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One April Afternoon

The sun rolled across the sky on beams that turned like spokes. White and bright the sun gave off light but not enough heat for a little girl child to play outside without her sweater.

While the sun reigned white in the sky, I played brown on the ground, play writing with a stick on the stoop in front of my house.

Poppa stood looking over me in the storm door in the front of my house. “Keep me safe Poppa. Watch me play Poppa. See me write my three year old name in three year old letters only three year olds can read in the invisible ink from an oak tree stick only three year olds can see.”

Poppa smiled and a brown girl laughed

Poppa heard something, turned his head, turned his body and walked into the middle room of our row house.

“Where are you going Poppa? Did the phone ring Poppa? Is momma calling from work? Can I talk to her Poppa?”

I pushed the button in the storm door handle to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. My hands were small you see, but I bet if I tried harder I could push it.

Screamer.

The scream started in the south and grew as it rolled like thunder crying. Closer and louder, closer and louder, now like a choir singing in a mourning mother’s wail. I pushed the button harder as the scream grew louder and closer. I held onto the door handle and with all my strength I pulled and pulled and shook the door. I bowed my head and closed my eyes and prayed the scream would stop, but it didn’t. It stung me when it hit me and rolled over me and over me, louder and louder, adding voices all screaming, screaming, screaming. Oh Poppa! Make it stop! Make it stop! Make it Stop!

The button finally pushed in and the door swung back on me, almost swung over me. I cut my ankle but I did not let go and somehow I got inside. I heard the storm door slam as I ran, ran, ran to the middle room, to Poppa. Poppa would keep me safe. Poppa would make everything all right.

Poppa stood in the middle of the middle room staring at the TV set. “Poppa?” I said. “Poppa?”

He didn’t answer. He just stood and stared. I looked in his eyes. His eyes were dead. But they were still staring, staring at the TV set.

I turned and looked at the TV set. The man on the TV set was talking. His eyes were dead too, but he kept on talking.

He said Dr. Martin Luther King was shot.

Dr. Martin Luther King was dead.

 

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Anger

Seeking the good can mean we rise in anger. Not fear, not hate, not madness, but anger, a passion inflamed by aggression on trust, assaults on compassion, and attacks on justice. Anger in response to infliction of affliction upon the collective conscience and the individual id is right and righteous and required.

Do not fear but embrace your power, do not constrain but concentrate your rage, and

RISE! RISE! RISE!

and lay low the practices, policies, and peculiarities of perversion, prejudice, passivity and perniciousness.

Be up for the fight, stand for the right and

RISE!

ON BEING WOMEN

Being a woman is not a game

It’s not about pussy hats
Not about cute t-shirts
Not about ironic or sarcastic memes
Being a woman is serious

It’s not about a one day “strike”
It’s not about chanting “77 cents”
It’s not about a few women taking a day’s leave from work while most woman dare not leave work for a day
Being a woman is hard

It’s not about marching once and going home
It’s not about selfies with celebrities on the National Mall
It’s not about feeling inspired and proud and clapping hands and rocking bodies with arms locked to an old negro spiritual
Being a woman is continuous

Being a woman is work
It’s about walking a gauntlet of cat calls and grabbing hands just to make it through a shift at work
It’s about second hand stores and overrun bins and patches on patches for you so your kids can look decent at school
It’s pleading with bill collectors and rent collectors and tax collectors for more time because your boss just can’t seem to find the money that is your worth

It’s being sick and tired of being sick and tired and risking the job you have to organized for the job you need
It’s about jobs 2 and 3 that are not for extra money but I-Need-Every-Damn-Dime-to-Get-through-the-Week money
It’s about working sick, working hurt, running to the car on break to check on your kids because there is no money for childcare this week.

It’s about running after buses everyday
It’s about surveillance cameras and locker searches and peeing in a cup
It’s about tears and fears and singing dirges and torch songs and every melody tuned to the blues searching for a deliverance gospel.

Being a woman is hard, and scarring, and scary and serious business.

And yet, …

Women rise with every dawn and love on their kids and hug on their lovers and work on their jobs and laugh loud and draw crowds and find hidden joy even in the sorrow and never lose the hope of tomorrow and

Live on
Live on
Live on

Liberals without a Left

From Jan. 23, 2016

 

“In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue.”
― Chris Hedges, The Death of the Liberal Class

This is how a liberal class works provided a society has a left and a right side to its politics. Liberals referee those two sides in an effort to grant dignity to common people and legitimacy to the ruling class thus ensuring the stability of the republic. But what happens when one of the those sides is missing? When there is no real left, what does the liberal referee? The answer is, without two actual opponents, the liberal must now step in and play the role of opposition in a fight that now has no referee. That by itself is problematic, but then add to that situation the fact that the now opposition actually agrees with its opponent roughly 50% of the time. What kind of a debate is this going to be? One that moves ever to the right, that’s what kind. The goal of dignity for the commoner recedes from view leaving only the legitimacy of the king to shape the nations narrative. Without critique from the left, this belief in legitimacy devolves into dogma and soon the commoner is a slave, the king is a despot and the republic is totalitarian state.

Keep this in mind during the upcoming circus known as the 2016 Election. This ain’t about Bernie, Hillary, or a clown car. This about who we will be for this century. Do we stand and draw the line in the sand saying “This far and NO FARTHER,” or do we sign a suicide pact where our only choice is slow or quick poison.

