Sunday, July 31, 2016


I'm guessing that the woman who wrote the piece and I are as different as night and day on some issues, maybe even some issues within this piece...or maybe not. But I so totally get messages from this. I get them down to my bone marrow.

I hope some of my sisters (and brothers) feel the same way. 

Read On!

From Kinky Thought
Reprinted with permission

"I was sexually assaulted twice in college, once by a guy I was on a date with, once by a childhood friend a year later.

I was briefly fondled by somebody’s dad at Lake Lanier when I was 12.

Twice I’ve been badgered and accosted by drunk guys at clubs to the point of having to call security, outright leave, or beg a stranger to escort me to my car after being threatened.

I had a dude — a stranger I’d just met and spoken 4 words to — literally out of nowhere put his hand down my top and pinch my nipple in some type of courtship move.

While dancing, I’ve had a dude run his hand up my shirt, into my bra and grab my breasts.

While dancing, I’ve had a dude jam his hands down the front of my skirt into my panties.

I was alerted after the fact that I had a guy taking upshort shots of my thighs on the 2 train from lower Manhattan to Flatbush (and was chastised by the woman who watched him do this the entire time for wearing shorts in the first place.)

I’ve been belligerently, unconscionably drunk.

I’ve been astronomically, insanely high.

I’ve been both those things at the same time, in public.

I’m braless 50-80% of the time between the months of April and September.

I’ve worn shorts short enough for asscheek to show.

I’ve skinny dipped and wandered around naked in public places.

I’ve been out in the bare world in sheer tops, nipples and rings popping everywhere.

I’ve spent nights alone in rooms cuddled up with a dude I *knew* wanted sex.

I’ve thotted the entire hell out and wantonly pushed up on dudes in clubs, parties and festive settings, and been hella nasty (granted, they were dudes I was ~in things~ with, but still.)

Funny thing is, none of these overlapped.

Wearing the longest shorts I own didn’t stop that dude from taking the pictures. If he’d asked, I’d have given him a link to me twerking at a music festival the day before.

Deciding not to drink and wearing full-length, not-that-tight jeans didn’t stop someone from forcing them down and off of me.

Minding my business entirely and not giving a guy any energy or attention didn’t stop them from grabbing on and accosting me.

I’m pretty sure the most revealing I was dressed for any of those incidents was the swimsuit I had on at Lake Lanier.

So unless I’ve been tagged with the mark of the slut by White Jesus, and exude whoreishness everywhere I go, I’m failing to find the connect. It seems like there’s no real common thread between these incidences of sexual violence toward my person and the way I’ve been acting or dressed or “presenting myself.” Really the only commonality has been being in the presence of a man. Yet I’ve been in the presence of men, dancing far more lasciviously, being far more inebriated, dressed far more revealingly (or not at all) and… nothing.

So it seems like the difference is in the character of the men I happened to be around when those incidents happened, and their intent toward doing me harm. Not my vulnerability. Not my powers of arousal. Not my behavior. Not my appearance.

THAT is why I have very little interest in policing and critiquing women’s behavior and bodies into submission. THAT is why I could give a fuck about your respectability and mores and dress codes and moral high roads. THAT is why I don’t care a whole lot about covering up and “being a lady” and trying to prove to anyone that I deserve to be respected as a human being by wearing knee length skirts and turtlenecks.

Because I know from experience that there are people to whom that will never be proven, ever.

I am so much more interested in policing and critiquing them."
by Dani @
Link to original post 


I was speaking to my church-ified mother last year or the year before about a rape case, during which she said, "A woman can be walking down the street butt naked and a man does not have the right to rape her!" 

We were on the phone and I smiled to myself then agreed with her. I almost laughed.

The reason I smiled then laughed is because when we had this conversation when I was in college, I growled this at her with teenage indignation after she said she wasn't sure that this was true. Actually, in that moment, after having been raised in "boys will be boys" all her life, I could tell she had never really thought about it.

Apparently, sometime between then and now, she has thought about it.

She understands that the answer to the problem of women being free for sexual assault-ers and would be rapists is "keep your hands to yourself."

Similarly, the answer to cops who have replaced student hall monitors in school is "keep your hands to yourself" That way you don't abuse people and lose your job. 

