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Showing posts with label Race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Race. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2016

~ Guess Who's Taking Their Country Back? (Hint: Me)

Fact:  I don't have a bucket list and I don't believe in goals.  I believe in wanting sumthin' and doin' what it takes (as long as it keeps within the bounds of being legal, ethical, moral and generally not bein' a dick to others) in order to get it, or conversely, relatively quickly giving up and moving the hell on.  Scads of factors go in to which route I ultimately choose.

For instance, on a company trip a million years ago we rented a SUV.  From the moment I sat up in that seat and mashed the go peddle I knew it was a must.  I saved my pennies and the following year I purchased one.  I've only owned SUVs since.  Sticktoit'dness.

On the other hand, I, for a brief moment assumed I'd be Mrs. Adam Ant.  By the time Billy Idol hit the scene I'd given that up.  Giveup'dness.

But one of my most steadfast desires is one I've held onto for more than a decade, which is, as someone so easily distracted by the shiny thing that just caught my eye, an actual eternity.  I want to gain admission into the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Of course I realize this sounds refuckingdiculous.  I mean, what are the odds that any American can legit trace their lineage to an ancestor active in the American Revolution*?  Let alone a brown one?  While I'm certain there are other brown girls in the DAR, my guess is there ain't many.  And.  I.  Want.  In. 

( * ...Yeah, I got curious too.  It's estimated the DAR has 180,000 members while the boy version, the Sons of the Revolution has 33,000 members.  Meanwhile there are 322 million Americans, you do the math.  Seriously.  I'm shit at math
[Obviously there are those who can trace their ties back to the literal birth of our nation who aren't aligned with any number trackin' organization, but listen,
I can't Google everything...)

I have pestered my genealogy doin' (and saintly) Mom for yeeeeeeears.  Now it's important to note the I have contributed zero in the quest to bring such a thing to fruition.  Other than pestering.  And that shit is time consuming and more complicated than one might imagine.  I'm not a great daughter.  But I am the only one she has sooooo... 

To be truthy, not only have I not helped, I have actively attempted to dissuade the efforts, mainly when several months ago Mom told me she was doing that genealogy DNA test and asked if I wanted to also?  Pragmatically Immediately I was all, "just because I haven't had to commit a crime and/or kill someone doesn't mean I won't have to in the future.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring." as naturally, one does.  Rightfully so she did not listen to me.  ...Or maybe at her age she feels confident that she probably won't have to do a murder...  I donno.  (shrug)  Regardless, and obviously to my chagrin, she spit on a q-tip and slapped a stamp on it.   (As if to double down on my terribleness I subsequently mocked her upon reading this)

As you may have come to realize by this point I really, reeeeeally want to be in the DAR.  A) (and I don't know this to be true, in fact, it's probably safe to say it's not) I just suspect there are crested blazers involved in the DAR.  I must have one of those blazers.  (I imagine they're blue.)  I want to wear it every day.  I want a t-shirt underneath that perhaps in sparkly letters says I Want My Country Back.  2) I want to laugh as peoples heads explode when they are forced to see a BBG (big brown girl) free ranging the world in that get up.  Is that wrong?   In the past several years I keep hearing over and over again about folks wantin' their country back.  And frankly, I feel left out and I want in on that too.

(Correction:  My t-shirt will actually read I want My Country
Back, Bitches'Cause I'm that girl.) 

Flash forward to two months ago.  I'm at her (Mom and her hubby's) abode (we call it Southfork), I don't know what we were discussing when out of the blue she says, "oh, there's something I've been meaning to show you" whilst whippin' out the iPad.  Before she can even get the sentence out I chime in with, "did you finally get me into the DAR?"  Super surprisingly Mom pulls up what, from a bit of a distance I recognize as the layout of a family tree.  She goes on to show me one the crazier turn of events I've had in my life.  Ya see, as sheer willpower fates would have it, and in an enormous shock to me, DNA links me up as being the descendant of an American patriot.  By the way, we're not talkin' the loose way 'patriot' gets tossed about these days.  Nope.  Not only are we talkin' a by-anyone's-measure, patriot, we're talkin' a drafter of the Declaration of Independence.  (suck it)  And a President of the United States of America.  (double suck it)   I am the 6x granddaughter of (drum roll) Thomas Jefferson.


As stoked as I am to discover this tie to the beginings of our nation I gotta admit it also fills me with, I guess for lack of a better word, sadness.  Sadness upon the recognition of how common place it is that I'm essentially 'other-ed' in my own land.

Fun fact, this happens all the time--

- What are you?
- But where are you from?
- No, seriously, what are you?

The subtext being very clearly, 'because you're not white, I assume you are not a real American'  ...Which is awesome to have pointed out to you.  Constantly.  By complete strangers in the grocery store.  Or while clothes shopping.  Or when queuing up for a movie. 

...How's that for a routine affirmation that entire chunks of society have trouble even conceiving that the vaguely brown chick in line with ya is, in fact, what America is too?  One must admit that it's a shitty reality when skin hue is the seemingly sole litmus for determining what an American looks like.

But congratulations that's our culture.  We're strengthening it every time we nod our collective heads along with the growingly popular takin' my country back mantra.   It's the contrarian in me that leads me to want to co-opt I-want-MY-country-backness to mean a country where we actually do that everyone's equal stuff we've been having well meaning 'conversations' about since good ol' Grandpa Tom was still alive.  My version of wanting my country back is progressing to the point where America isn't just equal in 'theory', but equal in actual fuckin' practice. 

That's of course, not its traditional meaning.  The mainstream meaning of I-want-my-country-backness is something I've found interesting since it became a thing.

