Speak


As this Martin Luther King day approaches, I am compelled to contemplate (and write) about racism and bigotry in this country. With a president that feels he has the right to boast his hatred and utter his disregard for equality it is quite evident that some people still carry these sentiments most obviously.

But a book that I recently read: Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, By Michael Eric Dyson, made me look more deeply into the question of implicit racism. By definition found on the computer it means:  implicit racism includes unconscious biases, expectations, or tendencies that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices.

He speaks to ‘whiteness’ in general, not in a way that is scolding, but in a way that most definitely made me look at my privileged life in this country as a white person. Of that there is NO doubt.

It is easy to notice things like what the president did and said: that this is racism/bigotry. But there are other signs that are less clear. The lines become blurred when looking at crime and how media portrays who commits them. Who do we feel as white folk are the criminals? Really, answer that question, then check the statistics. Or how do you feel when you walk down a dark street and people of color are near?

There are tests to see if you have implicit bias (or racism). The results may be surprising to you. I was scared when I took one, afraid that I might not be the person I thought I was or wanted to be. The result was fascinating actually. I guess it may depend on life experience and how much you really believe what you read and see on the news.

Dyson challenges white people in order to make this a world as Martin Luther King envisioned (and many others like him), then we must engage those who say racist things when we hear them. Sitting silent is as good as saying it ourselves. Let people know you won’t tolerate this kind of talk. Use it as a teaching moment if you hear folks spouting incorrect information about black people; let them know you know the truth.

This president is trying to worm his way out of the disgusting words he spoke recently and so will others. It is not being tolerated.

So in the words of MLK, speak up!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

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Distraction


Tis the season for jing a ling and tra la la. Lots of shopping and running around. Too much Christmas music, tinsel and glitter or gathering for Hanukkah gelt and food of all kinds. Or whatever your holiday is, this is the time of year for…well, distraction.

Many of us may find much of this holiday season annoying: too much traffic, too many crowds, too much stuff and just plain too much consumerism. The holidays seem to have gotten away (in most cases) from what they were really supposed to mean and what all the symbols are meant to represent. I bet in many cases folks don’t know anymore. It’s just become: buy, buy, buy and rush, rush, rush and what’s on sale. They may know the basics, but unless you are deeply entrenched within your religious community, it’s all just Hallmark nonsense.

It’s exhausting and sad and often stressful.

But this was the first year I had an insight to it all.  Because the world has become such a harsh place and each year it only seems to get worse, maybe we all need this nonsense. Between the natural disasters and man-made horrors of the world, I truly believe we all suffer, on some deep level, from a global/connected/deep-seeded depression. Most of the time when we tune into what ever we tune into (our preferred media source), it’s some new calamity bombarding us. All year-long we must endure hearing about our fellow humans suffer, or our planet dying or animals being exterminated. It’s a wonder any of us get out of bed at all.

And then, along comes the holidays. Time for our own little fantasy world of tinsel and glitter, pretty lights and toys. And even magic and a crazy man, elves and reindeer bringing happiness to the whole world. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may still have your own holiday celebration within your own religious belief; one that brings your family together, one where you can remember better times and get time off from work.

All these holidays have one thing in common: they help us remember our past, not only our personal one when we were young and things were simpler and maybe happier; but our human past. That’s why they were celebrated in the first place; to acknowledge an important event in history.

And the days when many of us are celebrating our respective holidays on those special days specifically set aside for these historic days from our past, we are not thinking about all the terrible things going on presently that usually occupy our minds. This may be the most important gift of all.

For those precious moments at least, we can let our hearts and souls fill instead with the sounds of our families, children and homes (after the rush and stress have died down). The smells of cooking, the visits from those we haven’t seen, the familiar decorations all give a sense of well-being and safety. These feelings may be rare for us these days. So we lap it up in the swell of the holiday tide. This is the part we take for granted, the feelings, but this is the part of life we are missing every day in this painful world. This is what the holiday season gives us.  Positive feelings.

So, for the first time in many years, I say: go ahead and enjoy. Play the incessant Christmas music. I get all the lights and sparkly stuff.  Sure, I would still rather people not buy so much ‘stuff’ because it’s not good for the world, but I do understand better why they do…it’s for the feelings they produce. But mostly, I just understand the whole ‘thing’ of the holidays more this year: instead of global depression, it’s global jublilation.

