Category: Race


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All the questions for Ask Black Witch for September were all crappy so free space! And it’s a couple weeks late, boo. I will spend this time to talk about stuff I’ve been doing, up to Oct 1.

I was in a podcast recently, Feminist Killjoys, PhD. I talked about Paganism, mental health and more!

Update on my cat feeder project: Still working on the code so it won’t rapid-slap my cat and then go full on rebellion. The tech stuff is mainly done, I just have to code and then assemble the whole thing. The goal: Feed my cat a cup of food once a day…and my cat doesn’t destroy the machine. And the machine doesn’t rapid-slap me or my cat. This machine isn’t evil, just very rebellious. It wants to live with vigor. I need it to tone down the vigor.

For Oct 20-22, there will be the Dawtas of the Moon convention, in its second year. It’s hosted in Baltimore and I will be teaching a Cartomancy Workshop, teaching the ins and outs of cartomancy, playing card divination. Get your tickets!

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It’s that time of year again for the Black Witches convention, Dawtas of the Moon. It’s the second year for the convention, last year was pretty decent. So if you missed it, here is your second chance!

Let it be noted, this is an event for Women of Color (WoC) only. As best described on the event’s ticket site:

“This event is for WOMEN OF COLOR ONLY! If you are not a woman or a woman of color and you decide to purchase a ticket, understand that you will NOT GET A REFUND AND YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY AT THE DOOR WITH A THANK YOU FOR THE DONATION.

If you’re not of this intersection, please be mindful. Last year was only WoC, no other.

There will be plenty of workshops available for participants, such as elemental magick, astrology, Voodun, and more! I will be teaching a workshop on the first day, October 20, on cartomancy called “Cartomancy, Playing Card Divination”. Last year, I did a workshop on how to research and being in metaphysics/witchcraft. This time, I will be teaching playing card divination, cartomancy.

On the ticket site, there is a rundown of events and times per session. My workshop time is 11:30 AM-12:30 PM and there are three workshops per session (to give con goers variety and choices).

The game plan is that I’ll work with a small group (I haven’t a clue what capacity will be so I’m expecting 15 people or so for my workshop) and showing how to do cartomancy and a super basic spread. Afterwards, I will be available to talk to and suches. I’ll most likely be floating around the venue, particularly around the food areas. I am not sure if I’ll be at the Black Witch Masquerade Ball, however, though.

Check out the tickets on the eventbrite, most ticket sales end on Oct 19.

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Recently, I got an email and this is what it said:

Hi there,

I would like to learn how to better support minority Pagans, both in my local communities and on a broader scale. Could you recommend any reading material, or other resources that might help me learn about the perspectives of minority Pagans? Would you be willing to chat with me about your own experiences, and perhaps share some things that were challenging or helpful for you, or things you wish you’d had or wish you hadn’t had to deal with? I’d like to be part of a solution, but that means listening to what minority Pagans want and need, and not imposing the solutions I think would work. I’m not quite sure how to find out what those wants and needs are, though.

Thanks for any insight you can offer,

Thista

Yeah, I wasn’t really feeling this message, hence my response:

You’re kidding, right? Like, why did you just basically ask me “Hey, teach me everything about treating other Pagans like people, especially if they’re not White. I never learned that one.” How did you figure out how not to murder or discriminate gay people on sight? How about people from religions that aren’t Paganism or Christianity? This is actually an insulting question because, frankly, the info is everywhere. Even on my own freaking site. That spans years. This isn’t some mysterious book floating about in space. You just don’t want to research and rather take the ultra lazy way out – bothering someone else as if there’s an utter lack of info everywhere else.

Why are you even bothering anyone now? Trump? Charlotteville? Look, you probably have a Resist sticker, voted Sanders and think using AAVE is hilarious (because systemic racism via linguistics is funny somehow). Maybe you should read a book. Or read something on a website. What did you expect me to say: “Oh man, I really always wanted to unload on a White person to help them better themselves because my favorite racist tropes are the Mammy trope and the White Savior trope. Because, while this literally does not help me at all and even forces me to think up really terrible traumas I experienced as a Black person, some dumb White kid gets to benefit 1000% and that means everything.” Please be serious. You don’t care, you’re just looking for a token to help you feel better.

– Black W.

They still felt that they were owed a history lesson that somehow even Tumblr couldn’t give them and responded this:

Hi Black W.

I asked for suggested resources by which I can educate myself. It’s not your responsibility to educate me. I can do that work. However, our world is full of different opinions, articles, books, and more, many of which conflict with one another. I have been reading your blog and your posts on afropunk, and they inspired me. You seemed like someone who could point me towards better quality resources, which is why I asked. 

I also asked for your specific stories, *if* you’re willing to share them, because I don’t want to treat all people of any group like one homogeneous mob. Of course it’s perfectly fine for you to say no. It’s not really a question if there is only one acceptable answer. I apologize for prying where my interest was unwelcome.

I don’t have any stickers, bumper or otherwise. I voted Clinton. I think language is more complicated than right or wrong, and that colloquialisms and other dialectical features are important cultural elements that deserve respect. 

Why did I ask? Because I was terrified to ask. Because it would be easy for me to sit here with my books and my internet and do all my research in a vacuum and pretend that I have all the solutions, but can I really help people that I am afraid to talk to? I was afraid that I would do or say the wrong thing and make you angry, and I did. I want to understand how my inquiry was offensive so that I can change my behavior and not offend anyone else in the future… but how do I do that? If asking is the wrong thing to do, then where do I find the answer? Do I really just turn back to books and articles? Because that seems to ignore the real people having real experiences, which is theoretically what this is all about… but if I can’t accept that as the answer, then I’m as hypocritical as you suggest.

I apologize for insulting you. I was genuinely seeking information, and I can see that I did so in an insulting way. Even if I don’t understand it, I can accept that, take responsibility for it, and apologize. I am sorry to have bothered you.

Thista

My retort:

You asked and I answered: stop pretending to be dumb and go to Tumblr already. I write for Black Pagans primarily. If a White person of any religion seems still confused, that’s their problem, not mine. It’s like being an English speaker reading a Japanese newspaper to better boost their language skill… and then writing to the newspaper to explain and translate some of their words since they “don’t get it”.  That’s not the newspaper’s job – to teach Japanese – it’s to report the news to those who already have the language down pat. I haven’t had any Black Pagans complain that they would like to better understand race so I’m not budging on that front. Because they’re my main audience. I never said that Black Witch was for White people to unlearn their ingrained prejudices, it was to be a blog for Black Pagans since they didn’t have any medium for them circa 2010. Due to White people whitewashing as much as they can about Paganism and because the vast majority of them are super racist. Most vote blue but are just as prejudiced as their red-voting counterparts.

Here’s the thing, every bigot that thinks it’s their privilege to ask. Regardless of if they use “if”, “must” or “Hey, I’m gonna badger you a lot because society told me my ignorance means more than your comfort”. There’s pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenty of people who have written about their experiences of dealing with racism. Some even won literary awards. And, here’s the thing: You’re gonna ask questions, it’s not gonna be a “I tell you and you go away”. Nah, I’m most likely gonna hear “Wow, that’s interesting. I had no idea White people could be terrible. Are you sure it was prejudice since I somehow can’t read readily published books on this subject? Just so I can really understand since I don’t even know who to find, even on Tumblr.” That’s being racist and I really couldn’t care less if you wanted to change or not. It’s probably something for you to do until the next Orange is the New Black season comes out, whatever White liberals do to pass the time. Steal other cultures foods and homes, like what happened with Kale and Brooklyn? White Guilt is not a Black person’s burden.

