If We Were Having Coffee – Nov.30/2014 : Guest Post

A Rant on Racism.

Paul your Barista

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul and I’m happy to be here once again inside Willow’s home where it is nice and toasty, tending to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. We’ve moved inside to beat the winter cold in the garden. Willow has fluffed the cushions and stared a blaze in the fireplace to make a cozy place

to sit. I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

The talk of the week here in North America has been the Grand Jury in Ferguson, MO (US) refusing to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black man – Mr. Brown. This triggered rampant violence and rioting that has destroyed numerous buildings and many vehicles. For me this has unveiled a huge lurking problem that is the elephant in the American room. There are only two people who were close enough to see what happened: Mr. Brown and the police officer. And one is now dead. The policeman insists he did not do anything wrong and describes a scene where Mr. Brown tried to get his gun and assaulted the officer and his only defence was to shoot Mr. Brown. He makes it sound reasonable. Apparently the evidence matches the policeman’s story within reason. Hence the pass by the Grand Jury. It is still possible for the policeman to be charged but it is unlikely.

Would you like another cuppa? This story turns nasty very shortly. Have a sweet and cosy up to the fire. So, there were numerous complaints from the black community that disputed the policeman’s story basically saying that Mr. Brown was a kind and peaceful young man who was the subject of police prejudice and racism that resulted in his death. To the best of my knowledge no one has come forward and said they were close enough to see it and will testify. There were accusations that Mr. Brown was shot in the back while trying to remove himself – but it turns out all the bullets went into his front. Another blow to Mr. Brown’s supporters.

I used to truck in the southern US and I can tell you without any hesitation that the level of racism, hatred and prejudice between the whites and blacks is palpable. It has always been so and was imported from Europe and Africa when the US was settled. It is covered by a white wash (pun intended) of laws and political correctness but just below the surface is the rot, and this incident scraped the surface revealing just how bad the relationship between the races really is. For me as a Canadian, working in the south was scary – hearing the abuse and the racist vitriol that spews from the mouths of other wise perfectly fine and trustworthy people. It is not true of everyone, but many think this way.

The actions of the Grand Jury could not have been otherwise – the only one who could dispute their interpretation is dead. Fair or not, just or not, right or not – it could have ended no other way. Other than God, no one will ever know what the truth is. And if it had been a white man dead, the whole situation would have been left right there. But the dead man was black – one of a long line of dead black men. Perhaps one too many dead black men. And the built up anger and hatred and disrespect simply spilled over and burst out in the form of violence.

I watched President Obama’s message on the Grand Jury and I was seriously disappointed. He spoke for 9 minutes and came up with nothing more exciting than “We have to look at the positive side…” It was the most insipid, meaningless, trite speech I have ever heard come from his lips. If the Americans think for one moment that they can solve this with more police or more laws or even adjudication, they are seriously mistaken. This problem will require all the participants to respect each other as human beings for a generation or more before it starts to get better. And I am here to tell you that, in my mind, they are simply not capable of brushing off so many centuries of hatred passed from generation to generation. Neither side has the reason or the guts to trust the other side long enough to solve this. Anyway, it felt good to have a great rant like that. Thanks for letting me bend your ears.

My week personally has been uneventful – dialysis went well. . Would you like another cuppa? Willow and I are honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please feel free to look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you here for tea again next week.

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE: I would ask you if you would  like another  cuppa, or  another cake . !   If we were having Coffee  Original idea  from  http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/ 

47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 01:53:20

    Thanks so much Willow for hosting my guest post. You’ve done an exemplary job in the posting as usual. i hope your week coming is one of peace and fulfillment.

    Reply

  2. markbialczak
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 01:58:39

    It is good that ypu got it out, Paul. I hope that cooler heads will prevail in my country and that there are leaders somewhere who can get the healing started with words and proper actions of respect and conciliation. You are right. The mistrust runs generations deep. But there are Americans of all colors who hope for equality for all of us and the peace that goes with it.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 06:03:40

      In God we trust. Xx

      Reply

    • Paul
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 06:27:30

      Yes, I have met many Americans of all races who are kind, caring, non-racist people Mark . That is true. I don’t know how much you have travelled in the south but those types of people are many fewer there, especially in the Bible belt – surprise. I think you hit it on the nose when you singled out leadership as a key factor. There seems to be a serious deficit of that right now and to me that bodes poorly for the outcome of these issues. I shudder when i remember some of the hatred i witnessed when i hauled down there – and that’s close to 150 years after the Civil War.

