Wear it out!


Friday is officially becoming a day I both relish and dread. I hope for the chance to engage with people who happen to catch a glimpse of my weekly shirt slogan choice. (This week is “Hands up Don’t shoot”) But I also despair at how few people willing respond in any meaningful way. Yes, I have been stopped on the street and had photos taken. And I have been questioned in the supermarket. But most Fridays show the need for a campaign like “Wear out the silence” because it is increasingly apparent to me that one of the things we white people are good at when it comes to racial  issues and the issues of equality or equity is SAYING NOTHING.

Today a coworker looked at my Royal blue long sleeved “Hand’s up Don’t shoot!” shirt and simply made this statement as he passed by on his way to something else around the work place. He said, “Love that shirt.” Now I know this man and have a good working relationship with him and I know what he meant was that he really liked that it was made into a shirt and that I was wearing it and that he was endorsing both of those things, me and the shirt. I believe he even liked the message as far as he understood it.  To his credit I do consider this white co-worker to be a reasonably enlightened person and believe he really is supportive. But as he said the words “love that shirt” it hit me like a shot to the back of an unarmed man that I “HATE THIS SHIRT!”hands up dont shoot photo

I hate the fact that because Michael Brown was killed and there was some disparity in the story around the testimony of him having his hands up and saying “don’t shoot” people have called it the biggest lie of 2015.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/hands-up-dont-shoot-false-216736

I HATE the fact that since the time of this becoming a rallying cry for black American’s that countless unarmed people have been shot and killed by police, one in particular shot while trying to help and mental patient and laying on the ground with his hands in the air being more than 20 feet away from the officer who shot him. I HATE the fact that I even need to wear this shirt to try and provoke people into waking up and at least pretending to care or to start having some uncomfortable honest conversations. I HATE IT. But you know what? I get to go home, take off my shirt, stay white and have it all just suddenly disappear because I am not black and the thing I HATE most of all is the idea that black people in my country have to wonder if they put their hands up and say “don’t shoot” that those words may be the last thing they ever say before being murdered by a police officer at his or her racist worst.Racist in recovery

Full disclosure. I am a ‘Racist In Recovery’ you might say. I grew up in rural america surrounded by white people who were afraid of things hey did not understand and that mostly meant anyone who didn’t look, talk and act like they did. So like them, I held all the normal negative stereotypes of minorities and women. It has taken me a while to even become aware of some of these ideals and continues to take deliberate effort on my part to change the way I see the world and all the people in it. But each day I hope to make some small progress in my understanding of other people and how important other views and paradigms are. By the way, here is an example of someone taking my idea of racist recovery a few steps further

Today as I am taking off the shirt I wear one day a week to remind myself that things in America are not the same for all of us, I wear it to remind myself that I as a human being can do something even if that is only to get people to start thinking differently, to support those who want the same things I want; opportunity, purpose, safety, love, fun, success in all its forms, family, life and maybe more than anything, respect. If you are not sure of your racism as you read this or if you are in denial I invite you to get real honest with yourself and see if there are seeds of racism burred deep that you may need to deal with so you can help make the world and in particular our nation – the one many people believe is something that we are simply lying to the world about – a better place. And if you have been awakened to seeing the world in a new way in the wake of protests and injustice and want to start doing something about it. Go here and like me you can go all in. I’ll be there right along side so you won’t have to do it alone.

http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/

 

SURJ

 

 

 

 

MickGee is ‘Wearing out the Silence’


Week 1: Wear out the Silence

It was around 11:30 when I left the house to head out into my world that is America this Friday 1-27-17. I was filled apprehension and excitement knowing I was putting myself in a position to come into debate, verbal assault, a measured discussion but hopefully not violence. It would be sort of like Facebook only in real life. Quite frankly that is not a good thing most of the time. Lots of conflict on the walls of F.B. these days. But I was psyched up and ready to meet America and hear its thoughts about this white man and his Black Lives Matter shirt.

