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ePluribus: America is an on-line contemporary American culture magazine that incorporates the original concept of our nation's motto to provide cultural news coverage of America.

Troubled Waters: Misdirected Energy In Our 21st Century Awakening

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Are Americans truly free? The simple answer is no because freedom is not free, and oppressors will never be free until all men are free.

The world is changing. George Floyd’s heinous murder was the latest violent incident that forced people from the comforts of their homes to the streets to protest police brutality and an unequal world that is steadily tilting toward normalcy of all kinds of injustices committed against Black people, including harsh economic inequalities that continue to divide us as a nation. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that our president gave a hefty goodie bag to the wealthiest Americans with the Republican crafted Tax Cuts And Jobs Act of 2017, despite the cost—now and in the future—to already struggling Americans. Thanks to him and the elites he serves, poor people and their children for generations to come are saddled with paying the cost of their wealthy lifestyles. They get to keep raking in the dough by paying fewer taxes, while we sink deeper into debt and poverty. The inhumanity staining these political maneuvers helped pave the road to what’s happening all across America today. 

Make no mistake. This is a nation’s awakening. And, it’s about time that Americans agree that despite our cultural differences, the emperor and his rich crew of servants and benefactors of our miseries are behaving like descendants of colonial enslavers. “To be a slave is not to be able to determine your own destiny,” said Historian and Pan-Africanist Dr. John Henrik Clarke in his speech, Freedom’s Not Free. He explains that until we control our communities and our destiny, we don’t have sovereignty and no true freedom. That’s the blaring truth this nation is facing in this awakening.

Health care, low paying jobs, housing, the cost of education, including the steady pollution of our environment, especially our waters, have yet to compel those in positions to make a difference to do so and reverse the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Why is this? Are the numbers not clear enough? Are Americans not poor enough, sick enough? Is the brutality inflicted on Black people since the birth of our nation not been heinous enough? Evidently not, just look at what’s happening in Kentucky today. People are banging on polling station doors to be let in to vote. It’s reminiscent of the days Black people were beaten and terrorized with dogs and fire hoses when they tried to vote.

These are ever changing times Aretha Franklin sang, and man is that evident these days.  Those with disproportionate power, Mitch McConnell and the GOP, are muzzling voters left and right by closing polling stations, rejecting the option for mail-in ballots, and fear mongering to continue their blatant oppression and power grab, despite the need and loud demand for change. McConnell, determined to honor his lineage of oppressors like those with a death grip on the confederate flag, is no different than the terrorists Fannie Lou Hamer faced during the Mississippi voting rights movement. When Hamer testified before a credentials committee about the brutality she faced in August 1962, President Lyndon B. Johnson, determined to silence her, held an impromptu press conference to note the 9 month anniversary of JFK’s assassination and the wounding of Texas Governor John Connally at the same time she was testifying, knowing he would command the country’s attention at that pivotal moment. He silenced her then but her powerful words and testimony remain, just like her fighting spirit that lives in so many that have taken to the street in protest. Hamer left us with a powerful legacy and a story that matters today. Stories that will help lead us to the mountain top Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned for all Black, Brown and poor people, unless we lose this powerful momentum with misdirected energy fighting each other. The oppressive tactic President Johnson used to silence Hamer is part of the GOP’s playbook. And it’s still being used today to maintain their choke-hold on true freedom and democracy. 

Let’s talk about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. How is one man able to hold so much power over a nation that prides itself as a beacon of freedom and hope for mankind? How can one man, part of a nation of millions, single-handedly gag debate and votes on crucial legislation aimed at enacting the change the people are demanding? Police brutality is rampant but Congress can’t vote on matters like Qualified Immunity, or The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, The American Dream and Promise Act, The Equality Act and Securing America’s Federal Elections Act because one man, leading the Senate GOP, refuses to allow it. Our living document, the Constitution, meant to guide us into a civilizing nation is being used to preserve a dying breed of white men who never expected their power would be threatened by the people they govern, including their own children. They didn’t foresee this moment of mass unrest, so McConnell and the GOP are choosing to weaponize democracy and use it like the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper against us: We the People. McConnell already showed us how capable he is in blocking crucial legislation during the Obama administration. So, do not be deceived, he will continue to put party over country if Kentuckians don’t show him the door this November. And, how spiritual and healing it would be if he’s replaced by Charles Booker, Kentucky’s youngest Black state lawmaker who’s predicted to face him in November.

These are trying times. Many of those protesting in our streets, taking down monuments and forcing changes we never thought we’d see, didn’t live through the Jim Crow era. And they weren’t alive during the civil rights movement either. But it’s beautifully evident they grew up holding dear to the ideals of American democracy instilled in them. As we acknowledge this new dawning, they’re right to be angry and demand change from the top of our forefathers heads to the bottom of the feet of those who continue to blindly carry out their exclusive will and vision for America.

“I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it. And I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it,” James Baldwin wrote in his book, The Fire Next Time. These words, like howling ghosts, are echoing across the land as these protests continue and statues tumble down. Two years ago cities across the country were tiptoeing on the issue of these confederate statues. Today, they’re working overtime to take them down or face the protesters who will tear them down, burn them and throw them in rivers. In many ways, the elders have taught their children well. Who knew they were listening and willing to battle for our nation’s true freedom.

Unfortunately, and like all Black leaders have warned since the abolitionists movement, we are facing a serious threat in these changing times. And that’s the misdirected energy taking place beneath the surface of this just fight. Black writers, civil rights leaders and other influencers are bickering and openly attacking each other on social media. Civil rights lawyers S. Lee Merritt and Ben Crump have been mercilessly attacked for their White House visit for the signing of an executive order calling for more police training to reduce violent incidents, by the likes of Roland S. Martin and even the NAACP in Georgia who went so far to try to untie our fragile Black bond by saying Merritt, who represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery was an, “out-of-state lawyer who does not have deep relationships with our civil rights community.” How petty. This infighting and airing of dirty laundry is the misdirected energy that will undoubtedly derail this opportunity to enact concrete changes and end long standing injustices and structural racism.

Shaun King, a well-known biracial activist, is also being mocked and attacked by other prominent Black writers and influencers. And, according to his recent article, he’s being targeted for assassination by a group of retired law enforcement officials. Just take a trip on Twitter to see how some Black people are treating each other. Michael Harriot and Yvette Nicole Brown and many others are retweeting, sharing and posting about the measure of King’s blackness. The criticism is not new. King has come under scrutiny before and rightfully so. He should be held accountable for his civil rights work, but there’s a difference here and it’s no longer about accountability. It’s about being deserving of his post and the color of his skin, which makes no sense when other light skin figures like Rock Newman and Tom Joyner are easily accepted as Black people in society. It’s a sensitive issue that has always divided Black people. There’s the paper bag test, the good hair measure, and many more divisors that only serves to misdirect us away from what should be a common goal: economic sovereignty and social freedom.

