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?

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,

W. Kamau Bell On #BlackLivesMatter &
The Importance Of Showing Your Work
Instagram @amplifierart

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.