Why

Why?

That’s the question I want to answer about my post yesterday: why?

It stands to reason that I could’ve talked to my dad about my feelings privately. I could’ve approached him, and told him that he’s broken my heart. Why do it publicly, for the world to see? Why air it, like dirty laundry, so to speak?

There are a few reasons for that. Namely, I’ve done the “private” way before. I’ve tried. Years ago, when it was already going downhill, I told him how much he’d hurt me, and my family. It didn’t go well. In fact, I got the same response that I got this time, from him, the exact same type of response, sans the part about talking about him publicly, which was less than a “sentence.” Since his message to me didn’t have a single period in it, and was roughly fifteen lines long of a veritable shit-storm litany tirade of reasons about why I’m entirely at fault for our relationship, I assume that was a sentence. So, I guess I didn’t see the point of not doing it publicly; the end result was the same.

Also, I thought that maybe, just maybe, the shock factor of the public blog might shake my dad into seeing me, the real me, and might bring what was left of him, back to me. It was a foolish dream, and the hope of a silly little girl. I thought that maybe, possibly, the sliver of him that’s left would see that he’s broken his daughter’s heart, and that he just needs to fix it, no matter what. That he just needs to put his bullshit aside and care about his daughter more than himself, for once. I never should’ve even held onto that small hope, because hope, in these cases, is poison to the heart. It kills pieces of you, like salt to the earth. There are large chunks of me, where love can never grow again, where I have memories of beatings, and memories of being pushed aside, just like this, denied because being right is more important than being loved. I have to learn to detach now, to escape and let no more earth be salted, so there’s enough love left for the people in my life who matter, and to whom I matter.

Finally, the purpose of my blog is to share, in hopes of helping. I have readers that are outside of my family circle. It’s still small, but I have some loyal readers. I get emails and comments from random strangers that I’ve never met that, essentially, say “thanks” I have gotten thank you letters from people I don’t know, telling me that something I said resonated with them, and gave them hope. If my story makes someone else feel better, then what I said was worth saying publicly. My pain has done something good. My healing is helping to heal someone else.

I know that I deleted a lot of horrible comments from my family. It stands to reason that I shouldn’t have. They should have their say too. But I did it for a very good reason. I refuse to engage in nasty fighting. I didn’t even read what they said; I just deleted them, because I know my family well. I’m sure that they were accusing me of being the scum of the earth, and lying about everything I said. Because, that’s my family. It’s always easier to deflect on someone else, a common enemy, than to accept blame yourself. I’m an easy scapegoat. I mean, I’m the one who’s loudest, who goes against the grain, and who’s different than all the rest, in every possible way. And, I left them, and I haven’t gone back.

 

Imagine a scenario where you are the only one who can see color. You try to point out that the sky is blue, but everyone else is convinced it’s gray, so they all join ranks against you, point fingers at you, and think that, because you think the sky is blue, everything else you say must also be crazy and deluded. That’s what it’s like to be in my family.

Because I think the sky is blue, I’m on the wrong team. I never tolerated the abuse. I talked back. I screamed, “no.” I fought against it. The last time I was beaten, my mother wanted to dump a bottle of dish soap down my throat; I wouldn’t let her. I wrestled her, and fought her off, until my hair was covered in suds, from her dumping, hoping she’d get some in my mouth, and she’d scratched my entire face. But, no one will ever admit that’s true; not anymore. Now, the sky is grey. If they even claim to remember it at all, they’ll make up a reason where I probably deserved, at twenty years old, to have a bottle of dish soap dumped down my throat.

So now, rather than looking inward and seeing if the sky is, in fact blue, and that there is a way to mend fences, it’s easier to bond with the other people who still believe that the sky is grey. If everyone around you still believes it, it’s easy to compare notes and believe together, reinforce one another. That crazy girl, the one who believes differently, she’s the problem. She’s the one who’s wrong. Let’s forget about her.

