Get Your House in Order

White House

Disclaimer: I originally intended to post today about a completely different subject but could not ignore the issues of race at the forefront on this Monday morning on a blog that is in fact about race. So for the second week in a row I will post a second time later in the week (which in this case will be what I had intended to post today). 


This is actually my second effort on this subject matter. I wrote another entry in which I went after the President for side-stepping and doing the old “rope-a-dope” @ his failure to call out White Supremacy for what it is when he addressed the media regarding the fiasco that went down in Virginia. However, I decided to scrap it because at this point that just seems a bit cliché after the media and countless political pundits have already roasted and skewered him all weekend long for his comments which were no doubt deficient of the requisite substance to sufficiently denounce such a blatant display of hatred as witnessed in Charlottesville. And besides – if you are reading these words and don’t know or will not acknowledge that fact to begin with – not sure anything I could write will awaken the better man within (though I will continue trying).

So I am going another way with this post today and am going to focus on the solution aspect. Unless we experience some type of  follow-up scenario(s) that is tied directly to Charlottesville, VA – in three weeks tops that story like many others of its kind in the past will be all but non-existent. Sure it will be brought up from time to time but the collective conscience and attention of America will shift away to something else in short order. Not to mention that much of America will dismiss this event and its participants as an aberration from the norm as is their custom. They will presume that the sentiments expressed by the White Nationalists are like a rare if not mythical unicorn floating around our society and that like a unicorn these people are basically harmless. Short of Robert E. Lee coming back to life and leaping from the statue at the center of this controversy to lead the Confederates in one last charge against “the Yanks”, some Americans just cannot admit racism is an issue in 2017. And it is precisely that exact set of beliefs – that perspective – that is the epicenter of the problem we face with progressing and transcending racial issues in America.

Newsflash: If you are someone who thinks that way YOU are part of the problem. In a sense you might as well have been standing there with the KKK and the neo-Nazis chanting whatever the hell it is they were saying because they depend on people just like you for their continued existence. If White America as a whole – as the majority race in possession the lion’s share of power – stops pretending that we do not have a race problem in America and decides that it WILL NOT accept white supremacy in any form…THE WORLD as we know it will change. And change for the better. Notice I didn’t say the country – I said the world and I did not stutter. And that is not hyperbole either. Why would I make so bold a statement? It’s not because of some special gift White America possesses. No individual race does. I say it rather because together and UNITED as Americans I have no doubt that we can shout the refrain of Marianne Williamson from the highest mountain top: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us”. We have as of yet to see America at its best in the light – truly living out the ideals to which it claims to aspire – in large part because white supremacist beliefs and practices have not yet been deconstructed. America has not been afraid of the dark – it has been afraid of the light.

You know I am an avid fan of hip-hop. A fan who happened to grow up in what is often referred to as the golden era of that genre: which is to say the 90s. So we are talking about Nas – A Tribe Called Quest – Wu-Tang Clan – Biggie Smalls – Snoop – Dre – KRS one – and the Fugees…just to name a few of the BEASTS that came out while I was yet a young pup. At the risk of sounding like an “old head” as they say – the current state of hip-hop is not the same as it was when I was on the come up. Though we have a few dope artists in the new school – I am sad to report that the originality – the content – the freshness of hip-hop has been replaced with messages of shootin’ up the spot and cookin’ in the trap. But you know what? It’s our fault as the listening audience. If the garbage being offered to consumers did not sell – the rappers would be forced to produce a better product.

White Supremacy is a product that much like bad music would not be possible in any form if the listening and viewing audience did not allow for it to be purchased or sold for that matter.  And we as a nation must FINALLY unite in this regard. Hate – discrimination – stereotypes – bigotry – all of this and more must no longer be fashionable to listen to in America. It is time for Americans to finally say “enough is enough”. Time to say: “We don’t want to hear that ish’ “no more”! Otherwise – you mark my word: more hate-filled rallies are going to come. More people are going to lose their lives in the streets. More presidents are going to tap dance around calling down to the mattress what is clearly domestic terrorism and racist organizations bent on creating division and chaos. Organizations whose philosophical disposition is hate-filled and represents the worst of this nation. This is not their country..it is ours. They are not the representation of America…we are.

Harry Truman once said in regard to America’s attempts to promote democracy around the world that: “Our case for democracy will be as strong as we can make it. It should rest on practical evidence that we have been able to put our own house in order”. He had a profound point. Much as was the case in his era – America today purports to be a beacon of freedom and an example to the world. But – and despite of his own racist tendencies – Truman knew that America was a fraud racially speaking. After all, this nation was championing freedom to other nations in the 1960s even while black people here at home could not sleep in “White Only” hotels or eat at “White Only” restaurants. And as is the case in the modern era – too many people back then were silent though they knew this was wrong. Let’s not be silent any longer. As Truman suggested let’s get our house in order. Let’s make sure that our actions match the words detailing freedom found within our hallowed constitution.

