Not-So-Suddenly Seymour

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So there’s a guy. He’s a normal guy working at a plant shop in a somewhat run-down part of town in a plant shop. He’s been there a long time, working for a boss he somewhat likes and mostly loathes.

It is this character, Seymour, that we learn to identify with in this movie. We want something better for him. We want him to get the girl he likes, the nice house in a good neighborhood, and all the other things we want for ourselves.

So it comes to pass that this plant somehow magically appears from outer space as far as we know. Seymour is growing the plant and nurturing it, but it won’t grow. After a while, he figures out that he has to feed the plant blood to  nourish it.

This should have been a clear sign that things should stop, but he was finally getting a bit more success and attention, so the plant had to be fed.

Eventually, the plant needed more than his blood, but he has a conscious. A soul. He can’t do it… until he finds someone so repulsive that he can bear to kill them and feed them to the plant. The guy is abusive to his love interest. Surely, this makes sense and it is justified. We feel you, Seymour.

However, the one body isn’t enough. The plant must feed and Seymour must help. It grows and starts to encourage Seymour’s desires to be powerful and have good things. Seymour then feeds it his boss. Not directly, of course. He lures him in, gets him into a certain position, then watches as the plant eats his boss alive.

However, this new body is also not enough. Finally, the plant, having gained the power it needs, tricks the love interest into coming to the shop, because here’s the thing: it’s been helping Seymour, but only as a means to serve itself.

Seymour, who fed this plant body after body, draws the line at his love interest. You can’t do this to Audrey; she’s mine. So he tries to fight the plant and that’s when the plant reveals, in song, it’s ultimate plan and true nature.

This is where things get tricky. We like happy endings, so the movie gives us one. This plant , powerful beyond comprehension, is defeated by this one man and he and his love interest live happily ever after…

…except that’s not what actually happens. Here’s what actually happens. Watch it.

This isn’t a story with a happy ending. This is a story about a man who wanted power so badly that he was talked into sacrificing others.

This is a story about the very thing he fed – which was not looking out for anything but itself – grew large enough to consume him, multiply, infect the minds of others and encourage them down the same path.

This is a story of feeding something you don’t understand and believing that, because it benefits you, it is benevolent.

This is the America that voted Trump into presidency.

What will you do now, Seymour?

This Election In Free Verse

read for yourself. ignorance is bad.

Read.

The grief hit me on the way home on election day and I couldn’t help thinking about how, no matter how things went, everyone was going to hurt.

Everyone.

I started to pray and the more I did, the more I felt like crying. It felt like something long coming. The stock market started crashing around the 60th electoral vote for Trump. I kept the page on, refreshing, not to see what the result would be, but to see how deep it ran.

That’s what happens when you’ve been paying attention. I woke up the next day to messages, mostly of surprise and shock, from every quandrant I live on (excepting Facebook). I felt conflicted because I felt nothing.

No shock, no surprise. Just… nothing.

I felt conflicted because I felt nothing.

I remembered the news for the last few years and the sentiments I’ve seen crossing social media about so many different social issues and they could be summed up as:

  • People being angry for being called privileged.
  • People being angry at being oppressed.
  • People being fed up with abuses of power at the civic levels.
  • People being angry at mainstream media for the way reporting has been handled.
  • People being terribly misinformed about social issues and what the implications of ignoring them are.
  • People being inflexible of mind and heart and unwilling to listen to… well… anyone.

None of this is recent. This is 2014. This is 2001. This is where the bodies and the blood and the anger led.

I wonder about the 6.6M or so people that voted for no one at all. Not even a 3rd party. They went to the polls and voted, but not for a presidential option. I wonder about the people that normally don’t vote that showed up to this one. I hear they were normal people who were tired of being made to feel bad about being white, straight, and male.

I try to imagine what it is like to be terrified for your life for any number of reasons and then watch as someone votes to bring that terror to power because they don’t like being called a name. I try to imagine being able to say things like this:

I think about the last time I felt either of those things and remember that, when I did, someone died. I then try to see things from his point of view and have to wonder as well: what would have happen if we had chosen a means of starting the necessary conversations that was less angry, more considerate, less militant. What then? Would that have helped?

Based on that, there’s a lot to be said about what we voted for, but I only want to mention the largest one which is this: we are in this together now.