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So with my Black Lives Matter shirt wrapped tightly around my body. Mine is just a little more ‘snug’ than I would like – that reminds me I gotta get to the gym this afternoon. I’ll add that to the list; 1) Wear out the Silence 2) Wear out my abs 3) wear out the calories I ate for lunch. 4) Wear out my eyes at the movies tonight because it’s Friday!! But I digress. So I load up the car with some things I need to drop off at the school. I teach a couple of classes at the local Charter school Monday afternoons and I wanted to have my materials there and ready to go so I thought I’ll swing by and drop them off. About half way there my mind started thinking. “Wait, can I or should I walk into my school as a teacher with a Black Lives Matter shirt? What would the students say? What would the administration or the parents say?” Then my mind conformed what I already know. HELL YA! Why do you think I get the shirt in the first place? I WANT someone to say something. I wanna hear what people REALLY think face to face. So I ROCKED that shirt up and down the halls of the school, intentionally making two trips to my car for the materials even though I could have done it in one. Hoping, expecting, anticipating, that first comment, the ‘first contact’ if you will with others.

And while there were looks and many smiles there was no real engagement. So I am left with my only option of speculation or for me to imply what I think people might be thinking. Here is my best shot. My first encounter was with a teacher (one of two on staff with blond hair and blue eyes) who clearly saw my shirt and then looked me square in the eyes with a sort of solidarity but also a look of “better you than me” feeling. The next was a different teacher whose eyes said softly “You’re NOT serious are you?” All others either didn’t pay attention to the shirt or just didn’t see it. But no one voiced any obvious support or disagreement. So I went on to my next stop, THE MALL.

I walked in the main doors to the huge open atrium food court and proceeded to the Asian Food buffet for some rice, noodles and veggies. The man who helped me seemed a little shaken by my shirt. After taking my order he tried to serve me the wrong items, then he tripped as he handed my food to the cashier and after catching himself then knocked one of the serving spoons off the counter with a clang. I clearly made him nervous. However, something happened next that I thought was pretty cool. I ordered a 2 item combo which is $7.89 plus a large drink $1.79 for a total of $9.68 plus tax. The young lady at the register, who was Hispanic, charged me $6.60 total. I didn’t know it at the time but she was giving me the “people of solidarity” discount. After my meal I looked at the receipt and realized what she had done and went up to say something to her. She responded “Yeah, I just charged you for a half and half” but her manager was behind her and stepped into the conversation correcting her and saying the amount should have been more. He then said it was their “mistake” but there would not be any additional charge. The girl looked at me with eyes that said what she could not. “Thank you” they said “thank you for wearing the shirt and being white while you are doing it.” And they said, “Thank you FOR GETTING ME IN TROUBLE WITH MY MANAGER WTF!?” Next time I’ll know better and I will simply accept the support. Asian Express at the Bay Shore Mall ROCKS!

Next stop the auto parts store. I knew this one could be risky. Many of my conservative friends are car nuts and hang out at the auto parts store. So I was ready for some push back. But surprisingly it never came. I made my purchase and we talked for a minute about cars. There was no tone of voice or strange looks but there was a little awkward body language. It was just enough that I knew once I left, the first words out of this very nice young man’s mouth to his fellow workers would be “Holy S^%T, Did you see that guy’s shirt, WTF? What is he thinkin’?” But I felt nothing out of the ordinary about my experience except the usual great customer service I receive at Oreily Auto Parts. Next stop, THE GYM.

