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Steven Colbert Interviews Jon Stewart

Part 1

August 4, 2020

 

Steven:
Let’s talk about the incredible civil rights demonstrations that have been going on in the wake of George Floyd’s death and Bronwyn Taylor’s death and Ahmaud Arbery… why do you think right now there has been such a powerful movement in the street that has been so broad…like 2,000 different towns and cities…people of all walks of life, all taking to the streets demanding change. What do you think is different now?

 

Jon: 
Such a great question. You know, I was thinking back when this happened to when I was still doing the show and the terrible tragedy in Charleston, Ferguson, Eric Garner, and I don’t know, because I remember those moments being so chilling and feeling like such a wake-up call, but also feeling hopeless – that we continue to stare at this sort of abyss of a gaping racial wound, but we never seem to do anything about. And so, in this moment, I don’t know … I think it was Will Smith who said, “It’s not that racism is worse, it’s being filmed.” But the others were on camera as well.

 

In some respects, I wonder if the pandemic, because we all went into a kind of stasis, and so much of the distractions of your daily life were removed, it allowed the country a moment of clarity. Because so much of the noise had ended – it’s almost like, in this moment of more quiet reflection, America stopped and smelled the racism.
You know what I mean?

 

There was that feeling we were in a moment’s pause, and in that one breath, maybe it suddenly became clearer…because look…the biggest obstacle to change has always been our inability to understand. It’s not just about ending segregation, it’s about dismantling the barriers….look…Black people have been working so hard for equality for so long, and the exhaustion of that, just the despair of that, and the anguish of that…that while they were fighting for equality, white people were building equity and the disparity then between the lack of equality and the rise in equity, just exacerbates…and they are always negotiating from this subservient position what should not be a negotiation.

 

They had to, from the get-go, ask for human hood, ask for those things that in our Declaration of Independence very clearly say are your inalienable rights from your Creator. They’re not…you know…if God creates us all equal, the American government somehow got to be the bouncer of that creed… and you had to ask and beg and plead and fight and take to the streets to gain equality. But while that was going on there, we still had legal boundaries to keep them from gaining equity and I think equality will only come once the Black community can gain the equity that was taken from them…F***…from the beginning.

 

I mean, you’re talking about the Homestead Act. Once all the slaves were freed, they didn’t have their own land, they didn’t get the 40 acres and a mule that was promised to them, Andrew Johnson made sure of that. So we had the Homestead Act and homesteaders were given millions of acres of land, which was the equity… Somebody was telling me – I think what they said was that 20% of the wealth in that era can actually be traced to the Homestead Act, which explicitly did not include Black people.

 

The Federal Housing Administration in the New Deal, explicitly said that you cannot loan these low-cost loans that were intended for White people to gain equity, you cannot give them to Black people. The most progressive piece of legislation that may have ever happened on the soil of America explicitly excluded Black people. The GI Bill in Long Island, when everybody was buying into Levittown, explicitly excluded Black people. Until and when we address that…equality will come. That to me feels like the root.

 

Steven:
I think that is the root and I would only add to that, is that one of the reasons I think this is a catalytic moment is because of all the work done by Black organizers over the last five to six years… specifically, Black Lives Matter, who four years ago at the election, it was “Who is this radical organization?” and now it’s generally accepted to have a proper goal and people understand what Black Lives Matter really means. It is more broadly accepted. The second thing would be… (Jon interrupts) …Go ahead…

 

Jon:
I was just going to say… but it’s still going to be the “but” people. So the things working against it are the “but” people… and by the way, as ridiculous as it is for two old white dudes to be sitting around saying, “The problem with racism in this country is…” (they both mimic pondering and laugh)

 

Steven:
I think it’s valid to talk about why it’s widely accepted because I’m talking about why it’s not just the Black community that believes this has to happen now…

 

Jon:
Right! And here’s why I think this is important, I think White people can function as avatars and for some reason…we used to do this on the show. We did a bit on it. I think it was myself, Jordan Klepper and Jessica Williams, and we were talking about one of those things at Ferguson and she was making a great point about systemic racism and Jordan Klepper would say, ”I don’t know, that just doesn’t sound like it’s real.”

