Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Good" Night, Alt-Right

"Good" night, alt-right
"Good" night, car that bites (driven by maniacal alt-right white)
"Good" night, equality fight (we rest now, for tomorrow, we rise and roar)
And the red blood on the hands of the alt-right white.
"Good" night, stares (of innocent onlookers and peaceful protesters)
"Good" night, chair (sat upon by a killer white 'neath lightbulb bare)
"Good" night, kittens of the KKK ("blood and soil," you say . . . just go away)
"Good" night, mittens (that house the hands of vengeful bigots)
"Good" night, clocks (that have stopped)
"Good" night, socks (peeled from privileged alt-right paws)
"Good" night, house (of mine in white suburbia low in crime)
"Good" night, louse (the man who in "denouncing" took his time).
"Good" night, comb (as I draw you through what hair may still be there)
"Good" night, brush (almost missed you, mind still in a rush)
"Good" night, alt-right (with guns that kill and teeth that bite)
"Good" night, and SHUSH
"Good" night, to the alt-right (who are doing anything but "whispering hush")
"Good" night, stars (whose light is dimmed because of killer cars)
"Good" night, air (she who marched in peace no longer there)
"Good" night, terror--everywhere.

It is anything but a "good" night.

On race (don't go back to sleep)

Today, they finally came. The tears, that is. The Big Fat Sliding-Down-My-Face Tears. I was ready for them, but, being an "extreme empath," I was surprised at the time it took for them to get here. Especially after Saturday. Especially after being thrown right back into the 1950s. I am groping in This Darkness, looking for light. Not there yet, but I'll get there.

I feel as though I am living in some fucked up dystopia, and I can't believe how bad things have gotten since 45 took office--and how quickly they became that bad. I do not support 45 or his childish, egotistical, child-pouting-in-a-sandbox, "mine-is-bigger-than-yours" ways. That is no way to lead a country. He has taken us down a path that has given white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other extreme right-wing idiots the permission, the validation, the bravado that they have wanted/needed in order to go more public with their underground racism, their bitter battle to beat down the brown-skinned ones, the gender-fluid ones, the non-white ones. It makes me SO MAD and fills me with such hopelessness but also rallies me to a new awakening and reminds me to not turn my head away and pretend that this doesn't affect my white privileged ass, because it does. I CAN and WILL make a difference in this fight to denounce racism, to strip away the supposed strength of the alt-right movement who feel so protected and coddled and supported by the baby-man who they think they're in bed with, who they think they can trust. HAH. OK.

I am seeing my friends (some of whom happen to have brown skin) speak up and rise against this, and I join them in resistance. We cannot let this stand. We cannot go back to sleep. We must wake, and rise, and ROAR, and fight for the freedoms of EVERY person, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sexual preference, gender identity. It is in this way that we can truly make a difference and pull ourselves up out This Darkness and into the light. Right now, I admit: I'm having a lot of trouble seeing The Light, but I know it's there. And I know what I have to do to get to it.

The other night, after camp, Matthew handed me a piece of paper that had his new friend Ramses' name on it, along with his mom's name, Christina, and her cell phone number. The boys had taken it upon themselves to exchange contact information. I said, "That's so cool that you met a nice friend! I'll call his mom and we'll set something up." I went on to ask Matthew, "How do I pronounce his awesome name?" Matthew replied, "Well, I think it's "RAM-SIS" but no, maybe it's "RAM-SEEZ"; I don't know; you might have to ask his mom." I said, "OK." We continued our discussion. I asked questions about his new friend. "What kinds of things does Ramses like to do? Does he have straight hair, curly hair? Is he tall, short?" Matthew paused and said, "Welllll, I don't want to offend anyone, but . . . " And I helped him along. "Is this about the color of his skin?" And he nodded reluctantly and said, "Yessss. He kind of has . . . um . . . brown skin?" Looking at me with that questioning look of a child, like "Is it OK for me to be saying this?"

