Posted in C-Haze, Race, Racism, Terror, Terrorism, War on Terror

Fear & Bigotry has become Our Culture

I’m heartbroken by recent events. The terror attacks in Beirut, Paris, Mali… the state of affairs in the Middle East… our own country’s failed policies where “fighting terror” is concerned… the racial strife I see everyday here in the US… the fear mongering and outright bigotry I see from many of our own elected “Christian” officials.

My views aren’t popular, and as soon as I speak them, people tend to tune me out. That’s ok, though. It won’t shut me up. Small as it may be, this is my forum. My place to say what’s on my mind.

Our hands – the hands of the United States – are not clean where any of these tragedies are concerned. We cultivated wars in the Middle East, we worked with others to kill millions in that region, and we now have the audacity to act confused, scratching our heads, wondering, “What caused so many people to hate us? Why are so many in the Middle East so radical these days?”

Those are stupid questions. The US didn’t consciously create ISIS and its sympathizers, but to pretend our foreign policy of the last 20 years had nothing to do with it is dumb.

Yes, dumb.

We made orphans of a lot of kids in the Middle East over the years. Those babies aren’t babies any more, and now that they’re grown, they have an axe to grind.

I don’t defend ISIS, I don’t defend evil, and I for damn sure don’t defend the death and destruction of innocent people. The thing is, I don’t defend those things in any circumstance. I don’t defend it when it’s ISIS chopping off heads, or deploying suicide bombers in crowded arenas, and I don’t defend it when it’s government-sanctioned drone attacks or boots-on-the-ground action in the Middle East either.

As a nation, we’ve messed up. That’s not an anti-American sentiment. It’s an honest opinion. I love my country. I love being an American, and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere but here. That doesn’t mean I can’t speak out when I believe our government has acted foolishly, and it doesn’t mean I have to agree with or support the current climate among my fellow Americans.

What’s happening overseas is depressing enough, but that’s not the full story, either. Our own nation is turning against each other. Turning against fellow citizens of the United States of America. Racial turmoil is the highest I’ve seen in my 37 years of life. In some places, such as where I live, we seem poised for all-out war. A civil war, with sides chosen based on the color of one’s skin.

The hypocrisy of it all is astounding. Just. Astounding.

In one breath, I hear people taking rioters to task after the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and others. Screaming about how vile, vicious and violent the black community is. In the next breath, these same people are cheering Donald Trump’s stump speeches, while he deliriously yells that we should “bomb the shit out of Syria!”

We have people doing their best to refuse Syrian Refugees in their states, but those same people support the NRA. This wouldn’t be surprising, except that the NRA wants us to continue allowing people whose names are on the No Fly List to legally purchase assault rifles in this country.

Let me get this straight: You don’t want the refugees in this country because they might be terrorists… but if they happen to make it here, you want them to have the ability to purchase weapons?

What kind of sense does that make?

The answer is that it makes the same kind of sense that allowing people deemed too dangerous to board a passenger jet to purchase assault weapons makes.

As in, none whatsoever.

The common thread in all of it – whether ISIS and refugees from the Middle East, or people of color in our own neighborhoods – is fear. We justify our hateful, bigoted policies – domestic and abroad – by pointing to our fears. Fear of a religion we don’t understand, fear of people we don’t respect because their skin color is the wrong hue.

My heart is heavy.

 

Posted in Arson, Current Events, News, Race, Racism, St. Louis

St. Louis, Arsons and Churches

A suspect has been arrested in the St. Louis church fires.

These fires were long seen as a sign of the racial turmoil in the St. Louis area, as the churches were burned in predominantly black neighborhoods.

With that in mind, I wonder how many are surprised to learn the suspect is a black male.

I have long worried that people against peace in our city will stoop to such lows as to manufacture racial disparity in an effort to spearhead some sort of revolution. Not just black people, either.

The facts are still a long way from being sorted out. Maybe this guy did it, maybe he didn’t. We don’t know much yet, other than he’s been arrested.

Our city needs peace.

