Bad Apples

My emotions are raw. I’ll admit this first.

It doesn’t really matter to me what preceded Jacob Blake being shot 7 times in the back.

It just doesn’t.

I’m also not sorry if that doesn’t fit your narrative.

Perhaps Jacob Blake shouldn’t have walked away from the police. I would always advise listening to a police officer and doing what they say to do. Not complying though, shouldn’t lead to executions in the street.

I don’t know what was said between Jacob Blake and the police officers, and I’m not sure how many people do. I don’t know why guns were drawn in the first place. What I do know is that Jacob Blake was shot seven times at point-blank range.

Literally, the officer had his hand on Jacob Blake’s shirt when he fired his first shots.

In front of his children.

If this is just the act of a “few bad apples”, why does this keep happening? Why are so many willing to jump to that bad apple’s defense over the man lying in a hospital bed with a severed spinal cord facing the potential of never walking again?

Why can’t we remove the bad apples from the bunch?

It’s always interesting to me to see supposedly pro-life individuals defending the use of guns to kill other people. It doesn’t compute.

As far as athletes boycotting games – I support them. Mostly because it is their right to do so. If peacefully kneeling doesn’t create the necessary changes, then other options must be considered.

As a diehard sports fan, with the NBA being my favorite league, I’ll say this: if you feel inconvenienced by players not playing their games, maybe it’s time to re-think your priorities.

If you wish you could watch them play because they provide a nice distraction for you, that’s precisely the point.
Now is not the time to be entertained.

Now is not the time to be distracted.

We hear all the time that athletes should “just stick to sports”. I’m still trying to understand that in a logical, rational sense.

It’s silly. Maybe we should start telling electricians to “stick to electrical work”, or plumbers to “stick to plumbing”. Should we tell our pastors to “stick to Bible stuff”?

Who gets to decide what other people’s opinions are? Who gets to decide how someone else should use their platform?

Don’t want to be bothered? Neither do I, but I also don’t want to end up as another name with a hashtag.

This shouldn’t be about Black people vs. White people. It shouldn’t be a liberal vs. conservative argument. For me, it’s not an anti-police argument. What it is though, is a plea for all of us to work towards meaningful change in this country. Where we ALL have equal opportunities, where we ALL can move freely without fear of brutality in the back of our minds.

Jacob Blake’s mother said it best when she pleaded for all of us to “use our hearts, our love and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other”

Let’s start doing that.

in or out?

Nope.

  • If you haven’t understood what it means when you hear the phrase – Black Lives Matter – the answer is not to find your favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote to try to shame black people into some sort of submission.
  • If you are still saying All Lives Matter, it’s not your best move to find a video of a black person reiterating your stance. If you haven’t or are unwilling to listen to opposing views on the issue, you probably aren’t qualified to be making a public stance.
  • If you get irritated when you hear Black Lives Matter because you believe all lives matter, but then seek out a Blue Lives Matter meme, that action is canceling out your supposed belief.
  • If you are pro-life and mad about police being killed on duty by people rioting but aren’t mad about black people being killed by police, are you really pro-life? Are you placing value higher on one person’s life over another? If you are, why? Like, really… ask yourself why.
  • If your argument against the Black Lives Matter movement is that white people are killed by police too… what’s your actual point? That’s literally the whole focus of this. Of course all lives matter, even white lives who have been victimized by “a few bad apples”. Police brutality against anyone is unacceptable.

Here’s the thing. It’s understandable why racism is such a hot-button issue these days. Black people have been saying it loudly for centuries -injustices to people of color (POC) are happening here in this country. Right now. It’s just that in the past, it was easier to ignore us. Now, white people have started listening… and responding. Now the mantle isn’t being carried solely by people of color. It makes some folks awfully uncomfortable.

So now, non-POC, it’s time for you to make a choice. Are you in or are you out? More bluntly, are you with us are you against us? Because if you are, it’s time for you to be an advocate for change. It’s time for you to walk with us, figuratively and literally.

Before I go further, let me emphasize something.

You can advocate any way you choose. You don’t need a megaphone. You don’t need a large audience. You don’t need a different stage. Don’t let people shame you for your choice of action. If you haven’t posted on social media, that’s fine. If you haven’t attended a protest rally, that’s okay too. All you need is your voice and a willingness to use it. The rest will come.