The answer to cops who were told "stop and frisk" of black people, especially black men, without any probably cause was "keep your hands to yourself" That way you don't wind up patrolling a pissed off black community, become frightened of a man reaching for his wallet, and shoot him 41 times.

The answer to Sandra Bland's abuser, the cop who arrested her for nothing, is "keep your hands to yourself." That way you don't wind up facilitating a suicide or a murder.

So many men,
so many male people lusting over the idea of having power over another, 

so much time telling all of them, "KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF"

Gee, maybe I really did learn everything I ever needed to get through life in Kindergarten. 

A Link To Dani's Kinky Thought's Blog Is Here

Another favorite post of mine from Dani's Kinky Thought on Dylan Roof (Black Church Shooter)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Slow Road Out Of BitchLandia

 Hundreds of women have described this before. But it happened to me, again, this week. And I want to relate it while I remember some of the details and can still recall most of the sting

During my first career, I worked in a male dominated environment for almost 15 years.  So I consider myself somewhat of an expert on male co-workers. 

Don’t let anybody tell you men don’t gossip or talk about each other. Instead of pretending to be kind, as many women are trained to do while passing information, men usually just choose one guy in the office to be the group patsy. Then they “joke” with the chosen target, bashing him about the skull every damn day.
Then again, maybe the men I worked around were meaner than usual. I worked in an unusually aggressive work environment that probably attracted aggressive men.

In the environment I work in now, the man to woman balance seems to be close to 50/50. I wonder if that calms the men down some. Also, there’s no one race dominating the environment like there was at the previous, mostly white environment I worked in before. Friends and cliques cross racial boundaries where I work now. The worst of the petty cliques aren’t as harsh as the men at my last job.

Maybe you need most everybody to be one race to “joke” your way into a mean spiritedness cohesive enough to verbally beat up on a single target every single day. 

So, my day to day is much better in the second career. Even the repetitive lack-of-preparation, lack-of-attention to detail that makes projects messy and painful  for no reason only ratchets my tension level up to about 3 out of 10 because nobody is really searching for a target to exercise their aggression on. Upper level management is not much of a factor in my life, and I like it that way.

My work life is pretty decent compared to my old work life.

The thing that created a disturbance in the force for me this week was something that strongly  reminded me of the aggressive, mostly white men, I used to work with. The thing that made me mad, at myself, is that I got pulled into the bitch zone and almost felt bad about my own behavior instead of his behavior

A white male co-worker that I mostly like wrote me an e-mail criticizing some hastily written notes I left behind when he took over for me. While it’s probably true he didn’t understand why I’d pulled a few things out of line and left for him—due to silly requests from people that out rank me-- I experience this all the time when I work after someone else. Everybody does. You sigh and work it out with mouth closed, like an adult.

The thing that’s different when male B works after male A is that male B will actually keep his worthless trap shut and just keep doing his job if something is slightly different than usual.  When a man works after a woman, he feels perfectly comfortable volunteering all sorts of criticism and suggestions.

This winds up being the
 moment at which a woman gets sucked into the bitch zone through no fault of her own.

I’m not talking about being an actual bitch by yelling, being nasty in response or even making an unpleasant face.  When you respond to a man who has veered out of his damn lane into yours, it doesn’t matter how polite your are when you tell him to get out, you're going to be labeled "a bitch."

Actually, I take that back.  It does matter how polite you are. If you’re too polite, you wind up FAILING to communicate to your male aggressor, “You are in my lane. Get out.  Do not come back.”

There is no nice professional way to communicate that.  And this has to be communicated sometimes. Actually this should probably be communicated often, in a world where women actually feel safe to behave like they are equal to men.

In my case, I tried some light sarcasm in a return e-mail – which took me way too long to finally write. I took too long because the first, second, and third versions of this e-mail were too pissy to be sent.  But I think I missed my mark with the watered down 4th e-mail. 

The man seemed happy to see me and unfazed afterward when I wanted him to be approximately 5% fazed. To me 5% fazed looks like nose out of joint, but leaves us able to enjoy one another’s company after a few days have passed.  Had I hit my mark, I worn the invisible bitch sign on my back for a few days once he and his sympathizers talked about my “over-reaction”

I hate wasting perfectly good sarcasm on an idiot. But whaddya gonna do. I’ll get it right next time.

The reasons that this seemingly minor event irritates me so are the same for all woke women.

