Saturday, October 5, 2019

You Don't Owe Them Anything!

I don't know who needs to hear this, but: you don't have to spend your time and energy dealing with people who think ill of you. You don't have enough time or energy to change their mind.

It's okay not to be liked by everyone. Too many of us are so infatuated with the idea of being liked that we change who we are. This is a tragic mistake. It's better to be respected than liked. Cutting against the grain and standing on your principles is enough to make people hate you.

Face it: there are people who don't like you. There are people who don't want to see you grow or succeed. There are people who need you to struggle in order to feel good about themselves. There are people waiting for you to fail. Get. Over. It. Those problems belong to them.

You don't have to inherit anyone's mania. You don't have to engage. You ARE NOT responsible for their feelings; however, you ARE responsible for your happiness. Do yourself a favor and quit trying to be liked by everyone. Focus on you and risk failing while trying to reach your potential. You may surprise yourself!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

When Will America Practice Forgiveness?

There are a lot of people celebrating Brandt Jean’s forgiveness of Amber Guyger. I don’t know Brandt Jean, so I won’t comment on his  faith or motivation. That’s his heart, his conscious and his brother. I wish him and the family all the best moving forward; however, this is a moment we can reflect on.

While some are basking in the glow of this amazing sign of grace and forgiveness ask yourself: how many innocent men, women and children would be alive if our “Christian” nation practiced this kind of forgiveness?

We execute Americans every year for the crime of murder. We dropped two atomic bombs because we couldn’t forgive. There are hundreds of thousands dead Iraqis and Afghans because we couldn’t forgive. When innocent Americans are killed we call for revenge. We have bombed countries for less than what Amber Guyger did. 

What if America responded to 9/11 like Brandt Jean responded to the murder of his brother? Think about all of the American and Allied Forces soldiers who lost limbs. Think about all of the soldiers who lost their lives. 18 years later we are still sending troops into those countries. Why don’t we practice more forgiveness when it comes to jurisprudence and international affairs?

How much PTSD could we have prevented? How many suicides could we have prevented? When was the last time our Christian nation showed such forgiveness? 

The tradition of forgiveness cultivated and nurtured inside the Black church has been a strength and a weakness. Grace shouldn’t be reduced to a quid pro quo, but what has all of this turning the other cheek gotten our communities? Black folks have been forgiving America for things she won’t even apologize for. This was a senseless tragedy. I hope we don’t allow this sign of undeserved love to be used as a form of absolution.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

If Protesting Racism is "Un-American" What is Not Supporting 911 First Responders?

(Official House  of Representatives photo)

Rand Paul spent his day (July 17th) blocking an attempt by House Democrats to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He cited concerns over the Trump administration's massive deficits as reason to stifle the bipartisan bill which had already passed the Senate.

This is the same Rand Paul who voted for a trillion dollar tax cut and hasn't said a mumbling word about the 100+ million dollars spent on golfing and personal family trips by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Funding for first responders is where his "fiscally conservative" principles showed up.

This brings me to my larger point: Never Forget is, and has always been, an empty signifier. It's like saying America was founded on Christian values while ignoring all of the hatred, bigotry, violence and death wedded to her.

The fact that Jon Stewart has been a bigger advocate for 911 first responders than a majority of our elected officials is an indictment on those myths some of our fellow citizens believe about the purity of our nation.

If Americans stopped listening to what politicians said and actually looked at their voting records, half the country wouldn't believe the Republican party is the party of God or the rightful heirs to the American empire.

Here's a question for folks sensitive to any critique of America: is opposition to funding healthcare for 911 first responders more disrespectful than protesting racism?

When we protest racism, police brutality and discrimination in our country all we are saying is enough is enough. We will no longer tolerate second class citizenship in a country that is as much ours as it is yours. What is Rand Paul saying when he doesn't support New York City Police Officers and Firefighters?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Five Questions For People "Offended" By Protest Movements

There are people committed to avoiding honest discussions about any topic that challenges their worldview. This fact intersects the Venn Diagram of "socially unacceptable" conversations. 

Some of this reluctance is steeped in a sincere desire to avoid controversy, but some of this is more malevolent. There are people committed to hijacking any conversation that makes them feel uncomfortable. 

Too often people understand their defense of an untenable status quo as patriotism, while simultaneously condemning people who are actually fighting for equality. This is the exact same pushback abolitionist faced. I have five sincere questions for people caught in this paradox.

Are you willfully confusing protest movements against police brutality and discrimination with being anti military?

What is it about the legacy of racism in America that makes you uncomfortable?

What does your refusal and/or inability to get outside of yourself and view this country through the eyes of someone who hasn't had the traditional "American experience" say about you?

What are you actively doing to change the ways race and racism affect your fellow Americans?

Do you really believe that if marginalized communities stopped telling their stories  about discrimination and bigotry racism would disappear?