Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I’m not the target audience for this book.

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dystopian action-adventure novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is a spinoff and a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. …

Critics had a mixed overall reception …

The central character is the teenage Coriolanus Snow who would 64 years later become the dictatorial president of Panem as Donald Sutherland.

This book didn’t really work for me.  And the 10th Hunger Games were pretty horrible.

The only character of interest is Volumnia Gaul – The Head Gamemaker of the 10th Hunger Games.

Fans of YA fiction where teens kill other teens will probably love it.

Needless to say, a film version is in the works.

John Oliver on Confederate statues & memorials

Compromise – MOVE any controversial statue into a museum.  

Laying out the Confederacy’s rationale for seceding from the U.S.

Savannah, Georgia, March 21, 1861

Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens:

“Our new government[‘s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.”

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. (2017)

ALL PARENTS MATTER – Boycott Father’s Day 😀

My buddy Dean — a father on Father’s Day — posted something I’d not considered.

According to professor David Theo Goldberg, “All Lives Matter” reflects a view of “racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial”.

On Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill Maher expressed support for use of the “Black Lives Matter” phrase, stating that “‘All Lives Matter’ implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not”. …

P.S.

I’m OK with the use of Blue Lives Matter. Police and law enforcement are also at greater risk than the general population. Of course they voluntarily signed-up for that risk.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I post on Juneteenth, the day celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

Small Great Things (2016) was recommended for those who want to learn more about racism.

The American author, Jodi Picoult, is a white woman.

I’m a super privileged white man.

And I did learn from this book.  Especially many of the subtle instances where Black Americans are stereotyped by oblivious whites.  It made me wonder how many times I’ve done the same things.  I am often oblivious of the feelings of those around me.

The story concentrates on an African-American labor/delivery (L&D) nurse, Ruth Jefferson, in charge of newborns at a Connecticut hospital.

Ruth is ordered not to touch or go near the baby of a white supremacist couple. After the baby dies in her care, Ruth is charged with murder, and taken to court.

Small Great Things is being adapted into a film starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts.

P.S.

I happened to have recently read a big chunk of The Innocents Abroad (1869) by Mark Twain, one of the best-selling travel books of all time.  Of course Twain was a humorist, skilled at making me laugh.

He’s an American imperialist abroad, mocking everyone and everything he finds abroad.  It was off-putting.  Later in life he became an ardent anti-imperialist.

Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves, even going so far as to say, “Lincoln‘s Proclamation … not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also”.  Yet in his travel book you have to call him a racist.

That I found also off-putting.

The only instance of praise for anyone in the first part of the book, however, was for an African American tour guide working in Europe.  The only good guide they had in months.

make sure you have ID when stopped by police

Standard procedure for bad cops is to say you “fit the description of some imaginary criminal as an excuse to question / hassle.

While I feel badly for the good police officers wrongly accused, at this one moment in time it’s OK with me.

If they can’t handle public scrutiny, get a new job.

#BlackLivesMatter

 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

20-year old Taylor Wilson wrote the best article I’ve read so far on the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests.

Racism is housing discrimination, food inequity, mass incarceration, underfunded schools, unequal access to sport, over-policing, voter disenfranchisement, the war on drugs, hiring discrimination, unequal access to healthcare, and a flawed criminal justice system that far too often lets officers go unchecked for abusing their power. 

I am tired of seeing Black people beaten and murdered by police. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of accountability for police officers who so blatantly cause harm, shielded by a blue wall of silence that seems impenetrable by the justice system. …

Dr. King – “I Have a Dream”

Almost 56 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed, and Black people are STILL fighting for equal protection under the law and the genuine right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …

Enough is enough. “Thoughts and prayers” is no longer a sufficient response …

Denounce racism when it’s not convenient for you. In rooms where there are no Black people. … In every space, especially those in which you hold a position of power or influence, leverage your privilege. Do not stay silent. Be explicitly anti-racist and hold others accountable for their words and actions. …

If reading this made you uncomfortable, good

Get comfortable being uncomfortable because I promise you, this is just the beginning.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable