#unraced, #eraced

A Poem in (the) Twitter Verse*

Racism is not just about white people and non-white people hating. It is about who has “race”.

In the United States, there are “un-raced” bodies and “e-raced” bodies.

E-raced means there’s a social algorithm that makes your color, culture, religion and customs an opaque burden.

Un-raced means your color, culture, religion and customs are invisible and weightless.

If you are un-raced, sometimes you turn around to see racism in the distance, and you hate it.

If you are e-raced, you are the physical location of racism. You see it in the mirror, and you hate it.

If you are un-raced, you hear about shootings and poverty and say “what a shame.”

If you are e-raced, you wonder if you are next, or if someone in your family just died.

Most white people in the United States are un-raced.

Most everyone who is not white in the US is e-raced.

The Bundy family and their accomplices are free because they are un-raced.

The Alt-Right wants to protect the exclusive white privilege of being un-raced.

White liberals who write songs to speak for brown mouths are un-raced.

The Movement for Black Lives is a demand for an end to being e-raced.

Black youths being killed by police or each other are being e-raced.

Black conservatives being thrown out of Republican rallies as thugs are also being e-raced.

Muslim women having their scarves ripped off their heads are being e-raced.

Latino/a/xs being told to speak English are being e-rased.

The tribes protesting at Standing Rock are being e-raced…again.

I have never experienced the United States in an un-raced body.

Every day I wake up to news that reminds me how often and how easily my body is e-raced.

America, seen from inside an e-raced body is a nightmare.

No government or President alone can solve the tragedy of the un-raced vs. the e-raced.

Regardless of how you are “raced”, don’t vote for an ideology…vote to be seen.

The goal is not to be un-raced or e-raced.

The Goal is learning to share what it means to be human-raced.

-ALD

 

*This “poem” originally appeared line-by-line on Twitter

Voting Day

Just a reminder as people go to the polls that #blacklivesmatter…

On voting day,
Thanks to the casual Supreme Court erasure
Of 100 years of struggle for suffrage,
Tangled restrictions and loopholes
Will block the opportunity
For large pockets of American black people
To make their voices heard in a government
That originally wanted only 3/5ths of them anyhow.
…do #blacklivesmatter?

On protest day,
In Ferguson, Missouri where a white police officer
Shot and killed a black teenager
And where the officer will probably walk free,
Tension will continue to simmer just below the boiling point
And nothing will be done.
It will not spill over, or truly ignite,
Once again, the intense heat will just burn itself out
From 400 years of battle fatigue.
…do #blacklivesmatter?

On sentencing day,
A million black men will look across at each other
From ‘cells’ and ‘pens’
Hating each other hating themselves
For being made into animals by forced desperation.
An entire generation screaming for validation and truth
But they are left mute…their vocal cords cut
By a white system of “justice.”
…do #blacklivesmatter?

On vaccination day,
Liberia, distant and invisible, created from the guilt
Of the slave holding 5th US President Monroe,
Will continue to bleed thousands of black lives
Into fetid, dismal streets, decimated by Ebola.
This horror will miss the news cycle,
While a white nurse defending her “rights”
To ride a bike on a crisp, clean, clear Autumn day,
Is front page news.
…do #blacklivesmatter?

On Thanksgiving Day,
Black people will swarm the commercial circuses known as
Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Nordstrom,
McDonalds, Jack In the Box,
Searching for some way to reflect a true sense of self.
In the end they are forced to buy warped images
From the “anything-but-fun house” mirrors
Put up by a capitalist ring master
Who still only sees a price tag when he sees a black body.
…do #blacklivesmatter?

Do black lives matter?

White people…Do black lives matter?

Black people…Do black lives matter?

America…Do black lives matter?

World…Do black lives matter?

It is voting day,

But it is also judgment day.

#blacklivesmatter.

Mendacity

In case you haven’t got it yet, I love old movies.  As an aside, if you are also an old movie fan and you haven’t checked out John DiLeo’s blog (http://screensaversmovies.com/), you must.  One of my favorite old movies is “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”  First of all, Elizabeth Taylor is stunning.  Second of all, so is Paul Newman.  And best of all, is a script by Tennessee Williams that despite its being rather liberally butchered for the Hollywood censors, still manages to convey a lot of the original plays awkwardness and distaste for one thing…mendacity.

mendacity (plural mendacities)

– The fact or condition of being untruthful; dishonesty.

– A lie, deceit or falsehood.

No one, absolutely no one in the film is telling the truth.  It is gorgeous and tragic.  But it only works because it is fiction and not real life.  It is Edith Head and Richard Brooks and Louella Parsons and 1958 Hollywood, nothing more.