So, it’s not just apathy we must worry about, but the lack of unity among Black people. And, the gap among poor people and other people of color who suffer trauma from racism and white supremacy should also be closed in an all out effort to finally create a world where we all feel good in, not just white people. It’s time to deliberately work toward our collective humanity and fight to end global white supremacy.

Historians have proven time and time again that history is cyclical. And yet, we still don’t learn. If we want to finally come out of this spinning cylinder of repeated events, we have to change our ways. We have to stop fighting each other because it only serves to detract us. It is misdirected energy that is crucially needed in this fight. These protests are real demands for tangible changes in our nation. Change in how the police operate, how American wealth is distributed, how education is achieved, change in housing, access to health care, equality in the workforce, equal pay for equal work, equality for the LGBTQ community, humane immigration policies, and environmental changes. We cannot afford to be distracted by the nonsense of how black King is or whether or not Merritt and Crump belong in certain parts of our country or deserving of the tragic cases they take on. We can’t afford these distractions!

We are at a critical time in our history and the concept of state vs. nation must be considered. Black people have been living in the concept of a state for far too long, and not as part of a nation. If we were part of this nation we wouldn’t need civil rights to be part of American society. This is also about culture continuity and building our economic base. And for that to happen we have to start trusting each other, as Dr. Clarke advised. He said struggle is the highest form of education. Black, brown and poor people must learn through their common struggle. And in that spirit, it’s time to ask the right question. And that is: where do we go from here?

Protests And Policy Is Key Toward Justice In America

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

George Floyd’s little girl is right, he did change the world.

It’s been nearly a week since America started putting out riot fires ignited by an emotional tsunami when Floyd’s callous murder sent shock waves, still rippling, across the globe. The wails of agony and blind rage at the officers responsible, the racism that fueled his death, the oppressive law enforcement system and discriminatory government structure behind it all, is well known by all marginalized people. Especially Black people. And that’s evident in the different responses and reactions to these protests. Some are expressing themselves with violence, while others are taking a more peaceful and measured approach to address the long festering wounds of racism, police brutality, social and economic inequality. The devastating reality of bigotry and discrimination in America has finally come to a head like a boil ready for lancing.

And Floyd’s tragic death is bringing a broad coalition of protesters together to change the state of American society. Unfortunately, there’s no blueprint or manual for a people fed up to adequately respond to a Military obsessed government, putting protesters at risk of losing focus with infighting and disagreements on how to effectively carry out these demonstrations calling for change. Historians, in discussing the leadership styles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. frequently talk about the lather not having a cohesive strategy to follow through, a collective plan B, if the civil rights marches and protests didn’t prove effective. Gandhi, on the other hand, was effective in uniting Indians on a common course for autonomy from British Rule and were ready to raise the stakes with a plan B, changing their clothes, in other words, using their collective economic powers to fight their oppressor. If Americans want the outcome of these protests to be fruitful beyond the capital B in the new Black, we will need a similar strategy to address institutionalized racism and reform policing.

The momentum created by these protests must energize grassroots campaigns targeting the specific issues highlighted during former President Obama’s town hall meeting on Wednesday. From stopping the practice of choke-holds, deescalation tactics, to implicit bias training. These policies are already in place for law enforcement communities to implement. A recent article in The Atlantic highlights the groups and independent commissions that have provided specific solutions to address police misconduct in America. “Prior tragedies have resulted in a string of independent, blue-ribbon commissions—Wickersham (1929), Kerner (1967), Knapp (1970), Overtown (1980), Christopher (1991), Kolts (1991), Mollen (1992), and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2014)—to make recommendations for meaningful change that could address police misconduct. These groups have developed well-reasoned conclusions and pointed suggestions that are widely discussed and enthusiastically implemented—but only for a time. As public attention shifts, politics moves on and police-reform efforts wane. The cycle continues unbroken.” The solution, like the Ten Commandments has been written, but the resolve of politicians to act is still MIA because they can count on protesters losing their way and their will to keep fighting. It’s become the standard of American uprisings. Or, maybe, the fire next time, as laid out by James Baldwin, is here.

Despite the uniqueness of the global protests sparked by Floyd’s death, the risk of apathy and lack of persistence remains a real threat to real change that’s desperately needed. In addition to police accountability, community action at every level addressing systemic racism, through fostering diverse relationships that lead to creating policies based on real-world experiences is sorely needed. Therefore, change must include a more diverse Congress, as well as state and local leaderships. Marginalized folks, especially Black people, have to run for local offices and community boards, just like Black leaders during the early part of the civil rights movement have urged us to do. Moreover, it’s incumbent on all of us to hold those in power accountable to meet a changing nation’s demand for a better country, because it’s going to take a society-wide approach to address our structural challenges rooted in racism.

“It was absolutely clear that the police would whip you and take you in as long as they could get away with it, and that everyone else—housewives, taxi-drivers, elevator boys, dishwashers, bartenders, lawyers, judges, doctors, and grocers—would never, by the operation of any generous human feeling, cease to use you as an outlet for his frustrations and hostilities. Neither civilized reason nor Christian love would cause any of those people to treat you as they presumably wanted to be treated; only the fear of your power to retaliate would cause them to do that, or seem to do it, which was (and is) good enough,” wrote James Baldwin in, The Fire Next Time.

(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Black people are the CEO’s of enough is enough dot com. We’ve been in this sunken place for far too long. The difference of this moment in time, is that finally, the housewives, taxi-drivers, elevator boys, dishwashers, bartenders, lawyers, judges, doctors, and grocers have had enough, too. And not just here in the U.S., but across the world. It is our collective belief in American culture and humanity, at least the promise of it, that is forcing this broad coalition of protesters together this time, some with the need to speak with violence. And that is to be expected when our common understanding of right and wrong, our written and unwritten rules of how we treat one another, our human contract, is continuously violated by those with the most power. The 400 year old violation of our humanity has been vicious and egregious, so much so, that our president saw fit to pepper spray his way through peaceful protesters chanting, “Black Lives Matter” to hold up a bible he doesn’t respect for a photo-op he doesn’t need in front of a boarded up church closed to parishioners. Tragic can’t sufficiently capture this posturing.

The only thing that can passably contextualize his strange movements is this passage in The Insane World Of Adolf Hitler by Chandler Brossard, “It is not in the least surprising that Hitler, who, incidentally, had been born a Roman Catholic, had a highly confusing and contradictory relationship with churches and Christian concepts in general. His actions and words denied the existence of a God, yet the fact that he constantly referred to himself as being “guided by Providence,” and “chosen from on high,” indicates that at least in some ritualistic—or opportunistic part of his mind he really did believe in the divinity. Clearly, this motivated his famous assertion, in the late thirties, before a screaming, chanting wild-eyed Munich audience of thousands, “I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.” Donald Trump surrounds himself with sleepwalkers, steadily building casual racist pressure under the guise of religion, similar to how Hitler used and abused religion to turn his fellow countrymen against each other, leading to the Jewish Holocaust and WWII. We can’t let that happen again.

