We’ve Been Marching, so what’s next?

Yeah, so this racism and police brutality has gotten completely out of control.  Well, actually it has always been present, the video documentation of these heinous acts has simply proven what Blacks and other minority groups have been accusing for decades.  So now we have dash cam and police body cam videos, along with tons of civilian video proof, but still no real action.

There are so many incidents of unarmed Blacks dying at the hands of the police that the names become a blur.  Let’s start with Amadou Diallo back in 1999, who was shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet.  Then there was Sean Bell, leaving a strip club after his Bachelor party in Queens in 2006, shot 50 times while in his car. The movie Fruitvale Station was the true story of Oscar Grant’s cold-blooded murder while lying face down and restrained at a BART station in 2009.  How about  Trayvon Martin, whose killer, George Zimmerman, was tried and acquitted, despite overwhelming evidence that he cowardly attacked Trayvon without provocation. After Zimmerman’s acquittal, came the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A noble effort but the murders continued unfettered.  Then there’s the  12 year old with a toy gun,Tamir Rice, where cameras show that the police car barely came to a stop before the cop unloaded.  We all saw Eric Garner choked to death on camera, with a large crowd of witnesses present.  Even “suicide” victim Sandra Bland was seen being brutalized on camera, which I believe lead to her death from a brain injury.  Although her death was ruled a suicide, I call bullshit because she screamed out that the cop slammed her head into the ground.  I don’t believe for one minute that she committed suicide and the racist police department covered up their negligence.

I will be going to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving and seeing the recent murder involving yet another restrained Black man, Jamar Clark, reminded me of my own horrific encounter with the Minneapolis police back in 2009.  My partner, her daughter and I were walking across the parking lot adjacent to the Gay Nineties nightclub when a barrage of gunshots rang out from the street.  We all were stunned and I immediately dropped to the ground.  I’m from NYC so I know the drill.  At the same time, my partner’s daughter’s cell phone rang and she, clearly not thinking straight, answered the call.  Next thing I know, the police swooped in on all of us with rifles drawn and I see a red dot on her head.  Shit got chaotic at that point!  My partner was screaming and begging the police not to shoot.  The obviously frightened policewoman was screaming, “Shut the Fuck Up!”, “Get on the ground!”, all the while nervously pointing the gun.  In the back of my mind I could just see how this could all go terribly wrong in an instant.  If we were shot, because of all the yelling, and the fact that my partner’s daughter is 6′ feet tall, the police would say we were resisting arrest and she feared for her life.  You know how the shit always goes, and there were no body cameras, dash cam  or cell phone video to even cast a reasonable doubt on to the officer’s story.  Not to mention, all of us were Black and the officers were white.

I remember being indignant and humiliated after being forced to lie down on the icy ground, like we were the shooters and not the victims.  Of all the illegal shit I have done in my life, and I get accosted by the police for this bullshit?!  I was so livid I don’t think I even could speak for at least an hour afterwards.  There was no attempt to find out where the shots came from, clearly they did not come from our group, but the police kept us on the ground with guns drawn for at least 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, this silly ass white girl on the ground next to me, called her partner inside the club to save her a seat!  I wanted to smack the shit out of her because she could have gotten us shot.  Perfect example of ignorance or entitlement, not sure which.

The bitter root of all of this homicidal behavior towards Blacks is racism, pure and simple.  Since President Obama was elected, hell since he was even in the running, White folks started losing their mind!  What the hell is the Tea Party other than an elitist group of racists longing for the good old days of niggers staying in their place?  All those good old boys trying to preserve relics of slavery like the Confederate flag and statues of Robert E. Lee, for what?  The Confederates lost the war, move on.  Every time I see a grizzled, toothless MF on the news trying to explain why honoring their racist ass ancestors is important, I see how deeply entrenched the hatred is towards Blacks in the US.  Why else would you glorify one of the most violent times in the history of this country, just to celebrate the Losers of the Civil War?  Even all of the bullshit about our Constitutional right to bear arms, is really about rednecks being armed for the perceived coming race war, that they have been trying to start for many years now.  If there was a sudden surge of  Blacks and Latinos purchasing guns, I bet the laws would change then.

