I Never Knew Silence Could Be So Loud

Personally, I’ve given up trying to have meaningful conversations with any individual who can not demonstrate consideration, because it is unproductive. I’ve honestly tried and have observed the behavior, language and perceptions many exhibit towards others and issues or situations. How can you teach anyone who is not willing to first be a student?

This is the reason why I haven’t posted many political post, because I am expecting sincerity, consideration and some version of an intellectual conversation, regardless of the topic of the post. Some simply want to comment on politics only in a way that demonstrates an inconsideration or to be argumentative. I simply do not have the time or energy for those types of conversations. Their silence is louder than they realize.

Someone shared a link with me, which is the video featured of an issue that I’ve tried to get people to understand for awhile. I’ve decided to let people who want to be left behind, be left behind. I’m moving forward.

After listening to the brief story of Susan Grigsby’s brother (Steve); who died a painful death fighting for care as an uninsured American. Susan watched, horrified, as the GOP Presidential Candidates on CNN’s Tea Party Debate stood silent when the the audience cheered for the idea that we as a society should just let an uninsured man die. Now Susan wants an answer from each and every GOP candidate.

I honestly wish Susan luck, because I do not believe that she may get a real answer to her questions. But I’m sure she’ll receive plenty of rhetoric, denials, doubt, accusations, indirect responses, avoidance and inconsideration. Listen to what is said, but also listen closer to what they do not or will not say. That’s where you find their truth.

Some will choose their method of attack and avoidance to go after me or even the issue, but the question remains. I simply give up on expecting anything else, but Susan Grigsby is the one asking the question this time. I’m only providing a venue for her to share it.

The People Who Made America: The Most Arrested Rabbi in America

The People Who Made America:
The Most Arrested Rabbi in America

Continuing something I started in 2009, but extending it beyond its designed month, I would like to share another story that needs to be heard. Continuing my series, “The People Who Made America”, formally titled “Whites in Black History”, I ask you to join me in exploring the contributions and sacrifices made by Rabbi Israel Si Dresner.

Rabbi Dresner was dubbed “the most arrested Rabbi in America,” by some. The outspoken Rabbi participated in the June 13-16 Interfaith Freedom Ride from Washington, DC to Tallahassee, FL. The son of a Brooklyn delicatessen owner, he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1950 and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Theology.

After successfully completing the Freedom Ride to Tallahassee, the Interfaith Riders had planned to fly home. First, however, they decided to test whether or not the group would be served in the segregated airport restaurant. As a result 10 Freedom Riders, later known as the Tallahassee Ten, were arrested for unlawful assembly and taken to the city jail. They were convicted and sentenced later that same month; legal appeal of the airport arrests continued for years. Dresner returned along with 9 of the original riders to serve brief jail terms in August 1964 – and ate triumphantly in the same airport restaurant that had earlier refused them service.

Dresner continued his civil rights activism and advocacy throughout his career as a reform Jewish rabbi in northern New Jersey, participating in the 1962 Albany campaign to desegregate municipal facilities and in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march. He retired in 1996.

I share this very brief story to continue making the point the series attempts to suggest and offer to all with a mind and heart open enough to receive its message. Do not be deceived by those who will have you believe that Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians and Arabs can not get along with Jews or vice versa. This is nonsense and simply a ploy to keep people apart with divisionary tactics based on fear.

Rabbi Dresner might have been dubbed the most arrested Rabbi in America, but understand the characterization. He was the most arrested, not the only arrested. So many stories are never told about the friendships, alliances and coalitions between our race and faith that offers great examples of more than what we are, but who we can be.

So I conclude by offering my appreciation towards Rabbi Dresner and his many contributions towards truth, freedom and equality. If it wasn’t for him and many others, I would likely face an overwhelmingly different audience and reception to my openness and motivations behind many of the things I write and say. I also want to show appreciation to my Jewish friends, because I know that we do not walk alone on this journey. Sometimes the static consciousness of many people may be burdensome when you seek truth, freedom and equality, but like Rabbi Dresner we must realize that we are not alone.

