You know why Tamir Rice is dead?: A Self-Important White Chick’s Perspective

Someone has to fucking say it, might as well be me.

The caller said Tamir had what appeared to be a toy gun – he saw a child who needed someone to have a very serious discussion with them, but he was also kind of scared that might have been a real gun, and didn’t want to take any chances.

Dispatch either neglected to inform the responders of, or the responders ignored, the ‘toy’ part of the information given initially.

Without any hesitation, Loehmann shot young Tamir Rice because he allegedly believed that he was pointing the gun at him and his partner. Loehmann shot in spite of the person who dialed 9-1-1 telling them twice that the gun was “probably fake.” After they killed him, police inspected the gun to discover that it was an air soft pellet-gun, which is basically a toy.

The tragic incident was captured on surveillance video.

Responders respond, assessing the situation as one best handled A) without engaging the suspected gunman in conversation, and B) without giving medical treatment as soon as the suspect is down.

Juvenile female claiming to be sister, hysterical, pinned to ground while brother bleeds to death without said medical treatment, because that was what was safest for everyone in that moment…

Maybe it’s just me, but what the fuck would be the point of this decision? “Watch your little brother bleed to death, and remember to stay the fuck in line”? Did no one hear anything she was saying, or did they not care? She didn’t need assistance, she needed restraining. The boy didn’t need assistance, he needed to die.

…can’t imagine any other reason why that would have happened.

Suicidal white teen huddling in trash can ‘siced’ on by dog as part of the K9’s training exercises, implicating text messages affirm.

Here’s another:

Cop catches mother stealing eggs, has a food drive and delivers perishables to her home. And again, something similar.

Here’s another:

Border patrol agent kidnapped, raped, and sliced open the arms of a mother and her daughter – mother ran while agent was assaulting her daughter, to get help FROM OTHER AGENTS, who promptly busted in mid-stroke on that dude, and he gets up to off himself. The Mother and Daughter were taken to a hospital to care for their injuries.

What do all of these incidents have in common?

The person who perpetrated these acts had either extreme or no empathy for the person with whom they were dealing. We have both mob mentality/ community outreach and lone wolves/ individual Samaritans, once again indicating pretty much anything is neutral, it’s the intention behind the action/ usage of an object/ idea.

People HAVE prejudices – they have prejudices because ‘their brains’ and ‘survival’. I would like to think we have evolved past the need to rely on this, but I digress – I might actually be a generation ahead, due to how young my Gma/ Mother were when they had children. I digress and apologize, that was elitist of me to infer older generations are inferior in any way without recognizing the ways in which they are obviously superior… I was born about 200 – 300 years too late, myself.

Prejudices can be based on a number of different factors, and people from various backgrounds can be prejudiced against different things on a sliding spectrum of acceptance and rejection, which both can be advantageous to the prejudiced person (i.e.: choosing to apply to serve tables at a restaurants with higher clientele) and also not (refusing to let Viola become a manager and continually sexually harassing all the women, because it’s 1970-something and they can always just QUIT if they don’t like ‘playing with the big boys’… meaning the big boys play while the laundry lasses slave away in the washroom now known as ‘the cubicle with typewriter’. If you’re unaware, this is the plot of a movie-turned-musical starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda. The Tomlin/ Fonda wage issue is a whole ‘nother blog.

Awareness of prejudice may result in conscious choice of de-escalatory/ nurturing behavior, the old ‘honey than vinegar’ primal psychology. Is someone more likely to surrender to someone who has a gun drawn to them? Is someone more likely to shoot an armed man approaching them with or without weapon drawn?

What if his sister was standing with him when the cops pulled up? Would they both have been shot? Would they have assumed the girl was a hostage? What ways do prejudice inform your choices in how to talk to/ treat/ favor/ discredit people? Murder? Rape? Extortion? Theft? Sodomy? Thinking adulterous thoughts? At what point can you condemn another person to “whatever terrible fate may await them” without a second thought? Holding a gun-like object in public? A group of grown men killing a child, conspiring to sic a dog on one?

