so there's this bumper sticker out there, and it goes like this:
how else can I piss you off today?
In the age of tolerance for everyone except...blank blank blank and blank...many fight back by bumper and find a simple way to amuse themselves. Whatever gets you through the day, right?
But really, any deeper thought about all the ways in which the air of tolerance is polluted -- by hypocrisy, selective reasoning, clinging tight to the proper, politically correct and popular narrative -- one could find themselves in the cuckoo's nest. As if the nation has already decided for us, popping propaganda into our mouths like a baby bird -- this is good...that is bad (and racist). This is based upon broad intellectual opines far and wide ...that is just being narrow-minded (and racist). This is a brilliant summation of all the parts...that is digging the great cultural divide (and racist).
It is no wonder "white, straight, republican, males" might be feeling a bit out of sorts. Look at us!
My girl just put the finishing touches on a project for her Honors English class -- following the assigned reading of "Black Boy." I love, love, love the fact that my girl read this; the addition of this African-American memoir written by Richard Wright, a heart-wrenching autobiographical account of a deeply troubled life, fraught with racial peril and inner struggle throughout, continues to touch aspiring young minds; the bright, pretty, sensitive, impressionable young white girl of my own discovered just how different life can be and I didn't need to say a thing. The sharp contrast of the life of a young black boy touched her all on it's own.
Part of the project was to include current newspaper /magazine clippings with anything having to do with race. Her first thought was thinking that this was going to be hard (funny).
She thought, 'how in the world will I find articles on race these days' -- being of a generation who doesn't see people through color, has grown up in schools embracing multi-culturalism in all the colors of the rainbow, listens to a lot of hip hop, knows Oprah as a household name, and by the ripe old age of fourteen, bears witness to the first African-American president. 'How in the world will I find this stuff,' she thought... (again, funny).
And then the flood gates opened, her eyes got real big, as the incredible power of the written word and rampant thoughts of an underworld she did not recognize came rushing to her feet. It was a deluge. Even with regards to subject matter where race has nothing to do with it -- somebody found a way to make it so. And that's how it starts, therein the new reality begins to set it...
"[after moving to Chicago] At first he thinks he will find friends within the party, especially among its black members, but he finds them to be just as afraid of change as the southern whites he had left behind. The Communists fear anyone who disagrees with their ideas, and Wright, who has always been inclined to question and speak his mind, is quickly branded a "counter-revolutionary." When he tries to leave the party, he is accused of trying to lead others away from it. After witnessing the trial of another black Communist for counter-revolutionary activity, Wright decides to abandon the party. Still, he remains branded an "enemy" of Communism, and party members threaten him away from various jobs and gatherings. Nevertheless, he does not fight them because he believes they are clumsily groping toward ideas that he agrees with: unity, tolerance, and equality. He ends the book by resolving to use his writing to search for a way to start a revolution: he thinks that everyone has a "hunger" for life that needs to be filled, and for him, writing is his way to the human heart."
Perhaps I should have admitted this already -- this summation -- of Black Boy -- came right out of what some may consider either a minor detail, or a major caveat, depending upon the application, for it fell from the nest of Wikipedia. But let's just focus on the ideas highlighted...
Wright must have been hungry to belong somewhere, to ultimately be drawn to the Communist party, huh?
So picture being a willing and able participant, within a group, which "fears anyone who disagrees with their ideas" -- or better still, frowns upon people who think, speak and breathe unlike them -- as a black man? How does that even compute?
Bear in mind, little Richard broke from southern tradition, becoming an atheist right in front of a family of believers; it was these very roots, that took a foothold from a young age, that made it easy to give way to a new belief system, like communism, as an adult. And even though later shunned, he continued to cling to the things he believed from the heart, and equally shared within the party which centered upon creating "unity, tolerance, and equality" -- no matter how much of an odd couple they made.
To me, it just seems disingenuous with the whole -- so, you are going to raise the level of tolerance in others by way of taking action, under an organizational culture built on intolerance, a belief system furnished by a bunch of bigots, preaching nothing but more divisiveness through an army of radicalized followers? As if the choice is to agree on no uncertain terms -- or be labeled, branded, and kicked out of the club forever?
Ah hello. The answer to resolving issues of racism and divide isn't more racism and divide.
In order to want unity, we must act accordingly in UNION, and that is all there is to it.
What amazes me, forty years after civil rights, is how much we are stuck in the past. And even Richard Wright realized, geography (or generations) doesn't change what continues to percolate behind the mind's eye; life's great injustices continue to pick apart one's worth from the inside out. There is no escape until we let it go and move on.
From The New York Times, just yesterday (yes, a paper I would never spend the $6.00 it cost -- but for the "A" let's just say, we had to do it) I was piqued by the title, "Why Worry? It's Good For You" and so I continued to read... even though carrying the burden of a constant worry in the back of my mind that I might regret it in the end.
But hail to the Editor-in-Chief and the splendid deduction of behavioral economics at play in the world today, summarized by Robert H. Frank.
The whole thing bears down on the aspects and economics of bad circumstances and how we, as humans, ultimately recover. And almost immediately admits, "Even when changes are huge -- positive or negative -- most people adapt much more quickly and completely than expected."
