It’s dangerous to be brown in America.
On February 22, 2017, two Indian men were shot in a Kansas bar by a racist, white man. He called them terrorists and ordered them to “get out of [his] country” before killing 32 year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring his friend, Alok Madasani.
Ten days later, on March 3, A Sikh man was shot in his own driveway by a masked gunman who still remains at large. He was also told to “go back to [his] country.”
On February 28, just three days before the latest newsworthy shooting of a brown man, Trump addressed Congress for the first time and impressed most of those who were watching because he: 1) managed to temporarily control his crazy; and 2) sounded presidential while reading from a teleprompter.
To the point, though, the speech written for him only said this about recent hate crimes:
Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.
But then went on to paint this skewed perspective on immigrants:
Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them.
Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.
Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison. Jamiel Shaw Jr. was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great quarterback. But he never got the chance. His father, who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.
Also with us are Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis. Their husbands — Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis — were slain in the line of duty in California. They were pillars of their community. These brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations.
Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna. Jenna: I want you to know that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an entire country supporting you and praying for you.
To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica: I want you to know — we will never stop fighting for justice. Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.
THAT’S 48 WORDS DENOUNCING HATE CRIMES TO 248 WORDS INCITING THEM.
That’s also called bullshit.
I’m not going to waste my time talking about how our country needs national leaders to be more vocal against the escalation in hatred we’re seeing. We do but the man who sits in the White House shows no evidence that he understands the role of president is one of PUBLIC SERVICE not self-glory.
We need more leaders in Congress engaged in national outreach showing their support for civil rights and those who are different, those who are not middle- to upper-class white men. But the Republican Party has a history that is decades old of not distancing itself enough from the racist-perception it has developed.
Because they are prostitutes. They know racism is prevalent among their constituents and silently appealing to that base keeps them in office.
No, folks, we are no longer living in an America were serving the government is for the people. What our founding fathers created nearly 250 years ago has warped from representation for a democracy to power, prestige for the wealthy.
You could choose to believe that congressmen are crazy or ignorant when they advocate for more lenient gun restrictions for the severely mentally ill. Or you could pay attention to who is paying for our political leaders’ visits to the powder room.
Baby girl, it’s Friday and I just got paid. Can I take you back to my place?
What Are We Going to Do About it?
Work With What We Have
We aren’t going to fix the system overnight. Unfortunately, calling our representatives is still one of the best options we’ve got.
I finally got around to trying out 5calls.org. I feel silly saying that I was nervous making the calls. But there are too many issues that matter to me right now, I had to start somewhere. Yes, I used the script. I don’t care because it got the job done. It’s good to know that most of the calls went straight to voicemail. Quick and easy. I only got through to a live person once when I called the Department of Justice. He was really nice. Because he didn’t say anything except that my call would be tallied. Phew! And now I feel less intimidated doing it the next time. In fact, I could easily just make these after work when I come home.
Your turn: 5calls.org
Keep Turning Out at the Rallies and Town Hall Meetings
Our congressmen are so ill-prepared for democracy in action – again, because they think their jobs are about them not you. They’re making up crazy stories about people being bused in and paid to cause a ruckus. People are fired up and ready to go and it’s knocking them off balance.
I’m loving the number of flash rallies popping up on Facebook. There’s an Emergency Rally Against Muslim Ban 2.0 today at the Harvard Square T Station starting at 7:30pm. It seems I’m always game for a rally these days. Got one coming up in NYC? I’m in!
Let’s remind our congressmen exactly what “WE THE PEOPLE” means.
While we’re at it, let’s start a campaign to finally legalize prostitution. Because if our national leaders get to make an honest living doing it, then we must have equal rights for all.
Reach Out and Touch Your Local Racist
I’ve already talked about this here. If you’re brave enough to do this and you’re different – brown, Muslim, Jewish, Trans, Woman – start being more present in your local community events. Maybe it’s a place of worship, town hall meeting, sporting event.
I choose to believe that the perpetrators of these hate crimes are some combination of ignorant and mentally unwell and they are not the majority. Adam Purinton shot the men in Kansas thinking they were Iranian when in fact they were Indian. Because, what? Shooting Iranians would have been okay? Because they are Middle Eastern and they are all terrorists because 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden? What’s the logic here?
I’m afraid there isn’t one and with a president who insists on discriminating against Muslims, the head of our government is fueling the hate crimes by encouraging ignorant thinking.
For Adam Purinton and others like him, all that matters is that brown does not belong here. These people need to be educated and the lessons on racism they need to learn are going to happen in everyday surroundings.
Are we strong enough to breathe through the pain and push forward?
Because if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that today, America is in transition. Every word, every move more potent than ever. Every person, every action more meaningful than before. The change our country needs to transform into the nation we want to be will not come from our presidents or our congressmen.
Change will come in our temples, mosques and churches. It will come at our local Applebee’s. It will come on the family trips to Disney World and in our children’s classrooms.
Change will come from We the People.