On last week’s shootings of and by police

Yesterday, I read a blog post calling for white people to use their privilege and speak up about racial violence.  Okay, so here goes.

I have been sickened lately by all the violence by police against black people who haven’t done anything wrong.

I have also been sickened by the pushback against Black Lives Matter.  The proponents of BLM say they’re being misunderstood.  See their actual principles here: 11 Major Misconceptions about the Black Lives Matter Movement and What We Believe

This answers the charges, among others, that they hate white people and are anti-police.

Also, in the past week, I have heard African-Americans on Larry Willmore (and possibly The Daily Show) say that they’re not against the police.  They believe that most police are good people trying to serve and protect, but there is a problem with a significant minority who are racially motivated against black people, and with procedures which allow excessive force.  They need to be dealt with and police procedures need to be looked at critically, to see what needs to be changed.  Even Amnesty International says that American police procedures do not align with international standards.

Instead, I’m hearing–on Willmore, for example–that Black Lives Matter does NOT say that ONLY black lives matter.  It’s actually, “black lives matter ALSO.”  Because of slavery, which still has repercussions today despite being abolished 150 years ago, there is a unique relationship between blacks and the police which makes blacks feel as if their lives don’t matter.  They’re trying to make everyone understand that their lives matter just as much as everybody else’s, NOT that they matter more than anybody else’s.

I grew up in a city of 100,000, in which people of various races were my classmates, teachers, principals, friends.  I now live in a city which is predominantly white.  When I moved here 21 years ago to be with my husband, the sight of anyone of color (other than Hmongs) was highly unusual.  Even pickaninny statues could still be seen openly displayed on lawns!  (See article here.)  I also still find people using the term “colored people,” which has been taboo at least as long as I’ve been alive (and I’m in my 40s).

I have also heard accounts of little black children being told by other children, “I’m not allowed to play with you because you’re black.”  Not only did I hear this from my ex-friend, whose stepdaughter is mixed race and was told this at school in 2008, but the newspaper reported this happening to another girl at the Children’s Museum just a couple of years ago!

Over the years, minorities have been moving in.  Racism is here, but if you point it out, people get all offended and say, “I’m not racist!”  When a newspaper article pointed out the racism of the pickaninny statues, people said, “If you’re offended by statues, YOU’RE the one with the problem/psychological issues.”

Today’s newspaper had an article–not about the Dallas shooting, since actual news is rare in anything run by Gannett these days–but about people responding to the Dallas shooting.  It started with describing a walk in Oshkosh to show solidarity with police officers and unity in the community.  Which is all well and good, and I’m not knocking that.

But as I read on in the article, I found a disturbing trend as local GOP politicians threw in their two cents: dog whistles blaming black people for the violence against police, while ignoring the senseless violence against two black men last week, and the issues which are driving black people to protest.  No, they never came out and directly named Black Lives Matter, but you could catch the inferences in this comment by Sen. Ron Johnson:

“Five of the finest among us, slaughtered,” Johnson said during a campaign stop in Green Bay. “Let’s be clear: there’s a movement … there are political figures in this country that are stoking the fires of people that are actually putting targets on the back of men and women who serve this country trying to keep our streets safe. This has got to end. We need political leaders that are looking for areas of agreement to unify us; to heal these divisions as opposed to exploit them.”

Essentially, blaming the protestors for the violence.  Yes, it is horrible that five police officers were slaughtered, quite likely good people just doing their jobs.  But along with them, what about the fine black men who were slaughtered last week for not doing anything wrong?

Then there’s,

State Rep. David Steffen, R-Howard, said he will introduce legislation to make targeting police officers a hate crime.

“I strongly believe that anyone who targets these brave men and women, solely because of their profession, should face serious penalties,” Steffen said in a news release. “This legislation sends a clear message that the despicable attacks we’ve seen against officers throughout the country will not be tolerated in Wisconsin.”

Fine and good, but how about also introducing legislation to make it a hate crime for a police officer to kill a black man for reaching for his ID?

It is good to support the police, yes.  In fact, one of my beefs with my ex-friend was him saying we should no longer have police, period, and let us all just defend ourselves with guns.  (He’s half-white, and looks white, so I don’t give him the kind of pass I would for a black person complaining about police.)  I mourn when a police officer is shot in the line of duty, or slaughtered by someone with a vendetta.

