Friday, July 08, 2016

The World's Gone Mad

The world has completely divided, separating into groups who are against other groups. Political, religious, racial -- we're all at odds with one another. I am opening up my eyes to one thing: just because one bad egg in a particular group goes haywire, doesn't mean all of them are bad.  For instance, I had a moment of insanity yesterday afternoon when one Trump supporter insulted me. I almost had a knee-jerk reaction to detest the entire group. But then, a few of my friends who are Trump supporters took the time out to explain their views to me, which were far from hateful. Then I saw one of my friends on Periscope. He's a black man in his mid 30's or so who was speaking about what happened to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. He stated that all blacks and all whites should separate and live in their own societies. He was angry. He also said that the reason why most black people are poor and live in the ghetto with drug and alcohol addictions is because of white people. He said to me, "I bet you have a nice house and a car, right?" He assumed it was only because I was white. He blamed white people for "making" black people alcoholics. He said that white people pushed alcohol on them, leaving no accountability for the person drinking. As I kept listening to him, more and more people were commenting about his views on white people. He said, "All white people are racists -- you can't tell me otherwise." So I told him, "I'm white and I have no ill feelings toward you, or anyone else who's black." He then said, "Oh yeah? I bet your parents wouldn't let you date a black man...?" So I just told him it would be hard since I'm a lesbian. (Trying to lighten up the mood, but he wasn't having it.) I just left it at that. But the fact is, I wasn't allowed to date black guys when I was younger. I didn't understand it either, and I can only contribute it to the old fashioned Italian mindset...ignorance...lack of exposure...handed down views...and so on. I wonder why I never accepted the mindset as I was brought up with it. But he was way too angry to even talk to.

My friend, now former due to his anger toward white people, is angry and rightfully so I guess. Why are there some cops who shoot black people? Why are there some citizens who kill cops? And the people they are all shooting may not even be the opposition. We're labeling them as a "whole" and not getting facts. We're furious and taking it out on anyone who seems to be apart of the group we're against.

Why are we so against...?

The hardest division for me is that some (not all) Christians are against me being apart of their faith because I'm gay. I even heard one person say to me, "Either call yourself a lesbian and lose the Christian part, or be a Christian and stop being a lesbian." What a simple solution! I was pushed away, shunned and even reprimanded by my own church who said it was a "dead end road". Not all Christians treated me like that though. I was welcomed by many who accepted me. I even met Christian pastors and Lutheran priests who were also gay. I am incredibly thankful that my bad experiences with just a few Christians didn't make me "hate" the entire group. And I say "hate" because that's what we do when we feel oppressed. We feel resentful. We want justice and we start acting upon our initial fear and bitterness. When you act on fear and bitterness, it's "hatred".

Not all cops are racists. Not all cops are trigger happy. The same applies: not all black people have guns or cause violence. Not all black people are drug addicts. But we assume the stereotypical traits of a particular group. Just as you have with Trump supporters: not all supporters are racist and uneducated. Many at these rallies seem to hold that trait, especially in my local town, Sugarloaf, NY.  There's a really great Mexican restaurant named, The Cancun Inn owned by the nicest people. They inevitably got run over by the Trump train. A lady named Esther Levy and her friend, Alvin Goldstein said they got kicked out of the eatery because Esther was wearing a Trump hat and a Trump pin. But as it turns out, stories are being told that the couple had one too many drinks and started badgering the staff, saying that their ancestors came here legally and demanded proof of their citizenship. They were definitely invoking a reaction, especially wearing the Trump gear. You can't tell me that it shouldn't matter. If you know how hurt and offended Mexicans are by Trump's views, then you should also know that you're also going to get less than desirable service if you're doing something intentionally to hurt somebody. It's just common sense. As I stated before, not all Trump supporters are out to start a fight. Unfortunately, these people were.

