Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight Fight Fight

In December 1941, my father left college at Iowa State, hitchhiked back to Upstate NY and declared to his parents that he would not be returning to college, instead enlisting in the service. In June of 1942, he was accepted into the Army Air Corp Cadet program. He was on a boat headed overseas in Spring 1944. There, as a member of the 8th Air Force 457th Bomb Group, he flew 17 missions as 1st Lieutenant,  Aircraft Commander on the B-17 Flying Fortress. On his 17th mission, November 2, 1944, he was shot down over Merseberg Germany and taken prisoner of war. He was placed on a forced march in January 1945 with thousands of American POW’s. Suffering from frost bite and malnutrition, he nearly died, but managed to survive and see his POW camp liberated by General Patton in May 1945.

Meanwhile, my mother is stateside, fighting a war of her own. In 1945, she was 20 years old. It would be another 17 years before they meet.

1962 Chicago

My father is based in Washington DC but flying out of O’Hare.  He spends most of his time at the YMCA near the airport when he’s not flying. He knows no one. He is befriended by a baggage porter, Donald, who sees him headed to the YMCA many a night. Donald invites my father to his home one evening. He offers his friendship to a young pilot who seems quite lonely. My father accepts.

He arrives at the party, a house party in Hyde Park, Illinois. He is introduced to a sea of color. Although spending time overseas, this is the first time he has been immersed in a culture that is not white. Then, he sees her.

January 1963

They marry.  His family is disgusted. His sister tells him not to have children. They move to Robbins, Illinois, a predominantly black neighborhood where they are accepted. He is beginning to realize that this will be a challenge bigger than his war experience, for now, he’s fighting a war on his home soil. Their marriage is illegal in 21 states. They are not free to travel the country for which he fought to keep free. He realizes this “freedom” does not apply to everyone. They suffer indignities, prejudice and physical threats but continuing fighting for civil rights.

November 1965

I am born. My parents continue to fight for civil rights. 5 states have overturned their interracial marriage bans. 16 dig their heels in. This decorated war hero cannot bring his wife and child with him when he travels because they could be arrested and his child taken by the state. While other airline families enjoy the perks of travel, my mother and I stay home.


The Supreme Court rules that all bans on interracial marriage are unconstitutional. It takes two states several years to amend their state constitutions and remove the offending language.

South Carolina 1998   Alabama 2000

You read that right; 1998 and 2000.


My father and mother have endured and persevered over some of the most heinous behaviors perpetrated by their own country. For nearly 50 years, they were stared at, ostracized and mistreated by ignorant American citizens. Even in my mother’s illness and death, many hospital workers treated her with less than dignified care. My father, tired and distraught, turned to me to fight for proper care for his loving wife. Today, he proudly displays his family photos in his room at the nursing home and he is still met with prejudice and bigotry. He is 95 years old. He has fought for civil rights for more than 50 years, even taking a stand against the Chicago Police Department for mistreatment of black citizens, including the arrest of his wife and child for driving a Cadillac while black.

Is he less of a patriot; less of a war hero?

So, when hundreds of African American citizens take to the streets or a few black athletes take a seat in quiet protest over an anthem and a pledge that professes Liberty and Justice for ALL, perhaps you might think about and remind yourself that everyone has a different reality. Change does not occur without a loud protest or a gentle nudge. From throwing tea into the Boston Harbor to taking a knee during the National Anthem, we all have the right to love our country AND be a catalyst for positive change.



The Talk

Today is the day I decided to have the dreaded “talk” with my daughters. I had put it off far too long. These girls are constantly bombarded with social media that could be corroding their proper judgment. After all, they are teenagers now; they need and deserve to know all vital information and facts contributing to their long term sexual health.

I began by building a gentle foundation.

Girls, there comes a time in your life when your body begins to blossom like a beautiful and delicate flower, basking in the sun and frolicking in the garden of maturity. Mother Nature sprinkles her monthly lady glitter upon you that symbolizes your priceless gift of admission into womanhood. Your upper body landscape has begun to reveal perky new buds of growth and wonderment, while your lower region will undergo a fuzzy expansion of luxurious underbrush that serves to shroud your sacred bits.

