Against Bigotry

I spoke to a crowed at the end of our protest march in front of the Boston State House. I am feeling a desire by many to bring true change. But that will not be easy. This march/protest was aimed against policies on deportations and refugees and Muslims.

I am with Jackie here, she is my friend; I am her friend. She is my ally and I am her ally. We stand with others as friends. Let me be clear here: I love people. And because I love working-class people, I have decided I can no longer be a friend with those who support the legislation of hate. What does this mean? I will not travel with you nor visit your home. If you are against LGBTQ folks, female rights, undocumented friends, black, brown, and others, and if you support hate and American exceptionalism, I am not your friend and you are not my friend. This is not just a virtual notion; it is true for me day-to-day. If you believe you are “just” due to your faith — we are not friends. To be my friend means you are my ally, and thus are seeking to evolve by walking with me to denounce bigotry. I will work with you on the job. I am working class and have to pay the bills. I have no interest in your religion or church if your members are not allies. I will be nice and say hello – Mom and Dad raised me well. I will work beside you at work — but just know I cannot be your friend; if you are not my ally, we are not friends. If you are arguing about my realities and the realities of my friends and allies – we cannot be friends. We cannot break bread in my home or have a glass of wine.

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Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

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Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

#NotMyPresident

US-VOTE-REACTION

I recently shared my post-Trump feelings with many who follow me on social media.

Here is a window of my Wednesday: You are walking across campus and a colleague walks up to speak, only to break down in tears. Or, a colleague walks down the hall to visit –only to break down. When you have to dismiss yourself from class because you want to cry. Your wife admits that she lost it in the shower. Students of color line up to see you — but cannot talk because they are in tears. That was my day yesterday. They (we) are hurt because America has spoken and told us what many value. But, the biggest looser in all of this might just be evangelical Christians. As I told my Mom last night, they have reaffirmed to many such as myself why we do not share their values.

Trump

Here is a recent conversation I had with Donald Trump:

Carson: Hey Trump, why are you a racist? How can you expect to be President and yet you cannot differentiate between Muslims and terrorists?

Trump: Why are you a thug, Carson? I know your kind. You people selling crack and gang banging. When I am President I will fight to put you and the rest of you people in jail. Americans are not stupid. They know you people are the reason why people do drugs and promote gun violence.

Carson: Thanks for answering my question.

Does the Democratic Party Exploit the Vote?

….You bet the Party does. It is not a mystery that black Americans constitute the largest single voting block in the United States. Blacks contend that voting Republican is not an option; it is a party largely deemed racist by blacks. I will admit this is a gross generalization; however, it is one that has prevailed since party realignment during the 1932 election of FDR.

Blaming the Democratic Party for this trend is not the right approach. Fault is clearly on the Republican Party. Since the election of Dwight Eisenhower, Republicans have marginalized the black vote. They have largely been seen as an anti-New Deal Party. And as of late, there has been a shift in the Hispanic vote, too. Thus the Republican Party can only blame themselves for alienating racial minorities, as well as gay and lesbian populations. So, what does this have to do with Democrats exploiting the vote?

Black Americans feel as though they have no choice but to endorse the Democratic Party. If one were to listen to the Republican platform, it is clear that Republicans are in bed with the Christian right and the wealthiest segment of the country. If Republicans hope and care to be relevant to blacks, they must change their language. If not blacks will continue to vote in a very solid block. And joining them in this block will be Hispanics and white allies to blacks, gays, and lesbians. In the 2012 election, Asian Americans joined both blacks and Hispanics in guaranteeing Obama a second term. Some political scientist once thought that younger populations of blacks might gravitate toward the Republican Party; however, with a candidate like Obama and a sense that the Republican Party is out of touch with 21st century realities, younger blacks endorsing Republican candidate Mitt Romney or other members of the party did not come to fruition in 2012..

Another population exploited are gays and lesbians. Why would a gay person or his/her allies endorse a party that clearly campaigns against them? You might recall during the 2004 election, the Republican Party made gay marriage part of its national platform. In a comical fashion, conservative Americans clearly forgot about a crumpling economy amidst two global conflicts. The only thing that concerned many of them was gay marriage. Thus, a number of states made gay marriage a part of state-wide referendums. Recently, as I have noted on this blog, NBA player Jason Collins came out as being gay. I am sure it will not surprise you to learn that his calculated move earned him national praise; and not just from many Americans who endorse gayness and gay marriage — but by two Democratic presidents. If the Republican Party wanted to change its message some, it would have encouraged members of its leadership to endorse Jason Collins’ actions. Maybe have George W. Bush or H.W. Bush call Collins and congratulate him for being brave. But that did not happen. When Republicans are mentioned in the gay category…it usually has something to do with promoting anti-gay marriage legislation, or a member of the Republican Party came out of the closet as being gay.

Collins’ actions earned him a political future. Many are calling him a rising political star within the Democratic Party. He has been asked to take part in party fundraising, and possibly, be an invited keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Boy those Democrats are quick.

Election: Do You Know Where Your Students Are?

I can honestly say I love my students. They are loyal and hard-core. Sure, they are a bit nerdy — but that is cool these days. Kelsey Deberry emails me a picture of her election night. If I could offer one piece of advice to underclassmen — it would be this: Take a Carson class. You have not experienced anything until you have sat around that table and conversed with madness. Oh, my students are texting, emailing, calling, and face booking me.