Yesterday, they found a black man hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA. The police department stated that it was consistent with a suicide, but still have yet to do a full autopsy. They said there were no signs of a struggle or foul play. Some people said that the Ku Klux Klan were seen passing around flyers that day. Many do not believe this man's death was a suicide. And honestly, I don't even believe it. I mean, on one hand, I can definitely see someone getting so frustrated over the racial wars that've been going on and just decided he didn't want to be apart of that world any longer. But you can't just leave it at that! There's so much anger on both sides. Black people are angry, white people are angry -- everyone seems to be angered by all this. Nobody's going to believe the police that it was just a suicide. Nobody. Even if it's consistent with a suicide, INVESTIGATE more.

There is a past that's not being forgiven. There's also a past that some people aren't letting go of, whether you are white, black, gay, Christian or Jewish. There are many black people who simply cannot let go and forgive the past of what their ancestors went through. At the same time, there are many white people who refuse to let go of racism, i.e.: KKK, southern white supremacists, political racists, etc. And because of this tragic history of ours, we continue to live in the past and not the present. We're making things worse and worse. Our egos are getting bigger and bigger. The anger we're holding onto will only manifest in a much larger capacity. It's almost as if we're moving backwards in society. The progression we've made has gone down the drain. The hidden resentment and anger has reared its ugly head. We're now seeing the true colors -- the true opinions, the true intentions and feelings towards certain groups.

It was really disheartening to see that anti-semitism still exists in the town that I grew up in. Kiyras Joel is a small Hasidic section of Monroe, NY. It used to be small, but now they have expanded and continuing to do so. They wanted to annex 500+ acres and expand their community within the town of Monroe. The citizens of Monroe are outraged, only because of the unethical ways they have obtained their land and water supply. Many are on Medicaid and welfare while maintaining high paying jobs in NYC that's supposedly not accounted for. Kiryas Joel is, at least on paper, the poorest community in the entire United States.  The incomes are not reported and section 8 is prominent in this community. The amount of corruption in this seemingly "small" community has the people of Monroe ready for war. Even though their anger is justified by the dishonesty of some citizens in Kiyras Joel, there are "some" people of Monroe who are so angry, that they are pouring out anti-semitism all over social media. I wrote an article about Kiyras Joel here. It speaks about my own experience dealing with this community. From observations alone, and by working for the local telephone company, they would provide me with a social security number in order to open up a new account. Most of the social security numbers were from a deceased loved one or a very young child. They used a dead person’s identity or a child’s, in order to open up an account.  I wasn’t going to say, ‘all of them’ do this, because that would be wrong. Many of the residents of Kiryas Joel were found on fraudulent assistance from the government or using somebody else's identity from Medicare or Medicaid to get a discount. So the bulk weren't all "disabled" or "poor" --- they were using fake identification cards to get a lower cost. The village of Kiyras Joel also paid off Gov. Cuomo under the table in order to buy more land that wasn't agreed upon by the neighboring towns. And so, the war begun. For a few of our Monroe residents, it was no longer about the corruption. The anger intensified so much so, that it became more bout anti-semitism than it did about the illegal business they were doing. Is anti-semitism a legit and rational response to the corruption of this community?

My point of this is: just because a few bad eggs have ruined the reputation for whichever group, you cannot place blame on all of them. Just like my black friend on Periscope -- he blamed ME for his oppression. He blamed ME for the alcoholism in his community. He blamed ME for his family and friends living in section 8. He blamed...me. I'm on his side, but yet he doesn't believe me. Why should he? I'm white. So now, in his mind, all white people are racists. He mentioned that I was never oppressed. I'm a white Christian lesbian. I have been with my wife for 22 years. It was only in 2008 that we were "allowed' to marry each other. And while I admit that it's not like being black and driving in a white neighborhood and getting pulled over, I also know that I always give the benefit of the doubt for all people: cops, blacks, criminals, white people, Hasidic Jews -- anyone who seems to be getting the backlash for their own people. It's not fair. I will never put a label on you just because you belong to a particular group. I will never assume "you're one of them", or that you hate me because "I'm one of them".

Shouldn't we all be one?

In a perfect world...in a perfect world.



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!