We were all of us made slaves. George Floyd and Racism in America

George Floyd
Photo Credit: Twitter

 

When the first leg was shackled, when the first black body forced into the hold of a ship bound for the Americas, the captains of these ships working on orders of European Crowns and European Parliaments, secured our future, inextricably, to each other.

There is no America without black people.

While the founders founded and the militias defended – black bodies worked and built the country, for free, for three hundred years.

Then came the Civil War, the bloodiest of all wars America has ever fought, to free black people from the clutches of white southern plantation owners.

Followed, very quickly, by 100 years and four thousand lynchings before The Civil Rights Movement.

And what’s fantastic is Black People are still here after all that. They’re still here with us.

Their blood is mixed with white blood and Spanish blood in the soil of this country from end to end – there’s no way to deny this.

And yet, here we are, twenty years into the 21st century still fighting this issue that, for many whites, is recent. But to quote Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s being recorded.”

White people, who’ve been able to skate the issue of race for lo these many years, now have it beamed into their home LIVE and on prime time. It’s all over social media. It confronts us with the truth that men and women three hundred years ago, are still dictating to us our fate because THEY decided to engage in the slave trade. But what’s worse, is that through corporate for-profit prison systems, the prison pipeline built within public education, and systemic inequality, slavery still isn’t over and WHITES are STILL NOT FREE from the curse placed upon us by those ancient powers.

We’re still grasping those chains like the old slave masters, unwillingly, unwittingly in some cases, and unable to simply let them go because of what was decided for us.

And the cops? Why they’re just the bounty hunters making sure that black body knows it’s place. They’re the nightriders. They are the infamous Klan. And those videos we’re seeing are public lynchings.

The most recent case?

George Floyd, an African Amerian man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was murdered two nights ago because police thought he wrote a bad check. Think about that; a white police officer knelt on his neck along with three other cops who knelt on his body for nine minutes until dead – because they THINK he wrote a bad check.

You can watch the video here. (Warning: Graphic)

Four officers have been fired over the murder or George Floyd

So, how do we begin to unravel this? How do we start to disentangle ourselves from this mess? What must we do?

I think that it has to come from the top.

The President of The United States, along with a joint session of Congress, must apologize for three hundred years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow Law, and immediately start reparations. We did it for Native Americans; there’s no excuse as to why we can’t do it for African Americans.

Reparations can happen in conjunction with an Executive Order releasing all Non-violent drug offenders in prison who, upon release, will be given federally insured loans to buy into the marijuana industry if they so choose. We also end the War on Drugs.

Next, and also by executive order, all for-profit prison systems across the country will be closed and dismantled. Permanently.

From that point, a concentrated effort by federal and state legislatures to unravel decades of biased laws that cause racial disparity and inequality.

Police stations across the country, on every single level, will be subject to DOJ scrutiny, probes into culture and training, and racists fired.

Federal Legislation must be written to make it illegal for a cop to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,” when they feel ‘threatened.’ Should a police officer shoot and kill a suspect, that officer is subject to DOJ scrutiny. Full stop.

The Public-School system across the country will undergo a financial and educational overhaul. No more being able to determine the kind of education a child gets by zip code. A child in Beverly Hills will get the same quality education a child in the 9th ward of New Orleans will receive. All federal funding of private and charter schools will end immediately.

To quote my friend Michael Rowe’s brilliant post, “When a someone untrained in the medical profession, can spot a cancerous lesion on a person, the body, is very sick. For that body to survive, a series of radical treatments must happen. Similarly, when a white person can spot Racism and know what it is, the body is very sick. For that body to survive, a series of radical treatments must happen.”

If we want to extricate the chains of slavery for blacks and whites, we must be deliberate in our actions. We must act with precision, with diligence, and with radical compassion not only for African Americans but for ourselves and our mutual future.

We are bound together. Our fates intertwined in the fabric and DNA of this country.

This curse ends one of two ways, either with success or with failure.

However America ends, should it end; it will be together.

From that, there is no escape.

Isn’t it a funny thing?

 

Isn’t it a funny thing? I have cPTSD. For those of you out there who don’t know what that is, it stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What does that mean?

Simple.
It means that, like anyone who acquires PTSD after an event, their anxiety focuses on that particular incident. That’s where your trauma lies.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a result of multiple events, multiple angles, from which ‘trauma’ was introduced over a set of time.
At least that’s how I think it works, but don’t trust me too much. I’m stoned.
It’ll be twenty years since I left the military, pretty soon which, oddly enough, didn’t hurt me one bit. Not one IOTA. Sure, it was stressful during basic and irksome during most days, and sometimes really nerve-wracking during a deployment, but all in all. I loved it because I loved my platoon. Donovan, Winton, Griess, MOrgan etc….and I learned how to break loose and have fun.
No, my life before the military was pretty fucking awful. I was made fun of because of my voice or the way that I talked. I was bullied in school. I was heavy. I had bad acne. and was an easy target for people. (Angle 1)

I grew up in Southwest Detroit and stayed there for twenty years. In that arena I saw, shootouts (one my grandmother WALKED THROUGH and wasn’t hit – I got to see that), firebombing, gang fights ( I can still flash most of their signs), gang intimidation for wearing the wrong colors, because you walked alone because the day ended in fucking -y.

