Be the Change

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Well, it’s been a minute, again… COVID + Distance Learning + Work was just a terrible combo for the DuBois home. Never in a million years did I think it would take me so incredibly long just to get through my normal everyday life with everyone at home. Holy cow!  I was all tee’d up, ready to share some fun activities that we had been working on when the events of the last week unfolded (well Memorial Day forward), and George Floyd was tragically murdered. 

As I stopped, with the rest of the nation, to see the outcry of pain, I just didn’t feel right posting about stuff to do with your kids or fun recipes right now.  The week progressed, and I watched the hate grow online and was heartbroken over it. I’ve always been very outspoken on my personal social media accounts about my personal and political beliefs, however, scaled back significantly (those who know me will laugh at that) the last few years of my real estate career because my views were so vastly different than those of your typical Good ‘Ol Boy, Texan builder/realtor. I’d been spoken to a few times from different managers about toning it down because I may hurt a sale if someone saw what I was posting.  So, when I started my blog, I had said absolutely no politics because I was scared of alienating readers. However…

I was already mulling over making a post because it was so very much on my heart when I saw the above posted on my mother’s Facebook page in a response to mom’s remarks about how very wrong she felt our president’s response and photoshoot at the church was. We’ve known this lady for 25 years. Let’s call her Mrs. R for Racist. She was always a racist, and always “justified it” by saying things like “well you don’t understand because we came from XXX (bad part of town) and you’ve always been in this bubble.”

As a teenager, I always rolled my eyes and thought Mrs. R would change. She did not.

And that was my moment where I realized, staying silent, rolling your eyes, and hoping for change would never help the issue. Now, I’m not so foolish to think that someone like Mrs. R would ever change by something I would say, sometimes ignorant is just that, but if speaking out plants a seed with those who can still be saved, then we have a moral duty to do just that. Don’t we?

So, here are my seeds…

Discrimination in any way, shape, or form is wrong. Period. While I’m privileged enough to say I’ve never felt the personal sting of racism, I would never undermine someone else’s experience with it. #BlackLivesMatter does not mean that your white life doesn’t matter, cop lives don’t matter, or that all lives aren’t precious. It doesn’t mean you haven’t suffered from some other hardship. But calling attention to Black Lives shows that we know they’re hurting more than most, we know they’ve suffered from generations of systemic racism and abuse, and we know it is beyond time for a change.

Teaching our kids to be color blind is not the answer. I learned this as I listened and watched this week. I’ve always thought I was being a good mother by teaching my kids to be color blind but really, that’s just stupid. We’re not dogs who see in black and white. We see all colors. If we’re color blind we just see the colors incorrectly. Teaching our kids that all colors are beautiful and that they help to make up a person’s heritage and traditions and that we can learn amazing things by learning about each of these colors makes far more sense. We’re all deeply rooted in our heritage, and our family’s history can have a tendency to drive how we react to certain things, where we seek comfort, how we show love and affection. Understanding each other’s roots helps us understand what makes us tick. That’s a beautiful thing!

I believe the vast majority of cops are good and take that job because they have a higher calling to serve and protect. Cops, just like all other groups are not immune to having bad guys in their ranks giving the entire group a bad name. The officer who murdered Mr. Floyd had 18 complaints against him. It’s only logical to assume that he was allowed to get to the 18 complaints because no one had the guts to properly take a stand against him before. Look at the 3 officers with him. One was another dirtbag like him but the other two, one very new to the force, simply stood by and let it happen.

Do I think they harbored the same evil? Probably not. However, it is highly likely that if they had been empowered to say something, to stop the other two, Mr. Floyd would still be alive today. Did you catch that EMPOWERED line? Officers are given the power to stop protestors with tear gas like weapons (I’m not arguing semantics on what gas was used, that’s not the point) and rubber bullets, they’re given the power to enter a home without a warrant, they can search your entire car if they have a suspicion you may be up to no good BUT they are not empowered to do the right thing among their own coworkers.

Call it a brotherly code, call it their family, their team, whatever, but time and again you hear of officers, like the one who killed Mr. Floyd, gaining the long history of abuse of power because no one felt they could speak up. And let’s be real, I’ve talked about that in corporate America before. The “open door” policy at any business or government entity is crap. It takes a rare manager in any line of work to truly listen to someone who is reporting a wrong and act upon it without making the whistle blower’s life absolutely miserable in the process.