  • 1)      This kind of thing happens over and over again between men and women in the workplace
  • 2)      Men don’t ever issue these picky stupid complaints one another, much less in writing.
  • 3)       Therefore men aren’t routinely having to figure out how to tell other men to back off when something pretty freaking miniscule happens.

Men, from where I sit men only/mostly have to negotiate real differences of opinion on real issues. As a woman, I have to tell men to get out of my face over the pettiest crap. When these events happen to individual women in work places all over the globe, this leaves men looking professional and women looking like they are always having “personality conflicts” with co-workers.

  • Ignoring some men will indeed get them to go away.
  • Ignoring the arrogant man is an invitation for him to give you instruction over the most miniscule picky crap again
  •  Ignoring some men is an invitation to turn that man from someone tolerable, or even someone mostly pleasant, into the arrogant man.  

So women wind up having to make decisions about how to handle this.

In my experience, the male-er and less racially diverse my work environment gets, the more often I get to decide whether I’m going into the bitch zone when someone stomps into my lane.  Usually the man that comes into your lane is in it over stupid stuff that doesn’t matter. So when I decide I must tell a man to get back in his lane and stay there, I don't get to just be a bitch, I get to be a petty bitch.

Earlier this week, I actually had to respond to an e-mail that asked what the word “What” with a freaking question mark means.

I actually had to write an e-mail that said,
  • “What?” means “What is it?” just like it does when somebody else writes it. The word ‘Vague’  means the description submitted was ‘vague’  (There was a third dumb thing he claimed he didn't understand. But it was so stupid, I can't remember.)  

In version four of this dumb @$$ e-mail,  I erased part of one sentence. I got rid of “just like it does when somebody else writes it”  So I sent a very, very short e-mail with three stupid explanations hoping that simple-minded explanations would make him feel simple-minded.  But I don’t think it worked. He was just as happy to see me or neutral to see me the next few times I saw him, as usual.

The thing that irritates me most about this is not that it happened. It’s happens a lot less often and a lot less aggressively in my second career. And unlike my first career, there’s not a supervisor backing this kind of stupidity up. So this is almost nothing as harassment goes. I’ve been harassed. I've been a counselor for the harassed. I know what harassment is. This was nothing.

But it irritated the hell out of me that he is the aggressor or micro-aggressor, but it’s me that has to spend time trying not to do anything that might leave me being perceived as a bitch.

This was just one event. And like I said this was virtually nothing considering my current work situation.  But this is major:
I think one of the major reasons I say “no” every single time somebody pushes me to apply for an open supervisor position is because of incidents like this that happened at my previous job – where this kind of aggression was daily and serious and career impacting and eventually career ending. It’s like I have PTSD when I think of my previous career. My basic problem remains. I have not figured out how to avoid being put on the road to bitchlandia just because a male mofo refuses to shut up when he should shut up and stay in his own damn lane

Again, ignoring people only takes you so far. If I was a supervisor I’m not sure that’s an option.  I imagine that if I was a supervisor, I’d probably have 80% that wouldn’t dare cross me just because of black female stereotypes. (Yes, sometimes racism works in your favor). But then there would be that remaining 20%.

I’d have no problem sweeping the legs and throwing a few morons to the ground –  verbally speaking and in a totally professional way, of course --  but that’s only going to work if the person above you has a spine.  And having a superior with a consistent spine is a rare event in the United States  

All of what I have explained above is why I pay no attention at all to the rumors about a black woman manager that works a few departments over.  I know exactly how easy it is to find yourself in bitchlandia. The word "bitch" is thrown around whenever her name is mentioned. But when I ask how Anna's a bitch, the answers are either vague or indicate she said "no" to something.   

It irks me that I have spent any time at all trying to figure out how to communicate “You are in my lane. Get out.  Do not come back” without the receiver feeling bad.

  • It doesn’t matter how sweet your tone, the receiver will feel bad. 
  • It doesn’t how professional your facial expression, the receiver will feel bad.
  • It might matter how on point your sarcasm is, but you shouldn’t have to work that damn hard, just  because a male somebody else won’t stay in their lane.

More to the point though, the receiver should feel bad. The receiver deserves to feel bad. But the woman is the one what winds up with the virtual “Kick Me I’m a bitch” sign on her back. 

