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WDDIJ Reflection

Bet you thought I was gone for good?

Happy 2 year anniversary to Words Don’t Do it Justice. I came back for this special occasion just to share with you all some thoughts. It was a wild ride writing for WDDIJ, even if I wasn’t around the longest or anything – it gave me an outlet to express my ideas and opinions to an audience, something I had never really had before. It proved to me that I could actually go out there and put my thoughts into writing and that people would actually give a damn as to what I had to say.

Sure, everyone else around here had way more interesting content to bring to the table but I thought I did the best I could. Ruthless always manages to attract interesting talent to himself, even in the days before WDDIJ it was like that. I enjoyed my entire time there, and I hope you enjoyed me as well. It was fun trying to find something to talk about, something to hopefully shed light on for those unaware. I talked a lot about the Middle East during my time there but that is because it was something that was always kind of personal to me. A lot of people have the entirely wrong idea about Islam, and as a historian it makes me cringe when people act like the Middle East was this savage land that we should just carpet bomb. Islam is so much more than what the Media wants you to believe, and while I am not a Muslim myself, I hold their religion in deep regard and some of the nicest and most selfless individuals I have met have been Muslims.

They have their bad apples, but you should not let the radical extremists color your judgment of them. My father would tell me of his time in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the average Muslims would tell them about how Bin Laden and the terrorists had gotten everything wrong, and that what they did was not Islam and was not in line with Islam.

“It’s all wrong,” my Dad quoted one of his workers as saying. The time my father spent over there is part of the reason that I decided to dig into it, I wanted to know more about the time he spent over there. So, I hope I didn’t bore you all too much with my ramblings. As for me? Well, I might come back to WDDIJ in the future if my life ever winds down. Right now I’m grinding full-speed ahead in an accelerated college program. Eight week term after eight week term with only short breaks in between. Besides that, I am also a self-published author and am currently working on my own Historical Fantasy novel, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without WDDIJ. WDDIJ gave me the confidence I needed to get out there and put my thoughts into writing, to make them open to the public instead of just keeping them to myself. I have a mouth now, thanks to  THE Ruthless Wonder and Words Don’t Do It Justice.

White Privilege

White Privilege

Right. I’m probably going to get alot of hate for this one, but I can’t be the only person annoyed by this. Recently I’m seeing a pretty interesting trend involving alot of pretty little blond haired blue eyed white girls asking if someone has ever heard of ‘white privilege’. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, white privilege does exist, and choosing not to talk about it constantly doesn’t mean that I am trying to sweep it under the rug — I just don’t see the point in talking about it as a white person. See, the problem I have with this entire discourse is how fake people are. Yes, white people are inherently privileged. Yes, I benefit (from time to time) because most of the time my complexion is lighter than most (as an Italian, I can get pretty brown if exposed to enough sun). Sure, as an Italian I am technically considered white (but according to the United States Census, so are Middle Easterners), but that didn’t stop me from experiencing my fair share of flack when I was a youth with a natural tan that turned me brown and hair that basically curls into an Afro on its own will.  On some days people thought I was hispanic, and some people though I might have just been a really light-skinned mulatto. You try being any of those in the heart of conservative Oklahoma. Coupled with the fact that most of my childhood I lived in low-income neighborhoods when we could afford it and motels when we could not, I did get a little taste of what life was. The difference? I could stay in-doors and become white as a ghost. African-American’s don’t have that luxury. This is why I cannot help but feel the way I do when it comes to white privilege, I find it so disingenuous when many people speak of it and these are the reasons why:

