A Math Teacher From Durham, NC …

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I do not know Terry McCann. He is a Math Teacher with Durham, NC Public Schools. I came across him on Facebook. But what he says I could not say better. Here’s an excerpt:

“So white America, when you pass by a black person in the parking lot, stop giving the look and clinching tight to your purse. So black America, when you pass a white person in a nice ride and in a nice gated community stop assuming it was just handed to him.”

Thank you Terry. Stop the hate. All of it. Start building. Stop destroying …

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It Is Time For the Melting Pot To Start Melding

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Right now, we have mourning to engage in. Right now, we have some immediate feelings to vent. But, if Charlottesville and the aftermath have proven anything. It is that we are long overdue in the United States an honest discussion about racial tension. Leading to a program of effective resolution.

It must be clear to even the most blinkered of observers that we in the US have not even begun to heal the wounds of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Segregation, nor adequately to address all of the complex and intertwining emotions, first suppressed and now being released, and arising from the actions taken since the Fifties, the purpose of which was ostensibly to right wrongs.

Racial friction in the United States is not only about its black and white inhabitants. However. It would be an idiot who would pretend other than that the starting point for any much-needed and rational debate about race in this country has to be that state of relations between our white and black citizens.

If the antagonism between these two peoples was finally, adequately to be addressed, then it would help to make for everyone in the US the more temperate and welcoming ‘melting pot’ so graciously encouraged by the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, and so wishfully dreamed of by Martin Luther King, Jr.

In which regard, without attempting in this post to address the full spectrum of issues that exist between blacks and whites in the US, issues which contribute to the toxin so tragically on display to the world at the moment, I want to posit a couple of what I regard as essential prerequisites for any meaningful, thoughtful, national conversation on race.

The debate must be temperate. Those on all sides who have demonstrated hate and violence to date should be welcome. But only if they leave the hate and the violence at the door.

The conversation should take place everywhere, and involve everyone. In classrooms. In schools. In colleges. In legislative chambers. From the smallest municipal authority to the Senate itself. The discussion should be engendered by all leaders. Honestly. Inclusively. From our ghastly President. To religious leaders, of all persuasion. Across the political spectrum. Including any and all gatherings of the body civic.

As soon as anyone who has met the qualification of eschewing hate and violence is excluded, then the overall ambition of engaging, resolving and melding is dented. No-one should be excluded, just because someone else doesn’t like them. Even if it is a lot of someone else’s.

And every single issue raised by race in this country, going back to the first landing by Europeans on Native American soil, should be on the table. Every single issue. And yes. That probably includes our relations with Native Americans. Again. As soon as you exclude an issue, you dent the process.

I would offer one word of caution. Be aware that any course of action. Even if overwhelmingly agreed to consensually. That demands that one section of society going forward be treated differently to another section. That course of action could create an imbalance which might lead to future resentment. I’m not saying it should be off the table. I’m just warning where it might lead.

It is my considered opinion that we are where we are today precisely because of past perceived imbalances. The favoring of whites over blacks. Which many say continues to this day. Along with what many whites perceive, beginning possibly with Reconstruction, certainly gathering steam in the Fifties, as a deliberate program of favoring blacks, to some extent, with respect to whites.

I am not attempting to be tendentious. I am making a valid point. If any one of us participating in this great debate pretends that a feeling that is present does not actually exist. Disempowers that feeling. For any reason. Then we will achieve nothing. I advance the notion of this conversation in order to address grievances. Not to bury them.

If you want an example of how such a national discussion might evolve, take off an afternoon (!), and have a gander at my notes of the initial stages of the attempt in Carrboro, NC to make policing in that burgh more color-blind.

I hasten to add that the attempt failed precisely because there were too many folks, with too many clashing personal agendas, none of which the participants were prepared to let go, because they thought it would weaken their community profile.

In which vein, having said all of this, I am almost certain the conversation I am suggesting in this post will likely never occur. Not honestly. Because we are too selfish. Too short-sighted. With too many personal agendas. But I have at least raised the idea.

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Anti-Hate, Anti-Hypocrisy

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I deplore whites who hate blacks. Blacks who hate whites. I deplore hatred, period. There are too many of us who feel it is ok to pick and choose whom we hate.

I condemn white on white violence. Black on black violence. White on black violence. Black on white violence. I condemn all violence. There are too many of us who feel it is ok to pick and choose those against whom we may commit violence.

I am deeply disturbed by the terrifying incidence of white police officers killing black people in this country. I am just as disturbed by the incidence of black people committing violence against any police officer, whether white or not.

I worry for this country when those on the far-right and those on the far-left both take to the streets with the deliberate intention of causing harm to each other.

Again, as I see it, the problem in this country is not just hate, or violence, or killing. The deeper problem is our hypocrisy. When we talk of equality. But privately we feel free to discriminate in our legitimization of hatred, violence and killing.

