Friday, July 31, 2015

What the What?

Do you ever just get the feeling that something is wrong?

Something that you can't quite put your finger on, but something just feels off?
I'm feeling that way right now. Like something rotten is just over the horizon, approaching fast. All signs point to some sort of crash and burn... but what?
I think I might know, but I hope I'm wrong. Because shit feels pretty sucky right now. It's not been a great week, real-world wise.

Nothing tragic, nothing earth-shattering... just ick all over the place. The work week went on forever, even though I was out of the office a good portion of it, shuttling my dad to a variety of doctor's appointments. And all of them went very well. He's healthy as a horse for an 86 year old.
And the work week ended well, too. It ended early, which is always a nice surprise from the boss on a Friday afternoon. And this morning I got a stellar annual review. Oh, and there's a raise coming soon, too.

We have a beautiful new baby in the family, and she's plump and healthy, as is Mom. My best friend is going through some pretty good stuff.  
So what is it? What's wrong? I don't know.

PMS, for certain. And maybe that's all it is. I hope that's all it is.

Oh, there was this one thing... I completed my bucket list. And I don't have a bucket list.
At least, I've never actually compiled one. I just don't have a lot of things I feel I need to accomplish, or things I want to do.

But there was this one thing... something I've been waiting to do for years and couldn't do until I was 45. And I did it Monday night. Something goofy, but it was terrifying and instead of feeling I'd accomplished something, I just felt... meh. And realized that this one thing I wanted to do was done.

So what next? I'm 45 and I've done all I want to do?
Perhaps I just need a good night's sleep. Gotta shake these feelings. Probably should have blogged earlier, as it always makes me feel better to just write something, anything, but the urge just hasn't been there.
Dread. I feel an impending sense of dread. And very lonely. No one around to share my malaise with, not that I like to dump my blahs on other people, but it's been a lonely week.
That's the way things go, I suppose. I know I've angered a couple of people this week. Even my sweet papa... he actually got mad and hung up on me yesterday. That one really upset me. He hasn't been angry at me in a very, very long time. It hurt. And he, and we, were fine a few minutes later. He was frustrated about something completely unrelated and I was unable to jump up and take care of it as quickly as he'd have liked me to.
I hated to disappoint him. It made me feel like a bad daughter. And it made me cry.
There were tears a few times this week. Because in spite of the fact that, really, everything was just fine, I kept getting overwhelmed with stuff. Just stuff. Nothing of consequence.
And maybe that's it. No, they weren't important things in the grand scheme, but in that moment, those moments, they were matters of great consequence to me.

But it felt like I was giving and giving and giving... and you don't give with the expectation of getting something in return, but I felt that I wasn't important. My things weren't important to anyone but me, in the midst of making everyone else's things also important to me.

Sometimes I get tired of always putting others first, and not having anyone put me first. Family, friends, coworkers... I don't think I've had a single person ask me how I am this week.

That's a lonely and helpless feeling. At the end of the day, when everyone else is with their loved ones... I'm alone. I'm used to that... being alone. It's the life I've chosen, but I rarely feel alone and lonely.

I feel alone and lonely.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Part V - I'm Guilty, Too

This whole thing has been keeping me from sleeping much the last few nights. I thought I was done, then as I was lying awake in bed tonight (it's 4:49am where I am) it occurred to me that I've been doing what I've been accusing others of doing- pointing fingers at everyone else and not at myself.
I have been known to make terribly offensive racist jokes in my 45 years. A lot more when I was younger, before I left Kentucky for a while and got to see some of the world outside my little borders, but I still slip up.

I'm judgmental as hell. I will judge the fuck out of you. I try hard to keep it to myself, but I'm still doing it. I have to stop and shake myself sometimes to remind myself that just because a person is different from me, has different thoughts and opinions as me, that I shouldn't mock them.
I can be unaccepting and intolerant- my weakness is religious people. Believing in any god is just beyond my comprehension and I tend to be very impatient and unrelenting in my quest to "enlighten" people in the error of their ways when it comes to believing what is, in my opinion, a tall tale.