 You are reading these words today for a reason friend – you did not arrive here by accident. Share this post with your brother or sister. Share it with your co-worker and your neighbor. Share it with that person you know has some questionable views on this matter. We must have these conversations and end the silence. We must debunk the old wives tales and myths surrounding race. We must get our own house in order if this long and difficult story is to have a happy end.

 

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 Oreos to go:  Thoughts and prayers to the family of Heather Heyer who lost her life this weekend in the struggle for justice and equality in America.


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Interracial Matters (Part III)

Spectrum

What about fitting in as an individual or as a family that is multi-racial? That question comes on the tail-end of the two previous MONDAY posts prior to this one regarding other aspects of this same subject matter. So, if you haven’t read those – stop – go back (scroll down) – and catch up!

To be honest it may be easier to fit into the framework (as currently constructed) of our modern day society when you enter as a multi-racial family than as a multi-racial individual – just by the sheer nature of the dynamics at play. First of all – as a family – you are a unit entering into any social arena together; which allows each of you to fall back on one another organically speaking. And, in fact, you may not even necessarily feel the need to “try to fit in” within a given social context that you are existing in at the time.

The individual dynamic is on the other hand somewhat different. As most of us probably know, individuals who are bi- or multi-racial, do often state that they either had difficulty identifying with or being necessarily accepted by a particular race or group during their formative years, especially. This is more of an issue in the adolescent and/or teenage years when not only do young people feel a need for “acceptance”, but kids are also much more overtly critical at that age as well. However, I do think there are several other factors involved that go well beyond fitting into a given preconceived racial boundary. Factors such as the area where a child grows up – how diverse their school is – are they by nature the type to lead or follow – are they an introvert or extrovert and so on.

While there are many factors that have an impact on whether one is able to “fit in” -most of us undoubtedly have an innate desire to feel included. And in some instances – depending on the circumstances – a child or even adult who is bi- or multi-racial may feel they don’t exactly fit neatly into the preconceived delineations that have been ready-made by society. There are individuals among us who identify strongly with traditions associated to cultures that are viewed by many to be attached directly to a specific race or ethnicity. And, certain people within given groups that are tied to those traditions, who may not view someone who attempts to identify with  what they deem to be “their culture” – as being a legitimate part of that tradition or circle so to speak.

What’s interesting is that this can happen even when a person is of “one race” (black, white, asian, etc.). People of their “own race” may say things like “he is trying to act black” or “she is acting white”. Or, related to our subject matter in this series: “they married outside their race” so that makes that person a “sell-out”. And that actually brings us full circle to the crux of this whole series on “interracial matters”. It seems that when you drill down to the root of this issue or dilemma if you will – that we as a society have made pre-determinations based strictly upon skin color for what another human being can and cannot do. And here is the kicker: these pre-determinations that are used to categorize every one we see around us – in many cases – completely disregard a person’s: likes or dislikes (personal preferences) – emotions or feelings – background – or experiences. So, in other words, people have decided that you can just take all of that “stuff” that actually defines who a person is and set it to the side. Instead of considering any of that we will just look at your skin color and decide for you what that means to us and try to force you to conform accordingly. Oh and if you are bi- or multi-racial: for some of us that means you are automatically (again based strictly on your skin color or lack thereof) not going to be able to be a part of any of these categories that we have arbitrarily created. Have a nice day!

At the end of the day, the issues we have with race in America are of our own making and are based upon philosophies that are what is known in logic as reductio ad absurdum (click here for definition). I am able to make that logical designation based upon the fact that an attempt to prove that any one “thing” can be based solely upon the color of one’s skin leads to some very impractical or asinine conclusions. And, yet, here we are in 2017, despite so much compelling evidence to the contrary, in a situation where certain individuals are still trying to lump others into their “absolutes” – their pre-determined categories – strictly according to one thing: the color of their skin.

All of our backgrounds – our traditions and our stories are collectively what make this story of mankind an interesting read. America is a melting pot like none other – a gumbo if you will – which is what makes it such a terrific and compelling nation that has unprecedented influence on other societies. And since we lead the way – we ought to set a good example for the world regarding what it looks like to live together in peace and celebrate this august body of diverse backgrounds. That is what makes America great. Not the money or a particular right like the one “to bear arms”. Not the technology – not Hollywood – or even the hallowed American flag. All of these things are but empty pleasures and trivial affairs – sans the actual people who inhabit this great land. And those people (all of us) need be reminded – less we easily forget…united we stand…but divided we will eventually fall. And, this, no matter race, color, or creed.

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 OREOS TO GO:  Share this series on Interracial Matters with a friend.

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.