Rev.James Joseph Reeb: “More Than a Witness to Truth”

Whites in Black History Series:
Rev. James Joseph Reeb

 

Reverend James Reeb received his Masters of Divinity at the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1953. He was one of others in that class who put truth to practice by adhering to the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Like many ministers fresh out of Seminary he sought the opportunity to serve and make a difference. Although I can only assume based off my own experiences with ministers, I’m sure the same would be true for Rev. Reeb as well.

 

Some of the issues experienced in many churches today can be attributed to ministers who want to serve, but true calling was not to be a minister. It is often a thankless, unappreciative and difficult position to purposely want to be in. When you are called to be a witness to truth there isn’t any amount of reluctance or even disobedience that will keep you away from it.

 

Rev. Reeb was a compassionate man who served as a Presbyterian Chaplain in a hospital in Philadelphia before becoming an Assistant Pastor for a Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington D.C.

 

He worked helping people with low income in Boston before he found his way to Selma, Alabama during the late winter of 1965 to help in a voting rights campaign. He hadn’t been in the state for a day before people who believed they were patriots acting out of their own ignorance, fear and what they’ve been taught to believe as true, attacked Rev. Reeb while walked from a diner.

 

Rev. Reeb died March 11, 1965 resulting from that attack at the same age I am today writing this, 38. His attackers were all arrested and brought to trail where an all White jury set them free. Some believed that was justice, but maybe it’s just us who justice doesn’t see because this scenario repeated itself thousands of times in courtrooms throughout the U.S. The value of a person’s life often hinges on the life the person lead in the consciousness of those who is responsible for taking the life and those who are responsible for assuring redemption for the taking of life.

 

Rev. Reeb’s murder was untimely and unwarranted. Dr. King delivered his eulogy where he said that James Joseph Reeb was a witness to truth. Although I agree I would also say that he was more than a witness to truth, he was a follower, servant and advocate for truth. His only crime was that he dared to subscribe to what is true and live by it.

 

And if he should die, take his body, and cut it into little stars. He will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night.” – Shakespeare

 

Rev. James Reeb was more than a witness to truth, but a follower and servant of truth because he knew he could not just be concerned about justice for Blacks in the South. He lived in Roxbury, MA, at the time a Black community.

 

He was not concerned about the narrow-minded opinions of Whites and Blacks who would be suspicious of him and his family because of where he had chosen to live and what motivated him throughout his life. Truth was his livelihood and concern for others was the wages he freely paid.

 

There is so much that I can say and for us to learn about James Reeb, but as I conclude I must end this opportunity with these words of Dr. King spoke at the funeral of Rev. James Reeb.

 

“The world is aroused over the murder of James Reeb for he symbolizes the forces of good will in our nation. He demonstrated the conscience of the nation. He was an attorney for the defense of the innocent in the court of world opinion. He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat and work together as brothers.

 

Again, we must ask the question: Why must good men die for doing good? O Jerusalem, why did you murder the prophets and persecute those who come to preach your salvation? So the Reverend James Reeb has something to say to all of us in his death.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My final words are in regards to James Reeb, Dr. King and all of the people who served and was a witness to truth, both notable and those who has not been recognized. Thank you. I mean that sincerely. Thank you. I understand the importance of what you and so many others did. Regardless of race, regardless of religious preferences, regardless of gender and regardless of sexual preferences COUNTLESS… people were beaten, suffered economically and socially, struggled and even killed on my behalf so that I could one day be just one voice willing to speak/write with the completeness in recognition of history’s heroes.

 

Our fight is not over, but I know how important it is that I do all that I can do and encourage others to keep fighting for truth so that we can be a witness like Rev. James Joseph Reeb.

 

Thank You.

 

 

 

Motivation & Inspiration:

For those who may ask or wonder the reason for such a post I offer my reasons here. Two years ago on this blog I published a post titled “Whites in Black History”. I did it to emphasize the positive role White people people played in Black History. Often we will begin hearing the calls for the end of the celebration or governors, politicians and organizations interestingly choosing to celebrate Confederate History as if that is the whole of the history of White Americans. The list goes on for days with the reasons given by those who have not taken the time to consider their role in Black History. It is not just a history of a people, but all of us. This is the point.