I have a pretty ridiculous IQ. High, I mean. Tested off the charts when I was younger- which was a bad thing because when you're told by the experts that you're smarter than the average bear, and you're pretty much just a kid, it lead me to think smarter equaled better. It took me a long time to realize I was the weird one, and that having an IQ lower than mine didn't mean people were stupid. I was a completely obnoxious twat for a period of years there before I realized that a high IQ and a $1.50 would buy me a cup of coffee.
I'm convinced I'm right about a lot of things and I hold steadfast in those beliefs. Hell, I think I could whip this world into shape if I was the Supreme Ruler of All Things. How ridiculous is that assumption, huh?

The fact of the matter is that I'm as flawed and stupid as anyone else.
In different ways than other people, yes... but still flawed and stupid. There's nothing wrong with that, either. Knowing that you're flawed and stupid is a great way to open yourself up to learning and wanting to change, to make changes.

But this is about me, not you. Admitting that I am far, far, far from perfect- like you all didn't already know that. :-)
I know there are things I need to change. I should absolutely stop smoking. I need to exercise and eat better. Holy christ, do I suck with money! I can't budget for shit.

I'm unforgiving- just look at my relationship with my sister. I'll never forgive her, never accept her apologies. I get mad and I don't let go. I'm passive-aggressive, though I have gotten better with that over the past couple of years. I avoid confrontation.

And that's all just the tip of the iceberg.
So when I'm here preaching at others all about how they should act, think, communicate, etc., I also think it's important for me to admit, to realize, I'm just as guilty as everyone I'm preaching at.

I'm naturally introspective, but I've been much more so recently as I examine my place in the world, our places in the world. And I see my flaws, my imperfections- some that I can change, some that I can't. But making myself make those changes? That's hard, y'all.

I love smoking. I know I should quit, but I don't want to. Cancer runs rampant in my family and I know damn good and well it's going to kill me, too, yet I'm loathe to stop doing the one thing that is going to hasten that certain death one day.
Food is fucking delicious, and it's even better in large quantities, and exercise sucks. Sitting here in front of the computer, or lying on my couch watching Netflix is so much more fun.

And those are the easier things to change. Being judgmental and unforgiving? I don't even know where to begin. The stuff inside, in my brain- that's hard. Changing the way I think, changing my views, changing the very way my brain processes things- wow. How does one even begin?
I honestly don't know. I can catch myself when I'm doing it- but do I stop? I know I can take things, take situations, and go away and ruminate on them, dissect and evaluate and reevaluate... but I can't stop myself in the moment. The visceral gut reactions.

I guess it's all part of being human. We are flawed. Always will be, and I suppose we just have to accept that.

So here I sit, typing, stopping, thinking, typing... and I accept myself. And I accept you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Part IV - So Where Does That Leave Us?

So on one hand, we have people being way too easily offended by innocuous and innocent things, such as trying on a kimono at an art exhibit in a museum.

On the other hand, we have a big ass bunch of stuff that absolutely is offensive, such as wearing a bikini of the confederate flag.
I couldn't think of a good photo theme for this one so I just went to the beach and took my top off.
Where, and what, is the line?

It's blurry. And it's different for everyone. My line won't be your line, and your line won't be his line, and his line won't be her line.

How do we deal with all these lines?

The answer, I think, is easy... the execution is extremely hard.
Communication- something we Americans suck at.

We all know how to talk, but we're bad at listening. Not just listening- hearing. We are so certain, so determined, that we're right, whichever side we're standing on, that we don't hear what the opposition is saying.

And I think that's bad, too. Referring to others with differing opinions as the opposition. Being questioned about our deeply-held, deeply-seated beliefs makes us feel off kilter. It puts us on edge and makes us dig in our heels even more.

