The KKK is Marching in NC and You Don’t Even Know That It’s Partially YOUR Fault

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I keep trying to turn my blog back around–to be happy and cheerful and funny (at least to my own personal standard of funny, your mileage may vary)–but I’m just not there yet. It’s sad to think that this country elected a man that supports and espouses so much hate. That some people can just roll their eyes and be like, “He’s not REEEAALLLY going to be awful, he’s just not PC. He’s actually going to be miles better than Hillary because I hate Hillary and BENGHAZI and EMAILS! I love you, though, but I’m gonna go ahead with the go ahead and vote him in.”

What’s even sadder to see is all of the various hate groups crawling out of the rotten woodwork to do things like hold “Victory Marches” in places like North Carolina.

I posted that link to my social media last night with the caption:

“Grab your hoods, y’all. Your dude won.”

I almost immediately got a response from someone in my acquaintance that voted for Trump. She stated that she was “angry at those comments.” Being the naive little optimist that I am, I thought she was angry that the KKK were marching, that one of the most despicable, hurtful, violent groups in the history of this country is experiencing a furiously growing resurgence.

But no.

She was mad at my caption, said my caption was racist, and said that comments like my caption are what’s tearing America apart because she’s not bad like one of “those people that always brings race into things.”

Oh. LAWD.

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Photo Cred| imgflip.com

So here is my response to this woman (who, anecdotally, is white), and who will remain anonymous here for privacy reasons:

Dear Mrs. X,

I’ve had the privilege of knowing you for almost my entire life. Your sister was an excellent 5th grade teacher and I have many happy childhood memories with your daughter.

But here’s the thing: Your vote did this.

Whether you realize it or not, whether you like it or not, your vote put this man in the highest political position of this Great Nation and, by doing so, you gave everyone license to hate out in the open again.

“Hello pre-Civil Right’s Movement–welcome back!”

And what I don’t think you realized about my caption is that it’s nuanced (I’ll shoulder some of the blame if it wasn’t obvious). I know you’re not a card carrying member of the KKK–remember, I have been the recipient of you’re smile and your joyful greetings. The fact of the matter is you are complicit.

You KNOWINGLY voted for a man that not only accepted, but appreciated the endorsement of not only the the Ku Klux Klan, but also the American Nazi Party. Speaking of the Nazis, do you know what the worst part about Nazi Germany and the murder of over 6,000,000 people was? That their neighbors let it happen by remaining silent.

That their neighbors remained SILENT. Let that sink in, because you didn’t just remain silent, here. You spoke up with your vote and actively put this man in power.

Now, you may think my caption is racist (though, it does not ONCE mention the race of his supporters, you’re assuming I’m only addressing white people), and you may bemoan the fact that “those people are always bringing race into this”. But do you know what the KKK is? THEIR HATE IS ENTIRELY BASED ON RACE AND RELIGION. The color of my skin is SO distasteful to them that they are actively trying to disenfranchise me and millions of others. The fact that certain people don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah sends them into a tailspin. And GOD HELP THEM if they have to sit next to “a gay” at the Golden Corral.

I never thought I would bear first hand witness of the KKK in 2016. I thought all that junk was something my mother, and uncles, and aunts, and grandparents suffered through in the past. That they fought long and hard so I wouldn’t have to live in a country where people like that are handed a microphone and spoon-fed government support. But now, this reality is my present.

Your vote did this.

But you don’t see it that way.

And therein lies the problem. And that’s the reason for this letter: I took a step back and realized that you simply didn’t know. There are those that did and happily checked that box for Trump. But you didn’t, and I know because I know YOU.

You don’t see that your vote means we will most likely be adding bigoted voices to the Supreme Court who will be hell bent on stripping people of their basic American rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

You don’t see that you had any responsibility in causing the country’s Jewish population, Muslim population, hispanic population, disabled population, black population, it’s myriad of rape victims, etc to begin a new life living in fear. You don’t see that by saying “yes” to Trump, you were saying “do your thing!” to all of these terrorist groups bent on hating other Americans, some of whom you may even have in your own friend group.

