Tag Archives: Racism

Justice Served: Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty

Martin Luther King Jr. once said the following about justice:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”

Yesterday, America made a giant step forward in reaching the ideals set up by her founders. The men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like I can breathe again. If the jury had gone in the other direction, I can only imagine what the response would have been like.

While we cannot undo what has happened, we can do the right thing going forward. The message is clear: acts of hate will not be tolerated. Those who perpetrate such actions will be caught and have their day in court.

Rest in power, Ahmaud. You will never be forgotten.

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WTF is Going on in This Country?: Kyle Rittenhouse & Paul Gosar

The purpose of the news is to share the events of the day. It’s not supposed to induce a WTF moment.

On Friday, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges. While two men are dead and a third must live with the trauma of being shot, Mr. Rittenhouse will be returning to his family. This is the problem with the justice system in America. Jacob Blake was assumed to be guilty simply because of his skin color and not even given the opportunity of a fair trial.

Last week, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar published what can only be described as a heinous video on his Twitter account of killing AOC and then attempting to do the same to the President. After he was censured by the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Gosar.

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If the Representative from Arizona had any other job, not only would he have been fired immeditately, but he might have also been sued. But because he is in Congress and a very right-leaning Republican who still stands with you know who, he gets away with it.

We don’t have to always agree with one another. That is the beauty of the nation and what she stands for. But when we threaten to hurt or kill one another, either on the internet or in person, there MUST be consequences.

That is, unless you align politically in a certain direction, where violence and destruction are the norm when you don’t get your way.

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P.S. If the men who are accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery are acquitted, the response may likely be ten times more than the response to George Floyd‘s murder last year.

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Passing Movie Review

When one is part of a minority group, there are two obvious choices. The first one is to be who you are, regardless of what is being said about you. The second is to pretend to be someone else and fit in, otherwise known as passing.

Passing is the title of the new Netflix film. Based on a book written by Nella Larsen, it is set in New York City in the 1920s. Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) were friends in high school. Both are biracial and have not seen each other for many years. Irene has embraced her identity as a woman of color while Clare is passing as Caucasian. Upon meeting Clare’s very white and very prejudiced husband John (Alexander Skarsgard), Irene is both curious and disgusted by her old pal’s life preference. For her part, Clare is drawn into Irene’s circle of mostly African-American friends (including Irene’s husband, Brian, played by Andre Holland). Unlike Clare, they have openly and proudly embraced their identities. She is forced to grapple with the self-applied mask of passing she has put on.

Written and directed by Rebecca Hall (who has been speaking to the press about her own biracial identity), this is a powerhouse of a film. Though both the book and the movie tell the story of two women who are both partially of African-American descent, I felt like understood them. I’ve often spoken on this blog about my own Jewish faith and identity. I could, if I wanted to, pass as someone of another faith or no faith at all. I’ve been asked quite a few times if I am of Irish ancestry due to my red hair.

At the end of the day, it is this decision we make that defines our lives. Do we not give a fuck and just be ourselves or do we submerge who we are to be accepted by others? It is a question that each of us must ask ourselves, knowing the outcome has to potential to have life-altering consequences.

Do I recommend it? absolutely.

Passing is available for streaming on Netflix.

P.S. I would not be surprised if Passing did well come award season.

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How is Judge Donna Scott Davenport Still in Power?

We all know that our laws, like those who make and enforce said laws are imperfect. That being said, we can only hope that it is yielded for good and not to advance one’s personal perspective.

In Rutherford County, Tennessee, Donna Scott Davenport is the sole Juvenile judge. She has been accused of jailing children as a young as elementary school age for reasons are extremely questionable or non-existent. Adding insult to injury, she allowed the jail staff to determine how long the children would be locked up for instead of following legal precedent. Of course, it goes without saying that Judge Scott Davenport is Caucasian and most of the children “accused” of crimes are not Caucasian.

I’m not an expert in the law, but this is perversion of justice in every sense of the word. If this is Judge Scott Davenport’s attempt to scare the children from committing any crimes in the future, it the wrong way to go about it. I can only imagine the psychological trauma that these poor kids are living with.

Hopefully, come the next election, the voters in the county will hire someone who will do their job and not twist it to fit their view of the world.

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Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth Book Review

The Alamo is one of the iconic and problematic events in American history. The defeat of the Mexican army by a small band of rebels in Texas is emblematic of the idea of freedom and independence that is the United States. But that does not mean that the story that we know today has been told in its entirety.

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth was published in June. Written by Bryan Burroughs, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford, the book explores not just the narrative of the battle at the Alamo, but how it has been changed over time. After telling the story as it was experienced by those who were there, the authors delve into how it was reshaped to match the perspective of the majority Caucasian population. The fact that the Americans were aided by Tejano fighters and that the war was about keeping slavery legal when it was outlawed in Mexico was conveniently forgotten.