So we talk... and talk and talk, just like I've done in these blog posts. And we're so busy talking, we're not listening, and we're not thinking.
Each of us have our own life experiences. Our unique histories, though often shared, such as the black community and the history of slavery and oppression. It would be impossible, and insulting, for me to try to say I understand how they feel, or what they've been through, or what they go through.

I have never in my life felt scared of a police officer. There is no way for me to comprehend the feelings of the black community who are clearly, obviously, and openly, regularly and systemically targeted by law enforcement for the crime of Being Black.

It would be easy for a person like me to dismiss the anger of the black community, simply because what they are living with has never applied to me. It's something I've not been witness to, been targeted for.
But here's the thing, people. Just because I have not experienced it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Racism in America is alive and well.

And a big ass symbol of that racism is the Confederate flag.

Don't believe me? Check out the League of the South, a neo-confederate hate group that actually stopped using the flag a couple of years ago (until the recent brouhaha made them start using it again) because, in their own words, it had been appropriated- debouched, even- as a redneck pride symbol worn on "tacky bikinis by tasteless women". They were actually offended because the flag wasn't being used as it was originally intended- as a symbol of white supremacy. When you are so trashy that a white supremacist group thinks you're trashy, you might need to rethink some of your life choices.

Did you know the Anti-Defamation League maintains a database of hate symbols? Guess what's on it! That's right- the Confederate flag, right there alongside Klan robes, nooses and swastikas. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 hate groups use the Confederate flag.

Don't belong to one of those hate groups? Then why the fuck would you want to wear it?
I lost my train of thought- again- surprise!

Where was I?

Oh, yes... communication.

Empathy. I believe that empathy is severely lacking in our culture today. The ability to, if not walk in another man's shoes, at least recognize that just because you can't do that, doesn't mean you can't concede that what they have experienced, are experiencing, is real and important.

The Confederate flag, for example, may not be a symbol of your own personal hatred of blacks, and you may not personally be a white supremacist, but to most of the world, that's exactly what it is. And what it was designed to be. So what does it cost you to not display it, not wear it?
I am a southerner, sort of. Kentucky is definitely south of the Mason-Dixon line but could hardly be considered the deep south. I have always considered myself a southerner, though. I am proud of a great many southern things- sweet tea, "y'all"- the best damn contraction in the world, our incredible diversity, barbeque, the blues, biscuits and mother-fucking gravy, the best insult ever (Bless your heart!), our kindness, our fierce accents, the fact that the south is fucking gorgeous.

But being a proud southerner doesn't mean I'm blind to our faults, too. It doesn't mean I can't criticize things that are just fucking wrong- like the damn Confederate flag. I hate camo, hunting as an excuse to drink beer and kill things, guns, boiled peanuts (what the fuck, soggy peanuts?!), chitlins, Bourbon is gross, and yes, we still have a huge damn portion of the population that are racist, homophobic and sexist.

And I hate it, but I'm not going to pretend it doesn't fucking exist. And it doesn't mean I'm not going to rail against it every chance I get and do my best to change people's ways of thinking.

I will be offended by the use of the Confederate flag. I will be offended by the willful ignorance displayed by so many of my southern compadres. I will beg people to educate themselves and stop thinking that a lack of knowledge is something to be proud of.

And I will show compassion. I will be empathetic to those who are experiencing things I cannot understand or experience myself.

It's not always easy. You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone and that's a difficult thing to do. You have to realize that there are some things you will never be able to fully understand, and put aside your own experiences in order to be kind.
Be kind.

Communicate and be kind. Listen, and be kind. Hear, and be kind.

Know when it's okay to be prideful, and when it's best to put away your pride and be humble.

Accept that you cannot know everything, and be willing to learn. Embrace that sometimes you are wrong, and be willing to change.

Be kind.

Love each other for, and in spite of, our differences. Be proud of who you are and where you're from, but be willing to concede the faults inherent to your culture, whatever culture that is.

Be kind.

Just be kind.