 

It’d be easy for me to say I’m not afraid because I don’t live in NC–I don’t live in VA or The South anymore, so I’m not near it. But you know my nephews and nieces. You see them almost every day during the school year. And I’m afraid for them–there’s no hiding that beautiful brown skin AND THEY SHOULDN’T have to. I fear for the children that bear witness to all of these heinous actions and are scared out of their minds. Children that are already being bullied in school.

Hell, my college campus is 30 minutes from you in Southern VA and minority students there are already being bullied:

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So maybe your privilege allows you to live in a little bubble of being “color blind”–race is never “the issue”. I can attest to the fact that my elementary school, where you work, is just like that–its own little Utopia. But outside of that, others are forced to see the full spectrum of color.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

And I know that makes you uncomfortable to even think about–that you had a hand in this nonsensical hate.

And it should.

Maybe it’ll give you an inkling of the discomfort that all of the other Americans being targeted, not because they’ve behaved egregiously, but simply because of being WHO THEY ARE, are feeling.

There’s no undoing the election now, it’s done.

But I’m glad I’ve sown this seed into your conscience.

Now, I just need you to think about what I’m saying. Listen to what others are saying about what’s happening in our lives NOW. Maybe, if you truly listen, you’ll learn. And my most ardent hope is that maybe, just maybe, what I’m saying in this letter will inform your decisions in the future.

Luke 23:34,

Short and Feisty

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Photo Credit | The Daily Show

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How Does it Feel?

How does it feel to know that you’re their target demographic?

How does it feel to know that your neighbor doesn’t secretly hate you because of the color of your skin? Because of your heritage? Because of your religion?

How does it feel to know that, even with the shift in power to someone who espouses hateful and vitriolic rhetoric, you’re going to be ok? Your life will go unchanged–you’re safe. You’re part of the fold. Because you’re one of them?

How does it feel to know the American Nazi Party and the KKK isn’t bothered by your presence among these amber waves of grain? That they won’t forcefully attempt to disenfranchise you over the next four years because you weren’t born heavy with melanin and you were raised worshipping one particular Nazarean?

To know that you won’t be mocked because you weren’t born physically different or not as able bodied as them?

How does it feel to NOT feel unwelcome in the country you’ve called home your entire life? That your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc called their land, as well?

To feel your marriage rights are not on the line? To feel your safety isn’t threatened by people who want to do you harm simply because of who you are?

I’d really like to know.

Because right now, all I feel is sad. And sick. But mostly sad.

Yet hopeful that the phrase “We never thought it could happen in America” isn’t something that you’ll be uttering within the next 4 years.

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Photo Credit| ShortandFeisty

A Nazi, a KKK Member, and a Minority Woman Walk into a Polling Booth

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In college, I always felt like the odd woman out because I wasn’t particularly politically minded. I went to a school for high achievers, children of senators, and an alumni list counting among its ranks several US Presidents, diplomats, Attorney Generals and, ahem, *notorious FBI Directors*.

Before Obama’s first term, I always saw myself as politically moderate with no affiliation with any political party–I had my fair share of conservative views that lived comfortably along with the liberal ones.

The good ol’ days, if you will.

I never in a million years thought Obama would win, and I wasn’t old enough to vote to make a difference, anyway, so I wasn’t particularly invested. 16 years as a minority woman in America convinced me that this country could never get over its racial issues and put an African American in the White House–SURPRISE!

I’m quite sure that I would’ve tried to stay in the center of the political spectrum post-election had it not been for the shenanigans of Sarah Palin. When I saw the Right embrace such an uneducated, dithering, hypocritical harpy, John McCain’s relevancy was completely washed away and I was nudged to the left of center.

Then Mitt Romney rolled up with Ryan 4 years later and I wasn’t completely turned off by the idea of voting GOP. However, his out-of-touch millionaire views regarding the poor ended up being a turn-off, and I cast my first vote for US President for Obama. I knew the obstacles he had run up against with an obstructionist congress during his first term and wanted to see what he could do with a second.

