Tag Archives: racism

Live Free or Bite Me!

8 May

 Heavily armed protesters march in Lansing, Michigan on Wednesday

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

All People in America have the right to speak freely, petition the government should they feel aggrieved or unfairly treated and to assemble while doing so, peaceably.

So what do you think about these protests and assemblies above and below? Would you say that they are peaceable gatherings?

Above we have a gathering of protesters who are aggrieved by the Governor of Michigan because she has imposed social gathering restrictions and other similar measures as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic that has hit that state hard (as well as all other states in the USA) and her orders coincide with the President of the United States guidelines for such laws during this pandemic as he announced on TV and in public.

And yet here are protesters with signs calling for the Governor’s removal because they say she is violating the Constitution of the USA.  One sign says “Live free or die” and another calls for the ending of the lock-down. And still other signs that support the President of the United States. (He, as already mentioned is in support of state stay-at-home laws)

However, many of the protesters are carrying guns! Is that a peaceful demonstration? And they are quite obviously very formidable weapons. I’d call them assault rifles but I know that a gun supporter will write a comment chastising me on the use of that term and then go on to explain what an assault rifle really is and how these guns shown couldn’t kill half as many as a real assault rifle could.

Anyway, is that peaceful? Am I supposed to feel at ease because this group of protesters hasn’t started shooting yet and is at the moment at peace? They do have a sign that says “Live free or die” but they don’t specify who will die if they don’t get to live free?

The folks below were part of that same protest. Here they have Michigan Governor Whitmer dressed as a Nazi and giving what appears to be the heil sign… because I’m guessing they see her as un-American? And below that photo is another one of a woman with a sign suggesting that we should hail the Nazi Witmer while also holding an American flag. She did misspell Whitmer but who can blame her. The H would not have fit on that sign anyway. (although maybe the H in Whitmer stands for heil?)

 Some signs at the rally compared the Democratic governor to Adolf Hitler after she imposed strict lockdown restrictions in the state

 A protester holds a misspelled sign that compares the governor to Hitler

These guys below are in New Hampshire protesting what they see as an illegal lock-down in their state (really it’s a “shelter in place” order and people are still free to go where they please when they please) but lock-down sounds so much nastier doesn’t it? Something you might hear in a prison not in the land of the free, right? And their messages are also “Live free or die” and “Don’t tread on me.” But with a gun by your side doesn’t that kind of say…or else?

Pictured: Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown over concern about COVID-19 at the State House

In Pennsylvania these loyal citizens protested also. Their messages were. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”  and “Those who would give essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (Two very provocative comments penned by two famous founding fathers: Jefferson and Franklin) and these folks have guns too. They do appear to be ready for action, do they not? Would the British army of 1776 have considered them peaceful demonstrators?

 People take part in a 'reopen' Pennsylvania demonstration in Harrisburg

In any case, this is 2020 and not 1776 and these protesters while expressing their anger
remained peaceful and were not confronted by armed police or soldiers at least not in any of the pictures that I saw… In fact in Michigan a police officer was taking temperatures of the protesters as they entered the capital building. Wow! How nice. Doesn’t America work great?

And yet all of the protesters mentioned and seen above were breaking “the state law” (stay-at-home unless necessary, practice social distancing, wear face masks) which is deemed enforceable by the Supreme Court under the conditions (a health pandemic) under which they were made by state governors. And they are breaking the law while carrying guns!

So, Here is our President commenting about the protests on an Official Presidential Tweet:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.

And in another tweet he simply added “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

 

And remember, the President approved of all of these safety measures taken by each state during this pandemic. (Before declaring their people should be liberated)

He even said that the states were on their own and could do as they please because the federal government would not be issuing a national stay at home order…but after seeing the “very good people” with their anger (and guns and signs?) he suggests that the Governor of Michigan “make a deal”.