      I thank you very much Mark for dropping by and joining in the discussion. I pray that you are correct and that cooler heads will prevail. Have a cuppa coffee and relax for a moment before you go.

      Reply

  3. amoafowaa
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 02:15:06

    Sad, racism? When we are of one flesh? Very sad.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 06:01:56

      So sad so true.

      Reply

    • Paul
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 06:45:13

      Hi amoafowaa and welcome. It is great to see you drop by with a comment. Yes, racism is rampant in the southern US and in fact the American Civil War was fought about 150 years ago over this very issue – slavery. The North won but not before more than 1.5 million were either killed or wounded. This is more American casualties than WW1 and WW2 together (about 1.3million) – the two “wars to end all wars”. And remember that at the time the population of the US was only about 31 million. So 5% of the population was a casualty in the Civil War – that is how serious thas matter is to Americans.

      You are right, we are all of the same flesh and all bleed red when cut – but unfortunately that does not stop hatred from growing.

      Thanks so much for the visit amoafowaa – it is an honor to have you here.

      Reply

  4. tesscol
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 11:17:00

    If we were having coffee Paul I would tell you that here we have a bright sunny morning and that I am looking forward to lunch at my daughter’s house. Our grand-daughter who is at UNI in Leeds will also be there. It is 3 months since we saw her so it will be good to catch up.
    The highlight of my week was an appointment with the Cardiologist who told me I have some furring of the main arteries to the heart. I was not too daunted by this news as I have known for several months that all was not well. Now I have to have a cardio angiogram to establish how bad it is. Luckily I have already been given an appointment for this and have only to wait 3weeks.

    All the bad news that you discussed earlier has also been aired here. So sad that there are still so many problems among people of different races. We are all God’s children and should be able to live in peace. Sadly though we are deeply flawed.
    Well I am feeling like another cup of your splendid coffee but will decline the cake for fear of spoiling my appetite for lunch!

    I have managed to write almost all my Christmas cards during the week. I am also working on a special memory book for our youngest son who will reach his half century soon. I may have told you this before………forgive me if I repeat myself.

    It was good to hear that you had a good week with your Dialysis. I hope your weather has n’ t been too bad. A friend of mine who lives in Miramichi NB Had 30cm Of snow on Thursday night. She and her husband are snowbirds and fly to Florida tomorrow. That is where we met them a few years ago. I would love to be going too.

    Thanks for the invitation to join you…it is good to chat…..it has reminded me of my childhood when we sat down every Sunday afternoon and wrote to our Grand parents. Did you do that or were they close by.

    Time to think about getting ready to go. Have a good week.
    .

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 15:53:13

      🙂 xxxxxxxxx

      Reply

    • Paul
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 17:21:42

      Welcome tesscol! Dinner at your daughter’s house with a chance to catch up with your ngrand-daughter sounds like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. What is your grand-daughter studying? Meanwhile have a cuppa coffee with us and a piece of cake. It’ll give you strength and warm you up.

      i’m sad to hear that you have to go in for a heart procedure although I’m glad you caught it in time and that they are taking care of you relaively quickly. Procedures like that are very successful these days, so I am sure you will recover nicely.

      Yes, the situation in Ferguson is world wide news, and very sad. I honestly don’t know what possibilities there are, but I wish them luck.

      You’re done your Christmas cards early this year. That must be a weight off your shoulders. Not many poeple here send cards any more, but I can clearly remember helping my Mum with he cards when I was young.

      You have a friend in Miramichi? That’s so neat. I used to live in Moncton about a 2 1/2 hour drive south. Mirimachi used to be called Newcastle and for a few years I used to deliver there daily. First I hauled bread into the bakery terminal there for the delivery vans to deliver to stores and restaurants and such.Then later i hauled mail with tractor trailer to the post offices in Mirimachi and Bathurst from Moncton 6 days a week. i did that for a year or more. In fact it was while doing that trun hat i met my ex-wife – she was supervisor at the Bathurst post office. Neat that you know someone there.

      I only recall having one Grandmother – my Mother’s Mother. My other grandparents passed away beofre I was born or when I was very young. My Nan (as we grandies called her) lived within walking distance form our house and we visited regularly – a few times a week at least. Also she lived very close to my high school so for three years I went to Nan’s every week day for lunch. Nan was not a big writer but she loved her card games and her tea and cake. I always had a cuppa with her and at lunch we would play Canasta or Auction while we ate. She was a master at it, and in all those years I never got as good as her. i would win a game here and there but she won consistently. I think my Nan was a card shark. Ha! She passed away back in 1992 at the age of 92 years.