Malcolm X said Americans must speak the same language in order for us to understand each other. Thus, it’s time to speak with our protests, money, and our votes, similar to what Gandhi did for Indians and what Rosa Parks did for African Americans with the Montgomery bus boycott. Major companies taking bold actions to fight racism by firing bad employees, ending police contracts with private businesses, firing and charging offending officers, creating opportunities for more minority upward mobility, making strong public statements, and following through with measured transformation, are the changes we need to see. The strong anti-racism reaction from Ben & Jerry’s is the modern leadership this moment needs. Calling for the dismantling of the culture of white supremacy is powerful and refreshingly honest. It recognizes long standing Black pain and suffering. And Citigroup, Netflix and Microsoft making strong statements against racism and discrimination, including the global protests in solidarity against Black oppression in America has been deeply inspiring. A hopeful sign that the winds of change are finally blowing again.

This transformational change will build if marginalized people and their allies continue this fight against a common enemy: racism, police brutality, and growing inequality. Senseless violence doesn’t always discriminate or give rise to passionate protests. Even so, little Black girls like Gianna Floyd are the chief victims left behind when Black fathers are murdered by the police, and Black mothers like Wanda Cooper continue to dominate the fields of grief with the disproportionate loss of their Black boys, like Ahmaud Arbery, to racial violence. Black women like Breonna Taylor still fit perfectly into a certain dimension, an unholy space poignantly expressed by Malcolm X when he said, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman, the most neglected person in America is the Black women.” This has to be reversed, too. These sacrifices are changing the world, but it falls on all of us, rooted in a common belief in humanity, to ensure their deaths, and all those who have met similar fates, are not in vain.

And because the media plays a significant role in narrating our human story, a call for sincere adaptable action on their part, must be part of the restructuring of a more balanced and just America. We can start with condemning the Philadelphia Inquirer recent offensive headline, “Buildings Matter, Too.” George Floyd changed the world, his little girl said. Although he didn’t intent to, through these protests and call for racial equality and policy changes, may the goodness and mercy that comes from his tragic death finally make way for all people to dwell in a better world forever.

What Does A Better America Look Like To You?

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

America is under construction. A job mostly taken up by our young people determined to fix an evil system constructed for the set back of an entire group; black folk. We are in the eye of the storm of these protests raging across the country. Unfortunately, the despair of the streets is at risk of turning a just cause—racial justice, social and economic equality, ending police brutality—into a fight for the preservation of white supremacy and the protection of all the worldly possessions of the out of touch elites. Even though economic inequality and racism are the main reasons we’re here.

While our “president” can only call out for more violence against the oppressed from his chicken bunker, rather than lead in a time of crisis, America’s young people are fighting for the world they want to see beyond their phone and television screens and social media. This generation is demanding change rather than accept the obligation to swallow the illusions of America so many of us have for so long. There is no magic cure to end racism. America won’t flip like a pancake. But, these protests and the people showing up for them, is the hope we need to see rise like dough left over night. Because we have bread to break people; with each other. We need a solid strategy and effective policies with T-Rex teeth ready to bite anything that comes between Americans desperate for change and a more just and equal country. And unfortunately, we can’t depend on Donald Trump or his entire losing team to set the table to address the real threat of racism, social and economic inequalities, police brutality and blatant discrimination that has created a zest pool for the drunk rich and ignorant poor that benefit from these societal ills. That includes all the rich and powerful people, CNN’s Don Lemon called out, who can afford to look away as if America isn’t burning in their backyard, too.

“White people gained the world but lost something. And that’s their ability to love their children,” James Baldwin said. The fire next time is upon us. Just like he said it would be without addressing racial inequality. Many of the young people burning and looting are the children of these white people who chose to gain the world by oppressing black people over loving their children and teaching them to love the world and their fellow man. The price tag for greed is humanity’s highest cost. Nonetheless, change is upon us. And it’s up to each and every one of us to work to push our country toward a better trajectory. And what does that look like? We asked.

What does a better America look like to you? 

In Part 1, we spoke to Nura from Eritrea. During our interview she was accosted by a lone MAGA supported holding a large American flag in front of the White House. The man yelled, “go back to your country!” You can see the exchange in the video below.

Part 2 of the George Floyd protests in DC shows protesters at the White House. Those we spoke to were asked the same question. What does a better America look like to you?

Part 3 starts when an agitator, the man in a grey t-shirt riding away on his bike, after allegedly telling protesters, “go home little girls.” The video shows him clearly making a get-away after spewing his disdain for the marchers. They gave chase but he was able to get away, but not before passing our camera and saying, mischievously, “I don’t know what they’re angry about.” He knew exactly what they were angry about.

Part 4 are the photos taken at the White House protest.

Police Brutality And “Karens” Weapon Of Black Destruction

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

It shakes me to my core when I see these videos. The one of Amy Cooper in New York’s Ramble Park blatantly lying with faux hysteria on the phone with police about being threatened by a black man who simply asked her to leash her dog, and the one of George Floyd being cruelly murdered by a gutless police officer who thought so less of the handcuffed man under his knee, face mushed on asphalt, that he kept his hands in his pocket while crushing his windpipe. When Colin Kaepernick knelt in defense of black people and to stop this type of police brutality he was demonized by many, including the president, and even lost his NFL career for it. And to add more injury to his cause, Jay-Z partnered with the NFL, taking the side of gluttonous greed and wealth over his own people’s fight to end racism and discrimination. He should never be forgiven for making light of the real impact of police brutality. In many ways, he’s a co-signer of Floyd’s murder by abandoning Kaepernick when enough NFL money was put on his table. This is the same reason why Africa lost its attempt to unify as a black continent back in the late 60s and early 70s. Because there’s always a Jay-Z to turn against all for self. Jay-Z wants his money to last multiple lifetimes. Karma will ensure his legacy of greed and following the footsteps of Judas will last longer.

I have to consistently remind myself to avoid the three temptations W.E.B. Du Bois talks about in his book, The Souls of Black Folk. And those three temptations are: 1. the temptation to hate, because hating racist people and white supremacists won’t solve the deadly grip of American racism despite how tempting and easy it can be to answer hate with hate. 2. The temptation to despair, especially when we continue to see black people suffer like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd did. We’ve come too far to not continue our trajectory toward the ideals of America, albeit an arrogant and hypocritical country still reassured by its delusions of grandeur and superiority, despite all the evidence to the contrary. 3. The temptation to doubt. As black people we can’t doubt the dreams of our ancestors. Even though we never got our 40 acres and a mule, doubt is simply not worth entertaining despite how we’re still treated in a country built on the backs of our people. We have too much to lose even though we continue to pay the highest price for the myths of America.

