Which Restroom Should I Use? (the transgendered debate)

There has been A LOT of controversy lately over which restroom a transgendered person should be using.  As with most of these kind of social debates, I feel like BOTH sides of the argument are getting it wrong (which is usually a good sign that I am on the right track).

I want to start by pointing out how interesting it is that until a few years ago, this issue was barely a blip on people’s radar and now it’s one of the most hot button topics in the country.  What makes it so interesting is the fact that being transgendered is NOT a new phenomenon.  Nor is it new for a transgendered person to use the restroom assigned for the gender they identify as.  The only thing that’s really changed is the general public’s awareness about it – and THAT is extremely telling.

It tells me that most people don’t have any problem using the restroom next to a transgendered person whose genitals don’t match the sign on the door – they have a problem with KNOWING about it.  (Let that really sink in.)

The honest truth in this situation is that it doesn’t matter what genitals you have OR what gender you identify as; because the rest of society can’t SEE either.  The only thing that matters is what others can see: your OUTWARD APPEARANCE.

I feel like this is a vital point that all of the people who are opposed to sharing the restrooms are completely overlooking.

If you are someone who feels uncomfortable with sharing the restroom with a person whose genitals are different from your own, are you REALLY going to feel comfortable with sharing the restroom with a person who in EVERY way that you can SEE looks and acts like the opposite gender?

What if that person was someone you found extremely attractive?  Maybe earlier that evening you were even checking them out and having a couple naughty fantasies?  Maybe you were even hoping to get their phone number… Until they walked into the same restroom as you and suddenly reality hit home.

Now I bet you are so disgusted you feel physically ill and you are furious with that person because they made you question your sexuality.  And now you have to SHARE the restroom with that person?!  GROSS!  (Never thought about that, did you?  Think that could never happen?  That’s probably because every time it would have, the person used the restroom assigned for the gender you thought they were born as.  Do you really want to open that can of worms?)

If you look like and are living as a woman, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the women’s room.  If you look like and are living as a man, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the men’s room.  Most of the time the average person won’t even think about it to question it… unless you TALK ABOUT IT!  Because despite what some people think, most trans people AREN’T “obvious”.

It would kind of defeat the point for most of them if they couldn’t fit in and successfully pass as the other gender.  A lot of money, effort, hormone therapy, and expensive surgeries go into transitioning – do you really think so many people would bother if it didn’t work?

Even if the trans person in question is one of the “obvious” ones, you have absolutely no way of knowing if they have surgically changed their genitals WITHOUT invading their privacy by peeking at them – i.e.  BEING A CRIMINAL!!  The VERY same kind of criminal that you are supposedly so worried that this trans person might be.

Not to mention that this so-called “obvious” trans person might not even be trans at all.  There are some naturally very masculine women and feminine men out there who you might really embarrass and hurt if you make an assumption like that.  (You’re that bad guy in that scenario too.)

So it’s obvious that I am PRO trans people using the restroom of the gender they identify with.  So what on Earth was I talking about when I said BOTH sides are getting it wrong?

The problem is OVER-response to “fixing” the situation.  Laws and policies excessively in favor of catering to the transgendered at the expense of the rest of the public.  Instead of making things fair for everyone, we are just changing WHO it’s unfair to.

First of all, in an effort to “avoid offending the transgendered community”, some of the new laws are written to be dangerously vague.  They don’t require that a person being LIVING as the gender of the restroom they wish to use, or even have to dress as that gender.  Whatever gender you feel like that day is the restroom you are welcome to use (as if gender identity was something that flip-flops from day to day – how insulting).

This creates a flawed system that makes it EXTREMELY easy for an individual who is NOT transgendered to have unrestricted access to the opposite gender’s restroom for any number of illicit purposes.  A temptation that some deviant individuals just won’t be able to pass up.  (Not that this is justification to deny law-abiding transgendered people the right to the bathroom they are most comfortable with, only the criminals should be held responsible for their criminal actions – but a lot of this could easily be avoided simply by using more deliberate word choices when writing these laws.)

But even more significant than these deviant individuals taking advantage of the poorly worded laws to invade people’s privacy (or worse) is the FEAR that people have of it happening.  This is a legitimate fear that is deserving of respect and consideration – yet anyone who expresses that fear is subject to being labeled as “transphobic” and becomes a target of ridicule and hate.  How is that fair?  It’s as if people who don’t belong to a minority group are suddenly be treated like they matter less, instead of everyone being treated as equals.