Now let’s look at this protester: Just a man in uniform with a couple of his friends kneeling quietly during the National Anthem. He isn’t yelling or shouting. He has no signs with no demands. He is not carrying a weapon. (Good grief! Could you imagine what would have happened if he had?) And he is breaking no laws! (standing for the national anthem is not a law. It is considered proper etiquette and courtesy)

Mr Kaepernick’s reasons for his protest were simple and no less important to him than the Covid19 protesters reasons were to them. (Re: The enforcement of Constitutional Amendments) Said Mr. K:  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,”

And here is what President Trump had to say about his rights as an American:

“I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again… But I will tell you, you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem — you cannot do that.”

And he later added:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

Angry, disrespectful, law breaking, weapon wielding protesters: “very good people. Make a deal with them”

Silent, kneeling, weaponless protester breaking no laws: “Son-of -a-bitch” who needs to be taught a lesson about respect.

Colin Kaepernick lost his job as a result of his protest. How about the Covid-19 protesters? Shouldn’t those sons-of -bitches lose their guns as a consequence to their disrespectful and illegal protest? Fat chance, right? After all the idea behind 2nd Amendment rights is to use your guns to fight your government when you are disappointed with it…is it not? What do unarmed protesters get? Their temperature taken by a snarling dog, gas canister or a high powered water hose?

Remember those protesters in Ferguson, Missouri surrounded by policemen dressed like soldiers sporting armored cars and machine guns?  You can argue that the protest wasn’t peaceful but imagine if the protesters in Ferguson had come wielding weapons like those sported by the protesters in Michigan? What would have happened there and then?Ferguson, Missouri Protests: More Violence After National Guard ...Michael Brown protests in Ferguson met with rubber bullets and ...

It appears as though we are a country with quite a few diseases that we just can’t seem to shake. Covid-19 is just one of them.

Hopefully our latest illness doesn’t stick around as long as our sicknesses over racism,  guns and greed have…

We should be so lucky.

Let’s Just Sing a Simple Song of Freedom

14 Jul

“That flag has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. It doesn’t symbolize hate unless you think it’s hate – and that’s your problem, not mine.”

This is what some of the thousands of folks at the rally for the confederate flag in Central Florida had to say about their beloved confederate Flag. It was an event that was being held in support of a decision to return the Confederate flag to a display outside the Ocala government complex.

Participants talked of defending Southern traditions and southern heritage and said that their rally wasn’t about hatred and racism but rather about the rights of free people. Just like the Civil War wasn’t about slavery but rather about rights too… I suppose. And what rights would those be except the right for one to live free while buying, selling and owning people who could not live free? And what great heritage does the confederate flag represent except the heritage of slavery and oppression and human degradation and treason and secession and the Un-United States of America?

Imagine the world today if the south had been successful and had won their rights to live in their own separate country with that wonderful southern heritage and those lovely southern traditions left intact. How would the world have made out during World wars 1 and 2 without the might of the 50 United States to defend it? And Whose side would the south have been on during those momentous conflicts… do you suppose? How different might your world and mine… and theirs, be today had the south and “their rights” prevailed?

Perhaps southerners should think about that every time they think about displaying their most sacred symbol of antebellum disunity and dysfunction: The confederate flag. Because that’s what it was. It didn’t value humanity. Think about it. had they won It would have edified the demeaning and devaluation of all human life everywhere, especially in the south! Where was the benevolence, humaneness, compassion, fraternity, kindness, consideration, tolerance, charity and mercy in the confederate cause…except for themselves and no others? That’s a cause, history and heritage worth reverence and remembrance? Is there anyone in the world alive today who doesn’t thank God for the confederacy’s utter and complete defeat????? Seriously there are just these confederate ancestor wannabees…which should tell you all you really need to know about the confederacy.

They are without a doubt… THE ONLY ONES IN THE ENTIRE WORLD… who think that the confederate flag has value in a MODERN world.

All in all this sad and sorry demonstration to defend southern history spanned 8 miles with 4,500 supporters and an estimated 2,000 vehicles, mostly motorcycles and trucks adorned with Civil War-era flags…and of course guns! What good old southern get together wouldn’t include guns? Police say that even some shots were fired during an argument over the flag, but no one was injured, and overall the event was peaceful.

