Ignorance is Killing Us – Part 2 – Racism

    The second danger that we are facing now is Racism. I have been with my partner Hal, who is black, for more than 20 years, and in that time, I have learned a lot about how he sees the world as a black man. The things that he has seen in his life are frightening to think about for me. As a white man, I grew up with privilege that I never realized I had. To me, the local police were people I could put my trust in, especially in a small townh. I never thought that the black children I grew up with could have such a completely different view of the world, but after being with Hal, and then talking to some of the people I grew up with, I now know that the feelings of fear and distrust did exist even when I was a child.
    Those fears and feelings were never shared with me growing up because those feelings are deeply held in the black community. The common perception is that no white outsider can ever appreciate those feelings, that they would be called irrational or ridiculous. I never knowingly felt that way towards my friends, but I never realized that those feelings were being hidden from me either. My parents taught me as best they could to respect everyone, and to never look down on anyone. I am glad that those friends I had growing up never associated me personally with any of the problems that they encountered, but I wish that I had known about those problems so I could have helped to overcome them.
    As the number of murders committed by the police continue to grow, it becomes apparent that the real problem is ignorance. Pretending that this is a recent phenomenon completely proves the very point that my childhood friends, and Hal, have taught me. The problem has been around for over 400 years and is deeply rooted in our society. Slavery might have been outlawed, but the repercussions remain to this very day. White society has the remarkable ability to filter out unpleasant things and pretend that things are completely fine, unless the problems affect white society. This willful choice to be ignorant is a huge part of the problem.
    I am proud to be part of the #BLM movement, but I can never speak for  those directly affected. I can only speak from the perspective of a white man who is woke and proud of it. I choose to not be ignorant, because ignorance is killing us, all of us. To be silent is to be complicit.

It’s 0400

It’s 0400 on Friday and I woke up with my sinuses packed. Naturally, the nose spray that always helps me is still securely hidden in the mountain of boxes that must still be unpacked after the move. It is easy to feel sorry for myself, but I’m trying to stay optimistic since Hal, The Stooges and I are embarking on the next adventure in our life together.

This picture is overly optimistic, the place is still crammed with boxes and bags. We did manage to make a path for the cable guy who is supposed to be here today, as well as the new furniture items we purchased before the move. Thankfully, I took time off work to help with this madness so Hal doesn’t have to shoulder the burden all by himself.

The new apartment is much larger than our old one. It is also $500 cheaper per month. The trade off is that we’re much further away from DC now, but I don’t have to fight the commute anyway. I can still catch a train into DC when I have to go. Since I’ve been working from home for years, this isn’t a big deal to me.

In the interest of keeping it real, this is another view from the couch as I’m writing this on my iPhone. Only a few of the boxes are empty. We will be busy today but not as rushed as yesterday.

There are so many things that go through my mind at 0400. Why can’t I get back to sleep? Where is my sinus nasal spray? Why didn’t I inventory and index things when I packed them to make it easier to find things? That last one I’ll try to remember for our next move.

Stevie Nicks seems remotely interested in me as I’m writing this. I’m glad that The Stooges have all adjusted well to the new place. Stevie Nicks and Hal The Cat were fine on the hour + drive here today, but Jax The Cat was upset and talked loudly the entire time. To be fair, this was the first time that Jax has moved with us so we expected him to be nervous.

It’s 0400 and I’m looking forward to a new day. Everyone stay safe.

Crisis Doesn’t Change Some Things

There is an old saying that difficult times bring out the best in people. I believe this is true in the general sense, but for some people, a crisis like we are facing makes no difference at all to them. My extended family is a shining example of the latter scenario.

For most of my life, I’ve known that my extended family on my Mom’s side are some rather unpleasant pieces of work. Long story, but Mom was orphaned as a child and wasn’t found by her older siblings until she was well into adulthood. The result is that there has never been a true familial bond. Mom was always the “outsider” and my Dad and myself were shunned as well.

You cannot miss what you never had. This is true in regards to a close relationship with my extended family. There is no surprise at all when I naively attempted to reach out to them last week to see if they were doin ok with the Coronavirus situation. Not surprisingly, I’ve had no response from any of them. I officially give up on them. They have no regard for, nor interest in me. I’m done trying to be the nice one. I don’t wish them I’ll, I simply just don’t care anymore.

This decision wasn’t arrived at in a hurry, or with any rush to judgement. I hoped that facing this common adversary called Coronavirus might enable us to finally connect and start to build some bridges over the chasms that have separated us for our entire lives. We know that each other exists, but that will remain the extent of our contact from this day forward.

I say all of this calmly and without emotion because there has never been a time to feel bad about the situation, at least in my life. I can’t miss what I never had.

With My Extended Family, I’m Already Well-Versed In Social Distancing And Social Isolation

The other day I wrote about social distancing and social isolation. I didn’t intend to write about it again so soon, but earlier today I felt the need to reach out to my cousin to see how she and her family were doing with all the coronavirus shit going down. When I pulled up the Messages app on my iPhone and started to compose my message, I noticed that it has been nearly a month since I last texted her. At that time I asked about her and her family, but particularly about her Dad who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

With that initial gap just between my attempting to reach her without success established, I then looked further back and discovered that she hasn’t contacted me in over 6 months. I realized that I was wasting my time by attempting to contact her. Why bother?

I now see that when it comes to social distancing and social isolation, that I’m already well-equipped to deal with it thanks to my extended family.