Monsters Are Not Heroes

I often see people getting defensive when it comes to other people criticizing law enforcement. I somewhat understand that. Their purpose is to serve and protect, and if you believe that is what law enforcement actually does, it can get frustrating to hear people say bad things about the people you feel put their lives on the line to serve ALL the people.
However, for many of us, police aren't really there to serve and protect. They harass, they treat many of us with suspicion, some people are seen as the enemy. I don't necessarily blame law enforcement entirely for this, but I blame the systematic racism that is pervasive in this country. Law enforcement officers are indeed human, and they are flawed. Many of us see them as a representation of the powers that keep the status quo, that keep that systematic racism alive and kicking. This is why we are critical, and when we see stories like Walter Scott and Michael T. Slager, we get concerned, because we know without that tape, this story would have ended differently. People would have told us to wait for all the evidence, and people would have proclaimed we played the race card, ignoring the statistical data that shows us again and again there is inequality in how the law is dealt. People will justify police officers playing judge, jury, and executioner; and expect those who are the primary victims of this type of law enforcement to put up with it and be ok with it.
We're not ok with it. You shouldn't be ok with it either.
You don't want us to talk about the current state of law enforcement and it's problems, you want us to be ok with it; and we can't. If we don't discuss these issues, things will never get resolved. You cannot continue to dismiss case after case of police brutality and murder by treating the victims as monsters and the monsters as heroes.
Acknowledge the law does not always protect and serve everyone, it doesn't mean all law enforcement is horrible, it doesn't negate their jobs, but it does help us acknowledge and hopefully fix the issues that seem to be pervasive all over the country, causing harm and death to too many people.

Dear White Atheists

Dear white atheists,

You are not the new oppressed. Yes, you face discrimination.  Yes, atheism is still not accepted in many parts of the world, including the United States.  Yes, I think that religion is a hindrance to our society in many ways.  However, you are not all that oppressed.  You are not the new black, gay, women, or transgender. You are not like the jews in Germany during the reign of Hitler.  It’s not that serious, and yes you can be sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and just in general an asshole.  

Years ago, when I joined the social network no one uses, facebook, I decided to join all types of groups.  Groups for feminists, groups for planning and organizing, groups about cloth diapers, and groups about atheism.   The atheist groups in my mind were going to be filled with enlightened people who are all about truth and the American way.  They were filled with white people, in particular lots of white men.  These groups didn't mention race often, but when they did, it usually transpired like this:

They are discussing this sad story.  However, they are now using this as a platform to discuss reverse racism and how racist black people are.   Ignoring why the Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins of the world are killed and they justify it and allow people to walk free. They ignore that these black kids will end up with severely harsh sentences and they will not have the benefit of the doubt of white America.  They will discuss how white people can’t treat black people like they used to, therefore making them white victims of society, silenced because no one has to put up with their bullshit silently anymore. One person is discussing an incident that occurred at age seven, I’m sure it was an incident that didn't require hospitalization, and I’m pretty sure the people who attacked them in question were not adults. Not dismissing it, but it's not quite the same as you know segregation, slavery, and it's lasting impact.

People like this ignore systematic racism, how racism correlates with inequality in this world, and I’m not a magical negro, so I’m not wasting my time explaining to them how stupid they sound as they lament about the evil negroes intent on being racist towards them and causing them great discomfort.

So I hang out here.   These people are atheists too, but they understand black issues. It’s probably because they’re overwhelmingly black.  It’s open to all people, and there are members of all races, but there is often members who join to show this group is proof of reverse racism.  Because black people having their own space where they don’t have to put up with the racist, simple minded tomfuckery I just displayed is a bad thing.   

So suck it up white atheists.  I’m sorry I’m not here to explain racism to you or how black people are not getting a bunch of free stuff and they we are not oppressing you because you can’t say the n-word.   You can try Google though, I hear it works pretty well.  



My Solution To Education For My Children

My blackness is a defining characteristic of me. People often want to pretend they live in a world of color blindness in which they see no race, but that is a blatant lie. I see it every single day. I’m supposed to have an attitude, I’m inherently violent, and I’m on welfare. At least that is the assumption based upon my skin tone. People do it all the time, and I don’t expect any less from a child. Children notice color. Children ask questions. Children of color, in particular seem to pick up on the nuances of race in our society fairly quickly. My five year old knows I’m black, her father’s white, and she’s in between. She asks questions, and as her mother I answer them to the best of my ability. I’m just dreading the day where I have to tell her the truth about her race and how people will see her. It’s the talk all black parents have with their children, it won’t be any different because she’s biracial, as biracial in our country is black. We steady hold fast to the one drop rule, until it’s inconvenient for us. I dread putting my child in school and it terrifies me. I’m actually considering homeschooling. I’ve already picked out her curriculum, I’ve visited a homeschooling co-op or two to get a feel for them, and I’ve even looked at private schools. This video makes me reconsider even private schools, because there isn’t ANY diversity within a private school, and this kid’s experience reflects my own in predominantly white public and private schools I attended as a child. It’s heartbreaking because I know that it isn’t a unique experience for black children of the upwardly mobile in America.