Let’s be reasonable – those people who committed what, by civilian standards, would be considered assault on another person, have names and should be held accountable – that’s the main issue here. “With great Power comes great responsibility”.

You know why the Ten Commandments are there to ‘keep us from going to hell’… what do you THINK are the consequences of Murder, Adultery, in the real world?

Fucking Vendettas. Possessively-justifiable violence.

“An eye for an eye“, or the law of retaliation, is the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree, or in softer interpretations, the victim receives the [estimated] value of the injury in compensation.[1]

The principle is sometimes referred using the Latin term lex talionis or the law of talion. The English word talion (from the Latin talio [2]) means a retaliation authorized by law, in which the punishment corresponds in kind and degree to the injury.

“You killed my child.”

“You maimed my child.”

“You shot my child in the head because you were scared she would encourage women to get an education.”

I don’t think there should be equality. I think there should be Justice. We shouldn’t knock everyone down and pander to the lowest-common denominator, that does no one any good.

If I’m on a rope-pulling team, and it’s legal to do so in the rope-pulling rules, I want the fucking sweaty-palmed dude to wear gloves, I want us ALL to wear gloves, even though it will help some people significantly more than others. Conversely, if you CAN’T abide gloves, I don’t see the point in forcing someone to wear them when they’re already calloused up fine from YEARS of training, and adding a new element is going to throw them off completely?

I digress into allegory a lot.

The point is, BLM, The War on Terror, is it any WONDER it took dogs getting capped by some poor bastard who’s shoved onto frontlines until they have PTSD and who’s taught to anticipate instead of approach a situation with love and courage – what I have, firsthand, seen the ‘good ones’ do. Are there lost causes? YES, there certainly are people whose brains incline them towards psychopathic, non-empathetic behaviors. There are some who have this non-empathy, and use it, instead, to become proficient surgeons and make a whole bunch of money to keep themselves entertained based on the fact they’re allowed to carve people up “if they do it right”.

It takes all kinds – it’s being able to control your behavior which makes you a danger to society… or not. Law Enforcement’s main concern, in any community, ought to be Public Safety – that’s why they’re regularly seen patrolling at public events, when there are large crowds of people, like Parades and Festivals, in case little kids get lost and need to find and adult and shit. Public Service is not for everyone, nor should it be – it should be Elitist and it ought to strive for Excellence in Safety, Honor, Integrity, Vigilance… but I guess that’s my little fantasy world of Super People. I know how quick a stripper goes from bright and bubbly to disgusted and detached, I can only imagine what policework would do to the human soul.

Making a hard decision in the moment isn’t the same as PREMEDITATED action… knowing someone has a gun and choosing to shoot them and let them bleed out instead of communicating how to de-escalate the situation with the perp, your cohorts, or, not to mention, immediately responding to the injured party once the weapon was discovered to be a toy, that’s not excusable in any sense of the word. If you know you’re going to SHOOT immediately, call an ambulance right away, to be on the scene right after. If you’re going to hurt someone, make sure they make it to court.

“That’s what you get,” isn’t Justice; that’s callousness, that’s Color of Law, that’s deplorable, that’s criminal, and the fact of it being Criminal and involving victims IS worth being taken seriously in a Court of Law, regardless.

Then again, just like Ryan White, the further away someone is from a tragedy of social consciousness, the more willing they seem to help. I can’t speak for the cops or the victim’s families, I can only speak as an outsider watching this all unfold and trying to respond with as much empathy as possible.


Gilbert and Sullivan are Dead: On Cultural Appropriation, Whitewashing, and White Heartbreak

A lot of people don’t understand what the big deal is about performing ‘The Mikado’ in an historically accurate way (read: with white actors in Yellowface). There are two main schools of thought: The Completely Ignorant, and the Academically Ignorant. Now, no one has life lessons beamed straight into their brain – we’re all ignorant about things, at some point in our lives; some people, because of their culture or a personal preference, make it a point to stay ignorant.