 

And then I would say the same thing that she said, just slightly reformatted and he would say, “That is so deep and profound! You are such a thought leader on race. I really respect you for that.” And she’d go, “I just said that” and he’d go, “I don’t think you did.”

 

Because I think the problem has always been… maybe two-fold… one is the “but” people… they’ll come out and say, “Y’know, what happened to George Floyd was awful, we watched it, and no one condones that… BUT…” As soon as you hear “but” you know they’re about to negate the reality of the situation. “Ya but— he wasn’t an angel” or “what about the criminality?”

 

One of the biggest problems… I think the problem is twofold. One, I think there’s a wide swath of the White population, and you know this as well as I do, that believes that somehow the inequality in the Black community is on them.

 

Colbert:
Right! They’re not working hard enough.

 

Jon:
Correct. That there is a problem of virtue and culture.
“Pull your pants up!”
“If you just…”
“My grandfather had to work”
– But when your grandfather came home from World War II, he got a low-cost loan to buy a house. When a Black GI came home from World War II, they weren’t allowed to and they were never allowed to build that equity.

 

So the first thing is to try and have the conversation because we don’t talk about White entrenched poverty in the same way. Look at how they talk about poverty in the inner city… somehow it’s the fault of the Denizens there. But White poverty is a tragedy of circumstance – it’s globalism, it’s jobs that go overseas. Their problems are debts of despair. Opioids are treated differently than crack. Crack is criminalized and people are put away. Opioids, they’re just sad because the jobs are gone.

 

Well, how would you handle what has been systemically been done to the Blacks? … And [they say] to the Black community, “Hey man, c’mon, we’re not slave owners. Why can’t you get over it?” Meanwhile, look what happened to White people. Six weeks of quarantine and they’re like… (Jon puts his hands to his head with a look of exasperation) “I’m going to storm the government with my AK-47…”

 

To see this interview, please visit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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fas·cism (făsh′ĭz′əm)

 

  1. A right-wing militarist, nationalist and authoritarian regime, such as that founded by Mussolini 1919 and inspiring, among others, the German Nazi Party.

 

  1.  A form of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

 

  1.  An ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism

 

“Can it happen here? It IS happening here. Democracy in America has been a series of narrow escapes. We may be running out of luck, and no one is coming to save us. For that, we have only ourselves.”

Bill Moyers

 

This is a “must-read” (5 min.)

We Hold This Truth to Be Self-Evident:

It’s Happening Before Our Very Eyes

Bill Moyers June 5, 2020

At 98, historian Bernard Weisberger has seen it all. Born in 1922, he grew up watching newsreels of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as they rose to power in Europe. He vividly remembers Mussolini posturing to crowds from his balcony in Rome, chin outthrust, right arm extended. Nor has he forgotten Der Fuehrer’s raspy voice on radio, interrupted by cheers of “Heil Hitler,” full of menace even without pictures.

Fascist bullies and threats, anger Bernie, and when America went to war to confront them, he interrupted his study of history to help make history by joining the army. He yearned to be an aviator, but his eyesight was too poor. So he took a special course in Japanese at Columbia University and was sent as a translator to the China-Burma-India Theater where Japanese warlords were out to conquer Asia. Bernie remembers them, too.

In time, we became colleagues on a series of broadcasts about the 20th century. As we compared the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler in an episode titled, The President and the Dictator, Bernie kept reminding the team the most cunning demagogues “are never more than a few steps from becoming dictators.” Not surprisingly, the subject came up again when Trump was elected. No, we didn’t think he was Hitler, or the Republican Nazis, but both of us acknowledged a deep unease over the vulnerabilities of democracy, which had led to Trump’s election in the first place.

Inspired by Bernie and unnerved by Trump, I decided to take a deeper look at democracy under stress and began reading what is now more than a dozen books on Europe in the 1930s. The most recent is a compelling and chilling account of Hitler’s First Hundred Days, by the historian Peter Fritzsche – a familiar story revisited by the author with fresh verve and insight.

Hitler was a master of manipulation, using propaganda, violence, intimidation, showmanship, and spectacle — and above all, fear. By demonizing “the other” – Jews, social democrats, and communists – Hitler won the hearts and minds of the masses, consolidating his power, and turning Germany into a one-party Nazi state.