As these changes become more noticeable, you will begin to attract attention from many who desire to dominate you. You may not realize it at first, as these persons are sneaky, often using slick words, lies and sometimes intimidation to trick you. Often they will seek to control your thoughts, emotions, your every sexual consideration; all to deem themselves superior to you.

They will tell you what to do, where to go, who to love and who to hate. On occasion, they will verbally abuse you in an effort to get what they want. They will attempt to strip you of your dignity and make you feel dirty. They will even go as far as to recount that God said it was okay.

If you object, they will tell everyone you are a whore.

If you give in and give of yourself, they will inevitably move on to the next bloom. Once they have what they want, they won’t care what happens to you.

Yes, girls, I’m talking about the Republican Party.

You must fight, like your mother, to keep them away from your vagina and out of your uterus. They are a misogynistic bunch who seem to be willing to stop at nothing until they are inside you. Stand strong with your sisters and vow to help educate others about this misguided, dangerous group.

Your body belongs to you and no one else. Care for it like a temple, but don’t take any bullshit.


Donald Trump. Donald T. Don T. Don’T.

Let me just get right to this.

Anyone voting for Donald Trump is dimwitted. That’s right, I said it.

Thick. Dense. Slow. Unintelligent.

I have sat patiently, waiting for this country to come to its senses, but that hasn’t happened, so I can be silent no longer. I will explain this so even you, the Donald Trump voter, can understand.

Donald Trump says what people are thinking

If you are one of these people, let me break it down for you. You are bigoted, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, socially retarded, ethically bankrupt and really, just a bad person. If you are one of these people who believes Donald Trump is “telling it like it is”, you are not a Patriot and you certainly, my friend, are no Christian. I used “friend” in there for sarcasm. We could never be friends.

Most of us walk this earth pretty happy to be alive. We can get along with people because that is what we call a civilized approach to existence. We have a common understanding that even though things may not be exactly as we would like, we respect one another, listen to one another and do our best to live and work alongside each other. Heck, we may even become better people for knowing and embracing people of another ethnicity, religion and background. We actually embrace diversity. We understand the difference between passion and fundamentalist behavior. If someone has a differing opinion, we can respect that about one another and move on, hopefully on to find something in common to share. So, you’re an atheist? I love puppies. Do you love puppies? Awesome.

Just because someone has the balls to say what you’re thinking, does not make it right, especially when your thoughts are asinine. Choosing to single out a race or religion of people because they make you uncomfortable (probably because you are uneducated) is about the most idiotic and dangerous (an all too common combination) stance to take. Too often, bigoted and racist people choose this behavior because they are looking for someone to blame for their circumstance. They want to break stuff and hit people who don’t share their values, usually because that is the lowest and most dim-witted form of expression a human can exhibit. It’s no coincidence that it seems to be the chosen and embraced form of articulation for a Trump supporter. Also, most people who are racist couldn’t form their own opinion if their life depended on it. They look for someone equally as ignorant to tell them how to feel, take charge and drive that reckless bus right off the cliff. Bingo! Trump.

He’s going to make America great again

We know what you’re referring to. Just come out and say it. You’re not fooling anyone with this prancing around your prejudice. You want brown people put back in their place; the back of the bus, back in the fields, back in Mexico, back in the Middle East, back in the kitchen, back in your yard, back in your laundry room. Let’s face it, brown people with a dream and a common goal scare you. Brown people with too much pride, dignity and education make you uncomfortable. It was so much easier for you, back in the days of Jim Crow.

He’s going to build a wall

Hopefully, it will be built to keep you away from decent people.

He’s going to keep out Muslims because they’re all terrorists

I would live with a million Muslims before I would want to live next door to a Trump supporter. White Think-they-are-Christian Men are the single biggest threat to our National Security. It’s embedded in our history, from sea to shining sea. Read any good gun violence statistics lately? Hint: it’s not the brown people who are carrying out mass shootings. Perhaps learning about Native American history might jog a memory or two. Slavery was another lovely idea conceived by these same guys. When that didn’t work out, we entered a whole new era of lynching and burning of brown folk, courtesy of you-know-who. Segregation? No problem. Gay people freak you out? They’ve got an answer for that too. Mr. Trump, your fearless leader, has filled your self-righteous noggin with so many lies and indecencies about the Muslim religion, I doubt there’s hope for you. After all, facing your own insecurities, faults and shortcomings is much harder than choosing to believe a con-artist and a pimp. By the way, you’re his ho and you’re so busy being fucked, you don’t even realize it.