No bumper stickers or anything but funny you didn’t say you didn’t use Black slang jokingly. Lolz, not surprised.

You’re terrified to ask? That’s a load of bull if I heard it. You’re White, what’s gonna happen to you? You’re gonna lose your job? You’re going to see a burning cross on your lawn? Are you gonna get lynched? Are you gonna get ran over? Is a cop going to beat you? Will an officer raid you? Are you going to be blacklisted from finding work? Is it going to cost you a promotion? Are folks gonna march with torches about it or something? “Oh nooooooooes, racism is so scary because I benefit from it so muuuuuuuch!” Get real.

You can do this without badgering people and expecting that they’re going to kowtow to you. That’s being bigoted and this is the nicest I get to a bigot.

– Black W.

Now, I’m sure some will wonder why I was being really harsh and not simply telling this person everything that exists about racism and how it works, how it feels to be on the business end of it and all sort of stuff that you can pretty much figure out through a copy of Hidden Figures and Selma. Here’s the thing: I’m 30. I have dealt with this for yeaaaaaaaars. I think around high school, I would have probably have tried to help this person out, thinking that somehow I can reach them because I’m really good at teaching and informing. I’m still good at those things, it’s just there’s lack of access, and then there’s laziness. Usually prejudiced folks don’t really want to learn, this is just to feel better about themselves. There’s even a bingo board about this, Derailment Bingo! Actually let me break out the board:

The Derailment Bingo Board! Fantastic for pointing out bullsh*ttery anywhere, regardless of form of bigotry. Can be applicable for racism, ageism, religious bigotry, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and more!

Here’s the thing: This person doesn’t have to ask about my experiences with racism. Outside of my Race category, and even my Race and Racism tag on Tumblr, there are a super amount of books and info on this alone. Again, you could watch Selma and get caught up pretty quickly. Or actually read actual accounts of people who also have dealt with racism and even post about it. Or write about it. Or make movies about it. Or youtube videos about it. Given my personal experience of being on the receiving end of this type of question for nearly my entire life, I can say with some safety that this person wasn’t actually interested in learning, they just wanted someone not White to say “you’re not racist, you’re a good White. You is smart. You is beautiful.” And thus they will move on about their lives, still being insanely prejudiced until they meet someone who isn’t big on the Mammy stereotype. And a bonus for those that seriously refuse to get it: Black stereotypes and their related histories, including the Mammy.

I found their emails insulting for a variety of reasons. One was because, while I was fielding these emails, I already was dealing with a pretty racist experience from a business in my hometown of Baltimore City called Fisher’s Pet Care. My landlord was out of town and they sent a cat sitter over, which is fine. Except one cat sitter barged into my apartment early in the morning while I was asleep, waking me up and when asked why the heck are they in my apartment, they blurted, “Oh, are you the live-in maid? I can’t get the back kitchen door open to take out the trash.” I had to respond, “I’m not a maid, I’m a librarian“, the person still didn’t seem to get it and I had to tell them to get out. When telling the owner of the business, Matt, they tried to defend such statements with the gem of “the cat sitter didn’t know what race you were.”

Yep. While they did try to say “This sucks that it happened and I don’t understand why they did it”, it really did not help their argument to backpedal with “she was not completely aware of the race you were.” It was dim but it wasn’t pitch black. As I replied in a later email, she could tell for fact I wasn’t White. I was thinking of using their services but since I don’t like racists feeding my cat and definitely not in my home, I’ll be continuing to ask friends to do it and finishing up the code for my automatic cat feeder.

Throughout the thread, I already tried explaining to Matt why what their worker said was prejudiced. Dude did a canned “I’m so upset…that I’m not even going to punish the person who did it” response. Guess what? That took time and diligence and the most that came from it was a “wow, I’m sorry you feel this way. That sucks”. I’m not too interested in doing that for everyone.

This is why I don’t try to be a guiding light for White folks who “want to be better” because that’s not my job – nor the purpose of this site, either. At all. The primary audience is Black Pagans. And that alone. Not Black Christians. Not White Pagans. Black Pagans. That’s my targeted core audience. Everyone else is fine to come along for the ride but this is primarily a site for Black Pagans. If my core audience has complaints, I listen. If folks who are not that exact intersection have complaints that aren’t legit issues (i.e, “Your facebook link is acting odd”) but instead boil down to “Why isn’t this all about me?”, I give them responses similar to the above and they can take it or leave it. I know Black Witch won’t make everyone happy, hence why I keep in mind a target audience. This chick is not in the core audience, especially demonstrated by her questioning and the fact she seemed to think that Black Witch exists for White Pagans to sorta-not-really unlearn racism. You know a token site to say “I’m not prejudiced, I watch/read/listen to [non-White]!”I don’t strive for that.

I get that some may go “well, you have the ‘Support Black Witch with Digital Coffee‘ thing at the start of nearly every post now. Should have simply directed her to that.” What she was asking wasn’t that and even if she were, clicking the link would have sufficed. I have that digital tip jar because Black Witch takes time and work that I do for free. And just telling someone “How to support minority Pagans: pay me” is super short sighted and doesn’t really make the person go away. It just sounds like a money grab and I’ll still hear the “Waiiiiiit, but if I give you money, that certifies me as ‘Not Racist Ever’ right?” that generally follows.

There are ways to unlearn prejudice and figure out how to support PoC/minority Pagans that doesn’t involve bothering one like they owe you a history lesson. This definitely isn’t it.

Menstruation and Misinformation

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I have noticed recently a wave of “guys telling women how to menstruate”. Basically, it’s a bunch of Hoteps (Black folks – usually guys – who are fake woke and real self-hateful) trying to tell Black women that, somehow, having a period is A) an eurocentric construct B) not natural and C) can be dispersed with removing “eurocentric” foods from diet. All three are incredibly wrong and actually quite harmful. That and I always wear this face when reading:

This is the closest capture to “accurate” I can provide

For example, one hotep vlogger named Yada pointed out how their daughter just got her first period and how it made him upset. Yes, periods are a bummer. They hurt, they make you sleepy, they make you irritable, nothing fun about it. But that’s part of having a uterus. However, they can be managed with Midol, Always pads, rest and access to competent women health laws.

Unfortunately, this is not how the Hotep responded to their daughter starting a period. He suggested cramps bark, which at first I balked but does relieve cramps. However, it is not declared safe for pregnant women to use. My rule of thumb about meds, especially natural meds: if it can not be used for pregnant women, it shouldn’t be used for children, which includes his daughter, who is around early middle school age. The reason why pregnant women shouldn’t use it: it could affect the child. Reason why breastfeeding women shouldn’t use it: it could affect the child. The dude was basically half right: yes, cramps bark can help alleviate cramps but for a young age, it could have adverse affects, especially if dosage is not monitored (and he’s probably not a whiz with that, given his lack o’ any medical knowledge). If anything, rose hip tea could be better. Not to mention, the initial reason why I thought cramp bark was inaccurate: black haw (Vibernum prunifolium) is also called “cramp bark”, but does not do the thing. This confusion could lead to complications. Rose hip tea is relatively safer, especially for young girls.

All in all, it would have been fine and dandy if the dude just looked up some teas and pads for his daughter to have but newp, he had to go waaaaaaaaay beyond that. And into the stream of thought that is pretty harmful to women. And, of course, it’s part of a pretty worldwide idea that treats periods like mysterious sicknesses…usually thought up by guys who seriously could use a briefing in basic anatomy and physiology that isn’t bathroom jokes or smut. The general, usually male-created, consensus about periods is that they’re unclean, unnatural and burdensome. I mean there’s the old internet joke of “I don’t trust anything that bleeds for 3 days and doesn’t die”. It derives from serious misunderstanding and actively pursued ignorance about a pretty normal function in women bodies. And I say “Actively pursued ignorance” because you can google “how do periods work” and the first thing that will pop up is this really thorough article from womenshealth.gov (still accurate despite having a moron in the White House). There’s even a menstrual cycle video on youtube from the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom as the second link. The third comes from pad brand, Always, who answer 10 common period questions. (I greatly suggest their Infinity Overnights line, so nice). Usually I’m skeevy about companies giving out medical info – because it basically becomes “Have problem? Solution: Our product, no matter what” – but Always’ page is very informative and geared to young girls.

