Charlie Hebdo Is NOT Racist – You’re Being Ignorant

One thing that has struck me over the past week is how people here in the US keep claiming the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was and is inherently racist. This needs to stop. This is like saying about a woman who got raped, “She dressed provocatively, so she asked for it.” Just stop. You’re an idiot! You’re excusing the terrorists’ actions because you’re saying the magazine brought it on themselves. I’m also not the only person saying this.

Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity satire journal. If people would dig beyond the sensational images, they’d know this. I’m just about fed up with people like Jordan Weissmann, who wrote this article in Slate. You, sir, are a nitwit, and you obviously have left your entitled little American bubble very little. He argues about them “offending Islam,” but doesn’t for one solitary second stop to mention any of the other religions they’ve taken to task or the politicians they’ve skewered on their front page. Or, what about this article by Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune? You, my dear Clarence, ARE remiss in your conviction of these cartoonists as racist.

Charlie Hebdo fulfilled an important job in French politics and satire in that they took serious topics and, while doing a good job at relaying how funny the situation was, also made important points, at the same time. No one was immune to the wrath of these cartoonists’ pens. Even the Pope earned a spot in their magazine.

So, I’d like my fellow Americans to stop being stuck-up, politically correct assholes. I’d like you to learn something more about the French culture before passing judgement on a solitary magazine. If all you know about the attacks and France/Paris in general is what you’ve read in the headlines over the past week, you just need to shut up. When you open your mouth and start labeling Charlie Hebdo, you talk out of your ass and look like a complete fool to those of us who actually have a clue. When you actually understand the culture, the political and religious dynamics, and the way people think there, you may start making your points. Until then, if you do not wish to show support for the French people as they grieve, you would be better off saying absolutely nothing.

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Stop Dressing as an Indian on Halloween

Last night, one of my friends tried her hardest to share, on her Facebook feed, how racist it is when people dress up as “Indians” on Halloween. She got a whole lot of blowback for it, but, for what it’s worth, I was knee-deep in her post, right there with her, trying to explain to her friends and family how racist it is to dress up as a minority for Halloween. She’s a white woman, but she’s married to a Native American man, and has a son by him who, I think, is a spitting image of his father.

She simply stated in her post that it’s just as racist to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween as it is to dress in blackface. It’s an extremely uncomfortable place for a parent to be put in, as well, when they have to explain to their child why people are mocking his culture on Halloween. Not only is it uncomfortable for the parent, but the child learns at that moment that the world isn’t all sunshine and roses and people don’t respect people like him simply because of who he is and what blood flows through his veins.

This is wrong. I don’t care what excuse you try to come up with, it’s wrong. Don’t try to come at me with some bullshit about how “You don’t know me!” Yea, you’re right. I don’t know you; I do, however, know what you’re portraying. White privilege is an ugly beast. Last night, it was on full display in this poor girl’s comments. Her sister was literally at her throat and my throat because we called it what it was – racist. I tried my best to explain that white privilege exists and is the reason she thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to run around on Halloween dressed as someone’s culture. I tried to explain that it’d be no different from if she decided to grab Scotch tape and tape the corners of her eyes up so she could go trick-or-treating as an Asian girl.

See, the thing is, whether you acknowledge it or not, if you’re born white, you benefit from white privilege. What makes a difference is whether you acknowledge this white privilege and do your best not to offend others while working to change the skewed system, or whether you accept it and tell those who are hurt by it to stop crying about it. Our country was built on wiping out and oppressing Native Americans, and we need to face this horrible reality and do our best to stop it from continuing. But, so long as we think it’s cute or sexy to dress up as Pocahontas for Halloween, we are perpetuating this oppression and allowing the hurt and pain to continue.

So, if you thought it was a good idea to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween, think again. Better yet, take that damn costume back to the store and get something that’s NOT racist!

Anna out!

Blog Action Day: Why I Fight Inequality

Inequality is the ugliest of human traits and creations. From the beginning of the human race, we’ve treated each other differently based on many different factors. Today, inequality takes many forms, and they are just as nasty as they’ve always been. Women are treated as lesser because they seem to not possess the strength or fortitude of men; different races are mistreated and even killed based on the color of their skin; followers of non-Christian religions are shunned and even targeted because we don’t understand their beliefs; people who do not have the means to live above poverty are targets of the most vile insults; those who love people of their own gender still get targeted and killed for these feelings. None of this makes a person better than those who are treated unequal.