In conclusion, there may be some of you who believe that I am no better, as I have spent the last few moments exposing your ignorance with very harsh remarks. However, you are mistaken…again. Your time has come and through your words and actions, you really have been asking for this. The majority of Americans work tirelessly to create a place where people of every race, religion and orientation can be safe, considered equal and treated so under the law; a country that welcomes those in need, a country that takes care of its most desperate. We will not sit idly by and watch you try to unravel this democracy and make a mockery of our hard work. We will work state by state to ensure you do not ever elect anyone who threatens the integrity of this great nation. If you’ve managed, trust me, we are working to vote them out of office. Believe me when I tell you that you are the minority; the ignorant. There is no place for you here. You are a zit on the butt of this country; the proverbial head lice of the United States.


I leave you with a choice. Either wake up and join the rest of civilized society, or to quote your boorish leader, “Get the hell out”.








Get The Lead Out

I don’t like to speak in 3rd person, but Sistah is angry. I’ve been waiting and watching. I’ve been monitoring Social Media to see what course of action is being taken to help minimize this emergency. Sadly, I haven’t seen enough. True, I’ve read a few posts on FB expressing outrage and heartbreak, but most are forwarded news stories articulating the sentiments of others.

I’m talking about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

I’m not sure if you are aware, but a city in the United States of America has been systematically poisoned by its water supply since April 2014 when the state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager, Darnell Earley, decided to sever ties with the Detroit water system and switch the water source to the Flint River without proper testing.

Cost savings: $100/day.

Almost immediately, citizens began complaining of the rancid smell, discoloration, skin rashes and tile rot (yes, tile rot). Yet, the city did nothing. Well, let me take that back, in January 2015, fresh bottled water was provided to the state building in Flint when employees complained. The Governor, Rick Snyder, said he had no knowledge of this but stood by his proclamation that the city water was indeed safe to drink.

In September 2015, independent investigations conducted by concerned physicians revealed the cause of the multiple E Coli outbreaks, Legionnaire’s Disease and significant increase in lead levels in the infant population. October 2015, Governor Snyder switches the water supply back to Detroit. However, it is estimated that it will take at least 6 months before that water is even remotely safe for drinking. Still, the damage has been done.

The population of Flint is just shy of 100,000 residents, majority African American, about 44% living below the poverty level. Many of the homes have lead levels so high, the supplied filtration systems don’t even work. Children have irreversible brain damage. Older children are losing their permanent teeth to rot and many residents are losing their hair. Various diagnoses are poisoning from lead, copper, aluminum and chromium. Brittle bones, low white blood cell count, loss of memory and trouble with concentration. We teach our children to drink water instead of soda or juice, right? What happens when the water is killing them?

PSA’s have been sent to advise residents that it is OKAY to bathe in tap water, as long as you don’t get it in your mouth. Ever bathe a baby?

So far, only a handful of people involved have resigned or been fired. No one, to date, has been charged with a crime. We’ve seen this time and again. A certain Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.

Where’s your outrage? Are you sitting your behind up in church every Sunday and professing to love your neighbor, but only paying “lip service”? Our fellow citizens need aid, not feeble commentary in passing. Get up off your righteous butt and start a water drive or donate to one of many organizations at Ground Zero that can get clean, safe water directly to Flint residents. I don’t want to see another Bible quote, verse or inspirational mumbo jumbo post until you can confidently say that you are really making a difference in the life of someone else.