This is simply googling “How do periods work”, no medical jargon or academic phrasing. Any dude looking up period info would have stumbled upon these sites. This includes Hoteps, members of Congress and any dude with a Reddit account.

If case anyone is still trying to understand or, worse, consistently going “menstruation is a curse from the White man and these sites primarily cater to White people so, of course, it’s still doesn’t apply to Black women”, let me break it down for you further. Let’s use the point I originally pointed out above:

A) periods are an eurocentric construct (False)
Yada, who seems to be leading the pack on “things I don’t get about women bodies: Black culture edition”, talks about “european doctrine” which primarily affects White women. Now, before I continue, I would like to say that he is talking in a video. And in this video, he’s wearing what I believe is a Gucci signature belt, which is a European brand (and a pricey one at that, at least $300 for a belt). For someone who is very anti-Eurocentrism, it doesn’t bleed over into how he spends. He could have gone with a regular belt buckle but I guess he wanted to jazz it up with name brand, particularly Italian. The least the dude could have done was go with Oscar de la Renta, who is Dominican. The very least. At most, look up Black-made fashion apparel and buy stuff there.

Moving away from fashion and back to what he’s saying, Yada is a very apt name person because frankly, all he does is “yadda yadda yadda”. He talks a lot but doesn’t really say anything. He states that our ancestors were “not running around, bleeding all over the place”. He’s partially right: the first anything resembling menstrual care was in Africa by using cloth and fibers and used similar to a tampon, if my memory serves me right. So our ancestors weren’t running around, bleeding on everything. Even though, guys then also thought the menstruating was full of teh evilllllllz (a part of that is thanks to Western imperialism). Because guys are pretty willfully ignorant about women’s health. Same reason why in the US, people have to march and petition to have contraception covered by healthcare but viagra, which is a cosmetic drug (not meant to cure any actual, life threatening or altering ailment), is covered just fine.

Yada’s belief for why Black women ancestors did not bleed is because they “ate natural foods”. I really want to see the science on this. Yes, food and diet can alter your period. Certain foods, like tofu, can make it come sooner. Some can make it come later. Drinking lots of water can alleviate cramps. Drinking lots of soda can make them worse. A very poor and hyper restricted diet can make periods not come at all (because the body is having a hard time sustaining itself well). Ditto with intense athleticism, because the body is getting so lean – under 18% body fat – it can’t sustain a period. You can be the most Vegan vegan person to ever vegan and still have a period. Because it’s natural. It’s natural for the female body to get periods, regardless of race. Regardless, whether the uterus belongs to a Black woman, a Native woman or an Asian woman, it’s gonna work the same, more or less. Natural foods can’t rid of periods, at all. Having a period is not a result of “not clean eating” because periods are not dirty or a result of being a dirty, unkempt person. And trust, this Yada person is trying to make the connection “natural eating = clean eating”. It’s good to have a healthy diet, filled with lots of natural foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables but you’re going to have a period, no matter what.

Ok, this dingbat also brings up that he’s a vegetarian (not Vegan, still eats eggs and cheese, just not animals themselves). Good for him. I almost expected him to say “I’m a vegetarian and I don’t have periods!” Which would have been chuckle worthy…up to the point I would remind myself that there are other guys who are still this level of stupid, and several of them are elected to office. Then it’s frightening. Long story short, periods exist because of biology, not because White men want to oppress others. Menstruation is not a human-created construct, like race, money and gender. It’s a nature-created construct for procreation, meaning it’s going to exist, regardless what one believes, like sunshine, gravitational pull and electricity.

B) Periods are not natural (False)
They suck to have but periods are natural to have. They’re the basics of procreation, especially for mammals. Did you know that animals like elephant shrews and some bats menstruate the same way human women do? Other mammal species perform “covert menstruation”, meaning that menstruation is still occuring it but it’s not visible or as clear. The BBC has a long, science laden article about this. It’s a good read. However, the kit and kaboodle of the article is that menstruating is happening because pregnancy isn’t. If you’re pregnant, you’re not menstruating and vice versa.

C) periods can be dispersed with removing “eurocentric” foods from diet (false)
As mentioned prior, diet can effect periods but it’s healthy for the body to have a period, not the absence of one and there’s no baby nor birth control. You could have an all Zimbabwe diet, an all Korean diet, an all Australian diet, and you’re still gonna have a period. Because that’s how the female body works. A balanced diet would help regulate your flow and lessen cramps, which is always nice but still means you’re going to have a period.

This subject of how Hoteps are pretty much affecting people has been discussed on Oxygen and even BET. It’s really agitating because in these modern times where there is access to information and knowledge, still, it is being ignored. Men simply aren’t good at talking about women health for the simple fact that they tend to center themselves somehow and still manage to ignore the perspective of women. Women are already minimized so this is more of that. Of all the Hotep nonsense I have seen, I am harder pressed to find women who believe the same. Now, they do exist, but they definitely don’t exist in the numbers that these guys do. Most, if not all, of these guys can’t even name women’s genitalia properly. (Hint: not everything is ‘vagina’.)  If anything, these dudes probably would probably sound like the “journalist’s guide to guns” macro from years ago.

This, but with the word “vagina”

There’s enough hounding the literal lives and experiences of folks who get periods. It would be nice to hear less nonsense. Because none of this is necessary and all it does is breed more self-animosity and internalized misogyny that any young girl would have about their body.

Cherry Picked Politics

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Recently went to a Pagan space in Baltimore for solstice and they had a new sign on the door: “Leave your politics in the car”. Also known as “how you know you’re surrounded by White people”. This is mainly why I don’t really engage with the rituals there. I just chill inside with the air conditioner and work on Black Witch stuff and listen through the window. That and because they sometimes film their rituals and I’m not showing up so some moron can point to me on film and say “see, we’re diverse!” They’re not. Not interested in being the token, I just have one favorite person there and that’s pretty much why I show up. And free food. Basically, come for the favorite person, stay for the free food.

Choosing politics is moreso a sign of privilege than not. Usually it’s not really all politics, because then people would be stuck with talking strictly about the weather – wait, no, global warming is considered political as well. Ok, so basically nothing – Either way! There are some politics that are very, very okay, just not the ones that tend to make those with privilege emo.

The thing about saying “leave your politics at the door” is that this is pretty coded. Since it is at a Pagan spot and it is a extraordinarily White place, it’s pretty obvious which politics are gonna fly and which aren’t. And what started this “politics-free zone” thinking was because they made some major missteps with their last rituals in regards to race and general politics. Stuff like summoning Sacagawea and Harriet Tubman to share the same space with slaver Thomas Jefferson at recent rituals, among other things.

Usually in White Pagan circles, they kind of work almost in the same vein of White feminism: it’s a problem when it directly affects them, and when it doesn’t, it’s a “distraction” and an act of “being divisive”. Doesn’t help that most of mainstream White Paganism is pretty much ran by and loaded to the gills with White women so it’s no surprise that it would have the same gaze as White feminism. This creates cherry picking politics.