I hope that one day humanity can rise above inequality and learn to coexist with each other peacefully and without prejudice. I want a world where everyone is truly treated as equals, and there are no caste or class systems that exist to subject certain individuals to extra hardship based on a set of arbitrary rules laid out by those who believe themselves to be better than all the rest. Until we can eradicate inequality and prejudice from our minds and from our way of thinking, we will never truly evolve to be more than animals. At this point, we’re no better than a flock of chickens. When they sense that one of their own is somehow injured or unable to stand up for itself, they will gang up on that lesser chicken and kill it. This is the same thing we do to each other every single day.

As I noted, inequality comes in so many forms. It’s not limited to racism or sexism, though these are the two most well-known forms. To be poor means you are the target of prejudice every day. You get judged based on every action you take and every possession you have. To be poor and a minority means you receive extra scrutiny. Women still do not experience true equality in this world. We get held to a different standard than our male counterparts while being expected to accept less as payment for our work and services. We are expected to perform jobs men would not perform, and are judged when we asked to do a job that is seen as a stereotypical male role. Gays, lesbians, and transgender people are bullied and killed every day for daring to show their true form instead of conforming to our heterosexual-centric world. We’re just now starting to see them be able to have proper weddings and get legally married in more than just a couple states in the US.

I’ve spoken at length in several blog posts about racism. It is the puss of America’s and the world’s festering wound. Until we clean this infection from us and heal the hurt and damage it has caused, we will not see the end of it. We must ALL work towards promoting equality for everyone. To be silent about this injustice means you are complicit and consent to it occurring. I’m not just talking about white-on-minority racism, either. Minorities take part in this sick circus just as much as those of us with fair complexions do. I’m glad we’ve gotten to a time where words like ni**er are considered curse words and taboo, though I wish that along with this word being off-limits, we’d also condemn those who use the terms “beaner,” “wetback,” “chink,” “white trash,” “cracker,” “raghead,” etc. NONE of these should be considered acceptable, and those who use them should be roundly called out until they change their ways.

Every person has the same potential as anyone else does. To assign them a label that automatically puts them at a disadvantage is to hamper our progress as a whole. Just because a person is gay does not mean they do not have the ability to become the next great quantum physicist, much the same as just because someone is Hindu does not mean they do not show promise to be an excellent banker or veterinarian. When you assign people boxes, you limit what they can do as an individual, and this should not be the case.

So, stand up to inequality the next time you see it. Don’t just turn your eyes away and pretend nothing is going on. To do so means you’ve just acknowledged this poor behavior and agree with it. The only way we will change this and stop inequality is to all rise up against it and demand that it end.

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt. Please join me in participating in Blog Action Day, when bloggers from all over the world stand up against inequality.

When Will They Learn?

I’m back! And I’m not only back, but I’m pissed as all hell! For the record, I try to wait a few days after a major and controversial news story has broken before speaking my mind, because I want to get as many facts as possible before I launch into a tirade. This time is no exception, and holy crap! I’m so hot I could slap a bitch!

A couple of evenings ago, an off-duty St. Louis police officer shot a teenager and killed him. Again, St. Louis County? Will you never learn?! I’m so upset by this, I’m finding it rather difficult to properly write this post. Of course, as is always the case, the police claim the victim started the altercation, but I have a hard time believing anything these two-bit asshats have to say after the colossal fuckup that was and is the Michael Brown killing and subsequent protests. And, I’m not referring to the protestors here, I’m referring to these wanna-be Call of Duty cops.

Something must be done. How is it that one county can continue to slaughter their people simply because of the color of their skin and get away with it? Why have we as Americans not stepped in and done something to make sure these people are safe from their police force? The wheels of motherfucking justice are moving too freakin’ slow here, if you ask me, because people are dying.