Posted in #BlackLivesMatter, Crime, Current Events, Police Brutality, Race, Racism

Thoughts on Ramos Funeral Protest of de Blasio

I’m the first to say the officers at Ralph Ramos’ funeral had every right to turn their backs on de Blasio while he spoke at the service. They have the right to protest just as the rest of us do. That said, however, I hope anyone who supports the rights of those officers (who were in uniform) also supports the rights of NFL players (who were also in uniform) to show solidarity with the “Hands up don’t shoot” movement, or the rights of other protestors at other venues. These officers chose the funeral of one of their fallen comrades to make a statement- I don’t disagree with the method, as it was powerful. We didn’t call for disciplinary action against those officers, nor did we ask for an apology (nor should we!). Yet, the police union did both of those things when 5 Rams players took the field with their hands up. In the end, it’s all the same, and we’re all expressing our rights. We may not be able to agree on the issues at hand, but let’s all acknowledge that we’re all expressing our patriotism by exercising rights granted to us in the Constitution. In the end, we do it for the same reason: because All Lives Matter.

Posted in C-Haze, Race, Racism, Social Media

Facebook, Racism and the Proof

So, this happened. Recently. As in, five minutes ago, on Facebook.

culture

What’s it going to take for people to realize that racism is alive and well in this country? This is but one screenshot, but it is nothing close to an anomoly. If people spent half the energy on defeating racism as they spend denying its existence, we’d be in a much better place.

 

Posted in Race, Racism, St. Louis, Uncategorized

Al Sharpton, and the Uncomfortable Race Baiter

In the wake of the tragic death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, a lot of things have been happening. Lots of celebrities and activists have descended upon our fair city, with few as controversial as the Rev. Al Sharpton.

First, let me say that I am not on the Al Sharpton bandwagon. I don’t dislike him, but I don’t love him either.

He annoyed the hell out of me when he came to St. Louis to speak to the media on behalf of the Brown family, but didn’t bother actually going to Ferguson. I was not happy, watching him on the courthouse steps in the city of St. Louis (which is decidedly not Ferguson, nor is it even in the same county), flanked by St. Louis city officials, without a single Ferguson official in sight.

I mean, could he not have done just a little research on the area before gracing us with his presence?

I get it, he’s busy.

However, hearing him speak at Brown’s funeral two weeks later made me forget that little geography snafu with a quickness. I mean, wow. What powerful, moving words. He nailed it, and just when I thought he couldn’t possibly say anything better than what he’d already said, he nailed it again…

… And again.

I loved every second of it.

What I do not love, is some of the backlash I’ve heard about him since then. Most of it on social media, people are especially fond of dismissing The Rev as a “race baiter”. What never- and I mean, never– follows that accusation is anything specific, like why these folks believe him to be said “race baiter”.

Hold on- I take that back. One lady did give a specific example as to why she felt that way. She said that while speaking at Mike Brown’s funeral, he accused white people of murdering the young man, and then called the Black Panthers to action.

Do I need to actually tell you how patently, completely false that is? I mean, 100% pile of straight-up horse shit. I have no idea what that lady was watching, but it was not Al Sharpton giving the eulogy at Mike Brown’s funeral service.

Regardless, what I’ve come to believe is that the term “race baiter”, spit out in accusatory tones, really just means  “makes me feel uncomfortable”. Try it, like this:

Al Sharpton is a race baiter makes me feel uncomfortable.

See? It works!

Al Sharpton is like a recovering alcoholic, and the people that think he’s a race baiter are full-fledged, off-the-wagon drunks. No drunk wants to go out to the bar with a recovering alcoholic, because that recovered addict makes the drunk uncomfortable. Why? Because the drunk is forced to look inside, and look at his/her own drinking habits. That’s no fun, which is why drunks don’t like to do it.

Al Sharpton makes people who have race issues uncomfortable, because he forces them to look at their own issues. He shines a spotlight on racial disparity, and then dares people to make a change, prove him wrong, make a difference. Lots of people just aren’t ready to do that yet, which is fine- it just isn’t Al’s fault.

My plea: stop with the Shapton-bashing, and let’s all work towards a better world; a bigger, brighter future for our babies.

Posted in Race, Racism, St. Louis

Mike Brown, Cops, and a View on Society

I used to tell my husband that while some white people may be prejudiced against black people, most do not realize their prejudices. It’s just ingrained in them somehow… they’re victims of a system that was built to slyly discount us.

I never believed it was this conscious, purposeful thing, until now.