It’s “cherry picking” because, frankly, everything can be seen as political. A trans person trying to go to the bathroom is seen as political because transphobia and gender politics. A Black person wearing their hair in its natural state is seen as political because of anti-blackness and race politics. These are really simple acts, using the bathroom and picking a hair style. However, enough people get up in arms about it, it gets framed as “political” because all politics is, is debating human-involved issues. From whether we should chop down all the forests in the world to if it’s wrong to have a fur coat, these are issues that involve humans somehow and thus can fall under the banner of “politics”. Doesn’t make it a bad thing, just simply what it is.

This means that talking about merely being Pagan is also political because religious freedom – something that isn’t considered taboo in the Pagan group…because it’s a Pagan group. They’re also okay with basic feminism because this is a group ran by primarily women, which is also politics – gender politics. They also don’t try to separate the trans people from the rest of the group because according to their politics, that’s not cool. So, they don’t mind politics, as long as it blends with their politics. This is not an act of “leaving politics at the door”, it’s simply agreeing to abide by an already established set of politics, regardless how lopsided or prejudiced they are. This is cherry picking the politics. Some are okay (“support basic feminism, don’t be a jerk to trans people”), some are not (“don’t bring up racism in a way White folks feel bad and non-saviorist, don’t acknowledge that the “feminism” they subscribe to is blanche neige White feminism”). All of this is bullsh*t.

Usually I hear the, “I don’t like politics” chant mainly from White folks who simply don’t like the fact that their privilege may not be seen in a good light and for really strong, deeply historically grounded reasons. They don’t mind whinging about Trump (despite voting for him), fussing about how they can’t believe prejudice still exists (despite constantly enforcing it in both de jure and de facto ways), and how they love different cultures (as long as the people attached to them are preferably silent and invisible). However, start bringing up where their thinking is wayward and, all of a sudden, they have declared this area a “politics free zone”. Because your politics may not match up with theirs and that might cause thinking, which will induce bad feelz. Won’t someone plz think of the White feelz?!

Thing is, if someone is bringing up why what another person or group did is prejudiced out of it affecting them personally, it’s not “politics” to that someone. That’s their life. If a Black person is saying “Hey, these police murders aren’t cool. Summoning abolitionists and indigenous explorers with exploitative slave traders is also not cool,” that’s because race and historical identity is not an armchair topic for them. It’s not a fun topic to chat about with others until their coffee is done, it’s their life. It’s a cop out to respond with “Well, I think you’re getting political about this, I don’t wanna talk about it. [Despite the fact I knew that race was political and did it anyway]” And expecting that person to abide by those lopsided rules is also an act of prejudice in and of itself because the person with the privilege in the situation is trying to determine the rules of engagement to spare their feelings over another person’s experience.

If things only got “political” when the topic stopped being “oppressor/privilege friendly”, then what the person doesn’t want is for things to stop being “political” suddenly – they just want a free pass to be as much of an ignorant jerk as much they want and with no one to argue with them. Which isn’t how the real world works, not even in modern Paganism. By trying to subtly cherry pick what is ok and what is not, it just shows a cranberry bog of problems.

History: Stuck on Repeat

We’re about six weeks away from the inauguration, which is strongly concerning. Hate crimes are spiking, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and will only be expected to rise even with the inauguration and well into the new administration. The one thing I’m most concerned about is the possible likelihood of forced retention of mass groups of people based on religious, cultural, racial or disability status. Basically, camps…and not the fun, marshmallow-at-a-bonfire-with-sing-a-long kind of camps. More like the human-rights-violations-everywhere-everyone-is-gonna-look-back-on-this-and-puke-or-make-hella-excuses kind.

Granted, given I have a mostly American audience, meaning a good chunk of my readership probably slept their way well through Government & Civics and their political science courses…or simply got a crappy education. This spells out that some folks probably are gonna say, “Camps totally can’t happen here! We have checks and balances! Germany had a different system! We have the freedom of due process and our amendments.”

Firstly, if you said the last sentence, it’s an 85% chance you’re probably intensely delusional. Both recent and not-so-recent history has held these truths to be quite not evident.

Secondly, during World War II, America had Internment Camps, also known as American Concentration Camps (as recommended and expressed by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in their Power of Words Handbook). This was while America was at war with the Axis of Evil (Germany, Italy, Japan). Note, only Japanese Americans were detained only, no German Americans or Italian Americans.

If you never heard of the Internment Camps/American Concentration Camps, don’t feel too bad, let Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda bring you up to speed with his song Kenji on his solo album Fort Minor: The Rising Tied

Imaginative, no? Here is another that breaks everything down on the historical, government-y side, because you do need all sides (or as many as possible) of an argument enable to make an argument:

Here’s the thing: all in all, all of this was government sanctioned. Thought up by the president, passed by the Congress, defended by the Supreme Court a couple years later (Korematsu v. United States). Not only was this greenlit, it was even portrayed as if the Japanese Americans were totally cool with it (because they’re so obedient! Those loyal model minorities! If only all minorities could be so accommodating, like those nig– uh…no minority group in particular, just a general wish upon a star, heh heh.) And that the US Government were simply doing the right thing: it was wartime, everyone has got to understand. Better safe than sorry, that’s why there were camps for Japanese Americans, German Americans and Italian Americans…oh, wait. The two latter never happened, only Japanese Americans got cuffed.

Here is a war propaganda video read out by General Milton S. Eisenhower, the first director* of the War Relocation Authority (WRA, and “Relocation” can be reworded to “Incarceration”, according to the JACL handbook), and brother of later president Dwight E. Eisenhower (you’ve seen him, he’s on the dime). Played by Periscope Films, you can view this and more on Denshō’s Youtube channel.

How charming! It’s like a mini society! Watch them “J*ps” work so hard and diligently, building houses, having schools, letting their rights be taken away. It’s practically a Norman Rockwell painting of the American spirit of perseverance…and he did indeed cover WWII:

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Feel the Americana! Feel the togetherness!

How delightful. And heartwarming. Almost like Mike Shinoda just painted a dreary picture on a very picturesque situation simply because he wasn’t there, just his dad.

Oh, wait, George Takei was there, too. And it sounds like from his personal, lived experience, Shinoda’s take is a lot more accurate than Gen. Eisenhower. It didn’t sound like a fun trip to the desert, it sounded a lot like being suspected, rounded up and detained because of a crime never committed. Kinda like what the TSA does now to anyone dark enough to be “suspicious” in airports. Or what police does to civilians dark enough to be “suspicious”. Or what FBI agents does and did to countless Muslim Americans (and with a chance for a one-way ticket to Cuba for an indefinite stay at the Gitmo resort), because “suspicious”. Man, I wonder why White guys didn’t get rounded up by the payload when Timothy McVeigh did the Oklahoma City Bombings. You can check out more first-hand accounts here at Densho.org or on their Youtube. I strongly recommend it.  Actually, let’s see George Takei talk about his experience in the camps:

The reason why this happened is because of the rising anti-Japanese sentiment many Americans had before and during WWII: that the Japanese were evil, sneaky, rat faced and intensely vicious in their sleeper attacks. You couldn’t predict them so might as well bound all of them up to make sure. That without the Japanese, Americans could live safer…by detaining Americans with reckless abandon. Kinda like now with talks of a “Muslim registry”. There was plenty of media about that depicted Japanese people as inherently “other” and someone to vanquish, mock and despise.

“Commander Duck”

“Tokio Jokio”

Oh yeah, such open mindedness will breed from these films and many like them. Just like all the movies and first person shooter games that are set in the Middle East create such warm and happy feelings about those who practice Islamic faith. And in “Commando Duck”, a hidden Japanese stereotype militaryman said “Oh no, no wait please – Japanese custom say ‘always shooting a man in the back’, please.” Funny that, it’s what American soldiers did to Japanese Americans when they were in the camps because, well, Americans don’t gel well with being detained in mass prisons for bullsh*t reasons. Watch the retelling of the “Manzanar Riot”, witnessed by Richard Yamashiro.