During my 15 year career in mostly white, 90 to 95% male land of Aggressorville, the men didn't tell one another what to do and how to do it even when the other man was screwing something up that was huge, and possibly deadly. It was like the men were afraid of each other. They were just as timid with one another as they were aggressive with women. 

Dear men everywhere, 
We should not have to tell you to keep your mouth in the closed position when you come across the petty stuff that hasn’t been done exactly the way you’d do it yourself. We shouldn’t have to tell a man,  “Keep your mouth shut in same situations as you do with your male co-worker, the co-workers you actually do respect?”  
As an added benefit, when we have to kick men out of our lanes over petty crap too often, we as women are the ones who aren’t capable of supervising a group without having “personality conflicts.”

In my mind it’s probably the best strategy to come off as a fair and friendly person in general but shut down the stupid stuff hard, early on. I think maybe you should put the “Bitch If Crossed”  sign on your own back, get the reputation of (1)friendly not I ain't your friend, (2)fair and (3) B-if-C, then maybe you don’t have to "come out of the box" on the men folk very often at all.

Whatever path we take through bitchlandia, we have to get whatever job we’re assigned at work done well, done on time, and done quietly. Wearing the your custom made “Bitch If Crossed” sign on your back is what will help you get it done quietly-- maybe.

In any case, whenever we are afraid of various types of bitch signs that may be hung on us, we should always keep at least these two things in mind. 
1)  Respectability politics doesn’t work for race and it doesn’t work for gender either. 

We can’t change ourselves in order to force somebody else to shed their biases and prejudices against us. Black folks just out of slavery tried it and keep trying it.  The Cherokees tried it via assimilation before  they took their long death march along The Trail of Tears. Trying to be respectable doesn’t get rid of prejudice and biased responses in another person. 
Believing that you yourself are inferior OR that most of your own group EXCEPTING yourself are inferior and deserving of bad treatment,  a bad treatment that will go away if some of us just look better, behave better, respond better means you’ve drunk the poison kool aide; You have internalized the sexism (or internalized the racism.)  

2)The other thing to remember is that  Michelle Obama has been called “a bitch” and everything else except “a child of God.” If there’s a more polished, accomplished woman capable of speaking her mind with eloquence and style devoid of all bitchery I haven’t seen her yet.

So keep your tone even gentle women folk. Keep you facial expressions professional. Keep any sarcasm you decide to dish out very, very subtle. But wear the sign rather than be thought of someone that is run over by the people you work with or supervise, should you find yourself in this position.

When some of us  get enough power OR  so close to retirement age they can’t do anything to us, we should plan to tell some of these men about themselves --and their bobble headed minions that are always nodding in agreement with their nonsense.  We should do so in a professional manner, to their condescending faces.  We will wind up leaving our work environments ever so slightly better for the wave of  women coming into our places of business after us.

I think I’m going to take my own advice too.

When my white home-boy wanders into my lane again. He’s going to take more direct fire. I’ll probably treat him the child he occasionally is and laughed at him a little. I think I will print out his next little e-mail, slap it down on his desk, smile like a shark about to eat, then not stop talking, in dulcet tones, until I watch his face  go from unfazed  to 5% fazed. Face to face, I’m not likely to miss again.

My making sure I get him next time is not about revenge. It’s about me giving him a tiny bit of substitute home training so he knows how to behave around me and the other women he meets in the future.

Mansplaining probably won't die unless we kill it one tentacle at a time. The **male flapping gums at women to complain about virtually nothing syndrome** probably won't either.  So rock on sistahs and do what ya gotta do.  

Friday, July 29, 2016



As another blogger said, I have not forgotten how they called Michelle Obama, "a baby mama" either - among other things. Barack and Michelle have only been married to each other and had their children in wedlock, so there aren't any ex-es in the closet accusing anybody of rape either.

I wish I could say it's amazing to see how differently the white republicans are treating the Trumps as compared to how they treated the Obamas.

I wonder if Colin Powell is going to rejoin the republicans once President Obama is out of office?


That's genuine joy on Hillary Clinton's face because President Obama did an outstanding speech for her, almost as outstanding as Michelle Obama. And he did an outstanding job, not because he's in love with Bill or Hillary Clinton but because he knows that Donald Trump is not the ordinary racist junkyard dog.

He is a RICH racist, junkyard dog and at least the illusion of a successful business career. The rich and successful is most of what he needs to win in America. The racism is just the icing on the cake for some white folk.

