Anthony Mackie: Respectability Strikes Again.

October 22, 2015

anthony-mackieAnthony Mackie  Photo credit: / WENN

Anthony Mackie has been very vocal of late, giving his opinion on all sorts of nice things. I’ll let others address his political leanings, black panther comments, and acting industry opinions, but his criminalization of black men based on their hair style was not one that I could let pass.

In case you missed it, Mr. Mackie gave an interview with The Grio in which he stated:

“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocs. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch The First 48 with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocs. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”

“Let’s just say you have locs and you walking down the street. The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody.  You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself.”  

I have a few issues with this mindset:

First, black people are often seen as part of the problem, simply because we exist. If the police want to stop you when they are looking for a suspect, people who are fat, thin, short, tall, dark, medium, light, bald, and have locs will ALL get detained. We ALWAYS “fit the description”. It’s the blanket excuse to search and seize.

Secondly, black bodies have historically been judged and accorded privilege or disdain in relation to how well they line up with white culture and white/European beauty ideals. The lighter the skin, the straighter the hair, the better the job opportunities and advancement. Tomes have been written on colorism, racism and the black community. The frustration I feel when I see respectability espoused by black people, people who should have the EXPERIENCE of knowing the stereotypes aren’t collectively true, is indescribable.

I won’t even go into the irony of his taking away his nephews individuality by trying to force him to adopt a hairstyle that is in compliance to a different standard by giving the false choice of “being part of the problem or being an individual” in choosing to loc or not. It sounded like he was saying “Be like me if you want to be an individual.”  Ahem.


I think many see black/African hair in it’s natural state as a threat, a sign of non-conformity. It’s a visual cue that you may not be a “tame negro”, which makes some people uncomfortable.

When negative connotations are associated with our natural hair, black women who do not have the curlier hair patterns are often assumed to be militant (BLACK POWER!!) or anti-establishment.  Our sexuality may come under question. We are told repeatedly that our hair in it’s natural state is not professional. Even some colleges have banned natural hair in their business programs. Our children are being told at younger and younger ages that their natural physical attributes are unacceptable even though black children perform better when they have been taught “black pride”. By having parts of themselves outlawed, they are being encouraged to despise these traits in themselves and others around them. Our children are internalizing that they are inherently sub-par and defective, down to their DNA. We shouldn’t be penalized for embracing our natural hair, wearing it in styles to allow it to grow and display it’s unique texture and protecting ourselves from chemicals and heat damage. Period.

Finally, he is flat out WRONG.

The issue isn’t the hair, is the over-policing of black and brown bodies and how we are portrayed in the media. If he is watching The First 48 and every young black man stopped has locs, it is because that is the style of the moment. If it was the early 80’s, they would have all had jheri curls. If it were the mid 80’s to early 90’s they would have all had high top fades. While I have resisted the urge to tweet to Mr. Mackie every instance of a young black person who is shot or brutalized who did not have locs, I hope he comes to realize that being fashionable does not make you a criminal. This type of thinking may make you feel safe, that if you do x,y,z, you will be exempt from the brutality experienced by other black people, but ultimately respectability politics will always fail to protect us, and this is why we need diversity in media, behind and in front of the camera. For the record, neither James Blake, John Henson, Thabo Sefolosha  or Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,  wore locs, or were in poor areas when they had their negative encounters with the police or racial profiling.

One of the reasons I have been happy to see the Obama family in the White House for the past 6 years is the symbolism they represent. A BLACK man, in charge, with a loving, intact family is normalized for our nation, who usually will only see black people and families portrayed as broken, lazy, uneducated and poor, seeking to leech off others. We need to see diversity in our stories: stories of success, joy, fun – just regular living. We have stories to be told about our triumphs and struggles related to life and overcoming things other than poverty and racism.

If the primary exposure someone has to black people is via media, which for the most part, dehumanizes us and displays us as hardened criminals and thugs, then when we have public encounters with them, these people are going to draw on what they know – negative stereotypes which reek of criminal tendencies – in interacting with us. Every movement we make becomes sinister in their minds. We are always “reaching for a weapon” or approaching someone with “evil intent”. So, whether it is a white woman locking her car doors, grabbing her purse closely, or someone calling the police because a black person held open the door for them, or are walking down the street, we are all affected. Black people in general bend over backwards to avoid making others feel uncomfortable: slow movements, soothing voices, and even going as far as to cross the street, and frankly I’m tired of it.  As Mr. Mackie shows, it’s not just white people being influenced and buying into these negative stereotypes, and I think that’s the saddest part of it all.

When Bernie Promised to #SayHerName #SandraBland

October 15, 2015

Originally posted on :

“That’s Bernie Sanders,” my sister said, indicating an unpretentious man with a full head of white hair that had slipped past me and tucked himself into a table in the shadowy corner of East Street Cafe, a Thai restaurant in Washington DC’s Union Station.

“Really? Are you sure?” I asked her doubtfully, as I took another bite of my basil chicken across the table from Ms. Geneva Reed-Veal. For better or for worse, he was not a man who had quite the signature look that more polished politicians cultivate; which is probably part of his charm.

IMG_0746 (2)I honestly was not sure if it really was him, but my sister has been working around DC politicians for almost 20 years, so I took her word for it. “Someone should go talk to him. You know he has been saying Sandra Bland’s name for months. Someone should tell him you guys are…

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The Empty Chair

July 31, 2015

This past week has been very emotional for myself and many others. New York Magazine published an article detailing the stories of 35 of the 46 women (that we know of) who were sexually assaulted by Bill Crosby over the years. I guess we can drop the “allegedly” since his deposition has come to light. The cover, which has garnered lots of attention, has row after row of his victims, and one strikingly haunting empty chair.


Social media discussion sprung up on twitter, centered around The Empty Chair, with women and men sharing their personal stores of sexual assault and molestation. I was literally in tears reading the heartbreaking tragedies shared with the hastag’s creator, Elon James White. I didn’t want to read these stories – they were that painful – but I felt that I owed the victims that much at least, to acknowledge that these horrible things had happened to them. While my focus today is on women and the attitudes toward us and our sexuality, I do recognize sexual assault victims as boys, girls, women, men, and transgendered men and women, the entire spectrum of humanity whose ages also run the gamut from infant to senior citizen.

One thing that stood out is how the reality of rape is so often different from the perception. The perception is that only “bad girls” get themselves into situations where they find themselves on the receiving end of an attack. Or that a rape is always violent. The perception is that these were women and girls who were someplace they didn’t belong, wearing something they had no business wearing or doing something they had no business doing. Not that this justifies being violated, but the underlying attitude is always that they share some blame in what happened to them. This is a universal attitude. In the United States we aren’t covered head to toe in burkas, but the centuries old narrative around rape is that women are somehow responsible for a man not being able to control himself and his lustful nature.