And it’s incredibly hard not to indulge in these 3 temptations as we continue to bear witness to the black Holocaust at our feet. Our brutality hasn’t stopped, despite the many camera angles of it the world witnesses over and over again. It’s easy to become desensitized to it all. Since the founding of American law enforcement, it’s been an endless loop of police brutality inflicted on black people. Day after day, we see black people die by the hands of police, protected by a justice system that backs the violence they inflict on our bodies. Time after time, we’re reminded of the fear black people instill in white society, despite being the victims of their white rage and racism. Season after season we are burdened by the likes of Amy Cooper who use our race as a weapon of black destruction. Cooper is no different than Carolyn Bryant who confessed on her death bed that she lied about Emmett Till accosting her. She’s no different than Susan Smith who callously murdered her own children and blamed it on two black men. Cooper comes from a long line of “Karens” who have weaponized their being. To be a certain white woman in American society, is to cry wolf in sheep clothing, play the victim, blame black people for all their problems, stereotype black men as the boogie man, all while being Rosy the Riveter. Schizophrenic doesn’t even begin to describe the state of America’s Karens. And, unlike black women, they’re protected, allowing them to continue to be…well, Karens.

Although it’s right for Cooper’s victim, Christian Cooper, to speak out against the death threats Cooper is receiving, his opinion that he doesn’t know if she’s racist is a clear example of a man who has lost his black mind. Malcom X spoke of this, too. Christian Cooper may soon be asking Amy Cooper for a hug and forgiveness for exposing her on social media. He clearly knows his place in American society. Despite the stance he took to have her follow the park rules, he’s now coming to her defense. Falling into the long line to protect white women, no matter what. This is how our society functions. Karens can throw stones and then cry that it hurt her arm to do it, making her the victim in the trouble she started. If the world, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, can call racism, racism … why can’t Christian Cooper? Unfortunately, we can’t count on this bird watcher to address racism honestly.

Perhaps change needs to happen internally, first, in the African American community for the change we desperately need to see in American society. To end racism is to face it head on. Calling it exactly what it is, unapologetically. We can’t wish it away. We can’t hide behind or take academic positions and pretend that it’s not real, or that it’s similar to flatulence; you smell it but don’t know who passed it. We all know what the Amy Cooper’s and her ilk consistently do. And, we can’t be polite about it. Racism is an ugly American truth and legacy. Recognizing this does not signal the end of our American story. And addressing it justly behind the blue wall can only lead to positive change among police and communities. Our delusion of racism is what poses a mortal threat. Acknowledgement of racism and inequality will open our door, fully, to allow real and lasting change to breeze through. Tackling racism honestly is the master key to understanding the American state craft, as even great powers have limitations.

 

It’s Time To End The Black Holocaust In America

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The systematic killings of black people in America has turned into a Holocaust. Just count the bodies. All of them. From the start of the African Diaspora, through Emancipation, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. Millions of black people have met brutal ends for no other reason than for being born black. Today, our killings are carried out by racist white supremacists and law enforcement backed by our government. There’s just no other way to describe the ongoing lynching’s and brutality inflicted upon African Americans. Just because we’re not being openly marched to gas chambers or kept in concentration camps doesn’t mean we’re not dying in mass numbers by the hands of police officers emboldened by a government who refuses to recognize our humanity and rightful place in the world, let alone America, which owes its black citizens so much of its glory and might.

Lynchings in America

And Donald Trump and his posse are steadily paving the way for more unjust killings and atrocities only black people seem to know intimately. The “oops, we did it again, wrong house” is played out and starting to look more like a covert strategy to exterminate black people. One by one. Steadily and strategically. I have no more tears  to cry, as I live with pain and grief for the family of the latest victim of police brutality: Breonna Taylor. We are at war with deputized individuals, trained to battle us as if we’re in Fallujah. Taylor was in bed. Never suspecting her brutal demise would be carried out by government officials who took oaths to protect and serve all Americans. Evidently, the three-fifths compromise, the solution to count three out of every five slaves as one person for legislative representation, is still in play when it comes to the number of black people who are killed by the police or vile racists. Today, it could be that killing 3 black people out of 5 that have been victimized amounts to 1 death. Our lives are not valued. This is evident everywhere you look. From small town America to big cities like New York and Las Angeles. While the NYPD is handing out masks to white sunbathers in Central Park during COVID-19, gently warning them to exercise social distancing rules, they’re beating the hell out of black people for the same offense. There truly is no justice. Not yet, at least.

Ahmaud Arbery

Comedian Dave Chappelle discussed the brutal killing of Emmett Till during his show recently. He made some important points about how the tragic event of Till’s death led to the world seeing the brutality inflicted on blacks by whites in America. He said it led to many changes and liberties we as Americans enjoy now, hence his celebrity and packed shows with diverse audiences. He’s right. Times and circumstances have changed. We no longer drink from different water fountains, ride in the back of buses, or hang from poplar trees for no reason other than being black. But Emmett Till had to die a horrible death for some of these changes to happen. Many, many others did too. And, the killings of black people haven’t stopped. Ahmaud Arbery is the latest example of a good ol’ fashion American lynching by some inbred, backwoods hillbillies who hate black people for being…you guessed it, black.

Breonna Taylor

And Breonna Taylor is yet another awful example of our over-militarized law enforcement who kill us like battlefield combatants. If our disproportionate killings are not an active Holocaust, I don’t know what is. According to some historians, the African Diaspora and the subsequent slave trade ended in the deaths of over 30 million black people. Now add all the other bodies onto that pile from Emancipation to today. That’s a lot of black people who have unjustly met tragic ends. The killing methods has changed but not the body count. I understand the point Chappelle was making. But how many more of us need to die to finally bring about lasting change? How many more black bodies does America need to satisfy its thirst for our blood? And racism still shows its ugly head in every sector of our society. Case in point, Senator Mitch McConnell can blatantly lie about the first black president not leaving his successor a pandemic guide and telling him to “shut up” when he’s asked to give his opinion on the Trump administrations’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic without any repercussion or rebuke from his “dear colleagues.”

Lynchings in America

Trayvon Martin

Taylor’s brutal death happened in his state; Kentucky. And McConnell has yet to humanize Taylor because he’s too busy trying to call Barack Obama an “uppity nigg*r” with a dog whistle we all know and understand very well. And yet, despite taking arms to fight countless wars for America, here and abroad, most white people remain idle. Watching. Seeing black people come home from wars to face racist brutality for a country many of them died for, they remain still. Accepting this shameful display of hate and calling themselves Christians. The German people watched and sat idle, too. Today, many just feign shock that in modern society racism still exists. Some take to social media to vent and share their outrage but quickly get back to Netflix and the life they enjoy despite the inequality we all know exists. That police still kill us disproportionately. That we’re still denied jobs, access to adequate healthcare, equal educational standards, curriculum and schools, or even healthy foods and an environment. We continue to bear the brunt of the cost of industrialization when rich corporations are given passage by our government to pollute the areas we live in, allowing companies to burying their toxic and cancer-causing waste in our backyards and pollute our water. Some whites certainly grieve, fight and even die with us for justice and change but clearly, not enough to make a real difference of our unequal American lives. So I have no more tears left to cry for my people, as I continue to bear witness to our systematic killings of which I can only call by its dirty name: a Holocaust.