I wonder if that would have been heard. So far, it hasn’t. o far, soft gets dismissed as drama and being too harsh gets people to lie in wait for voting day and make themselves known then.

I’m not a political science major, so for Clinton and for Trump alike, I only have what they said in this election season to gauge them on. Based on that, there’s a lot to be said about what we voted for, but I only want to mention the largest one which is this: we are in this together now.

I wonder if you can hear a chant of “my body, my voice” through blood. Through a body. Across an ocean. Through a wall of paper.

Whether we wanted it or not, whether we regret it or not, for better or worse and until the next four years are gone, we are in it now and we have to work through it even if we have to work through it with people that get make my mom text me at 9:30AM to ask if I’m OK. Even if we have to work through it surrounded by people that make my mom ask me to call her the moment I land somewhere just to let her know I’m alive.

I want to ask the people that voted for Trump because he wasn’t Hillary or because they felt disenfranchised how they feel. I hear that many of them don’t like or espouse what Trump stands for, but they saw no other alternative to make their voices heard.

I wonder if you can hear a chant of “my body, my voice” through blood. Through a body. Across an ocean. Through a wall of paper.

And then I return to my convictions and my basis of faith and I have to ask: how am I going to keep loving them, too. I don’t get exempted from that responsibility during wars or elections in spite of what people might tell you or behave like.

I’m a kaleidoscope:

  • I want everyone to listen and respond instead of reacting.
  • I want people to recognize issues and deal with them.
  • I want people not to fear for their lives.
  • I want to be angry, but I’m not even surprised, so I don’t know.
  • I want a world safe enough for my mom not to be concerned about me. I’m 34 right now.
  • I want my friends to not be terrified of existing.
  • I want to not have potential nazis in office.

Am I not as normal as these disenfranchised people? Don’t I have that right to peace? How do I even process this?

When do I get to stop asking?

I don’t know y’all. I don’t know.

Let’s Be Honest: Part I

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Another week where my pen refuses to move so we’re here again. However, this is a special note related to social media because mental and emotional health are important as is the much-avoided subject of honesty.

So let’s be honest about things.

I’ve seen so many postings about protesters burning things and destroying their communities (football fans are immune from this criticism, of course), about being more like MLK, about how the Irish were also enslaved…

I would prefer that you just tell me that you hate me and be done with it.

That’s all, really. Just that honesty would be appreciated.

Let me give you this to chew on: it’s been about sixty years. Literally a portion of my mother’s lifetime since MLK marched for civil rights and here we are with people being murdered and paving the way to civil rights 2.0. This is where peaceful protest brought us. Which is to say, nowhere in particular.

Somehow the ability to be downtrodden but polite, quiet, and respectful as we are continuously dehumanized is the path to being respected enough by the masters of an unjust system to just be heard for a moment until the football commercial ends.

So yeah, just let me know you hate me. That you don’t see me. Tell me again how I couldn’t be associated with these riffraff on the news chanting something about systemic racism because I’m smarter than that and the media is trying to divide us.

Let’s get this over with.

A Treatise On Boredom: Part II

overit

My pen won’t move.

I wanted to write about things I’m learning at work, things I’m seeing at home, the recently renewed desire I have to further my skills in UI design, literally anything else.

But my pen would.

Not.

Move.

Whenever I sweep my hand to draw the first letter, I bump into a dead body. You’d be surprised how hard it is to sleep when you’re tired of things like this.

I didn’t even need to read the stories before I saw how they would be distorted or shut down completely:

  • Black on black crime.
  • Something about what MLK would have done.
  • You don’t know the stresses police go through, how dare you.
  • You only have a split second to make those decisions, so you can’t judge them.
  • Can we not make this about race?
  • Something about how BLM is awful for everyone.
  • Something about how we should move past race so healing can begin.
  • Something about a significantly less important thing like a celebrity marriage.
  • Something about how white people trying to notice injustice are being sent death threats.
  • Some insensitive headline from a major news outlet while lesser known outlets are attacking the heart of the issue.
  • Something about Kaepernick was right or wrong or both.

It all becoming so normalized, I should just donate everything but my funeral clothes and remain in them. I fight my inner cynic tooth and nail, but find myself unable to win some days.