I wish I could say that was the worst of it and the debate ends here, with the adults.  But unfortunately this entire situation has been taken to a level that is downright obscene because children are being dragged into the middle of it – and this is where I start to get extremely heated.

I need to be clear that I do not believe there is ANYTHING morally wrong with being transgendered and I am 100% pro ADULTS who are LIVING as the opposite gender having the right to use the public restroom they are most comfortable with.  A person’s life choices and what is or isn’t inside of their pants isn’t anyone else’s business unless that person chooses to make it someone else’s business.

This is very important to distinguish because I am reading increasingly more disturbing articles involving UNDER AGE CHILDREN where PUBLIC SCHOOLS are taking grossly unfair measures to supposedly protect the rights of their transgendered students, that are really just obliterating the rights of everyone else and are even at times tantamount to sexual assault.  The obvious backlash from this is that it is INCREASING the controversy and hatred many people have towards the transgendered; which isn’t fair to ANYBODY.

Recently, I have read a lot of REAL news stories involving transgendered elementary school students wanting to use the restroom of the gender they identify with… and they all seem to go the same way. The school offers a very reasonable solution – in fact the very same solution I would have offered if I were in their position – the use of an individual gender neutral restroom.

But this is not considered acceptable, as it makes the student “feel like an outcast”. Then the lawyers and the protesters get involved and next thing you know – the child is granted the right to use the shared restroom of the gender they identify with.  Everyone else just has to deal with it or be labeled as some intolerant monster.

But what about all those other kids who are sharing that restroom?  What about how it makes them feel?  What about the lasting effects it has on them to be forced to deal with a situation that is far beyond their capacity to understand?  These are LITTLE KIDS we are talking about, they are having a hard enough time just learning how to share their TOYS!

And just like the laws I mentioned earlier in this blog, in an effort to “avoid offending” anybody, some of the schools have written their policies on the matter to be so open-ended that they are actually harmful.  It’s not just the transgendered student in question being granted these bathroom privileges, ALL of the students are be given the freedom to use the restroom they identify with that day.  With complete freedom to change their mind on any and all subsequent days. Because no little kid would EVER take advantage of that situation just to see what the other gender looks like under their clothes, right?  This is not “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”, because the other students aren’t being given a choice.

How could ANYONE think this was ok? How could anyone think this was the same situation as an adult living as the opposite gender? Why does your elementary school kid even KNOW what a transgendered person is when they haven’t even learned where babies come from yet?!

Any parent who would encourage their prepubescent child to come out as transgendered is doing that child HARM. It’s a form of child abuse.  Both because you are encouraging them to be an outcast and endure ridicule and because you might very well be encouraging them to be something that they AREN’T – which can create a lot of confusion and pain for them later in life when they figure out what they REALLY are.

Don’t get me wrong, when someone is transgendered it is NOT a decision that they make and they very well may have known when they were six that they were different and they almost certainly exhibited outward signs to suggest it or even directly say they want to be the other gender – but that is NOT the same as your six-year-old KNOWING that they are transgendered… because kids who AREN’T transgendered can feel different and show the exact same signs. Kids like to mimic things they see and dress up and play pretend – sometimes it means something, but USUALLY they grow out of it.

Just because your child says they want to be a firefighter when they grow up, doesn’t mean they will still feel that way when they ACTUALLY grow up.  You tell your child they can be anything they want to be when they grow up (and they very well might become a firefighter), but you don’t let them go fight fires now!  Just like you don’t let your young child drive cars or get tattoos or anything else they aren’t mature enough to decide for themselves, so why would you let them decide something as serious as this?!  BE THE ADULT!  (It’s not being closed-minded, it’s being responsible.)

Sadly, this still isn’t the worst of it.  How, right?  How can it possibly get worse?  With the true story about the transgendered teen who doesn’t simply want to use the restroom of the gender they identify with, they want to use the GYM CHANGING ROOM!

You know… I get it. I do. Imagine being that teen. High school is hard enough… and to be transgendered in high school… to be forced to change in front of your genetic gender…. I mean… beyond feeling uncomfortable and enduring teasing, you could even risk being ASSAULTED by the students who don’t want to change with a “freak” (one of the many reasons I would recommend waiting until graduation to come out – but that’s not excusing the violent behavior and a transgendered high school student should still have the RIGHT to come out if they want to – we are no longer talking about little kids).