To make it easy for you, here is a link to help you donate:

And He Said Unto Me…

Today started off like any other normal day for me. I was minding my own business (hahahaha) when The Lord came unto me and said, “Sistah, I’m going to work through you today”. I was not surprised, as He Who Makes All Things New, often comes to me with the same proposal. I did have quite a bit on my proverbial plate this afternoon, so I replied, “Sorry, HG (short for Holy Ghost), I’m pretty busy with these holiday decorations. I’ve got to trim one more tree, get out the nativity scene, light the third candle on the menorah, figure out what to do for Kwanza and did I miss Ramadan? I know, pay a visit to Kim and Kanye. I hear they’re creating Saints without your blessing”. Needless to say, The Big Kahuna was having none of it. “Sit down and get comfortable”, exclaimed ELOHIM.

Please keep in mind that Savior in Chief can be pretty long-winded and tends to use some serious testament speak. In the interest of time and translation, I have paraphrased His word for the reader. That being said, without further ado, I give you a message from The Almighty:

  1. Stop using religion as an instrument to promote fear, hate and/or violence. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who calls My name or My buddies Allah, Krishna, HaShem, Queztalcoatl (Google it), Breged, Jah or Zeus while participating in above said behaviors, is NOT a part of any religious faith.
  2. For the love of ME, stop insisting your religion is better. There’s room for all of us.
  3. Stop praying to ME over all this gun violence. I blessed you humans with common sense so that you would fix this mess you’ve created. I’m getting pretty tired hearing all the why why why. Wanna know Why? Because you are no longer as connected with one another. You don’t listen. You don’t want to get involved. You don’t know your neighbor.
  4. Try talking to a friend IN PERSON. (Sistah, get me a Snapple. I’m parched)
  5. Inspirational quotes are pretty stupid unless you actually wrote them.
  6. Just because I created weed doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I also created hemlock and rattlesnakes.
  7. I LOVE the Gays! Worry about your own relationships. Some of you hetero humans need to just sit down and be quiet. Let’s just say, many of you didn’t choose My best work.
  8. My Autobiography is meant to be a story of how to be a better human. It is NOT, however, to be used for your own personal Jesus Police Task Force. If it were, you’d all be feeling some smite from Me right about now.
  9. My Son’s birthday does not require you go in to debt. Not the reason I started this.
  10. If I put Donald Trump on this earth to test your faith, some of you are failing miserably. You better recognize.
  11. And Yes, I do protect fools, babies and drunks. I have an agreement with America’s Funniest Home Videos and YouTube.

Three hours go by, I’m absolutely exhausted and my hand is cramping. Thus, Jehovah lays one more piece of knowledge on me to deliver:

  • Some people just don’t get it. Whether they weren’t hugged enough as a child or they have some sort of chemical imbalance (science is a real thing), it’s up to YOU to make a difference. Yes, I like to hear from you, but there are plenty of humans who don’t pray to ME who are making a positive difference by their actions. Religion was created to uplift humans, not frighten, objectify or chastise (although Catholicism does appear sketchy now and again). Your time on this earth is short for a reason. It is designed for you to make the most of every moment. For My Sake, quit your whining, end the blame game, put on your grownup panties and get out there to spread some good.

Make My Day

As I was considering how to write this piece, I read that there have been two more campus shootings today. Yes,today. Two dead and several injured. When did this become so commonplace and our inaction so acceptable? When did murder become so customary?

I send my children off to school each day, not only in anticipation that they will receive a great education, but also with the expectation that they will return home safely. Two sets of parents will be devastated today. Countless others driven to hospital bedsides. I am infuriated and frankly confounded by the idea that somehow arming teachers, arming everyone, is the answer. I began to ponder how difficult this must be for educators when my thoughts turned to Miss Bloom.

Miss Bloom. She is my son’s new 4th grade teacher. As you would imagine by her name, Miss Bloom is a bright young woman, fresh out of school and eager to open young minds. She is kind, friendly and well- liked by her students. My son adores her. He says Miss Bloom is as pretty as a flower. I wonder if Miss Bloom realized that one day, she may be called upon to drop this identity, pick up a weapon and turn into a character from Call of Duty.

How would our Miss Bloom, a first year teacher, respond to an intruder, if she were forced to be armed in the classroom? Let’s take a look.

Cue the dream sequence harp stroking music.

We enter the classroom to find Miss Bloom in the midst of a class project.

“And so, Children, this is how the Fiddler Crab adapts to his habitat”.



