Happy Martin Luther King Day

Image result for Martin luther kingIF IT WASN’T FOR HIS COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR PEACE, I think it’s fair to say that our society would have been less moral and spiritually sensitive than they were when he was still alive. If it wasn’t for his selflessness; his courage to tell us to look beyond our many indifferences, and, his fearlessness to do the right thing, the change that came in 2008 would probably never have happened. I am aware that it might be a stretch to assume the latter, but I ask; wouldn’t it be a stretch, in the other direction, to not assume so? When we look at the aspirations of Martin Luther King; moral integrity, justice, equality all across the board, and the belief that we should learn to “…accept finite disappointmnet, but never lose hope,” it would be hard to not think that our first black president, Barack Obama, did not benefit from, what I like to call, the trickle-down-homologies of Martin Luther King.

If it wasn’t for his commitments to equality, my family and many other families like mine, would probably not be living amongst white people right now. Although I am not romanticizing nor am I trying to glamorize proximity to white people as something akin to true progression, still, I think that Martin Luther King would agree that we have come a very long way. If it wasn’t for his resolve and staunch determinism for justice, the many times that I’ve spoken truth to power would have been null and void—or would have landed me in jail.

You know what, though, trying to imitate Martin Luther King by speaking truth to power actually did land me in jail. It wasn’t that long ago that I was arrested by two white police officers for simply riding my bicycle at night with no head lights. I was doing a midnight-bike-ride event with a bunch of my white friends, and the police did not harass us until I decided to leave the pack. When I refused to comply with their false arrest and atypical machoisms, they said they would arrest me and confiscate my bicycle. After going back and forth with them for a while, and with my white friends long gone, I finally agreed to their arrest. That night in that cold cell, with one itchy blanket and a brown-colored lightbulb that never went off, was one of the longest nights of my life. When I got out the following day, I felt humiliated, disrespected, and less of a man. I felt like my blackness was exposed only to be viciously trampled upon—and, I also felt like I could never be as equal as the two white men who arrested me that night. Looking back, I wonder; if my skin color had resembled the skin color of my friends that just got swallowed by the darkness of the night, and who were now safely pedaling home with half empty beer cans in the hands and contraband in their tight, jeans pockets, would all of that might have still happened to me?

What does it say about our society, long after Martin Luther King sacrificed himself for us, by preaching justice and encouraging the few of us that are dissatisfied with hate and intolerance, to speak truth to power—-but yet, when we do, we still get arrested for it? Perhaps I should rephrase; has change come, for those who need less of it, but for those like myself and for others who aren’t on top of the racial-foodchain? The emotional answer would be, yes! of course, it has! But, the intellectual response would not say, no nor would it say, yes, but would encourage us to not be satisfied with the battles against indifference that have been won so far—-especially when the war for absolute humility is still raging on.

Happy MLK Day

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” — MLK JR. —-

To The Poor People Of The World…

THE WORLD MAY LOOK DIFFERENTLY through the eyes of the poor by the way they are treated by those who have and by those who have more. To the poor person—irregardless of skin color—the delicious fruits and many ripening privileges of society are not theirs to be enjoyed nor savored. No, it is only those that are affluent that are obliged to indulge in such privileges, not them. The poor person, having been the subject of extreme “otherness” and systemic negligence by a system concocted by those who have and by those who have more, may also see the world as a place just a little shy of what Thomas Hobbes once described as; “A condition of man….is a condition of war; everyone against everyone.” That is to say, that the world is not only dangerously unfair, to those subjected to its many anachronisms, but it is also unflinchingly barbaric, and essentially, riddled with an-eye-for-an-eye mentality.

Although the poor are not entirely wrong in the way that they may view those who have and those who have more, my concern is, however, that those who have and those who have more are not preordained by God to infinitely oppress the poor. They do not have a monopoly over our bodies, our destinies, and ultimately, how the ripening privileges of society—that are just now beginning to bare their fruits—should be distributed to us. It is we, the poor, that are in charge of that. It is we, not God, that, like an English Queen when she is knighting someone, decided that those who have and those who have more should rule over us—for eternity. Thankfully, though, when this aforesaid and grossly ignored fact is realized—-and echoed through the ether like a massive trumpet—it will spell disaster for those who have, and continue to, abuse the power that we have given them. I am not much of a Christian, but when that glorious day comes—-when we, the poor are ready to judge those who had oppressed us—-it would be sufficient and completely acceptable for someone to quote scripture, specifically, Revelations 12:9, “The great dragon has hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

