Archives for posts with tag: whitelovelistens

Are they? Are they? Are the allies of rabid racists “Fine People?” Yes, according to our Fine President. Those cheering alongside racists, fascists, neo-Nazi, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the KKK are “Fine People.”

When he first said this, I was quite surprised. How could he say such a thing. Right there in the hallowed lobby of Trump Tower, in front of those gold-plated elevators, steps away from Fifth Avenue? I was aghast. Surely the President of the United States of America did not equate racists with anti-racists, fascists with anti-fascists, KKK with anti-KKK.

But why on earth am I surprised? This man has said and done the worst things. Worst than any publicly praised political figure in my lifetime. “Grab em by the pussy.” “Mexican rapists.” “Little Marco.” “Crooked Hillary.” Ever since the day he descended the escalators of that same lobby, Mr. Trump has said the most appalling things. Things that many would never say. Things that we all think and may say in the most intimate of spaces. Such things that haven’t been said out loud beyond the go-go bar nor HBO in a generation. Things that would make Sarah Silverman blush, he has dared to utter into the living rooms of the ever faithful American religious right wing conservative, and beyond.

But perhaps that’s why I’m quite surprised. It’s quite surprising to see such sedition in plain sight, with my very own eyes…and hear them with my very own ears. I’ve heard of them through the lips of many others, as they lamented the water hoses, the police dogs, the lynch mobs, the death camps. For generations “Fine People” have been committing evil atrocities, prompting equally “Fine People” to rise up against them.

The “Fine People” of the North, came down to fight the “Fine People” of the South in order to put an end to slavery. The “Fine People” of the Allied armies, joined forces to defeat the “Fine People” of Italy, Germany, and Japan. The “Fine People” of the Civil Rights Movement led a non-violent movement against the “Fine People” of the Jim Crow South, many of whom held many a fine picnic just beneath the lynching tree. The “Fine People” of the United States of America invaded the “Fine People” of Vietnam, and the “Fine People” of Saddam’s Iraq, and the “Fine People” of Bin Laden’s Taliban who weaponized a plane full of “Fine People” bringing down two towers filled with “Fine People” on September 11th, 2001. All very “Fine People.”

Everyday I live and work and worship with “Fine People,” living “Fine Lives” longing to hear the words, “Everything is just fine.” “You are doing everything well and right. You are in no way and by no means implicated in anything that is evil or undesirable or inhumane. You are powerless to do anything beyond the many good things you are already doing. You are fine. Everything is just fine. Or is it?

What’s most surprising about Trump’s charge that there were “Fine People” on both sides, is its brilliance. It’s brilliant because, as Americans, we all just wanna be “Fine People.” This has become the bar for all of western humanity. Mr. Trump himself was accused of having a family of “fine people” by the very opponent that he accused of paying off her husband’s rape victim. Many voted for President Trump, under the assumption that he was a “Fine Person” with “Fine Children.” In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter protested “fine white people” who deeply believe New York’s Finest are policing just fine, thank you very much, despite the unarmed death of the not-so-fine black body of Eric Gardner. Almost all of the policemen who committed these murders have been acquitted because they are “Fine Policemen” called to protect and serve “Fine White People.”

The problem with “Fine People” is that they are rarely fine, “bless they’re hearts.” “Fine People” are really restless, fearful people willing to do anything to reach the not-so-high bar of feeling just fine, thank you very much. “Fine People” are willing to forego just about anything to remain just fine. “Fine People” are only willing to tweet the bare minimum to insure that everything remains fine. “Fine People” are satisfied with waiting out the rage so that we can get on with the fine business of representative government. “Fine People” are only moved to action when the immediate luxuries of they’re “Fine Lives” are frightened and frustrated.

More than anything, “Fine people” want us all to believe that everything is fine so that those of who are far from fine, will do the least amount necessary to bring about any real  and lasting social change. For this reason, both the fascists and the Antifa were far from fine in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. One side was evil, the other courageous, each committed to fulfilling its respective agenda: one, the complete annihilation of non-white races…the other, the full equality and inclusion of all people…both by any means necessary.