We’d lost teachers to gun violence, we’d hear about friends getting jumped, drugs were FUCKING EVERYWHERE (my cousin died of a heroin overdose on the eve of my 18th birthday. That’s fun, right?). There were all kinds of crazy shit happening – all the time – outside my door.

Inside my door, well, some people got religion and I mean not one of those benign ones where they ‘ommm’ and hold hands singing praise and worship songs (not that I blame them, you’ve heard one, you’ve heard em all) and bake sales.

I’m talking hardcore, Bible study, three nights a week, except for Revivals where it was 1893 times a week. I’m talking dogma from the backwoods of nowhere, preached by sweat, heavy, angry, little king wanna be’s talking about submitting children and women over to the man. BReaking the will of a willful child (breaking the child’s body mind and spirit is what it should be called), rape culture, ignorance culture (these people are …hoooly shiiiit…dum..I mean, just shit), racist, just a mess on top of Jesus’ love, right?

And when it came to that breaking the will shit, they tried. Hard. But it’s funny, kids will don’t break. Their mind’s do.

But whatever.

Anyway, add that bullshit in with a healthy dose of whatever everyone else goes through, shake it up, add some self-image issues, sexuality questioning issues, and religious issues for obvious reasons) shake well, and serve over ice and you get – me. OH! and I’m gay so throw an umbrella in that mess, honey. Cause holy shit.

For years following all that- I did stuff to myself because at Riley and everywhere else I slept my way through, it wasn’t Detroit. I wasn’t in my situation anymore and there was this huge chasm of blankness and darkness and void that I HAD TO FILL to feel normal. I couldn’t ‘do’ happy and i couldn’t ‘do’ love because I was neither happy for myself nor in love with myself (to a healthy degree).

So, I was cavalier with my person. There was a lot of booze, there was a lot of drama, there were a lot of names I wouldn’t know if they walked up and tried to shake my hand. And it was all just ground into me, all buried by that sandaled foot at the beach, and they dug and dug and dug their way in until. literally, the trauma began to reshape my person. My brain. My DNA. My psyche. My future.
For ten years after that, I battled myself. Good times. Bad times. Sometimes Pretzels and Beer (Thank you Sondheim (told you I was gay)). Fleeing from place to place, running, drinking, fucking…running. I was the king of it. Too stressed out? Ditch class. Too frazzled. Ditch school. Too forgotten about – forget yourself.

But then I met an amazing man. One. And ten years later, he’s taught me things, brought me things, fought with me through a lot of things, loved me, forgave me, and loved me again – I was able to BEGIN to recover. Which means, I had the space in which to fall the fuck apart. I mean, come un the fuck done – all over the place. Finally, crash.
When THAT hits, it’s like a brick wall and your favorite car just kissed. MWAH! Time for some sad singin’ and flowerbringing cause you’re toast.
Done. And all your before then, hopes and dreams and goals in life are shattered along that wall.

But then you get the option to start over. Again. But this time, the foundation is finally, FINALLY! becomes solid enough to stand on with confidence and not trepidation. There’s a new reality, born. One of curiosity, and wonder, and fear – there’s fear too because I am asking myself life questions children ask themselves. Who is God? What is love? Where is home? when they look into the night sky.

I wanted to be a lawyer. I thought I’d be good at it. I got A’s in Dr. Davis’ classes (the B’s and C’s conspired against me) so I didn’t get it as a final grade but dammit. I have the email she sent me over my paper turned in IN MY STUFF! Fucking Oscar AWard – she’s tough, man. But I loved it! Constitutional Law is SEXY. So is History, I rocked that shit hard, too.
What was I saying?

Yup. Shit changes when who and what you were is no longer a viable mode of transportation. This analogy is very – in the physical sense with visualizations of crashing cars, but transpose it on spiritual because you know that’s what I mean. I think)

But this time I get to pick the color, and the style, and the interior of the car myself This new car (again with the fucking cars, if you doubt I’m an American I’m sure that’s died by now) from the ground up. And I’ve been extremely successful with the help of my husband and that foundation I had been given space enough to create.

But I said ALLL that to say this, oh yeah, fuck I lost it again.
That’s right. Sometimes, even now, when things are SOOO Much better – there are bad moments. Anxiety. Depression. Anger in those spaces at times, and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to take your Ativan. Sometimes you need that cigarette. Sometimes, like me, pot.

But it’s funny. Do not DO NOT minimize people’s pasts. Here I am, eight books, two houses, student loan debt, and credit card debt better (worse? fuck me, those interest rates) still having moments….some better than others, some worse they catch us by surprise.

But you’re still here. I’m still here. Strong-willed. Strong bodied. Strong loved. Holy because I found God THERE. in me.
…and these fucking Cheetos are amazing!

Isn’t that a funny thing?

Let’s talk about Condoms in Queer Books

Photo from Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@whynottogoforit

There’s a big difference between rightness and perceptions of what is right and what is truth.
Huge difference.
There is this wave of well-intentioned ideology that comes along with writing…you know what?
Fuck it
Let’s talk about condoms and safe sex in books, shall we?