Rich, successful and tough is what Americans vote for. Arnold Schwartenegger was not who people in California voted for. Californians voted in the Terminator. Arnold didn't show up to half the debates he was invited to and I don't think he went to any unless he had the script first...I mean the questions first. Arnold demonstrated nothing but his rich, successful, tough image.

So you're crazy if you don't think Donald can win without a functioning brain cell in his head.  
This man even made comments about not supporting NATO. 

We have to defeat Trump. We have to. His 1950s racism plus his being idiot enough to destroy all of our alliances means he can end some portion of us any number of ways.

And I really think he is literally mentally ill. Racism is logical. It's selfish. It works. But his presentation comes from a loose brain. Something is wrong with him.

Trump cannot be allowed to win. President Obama knows this. We should all know this. So his speech for Hillary was for all of us. And he did a great job for her. 

* * * * *
1) First, here is a 20 minute clip from Obama's DNC Speech 

2) Below this clip there is the full transcript  
3) Nearish the end, the full video of  Obama's DNC Speech

OBAMA: Thank you so much, everybody!

I love you back!

Hello, America! Hello, Democrats!

So 12 years ago tonight I addressed this convention for the very first time.

You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha, now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride.

You fell for my brilliant wife and partner, Michelle who has made me a better father and a better man, who has gone on to inspire our nation as first lady and who somehow hasn't aged a day.

I know, the same cannot be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. Wow, you've changed so much, daddy. And then they try to clean it up. Not bad, just more mature.

And it's true, I was so young that first time in Boston.

And look, I'll admit it, maybe I was a little nervous addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America, the generous, bighearted, hopeful country that made my story, that made all of our stories possible.

A lot's happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and it's been tested by recession and all manner of challenges, I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America than ever before.


How could I not be, after all that we've achieved together?

After the worst recession in 80 years, we've fought our way back. We've seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create 15 million new jobs.

After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few, it is a right for everybody.

After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil, we doubled our production of clean energy.

We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.

Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran's nuclear weapons program, we opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our children.

We put policies in place to help students with loans, protect consumers from fraud, cut veteran homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.

By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. And through every victory and every setback, I've insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn't meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.

So tonight, I'm here to tell you that yes, we've still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven-and-a-half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer; our homeland more secure, and our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation.

We're not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal, all of us are free in the eyes of God.

And that work involves a big choice this November. I think it's fair to say, this is not your typical election. It's not just a choice between parties or policies, the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there's nothing wrong with that. it's precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward. But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn't particularly Republican and it sure wasn't conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems, just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate. And that is not the America I know.

The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties about paying the bills and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures, men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten, parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities we had.

All of that is real. We're challenged to do better, to be better.

But as I've traveled this country, through all 50 states, as I've rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America.

I see people working hard and starting businesses. I see people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.

And most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, young, old, gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love.

That's what I see! That's the America that I know!

And there is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, has devoted her life to it; a mother and grandmother who would do anything to help our children thrive, a leader with real plans to break down barriers and blast through glass ceilings and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American, the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

OBAMA: That's right. That's right.

Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year-and- a-half. Let me tell you, it was tough because Hillary was tough. I was worn out. (Laughter)

She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers it was backwards in heels.

And every time I thought I might have that race won, Hillary just came back stronger.

But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team.

And she was a little surprised, some of my staff were surprised.

But ultimately said yes because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us.

And for four years, for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn't for praise, it wasn't for attention, that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion.

I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she's fighting for.

Hillary's still got the tenacity that she had as a young woman working at the Children's Defense Fund, going door to door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.

She's still got the heart she showed as our first lady, working with Congress to help push through a Children's Health Insurance Program that to this day protects millions of kids.

She's still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11, which is why, as a senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders, to help the city rebuild; why, as secretary of state, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out bin Laden.

You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it, you can study it. But until you've sat at that desk, you don't know what it's like to manage a global crisis or send young people to war. But Hillary's been in the room, she's been part of those decisions.

She knows what's at stake in the decisions our government makes, what's at stake for the working family, for the senior citizen, for the small-business owner, for the soldier, for the veteran. And even in the midst of crisis, she listens to people and she keeps her cool and she treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.

That's the Hillary I know. That's the Hillary I've come to admire. And that's why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.