“Okay, Children. This is not a drill. There is an active shooter in the building. Everyone take your positions. Don’t panic. Remember what we’ve practiced so many times”.

Shit. What’s the safe combo? Damn it, I overshot 35. SpinSpinSpin. Start over.

“Don’t cry. I will be there in a minute. Get in your positions and stay there. Boys in front, Girls in back”.

OkayOkayOkay. Got it. Where’s the key? Around my neck. Gotta unlock the safety cord. KeyKeyKeyKeyKey. It’s so small. Get in there.

“Timmy. Get up on that chair next to the door and hold that garbage can over your head like we practiced. I know you’re scared, but you can do it”.

Bullets. I need bullets. (Hands shaking. Struggles to insert clip)

“Children! Pick up your weapon of choice. I know we teach you not to hurt one another, but today, we’ve got to get the bad guy. When the gunman comes through that door, Timmy, throw the garbage can at his head. I will start shooting. (Turning to children) If he doesn’t fall down, I need you to charge him all at once. He can’t kill all of us if we run at him together”.

Annnnd, scene.

This may be over exaggerated; where, I’m not sure, but you can imagine the chaos. Miss Bloom has morphed from teacher into tactical warfare specialist.

I like guns. I own guns. I get it. Guns are cool. I like the idea of having some form of lethal protection in case of a home invasion. The fact that I only shoot my weapons at soup cans on a farm every few years doesn’t always leave me feeling as if I’m ready to hit an aggressive moving target that is coming straight toward me while my adrenaline is pumping out of the top of my head causing some blindness from straight up fear. Other than that, I’m good.

Miss Bloom went to college to study elementary education. She loves children and wants to be a part of growing them into intelligent, healthy adults. Miss Bloom does not need the added pressure and responsibility of the keeping and control of a firearm. If Miss Bloom is like 99% of gun owners, her reaction to an active shooting would be more hindrance than assistance. Miss Bloom is not Harry Callahan. Miss Bloom has a room full of 10 year olds that need her attention and look to her for comfort. Miss Bloom is not a killer. Miss Bloom does not need to be saddled with that kind of responsibility.

Why not help Miss Bloom by enforcing gun laws already on the books and creating some stronger laws that may prevent another tragedy. As a gun owner, I wouldn’t mind having to re-register my weapons every year and complete a background check. I wouldn’t mind being required to take a gun safety course every few years. I would welcome the idea of a minimum 72 hour waiting period for a gun purchase. I shouldn’t be allowed to walk into a gun show and walk out with an AR-14. No one needs an assault rifle to kill a deer. You do, however, need one if you are planning a mass murder, preparing for the zombie apocalypse, are paranoid and/or intend to hunt down ISIS. I am assuming I don’t know anyone who meets those qualifications, but, if I did, I would be on the phone alerting the authorities.

If these actions would save even one life, isn’t it worth it? We don’t seriously believe that “Stuff Happens” and we just have to deal with it. We cannot truly expect Miss Bloom and the millions of teachers out there to turn into ice-veined assassins in a moment’s notice while children are instructed to bum rush the intruder.

There is a name for societies where everyone is armed and virtually no one is accountable. They are called WAR ZONES. We don’t combat disease by evening the playing field and giving everyone cancer. Why would we even consider that Miss Bloom should know if she fired 6 shots or only 5 because in all the excitement, she kinda lost track herself. That is the one question we need to ask ourselves.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (but yours isn’t the right color so I’m telling the HOA)

When I was a kid (according to my children, sometime during the Paleolithic period) my neighborhood was alive with a kind of human electricity that pulsated through all of us. At the corner of Brockhurst Court, Mrs. Schell would hang out of her top floor window and keep an eye on everything. Once, she caught me writing my name in freshly poured sidewalk cement even though I swear I had made a successful reconnaissance sweep of the area before I began. Mrs. Johnson would never let me cut through her backyard to get to Fran’s house, instead insisting that I walk around the court to reach my destination. My neighborhood was large, but we knew someone on just about every street and court; someone who was watching and clearly a member of the Park Forest South Secret Society of Team Parenting. I was never sure if Tim’s mom was a member. She could be found laying on her lattice woven lounge chair in her front yard, working on her tan that rivaled the black folk and mesmerized the rest of Blackhawk Drive. However, she was always out there and probably had a dossier on each kid who whizzed past her driveway.