In our media-frenzied culture, we can usually wait a day or two and whatever storm we are facing will blow over. Normally we can just bunker down for a bit and we can survive with little resistance. It’s not the case right now. This time, people are actually mad. The storm is hovering over the United States and it’s not letting up.

So the decision becomes not about weathering the storm but about what type of response are you going to give.

If you have grown tired of your Facebook feed being filled with racial-tension related articles, ask yourself why. Of course, it would be nice to go back to a timeline filled with baby pictures and puppies. People of color would love to fast forward to a time where we aren’t facing prejudice simply for the color of our skin.

If you are searching for MLK quotes, stop. Instead, listen to his words. Spotify is a good utility for that. His speeches back in the 1960s are applicable today. You can find them on YouTube. Listen for his passion in his voice, feel it, and then apply to your own life.

Also, no, he wasn’t beloved back then. No, he wasn’t simply calling for pacification. He was calling for disruption. He wanted to grind the system to a halt. Why?

Because protests aren’t meant to be convenient. Change doesn’t happen on a schedule.

Are you in or are you out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Lives… Matter.

I remember, as a young kid, attempting an experiment I had been dared to try. Not just by kids my age, but adults too. What would happen if scrubbed my hands long enough?

Could my hands turn white? Maybe I could be like everyone else – a phenomenon I hadn’t really experienced growing up in a small Northern Michigan resort town.

I had been informed this magic trick might actually work. I didn’t have much to lose. After all, my skin was dirty, or at least, not very clean. I had been told this enough times, I thought it might be true.

It was never explained to me why being white meant being clean. It has always just been assumed. Think about the language we use in our culture. The color white has been equated with cleanliness, purity and every good thing.

Things that are black – dirty, rebellious, evil, sin.

We even sang it in church, “What will wash us white as snow? nothing but the blood of Jesus”. I’ve never liked that song. I remember wondering if that meant I would always be bad.

Moreso, I had never really understood what was wrong with being black. I guess that had always been somewhat assumed too. After all, it was black people who did most of the crime, it was black unwed mothers living on welfare, purposely getting pregnant so they could steal money from the government and eat junk food while sitting on the couch, watching talk shows and soap operas all day. Black people sold drugs, infecting our good, innocent white youth with all sorts of problems.

White people doing the same things? They probably were just victims of circumstances. It really wasn’t their fault.

It’s black men who deserve to get beaten by the police.

It’s been a rough few weeks. I mean months. I mean years. I mean decades. I mean, it’s been a rough history for black people in this country. We’ve watched the videos and read the stories. We all know what’s going on right now.

America is at a breaking point. Really, a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. It might be one white-hot summer.

We say Black Lives Matter, not because black lives are more important than any other lives, of course not. We say it loudly because, and it’s hard to believe this still needs clarification, black lives have not been valued equally. Ever.

Black Lives Matter because I want my daughters to have the same freedoms and opportunities that white kids have.

I watch my almost 4-year-old daughter play or watch a movie or interact with other kids and wonder, sometimes in internal desperation – “how could anyone dislike my beautiful daughter simply because of her skin color?” And then think that my white parents probably asked the same question many times about me and my Hispanic siblings.

If my unborn daughter’s (expected arrival – September) life is so crucial for the Pro-Life crowd, consider that the life of my already born daughter is just as vital. And, not just until she reaches a certain age, either. Her entire life matters.

It really shouldn’t be that hard to say that Black Lives Matter. If it is for you, you should ask yourself why.

Being black in this country shouldn’t devalue a human being, it shouldn’t provide fewer opportunities and it certainly shouldn’t make black citizens fear going for a jog, driving a car, watching television at home on the couch or sleeping in bed.

Black Lives don’t deserve brutality and death simply because they might be accused of passing a counterfeit bill or selling cigarettes without tax stamps.

Black Lives deserve equality. Black Lives deserve the right to pursue the same lives, liberties and the ability to pursue the same happiness as anyone else.

Black Lives deserve the right to know that our skin is just as clean as anyone else’s.

Black Lives Matter.

Words matter.

“You’re really smart, for a black person” – I was told once.

“Don’t worry, she’s probably so curious because she’s never seen a black boy before” – I was told by a neighbor when I was around 9 years old, about her granddaughter, who was an infant.

