Posted in life, media, world

History repeats (and repeats and repeats)

In a different time, in a different era, the world still sought out peace. No one had the answers then and no one has the answers now.

54 years ago a nation decided they might have found a way to deal with the problems that were plaguing them. At least for the time being, at least so that everyone would take their gaze off America. At least so that things could be normal for a time.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was and still is a landmark civil rights law in the United States. It was monumental in the way in which it specified how civil rights should be applied based on race, religion, color, sex, or national origin. Powers were weak at first but grew more supportive as years went by and supplements were made. It was initially proposed by President John F. Kennedy asking for legislation to be made which gives all Americans the rights to places and things that are open to the public already (hotels, restaurants). Please keep in mind that, especially in the South, Jim Crow laws were really still being enforced until 1965. A lot of places were still segregated, including public schools.

Anyway, since the bill was filibustered in the Senate in President Kennedy’s time, it was President Lyndon B. Johnson that pushed it forward and signed it into law on July 2, 1964. A quote that might speak to the political climate of the time: “The bill divided and engendered a long-term change in the demographic support of support of both parties.” Things were heating up, for sure not everyone liked the bill. Some were sure it would lead to things they were not comfortable with such as desegregation and the possibility of infringing on the right to segregate based on race. So, yes there were numerous concerns and a multitude of race concerns that this bill was not addressing at the core.

On the topic of segregation today we are great. On the topic of racial discrimination and iniquity, we are scores better than during this time. However, today people think deeper. People worry more about how they will be perceived by someone of another race, gender or class in their workplace and in public. If you’re black, we’re talking about the police here. If you’re Hispanic, you worry about your safety and home being taken away from you as well as your family. If you’re Muslim, you worry when there is a terrorist attack that they might just be Muslim even though you try to remember that America is supposed to be passed that, right?

No answers. Cold shoulders. Locked out Senate. Mismanaged White House.

Still searching, still hoping that the phrase “history repeats itself” means nothing anymore.

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Posted in media, society, world

On failing to live out a surmountable goal

(also read this on this occasion).

They say you’ve reached the main location of promise. Of discovery. Of eternal bliss. It’s the place between forgiveness and dissent. No country is really there yet but we can hope to get there sometime soon. We can dream that we have achieved greatness by ignoring the needs of the most responsible or upright citizens. Who is to say that anyone has ignored anyone. Suffice to say, it’s not a “war.” It’s a battle, if it was a real war there would be more ships cruising along in the clouds with blood splattering everywhere feeling all revolutionary. Oh wait. Guess that already happened, we’re just waiting for the last moments of sanity to come crashing down.

***

I think that in the current year, 2018, it is a good time to be raw. Let’s get honest about what we as a society expect. We can’t fully appreciate what we have and the opportunities we have if we always take them for granted. What is real equality and have we reached it? Are women equal? Are people equal?

The answer to all these things is a firm no. There might not be any balance to be found there either. If there is then it will be found at a later time. At a time when we are are living our last moments on Earth is when we stop caring because we know that it doesn’t matter what efforts we made, what matters is how the next group tries to fix the problems. We try to raise up a generation that will care about the environment, social causes, human rights, and equality. However, we also want children to have a mind to think for themselves. To be able to know what they want, but also be smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. The things that are right are seldom made as an example to do again, while we stress the wrongs even as they continue to occur. For example: It’s wrong to punch or hit so it is “wrong.” What about helping a stranger or donating money to a local charity? Those are the “right” that we don’t talk about unless it’s in one of those “people on the street” videos that many seem to love doing.

Anyway, on this day remember what you have. Remember what others do not have. Always be grateful. What can you do more of? You can be the change you want to see, by giving back your time. You can start a chain reaction by simply creating connections with people who are not like you or those your social circle does not associate with. Step outside your comfort zone and realize that people, regardless of skin color, age, gender, ethnicity, background, or social status are all just people.

“How about this weather?” seems lame but in this case try it and see where it takes you. I hope you have many scintillating conversations with all kinds of people this year.