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So I roll into the Gym at 3 PM on a beautiful sunny winter afternoon in the Pacific North West. What an amazing time of year. You just can’t get this color of green anywhere else. I am greeted by the “behind the counter” guy at the club. He takes my “mark of the beast” keychain to prove I am marked by the workout Anti-Christ. Lucky for me I am already “saved” so there is nothing they can really do to me that I am not about to do to myself in their workout torture chamber. So I get scanned in then I unzip my outer jacket revealing the billboard shirt that is my BLM statement. I await the gasps of disbelief and cries of despair as I stride confidently toward the free weight section of the club. What’s that I hear instead? A faint voice seemingly form an Adam Sandler movie “You can duit.” So with confidence I hit my workout hard. I have a series of 5 exercises, max weight, one set to failure. High Intensity. Between sets I walk across the club floor mainly to catch my breath and get some much needed H2O. I walk past the ab punishment room and the treadmills of terror. No one meets my gaze except one guy on his way out wearing a ‘Compton’ knit beanie. No words, just the universal man to man bro nod of acknowledgement. Peace my brother from a different mother, peace.

I did get some sympathetic looks (emphasis on the pathetic) from some of the girls. Not sure if they were supportive or pitying but they made eye contact nonetheless and some smiled politely. HEY that’s more than I get most weeks from the ladies wearing tight ‘spandexy’ workout clothes and earbuds, so I am soaking it in people! Believe me. So I finish off my ab torture routine maxing out the crunch machine again at a weight that I will not say because I do not want others to feel small. Let’s just say it was probably more than you weigh. So chew on that. Yah, my testosterone is pumping after my workout and it’s awesome!! I am PUMPED! After each of my HIT routines, I Iike to HIT the massage chair (see what I did there?) Today was special though. I approached the flatbed hot hydro massage lounge with seductive weariness and fell into the loving caress of the indentations of the surface. It gently cradles my buttocks and wraps my shoulders massaging away the pain with a sort of rough yet playful hot water pattern of ecstasy.

When we were done with our 10 minutes of mutual love I returned to the front counter and openly declared to the behind the counter girl that I believe hydro massage lounge #4 and I were now very close and may be forming a serous relationship. What I didn’t tell the behind the counter girl or the many other gym patrons now listening closely was that this hydro massage lounge is BLACK! Hear that DAD, she is BALCK! Wow where did THAT come from? Hmm. Need to bring that up with my therapist. Anyway, the girl takes my #4 token from me and looks at me like I am completely nuts. Then she reads my shirt “Black Lives Matter” she smiles in a way that says “Please just go away quietly and don’t speak to me anymore… please” So I smile and bid farewell to my friends and lovers at Planet Fitness Bay Shore Mall. See you all again next week. Get used to it people EVERY FRIDAY you get to deal with me. The shirt next week will be “I can’t Breathe.” Next stop THE MOVIES.

There I was, standing in the queue or the “rope maze” as I like to call it. If you’re not careful you can get lost waiting in line at the theater and possibly have to face a Minotaur before you can buy your tickets or get snacks and drinks. I scanned the crowd of eager Friday night movie goers for anyone who was looking my way. Seeing if anyone would notice the shirt and make eye contact. I know eye contact is the bane of our modern society. Non-the-less, one man standing just to my left did peek at the shirt and looked me up and down but decided to remain silent. (Full disclosure, I am approx. 6’6” tall and 300 lbs.) maybe he thought better of engaging, who can say.

Once I knew I survived the movie maze of madness and reached the counter unscathed I did notice the woman who was waiting on me seemed EXTRA nice and unusually chatty. It could have been that she was just feelin’ good on a Friday night but from all the people I have known who have worked at a movie theatre I doubt it. My favorite part was when she swiped my rewards card and told me that she was going to “upgrade” my purchase. For a moment I envisioned a truly first class viewing experience with reclining padded heated massage chairs with speakers and sub-woofer right beneath my, ahem “sub-woofer” (if you know what I mean) and a dinner menu with pasta, pizza, Asian cuisine and sushi. But instead she just meant I could get some candy for $2.50 instead of the usual low rate fixed loan at 3.13% for the candy which I could then pay back in installments over the next 6 months. Oh AND I had earned a free unrestricted ticket. So tonight I was seeing a first run movie on its premier weekend for FREE. That’s right people I am a Visual Veloci-VIP. Mic Drop!

