#BlackLivesMatter?

I’m half black, half white, and fully Hispanic. But let’s pretend I was white and wrote the following:

“It was a warm evening in September, a couple of weeks after Dillon Taylor got shot, and somewhere in the mix I brought up Salt Lake City, hoping to spark a ‘conscious conversation.’ Then it happened. The nightmarish response. ‘What’s happening in Salt Lake City?” one of my black roommates asked. ‘I heard some kid got shot or something like that.’…These non-indictments reiterated what I’m up against every single day: the unintentional ignorance of black people. But I was also aware of my willingness to put away my justified ‘white rage’ in order to ensure my interactions with black people remain comfortable.”

That sounds pretty racist, doesn’t it? Would it still sound racist if black and white were reversed and it mentioned Michael Brown and Ferguson instead of Dillon Taylor and Salt Lake City? Of course it would.

This is exactly what Priscilla Ward did in a recent piece she wrote for Salon, in which she complains about the racist attitudes of those around her.

I’ve got bad news for you, Ms. Ward. You are a racist.

Judging by your article, your “justified ‘black rage’” is directed solely at the fact that all white people don’t automatically know everything about your culture. That’s not racism. That’s lack of knowledge. I’m sure you don’t know everything there is to know about “white culture.” Your roommates even tried to reach out and ask you questions, to which your implied response was that they should have already known.

There never seems to be a time when someone actually calls you any names, prohibits you from doing anything, or prevents you from going anywhere. I’m sure if you had chosen to wear your bonnet, fry chicken, and sing some Aretha songs, a desire you felt you needed to suppress, your roommates would have accepted it wholeheartedly. Nowhere in your article do you mention any blatantly racist action from them, only that they lacked knowledge about your culture. The irony is that you make a point of mentioning that you had to pretend to care about things in “white culture,” such as Taylor Swift, and yet you expect everyone around you to care about “black culture.”

You end the article by saying that you still don’t share who you are or what you are all about, but instead you choose to continue being angry. It’s a self-imposed censorship, because you apparently see everyone around you as racist. And yet you will say things like, “I don’t say ‘white.’ I use ‘they’ instead.” Again, if the roles were reversed, those would be the words of a racist.

It is because of people like you who fabricate racial issues where there are none that I take issue with hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter. In a post I wrote last week on abortion, #AllLivesMatter, I mentioned that we should be saying #AllLivesMatter instead of #BlackLivesMatter. It led to a lively discussion on race relations in one of my Facebook groups. While at no point did I mean to make light of the black lives that are lost or of any unfairness aimed at blacks, my issue with the hashtag is that it’s based on two misrepresentations:

“#HandsUpDontShoot” — This came about because of the falsehood that Michael Brown was surrendering, with his hands up, when he was shot. It was confirmed, by the autopsy and by several witnesses — black witnesses — that he was doing no such thing. He was charging at Officer Wilson when he was shot.

“#ICantBreathe” — This was another hashtag based on misinformation. Eric Garner did not die from being choked to death. His death occurred in the ambulance and was caused by several health issues, such as asthma and obesity. Another fact that seems to escape media attention is that the entire arrest was supervised by a black officer.

Yes, these were both tragedies and shouldn’t have happened. But let’s be honest. Both men were resisting arrest. The color of their skin was incidental. If they had complied with the officers, the situations might not have ended in tragedy. And yet, these men are the poster children of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Race-baiting, hate-filled speakers such as Al Sharpton are the spokespersons for the movement. Riots and violence are the response of the movement.

Here are some questions for those who support #BlackLivesMatter.

Which black lives matter?

Is it based solely on skin color?

Do blacks with lighter skin matter as much?

Do other races that have dark skin — such as Hispanics and Arabs — matter?

Do black lives that have been taken by white officers matter more than black lives that have been taken by other blacks?

And as I mentioned in my previous post, what about the 16,000,000 black babies that have been aborted in the last 42 years? Do they matter?

There does need to be a conversation about racial discrimination in this country, but as long as it involves imagined slights and imaginary heroes, there will never be a resolution.

3 Things I learned from Eugene

Since his first appearance on AMC’s The Walking Dead, “Doctor” Eugene Porter has been one of the quirkiest characters. His antics led to him becoming one of my favorites on the show. My fiancée and I were discussing him one day a couple of weeks ago, and I introduced her to another Eugene from back in the 80s.

It occurred to me that I could combine the two Eugenes and, within a week, the following video was born.

As with anything dealing with pop culture, SPOILERS AHEAD!

For anyone unfamiliar with Eugene, here’s a quick summary. He crossed paths with an ex-military man named Abraham. Weak, cowardly, yet intelligent, Eugene convinced Abraham that he was a scientist on a mission to get to Washington D.C., where he would be able to create a cure for the undead plague. As more people joined him and Abraham, Eugene continued playing the part of scientist by using his vast wealth of knowledge and extensive vocabulary. What was puzzling was that he was able to do this while looking nothing like a typical scientist. Which, as it turns out, he wasn’t.

After completing the video project, I realized there were three things I learned from Eugene.

1. Be true to myself.
Eugene is an expert at this. From his Tennessee top hat to his cargo shorts, Eugene is a man who knows who he is and he’s comfortable with that. He dresses how he likes and has made perfectly clear that no one will be damming up his Kentucky waterfall. But it’s not just his outer self that Eugene is true to. He’s fully aware of how smart he is and has no problems admitting it. Actually, he sometimes admits it too freely and too often. He’s also honest with himself about his cowardice, and he’s willing to do anything it takes to avoid danger.