Social Justice Warriors. I have steadily come to hate Social Justice Warriors who sit behind their hipster glasses yelling ‘Check your privilege’ at people. Why? Because White Privilege as a concept to primarily affluent white college student Social Justice Warriors is just a way that they can get around the fact that they feel guilty about the fact that they’ve been inherently racist throughout their life without ever honing up to their personal mistakes and taking responsibility for themselves. Instead, they still sit around on the internet telling individuals to ‘check their privilege’ and bemoaning how unfair minorities are treated in America without actually doing anything to help said minorities or their communities. By acknowledging ‘white privilege’ you are essentially, as a white person, saying that you agree that people of color receive, in general, a disproportionately fucked up end of the deal while simultaneously still reaping all the benefits of ‘white privilege’. This kind of annoys me. I’m fine with Persons of Color talking about White Privilege because they have to deal with the shit end of the stick — but the affluent white girl at starbucks talking about white privilege? She can get the fuck out of my life. Seriously. There is a difference between educating people about White Privilege in order to destroy the gap that exists, and just using a buzzword so that you can make it seem like you actually care — spoiler alert, she probably still clutches her purse and walks to the otherside of the road when she sees a black man walking toward her. See, I support actual education of the inequality of society as created by a system of Ethnocentric disparity. That is beneficial. By teaching all children early on about discrimination and why it is a fucking asinine concept, you have the possibility of rooting it out. You are actively making a difference. Posting to everything on facebook about ‘white privilege’, however, is just you trying to make yourself feel better.

You cannot address the plight of the African-American community until you address the problems at the root of the plight — about how our government spends more on guns and bombs than it does on education, the fact that a pointless war on drugs sees African-Americans incarcerated at higher rates and for longer duration than White People. You cannot fix the problems with America by simply talking about White Privilege. Being an internet crusader about white privilege isn’t going to change anything. There is no point in “enlightening” adult white people to how much easier they have it, because a majority of white people know they have it easier — the difference is is that the majority of white people do not flop around on tumblr and twitter pretending like they actually care by going on about ‘white privilege’ like talking about white privilege is some how going to make matters better for a person of color. Seriously. I cannot name a single white person off the top of my head that just suddenly woke up one day and went “You know, thank you for telling me about white privilege, I had never noticed before that African-American’s disproportionately get the shit kicked out of them by police”. The reply to you mentioning these things is almost always:
a) The Racist Reply
b) The “I already know and shit sucks” Reply

You cannot fix answer A because there is no fixing stupid, and you cannot fix problem B by simply yelling WHITE PRIVILEGE  and CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE. That isn’t the way world works, as much as you so desperately wish to appear enlightened and progressive to your fellow Social Justice Warriors, you’re being hilariously disingenuous if you’re going to sit there as a white person  and trumpet on about white privilege like you’ve never benefited from it and like you understand what the average minority deals with. You have no clue. I have only had a small taste of it, and like I said, I was able to change — they aren’t. I can’t even tell you how horribly it must suck, but you know what, I actually try to make a difference.

Going on about White Privilege as a white person is simply taking the easy way out; you are acknowledging that you do not have the burdens that a person of color might have but do nothing to reverse the inequality. It is easy to claim solidarity, but unless you’re dedicating your time to actually making changes for the better, I got no respect for you. Going on about ‘white privilege’ as if it suddenly makes you understand what a Person of Color experiences does not make you enlightened, it makes you a douchebag — someone who wants to reap the benefits on social media of seeming like they are committed to social justice but in reality probably spends more time in Starbucks than they do in disenfranchised neighborhoods.

To admit that you are white and privileged is a frivolous thing that serves no purpose other than to make yourself feel good. You do nothing to bridge the African-American Caucasian Achievement Gap in Education, you do nothing to abridge Socio-Economic Factors that lead youth to turn to a life of crime. Honestly, most of the people that speak about ‘white privilege’ would never set foot in a ‘bad neighborhood’ — never donate their time or money to a community center, never volunteer to teach at a ‘high risk’ school.

Get off your high horses. Stop pretending like you give a rats ass on the internet and actually go out and change something. Push to have laws changed, become an educator and volunteer to teach in low-income neighborhoods. Give your time to community centers, do something to better poverty stricken communities. If you own a business, hire qualified minorities. There is alot you as a privileged white person can do to change the bullshit system in America, but most of you won’t do anything about it — you’ll just sit on tumblr, twitter, and facebook talking about ‘white privilege’.
Well, that’s my rant. Sorry if you don’t agree with me, but I would rather see people going out and giving more to low-income neighborhoods instead of sitting around talking about how privileged they are. One might actually make a difference.

The Absurdity Racist America

The Absurdity Racist America – How was this acceptable?