So the school actually does construction to BUILD the teen their own private changing area and shower. This seems like an amazingly enlightened and fair course of action by the school… but just like in the last story, it wasn’t good enough. It went to court, and they found in favor of the transgendered student and are now FORCING the rest of the students to OPENLY CHANGE CLOTHING AND SHOWER with a person who has the OPPOSITE GENDERS GENITALS.

Ok… just like I got that transgendered student’s plight… I understand the plight of all the other UNDER AGE TEENAGERS who are being FORCED to get naked in front of someone of the opposite biological gender… because you are required by law to go to school and take gym… and it’s a school rule that you have to change your clothing for gym class. This is awkward and uncomfortable enough on its own (such a form of stress than many kids have a tendency to “get sick” on the days that have to take gym just to avoid the experience) – what this school is now requiring of them sounds to me like a form of SEXUAL ASSAULT!  I could honestly see kids dropping out of school or even killing themselves to avoid this horror!

If one person’s “rights” come at the expense of someone else’s rights…. Then THEY AREN’T RIGHTS! EVERYONE disserves EQUAL protection under the law. WHY is this so hard for people to understand?!

It’s an outrage! And if someone like me who is FOR transgendered equality is this upset about it… How the fuck is the person who thinks the transgendered are “immoral freaks” supposed to react?  It only serves to make the divide WORSE.  But then again… that’s the real point, isn’t it?

Who are you REALLY mad at?

It really blows my mind, the way that some people displace their anger and hate.  Someone they love does them horribly wrong… and they find someone else to be the scapegoat.  Someone else to direct all these wild, uncontrollable, and passionate negative emotions towards.

A perfect example of this phenomenon can often be seen in women who catch their significant other cheating.  More often than not, rather than take it out on their partner, the one who betrayed them and lied to them… they take it out on the other woman.  The woman, who in most cases didn’t even know that you existed.  The woman, who was most likely ALSO being lied to and betrayed by the worthless sack of shit that you are both in love with.

But there you are, grabbing her by her hair and screaming in her face that she’s a “ho”.  There you are, threatening her with bodily harm if she doesn’t stay away from YOUR significant other – when you should be BREAKING UP with your significant other.

And there she is, just finding out that YOU exist.  Just learning that HER significant other is a cheater.  HER heart just as ripped out of her chest and stomped on as yours.  And there she is, with all the proof she needs standing in front of her to convince herself that you are some deranged lunatic.  All the proof she needs to SYMPATHIZE with this asshole.  No wonder HER man is afraid to end it with you, that poor baby.

I know WHY this happens.  It happens out of weakness.  It hurts too much to blame the person you love.  It hurts too much to accept that they don’t love you back the same way.  You need SOMEONE to demonize so that you can give your partner a pass.  Because, if you don’t give them a pass you can’t justify to yourself why you are staying with them.  And you HAVE to stay with them, you’ve convinced yourself you could never have anything that good with anyone else.

Except it’s a fairytale.  It’s NOT that good with them, they are betraying you now and they will do it again.  It was all built on lies – but you want that fiction back.  “It’s all HER fault.  Once she’s gone, everything will be perfect.”

This isn’t love.  You think it is, but it’s actually very selfish.  It’s all about making yourself feel better in the present moment at any cost.  And part of that cost is your self-respect and any chance of having a healthy relationship.  And it WILL catch up to you.  But that doesn’t matter to you right now… that’s a problem for future you.  Present you’s needs are more pressing.

It’s not just women who catch their significant other cheating, that was just a convenient example that most people can relate to.  It happens every day, in all kinds of situations with friends and family members…. Even with OURSELVES.  The traits inside us that we hate… and the people who hold up a mirror to our faces to force us to see them.

Rather than try to change the things about ourselves that we don’t like, we want to tear down the people who showed us or brought out those things… Like that person we are jealous of who is just SO DAMN NICE that we want to punch them in the face!  Or the person that WE hurt, but because it’s too hard to deal with the guilt we find a way to make it THEIR FAULT!

Like I said… I know WHY this happens…. I just don’t know why we LET it happen (if that makes any sense).