This official propaganda, which was constantly everywhere, is similar to how Germany had films about “the evilness of the Jew”, by showing Jewish people in normal marketplace environment and playing it up as how they are just such a cancer to the German way of life.

Here is German propaganda pretending the camps and the ghettos** are totally nice places, that the Jews are totally being respected while despised.

And what actually happened, as shown by Youtuber Miles Jai. Press play to start at the marker:

Frankly, it’s concerning because all this shows how little protected people are in times of need. And how hatefulness can be super pervasive to the point it’s greenlit as “helping the country/world”. And the worst part? Most get away with doing these atrocities, hiding behind legalities, technicalities, multi-layered and scalpel-like wording – being very careful to mind the red tape so they can dance expertly around it as if this all just was one, big misunderstanding. To be legally perceived as no different than bumping into a stranger on the street and making them drop their baggage.

For example, only about 50 or less Nazi personnel were actually convicted with war crimes, but thousands got off the hook. Most are old and frail now, so the lot of them spent their lives free from any wrongdoing they did. And when they do land in court, all they have to say is “I never physically, personally killed anyone. I was just doing my job.” And off they go, to spend the rest of their golden years in the sunset:

Immense amounts of people suffer, perish and die, just to be pictures and tales of history – as if that’s all these people were born to do, just be cautionary tales – and those who commit such wrongdoings get to have fantastic cop-out arguments while everyone else “ooh” and “aah” about the whole occurrence, which will eventually become a boring and intensely neutered museum exhibit or textbook entry. Sometimes, it seems like very little is done to actually prevent such occurrences, just a bunch of “If only there was another way or we could have seen this coming. Our thoughts and prayers are with the fallen.”

Like now. Just like it happened right after 9/11 when the Muslim population was under intense scrutiny over the attacks, simply because they were Muslim. When FBI started busting down doors of innocent Muslim Americans of various stripes and backgrounds simply because they opted for a Koran and not a Bible to pray to. Apparently being Muslim was enough to justify “suspicion” of terrorism and trash their house.

Sounds familiar? It happened to the Japanese Americans during the 1940s as well:

Geez, this “suspicion” sounds a lot like “intense, racially-induced paranoia”. Because this is the same FBI that can’t seem to spot or stop people like Dylan Roof or prevent Sandy Hook or douse the long standing terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, who have performed bombings, attacks on Americans and more. Huh. Interesting.

And now, it’s about to happen again with Trump getting into office. Because all he basically said during his campaign was “noun-verb-geyser of bigotry”. And if anyone thinks that this dude won’t throw us into a war, that person poorly understands how an arrogant, myopic bigot thinks, especially when nuclear launch codes get added to the mix. And it’s usually around wartime and war-leaning times does things like camps get rolling. And do they roll, but gradually, you bet.

First, it always starts small and simple: registries and curfews. Nothing vicious, no one being harmed, just a set bedtime declared by the government. The only folks really hurting are those who love watching late night movies at the theatres. Just abide by the rules and you’re good. In 2002, we didn’t have curfews for Muslims, but we did have a Muslim registry, the “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” list (NSEERS, also called “Special Registration”), which was stopped in 2011 because its unconstitutional nature. Oh, and the TSA as well since 9/11 was done using planes. No curfew but traveling is well hampered, all thanks to security theatre.

Second, it moves into sectioning groups of people into particular neighborhoods – “ghettos” or strongly zoned areas – so everyone knows where you are. The US already have tons of housing and zoning issues like these already, plenty of areas are greatly segregated.

Third, “relocation efforts” are introduced.

As referenced prior, mainstream media starts to push propaganda of “the enemy” and can back the government as well. They’re currently doing it now to make the Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis appear palatable. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be traditional media, even on Youtube there’s the “bomb prank” where someone dresses up in stereotypical “Arabic”  wear and plops a black bag around someone and runs off:

Yeah, not paid for by Fox News or CNN, this is some individual’s “clever” thinking. They didn’t have to do the super racist costume. Here is an example when someone does the prank without the Islamophobic stuff:

However, a quick search on Youtube shows more Islamophobic versions of the prank than not, with different people conducting the prank.This continually associates Islam with terrorism and very much stokes fears that the American people are under threat of the “evil Muslim”. These pranks are not much different from films like “Tokio Jokio” because they have the same effect, it’s just one was paid for as official propaganda and the other was merely a result of being extensively exposed to anti-Muslim propaganda for over a decade and using such ingrained rhetoric for personal creative works that delivers to a wide audience.

Does all this promise that Trump is totally, totally going to have camps of some sort? It’s a relatively likely possibility, given history itself, his demeanor, his actions and his personal take on everything. Oh, and the fact that one person in his crew already suggested that we bring back Internment Camps. Trump is not at all reasonable and he does not appoint anyone who is. He’s not even in the oval office yet and already making bad choices. This is alarming because it’s just history all over again.

What can people do about this? Well, safety pins are a cute non-solution but I think trying to understand and learn what is happening is best here. On the Black Witch Tumblr, I actually have the “Race and Racism” tag. Try starting there.  That and don’t be like Gen. Eisenhower, actually stand up for your beliefs, not just say, “Oh, I feel queasy about this, let me distance myself to feel better.” If acts of prejudice pop up, do something. Except for “sign up for the Muslim registry to cloud the numbers” because the US Govt used the Census to round up Japanese Americans and to know who gets put on the registry. Then revamped the registry system during Bush Jr. You can sign up but the system already knows it’s a false positive. There’s already a tried-and-tested system waiting. General resistance, like attending protests, openly talking about these issues and more would do better. This doesn’t mean that it will turn Trump’s presidency into a well muted one, but it’s better than just slipping out the back because all this causes bad feelz. I also recommend getting a copy of the ABA book of Human Rights. It’s nifty.

Before I hear, “Both the Jews and the Japanese got reparations! How is this bad?! Free money!” I can tell you from personal experience, going through an immensely prejudiced experience is not worth any amount of money received. If you asked anyone who got fiscal reparations “choose between getting all this money or not ever going through the experience at all”, all of them would say, “never go through it at all.” It doesn’t wipe away the terrible memories that will live forever. It doesn’t wake up the dead that suffered. It changes nothing, just adds a little extra cheddar in their pocket while the government revs up to do it again. This isn’t “free money”, this isn’t like scratching off a winning lotto ticket. The camps weren’t a game show and this isn’t a prize. This is an official “My bad, we’ll be more cunning about it next time.” Sure, the German government, very unlike the American government, actually did make strides to help future German generations understand that Nazism was a terrible thing they did: mandatory field trips to the camps, banning hate speech and symbolism, backing those bans up with severe laws, etc etc. Y’know, taking responsibility. The American government just gets into an emo tizzy and rather sweep things under the rugs. I mean, how many of you actually knew of the American concentration camps

Also, before I hear: “Trump isn’t that bad, he’s just using the ‘build a wall’ nonsense because it got him votes. His real plan is way more nuanced that than. Just too magnificent for the average American to understand.” The New York Times said the same about Hitler:

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The article reads:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch messes of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler  with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

The Hitler movement is not of mere local or picturesque interest. It is bound to bring Bavaria into a renewed clash with the Berlin Government as long as the German Republic goes even through the notions of trying to live up the Versailles Treaty. For it is certain the Allies will take umbrage at the Hitler organization as a violation of the military clauses of the treaty and demand disbandment, even as in the case of its predecessor, the Orgesch.