      You have a great week as well tesscol. I look forward to seeing you here again next week.

      .

      Reply

      • tesscol
        Dec 01, 2014 @ 17:48:21

        I was surprised Paul to hear that you used to haul mail to the Post office in Miramichi. My friend Susan McLellan was Post mistress there until she retired a few years ago. We met her and John her husband in Florida in 2012 and the following year we went to stay with them in their home during the Summer.

      • willowdot21
        Dec 01, 2014 @ 20:16:10

        What a small world!! 🙂

      • Paul
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 04:21:55

        It is a small world tesscol. It was around 1990 that I hauled mail into Miramichi. My arrival time there was 7 pm (and pick-up on the return around 10 pm) so I didn’t see the day shift at all. If I’m not mistaken, the supervisor was a male. Your friend would likely have worked days as the post mistress. That was a beautiful old heritage building on the main street – a bugger to get into with a tractor-trailer.

        And in summer, the Mirimachi River is gorgeous, isn’t it? It is actually a destination spot for American salmon fishermen. All along the river, downstream, there are fishing camps and cabins.

      • tesscol
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 07:29:55

        Just dropping in for coffee again Paul before I go to my local Library To read stories to Pre schoolers.
        You asked about my grand daughter’s studies. Politics, Spanish and Arabic!
        I see your comments on the situation in Ferguson and subsequently in other cities has sparked much discussion. I agree with your point about the loss of respect and integrity in today’s society……….those of us in our
        …..70’s are saddened by this

      • Paul
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 10:06:11

        You are right tesscol, the problem is endemic. It never ceases to dismay me. You know I worked for a very reputable company as a Business Analyst for a while. I wrote the product spec (the logic and actual screens that a user would see when using the computer program)for a large receiving program for receiving store inventory at each store from the suppliers. I was one of 12 members of a team and it took us over a year to write. What the program did was registered each item received in a central computer at Head office and then the amount owed that supplier would be tallied up and a cheque sent. This completely eliminated the whole invoice processing and matchng system and saved the company a staff of 11 in accounts payable at a savings of over 1 million dollars a year – and more every year, forever. Anyway, this company lived for their reputation of integrity. When I wrote the logic, we had to allow for when goods were short shipped in error or on purpose. I wrote the logic as if the total was received and then each unit not received was deducted off the price. We did this because there were discounts for meeting certain volumes and we wanted the lower price even if the company failed to ship. Which was fine. but then the VP of IT was reviewing my work and asked me to change it so that the debit would be as if we had no discount. So, for instance if they ordered 100 scarves at $3.00 each and only 70 arrived, then we would give ourselves a credit for 30 scarves at the full unti price of say $6,00. So instead of paying $300. – $90 = $210.00 we would pay $300 – $180 = $120. I objected and said that we should debit only what we paid, not the unit price without discount and I was overruled and told to write the program so it paid the lower amount – and that “If they want to argue they can .come back to us and objectlif they can find the ‘error'” I hated that – this big company was lying and cheating and stealing from their suppliers (many of whom were much smaller companies).simply because thye could – they literally wrote their computer program to steal. I couldn’t believe it.

        Anyway, long way to say that I agree 100% with you tesscol – integriy is disappearing at an alarming rate and it is starting to create major problems in our society and we are too stupid to see it.

      • willowdot21
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 10:47:59

        Here here !!

  5. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 15:00:08

    Mm. I’m cold today (not a cold) and the coffee hits the spot. I DO like it h.o.t.

    It’s a pity this shooting has turned into such a mess and unfortunate about the rioting and destruction of buildings and cars, and mistreatment of people. Have we as humans not learned anything in the past 100 years? Feels we are moving backwards.

    Must go now. Thanks for the treats and the frank talk.

    Reply

  6. socialbridge
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 20:28:56

    Paul, I just hope that the problems in America which seem so intractable can be resolved somehow. We never, ever thought that we would see peace in Northern Ireland but the day came after all sides sat down and talked respectfully with each other.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 21:02:28

      🙂 I do fear for future peace though!