Credit: AZ Quotes

I believe one of the main problems in America today is ignorance. Can people start to form prejudice opinions based on personal experiences with a certain race or demographic group? Sure. But it’s ignorance that allows them to assume that they will continue to have that negative experience with the entire race, religion, profession. It’s ignorance that allows lies, conspiracy theories, racial tensions, and false information to spread like wildfire. People don’t take the time to educate themselves through credible sources to fully understand the facts of the situation.

NBC ran an article the other day about Antifa rumors spreading on social media. A single tweet on Twitter from a fake account (that turned out to be traced back to a white supremacist group) sent fear racing through suburbs across America about riots coming to their quiet neighborhood. Posts on my feed from Facebook friends and acquaintances in just about every single state said more or less the same thing:

“I have this information from a credible friend who knows first hand… buses are coming to our area with Antifa protestors. Bricks are being dropped off in our town. Be careful!” Their post would usually include a picture of the tweet, or similar. But not one person who shared it bothered to vet it out before sharing it with family and friends.

My hometown police department had to come out and say stop calling 911 about bricks! Town Center has townhomes that are under construction that the brick is being used for! No one has dropped them off to destroy our stores.

Please, Mrs. R and friends, check your facts before posting. Check your sources. No one edited the video of George Floyd to make a white man in a fake murder look black. Likewise, credible news outlets are NOT “fake news.” They seem biased right now because of all of the lies flying out of the White House on a daily basis, but real journalists are under an obligation to present the truth of what’s happening.

A simple way to check your news before you share it is to look at the website. The real fake news that I keep seeing shared DAILY come from websites that appear to be news sources but end with a .co, are the network name -trending.com, fox-news or abc-news… anything that imitates the real deal but when you click on it, isn’t! If you’ll read the article, many times you’ll see it full of spelling and grammar errors. Robin Roberts does not put out anything that isn’t perfection! Stop sharing that fake knock off news crap!

Then, just this morning as I was getting ready to edit and wrap this post up… the King of Conspiracy Theories himself ran this. Are. You. Kidding. Me??? Sure…. a 75-year-old man thought it was a swell idea to go ahead and take the fall in a way where he would bleed from his skull just to set your palace guards (I mean security detail) up.

This could easily be one of the more irresponsible posts I’ve ever seen by a so-called world leader. Like the person or not, the amount of influence the President of the United States holds is second to none. This current President’s key demographic are those who are ignorant and those who are afraid. When you’re uneducated or you’re afraid, he knows, you’re far more likely to buy into scams (like his “university”) and conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories that Mrs. R soaks up like a sponge.

We got here because people didn’t vote in 2016. My family has a group chat and one evening my mom was expressing just how sad this all makes her. “Can the world really have this much hate?” she asked. “How can half that nation support this president who is so divisive?” My answer is “they don’t.”

The Presidential Election of 2016 showed one of the lowest voter turnouts in history with the number of registered voters going to the polls at about 55%. The current president won the election with only 25% of the votes of registered voters. Let that sink in. To answer my mom’s question, only a quarter of the nation supported him enough to vote for him, and of that 25%, my guess and/or deepest hope is that the majority of them voted for him for the same reasons that my husband did… the economy. More were one-issue voters, looking for someone to abolish abortion. Yes, many truly horrible people voted with him because they identified with him on a deeply personal level, but not the majority of the nation as it seems now.

“But I hated both Clinton and Trump so felt like I couldn’t vote.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard something like that.

Guess what? Your lack of a voice in the last election has allowed people like Mrs. R and the rest of the Nazi-like Klan to feel that they are the true voice of the people. We saw them take to the streets in 2017 with their tiki torches and flags, and our president called them “very fine people,” empowering them to continue to act upon their extreme hate within their communities in the name of patriotism.

Here’s what else happened when you didn’t vote in 2016… You didn’t vote for anyone in the down-line either. Your vote didn’t count towards anyone in the House or Senate. Your vote didn’t count towards anyone at your state or local level. Hell, you probably didn’t even vote in your PTA election (and don’t you dare complain about their fundraiser of choice either).

Most of Washington is made up of rich, OLD, white, out of touch elitists just like our current president and they sit on both sides of the isle. These men and women who have served term after term after term have no idea what “we the people” really need or want, yet they’re allowed to continue to make policy that deeply affects us all and live off our tax dollars because no one shows up to vote them out. 2018 had one of the highest mid-term turn outs due to the growing unrest forged by the president, and still it was only about 53%.