Martin Luther King Jr., in his brilliant “Where do we go from here” speech attempted to prescribe what he thought was the way that poor people, specifically those of color, might have viewed the world—-i.e., a constant struggle for dignity and respect.  To this point, he wrote, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” The meta-communication in his statement, and throughout his entire speech, for that matter, was that poor people—indivisible of race, nationality, or creed—-are constantly waging battle against known and unknown forces that are ever presently refusing to recognize their humanity. Although that may be true—-that the ontology of poor people’s struggles are linked to the intrinsic desires of respect and dignity—-what concerned me the most, however, with his brilliant speech, is that what Martin Luther King Jr., and those who shares his beliefs, refuse to consider, is the omnipresent barbarity, unfairness, and each-man-for-himself mentality that seems to be as fundamentally intertwined to human pathology as the night is to the moon. No amount of legislation, marches, and “Moral Mondays” will ever change that. It can be the time when Martin King Jr. gave his brilliant speech; the 60’s, or it can be our present moment; 2016, what will not change, until we make certain adjustments, of course, is the pathology of our human society to oppress those that are weaker and more disenfranchised than their are.

Now then, it seems to be that the solution is to not wait nor beg for those who have and those who have more to recognize the humanity of the poor, but rather to make certain adjustments to our society—-adjustments, that will act as social levees to protect against the constant flooding of human barbarities. One such adjustment, is a moral one. You can decide who gets what, grant manumission to some oppressed groups, or erect legislations to protect those that need the most protection, but until you change the moral understanding of the people that are supposed to uphold those aforesaid things, then you will forever get regression and barbarity. If you argue otherwise, shall I remind you that “The condition of man….is a condition of war; of everyone against everyone”?

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Where Do We Go From Here?

people-burning-donald-trump-efigy

I AM CONFUSED, LOST, AND IN SHOCK that Donald Trump just became the 45th president of the United States of America! I really don’t know what to make of this whole thing, right now. It is strange, ridiculous, and beyond my human capacity of understanding. And this truly defies and throws into question everything that I’ve been taught as a child—-like, to be kind to others, that good things happen to good people, and that I should treat other people the way that I would like to be treated. This will certainly take some time to get used to. Moving forward, though, I know that I am not going to be alone when I say this; that a lot of us—-on either side of the political spectrum—-are gonna have to rethink our basic and fundamental values.

And while we’re at it, can someone please explain to me how 63 percent of white men voted for this guy? or, even worse, how did 53 percent of white women voted for him? Have they forgotten that this was/is the same guy who, at one point, refused to pay his undocumented Polish workers back in 1998? The same guy who called for 11 million undocumented Mexicans to be deported back to Mexico? The same guy who blatantly offended Mr. Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim American soldier who’s son died to protect his unit? And the same guy who encouraged his supporters to “carry” black people out on a “stretcher” at his rallies?

But yet, those same white people who voted for him will turn around and say that Donald Trump winning had nothing to do with race—-but everything to do with protecting our country and making it “Great Again.” But we, who our parents taught us not to hate, and we, who hold these words of Martin Luther King Jr., to be true, that our “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” know what they meant when they said “Make America Great Again.”

This entire thing has been about race since the beginning and there is no one who can tell us otherwise. We know that when they say “Make America Great Again” that it doesn’t involve people of color, but people that are feeling anxious and nervous about the cultural shifts in America. Despite all of their selfish anxieties, the true and inescapable reality, which a lot of them who voted for Donald Trump were/are afraid of, is that in the year 2030 our great country will be more diverse and multi-cultural—according to current projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. And in addition to that, Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist has noticed that demographically, our country is “only going to get gayer, blacker, browner, more Asian;” and that women of all ethnic backgrounds are going to break all barriers that ought to be broken. In his view, no amount of hate or indifference can stop what is soon to be inevitable. Therefore, the question becomes; how much change can straight white men and white people handle, he wondered?

Although Jose Antonio Vargas posed a great question for all of us who aren’t benefiting from white privilege and aren’t a part of the white-male stereotype to think about, I disagree with what he is trying to insinuate; i.e. white men or white people are the enemies of change. And it’s not that at all. What is the problem, however, is that it seems like some of us were taught as a child to love, respect, and appreciate the differences in other people, while the rest of us missed out on those important and fundamental lessons. So you see, it is not a group of people that are at fault here, but rather, the apocryphal stories of hate, intolerance, and superiority that they were brought up with as a child.

So in view of this, the real question then becomes; can we, who were taught to love, respect, and etc, re-teach those who missed such fundamental lessons? And the good news is, yes we can! And not only can we do that, but we must—-because the projections of our society is depending on us to do so. Now, if you’re like me and your wondering; where do we go from here?…..my response would be that we go out and show those people who weren’t properly taught how to love and respect; some f*cking love and respect! And while we’re at it, show them that we will not tolerate bigotry, misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-immigrant rhetoric, etc, etc, etc.

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