers, some broken parts – but both of those pieces, human and mother, drive me the most.  What I want for my family is nothing less than I would wish for yours, but NEVER at the EXPENSE of the LIVES of mine. 

Election Day Is Coming in Like a Freight Train on Fire with No Brakes

Tomorrow is a big day. I hope you voted or will be voting tomorrow.

I voted!

I hope you vote/d for a world that leaves no one out, a world that embraces everyone, a world that can evolve into a world that works for all, where every single person knows they belong. My understanding is that many of us voted OUT of fear instead of voting fear out. I’m talking about the propositions and measures in this instance. (I understand that many of us definitely voted out of fear for our presidential choice. But… if you know me, you know I will be talking about that one later, no matter who wins.)

There’s so much vitriol around elections, (and I’m guilty as well) and in my mind, this insane level of it began when Obama ran. It just seemed there was so much hate towards a Black man and his campaign. I’ve studied long enough to know that hate stems from fear, but my GOD…. I honestly wonder, when is it JUST hate, plain and simple? The hate, anger, and fear is so thick that we’re losing childhood friends, family members, and other friends from our circles — be it by our own choices or theirs.

2020 has been the perfect shit storm, hasn’t it?
Many of us talk like once the election is over, or once we hit the new year, that miraculously it’s all going to go back to some kind of unusual peaceful normal. What even IS that? To me that sounds similar to the coronavirus president’s motto, “Make America Great Again.” I mean, what IS “great,” anyway? Is it:

  • Citizens that cheer on a man who should be stately, but instead makes fun of others like a second grader who doesn’t know any better?
  • Police being allowed to mame and kill people without due process?
  • Healthcare costs only the wealthy can actually afford?
  • Separating children from their immigrant parents, never to be reunited again?
  • Defunding our schools?
  • A country full of people either too uneducated or too unwilling to see how our past affects its citizens to this day?
  • A mass of citizens who think a flag is something to be revered over human bodies, decency, and the actual country it represents?
  • Water, air, and land so polluted it’s uninhabitable, poisons our bodies, and has species of plant and animal disappearing forever?
  • An election and political system so fraught with bribery, lies, and deceit that we can barely figure out who to even vote for anymore?
  • Drilling into our Mother Earth to its own detriment and, ultimately, ours?
  • Lifetime politicians who end up being in it so long they think they actually are anointed for it?
  • A prison bail system that is created only for the wealthy or those willing to risk it all?
  • A death penalty system so flawed with a mindset to follow that is so flawed it believes it’s okay if we get it wrong sometimes?
  • Citizens who will believe a man with a 100-word vocabulary over scientists?
  • Same citizens who think that somehow COVID-19 is either a hoax, or isn’t that bad because either “people are only dying because they had preexisting conditions,” or “it’s not really that many people dying?”
  • Citizens so horribly callous that they justify in their minds the atrocities we create against other sentient beings?
  • People who would rather lie or believe lies than to just admit fault and move on in a better light?

I’m sorry. I just don’t see the “great.” Also, truthfully, I’m not really sorry. I’m a lot of things about it, but I’m not sorry that I don’t have the capacity to be unable to grasp how people ALLOW themselves to become this way.

When did even “just” ONE life become so meaningless — so worthless?
God, forgive us. We’ve become SO ugly.

I’ll be waiting to see if we can pull ourselves up and out of this abyss we’ve thrown ourselves into. I’ll be waiting to see if we FINALLY learn from this election to start paying attention to what’s going on under our noses. I’ll be waiting to see how many go back in the shadows until the next election when they think it’s time to come out and yell again. I’ll be waiting to see how many of us decide it’s time to do something about this F’ed up system the very day after the election. And I’ll be waiting for my comrades who’ve been with me and before me all along to pick up our mantles once again and hit the streets and the airwaves for a world that revolves in love. ‘Cause honey, this ain’t it.

It would be nice to see you there.

Think about it.