While there were instances were drugs or too much alcohol played a role, what I read mostly were stores of women whose abuse started before they were even in kindergarten. They possessed no womanly wiles with which to seduce anyone. They weren’t dressed to tease a man. I read stories of being violated by pastors, men of God. They weren’t hanging out in a club, they were at church. They weren’t out running the streets, they were at home, playing in a room or a yard somewhere.  Or taking a bath. They were home, in their own rooms, in their own bed, where hey were supposed to be and where they were SUPPOSED to be safe and secure. They weren’t hanging out with strangers, they were home with family, family who instead of protecting them, were preying on them.

There is always the control/power aspect to rape and sexual assault, or men who believe they are entitled to take what they want because of their wealth, accomplishments or some other self-aggrandizing trait, but two other things stood out to me:

1)How many times these women said no and were straight up ignored and

2) The speculation about why, when sexual assault or intimidation discussions occur, some men become instantly defensive and hostile, accusing women of lying, calling them names, and verbally attacking them instead of seeking to understand or help end a culture that could at any time come for their daughters, sisters, mothers, etc.. The explanation is simple, in my opinion. Pervasive, but simple.

To begin with, getting a woman drunk or high in order to get her to submit to sexual encounters is standard operating procedure for many. It’s like rule number three in the male dating handbook. Rule two, if they are broke. Rule number one if they just don’t give a damn. So if they are not charming and witty enough to talk her out of the panties, and they didn’t spend enough money on dinner and entertainment to make her feel obligated into stepping out of the panties, then they can always resort to plying her with enough alcohol to eventually slip her out of them anyway. It’s like a game of “cat and mouse”. Give her something to drink. Start sexual advances. She says “no”? Offer her a bit more to drink and then try again. The rationale is that eventually she will say yes or be too out of it to say no. (Silence is consent.)  Now, while most men realize slipping someone a roofie is bad, encouraging a woman who is holding the glass and drinking of her own free will isn’t, in their minds.

Coupled with this, boys and men are taught from a very young age to disregard women’s noes. The common wisdom is that women really want sex, but they don’t want to ruin their reputations. Women really mean yes, but said no because they want men to respect them in the morning. Women mean yes, but just like to play hard to get. Women mean yes, but are saying no only because they want men to show them how much they really want them, which of course is a cue to be even more aggressive. This is what is behind the whole “no means no” campaign. (The no means no campaign is a good start, but boys learn from the older boys and men around them. Younger people may be better at getting the message, but they are still more prone to respect and follow the “wisdom” of a male figure whom they admire. If they are being taught no means yes, the cycle will continue.) There is also a sense of entitlement: She said yes before, how dare she say no now, as though one or multiple intimate encounters gives them a right to the nookie always. I’ve even heard that in their own minds women would think badly of themselves if they say yes, so they need to be forced so they can have sex without the burden of thinking of themselves as sluts. (Yes ladies, we are even lying to ourselves.) So in order to get women to own up to what they really want, they need to be loosened up. Just give them a lil to drink and their real desires can be set free. This is of course all utter nonsense.

Now, people generally want to think of themselves as good people. Yes, they have body image issues, fear of success or failure and other issues around self esteem that can cause them to have low opinions of themselves, but for the most part people like to believe they have some nobility. They like to think that at least their intentions are good. So, if a man were to accept the notion that these actions are hurtful and damaging to women or just flat out evil, they would have to view their past behavior though that lens and pass judgement on it as being bad. Maybe seek forgiveness or attempt to make amends. If it is bad behavior, then they would have to modify their behavior going forward because to continue these actions would in effect make them a bad person. Most don’t make it that far in their analysis. Their minds shut down and they lash out as soon as any implication that their behavior – behavior that benefits them and has had some success- is hurtful in anyway to others. Many don’t want to do the work of gaining and keeping a woman’s trust.  They want easy and “uncomplicated” sex. They simply don’t want to change their behavior, yet can’t reconcile it with being a good person, hence the hostility mentioned above.

Now in the black community, our women and girls often come under attack at younger ages. Be it due to genetics, hormones in the food, parabens in the hair and beauty products, or any combination thereof, our girls tend to “develop” faster physically and look older than girls of other races who are the same age. They get approached by older men and boys when they are at a much younger age. Yes, she has the body of a 24 year old, but her face has the innocence of a 12 year old, so keep stepping. Often the newness of the attention and appreciation lures girls into situations that are not to their benefit. (PSA: Fathers, tell your daughters regularly how beautiful and special they are so when they get to that age, its not a novelty.) Men, you are the adult. Even if she is receptive to your advances, YOU should know better. To quote Hard Candy:

Jeff: You were coming on to me!
Hayley: Oh, come on. That’s what they always say, Jeff.
Jeff: Who?
Hayley: Who? The pedophiles! ‘Oh, she was so sexy. She was asking for it.’ ‘She was only technically a girl, she acted like a woman.’ It’s just so easy to blame a kid, isn’t it?! Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does NOT mean she’s ready to do what a woman does.
I mean, you’re the grown up here. If a kid is experimenting and says something flirtatious, you ignore it, you don’t encourage it! If a kid says ‘Hey, let’s make screwdrivers!’ You take the alcohol away, and you don’t race them to the next drink!

On the subject of black women, one of the complaints that I hear leveled against us, which tends to bother me above all others, is that we are not feminine in comparison to women of other races. While street harassment is a problem for all women, (You OK, sis?) we often get approached at much earlier ages, and often we don’t always have the protection, safety and security to be openly feminine. We become defensive and suspicious, as being too polite can be misconstrued to mean the advances are welcome, and even saying no politely can have deadly consequences.  I was always a girly-girl, so it drove me nuts to see my nieces in baggy clothes and baggy sweatshirts where you couldn’t tell if they were a boy or a girl, but I got over that real quick. I figured if their baggy clothes would slow someone down enough to see he child in their face rather than the woman in their bodies, they can wear a parka year round for all I care.

One last note regarding children: Parents, please, Please, PLEASE learn to respect their boundaries. Please do not force them into physical contact with a stranger, friend or family member in order to be “polite”. I cringe every time I see this. For whatever reason, someone is giving your child pause. They sense danger on some level. They may simply have been startled, the person could be loud, lighter or darker than what they are used to, larger or smaller than what they have seen before or they may even smell or look funny to them. Maybe the child is just being temperamental. Regardless, when you force them to hug or kiss someone or let someone hold them when everything inside them is screaming to them that this person is a threat, you override their instinct for self preservation and teach them to submit to physical contact they don’t want. Now, once they are at a certain age forcing them to say hello or shake hands to be sociable is one thing, but please respect their personal space.

