Painting by Norman Rockwell
OK, so you say “This is it”. You have been angry in the past and have voiced strong opinion, but the death of George Floyd just switched something on. You have talked more about racism in America and have written the words “Black Lives Matter” on your blog and Facebook pages. Hell, maybe you even posted a sign in front of your nice suburban home.
And you’ve gone farther. Continue reading
Painting by Norman Rockwell
One of the big problems with racism in America is that a lot of people, white people, only think of it in extremes. They will admit that there are still some racist people around, but not a lot, except, possibly, in places like Mississippi. That is, except for people in Mississippi, who say Mississippi is not racist, maybe it exists elsewhere, not here. Not in America. I mean, sure, there are some Klansmen running around, but everyone hates them, right? I mean, I hate the KKK, so I can’t be racist. That is how people see it – if there are no extremes, there is no racism.
It is easy to find many types of racism at many levels.
At work there are those people who think they are well meaning but might say some insensitive things here and there, not realizing that it makes some of their team members feel unwanted. And then there is that hiring person who doesn’t realize that for some reason they call a person named James much quicker than Jamel, that they hire someone, who coincidentally is white, because they will fit in with the group better than the other candidate, who just happens to be black. Study after study shows this happens all of the time. It is the rule, not the exception. Continue reading
Although I write a lot about smiles, I don’t write much about gratitude or being thankful. That’s not changing ;) Oh well, I was off to such a good start here, and I blew it…..
Seriously, I know that I have a huge amount to be thankful for. My entire life has been blessed in many ways. I had a great childhood with great parents, both of whom are still with us. I got along with my siblings and still do. I was never social, but I have had, and still have, good friends. I had a good education. I have a good job. I have had good health. Still do! I’ve seen and done a lot of things. I’ve been to many places. Had a very wide variety of experiences, many that most people will never have. I often take these, and all of the other things that I didn’t mention (things, property, etc.) for granted. I know that is bad and try not to, but I do. i think we all do. It is human nature, particularly for those of us who are doing well. We forget. or we don’t know. Continue reading
Last week was the first of the new and improved Weekly Smile! Check out the fresh new variety of sizes and colors. Wait, wait, wait, this isn’t an old ad, is it? ;) We had a great turn out, which made me smile. I was little surprised since it was the first one, but not too surprised since it was actually the 89th smile, just with a 55 week pause in the middle. Click here if you didn’t see the recap.
I have a lot to smile about this week, so it is hard to chose just one.
This was my first long weekend back on Cape Cod after over a month away, so that is great. But I often felt that too many of my Smiles in the past were “I was on the Cape this weekend…” so I want to try something else.
I live in a small town in New Hampshire. I have actually been in this town for 25 years! I know a lot of people, yet I don’t. One of my friends in town has only lived here for two years, yet it seems like she knows everyone. She invited me to a party last night. A triple, progressive party. No politics where involved! We started at one house for appetizers, progressed to another for the main course and then to a third for dessert. Continue reading
The first week of the Weekly Smile’s return has ended and it has been a success! Of course, if one person in the world reads one post and smiles, it is a success. that is what it is all about, spreading smiles. Having one positive moment in the day.
Quite a few people joined in this, the inaugural week. Here is a list of links (yes, I will include mine as well :) ):
Gary A Wilson
Ruth Blogs Here
The Shower of Blessings
Nut House Central
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (Corina)
Quite a few for the first week! If I somehow missed yours, let me know and I’ll add it. Also, I tried to use your blog name. If you’d rather I use your name or if I got the blog name wrong, let me know. I don’t want any stress over what should be an occasion to share a smile :)
Thank every one of you who shared for spreading that little bit of positivity last week :)
There were also several people who shared the Smile post on social media or on their blog, some who were unable to participate. I want to thank those people as well for helping spread it out there!
I will post this weeks Weekly Smile very soon! I hope you can join in!
Montrell Jackson recently said on Facebook that it was hard to be a black police officer in Baton Rouge. In uniform some of the people he was trying to serve hated him but out of uniform some of his coworkers saw him as a threat (source – BBC). Just a few days ago he also wrote, “These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better.” (source CNN) And, quoting CNN, ‘to all the protesters, officers, friends, family and neighbors in need of a hug or a prayer in Baton Rouge, he offered a promise: “I got you.”’ This was a good man and a good place to start healing between the black community and the police in a city still in shock over the shooting of Alton Sterling.
Montrell Jackson was gunned down by an angry young man who thought he was fighting a war against injustice.