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I get it. You were fed up. You couldn’t take it anymore. You’re tired of being told how to think, what to say, where to go, and who to love. You are fed up with being called a racist. You are tired of feeling guilty for being white. You are tired of being forced to pay for entitlements that your don’t want or will never need. You resent having to earn a degree in order to make a living. I get it. You are fed up. So you said, “Fuck it, I’m voting for Trump.”

I get it. You are fed up. You want to be heard. You must be heard. You will be heard! And I hear you. Actually, I’ve heard you all along. I’ve heard you all my life. I know what you believe, as you rammed it down my throat. I know what you think, because you forced me to learn it from your one-sided textbooks. You’ve actually been very outspoken about it, from the pulpit, the town square, and the football stadium. I sat silently on your couches and at your dinner tables and in your pews. I’ve overheard exactly what you think about blacks, Jews, gays, and woman. I’ve sat close by scared to disagree. Scared to tell the truth. I was skeptical of your skepticism, but wanted you to be true because you seemed so right. I wanted to believe you. I needed to believe you, but I knew you would never believe me. And when I shared my naked gay truth, you did not believe me. In fact, you rejected me.

So, yes. I get it. You’re fed up. You are so pissed off with the liberal revolution surrounding  you that you voted for Trump. You chose him over me. Your friend. Your veteran. Your testament. You wanted to send the message that you are anti-abortion, anti-black power, anti-gay, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I get it. Trump’s subversive rhetoric was refreshing. He told it like it is. He didn’t care what anyone thought. And to you, that was liberating. You were waiting for a world where you could be who you are and say what you want without impunity. As such, you elected a president who has done the same.

I get it. You are fed up. You are tired of being laughed at, condescended, silenced, and dismissed. That’s totally understandable. And now it’s time for the rest of us to shut up and listen. It’s time now for we liberal elites to listen and understand your pain…to empathize with your plight, now that you have elected a demagogue into the White House. It makes perfect sense. People suffering so much pain that can only be alleviated by a protest vote, deserve to be heard.

So, yes. I get it. You are fed up. You demand to be heard! But what you must understand is this: It’s really difficult to listen to your silent protest vote, when for generations you haven’t tried to hear mine. The futility of your argument rests in the fact that your vote alone is your pain elixir, while we fellow citizens on the left carry the deep pain of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that our sacred vote has yet to absolve.

#WhiteLoveListens

black_whiteFor the past couple years I have become quite uncomfortable. It first came about in a white boyfriend’s living room. Then it began to happen in the halls of my liberal progressive seminary. And soon after, it was through the threads of my social media feeds. I felt it at work. Then alas, I felt it at church. Alongside the discomfort of questioning my right to be black and alive, I felt the discomfort of being black in the company of whites whom I thought loved me. I heard them say, “Michael, you know I love you, but…!” I love you, but? What does that mean? What does it mean to be loved, but? I would learn that to be loved, but…means that I am loved despite my black self-understanding. I am loved despite my black frame of reference. I am loved as long as I listen to what whites have to say about what it means to be black in America. I came to realize that my white loved ones love being listened to but are uncomfortable when forced to listen to the lived experiences of my black life. White love was more comfortable with telling me their perceptions of black life than listening to my reality of my black experience. As a result, I began following #BlackLivesMatter with #WhiteLoveListens. Just as #BlackLivesMatter struck a cord in soul, #WhiteLoveListens tugged on my heart strings. It was my sexy way of saying, “If you love me, hear me.” It is also me saying, “I love you, so I’m telling you.” For this fall, #WhiteLoveListens has become the tagline for a white-led conversation on race at my church, Judson Memorial Church…and I am very comfortable with that. In adopting my sexy tagline they are saying, “We love you, we hear you.”