While I am fortunate not to have sat in The Empty Chair, I have friends and family who have. When my niece told her mother what happened to her when she was younger, she called her a liar and kicked her out the house. The first thing many mothers do when confronted with a situation they don’t know how to handle is go into denial. Some chalk it up to children experimenting. They don’t want to break up the family. They are depending on the perpetrator for finances. They think if the man leaves, they will be alone forever. So they put their head in the sand at the expense of their children. This is wrong. Period.

For the women and men who shared their stories, I believe you. I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience, sometimes more than once. It wasn’t your fault. You deserved better. You deserved to believe the first time. You deserved to be protected, not your rapist. You deserve justice. Society has failed you.

We need to end the cycle. We have to give people the safety, protection and benefit of the doubt needed to come forward and seek justice. We have to educate our boys so they grow into men who respect the choices of women and *gasp* treat us like human beings. Yes mothers and schools have lots of influence, but men have the most in this area. Please exercise it. Use your power for good.


Aware: Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment

RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

I believe you | It’s not your fault (tumbler) and twitter

Rape Prevention and Education

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Congrats to the new Mrs. Darren Wilson! Uh…May I have a word, please?

November 28, 2014

Dear Mrs. Darren Wilson,

Congrats on your recent nuptials and the new baby you are expecting!

Before you get too comfortable though, I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had about protecting your future. I realize things are great now: You have the glow of love and marriage, a baby on the way, money in the bank, and Darren at home full time. You’ve had the exhilarating experience of standing by your man, as you fight together against all that would come against him, and for now at least, you’ve won. However there is some truth to the old adage that is is wise to “prepare for war in times of peace.”

Babies are wonderful. I truly believe they are a blessing from God. You see your seed, and a fierce joy wells up in your heart, and you know there is nothing you would not do to protect them and make the world better for them. They demand your love, time, and focus, and you give it to them gladly.  Now, while they can push back relationship and family problems for a while, they can’t make them totally go away, as I’m sure you already know. Eventually life comes back: Financial issues arise. Darren goes back to work with all it’s pressures and can’t help full time. You’re alone most of the day with the kids, while he gets to get out and live a little, or you’re struggling to balance your own career with home and family life. People will eventually forget about recent events enough to where you can live a semi-normal life, and instead of facing the world together, you’re back to facing each other. If what I’ve read is accurate, you were both a little sloppy in your former relationships (I’m not judging though, you’re both adults), and so there is another well known adage for you to consider as well: “If he will cheat WITH you, he will cheat ON you.”  Though I hate to say it, as a woman a little older than you, you aren’t a spring chicken anymore, and Darren is quite a few years younger than you. Divorce rates in general are high, and even if Darren doesn’t stray, recognizing this can eat away at you and cause you to be insecure anyway.

I’ve noticed that when things go sour in relationships, what you once loved, you come to hate. It’s the flip-side of the same coin.  Protectiveness becomes smothering. Being carefree turns into being immature, unreliable. Cute snores becoming irritating.  Being decisive and having structure comes being rigid and over-bearing. Giving guidance and advice comes across as being critical. Likewise, if he has not been truthful, Darren’s actions which now may be seen as clever, cunning, inventive, and victorious may strike you later as cowardly and lacking honor. You may not be able to look at and lay beside someone who you feel is less than a man.

I’d also caution you to look at George Zimmerman and learn from his example. I know that Darren said he had no remorse and would shoot Michael Brown again, but that could change in the future.  He might one day look at his own child, realize what he caused the Brown family to lose, and actually grow a heart, so to speak.  He (or you) could become terminally ill and want to die with a clean conscious, again assuming that it isn’t already.  Zimmerman for all his bravado and tough talk, had some sort of decency, otherwise he wouldn’t be in the self destruct mode that he is now. He may have been acquitted by a jury, but he knows the truth about his actions and there is no way he can get away from self judgement. He wasn’t exactly stable before he killed Trayvon, but afterward the violence against his girlfriend, her and his wife’s subsequent turning on him, going through all the money he had received, trouble with the law – it’s all self sabotage. He may not be in jail, but he will never be free.

With all this in mind, I urge you to consider your future and prepare for yourself a little “insurance policy”, should your current bliss come to an end on less than conciliatory terms.

Now, let me preface this with the fact that all this may be unnecessary. Though I’m biased, Darren could have been upfront and honest with us all this time. If that is the case, you have nothing to worry about. Mostly nothing, anyway. However, if it’s not the case, get your ducks in row now, because it’s just a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.

I assume you know him pretty well and that you trust each other as you are now married. I’m sure over the past few months he has been 100% truthful with you about his actions, the reason behind them, and any feelings he had on the matter.  I’m not asking you to share them, and thankfully as his wife, even the courts cannot compel you to testify against him, but I want you to document it. All of it. Write it down. Take pictures. Record conversations. Do it now while events are fresh in your mind. Make copies for a couple of SD cards, hide them well, then go on to enjoy your life and forget about it.  When Zimmerman’s wife and girlfriend finally wanted to speak up, it came across as being bitter and wanting revenge. Gathering all this now will allow you to keep your composure in the future, should you need to.

Next, get a financial planner. Put some  money away for the kids in the future that you can’t touch, so that if needy relatives or self sabotage does kick in, you have something to fall back on.

Finally, keep a close eye on Darren.  As I’ve said, I’m sure he’s been 100% open with you, but please consider the possibility that he may have told you one thing, and kept the truth to himself. If he starts drinking heavily, becoming violent, binge spending, acting reckless, he may be experiencing guilt, whether or not he is actually guilty. Tell a friend you can trust so that if something happens to you or the children, you have an advocate.

Now, should the relationship not last, whether it is fallout from recent events or just a natural progression in life,  you have some leverage for the divorce, a little money to keep you going, and some peace of mind. Hopefully all this advice is just me wasting text, but I figure, better safe than sorry, and I like being potentially helpful.  : )

Wishing you both all the best you deserve in love and life.


Anonymous: Cyber Criminals or Robin Hood for the Digital Age?

October 27, 2014

I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to information leaks: There are some things I just don’t think we need to know.  I figured government secrets were secret for a reason. I was never heavily into politics. I did some research, elected people, and just trusted them to run the city/state/country. From the two terms of President Bush and leading up to and following the election of President Obama, I was much more aware. And disturbed.  The lies of Fox news and hateful rhetoric used to influence their viewers, the viewers who believed them even though there were facts that said otherwise, amazed me.  Almost daily, congress became a major source of entertainment and fright. It was a cross between a soap opera, SNL sketch, Onion article, TV thriller and con-artist show.  Seeing what were supposed to be respectable elected officials act like children, blatantly lie, throw tantrums and just unashamedly show their ass in public was the scary part.  You don’t know if they are really as obtuse as they appear to be, or if they appear to be so for political/monetary gain, or what is worse: an idiot or someone who appears to be one while knowingly ruining the country, blocking good policies and enacting nonsense at the expense of our citizens. Anyway, prior to the last 10-12 years, I was basically tuned out. I only paid attention near election season.  In regards to leaks: If someone leaked information in a “whistle blower” fashion, exposing wrong doing, I was OK with that, but leaking information for the sake of leaking information, well, I really couldn’t stand behind that.  I had seen some write ups and news releases about wiki-leaks and  the cyber group “Anonymous”, and I just figured they were cyber criminals and sooner or later someone would catch up with them.

