Tag Archives: race

Dear GOP Senate: the first black POTUS still beat you. Twice.

Dear every GOP Senator who voted today to move forward on repealing the ACA,

Barack Obama still beat you.

Twice.

That’s right. The guy with the funny name and the big ears and the brown, brown skin.

He beat you. He beat you good.

You know who I’m talking about, right? That guy. The one with the beautiful, blacker-even-than-he-was (gasp!) wife who committed the great sin of trying to get people to take a stroll and eat the occasional vegetable. You recall him, I believe? Unlike Kislyak, he’s easy to remember. You know: the tall, handsome one, with the cute kids and the broad smile and the extensive vocabulary?

The one with the Ivy League degrees earned without the help of family money or a legacy name?

The one who won more votes for president than any other person in American history?

The one with the truly impressive inauguration crowd photos?

Yeah, that guy: Barack Hussein Obama. Oh, you sure adored emphasizing that middle name of his! It was your little wink-wink, nudge-nudge, on Fox News or CNN (pre “Fake News!”). You enjoyed needling him with the name he was proud of, the name his father gave him. That gave you a little thrill, didn’t it?

He still beat you.

Twice.

Let’s be real – you stopped giving a shit about not-rich and not-Russian people years ago, but you’d be far less anxious to repeal a now-popular-with-your-constituents, landmark healthcare bill that saves thousands of lives a year if it had been signed by a Democrat with appropriately lily-white hands.

But you still can’t get over it that this brown nobody, who wasn’t groomed for Capitol Hill (or at least the Alabama State House) from birth, whose parents’ interracial marriage used to be illegal in many US states, beat you.

Twice.

And people loved him. Love him, still. They cheer him wherever he goes, with his crisp shirt unbuttoned at the neck, revealing his well-earned vacation tan. Still in his fit fifties, he has years of accolades and humanitarian work ahead of him, while you all have one foot in the grave and the other tied up in the twisted old Confederate flag Bree Newsome tossed defiantly into the sun-baked dirt.

He was, and is, better than you. He changed history, regardless of what you do to his bill now. He changed the conversation. He raised expectations. He made us better, while you drag us down and try, with hand over heart and a word or two about God uttered with a glance up at the dome, to kill the meekest among us.

He was not, and is not, perfect. God, far from it. But he is, above all, a decent man: no sleaze, no scandal, not one opening for you to jab in the knife of, “Him?! An example for our kids?” 

Because he is an example, for all kids. Regardless of color or creed or gender or age.

That’s the future, you know. We’re starting to live in it. A world where your grandson may come home from sports practices one day and tell you he wants to grow up to be as good an athlete as Serena, or where your millennial niece may tell you she decided to become an activist because of John Lewis. A world where your son’s decision to join the armed forces is inspired not by John McCain’s sacrifice, but by Tammy Duckworth’s.

You lost the future years ago. You’re losing it every day. As narrow-minded and cruel as you are, you must be scared. It’s scary when everything you’ve ever known to be true about your own innate superiority is shown to be a lie. I’d almost feel sorry for you, if it weren’t for the fact that you’re actively working to harm or kill anyone who looks or thinks or loves or worships differently from you.

I’m sure many of you will go to sleep tonight contented with the days’ work, grateful that your esteemed colleague’s newfound terminal cancer diagnosis hasn’t deterred him from his goal of taking healthcare away from millions of his fellow human beings. But as unconsciousness overtakes you in your soft beds in your D.C. townhouses, I hope one final recollection rises to the surface and echoes softly in the back of your minds:

Barack Obama, the first black president, is better than you. And he still beat you.

Twice.

Sweet dreams.

Just another day in the neighborhood

I haven’t posted here in a while, mainly because I’ve been focusing my writing energies on finishing and editing a novel (ugh it is HARD, WHY IS WRITING HARD?), and also because, frankly, it seems like the fun, summery topics I would have liked to feature were all trivial in the grand scheme of the seemingly endless American and global tragedies of the last month or so, particularly the killing of yet two more black men by police last week in LA and MN, and then the massacre in Dallas. Basically, every time I thought about posting something, it seemed futile and dumb and silly. Especially this last week, when, as a white girl living in San Francisco, one of the most liberal places in the US and possibly the world, I felt like a lot of this was more removed than it would have been had I lived in, say, Mississippi or Georgia or even outside of San Francisco proper.

Today, however, a woman who lives one block away from me in the Haight neighborhood found this flier at her door around 12:30 pm (see article here; I also saw this woman’s post via NextDoor):

awful flier from 7.12
The “invisible empire” – how chilling is that?

Based on the rather sad grammar and composition of the flier and the original post from my neighbor, I’m pretty sure it’s genuine, which means that someone or some persons are undertaking to recruit, albeit rather pathetically, for the KKK–on Haight Street, of all places, which is hippie central if you ever saw it. Of course, the likelihood of this person(s) having any success in gaining converts is pretty freakin’ low, given the population here, which, while overwhelmingly white, is also overwhelmingly socially liberal (it’s not uncommon to see #BlackLivesMatter posters and shirts on black AND white people’s homes and bodies around here). Obviously, the entire area is openly disgusted with this flier, regardless of whether it is truly authentic or a bad, sick joke.

That being said, seeing this prompted two very different emotional reactions, the second of which generated this lovely post you’re reading now:

Initial Reaction: This is happening here? How dare they? It’s awful to think that there is someone who, if not living in my neighborhood, is spending time here in order to spread a message of hate and racism and try to recruit my neighbors into what is basically America’s #1 Lynching and Cross-Burning Club. My neighborhood, in my adopted city–how dare this monster, whoever he or she is, come into MY street and spew this shit! I was really riled up.

Secondary Reaction: Oh my God, I have so much privilege. Once this news started spreading via social media, I spoke about it with a black friend who also lives in the Haight, and has lived here longer than I have. I was bowled over when I heard this friend’s initial reaction, which was not one of disgust, as mine was, but of fear for their physical safety. This person takes a bus to work which drops off, sometimes late at night, a couple blocks from where this flier was found. Unlike me, their first thought was not, “What an asshole racist; I can’t believe someone would do this!” Their first thought was, “There’s possibly an asshole racist loitering nearby; what if they get violent?”

That’s the question we never really have to ask ourselves when it comes to racists, isn’t it, fellow white people?

What if they get violent? 

I saw the picture of that flier and became angry because I couldn’t believe this was happening in my neighborhood.

My black friend saw the picture of that flier and became frightened because they didn’t feel physically safe in their neighborhood.

 

 

What a giant reminder of my own privilege, huh?

So why am I writing this? I guess to offer another rebuttal to the “All Lives Matter” crowd in general, who are super loud right now: to at least to one dick racist KKK member in the Haight, all lives definitely don’t matter. But I also write to remind myself and any other white people living in so-called liberal enclaves that our homes are not exempt from the reality of racism and violence. We need to speak out and be strong, vigilant allies to our non-white neighbors and friends and family members. The site of the Summer of Love, with its graffiti murals and overpriced vegan burgers, can be just as dangerous a place for a non-white person as Ferguson, Missouri. We can’t get complacent. We can’t sit on our asses. The system is set up to benefit us, to keep us safe, no matter where we are–and that means it’s our responsibility to change that system so it keeps EVERYONE safe. We can’t ever forget that responsibility, vegan burgers or no.

#BlackLivesMatter

If you can, consider donating to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund– you can donate to support police reform in particular.