I had just finished the book when I received a short email from Bernie, who had been watching on television the events following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. He wrote, “All this open talk by Trump of dominance is pretty undisguised fascism. He’s inciting chaos to set the stage for the strong man to ‘rescue’ the nation.”

There was no doubt who would be Superman riding to America’s rescue. When Trump promised to end what he called “American carnage” – a crisis of “poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, crime and gangs and drugs” — he did not ask for our help. He did not ask that we put our faith in each other or in our democratic values or even in God. Donald J. Trump would be our savior, the new Messiah — because “I alone can fix it.”

Bernie’s note triggered a recollection, sending me across the room to retrieve from a file drawer an essay written two years ago in The New York Review of Books by the American legal scholar Cass Sunstein. Reviewing three new books about ordinary Germans and the Nazi regime, he concluded: “With our system of checks and balances, full-blown authoritarianism is unlikely to happen here.”

I had admired Sunstein’s work for years and found reassuring his judgment that the rule of law would check a would-be tyrant. But many found that assurance disquieting. One dissenter was Norman Ravitch, emeritus professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. Responding to Sunstein, he wrote:

“The normal concern of people of all sorts with their daily lives, family, work, leisure, and so on indicates that only those in certain areas of work and life could possibly notice the slow but relentless advance of authoritarian and totalitarian policies by the government. The Nazis knew how to appeal to people who did not have the ideological concerns, but only normal human concerns. They knew how to conceal their real goals and how to make passive individuals active supporters.”

So does Trump. He understands most Americans are concerned with little more than the economy, health care, and jobs. They respond positively to politicians who promise action on these priorities, whether or not they know if those promises will ever be fulfilled. Ravitch pointed out that like Hitler and like Mussolini, Trump knows how to appeal to a variety of concerns with promises that can be both attractive and contradictory.

Because no population is educated enough, sensitive enough, or ethical enough to see through the deception, “the danger is very great indeed. It may, in fact, be one of the chief weaknesses of democracy that democracy can lead to tyranny just as well or perhaps even more than other political systems.”

Two years have passed since that exchange between scholars, and in those two years, Trump has doubled down. This president is no friend of democracy.

He has declared himself above the law, preached insurrection by encouraging armed supporters to “liberate” states from the governance of duly elected officials, told police not to be “too nice” while doing their job, and gloated over the ability of the Secret Service to turn “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” loose on demonstrators — to “come down on them hard” if they get too “frisky.

He has politicized the Department of Justice while remaking the judiciary in his image.He has stifled investigations into his administration’s corruption, fired officials charged with holding federal agencies accountable to the public, and rewarded his donors and cronies with government contracts, subsidies, deregulations, and tax breaks. He has maligned and mocked the disadvantaged, the disabled, and people of color.

He has sought to politicize the military, including in his entourage the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (dressed in combat fatigues), as his orderlies unleashed chemical fumes on peaceful protesters – all so the president could use them as stage props in a photo op, holding up a Bible in front of a historic church, just to make a dandy ad for his re-election campaign.

(Since the writing of this, it’s getting even worse. Like other leaders he admires – Kim Jong un and Putin, he is attempting to suppress all dissenters. Against the will of state officials, he has stormed Portland, Ore. with secret military police in war gear that have attacked everyday citizens who are peacefully exercising their right to protest and even taken some into unmarked cars and carted them away. He has threatened to do this against other cities with Democratic mayors.).

He has purged his own party of independent thinkers and turned it into a spineless, mindless cult while demonizing the opposition. He has purloined religion for state and political ends. He has desecrated the most revered symbols of Christian faith by converting them to partisan brands. He has recruited religious zealots for jobs in his administration, rewarding with government favors the electoral loyalty of their followers.

He has relentlessly attacked mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people” while collaborating with a sycophantic right-wing media – including the Murdoch family’s Fox News — to flood the country with lies and propaganda. He has maneuvered the morally hollow founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, into compromising the integrity of the most powerful media giant in the country by infusing it with partisan bias.

And because truth is the foe he most fears, he has banned it from his administration and his lips.

Yes, Bernie, you are right: the man in the White House has taken all the necessary steps to achieve the despot’s dream of dominance.

Can it happen here?

It is happening here.

Democracy in America has been a series of narrow escapes. We may be running out of luck, and no one is coming to save us. For that, we have only ourselves.

