Tuesday, November 25, 2014

With Liberty and Justice for All..... Unless You're Black!

“Well, he was caught stealing. He’s a criminal.”

Yes. He was stealing, but the wonderful thing about living in this country is that we are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of our peers. An officer of the law is NOT that jury. Michael Brown was accused of stealing a pack of cigars. FUCKING CIGARS! What do they cost? $3? This young man lost his life over $3 dollars. What a wonderful message to send our black youth, that their lives aren’t even worth $3. Good job, America.

Michael Brown may not have been the most upstanding citizen, but it should not have cost him his life. There are plenty of young, white people that have been caught shoplifting and their punishment landed them some community service, not a death sentence. Look at Winona Ryder, she stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from a high end department store in her 30s. Her punishment? Community service, probation, and restitution. It seems to be the common punishment for shoplifting….. unless you’re black.

“If he would have just stopped and submitted to the officers, he would still be alive.”

So, let me get this straight, we should all “stop, surrender, and submit” to the police. Would you tell a rape victim, or a domestic violence victim, or even the victim of a burglary to “just submit”? No. Many Americans are advocating for people to carry guns to deal with these situations because we don’t want to have to submit. I’ve chosen to homeschool my children because I don’t want them to have to submit to things that don’t feel right to them. I want them to have an opinion, to have a voice, and to be able to express these things. And as white children, they can express these things freely.

I know quite a few young, white males that have been in serious trouble with the law. My brother being one of them. My brother was resisting arrest and in doing so he injured 3 paramedics and a police officer. The officer needed surgery from his injuries. The punishment handed out, probation, and 9 months of house arrest (for other charges). Which again seems to be the common punishment…. unless you're black.

Eric Frein has been accused of killing a Pennsylvania State Trooper. He led authorities on a 7-week long manhunt, 48 days running through the back woods of Pennsylvania with an arsenal of weapons, including a sniper rifle and an assault rifle. Yet, this man, that murdered one of their own,  escaped death and has been given the right to a trial by the jury of his peers. This man murdered somebody, yet is still alive. Michael Brown stole cigars.

Before you say it, let me stop you. Yes. This is about race. This isn’t about black Americans “playing the race card,” this is their reality. This is something that as white Americans we don’t have to deal with, but this does not mean that black Americans are not. I may not living it, but that does not mean the struggle isn’t real.

Racism is alive and well in our society. You may not want to believe it, but it is. Take a look at some comments on the news articles regarding the decision to not indict Darren Wilson. It’s horrific.

My white, (almost) teenaged son can walk down the sidewalk, or even the middle of the street, sporting an oversized hoodie, hood up with his hands in his pockets, and barely elicit a response from passersby. When he and a group of his white, teenaged friends walk past your car, you are not going to hurry to lock the doors. When he runs over to your elderly parent to assist them with their bags, they are not going to flinch or scream in fear. When he runs over to your toddler to help them manage a task, you are not going to assume that he is going to harm them.Why not? He’s white. He is afforded more privileges than many in this country because he was born white. He didn’t get to make that choice, but he certainly gets to reap the benefits from being a white male in today’s society and he knows that. His black counterparts do not have this luxury and he knows that as well.

Take a look at your Facebook feed, how many people are outraged over the looting taking place but are not outraged at the lack of indictment?

Last year thousands of people took to the streets of Seattle, burning furniture, throwing bottles at police causing thousands of dollars in damage to a historic treasure in their city. Why you ask? Their football team won the Super Bowl. This was a celebration. They won. Their "team" didn't lose, they won and this was their reaction. But this was ok though, because it was a bunch of white men. The battle for racial equality taking place in Ferguson was lost last night, yet we expected peace when a bunch of drunk white men cannot even celebrate the insignificant win of their favorite team peacefully. Tell me again how race isn't a factor. Tell me again how racism is no longer an issue.

As I sit here in my tiny, cookie-cutter, portion of this suburban utopia my heart breaks for America. With each passing day, this country is thrust back 50 years or more. What happened to wanting better for our children, ALL of our children? Including our brown and black ones, because their lives matter too! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Blink!

‘Don’t blink’, they tell you. ‘Cherish these moments because before you know it they will be in college’, they tell you. ‘One day you will do anything to have these days back’, they tell you. After years of sleepless nights, chasing toddlers, taxiing children to and from activities, etc. you can’t help but think that those well meaning advisors are crazy.

As parents, I think we’ve all been in a situation, usually with our first borns because we didn’t know any better, in which we’ve wished for them to achieve their milestones in a more speedy fashion. I remember sitting back and wondering when my 13 month old first born, Brittany, was finally going to take her first steps. Eventually that time came and as the years have passed, nearly 20 of them almost, it still seems like just yesterday that I watched her toddle across the kitchen. Now, as I write this, she is traipsing through Central Park with her boyfriend.

This morning my middle child, Kyley, woke up as just that, a child. She was just a little girl sitting there wide-eyed and nervous in her boy band T-shirt and PJ pants asking me to quiz her with potential interview questions. Then I blinked. That’s it, I blinked and just like that she was a mature, responsible, young adult that had completed her first (successful) interview and was offered a job (which she accepted), opened her first checking account, and then we went off to pick up her very first car. I was left wondering where in the heck my little girl had gone. I swear she was just there with her dress falling over her head while she was upside down on the monkey-bars without a care in the world. 

I know that she was definitely feeling the transition as well. She honestly went from child to young adult in the matter of about 3-3.5 hours today. Thankfully she was able to maintain a sense of humor about it. After realizing the magnitude of the events today, she exclaimed ‘Gosh, I am old. I have to buy a purse now.’

She really put things into perspective when after I asked her if she was planning on going to a funeral after she opted to wear black on black today, something that is non-characteristic of her, she solemnly said “Yes. The funeral for my childhood. I am old now.”

That it is. Her childhood is gone and will only live on in our memories. As excited as I am to watch as she ventures out on this new adventure, I cannot help but mourn the childhood of yet another one of my babies.

So I sit here and tell you parents with young ones, Don’t blink. Cherish there moments because before you know it they will be college. One day you will do anything to have these days back. The time really does pass by at warp speed.