Some people would say that racism is dead today in America. They would say that the civil rights movement won, that racism obviously isn’t a problem anymore and that the majority of the country realizes that being a racist is just unacceptable, right? Wrong. Not only are African-American’s incarcerated with stiffer penalties and more frequently than Caucasian individuals, but they remain to this date discriminated on all the way up to the highest levels of government — hell, even with an African-American POTUS, those who would serve and die for our country were dealt a massive insult by these United States

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This is a copy of the Army Regulations that were published on the 22nd of October in 2014 in which the United States Army deemed it acceptable to refer to our African-American soldiers as “Negroes” and “Haitians” as an alternative to “Black” and “African-American”. Did I suddenly fall asleep and wake up in the 1950s? How did this racist policy become acceptable, exactly? Not only is it very racially charged to have a bunch of White soldiers referring to their African-American comrades as “Negroes” but it adds in the double whammy of allowing you to refer to all individuals of color as Haitians? Why is this a big deal? Because these men put their lives on the line for our country and our freedom and deserve better, they do not deserve to have racially charged language viewed as ‘acceptable’ regardless of who uses it. Slang not withstanding, there isn’t any way this is remotely acceptable. Yet, it was a thing. This was reviewed by the pentagon and actually published as policy.

Now, according to CNN, the Army is uncertain as to when this regulation was first added, but it continued to be publish until at least the 22nd of October 2014. How long did it take it for this regulation to be removed? It took until roughly November 7th, about 24 hours after the news report from CNN first broke revealing that it was Army Regulation. It took God only knows how long for somebody to realize that the Army was periodically releasing regulations that made it acceptable to refer to African-American servicemen as Negroes. That in and of itself is a problem — did nobody bother to read the document? Was it just vast ignorance? Or was it a quiet, complacent acceptance?

Frankly, the answer could go either way. It is likely that it is just good old laziness on behalf of the United States Army, who clearly failed to read through the regulation before setting it out for publishing — but it is equally likely that this wording lived on within the Army Regulations as a bleak reminder to the not-so-distant racist past of the United States Army. It was only just World War II, afterall, that African-American soldiers were discriminated upon and considered  inferior and while to you or I that moment might seem like so, so long ago the but in reality it wasn’t that long ago. The truth is that the United States Marine Corp was full integrated by 1960, but racial tensions continued to exist.

We have made large strides of progress but we have also taken steps back, and it is documents like this that serve as a stark reminder to the history of this country and how willing we were to degrade men and women whom volunteered to serve our country. This regulation should have never been passed and worse than that this regulation should have been noticed sooner — it should have taken more than a news report pointing out the flaw for the Army to realize that this was a problem and that it needed to be fixed. I am a supporter of the United States Armed Forces, and in that regard I do not view our African-American soldiers any differently than I do the whites. They deserve the same respect and dignity afforded to all service members, and to have allowed this regulation to linger so long and so heavily upon the regulations of the United States Army is an insult to the countless African-American soldiers who willingly gave their lives for this country, a country which spent over half of its existence dedicated to hating and dehumanizing them.

You have to take pause and reflect upon the irony of it all — we had African-American soldiers serving in Europe, fighting against the Nazi regime, to ensure the freedom of other people that they themselves were not afforded in their own country. Segregation was still in full swing, and right up until just before the beginning of World War II, the American government was actively practicing Eugenics experiments. Likewise, we were conducting human experiments on African-American’s without even letting them know about it. Here were individuals willing to lay their lives on the line so that other people might know the freedom that their own country had deprived them of.

The question I get so often in my hometown is “why do we need a Black History month?” “Why isn’t there a White History month”?  To which I frequently have to sit down and actually educate people as to the reality of the plight which African-American’s suffered at the hands of a racist government that did everything in its power to keep them down. It is a struggle I will never have to know, but it is a struggle which I recognize as a reality. The atrocities afflicted upon African-American’s by the United States for the majority of this nations existence are innumerable and have caused irrevocable damage. People refer to this as Post-Racial America, but I don’t see it. I see a country which is still struggling to push past its racist nature, and moments like this only remind me that I still have a part to play in this battle, that as a future educator it is my duty to strive diligently to broaden the minds of otherwise narrow minded fools.

To that end, I would like to apologize on behalf of America that we ever allowed such a travesty as this Army regulation to carry on as long as it did — no citizen of the United States, let alone one of our brave soldiers, should endure such an asinine insult. It may have remained in the regulations due to negligence, but it was not negligence that put it there in the first place and for that, I am sorry.