So I get my snacks and FREE ticket and head to the theater. I knew at this point that my chances of anyone seeing the shirt were pretty much over since it was dark and we were all facing the same direction, so I got comfortable and enjoyed the movie. Let me tell you a little bit about the film. It opens with Washington D.C. in ruins. The Capitol building, White house and Washington monument are destroyed beyond repair and the world has come to an end except for a small contingent of people who have held on facing unbelievable odds against their survival. A madman has seized power and is trying literally to destroy the world which will then be rebooted and populated with the uber wealthy all of whom lye safely in cryo-stasis in a secure underground facility only to be awoken after all of humanity has been extinguished to pave the way for them to rise and repopulate the planet making it over in their own image. Wait, I’m sorry, that was just the twitter and facebook feed I was reading on my phone before the movie. And Resident Evil Part 6 was a greed motivated apocalypse too.

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So after the action fest of death and horror. By this I mean the movie. I made my way to the lobby – by the way for fans of the Resident Evil franchise you MUST stay ALLLLLLLL the way to the VERY, very end of the credits. Worth it. So I walk out to the lobby. And the theater manager walks past in front of me eying my shirt. I then see a woman looking at my shirt and she starts walking toward me. The theater manager stops and turns to her and asks her if everything is ok. Yes seriously he did this. The woman looks at him and says everything is fine and I walk past. Interesting yes? As I round the corner passing the concession counter I see 2 black ladies ordering their food and one spots me and turns to her friend and makes a gesture I cannot see. I imagine she says “Ooo-Ooo look, another white man with a shirt he doesn’t understand. Man WHITE people are CRAZY!” Neither of them say anything to me but I think to myself. “You ladies have a good time at the movies, my work is done here” Exit. Next stop, HOME.

We Are At War With America


I am angry and in love. I am happy and frustrated. I am thinking of violence while demanding peace. I can argue with myself I am so conflicted about so many things. But through these debates within myself and others a singular view starts to emerge. It offers a clearer view as I wash the tears from my face. When I can catch my breath from the wind being knocked out of me by the stories I hear from all areas of my nation. Once I regain a moment of composure I am reminded of who I am or at least who I aspire to be.

And even though Congress has not met, the Joint Chiefs have not convened and the Commander in Chief has issued not proclamation. We are at war. It is a war waged apparently ON America BY America. Sounds insane I know. Some would say then that this must be a civil war then. And I would say you may be right but there is nothing civil about it. A civil war would have two sides each struggling to make the other submit. This is not that war. We did that already. This war is fought in coffee houses, and class rooms and apartments, on sidewalks and at protests outside conventions and of course on social media and in the “NEWS”

We are at war with each other. If America has enemies in the world today all they need to do is sit back and watch us tear at each other. Destroying what good things we have. Like liberty or the freedom to choose to do good for each other. Our enemies can sit back and bide their time. Because we are doing their job for them. We can’t let this happen and yet many of us are not only letting it happen but participating, even though we would not likely acknowledge that we are in a war. “America is gonna be great again” some might say. I could argue America is already great and anyone who says otherwise might not appreciate what we have going on here. That is to say, what the great American experiment has the possibility of achieving. Only time will tell on that one. But it’s not looking so good today.

We are at war and I want the whole damn country to know that I am a Conscientious Objector. I will have nothing to do with the dehumanizing of the ‘enemy’ so we can be motivated to destroy them. Them being my fellow Americans. I will take no life, I will assault no person or persons because of the freedoms they express in their beliefs, attitudes or behaviors and convictions. I WILL defend EVERYONE’S right to be here. Especially those who are here for reasons we cannot understand. Who wanted more than anything to chase the same American Dream we all say we want but just can’t seem to see it when someone struggling to survive says that their American Dream has become an American Nightmare. Well WAR IS HELL and some have been in the trenches a long time. Lately however it appears that battle has become more heated and we (All of us, from all sides) are struggling and attacking and killing more of our own than ever before. We say but we haven’t killed anyone. Maybe some of us haven’t but we also refuse to defend them, we refuse to stand up and protect those who deserve our protection. We have become cowards. We are now weak and afraid. That is not the America I believe in. We have got to do better. We have got to BE BETTER than our worst emotion, We have got to be smarter than to be reacting from being “triggered” by something someone says who disagrees with us. We have to learn that different is not always dangerous just likely misunderstood.