I hope you don't mind, Bill, but I was just telling the truth, man.

And by the way, in case you were wondering about her judgment, take a look at her choice of running mate. Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and as committed a public servant as anybody that I know. I know his family. I love Anne, I love their kids. He will be a great vice president, he will make Hillary a better president, just like my dear friend and brother Joe Biden has made me a better president.

Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she's heard from you on the campaign trail. She's got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company's profits, to help put kids in preschool, and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That's what leaders do.

And then there's Donald Trump.

Don't boo; vote!

You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He's not really a facts guy, either.


He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who've achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who's spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? Hey, if so, you should vote for him.

But if you're someone who's truly concerned about paying your bills, if you're really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn't even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages and better benefits and a fairer tax code and a bigger voice for workers and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

And if you're rightly concerned about who's going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world, well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world, not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.

I have to say this. People outside of the United States do not understand what's going on in this election, they really don't.

Because they know Hillary, they've seen her work. She's worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. And she has the judgment and the experience and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It's not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out their leaders, taking back territory. And I know Hillary won't relent until ISIL is destroyed.

She will finish the job and she'll do it without resorting to torture or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit and she is ready to be the next commander in chief.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn't know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.

He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection.

Well, America's promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens. That's one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump.  (LAUGHTER)

In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election, the meaning of our democracy.

Ronald Reagan called America "a shining city on a hill." Donald Trump calls it "a divided crime scene" that only he can fix.

It doesn't matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they've been in decades, because he's not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He's just offering slogans, and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

And that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We are not a fragile people, we're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled.

Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that we the people can form a more perfect union. That's who we are. That's our birthright, the capacity to shape our own destiny.

That's what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It's what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma and workers to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages.

America has never been about what one person says he'll do for us. It's about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard and slow and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.

And that's what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country, she has seen it, she's traveled, she's talked to folks and she understands that most issues are rarely black and white. She understands that even when you're 100 percent right, getting things done requires compromise. That democracy doesn't work if we constantly demonize each other.

She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other and see ourselves in each other, and fight for our principles, but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may sometimes seem.

Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn't so different than what a brave cop's family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work*, that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. We can do that.

And she knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn't making race relations worse, it's creating the possibility for people of good will to join and make things better.

Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system while still seeing striving students and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists, families that came here for the same reasons our forebears came, to work and to study and to make a better life, in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American dream is something no wall will ever contain. (APPLAUSE)

These are the things that Hillary knows. It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too. When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. People are hurt by the inaction. Supporters can grow impatient and worry that you're not trying hard enough, that you've maybe sold out.

But I promise you, when we keep at it, when we change enough minds, when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just ask the 20 million more people who have health care today. Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.

Democracy works, America, but we gotta want it, not just during an election year, but all the days in between.

So if you agree that there's too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders' supporters have been during this election.

We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.

That's right, feel the Bern!

If you want more justice in the justice system, then we've all got to vote, not just for a president, but for mayors and sheriffs and state's attorneys and state legislators. That's where the criminal law is made. And we've got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed. That's how democracy works.

If you want to fight climate change, we've got to engage not only young people on college campuses, we've got to reach out to the coal miner who's worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.

If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we've got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on things like background checks to be just as vocal and determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral that we hold. That's how change happens.

Look, Hillary's got her share of critics. She has been caricatured by the right and by some on the left. She has been accused of everything you can imagine and some things that you cannot. (LAUGHTER)

But she knows that's what happens when you're under a microscope for 40 years.

She knows that sometimes during those 40 years she's made mistakes, just like I have, just like we all do. That's what happens when we try. That's what happens when you're the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described, not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone "who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly, who errs, but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement."

Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She's been there for us, even if we haven't always noticed.

And if you're serious about our democracy, you can't afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You've got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn't a spectator sport. America isn't about "yes he will." It's about "yes we can." And we're going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that's what the moment demands.

Yes, We Can! 

Not Yes, She Can; 

Not Yes, I Can; 

Yes, We Can!

You know, there's been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America's lost, people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there's a "real America" out there that must be restored.

This isn't an idea, by the way, that started with Donald Trump. It's been peddled by politicians for a long time, probably from the start of our republic. And it's got me thinking about the story I told you 12 years ago tonight about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up.