For example, tying your shoes. Maybe you just stuck with Velcro all your life, and are starting to get made fun of – maybe you’re Amish or Quaker and only use buckles, because grommeting machines aren’t something you have just lying around (I just made that up). In other words, the amount of pressure to stay ignorant can vary. With that in-mind, let’s carry on.

The Completely Ignorant think ‘Appropriation’ is just a word made up to keep white people from having fun by expressing themselves how they always have before. These people see the condemnation of actions made with either malicious intent or out of learned habit, and think their heritage is being taken away from future generations. No one is injured by a word or a garment, everyone they can see is enjoying themselves – what’s the problem?

When I worked for a literary magazine, there was this really involving piece about a man who was his high school’s racist mascot 30 – 40 years ago. I wish I remembered the name of it, or if it ended up getting in. It was really well written, and it reminded me of the song, “I Sang Dixie“. The story touched on the dissonance felt by people whose worlds, whose prestige (albeit for the better) are being ripped away from them, and the legitimate (albeit less-sympathetic) heartbreak it causes.

Heroes are being rebranded as Perpetuators of Inequality and Injustice, and I believe that’s why we’re seeing so much acting out from these xenophobic ‘old white dudes’ – they’re afraid of being attacked as righteous anger is finally plain to see everywhere, instead of hidden away in private homes and certain parts of town. Now, it’s right on your Facebook feed every day, multiple times a day.

Appropriation is something people do because they have the privilege of pantomiming a culture without having to adopt those values and behaviors to survive. In other words, appropriation is the difference between Native American kids being forced to go to “white” schools and white kids running around the backyard using the hand bobbing over their mouths to make that “wah-wah-wah-wah” racist Indian sound.

Make The Mikado a Valley Girl Story, and it’s no longer appropriation, it’s an adaptation. If the story being about strict morals is SO important, then make it a 1950s conservative Catskills McCarthy-Era Blacklisting story – I digress, I’m no Dramaturge. But, seriously, WHY is doing an opera from 1885 so freaking important?

One commenter on the American Theatre Magazine Facebook post of the article ‘Keep Your Hands Off Of My Kimono, White People‘, brought up the importance of not whitewashing our history. Without relics like these being performed at least semi-regularly (and, of course, only in the hands of confirmed Gilbert and Sullivan Scholars), the Academically Ignorant insist the impact of racism towards people of color in Western Society will never resonate with white people. They can’t see it anymore, so it must not have existed in the first place, or at least not as bad as people make it out to seem.

I can’t completely disagree with this point; after all, having uncensored film of this travesty is important, for keeping the memory of our cultural trespasses alive. Until I was assigned August Wilson in theatre history, the word “Buck” meant nothing to me, in a racial context. The fact of these minstrel caricatures still being used in movies today (Hello, “White Girls”, “Big Momma’s House”…) without being recognized is definitely a legitimate fear – and that’s just one subgroup of POC.

If a clip is shown in an educational setting for the purposes of eliciting the shock and disgust of the students, in order to make them more aware, that’s good, because it is being used to expand social justice and awareness. If a Theatre Company chooses ‘The Mikado’ to fill their lineup, it’s completely insensitive and inappropriate, and no amount of hemming and hawing about production costs and ticket refunds is going to make it justifiable as a choice.

There is plenty of other material to perform in the public domain, not to mention the fact people workshop plays all the time – I just saw a children’s theatre production based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe last night, actually. If the kids can do it, you grown-ass motherfuckers can do it.

If there are white people who want to comment on historical white privilege, a good commentary on racism with an all-white cast (in my opinion) is the “1940’s Radio Hour” – it’s also a Musical, as well as a Christmas show. The casual racism in the advertising bits of the show speaks volumes about how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.

See It in the Theatre (West Side Story Spoiler Alert – Trigger: Racism; not what you might be thinking)

I think there were three of them. Latino, had no idea what specific ethnicity.

“But our friends are in this,” as my boyfriend and I, late, white, purchase our tickets.

“I’m sorry,” as if we don’t exist, “it’s policy – we don’t sell tickets after the play starts.”