 

So often in schools only one perspective of history is taught with a brief mentioning of a few others. This plays into the ignorance of a culture. We are so willing to take a line and run with it without considering the sentence or the paragraph. We can not continue to have such a narrow-minded view and perception of history if we are to consider ourselves moving forward.

 

My motives behind this is not to exclude the contributions of Blacks, Jews, Hispanics and many others who made significant contributions to the history of Black people in America. It is to highlight how rich the history truly is and sharing it with others. I have personally written and mentioned many people beyond the notable names of Dr. King or Malcolm X. Not to diminish their works and ultimate sacrifices, but as I’m sure they would and did say, there’s more to a people than what you see. All I’m doing is trying to help you see it for yourself.

 

Now there will be those who simply choose to ignore all of this and remain in the state of consciousness they are familiar with. Some will be more willing to settle for the “I’m OK, if You’re OK” position and see this effort and others made as just a nice tribute to history. I accept this reality and understand that I can not change the mind of everyone. Some people are just not unwilling, but that’s alright. It should not be a factor in what others may receive from this effort. So I submit this edition of my collection titled “Whites in Black History” regarding Rev. James J. Reeb.

 

Thank you for your time and reading :)

Post Racial or Post Racist? (NC Racial Justice Act)

I have had many conversations with individuals who say they’re not racist whenever I write about the various issues that surround race. Often they say it as an attempt to deflect any responsibility or accountability. I’m OK if you’re OK, can’t we all get along type of ideology.

I write about the things I do with the passion I strive to put forth, because I want people understand that they have the ability to right the wrong and do better.

So this will begin a series of posts that I will ask periodically regarding race.

I want to ask those who believe that we’re in a post-racial society, not for there reasons why they believe that, because there is enough evidence to prove that notion is not realized. But why is it that so many people who are accused and convicted of crimes and later, usually after many years, discovered that they were innocent happens to be overwhelmingly Black men?

Seattle’s Goodwill?

Notice: To those who only want to argue for no logical or just for selfish reasons but to disagree, I suggest this to you. If you do not understand the intricacies of what is unconscious racism/discrimination, then don’t make yourself look ignorant by making an uninformed comment. This is for people who know what they’re talking about, not zealots of any form in matters of discrimination, racism, intolerance and bias. If you read what I’ve said and watch the video clips you will find that I hold all in this video that was in close proximity of this incident accountable, regardless of their race, gender or occupation.

Issue:
The lack of comprehension and adherence to the intricacies of unconscious racism also referred to as unconscious discrimination. Also, the lack of adherence to the trappings of racial profiling and guilty by association.

Incident:
Seattle, WA Police Detective Shandy Cobane did what so many have and will do when racism is not adequately addressed. See Video Below

Now Detective Cobane is not the only police officer at fault, because the female officer is just as guilty for participating by kicking him, when he wasn’t making any threatening gestures. In addition to the officer that I’m assuming was Black for not saying anything to his fellow officers, both Det. Cobane for his words and actions and the female officer for unprovoked aggression against the man. The female officer should have recognized what she was doing, but if this other officer was Black, I know he knows that what Detective Cobane said and did was unnecessary.

This goes to prove previous repeated arguments I’ve made that explains why racism isn’t racist, because anyone can be one. Also why the privileged routinely do not realize its privilege until it’s challenged or questioned. But this is not entirely the best venue for a cultural awareness course, but I would suggest one or just read up on the subject.

Reaction:

Around one minute into the video above, Mr. Roberto Maestas; a Seattle Police Chief Search Committee Member says what most Latinos, Blacks and many others members of present day ethic minority groups would say. “Profoundly disqusted, but not profoundly surprised.” What is typically missed is the agreement of those who would have agreed with the follow-up question the reporter asked. “Why aren’t you surprised?” That right there is the problem and what divides us. That is what goes unexplained.

