Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Words about Words

Violent riots in a southern American town. There are reasons, not that I think destroying a downtown is the right thing to do. 

But what is happening in Ferguson MO separates what should not and cannot be separated. It may sound or be hokey, but all of us are a human family. A community.  We are all connected. Even basic physics confirms that. 


There are lessons that must be learned. But seeds do grow. 

I and most of us are very disturbed about what is happening. Profiling and disempowerment are real. If I were black and had a black son, I would resentfully be teaching him that the most important thing is not to antagonize in order to stay alive. To stay alive. That is so wrong. 


And yet. Come on poor black communities. Start working for power. Get your voices on boards and in government. Invest. Work more and rely on welfare less. 

No doubt it is politically offensive for me to say this, but I have credentials. I know poverty because I have been privileged and trusted in the homes of poor families. Too many people who can don't work, and it's passed down by generation. I think material things don't matter so much if you for whatever reason have to move around a lot and don't have a car to transport belongings. I wonder about the looting last night: if you don't have much, or you don't work for what you have, maybe you don't know what it feels like to lose something materially important, to lose this kind of a fabric.

I deplore the looting. I don't fully understand it. But I read this on Facebook and I understand it:

"If we refuse to hold accountable those who speak with bullets, how dare we stand in judgement of those who respond with stones?Starhawk

I think this quote is super important.

Change of subject: I am prepared food and head-wsie or Thanksgiving and I like it. A significant first snow is expected so who knows: JB and I may be roasting a 16 pound turkey for ourselves. (Oh dear.) But either way it will be okay. I can cook and bake and do just about whatever I want tomorrow. I'll see my Jess and the crew on Friday. I'll have reason to feel grateful.

I leave you with my highly recommended turkey stuffing. Do yourself a favor and read the recipe. 


Happy Thankgiving to you, my friends.  xoxoxo

Love
kj

14 comments:

  1. For way too long this country has conspired against the Black community to keep them down because white people see other colors as different from themselves and it is not okay to be different in this country. It's not simple but in one sense I am glad there is so much "noise" going on with this. Even here in Oregon people are protesting. Hopefully some good will grow from such bad.
    Nice post.

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    1. rubye, we humans create dualities: this or that, you or me, us or them. i don't know why.like you, i hope this crisis brings mobilization and i hope from that comes a collective and necessary understanding that things have to change.

      nice to see you here, xo
      love
      kj

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  2. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a very good book by the name of "Blink". It's about making split second decisions and how we make these decisions. I understand now how people make truly awful decisions in a time of crisis, when their heart rate is up around 180/min, they don't make good decisions. I'm not defending what the police officer did but I get it. He grew up in a society that still paints black people was different, apart and frightening, in my opinion. I read the other day that there was a high school in Georgia that just had it's first non segregated prom. WTF people, this is 2014.

    So I can understand why that cop made such a horrible decision. To I agree with it? Not at all. Should he be held accountable? Absolutely.

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    1. i love malcolm gladwell. the tipping point is one of my favorite books because it is a perspective i had never thought about. when i read your third sentence, deb, i thought you were talking about the rioters making split decisions. and yes too, that cop. that he has no remorse is troubling by itself, but then one thinks about military necessities and wars, and somehow in it all, we lose a bit of our humanity. i pray for wisdom. we need one another.

      love
      kj

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    2. Morgan Freeman lives in the state of Mississippi, which is where I spent my first 37 years. You should see the film about him financing an integrated prom in order to have an integrated prom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prom_Night_in_Mississippi

      I would guess that Georgia is similar to Mississippi in that it is more thoroughly integrated than those states that look down upon it. That said, the difference between blacks and whites involves more than skin color, it's also about culture. If it were skin alone, it wouldn't be such a problem.

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  3. I am pulled in so many directions on this one. I had a very poor chapter in my life and lived in public housing. That gave me a one perspective. I had an inter-racial relationship. That gave me a different perspective. My current partner was a police officer. That gave me yet a different perspective.

    These things I can say for sure.

    1. I am tired of social and news media skewing the facts and manipulating emotions.

    2. I am tired of labeling and stereotyping and the damage it causes - on both sides of the equation.

    3. There are no easy, or one size fits all answers to very complex problems.

    4. The best, and possibly only effective thing I can do is to set a positive example in how I live my life.


    I too am ready for Thanksgiving. I have been stretching my stomach for days : )

    Blessings to you and yours.