See, my grandparents, they came from the heartland. Their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. I don't know if they had their birth certificates, but they were there.  (LAUGHTER)

They were Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers. Hardy, small-town folks. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them, maybe even most of them were Republicans, the party of Lincoln. And my grandparents explained that folks in these parts, they didn't like show-offs, they didn't admire braggarts or bullies.

They didn't respect mean-spiritedness or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, they valued traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility; helping each other out. That's what they believed in. True things, things that last, the things we try to teach our kids.

And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren't limited to Kansas. They weren't limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii.

They could travel even the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life trying to apply those values. My grandparents knew these values weren't reserved for one race; they could be passed down to a half- Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter; in fact, they were the same values Michelle's parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids living in a bungalow on the south side of Chicago.

They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke, a baseball cap or a hijab.

America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me, they haven't gone anywhere. They're as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what's in here. That's what matters.

And that's why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries and blend it into something uniquely our own. That's why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That's why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection, that common creed. We don't fear the future; we shape it, embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own.

That's what Hillary Clinton understands. This fighter, this stateswoman, this mother and grandmother, this public servant, this patriot, that's the America she's fighting for.

And that is why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. My time in this office, it hasn't fixed everything. As much as we've done, there's still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I've had to learn, for all the places I've fallen short, I've told Hillary, and I'll tell you what's picked me back up, every single time: It's been you, the American people.

It's the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit.

It's the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl with blue wings, made by a 7-year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn't forget, a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.

It's the small-business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn't have to lay off any of his workers in the recession because, he said, that wouldn't have been in the spirit of America.

It's the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad.

It's the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who has learned to speak again and walk again, and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.

It is every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who'd never been involved in politics, who picked up phones and hit the streets and used the internet in amazing new ways that I didn't really understand, but made change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I am so proud of all the change that you made possible.

Time and again, you've picked me up. And I hope sometimes I've picked you up, too.

And tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me.

I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you're who I was talking about 12 years ago, when I talked about hope. It's been you who've fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great, even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope!

America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years.

And now I'm ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I'm asking you to join me, to reject cynicism and reject fear and to summon what is best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

Thank you for this incredible journey. Let's keep it going. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
---  ---  ---  ---

* -- I did not like this part of the speech. Cops wives are supposed to worry about their husbands dying on the job. They are out there to protect the public not themselves. They are supposed to go down in the average citizen's place, in our place.  Black mothers, by comparison, shouldn't have to worry about cops (mostly white but not ONLY white cops)  putting whiteness first, murdering non-white people based on the stereotypes they are creating in their own families. 

And as usual, I would preferred the President make references to Black Lives Matter using "black people" rather than "black men"  Black men are killed more frequently by police, more violently too, and they usually aren't mentally ill as often as the black women killed by police (Malissa Williams, Natasha McKenna, Miriam Carey) but black men are NOT the only victims. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I've come to the conclusion that the word that best describes "white privilege" is "obliviousness."

White privilege is the ability to walk around oblivious to the fact that you are white because you're only around other white people 97% of the time seeing white images 98% of the time which is impossible for most of rest of us.  When you don't get to feel like a racial-other sometimes, you don't get to feel your race. You feel "normal" instead and like white is not a social construct as real as gendered behavior with very real social consequences like poverty, like stereotypes that kill you, or like stereotypes that your group uses to kill others, etc.  

The best part of white privilege is being oblivious to the fact that you can just walk around being you and never stop to think about your surroundings and how you are being judged just by walking around being you.

White people do not think of themselves as living in segregated neighborhoods, oblivious as they are of the fact that only 1 or 2 out of every 100 families is something other than white in their neighborhoods. So they are also oblivious to the fact that I might not want to water the plants in their home while they are on vacation, even though they don't live that far away, because I don't want to be shot on my way into the house or on my way out because their white neighbors know I don't belong there with my black self.

"White privilege" is the ability to be oblivious to the benefits of being treated like a normal person just because you are white.

So I decided to see what it's like to be white in regards to the Dallas Shootings. I decided to just watch the headlines go by and not investigate much after the initial shooting.  That means I looked at the television or heard stories on the radio said "tsk-tsk" to myself and thought "that's a pity about their families"

I acknowledged that the shooting of the Dallas Police Officers was bad. But I did not spend one second listening to President Obama talk about how terrible the shooting was. I did not read one article about one officer. I don't know if they were in their 20s or in their 50s. I don't know if the cops killed were single, married, or bigamists. I don't know if they had kids, were planning to have kids, or childless. I don't even know if the funerals have taken place yet. I don't know one of their names.

