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.

-em

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Storytime Sunday – “The Shot Heard Round the World” – Non-Fiction.

I had prepared for your reading pleasure, a short about the Lillith. However, in light of the jury’s decision of Not Guilty for Zimmerman I have a really, REALLY short story to tell you.

My mother and father worked odd hours, and sometimes whole days, and sometimes, even, whole weekends when I was a small child. This called for me to spend a great amount of those years at my Aunt’s home, which was full of children so I, the ever lonely only child, didn’t complain. My cousins then became like my brothers and sisters. And for all intents and purposes I will refer to them as such.

Deon and Fay were my oldest boy cousins. They’d discipline me as if they were extended hands of my father. If there were girls who got caught in the company of boys, doing a little thing we used to call hunching, Fay and Deon would locate me on the playground, make sure I wasn’t one of those kids and then spanked me, to make sure I would NEVER be one of those kids. I’d sneak into their room with their little brother, Larry and we’d play Mario or go through their things (which I can only now safely admit).

The girls, Nicole, Toynell, LaShonda, Robin taught me how to dress myself, tie my shoes, speak up for myself, count the change I got from the man at the corner store, taught me that change could be dollar bills, too, not just coins and they taught me to be a lady. To not curse, to close my legs, and to not give a worthless boy the time of day.

These are the people who really raised me. But this was a time not meant to last. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew swept through Miami, in particular Southwest Dade County, where I’m from. There was nothing left, in our family, maybe one or two homes were safe for dwelling. We had to separate, and I lost daily contact with my cousins forever.

But months later, to my extreme happiness, Deon was coming to live with my parents and I in our new apartment, 20 minutes north of where  most of our family was now settling. I was excited to have him near. He was the coolest and most annoying big brother a girl could ask for. He’d never let me do anything alone if he could prevent it when he was home: play a game, watch a television show, or eat chips, he always stole my chips. He even listened as I talked about my favorite books, and convinced me that he actually cared about Dawn and Kristi’s problems within the Babysitter’s club. When his girlfriend came over, he didn’t shoo me away he allowed me to sit on the couch with them. And when I was scared to fall asleep, he’d sit with me and my Grandmother eating Reeses chocolates and watching shows my parent’s didn’t allow me to watch like In Living Color or Martin.

This didn’t last long either.

One night, Deon was out partying and my mother and I were in the living room watching television. My grandmother and father were both sleeping. There was a sound I’d heard before, but never here, not where we’d moved to, not with all these old white people. A gunshot.

My mother told me to stay put, she dressed and was out the door in a flash. I stood by the window looking out, police lights trickled in through the green of the trees and bushes, a crowd gathered and I could hear their mumbling.

My mother returned sometime later. “They wouldn’t let me close” she said when I asked her what had happened. “But they say it’s OK. They got the bad guy.”

The next morning we found out that the “bad guy” was 16 year old Deon on his way home. Shot dead, point blank range, by a white off duty officer, who wasn’t charged for a thing in the murder of my big brother.

RIP Trayvon.

Surprised?

Untitled

  “The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged” 

                                                                                         -Tom Buchanan, 

                                                                                Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby

Earlier this week Cheerios posted a commercial that involved an interracial family. (Click here to view the commercial) Some people voiced their rather, strong, opinions against interracial marriage. This led to others being floored by the audacity of racist comments “in 2013”. Apparently, we’ve forgotten that we haven’t reached that utopian ideal of harmony. Have you been fooled into believing that people are no longer racist, or xenophobic?

Just because we sit in the same classroom, doesn’t mean we eat lunch together. Humans have always had and may always ‘s have an US vs. THEM mentality. That’s what we do. Our planet against another, our country, our state, our family, our siblings. We have a bi-racial President, yes, but let we forget there is still some deep-rooted division going on in America.

Take Georgia for example. Last April the students in Wilcox County held their first ever integrated prom. Annually they had held a “black prom” and a “white prom”. This year they finally joined the ranks of – I hope- the rest of America. And that was only after they spoke out and obtained donations from all over the world. One student told NBC News that she felt as though they were “living Martin Luther King’s dream”.

And what of the man in Virginia, white, who was accused of kidnapping his daughters. You see, his daughters are half black and the American mind wasn’t able to register this possibility before accusing a man of not being the birth parent to his babies.

Progress is a slow process. We are not living in such a racist world as existed 50, 30 or even 10 years ago; but we have quite a journey before racial tolerance is more common than common sense.  Some say racism will come to an end when we all mix up together and everybody’s the same color. But don’t you see? We’re all afraid of that too. Honestly, it’s not just whites who want to keep their race pure. But that? we’ll save that for another day.