Tag Archives: Racism

Shifts for this blog Toast…

 

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Good morning.

It’s finally coming together. My new  office.  This photo was taken from the doorway. Yes, I have a door.   A DOOR!

This new office, this creative space comes at a time when I feel a shift happening in my own work, the business part of it, how I make my presence known and how I use social media including this blog.

Through The Wilderness, LLC is coming up on its second year anniversary in March.  In two years we’ve produced two unique short films and hope to find festival screenings for them. But the bigger goal is to garner financial support for the feature-length, hence the shift in how I use social media.

Also, related to a recent birthday, a new year, and some life crap that knocked the wind out  of me, I am more contemplative about what I actually give a fuck about. Who. What things. How often.

And this has me thinking about when I feel the need to make that known. If I have a topic that I feel the urge to say something about, how do I do that? And…how do I do that with a blog that was originally designed as at “Toast” where I felt compelled to raise my glass to whatever topic I chose to write about. That has shifted.  Yes, there is still plenty to “Toast”. In fact have an idea for later I’ll post.  But “Toast” is also my addiction.  LOL. It’s comfort. It’s nourishment. It’s go-to when I’m hungry. It’s satisfactory when moments in life isn’t.  So, the shift for this blog will now include the topics that light me up, that may hound me in the middle of night, that make me wanna holler, that make me run for cover.   I’ll write more political pieces. Social and cultural commentary.  Basically, I’m going to take my rants from FB to this blog and see what blossoms.

The shift is an expansion but a good one. A needed one for this writer.

And I hope to bring you with me. I would LOVE more dialogue. More support of what is important of us, like peace and health and kindness and equality.  I’ll write more about the creative life, the world of cinema as a filmmaker of color, a storyteller.  I’ll write about being a wife, a partner, a mom, grandma, daughter, aunt and sister.  I’ll write about being a woman over 40 (ahem….).

I hope you’re with me.

Wishing you peace. Always.

 

 

Toast! to Facebook friends when you’re called the N-word…

Yeah.  That’s what happened. And I posted the incident to FB as soon as I could. In the parking lot of the post office, ignoring the tingling of fear I felt, wondering about this young man who threw his hatred for me at me. 

I was in line (because there’s always a line at the post office) and was being assisted by this lovely older Black woman in line behind me. I was looking for labels for priority mail. She told me where to look, which stands to check out, so I left the line to go see, with her holding my space. When I came back there were four more people behind her but I stepped into my space, continuing my conversation with her about express mail labels and not finding priority mail labels.  A young man and his girlfriend walked up and stepped right in front of me.  He was white, I think.  I’m going to show my ignorance right now- he had dark skin and was darker completion, not as dark as me, but he may have been Armenian, part Latino, or had some ethnicity somewhere in his lineage, or was white guy with dark hair.  

The woman that was helping me told him that the line was behind the people behind her. He turned, glared and said “you were standing back there so I stepped in here” or something like that. So I said, “oh, no, the line is back there.” I think I started to explain where I was, or something…kindly. He couldn’t have been more than 20 so I’m sure my “mama-ness” kicked in. My girl is 21. But then to my surprise he snapped at me, “then you should stay in line.”  I didn’t respond because I surprised by  his tone. Really? I was being scolded?  

But before I could even fully process that question, he walked to the proper place in line saying “of course you get to go first because you niggers–”  Eruption from the woman and I think somebody else, there were multiple voices objecting to this. The woman said “hey, hey. we’re not going to go there!” And I said, looking at him, “Look, we all have to stand in line and nobody likes that–” but he cut me off by mumbling something about “Black–” And somebody said “hey!” I was shocked. I stared at this kid while he glared at me…with such hatred. Pure hatred.  All I could I say was “wow!” 

I turned away and that thing happened- uncomfortable strangers tried to connect. We got chatty. The woman and I talked loudly about the labels, she showed me her package being sent to her sisters. The man in front of me told me he runs a t-shirt business and mails priority boxes all the time. He lives close to post office. Then we lamented on the length of line- it just takes time, and even though there’s a post office near the woman’s daughter’s school, this one was still more convenient.   At one point I looked at the white guy in line behind the Black woman and he looked…embarrassed. Sad. He lowered his eyes.  But I was extra nice. Extra friendly. I was over the top kind because…I was nervous. And embarrassed and surprised. Shocked.  

It has been a long time since I was called that word. It had been a long time since some bigot showed their true colors to me. I was prepared. 

And yes, we get prepared. I have to. But this was in my neighborhood. Echo Park in Los Angeles. Predominantly brown folk. Latinos. Filipinos. Black -(not alot of Blacks), White…hipsters. Liberals. Funky artists. Nobody looks at me here. Nobody stares at me and my multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, shades of tan family.  Nobody. And yet this kid did this. 

He was in a different line at a different package pick-up window when I left. He glared at me as I walked by. His tiny beautiful girlfriend kept her head down. I didn’t call him an asshole until I got outside the building. 

So, attempting to process this I posted it on FB. Right away. And then as I drove away, I took a deep breath and got emotional. I cried. I called Peter and ranted, quickly processing what happened.  