Although it may sound like Mayberry, our town shared the same set of concerns as any other. Yes, there were drugs. Yes, there were bullies and crime and underage drinking and sex. The burnouts wore army jackets and Timberlands and smoked at the bus stop. One boy drove to middle school. I would ride my bike past him and wonder how in the world he could be an 8th grader with a driver’s license. The preps wore Polo, even in the 70’s. Maybe there was a dinosaur on the left breast instead of a horse or something. But, I digress. Our neighborhood had problems, but always shared that thread of responsible and active community parenting that seemed to weave its way through just about every household.

Today, I reside in a neighborhood about one-fourth the size of Park Forest South and know less than 5% of its residents. I make an effort to know who’s on my court and much to their chagrin, I constantly bug my own kids to identify other kids we pass in town. I tend to bombard them with who’s that, where do they live and do I know their parents. The response is mostly staring as if I were speaking Latin followed by some grunts about how I don’t have to know everybody and everything. I was also the middle school PTO President for a few years, which helps me to recognize others. Getting volunteers for that gig was like counting your hair. Alas, another story for another day.

To protect the innocent, I will call this place ComplainButDon’tGetPersonallyInvolved town or CBDGPI for short. We even have a website; yes a website, which is supposed to be used for constructive neighborhood related information although much of the information shared is not in the spirit of neighboring. On the CBDGPI page, one can find stories of catastrophic panic over contents burglarized out of garages and cars. Though these garage doors were left open over night and car doors unlocked and parked in driveways, I’m not sure if the 20 or so complainants began to see a pattern. They did, however, become very indignant when it was suggested they close their garage doors and lock their car doors. There is also the vehicle filled with the proverbial black guys in hoodies that seems to just “not belong” in the area. Everyone has seen it, but no one gets a plate number and they remain illusive to police. I like to call them Black Bigfoot. Meanwhile, teens in the neighborhood can be seen walking around after dark just about any night of the week. They wouldn’t steal beer from a garage fridge though.

I remain a member of this website (you need a super special password) because it’s like trying to pass an accident on the highway and not gape. I guess I’m a bit of a dumb-dumb voyeur. Yesterday’s commentary came from a “neighbor” who had witnessed 2 boys driving a golf cart like wild animals through the streets and on the pristine lawns of our quiet little hamlet. She, as a concerned mother, worried that they may hurt themselves or, God forbid, another child. I rarely post a reply, but I couldn’t resist. I penned a comment in the form of a question, which is what I do when I think you’re an idiot and I want to make it seem as if you might be able to solve your own stupidity. I innocently inquired as to why she hadn’t simply followed the cart, knocked on the door and informed said boys’ parents of the situation. Her reply was that she couldn’t run fast enough and she had someplace she needed to be. So, apparently, the golf cart must either be super charged or have a Mustang engine upgrade, coupled with that fact that her beeper went off alerting her that the transplant organ had arrived and she was needed in the OR. The humorous part of this story is that I was also publicly chastised by another “neighbor” for my question/comment because how could I possibly have the nerve to judge this poor woman’s response to the terrorist golf cart dilemma. After all, this isn’t FaceBook. To be fair, I’ve never met either of these “neighbors” and they are probably lovely women…

After being publicly humiliated and called passive aggressive, insulting and rude, I decided to do some soul-searching (inserts tongue into cheek). Could I really be the neighborhood website Troll? Maybe I should just be on the lookout for the menacing 12-year-old golf cart fanatics and then make an eyewitness report to the website. Dear CBDGPI, I saw the rebel maniacs today! They had cases of beer (can’t imagine how they got them) in the back of that golf cart of death that spilled out and broke as they did donuts on the tennis court and set fire to the net. Then, they backed over a puppy and mowed down the Asian grandparents out for their evening walk. I wasn’t fast enough to catch up to them and was really into an episode of Castle, so I couldn’t do anything to stop them.