Solution:

I agree with the actions of the Seattle Police Department to remove the officer, but believe they should also make the other two officers mentioned and others not seen in the video that was close enough to have controlled their fellow officer’s actions. They may not have said anything, but silence, inaction and voyeurism can be just as deadly as violence.

Det. Cobane may be wrong, but what everyone should consider is that he’s actually taking responsibility for his actions. This is an indicator that he is redeemable and more importantly, teachable.

When I ask people to consider others beyond themselves, I extend it to everyone. This includes the perpetrator and the victim.

So even if Detective Cobane was deliberately being racist, this is the time and optimal opportunity to redeem him. We can not be more willing to accuse and not forgive. What is challenging is figuring out how best to help people understand what they don’t understand. Racism, discrimination and intolerance can be understood and fixed. We must be willing to sincerely consider others first beyond the knowledge of our own experiences and circumstances.

To overcome racism and you must first have a keen understanding of racism in all of its guises. Don’t be so quick to call someone a racist until you know what it truly is, because it’s not always as it appears.

References & Inspirations
National Turk – May 10, 2010 “Seattle Police Officer Apologizes for Racism& Kick to Innocent Victim

The Time is Now

Why is it that Republicans do not want to talk about immigration?

Could it be that it exposes  who they essentially have become or welcomed into their ranks?

When you observe their position on this issue you must ask the question of how long will we sit silently with a voyueristic mentality on immigration reform?

Yes, Democrats shouldn’t be comfortable either. The time is now and this is why Democrats, Moderate Republicans & Independents should speak up more than ever in solidarity with our immigrant friends who seek citizenship and those Americans immediately descended from immigrant parents.

There is a problem with illegal immigration in the country, but why is it always an issue with Republicans & their subsidiaries when the immigrant is Spanish or African decent? I’m sure you can find some European Illegal Immigrants, but where’s the outrage then?

Isn’t this what America is? A nation of immigrants. Or are we so captivated by who we are that we have forgotten what we are?

I’m not a Joe Scarborough fan at all. I’m generally suspicious of him, but this former Republican Congressman is one of the few who you push away from the GOP. He makes a valid point and so do his guests.

Finally, Republicans and friends. Do you realize the growing list of groups you continue to tell go away?  If you want to believe that it’s never about race then why is the GOP so overwhelmingly White? Yes, you have some Blacks and a few others, but what you don’t understand even about that is what is destroying the party. Democrats will continue to beat you over the head with this billy club until you do something about it in your positions and policy. To site an instance of diversity does not prove that you are diverse. Diversity is proven over time and by what you advocate.

Making the Case for School Segregation

Alright, I have an interesting question for all who are brave enough to answer this challenging question. Given the sexual harassment gay/lesbian teenagers face in addition to all of the other pressures of high school and being a teenager.

Here’s my question.

Is school segregation a viable alternative to harassment, meaning having a high …school for one group and another for another group?

Now for some this question goes against everything that came about during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s & 60’s beginning with Brown v Board of Education in Topeka, KS, to James Meredith at Ole Miss, the Little Rock Nine, desegregation in Chicago and Boston and so on.

For me to ask such a question is difficult, because I have benefited from the victories and gains achieved in all of the mentioned cases. I’ve read, listen and try to obtain all I can about this time period, because if it wasn’t for these events I may not be where I am today freely writing about segregation.

When I first entered school back in the mid-70’s all of this was still new, but have gone on long enough for people to be use to seeing a Black face in a sea of White ones. With the harassment I was subjected to although it wasn’t no where near as harsh as what so many others endured, I wondered if it would have made a difference if I had went to an all Black school or a boys school or even a school designated for heterosexual boys.

My intentions are not to criticize this article or the high school. I understand the purpose of it, although it challenges my understanding of the benefits of school desegregation. Share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions after reading this article about Homo High.

PS: I don’t like that name. Just as bad as Nigger Academy, Cracker College, Hispanic High, Asian Prep or Redskin Institute. Just doesn’t sound right.

References & Inspirations

Los Angeles Times – 02/01/10 “A Harassment-Free School Opens in L.A.