Then came Ferguson, Missouri.

Before Ferguson, I never really paid much attention to the hacker group Anonymous. Not wanting to be seen as behind something illegal,  I reluctantly followed some of them on twitter, because they were one of the few places I could see consolidated information regarding the events taking place in Ferguson after the killing of Mike Brown.  I was still on the edge about hacking and bringing down police and other public sites, but their passion and compassion for the people of Ferguson could not be denied, which I had to respect. Then the respect grew. Ferguson is not the only cause they are involved in.  They are speaking truth to power, being a voice for people struggling without one and amplifying the voices of people who have little to no power in areas all over the globe. A group I would have once dismissed, I’ve come to root for and admire.  Now, I don’t want anyone to catch up with them. On one hand, I cringe at the thought of someone’s privacy being invaded, but on the other hand, they seem to get results, or at least a response. When people are stone walled and locked out by the powers that be, they go in a window and let everything air out.  Their actions, in turn, encourage others to investigate and uncover truths for themselves.  It’s a risk, because what is being used for good could very easily be used for evil, but it’s hard to be against something or someone who is in your corner, and helping the underdog. I’d like to thank all the different Anonymous groups for their support and help in bringing attention to the corruption and abuses in Ferguson. Things may change in the future, but for now, I wish Anonymous and their band of Merry Men (and women) all the best.

With all due respect: FUCK YOU Bill Maher

October 25, 2014

From the most recent Real Time episode:

BILL MAHER: You know what else I find disturbing is that everybody in America just sides with their own people and doesn’t look at the facts. The cops, I saw on the news a couple of weeks ago, were wearing bracelets or something that said, “I am Darren Wilson.” Why do you want to throw your lot in with this plain murderer?

And Michael Brown’s people. I’m sorry, but Michael Brown’s people say he is a gentle giant. Well, we saw of when he was in that 7-11. No, he wasn’t a gentle giant. He was committing a robbery and he pushed that guy. He was acting like a thug, not a gentle giant. He certainly didn’t deserve to be shot for it. (HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, October 24, 2014)

Fuck you, Bill.

Now Bill isn’t the first person to say this about Mike Brown, and he does agree he was wrongly killed. My sister is of the same mindset: Mike Brown was a “thug” and Officer Wilson is a “dirty, murdering cop”.  I’ve also had conversations with others who thought along the same lines:

“I was very sad and disappointed when I heard the news that this young brother had robbed a store. His mother had us believe he was a big teddy bear who wouldn’t harm a fly. That he was just a young cool kid who was on his way to his grand-mothers house when he was accosted by the police for walking in the street. In just a few days he was on his way to college. With a story like that we all need to get behind a brother like that.

Man, the way he threw that clerk around this guy has “thug” written all over him. These type of people are in the the ATL everyday doing home invasions, killing innocent families on the regular. Someone robbing a store is not normal behavior. My friends and I were never robbing people when we were kids,  that never entered our mind.

I know what I’m saying is not popular, but we can’t use up our resources and good will on this dude, no way in  hell I would be out on the street championing a dude that in any day might be robbing or killing me.” (Edited for language, ironic considering my title huh?)

I’ll say now what I said then:

“How much dirt do teens do that their parents know nothing about? How many kids are shoplifting on dares or for the thrill of it and taking and sending naked selfies? There was a bunch of white kids running a prostitute ring, I’m sure their parents didn’t know until the cops came knocking. He didn’t have a criminal record so if he was acting a fool outside the house and not bringing the drama home, I wouldn’t expect his mother to know. When I was growing up, it was called respecting your mother’s house. Plus, they had inquired at the QT store (not the liquor store where it took place) so she didn’t have any reason to believe differently.”

Black kids often look older and more mature than kids of the same age of other races. People tend to perceive them as needing to be controlled, instead of guiding them and allowing self expression. I’ve seen young black boys scolded for doing things that are appropriate for their age while other kids around them exhibit the same behavior and go unaddressed or are encouraged in their behavior. When you are a black kid and bigger than the others, like Mike Brown, it’s even worse.  Bigger kids are always constantly reminded not to hurt others and to mind their strength. They often have their childhoods inhibited to a degree and are not free to express themselves, because in being open and active, they intimidate others. They are told they are too old to do things that is perfectly fine for other physically smaller kids of the same age. They never really get to “wild out” like other kids do. Older kids may not want to play with them because of their age, and if they do then sometimes they get exposed to things at an inappropriate level or that they aren’t ready to handle.  So, if Mike’s upbringing was typical of that which most kids in similar situations receive, I expect everyone around him thought of him as a “gentle giant” because in actuality he was. He had probably had it instilled in him since he could walk to be mindful and considerate of his physical interactions in relation to others.

From an early age, black children in general  are taught to view their behavior though the eyes of others and adjust it accordingly.  Ask any black man about not making sudden movements to keep others (read: white folks) at ease. Ask them about speaking slowly, in calming tones in order to try to maintain the peace of mind and security of someone else.  Ask any black person about going shopping well dressed, because if you are casual in jeans and a t-shirt, store clerks wont take you seriously, especially when it comes to buying big ticket items such as a car. When shopping, I was always taught to keep my hands visible, not to dig through my purse or open it except when I was at the register, not to wear big coats or carry big purses or place my hands in and out my pockets where someone might think I was shoplifting. I was well into adulthood when I was able to get to the point where I was able to go into a store and walk out with out making some kind of  purchase, even when they didn’t have what I was looking for, so as not to be thought a thief.

The problem goes beyond this though. When black and white kids display poor behavior, they are judged differently. The black kid’s behavior is seen as being indicative of inherent character flaws and innate criminal tendencies,  but the white kid is just going through a phase. Mike used his size to intimidate a store clerk, and while no one is making excuses for that, nor is it related to the shooting incident, somehow that one incident is being used to say he was irredeemable.  He was just a kid. They make bad decisions. He would have gone on to college, matured, and become a responsible adult. The white kids at pumpkin fest, who were older than Mike and already in college,  breaking out windows, looting stores, starting fires, well they were just being a little rowdy. They will grow out of it. Mike? Well there was no hope for him, those six bullets just stopped him from robbing someone else later on.

The person in the discussion I quoted above went on to say because he was in the adult business, that if he had died similarly and info on his business ventures got out, it would “derail the movement”  because “you need someone clean to lead a movement, even in death.”

I say this is bullshit.