It saddens me that this kid can wear his hatred so proudly, he could be so bold to hurl it at us like that.  Yes, I was angry. I still am. What the f?? Right??  But I’m more hurt not just because of being called a word that cuts so deeply, but because in this world,  in our world today, hatred flows freely and his privilege dictates his actions- it was okay to him to use that word and step in front of me. 

Now- I’m not taking this heart like this was my fault. I’m not being self-critical. I know I was kind and civil in my tone. That comes naturally. I didn’t have to think of how to address him when he budged. And after he called me the N-word, I was on auto-pilot  and… didn’t want things to escalate? I was so shocked I didn’t think my next step through…? I tried to commiserate with him, about the line, about how nobody likes to wait in line, but we’re in this together.  

But what was intentional, was me posting to FB this incident because my friends rushed to me, bringing me comfort and support. Their outrage, their empathy, their love for me and our community was what is healing from this experience.  I got cyber hugs and rants and wishes of peace. I got confirmation that I not only handled this situation well, but that in no way is this about me. It’s not. Racism, acts of racism, are about the person who fears my difference so deeply, they’ll lash out violently to protect what they think is theirs.  It’s twisted and hurtful. But it’s not my shit.  

Last night, the posts were still coming on my wall, so I drew great comfort reading them before I turned out my bedside light. But I wondered about this kid- did he find pride in his actions? Did he boast to anyone? Did he retell the story so he was the victor? Did he have to make me mean, or uppity to deserve to be called the nigger? Who has been pushing him around? Who taught him that this behavior was okay? And what’s going to happen to him when he exerts his privilege to the wrong person and shit goes down hard on him, because it will.  It will. But that’s not my burden to carry.  I can feel sorry for his pain. I will feel sorry for his pain, when I get there to that point in my processing. If I see him just a kid with his limited capabilities, then I can feel sympathy for his pain and send him peace.  Awww…this is a lesson I’m learning overall in life. As I deal with betrayals, with hurts from people I care about, I keep coming back to this notion about capabilities and how we all function from what we know. It’s simple. And people can’t do more than that so perhaps this is all this kid knows. 

I am going to stand in the space held by my friends and family that is filled with love and support, with the same daily wish for peace and harmony. 

So today, I Toast! my Facebook friends who came to my aid when I was called the N-word. I am grateful for you all!

Thank you. 

Peace

#healing #racism #community #Blackfolk #harmony #outrageatbigotry #loveheals #theawfulN-word 

A Toast! to Fueling the Art.

Morning, all…I have to do this…(taking wrist brace off to type this). This blog is about toasting my creative life…and that includes what fuels my work.  This topic is a huge part of what I write about, why I write… 

On Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC #nerdland they’re talking bout My President’s comments..and the ‘asking for acknowledgement that the Black experience EXISTS…’ that’s not even asking that it MATTERS. It’s ‘let’s begin with acknowledgement’ Let’s acknowledge EVERYONE’s experience around race… we live in a racial society. It’s in our history!

I was not the least bit surprised that the GOP, Tea Party, F-News, and other politically right folks hit the airwaves and attacked Our President even before he finished speaking. That stank will continue, sadly. I won’t post the link to the articles about the Top 12 comments because I decided I will no longer put that shit on my wall.

Making up lies about President Obama and Trayvon Martin and other Black men…yes…I was expecting that. That’s the current GOP MO…and that’s sad.

The remarks that really get to me are the ones that say that racism doesn’t exist. Which means…what? That for some of us, our daily existence isn’t seen, isn’t heard, is just not real…so…that means, I haven’t been followed in stores, I haven’t be overlooked, glared at, called nigger…that means that none of that ever happened? And…it’s all…in my mind? Right?

Some GOP remarks say that we need to get over it. It’s the privileged white racist lens that gives those who believe this their blindness. They don’t NEED to see it. They embrace this blindness so that they don’t have to address their values, their beliefs, or their responsibility. They scream that we should get over it and pay attention to all the other ills that plague our society, our country, our government- and yes, there is a long list that needs immediate attention. DEFINITELY. But what they don’t see that racism, discrimination, lack of equality is woven into all our policies and our laws..it’s a part of the foundation because it’s OUR COUNTRY’S history. Our economic policies, our laws, those that are meant to protect us are entrenched with racism…I’m shocked by the ignorance, the complete inability to see this.

But…I have to say, too…hearing white folks talking about their place in this conversation…doing that really hard ‘racial consciousness growth’ gives me hope. Not telling us they’re color blind because that doesn’t get us anywhere but doing the individual racial consciousness work– It’s hard for all of us. I’m a Mixed Blood (Native, Black, French Canadian, maybe Latina…) COC (chick of color) and I’m STILL doing this work of digging up and healing my racial background to define a racial consciousness that honors my goal of living a life of goodness, of peace and harmony. This is WHY I WRITE!  The page gives me a place to work this out.  And It’s hard shit to handle, let me tell ya!

These discussions are not going to be easy. This is painful. But to have a country that really truly honors what it claims to stand for, we have to do this. Don’t tell a FOC (folk of color) that their experiences aren’t real. Don’t hold every Black man as suspect because they’re Black. Don’t feed the stereotypes. Don’t believe the bullshit.

Let’s challenge ourselves to be better Americans for the sake of all our children, for those we can hug today, and those who have died in the fight.

PEACE.