I don’t believe this young man had a gun. I don’t trust these police forces in this county. Why the hell would a kid have a gun when he went with his friends to buy a goddamn sandwich? Something smells fishy here, and I’m pretty damn sure that kid’s sandwich wasn’t tuna. Also, if this cop was on his way to his next job, which is a private security job, why the hell was he stopping a group of kids walking home from a sandwich shop? They looked suspicious because of the color of their skin. Brandishing a weapon my big white ass! It’s a little hard to brandish a handgun while you’re busy chowing down on a sub sandwich. Let’s call it what it is – that stupid cop targeted them simply because their skin has a higher melanin content than his. Apparently, in St. Louis Co., walking while black makes you a criminal and you can be shot on the spot.

I want to hit something! I’m so ticked! I keep reading all of these news articles that repeat the police’s claim he shot at the officer first, and I want to scream. I’m livid. I wish just one major news outlet would come out and stand up and say to these police forces that they refuse to be their propaganda machines any longer. Just because someone with a badge makes a claim doesn’t make it fact and doesn’t mean it should be taken as such and printed by every newspaper, e-magazine, and cable news channel in the country.

There is a family grieving today. Another young black man in St. Louis County who hadn’t even started his life yet has been taken from those he loves, and we’re still waiting for the asinine D.A. to bring charges against the last killer cop there. I have no faith in that D.A. by the way. He’s as crooked as those cops that killed those two kids. I know that what he wants is to just sweep all of this under the rug like it never happened, and I’m very happy that the people he is supposed to serve are standing up and making their voices heard to make sure this whole situation doesn’t just go away.

St. Louis County needs to get their act together and remove all of these police from duty, fire this shady D.A., revamp their city councils, and clean up this corruption. It’s sad to say, but it’s all up to them, and as far as all of this is concerned, there’s not much anyone in the rest of America can do beyond showing them the utmost support while they do so. I’m not saying this because I have no faith in these protestors, but rather because I feel if the rest of America were allowed to help remove the corruption, it would get done a lot faster. If I could, I’d clean house for them, but it’s their town and their county, and they must do it for themselves. What we, who are not in St. Louis, can do is support these protestors by donating to one of these funds for those in this area. This will be a long, drawn out event that will continue for the foreseeable future, until something is done to change things, and these people need our help!

We Will Never Forget

Do you remember where you were when you found out about the terror attacks on September 11, 2001? I didn’t find out until school dismissed for the day and my mom picked us up. She had the radio in the car tuned to the local NPR station and I sat in shock the entire ride home. I was 14 and just starting ninth grade. At home, I kept the radio on NPR all evening listening to it being discussed. I was terrified. What if a plane plunged into our house in the middle of the night one night while we were sleeping and we all died? What if, while I was at school one day, a plane dropped out of the sky and blew us to kingdom come? I didn’t sleep for a few nights.

I lived in a rather small city at that time. It only had roughly 70,000 residents. I now live in America’s second largest city. I’ve accepted that the threat of terror attacks is something I’ll have to deal with if I want to live here. I’ve also come to realize that Middle Eastern-looking people aren’t necessarily the biggest threat to our well-being and safety. Being married to a man of Northern African/Middle Eastern descent has taught me that you cannot always judge a book by its cover (you have got to love that old adage.) Right now, our biggest safety threat lies in the very people that most are least concerned about – far right wing evangelicals with guns who want to “exercise” their Second Amendment “right” to bear arms and openly resist our government.

I’m not going to make this a long-winded post about them, though. I feel that would be disrespectful to the 3,000+ victims who lost their lives 13 years ago today. The fact that yesterday evening our President told the American public that he wants to start yet another war in the Middle East tells me that we, the American people as a whole, still have not learned the lessons we should have learned years ago. I’m not saying we were wrong to go into Afghanistan and try to eradicate Al Qaeda. However, we should have learned that you cannot “rid” the world of evil, and when you set out to try to do so militarily, you only draw more people to their cause and create more groups like them. Therefore, I think we will end up regretting picking another fight with this new enemy, ISIS. I don’t have the answer to making the world a safer place and helping the people who are being slaughtered by them, but we are not the “good guys” over there. We slaughtered a lot of people needlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan and completely destroyed and disrupted their way of life. To think we could swoop in and be their savior is a very flawed viewpoint.