Blue Lives, Black Bodies, Omelas on Repeat

There is no such thing as a blue life.
There is a blue uniform and a system of blue, a blue code, a blue lifestyle, a thin blue line, a blue code, and a blue brotherhood.

Here is a perfect example.

Here is a Black man in the blue system… do you see how they treated their “brother” in blue? He can belong to the blue system; he is still Black. He can belong to WHATEVER he wants to belong to. He can take off the uniform or the badge, but he cannot get out of his skin. If you think this story is an isolated incident, I invite you to take off whatever it is impeding your eyesight and sensibility.

Stop being afraid to look. Stop being afraid to acknowledge. It takes looking squarely at it, getting past your hurt feelings, your fear, your denial, to change this. The SYSTEM is racist. Stop with “not all cops” and “Oh, it’s just that one bad cop….” It doesn’t matter that you know one good one or post a video of that kind one. The SYSTEM is racist. Law enforcement is just one thread in the web of a racist SYSTEM. That is why it is called “systemic racism.” Our country was literally built on this and for this. Yes… FOR this. THIS is our FOUNDATION. This is its intent. It is working just as it was designed. This is not an accident.

If you built your house’s foundation or business on a pile of shit (now I have your attention), how long do you think it would last? How long before it became so offensive you just couldn’t take the stench anymore? How long would it take to just break down and finally fall into its own waste compost?

What if it was built on the backs of Black bodies?
WELL, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE DONE.

We have ignored the stench for too long. It is breaking down and the bones are showing. A truly free and whole society cannot continue to be held up on a foundation of brittle bones, stench, fear, hate, and violence. It’s crumbling. While it Is flailing and falling, it is sucking more bodies down with it, including you and me — Mr. and Ms. WhiteBody. Those that stand by watching or pretending not to see are letting it happen. You think you are free from it; you are not. You may not look at it or talk about it, but that doesn’t mean it is not there. The cracks are in the foundation; the infection is present. You are also enslaved to a system that doesn’t give two f**cks about your well-being, but it has you thinking it does. Whatever we let happen to another sentient being, and certainly our most marginalized, permeates our souls. It strips the skin off of our humanity, leaving us bare and vulnerable, and at the point of breaking down. Some of us don’t even realize we are being digested down into the sink-hole of humanity because we are so used to living in the dark, or because we would rather live in the dark than to do the necessary work of setting ALL LIVES free from the rotting corpse of this country’s foundation. We would rather go down with it than to do the work and the recognition to save us ALL.

You can continue to spray the air freshener, paint over it, decorate it with flowers and ribbons, plug your nose, close your eyes, prop it up, or rename it… but it is falling. The signs are all around us. You might want to pay attention to the road you are on.

This is a whole package filled with all kinds of racism – some blatant and obvious, and also insidious, stealthy, and meticulously planned. It has to be unpacked.

I appreciate the work of W. Kamau Bell. Recently he was a guest on Conan, and he was asked about “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and #BlackLivesMatter. The entire interview is really good, but if you want to jump to specifically that part, it is at 11:30. With that said, I urge you to watch the whole thing, especially if you have been trying to figure out your White or non-Black place in this ongoing movement. If not now, when?

There is something ANY ONE of us can do.
Being silent ain’t it.
If ALL of us aren’t free, NONE of us are free.

One last thing: It is up to the benefactors of this system to fix it, dismantle it, change it, cure it. It is not up to, nor can it be done by those that are inflicted by it. For a great example of what inaction looks like and the harm it causes, read “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas.”

With true love and solidarity,
Deb

W. Kamau Bell On #BlackLivesMatter &
The Importance Of Showing Your Work
CONAN on TBS
https://youtu.be/73DBeuN0ek8
Instagram @amplifierart
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBYTBzRJhyw/

Missing Wheels, Broken Heels, and the Future

You can’t get to a better present or a new future without acknowledging the past, and you can’t apologize your way out of bad behavior without reform.

Acknowledge
Action
Commitment
Integrity

Relationships, reparations, business, neighbors… all of it is really about relationships, is it not?