And, they have.


 

I did make a mistake yesterday, that I should own up to. I didn’t forewarn my cousin about the fact that I was going to drop a bombshell about her father. I was wrong, and I apologize for that. It was an important step, for me, to admit that I was sexually abused. It was, however, wrong of me not to consider how it would affect her. Admittedly, I don’t usually associate her with her father, because my stupid brain tends to forget them as father and daughter. I rarely visited him when he had custody of her. It’s like the association isn’t cemented, for some reason; but, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know that they are father and daughter. So, yes, I should’ve taken her feelings into consideration, and how hurt she must be, or must’ve been, to see that about her dad. I welcome her to send me an email through this website, so I can talk to her directly, and apologize further, as I’m sure she’s checking in!

However, I can’t apologize for having had it happen to me. I can’t apologize for being a helpless little girl, in the arms of a grown man, who shouldn’t have touched me. And, furthermore, now, I can’t apologize for being a grown woman who should’ve received comfort and an apology from her parents, when she admitted something traumatizing. Instead, like all things “Rachel,” I have been considered, essentially, “evil;” therefore, I’m lying just to cause trouble.

Moving On

I can’t figure out what to write about, right now. I have, literally, a dozen half-started posts. They are all dull, boring, and about negative things. They are about negative things because, last week, was a depression week. I’ve mentioned the darkness before; and how usually, when I’m in the dark spot, I don’t write. I don’t write, when I'm in the dark spot, because when I do, it’s blaaaaah. Now, I still write, but I generally don’t write anything to publish.

It’s important to talk about depression as part of chronic illness, even as part of life. But, for people who are sick, like me, it’s a genuine part of our illness. Someone touched my brain. Not to mention the fact that my life, thanks to this bitch called Chiari, is forever changed. So, when I get sad, or down, it’s not a matter of knocking it off, or cheering up. I have a chemical imbalance, that is genuinely difficult to overcome. It’s not something to be ashamed of, and it sucks.

It makes everyday life much more difficult to deal with, when it rears it's ugly head. It lies to me and tells me that I'm a bad mother, a bad wife, and bad person. It tells me that I'm fat, ugly and stupid. It tells me I'm worthless, and should just stay in bed, and to forget about bothering for the day, for the week, for the month. But, I do all the right things to try to combat it, when it rears up like a tidal wave: I continue therapy, even when I feel good; I exercise regularly; I eat right; I get dressed; I focus on my hobbies. In other words, I do.

So, last week, when the shit hit the fan, it felt a hundred times worse than it should have. It’s also why I didn’t publish a link, on my FB page, to the last post. See, what last night’s post was for an audience of one, so I didn’t bother. It was angry. I was angry. And, I know it reached it’s intended audience, because, in under 12 hours, it had been viewed almost 80 times. I’m a small-time blogger; I make no qualms, or have any disillusions about the size of my audience. If I have a post viewed 80 times between midnight and 8 am, it’s by one person, especially since I can track how many places it’s coming from. Those 80 views, were from less than 10 unique places. I know that if someone talked, directly about me, I’d be reading it a bunch of times too, getting more and more riled up.

The sad thing is, all of this can be fixed with a phone call, or a ring on the doorbell. It could’ve, been fixed much more easily a year ago; but now, it takes some doing. It sucks to be the one who’s wrong, really wrong, and know it. Hey, I’ve been there too; I was a real bitch to my sister a while back. I was wrong then. I openly admit it. I know what it’s like to be the wrong one, and not be able to admit it to myself, and then to have to, upon reflection.

It's a terrible feeling to wake up one day, and realize you've done something awful, and hurt someone. But that takes two steps: the ability and desire to reflect; and then the act of apologizing. I apologized then. It took a while for her to accept it, and me; but I’m glad she did.