We are individuals. We need to get away from black people being collectively guilty or innocent based on the actions of one or a few. We need to get away from saying a black person doesn’t deserve justice because they are poor, have a past, are not well spoken, wear hoodies or sagging pants etc. No other race has to have their victims vetted to see if they are worthy to seek justice for wrongs visited upon them. This is victim blaming and shaming.

It’s asking us to play the game by a set of rules no one else is using by telling black people if you do a,b,c or d, and be the “good negro” then you would be treated well and not be on the receiving end of violence or of racist acts and hate crimes. It is a lie. For decades we have been doing all sorts of contortions to have someone else pass judgement as to whether or not we are worthy to exist and breath the same air and have the same protections that all American’s are supposed to have under the protection of the law by simply being citizens. That’s like telling an abused child that mommy wouldn’t beat them and burn them with the iron or lock them in the closet for days on end if they kept their room clean, or played quietly or got good grades. No, mommy is a deranged monster and no matter how well behaved the kid is, when mommy gets good and ready she is going to go off. None of the changes he makes to his behavior  to try to placate her will make one iota of difference. We set some white people off simply because we exist, and it isn’t because we don’t dress like them, or speak like them or carry ourselves a certain way. The only trigger they need is our non-white skin and it doesn’t matter whether it’s covered in a a hoodie or a suit. Oprah is one of the wealthiest and well respected black women in the world. President Obama is leader of the free world.  The Obama family is the epitome of respectability.  Yet there are people who would hunt them down like animals if they could and mount their heads as trophies. If they aren’t exempt from being called n*ggers and apes, and being the target of racists, why would anyone in the hood or on a lower social/economic level be any different? Hell, often being well to do and successful sets them off even more.

The bottom line is that the protests that are going on are not about Mike Brown’s character. Protester’s are not out for two months straight because they are defending “an angel” incapable of wrong doing.  People protesting are not blindly taking Mike’s side, or denying he was flawed. If this is what you, Bill or anyone else thinks, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s about the fact that according to multiple witnesses, recorded immediately in the aftermath, he had his hands up in surrender and was shot multiple times (excessive force),  and then left to lie like an animal in the street for 4+ hours. It’s about Ferguson police bypassing basic policing 101 and not filing a police report. (I actually believe they did file a report and made it disappear. The robbery report involving Brown referenced both a Ferguson and St Louis County police incident report number the day he was killed, yet it took them 20+ days to release a report amounting to a blank sheet of paper. At the very least they are incompetent and guilty of shoddy police work. I’ve heard of confrontations between officers and citizens resulting in the shooting of a dog where a more thorough incident report was filed. I’d like to think that people are worthy of more consideration than a German Shepard.) It’s about It’s about having no confidence in the local law enforcement, whose ranking officers have a history of lying and falsifying police reports, but are asking us to believe them now when they say Mike Brown went for the holstered weapon of a police officer in a SUV.  It’s about withholding the name of the police officer, giving them time to scrub social media before the general public and reporters could vet him. It’s about Ferguson and St. Louis County police officers trampling on the civil and constitutional rights of it’s citizens and news reporters, treating a grieving community as criminals in a war zone instead of concerned citizens seeking answers. Ferguson has transcended Mike Brown. He was the last straw in a long line of slights and abuses across the entire nation. It’s now also about justice for all the other Mike Brown’s who are shot or beaten by police, who face no repercussions even with video evidence of wrong doing, because they did it with a badge on. It’s about preventing our loved ones from being the next Mike Brown.

One last thought:  I’ve seen comments to the effect that because police shootings are such a small percentage of incidents,  that we shouldn’t pursue this issue:

This shows a total lack of compassion. This is viewing people as stats, as numbers on a page. By this logic, since the majority of people drive sober, we shouldn’t campaign against drunk driving. Since the majority of husbands don’t beat their wives, we can ignore domestic violence. Since the majority of children aren’t abused or molested, no awareness is needed.  Since the majority of children are born without birth defects, we don’t need to try to prevent them. This is telling people, who have been victims of police violence, that their pain is insignificant because the stats are insignificant. We are tired of having our pain and grievances dismissed. I don’t care if only one person in all the world is the victim of police brutality, they deserve justice. Also, please keep in mind, the drama going on in Ferguson is just to get Wilson indicted to be brought to trial, not an actual trial to determine his guilt or innocence. The family of Mike Brown and the people of Ferguson want and deserve to have Officer Wilson give an account of his actions and have them publicly weighed in a court of law.

Someone lost a loved one. Good or bad, Mike Brown was loved and mattered to someone. Several someones. If your loved one was killed, for whatever reason, would you want answers? If you lost your child, your spouse, your best friend, under normal circumstances, let alone a violent shooting, and could not get straight forward answers, how would you react? Yeah, I thought so.

Where is the Clergy on Ferguson and Race Relations?

September 1, 2014

I’m a huge sci-fi fan. I like it all from the cheesy to the spectacular. Some of the content that has come out over the years has been frowned upon by some Christians, but I don’t tend to freak out when I see a “Christian theme” expressed in secular entertainment. I see it more as making a Christian concept understandable in “layman’s” terms. One such concept was delivered in the 4th season of Angel, an episode titled “Sacrifice”.  Episode 86 on netflix.  I wish I had the video clip to share. The demon Jasmine had come to have influence on the human population, with promises of peace and love. For lack of a better description she had basically possessed the people exposed to her. She could see what they see, feel what they feel and control them. She referred to them as the Body of Jasmine.  At the very end of the episode, her soldiers were descending upon the band of dissenters who had seen her true face and were no longer under her influence. As fighting commenced every slash, gunshot, or other wound visited upon those she dwelt in, manifested on her body.  As I watched her demonically laugh, seeming to enjoy all this, it occurred to me that this is what it must be like for the body of Christ when believers indwelt with the Holy Spirit, strike out at each other. The harm is visited upon the whole body, unbeknownst to us. It had such a profound effect on me, seeing the VISUAL, that I’ve never forgotten it, and it always comes to mind when I see Christians at odds with each other or divided somehow on one issue or another.

One such divide resolves around race.  We’ve all seen the historical photographs of black people being lynched or otherwise terrorized. Even now roughly 80% of Americans identify as Christian, so it’s not too far fetched to assume that these same people who could have a family outing for such morbid entertainment as a lynching on Saturday, were probably in church praising God on Sunday, and feeling guilt free.

So when I ask “Where is the clergy?”, I mean where are they when it comes to addressing racial injustice  by perpetrators who identify as Christian.  I know there have been clergy on the ground in Ferguson.  Some have been injured standing with protestors. I saw all the pastors who attended the gathering with Al Sharpton, (when you proudly stood as he asked the clergy present to show themselves, y’all weren’t expecting that $100.00 donation request were you? haha…)  and those who attended the Michael Brown funeral services. But where is the national church conversation, directed in-house, at Christians who hold racial biases and feel justified in doing so?  Also where is the conversation with the black youth who see Christianity as just another form of “white oppression”, designed to keep black people pacified, and less likely to revolt when they experience perceived (read: real, actual, concrete, and video taped) wrongs? Should they feel they can trust the church when they do not see their white brothers and sisters in Christ even addressed for their actions or skewed thinking?