Bill Moyers For more than half a century, Bill Moyers has been listening to America as a journalist, writer and producer. You can explore his body of work on the Bill Moyers Timeline. Follow his work on Twitter at @BillMoyers.

 

Peacefully Protest for a Paradigm shift, and change Political Power for Policies that treat People equally under the law.

JUSTICE!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. It is the good-natured side of the truth.”

Mark Twain

Laughter

With all the intensity surrounding us, it’s healthy and good to take a break once in a while and remember to laugh.

There are many shreds of truth found within this humorous list.

Enjoy!

1. So let me get this straight, there’s no cure for a virus that can be killed by sanitizer and hand soap?

2. Is it too early to put up the Christmas tree yet? I have run out of things to do.

3. When this virus thing is over with, I still want some of you to stay away from me.

4. If these last months have taught us anything, it’s that stupidity travels faster than any virus on the planet, particularly among politicians and bureaucrats.

5. Just wait a second – so what you’re telling me is that my chance of surviving all this is directly linked to the common sense of others? You’re kidding, right?

6. People are scared of getting fined or arrested for congregating in crowds. As if catching a deadly disease and dying a horrible death wasn’t enough of a deterrent.

7. If you believe all this will end and we will get back to normal just because we reopen everything, raise your hand. Now slap yourself with it.

8. Another Saturday night in the house and I just realized the trash goes out more than me.

9. Whoever decided a liquor store is more essential than a hair salon is obviously a bald-headed alcoholic.

10. Remember when you were little and all your underwear had the days of the week on them? Those would be helpful right now.

11. The spread of Covid-19 is based on two factors:

a. How dense the population is and

b. How dense the population is

12. Remember all those times when you wished the weekend would last forever? Well, wish granted. Happy now?

13. It may take a village to raise a child, but I swear it’s going to take a whole vineyard to home school one.

14. Did a big load of pajamas so I would have enough clean work clothes for this week.

— Author Unknown

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“True joy and happiness come to those who develop the ability to accept and be at one with what is – with gratitude.”

Martha Borst

Where Is Happiness?

 

As the pandemic continues to surround us, we are forced to continually adjust our lives. We seek stability and peace of mind in an inconstant world. What used to bring happiness eludes us. Our jobs, gathering with friends and family for fun times, travelling, eating out, attending sporting events, theater and concerts are all severely limited.

We are challenged to find pleasure and satisfaction in different ways. The following is a helpful reflection by Pope Francis, a wise and gentle man, on what happiness really is and where to find it…

You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.

Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life.

Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple.
It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”.
It is to have the courage to say, “I am sorry”.
It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you”.
It is to have the ability to say “I love you”.

May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness …
That in spring may it be a lover of joy.
In winter a lover of wisdom.
And when you make a mistake, start all over again.

For only then will you be in love with life.

You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance.
Use your losses to train patience.
Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity.
Use pain to plaster pleasure.
Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence.

Never give up… Never give up on people who love you.

Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.

— Pope Francis

 

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“Never give up. Never, ever give up. If you see something that is not just, fair or right, you must do something. Stand up! Speak up! Speak out! Never be silent!”

John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

 

The Conscience of Congress

John Lewis risked his life many times alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others to end Jim Crow voter suppression laws for people of color that were particularly rampant in the South. He was beaten and jailed for using a White man’s restroom, for asking for service at a lunch counter and for peacefully protesting injustice. He faced attack dogs, violent threats, fire hoses and many of his close friends were killed.

In the 60s he was arrested 40 times, 5 times while in Congress and as he said recently, “I’ll probably get arrested again.” He brought a new meaning to the word commitment and he dedicated his entire life on freedom and justice for all of the people with voter’s rights being a major focus.

It is incredible to me that today, in 2020, many states controlled by Republicans (why is it always them?) continue to restrict voting. Backed by the Supreme Court with a vote of 5 Republican–backed justices to 4 Democratic-backed justices, who ruled Republican state legislatures can maintain their restrictive voter ID laws, they can roll back early voting and purge voter registration lists.

Perhaps among the most egregious of their “right” to manipulate the voting process to their advantage is the practice of gerrymandering, which allows the party that controls a state legislature to draw the voting maps in a way that decidedly helps elect its own candidates. It is discrimination against minorities, plain and simple. This tactic does not give equal representation to minority groups in the Congress. The White man wins again and remains in power at the expense of minorities!