I try very hard NOT to be that person, though I’m far from perfect so I have been guilty of it in my past and even now I am sure at times I fail.  The thing that concerns me, is that I don’t think most people can even say they try not to be that person.  I can’t help but feel like most people WANT to be that way, at least on a subconscious level.  Or maybe it’s not that they want to be, it’s just that they’ve never really even thought about it.  And so I ask you, who are you REALLY mad at?

How Deep are your Scars? (Physical or Emotional)

scars

I came across this meme today and I realized that I had a lot to say about it.

I must confess that I have been guilty of this mindset myself – particularly when I was at my lowest points.  In my hurt, I would resent the “fakers”.  At the time, I thought that I resented them for pretending to be what I really was… but now, I think it may have had more to do with my own jealousy of them over how much better I thought they had it than I did.  (Not that you could have convinced me of that at the time.  I would have gouged your eyes out for even suggesting it.)

The sentiment is true… to a degree.  The people who self-harm just for attention AREN’T in the same level of emotional pain as the people who do it because they are so upset they just can’t stop themselves.  The people who NEED physical pain to balance out.  Not even the same ballpark.  And they may never understand that sort of pain.  But that doesn’t mean THEIR pain isn’t REAL.

The people who do it for attention are still doing it out of genuine pain, it’s just that their release ISN’T the physical pain they cause themselves. Theirs is the ATTENTION they get afterwards.  The level of concern other people show towards them directly effects their state-of-mind.  Their pain is eased by people noticing, caring, and trying to “help” them.  Giving them the attention they are seeking might be all they need to feel better.  (And if it’s that easy to ease the suffering of someone you love, why wouldn’t you do it?)

But when people don’t care or ignore their self-injurious behavior, their emotional pain gets worse.  The less others care about their self-harm, the less they feel like they matter as a person.  And the less others care, the more pain they will suffer and the more severely they will harm themselves trying to get that attention.  Potentially, the cycle can get so far out of control that they even end their own life.  It doesn’t get realer than that.

So while half of me completely agrees with this meme, the other half of me wonders how many people reading it are now crying in their bathrooms and cutting themselves just a little bit deeper tonight…

Is the World Black and White? Or are there Shades of Gray?

Recently I did something I thought I would never do… I allowed the cruel words of a complete stranger to get under my skin.  I allowed them to wound me.  To cause me to question myself (for a minute or two).

Normally, I only concern myself with the opinions of people who matter to me – those who I love and/or respect.  All other opinions just roll off my back…. Normally.

Something was different the night this happened.  Something about this opinion just wouldn’t be ignored.

Perhaps I have just been more sensitive lately, with some of the recent events in my life (that I won’t go into now).  Or perhaps so much time separating myself from harmful people caused my emotional calluses to soften.  Or perhaps it was just meant to be that I have this experience.  That I learn from it.

The words weren’t really about me, you must understand.  The person who wrote them never met me and did not have me in mind.  She was merely expressing her thoughts about a group of people that I am included within.  You see, in this woman’s world – because I can check a certain box off next to my name, I have no empathy and am not capable of feeling love – oh, and I am an INSECT.  (There are only two kinds of people empaths and insects, didn’t you know that?  Yeah, it was news to me as well.)

This person believes “the world really is black and white” so therefore I am EXACTLY the same as a PSYCHOPATH.  To her, just by existing, I am as harmful as a serial killer.  Just by existing, I may as well be skinning people in my basement. (A touch of hyperbole here, but most deserving of it, I assure you.)

Why?  Because: “Call it by a name; narcissist, sociopath, psychopath, bipolar, even autistic. All disorders lacking empathy. Cluster “B” personalities. They can not love. On the other end there is depression, anxiety, stress… All disorders felt by those who have empathy and usually as a result of dealing with a non-empathetic person.” [I will NOT link to the original source, as this person does not deserve your attention.]

(Should I mention the irony that she thinks people with Cluster “B” Personality Disorders are insects when one of those disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, is identified as having “extreme black and white thinking”?  Of course, this same person ALSO went on to say that spreading hate about someone different than themselves makes them an insect – so there seems to be A LOT of projection at work here.)

