Friday, June 12, 2020


It's been almost two weeks since my last post and . . . well . . .

This year just keeps going, huh?

When I started this COVID section of WWYG?! I was doing it because this was an unusual aberration in my routine. Working from home, kids driven from school, a virus pandemic trembling the national/global landscape in historic ways. Something you might want to blog about and comment on from time to time. 

And the numbers in my "at home" blog titles just kept ticking higher and higher. Everyone's counter started on a different day but mine has now reached day 92.

But that isn't what this is about.

Because while COVID is a real presence that hasn't gone away and definitely isn't done with us and we are for sure going to see some renewed waves of its presence in the coming months . . . other events have raised up their hands and said, "Hey, remember us?"

Because on Memorial Day George Floyd was murdered by Minnesota police for being black. And before him Ahmaud Arbery made the unfortunate decision to try and be healthy outdoors in Brunswick, Georgia. And also Breonna Taylor forgot to keep one eye open in the middle of the fucking night. And on, and more, and my God . . .

So, hey--COVID? Take a seat over there to the side and let's, unfortunately, ignore you for a minute (It's not like we aren't willingly ignoring you for the love of the almighty dollar anyway.) 

But anyhow, we've got some other stuff to talk about.

Because African Americans in this country have been shit upon for so long that I am unable to lay it out for you. First--because I am so embarrassingly privileged and unaware of the issue I have no business trying to do so. But also because it takes a historian's dissertation-level of thought, detail, and researched care to do justice to the level of injustice and inhumanity suffered by African Americans in the United States for centuries.

This is not the place to talk about the minuscule improvements that you might want to cite even within my particular lifetime. Any such token examples do not eliminate the ongoing systematic and psychological and unconscious inequality placed upon African Americans every hour of every year in every space of public living.

So--in no particular order.

NASCAR announced yesterday that it was banning the Confederate flag from all of its races and official events. This is a good and simple thing that should be accepted and we all move on. (Though I know we won't.) NASCAR's history is deeply rooted in Southern culture. But whatever someone might say about the Confederate battle flag also being rooted in Southern heritage . . . stop. They are correct. It IS rooted in an intentional history of inequality, racism, terror, and intimidation. 

This flag was always the symbol of a misguided vision of some racist Americans' view of the Constitution. It was used after World War II to symbolize a region's inability to reckon with its segregationist past and its inability to accept the change demanded by the Civil Rights Movement. It has become the symbol of white separatists who carry it alongside the fucking Nazi swastika. Remove it, get rid of it, be ashamed of it.

In the continuing ripples of the George Floyd protests, statues of Confederate individuals are being torn down. No longer are people content to debate and wait for consensus on these statues that dot communities large and small across the United States. It is ugly and angry. People are uncomfortable. And that is how it needs to be. The history of these statues is as tied to segregationist racism of the 1950s and 1960s as the Stars and Bars and the Ku Klux Klan. Stop hiding from this ugly truth and listen to people who have their own ugly truths to express. Give these protesters the honor of their humanity and hear their pain. Learn what these statues mean to THEM. And consider why they must be removed from places of community honor.

HBO Max pulled Gone with the Wind from its streaming library. I'll admit that when I first heard about this, my immediate and unconscious reaction was negative. And that only exposes me to the internal honest work that I need to keep doing to make me live up to everything that I've typed above and try to think about myself. Luckily, one of my former coworkers posted this YouTube video on Facebook the day that I heard about this story. And I watched it. And I find it persuasive in its absolute obviousness. I regret my blinkered gut reaction to the streaming decision.


Where does this conversation end? I don't know but you can't end it right now. 

We've got to open our ears and hear. We've got to open our hearts in love. Until we do those things, nothing will, nor should stop. Why should any people stop fighting for the equality that we always say should be theirs?

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thank you, David. Vert well expressed.