      Reply

    • Paul
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 21:34:41

      Hi Jean! Yes it would be nice if people could just treat each other with respect. It sounds so simple and yet we are so, so far from being able to do it. i long for the day when , as in Star Trek, hatred and racism are a memory of the past. You know, most people equate racism with assholes. And there are some. But what I observed when I worked down there, was that a totally normal man or wioman who could be very understanding and helpful and giving, as soon as race is brought up – goes completely insane (by my definition – not relating to reality) and vomits forth the worst hatred you have ever seen. It’s pretty scary.

      Well we’ll see what the near future brings, but i’m not too hopeful.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Jean, it is a pleasure to ave you visit.

      Reply

  7. simon7banks
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 20:43:24

    This incident, of course, didn’t happen in the south, but in a border state. No doubt it could have happened in parts of California.

    I know plenty about historical racism in the American South and I have to say when I was there, admittedly just for a couple of weeks, the signs were better than I expected. Admittedly that was just three states, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida. I saw the Savannah firefighters clearing up after the edge of a hurricane clipped the town, working together, 50-50. I saw no difference in how Black and white people were treated as customers in motels. One motel in South-east Georgia was right on the edge of a sort of shanty town, except that’s an unfair description: the huts were all well-painted, decorated, flowers, flags. There was a small shop there and I needed some biscuits and so on. I “stood in line” as the only white person in a line of ten or twelve people and nobody seemed the least bit uncomfortable. I even ate in a diner in North Georgia listening to two truckers talk about working conditions, the older one filling in the younger: the older was white, the younger, Black.

    I’m sure plenty is still wrong and the only large city I visited was Atlanta (and just the edge of Miami), but fifty years ago all this would have been very different.

    One thing the other way I did notice. In the UK interracial marriages are quite common. I saw only one white/black American couple,, on the plane going out, people who looked like they’d have been 20 or so at the height of the Civil Rights confrontation.

    Reply

    • Paul
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 21:43:41

      Hi Simon! Thanks for dropping by and for the input. When I was trucking – albeit some years ago – I dealt a lot with lower class blacks and whites – warehouse personnel, factory workers, farm hands ( we hauled a suprising amout right out of the field ), ect. I also trucked in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas where the problem is worse. I do hope that you are right and the situation is improving. That would be awesome, As soon as I heard about Ferguson, it immediately fit perfectly into what I had observed. I hope I’m wrong and the problems are isolated and uncommon.

      i see in today’s paper that the policeman has resigned (yesterday). Probably a good idea. I doubt h could work in that town again.

      Thanks so much for dropping by for a chat and a cuppa Simon. Hope to see you here again.

      Reply

  8. Exile on Pain Street
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 17:28:03

    I might catch some hell for this.

    The police need to check themselves. That report was one-sided and there was no cross examination. The lawyer was hired by the police. That’s why it doesn’t carry any weight.

    But do you know who kills more black men than the police? By a wide margin? Black men. Where are the riots over that?

    Reply

    • Paul
      Dec 02, 2014 @ 04:49:52

      Interesting comment Mark. My experience is that in larger cities, the police have a lot of oversight and there is a lot of sensitivity to the media. However in smaller towns it is my exerience that the police are more aggressive and aren’t as tightly controlled. Power, of all sorts, can and does lead to bad things. It is necessary that someone wields the power, but without proper oversight, it is often abused. Be it police, judges, politicians, corporate, academic – whatever – power corrupts. When I trucked in rural Georgia where elected Sherrifs rule, it was worth whatever you had for cash when you were stopped (rightly or wrongly). Of course, as a non-resident, I saw the worse side of this, but I have been stopped and when I asked the fine, I was asked how much cash I had on me. Once you catch on to this you can carry a minimum amount of cash and hide the rest in the truck.

      I saw some statistics once Mark that suggested that the vast majority of crime is either black on black or white on white. Interesting isn’t it? We tend to pick and choose what we see and remember and white on black or black on white are more unlikely and hence more memorable. And blacks are, rightfully so, very sensitive about white violence against them because of the history of abuse and slavery.

      I believe you are right that this incident was poorly handled by police and officials. I think it will be revisited and my guess is that a more torough job will be done this time.