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    1. 8, i have different perspectives too, similar to yours. i'm not sure what i can or want to do. i do know racism is real. it bothers me that too many people don't see that or care. it's a problem for all of us.

      as for thanksgiving, probably not my best judgement to put my turkey recipe on this post. because it is actually hilarious.

      happy t-day, 8. xo

      love
      kj

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  4. Ferguson, been there lived through that in a much more damaging riot than that little dust up. 57 years ago Detroit exploded for the same reasons; a consistently abusive police force, a swiftly emerging majority black community, successive administrations prior to and after that week that turned a blind eye to the forming problems, banks that would not lend to blacks to build a middle class in the small business market, whites fleeing when the first black acorn dropped into the forest of white, with the next 25 years having racial acrimony fueled by public leaders trading public words breathlessly reported in a changing media that to this day wants to be a part of the story instead of just giving facts.

    Ferguson, burned it's future for at least 2 maybe as many as 5 decades, the man said "burn this bitch down," you can translate that a number of ways--frustration at the entire civic/judicial system, go ahead and destroy and take what you can't afford, violence is the answer to violence---those 3 words are just as destructive in their contexts as 12 bullets fired rightly or wrongly from a cops gun.

    So now Detroit leads the nation in so many things, the most segregated city in America, the 2nd or first most violent city in America, the most impoverished city in America (>$25,000 median income), the largest municipality to go through bankruptcy (but will have to borrow close to $300,000,000 for it;s current operating budget), 25,000 water shut offs for non payment, 75, 000 parcels currently scheduled to be tax foreclosed, and close to 2/3rds of residents receiving sec 8 and SNAP benefits, slum lords owning up to 1000 properties bought for less than $1000 which sinks all ships but property taxes refusing to budge from where they were in 2007.

    I personally could give a tinkers damn about Ferguson MO, Detroit's hipster community, and Sharpton's NAN got out and protested peacefully with Detrit Police Escort to ensure they did not get run down when stopping freeway traffic and other stupid non productive actions so the media would be able to get the storym print the pictures.

    If Ferguson MO follows history of all black communities it will rub itself down like an eraser until there is nothing left for residents to do but get high, steal what isn't locked down and kill each other for a god damned pair of tennis shoes or designer glasses. Then when it is as low as it can get the very wealthy will begin to build an annex to St. Louis in return for huge tax breaks and public money. And all the while the blacks will be pointing the finger at white chests and whites will be pointing the finger at black chests and through it all stagnation will occur, nothing will change for the vast majority, the franchises that got burned out will take their insurance money and leave, and what is left will become another blighted wasteland.

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    1. Why? Fear of rational conversation, the pulpit pimps will charge the herd, and only the loudest most distasteful voices will be given media coverage and the rest, well fuck the rest because as long as Ferguson makes a few preachers lives better, it becomes a hub for narcotic sales, and established gangs rule the streets it will become a blip in the long line of other blips on the radar of history.

      This will all pass, in 6 months no one will have the name of that city on their lips with maybe the exception of late night TV comedians. And then the rest of the country can move on after all with all of the billions of sq miles of land it is only natural that some of it is irreclaimable, not worth salvaging especially by them that live there. And life will go on in Ferguson, not the same life as was before the shooting, the police force will add more blacks, the 30% pf whites will mostly mover further out or in to a gentrified St. Louis and MO will simply draw a red line around the area now known as Ferguson and let it die the death of a thousand cuts.

      And Detroit, the city that still marks it's '67 rebellion against the government as a turning point will have a fabulous 10 sq mile gentrified area rebuilt and fully occupied with sports stadiums, $2000 a month apartments, a wide variety of niche restaurants, and a nice view of the river that never overflows it's banks and beyond that 10 sq miles lays 130 more that will be called the lawless lands.

      That in miniature is the future of Ferguson MO, it's fate was sealed as soon as it stopped being a homogenous community and became a one race community that never actively participates in governing because getting high is more important than voting, arguing with a case worker about the amount given in welfare is more important than going to community meetings, and people like me simply just do not care about anything to do with this place, it is not home, it is a prison sentence because i refuse to arm up and go walking my neighborhood and possibly have to kill some stranger who only wants what i have in my pockets. That is what Ferguson has done to itself, suicide.

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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    1. likewise and ditto past tense :^)

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  6. ""If we refuse to hold accountable those who speak with bullets, how dare we stand in judgement of those who respond with stones?"