People often wonder why I would consider homeschooling, and it’s simple. My experiences in public and private school tell me that school is inherently a horrible place for children of color, particularly in schools that are predominantly white. There is no recourse. You will be seen as a troublemaker, a know it all, told you are less intelligent, and you will essentially be beaten into submission until your confidence in yourself is eradicated.

Public schools, at least in Texas are very inconsistent in terms of the quality of education. Often times schools in predominantly non white areas tend to not get as great of ratings of their schools in comparison to white areas. Is it matter of intelligence and the Bell Curve theory? Probably not, but people will think that. In reality, it is a matter of tax base. The wealthier your school, the more resources you have. I really don’t have to worry about putting my child in a more economically advantaged school district, I can do that, but I find more than not, that economically advantaged lends to not be very diverse; and when you don’t have much diversity you have the problems I ran into as a kid. So I need a well off school that offers diversity and will shield my child from people who think she is inherently inferior because she is not 100% white. That doesn’t exist in Texas, and I do not want for her to have the same issues I had in school, in which anything lower than a “B” will send her into a fit of rage for fear of being put into special education classes. Not to mention, it’s Texas, even our best schools really aren’t the best schools out there in most cases, not even in the wealthiest of school districts, which is why the best education in Texas tends to be with the elite prep schools and private schools that average at around $30k/year.

Am I sheltering my child by considering homeschooling? Absolutely, and I have no problem stating such. White people have the luxury of their children being sheltered from privilege and racism, why can’t my child have the same? I feel I have to make that happen for her and homeschooling is a big way for me to do that.

I’m not the only one thinking this way.

Pardon My Dust

Well guess what? I'm back. For real this time. For really real. OK, I might not be back, but I'm going to put forth the effort. Come on back, don't mind the construction, I'm just changing a few things up.

Biracial Identity: How will people know who they belong to?

With the election of Barack Obama back in 2008, I heard many white people get upset and proclaim that "Well he's really biracial, not black." anytime it was mentioned he was the first black President of the United States.   They held on to that "his mother's white!!" ideal for a really long time.    If you don't know, the President identifies as black.

I totally understand now.  Many white and biracial people like to say that black people hold on near and dear to the one drop rule, the rule in which if you have one black biological relative, that essentially makes you black; however with two biracial children myself, I can guarantee you, white people hold steadfast to this rule as well.

I'm going to be perfectly blunt, skin color wise, my children are lighter than me, pretty significantly lighter than me, but they are also significantly darker than their father.    It's crazy, but they are a color that is a mix of his whiteness and my blackness.  Let all that seep deep into your minds.

My daughter and son both have my brown eyes, and not their father's green eyes, both of them have hair lighter than mine.   However, no one ever questions if they are mine.  No one has ever asked me how do people react when they see me out in public with my children, no one has ever assumed that people will assume that people will mistake them as someone else's children when they are with me.  However, people CONSTANTLY ask if their father has experienced this. If you look at my daughter and my son, they do kind of look like him.......probably because HE'S THEIR FATHER.  However, because he's white, and they look less than white, he must run around getting strange looks and people proclaiming they aren't his children. This has never happened, but white people always assume that it does.  I've never had a black person say this to me.  Ever.  I've been asked by black people if they are "mixed", but otherwise it's been crickets in regards to them assuming that either me or their father have a hard time with people identifying them as our children.  

Shout out to all the nice white people who don't think my white husband kidnapped his own children; or should I say shame on you mean white people for turning the other cheek at a white man stealing brown children because in your mind brown children don't matter.

I now understand why biracial people tend to identify as black, just not due to societal prejudices (we all know they can't do the same things as white kids and get the same treatment), but because mainstream society sees them as black no matter what.

Ebola Infected My Sanity

"In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”
-Charles Mackay

 The past week or two, I've been living in Bizzaro World. It's all because of Ebola. No, I don't have Ebola (I don't think), thank goodness; but I feel I'm surrounded in a vacuum of tomfoolery that I cannot escape. It's a combination of mass fear, xenophobia, narcissism, and conspiracy theories. Not on some random internet forum dedicated to such things, but in my general life and on facebook from people who should know better, but just don't. I think that is what bothers me most. I think people in general should know better, but they don't.

 I blame the media. We have the media posting "possible" Ebola cases every hour on the hour. It's the hot new topic, and I know this sounds horrible, but I can't wait for something else to happen that they find more news worthy. We have places like CNN providing multiple hypothesis for how Ebola can evolve and spread with headlines that indicate that Ebola is already airborne. You know, click bait, like this blog. You're damn right Ebola is going to be a keyword for this entry.