Though left of center after Obama’s re-election, I wasn’t forcefully catapulted away from the Right until recently when Donald Trump decided to get a new hobby and run for President. I’ve already written a piece on the many ways he insults a majority of the US population with vigor and unabashed glee. And, get this, he’s picked on even more people since then. I have to admit that Hillary Clinton was not originally my candidate of choice; however, I can now say, without doubt, that I am a literal Hairy Legged (I hate shaving), No Bra Wearing (at least at nighttime), Pacifist (war is expensive) Liberal.

There really is no other way for me to vote at this point–I am female, I am hispanic, I am African American (or one of “The Blacks” that Trump is always referring to). Not only does this dude automatically shove me and my kin in the rapist/criminal category–he feels entitled to grab me by my genitalia because he’s rich! And famous! And he can!

Angela Merkel and Theresa May better put on some iron undies if this dude makes it into the White House.

But I’m writing this post in the hopes that someone on the fence (who are you, really?!) will read this message and decide that they do care about their neighbors enough to stop that from happening–their Muslim neighbors, and their disabled neighbors, their war veteran neighbors, and their female neighbors, your LGBT neighbors, and any other group of people that Trump and his most virulent supporters have attempted to crush beneath their feet.

Because you can’t say that you love these people and then vote for Trump–you can’t look any one of those people in the eye, grab a beer with them and say:

“I know this dude despises you, sees you as a subhuman-second-class-citizen. I know that what he’s done has contributed to the rise of white nationalists and other hate groups that intend to breed violence against you and yours, but I love you man. Let’s agree to disagree. It’s nothing personal.”

It is. IT IS PERSONAL. There is nothing more personal than selecting the leader of your country.

I can only assume that a lot of people are turning a blind eye to their friends that have been categorically maligned and abused by Trump and the Right because they’re living in a “color blind” world (or at least that’s what they tell themselves).

“Oh, I know your black/gay/muslim/etc, but you’re not like the OTHER black/gay/muslim people that Trump is talking about–THOSE are the ones we’re voting against.”

Uh-uh. Doesn’t work that way, homie.

You may not see me as the racist stereotype of one of “The Blacks”, you may not see me as the racist stereotype of hispanic people, and you may not throw me under the bus with the negative stereotype of a feminist woman. But I am black, I am hispanic, I have been half of an interracial relationship, and I do believe in equal rights between men and women so I am most certainly a feminist.

To all the minorities thinking about voting for Trump: PAUSE. Let’s take a second:

Think about who the ACTUAL Nazis are voting for (it’s Trump). Think about who the ACTUAL KKK is voting for (it’s Trump). Do you genuinely feel like you share the same political interests? Do you genuinely feel like you should be voting for the same candidate along with a group of people that probably lynched and/or enslaved one or more of your ancestors?

I had and still have friends who voted for John McCain.

I had and still have friends who voted for Mitt Romney.

I will not be able to keep connections with people who vote for Trump if this guy wins.

Not this time. Not this election.

The outlook for my future, personally, will look much different than yours (and not in a good way), if that’s the case.

Things are going to go south, fast. That’s not a prediction, that’s just a preview of reality–it’s already started. Just watch the videos of ANY Trump rally and you will see for yourself what America looks like when Bigotry is given a Soap Box.

And I, for one, will stand with the people that reject hatred and bigotry and I won’t “unite as a nation” behind someone that has expressed his disdain for actual human beings that make up a YUGE number of this amazing melting pot.

His KKK supporters have already vowed to show up at polling booths on election day. I certainly won’t be holding their place for them in line when they need to take a pee break, but I won’t make a ruckus about their presence, either.

And I promise you that I won’t be afraid. 4a09e1a5f4284a191cea38d894962dd2.jpg

 

NaNoWriMo and GO!