I actually feel badly for people in this position, being forced to hold an indefensible position, when all you’ve got to stand on is, “but she said I was mean!” Imagine, for a moment, that it wasn't me that got sick, that it was a sister, a daughter, a best friend; would you have treated them the same? Even close? What would you have said about the person who had treated them that way?

Now, in this pitiful position, you have to dig your hole deeper and deeper and deeper, until you find peace in acceptance and self-reflection. You have to claim it’s light enough in there to see, and that you love it down there with the filth. The ladder that leads out is always there though; it’s always ready; it’s just that people refuse to see it sometimes.

It's an important part of being an adult; and more importantly, of being a woman, to be able to recognize when we've hurt one another, and then to be able to both apologize and forgive. Without these things we have lost the soft strength that makes us women, the thing that makes us unique from men, but also equal to them. If we don't keep, and hone, our ability to both know our weakness, but also care enough to forgive it in others, we are nothing more than war and anger. We must be better.


So, what do I want to write about now, to get the taste of that nastiness out of my mouth? Let’s see, how about a list of random things that happened to my family in the last week, that brought a smile to my face, despite being in a sucky, depressive state:

 

Blue Pee

Remember how I’ve been having some bladder issues? My urologist gave me some meds to try. Now, I pee Windex. Well, at least it looks like Windex. The meds don’t work, and I’ve since stopped them, and it’s been several days since I took my last dose, but my pee still looks blue. And, when I say blue, I mean blue. I had to go to Urgent Care the other day, because like so many other times before, it seemed like my bladder issues were a UTI (they weren’t), and the nurse said, “Oh my gawd, you’re a Martian!” Apparently, Martians have blue pee. Good to know. If I’m ever suspicious of someone’s earthly origins, I’ll make him pee. Quick, make Trump pee!

Daphne the Great

At the time, this was not funny, and I guess it’s not hilarious in a “I could’ve been killed,” kind-of-way; but, it’s a little funny, really. Daphne hates small dogs. She used to be cool with all dogs; we even took her, as a puppy, to the AKC classes, and she has her little certificates for “Good Citizen,” and everything. She was the biggest puppy there. Hilarity ensued.

But, hundreds of trips to dog parks, and countless small dogs who act like big dogs later, and Daphne has learned that little dogs tend to treat her like a pin-cushion for their dagger teeth. So, she’s stopped laying back and taking it.

Our neighborhood doesn’t have fences; so, if you leave a dog outside, it has to be on a tie-out. Technically, the leases state that you can’t leave them out, unattended, which we follow to the letter, because we live on pretty highly-trafficked corner, for kids and walkers.

On a walk, recently, we passed a house, where a small dog, let’s call her FiFi, was tied up, outside alone. FiFi’s tie-out, was too long, and she could reach the sidewalk. FiFi saw Daphne, and darted from the safety of her yard, to leap on Daphne's back. Picture that. Fifi, literally on Daphne's back.

This is a dog, totally unaware that she just behaved like an asshole.

This is a dog, totally unaware that she just behaved like an asshole.

Can you imagine doing such a thing, if you were a human? It’d be like, if I saw The Rock, and decided to leap on his face, clawing his eyes out. He’d pluck me off, and flick me, like a booger. Daphne did much the same thing, except FiFi, realizing her mistake, dashed back to the safety of her own yard, as if it were protected by a force field. Daphne ran after her, taking me with her; I was pulled underneath the thrashing dogs, and the ankle-biter bit me, in the ankle (shocking), in the melee.

I think that The AKC, when they see this, will come and rescind Daphne’s Good Citizen certificate, despite the fact that she was provoked. She should’ve used her words to resolve the conflict. Or, she should’ve listened, when I said, “heel.” Or, at the very least, she shouldn’t have tried to kill me too. She says she’s very sorry, indicated by deep sleep, and lots of sad-eye faces.  

