#BlackLivesMatter #NotMyBag

ehimetalor-akhere-unuabona-zswLbyR_b58-unsplash

“This is my first protest,” I said. Susan and I drove towards the square, the sign Sophie made awaiting debut, it’s birth, safely strapped in our back seat. I’m not demonstrative, I don’t demonstrate. I ponder, get pissed. I tell the world exactly how I feel, quietly, on my couch, through words, written, not shouted from a corner, chanted, call and response, sung in songs of freedom.

“George Floyd!”
        “Say His Name!”
                “George Floyd”

Get up, stand up, line the street, masked, six feet apart—more like four. Sign after sign, unique perspectives, personal messages, one hundred takes on the same problem.

“Love Trumps Hate!”
        “White Silence equals Violence!”
                “Black Lives Matter!” Of course.

Our sign: “Confederate Flags are Racist and Hateful!” This got attention. The flag is cherished, revered in Gettysburg. Angry push-back:

“Are you calling me a racist?”
        “You’re un-American.”
                “You’re the racist, Bitch!”
Aside: “They look like teachers.”

I’m left wondering, They look like teachers? Is that an insult?

A devolution revolution, the lowest common denominator, they’re fighting for survival in a disappearing world. Trump’s culture war is heating up, building pressure, ready to explode. Armed in camo, at war with the future, with the present, with me.

This doesn’t suit me. It’s not my bag. I should be home, writing. Socially distant, from all and everyone. Not confronting, arguing, squared off in the street with a guy with a gun, a guy without a mask. This guy’s dangerous in more ways than one.

We clocked an hour, our meter ran out. Susan gaining steam, fired up, ready to protest all weekend, plotting tomorrow’s rally. Me, worn down, tired of people, sick of crowds, missing the solitude of home, my couch, my keyboard.

I’m glad I went.

Through the roads of creation, we the generation gotta say: Black lives matter, people. Yes they do.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

24 thoughts on “#BlackLivesMatter #NotMyBag

  1. Good for you!💪✊

    My ex and I were very politically active in the late 90s early 00s. My daughters were at rallies, marches, demonstrations, even the Pride Parade when they were 6 & 12 years old.

    Now I leave it to my Younger Daughter. She’s in her 20s, she can handle the people and the noise. At 52, I’m too broken down physically and too much of an introverted hermit from 20 years of disability. Like you, I’d rather write about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are times that try the souls of introverts. We want to be out there shouting, protesting, making our voices and opinions heard alongside those we agree with, but…we’re introverts who at our core loath all of that noisiness and group effort.

    Good for you for showing up and participating.

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  3. Thank you. For these words. For standing up for us POC. I must admit, I got tired, these last few days. Had to shut it down. Had to ponder: do white folks REALLY care? Will they care when it’s inconvenient? Will they care when it costs them something? POC don’t get a break. Every day is exhausting. Thank you, for taking a turn. For allowing us to rest, if just for a little while. You are my brother. I got you.❤

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    • Do white folk really care? It’s a good question. Is this a fad? Or push-back against an idiot president? When Biden wins, will we think the work is done? Probably, in many (or most) cases, but some of us will be in it for the long haul. And some of those people will be policy makers. Unfortunately, I think the biggest factor in change will be boomers and Xers dying out. But still, the people we sparred with were about 30 with a grade-school-aged son.

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  4. Wow, good for you! I am the same – I have a feeling about something but will project my thoughts and feelings from my safe couch or in writing. Susan’s fire has been fueled. Well, good for you guys and if you keep going, stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beyond the confrontation, we weren’t crazy about the number of people all breathing the same air. I think we’ll stay involved, ,but I don’t know about standing in a crowd again pissing off the Trumpers. I shared this post on facebook, something I never do, because I wanted to keep the momentum going. I even got some click-throughs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Protesters are not protesting just to protest. POC are protesting because we are tired. Systemic racism and white privilege are both real. The mere fact white folks can walk away, from this subject, anytime you want shows this. POC live with inequity EVERY day. The disruptions folks can’t wait to have end, we live with everyday. Look up redlining, grocery redlining, racial biases by doctors etc. The right is trying to turn folks eyes toward the few who have engaged in looting. The vast majority have been peaceful and not about that. Is too easy to demonize BLM as trying to take folks stuff. THEY are coming for you, we are told. What are we, POC, coming for? To be covered in the same flag that covers white folks. We are coming, for a seat at the table that we built and country we built and helped build and continue to. We are coming to engage in dialogue, with our fellow Americans. We are coming to ask for our piece of the American pie. We don’t need/want your slice. We want our own. Ok, am off my soapbox. Just saw response BLM wants your violence. BLM just letting the world know we are tired of dying, in the streets, for no other reason than living while black.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, you did a great job illustrating privilege in a well meaning white guy. Yes, it’s a luxury to be able to walk away from problems whenever we want. I’m not suggesting I’m going to throw in the towel. But I’ve spent the last 25 years avoiding crowds due to social anxiety and this event was way too crowded for me. I need more solitary ways to protest.

