Tag Archives: antiquated

Purged

Did We Just Experience a 30 day Purge?

Several years ago Hollywood created, released, and marketed a film that suggested that a law abiding community could be obtained.  A utopia, if you will, could be created if the government would simply shut down for one day.  There was a catch, however.  In the time that there was no law enforcement, no rescue services, and no safe haven the community will be able to purge itself of all it’s anti-social desires and misdeeds.  This was a fictional account of what could happen.

With marginal results, the film warranted a sequel.  Last summer The Purge II opened in theaters nationwide.  Uncertain whether it was a marketing attempt or a hacker’s wet dream, the entire nation was put on alert that real-life “purges” were going to take place in urban cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.  Heads of state scrambled to prevent panic as the danger might be perceived as eminent and debilitating.

As time would tell, there was no mass shut-down of social or emergency services.  There was no “24 hours of lawlessness,” but the months that followed unveiled a paradox of proportional injustice.  Instead of law abiding citizens turning on their government, government officials have idly watched as law enforcement officers have turned on the citizens they swore to protect.  There has been more media-amplified killings by members of the law enforcement community in the last 12 months than ever recorded.  Consequently, an uprising of citizens has provoked more fear and reaction from the cops.

The citizens who have not engaged in a righteous civil rights struggle since the assinations of JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X are learning how to successfully develop a meaningful call to action.  Contemporary leaders have exercised the gamut of rallies, riots, sit-ins, die-ins, boycotts, and social media civil rights campaigns.  To no avail, the problems have been exacerbated right up to and including the mass murders that kicked off the summer of 2015.  What started as call to remember their names has morphed into a hashtagging frenzy that brought about awareness but has done nothing to slow the threat of injustice.  Good cops have been put on the defense, mayors and governors have braced themselves for public backlash, and county prosecutors have changed their tone to condemn the over-zealous murders that take place at routine traffic stops.  Even the president (from the safety of Kenya) has recently condemned the injustices that women, minorities, and the disenfranchised have endured for too long!

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The Constitution that all officials have sworn to uphold has been revisited and challenged since it was penned.  But the Supreme Court has made some rulings in the past year that have inspired ambitious politicians to base their campaigns on soundbites that either support the status quo or promise change through a new world order.  The ignorant, the wealthy, and the oppressors now have a common bond as their presidential candidates spout catch-phrases like: “Let’s return to the good-ol’ days’ or Let’s take America back!”

The citizens who were once considered the minority have become the majority, and the over-privileged panic to maintain their wealth.  Meanwhile an overlooked demographic has been embraced by the top presidential candidates…the ignorant and uneducated.  There aren’t enough wealthy voters to elect a president!  They are relying on the poor and hungry. As an aside, what better way to cultivate a nation of uninformed voters than to condemn the public schools?  A political strategist can see it’s the quickest way to prevent a large number of people from acquiring the skills needed to question authority.  The powerful are plowing seeds of ignorance, sprinkled with precipitation from countless thunderstorms, and reaped for November 2016 consumption.

The poor and hungry…

There are various ways to explain the condition of poverty:  poor in wealth, poor in spirit, and (and this case) poor in authority.  Hunger can be defined as hungry for nourishment, hungry for wealth, hungry for knowledge, hungry for religion, or (for purposes of this analysis) hungry for human rights.  The New Civil Rights movement will embody the poor and the the hungry.  Those who are neither poor nor hungry will resist.

Since the confederate flag came down, the nation’s eyes have been primed for a revolution.  The rationale for keeping a historic symbol of hate up so long was already understood and accepted for 150 years, but the articulation of these sentiments was just too much for our nation to bare.

Starbucks made a preemptive attempt months ago when it suggested we talk about race, but the market could not tolerate such a “controversial” topic.  The masses said, “No, it’s not the time…” as entire movements of “Black Lives Matter” and #ICantBreathe filled the airwaves, web paths, and store fronts.  August will mark the movie release of “Straight Outta Compton” which will certainly shine a spotlight on what becomes of young black youth who embrace their art to change the world.

The past 30 days have been a warning to the world.  We are a nation that was heralded for it’s democracy and liberties. Those who’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution are also the same individuals who apply THEIR discretion of its interpretation.  The Supreme Court is the third branch of our government, but another kind of supreme court exists at every traffic stop.  When our lawmakers do not create “just” laws and our law enforcers prioritize the laws based on their whims, the Supreme Court only gets the cases after it’s too late.  We the people..?

police

Vigilante “hacktivists” are now taking center stage.  The same technology that was designed to make our lives easier has allowed us all to fall victim to cyber-attacks, terrorist threats, and out-and-out fear for our well-being.  We are now witnessing authorities surrendering to the demands of terrorists, hackers, and the media.  The NAACP and the ACLU have revved up their efforts to put anti-police social media and iphone apps into the hands of potential victims everywhere.  Our liberties are being attacked and we are at a loss to defend them.  Question:  Who is the enemy?