Most of us say we want a better or brighter future, but fail to do anything different. We sit here and wait on someone else to change it so we can step into it and say, “Look at me in this new thing!” Then we pat ourselves on the back and wonder why we get stuck again.

We hurt each other, and sometimes we take a corrective course, but fail at acknowledging what happened. Can you imagine bringing your car home from the shop with only three wheels? The shop fixed everything else, but the front passenger tire was removed because it was flat. Well, you don’t have the flat tire anymore, right? Have you ever had your shoes polished? They look so great afterwards – all clean and shiny. But what if you got them back with a heel missing? Yes, it’s like that when you forget the acknowledgement. Your shoes look great, but the function is just off, and no one notices how shiny they are, just that your heel is missing and you’re walking weird. Then to add to the ridiculousness of it all, you’re trying your darnedest to ignore what’s wrong with the shoes and keep talking about how clean and shiny they are.

Relationships are like that. Corrective action doesn’t mean a whole lot without conversation about the problem and a meaningful apology, and especially if it has been an ongoing issue. The other person likely sees what you’ve corrected, but is now standing by for you to resume your previous behaviors. Why? Because there was no conversation or apology, and the recipient/s of your bad behavior are likely operating in protective mode. That is the foundation, the frame, that you created by skipping over key steps and actions. You’re just driving around with your person or people, bumping along without that tire and wondering why the ride is so rough. Your passenger/s know… but you’re still pretending you’re in a new vehicle.

Our country, our government, our systems have this same issue. We have whole systems put into place that were born out of racism, classism, sexism, etc. The sentiments of our time may not be the same as they were then (we say), but the systems are still in place bringing with them into our present and our future the spirit, the energy, and the isms that put them there in the first place. That’s us gimping along in our polished shoes with the heel missing. We keep saying we’re fixing things, making them better, but we’re failing to recognize or acknowledge what got us here in the first place. We can keep shining those shoes, but until we go back and look at what’s missing, acknowledge that it’s broken, we are not going to fix it. Fixing it doesn’t mean that everyone gets to have shoes with broken heels, or cars with only three tires so that no one notices what’s wrong.

I think this is why we don’t like to discuss reparations for Black folks. This means we have to take accountability for the brokenness that we caused. This means we have to acknowledge that everything isn’t fair and equal now just because we marched and made new laws. This would mean we would have to acknowledge that we have a whole group of people that are severely affected still because 1. the life we forced them into was an unspeakable horror to begin with; 2. we are pretending that we made it right with laws; 3. we refuse to look at the space we created and the foundation we keep polishing (original systems); 4. we think we apologized long ago; 5. we think they should be happy with shiny broken shoes.

You can always make a difference, but pretending and turning away will keep you stuck. If you’re stuck, you’re likely holding other people down with you or trying to keep them there with you. Don’t turn over a new leaf, plant a whole new garden.

  • Acknowledge what went wrong.
  • Take corrective action.
  • Make a commitment to do better or cease the hurtful behavior.
  • Stay in integrity; keep your word because you are a keeper of your word.

Political Hypoxia

“The trouble is, we think we have time.”

Jack Kornfield

Centrist ideals and actions, passivism, and just plain refusing to see (cognitive dissonance) are killing this planet. Essentially, it is killing us. You may have the urge to blame it on those that are obviously being destructive, or obviously protesting that climate change is even real. But every time you make up an excuse for our government officials and political groups ignoring the issue of climate change, you are aiding and abetting those that intentionally have ill will for this planet as evidenced by their desires for personal gain over a survivable planet. And when you think about it, you have personal gain issues, too. Yes. “We have more important issues at hand,” has been said to me. I wonder what that could be? I’ll tell you what it is, and it’s not what you think. It’s your fear – your irrational fear that Trump is the biggest thing we have to defeat – over anything and everything else. F.E.A.R. I don’t know about you, but most people don’t operate in their best thinking when they are coming from fear. We’re all afraid, but we shouldn’t let our fear have us operate from the inability to move out from in front of our noses, unable to see the bigger picture.