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      • I sooooooo much respect your support. Especially, due to your getting out of your zone. Social anxiety is no joke. It can be debilitating for many. I can only imagine the courage it took for you to follow through. What’s more, you did it for others. Awesome and gives me hope. I can understand white folks growing weary of the subject. Hell, I grow weary of it. I want to say ‘enough already ‘ and change the subject. I am exhausted from examining myself and watching my motives so as not to scare off folks who truly are trying to understand. I can admit that I am finally understanding why yall couldn’t see, all this time. This stuff too just damned hard to admit to. Admitting, outloud that it took me almost 50 years, to buy a car and still not able to get a home loan or business loan or not be followed around stores and viewed as less than, or a thief or lazy, simply because I am a POC, in devastating. It’s degrading. It’s embarrassing. I can’t imagine, how it feels to be white, and get small glimmer, of what it must be like to physically fear, for your life, for your family’s life. Your brain can’t process that. A white person, with a gun, is viewed as an American exerting their Second Amendment rights. A black person, with that SAME gun, is viewed as a thug, criminal, up to no good and fixing to take something. White skin is not a crime. Think of colors. Heroes wear white hats. The villians ALWAYS wear black hats. White is considered the color of purity. Black folks are considered highly sexual, even at young ages and thought to not feel pain, as much as white people. Anytime, white folks want, they can walk away, turn the channel, change the subject. POC never get that luxury. We have to prove ourselves, every second of every day. At work, outside our homes. If our tone is not right, if we wear the wrong thing, the wrong color. If we show any feeling other than quiet semi happiness, it is viewed as angry, loud, disruptive, disrespectful, un American and on and on. How would you like to live your life, on trial with every white person you meet? And, if they are not satisfied they are calling cops or causing problems, on your job etc. I live in the USA and STILL can’t drive through a nice neighborhood without finding a police car slowly driving behind me….*sigh*. I have so much respect for every poster as you have, at least, taken a moment to try and listen. Since, George Floyd murder, every second of every day hurts living this way. Before, us POC could take the highroad and keep it moving. 8:46 changed all that. Before then, we yelled and raged. Now, we are no longer being polite. Yall seeing us live this outloud. Thank you, for hearing our scream and stopping to take note.😥

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well said. Educational. I hope that people reading this post read these comments too. To be clear, I don’t see a white guy with a gun as exercising his second amendment rights, I see him as an immature, insecure troublemaker playing out an infantile desire to be an ‘army man.’

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  5. “They look like teachers” is definitely a compliment. And if you’re from Gettysburg and defending flying the Confederate flag, then, yeah, you’re racist. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone, Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couple of follow up stories: When the guy came up and said “Are you calling me racist?” I almost responded “Why, are you a confederate flag?” Susan asked the wife if she was from Gettysburg and her response was I’m from PENNSYLVANIA, BITCH! These are the things that stick with me. I’ll bet Susan’s never been called a bitch before.

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  6. Here in NYC people are still out in the streets, albeit more sporadically. And being white doesn’t protect anyone from police violence here. Which is not to say that the everyday humiliations suffered by POC are not much worse — they are. It’s to say that the structures that are upholding white privilege aren’t just Confederate flag waving gun toters. There is so much change that needs to happen. And I truly empathize with “whycantibeloud” above in her fatigue. Let’s just hope that those of us with privilege find the inner resources to stick with it. POC don’t have the choice to give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ms. D is right! I have been praying for all. Until ALL of us are free, none of us are free. I have been doing my best to uplift my white bros and sis who are getting hammered. Folks mad asking ‘what took you so long’ and ‘how could you not have known?’ I am CHOOSING to believe that white folks honestly did not know things this bad or so systemic. So glad folks here post honest thoughts we all can learn from. I look for yall, now, daily! ❤😍

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      • Using me as an example: I’ve been aware of systemic racism, oppression and white privilege for a long time. In fact I blog about it somewhat frequently. My problem is that I haven’t spent enough time delving deep enough to see how the tentacles string out. I think many like me see the obvious stuff and get pissed off, but we don’t see the thousands of little cuts that cause you to bleed out. That’s why I appreciated your comment pointing out my privilege the other day. It’s all that subtle stuff I need to focus on if I’m going to be a better person.

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