 

[image attribution: Ebony Magazine, 1955 (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons]

Posted in life, Women

The Women Club

The world has come a long way. And then it hasn’t. In terms of war, global poverty, and economic tensions they all follow history before them in their respective country. In terms of how people are treated, including women and children it has not improved in many places. But, it is an era in which these groups have a voice that they may never have had before. It’s a truth that is not always universally acknowledged that a good woman will not be as important as the man she marries unless she fights hard for herself.

As women, we no doubt have many roles. Multiple personalities at times. Sure the feminists made Barbie have curves and different skin color, but what about real people? For others, the pain is still there no matter what filter or edit they use on Instagram. What kind of pain? The pain of knowing they will never be good enough. Never be able to carry on with their male coworkers, because the struggle is not the same for them. Girl clubs are either inclusive or not, there is no in between. And oftentimes, some women are not sure if they fit into the feminist club or the feminism club.

It’s not wrong to be unsure about either. I call myself a feminist, but I don’t know if I am most days. I’m not doing any sort of protesting, not standing up for my gender, and not calling out any males that don’t treat women as they should be treated. But, I have been harassed on the street. This seems to be a common phenomenon that women everywhere have been experiencing for years. Recently, more people are making videos of it though and putting it online where it goes viral and sparks a conversation. But, nothing happens. Because what people don’t see in all their determination to show people the slimy guys on the streets is that slimy guys do not care. The men that do see these videos are the so-called “good” guys or those that have been blessed with a great woman in their life to change their prior perspectives. A welcome relief obviously. So, it continues on. Amongst different cultures, men lead the pack and the head of the family. If he has an opinion on your dress, you will take it. This is not everywhere, but what I’m trying to say is that the Alpha Male is getting bigger as we move into the new year. For reasons related to politics and how race led to a boiling point for some.

Males are needed in society, sure. But, we as women still need to be conscious of where we stand when it comes to men at the center of this society. They don’t have to rule everything. As said numerous times over there needs to be more women in STEM, more women in agriculture, more women in biotechnology, more women in ocean science, more women in principal positions (at schools and corporations), and more women as heads in the music and entertainment industries. So a long way to go. It starts as early as middle school for an interest in these subjects to take place. Of course, this requires a change in educational objectives and core standards which are improving in many places already.

So, my ladies out there. You are worth it. You should always do your best, but know that if you can do better than your best than do it. Keep walking and do not engage with those that call out to you on the street. You don’t need to be viral right now, you need to be stronger.

So, today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day by the way. It’s my favorite day in the beginning of the year (yes better than Valentine’s Day) because it is dedicated to a person that fought for people. For human rights, for racial equality and for the chance to give his children a future that does not include the ‘n’ word slurred to them. That lets women and children, black and whites, think about themselves in America and why they deserve to be American just as much as anyone else.

So, yes. You deserve to be alive. If you made it all the way down here, then I thank you and I ask that you be happy in this moment.

 

(cover image source).

Posted in life, world

Not just victims of circumstance

We hear things that make us excited, frightened or even worried about what will happen to the world we live in.

Then we remember that the stories that we hear are not happening to us, are not happening to the people we know or occurring in the places we are familiar with. We are able to detach quickly because its not here. But then that’s normal. Everyone does it, even those that have experienced pain before. Even those that have been in a tragedy before. We’re all victims until suddenly we realize that we’re not.

They (the world) likes to say that we’re all victims of our circumstances. If that’s true then why are affluent whites whose family has lived in this country for generations not feeling the scorch of lashes, of beatings of torture and the life of slavery? Because they are just not. What about those who are trying to help, working to end violence and get killed at the hands of someone they had no hate for? Is this also a sign of circumstance? This is called something else and its starts with an i.

Inhumane.

It is not right to hate, sure. It is not right to call people names, of course. It is not right to lock people up who don’t deserve to be locked up, absolutely correct I think except for that one time. What was that one time? You forgot? It was that significant then that you told yourself you would know this fact forever but now the lists and names keep piling up and its all messed up and you don’t remember. You don’t remember when we lost it all. But you know you want to get yourself back to where you should be feeling less remorse and more guilt. When you get there, maybe just maybe we can all be human again when we all feel the same.

Because we’re all not just victims, we all have a part to play before we succumb to the horror of becoming a statistic.