“If you weren’t a black boy, I’d kick the shit out of you” – I was told once when I was 10 or 11 and hadn’t delivered the newspaper to my customer’s satisfaction.

“You speak really well for being, you know, black” – I’ve been told more than once.

“Do your parents know, that he’s… (black)” – past girlfriends have been asked.

“You’re the whitest black person I know” – I’ve been told as if being adorned with a medal of achievement.

“You’re not really black, you’re really a white man trapped in a black man’s body” – I’ve been told, almost as a term of endearment.

“Hey James, can you teach me ebonics?” – I’ve been asked by co-workers who are now pastors.

“Nigger” – I’ve been called this more than once.

America, words matter.

They always matter. They sting, they bite, they blind, they hurt, they kill.

They also have the power to do the opposite, if you choose.

I’ve lived in White America for most of my life.
At first, it wasn’t my choice. Then it was because it’s all I’ve known. I’ve never really known whether to take comfort in it or be ashamed for it.

I’ve endured endless amounts of ridicule, embarrassment and attempted shaming all due to the color of my skin. I say attempted shaming. because I’ll always be proud of the color of my skin. I’ll always be proud of my bloodlines and of those who came before me.

I know what it’s like to live in fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe – the right place – just with the wrong people nearby.
Countless times I’ve been told by someone that they thought they saw me somewhere I wasn’t, in an area I’ve never been.
They laughed it off, my fear rose.
When will they come for me with handcuffs and false accusations simply because I “fit the description”?

You see, the murder of George Floyd is about so much more than simply an act of “a bad cop”. It highlights the systemic failures of a society that has been rooted in racist behavior long before any of us ever got here.
I say “us” because you know, slave ships and all that inconvenient history and all.
They like to discuss the hostile takeover of the original inhabitants of this land by calling it “The Trail of Tears” as if it were just a few crying tag-a-longs, not human beings brutally driven from the only homes and land they knew. Oh, and thousands died during this.

This is the soil of America. This is the foundation this country was built upon.

The murders of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Malik Williams, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Heather Heyer and many more, are the results of generations of ignorance, misinformation and hatred bred right here in this land of the free.

Their deaths keep the fear alive. Fear that I’ll jog down the wrong street, be pulled over by the wrong cop, or wear my hoodie around the wrong person.

Yes, white people are killed by police too, and that is equally wrong. White people definitely have faced injustices of all kinds. Of course, not all police are bad and there are more than a few “bad apples” out there. But, for the sake of my young daughter and my daughter arriving this fall, I refuse to allow this to be accepted simply because “hate will always exist” or whatever tired phrase people want to throw out there.

I’ve seen a range of emotions regarding the rioting and looting that’s happening around the country. I don’t condone this sort of action outright, though these are people who feel that they’re very existence has been marginalized. These are people who have been told to protest peacefully, and nothing changed. These are people who feel unheard.

Dr. King said it best – “In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?”

When the president calls those involved in riots “THUGS” and white supremacist’s “very fine people”, he’s not listening. He’s not listening to the voices of those who have been calling for change long before he assumed his power. When you speak about how wrong people are for their actions, maybe think about the causes first, and not the effect.

Consider what it’s like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes, not just your own, where you know where they walk and are comfortable and content in that path. Others have a different path than you.

Racism is systemic. It’s taught. It’s not in our genes, it’s not in our DNA. It’s a choice. It’s a choice to remain ignorant of the pleas of others. It’s a decision to ignore the plight of others because they might look different, act different, or think differently than you.

So, when you speak, remember that what you say has life-lasting effects. Speaking without facts is dangerous. Speaking with love, kindness and empathy can be life-giving. Think about the experiences of others first before you speak.

America, words matter. Choose them wisely.

If you care about the living…

A man is dead.

If you claim to be pro-life, this should bother you.

Thousands of people have died this year. If life matters to you, this should be devastating.

It shouldn’t matter how people die, born or unborn. If you care about the living, the loss of life, any life, at any age, should tear at your inner being.

If you’re willing to sacrifice the older generation so we don’t lose our financial well-being, shame on you.

And… how we treat the living matters.