I wonder if there is a single new thing to say to anyone about this. No one is listening. We just want uninterrupted traffic and we want people to stand during an anthem made in a time when I was 60% of a person.

We want black people and other influential or popular figures to complain about all of this on their own time and not when we’re in the middle of enjoying ourselves. I wonder what it is like to be able to divest myself of an issue that is murdering people because I know it is impossible to be touched by it.

I wonder what it is like to trust the justice system. To know that, as imperfect as it is, it will likely come to the correct conclusion most of the time. To be able to rest in the fact that, when it comes to authority, I will not be judged by the color of my skin. That if I ever commit a crime – no matter how heinous – I will always be treated as a human; I will always be taken to jail alive, I will always get a trial, I will always be treated as a human by news media, I will always be spoken of in as positive a way as possible no matter the circumstances or my guilt, I will always be treated with dignity in every sphere.

I wonder what it’s like to be normal. To be treated as normal and naturally occurring. For no one to feel special for being decent to me. To not have people vying for accolades over simply apologizing for doing me harm and moving forward.

I wonder a lot and might wonder a lot more if I didn’t feel so incapable of experiencing the emotions that go with those musings. Because let’s be clear: I can’t bring this to work. I have a job to do and I must do that until I’m dead or until my immediate family dies because where I work, I’m surrounded by people untouched – sympathetic, but untouched – by this issue I think about upon waking, during lunch break, and apparently while I sleep.

read for yourself. ignorance is bad.

Read.

So you’ve wondered why people of color are so exhausted with explaining things. Why we are so quick to our rage, grief, and irritation when we are asked about the various moving parts of this machine that is grinding us to death.

OK. Fair. I can see how you don’t understand. As an aid, I am going to post this conversation between myself and a friend of mine from work. We had recently gotten into a discussion about current events and here’s what happened. I’ll put my words in bold so it is easy to follow.

I would like you to note very well that this is the effort of a person that is trying to understand.

Be enlightened.

 
friend from work: it’s a stupid thing and I probably know the answer but I gotta ask: do you think in any way I hate black people, or if I am racist? :/

Me: Do I think you hate black people? I don’t think you know them well enough to. Do I think you’re racist? No, but I think it would be easy for you to come across as such.

FFW: 😦

Me: That’s not because you’re racist, though. The issue is that people tend to have strong opinions, but a weak understanding of where those opinions come from. The issue is that people are unwilling to see from another person’s perspective. So “but what about…” is usually met with “but if you did _____ then…” Instead of “Hm… Well, let’s see why this is happening.”
It’s like trying to solve a software bug. Because, to be clear, that’s what we have here. A massive software bug. “Well, why don’t you just do this….”

“No, [redacted]. That’s not how the software should work.”

I actually worked with dudes who were black when I was in the states, one man was a teacher from the east coast, and he invited me and my friends (all bulgarians) to dinner in his house, he moved to Seattle to start a new life and was working in the same depot where we worked.

he was a wonderful person, and I have always tried to judge people solely based on their character and not superficial attributes.

Oh, this is going to take a bit of effort on your part, I think. But this is part of what we call “Doing the work”, so it is just as well. Here’s something that will help.

okay. I will think about this.

“Things are not as they should be.” You have to start right there. Because the struggle is. Things should not be like this, but they are and I have to deal with that.

For example: That person should not have been shot, but they were.

Or: People shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but they are.

And that means you have to leave yourself out of these thoughts. Namely: I realize that I am a very unique individual in the way that I think about things, but I am not representative of the average and I am but a very small part of the whole.

The way I think and process things individually does not apply to everyone.

true, but people should be made to think like I do in this regard because I am right and a lot more smarter people than me think the same way. sadly I have no power to change things

but people should be made to think like I do in this regard << this thinking is dangerous.

and a lot more smarter people than me think the same way << also dangerous

sadly I have no power to change things << you do, but it’s small ripples over a long period of time that are centered on you.

people smarter than me thought slavery was a good idea. be careful.

yeah but you know what I mean

people who are on the right side of History, like Dr. King

yeah but you know what I mean << I do, but that’s the thing right – you are communicating with people. People cannot understand your intent except through your words and actions. because of this, you have to control your words or to be more clear say nothing more or less than exactly what you mean as often as you can. it saves time, effort, and energy.

like Dr. King << be careful with this reference. There are those – and many of them – that would use him against black people.