On the surface it's usually explained as; 'I want ol' time-y economics.  Or morals.  Or standards.  Or educational systems.  Or workplace settings.  Or.  Or.  Or...'  None of which off the cuff sound like nefarious notions.  (Completely unattainable and unreasonable?  Yes.  [Fact:  Progress, nay, evolution, has been stifled, held at bay and obstructed, but never has it been kept from actually proceeding.])  Easily palatable to large and nostalgic segments of the country.  Except to those who notice that the underbelly, and in-practice version of yearning for the good ol' days is that those were days that economics were often predicated on harsh conditions for the labor of the day.  Harsher still if you were a POC, whether it be the goin' backness of the 1950's or the 1850's.  Going back to the morals of the day logistically entails a longing for an era that it was either moral to own other (browner) people, or that it was morally acceptable to simply not hire, or serve, or worship with, or provide equal educational opportunities to, or live in close proximity to Americans who were non-caucasian, because, black.  ...Not to sound all, everything is black or white, but if history has taught us anything about how skin color impacts POC it's that with exception of the premise that white men can't jump and that black guys have monster cocks, being black in America has never, like ever, been anything other than a disadvantage.  Yes.  Oprah and President Obama exists.  But there are always outliers.  There are always exceptions to rules-- that's why we have that fuckin' cliché in the first place.  The fact that exceptions exists doesn't negate the fact that the rule is the actual norm most will experience.  And the norm for POC historically, and currently, is a state of disadvantage.  Not because it's my opinion.  Because of the actual evidence of disadvantages experienced by Americans based on the color of their skin, in um, everyfuckingthing*.

(Please Note:  *Not e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.  Just employment opportunities, the ability to get a fair mortgage rate or car loans.  And;  the level of health care received from doctors, dining outemployment opportunities, housing options, treatment in the judicial system, employment opportunities, votingin education and appendicitis pain management.  Also;  if you may be in need of an ambulance, and whilst touring a college campus, and riding on a fraternity bus, and h.s. class photo days and when determining if a child is a child or an adult.  Or any of the literally hundreds of racial bias cases listed here that have taken place since 2003.)   


So, if you're keepin' track that's-- 
For contrast, I'll allow Tim Wise to detail some of the advantages of whiteness in America--  



So, no.  I'm not particularly interested in going back to any past era, no thank you.  Also the same reason I avoid plantations, and places with plantation in its name.  Just.  No.  Historically, folks who look like me haven't had a good time there and I'm not taking my chances.  My only interest is in moving forward and helping to create a country where melanin doesn't determine whether a person is randomly quizzed on their authenticity as an American, or used as a mechanism to put people at a disadvantage by the sheer fuckin' happenstance of being born with more of it than less. This?  This I want more than a blue crested blazer, ya hear me?  I.  Want.  MY.  Country.  Back.

* Even if they don't call 'em 'goals'.  (ahem)  True story.


 HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY, y'all.



Things you can do right now to help create such a place:
     - Inform 'yo self.  (Here [source: The Ohio State University])
     - Watch this YouTube of White Like Me
     - Stop waiting for the change and start bein' the damn change
     - Take the Harvard University Implicit Bias Test


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Friday, March 13, 2015

~ The Power Of Booze, Magic & Racism

As is probably surmiseable from the title of this blog I am a chunky monkey girl.  A full-fledged, properly fat American.  It's obvious. 

(Halloween ghost of Blind Melon Past, Present & Ridiculous)
I say, 'obvious' because you have eyes and can see.  What advantage is it to me to try to perpetrate a lie about it?   A:  It's not.  That's why I don't.  I'm at peace with bein' a fat girl.  But what if I told you that despite what you are fully capable of seeing that you are wrong in your fat ass appraisal of me, Pop Quiz what would you think?

Maybe a lil':  'I'm not fat.  I know I look fat in that picture, I'm not really.'  Or some:  'Fat?  Nooooo.  ...Tipsy?  Randomly amused by 80's music video's with a stellar eye for detail and almost zero shame?  Yes, yes and yes.  B-b-but fat?  Nope.  Not one bit.'
 
(BBGNote:  I use fat as a declarative statement and not a pejorative one.)
 
I suspect most of you would think holy fuck, look at that complete break with reality she's having.  Clearly, what that photo shows is the truth about the matter.  There is no option B over whether that cool ass chick is fat or not.  (Ok.  Sure, there are other options; zaftig, voluptuous, plump, corpulent...)  You and I both know what we see is exactly what it is.  Period.  End of story. 

Unfortunately, this doesn't always translate into other scenarios.  

Fact:  The ability to discern from bullshit (that we tell ourselves, others, or have presented to us) is a craft that requires honing, ya know, as it is an integral part of not being a dumbass, I say one worth investing a few minutes on an obscure blog to sharpen.  And we're off...

By now you've probably seen the SAE version of a video diary of bus ride.  If you haven't, here.  Heavy sigh.  Serenity now.  It is obviously exactly what it appears to be.  There is no option B here either.  It looks racists because it is racists. 

And there is no excuse for that.  But in no way has that kept some pretty audacious assertions from bein' floated out there as excuses for what you've seen.  So far?  Booze and magic, mainly.  (Here is clip containing the actual statements, I'm paraphrasing.)  Both are poor defenses. 

A)  Booze.  Some people are mean ass drunks, some are love-y dove-y, some slutty.  There are Evil Knievel drunks, Alex Trebek/Cliff Clavin/Martha Stewart drunks, Casey Kasem drunks, and Sylvia Plath drunks.  I thought I knew my drunks.  I mean, I've been post-21 for some time now and have witnessed a good amount of in the cups behavior.  Hell, I've been the actual star of a few of those drunks. For legal reasons I can not be more specific.  But apparently now there are Jim Crow drunks.  (Save it, nitpickers of the interwebs.  I know Jim Crow isn't a real name.  Neither is Evil.  Suck it.) 

Why that's a shitastic defense?  Well, we all know booze can combine to concoct any number of drunk-y type behaviors, and we also know that booze has one universal constant and truth;  What ever comes out when it's mixed in?  That's what's in the person, that for whatever motivation is often without the benefit of booze held at some measure at bay.  It's not an aberration of character, it's an illumination of it.  Simply put, booze is truth juice.  So, pointing to something known to be second to sodium pentothal in it's The Truth Will Set You Free-ness as an excuse for why a bunch of racism fell out of your heart and mouth, hey, it's a free country, have the fuck at it, is, um, weird.

But honestly?  Not as weird as the other plot line aka: magic.  As near as I can piece together from comments along the lines of, 'ok, yeah, that's me on the video (being racist) but that's not an accurate representation of me', like if spoken three times into a mirror (Candyman shout out) regardless of the truth that we can see LOOK OVER THERE (misdirection)  Abracadabra!!  (Steve Miller shout out)  *waves wand with a grand flourish* makes it definitely, 100% for sure, unequivocally, absofuckinlootly, not in my character to engage in racists ass behavior.  Because these magic ass words say so.  The actual defense strategy seems to be;  Disregard the fact that you've already seen the truth.   
 
It puts me in mind of that Groucho quote...
 