Mke Brown was an 18 year old, scheduled to start college two days after he was killed by an officer in Ferguson, MO. He was unarmed, and he was shot 6 times. The case has caused an uproar, particularly in my hometown of St. Louis, a city in which Ferguson is a suburb of.

Many of my “friends” on social media are white people. I associate with all kinds of people, and the diversity, for the most part, is wonderful. Most of my friends, regardless of race, are amazing people.

In the wake of the emotionally charged aftermath of Mike Brown’s killing, I noticed something strange…

… and heartbreaking.

While not the majority, a quite substantial number of white “friends” had horrible, insensitive, flat-out racist things to say about Mike Brown, about Ferguson, about black people in general. As a whole, we were called animals, criminals and thugs. We were referred to as gangsters, and some of my “friends”- people who know me, and know my black husband, our two black daughters- called black people the most vile and hateful of things.

These vicious attacks against people of color came after reports of a small crowd of looters and rioters posing as protesters in Ferguson late at night. I won’t sugar coat the damage they did. It was substantial, but these were not Ferguson residents, and the number of people looting compared to the thousands of people protesting was negligible.

Even though the majority of the protests were peaceful, these “friends” of mine didn’t focus on any of that. They didn’t care that the United Way was doing drop-ins to provide food and water to the protesters. They didn’t care that residents of the town came out at sunrise to clean up their streets from the activity of the night before, or that booths had been set up to register people to vote.

Rather than pay attention to the reality of what was unfolding in front of our very eyes- we were witnessing the historic moment in which a generation of black boys became activists- they chose instead to focus solely on the violence perpetuated by a criminal few.

These same people chose to completely ignore the shocking and heartbreaking terror being committed against peaceful people by our own law enforcements officers. They cheered when police officers began pointing military weapons at unarmed 90-year old women, they watched with excitement as these officers began kicking the media out of Ferguson, arresting reporters at McDonalds, bringing in tanks and tear gas.

They wildly cheered when police began firing rubber bullets on unarmed citizens, who did nothing more than exercise their constitutional rights to stand in their community and protest the death of yet another unarmed black boy.

So you see, it isn’t violence they hate.

It’s us. It’s me. My daughters, my husband.

They ignored the violence that killed Mike Brown, choosing instead to criminalize him. They circulated a (fake) picture of Brown, showing him drinking alcohol, smoking weed and holding a gun. Even when they learned the picture depicted someone else, someone wholly unrelated to Mike Brown, they continued.

These “friends” knowingly perpetuated a lie against a dead black boy.

They circulated a picture of State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, a Kappa from college, posing with a fellow Kappa, a frat brother, claiming the Captain (a black man) was “throwing up gang signs” in the streets he was charged with protecting.

As support for the police officer that killed Mike Brown began to grow, these “friends” began to label those protesting on the officer’s behalf as “supporters”. Those who rallied in support of Mike Brown’s family, in contrast, with their black skin, were labeled an “angry mob”. This, in spite of the fact that Mike Brown supporters chanted, “Hands up, Don’t shoot!”, while Wilson’s supporters chanted, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!”

I realized, as I watched all of this unfold, that the hatefulness, the ugliness of my “friends”- yes, the racism- they showed, couldn’t possibly be an accident. It was purposeful, and they are not the unsuspecting victims of some backwards societal norm that slights black people.

They want it this way. They want to hate my family and me.

The people I’m referring to don’t actually know any “thugs” firsthand. They hide behind their computer screens and act tough, but would honestly rather die than spend five seconds in the ‘hood, with or without thugs present.

No, the black people they know are gainfully employed, educated and family oriented. The black people they know do not fit the stereotypes these so-called “friends” of mine are so intent on perpetuating. The black people they know look just like my husband and I do, like our beautiful children. Our children who get straight As in school, who play the piano, like to swim, and volunteer for charity. The black people they know look like my husband, the college educated sports official who mentors kids of all ages for a living. They look like me- a woman who was educated at a private university, has a degree, and is successful in her field. A family that loves each other, demands excellence from each other, and loves the world around us.

That’s how I know this prejudice, this racism, is purposeful.

Even when their own experiences with black people are the complete opposite of what the stereotypes portray us as, they still choose- yes, actively choose– to market negative, false stereotypes about us, putting ugly, hurtful and downright horrific labels on our shoulders.