Please don’t ask why there is so much hate in the world, and then blast “that woman from Michigan” on social media – calling her a dumbass, a bitch, or worse… as I’ve seen on here. That is why there is hate in this world. Hate exists because we fail to see past our own ideals, our own beliefs and our own objections to consider the thoughts and dilemmas of others. You can dislike and disagree, of course. It’s actually expected, just please recognize that spewing divisive rhetoric breeds hateful actions.

We are, of course, free to have our own opinions and entitled, in this country at least, to share them. That doesn’t make us right. It doesn’t make us better, and it certainly doesn’t make us more dignified.

If you believe that we should all have equal access to the advantages America has to offer, the same freedoms and the same access to the numerous opportunities, then be just as outraged that there are STILL people in Flint, Michigan without access to clean water as you are about wearing a mask to your grocery store to pick up that case of bottled water and toilet paper. Because, as has been stated by some, all life matters.

If you think that it’s scary and sad for black men and women and young black boys and girls to live in fear of jogging, walking, driving, shopping, working or playing in playgrounds without the fear of violence and death overcoming them, think about what you can do to stop that notion from perpetuating further. Perhaps your voice is louder and stronger than you believe, and you might be able to use your available platforms to speak truths against injustices.

Use your voice when it isn’t Facebook popular. Use your voice even when it might cause others to squirm. Use your voice to support locally-owned black businesses and restaurants. GO to locally-owned black businesses and restaurants. Be a part of a community.

Also, please don’t expect black people to have the answers to the racism that comes from White America. Racism towards Black America doesn’t come from Black America. Racism is White America’s problem to confront. Black America doesn’t have the answers for you. Expecting Black America to have the answers you seek is futile. Start looking inward. No, I’m not saying you are racist. I am saying, however, that if you are white, you are much more part of the solution to racism in this country than I am as a black man.

Positive thoughts and prayers ARE actually helpful, it’s just not all there is. Of course, solidarity walks and runs, peaceful protests, calling publicly elected officials and demanding action on corrupt prosecutors also need to happen.

Remember how strong your voice is.

Above all, if you care about the living, consider how the lives around you are affected by your choice of words (on social media or otherwise) and your actions.

In the song Under Pressure, Freddie Mercury asks why can’t we give love, give love, give love – to which David Bowie responds – “Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves”

We should be willing to accept that dare – we are as under pressure as we’ve ever been.

lives.

do all lives matter?

obviously.

i’m not sure that’s ever been the argument.

yet somehow that’s the debate we are having now.

we have such a dualistic mindset in our culture. it’s either A or B… nevermind that C might be our best option. And if we say C is the best option, it must be because we hate A and B.

so silly.

but let’s talk about lives. black lives. tell me, why is it so difficult for some to admit that they matter? why must the counteraction be… “yea well all lives matter!”?

we know that.

 we know that blue lives matter. it’s not against some rule to believe in the necessity of police officers. it’s not against some law of humanity to believe that those who have sworn to protect the peace, are actually capable of protecting that peace. i believe it, i know it happens and can continue to happen. saying that black lives matter does not and never has negated any of this.

the insistence upon stating that all lives matter is fine. if in fact there was an argument against the sanctity of all lives. the concept that black lives matter is meant to be inclusive of black lives into all lives, not in spite of all lives.

#blacklivesmatter is a movement calling for dignity and respect for black people. the refusal to acknowledge this is why such a movement is necessary. i was on the fence regarding this movement for awhile. not because i thought it was racist, as some have claimed. i was just not educated enough to make a decision one way or another.

but i started to wonder. why is it so hard just to acknowledge that black people deserve dignity and respect and most importantly, the right to fair justice? yes, there is much that should be done to curtail black on black violence. of course. there is much to be done about white on white violence. there is much to be done about violence. it is okay to acknowledge that black lives matter in a manner that is inclusive of all races, not exclusive of others. it is okay to state that those killed by police deserve justice, including black lives, not just black lives.

i’ve grown tired of all the back and forth, of the finger pointing and name calling. it’s a tired tradition to suggest “my way is better than your way”. as if there are only two ways to begin with. it’s foolish to make decisions without knowledge and scary to lay a belief system upon a set of untrue narratives.