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Passing

Sometimes is not a good thing to be passing.  Sometimes passing is a liability. Sometimes passing means that everyone is a skeptic.  Suspicious of what is different, what is misrepresented, and what can be trusted?

Once paranoid, now confirmed. It’s not a conspiracy theory if there are facts that support the theory.  It is then that the theory becomes belief.  When enough people embrace the belief, the belief becomes dogma.  What happens then?   There is a shifting social norms.

What are we referring to when we suggest that a person is “passing?”  This does not refer to doing well on a test (although I suppose it could).  In this case, we are not referring to the act of merely moving by something.  “Passing” means to move freely between cultures.  A chameleon passes as whatever can be easily overlooked in whichever environments it can adapt.  Being able to adapt is a valuable asset.  Adaptation lends itself to survival.  But passing can be even more valuable.  Passing enhances an individual’s ability to stealthily move with ease. It’s more than survival.  It enhances opportunity.  To do so is a skill.  To do it naturally is an advantage.  To do so artificially suggest privilege.  To do so artificially means that an authority permits the passage.  Of course, those who oppose the authority resent anyone who is granted privilege. In other words if you can pass, you will either be praised or resented.  If you’re going to pass, do it with style. Do it with effectiveness.  Do it in a way that others can benefit too.   


Having an understanding of what “passing” is helps us understand how it works.  Anytime you can identify a resource, you now can decide how you can use it.  This essay intends to make a few suggestions on how to benefit from someone else’s advantage or privilege.  Better yet, why not embrace this resource to improve our situation collectively.  But even that requires collaboration and cooperation.

Not everyone who passes is working for the common good. Passing embodies risks that not everyone is willing to share.  And sometimes the benefits are not worth it.

Let’s talk about race.  Typically someone who “passes” is an individual who assimilates with one ethnicity but looks like a member of another race.  As a black man who looks Latino, very few are certain of my ethnicity.  Blacks often ask me.  Whites usually wonder.  Hispanics usually wait for me to speak.  But to non-Americans it’s a non-issue.  My loftiness and genuine arrogance is a dead give-away.  I’m humble enough to be non-threatening, yet confident enough to be welcomed.  I don’t believe that I’m an asset to either race until someone else recognizes my ability to pass.  Instead,  I am a novelty; which is weird because folks like me are no longer an anomaly.  There are plenty of mixed-heritage or “biracial” folks within our culture. My white father left me no legacy.  My perception of “privilege” is antiquated.   My humility masks any prospect of advantage.  But my most important characteristic is the desire to be helpful.

I believe that if someone is blessed with a talent, they should use that talent to do something positive.  Although passing is neither a talent nor a privilege, politeness and good manners are cultivated.   I was blessed to have two parents who loved each other so much that they created a biracial son.  They raised me to be polite, courteous, and considerate.  I’m a helper.  I thrive on doing something positive.  My reward is when my efforts are appreciated.  But my actions are based on morals and ethics rather than correcting an injustice.  It saddens me that I can’t right the wrongs!

There is so much social unrest and civil injustice that individuals can not reverse the trend.   But someone who can pass in between ethnic groups can gain an understanding that can be shared and explained.  What we lack is empathy.  Passing may be a path to empathy.  Because we as a nation are looking more and more alike; because our circumstances are becoming more and more similar, passing is less and less relevant.   But as we search for common ground, there are forces dead-set on separating us.

It’s important to be transparent.  Passing suggests a hint of deception. There’s always the resentment for the “spy”. Therefore it’s also important to maintain a level of dignity.  There was a time when an outsider could be shunned, ostracized, or even lynched for associating with the wrong ethnic group.  In that era, passing was a great risk!   But in contemporary social climates, it’s never been more important to clarify one’s position.  Misconceptions have a uncanny way of ending professional relationships and even castrating an individual’s ability to maintain an ounce of credibility.  The distinction between a racist and a conservative is blurred from time to time;  as is the monachre  of a “freedom fighter” and a liberal.  Passing does not escape these insinuations.  Passing amplifies the distrust.

Everyone wants their fair share. Everyone wants to ensure that they are treated right (even if fair treatment comes at the risk of treating someone else unfairly).  Passing doesn’t come close to addressing this problem. For those who pass, it is a means of survival.  Those who can pass can glean from both bowls of fruit.  They can’t get a full serving from each, but might be able to pinch a scrap from either bowl.  This too is unfair in the eyes of those who can’t get any at all.   How long will it be before the “passers” are considered an ethnic group all their own?  If not for the ability for every one of us to learn this craft, the “haves” and the ” have nots” would be divided once again.