Driving in my Jeep—my badass Jeep, btw—we passed by a group…
What’s your problem now, Dickmoji?
Yeah. But it mine. What you got, Dickmoji? Plus, my wife found that thing for me. I love that Jeep. And it is badass, so there.
Let’s start again. Driving in my badass Jeep, we encountered a group of protesters, about 15 or so, standing on the corner of he intersection. They were dressed in black, with back mask-thingies covering their faces. One of the dudes turned and look towards us, chanting, “You are anti-white. You are anti-white.” It was a brief interaction—perhaps 15 seconds or so—before they turned their attention elsewhere. And honestly, I was confused at what exactly I was seeing.￼￼
I had suspicions about the protesters, certainly. But I couldn’t see the placards. Also, it seemed as if at least one of the individuals was black, which didn’t compute with the white supremacy theme that I suspected. Lastly, although it seemed as if the chants were directed our way, I wasn’t entirely sure. And I didn’t “sense” any hostility either. Because if I did, I certainly would’ve responded. Not that I’m Joe Badass or anything, but I’m not one to shy away from a confrontation either.
I was confused, not sure of their intentions. Driving through the intersection, I continued to peer back, and trying to read the slogans held in their hands. Concerned about my divided attention while I drove, my wife urged me to let it go, to ignore them. And I did. For a bit.
And then I started to question myself. Why didn’t I confront them, during the moment? I try not to play the “I should’ve done this” or “why did I do that” game, because we can’t change the past. But I ruminated anyway, imagining in my mind how things would’ve played out if I actually did understand what was transpiring, in that moment. During the moment, my wife did understand, without question. She grasped the protesters intent for two reasons: she’s objectively smarter than me; and because she black. The color of her skin means this wasn’t her first rodeo with experience racism. Not to say that I haven’t been around plenty of racists in my life, because I have. Coworkers, family and friends included. I just think it hits a little closer to home when the hatred is directed at you.
Talking about it with my wife, right now, helps. She’s very wise, this wife of mine. “If you’re stuck believing your a victim of your circumstances, why would you even try to change? Scarcity is a mindset. Why are you worried about other people when they don’t affect your life? It’s not the Jews’ fault you’re in the position your in. It’s not the blacks’ fault that you’re in the position you’re in. It’s your own fault.” I paraphrase her opinion and I missed a great deal of wisdom because I can’t type/text that fast.
My wife described her thoughts on this issue yesterday. Today, we were listening to YouTube motivational speeches. Les Brown, Jim Rohn and the like. It’s a morning ten minute ritual that helps boost the B positivity. But coincidentally, some of the language utilized in the speeches was eerily similar to what Nikki espoused. In the speech, two individuals with similar backgrounds—difficult backgrounds—were compared. One person chose to live with the pain, bringing that pain with them into the future; the other chose to put it behind them and to move forward.
In essence, this is what my wife Nikki was trying to convey. “How is it that I, a girl from Patterson, NJ, without a college degree, was able to become a computer analyst, making almost six figures? How could my dad bring our family out of the city and get us a home in the Poconos? By not making excuses about how you’ve been slighted in the past or how shitty your current situation. Stop making excuses and start doing something to make yourself better.”
Nah. Nikki has to be pretty pissed to curse. The “shitty” was me and my own rewording of her philosophy. It just seemed like an appropriate word at the time.
So either choose to be bitter and blame the world for your circumstances or get up off your ass and change the narrative. I get that. Not easy. But it’s a mindset kinda thing. And to be clear, my wife isn’t trying to minimize the hardships others experience—she’s had her own share of challenges, including kidney disease that requires a transplant. But still, we all have the ability to not let our past define us. We can change.
Yeah, that is in the title of this post, isn’t it? But that’s what I do, Dickmoji. I ramble. It takes me a bit to get there, and sometimes I don’t get there at all.
In this case though, it was the protesters that prompted this topic. So I had to start at the beginning. And it’s not a difficult argument to win: there shouldn’t be that much of a debate about whether the protesters’ beliefs and intolerance are ridiculous. The “White Lives Matter” movement is patently racist. But honestly, for me the All Lives Matter thing is racist as well. Maybe not as overt and in your face and maybe not as extreme, but it’s tinged with intolerance, defensiveness and misunderstanding.