Try to imagine a teacher or parent that says “Why can’t you be like that kid over there?” meaning “If you would do that, I’d love you more/treat you better/etc.”

The most dangerous thing about racism and the arguments on both sides is how people don’t see the structure that allows their opinions to exist. A bias can be useful if you know how it works but any thought you have that you are not owner and master of is dangerous to you.

well I would love people more if they get over being divided because of petty things to be honest :/

Let’s have an exercise.

Well I would love people more if they get over being divided because of petty things to be honest

This is what you just said. Let’s assume you’re speaking about skin color. 

Is this something that shouldn’t be a thing? Yes. It absolutely should not be a thing people are divided over.

But let’s take a look at the idea of getting over that petty thing. (1) What would I need to do in order to get over this petty thing?

well we need people to know that your skin color does not make you the person that you are. it does not dictate your fate. it cannot tell your future.

(2) which people need to know?

all people including those with the skin color in question

(3) OK. Why are the people with the skin color being called out here?

because all other people with different skin colors are tribal and have other’ed them because of a tribal mentality

because people are flawed like that

(4) What do you mean by that?

people presume that if somebody is not the same as them, they are dangerous or in some way not good for them

men towards women

women towards men

black people towards white people

white people towards black people

OK. We’ll come back to that in a bit as we understand that these are long-embedded instincts from a long bygone time.

people are tribal and they feel more comfortable among others like them

(5) How does this help your initial point of people needing to get over petty differences. Skin color in particular.

because there is no need to be wary because of somebody with a different skin color

(6) Is that accurate?

because the simple fact that they are a different color does not make them in any way dangerous. It is fair to say that.

Is it fair, but again (6) is that accurate?

Well today in these days. I guess it’s not because people are wary of each other if they are different.

OK, so (7) what would need to happen in order for that to be accurate?

well we either make them by force to accept thing that are different, or we take the long road and have discussions and educate

(8) Considering history up to this point, is force going to work for the long term?

it’s not a viable choice that is clear

(9) Why not?

because we have killed a lot of ISIS fighters and they still throw gay people off buildings as an example

(10) OK, so what do we do?

well I guess the only option is to try to understand why people act the way they do, and then try to talk to them about it, and explain why the things they do are wrong and what is the right way

I’m impressed. It took us 10 questions to get to “let’s figure out what the actual problem is”. For some people, this takes weeks. For others, years. But let’s continue. (11) Which people are we talking about and how are they behaving?

well to be honest I am not being specific

(12) Why not?

well my examples would be, the police officers and the people who were killed, we must examine who did what and why, and give out punishment according to their transgressions

people’s motivations are important

OK. That is fair. But (13) What is the problem with that? Police go out, things happen, people die. What’s the issue?

well one thing could be that this happens way too frequent and nobody takes time to think in these situations too

(14) Do you really think it is more frequent? If so, why?

so there is a lot of emotions. a lot of brash decisions

Also: yes. You are correct there. Emotions do run high in these moments.

well it is more frequent, I see it all the time now. the violence is a never ending stream now. it’s hard for me to believe that those officers are racist and that they enjoyed killing black people, that makes me sick if it is true

and I hope it’s not

I hope it’s because they had to do a quick decision and they made the wrong one. they panicked

and don’t get me wrong if that is the case they deserve to be punished with all the force of the law

(15) What is there to fear if it is true? Why are you afraid or concerned?

but I cannot believe that they hated somebody because of their skin color. I am concerned about my fellow man. I do not want to see dead people because of absurdities

(16) If this is the law at work and you believe in the law, why would you be concerned about the dying?

I don’t know the people who died, but I certainly don’t want to see them dead

That is fair. Please continue.

because I am not sure what exactly happened

because we need to understand the situations not to repeat them

we need to be level headed

Well founded. OK. So (17) How do you think these situations would be best avoided based on the evidence you have or what you’ve read?

so much emotions in situations where there are weapons. it’s a fucked up thing. well in case of the New Orleans shooting, the police could have used non-leather weapons. or at least try to talk the guy down first. try the human approach if possible. I know sometimes it will most definitely resolve to force and weapons but not every situation is a combat situation

(18) Based on what you’ve said, what do you think would resolve those things? Police using excessive force seems to be a thing based on what you’ve mentioned.