Attempting to keep minorities, especially Blacks, from gaining any kind of power is a systemic change that must happen now. It is wrong, unjust and unfair and has existed for 400 yrs. in this country.

Before he died, John Lewis attempted to pass legislation outlawing these acts of voter suppression. It was soundly rejected by a Republican Senate.

If you stand for a true democratic government that represents ALL the people EQUALLY, you don’t have to face police clubs, being jailed for marching peacefully or risking your life like he did (and many still do).

But if you think John Lewis showed the kind of character and human decency that represents the heart and soul of what this country is all about, then you do need to VOTE and be very VERY conscious how you vote for your Senators and Representatives in November!!

He led the march for voter’s rights in Selma beside Martin Luther King in 1964 and kept on marching… and marching… and marching…  in peaceful protest…

His marching led him to the hallowed halls of Congress, where he served in the United States House of Representatives from the state of Georgia for 33 yrs. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom award and continued to serve his country until his death. But he lived long enough to witness tens of millions of people throughout this country and the world marching for equality as he did in those lonely days 60 yrs. ago.

For his last public appearance, he stood in the middle of the painted yellow symbol for civil rights in Black Lives Matter Plaza, a peaceful, determined, defiant defender of justice until the very end.

The American flag now flies at half-mast over all government buildings throughout the entire country in honor and respect for a sharecropper’s son from Alabama… a truly great American, a good, good man who refused to stay silent and did so with amazing dignity and grace.

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“The best way to achieve success for yourself is to be willing to let the other person win first.”

 

The Basketball Cop

(Click on the picture below to watch)

My Self Mastery courses are all about learning how to fulfill your greatest potential as a human being. It’s about elevating your thinking and your actions to ignore the temptation of taking the Low Road and to consciously choose to follow the High Road instead. We all have an internal guidance system and anyone with a sense of moral decency knows the difference between the two.

Win/win is the cornerstone of all enlightened, successful relationships. It takes just one person willing to step across the line to support the other person to win first. It takes just one person who’s willing to stop playing “my way or the highway”… in order to find a better way.

It doesn’t mean you always have to agree, but it does mean you have to let go of “winning”. Sometimes, it takes a willingness to listen, a willingness to let go of being right, or a willingness to find a way to be together that is mutually constructive and respectful.

“Us against Them” doesn’t work. “Me against You” doesn’t work. Using power and force to overpower others doesn’t work. This beautiful policeman used the power of his position to empower others and look what he created. Be aware of how you felt watching this.

Who wins? Unless you are consumed by anger and fear, I know the answer is in your gut.

When we are in a position of power. We have influence, and depending on how we wield that power determines the kind of difference we make. That difference becomes our legacy and my guess is these kids will remember this policeman all their lives. I know I will, and all I did was watch the video. We never know the moment when our actions, reactions or inactions will change the life of another forever.

These are challenging times, my friends. Racism is a very difficult subject for some White people to honestly face and discuss. Politics is a petri dish for animosity. It’s going to heat up folks, much more than it is now. When the discussions start, and they will, let’s be careful to not blame and attack — and at the same time, let’s not get defensive.

Stay open. Listening doesn’t mean you have to agree. It simply means giving the other person the courtesy of really being heard. That’s all. Stay balanced, stay focused, stay on the High Road.

When you speak your truth, not everyone will agree with you and some will tell you you’re crazy. White people fight especially hard when their White “privilege” (advantage simply because they are White) is pointed out to them. No matter. Simply ask them to be willing to listen. Perhaps someday they will not only listen but they will hear. Don’t stay quiet. Show up – Stand up – Speak up. Silence kills.

But before you speak, remember this video. Feel the vibration of your inner voice. Stay calm, so each can speak and each can listen. Then, like this policeman, be an example of what you seek, find a point of common interest between you and figure out how to play ball together so everyone can win.

 

 

Self Mastery courses and Graduate Coaching Calls with Martha will soon be available on Zoom.

If interested, contact Martha: 707-433-2282

Or martha@marthaborst.com

Sign Up Now!

 

Thank you to my good friend, Sally, for sharing this wonderful video with us!

 

 

 

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How Do We Save Our Kids?