Okay, I'm done. I'm going to take a breather and then I promise I'll go back to dirty pictures for a while! Maybe. Unless something else comes up that I feel I have to trawl through in my muddled, confused, all-over-the-fucking-place way. But I promise there'll be dirty pictures, too.

Except I'm not done. One more part and I swear I'm finished!

Part V to come... I'm Guilty, Too.




Monday, July 13, 2015

Part III - Ignoring the Real Issue

The problem here is that by focusing our attention on silly things like kimonos and flags, we're completely brushing over the real issues that need to be addressed. The real racism, the real sexism, the real oppression and discrimination.

And in the case of that damn flag, the very real problem of (lack of) gun control in America.
I can't... won't... even pose with a real fake gun in world, so...  BUBBLES! Bubbles are awesome!
I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but I have a strong feeling that there is a very real agenda behind why the flag fiasco came to the forefront- it stopped people from talking about guns. How utterly ridiculous is it that we have spent so much time since the murders in Charleston worrying about a goddamn flag instead of keeping the guns out of the hands of people who should not have them?
And this is where I get angry. I feel used by the media... we have been manipulated into making a Very Big Deal out of something that all Americans know is a symbol of racism and hate and that the vast majority of Americans look at with scorn already. Most of American already knows that there are a bunch of really painfully ignorant southerners who are still clinging to the misguided ridiculous notion that the south will rise again in all its bigoted, racist glory and we know that isn't going to happen and that those idiot rednecks are a dying breed that are being left behind as we progress.

Yet we allowed the conversation to be steered away by FOX News, the NRA, the Republicans and a host of other old white men cradling their AK47s to their bosoms while sobbing their pathetic, tiny-dicked battle cry of "They're after my guns!"
Dylann Roof is responsible for murdering 9 black people in a church. He used a gun he never should have had. He used a gun.

Do not throw your goofy "guns don't kill people" line at me. You insult my intelligence while making a laughing stock of your own lack of intelligence. Study after study after study have shown time and fucking time again that more guns does not equal more safety. If you carry a gun, you are more likely to be shot. You can deny that all you want- the numbers prove it. Google it for yourself if you don't believe me. Having a gun does not mean you are safer- it means the opposite.
The truth is, I would like to abolish all guns. I, of course, know this isn't possible. Strict gun control and strict regulation are all we've got. I've written about this before and I'm not going to go through it again.
Guns are bad. Guns are even worse in the wrong hands. And those wrong hands are far too often people who are legally able to purchase them.

And I'm livid that in the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, we've been coached into a fight about a fucking flag.
This is how America deals with issues. We don't get to the heart of the matter- we gloss over. Our government is so mired down in bullshit traditions and layers of bureaucracy that nothing ever fucking gets done. The very way our country was designed is what is keeping it from ever fucking accomplishing anything. We have our three branches- executive, legislative and judicial. Our two party system is fucked because neither side will give a fucking inch- not because of our politician's beliefs, but because they have been bought and sold.
We swear our fealty to the Constitution- an out-dated document that belongs in a museum right alongside the Confederate flag. And oh my god, the vitriol that is spewed if anyone dares suggest that maybe it's time to rewrite the damn thing in a way that makes sense in the 21st century. Thanks to individuals like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers, who have the power money to not only buy the politicians, but the media, too, and lie like mother-fucking dogs in order to instill such a fear of change in the American people. And they get richer while everyone else gets poorer, thus insuring that the lower and middles classes, and even the upper classes, have zero power because the country is run by the 1%.
We have the Senate and the House of Representatives passing legislative measures that none of them actually like because by the time there is a vote, there is so much pork added to the bill, serving not the country, but small constituencies with big pockets. The House fights each other tooth and nail until one side is worn down enough to give in, then it goes to the Senate for the same asinine fights, until a bill is passed that has so many layers of bullshit that the original intent is long forgotten. Meanwhile, the president is sitting there twiddling his thumbs while the children in Congress fight and then we have the Supreme Court passing Citizens United making corporations people. And that doesn't even touch on state government... followed by county government and city government until every fucking thing is governed into impotence.
It is all so ridiculous that it would be comical if it wasn't true.