Look, safe sex is important. AIDS in the ’80s taught us that.
Gay men know more about this than anyone else on the face of the planet.
However, not everyone has ALWAYS practiced safe sex.
It happens, quite a bit, I’m sure and sometimes – and maybe a little bit more than sometimes there are no physical repercussions.
Nothing.
Is it ‘right’ to practice safe sex?
Sure. Hopefully, people do.
Is it wrong not to?
Define wrong.
Because I really want to know if someone who has a sexually transmitted disease or if they end up pregnant or get someone pregnant are they A) Themselves Wrong and B) deserving of those things as a punishment for their deeds?

I’ll wait.

There’s a standard placed upon gay men in books that aren’t placed upon heterosexual people in just about every other facet of life and that is if you do not wear a condom…wait how did she put it?

“I’m always sad when I’m reading a book I enjoy and I get to the first sex scene and there’s no talk about condoms. Just lube up and go.”

I love this part, “I lose respect for the characters, and that makes me care less about them and their lives.

No condoms, no testing and no discussion = a callous disregard for your partner’s health, and a stupid disregard for your own. And that’s not even slightly sexy. Too bad.”

— Mar 29, 2020 05:04PMAdd a comment The Colors of Love (The Color of Love #1-3)”

While I don’t normally yank reviews from my Goodreads page (or any other page for that matter) this has sunk it’s teeth into my skin.

The internet is rife with a whole host of obnoxious shit. I mean, to the hilt. But this one is honey and while there is a whole lot of privilege to unpack in these couple of dismissive paragraphs, the worst is this expectation of some sort of well-intentioned morality to make the lives of two people worthy of their attention or “respect” as the commenter writes.

Gay people who do not wear condoms are often referred to be ‘barebacking’ or as I like to call it by its real name, “Having natural intercourse.” Like you do. Like you have done. Like they choose to do in reality between themselves because they’ve reached a point in their relationship where they feel comfortable or, and here’s the real kicker, they have a blatant disregard for themselves and/or for the partner they’re with.

Their lives are still valid. They’re still people.

Like a pregnant woman who makes her way to an abortion clinic because “Ooops!”

Go explain your point of view to HIV victims or that pregnant woman and see how they respond.

Again, I’ll wait.

To be a writer today seems to be something where one has to agree to some sort of morality clause for the sensibilities of others. A list of faux-pas one cannot make otherwise they risk the shunning of heterosexist’s and running the risk of not being “….even the slightest sexy.”

I did not come into writing to write about perfect people, who have perfect bodies, living perfect lives, and who make perfect choices all of the time.

I came to write the truth not about homosexual couples in some type of cotton candy alternate reality that even straight people can’t manage to exist in, I came to write about human beings who happen to be gay. I came to write the truth. The funny thing about that is it is complicated and it’s nuanced and messy and unapologetically human – just like their heterosexual counterparts.

And if that’s not good enough for you…well…we’ll take another quote from your review.

“Too bad.”

Truth, about my goddamn people, is a hill I am willing to die on and opinions like that are what’s callous and so, so, not sexy.

The Cowards of the Covid 19 Protests

There’s a huge swath of people who served after or because of 9/11 and the patriotism was on full display every time someone died and came home. The streets were lined with American Flags. There were protests at cemeteries by the hateful Westboro Church. SCOTUS decisions. There were videos made by the scores of reuniting military personnel with families.

 

Unlike the wars in previous years where there had been a draft, this was done by a volunteer military. Less than one percent of the population of the United States to be exact and all of these brave men and women went on to do or die.

 

But the ones who didn’t go, the ones who let others go for them, became green with envy at the adulation that was being heaped on men and women. So, they went out and bought their guns to feel special. To feel worthy. To feel like they too were patriotic and they too deserved to be in the club without ever really doing anything.

 

See, they want the outfits, and the toys, and fear/ respect that comes along with it – but like any other grifters out there, they don’t want to the work, the discipline, the sacrifices that have to be made. So they pretend. They steal or attempt to steal valor by grabbing rifles and standing guard against supposed tyranny – or ideological differences, really. Wanting nothing more than a confrontation with the mythical big government baddies waiting to strip them of their rights.

 

When, because of that lack of training and discipline and sacrifice, they would shit their pants should someone, anyone, call their bluff and give them exactly what they wanted. When people of all races, colors, gender identities, and sexes have served while they sat at home and watched the goings-on on television, and voted against people’s rights claiming that they were somehow inferior, or less than, these people, these different people whom they hated, worked to ensure that their life wasn’t in danger.

But these people can’t handle that. So they continue to try and be what they couldn’t bring themselves to be in the first place. Heroes.


Even today when everyone can be a hero simply by staying home so that healthcare workers aren’t overrun and hospital equipment isn’t depleted.
Even still – the cowards grab their toys and their gear and head out to be nothing much more than vectors for an illness that will kill a lot of them because their ego couldn’t handle being told what to do.


They never would have made it in Bootcamp.

They shouldn’t be feared. They should be the subject of endless ridicule and scorn.