Emmett Till

George Stinney, Jr.

Rodney King

Lynching in America

Isaac Woodard

Lynchings in America

Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, interviewed Marcus Rediker, author of, The Slave Ship: A Human History, where he discussed, “floating concentration camps and why the black community should never forget.” It’s worth a read. Included in the report was this discussion: “Before he won the Best Picture Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave,” director Steve McQueen accused Hollywood of ignoring the subject of slavery. “The Second World War lasted five years, and there are hundreds of films about that and the Holocaust. Slavery lasted 400 years and yet there are less than 20 films about slavery in North America,” McQueen said, in an interview with the British paper The Voice. “We have to open our eyes and look at it and other people have to acknowledge it.” The black community, he added, must remember slavery in the same way the Jews remember the Holocaust. “They believe in the saying ‘Never forget’ when it comes to the Holocaust, and I think we should be the same when it comes to slavery.”

Rediker was also asked if, “Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day could act as a model for remembering slavery in the United States. And he answered, “I think it would be absolutely impossible in this country, because the majority of the white population is utterly opposed to reparations and would not like to remember slavery in any way that might lead to economic and political conclusions. The difference is that the people who want to remember in Israel are in charge in the government. John Conyers has for many years proposed, at the beginning of each Congress, a bill to study the effects of slavery in American history. And every year, it’s voted down.”

Reuben Stacy lynching

Medgar Evers

American lynchings

KKK lynchings

1925 lynching

Comedians Key and Peele joked about Negrotown, once. I laughed and thought nothing else of the “utopia for black people.” Looking back, perhaps that’s the only solution left for us. Maybe we do need a Negrotown, where the duo joyfully sang, “you won’t get followed when you shop, you can wear your hoodie and not get shot, no white folks across the street in fear, no trigger happy cops or scared cashiers. And loan applications can’t get turned down, [because] you’re always approved in Negrotown.” Art imitates life. But the brutality and killings we experience are real. Perhaps to save our lives and finally stop the Holocaust of African Americans, is to find our way to Negrotown. McQueen’s suggestion to adopt the Jews saying, “Never forget” when it comes to slavery is ideal, but we must first break out of our bondage and finally stop the black Holocaust in America.

Northern Yellow Bat Joins Wildlife Venturing Out In DC During Covid-19

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Don’t worry, it’s not a bat out of hell. It’s just a bat on the hill. Wild animals are coming out of the woods and into our cities and towns as we hunker down for the dreadful Coronavirus to pass us by. Wildlife is making a comeback, no doubt thinking all the pesky critters who call themselves humans have left their beautiful planet. Sike! We’re still here suckers and hopefully staying for a long, long time. All kidding aside, the planet belongs to all of us, including those who don’t take the Metro to work.

As you carefully make your way outside, adhering to Coronavirus safety guidelines, take the time to look around you because you may just run into an unfamiliar visitor who normally inhabits places where they don’t have run-ins with people. Folks in the DMV area have been reporting numerous sightings of all sorts of animals. Foxes, coyotes, otters, beavers, and even bobcats and eagles have been spotted throughout the C & O Canal National Historic Park and other areas.

Making my usual trek around the National Mall, I ran into a strange looking critter napping in broad daylight on Capitol Hill. It was the most beautiful bat I’ve ever seen. As I turned into an irritating paparazzi, the little fellow barely took notice of me or my camera. So, I snapped away from different angles doing my best not to wake it up. I did a little research on bat species in the Washington, DC area and learned that my little sleepy buddy, whom I named Little North Yellow, is a Northern Yellow Bat. Although I’m not a Chiropterologist, it matched the description of this particular bat species.

Additional information on Wikipedia states they are, “primarily found along the coastal regions of the southeastern United States and eastern Texas, Cuba, coastal Mexico, and Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This is the most abundant bat species in some regions of Florida. This species has a few occurrence records from Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.”

Is it the first sighting of this particular bat species in DC? Who knows? Either way, I’m pretty sure he’s not to blame for spreading Coronavirus, despite the nasty rumors. Besides, he’s really cute and a welcome site for lonely eyes stuck in solitude during quarantine.

Feral Rapper Tekashi6ix9ine Is Leading The Coup d’état Of Hip-Hop Culture

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The spectacle that is Tekashi 6ix9ine can only be described as disturbing. And, like the manifestation of Donald Trump, we have no one else to blame but our American worship culture. Similar to Rock and Roll, Jazz and many other musical inventions, Hip-Hop and rap was birthed by African American culture. The days when we saw black artists express themselves by rapping to tell stories of their experience in a country hostile to their humanity are long gone. From Vanilla Ice, Eminem, Iggy Azalea, Cardi B, Machine Gun Kelly to the grotesque Tekashi69, it’s evident Hip-Hop is forever changed. Today, any knucklehead from the richest neighborhoods, or a strip club dance pole can spray paint themselves with tattoos, don the typical rap gear and spit rhymes about the mean streets they called home, how tough and strong they are, how quickly they’ll shoot you in the face with an AK or Glock, and of course, how many “bitches” or “nigga’s” they got. Oh, and they’re all so incredibly rich that they use stacks of bills to make phone calls nowadays. Even if none of it is true.

What started out as a movement to talk about the struggles of black lives in America following the assassinations of black leaders like Malcolm X and MLK, has turned into what the rainbow pendejo exposed on Instagram Live. The Hip-Hop and rap movement has been derailed and the message hijacked by get rich quick schemes and soft porn stars that even corrupted the ones at the head of it all. Because enough money, sex and notoriety will make you give up just about anything.

As detested as Tekashi is for snitching on his fellow gang members, it didn’t stop millions of people from tuning in to his clown show to brag about his riches, and grossly flaunting the white privilege he’s loaning from the feds for his cooperation. All while boosting about getting away with murder, similar to the Klan in their hay day when they were systematically acquitted for lynching black people, burning their homes and terrorizing them from sea to shiny sea. Time and circumstance are the only difference between the two. Listen closely to the words Tekashi spews while using easy women and cheap sex tricks to gloat about getting away with behaviors no black artist or regular black folks could ever get away with.

Entering his stage with a classic Bob Marley song that turned into the theme song for the TV show Cops, featuring the arrests of mostly black people, Tekashi, flashing his expensive watches and gnashing his horse teeth bedazzled with diamonds and gold yells, “You can never do this! You can neva!” And, he’s absolutely right. Black people in similar positions can never do that. Just ask Meek Mills who learned real quick that his punishment for violating his parole would not only be swift and extreme, but it would be served piping hot by a black judge, the Honorable Genece Brinkley, who clearly had an ax to grind and to prove her loyalty like Stephen in Django Unchained. And, Mills is only one example of a long list of disproportionate punishment doled out by law enforcement.