Racism is so deeply entrenched in every area of American society that I don’t see how the systematic problem will be solved in my lifetime, if ever.  The film “Dear White People” is playing out in real life at Yale, Mizzou, Harvard, Georgetown, Duke and no doubt countless other prominent Universities across the country.  So clearly, being educated is not a deterrent from racism.  The dearth of a wide selection of positive minority images in the media, on both scripted and “reality” TV shows is proof that even the creative arena, White culture is the standard.  I mean, even Star Wars is getting backlash for casting a main Black character.  Remember when The Last Airbender movie came out, completely devoid of any Asian actors, although it was an Asian cartoon?  Even Rachel Dolezal was so sick of the racism perpetrated by her own race, she decided she would be better off as a Black woman, I guess to assuage some of that guilt she felt.  SMH.

So, we have been marching collectively since the 1960’s and I believe it’s time to take the next step.  There is all this rhetoric about “building bridges”, and “having a dialogue” about changing this racist culture but I see no unified, purposeful action.  With every incident, we show the proper amount of indignation and then we get back to our lives until the next outrage.  I’m all for peaceful protests but I think that the racists have called our bluff.  I mean Dylan Roof came into our house of worship to execute us in the name of White Supremacy and he is still alive.  Up until last night, in Minneapolis, White Supremacist shooters lit up the crowd of peaceful protesters.  I feel like we’re in the schoolyard being picked on by the bully while the teachers are watching.  Isn’t it time to put some economic power behind these protests?  That is what America understands, capitalism and the power of green.  I am not sure of exactly what to boycott but I know that there has got to be some actionable solution in addition to all this marching.  I was hopeful when the last Million Man March occurred, I thought at least Farrakhan will have some direction for the people.  However, since the media blacked out coverage on that event, I don’t know what the agenda even was!

This Thanksgiving, after eating all that good food, let’s give thanks to our ancestors for starting us off on the road to achieving civil rights.  Then let us pray for direction and a sustainable course of action to actually change the system.  Let us pray for the unification of the next generation of civil rights leaders to take us to the next level of true equality in America.  All this marching is simply not effective.

Please follow, like and share.

Sleeping With The Enemy Pt 2. : When The Enemy Is You

So, now that the Bitter Bitch moved out, the Scary Bitch is trying to move in!  WTH? I’m not having it.  I have finally come to the point in my life where I can create who I want to be and I have suddenly become a bit of a wuss.  One of the most crippling things in life is fear, which can also be called False Evidence Appearing Real.

The Scary Bitch has been trying to convince me that I am still not enough, that I still need to do more. She says, “You haven’t been published yet, how can you call yourself an author?”. She says, “You aren’t a trained chef, how can you sell meals?”. She says, “You haven’t worked in 5 years, your skills are ancient, no one will hire you”. That bitch is always trying to tell me what I am not while God keeps trying to tell me who I am. I have let this bitch talk me out of a few opportunities this past year, so I had to evict her!

 

Every time I have a conversation with a friend about what I should be doing, while encouraging them to do what they do, I remind myself that these conversations are going to inspire someone so I really should write them down. I have wonderful intentions…until I pick up that Ipad and get lost in the hypnotic colors of Angry Birds. Damn those Angry Birds, so many levels! After I waste a shameful amount of time on that bullshit, I snap out of it and make my way to the office to finally buckle down and write…but then I need a snack and well, I might as well take a small TV break…and you get how the rest of that day went. Which turned into weeks and then months.

As the old saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and I thoroughly understand that now. I always start out the gate like a jackrabbit, but the shiny things and dark clouds along the way easily distract me. Dark clouds like perfectionism, self-doubt, laziness, and procrastination. The shiny things are all my favorite TV shows, spending hours downloading music, leisurely reading “researching” subjects for essays that I plan to write, and to keep it 100, some occasional porn when I’m really trying to waste time. Don’t judge me. LOL

Basically, none of the great intentions count for anything unless I take action to bring them to fruition. The gap between the intention and the action should be bridged by motivation, but instead fear has crept into my psyche in the form of those dark clouds I mentioned above, the most sinister being procrastination.

For instance, I started this post about 6 months ago and after talking myself out of it, making excuses and basically just bullshitting I have finally gotten back to completing it.  At first, I told myself that I wasn’t qualified to dispense advice because I am not a therapist by trade.  Then I wrestled with content, like I was trying to prepare a thesis or something. I always be on some extra shit!

 

I love what Louise Hay says about procrastination in her book; You Can Heal Your Life.

“If one of my belief systems or thought patterns is “I am unworthy”, then one of my outer effects will probably be procrastination.  After all, procrastination is one way to keep us from getting where we say we want to go.  Most people who procrastinate will spend a lot of time and energy berating themselves for procrastinating.  They will call themselves lazy and generally will make themselves out to feel they are “bad persons”.