See, when Christians are being persecuted in some manner, what generally tends to happen is that the victims hear something along the lines of “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” or “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Perhaps, “In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. ”  In other words, be patient they will get theirs. Just stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord.  We hear  promises such as  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Not really convincing when you’ve seen the future of an 18 year old ended by 6 shots and no guaranteed justice in sight.  Not to mention remaining steadfast while seeking said justice when people vehemently oppose considering it for someone who had recently robbed a local store for cigars, as though that one act makes him ineligible for all time, or nullifies the wrong done to him by another. Weariness can definitely set in when you feel powerless and unheard. It wears one out to experience repeated insults and injuries while the world is either indifferent to or delighting in your misery. Death by 1000 paper cuts. You bleed out in the middle of the crowd, and remain invisible the entire time. This is not to discount the word. I believe the word of God has power. (I know there are those outside the faith that believe scriptures such as those above only encourage inaction and discourage working to change one’s situation, and while there are some who have used the word as such, the bible does not advocate this.)  In times of challenges, these and other scripture have indeed been a real and present help, making it possible for Christians to hold on and weather hard times and injustice. However, when they are uttered as simple platitudes to absolve oneself from taking action to help another, or to allow evil to go unchallenged, we rob them of their power, and bring no real comfort to those who need it.

Where are the teachings that state “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” or “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”  or “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” or “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.” or “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” or even a simple “You reap what you sow”? I was always taught that “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When is the clergy going to call out their congregation for sowing and speaking hate and division? Or do they not recognize black people as their brothers and sisters in Christ?

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to destruction.”  is sometimes used to justify/excuse the actions of people. They just don’t know better.  Victims are told to love everyone and not let evil overcome good. The perpetrators aren’t getting told anything.  I was always taught that the word of God convicts you in your heart of wrong doing. You are compelled to change or go crazy rebelling. Yet when it comes to racism, race relations and indifference toward people of color and their experiences,  white folks aren’t hearing the word that would convict their hearts, allow them to have compassion and  possibly lead to repentance around their actions.  People and organizations can shed light on racism, show it’s effects, and pass laws, but you can’t legislate someone’s heart and mind. People have to have their own epiphany, their own “Come to Jesus” moment.  In failing to address this, the church is failing us.

The Church is not supposed to look like “the world”. It is supposed to stand on biblical principles, regardless of what the mainstream way of thinking happens to be at the moment. Sadly, the world has a lot more influence in the church than it should have.  How else do you explain something like what happened in Mississippi?  Members of a majority white church opposed having a black couple wed there.  Not an interracial couple, which caused church controversy before, even though there is no biblical basis to oppose it – this was  a basic black couple.  So instead of the pastor telling them all to kiss his backside and the backsides of all the saints throughout all the ages, he gave in and officiated over the wedding elsewhere in order to save his job. Now maybe they don’t make pastors the way they used to, but as I was taught the word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever,  I thought that Galatians 1:10 still applied: For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Guess I was wrong.

Some may say there is no issue because they attend where there is a multicultural congregation, or because some whites/non-blacks may be willing to “sit under” a black pastor, such as TD Jakes,  Fred Price Sr.,  or whomever it is  that is well respected locally.  That is inconsequential.  Aside from the wedding example given above (of which the couple was probably unaware of the attitudes held in the hearts of their fellow church-goers until they were refused a place for their ceremony), for one, black people have always been willing to take religious instruction from a white pastor. Secondly, when you have someone with the reach of Jakes or Price, or one who has amassed a certain amount of respect, they are seen as the exception to the rule of whatever negative image is held for black people in general. Believing there is not an issue simply because there are black people in the congregation, or white people receiving instruction from a black pastor, is akin to situations where someone says something racially insensitive and seeks to rationalize it as not being an issue because they have “black friends” or friends of whatever race they just insulted.

When ever something blows up in “the world”, I go visit to see what the Christian view point is regarding politics or current events.  I’m almost always saddened by what I read there.  I made a recent trip over there to see what the commentary was around Ferguson. There are always opposing voices on both sides of an issue, and they have trolls just like every other forum, but to see someone, seemingly intelligent, argue as to why we (black people) should be feared (we are huge, violent, and own the sucker punch apparently) is disturbing to say the least. I don’t think they are “bad” people, necessarily, but I wonder how much exposure to black people these posters have had in their day to day lives. Perhaps they are one of the many who can live their lives and barely come in contact with black people, aside from what they see on TV.  If so,  maybe they are not hearing sermons about brotherly love in a racial context, because no black peers = no problem. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak.

Regardless, it’s unsettling to see some of the mindset that Mike Brown couldn’t have been redeemed.  Forgiveness and redemption are throughout the bible.  Forgiveness is not just a get out of jail hell free card when we have wronged someone. We are taught to forgive, as we have been forgiven by Christ.  So it strikes me as odd that while Paul persecuted and killed Christians, and was worthy to go on and be a leader in the early church, Mike brown stole some cigars and is  only worthy and deserving of the 6 shots he received, even if the officer in the situation wasn’t aware of it at the time. This is not to cast dispersion on, it’s a good place overall. I’ve asked for and received prayer there, and submitted questions to the ask a Chaplin section, and received very helpful replies. Also, as I said there is opposing views to balance out what I consider “the bad”. It just bothers me that (some) people who are my brothers and sisters in Christ (according to the bible, if not in their own minds) truly believe black people are superhuman, bullet proof, rowdy, violent machines and everyone should fear us coming for your wallets and your daughters at knife point.

In light of all this,  I’d like to see an effort on behalf of pastors who have a national and international audience address these issues.  Reprimand the members who would other wise look down upon and separate themselves from or even seek to harm or discriminate against other members who are all of the same Body.  Get us to stop cutting ourselves, and doing harm to the body of Christ. I’d like them to tell the youth why the church is not outdated, and black youth specifically why it still applies to them. (A word of warning:  Young people have a BS detector that is unmatched in this universe. They know when someone is being real, when someone is speaking on what they truly believe,  and when someone is just spewing talking points because it is what they are expected to say. They are also highly observant when it comes to disparities in how they and others around them are treated, and will write someone off with the quickness who is being less than genuine.)