I'm going to also blame the internet for people speculating about Ebola and how it is spread with their "expertise" in public health and disease. Usually people who share their "expertise" have no experience or background in public health or disease. They develop an echo chamber and make their speculations truth, which is worrisome and lowers my expectations of humanity. Especially when people say they heard "insert myth about Ebola here" from some person they know or on some blog on the internet. In the age of internet access and the ability to access information in a matter of seconds, this shouldn't be happening. No the CDC did not create Ebola, there are no zombies in Liberia, and no you can't get Ebola from living within 50 miles of a person infected. Here is some information on Ebola, it's history, and how it has spread in West Africa; but it might not jibe with the theories on the internet, so proceed with caution.

 I'm going to blame xenophobia for people insinuating that Thomas Eric Duncan of coming here to get cured so he could use up our precious resources, even though statistically between his layovers in Brussels and Washigton D.C. he could have gotten better access to care than in Dallas. People believing wholeheartedly in American exceptionalism, they don't acknowledge healthcare rankings putting America below Belgium. Let's not get started with Texans and their arrogance. It's often said that Texas is it's own country. It acts like it, and I can say that because I'm a lifelong Texan. We are some cocky people. Washington D.C. outranks Texas in terms of healthcare. We also need to wonder why the brown man with no insurance was sent home from our exceptional hospitals the first time he sought help. I'm not knocking Presbyterian Dallas, it's a great hospital, I had both my children there. I was just there yesterday for a doctor's visit; but I am going to question how he got turned away, and I can't help but to think that had he been an insured white person who said that he had recently been to Liberia, the reaction would be different. I'm also going to question the treatment he received versus the treatment of other patients with Ebola. No, Ebola didn't all the sudden have me questioning this, I've been questioning disparities in treatment for years, so have other people. Don't trust me though, I might have ebola.

I'm also going to blame narcissism. This current epidemic of Ebola has been going on since about December of 2013. It's October 2014, why now is America all concerned? Oh, it's hit close to home, and as we all know people tend not to show concern or care until they think it can happen to them. Let's see in West Africa we have had about four thousand deaths since the outbreak. Barely a peep from the media or concern from people in America. In America we have had one death and two confirmed cases of Ebola, with a ton of scares. Now everyone has lost their minds and are making up all kinds of theories to have us ready ourselves for the end of times. Now that we are in the "It could happen to me and not those poor brown people over there!!" stage, we feign concern.

The narcissism, xenophobia, internet, and media has caused my facebook feed to look absolutely insane. It has caused me to hear some insane theories, and downright awful statements about the one patient who has died on U.S. soil. These have made me lose my sanity. Ebola is infectious in more ways than one to the general public. The same general public who will more than likely never ever be actually exposed to the disease they now fear so much.

Black Breastfeeding Week Offends People

This week is Black Breastfeeding Week! The purpose is to spread the awareness of breastfeeding to black women, who typically are the least likely to breastfeed.  Reasons for this is usually due to socio economics, but there is also a cultural aspect. From my own personal experience, the concept of breastfeeding past six months is considered absurd to many in the black community.  
With my first child, I breastfed for 26 months. Yes, I breastfed her for over two years.   The comments I received from well meaning friends and family for doing this were at times, downright offensive, other times just out of plain ignorance.

I have received comments about me breastfeeding because it was a sexual thrill; trust me, it’s not.   I have been told that only poor people breastfeed when they can’t afford formula.  I’ve heard that formula was superior to breastfeeding.  For the record, there is no proof formula is better than breastfeeding.  I’ve been told my breasts would be ruined, and my husband wouldn’t want them anymore, as if my boobs belonged to my husband, and breastfeeding would give him an excuse to cheat on me.

We also need to discuss the fact that many black women do not have jobs with maternity leave.  That ability to pump at work, might not be as readily available.  These are more of issues of class, but still issues that would encompass many black women.

I recently went to one of my favorite pages on Facebook, Best for Babes Foundation.   They are happily posting some great information about Black Breastfeeding Week.  It is being met with the usual backlash of any type of celebration or acknowledgement of blackness in America.

“Why isn’t their White Breastfeeding Week?”

“This is why we are a nation divided. How about just breastfeeding week?”

Then we have these gems:

I’m going to deviate from the issue of Black Breastfeeding Week and ask some questions:

How do white people equate into Black Breastfeeding Week, and how are they being blamed for “Blacks Problems”?

Why do we mention slavery, but never the subsequent century of segregation that happened afterwards?  

What exactly are the special entitlements and benefits received by blacks?

Why is it always assumed blacks need to “pick themselves up”?

No matter what the conversation about black people or black americans in particular, why do these “concerns” always come up?  This is about breastfeeding.  Not about slavery, not about entitlements and benefits, just about encouraging a group of women with low breastfeeding rates to actually breastfeed.   Why is it that black people are no longer allowed to have spaces that feel safe for them? Why is it we must be relegated to the backseat of all conversations to address the concerns of the majority?  The focus can never be on the minority, we must first address the needs of white people, and then any concerns or questions specific to a minority group can be discussed as an afterthought.   The fact that anytime a minority issue does come to the forefront, the discussion from white people is to discuss and critique it’s very existence is the definition of white privilege, but it won’t be acknowledged or questioned, because some in white America will gladly pat each other on the backs and convince each other in an echo chamber that they aren’t racist.

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