And to be absolutely clear, if we do not condemn all hatred, violence and killing, then that which we do not explicitly condemn, we implicitly approve.

Hatred, violence and killing never resolved anything. At some point, it is only sitting down and talking, overcoming differences, and planning a peaceful way forward that leads to real change.

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Deplore Trump, But Deplore Hypocrisy Too

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Look. Trump is a dangerous and ugly pariah. But. And it’s a big ‘but.’ By the stages.

If you are concerned that vitriol from the right will unbalance much of what has been achieved in the past 30 years, to create a more just US society. How do you protest without finding yourself standing next to people from, say, Antifa, who are holding shields and batons, and screaming insults?

Equally, if you are someone, who, in all good faith, is concerned that what many see as the achievements of the past 30 years, you see as one or two steps too far. How do you express that in protest. Even silent protest. Without finding yourself standing next to people from the Traditionalist Workers Party, who are holding shields and batons, and screaming insults?

If you are not Trump, but an ordinary concerned citizen, witnessing all of this, how do you find a way to express horror at violence, horror at killing, condemnation of the killer, and condemnation of the culture giving rise to the killing, while at the same time recognizing that there is hate and latent violence on all sides, and that merely comparing one to the other, scoring points for intensity, does not actually do anything to improve the situation? How do you find, let alone express, balance, without being seen as a ‘normalizer’ of one form of hate or the other?

I do not condone hate. Or violence. Or mindless -isms. I understand the desire to protest. I recognize the right to do so. I understand the desire to vent. Provided it is done without hate or violence. And I want all of this to be precursor to actually sitting down and finding resolution. However long it takes. But I find myself troubled finding a way to express this balance (or what I see as balance), when all around me pretend their own righteousness is some form of ‘balance’ of their own. Only because they feel able to say that their intensity is to make up for years of imbalance.

There is no moral equivalency between someone who is deliberately killed while protesting and someone who is hit by a baton while protesting. Period.

But there is moral falsity in claiming that the consequence of a deliberate act of violence defines the moral status of the politics behind the violence. Claiming that one form of hateful and destructive polemic is less toxic than another simply because, on this occasion, the violence it deliberately engenders did not lead to a death.

I utterly condemn the polemic, the deliberate violence and the underlying culture that led to the death of Heather Heyer last Saturday (August 12, 2017). Our focus right now, including the attention of the President, should be on her tragedy. Period.

But, I learned first-hand, over the past few years, of the poisonous, duplicitous and ugly polemic that lies behind those who wear black hoods on the far-left of the political spectrum in the United States, also.

I experienced first-hand the work of those associating with the likes of the Black Bloc, as, in 2012, they destroyed the work of Occupy in Chapel Hill, NC.

I saw their hand in the riots following Ferguson. While many such as me were attempting to advance real solutions, like my notion of Citizen Design of Policing. The black-clad thugs were advancing their own agenda of tearing society down.

When we talk of revisionist history, the history being revised that I find most disturbing is the erasing from our memories of the incredible harm done to our nation this past decade by those on the far-left engaging in destructive violence, the sole purpose of which has been, not to advance any positive agenda, but simply to tear down our society.

And worse than that revision is the collusion by too many politicians and mainstream media outlets in that collective amnesia solely because of their revulsion for Trump. A revulsion I share. While deploring the collusion, the revision and the hypocrisy.

Right now, all people of good faith should be mourning Heather. And trying to find ways to unite. To reach out. To share. To find common ground. To heal.

I, for one, would rather limit myself only to that. But, I fear that, if I did, I would be following the path of a coward. For every day, I hear from politicians and the mainstream media, not calls for unity. But calls for division. And not just from Trump.

How can support for those who would tear down rather than build be presented by any sensible leader as inclusiveness and healing? How can calls for demonizing hate on one side only be presented as uniting?

And let’s be clear, even if you only talk about hate in the South and on the far-right, but you stand by as the black hoods on the far-left commit violence of their own against the South and the far-right, then you condone that violence of the far-left, every bit as much as Trump’s silence condones the black hoods on the far-right.

Again, I would prefer to be occupied in silent memory of Heather. But how can I be silent when I see a maelstrom of hate directed at only one group of hate-mongers? How can I be silent when I witness the collective social amnesia of people about all the far-left hate that has found expression in violence over the last few years? And why should I be silent just because our President is an anathema. And those who are less than discerning might represent my call for balance as support for him?

I am genuinely fearful that the singular direction of blame and reproach on offer in the body politic at the moment, both from Trump and those who oppose him, will only further increase polarization, and will do nothing to bring about the healing and unification this country so desperately needs. Playing to the gallery is great for Facebook. It does not work to advance national reconciliation.

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No Hate

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The problem with society in the US today is not that there are those who want a redistribution of power, whether it be based on race, gender, religion, wealth or social status.

The problem is that there are too many people, on all sides of the redistribution argument, who want something that is not theirs. And feel entitled to demand it with hate, and to take it by force.

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