Category Archives: Race

Compassion And Outrage

Recently, a close friend posted the following:

There’s a cop that goes to the same comic shop I go to. Saw him there today. He tried to spark up our usual comic banter. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to him – I was polite – I know he had nothing to do with what’s been going on – but ill feelings towards him were nonetheless present. I’m so angry. It’s good that it’s Friday. With heat and everything else – I’m glad to get away from people for a couple of days. I’m tired – I’ve had bad run in with police since I was 13 & I’ve never so much as stolen a bag of chips. I hate the feeling I have of “finally” in Dallas. I’m ashamed of that feeling. I just want change – not more death. My condolences to the families of those officers

When I read his post, I was immediately overwhelmed with a multitude of emotions. At first I was saddened. My heart was heavy because he was feeling some kind of way about something that was leagues out of his control. As if it somehow it was happening to him directly. As if this officer who shares his love of comics and all things nerdy was the perpetrator of the crimes in question. Like a sub-system protocol was hard wired into the psyche of this public servant to hate black people and he was carrying his facade as well as any Oscar winning actor would.

As I read the post a second time, I felt empathy. I put myself in his situation and felt the unjust anger that he felt. I felt the inherent tension and the distrust of this man whom I don’t really know. We come in here and we exchange pleasantries regarding our love for comics however what is he really thinking? Is he sizing me up? Of course, I wasn’t there and I don’t know the extent of what they ever say to each other but that’s probably what I’d do.

Finally on my third read, I felt… outrage. Here is a man (my friend mind you) that has lived all of his life in a city where I myself grew up. A city in which I still consider the capital of the universe. Where we spent countless hours as youths talking about fictional characters and girls and food and whatever pre-teens and teenagers spoke about in the 80’s. We loved the same music, we loved the same TV shows, we loved the same movies and still do! When video games were finally affordable we played hours upon hours of games until our eyes were tearing from the stress of staring at the screen.

I don’t live in New York anymore and I miss it dearly but my point is we had the same things and the same friends and the same dreams. Why is a man which doesn’t have a hurtful or violent hair on his head (a loose analogy considering he’s bald) feel the way he does?

Because society has failed him. Society has failed us all truth be told. The problem of racism is systematic. We have been taught to conform. That stop and frisk and profiling are necessary. That the fact that more people of color are subject to these practices is just the way things are. Even if the words weren’t used we were taught that white is supreme and everyone else is lucky to be able to share this earth with them. We still see it every day.

What’s worse is that some white people (at least some of them that I know) just don’t have a clue. I experience this frustration daily. They believe that it’s all in our heads and that there’s nothing wrong. While we were being taught to fear the police, they were being taught to admire and respect them. While we were always told walk the straight and narrow because 5-Ohh would beat us down, they were being told to stay out of the black neighborhoods because “they” were nothing but trouble.

Back in The Bronx…

As a boy, I was taught by my parents that people are people and we are all equal. That was what was said to me however that is not what I saw. The block where we hung out were mostly black and hispanic. Walk up the street a few blocks and you saw the change. As the graffiti started to lessen, so did the color of peoples skin. While one culture, the culture of Hip Hop was rising, another was pointing fingers and calling us hoodlums. While we embraced change, another was clinging to the traditions of old where we were the products of a lesser race.

I never thought I’d ever have to have a talk with my teenager about the unwritten laws of how to interact with a police officer. If an officer approaches you, put your hands up and only put them down if he tells you to. Never reach for anything unless instructed and even then, let them know what is in which pocket and move slowly. No sudden movements. Don’t sass, don’t curse and for Gods sake, don’t run.

Back to my friend, I moved to Florida and I lost contact with him. Fast forward about 10 or 12 years and we got in touch with each other through a mutual friend. I moved on to be… whatever the hell I am and he’s still in New York doing… whatever the hell he does. We don’t speak as often as we did but when we do it’s like we picked up where we left off.

This has been my sad little rant. Thanks for reading.

Trayvon Martin: Injustice at its finest.

Today marks one month since Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman and still this man is out there free to kill again. What does it take for a real criminal to get arrested these days? What the hell is going on?!? Oh… wait… I know…  you know… we all know. Once again people of color have been betrayed by law enforcement officials attempting to sweep a crime under the carpet to avoid exposure to the truth.

What is that truth you might ask? Well, it’s like I’ve said before; this is still a nation full of bigots and racists. No matter how you might want to believe it’s getting better, it isn’t. We might not see anything happening in our daily lives or even on the news and forget these problems exist. Unfortunately, it takes tragedies like the murdering of Trayvon Martin to remind us that all the Band-Aids in the world won’t fix the problem.

