It was Tuesday evening, August 11th, 2015 and I was fortunate to have some peace and quiet in my home as my wife took the children over to their grandparents home for dinner. Also, it was another example of being blessed in having an amazing wife that understands the benefits of silence as I zone in on my writing. The article that I intended to submit to my editors at The Daily Banter was bordering on sixty five percent completion when I decided to check my Facebook and DailyBanter pages. What I walked into was some biting criticism and name calling of the editor and founder of The Daily Banter, Ben Cohen based on comments he made regarding two African American women that were at Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Seattle, Washington last week. My energies and thought process was rerouted and I temporarily disbanded my original article for a later date.
As a writer who was afforded a great opportunity to write regularly and to be associated with the immensely talented writers of Ben Cohen, Bob Cesca, Chez Pazienza and Tommy Christopher that occupies these pages, my gratitude has been shared with these men on many occasions. Anyone who has read my articles can sense the autonomy and literary freedom I have to write about topics and news events in any way I choose. Writers dream of having that kind of support in staying true to your voice. The Daily Banter men have our own style and voice. The intellectual dexterity, the prolific nature of their work while staying true to its mission and namesake. It’s a beautiful combination of raw language at times, well researched journalism with occasional uncensored expressions of enjoyment, anger and opinion.
One of the reasons why the Daily Banter attracts so many readers is we try to make you feel like you are part of the conversation and a possible reflection of similar views. One could assume the words on these pages have a progressive slant to it, but all of us should be wary of labels, claims of authenticity and inelastic classifications. I say all of this to segue back to my editor, Ben Cohen. I’m not here to defend him. He is more than capable of speaking for himself. But I will say this, in the short time that I’ve known him, he will look at today’s events with a surgical eye because he is a man who passionately wants a better world, a global community that respects the earth, shared spiritual prosperity and a fair and just society for all. He will reflect, talk with others and determine if and where personal growth is needed.
I’ve seen the video and listened to the Huffpost interview. Each guest made a lot of salient points and positively contributed on a topic that should matter to us all, the Black Lives Matter movement. Part of the beauty of the movement is the commitment to enlightening a society on the collective pain and anguish within the black community at the hands of police brutality and a criminal justice system that attempts to tell us we are insignificant. Black bodies are disposable like baby wipes as evidenced by twenty year sentences given to young black men for minor drug offenses. Black death resulting in paid administrative leave and the blood that stains the streets resulting in an acquittal. The anger is palpable and the outcomes are devastating. The Black Lives matter movement is the consciousness and predicament of our nation. By its nature, it has to disrupt, agitate and confront an America that in many ways, are still in denial. The comforts of our idealism, beliefs and the absence of empathy to life experiences outside of our own have to be challenged.
The Black Lives matter movement provides all of us an opportunity to examine our prejudices, biases and inclinations and the role it plays in sustaining injustice and inequality. As Americans, all of us have been poisoned in some way by the destructive chasms of racial categorization. The artificial, binary classifications of whiteness and blackness continue to serve its purpose in separating our humanness from each other with systems that create a false sense of superiority, normalcy and inequity. Inevitably, for our society to reach its fullest potential, we have to strip away these classifications by stripping away injustices that built it in the first place. It requires honesty and knowing we have to give up something to gain something. The Black Lives matter movement was born out of injustice. If we can acknowledge that, first, the floodgates of possibility in tackling the most troubling issues of our time will take on a new sense of urgency. As the Black Lives movement travels, let’s travel with it. Support it, see its purpose. In the end, if its goal is achieved, the label will fade into existence and a new paradigm of human to human interaction has begun.
Writer, trained Social Worker and Mental Health Therapist. Husband, father and anti-racist at my core.