To be perfectly honest, as I was first reading her blog I didn’t think she was just the worthless human being she clearly is (perhaps I suffered a head wound).  I innocently thought she was just miseducated.  After all, some of the disorders on her list CAN present with a lack of empathy or difficultly recognizing emotions in others.  Perhaps she just misunderstood what that meant.  Most people who haven’t dealt with mental illness first hand are completely clueless about it.

For a bit there, I foolishly thought I could actually educate her and make the world a slightly better place.  (Maybe that has a lot to do with why I allowed her words to have such a strong effect on me.)  I mean, not EVERYTHING she said was so off-base.  Such as the following:

“Wars should not be about religion, politics nor race. None of those things really matter. What does matter, is being human and helping one another.”

But then I started to read some of the upset comments people had left her…. And her responses back.  The things she said to the parents of autistic children were just plain DERANGED.  She told them their children didn’t really love them, that they were just convincing themselves that they did to make themselves feel better, and that the PARENTS were SPREADING HATE by ENABLING their children!

Logically I knew nothing I had to say would make any difference either, so don’t know why I bothered.  But I couldn’t live with myself if I said nothing.  So I left a comment of my own.

“The only way to see the world in black and white, is to lack empathy yourself. Those who possess empathy have the ability to see the shades of gray created by trying to understand another human being’s perspective. Not everyone feels things the same or reacts to things the same, and you can never know what goes on inside them. But if you have empathy, you try to. If you don’t try to, you don’t have empathy.

‘Any person who spreads hate about someone different than them, you can almost automatically assume that person is an insect.’

The people who suffer from the disorders you mentioned are different from you, and rather than try to understand them you have made things easier for yourself by writing them off. You’ve manufactured justification so there is no need to try to understand them by turning them into an “insect”. And in this post, you are telling others to do so as well – and that is most certainly spreading hate.”

I felt good about my comment.  Very good.  But somehow my cloud still lingered.  Her words of hate still clawed at my soul.  This woman is the embodiment of the fears of stigma that every person with a mental illness has in their heart when it comes to people “finding out”.   I thought she was just the bogeyman.  (i.e. I was scared of people feeling the way she does, but never actually BELIEVED that educated people in this day and age really did.)

Thankfully, she responded back to me.  Because her response was enough to finally knock some sense into me and help me to stop caring about her opinion.

Her reply: “Those who see “grey”and feel empathy are enablers. The only thing more dangerous than an insect is an empathy driven person tricked into enabling an insect.”

Sooo… what you’re saying is… the only thing worse than NOT feeling empathy… is actually FEELING empathy???  I was actually foolish enough to allow THIS person’s words upset me?  Shit, now I’m embarrassed as hell.  But like I said earlier, perhaps I was MEANT to have this experience.  Because retrospectively, I feel like it was profoundly important.

Even after I stopped allowing myself to be hurt by it, the experience stayed on my mind all night and all day.  It’s ironic – being told I was not capable of feeling empathy just opened me up to a new level of empathy when it comes to how it feels to be discriminated against.

Here’s the thing – I have been discriminated against plenty of times in my life for various things (as has EVERYONE at some point). For my gender, my age, my appearance, my social status, my sexuality, and of course my mental illness. The list goes on.

Sometimes this discrimination is not even worth discussion, because it’s just the opinion of some asshole on the street. Sometimes it’s more dangerous and has kept me from getting jobs or promotions that I deserved or otherwise impacted my ability to live my life the way I deserve to.

But this… this was the first time I ever experienced discrimination that made me feel SUB-HUMAN. The difference between someone assuming you aren’t as good as they are because of something you cannot control versus someone assuming you aren’t the same SPECIES as they are and are therefore INCAPABLE of feeling the same emotions as they do. That you are completely wiped out as being A PERSON.

I didn’t realize this level of discrimination still existed in the First World.  But it’s just a small sliver of what Black people had to endure during slavery and segregation, or Jews during the Holocaust, and many other groups in different times and cultures.  Except not just from one random asshole – from society as a whole. From the LAW and respected, educated people.

This has always been some of the darkest parts of humanity, and I have always had a very soft spot for the people who endured it and a hatred of the people who enacted it. But I now feel like I can better put myself in their shoes and imagine their pain. It physically hurts. I’ve had to stop myself from publically crying. (Must be a fluke though, since people with Bipolar Disorder can’t feel empathy or love.)

So thank you, random bitch on the internet.  Your hatred just helped to make me a slightly better and more understanding person.