I hope that this war can one day come to an end and we can get back to the ideals of an America we all are proud of. Yes we disagree, yes we have troubles but we struggle together to move beyond them. I said TOGETHER. We have to stop being at each other’s throats or all we will have is more blood. Do we really want to silence the opposition? So only one side is heard? Do we really want to remove the checks and balances that are designed to keep us from going too far off track? Do we want to place so much hope in a few individuals to lead us to better days or do we want to KNOW that it is only together, each one of us doing are part, that our nation is better of all of us.

Listen, America is not easy, in fact most days it is pretty damn hard especially with people who disagree with you shouting their loudest in your ears. So let’s get serious. Let’s work it backwards. What kind of a country do you really want? And be careful here. Remember, limited rights and freedoms eventually mean limited rights and freedoms for EVERYONE. Remember those one time war taxes? We all know where that got us.  If we want a country where freedom rings in the streets and there is the kind of opportunity that has made us the envy of the free world then we have got remember who we are. WE are Americans and we have got some shaping up to do.

As an conscientious objector, opposed to this war, I propose an immediate cease fire and talks, focused on negotiating how we can bring peace to our people fighting this modern social ‘civil war.” The casualties are adding up by the moment and eventually the cost may be greater than America can withstand.

Time for a new National Symbol


I wanted to find a symbol that might depict for all people the feeling of people of color in America surrounding the unjustified shootings and violence and discrimination and institutional racism which is recently being spoken against in our public arenas and in the streets. I wanted that perfect image of what the state of justice and civil rights and equality in our country are.

So at first I thought of the obvious image of the American flag used to signal distress by being flown upside down. Here is what the Law of the United States says about it.

THE UNITED STATES FLAG CODE
Title 4, Chapter 1

  • 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

Here is an example of how to effectively display the flag in distress by an active member of the military.

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The statement he wrote on the upside down flag reads “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”

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Then I thought we need an image that is truly current and represents the mood of the oppressed so I looked and found the flag of protest pictured here.

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A group of protesters demonstrating together against police violence and brutality on blacks marching in the streets. The flag depicting the names of those shot and killed.

As I continued my search I thought I would play with the idea of designing a NEW AMERICAN FLAG. After all Betsy Ross had her chance so I would take mine. I envisioned a flag much like ours but in black and white instead of red, white and blue. Black and White to show the huge divide between Black and White perspectives of the world in America. But my design needed something to drive home the horrendous nature of the violence we have seen between blacks and police of late. So I thought to put one RED STRIPE across my new flag to show in stark relief the image I wanted to invoke in people the current state of things. Here is my first design:

Unfortunately someone else already created it. This is a flag you can buy today from Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Thin-Red-Line-Flag-Firefighters/dp/B01A97O0KE/ref=pd_bxgy_86_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=476NFKNN1NGQDG6RCCN5

Here is what the listing at Amazon says The Thin Red Line is a symbol used to recognize Firefighters for their unwavering courage. Between harm’s way and innocent citizens stands a thin red line of committed firefighters and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians.) These brave men and women, first responders, put their lives second to those that they protect.”

You may know that “The Thin Red Line” thin-red-line-movie is a film from 1998 about war focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. Here is an excerpt:

Private Edward P. Train: [narration] This great evil, where’s it come from? How’d it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who’s doing this? Who’s killing us, robbing us of life and light, mocking us with the sight of what we might’ve known? Does our ruin benefit the earth, does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?