2. Be true to others.
Eugene is not so good with this one. From the moment he first meets Abraham, Eugene pretends he’s something he’s not so that he can survive and be accepted. Telling that lie was easy. Maintaining that lie proved tougher.


Tweet: Telling the lie is easy. Maintaining the lie is hard.


In order to keep up the lie, Eugene had to shoot a truck, blow up a bus, and wreak general havoc in trying to slow his group down. The longer it took to get to their destination, the longer he could keep up the lie. People died trying to help him fulfill his “mission.” The funny thing is, I believe that if Eugene had just been honest and told them he was a smart guy who could probably come up with some solutions in D.C., Abraham and the others might still have helped him. Lying set Eugene on a course for disaster. As Shakespeare said, “at the length truth will out.”

3. Be true to my mission.
Eugene stayed true to his mission, but it was the wrong mission. It was a mission based on falsehoods and it was destined to fail.

I find it easy to make decisions about where I want to go and what I want to do, but if I’m not true to myself or to others, my mission will fail. My mission for this year is wrapped around the word “COMPLETE,” but I’ve realized that it’s not enough to want to complete things. I need to complete the right things.

It Was a Very Good Year

As we are fully aware of, this time of year always brings out “Best of” and “Top Ten” lists, so in the spirit of the season, I have compiled a list of my Top Ten Firsts of 2012:

10. Red Robin – While not an earth-shattering first, it still deserves mention, because I got to share the experience with my best friend, Rob. The food and service were phenomenal and have been every time I have gone since. Now if only Rob could say the same…
Continue reading It Was a Very Good Year

And….Action!

It’s been a while since I’ve put virtual pen to paper,  (or real pen to paper, for that matter), but I’m back, baby! New name, new design and, hopefully, new things to say.

Things have changed quite a bit since the last time I posted, ( can’t believe it’s almost been a year!) mostly for the good. I’ve just completed a year at Lebhar-Friedman. Our department was slashed from five people to two and a half. My manager, myself, and one other, who’s working part-time. Not only that, but, because of the recession, I also received a pay cut. But, hey, at least I have a job, and I did get an extra ten vacation days as well. So, it’s not all bad.

I’m also coming up on my two year wedding anniversary in a little less than three months! My lovely wife Heather and I met almost three years ago (on MySpace, if you can believe that!) and we’re still going strong. It’s been a rough couple of years for us;  Heather got pancreatitis in February of ’08, then her dad died this January, followed in February by one of her aunts. But we both know one thing – no matter how big our problems are, we know our God is bigger. “Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:3-5)

I’m also back in school, going for a business degree to match the graphic design degree I already have. This is my third month at Keiser University, and right now I’m suffering through Accounting class. But, hey, we do what we have to do to get where we want to go.

Speaking of doing what we have to do, Heather and I joined Weight Watchers a month ago. I had tried everything beforehand, but I lacked motivation. Well, with WW, I definitely have found motivation! I’ve lost a total of 12.2 pounds in 4 weeks, and I’m still going strong! The program is also working for Heather! I would highly recommend them to anyone else who’s tried everything else. I eat well, probably better than I did before, because now I eat well with food that’s good for me. I’m really excited about seeing the weight drop off, and I’m feeling much better too! And, as the saying goes, nothing tastes as good as it feels to be healthy.

I’m also in the process of redesigning my website. I’m stuck right now for a name for my design business, though. I’ve got a few ideas rattling around, but nothing that’s caught fire yet. I’m hoping to have the redesign done by the end of July.

So, once again, welcome to my new and improved blog . Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Truth, Justice and the American Way?

For those old-school comic book fans, and actually for many who are not, the phrase “truth, justice, and the American way” immediately conjure up images of Superman. He was heralded through the 40s and 50s as the champion for those virtues, and even so recently as in 1978 in the Superman movie, Superman himself claimed as much. It seems as though, since then, those are not virtues worth fighting for anymore.

Truth used to mean one thing – that which is not false. It was easy enough to stand for the truth under those circumstances, and what was true for one was true for all. Now, I’m not talking about people’s opinions. I’m talking about solid, provable truth. But now, there are people who say there’s no such thing as absolute truth. What they don’t seem to realize is that, by making that statement, they are stating what they believe to be an absolute truth, which would put their statement in direct contradiction to itself.

Justice – that seems to be another thing that’s gone by the wayside. By definition, justice is based on moral and/or legal grounds. Someone who acts immorally, or against the law, is supposed to reap the consequences of his or her actions. But nowadays, there is no sense of moral responsibility. There’s always someone else who is to blame for the things we do, thus we should not be held responsible, and we should not have to face justice for things that are not our fault. And why is this? Well, without truth, there can be no justice, because if something you believe is morally wrong is not something someone else thinks is, why should they be judged based on your “truth”? With this mindset, how can there be justice?

And finally, the American Way. It seems people are almost ashamed to be American in this day and age. America has gotten a bad rap, and most other countries consider us to be verging on evil. But here’s the thing. Which country is it that still has vast numbers of people hoping to get in and make something of themselves? How many people still believe in the American dream, that allows anyone from anywhere to become almost anything he or she wants to be? What other country allows such great freedom to speak how you like, to be what you want, and to do what you wish? I’ve heard of several Hollywood types who complain about George W. Bush and who swore they would leave the country if he got elected. They didn’t go anywhere. Why? Because they know that, even on our worst day, we are still one of the best countries to live in. And there is nothing wrong with taking pride in being an American. Yes, America is not perfect and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but the American ideal is worth fighting for, an ideal so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That should not just be the American way, but the way of the world, and well worth defending.