Does it ever get better?

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

I used to hate those words.  I found them insulting.  They didn’t take all scenarios into account.  Those words were just meant for otherwise happy people going through a rough patch.  My ENTIRE LIFE was not a TEMPORARY problem, goddamn it!

As a child, every day I feared one of my family members would kill another.  Every day the people I went to school with mocked and berated me ceaselessly.  Even physically assaulted me at times.  Every day the people I called “friend” didn’t actually give a damn about me.  Couldn’t be bothered to ask me what was wrong if they saw me hurting.  Couldn’t even pick up the phone and call me to say “hello”.  One call, I used to think, would be enough to make a difference.  But that phone never rang.

Every day I felt like I had no one.  Every day I wished I was dead.  Every day, the only thing keeping me from killing myself was my refusal to let “them” win.  I never knew feeling another way, even in elementary school.  Enough years go by feeling that way… you don’t think it can EVER change.

The theme song from the show “Friends” has that line “when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year”.  I heard a radio DJ once say, when talking about that song, something to the effect of “if it hasn’t been your year, it’s time to throw in the towel”.  (Damned radio DJ’s… no one should ever take their drivel seriously.)  So what about those like me – where EVERY year hasn’t been their year?!

Yeah… those like us?  That slogan doesn’t apply to those like us.  Or so I thought.

It took a LONG time for things to change, a lot of fuck ups, and A LOT of FIGHT.  And I didn’t even notice that things were getting better until one day I turned around and realized I had an entirely different life.

Even though I didn’t appreciate the significance at the time, I do know when it started to get better for me.  The fundamental difference.

In my case, it was something so small.  So simple.  One little pill, and all I needed to do… was take it… EVERY day.  Stop convincing myself that there is nothing wrong with me and going off the meds… AGAIN.  Having the courage to accept that I had a mental illness, and that did NOT make me weak.  What was weak was refusing to accept help when I needed it.

It wasn’t the first pill I tried that finally helped.  More like the sixth.  Pharmacology isn’t an exact science.

And then when I FINALLY found the right one… that pill didn’t make all my problems go away.  My life still sucked.  But something was different… ME.  My outlook.  I realized that with time and effort, I could CHANGE my circumstances.  And I did.

It took years.  Years where I still felt like I was failing.  But I didn’t want to die anymore.  Now, I wanted to make things better instead.  Until one day I looked back and realized… I LIKED my life. It’s not perfect.  I still struggle and have hard times.  But… life is full of ups and downs.  Now I know when things are down, they WILL go back up again.  Turns out it really was a temporary problem.  For some people, temporary is just A LOT longer.

If you’re struggling, don’t give up.  No matter how hopeless it seems – there is ALWAYS hope.  And if you see someone struggling, show them you care.  You may never realize that your kindness was the difference between life and death.

Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter (i.e. why you’re an asshole)

If you feel offended by the words “Black Lives Matter” – then you are missing the point.  This movement was not started with the intention of elevating the value of Black lives above the value of the lives of people of any other race.  It was started because ALL lives matter equally… but unfortunately there are still areas in our country where the lives of Black people are not treated as if they matter as much as the lives of White people.  This slogan was coined as a way to create awareness of this problem and to stand up against it.

If you feel offended by the words “All Lives Matter” – then you are missing the point.  “ALL Lives Matter” MEANS that “BLACK Lives Matter” just as much any other lives.  It does not diminish that, it SUPPORTS it.  While it is possible that the person saying those words missed your initial point – “All Lives Matter” speaks for itself.  The only way you can argue against it, is if you DON’T think that ALL lives matter.  And that attitude is the very problem all of this was supposed to be trying to solve.

Now it does bear re-iterating that “Black Lives Matter” was not STARTED with the intention of elevating the value of Black lives above the value of the lives of people of any other race – it is most unfortunate and reprehensible that the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) has adopted this noble message and perverted it into spreading wild racism and hate against White people (not to mention how it has perverted the message and memory of the ORIGINAL Black Panthers).  There is NOTHING positive about genocide, and that is what the NBPP is rallying for.

“I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the faggots, we kill the lesbians, I say goddammit we kill them all! If they are white, kill ‘em all!”  – Khalid Abdul Muhammad (National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party until his death.  The same message is still being spread regularly by the current heads of the NBPP.)

