Tag Archives: Blackness

Tight vs. loose: Politics and mysticism

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Monday, I lived my life the whole day the way I’ve always said one should, consistent with The Way of Peace. This was an accomplishment, and has been a long time coming. At bedtime, I was so proud of myself, I fully expected to be rewarded with a pleasant dream.

That didn’t happen.

The dream I did have was all about concepts, and wasn’t pleasant. It said, “Conservatism is tight; liberalism is loose.” It said I am currently being tight. I didn’t like being told that, and I didn’t like the fact that it was so.

Not because I have anything against conservatism. Though I tend in a more liberal direction, conservatism and liberalism are both largely immaterial to me.

But I would wind up pondering a lot, Tuesday, about how I would rather be.

It came to me that liberalism is like an open palm — one is ready to give someone something, or to accept something — whereas conservatism is like a closed fist. The conservative wants to keep what she or he has, and isn’t interested in accepting any handouts.

Now, it’s not that one is right and the other wrong. In life, both are necessary. And that insight opened up a different point of view.

That explains much more than I supposed.

The Qabala says there are ten sephirot, or dimensions, through which the Life Force may express itself. Two that are normally juxtaposed are Chesed, or Loving-kindness, and Gevurah, or Severity. These correspond well to the open palm, on the one hand, and the closed fist, on the other, respectively. The question is not choosing one over the other, but holding the two in balance; for in life, we need both.

One is not right and the other wrong; instead, each one has its own “good” or light and “evil” or dark potentialities. A “dark” potentiality of Loving-kindness is permissiveness, which can lead to a complete loss of order in society. Some people keep their hands out all the time, and that’s not good. A “dark” potentiality of Severity is that one may use the closed fist to beat up on oneself or others, to engage in tyranny or extortion.

Severity pertains less to the imposition of order than to the restoration of order (Hebrew: Tikkun) after disruption occurs. Chesed will express itself in making and serving a meal — but also in making a mess. Gevurah expresses itself in washing the dishes.

And taking out trash.

And picking up litter.

It pertains to the establishment of social norms, and to encouraging people to conform to those norms. For example, pee and poop belong in the toilet bowl, not on the toilet seat or on the floor. But when I worked at City Hall, it was clear that many men haven’t learned this.

Some social norms express themselves as laws. Thus all police activity expresses Gervurah — both its use and its abuse.(*)

But a complete lack of Gervurah is equally devastating.

It is telling that the concept of accountability is controversial among black Americans. Dez Bryant’s April 2017 remarks got scant attention in the mainstream press, but lots of pushback from the only black voices America is allowed to hear.  D. L. Hughley said, “There’s no such thing as black-on-black crime.” Stephen A. Smith questioned Bryant’s blackness. The ideal of a black world without norms manifests in the murders of Carter Scott , Chanetta Powell  and Charmaine Wilson.

Chesed and Gervurah in balance would be like a parent who corrects her or his child with love. We don’t have many good models for this. The current American correctional system is not, in fact, about correction, but retaliation. Likewise, the God portrayed in the Book of Numbers in the Bible does not correct, but retaliates. But putting the toys back in the toybox does not require scolding. Putting an errant object back in its right place does not require anger. Love can be constant.

That’s how I want to be.

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(*)(The auric color of Gevurah is blue, which is why police wear blue uniforms. The color of compassion is green, so the Green Party is so named. But green is also the color of envy.)

 

 

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Are blacks more violent?

Confronting the myth that “black culture” is responsible for violent crime in America

Friday, September 2, 2016

On the one hand, I am strongly tempted to include this one in my list of “biased headlines.”

On the other hand, whether or not I agree with him — At this writing, I’ve read most of the article but not all, and have not yet been able to determine whether or not I do. — German Lopez presents here a very thorough and balanced analysis.  This piece is to be regarded as a tremendous resource for any future discussions.

 

Why racism no longer matters to me

The last straw for certain things came with a Baltimore Sun front page banner headline:

Skepticism, despair as killings continue
Residents question city response; Four day death toll stands at 12.

I anticipate no response from Julia CravenJenee Desmond-HarrisTa-Nehisi CoatesStacey Patton, or Brittney Cooper.[*]

What was the last straw?

In short, it’s time for me to stop concerning myself with racism and race.

Continue reading Why racism no longer matters to me

A third phase has begun.

Saturday  2015-05-02

A third phase has begun, with yesterday’s filing of charges against the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s arrest; but perhaps more importantly, with the press conference given by the Gray family’s attorney, Billy Murphy, that afternoon.  I will attempt to link here to, or embed, a complete video of that press conference; or, alternatively, copy the complete transcript here.

Wednesday 2015-05-20

Media coverage of gang violence sure looks different when the perpetrators are white

There has been no “gang violence” in Baltimore in 2015, so this article is attempting to compare two completely dissimilar events. The article also actually says nothing about “media” coverage, as that term is normally understood; its focus is on social media responses, something very different.

34 Murdered in Baltimore Since Freddie Gray Died

“Black lives matter:” the message hasn’t gotten through.

Friday  2015-05-22

Yesterday afternoon I was able to look at a hard copy of the day’s Baltimore Sun.  A front page article reported that there had been 22 shootings “Tuesday and Wednesday” in the Western [Police] District alone.  I am unable to link here to the article, because the Sun website says I’ve exhausted my free views for this month.  But again:

“Black lives matter:” the message hasn’t gotten through.

The riots in Baltimore

As of Wednesday 04/29/15, I am beginning a new post (compare last Monday’s), as events prior to Monday afternoon 04/27/15 could be called “demonstrations,” but beginning that afternoon can instead be called “riots,” and I don’t want the two terms confused.

Tuesday  2015-04-29

From my diary:

16:00.  Arrived 15:30.