Right now the Amazon Rain Forest is burning at phenomenally faster rates than have EVER been known! Some of this is on purpose – for monetary gain. How disgusting! Climate change is killing it as well. We laugh, scoff and wag our fingers at climate change deniers… but how is waiting around for a better time to do something about it any better? In my opinion, that’s even WORSE, because we know better.

I am in an ongoing fight and struggle for equality for all persons on this planet, as many of you may be. If you know me, or have read many of the things I write, this is likely not news to you. Off the top of my head right now, I can’t think of anything more important to me than seeing a world that works for all. Full disclosure is, I selfishly do this because ultimately that’s the world I want for my grandchildren. I’m probably not going to see it. Maybe, but probably not. That’s OK. That’s the bigger picture. It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the louder, more current concerns or that I’m not afraid. But the bigger picture speaks louder to me than the current, temporary ones. Does that mean that I/we ignore the current madhouse? No, not at all. What it means is that we should not put all our eggs in the basket of fearing the current madhouse. There has to be a balance. But if we’re reacting now without any regard for later, that is a God-awful strategy for our future. If your child is crying because he has a wet and soiled diaper and he’s hungry, but you just realized you’re out of diapers and formula, are you going to run out and get diapers to avoid the current mess, but wait on the formula because it’s less pressing at this moment? Or do they both require your full attention?

This is where we are. Mother Earth is SCREAMING for help, but many of us can’t seem to focus our energy on anything other than the mess in front of us. It’s urgent, yes, but there’s something bigger and also urgent that is starving for our attention as well. And if we don’t take care of it, there won’t be one single reason for any of the rest of it. The thing about starvation is, once it’s noticeable, there’s very little time to correct it, if at all. And even once it’s corrected, there may be lasting, irreversible damage to the point that saving it is in reality only slowing down the inevitable.

This is not about how much or little you might be doing for a better world. This is not about making the important work any of us are doing now suddenly worthless. IT’S ALL IMPORTANT. IT’S ALL NEEDED, ALL NECESSARY. But operating out of fear to the degree that we let ourselves be led by the nose, to ignore the underhandedness of those that we allow to represent us is going to be our end. And we do this for the short-term goal out of fear. Fear has us blind. Fear has us deaf. Fear has us cutting ourselves short. It’s sad. It’s maddening watching some of those that I love, appreciate, and think so highly of, and know without a doubt to be otherwise intelligent folks give it all up for the moment.

If you think we have bigger fish to fry than climate change, or that it can wait until after the next election, you clearly need the oxygen that we are currently running out of. This is dire. If you actually think the DNC or GOP has your best interests at heart, you MUST be suffering from hypoxia and can’t think straight. Wake up… while you still can. How is it that you can look the other way while they make up their own rules and decisions, mostly ignoring what the voters want, bowing to them out of fear instead of standing up to them and being fearless. Last election, and it looks like the upcoming one as well, so many people wanted to blame people like me for a sub-par candidate losing the election. You should be blaming yourselves and the DNC who led you by the nose KNOWING BETTER. Many of us tried to tell you, and you ridiculed and laughed at us. We’re telling you again, and you’re still laughing.

I wish I could say that “I told you so” tasted sweet, but I have to wade in the bitter poison right along with you.

Your social justice and equality issues also do not take a bigger stage than climate change. Again, these issues are not less important, but to be perfectly clear, they won’t be an issue at all if we keep ignoring climate change or putting it off until ____________. If you care so much about social dynamics and the struggles that are going on right now in our communities of color and our underserved communities, then you absolutely SHOULD be thinking about climate change. Why? If you have your community activism hat already in any arena involving those communities, then I already know you are aware of how they get hit the hardest, the fastest, and the longest when anything bad comes down the pipeline. They also take the longest to recover – if ever. Sometimes it’s actually by design, sadly, and sometimes it’s because of positioning. Here are just a few examples: housing crisis, redlining, gerrymandering, poverty, bank bailouts, war on drugs, high cost of pharmaceuticals, disparities in healthcare, inflation, etc. DO YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT AS OUR CLIMATE AND EARTH DETERIORATE THAT THESE COMMUNITIES WON’T SUFFER HARDER, FASTER, AND LONGER THAN OTHERS – THAT SOMEHOW THEY’LL ESCAPE THE USUAL ROLL CALL FOR THIS? Like I said, if you already have your community activism hat on, it shouldn’t be hard for you to see how this will go. All our work will be for not if we refuse to address our climate issues NOW – not after the election; not after… anything else. NOW.