Now imagine that same motorcade of revelers all being comprised of people of color who were flying flags to symbolize their African heritage and their history of protest of the United States for their long denied rights…8 miles… of honking horns, beating fists in the air and shouting and the shooting of guns…and all while driving thousand of vehicles through white suburban neighborhoods.

That would have gone off quite peacefully, while the police stood by and waved them on…don’t you think? Because overall, if we have anything here in America, 150 years after the Civil War, it’s the end of racism…isn’t it?

What’s In a Name?

9 Sep

The High School in which I was a teacher for 31 years always offered a course in the study of The Holocaust. The town in which the high school was located had a long and rich history that included many Jewish residents and visitors and so this particular course touched upon a subject that was both near and dear to the hearts of those who lived and worked and taught within the town.

But of course the importance of teaching such a course was to instruct all of the students and residents of the town that such a horrible atrocity could never be forgotten and that this monstrous injustice could occur somewhere else and at some other time to any group of people and anywhere within our world where people did not remain vigilant or were willing to forget or disbelieve that humans could ever treat other humans with such cold cruelty.

And of course the corner stone of the course, if you will, was always the phrase: “Never forget”. We must never forget what happened in the Germany of WWII lest an atrocity of similar horror happen again.

And so over the years the course was taught, and as fate would have it, over the years our classes, students and public school community gradually changed complexion until one day I was listening in when a young African American student, looking a bit bored with the lecture, raised his hand and said, “Who cares about this. What about slavery?” as many of the other students of color began to mutter their agreement.

And I will never forget what the teacher’s response was…and this is going to sound like I’m making it up although I swear to you, on my honor, that I am not…

The teacher’s response was: “Son, that was a long time ago. You’re going to have to forget about that and move on with your life or you’ll end up going nowhere.”

And that is why The Washington Redskins need to change their name! And Daniel Snyder, the Washington team’s owner, should know better…especially than to say to USA Today and the world…”We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Because Never is a word you use…when you forget.

 

Racism is dead! Long live ?????

21 Feb

The United States of America has 5% of the world’s population and yet 25% of the world’s prisoners are in American jails. And The number of prisoners in our prison system has increased to 8 times what it was 30 years ago.

And yet only 47% of our prisoners have ever been convicted of a violent crime.

32% of all black men (that’s one third) will spend time in our prisons and will serve 20% more prison time for the same crimes that white men are convicted and sentenced for. (according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission)

6% of all white men (that’s one seventeenth) will spend time in jail.

It costs 6.5 billion dollars every year to keep our prison system operating.

If racism in America is dead and a thing of the past…

Then how do we as American’s explain these numbers?

 

Racism 102-Gangs

9 Jan

So isn’t all the fuss about racism really just about appearances and attitudes and accents? If you look the way we want you to look and talk the way we want you to talk and behave the way we want you to behave then you can live in our neighborhood and go to our school. Kids know all about this and they know that it’s all about how you look and walk and talk and behave. Life is all about fitting in. Yet our society seems to be all about separation, into haves and have nots, have mores and have not so muches, have almost everythings and have just about nothings. Humans have a way about segregating themselves in so many different ways.

When children become aware of this they have to begin to decide where they will fit in and how they will go about doing it. This is how gangs become so attractive and alluring to young people. They allow have nots and probably never will haves a place where they can fit in and most importantly find approval, which is a need that all humans seem to also share.

We had a team of individuals from our county prosecutor’s office visit my school one day and I was asked to videotape their presentation. The team consisted of a county prosecuting attorney, an assistant and a county juvenile corrections officer. The corrections officer did most of the talking and his presentation to the students was along the line of a “Scared Straight” talk or program designed to explain the pitfalls and hazards of gang life and the crime that was associated with gangs. He talked about the horrid living conditions and the difficult everyday monotony of life in the county correctional facility or prison as it were. And he impressed upon the students that should they join a gang then they would someday wind up in prison. It was almost guaranteed he said, and on this point the prosecutor agreed. Join a gang. Go to jail. Sooner or later every gang member gets in trouble with the law and that after all, was the business that they, the county prosecutor’s office, was in…sending people to jail.