Wow! That is kind of spooky as to how this seemingly random dialog from a movie by the same name as this flag speaks to what is happening in the streets of America today. Maybe the designers didn’t know about this movie when naming this flag design. So I was even more confused and unsure about my design ideas but it did remind me of another Black White and Red flag design.

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The flag of the German Empire during World War 1. Once again seems like knowing a little history could serve us well when trying to decide on a new American symbol. I was learning this flag designing stuff was hard.

I was undeterred however and would not give up. I wanted to continue my search but not before I came across this flag as well

You’ll never guess what this one is for…

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Thin-Blue-Line-Flag-Embroidered/dp/B00ZDA120Y/ref=pd_bxgy_86_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8A96E18CTWJQ7QXPK9FQ

The Amazon listing explains it this way. The Thin Blue Line is a symbol recognizing Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) for their courage while keeping the peace. One black bar below represents the criminal element in society. One black bar above represents the innocent citizens. What stands in the middle is a thin blue line of committed Police. Display this flag to support the brave men and women that serve and protect.”

thin-blue-line-movieYou may know that “The Thin Blue Line” is a movie from 1988. Synopsis from IMDB “A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.”

Maybe the flag designers didn’t know about this. Hmm.

If these designers are so far off how can I expect to do better? I plunged forward in my search for the perfect new American flag symbol. But wait, then THIS! From Cornell University Law School:

 

18 U.S. Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties

(a)(1) Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(2) This subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.

 

Wait a minute. I wanted to design a new flag but just realized that almost every picture of the flag, both present and future, I have shown hear could be breaking the law. If I continue I could be fined and jailed for a year!? Oh well I say, “WORTH IT!” Moving on.

But since so many others seem to be acting criminally with there use of the flag and flag designs I thought Hey you better be smart about this. Know the history of the symbolism of your own flag before you start. So I did some research. Ultimately there is NO OFFICIAL SYMBOLISM for our flags colors of symbols. The exception being the number of stars and each one representing a state. The history of the red white and blue are simply our new nation coopting the colors from mother England’s Union Jack. Ok so we like red, white and blue. I can work with that. So I think finally I have my design. I present to you for the first time anywhere the new symbol of American. Please rise and salute the flag of the United States of America.

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Or maybe this one. Maybe more than any other design this embodies America. Sex, Female Exploitation, Skin, Women’s bodies, did I mention SEX

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Wait how did that get in here? To my wife “Honey look away. This was just a momentary distraction.” To the fella’s, “Whose with me on this design. So many front thighs on Linda Carter?”

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This could work… right? Kaepernick symbolizes “Colin-izaton” and the upside down flag represents our distress?

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Now here is a new flag design with the flag in distress… or maybe not. Did I mention nothing says America better than SEX and the Exploitation of Women’s Bodies? But seriously fella’s am I right? Americans next official symbol? I could rock shorts like that!

It’s so hard to decide with all these great designs. I know, here is one that says America better than all the others. I heard the Trump campaign officially approved it. Hey at least it’s red, white and blue…

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With that in mind we could just do this

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Maybe if we all stand up and cover our heart, salute and sing while seeing Black Lives Matter people will actually start to believe it.

So did I succeed in finding the new symbol of America? Maybe. Maybe not. What I think we can all agree is there are many images which represent who America is and who we as Americans are today. Some of those images we can be proud of and some others not so much. PEACE

DOE


If you are unemployable like I am. That is to say you suffer from a fatigue which says that the longer you are out of work the harder it is for you to want to go through the want ads and tweak your resume again or customize another cover letter, so you just become jaded and talk yourself out of even applying for some jobs at all. Then you will appreciate my latest discovery. And if you have a job then good for you.

As I took a dive back into the wild west of on line job market the other day I discovered something which suddenly has taken on a new significance. Don’t you hate it when you are reading through a want ad and under compensation or pay are these three letters; DOE? Me too. But because I want to be good at my job, and today that is looking for a job, I did a little research to be sure I know what DOE really means. And that means it was time to wrap my fingers around my favorite device and google it. Wait that didn’t sound quite right. You see, THIS is why my cover letters are NOT getting me those job interviews!