This problem is fundamentally attached to the individual souls of our nation. The thought process needs to be changed in those that lived that lie all of their lives and it needs to stop being taught to our children. I know, these are just words but it’s the truth.

This is just my sad little opinion.

Hate is alive and well in Texas (not exclusively)

While coasting the news sites for something interesting to write about this evening I came across this little gem on that still has my blood pressure shooting straight up. For every step forward the human race makes, there are still one or two or thousands that still manage to drag us back into the dark ages of hate and intolerance.

Crockett Keller, owner of Keller’s Riverside Store down in good ole Texas is one of these barbarians.  He seems to think (unfortunately like many dim witted Americans) that he can bring segregation back into our good U.S. of A. Not only that, he thinks he can do this and hide behind the guise of being a “Real American” and not get labeled a bigot.

What did he say that got me all wound up you might ask?  Well, Mr. Keller is licensed to teach people how to handle firearms and during one of his ads for an upcoming class he said, “If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief, please do not take this class. You’ve already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required under the law.”

REALLY!?! Last time I checked, that current “campaigner-in-chief” was still trying to clean up eight years of eff ups former president knucklehead left behind! You know, people seem to forget this. They started blaming President Obama for all the trouble this country has been in the day after he was sworn in. Why don’t these people just go back under the damn rocks they crawled out of, let the Prez do his job and when his second term is up and he CAN’T be re-elected, you guys can have another shot at effing things up again.

Moving on, that wasn’t even the worse thing he said. This guy really showed his colors with his next statement. He said, “Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you this class. Once again, with no shame, I am Crockett Keller.” WHO IN THE HELL DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS! AND, when asked about where he got the idea of inserting that little kibble of back assed knowledge, he responded, “I got to thinking, ‘Hmm, I’m arming the enemy”. WTF!

It’s this breed of super right winged fundamentalists that scour the good name of REAL Christians and REAL Americans and REAL Muslims and REAL Arabs living here in the same damn country with this scum. Listen to me once and for all the Muslim religion is NOT a terrorist organization! Fanatics of any organization, be it Muslim or Christian or American or Arab all spew hatred and anger toward the other smearing blood over the innocent and taking the rest of us down with them.

Why the hell do we stand for it? Why do we continuously let these knuckle dragging, tea bagging son’s of bitches open their big mouths to spew fire while we just sit there and get singed by the flames? I don’t effing understand it. I’m guessing there are Arab/Muslim citizens asking that very question about the fanatics that claim that they are Muslims as well.  What the hell is it going to take for us to just shake the shit out of these people and tell them to shut the fuck up!

There are some of you out there that may think, “What’s the big deal? If he doesn’t want to service Muslims then that’s his right to do so.” Sure, he can do what he wants but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should just sit back and let it happen. It doesn’t mean that the state or the government have to let it happen.

On that note, the Texas Department of Public Safety is launching an investigation to see if they might revoke or suspend his license to teach his firearms classes. And it goes without saying that the Texas Council on American-Islamic Relations is keeping a close eye on what the outcome is going to be.

In my sad little opinion, us normal people need to be less passive about this sort of thing and get into these people’s faces. We need to be just as loud as they are. The world is listening, whom do you think they are hearing?


Birthers And Health Care!?! WTF Is Wrong With My Country!

I know, I know, I’ve been gone for awhile but, like so many of my brethren, work has been tough and when I get home I am so mentally exhausted that I just want to veg. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap. Fortunately, I’ve been able to sit and watch the non-sense that seems to be going on in the world when it comes to the news, TV, Internet blah blah blah (refer to the subtitle of my blog above) and I have to admit, just when I thought the people of this great country couldn’t get any more fucked up, it proves me wrong.
Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on in America lately? This is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave! Why are we allowing ourselves to be manipulated by any organized political group!?! Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to an opinion and I can respect that (HELLO) but let it be and opinion that you form on your own based on your own research and experience. Stop piggy backing off of the opinions of these right wing extremists who’s sole purpose is to strike fear into the hearts of all Americans!
Let me start with these “birthers” WTF are you guys talking about? Do you honestly think that if this man wasn’t born in our very own United States Of America that he would be President!?! They showed you a birth certificate, they showed you birth announcements printed on the original news papers the year he was born for Christ’s sake! Accept the fact the he is an American citizen and move on with your pathetic little lives please! Who the fuck cares about your stupid little cause except yourselves! Chanting “we want our country back” you idiots! ARE YOU NATIVE AMERICANS? My guess is NO you morons! If you want your country back then jump on a fucking plane and take your asses back across the pond you ass jacks!
Then there are these people who keep showing up at these town hall meetings with their disruptive antics trying to stop health care reform. I can appreciate that a person has a passion for what they believe in, it’s what this country was founded on and it is certainly worthy of respect. That’s the key word here though, respect. How do you expect any sort of compromise to come out of this if you keep showing up with no real agenda except to make asses of yourself?