 

Society: In the richest country in the world, between 11 and 13 million children live in food insecure homes.

Schools: We can help… Kids can eat breakfast and lunch at school, and in many places, teachers will spend their own money on snacks. For the most-needy, we will send food home for dinner and weekends.

 

Society: Over 4 million children in the U.S. do not have health insurance or adequate healthcare.

Schools: We can help… we will bring doctors to do free physicals, eye exams, and dental treatments right at school. In many places, school nurses will spend their own money on sanitary supplies for girls.

 

Society: Over 17% of U.S. children live without basic necessities.

Schools: We can help… we will install washers and dryers in schools. We will hand out clothes, school supplies, shoes, and winter coats for free. Many of these items are purchased by school nurses and teachers.

 

Society: There are 5.5 million reports annually of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect of minors.

Schools: We can help… schools will be safe places and teachers will be safe people. We will have some counselors, but not enough… some therapists, but not enough, right in the schools. Teachers with minimal training in trauma will come to school early and stay late to mentor these children. Teachers will spend more time with their students than with their own children. Teachers will cry and sometimes crumble at the thought of not being able to do more for the innocent children in their care.

Society: Almost 25% of U.S. children have parents that work past school hours.

Schools: We can help… we will install before and after school programs in thousands of schools where kids can get another meal, get help with their homework, and participate in organized activities.

 

Society: Almost 14 million children in the US are obese.

Schools: we can help… Physical Education classes will be mandatory and we will incorporate lessons about healthy food choices.

 

Society: The U.S. averages one school shooting every 77 days.

Schools: We can help… we will do lock down drills and train our students to hide and be quiet. And if need be, teachers will literally die for their students.

 

Society: We are in the midst of a global pandemic, which our government has failed to control. Over 130,000 Americans are dead and the numbers are rising, not declining, in many places. Because we have chosen to ignore, for decades, the racism, inequality, and discrimination at the root of all the aforementioned problems, we now need schools to reopen so kids can eat, get healthcare, get clothes, shoes, and school supplies, be safe, be healthy, and be supervised. Oh, and so they can get an education. It appears COVID doesn’t affect children, so let’s go back to school.

Teachers: We can help… but what about the 25-30% of us over the age of 50? What about those of us who are immunocompromised or live with someone who is? What about those of us who are pregnant? We still have very limited data on what COVID does to unborn children. Will you have PPE for us? Will you have hand sanitizer for us? What if we get sick, and don’t have enough sick days to cover the time we are out? What if a family member gets sick and we need to care for them?

 

Society: Wow, why are you suddenly being a bunch of crybabies? Before you were always willing to sacrifice your time, your money, your mental health and now when we need you, you aren’t willing to sacrifice your health and possibly your life? But 75% of you are women… and that’s what we, as a society, expect women to do… sacrifice yourself for others.

 

For decades, schools and teachers have been the Band-Aid on society’s failings because we care about children. Schools and teachers are not the ones who can repair our broken society. At the same time, we cannot be the lambs sent to slaughter because no one else cared enough to actually fix society while schools and teachers were holding it all together with Band-Aids.

 

Alison Hoeman, Teacher

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“Black Lives Matter”

What Does It Really Mean?

(And why it’s problematic to say, “All Lives Matter”)

Article by Liz Schumer

 

Saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives do not!

As protests against racist police brutality sweep across the United States and spread around the globe, rallying cries of “Black Lives Matter” echo through our streets and our digital avenues. As we all digest the news and think about how to respond and participate at such a pivotal time, it’s important to recognize what Black Lives Matter really means—as well as why the phrase, “All Lives Matter” is problematic.

At its face, “All Lives Matter” sounds like a “we’re-all-in-this-together” statement. Some may be using the phrase to suggest all races should join hands and stand together against racism, which is a sentiment that comes from a good place. But the problem is the phrase actually takes the focus away from those who need it. Saying, “All Lives Matter” redirects the attention from Black lives, who are the ones in peril.

Instead, it’s important to understand what drives the BLM movement and how to support it—by using the phrase and standing behind what it means. It can be an uncomfortable experience for many of us, especially if you’re someone that hasn’t taken the time to grapple with your own role in the systemic oppression existing in our society. But it’s also an essential education, no matter where you are in your journey.