Well I would first talk. try to have a discussion. I would address the person and appeal to their humanity. I would try to understand why he/she is doing what they are doing now and I will try to convince them other wise if possible and use weapons as a last resort.

don’t get me wrong; police should have weapons. I think they should use them less if possible. I would be stern. I would tell the person that if they try to use weapons it will end bad for them but I will not use mine unless I absolutely need to

Well, based on our initial point of people getting over petty differences (and specifically skin color), (19) do you think if there were less occurrences of excessive police force, that the problem would be solved?

yes I do think so. I think that if the police shows that they want to work with black people and their communities more it will help strengthen the relationship and these things will happen less too

(20) Why is this specific to black people? Are they the only ones with issues involving police?

I think that black people are dealing a lot more with the police. well to be honest I don’t have statistics

(21) Why do you think that is?

but since those shootings happen. I think it shows that police and black people have a lot of bad encounters but again I don’t have any statistics. and it could be that white people or asians or hispanic americans have a lot more its just that more shootings of black people end up on the news and :/

I don’t want to believe that the police has it out for black people that would make no sense

(22) Where is the information you have coming from?

well mainly youtube videos of the things that happen

(23) Also: if the police stopped shooting black people or using excessive force there. Would that solve the issue related to petty issues that are due to skin color?

well if the police stops shooting so many black people, that would improve things overallvbecause people would not other black people

(24) Are you certain of that? Is that the full scope of this problem?

because they think they are criminals or something like that. of course that is not everything but it will be a gesture of good will if there are less killed black people by the police

don’t get me wrong

some people are just fucking criminals

white, black or whatever

we can’t change everybody

Well, let’s go for everything

Because remember: we want to eliminate this problem. It’s petty. Based on our dialogs so far, people are even dying over it.

So we should definitely work to uproot the whole thing.

yes

(25) After we deal with police, what other issues are left?

well how people view black people

black people’s image has been smeared because of a few bad eggs

stupid example, but people always joke that germans are nazis and even now one of the first things that come to your mind when you hear the word german is nazi and some people are wary of germans because they think they hate jews and so on or actual jews that survived the holocaust

those germans might be entirely peaceful but they are still distrusted. it’s the same with black people their image has been destroyed so we need to repair black people’s image.

we need to help them achieve the best since black people can.

Hm. That is an interesting observation. Let me ask a very important question here. (26) Do you think it is right, normal, or fair for all black people to be judged as a whole because of what a “few bad eggs” have done? In particular: as we are discussing lives being taken.

no. it’s not right

Okay, well then (27) why are we doing that?

that’s why we need to show other people that black people are not a mass. they are not a hive mind. that they are individuals with their own character and that should not be judged by the actions of their peers but their own actions

that their skin color does not put them in a box that they can’t get out of

I agree, but I must repeat my question here: If it is wrong, why is it happening?

it’s happening because others have OTHER-ED them. so we need to educate the ones that have done so like any good company’s image, it needs to be repaired by presenting the best of what that company or group has.

if we present the best the people in that group will strive to achieve that and the people that are unsure of said group will be more relaxed towards it

(28) Who “other’d” the black people?

well I guess all other groups of people

(29) Why did they other them?

well that comes to what I said earlier: tribalism and tarnished reputation

(30) Do you think that presenting “good black people” in a certain way so that other people are more accepting of them will fix the issue that they are being seen as a mass and not individuals in the first place?

well it would help but the best thing we can do is to show that black people are like any other people they have the same desires

the same fears

the same emotions

this will override the otherness factor

then when we present the best examples other people would want to achieve those as well and will also show other people that black people have given much, and can be great too

(31) Do you think it is a good idea to attempt to normalize black people instead of individualizing them so they are free to be whatever individuals they want to be whether good or bad?

Clarification: Normalize meaning “black people should look like this” *point to a person or people*

no not normalize but “similarize” if I can use this made up word

of course everybody is an individual and that is above all else but we need to break group thinking and that’s best done when you show that everybody is a human and all humans share the same things

But you mentioned they aren’t being treated that way. So (32) will it break group thinking to present black people as an improved group version of themselves? 

well black people are what they want to be, everybody in that group decided what to do with their life but there are human universals, that we can appeal to so that others will see black people’s suffering and empathize with it

(33) Are my questions making sense to you?