Now, I may come off sounding as ignorant as those who question “Where is the outrage about black on black crime?” Who assume because they haven’t seen it, there is none. (Though that is a separate, made up issue,  the existence of such crime does not justify or nullify the existence of brutality at the hands of official police authority). Perhaps there had been an effort to discuss race, and I just haven’t seen it. I am not as avid a watcher of television ministries as I have been in the past, and it’s quite possible I missed it. I don’t recall anyone speaking out on race since Fred Price, and even he said he got flack and lost relationships over it. So if you have seen such a sermon, or your pastor has had such discussion please share, as  I’d like my hope renewed. My faith in God is absolute. His servants? Not so much.


Comments about Ferguson made by clergy I have seen so far:

TD Jakes:

TD Jakes daughter, Sarah:

I thought I had seen a video response posted of Fred Price Jr. speaking on Ferguson. I was planning to watch it later, but I am unable to find it, and searching turned up nothing.

I  came across this just as I was going to post this blog piece. He gets it, I think:


Scripture references used:

Galatians 6:9 Matthew 5:39  Isaiah 63:9  Jeremiah 29:11 Galatians 3:28 1 John 4:20-21
John 13:34-35 1 John 2:9-11 1 John 3:15  Galatians 6:7 Luke 6:45  Matthew 12:34
Proverbs 14:12  Romans 12:21 Hebrews 4:12 Galatians 1:10

Get Your Read On! Resources for Free E-books!

March 19, 2013
Photo courtesy of Roch Public Library.

Photo courtesy of Roch Public Library

On various sites I frequent I often post links to free e-books, but that can be very time consuming and no guarantee my interest will match the masses at large. Consequently, I decided to do a comprehensive post of the sites I frequent and info on ways to find free and bargain e-books. For sites that also have a twitter account, that is often the easiest way to keep track of books as they normally update their twitter feeds as books are posted to the main site. Most sites I visit post kindle books,  but I have a couple of nook options below as well.

Free Book Dude:

Free and bargain Christian books:


The E-reader Cafe posts 3-4 times a day and tends to have more full length books:

The main Free Daily Books site posts free and bargain books, the twitter feed just posts the free books:

Digital Ink:


Kindle Spice romance and erotica:

Smut Post erotica (often hardcore):

Free Par-tay  Mostly romance, some young adult. If you sign up for their email list, once or twice a month they will email you when they have their free book promo.  It’s normally several authors who sell through Amazon for kindle, they agree to make their books free for 3-4 days and link back to the free par-tay site. Also following the links in the email will enter you into a drawing for an gift card:

Other Freebie Resources:

Mobile read is an e-book reader community forum. They have help and support for all models of e-readers. They also have an author section where author’s often will post when their books are going on sale and a Freebies section that posts books as they become available for free.

All major book sites also tend to have free books also. You can normally do a search or pick a category and sort price low to high. Often when a book is free on one site, it will become free on the other sites.

Kobo books:

Sony Reader Store:


Smashwords will have e-books in all formats suitable for nook, kindle and other e-readers:


All Romance:

Google Books:


Amazon has a top 100 free under most categories. I will add books I’m interested in to my wish list and check it regularly to see if the price has dropped.

Barnes and Noble:

Barnes and Noble’s blog usually gives away a free book every friday:

Outside the USA/Canada?

Also check your local library. Most have the overdrive service which can download to most e-readers. Many e-readers often have an overdrive app built in.

Need an ereader and can’t decide which one to buy?

Check online reviews. Visit Good E-reader for comprehensive reviews.

See also: Mobile reader

E-reader King:

The E-reader King twitter feed hasn’t had any recent activity, but the main site still has lots of good info.

Cnet is always a good standby:

If all else fails, search for the device you are interested in on youtube. There will often be hands-on video reviews.

Finally, if you don’t have an e-reader, but have a smart phone or tablet, you may have a kindle or nook app available in your app catalog.

Also both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have free e-reader software so you can read from your PC or laptop:

Happy Reading!!

Pregnancy from “Legitimate” rape: God’s will? My two cents…

October 25, 2012

By now you’ve probably heard the latest ruckus over another GOP hack presuming to know what is best for every woman in America, possibly the world. Back in August, it was Todd Akin with his “legitimate rape”  comment, where he asserted that women have the innate ability to prevent unwanted pregnancy if they are actually, really, truly, LEGITIMATELY being raped.  Thousands of years on the planet, billions of rapes since the inception of mankind who knew that all this time women held the key to preventing unwanted pregnancies?  Got raped and got pregnant? Well you ENJOYED it, you slut you. So not only are women being held responsible for the rape (wrong place, wrong time,  inappropriate clothing, no male chaperone, you didn’t say “No!” like you REALLY meant it, or you did but you didn’t MEAN it) but now we also responsible for not being able to control our biology. I’ve yet to learn if a man rapes a woman and he WANTS her to become pregnant, if his biology overrules her biology, you know with the menfolk being superior and the ultimate authority and all, but I digress.

After Akin I thought I’d heard it all, but this week Richard Mourdock took it one step further. To add to the concept that if a pregnancy results from a rape, it was not “legitimate”, come to find out  it’s God’s will, too.  Mourdock said, “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

As a Christian,  and a woman, I’ve also struggled over the desire to please God and be a “good” Christian, and the desire to control my own destiny, my own body and apply biblical principles to modern issues. It’s has not always been easy. Even if I’ve not been able to live it fully,  I was  taught, and I believe,  1Corinthians 6:19-20:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

That passage deals with sexual immorality, but the principle has been used and applied to other facets of the Christian life.  Then there is Jeremiah 1:5:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

And let us not forget Psalm 139:13-16:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Now to be fair, I believe Mourdock when he later said that he meant the pregnancy was God’s will, not the rape. We are taught, and I believe,  that God, though not the source of evil,  will use evil done to us for our benefit and can take the bitterness out of a situation. As Roman 8:28 states:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  I’ll get back to that in a moment, but first I’d like  submit to you a few things for your consideration:

First, if we go by biblical standards, death of a child before it was fully formed and able to survive on it’s own was not considered murder.  In Exodus 21:22 When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges. If a fetus dies before being fully formed and able to live outside a woman’s body, it was a fine, not a capital offense such as murder would have required. So according to scripture, abortion would not be murder. (Note: not everyone agrees that this is the proper interpretation of this scripture) I think the partial birth abortions qualify, but not the standard ones that are performed. Since the bible says the life is in the blood there has been some saying that life begins when blood forms in the fetus, but that was never the traditional view for Jews or Christians. Traditionally life began with the first breath. In Gen 2:7 man was fully formed, but didn’t become alive until the breath of God entered. …then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. According to scripture you are not a living human being until you draw your first breath and your soul enters. Now people say, “well that was then, now we have modern technology and we know when the heart starts beating, ” and so on and so forth. Either the bible is infallible or it’s not.  God created man. Our biology is not new to Him. He didn’t need ultrasounds to be created to figure out when the heart starts beating.  You mean to tell me He didn’t know how what He put together worked? Any other time science is opposed to God, but now they want to use technology. I’m not saying I agree or disagree, I just wish they’d be consistent.