And everyone knows that things are fucked, but it's always the other guy's fault. Congressional approval is constantly in the toilet, yet we keep electing them over and over and over because the Super PACs have the unlimited funds to flood the airwaves with ads full of lies, on top of lies, with some additional lies thrown in for good measure, and the great people of American sit in front of their televisions growing just downright indignant because the commercials are telling them to be.
But they're indignant for all the wrong reasons. It's all about pointing fingers, but we never, ever point the finger back at ourselves. We let this happen. We are at fault. We are a young, gullible, stupid nation of people who have been indoctrinated with so much false patriotism that we cannot take a step back and say "wow, our government is FUCKED" because it would be admitting fault with the Greatest Nation in the World.

What's the answer? I have no goddamn idea. I know the Constitution needs to be tossed and rewritten but that will never happen because 'Murica. We cling to our stupid traditions that are... hell, the country is only 239 years old (counting from 1776)! How the fuck can we be so stubbornly opposed to change when we're still in our infancy?
It's that creepy, cult-like mindset that America is the best, no matter how many of our citizens are dying, living on the streets, unable to pay their bills, unable to afford college, or medical care, or healthy food, or any of a multitude of other factors that just might point to the reality that our nation is flawed... seriously fucking flawed. We stand at attention, hands over our hearts, reciting the stupid fucking Pledge of Allegiance that closes with "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" (I refuse to use the "under god" part because it wasn't in the fucking original fucking version and was only added in 1954) and never give a single thought to what those words are actually fucking supposed to fucking mean.
We don't take care of each other. We are constantly trying to gain the upper hand over our fellow man instead of all holding hands and pulling each other, helping each other, forward.

This is a nation divided. Fractured. The United States of America is in crisis.

And until we're all ready to cut the fucking bullshit and start talking real, it's just going to continue to get worse.
We need to get back to basics. We started with a pretty decent thing, but with many, many flaws (see the Three Fifths Compromise) and we take a couple steps forward, then a step back, over and over and over and we're now in a spot where it's just getting worse.

We've had a few good things recently. The Supreme Count made some fine decisions.
But, oh, people are pissed about it. The redneck contingent is all up in arms (literally, with their guns) screaming about their religious freedoms being trampled on, their precious flag being trampled on, and, god help us, we're all still trying to take their fucking guns. We're still giving the big fat middle finger to other countries, other cultures, that are *gasp* different instead of saying, "okay, cool, you're different, let's see what we can work out" because we're fucking AMERICANS, right, and we don't dilly-dally around with your other way of doing things. We're right and you're wrong, neener, neener, neener, and you can just fuck right off.

We're mavericks, right, Sarah Palin?

No, we're fucking idiots.
Part IV to come...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Part II - That Fucking Flag

So a thing happened a couple nights ago that made me see the flip-side of my argument in the previous post.

I saw a photo on Flickr of someone wearing a confederate flag bikini, asking "Do you find this offensive? Should I take it off?" She was trying to be cute and sexy.

I do, in fact, find that flag offensive- because it fucking is- but even more so I was terribly offended by her cavalier ha-ha-isn't-this-funny attitude about it.

No, it isn't funny. Let's look at the history of this flag-

(Note: If you don't want to read about the flag, that's cool. I'm not here to force you into a history lesson. Please skip down to the video I've posted, though, before you disregard this entire post.)

There were actually three versions of the national flag of the Confederate States of America (CSA). The first version, the one known as "Stars and Bars" looked way too similar to the US flag for the CSA. They disliked Old Glory because, to them, it was a symbol of emancipation and abolitionism. They wanted something different to make sure no one would mistakenly think the southerners were anti-slavery.
Stars and Bars
This lead a fine gentleman by the name of William Tappan Thompson, writer and co-founder of the Savannah Morning News, to design the second version, the so-called "Stainless Banner". Here's a happy little quote from him regarding the flag (emphasis mine):

"As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause… Such a flag…would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white mans flag.… As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism."