I reluctantly admit that I spend a ridiculous amount of time analyzing and coming up with plans to correct my flaws. While watching Joyce Meyer today, I was reminded that I am a human being not a “human doing”, and that I am good enough for God as I am. So basically, my pursuit of self-realization, introspection and spiritual evolution is what seeking after the kingdom of God means. I never really knew what that phrase meant in practical terms, it always sounded so lofty and noble. I mean, I’m of the Drake mindset for real. “I want the money, cars and the clothes, I suppose I just wanna be successful”. I am competitive by nature and this has always been my measure of “real” success. Although, I’m not obsessed with materialism, I have to admit I am bit of a label whore. Purely for quality, not prestige…mostly.   Ever since I was a child, my mother always told me I had champagne taste and beer money. My friends constantly tease me about being “bougie”, but I see no reason to apologize for liking the finer things in life. If I’m not striving to be able to experience the best this world has to offer, then what is my motivation? I find there is a delicate balance between ambition and materialism, which is what convolutes the subjective definition of success.

So this brings me back to the Human Being vs. Doing concept. Continuing to be rooted and confident in my character as a decent human being, walking in love, integrity and genuine service to my fellow man is my new definition of success. I still want all the tangible blessings like money and bling but I have learned to be grateful for all the lessons I am learning while on this journey. I am kicking the enemies out of my head and forging along in God’s strength, no longer worrying about my own qualifications. God’s supernatural power is best shown through my human frailty.

 

Please follow, like and share.

Holler If You Hear Me Review

This documentary struck quite a few nerves in me, because as you know, my last post was on this very subject.  Mr. Cane successfully illuminated much of the hypocrisy experienced by myself and others raised in the Black church.  The two things that resonated with me the most were the feelings of inadequacy and shame experienced by the leader of the youth shelter, and the resilient spirit of the abused young lady that had the accident.  I also was in my feelings about the couple who got married, without the blessing of her Mother, but I will share that in a future post.  I have only attended one affirming church here in the DC area, and it was such a relief for my gayness to be a non-issue.  The Vision Church shown in the documentary seems very COGICish for my taste but I would definitely visit if I was in Atlanta.  This is an excellent film that can be used to simply gain empathy for what LGBT people experience in the pursuit of trying to worship God corporately, as the Bible instructs.

I have always wanted to share my wisdom with other LGBT youth in the church but there is really no proper way to go about offering my advice.  After seeing this documentary, I know that there are others that need to hear my story and that I AM on the right path to using the gifts God has blessed me with.  #MemoirsOfABitterBitch coming soon.

Please follow, like and share.

I’D RATHER BE AN OUTSIDER: How rejection freed me.

So, I have been wrestling with my emotions on this church situation since this past April, when I applied for partnership/membership at the church I have been attending and volunteering at since 2012. After listening to Dr. David Anderson’s sermon this morning on “belonging” being necessary in the Christian life, I decided this was the perfect time to tell this story.

“Now I realize that I’m free

And I realize that I’m me

And I found out that I’m not alone cause’ there’s plenty people like me

That’s right there’s plenty people like me

All love me, despite me

And all unashamed and all unafraid to speak out for what we might see

I said there’s plenty people like me

All outsiders like me

And all unashamed and all unafraid to live out what they supposed to be”-Lecrae, 2015

As Lecrae’s lyrics to “Outsiders” ran through my head that morning, I decided that this was my new theme song, because Outsiders speaks to what my spirit has been feeling since I could comprehend love.  When I first heard the song I was on the treadmill and moved to tears because I finally realized how unaccepted I felt, especially among the church folks. I always felt like I had to justify my right to be blessed and despite my carnal flaws I’m still worthy to be a Christian.

Well, if I understand the concept of Christianity correctly, ALL sins are covered by Jesus’ blood sacrifice. Let’s say for the sake of argument, that homosexuality is a sin, the point is moot because it falls under the ALL category of being forgiven. My understanding of salvation is that, my works and good deeds are irrelevant to the unmerited favor freely given out by God. In other words, I don’t have to earn my blessings. I just need to pray and believe and have faith that God will bless me according to His love for me as one of His children.

Anyway, that is what I choose to believe, for my own sanity and to put an end to the erosion of my self-worth caused by constant judgment from often well-meaning church folk trying to save me from damnation. This is one of my pet peeves. Newsflash to my well-meaning church folk, unless you are gay, you don’t fully understand us so stop trying to give us advice on what we’re doing wrong with God! Don’t you think we consulted God when we first discovered this about ourselves?