Yes I understand what you are asking me

(34) If there are human universals, why do black people need special ones for the sake of example?

Well they don’t need special ones, we need to point out their humanity so that others would see them, and treat them like they would treat somebody from their own “tribe”, the best thing we can do is to achieve people treating each other like they treat their brothers and sisters

(35) Do you feel that black people are seen as less than human? Or at least non-human?

Well, I think that sometimes people see only the bad stereotypes in black people, and that helps others to dehumanize them.

(36) Do you think that it is the job of black people – who are being dehumanize – to do things that will possibly humanize them in the eyes of others? If so, why?

Well, difficult to say, I guess one could say that self-image improvement is a good thing, but then again, sometimes, no matter how hard you work, your image is already ingrained in people’s minds, I would only say this, black people need to help others to understand them better by engaging with others in a productive discussion and by working together to build up a better relationship, there is this saying – It takes two to tango, again I am not saying, black people have not done their part, this is just what I think would help.

I understand. It is a hard question to answer. Unfortunately it gets harder. Allow me to present that same question with a bit of context.

People are human because they exist. In sum, if I see a stranger on the street, they are human. To dehumanize them requires effort on my part. 

So then for them to be restored to human would require additional effort to be made somewhere. Based on my question and your answer. The person I dehumanize by my choice would need to do something to influence my choice to – to use a term – “re-humanize” them. Herein lies the problem: I cannot control what causes you to dehumanize me.

well my point is this: in order for this whole process to work both sides have to put in an effort

Fair. (37) is that effort an equal effort or more on one party versus another. (38) in the case of this thing with black people, what should that effort look like?

those who dehumanize must be listened to, understood and then thought better by correcting their views, because they are wrong, because of the fact that black people are humans, and black people will show that they are not different, by engaging in the discussions and opening up to those who judge them to get to know them for whom they are

(39) for non-minority/non-black people, what should that effort look like (40) if those who dehumanize are wrong, should they be listened to or simply corrected?

things will be solved if people are rational and they try to understand each other’s motivations

well we need to know why they dehumanize in order to fight their arguments with reason because dehumanization is never rational it’s more of a fear and fear is irrational

(41) Based on what we understand of history leading to this moment in time, what do you feel is missing in terms of understanding why black people (in this case) are dehumanized?

well there are a lot of things that happened to black people, or have been done to them, by other people

(42) Do you believe that the people who are dehumanizing others understand where their motivations are coming from? (43) do you believe it is better to understand the motivation of others or our own motivations or both?

well on your question no most of the time people dehumanize because it’s a learned behavior

(44) Where did they learn that?

there are a lot of things that happened to black people, or have been done to them, by other people << to add, there have been things black people have also done. some good, some bad. however, unlike others, they were dehumanized. (45) why?

one thing to add: a lot of black people were enslaved in history because all other civilizations – arabs, europeans, persians and so on were more advanced in a particular way more or less technologically so they presumed black people in africa were savages

they did not take the time to understand their culture

they did not take the time to understand their way of life

they simply viewed them from their own lens

I am more technologically advanced, which means they are beneath me

sub-me

that’s the first way you dehumanize

And here we are, hundreds of years after the fact. Inventions have happened. Business has happened. Black people have become successful and even well-known.

However, they are still dehumanized, so (46) if this has not changed by now, what more would need to be done?

Yes. sadly people have not changed or have changed but only in specific areas of the world

to be honest in the middle-east they have black people as slaves still which pisses me off beyond rhyme or reason

but in the west is not that bad then again black people are subjected to tarnished reputation leftover by previous ages and it’s gonna take more time I fear before we have a star trek scenario of a world 🙂

The only thing we can do is to have rational talks and try to make people understand that black people are not what they think they are

Well, here’s the question I have here. If history is correct, black people were brought here as slaves (to the US) so (47) what reputation would be left to tarnish if your origin is as property here? (48) If I start off being dehumanized, do you think the person I am dehumanized by will listen to me if I try to be rational?
well their dignity was lost so it needs to be recovered as people. no matter if they were brought as slaves black people are still people and that’s a start

start by looking at black people as people flawed or not. they are people like anyone else

