It Happens Here: 911, Heart Attacks and Uber

“I think I am having a heart attack, so please get me to the hospital emergency.” That was what a friend to an Uber driver two years ago. She went on to tell me, “I knew something was wrong, the Uber driver arrived within 2 minutes and 10 minutes later I was in the emergency room.” 1

When I told the story of the guy yelling, “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, White Power” outside Trader Joes when I was getting groceries, an acquaintance discounted my experience and said, oh that is just some wackadoodle. I don’t have that luxury to discount an action targeted at me. I had a visceral reaction, it’s stored in my bones, it’s a micro trauma. Nine people were killed on June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, while at a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church motivated by white supremacy. 2 “White Power” being yelled at me, aren’t words by a nut job, but the reality of hate. Symptomatic of discord evident this week when the Anne Frank Memorial in Boise, Idaho was vandalized with swastikas and the words, “we are everywhere.” Hanukkah started on Thursday and this action is unsettling.

“What makes this event actually so sad,” said Dan Prinzing, the executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, “was the blatancy where they were placed, how they were placed and the message they were proclaiming.”

The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights maintains the memorial, which includes a life-sized bronze statue of Anne Frank. The statue depicts Frank holding her diary and peering out the window of the secret annex in which she and her family spent 761 days hiding from Nazis before they were found and sent to concentration camps in 1944.

Another was pasted over a photo showing the face of Bill Wassmuth, a Catholic priest from northern Idaho who left the priesthood to focus on fighting white supremacists and the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group that at the time was based in northern Idaho. Wassmuth died in 2002.

Idaho Anne Frank Memorial defaced with swastika stickers

Eleven were killed in a synagogue massacre took place on October 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania motivated by the white genocide conspiracy theory.2 You can not discount the Anne Frank Memorial vandal’s message, “We are everywhere?” as anything other than hate.

Two mass murders of hate in houses of worship. Nine killed in South Carolina, eleven killed in Pennsylvania. There has been nothing to indicate this madness will stop. This is 9-11. What’s the emergency, an epidemic of denial and hate.

We in the developed world are like homeowners who inherited a house on a piece of land that is beautiful on the outside, but whose soil is unstable loam and rock, heaving and contracting over generations, cracks patched but the deeper ruptures waved away for decades, centuries even. Many people may rightly say, “I had nothing to do with how this all started. I have nothing to do with the sins of the past. My ancestors never attacked indigenous people, never owned slaves.” And, yes. Not one of us was here when this house was built. Our immediate ancestors may have had nothing to do with it, but here we are, the current occupants of a property with stress cracks and bowed walls and fissures built into the foundation. We are the heirs to whatever is right or wrong with it. We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now. And any further deterioration is, in fact, on our hands.

Isabel Wilkerson – “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents.”

In 2009, Dr Henry Louis Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after Cambridge, Massachusetts police confronted him as a burglar, when Gates in fact was entering his own home. Charges against Gates were eventually dropped. This week, in Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Casey Goodson, who was entering his own home with a Subway sandwich.4 The case is under investigation and we will know more in the coming weeks. Police say he was threatening them. Yet, it is odd he was shot multiple times in the torso as he was entering his home. A 23 year old Gap employee with no criminal record, not a suspect in any crime, carrying a Subway sandwich is dead. Please, don’t confuse this case with the Oklahoma City shooting of a mentally ill black man on Friday. We are exhausted from a pre-existing condition of blackness. It’s easy to miss these signs, they target minority populations. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, during the first presidential debate when asked to condemn white supremacy, President Trump responded: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.” I sat and watched, stunned as the next day, people discounted his comments. I flashed back to August and the guy yelling white power at me, I flashed back to Kentucky and an assignment I could not take because of Klan activity, I flashed back to college days and my Klan “coon hunting” interaction. There is something happening here.

Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has endorsed violence, celebrated on Tuesday night after President Trump mentioned them during the first presidential debate.

Asked whether he condemned white supremacists and military groups, Mr. Trump demurred and then said, “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.”

Within minutes, members of the group were posting in private social media channels, calling the president’s comments “historic.” In one channel dedicated to the Proud Boys on Telegram, a private messaging app, group members called the president’s comment a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics.

Proud Boys celebrate Trump’s ‘stand by’ remark about them at the debate.

Yesterday, Saturday, December 12, 2020, the maskless Proud Boys protested “the steal” in the nation’s capitol. Videos show the Proud Boys inciting violence and on the attack. With rallies all over the US, it’s an outbreak of White Supremacy, misogamy and hate. When have these beliefs ever amounted to anything moral or good?

Tightness in the chest, tingling arm, light head, nausea, get to the hospital. You don’t say there is no reason for alarm. You don’t discount what is happening. In the US, the house is falling apart. It does not matter who neglected the maintenance in the past; you are living in the house now. This week, notice if you use the word hate. Can you unapologetically take ownership of what you are saying. When riled up and passionately stating your beliefs, be conscious of the power of your words. This is the season for caring and giving, so how about this, give a damn.

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1Uber, Lyft and the Urgency of Saving Money on Ambulances

2White supremacy or White supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other races and thus should dominate them. Its purpose is the maintenance and defense of a system of wealth, power, and privilege.[1] White supremacy has roots in the now-discredited doctrine of scientific racism, and was a key justification for colonialism. It underlies a spectrum of contemporary movements including neo-Confederates, neo-Nazism and Christian Identity.

3The white genocide, white extinction, or white replacement conspiracy theory is a white supremacist belief that there is a deliberate plot, often blamed on Jews, to promote reproduction by people considered to be of different races, miscegenation, interracial, mass non-white immigration, racial integration, low fertility rates, abortion, governmental land-confiscation from whites, organised violence, and eliminationism in white-founded countries in order to cause the extinction of whites through forced assimilation and violent genocide.

4Did Goodson have a gun? Yes, Ohio is an open carry state.

4 comments

  1. I would say that it is a bit more than a “microaggression.” The shouter on the corner was an aggressor and the result was an assault. Some might think that’s an overstatement, but its impact is just another one on top of a lifetime of similar impacts that you have endured simply because of the color of your skin. For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve worn the expression of your life with dignity and grace and maintained extraordinary generosity. A lesser person, a more privileged person wouldn’t, couldn’t, and hasn’t equaled your eloquence in expressing how your vignette can be extrapolated to more horrifying and fatal events. And yes, both are driven by the same impulse, which needs to be quelled and put down.

    Liked by 2 people

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