Boats that Go Nowhere

Collin fixates. Autism is like that. All kids are like that, really. Anyone with a kid knows what it’s like to watch the same movie over and over again. But, parents of kids on the spectrum really know what a fixation is. Last week, Collin started making boats out of pieces of sandstone. He glued two pieces together, a flat bottom, and a “sail” vertically on top, to make a make-shift sailboat structure. I think they are adorable. I think they are less adorable, when they are glued to the following places: my entryway floor, my patio table, and my patio. I wish I’d taken pictures of these voyages, before I scraped them up.

I didn't take any pictures of Collin's boats; but, you are about to read about something gross, so look at Homer being adorable. I mean, look at him. He's precious, right?

I didn't take any pictures of Collin's boats; but, you are about to read about something gross, so look at Homer being adorable. I mean, look at him. He's precious, right?

 

Cockroaches…Cockroaches…Cockroaches!

Collin was being punished last week, pretty harshly, as a means to adjust a piss-poor attitude. As part of his punishment, he had to scrub the patio furniture. The poor kid, I actually felt pretty badly for him, because it turned out that the spigot in the backyard didn’t fit the hose; so, he had to use bucket after bucket load of water, individually, for rinsing. Then, it got worse. As soon as water touched, and seeped around the post of our back patio, the one that holds up the support beam, cockroaches started pouring out of it, scattering and skittering everywhere.

Then, as water continued to fill the ground, on the patio, as he kept scrubbing, they began pouring out of the side of the house, and out of the other beams. They were, no joke, everywhere. So, that kid was out there, scrubbing patio furniture, and actually battling, cockroaches, as they ran around his feet. I kept hearing him yelping and making "hi-ya!" noises, but nothing that sounded dangerous; so, I left him alone. Every time I checked on him he was fine, just scrubbing.

He proudly showed me the carcasses, later. Talk about a punishment! Because he’s such a rule-follower, he knew that he wasn’t supposed to come in until the furniture was clean; so, he stayed out there, with the cockroaches!

I let him out of cleaning the inside of our storage box, mostly because there were at least three, that we could see, black widows in there. But, he did a decent job on the rest. We’ve called maintenance to come spray for the roaches. We’re pretty excited to figure out a place to go, for four hours, on Thursday, with the pets. Should be fun to keep the animals away from a hamster, in a car. I’m open to suggestions.

Insanity

One of the things that has always been me, is exercise. I love it. I am a work-out-aholic. I could spend all day at the gym. So, getting sick, especially in a way that severely limits how much, and how I’m allowed to exercise, for the rest of my life, continues to be especially hard. I’m healed enough to allow things like the elliptical machine, walking, and aerobic exercise; but I’m still not allowed any weightlifting, and maybe never will be. So, I moved from the elliptical, to the Insanity series. Logical, right? Seems legit to skip twenty steps.

Let’s just say that after the first day, despite modifying for my condition, I could barely move. At all. It’s ironic how getting fit can make you hunch over, and shuffle like a ninety-year-old with arthritis. Bryon thought it was hilarious. During the video, Collin begged me to stop, and at one point, started crying, because he’d not seen me so sweaty in such a long time; he thought I was having some sort of heart-attack. I thought I looked pretty. I was merely glistening. I had to stop and remind him that sweat is normal, especially during a heatwave, and when the mean man on the video is trying to kill mommy.

However, I think I sweated for the next eight hours, straight. I was woefully unprepared to start the program. It reminded me that, while something like that would’ve been cake for me before, I am back to square one. The soreness has, since, abated, both because I’ve gotten a little stronger, and because I’ve lightened up, even more, on myself, finding that medium, of what I should be doing, at my level. It’s a tough road to travel without a real map. But, I know I’m not doing anything dangerous or risky, so that’s good.  

We’ve done a few of them together now, as a family, which is a blast. Collin is a big fan of the “high five,” which means he only does any movement at all in order to arrange to meet up, in the middle, to receive, and give, a high-five. It’s pretty adorable.