Look, I am also guilty of waiting to fully address climate change, and not being willing to realize that if our world deteriorates, there is no point at all to anything else that I work for, strive for, pour my heart and soul out into. My selfish reasons for the other activism work that I do has to be, and is, the same for climate change. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world that their Gram helped make better and survives for them. I don’t want them to suffer from the effects of racism, classism, bigotry, hunger, violence, xenophobia… and I most certainly don’t want them to suffer because they can’t breathe or the little food that’s left or the water is poisoning them. As a bonus, I would also like to live out the rest of my life on a planet that is being loved and nurtured, knowing it’s going to be a safe place for my Milani Jhené and Joshua Rey, and whichever beautiful grandbabies that might come next.

We need to stop wishing for a better tomorrow before all we can wish for is any tomorrow.


Misunderstanding White Privilege and Other Nonsense

I spent too much time on some nonsense today. I’m aware that some of my posts rub some of you wrong. This is not an apology, just an acknowledgment, and I’m okay with that. I’m here for you ALL DAY if you want to learn something from me, or if you have something to teach me that is of value and makes this world a better place for EVERYONE. What I am NOT here for is your willful ignorance, and that goes double for when you are being obtuse in the face of an opportunity for you to hear something that you have the chance to learn. I am NOT here for you if you learn, know, find out better, but refuse to do better.
I know I’m idealistic, and I’m okay with that, too. I have ALWAYS been this way, ALWAYS. Although, admittedly, it is the catalyst for a lot of my frustration with stupid shit that people do and say. Sometimes I really do not get what some of you do not get. Some of you, I chalk it up to lack of exposure and refusal to learn. I say “refusal” because really there are NO reasons why anyone should pass up an opportunity to learn something new, and there is NO shortage of ways to learn about people that you may not have a good understanding of. Personally, before I condemn someone for the way they act, I check in with myself to see if I FIRST understand why someone does what they do. That doesn’t mean that I am going to condone their actions (or I might), it just means that I seek to understand first.
I don’t know it all. I don’t have all the answers. Neither do any of you. And sometimes even when I think I understand, I get set straight one way or another. But here’s the catch: I’m also okay with that! To me, it’s a RELIEF. Now, don’t confuse that with it feeling good. It rarely does, but it IS a relief. Knowledge is power and freedom. There are things I know. There are things I know that I don’t know or understand. And there are things, I’m sure, that I don’t even know that I don’t know yet. Those will come, and I’m always working on the things that I know I need to understand better. I am comfortable with finding those things out. I get along best with people that get this.
If you come on my page and respond to a post that you don’t agree with, be prepared to be set straight. I’m willing to listen to a point to see if there is something new for me, something I didn’t know, etc. The end of that point, however, is when I am aware that you aren’t here to listen or learn anything new.