(49) but who needs to do that? the people dehumanizing them? black people themselves?

the first group. I think the black people’s own dignity will be increased when others view them as not “the different”

once black people feel like they are part of something and others don’t see them as something different than them we will have progress

(50) should their dignity come from others or from within?

it should come from both places from within and from others because we are social species

(51) do you feel dignity is something you can give to someone?

we need to be appreciated

That is a fair point; we do need to be appreciated as social creatures.

you can give them support and understanding and that will raise it. If you get respect (earned) you will surely feel better about yourself you will strive not to lose that respect and push yourself to be better

About the earlier question: (49) who needs to start looking at black people as people? who needs to initiate that?

well about your question other people

white people, hispanic people, asian people

(52) How do I earn respect from someone that dehumanizes me? (53) is that a worthwhile effort?

well first off we must stop the dehumanization

and there is nothing sweeter than turning your enemies into friends

(54) do you feel that asian, hispanic, or native americans are treated differently than black people? (55) who is “we” when you say `we must stop the dehumanization`?

I do feel that asians, hispanic people are treated way better

native americans have got a sour deal and I feel for them

and there is nothing sweeter than turning your enemies into friends << this I can agree with. My opinion here: native americans have gotten far worse than black people in many respects. That said, the issues remain regardless.

I am talking in general but by we, I mean people who are dehumanizing

I personally have never viewed someone to be beneath me because of the color of their skin as a teenager I loved Jamaicans, I wanted to be jamaican so bad. it never crossed my mind that they are black and would not accept me

For which I am relieved, but I must remind you that we must consider that you are a single individual unit as am I. In the same way I am not representative of all black people, you are not representative of all white or [redacted] people.That said, if people would just be…. for lack of a better term…. better on the whole, it would be wonderful.

 

Again, let me remind you that this is the level of effort that happens with a person that is making effort to understand and empathize. Imagine the exhaustion of dealing with wave after wave of people that don’t make this effort while hurling all manner of insult – whether personal or to our intelligence – and accusation.

 

The Face of Blackness

i'm part irish

A friend and I were talking about recent events and I started talking about how other of my friends were worried about me; a friend had texted from Atlanta and another from California wrote a text to ask me to be safe and so on. I mused on how they were right to be concerned although I don’t want them to be.

This friend stopped my musings with “That’s kinda making it personal. Like, I could understand where your friends are coming from, but that’s not you. The job you have, the money you make, the way you dress and articulate are not really of those that end up in these situations…”

This is where we talk about assumptions for a moment.

I explained that all of these things she observed came with years of practice. Years. When I came to GA, I lived in a low-income neighborhood. My mom encouraged me to read, make friends with white people, and avoid these kids in the hood. Read everything I can.

For her, these were the means I had at my disposal to get just far enough ahead to get out of the situation we were in. So I did. I read encyclopedias, I joined a big brother program and hung out with successful people as much as I could. Most of which were… well, you know…

Listen: just because I don’t smell like smoke doesn’t mean I haven’t been in a fire. That I haven’t burned. Nah. That’s how how it works

The result? My mom gettings into arguments over how articulate I was in 7th grade. With my teachers.

People assume I come from some middle-class family like the Huxtables because I shop at H&M. No. I worked and practiced for that, homie. I couldn’t sleep for the first few months I lived in GA when I was a kid because there were no police or ambulance trucks making noises. I saw someone get beat up for no reason in my front yard. I lived through every low-income stereotype there is or will be likely. But people see me and assume that my job, my clothing, my speech means I’m somehow removed from all of that.

Or that I never experienced. Listen: just because I don’t smell like smoke doesn’t mean I haven’t been in a fire. That I haven’t burned. Nah. That’s how how it works. I have two sisters and a brother within minutes to hours from my home living in low-income areas.

That trouble – and the people who are near it – are right in front me and I’m only two steps away from that at any time. And further, I’d only have to wear a hoodie once at the right time. Wearing saggy pants makes me a suspect.

This conversation is important because thinking that you can buy yourself out of oppression or out of your race is dangerous.

I will never have a job so good that I won’t be black anymore.

