Monday Miscellanea

Hold your applause, please.

My parents instilled a number of sayings in me that pretty much function as my life manual: don’t lend what you can’t lose, smart people learn from their mistakes while wise people learn from the mistakes of others, you don’t pack a plate until everyone eats – that sort of thing. One that has stuck out, especially in my teaching career is that you don’t reward someone for doing what they are supposed to do.

But that’s exactly what’s happened with Officer Jessee Kidder of New Richmond, Ohio. He was facing a belligerent man, Michael Wilcox, who had just murdered his fiance and best friend. People are applauding Officer Kidder for displaying restraint in a situation where he had what our police call a justifiable reason for killing. Wilcox had committed murder, was aggressive, refused to take his hands out of his pockets and was a general threat to Officer Kidder. Yes, Officer Kidder gets a nod from me for risking his life in hopes of avoiding an even worse scenario. Yes, if I had been in his shoes I may have shot Wilcox and thought of the consequences later. But I don’t get two things: that we are happy he didn’t kill anyone, and that we are comparing this situation to that of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Michael Slager.

We are a Christian nation. I’m not a Christian, but our country was built on those morals and standards that guide Christians all over the world. One of those morals is, in fact, a commandment – to not commit murder, under any circumstance. How are we simply excited that Kidder didn’t kill Wilcox? Is this really that comforting? And what does that say about our belief in the officer’s right to possess a license to kill? I believe we’re mostly celebratory that he didn’t kill someone because, as of late, police officers are being scrutinized and criticized – sometimes unfairly, sometimes not –   because of the killings of so many black….

But that’s just it. Michael Wilcox just so happens to be white. No, I cannot say that if Wilcox had been black the officer would’ve reacted differently. I can’t. And I can’t say Kidder is or isn’t a cool headed and reasonable guy, because I don’t know. But what I do know is that this comparison is laughable. People are protesting and enraged at what many agree to be a blatant disregard for the lives of African-Americans, and to pacify the masses you mention that – hold your horses – a cop managed to not kill a white man. We saw this with Sandon Sierdan (tried to rob Walmart, also attempted to take a deputy’s weapon), with James Holmes (the batman movie theater guy), and with numerous others. A white, violent criminal is taken into custody while his black counterparts – often unarmed – are killed on the scene.

The truth is, even if Wilcox was black what do you expect us as a nation to feel? Happy that one in dozens is allowed to live another day while there are many, many others who aren’t given the same humanitarian treatment? Please. And I am tired of people pretending like anyone who calls out racism is a delusional militant. The first step in the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Go on, America, admit that shit.






The 4th of July, like any national holiday, had been something of little significance in my household growing up. Which struck me as odd considering my father served as a soldier in the army. As I got older I understood why my parents had a love-hate relationship with the U.S.

As minorities both my mother and my father have experienced horrific displays of racism. Racially profiled, experience in “separate–but-equal” schools and general denial of services have made America’s race issue quite tangible for my father. My mother has also faced the racist monster from both blacks and whites, and now, in the blooming culture of Miami, hispanics.

Native Americans were killed off, Blacks were enslaved, Asians used and when doubted put into holding camps, and Hispanics, Jews, Italians,  Irish and people from the Middle East have all endured the ugliness of America. But there is beauty, isn’t there?

In Miami alone we are blessed with seeing the beauty of Jewish families walking to Temple on Saturdays. Our friends discuss what they give up for Lint and Ramadan. Calle Ocho and Carnival bring us color and culture from the Caribbean. We are lucky, luckier than we realize for the diversity of our great nation. We have had some troubled times. Our history is full of blood and hate. But there is also love, the everlasting hunger for freedom, justice and equality. That is what makes America. And although we’ve endured near hell, we’re a family and those wounds are tended to with love. No, we are not perfect. We eat junk, stress out, and too often lose track of what’s important. But we also forgive, fight, and forge.

I like to think that we are in this together. Farmers and soldiers, artists and scientists. All sexes, races, religions. And we all came here – one way or another- for a purpose. Nobody’s born perfect, not even a country. We’re still young and have a lifetime ahead of us. Where we are now is not the promised land, but we came together, we taught each other right from wrong and we are learning, everyday we are learning to be better for ourselves and each other.


Happy Birthday America !!!!!