I mourn for the victims of all needless violence today. I’m also ashamed of my country’s handling of foreign affairs. As a “superpower”, we should be a lot more cautious of how we use our power and ensure we only use it for good. I fear we’re headed into another open-ended war with no good outcome. It will only wreak havoc on our economy yet again and cause destruction and mayhem where we do not need to cause it.

Today is a sad day.

Dear America:

I never intended for my blog to become political in any way. When I started this blog, it was going to be a personal blog full of posts about my life and recipes and things I know. Then this past week happened. This past week changed everything.

We’ve got to wake up as a nation. We’ve been pacifists for far too long. We’ve been spoonfed information that’s been twisted to reflect the values of a few, at the expense of the masses. We’ve sat by quietly instead of rising en mass with Occupy Wall Street while corporate America continues to dismantle our economy and wreak havoc on our finances and those of our neighbors. We’ve looked the other way as police officers have brutally beaten and killed our neighbors, our brothers, our coworkers, and we’ve been silent instead of all rising up and demanding justice. We’ve allowed extremist religious fanatics to take control of our politics and strong arm our legislative process in Washington.

America is not the great nation it once was. America is no better than Russia or Iran, when we can have members of law enforcement kill citizens and walk away without so much as even being required to answer to that community for the pain that was caused. We’re no better than those we consider a “threat” when we allow the same people who destroyed our economy to continue to be in control of our economy without being held accountable for the damage they’ve done. We’re no better than Russia or Iran when the same leaders who sullied our good name by slaughtering millions of innocent people halfway across the world are still idolized and are not imprisoned for war crimes.

We need to make a change. We need to rise up with one voice and condemn EVERY wrong action done by the powers that be. We need to demand accountability and continue to demand it until we get it. Making one demand and going silent will not get answered. An old proverb goes like this, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” We’ve got to become the loudest, squeakiest wheel in human history and start demanding change from our leaders. No one wants to be “that guy” or “that woman” that nags continuously, but we must forget that and focus on the end goal.

Ferguson is just one of many recent events, and we cannot stay silent any longer. Within days of Michael Brown being gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, one young black man had been beaten nearly to death and another one killed here in the Los Angeles area by police officers. If these two events occurred here, how many have occurred elsewhere across America that we are not hearing about because Ferguson is currently grabbing the headlines?

This is why I’ve taken a stand behind the petition on Whitehouse.gov demanding a Mike Brown Law. I’ve also taken the time to write to my Senator and my two US Representatives asking them to draft this legislation as well as backing the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. If you’ve taken the time to read this post, please take the time to do the same. It’s not difficult, and it could end up making a huge difference for our country and our world.

Racism in Our UNITED States

America is a beautiful and diverse country, full of people from varied backgrounds and cultures. This is something we are told from childhood to be proud of. Ours is a country that is called a “melting pot.” People come here, bring their culture with them, and add to what we already have to make us more beautiful and more diverse.

At least that’s what we’re told.

The problem is we’re diverse, but we’re not beautiful. We’re ugly. We’re hateful. We’re disgusting. We’re bitter about the past. We’re very bigoted. We’re offensive to anyone with sense and the slightest bit of class. We’re vicious to our own and we’re vicious to those who want to become a part of “us.”

I’m white, but I’m not proud to be white. I look at the news and I watch other white people around me and I’m revolted at how they treat people who aren’t the same as them. It makes me ashamed to be included as part of the “culture,” because that’s not me. I’m not like them. Most of them are bitter and antagonistic. I just want everyone to get along.

I keep reading about white people claiming that there is a “war on whites.” I’d like to see this war. I see a war on women; I see a war on minorities. What I don’t see is a war on whites. My mother (bless her little pea-pickin’ heart!) declared to me one day that it was a black person who first created abortions to use on white people so they could decrease our birth rate and thereby out-produce us and take over the population. Say what?! I didn’t even have a response to that ridiculous claim when I heard her say that.

Let me take a rabbit trail for a second and mention my mother (bless her little pea-pickin’ heart!) was also the one who told me that homosexuality is only practiced by humans, that a black man screwed monkeys and that’s how HIV entered the human population, and that god will kill all homosexuals for their sins. According to her, this must be the unpardonable sin, I guess. No hope of salvation. See the hate?

