Hate rides again, or KKK flyers in Maine

Yesterday, a Maine-based reader informed me that a friend had woken up to a flyer from the KKK in her driveway and was aghast. I can’t say that I would blame her; if I found a flyer from the KKK in my alley, I too would be pretty damn bothered.  Between the time I received the notification and now as I write this, the story has made its way into the local news cycle. What is interesting is that the local news reports are reporting this as an isolated incident where my own sources are saying that others have informally come forward to say that they also received these flyers. But apparently it seems only one person went to the authorities.

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Today’s Portland Press Herald states that local authorities have investigated the matter and  “found no cause for alarm or concern that a crime has or will be committed,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Sunday.

Well there ya have it kids! No cause for concern, no crime committed, keep it moving, there is nothing to see here. This incident highlights on many levels how we avoid dealing with the uncomfortable moments of life and pretty much allow bigotry a safe haven to grow, out in the wide open.

Given that we are sitting on the eve of what is most certainly a presidential election the likes of which none of us have ever seen, where hate and hostility have at times taken center stage, it seems now would be a very good time to reflect on how we reached this point. This moment in time didn’t just happen. It did not occur in a vacuum. We all played a role in getting here. We have all been complicit in creating the spaces where people with poisonous hearts have been able to thrive and find like-minded people to connect and grow ugly with.

We so wanted to reach that post-racial state of America, without doing the heavy lifting, that we allowed ourselves to believe that Obama’s election in America signaled a new day when in fact it put us on a collision course for this moment. While many of us were busy feeling good and drinking the hope juice, the disgruntled deplorables were busy retrenching and planning their next steps. In the end, they have pinned their hopes on a man so dangerous and undisciplined that he isn’t even allowed to manage his own Twitter account without veering off script, yet millions see him as their hope and savior.

Every time we are not intentional in our words and actions, we give hate a place to grow. When we choose to brush off the bigoted comments of others in our world, we allow hate to firmly plant its roots. When we cannot look critically and clearly, instead holding to immature and uninformed “hopes” because of personal discomfort, hate wins again.

The process of creating a just and equitable world requires full participation. It cannot be pinned on the hopes of our politicians, activists and others. It starts with us. Many of our own journeys with change may not be as dramatic as being called to full-time service or activism, but we can all hold space wherever we are, even if that means going to the police and calling out hate despite the lack of an official crime.

Whoever distributed the KKK flyers technically didn’t break any laws, yet given the history of the KKK in both Maine and nationally, it would be a fool’s errand to not understand that hate is feeling safe again. It feels safe enough to leave flyers in driveways because most of us won’t do anything about it. Many may not call the number; too many of us also won’t take a stand and say NO loudly in any other ways.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election, we all have a lot of work to do because what Trump unleashed is not going to quietly go away if Trump loses. Will you take a stand for what’s right or will you look the other way? Will you be intentional or will you avert your gaze and withhold your voice until it’s too late and hate threatens us all and perhaps turns into a nigh-unstoppable force?
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Hoodies don’t kill, but ignorance and hate do

It’s Friday, the ole man’s birthday is tomorrow and despite the ever-changing state of our lives, we are still each other’s best friend, so my mind was on cake baking and all that good jazz. However this morning while sipping my daily joe to get my motor started, I stumbled into some online stupidity. It seems America’s favorite *smirk* journalist Geraldo Rivera decided to take to the twitter and explain that Trayvon Martin was killed because he was wearing a hoodie. BGIM say what????

Of course twitter lit into his ass with all it had but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there really are people who believe that if people of color wear certain clothes or do certain things that we will decrease the likelihood of having a cap busted in our ass. To that I say please read this post by the Black Snob, she breaks it down in a way that frankly I don’t have the writing chops to do.

There are simply people who for whatever reason refuse to see the humanity of Black people and what we wear or what we do is irrelevant. The fact is that some of the best thugs dress in thousand dollar suits and are very white! Do the names Bernie Madoff, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush mean anything to you? All old white guys who are pure fucking criminals and thugs, they don’t wear hoodies but trust me; they are thugs of the highest order. As someone reminded me Dick Cheney is such a thug, he shot a so-called friend in the face and no one said boo! Call me late to lunch, but that is some Tony Montana shit…straight thuggery, but I digress.

I am realizing that the death of an innocent child is causing us as a collective to start an honest dialogue on race in the United States and while generally I would say that is good, fact is for many this seems to be painful. Change is painful and generally discussions on such serious matters are meant to cause you to feel something internally, growing pains are very real. Yet when you try not to feel that discomfort or worse yet try to co-op the feelings and experiences of people of color, you then become part of the problem. The reason we have never advanced beyond seeing race is because no one wants to get raggedy, well let’s not let a child’s death be in vain, let’s work towards a world where one day any child can wear a hoodie without fear they will lose their life.

Now let me get back to my baking…happy weekend!