I hope that, soon, I land on some new ideas. I hope that, soon, some new stuff hits, and I have some better stuff to write about. But, this is a palate cleanser to get that nasty business out of our hair. We’re done with bitchy crap, and we’re done with bitches. Let’s move forward and forget about it. I’m feeling the clouds clearing on my dark spot, and I’m ready to go out and be me again, and I’m ready to go forward without that nonsense too. Who cares about ugliness and ugly people?

I'm so excited to move on,in so many ways. I'm taking a painting class this fall, which should be fun. And, I'm really excited to just be doing more of what I love. Hooray!

I'm so excited to move on,in so many ways. I'm taking a painting class this fall, which should be fun. And, I'm really excited to just be doing more of what I love. Hooray!

 

 

 

Surprise! I Think Black Lives Matter

In an opinion that should shock no one that knows me (I'm as liberal as they come - but, I think it's safe to say I read pretty much everything out there, including right wing sources, which you'll see from things I use), I am heartbroken about what is going on in our country. I literally lost sleep over it last night, and probably will tonight too. Sometimes, it helps me to get it off my chest. I don't expect anyone to read what I ramble about, but here's what I had to say to myself about it:


I.

I couldn’t sleep last night, and I’m up way too early now. None of that is good for my poor recovering brain, but I feel selfish worrying about that. I tossed and turned, ached and cried, spasmed and whimpered. I was bursting with physical pain and emotional turmoil. I write every day, because I’m bursting not to. I write, polish and publish when the thing I have to say is too important to me not to say to others, even if they don't listen.

The recent news of two more black men killed by police, the strain on police departments because of it; and now, the violence and deaths in Texas has kept me thrashing around, worrying for both our nation, and for the dead.

I was struck, by the video of the boy, crying, as his family delivered a message to the media.

When I was young, it was ingrained it me that, when I saw black people on the news, that their intense grief was nothing but a show of histrionics. It still doesn’t make sense to me, as I can’t imagine whose benefit these, supposed, false shows of emotion could be for. It took me a long time to un-train myself from hearing wails as false, or seeing tears as crocodile. I’m ashamed for ever thinking this, even for a second.

Like everyone in the world, I’m an ego-maniac, and I connect everything back to me. How is something about me?  How does the thing I’m seeing or feeling relate to me? Why is it bothering me so much?

As I watched this video, it occurred to me: this boy’s life is forever changed, in a way he never, ever wanted. It’s not unlike how my life is changed, but his is in a far worse way. He woke up today, and now he’s going to go forward, forever, in a way he’s not chosen. I wake up today, going forward, in a way that I’d never have chosen. He’s being forced to give up someone he’d not have given. I’ve been forced to give up so very much that I’d never have given. I know what it’s like to be forever altered by something that I didn’t chose.

It sounds melodramatic, but it’s true on its most basic level. My fundamental life choices, like his, are not mine anymore. Indignities chip away at you, small, at first, until you are a former marathon runner, picking up a permanent handicapped placard. You need it, because your stupid brain gets overwhelmed, and you get lost at supermarkets; and, if you don’t park near the door, you wouldn’t be able to find the damn car. Oh, and you’d better use a cart while you are there, or you’ll lose your balance and fall into the canned peaches.

I picture this boy, his life being slowly chipped away at, too. First, he’s stuck in a shitty community, probably called the n-word a time or two, harassed by police, perhaps he drops out of a shitty school; then, he loses his father at a simple traffic stop. Now, he will forever be the boy on the news, falling into his family for support. The boy with the dead dad. That never goes away. Maybe that's why he, in particular struck me? I don't know.


II.

Raised in a suburb of Detroit, I was taught all of the requisite Civil Rights things at school. I’d challenge anyone to find an area of America where racism is much worse, and I don’t mean the KKK-type racism, or the cross-burning-on-the-lawn-type, I mean the quiet-type, where people think they aren’t racist at all. Although, now that I’m watching the rise of King Trump, maybe I’m wrong about my hometown; most of America seems to be like where I grew up, I just didn’t know it.