“Then why is the window still open?” Legit.

We make eye contact. I know it’s fucked up. I say nothing.

I get to see my favorite play – and a silly little thing like “a person who actually worked at this getting to have a support system” isn’t going to risk me losing my tickets.

After all, I might never get another chance to see it live.

If you ever do ‘West Side Story’, see it in the Theatre.

You see, the movie makes the white guys look better.

In reality, Riff never dies – he’s the one telling everyone to play it cool.

Consuela gets raped while grieving Bernardo and shoving down her racism to facilitate her gentle, naïve friend’s happiness – she knows better, and she gets sucked up into this fantasy, before cursing them whole lot, like Benvolio and the Nurse rolled into one.

I refuse to be complicit in a racist system. Hoorah. Namas-fucking-te.

Thank you for reading. Please – if you see bullshit, say it’s bullshit. It’s not worth whatever little trinket you think it is, in the long run. After it’s all said and done, all you have is your own soul. For Eternity.

…if you believe in that sort of thing.

“Why Does White Pride = Racist?” A White Woman Answers

Simply put, being “white” changes – the Irish didn’t used to be “white”; being “white” is being privileged. It is withheld or given to people for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

Being “White” isn’t about skin color – you know how pasty Irish people are stereotyped to get – it’s about ‘passing’. It’s about participating in a system which gives privileges which the privileged see as rights, and making it easier than it should be to disenfranchise others.

I’ve been one of two white people (out of 1,500 – 3,000 students) in an institutional scholarship orientation program for a week straight; not as tourist, in my home county. Some white people in America never experience anything like it; walking into the “wrong bar” once or twice and walking right back out again doesn’t count.

When you realize what it’s like to walk out of your door and KNOW you might see ONE other white person when you step into the Professional World, when you realize this is a recent reality for minorities trying for Upward Mobility (thankfully, less now, from my limited white perspective, but still quite real in smaller towns), this is the part where you white people go, “Oh. Shit. I didn’t realize. Yeah, that IS fucked up.”

Why is it fucked up? White people are freaking out about the playing field being leveled – they don’t understand white people aren’t being oppressed, they are experiencing equality for the first time. They think their free speech is being attacked because the free speech of others isn’t being suppressed by Fear of Death or Dismemberment… I mean, there are terrorist attacks on multiple black churches because killing devout Christians and leveling Christian Houses of Worship is the Christian thing to do!

Blow Me.

If you’re proud to not be discriminated against and bitch when white feelings aren’t the only ones being catered to (while accusing everyone else of whining – don’t get me started on white people’s “Angry Black Person” problems), get out of America and go somewhere a little more homogenous. Please – we’re multi-cultural here. We celebrate ALL of America, here, not just the ones who have the biggest guns and the most vindication from their imaginary sky friend (who appears differently to different people at different times and says lots of things we choose not to think about because yoga pants on hot girls is a God-given right).

When someone says “That’s offensive,” instead of asking, “Why do you hate free speech? Why don’t you move to Canada?” ask, “What makes it offensive? What’s wrong with it?” You might both be on the same side, and just don’t know it yet. Reinforcing stereotypes (yes, I call out the bullshit on the Redneck Racist bashing memes, too – I’m equal-opportunity enlightenment) makes us less free, as a nation; taking away someone’s dignity is wrong, period, and those who are trying to make the world a better placed have been tasked with pointing out your part in oppressing your fellow Americans.

You were brainwashed as a child; I know it’s nothing personal to you that you’re racist. Or, maybe it is – maybe one of your few experiences with a not-white person was violent or violating; maybe that person was racist and targeting you based on bigotry; if that person/s was/were white, would you feel that way about all white people?

“That’s a stupid question,” you say? “It’s not the same.”

That’s the whole point of this article.


Update – an ingenious comment made in response to the comment I had on the initial meme this sparked a blog about:

“Irish pride = ok, French pride, Viking pride, Slavic pride. All are ok. White pride is about white supremacy, not about being an equal in society.”