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There’s not a lot that can distract me from America’s impending doom if Donald Trump takes the “win” in less than a week from now.

I’ve already started researching Visa laws in Canada and England–there are burgeoning entertainment hubs in both of those countries. I wonder if I can qualify as a refugee…I’m multi-racial (all minority races) and I’m a woman so it’s not looking good for me in a Trump version of America.

I’m renewing my passport tomorrow.

Enough about my possible immigration–the one thing that’s keeping November from being a gigantic mess of a month for me is an incredible program for writers (and aspiring writers) called NaNoWriMo.

That crazy word is actually a shortened version of the real name: National Novel Writing Month.

As such–the “Wri” part of that word should be pronounced “Rye” as in the bread not “Ree” as an idiot might consider pronouncing it. You may think that sounds overly cruel/judgmental, but if you YouTube and google Vlogs about the event and then someone pops up with the “Ree” out of nowhere, it’s like freaking nails on a chalkboard.

THIS GIRL KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT and she is MAD.

The overall goal of the entire shindig is to write 50,000 words of a novel from November 1st until November 30th at midnight.

If you reach that goal, you “win”–if you don’t reach that goal, you still have thousands more words of a novel written than you did in October/than you would if you had spent the month sitting in front of a television screen procrastinating.

The cool thing about the website is that you can log on and create a profile, then create a profile for your novel and use their daily word counter to track your progress. They even stick it into this really neat graph to let you know what you need to do to meet the minimum daily goal (1,667 words a day). It even averages out your words per day, shows you how much more you have left to type before you reach 50k, and when you’ll finish at your current rate of writing speed (among many other very interesting facts).

I learned long ago that, in order for me to accomplish any sort of writing, I have to have some sort of deadline hanging over my head. As a screenwriter, it’s usually the submission period for a competition. For NaNoWriMo, it’s getting it all complete within those 30 days–and if you don’t stay on track at at least a rate of 1,667 for day, BOY can you fall behind really quickly.

Last year, I made it to day 10 and 16,752 words. Somehow, I got distracted or ran out of steam of SOMETHING–but I stopped because that’s where my bar graph caps off for the remaining 20 days. The fact that I can’t even remember why I stopped says a lot about what’s happened in the last 365 days since NaNo 2015. At this point, I can barely remember what I did yesterday, so I couldn’t tell you what slammed on the creative breaks a year ago.

But this year, I AM DETERMINED.

I put the call out en masse to my Facebook friends to see who would be up to the challenge and many replied with the courage of a thousand word warriors.

One of my grade school pals hooked me up with a small group of women that are all set to conquer NaNo 2016 and we’ve got a nice little FB group chat going on to encourage one another. And that really is the key to keep going–

ACCOUNTABILITY.

When you have someone else cheering you on and harassing you (in a positive way) to put your butt into the seat and start typing (or hand writing, if you prefer–or dictating, even!) you’re much more likely to be successful. And this is because, inevitably, halfway through the month your writing motivation will begin to peter out. You’ll wonder why you’re “wasting your time” and you’ll ask yourself in the harshest manner possible: “Why did I even THINK that I could write a novel?! Who do I think I am?!”

The answer, of course, is that you’re a writer. If you’re engaging in the act of writing, you are, indeed, a writer. Perhaps not a very good one (I’m just being honest!) but on the off chance that you are, that you’re even possibly spectacular, you’ll never know unless you give it a whirl.

So get your butt in that seat and try!

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Hollywood Throws Me a Bone

In high school, I applied to a state run (I think?) residential summer language arts immersion program. I applied to study French, a language I hadn’t studied a day in my life but for which I had always harbored a secret love.

This was pre-email notifications, so when I got a letter in the mail, I can remember thinking, “This is my Harry Potter Hogwarts letter!”

I got rejected.

That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part came a week before the program was supposed to start. I got another letter in the mail. Curious, I thought, since they had rejected me. It was with great excitement that I read it and saw directions to the campus!