Further, learn what white privilege is. It has nothing to do with your economic status. Really, I think we should ALL know this by now, but some of you are not paying ANY attention or trying AT ALL to learn what it means. Same with Black Lives Matter. Learn what it means and stop that stupidity about Blue Lives and All Lives, etc. Just STOP. It’s not like the REAL information and answers aren’t abundantly out there to find. But at this point, if you’re still confused, I already know you’re just too afraid to find out. That helps NO ONE, not even you.
Finally, black people or any person of color, for that matter, aren’t here to teach you about the real history of the U.S. (not the watered-down version of stuff our history books in school wanted us to know that made us feel good about ourselves) or the foundation of policing. Besides, when they do try to tell you, many of you won’t listen anyway. Stop telling people of color how they should act according to how it is standing in YOUR shoes until (which will be never) you stand in theirs and gain an understanding of what life has HISTORICALLY been like for them in this country. Stop quoting that one black person in a 6,000 square mile radius who almost agrees with you or agrees with you on one line-item as evidence that you are right about your racist views or ignorance.
If you just rolled your eyes during any of that (if you made it this far), please feel free to remove me from your friend list or whatever else makes you feel better. I’m okay with that, too. And don’t send me your private messages of hate like I get EVERY time I get on my soapbox. Some of you all go through an awful lot of trouble to just show me in the end that I got under YOUR skin. My favorites are when I get called an ethnic slur that is relative to my last name. I publish those for everyone to see, just so you know.
Lastly, I AM here for you if you would like to live in a world that works for EVERYONE with NO ONE left out, and you’re willing to take a look at yourself like I do myself ALL the time. Someone told me once that I hate white people and therefore hate myself. Not true. I love ALL people. (And don’t think that I’m not aware that that is just some second class manipulation to make me feel bad and try to put me down.) I may not like you personally, but I love ALL people. I’ve always felt that way. I just simply have no tolerance for intolerance. I don’t have room for it, and I won’t even make room for it in my life, and I will never apologize for that. If you’re racist, we got a problem. If you’re homophobic, we got a problem. If you want to demonize someone for their religion that you don’t understand, we got a problem. If you think you’re going to talk down to me because I have a vagina and you have a penis, we got a problem. If you have any kind of “ism” or phobia about someone who is different than you, we are probably going to lock horns at some point and have a problem.
If you just so happen to want to open yourself up to some knowledge and you are white like me, here are a few links below. Well, anyone can read them, but they’re about white privilege. Or you can simply look this stuff up on your own. It’s our job to teach each other and ourselves to do better. Stop waiting on people of color to give you the answers that you ultimately don’t listen to anyway.
There’s so much more I can say, but I know I’ve probably worn out my welcome at this point. If you made it this far, thank you. Your time is appreciated. If you’d like to discuss any of this in a respectful, willing-to-learn manner, feel free to comment below.
Peace.

