I’ve recently embarked on a pretty large research project. I don’t want to reveal to much about what I’m working on, but I should get the first part out by next week and I plan to at least self-publish a book by the end of the year. I can say that finding balance and moderation is an ongoing struggle. Not just in my own life but it seems to be consensus in the current climate. There’s a real all or nothing mentality in today’s culture that can be infectious and distracting. Finding time for self-care is something I’ve certainly struggled with in the past. Writing is very cathartic to me and putting it into the world really helps. So, I wanted to just write something tonight to keep up a daily practice and get my thoughts out. I’ve tried to paint a few things lately, hit the road for some field research and unplug a little. I have to refocus and meditate to make sure I’m on the forward track in life. Sometime I have to quit fighting for a little bit to see where the fight really is.
And the fight here is to end systemic racism and injustice once and for all. No doubt about it. This is the fight for all of us right now in this moment. And this is a movement and not a moment. I’ve been out here in my life before and I’ve never experienced anything like this. It took taking away everyone’s sports, concerts, clubs and bars to get us to pay enough attention to maybe the worst televised killing in modern history. George Floyd is this generations Emmett Till. We had to be stuck at home, in quarantine, to see what systemic racism and injustices really are. Injustices that affect all of us, with the exception of a handful of elites. George Floyd’s murder opened enough eyes at the right moment at the right time to fuel a fire that’s always been lit. Sometimes it’s just smoldering, now it’s burning blue. The opposition is in such a mass panic to deal out fear right now that if you just shut of your tv and phone for a week – you’d start to see some actual truth.
I’ve been trying to make a point to relate my own personal experiences with the current climate. Sometimes maybe I’m too open, but I’d rather be that then in denial of who I am. Staying silent is not an option. There’s a good reason you keep hearing that everywhere. Those in corrupt places of power seek to distract, divide and silence any would be dissenters. Facebook is maybe the greatest tool every created for mass distraction, misleading and misinformation. I can tell you firsthand that it’s designed that way.
I had to delete my Facebook for the sake of my sanity a couple years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I started a new one recently to promote my art career (mostly 😬) and it’s taken a sharp turn with the climate we are in. I have the experience from before to know how beneficial unplugging is and I encourage it – even at the sake of readers or potential clients. Balance and moderation. Things in life need to be seen for yourself. Actually experienced. If you have such strong opinions on something then how well researched are you on that subject? You’d be surprised to see your bias slip away when you start to read a book and track down real sources. That’s applies to any subject. What I’ve been working on has been real refreshing to me in that aspect. I’ve been going out doing field research to see certain historical places myself, trying to get the full picture. Then finding the original texts and articles from the times and sourcing the papers I’m writing. That alone will illuminate you to how full of shit 90% of the stuff on your feed is. I’m trying to take a new policy: if I didn’t read it with sources, research myself or see it myself then I have no opinion on it. Certainly no strong one.
I’ve been outspoken about race and systemic injustices throughout my life. Not enough though. And when I was – I went about it the wrong ways. My motives were often self-seeking. Wanting recognition for doing what I thought was right. Self-righteous and arrogant, constantly standing in judgment of what others were doing wrong. Unable to see other perspectives and unable to look inside at my own faults. Introspection is the only way I can begin to get out of my own ego.
“The door to the souls opens inwards”
I’ve spent the last month plus protesting in and around Atlanta. To say that the media is misrepresenting what is really happening is an understatement. The same can be said about the national news all across the country. A handful of violent acts are exacerbated into the main narrative. Even the local news can’t help themselves with the dog-whistling lately. There are instigators in the crowds looking to start issues. Facts. I’ve seen them. We’ve turned them away from marches where they refused to allow their backpacks to be searched. They looked like they were from outside the area and honestly, those bags were bulky – probably with bricks and fire-starters. All of the organizers and protestors around the city are emphasizing peaceful demonstrations. No questions about it. And I’m not saying for certain, but I saw one of the worst undercover cops in my life at the Stone Mountain demonstration the other day. The dude was too obvious.
There isn’t a one-sided political message out here either. There are honest conversations happening at all these events and demonstrations. No one is heavily pushing any party on anyone that I’ve seen. I’ve seen the libertarian and green parties having conversations with people in the communities. People tired of the same old two-party song and dance wanting to hear from someone else. The younger generation especially has no love for any one party, that’s for certain. This is about being honest and getting results through actions. I’ve talked on here about truth and reconciliation before. There’s no way around this. And it takes action to do so. Addressing the systems is what it’s going to take. Everyone is welcomed and there are people willing to have these honest conversations that are difficult. Just leave the BS rhetoric at home. No one wants to hear YOUR stats about THEIR communities.
I saw a state trooper address a group of Black protestors outside the Governor’s Mansion the week that Rayshard Brooks was killed. It was a heated discussion but it was civil. This whole exchange could of gone worse, but it didn’t. Tensions were no doubt high. I can’t say any agreements were reached but there were multiple conversations like this happening between the police and the community that night. These need to happen and are happening. There are very few reports of this stuff on the news. Especially the national media. And that’s both sides. They sell fear and need it to keep their machine turning. Don’t forget that the people behind those desks make million-dollar salaries. None of them are out here seeing any of this with their own eyes. Let alone talking to anyone. It’s not good for their bottom line. I talked about this in my last piece, but if you’re not listening to human interest stories, then you aren’t getting the real facts. That’s the reality of the situation. That’s social science. There’s a bigger picture. But it affects us all as individuals. When someone shuts down another individuals experience from fear of not having their own heard then we can’t go forward. When Black lives matter then all lives matter. That means when we all respect each other’s experiences and get honest about what’s real then we can start to make a better world.
I think many White people, especially in the south, have fears that admitting a history of saying or being racist will get them condemned. I’ve been vocal about that on here already and admit plenty of times that I have been. It’s insulting to say otherwise and a lie. I’m not going to spoil my research totally and I’ll save the source for when I put it out but I wanna drop this nugget here:
In 1868 it was reported that 1 in 2 southern men, 18 and up, were members of the Ku Klux Klan. That means that somewhere one of your kinfolk, probably mine too, likely had – or has – bedsheets hanging in their closest.
Let’s do everyone a favor and just admit that and move on already. Acceptance is the answer.
I speak a lot about my journey in recovery from alcoholism, drugs and mental illness on here and I feel that maybe this country needs to treat systemic racism like recovery.
So, is it time for a 12-step program for racism?
– My name is James and I’m a grateful recovering racist trying my hardest to be anti-racist one day at a time ❤️🙏👊❤️🤪