Listen friends, Social Media can be a wonderful tool. I use it all the time. I try to use the power for good. What I can tell you is that I do not use it to complain, feign concern or bully. I realize that we cannot go back to the good ‘ole days with Mrs. Schell and Mrs. Johnson, but we can do better when we are available to do better. My mother would have got into her car and followed those boys home. Unless they drove that cart into some kind of underground Batman lair, she would have found them, proceeded to knock on the door and advise the parents of their antics. Or, she would have recognized them and made a phone call. She also would probably have fashioned an invisible trip wire that would clothesline them next time they came speeding down our court. There has to be a Mrs. Morrow lesson somewhere.

Am I a neighborhood website Troll? If that definition includes teaching people to use common sense and get involved, then damn skippy. Could my style be a little more genteel, perhaps less sarcastic and more sympathetic?

No. You’re a goddamned adult. Grow up. Get involved. Stop making excuses. Make a difference.

Food For Thought for those Starved of Truth

Oh my, such stereotypical behavior coming out of Baltimore this week. Didn’t these people learn anything from Ferguson? Don’t they realize that destroying other people’s property and looting does nothing to further their cause? They expect us to want to help them while they behave like thugs and animals.

Does this sound like anything you’ve heard or read this week? I, for one, am sick and tired of the commentary. If one more person utters this to me, I may pick up a brick and toss it through a window.

Imagine, if you will, that you are born a person of color, into a life of poverty, an overcrowded and underfunded educational system, perhaps a broken home and little to no support system. Businesses cannot grow in your community because people of color will more likely than not be turned down for small business loans. Jobs are scarce because you have no education, skills or experience. Parents are working outside of the neighborhood when and where they can, thus unable to be home and ensure their children are safe and supervised. Those who have taken an oath to serve and protect only serve to bully and intimidate. You are a target any time you leave your home, either by others who have lost their moral compass or officers who deem your life to be of no value.  You are routinely stripped of what little dignity you may have, by a Country that looks upon you as a burden. You are more likely to die from diseases that are generally treatable because you don’t have access to quality medical care or knowledge of warning signs when you should seek help. You begin to look at others who look like you and resent them. You begin to hate them because they are a reflection of your hopelessness. You are violent because you are invisible. You are violent because you are void of all feeling. You are violent because nothing fills that cavity where aspirations and dreams once dwelled.

True, some make it out. The majority do not. The majority continue the cycle. Many Americans seem to be okay with this, as long as it doesn’t spill into their existence. When it becomes uncomfortable, then it gets attention. Just as with Ferguson, Baltimore is drawing attention to an issue. Unfortunately, the issue seems to be how black folk cannot control themselves. The idea of rioting has overshadowed the truth, which is very convenient for those who don’t want to face the root cause.  It seems to give a pass to the problem at hand, because we see how angry and scary African Americans truly are. No wonder the police are killing them. For that one, I may hurl a garbage can.

Let’s turn the tables for a moment. I wonder what actions would be taken if the headlines read:

Unarmed White Man Choked To Death by Black Policemen While Pleading He Could Not Breathe

Unarmed White Man Shot In the Back by Black Policeman

White Man’s Spine Mysteriously Severed in Paddy Wagon after Arrest by Black Policemen

Unarmed White Man Shot to Death in Wal-Mart by Black Policemen for Holding a Water Gun

Unarmed White Man Shot to Death on Street by Black Policeman

Unarmed White Man Pulled out of Car and Beaten Severely by Black Policemen for Broken Tail Light

White Woman Arrested For Not Giving Up Bus Seat to Black Man

White Man Found Murdered In Connection With Allegation That He Whistled at a Black Woman. All Black Jury Finds Black Defendant’s Not Guilty

White Man Beaten Half to Death by Black Policemen. Jury Finds Black Officers Not Guilty

White People’s Church Bombed. Four White Children Dead. Black Defendant’s Found Not Guilty.

 White President and First Lady Depicted as Monkeys in Email Passed Around by Members on Capitol Hill

White Women Dying of Breast Cancer at a Rate of 10-1 Over Black Women

White Men 12 Times More Likely to go to Prison Than Black Men

12 Year Old White Boy Shot and Killed By Black Officers for Having a BB Gun

White Man Shot by Black Man Dressed As Officer During a Police Sting. Black Man Not a Policeman but Apologizes Before Heading Off to a Bahamas Vacation

You can choose to continue to believe that this is a Black problem, not an American problem.  You can continue to believe that ignoring the problem will make it go away. You can be “put out” that you cannot attend a MLB game in Baltimore this week. You can keep insisting that this is America and everyone has the same chance to succeed. Just make sure and duck to avoid the rock I may throw at your head.