A Little Bit of Truth

Our Story for the Day
A Little Bit of Truth

(The story is not mine, but this is my telling of it)

Satan and an Imp sat high on a cloud that ringed a great blue mountain. They sat there staring down a long and winding road. They sat there an awfully long time.

In the middle of the afternoon, on the eastern horizon, a figure appeared, walking on the road. As the figure grew closer, Satan and the Imp could see it was a man. Not a tall or short man, not a rich or a poor man, not a thin or fat, just an ordinary man. As the man walked on, the sun glinted off something beside the road and it caught his attention. He stepped off the road, stooped down, ran his fingers through the grass until he felt what he had seen. Upon standing he cleaned the little dirt that was on it, smiled at what he had found, put it in his pocket and continued on his way. Satan smiled.

“Father,” asked the Imp, “what did the man just find?”

Said Satan, “Oh, he just found a little bit of truth.”

“Oh Father! Shouldn’t we go after him and take it from him? Surely we don’t man to have the truth!” said the Imp.

“My son,” said Satan, “Do not worry. It is only a little bit of truth. The man will take it home and polish it and look at it and come to set great store by it. He will place it high in his home and come to worship it and demand others do the same. Then it will become dogma. And then he will be working for me.”

Satan and the Imp smiled and went back to looking down the road until the sun finally set.

Image

A Meme to Keep in Mind

what-if

White Folk Meet White Folk

White Folk really don’t deal well when white folk disappoint them. I expect to be disappointed by white folk so when they do, it doesn’t really faze me. And on those occasions when they don’t, it’s a red letter day for me and they actually make me happy. But when white folk disappoint white folk, Oh My God! That is a world ender! I don’t think I have ever seen so many sad and shocked faces, heard so much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and of course all the “whys?” and “How-could-this-happens?” as I have in the last 48 hours. It’s like white folk had never met white folk before.

Of course white folk voted for Donald Trump and in numbers sufficient to elect him President of the United States. Why does this surprise anyone? Is it because we have a black president? Hasn’t everyone been watching how our black president has been treated? How his family has been treated? No, he hasn’t been shot, but that is not because people don’t want to shoot him but because the Secret Service has been doing its job and doing it well.

Is there some belief that bigotry stopped some time in the last 8 years? If so, can someone please explain to me The Tea Party, Alex Jones, Voter Suppression, the hatred of the name #BlackLivesMatter, and why shooting unarmed black people by the police doesn’t get anyone fired?

Poor white folk blaming non-white folk for what rich white folk to do them, as well as believing anything rich white folk tell them, has been going on ever since the 17th century when rich white folk noticed poor white folk and non-white folk were forming alliances. Rich white folk thought they had to buy the allegiance of poor white folk or watch their fortunes be taken from them. They came up with a currency of cruelty named by W.E.B. Dubois as the Psychological Wages of Whiteness. Whiteness itself became a thing of value that made all white people simply due to the color of their skin better than anyone who was not white. So valuable was this wage that all kinds of racial rules and regulations were set up to protect whiteness from any taint or blemish even by one drop. So precious was this thing called whiteness that even the institutions of society were called upon to uphold its rightness and protect its existence from all enemies foreign or domestic. Soon whiteness was permeating every aspect, every corner of society until whiteness was a fundamental to being American as breathing the air here, and in some ways just as visible.

Over time, we have eradicated and eliminated the more overt aspects of the primacy of whiteness (also known as White Supremacy) in our daily lives: Race slavery and Jim Crow, American Indian Boarding Schools, Anti-Asian immigration laws.

But by the time de jure White Supremacy was done away; de facto supremacy was firmly entrenched in the American way of life, living in the institutions of society and the norms of the culture. Racism without effort was found to be far more appealing and effective than any misogyny law or restricted hotel.

In the norms and institutions lived the ideas and ideology of supremacy. People didn’t really have to explain it, people just sort of knew. White folk are above other folk. Why, isn’t it obvious? White folk are deserving of the benefit of the doubt in all they do, the assumption of innocence, and when they fail, second, third and fourth chances, as many chances as necessary. Thus, white people treat each other with both a sort of sight and a sort of blindness. They tend to see the good in each other and not the bad, the help offered in society’s institutions and norms but not the harm they do. This brings us to the day after the election of Donald Trump.

White folk, most if not all of whom pride themselves on the black friends they have, the volunteer work they do with immigrant communities, all the marches and vigils and Cornel West and Tim Wise speeches they attend were feeling pretty good election day morning. They had watched Ted Talks and Fora TV and were feeling pretty confident that herstory would be made. They knew racism was real and racists existed, and that racists supported Trump. They watched PBS and listened to NPR and the hardcore among them had actually been in a Die-In for Black Lives Matter. But there weren’t THAT many racists. After all, the white people they knew, while they might tell a bigoted jokes or express a disturbing idea, were all decent people deep down, not like a REAL racists like David Duke.

Well it turns out, when good people tell racist jokes, it’s because they are racist. When they talk about knowing how those people are, they mean it. And while these people may never wear a sheet or burn a cross, they will vote for a fascist. Welcome to the full effects of your privilege ladies and gentleman, the luxury of white denial.

So have a good cry white folk. It’s hard when a good dream dies. So get some rest, get some sleep and wake up and face the bright white day. White supremacy is real and all around you. In fact, you’re soaking in it.