This book is uncomfortable to read, in a good way. It forces the reader to take a hard look at not just this event, but our history as a whole. Are we being told of the facts or those that are convenient to those in power? A well written chronicle makes the reader think. If nothing else, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, starts to turn the wheels and ask questions that have remained unanswered for far too long.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Juneteenth is the Newest Federal American Holiday

The late Martin Luther King Jr. once said the following:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

This week, the arc of justice finally reached it’s mark this week. President Biden officially designated Juneteenth as a federal holiday. As others have pointed out (which I agree with), as important this proclamation is, it must be backed up by laws up holding equality and shutting down of institutional racism in every fact of our society.

The fact is that African-Americans have built this country. Instead of thanking them and giving greater opportunities, we have degraded them, dehumanized them, and denied the most basic of rights that we claim is due to every American.

In a move that surprised no one, several members of Congress, who are all male, Caucasian, and Republican, voted no. Thankfully, a majority knew and understood how vitally important it is to at least try to reach the ideals written in our founding documents.

This is just a step in the road to real equality, but it is huge and if nothing else, a day to be proud of.

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Thoughts On the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre

Hate is powerful. It turns us away from the humanity of our fellow mortals and only shows us the negative stereotypes we want to see.

This past weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It is one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history. The Greenwood District of Tulsa, in Oklahoma was known locally as Black Wall Street. Outside of the Greenwood District, the residents knew that they would be treated as second class citizens. But inside of the district was another story. It was a vibrant and thriving community that disproved the racist ideas about African-Americans. Unfortunately, some Caucasian members of the community had their minds blown by this success and used the accusation (which has not been verified) that a black man attacked a white teenage girl.

By the time the dust settled, hundreds were dead and the neighborhood looked like a war zone. To make matters worse, it was not spoken of until recently. In light of the fact that this disgusting event has been buried, both WNYC and CNN told the story of the destruction. The new six part podcast, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, and TV movie, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, told the compelling and heartbreaking story of those horrific days. I highly recommend both.

This was a pogrom. The actors and the location have changed, but the reason (if you want to call it that) and the results were the same. I wish that it had not taken a century for this country to remember and honor the memories of those who were killed. But it has. The only thing we can do is talk about it and educate our children so this never happens again.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Podcast, Podcast Review, Television, Thoughts On...., WNYC

Real American Book Review

The term “real American” is both simple and complicated. The simple definition is a person who was born in this country or has forsaken their country of birth and has chosen to become an American. The complicated definition is plagued by historical, political, and/or cultural images of who is a “real American”.

Julie Lythcott-Haims is the daughter of an African-American father and a white English mother. Her 2018 memoir, Real American, is about growing up bi-racial in the United States. In the book, she talks about how racism has affected her life and her self esteem.

This book is very good and very tough to read. The pain and anger of dealing with racism on a daily basis is immediate from the word go. I could feel it radiating from the page. If I could have, I would have directly apologized to her not just for my own innate prejudices, but for what the image of person of color is to the outside world. If nothing else, the author is challenging her readers to take a hard look at themselves and how they have been taught to look at some people deemed as “the other”.

I also appreciated the unique format of the text. Though it may seem a little out of the box, it fits in well with the message.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Snow White & Fox News: Nothing More Than a Distraction

Have you ever gone to a magic show and closely watched the magician while they were doing card tricks? The real trick is in their left hand, but they are distracting you by making you focus on what is in their right hand.

The latest brouhaha to come out of Fox News revolves around the updates made to the Snow White’s Enchanted Wish ride at Disneyland. Their claim, as ridiculous as it sounds, is that cancel culture is again rearing its ugly head. The target of the moment is Snow White.

These people need to get over themselves. Instead of dealing with the real issues like Covid-19, the economy, the still prevalent race issues, etc., they talk about nonsense. Its as if these people purposefully put their heads in the figurative sand. They hear and see what they want to hear and see. If it doesn’t interest them or directly support their point of view, it is wrong or bad somehow.

No wonder this country is going to Hades in a handbasket.

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Takeaways from the State of the Union

The State of the Union tells us everything we need to know about the President.

Last night was President Biden‘s first State of the Union.

First of all, the fact that there were two women sitting behind him is nothing short of awesome.

If there was one word to describe the speech, it is ambitious. Some might say a little too ambitious, given what Covid-19 has done to us, the only way out maybe to go big or go home. Will it require compromise from both sides of the aisle? Absolutely. Will it be easy? To call the process difficult is an understatement. As corny as it sounds, the path back to some sort of normalcy is working together.

After the President spoke, Senator Tim Scott spoke for the Republicans. If their plan was to use Senator Scott to show how how diverse they are, it fell flat on their face.

The fact that they claimed that Biden and the Democrats are responsible for the political and cultural division in the country is pure bullshit. The cherry on top was the idea that racism is dead in the United States. I have two words for him: Derek Chauvin.

After 4 years of you know who, Biden is a breath of fresh air. Though the work ahead of him and his administration is far from easy, I am confident that America’s future is bright in their hands.

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