How much of what the President of the United States does truly impact your day to day life, vs lower-level elected officials? Honestly? This current one more than others BUT only because of his Twitter influence over the population. His impact on policy, on my taxes, on my little corner of Texas is minimal compared to my local and state officials. If you truly want to see a change in your world, vote in every election.

Ok, so you’re a one-issue, large issue voter like many of my friends who voted for Trump in 2016 are. Let’s take abortion or immigration for example since those are their two main hot buttons. There is not a single candidate with a fighting chance at winning who is pro unrestricted abortions (news flash, cutting a baby from a mother’s womb in the 9th month before her water breaks is called a c-section, I’ve had 2) or open up the gates of our country to anyone and everyone who wants to pour in. Even if they were deep down, they would never be stupid enough to voice that or use it as their running platform and it would never pass the House or Senate.

Stop using your one issue as an excuse for your bad vote or total lack of a vote. Check your facts through credible sources. Read up on the candidate through actual interviews and quotes. If they’ve served in other roles, research their track records. Then think… what are the odds of that one main concern of mine being so drastically changed by this one person anyway? When you see those attack ads during election season, you can count on one thing and that’s that many of them are not true. Don’t use those as your way of choosing a candidate.

If you choose not to vote in 2020 because you hate both Trump and Biden then your one issue doesn’t matter because you choose to chance it on how others were going to vote.

Come to think of it, stop voting based on one or two issues. The world is bigger than that. Let’s say for a minute we voted for a candidate in 2016 who really did say “I’m going to allow free abortions for all at any time during pregnancy.” They may have started to push a bill through the House and Senate that would then be shot down, sent back, revised, dragged down in the slow-motion train that is the government, and then… BAM… Global Pandemic! The abortion bill is trashed or put on hold while this president navigates COVID. Did you bother to see if he or she had a plan for a mass global crisis? Nope, because you only cared about one thing! But now this is the one thing that is impacting everyone and we have someone grossly unqualified in office to handle it.

Ok, bring it back, how do we fix this… Clearly, I could go on and on about social issues and politics. And maybe I will start voicing my opinions on social issues on the blog more often now. But really, how do we see a real change in these social issues? How do we impact racism in a positive way?

  1. VOTE! Just vote, damnit. Seriously, did I say that enough? I fully believe our current president is a racist who thrives on creating a divide in our country. He knows he cannot win again if normal, compassionate people believe their vote won’t matter. Your vote matters. Make it count in November.
  2. Change the narrative, listen, and learn. This is not an us vs. them issue. Righting social wrongs for Black Americans will not take anyway anyone else’s rights any more than allowing gay marriage caused the downfall of your straight one. And honestly, if ensuring equality for all Americans means you lose something in return, then we weren’t really living equally in the first place. But white politicians cannot assume they know the answer to enact change without really listening to those who have suffered. We cannot teach our children to be better than previous generations without teaching them about the issues the right way.
  3. SPEAK UP! Stop allowing people like Mrs. R to have a louder voice than yours just because you don’t want to rock the boat. The louder they get the more power they think they have. Silence is no longer ok. When someone says something grossly inappropriate about a race, gender, or group of people, correct them. Let them know it’s not ok to speak that way in your presence. You may not change their mind, but if they respect you at all, they’ll be quiet around you lowering the volume of those who seek to do evil and taking back their perceived power.
  4. Be the change through love. Greet everyone with compassion and a smile. Be kind wherever you go. Your kindness will be noticed and carried forward by those around you. Your kids are learning by watching you. We can only create more kindness in the world by raising kind humans. If there is more kindness and love to spread than hate then love will win.

As far as I’m concerned, my friends, family, and lovely readers are officially on notice. If you think the seeds I’m trying to plant are weeds, unfollow me. You’ll be doing me a favor because I have no time in my life for those who are narcissistic and small-minded enough to believe they’re better than others, more righteous than others, or are entitled to more because of their skin color, life status, or where they go to church. That doesn’t mean if you vote differently than me. I’ve always enjoyed a well thought out, fact-filled political debate! I’m a nerd at heart! However, if you choose to stick around to try to prove me wrong about this issue, be ready for me to kindly explain to you all the ways you’re wrong and where you can shove those thoughts.

Finally, since I would be remiss if I didn’t include my kids on this post since this is a parenting blog, here was their takeaway this week…

I’ll be back next time with more silly fun. I promise! XOXO

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Junell

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