Second, God is not powerless. God, we are taught,  is all-powerful and  “all knowing”.  He has seen the end from the beginning. Though He allows us free will, He knows what we are going to do before we know we are going to do it. He knows who will live and when, and who will die. If it is meant for someone to live, they WILL live, against all odds: Moses had a purpose. When Pharoh ordered all newborn Hebrew sons killed, not only was Moses spared, he was raised in Pharoh’s household.  Jesus had a purpose. When King Herod ordered all the male children in Bethlehem to be killed, God warned Joseph in a dream, warned the wise men via an angel, and got Jesus to safety.  Man cannot thwart the divine will of God. If you have any fear regarding this, you underestimate God.

Now,  I do believe that God can turn any bad situation around.  I believe all things work together for good. If ever in any situation I have cause to give council, it will be on the side of life. I’m pro-choice not pro-abortion.  Religious upbringing aside,  if there is anyway possible to have the birth brought to term, then that is my preference.  There is adoption, and other family members who will often step up and provide a home. I’m not naive enough to believe though that another woman is mentally stable and  has the support and/or resources to make that choice. Nor do I believe that if she makes the choice to end a pregnancy that it could be done lightly under ANY circumstances, let alone after having been raped.

First, there is the trauma and anger over the rape. Assuming the woman reported it and was believed (and not blamed), she may not have a support network who can help, or the ability and resources to seek counseling. She not only often has to deal with the unfounded shame of the rape (the meme it was her fault),  but then have the additional trauma of a daily reminder as her body changes and she is forced to carry with her a part of her rapist,   and the shame (though not as prevalent today) of an out of wedlock pregnancy. If she was married and someone raped her, she has to deal with all of this and try to keep her marriage together.  I’ve yet to hear men speak of how they would deal if their wives were raped and became pregnant, how they would feel about keeping and raising the child.  Often the ones the most vocal about restricting a woman’s rights, are the most hypocritical when they are in a situation where an abortion is to their benefit. You abuse it, but when it is their wife, their daughter, their sister, their mistress, then it is necessary.

Second, there is the economic impact. Gone are the days where Doc Johnson stopped by to make the delivery and then the stay-at-home-wife’s mother and friends helped with the care until she could get back on her feet tending house. It cost’s thousands to have a child. Married couples with good planning and insurance struggle with the expense. And contrary to popular belief, a woman doesn’t get get raped and then hop up and go on about her merry way as though it is an everyday occurrence.  So assuming the rape victim doesn’t get fired for missing days as a result of her trauma, and has good health insurance since the GOP wants to end medicaid and Obamacare , and even the contraception that could have possibly prevented the pregnancy, she and therefore the child, could end up in poverty. Also since the GOP also wants to end programs that can help women get out of poverty, such has food stamps, headstart, pell grants etc.,  they will most likely STAY in poverty. Wealthy women have always had a few more options.  Whether it is being sent/going away to give birth, or traveling where medical procedures are legal, they have the resources to minimize  negative outcomes  of unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.  (Side note: If you actually think there is a majority of women using abortion as birth control after the fact, make sure actual birth control is available. I know religious folks hate anyone getting freaky outside of marriage but newsflash, this behavior is not new and not everyone is Christian where they should be held to biblical standards in the first place.)

It is not my intention to give anyone a “free pass” for any behavior. However I realize that every situation is different and none of them are as cut and dried as men trying to dictate reproductive  policy seem to think they are.  I’ve not even touched on situations where there is incest or the rape victim is a minor. I can’t say whether it is right or wrong for someone to end their pregnancy. If she doesn’t will the child grow up abused, unloved, poor or on a path to prison? Even two parent homes have this outcome. Will they be they discover the cure for cancer or be the next Barack Obama? Who knows. All I know is that it is a personal decision.  One between a woman, her doctor and God.  I respect the views of Mourdock and others who wish to preserve life.  I agree with the need to do so, though I believe this is better served with preventing the “need” for an abortion. (Education, contraceptives, family planning, programs to help once a child is born) I just don’t respect the way they go about it, forcing others to share their views, when they have no clear authority, moral or otherwise, to do so. God gives free will, I don’t know why the GOP is hell bent on trying to legislate it away.

There is no “war” against women

April 11, 2012

War by definition is an open conflict between two or more parties. One may have more and better resources or be more strategic, but  everyone generally  has a good idea of what’s going on, knows they’re in a war and acts or reacts accordingly. Most women are just now being made aware of some of the awful legislation being passed during the last 2-3 years, and are still not aware that it is part of a concerted effort across the 50 states.  A better analogy when it comes to this onslaught against women’s rights would be shooting fish in a barrel. The fish being our basic rights and freedoms and the shooters being politicians seeking to push more of a religious ideal, rather than acting on a political mandate to meet the desires of a majority of their constituents. Oh, and instead of using ammo, they’re using dynamite and blowing our democracy all to hell.

Most of the rights under fire are in relation to our health and reproductive choices. There is the bid to redefine rape. Some want to make it legal to kill doctors who provide abortions.  Others want hospitals to let  women die rather than provide an abortion that would save their life.  Not to mention allowing doctors to lie to women about their health and the health of their unborn child if they think it would prevent a woman from choosing to abort.  Media Matters has a list of more, but I don’t think it is a comprehensive list. I was somewhat taken aback when a t.v. pundit referred to some of these actions as treating women like “second class citizens”, as I’ve always associated that term with treatment toward racial groups,  but after Wisconsin got rid of their equal pay law, I think it might be appropriate.

The Catholic Church says contraception is against God’s will, but viagra is not. Rick Santorum says contraception is a license to get buck wild outside of marriage. I guess no married couples hold off having kids to when they can be responsible and afford to take care of them properly. Man cannot thwart the will of God. If you are meant to be born, you will be.  I’ll take Rick, the rest of the GOP and the Catholic Church seriously when they propose restricting viagra. I call on the republican members of congress to propose an amendment to the ACA and modify their own healthcare insurance polices so that viagra is covered only for married men who have not  had a vasectomy and whose wives are of child bearing age, uterus intact and no known infertility conditions and likewise for the Catholic Church to only cover viagra for married couples that meet that criteria.

I’m getting REALLY tired of men trying to regulate my and the rest of womankind’s “naughty” parts. It just brings to mind all the ways that women are supposed to be the sultry seductress causing “righteous” men to stumble.  They are never responsible for their own actions. The devil made them do it. Like they need any help from us or him. I’m tired of all the language around all these bills implying women are vapid, devious, can’t make their own (sound) decisions, are willing to call rape at the drop of a hat and desire to use abortion as a form of birth control. We can and have the right to make our own decisions to decide and provide for our futures. At least for the time being.  My question is: If God gives free will, why are men trying to take it away?


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