Friday, September 2, 2016

Pease Porridge Lukewarm


Life is weird and hard and good.

I just made myself toaster waffles for lunch. I did not cook them long enough. I had a sneaking suspicion this was the case, based on their color and texture. But they're gluten free and gluten free things always look kind of unappetizing, so I thought, "Eh," and proceeded to apply butter and syrup. Lo-and-behold, I go to take a bite, and the waffles are still cold in the center. But I can't put them back in the toaster oven because they're covered with butter and syrup. So I put them in the microwave. One minute later, there is a sticky beige lump in the middle of the plate. Ergo, I am eating soggy waffle soup for lunch. Well, really it's more like waffle porridge. Goldilocks I am not.

I don't have many spare words lying around these days but I just wanted to sound off real quick about the Colin Kaepernick drama.

I will say, when I first saw this story before it caught fire, I thought to myself, "Well, that's probably now how I would've gone about it." But hey, to each their own. I am not a person of color in America, so I don't feel it is generally my place to police the manner in which persons of color protest.

Next thought: Why are people making it about the military? I don't get it. Since when did refusing to stand for the national anthem become a personal fuck you to veterans? Probably not as long as the national anthem has been an underhanded fuck you to African Americans.

Also? The swill these so-called "patriots" are spouting on the interwebs??? IT'S SO INSANE! Sickening and backwards and racist and ignorant and INSANE. Like, do you hear yourselves? Did you skip school the day logical reasoning and rational thought were taught in school??? Or the minimum standards of membership in a civilized society - namely, try not to be a terrible human being? "MURRICA! THE LAND OF THE FREE! WE FOUGHT AND DIED FOR YOUR RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THAT, OR THAT, OR THAT..."

"GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM, KAEPERNICK, YOU [Insert Despicable Racial Slur Here]." Um, okay...  So... Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

I loved this piece by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the Washington Post:

"One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government's record in upholding the Constitution." 

I'm actually glad, in a way, that the conversation was monopolized by the military because out of that came one of the most refreshing and heartwarming things I've seen in a long while - the #VeteransforKaepernick hashtag on The Twitter. Made my freeze-dried little heart swell three times its size.

At the end of the day, though, it wasn't about veterans at all. It was and is about the iconic image and anthem of a country that systemically devalues the lives and brutalizes the bodies of people of color. Did you know my husband gave a presentation the other day at the local chapter of the NAACP? The topic was "How to not die as you make your way from Point A to Point B in your own damn country/city/neighborhood/street." I'm paraphrasing. It may have been, "Get home safely." But still. In the words of Larry Wilmore, "Black people have to strategize [and/or act like the Dowager Countess] so they're not brutalized by the police." This is not okay.

I don't have the magic pill or the silver bullet (but I'm pretty sure anything having to do with bullets is not the answer). One thing I do know what sitting around wringing our hands and drowning in white guilt, avoiding hard conversations and truths because they are icky and uncomfortable? I know that is NOT the answer.

Side note: I find it FASCINATING and TERRIFYING to compare the treatment of famous athletes who do drugs, beat their wives and girlfriends, and kill animals and humans, vs. one who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and inequality in his country.

Everything is terrible, but I have a stubborn sliver of faith that we're going to figure it out. Things like #VeteransForKaepernick give me hope.


A little refresher course - MLK, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

10 Ways White People Can Help Black Lives Matter on The Good Men Project

10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center

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