So google returned three responses which were expected. First, DOE = Department of Energy. I was directed to the government page simply called energy.gov and read the banner at the top which at first didn’t make much sense “The Future of Cool” I laughed out loud (lol) and thought, “come on guys, is coming up with catchy air conditioning slogans going to bring you from engineering nerds into the summer party animals you wish you were in high school. Sorry but no.” So I moved on to the next entry

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Next was not from the Federal Government but instead from our friends form the great state of New York. Here DOE = Department Of Education (For the State of New York) I was directed to their webpage schools.nyc.gov where the first item said “Wake Up To The Morning Bell” This idea may have triggered some childhood trauma in me as my stomach twisted and my heart raced as I recalled the sound of that school bell telling me I was late. LATE for class again! This is NOT how I want to wake up – with a reminder first thing in the morning that I am child again and already late before I even get started. No thank you. So I quickly moved down the page to what I knew I would get to see next

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Doe = Female Deer. And my result was “images for DOE” and I spent the next few minutes reliving my Disney experience of watching Bambi. I scrolled through pages and pages of Deer photos with both Doe and Fawn. Aww they are so cute. See?

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When I stopped crying after remembering that they SHOT Bambi’s mother (a DOE) I was immediately returned to the stark reality that has become my life and in many ways our culture of the moment (at least that is what I am calling it)

As I considered DOE on all those job listings (DEPENDING ON EXPERIENCE), it dawned on me that this may well be the acronym we have all been waiting for in our conversations about almost everything these days.

Some people say “It’s wrong for people to not stand for the National Anthem and salute the flag.” If they are a military family or a first responder or an extreme conservative Depending On Experience (DOE) this makes perfect sense. Some say, “Until the violence against blacks in our country and social injustice ends I can’t stand for the anthem or the flag” To them who see black people on TV in the news but only when they are being shot by the police THIS makes perfect sense, Depending On Experience (DOE).

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Some might accuse “Why do black people have to make everything about race?” Well, Depending On Experience for black people everything IS about race but they didn’t make it that way did they? Ever wonder if you didn’t get that job because of the color of your skin? Wonder why you got pulled over in that white affluent neighborhood? Wonder why someone said to you “You probably voted for Barack Obama just because he’s black?” Me neither and I am white so Depending On Experience…

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Others have said “I don’t have white privilege, Stop saying that I do” Many people want to deny the very idea of white privilege because Depending On Experience they can’t see it. Others would say “As long as white people keep denying their privilege white officers with badges and guns and institutional power on their side will continue killing blacks with impunity” These opinions are not invented but only make sense Depending On Experience.

racist

You might be a racist if Depending On Experience you have ever heard yourself or your friends saying these things; “Racism ended in the 1960’s. Stop making such a big deal out of nothing.” “I’m clutching my purse or wallet when you walk past, because I think you might steal from me” “It’s not fair that you all can say the n-word, but we can’t” By the way, on the n-word issue, whites have said it for 100’s of years and frankly we’ve worn it out. You might be a racist DOE when you say “If black men don’t want to get stopped by police, why don’t they stop dressing that way?” which is like saying “If white hedge fund managers don’t want to be indicted why don’t they stop wearing $5,000 suits and driving Maserati’s?”

hedge-fund-manager

What this all comes down to is people are so stuck on their opinion which is based exclusively Depending On Experience (DOE). We can’t take on the opinions of others because we do not share that experience. But you know what, we are not merely animals but Homo Sapiens and as such have the ability to transcend our own experience and use empathy and even reason to see an issue from a prospective not our own. You CAN do that can’t you or should I refer to many blogs, posts, comments, videos and memes I see on social media that show me Depending On Experience how many of you are TROLLS and have no ability or desire to get along with anyone else in the world and that’s why you ARE utterly alone and maybe you should be for the sake of the rest of us.