This would be a funny Hurrr Durrrr moment if it weren’t so terrifying, and verified by Snopes. It’s also such a glowing reason to get your passport straightened out, if possible. And see Takei’s play “Allegiance” if it is in your city, it’s going to be in select movie theatres!

*Granted, Gen. Eisenhower did leave three months later because the camps were bothering him but it doesn’t change what he did. Especially since all he did was dip, not try to close the camps. The least he could have done was boost Korematsu’s stance further. Neither happened. Just left to save his mind, literally no one else. That doesn’t make him a hero, just a coward with temporary moral depression and a cardboard spine.

** By the way, that’s where the American term “ghetto” comes from, because of the same conditions. So if a kid says they’re from the ghetto and live in America, it’s pretty similar when a Jewish kid said the same back in the 30s and 40s. Hooray for White kids who call everything “ghetto” for the lolz. Because why be anti-Black or anti-Semitic when you can be both?

Not My Flag, Not a Chance

There’s been so much chatter since the election, mainly about how terrible Trump is going to be (usually said by practically everyone who isn’t White, Straight, cis, etc) and how we should still give him and his folks a chance (usually said by anyone White and usually Liberal (conservatives just froth at the mouth over admiring swastikas now, imagining the next four years in glee, I’m guessing)).

Frankly, anyone who says we as a nation should give Trump a chance is quite historically challenged and a total ditz. Trump’s troupe blew whatever chance they could have potentially had when they were on the campaign trail talking about walls and mocking disabled reporters…oh and doing covert sieg heils* at the RNC gathering.

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Those were big opportunities to show that they simply wanted to repair the country from it’s economic sluggishness, dismissive political attitudes to rural Americans, etc etc. I mean, Trump did offer several solutions…it’s just practically all of them came from a book probably titled How To: Second Coming of the Third Reich, Special 14th edition with a teeny cover sticker that says “Now with 88% more hate! Ruin your country beyond repair or your money back! See inside for details”. Meaning: none of these solutions actually work. The only thing the Final Solution did the last time was give Germany a huge luggage crate full of baggage to cart about, because the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind about Germanic history is mainly the terrible stuff they did in the ’30s and ’40s. More like a final solution for murdering a good reputation, if anything. Going Nazi wasn’t a great payoff to them, just like it won’t be for us.

I, nor anyone who have been historically affected by messages of hate and mass disparagement, should give anyone a chance if that’s pretty much all they’ve came out the gate with. I even tried to research Trump’s stances on actual issues during the election season, and about all I got that was pretty solid was “I don’t know…but we will just pour in a chunk of hate and see where that gets us.” That’s basically it: build a wall, get rid of non-Whites and more police. This is not a solution to anything. It’s just a recipe to make America not “Great” again but to make America White again. And Trump’s people have actually said that, word for word: That they believe America should be White only and White succeeding, that they hate anyone not Christian, not White and not Male. They’ve done openly displayed sieg heils at Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis gatherings.

Yeah, this happened, too

Yeah, this happened, too

Give this a chance? For what? It’s been shown countless times in even the past one hundred years that just giving hate a chance doesn’t magically transform into peace, it just becomes more virulent hatred that’s just been given a head start. Granted, no one not on the business end of that would definitely say, “Let’s give them a chance.” Since they have nothing to lose, the idea of fighting or being actively despondent or even cracking someone’s elbow in the middle of their Nazi salute seems “violent” and “not how peace works”. Because Americans always have politely asked for things like rights and country and politely discussed things over. Totes exactly what we did with the British and the Native Americans**. We’re such a peaceful nation, we don’t even have mass shootings.

Unfortunately, this is not reality. My family members don’t remember our ancestors being able to walk up to the Overseer or Master and say, “Hey, I’ve already put in my eight hours so I’m heading out. I’ve even kept track of it on this here scrap of paper – oh! and we’re running low on ink, I like the iron blue one from that guy down the street, it’s really nice and last for pages – See? That’s 40 hours, I took an hour off for lunch and everything. Also, it’s, like, super hot in the middle of the day and you made us work…that’s not cool, you always do that. Everyone around here thinks you better shape up or we’re leaving. Especially since you don’t pay us…which, I’m preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure is illegal. Like, super illegal. And I cut myself on a sickle, where’s my employee healthcare? One of my friends a few rows over heard over in Korea, they have a king named Sejong and he – a king, mind you – put in stuff like maternity leave. We should try some of that, or we’re leaving for good! You can find some new pickers and they’ll say the same. What say you?”

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, that’s not what would have happened. Would have been nice but very much didn’t happen. Instead, slave rebellions happened. Fighting happened. Dying happened (by the payload). Lynchings happened. Escapes happened. Suicides happened. Talking is great for some things but not when the person you’re talking to doesn’t even think you’re human. Even Schindler didn’t say to his fellow Nazis, “Hey, about this ‘kill all Jews’ thing. Ever wonder how this will help our country – like, actually help Germany? I mean, I’m just saying! Just saying. Y’know, for kicks and giggles, think about it. I mean, this is a lot of work to murder useful people like doctors and teachers. Just seems a bit dumb – I’m just saying, though! Just saying. I mean, we even killed a gay carpenter and we’ve had a crappy chair and tilting table for weeks. No carpenter, but we stick with the sh*tty table. Yes, Aust handles carpentry but, c’mon, everyone knows he’s bad at it, that’s how we got the table. We had a master carpenter and just killed him. Does that scream ‘smart’ to you? Think about it.” That would have been nice, imagining Schindler doing thoughtful roundtables with fellow Nazis at night, even with a rabbi present, because representation. But that’s not what happened. You can’t talk people out of hate so easily. That would be totally awesome but, as shown by history, totally not realistic.

Hoping that the current batch of fascist douchebags are going to be somehow different and totally open to conversation is intensely delusional. And increasingly so with each and every new pick Trump makes for cabinet. Even the minorities (the extreme, token few) he eyes are poster definitions of “internalized racism”. Everyone in Trump’s camp plans to roll back the clock like mad. And that makes Americans such as myself very, very concerned. Because I’m Pagan, I’m Black, I’m female, I was raised poor and in the inner city and, frankly, this is not my flag:

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

We are too diverse for this bullsh*t. But frankly, not everyone feels this way. Especially those who felt “othered” when mentions of diversity are said. Even those who swear up and down they’re allies but are actually in it for the saviorism. Even those who say they don’t see color but get offended when a Person of Color gets ahead in real life or even introduced in a comic book, sputtering, “We’re all one race, the human race. Why is Spiderman Black? Like, isn’t that racist? Why can’t he be White? He has to be White!” Even those who reblogs the #noDAPL Water Protectors on Tumblr and goes to the tribal land – not because clean water means anything to them but because they want to have a winter Coachella, complete with disruptive drum circles and asking Natives insanely dumb questions like “What’s my indian name?” instead of “Where do I put the crate of Milk of Magnesia and portable heaters?” Apparently, to those folks, we’re just too diverse a country that doesn’t benefit them, period. And now they want everyone to give Trump a chance since Hillary Clinton didn’t get in. (Is Clinton perfect? Heck no. Just isn’t that level of hateful) That maybe everything will be all right with the Alt Right, if given the opportunity. Just like it was all right during the ’40s when Japanese Americans had to go to Manzanar, USA. Or when anyone Jewish, Black, disabled, whatever, had to go to the death camps (the holocaust killed more than Jews, remember that. The first to go were political opponents, actually. Germany was a diverse nation, too. Just like now). What absolute insanity.