I called the number provided on THAT letter to ask for more information and was promptly told that I had been mailed the map by accident, that I was still rejected, and I didn’t even receive an apology.

BITCHES.

Y’all keep that little trip down memory lane in your locker because I need to divert down a more contemporary path for a moment.

In the last few months, I experienced (I can now see from the other side) what was one of the deepest depressions I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing in the last decade. I blogged about it here and here if you need to get up to speed.

Some of the things that lifted me from the muck were:

  1. Being flown out to Texas to visit my goddaughter and her parents…errr…I mean my best friend, her loving husband, and their kid,
  2. Getting accepted into the next round of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab,
  3. Getting asked to audition for a Network’s comedy showcase.

And all of that literally happened on August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

INSANE the way the universe works sometimes.

I had a great time with my peeps, wrote the final draft of my screenplay submission, and developed several characters to present at my audition.

At the audition, I killed it. I don’t say that lightly as I’m usually self-deprecating when it comes to original comedic material. But all of The Network people listening to my audition were laughing continuously and even stated how impressed they were at the end. Usually, if you don’t do so well, you get a kind (yet pitying) “thanks” and you leave.

This time, though, they asked if I was also a writer and mentioned they had a writing program, as well.

“Yes. Yes, I am a writer and an actor. Both. I do both,” I managed to stutter out while gathering my bag.

“Great, we’ll be in touch!”

Whoa. Never before had I ever heard an audition committee make a rock solid commitment to follow up with me.

So I settled in with fingers crossed and the expectation to NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN. In The Industry, after you audition, you ONLY hear back if you’ve made it through to the next round or booked the job. Otherwise, you can assume from the silence that you didn’t get whatever it is that you just spent a massive amount of time preparing for.

It’s sad, it’s anxiety inducing, it’s depressing.

IT’S HOLLYWOOD.

did hear back, though, and submitted the requisite sketches I needed to, along with a bio and resume, and settled in with the expectation to NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Weeks went by and not a peep.

I woke up this morning sweating from my lack of AC in a Los Angeles heatwave, in pain because mother nature sent “Aunt Flow” in for a visit at 2 a.m. (I must’ve displeased her last month because she is TEARING SH*T UP), and more than vaguely imagining my life on an isolated island somewhere far away from Tinseltown. Though nothing like the last few months, I still have waves of ennui that knock me into daydreaming about deserting my astronomical career goals and going to find some poor schlub that wants to take a go at domestic bliss.

And then I got an email from The Network with instructions for writing that I didn’t understand because I’d never heard back from them about moving forward.

Do you remember the story from earlier?

DO YOU?!

Deja vu, my friends, in the worst possible way.

But I guess I’m a bit of a masochist, because I wanted that confirmation of rejection. I needed it, needed to get some closure for another failed audition and submission, like any good LA actor and writer.

I typed a short email letting them know that they had accidentally emailed me the instructions.

Within half an hour, I got a return email.

I was expecting: “Oops, sorry about that. Thanks for applying, try again next year.”

Instead, I got: “You are most certainly in. I think we accidentally left you off of the original email! Are you still interested?”

My eyes went blurry and, I swear to you, I thought I was going temporarily blind and/or having a panic attack.

Nope, just tears. Tears of unadulterated joy, relief, satisfaction, vindication, whatever positive emotion you can think of, those tears were saturated in them.

My first move was to get in the shower because sending emails to people at The Network requires me to be presentable, even though they can’t actually see me.

The next was to go get a piece of cake from The Alcove. Their cake is amazing (though, at $7 a slice, you have to really want it).

But I was so flabbergasted by this awesome turn of events that I couldn’t focus enough to find my pants! If that isn’t comedy seeping out of my veins, I don’t know what is.

4 minutes later, I located a clean pair of shorts (well, they passed the smell test) and jumped into my car.

And I got a slice of a really gorgeous Princess cake.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I also walked home with a slice of Chocolate Godiva cake:

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Because I can’t think of a better day to spend $15 on celebratory cake.

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