We CAN do better than this. We WILL do better. We HAVE to be better than this in order for the great experiment that America is to work. And even apart form that for us as people to be able to say about ourselves that we are good and that we can live in peace and that we can pursue dreams, and strive for more than we are and that we can all find happiness. Depending On Experience we all have some pain and grief, but instead of taking it out on “others” isn’t it time that we own our pain and admit our mistake, grapple with it, seek forgiveness for it, try and repay for damage done and repair the broken relationships or better yet forge a new relationship where there has never been one before.

Diverse Group of People Holding a Sign - Isolated

Bottom line here is this. We may not need BLM or ALM or DOJ or even POTUS to help us sort this one out. DOE we need to realize that there are so many people who, any job interviewer will tell you, come from very different life experiences with unique perspectives, insights and understandings of the world they live in. We need to remember when someone doesn’t seem to agree with your perspective or doesn’t seem to GET IT that it’s not because you are right and they are wrong. They GET IT just fine DEPENDING ON EXPERIENCE. #DOE

 

When A Nation Takes A Knee


There are so many people who are jealous of Colin Kaepernick. Oh they won’t admit it but they are mad that the stupid protest ideas and internet trolling they do hasn’t garnered them 1 millionth of the attention Colin’s protest actions have. I admit that I am jealous. I wish I had thought of it and had been famous enough to have had it matter if I did it. 

Kaepernick Knee

Today even though I may be a little late to the party. I mean this happened like a week ago. That’s like 6 months in internet time. So I spent a few moments posing for pictures and writing a poem. Ya that’s right I wrote a poem! And it doesn’t mean I’m not a man and it doesn’t mean I’m struggling with my identity. It simply provides me a way to get the angry wigglies out of the dark parts of my twisted soul when they reach out from the hell in my heart to strangle my good brain from time to time. 

So I put down my Black Lives Matter protest/vigil board to stand (or kneel) with Colin in solidarity. I hope you will respect my right to do this and consider my poem. Did I mention it is SLAM poetry? I don’t know if it’s as good as the many I have seen preformed on youtube but I tried. Don’t know what SLAM poetry is? It basically a street expression presented with energy, anger, excitement, passion and flow (if your good) So if you want check out some SLAM poetry before you read on then return and read on or rap it out loud or SLAM it out in the privacy of your living room like I did for my wife even though she tried to leave the room 3 times before I was done. I am a lot to put up with after all. So I don’t blame her.

Take a knee1

A word of warning to my paler skinned readers. This is hard. Like it’s hard for me to admit I was a racist, But I have been in recovery for decades and I am making progress. You may not be there yet so I welcome your ignorant, hateful and angry comments. And thank you for them.. I am sure they will inspire many more posts, photos and poems like the content provided here. PEACE. 

The Day When A Nation Takes A Knee

Today I put down my BLM sign so I can take a knee

In the home of the brave and the land of the free

I am with Colin and he is with me

Together now one in solidarity

What this should tell you is I am a patriot

Who loves his country but unjust killing can’t forget

Now I declare with one voice among many

Not enough people will take action with me

Too hard for you to listen and understand

About what it is like to be a black man

So if you are blessed today and fat, dumb and happy

Too busy to listen to our friend Colin ‘Kappy”

The country I love is supposed to have justice

But if it’s only for the majority or Just Us.

Then it’s time for everyone to stand up and scream

This is not part of the American Dream

We need everyone to have life, liberty and happiness

If we don’t then someone is suffering and oppressed

This is my country and it’s under attack

By a white power majority out to get blacks

So you know what just screw it, I throw up my hands

Someone stand for the truth, make your demands

To our leaders and neighbors, family and friends

Or we may just find out our grand old country ends

When the music plays and you have a choice

To stand or sit know that both have a voice

So if you’re still complaining about a black man’s actions

Know that throughout history blacks can’t get no satisfactions

If today you are shouting at your TV and looking dumb

Maybe it’s time for you to “go back where you came from!”