Unfortunately, we seem to be in an age that is quickly embracing mendacity as the rule instead of the exception.  I could launch into a lengthy expose on the recent Republican National Convention and how my P90X workout buddy, Paul Ryan, seems to have major issues with the fact check button on his computer (maybe he’s a little high from all of that Shakeology ™?)  I could also dive into “the Mittster” himself’ by pointing out how he left out one important phrase at the beginning of his speech, “Once upon a time…”, but I will resist.  I know that next week the Democrats will also engage in their fair share of mendacious salaciousness feigning perspicaciousness while resulting only in audaciousness…in short, we’ll hear them lying too.  I have no plea or bargain to strike with either party.  I would however like to speak directly to a group that I not only identify with, but a group for whom I have always had great hopes: black folks.

Word on the street is that black folks (aka, African Americans) are in a quandary.  As first fired, last hired,  we have seen little if no change at all in our economic status during the Obama administration.  There are no more of us starting businesses, or owning homes or affording college or sailing our yachts or showing our dressage horses than before Obama was elected.  So if we (black people) then listen to the rhetoric being spouted by the Republicans, it would make sense that we would agree with them that Obama has been a “do nothing” president.  But then, the Democrats point most specifically to the benefits that come with “Obamacare” and the administrations effort to rebuild the American international reputation after the Bush bulldozer, and they say, the world is a safer, healthier place for us.  Not to mention that Obama is black (well half…but that’s a totally different blog concerning how we truly embrace people who are mixed race) and he therefore represents a kind of “hope” that a Romney or a Ryan could never represent for us.

Right now there is a concerted effort to make the issue of marriage equality (aka gay marriage) a divisive issue in the black church and black communities in general.  We don’t talk about it.  We don’t make a point of standing up and making a show by marching with posters that say “I love my gay son” or any of that.  In most black communities, centered around the church, blacks don’t talk about anything LGBT even if they know its there.  I’ve often gotten the feeling that many of a certain type in the black community regard LGBT rights as a frivolous pursuit by entitled white people and therefore it is not something that involves “us.”  Blacks who deny the LGBTQI communities in their midst are sadly deluded.  They are missing out on true relationships with their sons and daughters, brothers, aunts, sisters, uncles and even sometimes parents, because of a desire to remain ignorant to the truth.

Ladies and gentlemen, black people have sex.  And yes sometimes its not always with someone of the opposite gender. And get this, whether it is M/F, M/M, F/F or whatever, its not always “Mandingo/Foxy Luv” sex.  Sometimes, its as boring and mundane as the sex you might imagine Mitt and Ann having.  The important thing is to own the fact that we have it and it ain’t no big deal.

Black church leaders are calling for a boycott on the election because of Obama’s stance on same sex marriage.  They claim that embracing this practice is anti-Christian and goes against God and nature.  They believe it is important to make a statement to Obama that he has “betrayed” the black people by embracing something they see as a white evil.

Mendacity.

I have a growing number of black LGBTQI friends who have all left the church because of the hostile environment they have encountered.  From my view, the only people who have perpetrated betrayal are the church leaders who go against the teachings of the very Christ they espouse by turning away people who are already marginalized.  We are met with the claim that we “weaken” the cause for validity in a white dominated culture; that we are over sexualized and that we are a shameful representation of sexuality.  I know they are wrong, but I will put aside how sickened I am by their stance to make a plea for a temporary truce.  Right now, we have an opportunity to elect the first black (mixed) president in the history of the United States to a second term.  He has been battled and un-cooperated with and challenged from day one, because he genuinely does think differently than all of the old white dudes who came before him.  Yes, he is just as much a slimy politician as the rest of them, but he does speak our language and he is a symbol of something much more important than making sure Warren Buffett gets another tax break.  He’s a symbol that the face…the literal face of America has changed permanently.

Black church leaders of America, I ask you to put aside your differences with me and the rest of my LGBTQI cronies and we will do the same.  Our battle for reconciliation will go on much longer than either this election season or the next administration regardless of who wins because human sexuality is as old as the human race.  And I say to the black community, do not disgrace the work of all of the Civil Rights warriors by withholding your vote…there are enough people trying to cheat you out of it as it is.  I say, if you really don’t want all that Obama stands for as a leader for this country, then vote against him, but don’t be a coward; don’t let the men who want to play a false God with my sexuality, women’s bodies or your rights to have assistance from a biased system that continues to oppress you…don’t let them have their day.   And if you are willing to continue to meet the LGBTQI community face to face through our common faiths and shared spirituality, then put that vote in the blue column and we’ll meet you at church where we can really discuss the validity of my existence before the eyes of God and find a way to embrace each other with the true love He designed and hopefully without any mendacity at all.