We, The People, share very different experiences in America. And despite how cringe-worthy that reality is, that’s the harsh truth of the matter when it comes to black people. The callous killing of Ahmaud Arbery—considered a “justifiable homicide” by the local DA—is a prime example of the different lives we still live in a country that owes its glory and might to the black enslaved bodies that planted and picked crops, that help build a nation, including the White House, to amass incredible wealth and privilege only few enjoy.

“You’re a little boy. I’ll kiss you on your forehead. Sit down,” he goes on, waking up the dead with words long gone slaves and oppressed Jim Crow era black people had to bitterly swallow as they watched their country take pride in enacting the 13th amendment, all while leaving them empty-handed, and demanding they compete in an unequal game of life and the pursuit of liberty. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, boy! Sure, but you stole my boots and put thorns on the road you want me to walk on.

Inhumane doesn’t even scratch the surface of this long-standing injustice. And, the term “boy” is a hideous racist stain for black Americans, as its roots are deeply embedded in the unrepentant diminishments of our humanity. Nonetheless, millions, including Hip-Hop celebrities, tuned in to witness Tekashi behave badly. And, he’s worshiped for it, especially by our younger generation, many of whom seemingly only interested in the culture of debauchery. He’s used as a tool to sell our Hip-Hop in a market that devalues our culture and detests our existence. And, we take front row seats in support of it all. Snitches get stitches, they say. Sure, only if you’re black. Tekashi is being protected by the feds like the pope, despite his criminal behavior. And, as a gift for helping ensnare more black men who were being criminals right alongside him. Justice is not blind, it’s stupid and hateful.

That’s the only reason Tekashi can proudly disrespect black music and culture. He’s babysat by a legal system that will pay any price to keep us cemented in our societal place as second-class citizens. If you didn’t feel the sting of Tekashi, you’re not paying attention to the unwavering trajectory of our American culture. A culture that refuses to recognize how our painful history has shaped us, how it continues to inhibit our growth, hear our cries for real freedom, and call to equally benefit from our country’s prosperity.

Let me be clear. I love my country and the ideals good people from all walks of life are steadily working towards. All I’m crowing about is recognition of the ugly truths of our black lives and circumstances, and to demand change. And, that my country love me back. Not through lip service but by way of sincere actions that will ultimately bring about the equality some white people are so deathly afraid of. Paving the way with diamonds and gold for the likes of Tekashi6ix9ine and his middle finger is painfully symbolic of the unwavering disdain for us, our Hip-Hop culture and rightful claim to America.

Nevertheless, and despite all the disrespect we still endure, we must maintain a firm grip to the mighty spirit and words Maya Angelou left us with: “Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise. Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise. I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise. Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise, I rise, I rise.” Marching on, black people will continue to rise, guided by the lessons of W.E.B. Du Bois to avoid the temptation to hate, despair and doubt, we shall overcome.

An Open Letter To White Jesus And A Call For Amen-Ra’s Return

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Dear white Jesus,

As a young girl my mother and father baptized me in a Roman Catholic church. My mom always talked about you, consistently reminding all her children of your grace, tolerance and love for the world and all its people. There were many days I called on you for help and mercy. Sometimes for selfish reasons and other times for understanding or on behalf of my fellow man. I never questioned your presence or wisdom. The bible guided my family through many tough times in life. It didn’t take away the severe poverty I grew up with in Suriname but somehow, we made it with help from others. We had land to grow food, chickens to raise, family and community. And, you reaped all the praise for every bit of good that fell on us. “Thank God,” was a common phrase we all used. We accepted our unequal place in the world as our cross to bear. I never questioned it. I simply accepted it like my mother and grandmother did. We are black people. And not just any type of black people. We are tribal black people from the Ashanti and Akan tribes in Africa that have come around to accept our field negro way of life despite our royal beginnings. We thanked you, nonetheless. We praised you in spite of it all.

Hathor, Goddess of Love

The love of two vastly different people led to my being. I was essentially plucked from the fate bestowed on my tribal people by being born to a black Pamaka mother and a white Okie father. I didn’t just look different; I was given a different life than the one many of my people live. I became a house negro. Not by choice, but rather by unjust and brutal circumstances all black people in the world know. Slavery shaped us. Not just culturally but in every human way possible. We fought each other, and we fought hard to right all the wrongs committed against us by Europeans. We struggled and died brutal deaths in mass numbers around the world just to gain a small foothold in the common ideals of humanity. From Africa, the West Indies, South America, to the Caribbean islands and America, we fought hard for our salvation and bits of freedom. And, again, you were given all the glory for the strength to defeat our enemies.

Anubis, God of Death

After 246 years of slave labor in America, that built the most powerful country and democracy the world has ever known, we find ourselves still fighting the same ol’ fight we’ve fought for centuries. I’m exhausted. Having to carry the weight of our ancestors’ struggle, we’re all undoubtedly exhausted. And yet, there’s still no rest for the weary. So, how much longer “God”? How many more of us have to be brutally struck down by hateful racist white people? How many more must be sacrificed to finally bring about the justice and equality any human being deserves? We love our children and want to see them grow. But they can’t because of the indiscriminate hate that comes with the birth of brown babies. We love our mothers but can’t experience their complete love and support as they too are met with violence inflicted on their aging bodies from being mercilessly thrown to the ground by white police officers in Baltimore. We love our fathers, but they can’t protect us from the early graves they meet after being shot in the back when they run from the police in North Carolina. We love our black teachers but can’t gain the wisdom of their teachings or the sweetness of their gentle souls as they are met with hails of bullets while peacefully sitting in their car in Minnesota. We love our black doctors but can’t get their healing as they are brutally detained and mistreated for wanting to help the homeless in Florida. We love our friends but can’t play with them in parks when they meet an officer’s callous bullet for playing with a toy gun in Ohio. We can’t talk on the phone with our young teenagers after their deadly confrontation in their own neighborhood with cowardly bullies aiming guns in Florida. And it’s clear, we can’t run for exercise in Georgia without being lynched by a racist mob who simply traded in their Klan sheets for police uniforms.

Ra, God of the Sun

So, I want to know, dear white Jesus and your father God, how much longer must we fight? How much longer will you allow us to suffer in this world? You see, you can’t be the same God for us, and for those who hate and brutalize us. There’s no way we’re all praying to you. And so, there must be another God that sees us all. I refuse to believe a God that is supposedly all knowing and good, would allow his brown skinned people to suffer so much.

“God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11). All are equal before Him. Ephesians 6:9 says, “There is no favoritism with him.” And Colossians 3:25 teaches God’s fairness in judgment, “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”

I need to know that your teachings are worthy of my following because of the heavy cross black people have had to bear. So, I’m calling your true name. I’m calling you to reveal yourself to the world. Because I demand justice, once and for all. Because enough is enough. I will not take another step blinded by the bible’s myth of your love, mercy and glory. I will not be lulled to remain stupid with songs, dances or hymns calling and praising you. I reject all that you stand for and allow to happen to black people on earth.

