Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Multidimensional Nature of Humans

Some asshole killed a bunch of people (be more specific) while other people were involved in a peaceful protest on an issue of life and fucking death (mostly death) for a non-trivial number of Americans.

Saying that black lives matter (which they do, #BlackLivesMatter) does not take anything away from any other group. It is a rallying cry about the urgent need to change how people of color are treated in America. It's a wake-up call to those of us obliviously enjoying white privilege that we have an obligation to recognize that this exists and work to stop it.

Or, if you're an dumbass, to blame the poor treatment of people of color at their feet and never hold white people to a similar standard. Many folks seem to be opting for that. Here's one gigantic asshole that's doing it.

The asshole that killed a bunch of people killed a bunch of a specific type of person: white police officers. He (and let's not gloss over the fact that once again the mass murderer was a dude) killed 5 police officers, injured 9 police officers and 2 civilians, and subjected thousands to a lifetime of post-traumatic stress disorder.

And he fucked over the nascent Black Lives Matter movement by confounding it with a racist mass murderer.

Then, when reading about the tragedy du jour, some denizen of the interwebz noticed a thing which prompted further digging into the lives of one of the dead officers. The result: an ample amount of visual context clues to suggest that one of the officers was a white supremacist. And by was I mean maybe at present or maybe at a time prior in his life. And I used lower case because I don't know if White Supremacist is a specific brand name of racists, or if it's a generic label, or what. Maybe he was in the Klan or the American Nazi Party or the Reformed American Nazi Party or the Nazi Party of America or some other group assured of God's plans for the whites and the whites only.

Which prompted someone to ask the question: if the slain officer was a white supremacist, is he still a hero?

My answer, which isn't carved in stone or anything, is "yes, as much as he was a hero, he is still a hero." People are multidimensional and unlikely to have lived according to your standards throughout their lives. People like Bill Cosby or Jared Fogle did incredible and/or inspirational things, even if they also did heinous things that hurt others.

There is a tangential question of whether someone is a hero merely by enlisting or serving as a first responder. It's courageous to take on those roles. Is it heroic? Sure, why not. But saying they are courageous does not make them beyond reproach and systemic racism in virtually every police force in the country can't be excused by the risks inherent in taking on these roles. 

Recognizing this systemic racism doesn't make someone anti-cop.

Being personally held at gun point for a bullshit reason could make someone anti-cop. Being told that you, a white person, were more cooperative than most black guys they stop at the end of a stop, that could really make someone anti-cop.

Funny how those things are rooted in the things officers actually did.

And if something bad happens, I am TOTALLY calling them because that's the system that I have in place. Sometimes the thing you have can be sub-optimal and you recognize that it needs to improve, like a car with its check engine light on and in need of tires, but it's still the thing you have and it gets you to work. That doesn't mean you have to settle with that thing at that level of goodness or badness.

The things we do speak more to our character than the things we say or the things we pretend we do. How we treat individuals speaks more to our character than the people with whom we associate. Sacrificing your life for others is heroic. That doesn't mean you weren't a freak in the sheets even if you were a lady in the streets. It won't erase the fact that you were valedictorian or the fact that you were also a bully. You can be all of these things at different times, or possibly even at the same time.

"Is he a hero?" Is a yes/no question that's independent of any other characteristic of his life.

But I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Song of the Day: "A Love Song"

Once upon a time Ladyhawke sounded like Bananrama to me. Now she sounds like Kim Wilde.

I'm okay with either scenario.

Song: "A Love Song"
Artist: Ladyhawke