A friend of mine attended a Black Lives matter protest in Manchester, NH. It was a peaceful event and the protesters and police chatted and shook hands. Off to the side there were several young white men carrying assault weapons. They were the only ones not smiling, not shaking hands, not being friendly. As the shooting in Dallas showed, the “Open Carry” folk don’t help, they actually make the problem worse if there is an active shooting incident. These people didn’t care. They were there to try to bully and intimidate black people. They were there because of their racism, though I bet you $1000 that none of them consider themselves as racist. Continue reading
I’ve been writing posts in my mind about issues and problems in America and around the world. There are two problems – first, things are so complex 1000 words won’t even be a good summary and 1000 pages would barely scratch the surface. I’m not going to write 1000 volumes…. The next thing is that every time I sit down to write, something comes up that makes my thoughts seem very insensitive. Actually, that is part of the problem in itself – besides the fact that it shows that the hate and violence is spreading instead of slowing down, it also shows that everyone on all sides have a hard time seeing all points of view so no matter what I write, it will make someone angry, most likely because they will take what I say in a very different way than I meant it. Of course, only an omnipotent being can see ALL points of view, but just trying to see the other side on occasion would go a long way towards solving the problems, even trying to understand the most extreme views.
There is so, so much more it’s hard to imagine where to even start.
One place is black and white thinking – I’m not talking about skin color, here is a hint: if you think there are two ways of looking at things, your way and the wrong way, then you are wrong. With the exception of outrageous things like raping children, there is no pure, clean division between good and evil. And then, of course, who defines what is outrageous? Our society defines raping children as outrageous, but it wasn’t that long ago that our society defined interracial marriage as outrageous, an affront against God. So perhaps even in the most outrageous things imaginable we need to look at all sides – understanding another’s point of view does not mean condoning it, and people who hurt others for any reason are always suspect, the more innocent the person they hurt, the more suspect.
Then there is fear. There is so much fear in this world! It is an uncertain place and there might be some bad things out there. The future might not be bright and it all leads to death. But fear, particularly unreasonable fear, is one of the biggest ills in this world. Look at the word “terrorism”. It means to make people afraid far beyond what is reasonable and to act on that fear. Fear is something that many news sources use to drive your point of view. Politicians use it all of the time and political parties base large parts of their platform on it. I could write 1000 books, each 1000 pages long on this one subject – I think it is the driver behind much of what’s happening. Continue reading
I bet there is at least one thing I can do better than you! No, I’m not bragging, just stating a simple fact. OK, sure, we can go the other way too – there is at least one thing you can do better than me.
These “things” that we do better than each other might be essential or frivolous, smart or stupid, silly or serious, work related or related to play or not related to anything at all. The “thing” might be what defines one of us or something we never, ever think about. It might be important or nothing. Maybe I can play piano better than you but you draw better. Maybe you draw better, play piano and trumpet better, write better stories, write better computer programs, are better at setting up servers, kayak better, bike better, etc., but there is at least one thing I do better, even if it’s sit with good posture. Continue reading
(OK, I have written and erased this 3 times so far, let’s try again…)
Happiness, they say, is a state of mind. It is controlled internally. Many think that by achieving some goal, by buying some object, by doing some activity they can be truly happy. But “happy” lives within us all, those things just bring it out, often in shallow, fleeting ways. Happiness itself is a state of mind, one we can control. Or so they say.
But then, why are there so many who aren’t happy? Continue reading
Last year I heard of a blogging event named 1000 Voice Speak for Compassion. On a whim I decided to join. During the the couple of weeks leading up to the event I did a handful of posts and then a follow up after it was over. That was a year ago. In fact, yesterday it was exactly a year, the original event being held February 20, 2015. This little one off quickly became a monthly event. Including the posts for the first event I have put up over a dozen #1000Speak posts. Actually, including reminders, I have done 17 posts, 18 including this one.
In this year I’ve talked about huge celebrities (both in name and physical size) helping common people and about little, common people reaching out to those in pain. I’ve talked about love, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, bullying, prisoners and our shared humanity. I’ve used ultra-aggressive drivers who are blissfully unaware that their aggression actually puts them behind, not ahead, as an analogy of how unaware we often are when we hurt others. I asked how we can make the world a better place, and if our tiny input can make a difference. I even posted a short story. You can search my site for #1000speak, though the I didn’t include it on first few d so you’ll miss them, though most of those show up in that recap post I mentioned.
Besides all of the exploration on my blog, I also read many other people’s take. Some were very eye opening. Some shocking. Others seemed to share my world view. I try to keep a very open mind and so learned a lot from each and every post I read, even those that seemed bitter or had vastly different experiences. Continue reading