By the way, the "stainless" part of the name referred to the nice solid white background- symbolizing the superiority of the white man. 

Are you still with me? 

There was some criticism to this flag, though. Soldiers feared the utter whiteness of it would be seen as a flag of truce. Many others praised it, however, as it embodied "the destiny of the Southern master and his African slave". 

How charming.
Stainless Banner
The third flag, the "Blood Stained Banner" was created the same as the "Stainless Banner" but with a big red stripe down the side of it so it couldn't be mistaken as a flag of truce. It wasn't used much as the Confederate States were falling apart by then and most liked the "Stainless Banner" better anyway.
Blood Stained Banner
Of course, the flag most people think of as the Confederate flag is none of those... it's the battle flag, originally rejected as one of the national flags but adopted by the Army of Northern Virginia, led by one Robert E. Lee.
Confederate Battle Flag
All of those differences don't matter, though. The Confederate flag, in any form, is absolutely a symbol of the Confederate States of America, the side that fucking lost the damn war- a war that was fought for many convoluted reasons but really boiled down to a bunch of white men wanted to own black people. 

End. Of. Story.
By the way... Jenny Horne? She's a republican. Conservative. An ancestor of Jefferson fucking Davis.

In my tiff with the person in the rebel flag bikini, she claimed it was just a fun, sexy picture... and that is was just a flag... oh, and that it has a bad connotation now because "a few people used it wrong". 

No... it's the willfully ignorant southerners who claim it's just a symbol showing pride in their heritage that are using it wrong. Dylann Roof used it exactly the way it was designed to be used- as a way to establish his "white superiority" and hatred of blacks.

Is the swastika just a shape? Of course not. And the fucking Confederate flag isn't just a flag. 

There was an incredibly moving ceremony yesterday where this flag was removed from its place flying over the capital of South Carolina. It had flown there since 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The start, not the end.

What's significant about that? What was happening in America in 1961. 

Integration. Desegregation.

The Freedom Rides spread throughout the south. It was a beautiful time and an ugly time- and make no mistake, the South Carolina legislators flew that flag over their capital as a way to say "we don't want any of your civil rights bullshit". 

I could go on for thousands of more words here about how the Confederate flag is, in fact, a symbol of hatred for blacks but I won't change anyone's mind.

Those who are still supporting it and defending it and wearing mother-fucking bikinis and giggling about it are so deeply entrenched in their willful ignorance that nothing anyone can say or do will change their minds.

How sad is that?

It is so deeply ingrained in their beliefs that they cannot see how hurtful and hateful it is. There are so many folks here in the southern United States who are proud of their ignorance. Hard to fathom, isn't it? They're actually proud of stupidity. 

You know what? I was once ignorant about the history of the Confederate flag, too. The bikini-wearer most certainly pointed it out to me when she reminded me that I had once starred photos of her wearing the same (or similar) bikini and, gee, wasn't I being a hypocrite now?

Hypocrisy doesn't mean educating yourself and making an informed opinion, even if it is a sea change from from a previously held belief. 

According to the bikini-wearer, as I'm also not terribly fond of the US flag, I should leave the country. That sentiment, frequently tossed about by our so-called patriots, is about as un-American as it comes. It goes against pretty much everything our forefathers wanted in this country- freedom of expression, of thought, of religion, of speech. 

It's also ironic that in the same breath she was so fiercely defending the Confederate flag, the flag of the people who hated America so much they fought a losing war to remove themselves from it, she was also defending the flag of that much-hated country.
My Fake Patriotism - Taken for the 4th of July and mocking the "we're better than everyone" attitude of Americans that I despise.
Not to mention, she accused me of being discriminatory for unfollowing her on Flickr. That word- I do not think it means what she thinks it means. She asked me how I'd feel if someone unfollowed me if they found my photos offensive. Well, fuck, I should hope they'd unfollow me! Why the hell would I want anyone following me that is offended by my photos?