This is quiet racism; and I think that the quiet-type of racist is the worst kind, because they don’t know they have a problem. They’ll deny it until their dying day, even to themselves. They “have black friends” that are different than “regular” black people. They think there should be a White History month too. They think Affirmative Action is biased against white people; and while they’re at it, they believe that white men are the most disenfranchised people in America. They don’t hate anyone, but they’re pretty sure that the black woman down the street is on welfare, even though she’s got a nice car, and how many men come to and from her house? Which one is the father of her children? How many baby-daddies does she have? How did she even afford this neighborhood? They roll their eyes, and Facebook-blast anyone they see on EBT, if God forbid, they should pull their card out of a nice wallet, or if it’s nestled next to an iPhone.

Black History Month rings clear in my memories of childhood. Carmen Harlan, one of the most beautiful black women in the world, anchored our local newscast, and Rosa Parks lived in our local area. Our area did a lot of feature stories on her, throughout my childhood. But, all I remember was a lot of whining about how, here we go again with her, and how all she did was not stand up. There were a jokes about how maybe she was just tired, or maybe she was just, gasp, lazy. I remember repeating them, and wish to hell that I hadn’t.

I ALWAYS use photos I have a right to use, but I have NO right to this image. Don't tell on me :) I looked EVERYWHERE for a non copyrighted image of Carmen Harlan, but I couldn't find one. As a penance,  here's how you can find it  (and an unflattering story about her, frankly). This is her publicity shot from Local 4 news, and this is a historical shot of Rosa Parks.

I ALWAYS use photos I have a right to use, but I have NO right to this image. Don't tell on me :) I looked EVERYWHERE for a non copyrighted image of Carmen Harlan, but I couldn't find one. As a penance, here's how you can find it (and an unflattering story about her, frankly). This is her publicity shot from Local 4 news, and this is a historical shot of Rosa Parks.

When Rosa Parks came across the screen, and the whole month of black history coverage began, it was like my household began a colonoscopy, something to be endured, that was supposedly good for you, and that you might make good-natured jokes about enduring: “Hey doc, how’s it lookin’ down there? I cleaned house for ya! Ha Ha!” It should be noted that, while her funeral was lavish and ornate, she died penniless. We loved her once a year, and when she was gone, apparently.

I was raised in a town that called black squirrels, squiggers. I was so imbedded in quiet racism that, years later, after I was married, I pointed one out, and said it to my husband. Even then, after I’d shed most of the indoctrinated racism, that tiny bit had remained. I didn’t catch it, before I’d said it, or even automatically thought it, apparently; but, as soon as the word fell out of mouth, I felt it on my tongue, as if it tasted bad. I realized that I had been saying it, thinking harmlessly, my whole life. Quiet racism: the worst kind. It seeps in, and you don’t even know it’s there.

A black squirrel, not that  other  name - photo credit Robert Taylor

A black squirrel, not that other name - photo credit Robert Taylor

I grew up thinking that the only difference between MLK and Malcom X was that MLK was the good one who peacefully talked to the blacks about getting stuff, and that Malcom X was the one who taught them that violence was the only way. I grew up thinking that affirmative action would keep me from getting my fair share. I was taught that welfare queens were taking my hard earned money, and that they were almost all welfare queens below 8 Mile. I was taught that they make baby after baby, just for the check, and that’s their only source of income, that or drugs. I heard how they sound, with ridiculous imitations of Ebonics, and that education is always a choice of work ethic. I was taught these things, but none of them are true.

I was taught, worst of all, that reverse racism is worse than racism, and that black people hate us worse than we hate them. I was taught to fear reprisal from black people, and that they were, mostly, out to get me, as punishment for what my ancestors, had done to their people. Or worse, they were after me for that intangible piece of something they thought they deserved from me that I had to protect with all I had because it was mine not to share. I worked hard for my piece and they hadn't, so I had to hold fast to my piece, even though I was still a kid, and hadn't learned yet what work meant, I had been taught that, somehow, I had earned my place in the schema of mine versus theirs.