I feel like I often hear, “Well, what about black-on-black violence,” when justifying the All Lives Matter position. Or, “Aren’t we all human? Why are black lives more important than white lives?” But that very premise missing the mark. It misses the fact that black people have been historically marginalized. Alternatively, white lives have always mattered and have habitually been considered more “important,” more “worthy”. They’ve always “mattered.” Arguing that All Lives Matter just trivializes the discrimination and violence that black people have endured. There hasn’t been—and still isn’t—a need for white people to declare their worth, as they haven’t felt the oppression and hatred that so many brown folk experience.
And it’s hard to argue the statistics. Racism is systemic in all facets of life:
Doesn’t that number shock you? The thirty thousand dollar income gap between whites and blacks? Or what about this:
900 hate groups in the US? Does this not show the active intolerance in this country? And the spike in the number of these groups and the alarming number of hate crime suggests the problem is not getting any better.
There’s also a gap in education:
And the quality of that education? Objectively shitty, in comparison.
Yeah, there’s a difference there as well.
Although I’m fully aware that racism is a massive problem, DQ or me, the actual numbers are just…shocking. For black people, I would guess most wouldn’t be alarmed, as it’s a part of living every fucking day. Black people are completely immersed in the inequalities that exist in this country. At least, that’s what I assume to be the…
Ok, ok. I get it, Dickmoji. Point taken. So rather than assuming, I’ll just roll my head over and ask this person: my beautiful wife, Nikkita.
“So, Nikki. How do you feel after seeing those statistics?“
“It doesn’t surprise me,” she replied, nonchalantly.
“Why is that?”
“History. It goes back to Jim Crowe laws. Just because they made certain things illegal, doesn’t mean things are all better. When you have people in power who are racist, they’ll find other ways to circumvent the system. They’ll use other methods to promote their racist agenda.”
A point of clarification: the quotation marks aren’t to imply exact wording, it’s really just summarizing the point Nikki was conveying. In the future, I’ll be recording that shit—she’s a profoundly intelligent woman and I’m not trying to miss any nuggets of wisdom.
She continued, “And the health care system has always been a problem. Black people don’t even go to the doctor. Even when they have the financial means. It’s not a matter of education. It’s a matter of trust. We don’t trust the system. It happened in Tuskegee. And it’s still happening today. People are still being used as guinea pigs.”
I’ve heard about the Tuskegee Experiment. But what I didn’t know is that it was still ongoing in the 70’s. That’s fucking unbelievable. Horrific. And not that long ago.
And neither was the Civil War. In the grand scheme, 160 years is a blip in time. Sadly, it takes more than a blip to eliminate the hatred directed at black people. And just like All Lives Matter is offensive, so is flying a Confederate Flag. The argument that “I’m honoring our heritage,” is utter bullshit. The South fought to continue an economic system built on slavery. Flying that flag today is a call for a return to those days. Even if you don’t believe that, I think white people need to be cognizant of the feelings the Flag of Hatred stirs.
But from my wife’s perspective, she would prefer for people to fly that flag, she would prefer for those confederate monuments to remain standing. The reason? So she knows which locations to avoid, which people to avoid. Without them, she would feel like a “walking target,” unsure where it’s safe for a black person to walk the streets.
That argument is so…disturbing. To feel like a “walking target?” In America, supposedly the greatest country in the world? How do you even reconcile that statement versus the reality that black people experience in this country? I’d imagine that, demographically, a higher percentage of blacks don’t think America is the greatest country in the world. I’d ask my wife, but I know her answer. And after some persuasion from my wife to look into the facts—the facts about crime, education, healthcare, food, weather, and yes, racism—I know my own answer now. The answer is, we’re moving to Portugal.
Look, I’m not a hater. This country has been good to me. But it hasn’t been—and it still isn’t—good to all people. Until America fully comes to grips with its racist past and present, it can never truly be the Land of the Free. If you routinely have fears of being a walking target, if you were ever harassed for the color of your skin, would you feel free? Being married to a black person—this most beautiful person—and experiencing hatred myself, and more hurtful, witnessing hate directed towards my wife and children. I don’t feel free. And that makes me kinda sad.
We need to be better, America. Much, much better. Can we agree on that?