...And guess what?  That's going to pass for perfectly acceptable for some folks.  (But not you, you well honed in bullshit detectin' magnificent bitches!)  I'm confident of that fact because there's a label on my hair dryer advising me not to use it in the shower. (Is there anything else ya need to know about how inept some folks are at understanding how the world works?...) 
 
Thanks to the people who are the reason a hair dryer has to explicitly say don't use in the shower, to a higher degree than I'm comfortable with, a certain percentage of people will accept the possibility that an option B (aka: the boozy magic loogie theory) alternative is a more reasonable conclusion than the obvious. 
 
My let's be super clear here point? 
 
 
I must admit, I kinda respect the amount of sheer balls it takes to attempt to explain away I would say the undeniable, but these cats) are actually denying it...  The struggle of Tooliteralism is real, yo. racist behavior with an offering of booze and magic.  I mean, that's amazing.   No less amazing than if I really would try to sell ya on the fact that that photo above is just 'big boned'.  ...I don't know if you know this or not, but I was drunk in that picture, which makes a person look fat.  And, also, that photo was taken while I was under a spell, and in a doll house of miniature-ness making me look fat. (POOF!!)  It's just not an accurate depiction of me.  Come the fuck on.  It's not smart on their part.  But then, I suppose smart is never a thing I associate with racists anyway. 
 
"When people show you who they are, believe them."       - Maya Angelou


 

 


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

~ The BIG Question: Why Isn't There A White History Month?

Black.  History.  Month.

The 28 (occasionally 29) days set aside annually to showcase historical contributions made by African Americans. 

Which if you're like most people means you've just mentally made a list of black people you learned about in school who you can name drop if/when the subject comes up  just tried to remember if George Washington Carver is 'the peanut man' or not, felt proud that you know who spoke the words "content of my character", and have decided that even though you can't specifically say why Harriett Tubman and Sojourner Truth aren't the same person you will give yourself partial credit for knowing that those are names of black women who existed.  

Clearly, you've got all of the details on black history you need to know down.  Chhhhhhheck

And yet, if you're like toofucking many people, the thing ya find yourself most curious about Black History Month is why there isn't a White History Month? 

Not, mind you, why you didn't know with any level of certainty about all but one of the black historical figures I just mentioned (as I assume everyone is familiar with the MLK quote on character vs. skin color) that Great Uncle Gus is alive because of a heart surgery and a blood transfusion that you can thank a black man (two, in fact, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and Dr. Charles Drew, respectively) for.  Not why until this moment you just *assumed* that the inventors of those procedures must have been white.  Not why the fuck you are just now finding this info out in 2015.  In a blogThis fucking blog.

Nope...

Why there isn't a White History Month.

So for the Offical Record, here ya go: 

Didja ever read Moby Dick's If I Did It?  Of course you didn't but seriously, that'd be kinda cool, no? because we only got Melville's account.  It's fair to say Moby probably had a significantly different take on the situation than the version we're familiar with.  (Even though we're talking about fiction look how easily and completely we base all of our entire viewpoint of a situation sourced by a singular voice.)  I'm betting until this very moment you'd never considered how the tail tale might look from a 'Call me Moby' vantage point.  As you ponder that congratulate yourself for taking the first step in understanding why there is no WHM.  (That didn't hurt, did it?)

There isn't a WHM because history is recorded by those with the means (money, power, freedom) to do so.  For context?  When the first census is taken in 1790 former African nationals and their descendants made up 19.3% of the population.  Currently black people account for around 13% of the U.S. populous  (So, we're talkin' an era when black people constituted a significantly higher percentage of our nation than do today.)  Yet, when we sit behind our school desks in American History class our education is even today, with the exception of 28 days in the winter told almost exclusively from a white narrative.  Not because 20% of the population (at the time of the 1st census, the percentage of black Americans prior to the census would have been even greater, mind you) hadn't (didn't) contribute anything worthy of noting for the historical record, but because American history was not, by any substantial measure being documented and culled by black Americans--  or by whites with blacks as being 'people' (and not livestock and/or property) in mind, for that matter. 

Having one side of the story is fine in works of fiction, but history?  History should be based on, um, ya know; Reality.   (The whole reality, not just the nice, impressive and pretty parts that feel good.)

So, either we teach history?  Or we start callin' the class Madeupstory. 

And the reality is; Sure, you'd think there'd be plllllleeeeeennnnnty of time to keep detailed historical records and reference materials, start newspapers and periodicals for circulation, but I'm guessin' being raped/living under the constant fear of being raped, being violently beaten, nay tortured for sadistic sport or as consequence to an infraction set by a malevolent master, or wondering if today is the day you'll be sold away from your child as you toil-- always at risk of death, probably made it difficult to jot a lotta shit down and publish make readily known your individual and/or collective black achievements. 

And let's face it, a black person's invention, idea, concept was considered the intellectual property of the owner.  So, if we're keepin' it real, (and lets, for a change) it's not as if slave owners would have even thought twice about citing credit for something his 'property' came up with.  Listen.  Even today if you design the next big thing at Apple when it rolls out history is not going to say (*insert your name here*) designed (invented, et al) it, it's gonna say, 'Apple's Newest Latest Greatest Thing You're Gonna Blow $500 On'.    (...But Let's Be Clear Side Note:  Enslaved people were not employees.  And regardless of how much you like to think you're 'servin' yo master' when you punch in?  Remember;  Unless your boss has, at will, raped and/or whipped you, sold your child, only allowed you to eat literal scraps, made your 'official work hours' 24/7 for your entire lifetime under threat of death, you are not, in fact, working under 'slave conditions'.  Understood?  [nod your head so that I know you understand])

Oh.  And it was illegal for black people to know how to read or write.   Which I'm sure you'll grant, significantly hinders the ability to document and share achievements for historical posterity.     

Obviously, there have been a shitload of reasons why much of what we refer to as quote black history unquote when really it is simply our history has in large part gone unknown, and thus not included when teaching the history of us

...And perhaps Black History Month would be unnecessary if once our lesson plans passed Revolutionary Era history, when it's easy to explain away a lack of content and documentation of a people who outnumbered white settlers (although, not an accurate explanation.  Exhibit A: This.  Exhibit 2: Solomon Northup (aka: 12 Years A Slave), if there started to be a stronger, more representative inclusion of black contributions mentioned in (ahem) American History class when documentation of African-Americans was easier to verify and come by... 

Gee.  Let's say, history from after black people were actually being recognized as people times.  Fair enough?   There were decent records being kept by the Reconstruction Era.  Newspapers were widely available to cover ta-doin's.  Black people were, in fact, 'people', so level playing field!  History wouldn't be whitewashed, for heavens sake.  If we don't know it, it wasn't worth teachin', right?   

Right?  Well, of course you're right.  That's why you can explain to your neighbor how it is that within five years of President Lincoln granting emancipation to slaves (which of course you already know [wink-wink] happened in 1863, because, history) black men had been elected to the U.S. Senate, and why that didn't happen again until after 1965.  (1965.  Otherwise known as; in probably you, or your parent's lifetime.  ...So history.  But just barely.) 

Oh.  You can not? 

Lemme ask ya, is that because you're unfamiliar with history involving black people because it wasn't taught to you in school? 

'Cause I think it's pretty fair to say that if the American government passed an amendment into the Constitution granting white Americans a right, and then turned around said, psyche and took the right away from them for another 95 years?--  We'd all probably still have the 'never forget' themed diorama we'd made in class.  It'd be the other song people confuse with the National Anthem central subject of a folk song every child learned in pre-K.  Reenactments would take place in the town square every third fuckin' Saturday. 

I'm just sayin' that woulda come up in American History class, ya know?  Might stick in your brain.  Might make you wonder why, if the goal was to act (not  simply speak the words) as if all men were truly created equal, we would pass laws to make things decidedly unequal?  Would make ya contemplate what would be the catalyst for that type of regression? Why the fuck it would take 95 years to correct?   But a decent number of people bitchin' and moanin' about there not being a WHM can't say for sure, without Google-ing, whether I lied or not about the existence of black senators (and congressmen) in the 1800's--  so they (you?) never get around to being inquisitive about those type of questions.  Without that level of knowledge and perspective those questions can't be asked and if they can't even be pondered, pause for a second to consider the implication that bears in present day race relations in our country?   Exactly how often has steadfastly remaining ignorant of a subject ever helped solve, address, or at minimum, provide ya with a rational/realistic understanding, viewpoint or stance?   'Cause it's never happened to me.  Although it does largely explain why I assume my computer may indeed be powered by a hamster in a wheel.  Or magic.   

Start at minute 34 to learn whether I told ya the truth about the rights and freedoms of blacks being revoked for nearly hundred years. 
(Bonus learnin':  Start at minute 23 to learn the origins and significance of the phrase, '40 acres and a mule'.)




You see, people like to think that BHM is all about knowing that a black man (George Crum) invented the potato chip, that the first female, self-made, millionaire in America was a black lady (Madam C.J. Walker), or that a black man (Garrett Morgan) is who is to credit for the invention of both the traffic signal and the gas mask.  And of course, knowing the tales of individual achievements by black people is important.  But the real value of having an understanding of, what we (collectively), and as a huge misnomer call 'black history', is in how it forces people to see the (or at least a more) complete picture of not only black Americans, but also of the role race plays in America.  Perhaps most importantly, the role that you (Yep.  *You*) play in how equal people are treated in our country. 

Knowing any of these individual details is less important than realizing how much of a factor race has always played in how America has operated.  Fact: If you can't come to grips with how race relates relative to a historical context it's harder to see the ways in which the context of our history with race repeats itself  in real time. 

Many Americans would rather pretend race doesn't matter.  That engaging in discussions about it is what is at the root of our ongoing racial issues.  In actuality, it's the knowledge-- based on facts, not (mis)perceptions, (erroneous) assumptions and historical inaccuracies and/or straight up complete historical exclusion that has the power to help end racial strife, inequalities and prejudices.  The ability to enter a conversation about race at a literate level is predicated on having more than a cursory understanding of it.  (I'd argue most of Americans don't even have a cursory understanding of it.)  Being historically illiterate on what the reality of being black in America has entailed, in my opinion, contributes greatly to why we're not doin' better than we are in modern day race relations.

If more Americans were aware of the reality of how often, insidiously and pervasively our culture has consistently proven that race matters a great deal, perhaps it wouldn't come as some shocking news when people of color in 2015 say that race still matters-- not because it's a topic on the nightly news, but because sadly, in 2015 race still matters. (#Sigh)  That is the real benefit of BHM.   Seemingly, much of white America is under the impression that accepting black history as true, and fully integrated American History, is going to mean they're gonna have to feel guilty for what people who looked like them did to black people.  And where would it stop?  Next thing ya know you're noticing and feelin' guilty about present day racism?  Maybe even (gasp) feel compelled to do something about it?  FOR THE OFFICIAL RECORD:    Being knowledgeable about the historical realities (and contributions) of black people in our country is NOT the same as having to assume guilt for what that often sketchy history is.  There.  Do you feel better?

Being literate about a portion of our history that has had such negative ramifications that they still reverberate today, is to take a step towards greater racial equality.  Or, as lots of Americans prove each time they pose the query, 'Why is there not a White History Month?' an opportunity to whine about how you have the lineage of undeniably the most fortunate lot of humans ever to roam the earth yet only get to claim 11 months as your own, so; Oppression. 

2,816:  The number of months American History has been considered and treated as WHM.  40:  The number of BHM's.  (About 2.5% of months have been devoted to the historical contributions of black people.  [aka:  people who have always comprised 13-19(+)% of our country]  Are you honestly complaining that 98.5% of history domination isn't good enough?)

If it's starting to sound bat shit crazy that nearly 40 years into the existence of BHM the most confounding issue is why there isn't a designated celebration and learn-a-thon of white contributions?  That's because it is.    

The question is after 40 years how have some of ya not come to grips with the fact that a 198 year stretch of 'American History:  It's Just For Us' was a good run?  And that opening the circle of history to include, um, more actual, factual history doesn't dilute history as we've known it for nearly 200 years.  It makes it fuller.  More well rounded and representative of how we (all) came to be here.  Moby Dick doesn't become less impressive if we know the whale's tale.  It just becomes a more well rounded story.  History = same. 

Black history was not created to celebrate bein' black in America, (Huzzah, black people!!) but to acknowledge historical facts that had all too often been ignored because of said blackness.  Perhaps instead of whining about and mulling over why there isn't a WHM it's a really good time to be thankful that white history is so universally viewed as a the standard, the norm, nay, synonymous with American history that you don't need a month to validate that your race has been a valuable part of the contributions making this experiment we call America possible.   


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

~ Dear Po Po

As a copkid, I gotta tell ya, nobody wants to type this less than I do.  I have had more conversations backing your play than I could ever begin to accurately calculate.  The little girl who was so proud of her Mom and Dad for bein' badge wearin' badasses?  I remember her.  Mostly because I saw her the last time I passed a reflective surface.  No matter how much gray sets in or how many fine lines I spy, that lil' girl who thinks she comes from near superhero stock because her folks were cops gawks back.  I make it a habit to give shit to any and all fire people I encounter.  Two words:  General principal.  No matter how many gallons of blood I've donated I'm still a bit surprised when I look down and don't see blue filling up the bag.  I am the epitome of a leave the dance with the one who brought ya kinda girl.

Any presupposed notion that I have an axe to grind with the Po-Po is the plot line of your narrative, not mine.  Don'tcha hate when bloggers say things online that they can't backup?  Yeah, me too.  Boom

In fact, what I'm about to ramble say, I say out of a lifetime of love, understanding and respect, and a desire for this?  This climate?  This moment of time?  This way you're being looked at by the public?  This extra nutting up you must have to do these days to do an already supremely difficult job?  ...A true desire for all of this to be over.

I know you think the public has turned on you.  Whenever police are the worst conversations come up I often end up saying something classy along the lines of, 'now that you know this, that 'n the other about a situation put yourself in a LEO's shoes?  What the fuck different do you do?'   --Sometimes a 'viewpoint' is just a lack of earnestly looking at something from the other side.  Personally, I always find it a pretty shitty way to formulate a viewpoint about the 5-Oh, but I also find it a pretty shitty way to formulate a viewpoint about the public outta LE.

Seeing an issue takes eyesight.
Understanding an issue takes perspective. 
And not just your own.

It's a mistake many of you are making.

Please!  I implore you, stop looking at this as a them (civilians) against us (LE) thing.  Yes, I know 20 times a shift you're getting lots of feedback that feels and looks very Us vs. Them.  I swear to you, it's not.  This is a You vs. You thing. 



There is no solution to the protests, side-eyes and criticism you're experiencing that civilians have any control over.  None. 

Think about it.  Hands upping and #ICantBreathe-ing isn't an outcry for LE to turn into hug giving, daisy and crystal carrying softies.  It's not about hatred for the police, although some people are going to hate ya solely because you sport a badge- - some always have and I suspect some always will.  They are known as assholes.   It's a demonstration of the public wanting to see LE practices, procedures and training reflective of a system that does everything possible to avoid unnecessarily killing people.   Yes.  I said 'unnecessarily'.  I fully acknowledge the danger of the job and that sometimes a bad guy gotta die.  When my guy used to Sam Browne 'n vest it up I always sent him away with a reminder that, "you are to come home."  [BBGW post: Shoot Anybody You Have To]  He knew I loved him.  As he hit the streets I needed him to know that whatever popped off that shift, whatever had to happen for him to return to me was what had to fuckin' happen.  Period.  Full stop. People understand necessary deaths.  Ahem.  Reasonable people understand that some situations unfold in a manner that practically precludes anything other than a crim dying from being the outcome.  Those same reasonable people, I, expect that those instances are the result of their bad decisions.  Not that they're the result of your bad decisions.  (Not you specifically, LE-er/random blog stumble on-er.  For the Official Record, I believe that you are probably a part of the overwhelmingly vast majority of law enforcement that is comprised of well intentioned, honorable, kind, brave people called to serve their communities, to keep their neighbors safe and within the bounds of law and order.)  Again, who is best positioned to fix the unnecessary kills at the hands of LE, you or soccer mom Suzi standing on the street with a sign?  My apologies to Suzi's and soccer moms.

What you are actually seeing is an intervention.  You can deny and deflect, or you can choose to recognize that there's a problem that others see very clearly needs addressing. 
Which are you doing?

I hate to sound like I'm Monday morning quarterbacking, it's not my intention.  It's also not my intention to be anything other than (fingers crossed) insightful/helpful as you navigate the collective relationship status update large parts of the public have recently alerted you to. 

Obviously, I'm not the arbiter of what legally constitutes an unjustified kill.  But I have eyes.  And common sense.  And both tell me that with five? Six officers on the scene?  There were other outcomes which didn't involve a man dead.  As anyone with an internet connection can see this wasn't a time sensitive situation that simply stood no chance of de-escalating, where the only solution was going to ground and choke-holding, this wasn't a terrorist with a kill switch, this was a big ass guy selling single cigs on the sidewalk.  Look.   I get that like tango it takes two (or more) to escalate a situation.  But I also get that it's a crims job to be a crim (with all of the dumbassery, poor impulse control and bad decision making skills that accompany it) and it's LE's job to be the professionals in any and every situation that comes down the pike.  LE is trained in de-escalating, it, like qualifying, and paperwork is part of the job.   Having an actual snuff film featuring a failure to handle what probably could should have been the most minor interaction any of those officers had with a criminal element that day, going viral and the subsequent protest is not a sign that they are off the rails.  Give any 'yeah, but' response ya want, my answer would be the same--   Is that how you'd want your loosey slingin' family member to to be managed by the police if they were at the same level of agitation?  Every MOS has that family member.  (Full disclosure:  Mine was a cousin by marriage who got pinched on drug charges.  My Dad had to arrest him.  'Had' is disingenuous phrasing.  He didn't have to, any number of others could have, I think he thought his presence would make a difficult situation go down easier.  Needless to say Christmas's after that were awkward.  j/k.  We didn't Christmas together before.  There is also a distant family member arrested for shoplifting meat from a grocery.  I'm just sayin'; ...family.  We all got 'em.  If one draws down on LE, of course you expect they'll be unloaded on.  But you can't deny that you too would expect them to survive a LE encounter over a minor violation that doesn't include your kin tryin' to get lethal with LE.)     

If the protesters want no more than what your expectation of good policing would look like when applied to your family?  Are you starting to see how this has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with how Team Us is collectively conducting itself?

To get suddenly succinct?  Police your own brass and all of Team Them goes away. 

If you're not inclined to listen to some random blogger listen to @ChiefBlackwell:



Obviously, you are not responsible for any one other than yourself.  Again, most reasonable people understand this.  However, much like when you're working and you know who needs to get locked up, but you jusssssst need some wit to speak the fuck up to be able to start to fix whatever problem you've responded to--   You have to be the person to speak the fuck up in this situation, that is, if you wanna fix the sitch and return to your rightful place of being a looked at as the badasses you are, and not the bad asses we see played out too cringeworthingly often on the news. 

Instead of reacting like protesters have some kinda unmitigated fuckin' gall being outraged, consider why they have so much to be outraged about?

Stop giving people ammunition to be used against you.  If you don't want significant portions of the population to think you are a bunch out of control, bunch together to put a stop to out of control behavior.  What you see that never makes the news, people can't even imagine.  But look at the videos of late that leave nuthin' to the imagination...  Eric Garner12 y/o Tamir Rice.  John CrawfordMarcus JeterLevar Jones.  Marlene PinnockAlbert Flowers.   Officer punching child ...You can't objectively look at those and really wonder how Team Them arrived at suspicion, anger and protest.  I guess, ya can.  Look, it's fillin' up my feeds, but I sure as shit don't recommend it if your looking for perspective and an end to this.  Now, ya might not like how protesters are going about displaying their disdain over what they've seen, but you don't get to pick other people's reactions.  Ever.  But specifically when you've devised, instituted and sanction, either tacitly or expressly what it is they are reacting to.  Ya can't give someone sour milk and then be angry that they don't like getting sour milk, and angry that they puked on your shoe, ya know?  Bottom line is if they have nothing to be up in arms about, then you won't see hands up, et al type reactions.   

BBGProTip:  
This shit?  Is not the way to bolster benevolence from the public. 
It is a great way to ensure hard feelings, skepticism and animosity. 
It's a fantastic way to breed contempt in the communities you serve, and not with the assholes are never going to like you but with the solid citizens who want to have your back-- the people you count on the most aside from your fellow officers.  You're moving the line from hard to almost impossible to back you for too damn many Americans.     

BBGBonusProTip:
It's 2014.  There are cameras e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. 
Act like you understand that. 
(Please Note:  The threat of a viral video shouldn't be the
deterrent to dickhead deeds.  Decency should be.)

As things are, and just so we're clear, here's where we are...  One of my friends is also a copkid [actually, several are] her father recently tried to dissuade his grandchild from considering a career in LE.  Now, I've never known this man to be anything other than proud of his service to his community.  Proud of his profession.  (As he fuckin' ought to be.)  And he's tryin' to talk his grandkid outta badging up.  Not because he's afraid for the kid's safety.  But because he doesn't see any ebb to this current flow of mounting distrust of LE and doesn't want his family member to have to be painted with that brush. 

Maybe I'm naïve, but I believe I think the tide can be turned.  You just have to turn it.  Bad apple practices, procedures and people gotta go.  If your expectation level is that community members have to nut up and help solve a problem in their house/'hood, what would make the LE house/'hood any different? 

A giant step towards nutting up and solving the problems at your doorstep?  This:

As much as many of you would like this not to be a race thing.  In large part it simply is.  Look.  Yes, racism exists in every profession.  And if you aren't a racist, congratulations, you have met one of the bare minimum requirements the public looks for in a law official, and a decent human.  But institutionalized racism doesn't exists without people within the institution lookin' the other way, whether intentionally or out of ignorance.  Regardless, when there is actual evidence (see what I did there?) proving that race adversely impacts the interactions with LE at a disproportionately and disturbingly high level to the detriment of people of color, the U.S.S. BenefitOfTheDoubt has already sailed.  If you're busy denying racism within the ranks you're not adept at taking in clues and are in the wrong job. 

Denying something doesn't make it not so, or better. 
Acknowledging something doesn't make it worse, but it is the first step in fixing it.
If you're not willing to do anything about it you're definitely in the wrong job.  (5-O Fact:  Pussin' out is not a desirable attribute in an officer.)  It's not that people expect that LE should somehow magically be exempt from having bigots in the bunch.  Although you'd have a lot less shit to deal with if magic worked that way. It's not that people somehow think every other profession might/could have racists but LE is the only place the phenomena doesn't exists.  It's that the public expects that you will protect them against that too.  Clearly, that's not the experience of too fucking many citizens. (Or, apparently, fellow officers.)  Reminder:  That's not a Team Them issue to solve.  Team Them being fed up with it isn't the problem.  Media coverage of it isn't the problem.  Hashtactivist aren't the problem.  Too many good cops sitting silently as the dregs degrade the profession is the problem.  Don't be that badge.  Don't let others get away with bein' that badge on your watch.  It doesn't make you a loyal cop.  It makes you a weak one.  And a hypocritical one the next time you're pushing someone to tell the dirt on some sumbag they have knowledge of and you're nine kinds of pissed when they don't. 

I know you think this is a protest.  But if you look it really is an intervention.  As I glance at this long ass and curse-y post (honestly, through a few tears) I realize it's nothing more than that letter you see on TV being read by a family member who wants nothing more than to help to try to coax their loved one to be the best they can be, to help pull them from the grips of what plagues them.  The people on the street?  They might not think of you like family as I do, maybe they'd never sit ya down and have a heart to heart with ya like a good friend would like I sincerely am attempting to be, but make no mistake, no matter how you're seeing the message phrased or framed, no matter how much you don't want to hear that noise all Team Them wants is the same thing the same thing I do--  For this not to be.  For your reputation to be beyond reproach.  For all citizens to consider you their safety and not question if you are their danger.  (The exact same things you should want.)  As with all interventions, regardless of how much others desire *goodness* for you?  This battle to bring that to fruition is ultimately yours.   And I sure hope you want it as much as I do for ya.   I don't know what will happen if you don't.  This is a fulcrum moment.  Please tip yourselves away from the bad apple-ing that is rotting what should always be considered one of the noblest of titles, Police Officer. 

Love,
~ BBG 


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

~ Where's Your Wallet?

In my experience, it's fair to say unless you are currently engaging in the alcohol arts you probably know exactly where your wallet is.  It's one of those items we, with the exclusion of tipsiness, would never really let out of our sight, but more accurately, our presence.  Sans sandman time, we tend to keep our money on us.  Most people go to great lengths to secure their wallet.  It's so the norm that it's hard to conceive of a scenario where you would purposefully put your wallet in danger of being stolen, isn't it? 

Which is what made what I watched unfold earlier today so heartbreaking.

It was a quick stop at a gas station convenience mart for some smokes.  (From the Do What I Say, Not What I Do Files;  Don't smoke.  This isn't hypocrisy, it's when people who do something say you shouldn't do it, that's your sign-risy.)  As I pulled into the parking space a black guy wearin' a black hoodie walked by and in just before me, I passed him in an asile, he gentlemanly stepped outta my way as I breezed by.  That was the extent of my interaction with this stranger guy.  He wound up in front of me in the line for the cashier.  I had taken no special note of him.  Which is sayin' sumthin' because I am one of those drive up to a gas station (really, anyplace) take a second to look to see if anyone/thing looks hinkey before entering type girl.  (aka:  A girl who was raised by Police Officers to be situationaly aware.)  I want some smokes, maybe a pop.  I do not want to walk into a armed robbery, ya know?   

But it didn't take long for black/black hoodie guy to have my full and undivided attention.  As he stepped up with whatthefuckever he was purchasing he said something to the cashier and I watched him turn around step away from the counter, walk towards the motion sensor-y doors, bend down to get his backpack from the floor.  He proceeded to pull out his wallet and return to pay for his items.

As I stood there shame and pity overwhelemed me.  I felt it wash over me from head to toe as I recognized that a man didn't recklessly leave his money at the entrance of a store just begging to be pilfered.  I wanted to be wrong.  And I hate being wrong.  I so wanted him to be a dumbass who just didn't understand the ramifications of leaving ones valuables unattended in a public place.  I knew I wasn't.  But I asked anyway... Come on, humanity-- No Whammies!

"If you've got a second I have a weird question for ya?"

Once I completed my transaction I turned to find black/black hoodie guy misguidedly patiently waiting for me, as we stepped outside I super nosily asked him, "why was your backpack on the floor?" 

His answer?  '...girl, you know.  Less hassle...' 

I heard his words.  But what I felt, what broke my heart and filled me with shame for our society was his subtext;  As a black man in 2014, in America, I live in a culture where it's preferable to have all of the valuables I'm carrying stolen than it is to walk through a store with anything that might give someone even the slightest of notions that I might be committing a crime. 

The next time someone tries to tell you about what a magical post-racial climate we're livin' in before you nod in agreement, ask yourself if that's actually true?  Or if the only truth is that s/he is a skin color that is culturally afforded the benefit of the doubt that s/he probably isn't there to thieve and isn't made feel that in order to avoid being unnecessarily inconvenienced the safest, easiest, best course of action when buyin' a snack is to leave their wallet on the floor by the door?  


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Thursday, June 6, 2013

~Hate E O's

I wanted to be surprised when a BBGW FB resident ( --BH shout out) suggested I take a peek at the Cherrio dust up when I noticed all of the Googlerific suggestions on the story included the word 'racist'.  (Which if you haven't seen the commercial causing the stir, seriously?  Do you live under a rock? here you go - click).   Of course, then I quickly remembered that there are a whole buncha assholes who walk among us.  And then I wasn't surprised.  At.  All.

Frankly, to me the fact that Cherriogate is a thing is the news story here.  More so than anything some narrow-minded bigots who grew a set of interweb ballz said on YouTube.  A bigot of any kind is already committed to their self imposed stupidity on whatever matter they are bigoted against (gays, blacks, Hispanics, the Irish, Jewish people, Muslim people, et al.) and thrives on continuing--  regardless of the reality and facts or real world experience with/about whoever they are bigoted against, to hold on as tightly as they can to that thinking/talking/behavior-- at any cost.  Rather than assess a person/situation/concept based on actual merit.  That's what being a bigot entails, so while, yeah, finding out that bigots are bein' all bigotry-ee does irk me and make me feel pity for them, the part that catches my interest is that the story itself has garnered such attention.



Which I say is great.  For two reasons actually.  1) As I've always contended, white people need to see, notice and be aware of racism more frequently than they do.  The rest of my sentiment is that black people need to see, notice and be aware that shitty, unfair, shady things do also happen based on the (un)luck of draw that have nothing to do with racism.   ...You know how it is;  Nothing is ever a problem until you notice it's a problem.  I think many caucasian Americans, because they are never the target of it, or are fortunate enough to have surrounded themselves with like minded (-- accepting of all people regardless of differences, real and perceived), work under the assumption that racism is on the decline.  A thing of the past.  We have a 1/2 black, 1/2 white President for heavens sake!  The only racists are Bubba Backhills.  

BBG Random Fun Fact:  I once attended a wedding with three Bubba's also on the guest list.  Damn straight it was good times.

The existence of Cherriogate serves to shine a light on the fact that racism and bigotry are alive and well in America.  In fact, in a grand and despicable display of its prevalence Cherrio's had to shut down the comment section of their YouTube posted commercial due to the growing thread of vitriol filled comments.   

Racism is like Slug Bug.  When your eyes are open to it, you see it more frequently that you would have imagined before you were engaged.   Psssst...It's 2013, it's probably a good time to start playin'

If you are lighter in flesh-y hue than I am (curious? click) it may come as a surprise that since we elected our first non-exclusively white President that racism has not, by executive order, been eradicated.  #44's election(s) is not a sign that racism is over sans a few pockets of holdouts.  It's a tremendous sign that many Americans are not racists.  And it's an indication that things are changing, that we (the collective, we, not just people who look like moi) are stepping forward towards achieving real equality.  For the official record, not only has racism not been eradicated, it ain't even diminished.  In fact, racism is makin' quite the resurgence.  According to a recent AP Poll, "a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice towards blacks".   I'll give ya a minute to let that settle in.

Organized hate groups have also skyrocketed from 888 known groups in 2007 to 1,007 last year (state-by-state hate groups map).  I know, I know.  Statistics.  Abstract numbers.  I don't even know what 888 pennies might look like, how can I get a handle on 888 meetin' holdin' hatefests scattered across the country?  (...Charlie Brown's teacher voice.)  For those of you on the light end of the skin tone spectrum, take a minute and stop to think about this;   Think of the myriad of things you have to worry about, consider and watch out for in your day-to-day life.  Do a quick run down of everything you'll accomplish, everyone you'll come in contact with, and consider what your outlook might be if 51% of the people who decide if you get a promotion, if you get the same loan rate as someone else with your exact same score/income/home cost or weighs in on if you score that big new account actively express prejudice towards whatever you are-- your hair color, your height, the size of your nose, your whatthefuckever.  And now there are 200+ bright and shiny new groups devoted to you hatered.  There.  You just got a lil' insight into what it's like to be black in our country.   You're welcome.

Of course, BBGW visitors who land on the darker side of the skin-lympics than moi, and those who've been paying attention the past several years it comes as zero of a surprise to find that as a society we've regressed in our quest for racial equality.  This latest example only verifies what they've already experienced, that racism is taking a stronger foothold in our nation.   In fact, I don't wanna get all, *the BBG is a see-er* on ya, but  I predicted such events several years ago (click for full post)

"In some ways, it's kinda an odd time in America. On one hand we've managed to vote a man into the White House who like me has the benefit of being made of multiple races. He was elected based on the content of his character, and of course his promise to manage our country better. While this demonstrates a sizable shift in the state of acceptance and perceptions of minorities in our society, I almost feel odd and eerie, as if we're on the brink of seeing some awful things from some of our countrymen.

We're in the midst of hard economic times. People are afraid. Fear of change and the unknown has historically been the catalyst for fervent and more demonstrative outburst of racial biased behaviors and actions in our country. The klan didn't start when Africans were brought to our shores, it started after the Civil War when so many white Southerners were frightened by what free blacks might do, how former slaves freedom might change their way of life, and when they were left in terrible economic straights as consequence to the devastation of the war. It was the easily plyable and those with overwhelming fear who took to the klan's message. The klan positions itself as an organization rooted in Christian ideals, making it's message more palatable and "acceptable" to the target audience.

Do I anticipate a cross burning in my yard anytime soon? No. But, I'm seeing a surge in a more subtle and subversive racially based tone happening in our nation. Some talking heads are busily making up all kinds of new buzz words and catch phrases under the guise of commentating on current events, that are just veiled racist rhetoric. Some times not veiled at all. I find it scary, because it to positioned as "acceptable" and many followers don't view it as anything other than that. I fear that too many good men (and chicks) will do nothing and let evil and hate gain a larger foothold in our society."

It's an ebb and flow thing, our progress towards truly and fully achieving racial equality and harmony.  A two steps forward, one step back thing.  Unfortunately.  We take steps forward from 40 years ago when a black and white couple couldn't legally marry and not all people who looked like me could vote to electing a 1/2 black man into the White House.  Of course there's gonna be dumbass'd and fucked up backlash from those who consider such things too much evolution for their antiquated thinking.  It's human nature really.  Scary shit starts happening and people need to feel right and in control of their world to gain security, their footing in the world.  And if you're incapable to looking inwards to gain that sense of security and all-is-right-and-in-order feelin', you're gonna look outwards to have someone/thing to blame.  If your sense of security is threatened the first people rife for your bigotry are those who look different than you, (in this case, ethnicity, but in others it's religion, sexual orientation, etc.) and well, blame assigned.  Welcome to racism. 

The thing about human nature is that lots of fucked up things are human nature that collectively we've made socially unacceptable.  It's our individual responsibility to master our human nature to evolve into a better functioning society.  My human nature has told me to hit a varied and vast number of people in the head with a brick over the years.  I have not yet because it's my responsibility to master that impulse.  Like a fuckin' reasonable ass, educated adult/citizen of the world.

B)  I like that this story has grown cyber legs because, unlike what some others saw as being somehow offensive in the commercial, I saw what looked a lot like my home growing up.  In fact I neverfuckingwatch commercials--  Thank you, DVR when I saw the commercial it caught my eye because the lil' brown girl looked a lot like me at that age.  If I'd had cuter hair.  And an agent.  It was so captivating because it is so rare for me to see.  ...Which makes it equally as rare for the other 9+ million bi/multi-racial Americans

Ya see, as a little girl called 'Oreo' back in the day, by 2013 I expected the world to be different.  While, yes, I expected to be drivin' a Jetsonmobile, and have my own personal oompa loompa by now, I also expected that when I was grown that we'd reach a beige-y saturation point where racism would be rendered obsolete.   Also known as the day fuckin' strangers in the grocery store would feel free to cease asking me, "what are you?"  Certainly a time where seein' a wee brown lass on tv wouldn't set off a cue of crass comments.

I'm sure most people take it for granted that they see people who look like them reflected in day-to-day marketing and entertainment.  What I suspect most people don't note is the subliminal impact that has on their world view and self perception.  I mean, I'm a grown ass woman who with my background in advertising, is kinda advertising/media savvy and I loved seein' someone who looked like me, imagine how powerful that is to an eight year old?  It sends a very, hey the world knows you're here sense of acknowledgement.   And it serves as a point of reference to those non-brown, that those "exotic" Q: If there are 9+ million of me am I still exotic?  lookin', vaguely tawny, quasi ethnic lookin' people live exactly the same regular lives as anyone else.  Both, in my estimation being valuable images to portay to the masses in addtion to making a direct personalized pitch to a valuable market segment.

In the U.K. it's reported that 5% of ads have 'minorities' while 13% of their population is comprised of non-whites.  It's hard to imagine the U.S. is too far off that mark.   It's estimated that by 2045 'minorities' will make up the majority of America's population, it seems high time that our marketing messages are starting to be reflective of that.  It would seem that anything else is a disingenuous representation of what we are as a nation.  And who's to benefit from that?  A:  Nobody.   One of the first steps to solving a problem is to be honest about it.  How can we ever get about the business of putting this to bed if we're too busy whitewashing things?  It's no different than subscribing to the thought process that if we stop talkin' about something it'll just magically go away.  As much as I like that theory it just doesn't work.  Trust me.  I've tried it.  Several times.  Times it's worked out?  Zero.  Change and evolution takes work and effort.  Gettin' on board with it, or resisting it.  Hopefully the fact that something as insanely innocuous as a cereal commercial creating such an outcry is the tipping point that gets more people noticing the climate we're in and playing an active role in shaping a more tolerant, respectful and dare I say, loving society for ourselves.



Clearly, neither of these (or any others) were intended consequences of Cherrio's advertising, who's goal was simply slingin' some O's.  But it has generated conversations about race across the country.  Congratulations, you've just engaged in one.  And reminded us that we all still have a lot of work to do to create a country where we all are free from the shackles of bigotry that even in 2013 still bind us and hold us back from being a better nation than we are. 

As always, feel free to put your $0.02 in via the comment section below or on the Big Brown Girl World Facebook page.

Peace out my peeps.


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