Or, you can face the fact that our Country, no matter how great, has a problem; a big problem.

I seem to recall reading about a time in this Country when a large group of demonstrators who’s voices were not being heard, destroyed other people’s property, got the attention of those in power and started a Revolution that changed our Country forever. Maybe the next great Revolution in these United States of America will be for Equality, Liberty & Justice For All… Again.

I Knew You Were Coming, But I Won’t Bake A Cake

When my parents married in 1964, my father’s dad declared that my father had disgraced his race. My father’s sister, although unhappy with her brother’s decision, decided it was okay, as long as they didn’t have children. After all, what kind of life would a mixed race child have? It’s not God’s will to mix races. The child will be ridiculed and considered an outcast; not accepted by either race. I guess it never dawned on her that SHE and people sharing her “Christian Values” were the only cause of any ridicule and scorn I would feel.

Ironically, my grandfather turned out to play a very positive and important role in my life. I can only imagine this happened after he decided to see my mother as a human being. My aunt lived a long life, spending lots of time with my parents and even me. We were close, maybe because she had her own conscious awakening that people are just people. To further her awareness, God gave her a beautiful gay grandson.

As I stare out my front widow, I look out onto my Hoosier neighbors going about their Hoosier business. Most of them are just trying to make a living, raise a family and enjoy their lives in this  beautiful state in which we reside. Hoosiers are known for their hospitality and friendly manner, but today, I find myself watching intently and wondering which ones agree with RFRA.

I have a golden rule, if you will indulge me, I live by each day. I teach it to my children and I exhibit it to my friends, family and acquaintances. That rule is:

No Tolerance for Intolerance

It is non-negotiable.

I guess it may be true that unless one has experienced intolerance personally, one may not fully understand why it is so important to take a stand against it. In the case of my relatives, they were forced, of sorts, to face the reality that our family had a different dynamic than most. It’s difficult to support segregation when your mixed-race granddaughter is sitting on your lap. It’s hard to refuse service to a gay couple when your grandson has a husband.

We all have interpretations of what God is to us (if at all and that’s perfectly fine too). Some think of Him as a merciful God, some as a vengeful God. I like to think that if there is a God, He doesn’t make mistakes and He loves everyone. He would never ask His followers to discriminate or turn against another simply because they are different. Different can be scary. After all, different means uncommon, out of the ordinary, unusual. For too long, the ignorant and frightened have chosen the definition of different to mean dangerous and immoral. The ignorant have long hidden behind twisted interpretations of the Bible to justify bigoted beliefs.

Here are the sad facts. In a recent survey, The Public Religion Research Institute found that 10 percent of Americans believe business owners should be able to refuse to serve black people if they see that as a violation of their religious beliefs. The outward racial discrimination permissible because of a “religious belief,” seems extreme and dated; but these days, is socially acceptable racism. 19 percent of Americans believe it is okay to discriminate against the LGBT community with a slightly higher percent (21) of Americans believing it’s perfectly fine to deny services to atheists. Go figure. Jews come in around the same as blacks, so don’t get comfortable, Shlomo.

Buying and selling stuff is one of the most basic ways Americans interact with each other—if people can’t tolerate difference in the economic sphere, I will bet any amount of money they can’t tolerate it anywhere. In this poll, the best explanation for the minority view is purely straightforward racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. But hovering beneath that is an important claim: Economic life is an acceptable realm for segregation.

In conclusion, this RFRA does matter. It does change the climate of our state. It screams discrimination in the quiet and deceitful way it crept to the Governor’s desk and his pen silently signed it into law. It paraded itself as “religious freedom” and marched right into the history books as one of the worst decisions in Indiana history.

Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning . . . is the most segregated hour in Christian America.—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Amen, y’all.

*Thanks to Emma Green for polling information