And so, in my hour of bitter anger and deep sorrow over the brutal killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia by a racist mob that are being protected by the local police and politicians, I am reaching all the way back to the first God. The King of All Gods, Amen-Ra.

Amen-Ra, King of all Gods

I am reaching back to all the ancestors, from Africa to Suriname and everywhere black people have roamed, fought and suffered, to beg for strength, justice and healing in this hour of my pain. It is incredibly hard to watch Ahmaud Arbery’s brutal and senseless killing. But like me, we must all bear witness of his death because it tells the never-ending and tragic story of black lives in America. Arbery’s callous killing must be met with swift justice, not just here on earth but throughout the universal holy spaces where our ancestors rest and watch over us. We need healing King of all Gods. But most importantly, we need justice and finally, peace. Once and for all. In Amen-Ra I pray.

When A Harvard Professor Pulls The Homeschool Fire Alarm

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

There’s a firestorm brewing and this time it’s not the usual suspect causing the uproar. It’s a highly acclaimed Harvard professor who ruffled the feathers of the homeschooling community by suggesting an all out ban on the practice if stricter regulations and measures aren’t put in place to protect homeschooled children.

Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, says although the risks for homeschooled children are real, her position is misunderstood. “I do not propose a ban. I propose that those who want to homeschool satisfy a burden of demonstrating they have good reason to homeschool and are capable of providing their children with an adequate education. I also make clear in the article that there are many parents homeschooling today who have very good reason to do so, including problems their local schools may present, and that many of them are providing educations superior to what their children would receive in the public schools,” she said in a statement to ePa.

Bartholet goes on to say, “I think if you take another look at my article it will clarify that various critics have not been giving an accurate picture of my position. There are dozens of articles and books on homeschooling that make many of the same descriptive and critical points I do and that make a wide range of regulatory proposals. Many of these call for regulation to address the child maltreatment issue. Many call for regulation to try to ensure adequate education. Some go far beyond me in the restrictive direction to propose an absolute ban.” Nonetheless, the damage has been done as many homeschoolers say they feel picked on and attacked by Bartholet and her anecdotes. Those who took particular offense are the religious homeschoolers.

Below is a Q & A with self-described religious homeschoolers Matt and Jenn Kallman from Michigan.

ePa: What are your thoughts on the report authored by Prof. Bartholet on the risks of homeschooling? 

As I read the abstract, I couldn’t help but picture the overweight, middle-aged man criticizing the performance of the professional athletes on the television in his living room.  With that metaphor stuck in my brain, I charged into digesting the 80 pages. The central thesis seems to me summed up in the statement “Anecdotal evidence is alarming.”  (pg 17).   On pg 56 she cites as one of these anecdotes, “A bill was introduced in Michigan in 2015 in response to the death of two children found in a freezer. They had been withdrawn from school for alleged homeschooling despite the mother’s prior CPS involvement.”

As life-long Michiganders, we remember this horrible story from the news. These stories are clearly awful and it is a tragedy that any children live (and die) with such horrors. But, it seems an enormous stretch to suggest situations like this are “homeschooling”. By no definition was that place a “home” and it is likely no “schooling” was attempted.

Should Professor Bartholet protest that it is lax regulation like in Michigan that enables such things so we ought to consider them part of the “homeschool community”, I would wonder whether societies like Germany which outright prohibit homeschooling are totally free of anecdotes of awful parents who escape the system designed to protect children. Should Professor Bartholet demonstrate that there are no anecdotes of such behavior, then I would begrudgingly put such anecdotes back into the homeschool circle. But, I doubt she could point to a society that is “anecdote free”.

Other than anecdotal information, I can’t find any supporting data for statements like “Many homeschooling parents are simply not interested in educating their children. Some remove their children from school specifically because they have been accused of truancy. Some do so specifically to avoid child protection laws.” (pg 11)

The article is filled with assertions like “A very large proportion of homeschooling parents are …” (pg 5-6) and “These parents are committed to homeschooling largely because they reject …”.  If from my house I wrote an article about the educational system in Russia, I could very well gather information and make assertions about the educational system there. If I don’t know the language nor have ever visited Russian educational facilities and talked with those in the system it’s doubtful I’d have a very good perspective. Professor Bartholet clearly knows neither the language of the homeschooling community nor has ever made a significant effort to assess things “on the ground” to get an informed perspective.

The author clearly lives in the political perspective of academia. An innocent example is how she naively assumes we will read a statement like “HSLDA’s influence is illustrated by the fact that the current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with HSLDA leaders early in her tenure” as a clear negative.

Here in Betsy DeVos’ hometown we’re quite happy that she would meet with a pro-educational-freedom organization like HSLDA. A not-so-innocent example is this statement: The U.S. Constitution with its negative rights structure is an anomaly, outdated and inadequate by the standards of the rest of the world.

To seriously believe the U.S. Constitution is an outdated anomaly is not mainstream political thought in the U.S. and re-enforces one of the reasons we homeschool. The combination of bureaucrats and academics being in charge of education is a recipe for failure in the long run. Families who homeschool are doing it for many different reasons that boil down to a genuine desire to do the best for their children. There are awful anecdotes of situations in the real homeschool community where depravity of adults destroys the lives of children. Homeschoolers care about those children and want to ensure society can protect those instances without infringing on general freedoms of families to choose the best option for their children. Professor Bartholet unknowingly makes the case that the anecdote is not the reality. Or would she have us believe that a large group of lazy, under-educated, unintelligent child abusers has one of the most effective political lobbies in the United States?

ePa: Why did your family decide to homeschool?

Homeschooling can be hard. There are days we wonder if it is worth the effort. However, we decided to homeschool and continue to decide that because we believe it is best for our family and children. It forces us to be together and work together as a family. We have the opportunity to give our children our perspective on religion, science, art, music, et cetera. This perspective includes giving them a broader perspective than they would receive in a traditional school. We also feel it is most natural to continue educating our children within our family just like the early years of their childhood. Similarly, we take care of our children’s health on a daily basis and reach out to experts for information, help and diagnosis. We see education similarly.

We love the flexibility homeschooling provides us to capitalize on unique opportunities. For example, last month we spent time in the English countryside, London and Copenhagen. The socialization opportunities are so much better than a traditional school organized by age group. And we believe educational needs are changing (when I was in high school Google was barely a thing) and it’s easier to evolve educational approach outside of the large system.  Additionally, we have found homeschooling really helps us tailor the educational pace and content to each particular child.

ePa: Bartholet states that studies show that 90-percent of parents choose to homeschool for religious reasons, specifically conservative Christian beliefs. Since your family falls in this category, (on being religious only, as I don’t know your political standing) what are your thoughts on her assertion that some of these parents are extreme religious ideologues who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy? You’re welcome to share your political views in your response. 