do all lives matter? of course they do. all walks of life matter. the poor and uneducated lives matter. the sick and weak lives matter. the uninsured lives matter. the homeless lives matter. the single mother’s lives matter. the prostitute’s lives matter. the transgendered lives matter. #alllivesmatter shouldn’t be a convenient hashtag because you don’t like the narrative you see on social media. if all lives truly matter, why is there such vitriol against so many lives? why so much hatred and name calling against people who don’t look and sound like us? why is there so much angst against those who don’t make as much money as we do? don’t tell me all lives matter, and then fight to keep even a portion of lives out of our country. don’t tell me that all lives matter if you don’t think all lives deserve health care. don’t say that all lives matter if you think everyone in this country should speak the same language as you.

if all lives matter… act like it.

if all lives matter, don’t live an exclusive lifestyle.

if all lives matter, why are we so willing to fight wars and send teenagers to solitary confinement?

of course, all lives matter. so do black lives. that’s the point. black lives don’t matter more than other lives. as a black man, i just want to be acknowledged that my life matters. i sincerely do not believe that my request is too large.

no more silence.

being silent really hasn’t worked.

i took another break from writing the past few months because, silly as it sounds, i felt a little too worked up to write coherently.

funny thing is, now i’m mad as hell and i can’t help but write. if you aren’t mad as hell, then maybe you should just exit this post now.

for perspective as a black man, i’ve lived in predominately white culture my entire life. honestly, i’m pretty comfortable in this culture, because it’s all i know. i’ve gotten used to the way white people live. i’ve gotten used to how white, middle class people live.

i’ve gotten used to the comments and innuendos and the “i’m not racist… but…” type jokes. i’ve gotten used to people telling me that i’m too smart to be black, that i talk really well for a black man. i’ve been called nigger while walking down the street with my white wife. i’ve gotten used to people pointing out the color of my skin like i had a band-aid on my forehead. i’ve always thought… whatever, people are just dumb and moved on with my life because i know that i’m better than that or them. i have never had time to engage in ignorance.

i can sense the tide shifting.

it’s not just that i now have an infant daughter. it’s not just that i’m devastated to have to come to terms with reality that the world she will grow up in will not be much better than the world i grew up in. although that plays a huge part in my furious anger.

it’s more than that.

it’s that being silent doesn’t work anymore.

how can i be silent when police can execute civilians out of fear and without basis? how can i be silent when a simple traffic stop turns into murder in front of a four year old girl? how can i be silent when a man’s life is taken from him while screaming that he cannot breathe?

how can i be silent when the very same fears i have had, my daughter will most likely live with too?

 here’s the problem. i see a lot of white people saying, “let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.” that’s easy and convenient to say, but that simply doesn’t work today. i’ve lived in fear of “being black in the wrong place” my entire life. because of the events we continue to witness, my daughter may feel the same fears, and that just isn’t okay.

this is not an attack on white people. what it is an attack on is the culture that allows pervasive racism to continue. it’s an attack on the culture that is outraged by the death of a gorilla and cecil the lion (which i’m upset by too as an animal lover) but turns victims of violent police murders into the criminals by broadcasting prior records as if that has much to do with the actual incident. it’s an attack on the attitudes that have developed into saying “well, they must have done something wrong” to deserve being executed in the streets.

it’s an attack on a “justice’ system that time and time again fails to recognize that these acts are crimes. these are murders. yes, we know that these are murders by “bad apples”. we know that there are good cops. i know good cops. it doesn’t, however, excuse behavior. it doesn’t change the fact that men and women die at the hands of these “bad apples” without repercussions.

it no longer is an option to remain calm and keep quiet. it no longer is an option to look the other way and hope it all settles down one day.

being silent doesn’t work anymore.

it’s time to talk

this page is like a blank canvas. i get to say whatever i want. i don’t know if very many people read what i write and that’s fine. it’s a therapy, it’s a hobby and it’s a tiny little forum for me. maybe a soapbox.

i don’t write often, not these days. not because there isn’t enough to say. i don’t write as much as i used to because i’ve been struggling for the right words. as a writer, this is a terrible feeling. to have so many thoughts and not enough words to describe them. what sucks is that a lot of times, i find myself writing when terror strikes. it sucks a lot.  it sucks to me that 1) terror strikes and 2) that’s when i find my voice.

i’m writing this because a friend of mine posted on her social media about the need for discussion in this country about racism. suddenly i started to think about what i had to say about the issue. i have a lot to say about it.