I've unfollowed tons of people because I don't like their photos. Rarely do I tell them why, but, hey, she asked.

But for christ's sake, if I offend  you, by all means, unfollow me. And yes, go right ahead and tell me about it, too. Perhaps you'll be able to educate me and change my wicked ways. 

I am always willing to learn. And I have no pride in digging in my heels and refusing to see other points of view. And it's even possible that my mind will be changed. 

But your argument better be a damn good one because I will argue right the fuck back, with sources, annotations, scientific studies, unscientific studies and just good old-fashioned research. I love that shit!

There is nothing I know everything about and I love to learn. Why are some people so damn scared of it?
Reading with Willie- He LOVES to learn!
When your argument can pretty much be summed up as "nuh uh, is not", well... you're just a fucking idiot. Give me something more than ad hominem and ad populum attacks, red herrings, straw men, post hoc ergo propter hoc or any other logical fallacies. Use your brains, people! Argue with facts and reason, not emotion.

I'm sure there are other things in our exchange that I've forgotten... I'll probably remember them late tonight as I'm lying in bed rehashing everything, as I do, but since she deleted my comments on the photo and I didn't screen-shot them, I have no evidence of them. So if you happen to stumble across that particular photo and notice that the comments are all 100% supportive of her stand, well... there you go. She removed anything disagreeing with her. 

That's the 'Murican way, y'all. 

...

The amazing Congressman John Lewis sums it all up much better than I can:

"50 years ago when we were beaten on the Edmund Pettus bridge and attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery, there were officers of the law wearing the Confederate battle flag on their helmets.

"When the Klan marched through our neighborhoods in Alabama, in Georgia, in South Carolina; when countless homes in Birmingham were bombed and burned; when they set fire to black churches throughout the South, the Confederate battle flags were a symbol of their cruelty and injustice.

"There is no way—no way the federal government should ever display this flag on any federal site or sell it on federal property. It is a symbol of division, a symbol of separation, it is a symbol of hate. It is a relic of our dark past."

People are free to wear the rebel flag as a bikini, fly it over their trailers, attach it to the back of their pickup trucks right along with their truck nuts, if they want. They look like jackasses for doing it, though, and their thinly veiled racism shines through quite clearly. Thankfully, they are being left behind as our country moves forward. 
And they deserve every bit of mocking derision they receive. Willful ignorance is the worst kind of ignorance. If a person truly doesn't know something, they can't be faulted, but if they won't know something, that's a very different thing. And I have no patience for that. Facts are facts and it is a fact that the Confederate flag is a hate symbol. Cloak it however you want while screaming about your pride and heritage, it is still, and always will be, a hate symbol.

Part III to come... Looking at the real issue.


Part I - Cultural Appropriation

Note: This is a four five part piece that I've been working on for several days. I have no idea if anyone will be able to follow my train of thought, muddled as it always is, but it's one of those things I had to get out of my head and onto paper. Er, pixels, I guess. 

I do hope you read all of it and that it gives you pause to think. Agree or disagree with me, I just hope it gives you some things to think about.


I've been doing a bit of reading recently about a thing called Cultural Appropriation.

Some of it I totally get... I understand why others might find it offensive.

Having said that, however... when you're going so far as to say I can't eat Mexican food because I'm not Mexican, well seriously, fuck you because tacos are delicious.
No, really... sorry for that. But let me try my best as a white chick to explain my feelings.

I don't consider myself an American. It's not how I define me. I don't consider myself white. It's not how I define me. No... actually that's not right at all. I am American and I am white. It's not about considering or defining anything- it just is.

But there is a much bigger picture- I consider myself a human. An earthling. A child of the universe even.