You scream, belittle, boo and jeer at the top of your lungs like a bunch of animals not letting your senator get a word in edgewise! I know what you’re really afraid of, your afraid that if you shut your pie hole for two seconds you might just agree with some of the things being proposed! If this is not the case then prove it by shutting the hell up and listening to what needs to be said. Then, post your questions and voice your concerns like normal human beings.

Let’s be honest, how many of these people are there based solely on their own opinion on what is going on? You know damn well that health insurance lobbyists are responsible for half of these jerk offs showing up in the first place. They scare the crap out of them by telling them that we’re going to turn into a third rate socialist country. THIS IS THE U.S. OF A. PEOPLE! The real reason (which is obvious to those of us with half a brain) is that they are scared shitless of letting this bill pass because it will severely reduce their bottom line.

Our health care system is broken people! We need to get it fixed and we need to do it now! Do you really expect to manhandle and intimidate our states senators into voting for your cause? NO, you bunch of mindless puppets! Bring your sincere concerns to the forum and ask the questions you want answers to in a civil and respectful manner and let your state rep do what he/she was voted into that position to do in the first place, and that’s (in case you forgot) represent the people.

I don’t think that I have ever been so disappointed in my fellow Americans in my life. In my sad little opinion, it all boils down to capitalism, fear of change, classism (if that’s even a word) and racism… yes, I said it, racism.

More to come.

Labels breed resentment. Let’s get past them please!

Okay, I know that race has been a hot issue for many many years now but, isn’t it time that we put this crap behind us? We are soooo hung up on this that it is stifling our ability to progress. We need to take a deep breath, relax and realize that we are all people. We belong to one race, the human race.

Look, we all have stereo types. Every one of us, no matter where we come from have a quirk, or a style or a slang that is unique to our heritage and culture. It’s these differences that make us unique. We need to embrace them, and nurture them and use them to supplement each other.

The Bronx was a melting pot of cultures for me. When I first moved into my childhood home, it was a predominantly Jewish community. As I grew, I saw the Jews move out and the African Americans and Hispanics and Albanians and Italians and Irish move in. As each of these cultures claimed their own space, I was able to become friends with some from each (and date some but that’s another show).

It seemed to me that even though our naive, childish minds didn’t mind the color of our skin, our parents seemed to have a problem with it. The older we got, the farther away we became and the only thing that we knew was that Mom or Dad or both didn’t like us hanging with “those” people. We weren’t allowed to hang with them but they really didn’t want to explain why except to say that they were trouble makers.

In my teen years most of my friends were Hispanic and African American because, well, if you didn’t know, I’m Hispanic. But I still didn’t hold anything against friends of other races. We would see each other in the “hood” and say “whats up” and make half assed plans to hang out but it would never happen. I should mention that now that we are older, we’ve reconnected either in person or on Facebook and even though we have our own lives, we keep in touch and update each other about our families and what not.

You might be asking yourself “What are you getting at bxn? What does the title of this post have to do with you’re story so far?” I’ll tell you where I’m getting at. Apparently, in Finney County Kansas, Whites are becoming a minority. And for some reason or another, it’s a big deal. Well I say, “WHAT’S THE BIG EFFING DEAL?” Why am I reading an article about this on a major news website when there are so many other issues that are more important?

This type of change isn’t new. It’s been seen in some of our biggest states in our great United States of America! California, Texas, Arizona and my current state of Florida have already seen this shift but I don’t recall it ever being a news story. The U.S. census bureau calls it a “Majority – Minority”. WTF IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MEAN! The bureau defines it as a county where more than half the population is made up of a group that is not single-race, non-Hispanic white. Wh…what?

I have never been a fan of labels especially the labels of “majority” and “minority”. I feel that we are all equal, that no one is better than anyone else, you know? It’s why I’m not intimidated to meet people of exceptional talent or position (meaning musical artists, actors, bosses, political figures whatever). My wife gets upset because I can interview for a job with a panel of six or eight or ten people and not break a sweat. But I digress.

I understand what they meant by these labels. It means the “majority” of the population is one race and the “minority” of the population is another race. This however, is not the context of how some people use it. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard racial slurs directed at me that included these terms.

It is for this reason and for this reason alone that it pisses me off to know that even though “other” races have become the “majority” in these relatively small areas of our great country, it cannot be conceded to begin calling them the “majority” but rather the “Majority – Minority”. Can we just get rid of these labels altogether and move on with our lives already?

In my sad little opinion, we have way bigger fish to fry. We need to lighten up and get over this crap so that we can solve world hunger and global warming and blah blah blah.