But we also need to actually address the problems which keep leading to unarmed and innocent black people being gunned down.  Or even if they’re not innocent, excessive police force which leads to death rather than the person going to jail and being properly tried.

What disturbed me about the newspaper article was that the only ones addressing that side were Russ Feingold (Russ 2016!!!) and the president of the Milwaukee NAACP.

I don’t think most people in this state are consciously racist.  Many are not racist at all.  It seems to be an ingrained racism where you don’t even realize it exists.

I’ve encountered such things in myself, and work to root them out wherever I find them.  I tell my son, everybody has racist/prejudiced attitudes of some kind, so if we’re defensive when somebody points it out, we don’t learn anything.  We have to be willing to address it.

 

 

 

Healing from abuse by friend: “Our movie” no longer stings

Yet another milestone reached in healing my heart from the betrayal by my former best friend:

A few months ago, I DVR’d The Trial, a 1962 movie with Anthony Perkins and Orson Welles, based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished work of the same name.  I wanted to see it again, but I wondered how I’d take watching it again: My former best friend and I watched it–dang, nearly 9 years ago now–back when he lived with us.  We loved it, and it sort of felt like “our movie.”

You see, I don’t know how it is for neurotypicals, but I attach sentimental value to movies I see with close friends.  That movie now connects to them, no matter how many years have passed, especially if I saw it for the first time with them.  Such as Addams Family Values, which I saw in the theater with my best friend from high school.  Or Wayne’s World 2, which I saw with my college roommies, or Lord of the Rings, which I saw with several old college friends along with the Hubby.

I watched many movies with my former best friend while he lived with us and after he moved out.  I don’t remember them all, but the ones I do remember, have attached to him.  So I have avoided those movies ever since.

Last year, I watched The Apostle for the first time since 2008, when I saw it with Richard, my former best friend.  Then, too, I feared that it would twinge my heart to watch it, but no, it didn’t.  Same with many songs which attached to him back then; I hear them now and then on my favorite Goth webstream or in my MP3s, but they no longer twinge my heart.  They used to be so painful to hear that I didn’t listen to them for years after Richard–who turned out to be a narcissist–betrayed me.

I feared The Trial would hurt to watch, while at the same time looking forward to watching it.

(First I wanted to re-read the book, which I first read in 2010.  I then lent it to Richard, but the betrayal happened, so I got it back from him, and it was covered in spaghetti sauce.  I thought I cleaned it, but found yet another stain before reading it a few weeks ago.  Yet more evidence that he wasn’t the friend I thought he was: He didn’t even have consideration for my books.  😛  )

I feared it would hurt to read, but it didn’t at all.  I barely thought about Richard while reading it.  Then tonight I watched it and–no, no pain at all.  Well, other than the typical purist reaction to a favorite book being adapted into a movie and things getting changed.  I barely thought about Richard while watching, except to think, “Hey, it’s not painful after all.”

I guess time really does heal, even when you think the hurt is too deep.  Think of how it would feel to Sam if Frodo finally threw him over for good: That’s how deep the wound was for me.  Only to discover later that Richard apparently didn’t feel at all the same.

Of course, I don’t know if actually physically seeing him again would hurt like it did back in 2010 and 2011, when he came to my church.  Maybe, maybe not.  Probably not nearly as bad.

When I saw him back then, after a year of healing and recovering, I came home and bent over crying, then was plunged back into a deep depression.  So you see, this is why I haven’t wanted to see him at church again.  (I haven’t wanted to see his wife, either, but that’s because she’s probably the meanest person I’ve ever known.)

I have worried about this for years, especially when the hypothetical merger of my church with his, became reality earlier this year.  But I still haven’t seen him there, so I doubt he wants anything to do with my church.  So I don’t think I should worry and wonder about that possibility anymore.  Which would be good, because that worry has been gnawing at my stomach for years now.

There are several movies which I haven’t seen in about 9 years, since I saw them with him, even though they’re old favorites.  I have avoided them on purpose.  Maybe it’s time to pull them out again.

 

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