Maybe that’s why they call it a magical time of year.

Someday


Today is different for me than most. A day to reflect on the inhumane treatment of animals and the continual sacrifices they must make to feed humans. I hope someday it stops.

And the centuries old disrespect and disregard of Americas Native people. It is one of our truly disgraceful periods in history.

Sure, I have plenty to be thankful about–but on this particular day, I would rather reflect on these two topics since they tie into this ‘holiday’. It has been a hard day for me for many years; today I am saying so.

May the future bring more comfort and peace to lives of those we take for granted.

 

Ironic??


Is it ironic that I saw this Mockingbird perched upon the American flag  today: July 4th, 2017 given the state of our nation?

Maybe this bird understands something many folks seem to be missing these days….

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Memorial Day 2017


Honoring those who served on this Memorial Day. We must all take a moment to think about what freedom truly means. And to give a moment of silence not only for our veterans but for all the people in this country who have given up their freedom because of any kind of injustice laid upon them. Freedom is not just for some in America, but it is for everyone who came here, was brought here, was born here or was a native. And we all need to figure out a way to make sure this freedom is shared equally. 

Peace to you all.

Poem: It Works This Way 


To all the Mothers out there

and to how we toil

and care

would give our

Life

for their life

and sometimes do

in child birth

in war

sometimes just 

to give them a better 

Life

If they are happy 

we are happy 

So Mother’s day can only really be 

Happy 

if all the children of the world 

were

too

Merry Eostre


So my dear and diverse readers in blogging land, I’m going to diverge from my normal protocol (well mostly) and stick my toe into the potentially controversial topic of religion.

Today as most of you know is Easter here in the US. And some of you may also know, because I have mentioned on my blog before, I am not Christian– although I do tend to be a very spiritual (and respectful) person. But there is one thing that I have found over the years perplexing (and maybe slightly tiresome) that I’m going to put out to you all.

Why do people–like almost everybody I bump into–feel compelled to wish me a Happy Easter and assume this has meaning to me? This has been going on for days leading up to today and each time I hear it, I just wonder what they think when they say it. Do they think that I too am Christian and celebrate this particular holiday or is it just something to say instead of: gee, it’s a nice day out?

To me it would seem the more appropriate thing to say might be: Do you celebrate Easter? And then this might open a conversation. Or they could even discuss their Easter plans and say: What a great day for Easter. Then it leaves the other person open to speak of their plans if they have any, or just listen if they don’t.

If someone is a completely different religion, say Jewish, wishing them a Happy Easter, is not particularly relevant to them. At Christmas time these phrases (Merry Christmas!!) happen too, although folks seem sometimes to be a bit more aware and sometimes offer a ‘Happy Holidays’ just in case.

I understand that people aren’t trying to be rude or anything, but it’s more about awareness of ones interactions with people and who they might be. Like the adage: don’t assume. Just because you believe something and it has meaning to you, doesn’t mean it does to someone else (even if it has meaning to a large population). It’s maybe not a big thing really. Just a small politeness. A tiny way to say: hey, I’m me, but maybe you’re you and it’s OK. We can all live here together with our own beliefs, traditions and truths. A way to keep trying to connect our world on a more individual level and not lump everyone into a category. Maybe if we tried this and took the time to get to know each person we met rather than treat them as a reflection of our own insecurities, there wouldn’t be so much hate and fear.

So what if I said to you: Merry Eostre. What would you say and how would you feel? Would you take the time it hear what it means to me? Or will you remain in your own story till the end…??

I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful and blessed Sunday.

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Let Freedom Ring 


I am a black cat and live with a white dog. We both live with a different species too. At times it’s tough, but we are family. Our Mom has taught us to get along and not to judge by the color of someone’s fur or if they don’t have any. She said it’s what is in their heart that counts. 

She was listening to a famous speech today about humans with black and white skin getting along. She was crying like she does every year when she hears it. I’m not sure if they are happy or sad tears, but I know that I hide under the bed when most people come into our apartment. I try to judge them from the content of their heart, but I still worry most the time. 

What is freedom anyway really? Can we all ever really live together in peace? In our house we manage and my mom tries to keep the spirit of message she heard today alive in her heart. 

I just wonder about everyone else?