Therefore, I don't have any nagging feelings about how stressed the families of the dead are. The families of the dead are nothing more than abstract concepts to me, not real people. And, I don't have to care about abstract concepts.

So is this feeling of oh-well-violence-happens the way the white privileged person feels when it bypasses and overlooks racism to the point that he or she doesn't bother to notice the pattern in the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Miriam Carey, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tarika Wilson, Walter Scott, Natasha McKenna, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Alesia Thomas, Yvette Smith, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile.

I know it takes an effort to seek out your own privilege, to find the benefits you receive in life just by belonging to a certain group.  I mean, why would you investigate what you perceive as "normal?"

And oppressed groups use their oppression to refuse to look into their privileged positions. I observe this in my own groups all the time.

  • White feminists don't look for their white privilege because they know as women they are oppressed. 
  • Black men don't look for male privilege because they know as black people they are oppressed. 
  • White gay male people --overtly racist as hell I've discovered and sexist too--  don't investigate their white privilege or their male privilege because they are oppressed for being gay. 
  • Black women don't look for Christian privilege because they are oppressed as black people and oppressed as women. 
  • White men don't look for their white privilege, their male privilege, or their Christian privilege because every political and non-political decision was made among them for centuries and now they can't even call the shots as to who will be president.

Even though I could only practice a small section of white privilege, I must say I can see its benefits. Life feels a lot more peaceful when you are only looking at one side of a problem, your own side. The thing I can't make-shift experience is the belief that there is only one side, the white side that you don't acknowledge as being "the white side" because you kinda-sorta don't believe race exists anyway

--because race doesn't really exist for YOU personally
--because you don't experience being a racial-other by being surrounded by people not-white
--because you don't have close relationships with people of other races where you'd go their home and become aware of differences you'd have to RESPECT

While I tried to experience white privilege by choosing to be oblivious, I think what I really did was refuse to engage what W.E.B. DuBois calls my double consciousness as a black person.  I didn't engage the part of my brain that is on the outside of blackness looking in. I only had awareness of black people's feelings from the inside, I only had awareness of being overwhelmed by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. By choosing to be oblivious, I did not have to think about how white people looking at Dallas felt about Black Lives Matter, how white people probably feel unfairly targeted since they are pretty much OBLIVIOUS to the patterns of black deaths at the hands of police.

Whatever my little experiment was or was not, being oblivious felt better than being woke.

So I guess my next question is this: 

How do we make obliviousness more painful than being woke for the white privileged?

I think maybe Donald Trump may be part of the answer. He is causing a lot of psychological pain for white people, but not enough. A lot of white people are still able to make themselves believe, SOMEHOW, that Donald Trump just sprang up out of the ground without any contribution from the white population at large.

I think it's true that some of racism can be solved by radical love, as Sadie Smith said in an interview once. I believe this. I've seen this. I've seen white women, white mothers wake up to racism when they start noticing the obvious about how black people are treated. You have to love to care to desire to look. But a white mother loving her children doesn't always work. Some white mothers of black children are more dedicated to protecting their whiteness and the privilege and their rosy cheeked world view than they are their children, SOMETIMES with the encouragement of a black spouse that married her for the status of her white skin more than love.  But I think radical pain is the other solution, maybe the bigger part of the solution.

How do we make obliviousness radically more painful than being woke for the white privileged?

This is the question we must work on. Donald Trump is providing an ugly mirror and psychological pain for white people-- that they are still running from. I think the other part of the pain comes from hitting white Americans in their pocket at every opportunity. That's the pain that counts in this country. We just have to figure out a variety of ways to do it.

As far as getting white cops and white-wanna-bes who are cops off us, I really think making sure that police union goes broke trying to pay off victim's families is the first place we should go. Someone suggested police having to have liability to "practice" police work. That's a good idea. That's the method through which you can break the police union which negotiates that the city pay victim's families instead of the police union itself. Making the police union pay for liability insurance that will go through the roof the more they screw up will break the police union and remove their ability to hire the lawyer that gets a police murderer off.

We need to find ways to follow the money and get it out of the racists pockets.