    When her business is the one being looted and burned, maybe she won't be so philosophical about it. I was reading about Kristallnacht yesterday. It was a response to the shooting of a German diplomat in Paris, and those Germans could have also said that they were reacting with stones to what their enemy had done with bullets. People can frame it however they want, but it's still a matter of victimizing people who had nothing to do with what the rioters are complaining about, and people like Starhawk are evil for saying that the rioters deserve a pass.

    I've been on grand juries twice, once for a year (intermittently) and another time for a week. Each time, we heard many, many cases. Some were disposed of in less than five minutes, and none took more than a half hour. That Ferguson jury heard only one case, and it took them from August until last week to get through every possible shred of evidence, so for people to say that "we know more about what happened than those jurors," or else, "we're fair, and they weren't" appalls me. How much time have you spent considering the evidence for this particular case as opposed to reaching a verdict based upon the belief that police treat blacks unfairly? Even if they do--and I don't doubt it--it doesn't mean that that's what happened in Ferguson on that one day.

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    1. snow, i think it's more complicated than that. this grand jury did not follow the same procedures as no doubt yours did, because the prosecutor didn't ask them for an indictment or frame the evidence for them. i have followed the evidence closely, actually, and to me, the fact that the eye witness discrepancies were so prominent was/is enough to warrant a jury figuring it out.

      i do not condone destruction of property, period. nor do i condone a crazy postal worker shooting his supervisor when he is fired. my point is that frustration levels in human beings can and should be handled in a way that recognizes when irrational and destructive behavior takes over. i'm reading that police departments and leaders are now looking at the option of deescalating actions rather than shoot-to-kill, which is what officers are trained to do when the situation threatens.

      i think saying star hawk is evil is extreme. why aren't you saying shooting black teens at a rate so much higher than white teens is evil? in this case, snow, i think your perspective has some affecting proclivity in it. that is just my opinion, of course. something has to change so that overspill riots and reactions do not occur in our country.

      love
      kj

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    2. "this grand jury did not follow the same procedures as no doubt yours did"

      No, because DAs usually lead grand juries to do what the DA wants, which makes the whole grand jury system a joke. This DA was so worried about looking bad by way of conducting this jury as he does every other jury that he gave them every shred of evidence he had, evidence that would normally go to a regular jury, if then. I think what he did was absurd, but he hoped it would allow him to avoid responsibility, when the truth was that he would been blamed no matter what he had done.

      "i think saying star hawk is evil is extreme"

      She excuses violence inasmuch as property damage is violence, and it's sure to lead to violence against humans as people try to protect their property or when they're accidentally caught by a mob and killed or beaten for being the wrong color. It's simply asinine to argue that, well, it's only property, so it's not that big a deal. She also assumes that burning innocent people's property and destroying their livelihood has anything to do with that kid being killed, an assumption that I don't make. People don't steal TVs because they care about a cause. She condemns harm to humans, yet her attitude, as bad as it is in itself, is sure to lead to an escalation that eventually brings harm to humans.

      "why aren't you saying shooting black teens at a rate so much higher than white teens is evil?"

      That some of it is evil, I don't doubt, but the objection that they're shot or jailed out of proportion to their racial content in society assumes that their misdeeds are in proportion to their racial content, and I don't believe this. Here in liberal Eugene, most of the black people I see are on the evening news for committing a crime. I'm not saying it's because of their race, but it does imply that, just maybe, they commit crimes far out of proportion to their race's population as a % of society. I would argue that if the kid who was killed had been white, nothing would have come of it. It was the very fact that he was black that created this furor, just as it would have here if a black person was shot. There in Ferguson, 700 National Guardsman stood unused on standby while rioters burned people's businesses. I think it possible if not likely that the governor failed to use them because the rioters were black, and he didn't want to be accused of prejudice. In these situations, playing the race card will usually get a person what he wants, which in this case was the freedom to riot. Nothing makes a white liberal blanch like being called a racist because there's no defense for it. I've too often seen situations turn a 180, not by virtue of argument, but by black people accusing white officials of prejudice.

      "i think your perspective has some affecting proclivity "

      I have no idea what this means, but if, as I imagine, it means that I'm slanted, I rather think the same about you, but then it's not like we never disagreed before. We both have strong feelings about this. It's an example of why I'm so liberal in so many ways, yet could never call myself a liberal. I even support the ACLU with money, but I won't be going to any meetings where this topic is likely to come up.

      Love to you too, my dear friend,
      Snow

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