Black Lives Matter is an anthem, a slogan, a hashtag, and a straightforward statement of fact. While it is not a new movement, the message is central to the nationwide protests happening right now. BLM speaks out against the police brutality and systemic racism causing the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor, as well as the thousands of violent incidents happening to Black people that aren’t recorded, aren’t reported or aren’t afforded the outrage they deserve.

One of the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement is to raise awareness that we, as a nation, need to reconsider our priorities. Right now, there are U.S. Institutions and systems that act as if black lives don’t matter. For example, according to a report by American Progress, in 2015, each of the 10 states with the highest percentage of Black residents reported state and local policing expenditures of more than $230 per resident per year. That’s at least 328 times more than what each state spends on enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

Why Saying “All Lives Matter” is Missing the Point

While the intention of the phrase “All Lives Matter” may be to put everyone’s life on equal footing and convey a sense of unity, responding “All Lives Matter” to “Black Lives Matter” is actually more divisive than unifying. That’s because it discounts and diminishes the focus on the violence and discrimination Black individuals face every day in this country.

It’s a natural reaction to respond to one group centering its experience with, “But what about all lives?” or “Isn’t my safety important, too?” But the truth is, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by police violence and systematic racism in our nation.

Our entire social structure centers on whiteness as a default. Asserting “All Lives Matter” just reaffirms—or at best ignores—that reality. Of course every life is valuable, but not everyone’s lives are in danger due to their skin color. Saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t equivalent to saying other lives don’t, but rather that Black lives should matter as much as White lives.

Alicia Garza, one of the creators of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, explained in 2014 how Black lives mattering is a precondition for all lives mattering:

“Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important – it means Black lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on Black lives, we understand when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide-reaching and transformative for society as a whole. When we are able to end the hyper-criminalization and sexualization of Black people and end the poverty, control and surveillance of Black people, every single person in this world has a better shot at getting and staying free. When Black people get free, everybody gets free.”

Think of it this way: If you get into a car crash and one person has a serious head injury, but the others have a few bumps and bruises, the person whose life is at risk gets first priority when it comes to medical care. That doesn’t mean the paramedics won’t help the rest of the passengers, but that triage places the most dire situation first in line. Or, to look at it another way, if someone keeps setting your house on fire, you’d want firefighters to do something about it. Wouldn’t it upset you if instead, people kept telling you, “All houses matter equally,” if yours was the only one burning?

Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters

For those of us who are invested in working toward equality for all people, it’s important to not only see color, but to work on leveling the playing field. It’s a sad reality the Black experience in America isn’t the same as non-Black experiences, in both seemingly small and incredibly large ways. If you’ve bought adhesive bandages, pantyhose, or foundation, you know what the default color range is. Many workplaces and schools still prohibit natural hairstyles or look at them as less “professional.”

How to Get Involved

The first step to combating racism in our society is listening, no matter who you are. It hurts to hear you might hold prejudice, especially if you consider yourself an open-minded person. But instead of getting defensive or jumping in to explain your own perspective immediately, listen to other points of view… including those of Black change-makers, elected officials, celebrities, friends, and coworkers. Push back on prejudice in your own social circles, even if it requires awkward conversations. And educate yourself on your own inherent bias, even if you don’t think you hold any. Vote in your state and national elections to help enact change on a wider platform. And support racial justice organizations monetarily if you can, and share their messages on social media so others can get the information, too.

“Follow the lead of black leadership and your own local city and your state,” BLM co-founder and chair of Reform L.A. Jails Patrisse Cullors told Nightline. She listed Dignity and Power Now and the Youth Justice Coalition as places to start.

“Those are just a few organizations that help in these moments when we have people who are upset and [in] pain, angry, grieving,” she added. “There are hundreds of thousands of more organizations across the country.”

We can all work together to dismantle the racial bias that underpins virtually every aspect of our country and world. It’s hard work. It’s uncomfortable. But nothing worth doing is easy. There’s nothing more important than creating a world in which our children don’t have to be afraid to walk through an unfamiliar neighborhood, to go bird watching, to buy a bag of Skittles, to browse in a high-end store, or even ask a police officer for help, no matter the color of their skin.

Author Liz Schumer is a staff writer for Good Housekeeping.

