Thursday, September 22, 2016

There is Nothing New Under the Sun and Love is Still a Verb

Russell Simmons

A dear friend wrote me an email, asking me where I'd been on the blog and why I wasn't posting as often as I generally do. I can't really tell you why, other than I feel a bit dumbstruck and distracted by various things in my life (good ones) and by the shitstorm/clusterf*^k of the last few weeks in this country. I don't have anything more to add to what you've already read about the senseless brutality against black people by police officers or about the monster that is running for President of The Disunited States. I have decided to be as vocal as I am wont to be and even went so far as to tell a particularly dense white commenter on a black friend's Facebook page (you know the kind -- the one that says all lives matter and spends an inordinate amount of time making excuses with rhetorical questions) to STFU. I actually told someone to STFU and LISTEN for the first time in my life. I know there are many of you out there who will read that and raise your eyebrows and think that I should be less angry or maybe more tolerant or more Buddhist or Christian or gracious or whatever, but in this case I was not, and I do not regret it for one moment. The person who was doing all the mansplaining asked me another rhetorical question and then bowed out of the discussion. While I don't pretend to know anything at all, nor that I am able to change everything, I do know when we white people are flailing around and making excuses for something that is obvious and plain to see, and I do take seriously the directive of black people who are asking for us to be co-conspirators and not just allies. I agree with my friend and mentor Lidia Yuknavitch, too, who said the following:

well hell, i'm of the mind that we need all the voices, the signatures and protests, i think we need the calm and eloquent voices, i think we need the riots, i think we need the diplomatic nice people who call for balance, i think we need the agitators and rabble rousers and those willing to risk danger, i think we need all the stories and images and yawps and poems. i think we need it all. radical change does not come from one mode, one voice, one way of articulating. radical change comes from a plurality of voices that rise variously and unstoppably and refuse to shut up.

Tomorrow, Oliver and I are going to our neighborhood police station (a couple of officers whom I know personally since I've called them to intervene in the bullshit goings-on at the McMansion built behind my house) and enquire about how they as a station or part of the greater LAPD are working on non-violent conflict resolution. I'm going to tell them that I'm concerned and upset by what's happening in other parts of the country and hope that they are, too. I'm going to ask them what their policy and saturation is regarding body cams. I'm going to tell them, too, that I will be writing about their answers on my blog.

It's a little thing, such a small thing, but if we could all grab that veil and keep pulling we just might change things.



  1. I swear to you, Elizabeth- some people just can not understand. I have been commenting back and forth with someone I do love tremendously but who, because she's had to transcend prejudice in her life due to her sex, her education, her upbringing, thinks that she knows what it's like to be discriminated against. And she does! But she absolutely cannot grasp that if being a person of color had been layered on top of all of that, she would not be where she is today.
    Or maybe she would have.
    Hell if I know.
    I don't know shit but I do know that we, as white people who think and can, must do.
    Whatever we can.
    Love you tremendously.

  2. That's wonderful that you are going to go talk to your police station. I'll look forward to hearing what they said. This is where your feisty spirit and big mouth comes in handy ... love you!

  3. It never ends it seems. I read by Matt Haig awhile ago and there was a line it that has stayed with me, "I hurt and so I hurt." Yes we do.

    And wonderful that you're doing something and showing your son what action looks like.

  4. What an amazing idea, going to the station. Yes! Do this.

    I love Lydia's quote, it sounds perfect.

  5. Bravo for going to the police! What a great idea.Tell us about the bullshit goings-on at the McMansion -- is the house finished, or are you still enduring construction disruption?

  6. Love your idea to bring the police brutality issue down to a human level, to go and ask the local police: Why? Looking forward to hearing how it goes. Sending hugs from here. xoxo N2

  7. Yesterday my chiropractor--who has become a friend--was on a rant about something unrelated to this subject, and I know that the next time I see her, she'll apologize for being a bitch, but here's what happened when my partner and I left her office: We looked at each other and smiled and said how much we like her and what a kick-ass woman she is. She is real, she is angry, and she takes no prisoners. I thought about what a gift it is to interact with someone who is so alive. I thought about other kick-ass women I've known, all of whom have been a real gift in my life, all of whom stood up to injustice in some way. Two of them are my daughters, one is a granddaughter, one was my best friend before she died of cancer 12 years ago. We need people like that in the world, and you're one of them, Elizabeth. I appreciate your opinions and your willingness to express them in a public forum. You inspire me to look at any small ways I can stand up. I used to say I'm not an activist. I think I need to broaden my understanding of what an activist is. Thank you. (This is Verna. I think for some reason Google is signing me in as Sheila, my daughter)

  8. THIS. I love every word. You are amazing. Thank you for being you.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...