we all should have a lot to say about it.

here’s the thing… racism is bullshit. i don’t know if i can say it any clearer. and it makes me angry. and it should make you angry. i should be able to drop the mic and end this post right now. what else really needs to be said right? but there is more.

what happened in charleston this past week was terror. pure terrorism. and it’s time to talk.

these events keep happening. why? because these are madmen? because these are crazy people who are just an abscess to society? or is the subtle tone of racism in our country becoming a little less subtle everyday?

the talk should not be about mental illness. the concept that only mentally ill people can walk into a church and shoot black people because “you rape our women… you have to go” is a lie. racism pervades our society and it’s not a mental illness. it might be a sickness, but sweeping these types of acts under the rug as “oh he’s crazy” is shallow and wrong.

we’ve got to start having real conversations about this.

i remember when i was probably in first or second grade, kids calling me names on the school bus, making fun of my skin color.  i was the only black kid on the school bus. i was also the only black kid in the school. and the neighborhood, and the town. i was different than what the other kids knew. i grew up in very white america. and that’s okay. i have fond memories of my childhood. i also have very painful and disturbing memories. but i learned to bury the painful parts. i learned to just tolerate it.

but that’s what we do. we tolerate. if we don’t like someone, we tolerate them. we don’t learn anything about them or get to know the backstory. every person has a story. we just don’t take the time to learn it. we do what we have to do to not let them infringe upon us. we don’t learn to love. we learn how to not hate, because well… hate’s a strong word. strongly disliking is acceptable.

this is my least favorite topic to discuss. i’ve always resisted this conversation. it’s a painful reminder of the struggles that so many people have had to endure for so long. i’ve experienced racism for as long as i have memories. some subtle, some blatant. i’ve experienced racism disguised as compliments, “you are pretty smart… for a black kid”, i’ve endured racism as stupid jokes “how high can you jump?”, “can you teach me ebonics?” i’ve had to answer the question, “yes i like fried chicken and watermelon and kool-aid! who the hell doesn’t?”  i’ve experienced racism as a threat to my safety and i’ve been called a nigger. as recently as 2013.

 so i don’t like talking about racism. i don’t like having to discuss my fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being mis-identified by police.  do you know how terrifying it can be to always have people tell me they thought they saw me somewhere that i wasn’t? i’ve had that fear since i was about 8 years old. don’t tell me it’s not a real fear.

but what does not talking about it do? ignorance and silence gives license to these kinds of hate and builds deeper fears. we may not murder because of our hatred, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t deadly. i used to think that talking about it and writing about it only gave voice and attention to the worst of society. i used to ignore it. when people would say, “James, you aren’t really black” or “James, you are the whitest black person i know”, i used to blow it off. because all of my white friends in white america were such experts on black culture. they even meant it as a compliment, that’s the amazingly sad part. it was racism in it’s subtlest forms and i knew they didn’t even realize how wrong they were. the concept of a black person speaking clearly and having intelligence was foreign to them. i was never really angry then, i was just sad for them. ignorance is a sad and lonely trait to carry. but the thing is, by me not addressing it, i was giving license to ignorance. not every black man listens solely to rap music and has a low IQ. but my white friends were stunned when i could form a sentence using proper grammar and my favorite band is U2. why is that? who set that up as a thought?

one of the saddest things i’ve read about the charleston case is the comments by the killer’s roommates. they’ve said he would make comments about black people, how he thought that black people were “bringing down the white race”. they said he wanted to escalate a race war. yet they said they didn’t take him seriously. really? they thought he was joking. really? we’ve got to start having conversations about this. it’s time to talk.

so where are we? maybe the question is, who are we? who am i? me, i am a black man. does that change anything for you? what is the first thing that comes to mind? what do you fear? why do you fear? where does that fear come from? there are many questions, probably more than answers. that’s okay too. we cannot live in fear any longer. fear of what others think, fear of each other, we have to start somewhere. the best starting point, i believe, is to start with ourselves.

it’s not just that black lives matter. all lives matter. we have to find a way to treat each other with the common respect and decency we crave for ourselves. it isn’t enough for us to tolerate, we have to come together. there has to be more. we have to learn to love our differences. that’s what makes us real. that’s what makes us the human race, our differences. not our similarities.