Anyway, back to our major racism issue here in America.

I’ve also seen racism between different, non-caucasian races. Why? You guys get enough shit from the “majority,” so why must you fight amongst yourselves, as well? You need to join together, become one voice, and show these repugnant souls that you matter because you, collectively, outnumber their hate. So long as you continue to be divided as African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, etc., you will never get anything constructive done. As soon as all of you join your voices as one, you will find a power un-matched by any white voice. Nothing will be able to stop you!

Now, I’d like to speak to my fellow white folks.

Ya’ll are assholes. You keep screaming about everyone else acting like Hitler or trying to wipe you out, but I see through this little farce. While you’re busy yammering on about it, you’re doing this exact thing to others. Stop it, already. I’m kind of tired of watching this happen around me. You give people like me a bad name. Didn’t your momma ever tell you that if you’ve got nothing nice to say, to say nothing at all? Quit going to Twitter or comments on news sites and letting your fingers puke that hate all over your keyboard. You’re such a little man when you do that.

I’m done, for now. Peace.

Why I Cannot be Silent About Ferguson

I’m very upset today. Upset isn’t really the word, though. Outraged? Pissed? None of those truly convey how I feel about what is going on in Missouri. I don’t think the English language even has a word to clearly convey the emotions I feel as I read about the riots in Missouri, about the destruction of property and callous disregard for others that has been shown there. I just don’t really have a word to accurately portray the depth of anger and horror I feel as I read the news stories and watch the videos and even read through comments sections on these protests. Read these beauties from the blaze.com.

Wow! Stay classy folks! I’ll let those comments speak for themselves. I don’t think there’s much I need to add to that hatred and racism. And yet they want to sit there and claim there’s a “war on whites?” Seriously? FUCKING SERIOUSLY?!

It’s a sad day when I, as a white woman, will say I’m thankful I’m white. It’s upsetting and disturbing on every level to watch these heinous actions by cops dressed to the teeth in military gear stomping all over fellow citizens’ constitutional rights just because they have no one there to physically stop them. For instance, last night two journalists, an alderman, and a state senator got arrested for merely being at the protests.

I found an excellent live feed by an independent radio station, KARG, broadcasting from the protests, so I was able to form my own opinions regarding what occurred last night before reading any news stories about it. News reports from certain outlets (read Fox News and their lying ilk) declared protestors were shooting at the police and throwing molotov cocktails. I never saw that in the live broadcast I watched and neither did reputable reporters there, either. I only witnessed a protestor return a smoke canister back to the police line. One even went so far as to tweet regarding these allegations.

If the police in Ferguson, Missouri, really want a de-escalation of tensions in that city, instead of showing force and dressing in military gear and pointing guns at peaceful protestors, they should apologize to the family and community for Michael Brown’s unnecessary death, release the identity of their killer officer, provide support to the protestors instead of resistance, and show through actions how they will work to change their policies so this never happens again.

But, they don’t really want a de-escalation. These cops believe the angry citizens are “animals” and that Ferguson is a “war zone.” This is not the way they “serve and protect” their citizens. This is the way they continue to abuse those citizens and cause them more anger. Is it any wonder that these people in Ferguson are only getting angrier and more upset. NOTHING is changing. These people are only seeing more of the same from their abusive police force and have had enough of it.

This morning both the President and the Chief of Police held press conferences regarding the protests.

(I can only find this clip at this moment, but I will hopefully be able to find a more complete video and will update when I do so.)

Meanwhile, on Twitter, users from Gaza are advising the people in Ferguson as to how to handle to police and tear gas being shot at them. I find it slightly ironic but very heartwarming to read these tweets. It reaffirms the idea in me that at the end of the day, the whole world over, we are still all one big human family and that human compassion still exists. Read some of the tweets from Palestinians to Americans:

So, if you want to do something about what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, please sign this Whitehouse.Gov petition demanding the “Mike Brown Law”, in addition to calling your state and federal Senators and Representatives and demanding they introduce/stand behind this law in Congress. Also there are solidarity protests happening around America and a National Moment of Silence scheduled.