I have a child of my own, and it occurs to me how malleable a child’s mind is. I want him to know none of these terrible things about my fellow man. When he looks at a black man, woman, or child, I want him to see nothing but possibility, nothing but the potential for good, the same as when he looks at any man, woman, or child. I don’t want him to look at a black man suspiciously, just in case. And, that’s what we are teaching him. We aren’t teaching him quiet racism, that everyone is the same…mostly. We’re teaching him that everyone is the same.

We live across the street from a black man. He’s a fire chief. I don’t want him to see that that black man is okay because he’s a fire chief, employed, and is one of the good ones, as I would’ve been taught. I want him to see a fire chief. I want him to see the guy who has the cute dog. I want him to see the man who sometimes brings the fire engine home. I want him to see his friend’s dad. If he sees that he’s black, I want it to see that as the last thing on the list of his descriptors.

III.

This is what #blacklivesmatter is all about. It comes from a space of pure frustration. We must stop, not only to notice that we've taught our children this, but also to notice the worst. We have to recognize that our fellow black men and women, are being put in dangerous situations more often than our white brothers and sisters; and when we see this, we have to step up to protect them, by noticing the problem, together.

I can’t condone all of their tactics, but I can recognize the place of frustration that it comes from. I am a lifelong member of PETA; I don't love everything they do, but I do believe in their message. The same holds here with #blacklivesmatter. You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater when something goes wrong.

Even the organizers are frustrated with the level of violence the movement has reached, with the deaths in Texas last night. No one, and I mean, NO ONE wants police officers to die. No one wants anyone to die. That’s the whole point.

Today, the half of the country that wasn’t infuriated at the deaths of two innocent black men is irate at the deaths and injuries of five police officers killed (and seven injured). The “war” seems to begin with shots like this volleyed:

Why so aggressive? Why so divisive? The argument being that #blacklivesmatter is divisive, I assume? It's not. It's meant to say, "Hey, we need  your  help, white people! Notice us!"

Why so aggressive? Why so divisive? The argument being that #blacklivesmatter is divisive, I assume? It's not. It's meant to say, "Hey, we need your help, white people! Notice us!"

And, it gets worse with former Rep Joe Walsh, and veteran policy advisor to republican leaders, who said, in his (smartly!) deleted tweet: " 3 Cops Killed. 7 Wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter Punks. Real America is Coming after you." Pause for a minute, and take that in. If you aren't angry at that guy, you are a huge part of the problem. He's inciting violence against the President of your country; he's literally talking about a race war (which lots of conservatives claim President Obama incites every time he speaks); and he's, in no uncertain terms, dividing America into two camps: us versus them.

We don’t have to be on one side, or team, or the other. The majority of police officers are good, upstanding men and women, who abhor what’s happening. We can’t function in a society without police. We don’t need to see a viral video of a police officer buying a destitute woman a car seat; or of a bunch of them playing basketball with some kids, to know that good police officers exist. Equally, we don’t need to see viral stories of black kids getting scholarships to ivy league schools to know that good black kids exist.

We don’t need to be on one side, or the other. We need to be equally outraged when we see innocent men gunned down, as when we see police officers killed by a lunatic who couldn't take the frustration anymore. Instead, half of America gets mad one day; and the other half gets mad the next. The first half waits for Fox News to tell them that the innocent men were actually “thugs,” with drug arrests in their background. Or, at the very least, they wait for some photos of them with baggy jeans and dreadlocks. That same first half is, now, full of rage the next day, when police officers are killed, forgetting entirely about innocent men, except in the context that they get to be grouped in the mass of they who are responsible for the madness of ONE man, killing men in blue. The second half, who was angry the first day, stays angry the whole time, except they are saddened the second day, to have their cause muddied by more senseless violence.