      Reply

  9. johnallenrichter
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 19:36:27

    Unfortunately the video of young Mr. Brown robbing a store owner by strong-arm tactics only moments before does not show a loving person. It shows a person using his hulk and demeanor to scare the store owner while he walked out of the store with several expensive cigars. I suspect this is the same demeanor the officer encountered just moments later. I do not believe racism caused this tragic event. However, I do believe it is causing all of this hateful backlash. And that is a sad story for the US. This is erasing any headway we have made against racism. It is odd to me that only in America does the black population feel – and teach its young – that everyone else is out to get them. It’s very likely that is why this young man was so angry – because he has been fed this lie all of his life. It needs to stop. And unless we stand up and say so then it never will. It is all the untrue hateful rhetoric that causes these young black people to be angry. So angry in fact that they become blind to things like OJ’s blood saturated gloves and socks, and blind to young Mr. Brown trying to kill a police officer. In their misguided view the white person simply must be at fault – no matter what the black person does.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Dec 01, 2014 @ 20:19:05

      This is a tricky question. I ‘ll get Paul!

      Reply

    • Paul
      Dec 02, 2014 @ 05:31:46

      Hi John! Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. It’s great to see you here. I agree with the first part of your comment – the cigars. However, I am having a hard time being comfortable with the information we have. So much has been said or claimed and then proven to be incorrect. And then some point is brought out and then never mentioned again. It truly does feel like a whitewash job. Whether it is or not seems impossible to ascertain. That’s why I would like to see an investigation by a disinterested party- pehaps an outside Federal body – but I doubt that will happen. All the current players have agendas – the blacks to show racism, the police to protect their own, the politicians to protect the image of their little fiefdom.

      “Out to get them” Interesting comment. Honestly John, I think this is much, much bigger problem than blacks being paranoid. Or as Micheal Dell (of Dell computers) once said (to paraphrase): It is important to be paranoid, after all if someone really is out to get you , it isn’t paranoia, is it? You see we have perpetuated a society of “Me”. And a part of that mindset is to protect “me” and what is “mine” from those who wish to take it from you. In this world of materialism and money, value has been defined extrinsically – that is to say that what I have you cannot have unless you take it from me – like possessions or wealth. This leads directly to paranoia for survival and to maintain wealth – the only way to protect what is yours is to assume others are trying to take it and then act accordingly in a defensive manner.\

      The truth, as I see it, is that real value is intrinsic, it is inside of us and the more we give it away the more we have – things like love, integrity, honesty,trust, caring, etc. This is not the direction our society has taken. And what you are proposing as a solution to the issues requires trust and caring and integrity – and that is not valued in the society we have created. So, i don’t think this problem can be solved this way John. I would agree that it is an elegant soution, I just don;t think our current society is uo to it.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and reading John. I hope you’ll come back again soon.

      Reply

      • johnallenrichter
        Dec 03, 2014 @ 01:40:50

        Yea, you make a good. From the very core of my belief is that “society” is really just a collection of individuals. We were not born together and we will not die together. No one else can live for you nor you for anyone else. We are brought into the world naked and with nothing, and as so shall we leave it. “Society” is just the descriptor we use to deacribe the terms we use to exist together. We carry responsibility through life as individuals, in my faith. Indovidually we inherit God’s kingdom – which is not of this world. This world belongs to Satan. You mentioned that you find great confusion out there. That is what Satan does. I don’t see confusion. I see black leaders telling small black children that white peole will kill them indiscriminately and for np reason other than skin color. That is an abdolute lie and will serve no purpose but to perpetuate the hatred for generation after generation. Society has no bearing on that. It is only what lies in every mans heart. And if what any man does or says should be as a stumbling block to the least of God’s children then woe to he.
        .

      • Paul
        Dec 03, 2014 @ 09:17:48

        You make some interesting points John – the distinction between self and society is a good one. i too believe that we are responsible for our own actions in the eyes of God. That said, though, when organized living things act together with even a small set of rules, the outcome is very complex. For instance ants have about 10 rules of interaction that are hardwired. As the ants interact these rules produce very complex behaviour that mimics intelligence. (hive ,mind). Imagine how complex that makes human society. And without a doubt our surroundings and society influence us. because of that I feel it is imporatnt that we choose carefully the company we keep.

        I don’t know about blacks indoctrinating their children – I’ve not seen enough young black families to know if that is true or not. I do know that young blacks are descriminated against in many schools – perhaps that’ is where they get the idea that the whites are not their friends. From us.

        Thanks for the discussion John, you’ve brought up some important points. Please drop by again.

  10. Paul
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 15:26:57

    Hey Willow! I found a neat website called Kindness Blog that shows us how we can address the Ferguson issues. http://kindnessblog.com/2014/12/03/free-hugs-at-ferguson/ It’s a quick read with ony a few sentences and a couple of pictures.

    Reply

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