Even media that tilts intensely liberal like Mother Jones, CNN and MSNBC now falls over itself in trying to romanticize the Alt Right and distance them from the Neo-Nazi rhetoric they constantly spew, even the triple parentheses that they use to signify anyone who is Jewish or “Anti-White”. Simply because hatred got a makeover, it’s time to play nice with them. That’s ridiculous. And these are some of the same folks who won’t shy from saying “Feminazi” or “Grammar Nazi” (even joke about the Soup Nazi from Seinfield!) but have a hard time calling an actual Nazi a “Nazi”. Or “White Nationalist”. Even if the bigot does the salute and all! What is needed? The Hugo Boss uniform, heel clicking and goose stepping?

I don’t think anyone needs a chance to get to that point. That’s much too far.

 

* Sieg Heils: The hand/arm motion that Hitler is commonly associated with. The Nazi salute

** We told the British where to shove their tea and massacred Natives (even now, American police are trying to literally freeze out (water cannons and everything) the Sioux over the tribe wanting to defend clean water. By the way, Flint, MI is still happening)

Yep, first post back and I’m down with a headcold. Been fighting a head cold all this week. However, even without a headcold, this week still sucked for a lot of folks. Trump won the election. The part that sucked the most for me is that I called it.

When folks would ask me who I thought would win, I would respond, “Unfortunately, I think it might be Trump. The country has gone too left so we’re due for a conservative snap – which this gump-faced, fake-haired cheeto is part of. In addition, he’s a great salesperson, he could sell water to a fish, it just would unfortunately be clear blue gel. In terms of dupin’ the stupid, he’s good at that. And Americans aren’t known to be the smartest people in the world. Far from it.”

I’m an Independent (meaning I am not part of any party, they all suck) and I identify as a socialist (meaning I strongly believe that institutions like healthcare, education and social/fiscal safety nets should not be for just the rich and wealthy but for everyone). But also as a Black, female, Pagan person, I was kinda looking forward to basking in all the folks who were going to say how wrong I was.

 

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So wrong, so nice

 

Instead, this was me when I checked Google for the Electoral vote count:

 

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You can’t be serious

The US has really elected a moron that is very much planning to be a grade-A fascist. Of course, only White folks (also known as, “the voter bloc that mainly voted Trump in”), don’t see how Trump could bring a lot of bad news to a lot of people. Granted, this is the same group that said tried to say racism was over when Obama was elected…then voted in Trump based on his super racist platform.

There are already protests against Trump winning because, frankly, folks who aren’t White, straight, etc. are pretty concerned. It isn’t that Hillary would have been the daughter of God superceding Obama in everything he’s ever done, but at least folks who generally are targeted by the Ku Klux Klan would have not been as worried. She would have screwed up the nation as well but without the potential reality of political camps and a major spike in hate crimes. Instead, a sexist, racist rapist got elected and will be taking all those disparaging beliefs (and near 100 of lawsuits, let’s hope one of them will get him impeached) to the oval office with him. If it were some other Republican besides Trump, I’d probably be ok. Buuuuuut it’s not.

In addition to protests, there are also folks online who want to assemble for future protests and disruptions using encrypted networks and short range communications, such as Tor and Signal. I wouldn’t recommend this because Tor, for example, was made by the government (no, really, it was) and Signal can be intercepted. It’s really difficult to find a good network to assemble and help folks organize but, trust, they exist.

This is a very unfortunate election. It was a long time coming but that doesn’t change how terrible things are about to be. I expect a lot of civil right laws getting rolled back extensively. We’re a nation that has put whole groups of people into camps and prisons out of fear, disdain and/or hate (why people think these things can’t happen is beyond me). There’s actually no telling what will happen with this upcoming presidency. I definitely know Trump has a vendetta list and media folks (just the ones that depicted him honestly, or as he considers it, “badly”) are very close to the top. And given how Bush was during 9/11, it’s not hard to imagine limitations to freedoms of the press because that’s exactly what happened.

If you’re going to protest, that’s fine and dandy. The more important thing you can do is inform yourself about government, how it works, how it doesn’t work and what you actually want to solve because simply getting Trump out won’t solve all the emotions and feelings that got him elected in the first place. Nor the problems that people thought the current administration ignored or were too slow to fix. He didn’t get elected in a vaccuum.

Firstly, sorry I was away for a while, I had EEOC and police/Internal Affairs stuff to attend to.

Now onward with the post!

Throughout Black culture, there is the idea of “Black Love”, which is very pure in concept: Two Black people in a gentle, calm and strong relationship that features a strong Black man that takes the helm of everything, is the protector and provider of the home, and a strong and intensely supportive Black woman who is always behind him, taking care of all home business: rearing the children, keeping the home non-chaotic and making sure that any drama is quickly vanquished.

This belief is very common in pro-Black circles as an aspiration of what to attain, it’s also common in general mainstream Black culture as an ideal relationship for Black men and women. The idea bores from the belief that “no one else likes us or cares about us so we may as well support each other”, a rejection of universal anti-Blackness. This is a great idea but it’s exactly that: not reality. It’s also warped and modified primarily as a purport for Black masculinity since it is rarely, if ever, non-hetero in its depictions and does not really allow women to have much agency. That and it’s basically the 1950’s American nuclear family ideal painted black and a little ankh hung somewhere for decoration.

On its face, the concept of “Black love” is a very beautiful one. It’s smiling Black couples on the cover of countless Black magazines, usually the woman holding a baby or the couple talking about children. They’re financially well off, they have a home, a car and a world of their own. They could make a White person on the street gag in absolute horror and switch from Sanders and Hillary to Trump in a heartbeat just by walking down the street, hand-in-hand and joyful. They’re an active and passive defiance of many dehumanizing anti-Black stereotypes and offensive to any and many who believe those stereotypes.

But in practice, it’s a very complicated and very hard to exemplify concept that is filled with more problems than beauty. And it’s no hidden secret, countless books have been penned on this subject, especially from the womanist and Black queer perspective.

“True” Black Love does not leave much room for Black women to be individualistic people. It shows stark similarities to 19th century Victorian beliefs of a woman’s place to be an “angel in the house”: The cultural idea to not pursue “masculine” things like heavy careers and individuality because it’s her job to make a “man feel like a man” – as if the man is absolutely incapable of normal human feelings and developing mental and emotional securities by themselves due to (entirely fictitious and scientifically bogus) biological beliefs. If the man left or cheated on the woman, the accusations usually hover around how she wasn’t emotionally supportive or simply caused too much trouble with her own life happenings and therefore, it made perfect sense the dude is going to run off to the next chick that can take care of him like a mother (that gives blowjobs).

The woman desiring a career can be seen as a threat to the “Black Love” relationship – unless it can directly or indirectly benefit the man somehow via paying his bills, giving him supplemental income, basically supporting him instead of a 50/50 relationship. This happens a lot in Black relationships – not in every, of course, but enough to be a well-known concept all on its own. The goal of the woman in “Black Love” is supposed to be that of “Support Black man, have kids, basically be a Black June Cleaver”. If the man cheats, she’s supposed to welcome him back as the angel in the house and get mad only at the woman (or “women”) he cheated on her with for pulling him from pious, Abrahamic monogamy down the deep road of lust. If the man is not there for her emotionally, she is supposed to be okay with that because he’s a man and thus has more important matters to attend to than how his partner feels because it will support the whole somehow – even if it doesn’t help or support her personally, emotionally or mentally. Because women issues never matter and Black women are supposed to be made of spun steel, not capable of vulnerabilities. A “Real” Black woman in a “True” Black Love relationship is supposed to hold her man down: keep his secrets, put up with his many, many, many flaws and be grateful that she has a Black man to have and to hold. She’s the evolved version of the “Ride or Die” chick. And she is depressed, unloved and insecure – but told to always be a giver and never a taker because the Black man already has enough strife due to systemic oppression.