Harbor Mart was open this afternoon, RA closed.  Found a shorter detour [16:40] around police HQ, via Water Street.

There is a crowd of several hundred people at Pennsylvania and North Avenues.  Many of them are white.  Whoever organized this did so in poor taste.  It’s like whistling at a woman the day after you raped her.  It nauseates me.

As of 15:30, the CVS was on fire again.

[16:55.]  “See?  They startin’ shit.”  Re: group marching down Fulton Av.

Wednesday 2015-04-29

Baltimore Riots: Protesters Defy Curfew, Again Clash With Police

The article fails to tell me where this event occurred, which is crucial as very different things are happening at different places in the city.

The crowd defying the curfew appeared to be much smaller than the ones out earlier today and, at times, it seemed the media may have outnumbered the residents.

Hooda thunkit?

The next article linked to here below says this crowd consisted of “several dozen.”  If, as it appears, this was at Pennsylvania and North Avenues, “several dozen” hardly compares with the several hundred who had been there as of 15:30.

The riots began Monday afternoon shortly after the funeral of Gray …

This language erroneously suggests a linkage between the funeral and the riot.  The Gray family had, in fact, asked that there be no “protests” on Monday, out of respect for their loss; and, in contrast, from days in advance, perpetrators had been planning a spasm of lawlessness to occur at Mondawmin Mall 15:00 Monday 04/27.

Curfew lifts after calmer night in Baltimore

This article would lead you to believe the entire city lies in ruins, whereas nothing could be farther from the truth.

From my diary:

17:10.  We watched a Bounce movie until 17:00.  [In previous days it’s been, instead, live TV coverage of the activity on the streets.]  I cannot hear anything that’s being said on TV.

Thursday 2015-04-30

Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’ document says

The media play on this frames it as an effort by police to blame Freddie for his own injuries. That makes little sense given that the statement is wholly conjecture on the part of an individual who couldn’t even see Freddie. Such framing also ignores the intent of the document from which the statement is taken:

The affidavit is part of a search warrant seeking the seizure of the uniform worn by one of the officers involved in Gray’s arrest or transport.

Does that sound like a cover-up?

Nope, Jon Stewart, $1 trillion wasn’t spent on Afghanistan schools at the expense of Baltimore.

Four Pinnochios.

It’s politically correct, of course, to assume that massive spending can solve any problem.  It can’t.

Last night, a friend and I discussed our overall situation.  I began by saying there is no solution.  He responded that there is, but that it’ll take decades, and untold “billions.”  Well, if he admits that there is a solution, my answer now is, it can all be done for free.  The spirit of the people is all that matters.

Ted Cruz: Obama To Blame For Baltimore Riots Because He ‘Inflamed’ Racial Tensions

Another celebrity seeks to exploit our distress for his own gain.

I don’t normally allow myself to call any statement “absurd,” but this is absolutely absurd.  I have seen similar accusations against our mayor from right-wing outlets.

Freddie Gray death: Should it really be illegal to carry a knife in the city?

“A young black Baltimore man named Freddie Gray ended up dead after being arrested for carrying a small, spring-assisted pocket knife.”

The same is also known as a “switchblade,” and the author’s use of the highly euphemistic alternative description made me very suspicious. In fairness, the article is a detailed examination of the right or non-right to carry knives in general.

As of 11:47, I am ISO an article I passed over yesterday as I did not think responding to it was the best use of my time. It was a HuffPost opinion piece by a college professor, who began by saying Freddie Gray was essentially murdered for “looking while Black,” and somehow went on to blame the CVS for its own destruction.

She wasn’t done. She said that, rather than models of black female achievement, Loretta Lynch, Linda Singh and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are shills of the system.

If I find the article, I may respond in more detail in a separate post. It seems to me to perpetuate a tendency among blacks to dispossess themselves of power, the end being to evade the responsibility that power inevitably entails. One who owns power cannot go on forever blaming others for one’s own foibles.

Justice requires that blacks own power.

Speech such as this impedes it.

[Postscript, 2015-06-19:  I found it.  I had mistaken the source; it’s from Salon.  Author Brittney Cooper: Black America’s Baltimore schism: Why the Freddie Gray tragedy demands serious soul-searching.]

From my diary:

14:01.  Sun front page photo indicates a huge, successful demonstration on Calvert Street last night.  I have seen no coverage of this in broadcast media or online.

bal-front-pages-freddie-gray-coverage-20150427-011

Fox News is doing everything possible to blame the mayor for the riots.  Yesterday they condemned her “destroy” remarks.  Today they cited a nameless source to the effect she ordered the police to “stand down” Monday.

Gray family attorneys continue to express satisfaction with the pace of the official investigation.

Numerous online mentions lately that Baltimore is 63% black.

16:00.  Another Bounce movie.  Set in UK.

Friday  2015-05-01

From my diary:

12:00.  Last night, WJZ gave live coverage to another extremely successful demonstration apparently involving thousands, that began on North Avenue and marched to City Hall.  The Net has ignored it.

Al Sharpton is in town. Marilyn Mosby has announced charges against the six officers.

A case on point about choosing thoughts, feelings

From my diary for Friday 2015-05-01:

Ta-Nehisi Coates has had two “provocative” HuffPost columns in two days.  Wednesday she decried calls for calm in Baltimore.  Yesterday she used the incident of Toya Graham’s confrontation of her son, to blame white people for every incident of violence among blacks.  [P.S. 12:00.  Correction: The latter was by Stacey Patton.] I may yet respond to the latter, but it’s best I not do so today.  I need to direct my thoughts and choose my feelings, and I feel immeasurably better when I focus on my own affairs than when I allow myself to get engaged with her turmoil.  Today’s task is to prepare materials for the prayer course; and it will be no excuse if I tell my students I came unprepared because she distracted me.