I assured him that it was OK for him to say that his friend has brown skin. AND it opened up a (shorter than I wanted but I'll take it) discussion on race that I was admittedly a little unprepared for, but I rallied fast. I explained to him that we all have different colors of skin and that beneath that skin is a unique, individual person--a human being!!! And that the color of our skin is just one beautiful way that defines us. And that, in our world, there are times when people with brown skin are not treated the same as people with white skin. He paused, made a frowny face, and said, "That's not fair." I said, "I know. And it's not right. But it does happen. And many people, mommy and daddy included, are working very hard to try to stop it from happening."

He was nodding vehemently by that point, and I could see his shoulders kind of relax as he became more comfortable with the conversation and found his voice in this mom-son exchange. I could tell that he felt "held" in this conversation.

As much as I want to shelter him from all the hate that is in this world, the only way to get past that hate and to change this country for the better is to talk about it. To admit that "it" exists! And to take action. And teach HIM how to reject it and embrace the incredible diversity of our world. To face the hate head on and say "Fuck you."

And to Love. Love big, and lots, and with gusto, and grace. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. That is the thing that overpowers hate.

 And work hard to make things better for everyone. To squash the racism and inequality from the get-go. Show them that our numbers vastly dwarf theirs. Work hard to make it stop being an "Us/Them" world. Where's the "We the People," people? Where'd it go? Did the "we" ever exist to begin with? 

Sometime, in the next week or so, two eight-year-old boys will get together to discuss, I don't know, power rangers, Star Wars, how to get to the next level in Terraria, and whether they like to jump off the diving board or toss a ball when they go to the pool. One boy has Asian skin and a single red hair that likes to poke out from amidst the crown of Busan black locks, and a name that means "Gift of God" (Matthew) and "shining jewel" (Seong-jin). The other has brown skin and a beautiful name that we will learn exactly how to pronounce.

Will the race question come up? Probably not. But, it's there. It's always there.

And as parents, it's our duty and our responsibility to discuss race with our children. How people are treated unfairly, even today, based on the color of their skin. The inequality that exists in our society. The white privilege that we, as white Americans, MUST acknowledge and admit that we have. Even if (and especially if) we live in small towns with little diversity. It's easy to think that racial injustice doesn't apply to you if you don't see diversity all around you.

It's our responsibility as parents, as human beings, in big cities, exurbs, suburbs, and small towns, to do the hard work that we must do to ensure that Black lives, and Jewish lives, and transgender lives, and the lives of all those still persecuted MATTER. We have a tremendous ability, as a race of HUMAN BEINGS, to overcome this. To rise above. To stay woke.

But it starts by not going back to sleep.

 And sometimes, it comes in the form of big fat fucking tears streaming down your face on a Tuesday. As you sit at your desk, head in hands, crying aloud for a country that feels lost, dis-eased, unfamiliar. All the time asking God, "why my country, why this world, what universe am I LIVING IN?" God hasn't given me answers yet, and even THAT is complicated in and of itself. (sigh)


"Busy" But Back!

So, yeah. I'm back. I know, I know. I have two blogs going, maybe three, and for as many years, they've been inactive. I've been, well, you know, "busy." (That's what I'm supposed to say, because that's what everyone says. And it's bullshit. "I'm soooo busy!" is a lousy excuse for {fill in the blank here; perhaps it's not keeping up with your writing, not doing the things you love but instead the things that you think you HAVE to do, not spending enough time with friends, not exercising, not eating right, and the list goes on}. But that's another topic. I'm changing this blog a little bit, even though it has an adoption/parenting title. I'm making it more about just "Kathleen's ruminations on life." I haven't been writing enough to satisfy my inner self and to soothe me and to bring myself up out of what I've started calling (as of Saturday) The Darkness. So, yeah. I'm back. Look for my next post today. I'm writing it now. But I just wanted to say hi first. Hi! Kathleen