https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

Five Seconds to Grief

Grief is a fickle monster.
I am really embarrassed about some of the terrible comments I’ve read about this young man, Stevante Clark, who is wrapped and wound in his grief. To be clear, I’m not embarrassed BY them, I’m embarrassed FOR them – the cold-hearted hypocrites who made/are making them.  I am embarrassed FOR the ignorant, unenlightened, satan-hearted comments about his brother’s death.  #StephonClark  I am embarrassed much in the same way as if you’d walked outside with your bare butt hanging out of your skirt because you accidentally tucked it in your panties on the way out of the restroom, unaware. People are trying to tell you that your butt is hanging out, but you don’t want to listen to anyone trying to save you from yourself. I see you showing your butt, and I’m trying to tell you about it, but you’re just going to keep talking and walking around showing your butt. The HUGE difference here, however, is that your callousness, your ill-informed remarks, your purposeful disregard, your hate, and your complete unwillingness to even consider that someone’s experience of life may be completely different in every way than yours, contributes to this very broken system that causes senseless deaths. 
Yes, grief is fickle, underestimated, and delivers surprises for you when you least expect it. It manifests differently for everyone (EVERYONE) and is completely unpredictable.  Watching this young man, all I keep thinking about is how he doesn’t even get to grieve in his own space like most of us do; how he doesn’t get to keep his grief to himself or share it at times of his choosing, on his terms. You see, people are depending on his grief. Yes, DEPENDING. He and his family are all on display right now, and mainly because (when you get down to brass tacks) our society just can’t stop showing its collective butt. We can’t get it together enough to realize we are ONE, whether we like it or not. We have a planet to share, cities and neighborhoods. We forgot long ago that what hurts one of us hurts us ALL. We forgot that someone made up a terrible game long ago that said we are different, and then made some of us far less valuable than others. We FORGOT for so long that we started to believe in the power of power, and power of the game, instead of the power of community and truth. And then sadly, we made it a game that no one can win.  This young man, Stevante Clark, is grieving; and his grief is no less important or greater than another person’s.  The difference is that his is all out front for the whole world to witness and, unfortunately, JUDGE. So much talk is about how he should be, what he should do, what he shouldn’t say, etc.… AS IF ANY OF US HAVE A SINGLE TINY CRUMB OF A CLUE! Well, the clear majority of us do not.  He and his family are unfortunately in a very elite club, and those other members are really the only ones that have an idea at all. Even still, his grief, anyone’s grief, is wholly personal.
The comments I have been reading are plain disgusting. They are purposely mean, with full intent to cause MORE harm. Yet, those of you making them seem to think you have a right and that you are a step or more above Stephon Clark and his family.  Your ugly words prove otherwise.
I’m going to keep saying these things:  Just because someone’s experience of life isn’t the same as your experience, doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.  We should work harder to understand that.  Your experience of life IS NOT THEE experience of life! Because you can’t understand or even imagine someone else’s experience does not make yours the “right” one, or the only one that’s real or correct.  If you want to expand your mind, take a trip outside of your own shoes once in a while. Also this:  When I uplift even one to equal standing, I lose nothing and gain it all — not only for myself but for all of us. Likewise, the converse is true. Remember that one can and will cause a collective. It is impossible to give more than I have, and completely possible to gain more than I dreamed when I pursue love-multiplied as my only agenda.
I remain completely baffled by those that are completely resistant to change in our policing. I am unable to discern if those of you are resistant because you can’t understand or haven’t stopped to realize that improved policing is improved for us ALL, or if it is just that you are so calloused and simply couldn’t care less if our system affects our black and other marginalized communities quite differently. I am in amazement at the lengths to which people will go to hoist themselves up at the expense of another.
I have been “unfriended” on a few social networking sites in the past few days. I am sure that some of my comments have felt inflammatory, and honestly, on occasion, some of them were meant to be. I am hurting for MY community, which includes everyone.  I am hurting for our injured communities.  I am hurting for my kids and my grandchildren who are living in a world that says and shows that their lives are less valuable than even my own.  HOW CAN THAT BE? I am no different than ANY mother, and that which hurts my children is no friend of mine.  I am happy that some folks go away and out of my life, be it on social media, or any other venue, if they cannot take the idea that the world my loves live in should be as important, as safe, and be filled equally with the same advantages as theirs. I won’t be in the company of or surrounded by those who would make comments about one of my children like the ones that I have been reading about Stephon and Stevante.  And I know they would.  I am content with “losing” so-called friends who would have horrible things to say about me as a parent and about my personhood should a terrible thing happen to one of my kids.  Those “friends” do not leave a hole in my heart; they unplugged an infection and left a space for something better, and room for healing.
I have had anonymous messages sent, one of which is a recording.  My mind is blown at the lengths to which people will go to cowardly let me know how they feel, rather than engaging in a conversation. They are so afraid of me, I think, because they believe I pose a threat to their entitled way of life.  If they could only think past their noses, they would realize that I don’t.  I’m actually proposing a world we can all live in equally, and that would raise them up also – not lose something.
Stevante’s grief is palpable.  His community’s grief is palpable, and thick with hundreds of years of history of grief, brought about in many ways, that some of you won’t even bother to acknowledge. And yet, you believe that somehow you have the right to tell them how they should wear their grief.  You haven’t that right.  You certainly haven’t earned it.
Twenty shots fired in five seconds. Dead.

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Say his name:  STEPHON CLARK!
#SayHisName #StephonClark #NotOneMoreTime #EndPoliceBrutality #TonePolicing #JusticeForZoe #BlackLivesMatter #EndStateSanctionedMurder

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