All it would take would be for the middle-of-the-roaders, the fence-posters, the quiet racists to shake off their airs and realize that they are not who they are pretending to be: they are racists, not a Benetton ad. If they realized that they were the racists they think they aren’t, I believe that the overwhelming majority of them would be ashamed, and change their ways. It’s time for those who claim that #alllivesmatter to realize that their quiet racism isn’t just part of the problem, it is the problem. No one ever said white people weren’t important; we’re just saying that, today, right now, black people are the ones in trouble, so let’s focus on how to fix it. Let’s address the problem. Stop throwing a tantrum about not being included in the title, and pay attention to the people that are being gunned down for, literally, no reason.

Source: Occupy Democrats, propublica.org. analysis of deadly force shows "outsize risk for young black males" (2014). I'm not a big fan of inflammatory memes with no data to back them up, but this is data, hard data. We can't ignore it, and neither should young black males.

Source: Occupy Democrats, propublica.org. analysis of deadly force shows "outsize risk for young black males" (2014). I'm not a big fan of inflammatory memes with no data to back them up, but this is data, hard data. We can't ignore it, and neither should young black males.

Ask yourself this, and be honest about the answer:

 

If you can say, truly, that you’d be the only one to stand up, then you can keep telling yourself that #alllivesmatter. I wouldn't stand up. I am not happy with their arrest rate being higher. I'm not happy that I don't have to tell my son how to behave differently when he's pulled over. I'm not happy that he automatically has better access to schools, neighborhoods, jobs and, literally, everything. I'm not happy that I automatically have better access to healthcare, money and wealth.

I don’t know what I can do, as a middle class white girl, dripping with privilege, to actively help, except to stand up, and say, that I’m with you. I agree that #blacklivesmatter. I cannot stand idly by anymore and pretend that they don’t. It's uncomfortable to admit, aloud, for some people, that #blacklivesmatter, because for some, they take it as an insult. If you take it as insult, you are a quiet racist. You are one of those that I just wrote about, who thinks you need to be counted in #alllives matter. Wake up. This isn't your problem; you aren't being killed, needlessly, right now.

I won't sit in the comfortable space, where I don't offend anyone, by saying #alllivesmater. I will sit where it's uncomfortable with my white people, but be in the right place, and say #blacklivesmatter, loud and proud. I will not scream #bluelivesmatter, despite the fact that they DO. They matter EVERY day. I won't scream it louder than #blacklivesmatter for one simple reason: when we do, we cloud the issue and pretend it's a team, where one has to win. We know blue lives matter. Everyone does. Let's not play red herring on that one. Let's talk about why we're here: to stop seeing our fellow Americans, our black fellow Americans, dead in our streets. I love our law enforcement officers, including my law enforcement friends, and I value their lives as well. Valuing one, does not mean I don't value the other. I refuse to play teams.

I stand with President Obama on this one:

He ordered the flags on military installations, embassies, etc flown at half-staff today, through July 12, in honor of the slain officers. The shame is that had he done the same for the murdered black men,  he'd be seen as race-baiting. It wouldn't be the first time he's been accused of that. He's in a terrible position because he's black, which is unfortunate for him.

It took me a long time to realize that crocodile tears weren't a thing, and calling black squirrels something awful was not cool. It took me a long time to realize that my neighbor was just a fire chief, and not a black fire chief. It took me a long time to realize all of those things I'd been taught were bullshit. And, no one likes the idea of hearing that they are probably a racist, but it needs to be heard; and, it needs to be said. If they can't start hearing it, I think, our country is headed toward a meltdown of Civil Rights proportions.

These days, I’m basically assumed to be one of “those,” a crazy liberal bleeding heart; or, more simply: an idiot, or a fool. But, there are worse things to be assumed to be than a fool. I could be a racist fool.

#blacklivesmatter