So back to the story…I was referred to this church in Columbia, MD by a few friends of mine because they knew that I like multicultural congregations and this church was built upon the concept of diversity. Two of my gay friends had been attending and encouraged me to check it out because of their policy on extending grace to the LGBT community. “Gracism” is what their brand of tolerance is dubbed. I watched the 2 part video series on their official position and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the honesty that Dr. Anderson displayed when he explained that he doesn’t understand the lifestyle but he was willing to “be respectful, loving, open to the LGBT community without positively affirming lesbian and gay sexual behavior.” He went on to explain how he would allow same-sex married couples to participate in activities geared towards married couples. He even joked about his discomfort with this subject matter and how he would have to draw the line at Male-identifying women attending Men’s functions.

This was the most open dialogue I had ever heard in a church of any kind and I was good with that. I went a few times and really appreciated the multitude of outreach ministries and the fact that the church actually opened a REAL building with the Building Fund. All my Black church peeps know about the perpetual Building Fund.   I felt strongly that God wanted me to be a part of this church because the teaching was practical and I really loved the grassroots outreach efforts and multicultural thing. So I figured, why not immerse myself and become part of a community. Plus, I had always been a church member on somebody’s rolls ever since I was born! I mean, what if I die? I need to have a church that would oversee my service. At least as a member, I should get a discount right?

Anyway, I went through 3 classes, a personality test, a written testimony of my relationship with God and finally, an interview with an Elder. After all of this effort, I thought surely the interview was just a formality. After the interview, the Elder came up to me and said that we forgot to take my picture for the New Partners board. Since I was starving, I told him I would meet him next Sunday and take the picture. So I came home and told my partner that all went well, because it did. Both the Elder and other lady present were thoroughly entertained with my stories and welcomed me into the fold, complete with a prayer. I was just about to place confidence in the church again when BOOM, next Sunday came and the hammer was lowered. I approached the Elder and asked him about taking my picture and he awkwardly tried to tell me that my partnership application had been rejected. WTF? After all of that crap and me baring my soul in my God Story. So although I knew why, I still had to ask and make him squirm. He asked me “Is this the same rhetoric you have gotten from other churches?”. I said, “Yeah the same bull.” LOL But actually I have never ever been rejected from joining a church before. I have always been openly gay in Homo Hating Black churches and I have always had an official church home…until now.

So I went home and nursed my wounds with a blunt and told my partner what she already suspected. I felt so foolish, why did I think that I would be accepted as a full-fledged member after being honest about who I am? I know they ain’t ready for real.     Anyhow, I have become friendly with a few of the other volunteers and they encouraged me to pursue an official answer as to why I was rejected for partnership. Apparently everyone else understood the church’s position to be welcoming to LGBT folks as well.  So, I happened to catch Pastor Anderson after church one Sunday morning and I informed him that I had applied and been rejected for partnership. He looked surprised and assured me that I was welcome at the church and that he did not know why I had been rejected. I quickly responded that I knew, “it’s because I’m gay” I said. There was a line forming behind me so I didn’t want to really continue the conversation there so I just asked a question that I thought was appropriate, given the situation. I asked, “since I am not a member here and can’t become one, am I obligated to pay tithes or offerings to this church?” He looked surprised and said, “I guess not.”

Once the Pastor told me that, I realized that I don’t need to be affiliated with any organization to honor God by donating money, time or anything else. That rejection gave way to freedom. I had always been raised in somebody’s church and I guess my shame-based mindset guilted me into thinking I needed to be connected to an official church.   At that point, I decided to embrace being an Outsider. I vowed never again to pursue inclusion from church folks and pursue my relationship with God instead. God never loves with conditions, and I refuse to accept anything less. If God be for me, who can be against me? Over the past few years, I have connected with a community of unashamed openly gay Christians of color and I realized that there are plenty people like me. Let me also say that I have matured in my faith to realize that it’s not personal when it comes to churches being reluctant to affirm homosexuality. Old mindsets are hard to break, even for those of us experiencing it. I am fully affirmed of who I am in God’s eyes and I am well aware of my spiritual rights, which in the grand scheme of things is all that matters.

This situation has again reinforced the need to stay prayed up and be discerning about what is beneficial for me. I am so glad that I also have gained the spiritual maturity not to “throw out the baby with the bath water”. I still find the teachings applicable to my everyday life. I still love the church outreach efforts and will continue to volunteer my time to better the community. I guess it’s going to be their loss when I become a rich and famous author and they find themselves wishing I was contributing 10% of my millions to their coffers. Until next time folks…Be Blessed!

Please follow, like and share.