 

 

 

 

 

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Somebody Cares

This is a video you really need to see. He says much more than I ever could.

It was recorded about one week after George Floyd was killed.

Please click the picture below.

Van Jones is an American news commentator, author, and a graduate of Yale Law School.

He served as President Barak Obama’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs, he was a distinguished visiting fellow at Princeton University, and a co-host of CNNs former political debate show Crossfire. Currently, he is president of Dream Corps and is among activists featured in 13th, a 2016 documentary about the U.S. justice system and factors that have resulted in the over-incarceration of minorities and the highest incarceration rate in the world.

In 2004, Jones was recognized as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. FastTrack ranked Jones as one of the “12 Most Creative Minds in 2008”. In 2009, Time magazine named Jones as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2010, he received the NAACP President’s award.

 

 

 

 

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What is White Privilege?

 

If you are White, you have White Privilege. Period. Unfortunately, the term is not readily understood by White people. We tend to think it means we grew up in upper-middle class or upper class and had at least a comfortable degree of financial wealth and opportunities other people didn’t have. But White Privilege is much more than that. You can be poor and disadvantaged and still have White Privilege.

It is something that is automatically conferred on us solely because we are White, irrespective of wealth, gender or other factors. It’s the idea that just by virtue of being a White person of any kind, we’re part of the dominant group, which tends to be respected, assumed the best of, and given the benefit of the doubt. That just isn’t the case for people of other races, no matter how wealthy, smart or hard-working they might be.

Being White automatically makes life smoother for those of us who have it, but it’s something we barely notice unless it is suddenly taken away — or unless it had never applied to us in the first place.

It’s the silent “badge” we wear wherever we go that indicates we are part of the “accepted norm”, so to speak. In other words, the way we think and live and act and speak is what is considered to be “normal” against which everything else is measured. It is allows us to be treated differently than people of color. It gives us automatic permission to go about our daily lives without worry or concern of being automatically under suspicion for doing something wrong or being judged as “less”. That just isn’t the case for people of other races, no matter how wealthy, smart or hard-working they might be.

Please click on picture and view this TED talk of a man who shares a few of his experiences of living in a White world:

Some White people avoid looking at the privilege we have because they start to feel guilt and shame. But we have done nothing wrong, we are just operating from a preconceived filtering system we aren’t aware of. A reminder to acknowledge one’s privilege is just a reminder to be aware — aware we might not be able to fully understand someone else’s experiences, or that the assumptions we were brought up with may be blinding us and driving us to make limiting judgments. It’s not an attack on you personally nor is it meant to make you feel guilt or shame.

The thing about White Privilege is it tends to be unintentional, unconscious and uncomfortable to recognize, but easy to take for granted. But it’s that very invisibility that makes it that much more important to understand: Without confronting what exists, there’s no chance of leveling the field so everyone has a fair chance of winning the race.

Our White ignorance of what Blacks live every day is a major part of the racial problem.

Until we become aware, we cannot change. We, who identify as White, are not bad and wrong for this ignorance, but even being able to ignore learning about it is part of having White Privilege. Clearly, we can’t change our color, but we do need to look within and self-reflect on our own subconscious racist beliefs that unconsciously translate into actions that perpetuate the problem. We have a lot of work to do!

 

My name is Martha

I am a White American woman.

I can do, say, and be all of these things without fear (as can my family).

I stand with my Black brothers and sisters.

I know that…

I will not be killed.

I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery).

I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson).

I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).

I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark).

I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).

I can play loud music (#JordanDavis).

I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling).

I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)

I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).

I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

I can go to church (#Charleston9).

I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).

I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell).

I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant).

I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).

I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).

I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).

I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .

I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).

I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott).

I can be a 10-yearr-old walking with my grandfather (#CliffordGlover).

I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).

I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

I can walk home from the convenience store with an iced tea (#ElijahMcClain)

I can run (#WalterScott).

I can breathe (#EricGarne, #George Floyd, etc., etc., etc.)

I can live (#FreddieGray).

 

This is reality.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

But what can I do? Show up, stand up and speak up. Silence makes you complicit.

Start right now.

Change the first two lines to your name and your identity, cut and paste and share with as many people as you can.

Silence kills.

LET’S EDUCATE EACH OTHER – PLEASE PASS THIS ON

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