Category Archives: racial profiling

All That Really Matters

I was not able to post yesterday for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the turmoil caused by this nation trying to come to terms with those sins of the past that come back to haunt us and hunt us in the present.

I am an old white man. I suffer from “white privilege” in ways I can’t explain to some of my white friends back in Iowa, a State that was almost entirely white when I was growing up there. (And I pray that I grew UP, not just old.)

I learned yesterday that it matters how you put in order the things that you can say on matters of race. You can’t just say, “Black lives matter” to some white people. They will angrily insist that “All lives matter.” They will then proceed to tell you that you are being a racist when you suggest that black people are somehow more important than white people. I learned that you should say instead, “All lives matter, which means black lives certainly matter too. And the debate now is about a few recent black lives that were treated like they didn’t matter, and so, their lives ended in being murdered.” You can’t give white people a reasonable-sounding way to get out of admitting that, or they will. (See, I can be a bit racist too. I sometimes have a hard time believing all white people have positive human feelings in them somewhere.)

My illustrations for this post all came from Pinterest.

It has often, in my teaching career, been a disadvantage to be a white male. Black kids don’t believe you can see them as a good person. If you have to call them down for misbehavior, the worst ones will automatically assume it is about their race and not their behavior. A good teacher needs to listen more than they talk. You have to get them to open up about what happens in their lives that makes them behave the way that they do. You have to make them understand that you actually care about them and want to help. You have to earn their trust to get their best learning behavior. And being white makes that all so much harder. Not just with Afro Americans. Hispanic kids too. Vietnamese kids too. And I promise you, if you take the time to really get to know a kid… from any race or culture… you will discover that underneath it all, there are no bad kids. You stand a very good chance of learning to love them… no matter their racial or cultural differences from you.

And as an old white man, I suffer the disadvantage of never being able to truly understand what it feels like to have to worry that, at any moment, the police might kill you with a gun, or press the life out of you with a knee on your neck… just because of the color of your skin. That is in no way a fair thing that black men, black women, and black kids have to worry about that.

I am saddened and frustrated too that I can’t do any more to correct this terrible injustice than I am doing. I can’t attend protests because of my poor health and the pandemic that will probably kill me anyway. I am too old and crippled and broke to do any more than write this essay and post things on social media that make some of my old white friends angry and ready to argue.

I feel bad. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and too many more diminish me, make me hurt in my heart. And all I can do about it is tell you that there needs to be more love in this world, and less hate. And I hope maybe you have a little more of it to add to the world. After all, that’s all that really matters.

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Filed under 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, angry rant, commentary, compassion, empathy, kids, Liberal ideas, philosophy, racial profiling

Internal Evil, External Policy

CjUSsQkVAAE2A9TThe Republicans have found another scandal to pursue.  Two FBI personnel were texting each other messages about how stupid and incompetent Donald Trump is.  (As well as why one of them may have voted for him since they hated Hillary too.)  The one agent who was involved in the Mueller investigation of Trump was immediately removed from the investigation when evidence of the possibility of lack of impartiality surfaced.  This happened long before the Republican Conspiracy Elephants sniffed out the detail to make a big stinky in the media about it.  Now, apparently the FBI has become a secret society wrongfully plotting against Trump.

One wonders how a Republican government can investigate a Republican scandal and do it in a way that at least looks like justice in action instead of howling at the wind in order to make it blow in the other direction.

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The basic problem is what the Republican mind has on the inside.  Basically they all have the same thought embedded in the peanut they think with.  “If it doesn’t benefit me and what I want from government, then it isn’t true no matter what facts you show me.”  And of course, that thought has a corollary (even though they don’t know what corollary means), “I’m good with any lie told as long it supports hatred of those people I want to hate.”  Republicans who think with larger pieces of produce, and so don’t have those thoughts engraved in their brains, have either left the Republican Party, like George Will did, or separated themselves from the Trump faction and started a campaign to take their party back, like Bill Crystal did.

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Anybody who thinks about the evidence honestly, without partisan bias, has to admit that there is obviously guilt involved in all of this.  And Trump himself blowing back against the prevailing winds is only making it more and more obvious that he is at the top of the pile of evil actors.  They cannot keep going down this path of shouting down the truth without turning Trump into Hitler, and 2018 into 1939.  Muslims will take the role of Jews.

So, what can we do about it?  We make our votes count.  And when the Mueller investigation reaches its conclusions, we believe them.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

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Filed under angry rant, cartoon review, cartoons, grumpiness, humor, politics, racial profiling

“It’s a Hard-Knock Life… for Us”

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Yes, this is another in a series of reviews from the Uncritical Critic where I gush endlessly and almost mindlessly about movies, TV, books, and other sorts of stories that I love.  And just like other reviews that I have done, writing mainly to myself, this will probably bore you to the point of having to sandpaper  your tush just to stay conscious through it.  But I do, in fact, have a social conscience.  I do care about things moral and ethical.  That’s why I’m not going to talk about this Annie;

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I want to talk about this one;

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I am not sure how any of my white, conservative friends can work up such an angry fizzyblackengrrr about the remake of the musical using black actors as the principles.  I am not saying I don’t see color and I don’t notice the changes in the basic story to make it fit a more different-race-friendly cultural magnetism.  I am saying I love the changes.