They know we are not what they say we are, and yet, they persist.

I finally understood that these people are not victims of a racist society.These people are what makes our society racist. 

Posted in Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, God, Hate, KKK, Politics, Racism, Religion

Gay Rights, Equality and Black People

Obama supports gay rights- specifically gay marriage- and lots of African Americans are not happy about it.

When people imagine those most staunchly against gay rights, they tend to think first of Catholics and Evangelical Christians; white people on the far right. Yet for years, black people have played a huge role in the suppression of gay rights, defending the belief that gay people do not deserve the same rights that blacks have fought to enjoy.

The justification used to support these views is the same as that used by the KKK and other racists throughout the history of this nation, and lies squarely in scripture. When it comes to hatred and the denial of rights, the Old Testament has always provided direction, in the name of the Almighty God, to go forth and hate, murder, torture and enslave. In any other conversation about Christianity, we will point to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ as our leader, we will claim to love all people, and we will state unequivocally that we don’t judge others, lest we be judged.

Oh, but when it comes to gay people, the gloves come off. We look to the same book that also encourages us to sell our daughters into slavery, that says the consumption of shell fish is an abomination, and tells us not to approach the alter of the Lord if our eyesight is not perfect- and we use that book of Leviticus as justification to advocate the denial of equal rights for others.

When radical Muslims bastardize the Koran, twisting its words into a commandment to conduct honor killings and suicide bombings, we call them extremists. When Hitler quoted the Bible in his effort to exterminate the jews, we said he was nuts. When the KKK twisted the same book to hang black people from trees and drag them behind trucks, we were sick with fear.

Those passages were used to justify our ancestors’ mass enslavement, rape, torture and murder. Yet just a few short generations later, we- the direct descendants of slaves- use the same words from the same book to deny rights to others- rights that were fought and died for on our behalf.

Just who do we think we are?

Do we monopolize and define struggle and strife in America?

Who decided that black people get to determine who does and does not qualify to live under the umbrella of equality? Certainly not those who came before us.

Some people point to that which our ancestors went through, believing that because homosexuals have not been murdered by the millions as we once were, they do not have the right to draw comparisons between our struggle and theirs.

There is no similarity.

Right?

Wrong.

The similarity lies in the motivations behind those that actively support the discrimination of others. The similarity has a name, and it is Bigotry.

Bigotry motivated the KKK.

Bigotry motivated Hitler.

Bigotry motivates the anti-gay movement.

As a supporter of gay marriage, I fully expect that those who disagree will continue to disagree; however, one’s personal opinion of another should not have the power to eliminate the rights of an entire group of people. As black Americans, we have the responsibility- put on us by the blood of our ancestors, given so that we may have a brighter future- to fight to ensure all citizens of this country enjoy equality.

The Constitution makes no distinction, it does not grant rights to those we agree with, and deny rights to those we don’t. As black people and as Americans, we have the responsibility to fight to ensure that no one else is ever again discriminated against, as we have been.

My views are not popular, but I know this:

I refuse to applaud one group’s struggles at the expense of another’s.

If there is a God who resembles the entity described by traditional Christianity, I will stand tall when the time comes for us to meet, knowing I loved all people equally.

Posted in C-Haze, Herman Cain, News, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Race, Racial Profiling, Racism, Republicans

Cain denies proposing racial profiling

Cain is in hot water… again.

He wants voters to believe his “targeted identification” policy proposal is not the same thing as racial profiling.

Here, in his own words, Cain tells us what the term really means, as it relates to the TSA using this approach in airports:

Targeted identification is a deliberate approach to figure out patterns associated with people who have tried to kill us…I’m simply saying we should not be afraid to identify those characteristics that have basically been consistent in people who have tried to hurt this country.

In contrast, here’s the definition of Racial Profiling:

Racial profiling is a form of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that the individual has broken the law.

See? Totally different!

Or not.

Go ahead and pull those Muslims aside, get to the business of robbing them of their civil and Constitutional rights, all in the name of “targeted identification”.

In the spirit of Herman Cain and his supporters, I have been motivated to propose my own “targeted identification” plan. Moving forward, black people should be allowed to violate the rights of white conservatives. This is appropriate because people who look exactly like they do have been actively harming minority Americans for generations.

Carry on!