Earth is my culture. All of it. As it it yours, too. Foods from all cultures and ethnicities are delicious and should be shared by all. Same with clothing. Hairstyles. They're just things. Perhaps they have some greater significance to you than they do to me, and in very different ways, but so what? This planet should be a melting pot.

We have to celebrate our differences, and our samenesses. We should want others to experience our individual cultures. How else are we ever going to get to a place where we are all equal?

It's a fear of change that holds us back from being everything we can be as humans. "That's different so I don't like it." "This is mine and it's always been mine and you can't be part of it."
A human is a human is a human is a human. And all these folks screaming about being oppressed because a white chick wears a kimono need to get the fuck over it. You are not being oppressed. You are being celebrated.

Mixing is not a bad thing, damn it. We should all be encouraged to live outside our lines. How is my wearing a bindi offensive? It's beautiful. Instead of shaming me, maybe teach me. Take the opportunity to share with me the significance and importance.

Teach me about you.

We're sharing this planet. I hate borders and boundaries and think they should all be abolished and we should all be free to travel to any point on this planet we wish, at any time, and be welcomed.

We should learn and know each other... our lives and our histories and we should absolutely respect it. Our children should be taught to see color, to see religion, to see sexuality, and race and ethnicity and any of the other 7.2 billion things that set us each apart in our unique ways- see it and rejoice in it and celebrate it and SHARE it.

We've come such a long way in our quest to overcome racism and sexism and all the other 'isms' out there but it seems like in many ways we're now taking steps backwards. Different groups of people who share something, like race, or sex, are hording. They don't want to share and any attempt by others to "infiltrate" are being met with shouts of racism or sexism or whatever.
Curiosity isn't racism. The desire to learn and be educated and share isn't racism. It's the opposite. It isn't oppression or repression. It's a melting together of all that we are into becoming the Human Race.

And it doesn't mean that your history is unimportant. It's vitally important to know and celebrate and acknowledge where we've all come from. There are things we can each learn from every culture.

As we learn, and accept, and share... it becomes our culture. A culture of humans, living together, respecting each other, caring for each other. How is this a bad thing? How?

People have got to stop looking for ways to be offended. And this is not excusing the asshats of the world who go out of their way to be offensive as fuck. I'm all for calling out those jackasses and shaming them back to the stone age, but holy crap.

C'mon, people. Just stop it. Instead of looking for ways to keep each other back, why not seek opportunities to move each other forward, together?

There isn't one damn thing I can do about the color of my skin, or the place I was born. I cannot change my sexual orientation- it is what it is. I am who I am. Just as you are who you are.

I read these things- people getting mad about this, that and the other. Don't eat the food, don't wear the clothes, don't do this, don't do that. Why the fuck not? What the ever-living fuck am I supposed to do?

Why should I be deprived of anything? Exactly the same as why should you be deprived of anything?
Because of my "white privilege" you say. Again, tell me what the fuck I'm supposed to do to change it? Seriously, tell me. Or am I just supposed to live with my lot in life? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? It wasn't right when the white folks tried to force other cultures, races, etc., to live with their lot in life and it isn't right when you try to do it, either.

It's pithy to say, but two wrongs don't make a right.

I want to know your life- your history, your culture and your experiences. And yes, I do want to experience some of those things for myself. And you are more than welcome to experience my things, too, though honestly, being a fat, middle-aged, poor white chick ain't all it's cracked up to be but if you want to give it a go, go for it.

Am I privileged? Yes. Is there any way I can really understand what it feels like to be black, or Asian, or gay, or whatever? No, there isn't. I know that. There are things that I am aware of that I simply cannot comprehend, through no fault of my own.

No fault of my own.

Read that again... No fault of my own.

So why are you punishing me?

I would rather die than punish another human being for being different from me. For being a different skin color, or religion, or sexuality, or ethnicity, or height, or weight, or having better hearing, or being blind, or any of the other billion things that separate us.

So why is it okay for you to punish me for being me?

I just don't get it.

Part II to come... Examining the flip side.

Recent Posts