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Quvenzhane Wallis is one of those little girls that, if she were actually an orphan, would be adopted in record time.  She sings, dances, and exudes a personal charisma to a degree that is not only perfect for this particular musical, but is not an act.  It is obviously her real, perky, upbeat self.  I would adopt her instantly even though I don’t have the finances, energy, or good health necessary to make that kind of commitment any more.  And the changes made to the songs, setting, and themes of the basic story I think are not only brilliant, but so very appropriate to our times.  The story of an orphan connecting to a lonely, power-hungry billionaire is transformed by the idea of finding the best way to connect the family that you not only want, but desperately need.  The Daddy Warbucks character, played brilliantly by Jamie Foxx, is able to realize his connection to his own lost father as he transforms himself into the father figure that Annie needs.  Songs are added and dialogue is changed in ways to bring out these complex themes of love and need.  It is a very different story from the one found in the Aileen Quinn/Carol Burnett film of the 1980’s.  And it is a story that needs to be told.

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“You are never fully dressed without a smile!” is an important theme for any person of color, or any outsider in our American society today.  The troubles and strife related to race tension, violence, and the American struggle to rid itself of racism are best faced with a kind of confident optimism that this musical was always intended to be a vehicle for.

It is a statement about the basic goodness of human beings.  This version of the musical even redeems the vile Miss Hannigan, leaving her at the end with a change of heart and a Hispanic boyfriend.  So, I really think that anyone who has a problem with this remake of a beloved musical made by Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith ought to examine the real reasons they feel troubled by it.  I think they really ought to let go of all baggage, especially the alligator-skin bags of racism, and just immerse themselves in this wonderful movie full of singy and dancy stuff.

 

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Filed under humor, movie review, music, racial profiling, red States, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Sincerest Apologizes, Mr. Mohamed

This picture is from Ahmed's sister's cell phone... I think.

This picture is from Ahmed’s sister’s cell phone… I think.

Dear Ahmed Mohamed,

I am sorry that Texas is what it is.  Land of the big white lie and home of the brave-if-you-don’t-confront-them-with-people-they-don’t-understand sort of cowboys.  I am a veteran Texas teacher with a lot of English as a Second Language teaching experience.  I am quite familiar with kids like you.  You built something wonderful that worked and showed off your electrical engineering skills and your future promise as an inventor.  It was a clock.  And you wanted to show it to your engineering teacher… which you did.  And he was impressed.  But he told you not to show it to your other teachers for a very good reason.  Some of them are white people.  Some of them are Texas conservatives.  And you had no way of knowing how they would see a Muslim kid with a strange wired-up device in his back pack.  The rest of the world does not look at such things with the fearful eyes of a cowboy conservative, or automatically make the assumptions that were made.  You see, these people love guns and shooting stuff with a deep abiding passion that they really can’t believe other people don’t share.  It is an unfortunate feature of being a cowboy conservative that they are addicted to Bubba-thinking.

In case you forgot about what actually happened I have included some YouTube videos to refresh your memory.

Bubba-thinking allows cowboy conservatives to convince themselves that the solution to violence in schools and terrorist threats is a “good-guy with a gun”.  They think that some clear-thinking hero-type (white guy) can make a correct assessment of a possible threat in a split second, and quickly react, taking out the threat with a well-placed shot that would never miss the intended target and do damage somewhere else, thus rendering the “bad-guy” (usually brown or black) sincerely executed without the need for an expensive trial that might only have let him walk away from his crime, or intended crime, a free but wiser (also living) man.  Bubbas believe with the fervor of religion that “bad-guys” need to get what’s coming to them.

So, this is why they arrested you.  To prevent you from killing innocent school children with your clock which might’ve somehow turned out to be a bomb, because you are from the same part of the world as those evil, icky ISIS guys that cut people’s heads off.  They suspended you from school because, even though no bomb squad was called to diffuse your clock, and they soon learned that it was only a homemade clock, they were convinced that you were trying to scare people and become famous with a hoax bomb, the law they actually invoked to cover up their mistreatment of you.

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I hope you are happy in your new school.  I hope you appreciate that you have the last laugh in all of this because the notoriety and viral Facebook fame you have achieved will open more doors for you and take you to places far beyond the simple teacher’s approval you were seeking for your inventive talents.  And I hope in your new school you will have fewer encounters with the Bubba-thinking of some Texas teachers.

Sincerely and with apologies,

Mickey

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