“True” Black Love somehow holds no room for non-hetero relationships. Actually, the opposite. Lesbian “True” Black Love relationships seems mythical and gay “True” Black Love seems to be a mockery on the concept altogether because of the conjunct of homophobic and misogynist beliefs. Monogamy is seen as a must in “True” Black Love, there’s is no room for polyamory, (unless cheating and only if the guy does it because he’s “just being a man”). It appears to be also a must that the expression of “True” Black Love can only be between a man and a woman because it is a copy of the White American nuclear family of the 1950s…which actually makes sense given that the concept was newly crafted in the Pro-Black movements of the ’60s and 70s. There doesn’t even seem to be room for bi-people. Either you’re straight as a rod or you’re not Black.

Long story short, it seems the rigid idea of “Black Love” is more of a myth than an actual experience. Does it mean that Black Love doesn’t exist? No. Not at all. There are plenty of successful Black relationships all over the world that doesn’t dissolve into dysfunction and tragedy. Plenty of Black couples who never cheat on each other, plenty of Black couples who equally work together as a duo and not as a lopsided partnership, plenty of Black couples of various gender pairings that are making it work. Because they’re a couple. And that’s what couples do to make a relationship work. They’re not perfect – like the people in the relationships – but they’re making it work…because it’s worthwhile.

Relationships should be worthwhile and healthy. It is unhealthy to be a Black person in a relationship with another Black person and sticking it through because you don’t want to show society yet another failed Black family/relationship. While the effort is truly valiant, it’s ultimately worthless because instead it’s just the person with the ideal getting hurt. It’s basically like continually hitting your head against a brick wall in front of a passing crowd because you want to prove that bone is actually quite strong with sufficient calcium. Some will note, most won’t and you’re still going to have the random dink in the crowd going, “I dunno, I’m gonna believe that Facebook post about how I can get all my nutrients from the sun.” In the end, you’re just going to have a gnarly headache and not much to show for it. The ideal of “True” Black Love is no reason to be with someone who cheats, is emotionally vacant or otherwise disrespectful because, frankly, that’s not love at all. That’s being conditioned to accept abuse as normalcy hidden under the super thin veneer of “Pro-Blackness”. It’s not love at all if someone doesn’t respect you as a person or keeps coming up with excuses, temper tantrums or trying to control you as part of a relationship.

There’s a justifiable reason why there is pressure to want to have a Black Love relationship but it’s all pointless if you’re with someone that doesn’t suit you. I’ve seen this more with Black women than I have seen this with Black men. Countless times I’ve read and been told of cheatings, beatings and emotional abjectivity. And pretty much all of them stayed because “He’s just being a man” or “I have to support my king” or “I don’t want another Black relationship to fail”. Basically, they all were brought up in the ideals of “True” Black Love and pretty much suffered for it. When the dude would get called out, of course, here came the “I’m sorry”, “I need to be a better man” and other lukewarm fibs just to keep the woman around. That’s unacceptable and unjustifiable, completely.

It should take more than “they have the same skintone as me” as a reason to stay. Yes, actual Black love is very important because there’s enough anti-Blackness to drown a ship, but using a hyper-idealistic version suits no one better at all. Instead of aspiring for “true” Black love, just aspire for a very healthy relationship between two Black people. There is no reason to use a relationship to express a point or idea, just enjoy the other person’s presence the best you can. When two Black folks who love each other genuinely and are best friends with each other, that should be the “True” Black Love ideal.

Welp, in the recent string of “Police + Black people = ends poorly”, this time a therapist was shot. Not killed, thankfully, just shot. He was trying to calm an escaped adult with autism, who only had a toy truck. A neighbor confused a tonka truck for a gun (it’s amazing how being not White can magically turn even the most innocent of things into guns, like bright green soda bottles and toy trucks) and in came the cops to go after an autistic person because, y’know, police are very well trained for neurodivergent people, especially non-White ones.* The mental health worker, doing their job, was just trying to keep the 23-year-old safe and not dead as he’s dealing with the sensory overload of very dumb people with really powerful weapons acting immensely aggressive because…there’s not enough bad PR for police already? And he gets shot. On ground, hands out, responding carefully, still gets a spontaneous injection of lead vitamins.

Now, if that’s not baffling, the head of the police union has more to wow you with: they didn’t mean to shoot the therapist…they were aiming for the autistic person.

Oh, that’s fantastic to know. Just wonderful. No need for Mental Health First Aid classes when Smith & Wesson can already give you a crash course in how to deal with the mentally ill and disabled. No need for the Hellen Keller method of dealing with neurodivergents when there’s the George Zimmerman solution. I would bemoan how Florida is really turning out to be a crappy state buuuuuuuut the whole nation is getting sour.

This is very frustrating for a ream of reasons:

The person is autistic, not dangerous:
Ok, I understand there’s a bunch of stigma around having autism. Then you have folks like Autism Speaks** who make things worse. The interesting thing about the internet is that you can learn about autism (not that vaccines cause it because that’s been disproven over and over and over again). There’s even an episode of the children’s show Arthur about it:

There, now you know more about autism than a police officer. And if you’re a police officer, now you just got a little bit better at your job, you deserve a popsicle as you get ready to strut into work to impress your major and be one less person for Internal Affairs to worry about.

Apparently what caused the cop to get antsy is that the autistic person was not obeying orders to lay down on the ground. Because he’s autistic. Like the mental health worker was saying. And completely harmless. This is such bad training, oh my gods.

The cop being not White doesn’t make it better:
The cop that delivered the shot was a 30 year old Latin dude that was kind of new, only four years on the force. But still, he should have gotten much better training than breaking out the automatic rifle and taking three shots. I understand police feel under attack because they don’t tend to train their brethern well and that can attract controversy. However, I really doubt attempting to murder an autistic person is going to make anything better. Neither is trying to kill that person’s doctor. If there were beanbags pellets instead of bullets or, I don’t know, listening to the doctor, this could have probably not even have turned into a story. Just a case of a patient got out, doctor went to get them, police came, understood the situation and tried to help the doctor rally the person in. Hey, that even would have been an okay story, to show that not all police are pigs with bloodthirst. Instead, you just get a new story of why police get so much heat about how they handle things.

This is a wee bit personal:
Ah, for someone who isn’t very anti-police, these stories (and my own personal experience, such as a police raid) do not help me keep the faith much. I have written on here a number of times about how I have trauma disorders and I have a therapist as well. And I have to get treatment for my disability, that, if left untreated, can easily go ham. This really irks me that if I have a major episode, this is what I get to look forward to: some dunce person that can’t tell a tonka truck from a glock calling 911 and police just getting murder-y in response. My main therapist is White buuuuuut the mental health worker that helped defined my disorder back when I was hospitalized? Black. And given how this story unraveled, it doesn’t even matter what race my main therapist is, they’re just as much of a target simply because I’m in the vicinity.

I have friends in the force going up to Federal. I explain to them how my disorder works and they ask questions, because that’s the smart thing to do. However, they should already know how to deal with mentally ill and disabled people because they’re who gets called when someone is having an episode. This is not good. This is alarming. The answer to dealing with neurodivergent people is not “Just add bullets”.

The police, frankly, handled this poorly. This is getting beyond annoying, this is getting concerning. Police generally are trained with protocols of how to handle everything, from irate sports fans to riots. They need to really upgrade how they handle dealing with people in general, it seems. Especially the historically marginalized.

 

*They’re not. “Attempt to murder” is not a satisfactory method to deal with neurodivergent people. Ever.

** “Autism$peaks” because the money is all they’re after

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