But further in he gives us a piece of Darwinism, noting:
"the motivational structures within the human brain were forged by natural selection over millions of years. In his framework, the brain has evolved not to make us happy, but to motivate actions that help push our DNA into the next round....Anxiety, hunger, fatigue, loneliness, thirst, anger, and fear spur action to meet the competitive challenges we face."These are the things that make us DO what a life of complacency and mediocrity can't even touch.
So maybe it was natural for Richard to seek refuge with a bunch of commies; it was his way of taking his anger to "the next round." It was his way of finding a perfect vehicle to feed the revolution going on inside his soul... that part of himself that cried out for attention... that part of himself that needed to escape and fly free.
Frank also tells us -- almost arrogantly challenging anyone to disagree -- "Emotional pain is fleeting, too. Behavioral economists often note that while people who become physically paralyzed experience the expected emotional devastation immediately after their accidents, they generally bounce back surprisingly quickly. Within six months, many have a daily mix of moods similar to their pre-accident experience." And eventually arriving at the point, "when misfortune befalls us, it's not helpful to mope around endlessly. It's far better to adapt as quickly as possible and to make the best of the new circumstances."
No matter the skin color, this is sound advice for every man, woman, and child -- crossing lines of being straight or gay, crossing lines of republican or democrat, the same goes for one as to another; all of humanity must take heed to sage advice when we hear it (even if it comes falling out of the tree of life at NY TIMES).
When we come to realize our future is in the hands of how we best adapt individually -- grow motivated by our own anxiety, grow stronger by our own pit in the stomach, grow tired of the Old Me to make way for the new, so that we may grow and evolve into a better person altogether -- we will then know in our heart we have arrived at a place we can be proud. And collectively, we will all stand together and realize the bounty of our accomplishments.
These times they are a'changin' and yet, to the disgust of millions, according to many stuck in the old world they continue to stay the same -- a liberal media is run amuck with a narrative holding all of us back (my girl's 22 articles in two weeks seems to show the proof). This doesn't help anyone.
It is time to release the ties that bind to a past which clearly no longer serves us. Holding to certain assumptions and convictions based totally upon a reality that is in constant flux is only the first mistake.
If we could just take a moment to look around, we are not the cause of your great grandmother's afflictions; most of us affirm the principles and values supporting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in equal distribution and equal opportunity for all. Look around: we are facebook, we are Egypt, we are rapidly going global on almost every front -- and you want to sell us out running an old narrative?
What does Reverend Jeremiah Wright teach his followers these days? Does he really teach to love one another as yourself? Let me answer that. NO. He preaches Black Liberation Theology.
Black boys (and girls) in Chicago are still being told to question authority, despise the white man, demonize America and so on and so on, from the pulpit. Is this the kind of unification someone like Richard Wright would have in mind, if he were alive today? I wonder. Oh that's right, he wasn't into church; he would probably be against it before he would find a way to be for it, if the "ideas" were similar -- you know, getting back to the so-called underlining principles of "unity, tolerance, and equality."
How do we move forward held so tight to a belief system which doesn't serve anyone -- especially the young black impressionable mind? Don't black mama's and daddy's want our children to get along as much as the rest of us? Where are the proper role models speaking up, and speaking out, on behalf of a mindset that no longer serves, let alone lead young minds to find true fulfillment in any way?
Yes, I was one under the belief a brand new president of mixed race might be up to the task from the get-go; how my faith in that happening has reached a new low.
I don't believe my expectations are set too high -- it's more like I just expect him, as president, to simply stand up and stand for this nation's self-reliant roots, encouraging all of us to do our part and get along and stop the nonsense (likened to the president's words, a general "stupidity").
I guess, as long as we can go around airing our bumper stickers, at least we're still talking, right? It could be worse -- what if there comes a day when we cease enjoying the vigorous bumper car debate in any capacity; what will happen when dialog totally shuts down?
Interesting the times, what is it about the economics of preaching a divide when it serves no sound purpose?
-- does it motivate us to grow all the wiser, better, stronger, as individuals to create the civil society of our dreams as a whole? Hardly. It only further drives a wider divide.
Sure, I'm going to generalize here...because it is just a fact. Those perpetuating a divide -- finding it even among issues it has no business being about, is pitting a dialog and a national narrative with one party against another based entirely upon making up salacious, fraudulent untruths, and at the very heart of it, continue to ridicule an entire group of Americans (conservatives, republicans, straight or not) in one fell swoop. And strangely, this kind of manipulation of the truth, pulling the race card at every chance the left wing media gets, even at the expense of one's own race, to justify any means to an end -- if it serves the social justice dialog, the writing must go on -- how warped is that? It's all about the association of ideas and ideals, right?
But for the liberals, of all people -- those who normally associate with all things evolutionary, if not progressive -- this seems rather counter-productive, if not deadly. We are likely to snuff out all that is good in America based entirely upon one great big misguided mindset that should have made itself extinct generations ago.
Just why isn't the anxiety level, the hopelessness, the hunger, making the changes we need to make?
Where is the adaptation?
Where is the progress?
...and you call us modern?
just when is the new day going to dawn?
just when will we learn to fly and be free?
Just when I thought my girl would easily grow up party to that kind of reality, all my illusions get the best of me. Good thing tomorrow is another day for all of us.
Make it a Good Day, G