We don’t personally know anyone in our homeschool community that is a white supremacist. Bartholet would think we question science and promote female subservience. We don’t, but she would think that of us. Our Christian perspective does influence our thinking around origins and we believe the Bible gives equal value to all humans but equips each of us in a family with different roles and responsibilities. We do hold traditional Christian views based on many thousands of years of tradition and perspective.

Are there homeschoolers who we think have an incorrect ideology? Of course. Just like we think Bartholet has an incorrect ideology. However, that is the essence of a free society. We live, we discuss, we learn from each other and we shouldn’t attempt to impose Bartholet’s ideas on homeschoolers any more than we should impose our ideas on other families.

ePa: Have you experienced any form of racism in your homeschooling community and are you part of a diverse community of religious homeschoolers?

No, we have not experienced racism. Yes, we are part of a diverse community of religious homeschoolers. We are a multi-ethnic family with two sons who were born in China and we are welcomed and loved in our homeschool community.

ePa: Would you recommend homeschooling for others as a permanent option, as most parents are having to homeschool their own children due to the global health crisis? 

Each family should consider what is best for them. We think it is right for us at this time and place, and we recognize it is not right for some families. Each area may have different levels of homeschooling support. We leverage a lot of online curriculum and content. Additionally, our area has an enormous homeschool community, even a Homeschool Building.

ePa: Is there anything in her report that you agree with? 

The page numbers all appear to be accurate. Just kidding. I think philosophically we have extremely different perspectives, but I would think we share an understanding that a deep discussion of what is best for children is a worthy endeavor!

ePa: What would you like Bartholet, and others, to know about homeschoolers that you think she missed in formulating her opinion? 

Homeschoolers are people. Some highly educated and quirky, others more down to earth, conservative, liberal, free-wheeling, by-the-book, big families, small families, religious, and atheists. You should connect with some personally to expand you perspective. Maybe you would still reach the same conclusions, but with a better educated perspective.

ePa: Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask but is worthy of mention? 

After answering all the questions above I went and watched the video of the interview of Professor Bartholet talking about international adoption. I was genuinely surprised as it seemed she was on the opposite side of logic in the debate surrounding international adoption compared to the arguments around homeschooling. As Professor Bartholet responded to criticism of ancecdotes of adoption failures, “overall it’s an amazingly rosy picture.”

Presuming Bartholet’s intentions were pure and meant to advocate positive change in the homeschooling community makes no difference unfortunately, because the blaring sound of the fire alarm she pulled is echoing across the land and causing brows to furrow. Nonetheless, with more parents having to take on the challenge of homeschooling their children during a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a worthwhile subject to approach. Preferably without insulting those who take deep pride in teaching and molding their children as they see fit. After all, teaching starts in the home.

Homeschoolers and ePa’s Jeanette Lenoir discuss Professor Bartholet’s report via Zoom: https://youtu.be/jJ8Rr0CMzto

Zoom discussion participants are: Ramona Persaud, Isabella Ehrlich, Ken Walling, Kris Shea and Sue Lappan. *Kris Shea follows American homeschooling regulations while in UAE.

 

Michigan State Senator Dale W. Zorn Exposed His Klan Sheet And Must Resign Now

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Dale. W. Zorn

Dale W. Zorn is a Klansman who traded in his white sheet for a more socially acceptable uniform to serve as a Republican in the Michigan Senate. Black people and their supporters in the struggle for basic human and civil rights have been warning about his ilk for decades. Well, he finally showed up as he truly is. A blatant racist cloaked in his favorite symbol of hate; the Confederate flag. His wife, embodying the spirit of ol’ Betsy Ross herself, worked tirelessly through the night supposedly to ensure her brave chubby hubby would shine, like a proud demon showing off its newly sharpened horns, in the state Capitol where he pretends to work on behalf of his fellow Americans. Unfortunately, and despite the lapse of time, the birth of change and enlightenment, Zorn’s only agenda is to strengthen and advance the racist structures of our government. Let’s be clear. This pathetic coward is not working for US, but rather against the ideals of our country, yet to be fully fulfilled. One nation, under God with liberty and justice for all? Absolutely not, because those powerful words that wake up our true American spirit of unity and brotherhood is cheapened and reduced to mere lip service with his continued presence in office. So, Zorn must resign.

Zorn, after receiving scorn for his appalling but honest behavior, backtracked on being a lone-standing brave little confederate soldier in the fight for the preservation of slavery and segregation, the spirit and intent of a flag this country’s been trying to bury since the end of the Civil war. Don’t fall for his insincere apology and blatant lies. His intentions were clear and direct. He hates black people, and everyone else that particular symbol of hate targets in its scorn as a way to preserve lily white lives.

This is a man who voted for cage free chickens but can’t see humanity in black people. This is a man who votes to make life more difficult for the most vulnerable population in his community, poor and disabled people, and yet flaunts his full belly, evidence of his decadent and privileged life. Shame on those who voted for him time and time again. And shame on those who don’t see the value and importance of voting. They say all politics is local. It’s true, more so than ever before, and Zorn holding office for as long as he has is clear evidence of this. I don’t have to live in the 17th District of Michigan represented by this pig man to know that those who do, deserve better. I can only hope and encourage them to see Zorn for exactly what he is: a bona fide racist, and demand his resignation.

Some will undoubtedly and mistakenly reach for the nonsensical excuse of forgiveness with oppressive sayings like, “they know not what they do.” Unless you’re stuck on stupid, you better believe these racists cowards know exactly what they do. As a matter of fact, they’ve perfected the art of racism by merely switching their Klan sheets for robes, uniforms and fancy suits. We’ve certainly made some progress since the days our black leaders marched and boycotted for freedom and civil rights. But, the work to bring about real and lasting change is far from over. And Zorn is a stark reminder of the remnants of segregation, Jim Crow, lynching’s, including the near annihilation of Native Americans. And those who take issue with this strong rebuke of his action and call for his immediate resignation, would be well served to familiarize themselves with American history, the Morrill Act or Land-Grant Universities that to this day, reap billions from the theft of Native American lands. History is a cycle of repeated events. So, when will we learn? I don’t know. But it starts by standing up. It starts by speaking truth to power, fearlessly. And demanding the immediate resignation of those still romanticizing our shameful history of slavery, and the holocaust of Native Americans. Luckily, we can count on their stupidity similar to their hate when they advertise the depths of their depraved souls by wearing or flying the Confederate flag. Perhaps, similar to a sex offenders list, America should keep a racist list. Nonetheless, Zorn, who’s been in office for nearly 30 years, must resign. Can you image the black, brown, poor and disabled life’s he’s negatively impacted in his community with his votes? I can. And as such, this is an appeal to awaken your moral sense, Michigan. Wake up and do better. Demand Zorn resign, now.