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.

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.

sideshow.

“can’t you see that all that stuff’s a sideshow?”

-let go- frou frou-

from what i remember about my childhood, not a whole lot mattered more to me than sports. collecting sports cards, playing sports, watching sports, listening to sports, reading sports… that’s all there was. i had one mindset. sports. well, and girls… but i never had enough nerve to actually talk to girls, so i just focused on sports.

then i got older. and more aware. i realized slowly, and with my mom’s insistence, that there was more to this world than simply sports. my brain was shocked.

i learned about politics and religion and that traveling is good for the soul. i learned in high school that girls could get me in trouble, as would lying to my parents and stealing candy from the gas station.

then 9/11 happened and i learned quickly that the world was full of hate. not just from those who hated america, but from americans who hated the outside world. remember “freedom fries”? we hated the french because they wouldn’t go to war in iraq with us so we took the one thing we know would get them to understand we were serious… how tough we americans are…we would call OUR fried potatoes “freedom” fries because…dammit…fried food is american and we stand for freedom more than anything. fried. potatoes.

i learned that people with power could and would go to great lengths to get what they wanted. i started to realize that the religion i had believed in was not what i thought it was. that jesus is somehow bigger than that religion.

i watched as obama won the election and for some reason i thought that would unite america. it did not. clearly.

i realized that there is a lot outside of my control, and what i cannot control doesn’t matter anyway.

how much of what is in our lives is just a sideshow?

how much are we influenced by what is around us and not what is in us? how much do we forget about the people who actually matter to us everyday?

there are all these factors competing for our attention. we live in a hyped up world. no matter what it is, it’s overblown. unless it’s about the good in the world. we don’t hear so much about that.

so much of what is around us is just a sideshow.

there isn’t much we can control these days. there never has been. instead of fighting about who should pay the most taxes and racial tensions and same-sex marriage and whether pete rose should be in the hall of fame, what if we started blocking out the noise? what if we started focusing on people and how we relate to each other? we spend so much time focusing on all the things that really do not matter and forget that what really does, people. maybe then we can start to see past different skin tones and religious beliefs.

when we start breaking down all the nonsense and leave the sideshow behind, that’s when we truly see the value of why we are on this planet.