Then came the most startling statistic of all, for the corrections officer went on to explain to the students that once you went to prison you would almost assuredly always come back! In fact, he added, and the prosecutor agreed, that fully 80% of all convicted felons would find their way back into jail not long after their release and most of those would eventually stay there.

So once a life of crime was begun, and joining a gang was synonymous with crime in their view, you would be destined to spending most of your life behind bars.

What startled me was how confident they were in their numbers. 80% would return to jail! And I was also startled by how proud they were of that fact, as though it were their badge of honor. Once you check in you don’t check out! They were, I’m sure, intending to scare the students with these boastful statistics but they were scaring me too! They were a “correctional” facility with a success or correction rate of 20%!!! They didn’t correct anybody. Instead with the help of the horrible, dismal, degrading conditions of the jails themselves (which their carefully produced power point presentation was about to show) along with the help of the bullying, profane, institutionalized inmates that a newly arrested juvenile would meet there, (a living example of whom they were also about to introduce) you would be almost guaranteed the beginnings of a cycle of crime and arrest and incarceration for the rest of your life.

These officers and prosecutors of the county correctional facility failed at a rate of 80% and they were practically giddy with the thought of the impact they were having on society, while I was a teacher in a profession where a 25% student dropout rate was being hailed by political leaders as something tantamount to the end of our society as we know it. 75% success stories, 25% failure rate? Dismantle the schools, fire the teachers and run for the hills!

80% failure rate, 20% correction in improved behavior? Hallelujah! Build more prisons. Here comes the answer to our prayers!

And were the students scared? Did they leave the presentation vowing to avoid gangs and a life of crime, forever scared straight? No. They already knew all of this. They had friends and relatives who were experiencing all of this. It was already part of their collective despair and disaffection. They saw that schools were closing or that school budgets were being defeated. Their neighborhoods are crumbling. Was education going to be their way to salvation? As a teacher I knew it was their only salvation and I am sure that the corrections officer and the prosecutors knew it too. But is that where our society is putting its resources? Is it our best bet to be laying our money on the 75% probability of winning with our public schools or with the 20% probability of success with our prison “correctional” system? Putting our money into prisons is a bad bet. We’re going to get more prisoners. Any gambler could tell you that. It’s a mortal lock, a sure thing. We’re drawing to a dead hand.

The lesson to be learned here is that if we want to defeat gangs then we have to invest our money and our resources in poor neighborhoods and communities and in their children and in their schools, not siphon money out of them and into investments that can only lead to more failure and despair and gang members.

Unfortunately that day the visitors from the prosecutor’s office were not scaring the students out of a possible bleak future that might lie ahead for them. They were instead foretelling the bleak and inevitable future that many of my students, mostly of color and “racial” ethnicity, would find waiting for them.

“You don’t fight fire with fire, you fight it with water. You don’t fight hate with more hate. You fight it with love.” And to that I would add… You don’t fight fear by scaring someone. You fight fear by comforting them.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King

Racism: 101- Part 2

6 Jan

So, do we have a new race?

Sometimes there are some things that we need to STOP teaching our kids and racism is one of them.

Here is what we should be teaching them: (With a little help from Wikipedia)

anatomically modern-appearing humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.

Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a “person”.

Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization.

Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society.

With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of January 2013 the population of humans was estimated to be a little over 7 billion.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology, and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies

The hue of human skin and hair is determined by the presence of pigments called melanins. Human skin hues can range from very dark brown to very pale pink. Human hair ranges from white to brown to red to most commonly black. This depends on the amount of melanin (an effective sun blocking pigment) in the skin and hair.

Most researchers believe that skin darkening was an adaptation that evolved as a protection against ultraviolet solar radiation. However, more recently it has been argued that particular skin colors are an adaptation to balance folate, (a B vitamin) which is destroyed by ultraviolet radiation, and vitamin D, which requires sunlight to form.