There’s no way to articulate myself out of my melanin-kissed DNA. But then again, I don’t want to. I’m black and normal and successful and that is as it should be. All together. All intact.

TL;DR: Be careful about these assumptions you make about who is connected to this struggle and who isn’t. Being black (or anything) is a lot bigger than speech and clothing. It is who I am. No return receipt and certainly not a reason to kill me, but maybe that’s what it will take.

A Treatise On Boredom: Part I

overit

Exhaustion.

That’s what this week has left me with. Exhaustion of mind, of body, of heart. I can’t with the states and the people in it right now. Jumping the shark is barely adequate for this madness. After a lot of observation, I’m going to leave these gems that I think need just one more repeat because, as usual, you aren’t listening. I’m going to be raw.

That’s a preface, not an apology.

  1. #Blacklivesmatter isn’t a declaration of war. Extreme personalities aren’t the face of a people or a movement. I don’t get any joy out of seeing police get brutalized or buried. No one wants anyone’s lives taken. If anything, it would be rather nice if everyone would just stop doing that. In fact, that would be super.
  2. “But they should/shouldn’t have…” I’m just going to go out on a limb and say you’re a rape apologist. If she wasn’t wearing that or in a certain place or “giving off the wrong hints” or any of those things, she wouldn’t have gotten raped. The same logic is being used to justify a gross abuse of power.
  3. All cops aren’t bad. OK. Cool. Noted. I’ll even throw in the #bluelivesmatter hashtag with this one because their deaths don’t bring us closer to justice, however….
  4. All cops should be accountable. No exceptions. Cops aren’t above the law, but are paid representatives thereof. They are subject to the laws they enforce. They do not get a pardon when they’ve been entrusted with lives. None at all. You have too much power to be able to run amok without having a REALLY thorough mental and emotional health check along with a pristine record of having no issues with domestic abuse, drinking, drug use of any kind, no criminal record, and at least 3x as much de-escalation training as training in firearms… at minimum. Oh and stop acting like I am somehow ungrateful or unpatriotic because I want accountability. I’m not ungrateful to my parents if I don’t want to be abused and say so. Accountability is important. “No taxation without representation” ring a bell?
  5. A movement can be criticized, but that critique should come from the inside and the nearby. There’s a lot that BLM does right and there’s a lot it does wrong, but I’m over people who have no desire to actually fix the problem criticizing people that are trying to do so. Either implement a better idea or shut up.
  6. Black on black crime. Shut up. The criminal statistics on a national level or even local don’t support this race of superpredators and thugs you want to pretend we are. Also, amounts and proportions are different things. 100 black people can die and 1000 white people can die, but if there are 1,000 black people total and 1,000,000 white people, those numbers tell a different story. Coming to me with raw data and interpreting that as some place that you get to comfortably ignore racism? Just don’t.
  7. #Alllivesmatter. Happy to talk about that when I don’t have people from other states and cities and continents along with my mom who just turned 60 asking me to post now and then or call them when I’m leaving town because they don’t want me dead.
  8. “Fix the black community first.” I’m sorry, but I didn’t know the police were allowed to murder people that weren’t perfect. Glad we cleared up that your community has to be perfect and blameless before you have a right to live…. unless you’re white or “white enough”.
  9. “I’m just saying…” Shut up. Just stop speaking.
  10. Picking sides. For the umpteenth time: I want justice for everyone equally and that is all. I’m not playing your stupid game of “you either like black people or police” because that’s bullshit as in “you either hate BLM or you like white people”. I’m tired of people acting like I only have the mental or emotional capacity of a sun-baked brick. Stop insulting black intelligence. Stop insulting mine. By the way…
  11. “I thought you were better than this” aka “Stop believing the media”. Let the media say what they will, but in case you missed it people are fucking dead and it was wrongful and it was caught on raw film. I’m over people acting like if Fox News shut down right now that racism would magically end. The police – good and bad – are doing what they do whether it is seen, heard, reported… or not. Just. Like. Everyone. Else. Stop insulting my intelligence (again!) by behaving like I don’t see what I see and know what I know. No one needed the news to know what was going down when the first body fell let alone the 2000+ that followed. Bye, Felecia.

I’m not even waiting until Thursday to publish this. You can have this week’s post early and marinate.