But this is NOT the opinion of every Black person spreading the “Black Lives Matter” message!!!!!  If we just gave up entirely every time some fanatical group of people perverted something positive with their hate, we’d have nothing positive left.  If we judge all people in any group by the actions of a few, then by that logic there would be no good people at all left in the world.  AND JUDGING ALL THE PEOPLE IN ANY GROUP BY THE ACTIONS OF A FEW IS WHAT MOST OF US ARE TRYING TO END with all these clever slogans!

So to sum things up – whether you’re saying “Black Lives Matter”, “All Lives Matter”, or “ANY OTHER Lives Matter” – YOU’RE RIGHT!  If you’re offended by any of those phrases – YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!

Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System?

It gets talked about a lot these days, how there is a major problem with racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. A very hot button subject that itself is used as an example in even larger civil liberties debates.

Generally, it’s not even a debate whether or not this discrimination exists (or it’s level of severity) within our criminal justice system, it’s simply considered FACT that is proven by the flat statistics. Percentages listed of how many more Black and Latino/Hispanic people are in prison than White people (or get arrested, or remain in prison awaiting trial, or get assigned a public defender for their lawyer, etc., etc.).

I see a lot of MAJOR flaws in this logic. I do not understand how flat statistics could ever possibly be expected to prove MOTIVATION. Why is the conclusion that is jumped to by these statistics that it must be RACIALLY motivated? Why is it not even considered that the reason more Black and Latino/Hispanic people are in prison than White people, is simply because more of them happened to have actually committed crimes?  Why is merely ASKING that question considered racist by many people?  Why aren’t more people asking those questions?

Honestly though, stop a minute. Put any judgements you rushed to aside for the moment and open your mind. Forget race and consider the fact that the majority of crimes are committed by people from LOW INCOME URBAN COMMUNITIES.  And that IS a fact.  Why do you suppose that is?

Myself, I suppose that is because people who live in these areas have the cards stacked against them.  Because people in these communities have a horrendous public education system leading to low paying jobs and an endless repeat cycle where every generation is worse off than the last.  Children in these areas are often raised by parents who have a poor education and low paying jobs (giving the parents little opportunity to help their children do better), are surrounded by crime (making it seem normal, acceptable, and easily attainable), and have very little chance of breaking the pattern because their public education often doesn’t even teach them such basic skills as how to read – let alone prepare them for college or a better adult life and the means to move OUT of that area.

Communities comprised of uneducated people with a low income subsequently tend to have the HIGHEST crime rates.  And it just so happens that the people who live in these communities are primarily Black and Latino/Hispanic, with White people as the minority.  And it stays that way, because like I said, few people are able to break the cycle and move someplace better.

That’s not racism, that’s geography.  If the tables were turned and the people who lived in these areas were mostly White – then more White people would be in prison and all those other things.  And I suspect few people would be crying racism if that were the case.

I read quite the interesting article on this subject on Huffington post.  The author was adamant that this discrimination against Black people exists and, immediately after listing all the statistics that prove it, said the following:

“Poor whites and people of other ethnicity are also subjected to this system of social control. Because if poor whites or others get out of line, they will be given the worst possible treatment, they will be treated just like poor blacks.” [FULL ARTICLE]

I found this statement priceless.  Everything you need to know is right there.  Two sentences that discredit the entire article, in the author’s own words, embedded in the center of it.  Poor people, no matter what their ethnicity are treated equally to each other by our criminal justice system – bad.

Does that mean that racial discrimination DOESN’T exist in our criminal justice system?  Of course not.  Myself, I definitely believe that it does – primarily when it comes to who is targeted for committing crimes (e.g. the “stop and frisk”). But I do NOT believe that unfairly targeting a person based on race automatically equates to unfairly convicting a person based on race. There is a lot of ground between those two events. Some of the people unfairly targeted will undoubtedly be unfairly convicted… but how many? No such statistics exist or could exist. And without knowing those numbers, none of the other statistics prove ANYTHING. They are just statistics. And all we’re left with are suspicions that can neither be proved nor disproved.

That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about this subject. I think it’s important for everyone to think about it and ask questions and take actions that could improve our society as a whole. But we won’t be able to take the RIGHT actions if we haven’t correctly identified the problem. And we can’t correctly identify the problem if we just make assumptions and stop asking any more questions.