The skin pigmentation of contemporary humans is geographically stratified, and in general correlates with the level of ultraviolet radiation. Human skin also has a capacity to darken (sun tanning) in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Put succinctly human beings are creatures all of one species whose skin comes in a few colors of which there are many shades depending upon their prolonged relationship with the sun. (and with each other I might add)

They also can think, socialize and create, sometimes unfortunately and with great misfortune, to their own detriment. And that, like it or not, is about as different as we get!

Racism 101:

5 Jan

Racism 101: Are Hispanics: The New Race?

One day in class a young African American student raised his hand and asked a question.

“Mr. Picone, I just don’t understand it. Why are white people afraid of me?”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Wherever I go, whenever I see a white person or they see me, they always look scared and afraid. I don’t get it. What did I do?”

One of the things that can make being a teacher so difficult is that we don’t always have the answers to questions that students ask, even though we want to have those answers. It’s been over 30 years now and I still don’t have the answer to that students question…and I still wish I did.

Teachers know that when it comes to life, there is always more to learn and perhaps one of the most confusing and complicated problems in the public schools involves learning what to do about the complicated problem of racial inequality and injustice that is still plaguing our society today…and yes, it still is a plague on our society.

And just when you think that the question of racism in the public schools couldn’t get more complicated a new race comes to town! Now the question is are Hispanics white or black?… and who cares? Are racists simply people who believe in races? After all what does the division of people into “races” really mean? Aren’t people just people after all? Your nose belongs where mine does, right in the middle of my face! Eyes, heart, liver, lungs, legs toes, you name it and we’ve all got one…same number of bones and muscles too and all in the same places on our bodies and all interchangeable! Even our blood! In fact the only thing that really separates us is our blood type and the only thing that can really identify us, one from the other, is our DNA. Isn’t everything else really all just about looks? What races would exist in a land where no one had eyes?

What we have learned in the public schools is that when young children first go to a school with a culturally diverse population they may first notice that there are different skin colors and different faces but as they interact they quickly understand that kids are kids. Pre school and kindergarten teachers know this also. There’s no “race” of children who know how to share or play fair or smile or make friends better than any other children. They all have to learn the basics of how to interact and get along with one another, just like everyone else.

So my question is: with all that children need to learn and with all that adults need to teach, then why do we still insist on teaching them about races and differences when we should be concentrating on our sameness and shared needs and shared interests? Over my 33 years in teaching I have had many Hispanic students tell me that they don’t consider themselves “white” because their white friends aren’t being profiled and asked for identification papers and threatened with deportation, and they don’t consider themselves “black” because their black friends aren’t being profiled ID’d and threatened with deportation and they don’t consider themselves Asians because (you can see where I’m going, right?)

So, do we have a new race?

My Life As A Wife

Have I Lost My Mind?

Amber Evergreen

Elite Submissive Companion in Scotland

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Figuring life out, one post at a time.

Mono Girl

Life Beyond Tired

Pen of Contention

Giving ink to life's little annoyances...

Budget Abode

home is where the heart is, but it doesn't have to break the budget. Here's to pinching pennies and DIY-ing our way to a happy home (and heavy wallet).

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Travel the world, one trip at a time

The Floating Thoughts

thoughts of yours & thoughts of ours...would create an unforgettable memoir !!!

One Mom's Journey with CrossFit

Relentlessly Pursuing Excellence in CrossFit & In Life

The Mouse's Soapbox

observations from a certain, unique perspective - especially, these days, about dating

dancingnomads

Travelling the world and dancing

ruminationville

a gated community for the overthinker

Southern Georgia Bunny

Adventures of an Southern Bunny everything from dating, sex, life and shake your head moments.

Three's a Herd

Mothering a preemie, a princess, and a work-in-progress

Classic Sooch

Way too vanilla to add taglines.

ScribbleDartsfromtheHeart

creative expression and imaginative exploration

J.R.Goldrich

Perspectives, Musings, and Messages from the All

%d bloggers like this: