Speak Out/Stand Up

My gym membership was almost revoked (again) the other day. I had another fight in the locker room. A fellow wearing a shirt indicating he was a member of law enforcement, remarked to another fellow that the protestors in Ferguson were “just looking for an excuse to loot and steal, they just don’t want to believe in law and order, that officer feared for his life but you know how those people are.”

I went off. Sometimes, I have to. Eventually, seeing that I was — admittedly — going out of control, the t-shirted fellow said, “I’m done talking to you – you’re nuts.” And walked away.

Maybe I am nuts. Not sure —

I am sure that I am disturbed, disgusted, and dismayed by current events. And, too, aghast, agitated, and aggravated by reactions to and commentary about these events. Wiser people with better minds and deeper insight, not to mention more clear-eyed technique and a less baroque convolution of prose, have weighed in. I think it best if I leave most of it to them.

But, I wouldn’t be me did I not offer some explanation — or, all-about-me explication. Thus:

I live a purposefully circumscribed life, a self-imposed shut-in behind the fences of my fantasy world, walled-in by my books, scribbling and editing my writing, and interacting mostly with my Twitter-Literati — the modern-day version of imaginary friends — otherwise being mostly solitary, here in the crazy-uncle basement suite at Sepia Fallows.

I limit my access to the outside world. It is too much for me. Or, not enough. Or, both. I like, occasionally, to pretend to be engaged, or, appear to be keeping in touch and aware of certain worlds and milieus in which I pretend I will one day take active, in-real-life part. So, my primary fantasy being that I am an informed, sophisticated, erudite reader and active though *undiscovered essayist and novelist, I’ve been ridiculously excited about the National Book Awards. This faded somewhat when my dear Elizabeth McCracken’s[click here] brilliant best book of the year, Thunderstruck and Other Stories[click here], was disincluded on the way from long to short list. But, despite this injustice and egregious oversight, I toughed it out. Then, Lemony Snicket made a racist comment during the awards ceremony. I will let Jacqueline Woodson speak to it.

CLICK READ HERE: Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, essay: The Pain of the Watermelon Joke. 

Read the comments — I shouldn’t have — where people accuse Ms. Woodson of seeing racism where none exists. Really?

Racism is alive and well and thriving in the petri-dish of determined ignorance sustained by privilege. White privilege. Male privilege. Heterosexist privilege. The privilege of the assumed “normal” and baseline. I point you to the following by Doug Saunders from The Globe published this morning in which he says we are in the last lap as far as equal rights go. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? IN WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE?

CLICK READ HERE: Doug Saunders in the Globe, The Last Mile of Equal Rights is the Hardest.

Total bullshit. His quotes and statistics about how white people feel and self-reported rapes and — well, there is so much wrong with his conclusions about how much better it is, he evidences the white-man-heterosexist- (whatever his personal status- I’ve no idea) privilege-determined ignorance about the cultural, systemic bigotry in the world — I wanted to SCREAM while reading it. And, not only that, he mentions NOTHING about the on-going attack on the rights of those whose gender-identification and sexuality are at odds with those of the privileged elite.

Rape? Better? I think not. Idiot. Read this:

CLICK READ HERE: Sabrina Ruben Erdely in Rolling Stone: A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA

And, too, how about spouse-beating athlete, Ray Rice, winning an appeal of his suspension and being reinstated by NFL?

CLICK READ HEAR: From NPR: Ray Rice wins appeal

But, why is anyone STILL paying even a little attention to football when it is verifiably deleterious to its players, encourages — rewards, even — vile and violent behavior, and by and large exists and thrives in misogynistic, homophobic hate-bliss? Oh, you know why — because it makes money because we live in a largely vile and violent and misogynistic and homophobic and racist culture.

Luckily, reading the following helped. A little:

CLICK READ HERE: Carol Anderson in The Washington Post; Ferguson isn’t about Black Rage against Cops. It’s about White Rage against Progress.

And if you don’t believe racism is STILL operating in Ferguson: read these:

CLICK READ HERE: Chicago Tribune: Ferguson Testimony Shows Inconsistencies

CLICK READ HERE: New York Daily News: Pregnant Woman Loses Eye after Ferguson Police use non-lethal force at protest

CLICK READ HERE: ThinkProgress: Officers who Murdered 12-year-old holding toy gun refused him first aid

Need more?

These are hardly isolated incidents. All sorts of backlash going on, fueled — most often and most violently — by those citing religion as their justification for hate. The war against LGBTQ people rages, used for fundraising and circling the wagons by politicians and reality-TV folk like The Duggars and Duck Dynasty clans, whose violence and anger inciting ant-LGBTQ hate-speech is not only allowed, but promoted by media, and excused on basis of faith. Bullshit. I call you on this bullshit.

CLICK READ HERE: Michelle Duggar’s hate-speech and fear-mongering and incite to violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community as reported in The Huffington Post

CLICK READ HERE: Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s continued homophobia and baiting as reported by Complex

And so, I suppose, what set me off this a.m. about Doug Saunders “last mile” theorizing propaganda was that we are nowhere near equality. The power-privileged-elite keep gaining more and more control of everything, everywhere, and meanwhile we — the lesser-thans and have-nots — are distracted by clawing and scratching to mark what little territory we are permitted, fighting AGAINST each other for our portion of the less than 1% of the world we have, when we ought to be in this together taking back our power from the 1% who control 99% of the wealth.

BUT EVEN WORSE — for me — is when those of privilege write/lecture/imply that we minorities ought to be grateful about how much better it is than it was. SO NOT THE POINT. You want me to be grateful that you are giving lip-service to the possibility that one day we minorities — we lesser-thans and have-nots — will be able to sit anywhere we want on the bus — well, fuck you, because I can’t worry about sitting ON THE BUS when I am always being thrown UNDER IT.


*NOTE: “undiscovered” – obviously YOU, gentle and genius reader, have discovered me — so I ought NOT, perhaps, measure myself as undiscovered simply because I am not discovered as defined by this culture, as in, oft-published by major-media outlets or publishers and FAMOUS.




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