Do you know what you don’t know?

Dear Readers-

Well, clearly the answer is yes.

Or is it?

If you have never done brain surgery, you probably don’t know that Broca’s area controls speech production and it’s easily damaged.

No, I have never done brain surgery, but thanks to my trip to the Arizona science center I got to try my hand at it, without killing anyone.

Thanks Grey’s Anatomy!

I spent a lot of time in the “brain area” that day, and I learned a lot of things I did not know. This made me think about the fact that the more (sometimes awkward) questions we ask are one of the best ways I know to learn something. I should take a moment to tell you how much I love to know things. In fact, for much of my life I have carried the label of “Question Girl” and proudly. Sure, there is the mighty search engine, but a google search won’t tell you something like.

“Person of color is offensive”

“Person of color here, I don’t find the term offensive.”

In the wake of another tragic death where a black person was killed for running while being black,

Ahmaud Arbery

the hashtags have begun and the outcry for prayers and thoughts, and it’s pathetic. No one is knocking them, thoughts and prayers are good, they just don’t happen to come with action.

We have to do better, and that starts with action and education. It starts with stopping the thought process that because I am white, I am better.

Wrong. No. Awful. Horrible. Strikes at the very thing I say I am and am trying to be. I am terrified to write that, because maybe you will read it, and decide I am a racist. I am also learning, it’s through admissions like this one I can take a good hard look at my life and how I was raised and run a million miles the other way.

But as Professor Brené Brown puts it, “We can’t talk about race without talking about shame. Because you can’t talk about race without talking about privilege and when people start talking about privilege, they get paralyzed by shame.”

It’s not enough to say you are an accomplice, you have to actually be one.

How? There is not a blueprint because no one can tell you what to do or who to talk to or what to read to better educate yourself about the systemic racism that is blatant and pervasive in our world. A note- it’s YOUR job to educate YOURSELF. No one else can do that, you have to do it yourself.

I am deeply ashamed to admit I have had those thoughts, and of course stopped them in their tracks refuting it with facts which is that no one is better than anyone else based only on the color of their skin.

Deeply ashamed, and I still had them. Why? I was raised that way. It’s still my job realize over and over that it’s not enough to not be racist, you have to intentionally and deliberately live your life with the idea that no one is better or worse because of the color of their skin.

So, in aid of raising my child to truly,

“ Treat everyone equal”

My husband and child

I am now on the search to learn as much as I can and stop talking in spaces where I have no expertise. I don’t know what this looks like and I know I have a lot more listening and learning to do. I like to talk, but am rapidly realizing this is a topic on which I have not earned a say. I might never earn it, and that’s exactly as it should be.

This is a subject on which I am the student, not the teacher. I do not know what I do not know and I am embracing the discomfort of that. It’s hard.

What can you do other “than thoughts and prayers” to show your support to the hurting and tired black community?

I usually say -Think About It, but today, right now, what can you DO to move from thinking to DOING, to HELP.

With Liberty and Justice For Some

Dear Readers,

I am honored to have my husband post on my blog.

I pledge allegiance
To the flag
Of the United States of America
One nation
Under God
With Liberty
And Justice
For All

Those words have defined, for many years, what this country was “supposed” to stand for. Unfortunately, for many Americans, those words rang hollow, and still do. For many Americans, they have never truly known the America that was “supposed” to be. 

I am a white, Christian, straight male living in America. This country is my home. And I have always been proud to call it that. Until I learned the truth. And that truth is that it’s only “my home”, because I am a white, Christian, straight male. For people who aren’t those 4 things, their experience in this country has been VASTLY different than mine. This country has not been “home” to them. 

This country has let them down. There is less “liberty and justice” for women, for POC, for LGBTQ+ people, for Muslims or Athiests, for ANYONE who isn’t a white, Christian, straight male. 

It is not “Liberty and Justice for All” when a black man is gunned down by two white men, on camera, and they aren’t arrested until 3 months later. Flip that scenario, and I guarantee the outcome would be different.

It is not “Liberty and Justice for All” when two Hispanic women are facing 180 days for taking hair dressing and nail clients, while a white woman gets sentenced to one week, and then has the state Attorney General suggest that she shouldn’t even serve that.

It is not “Liberty and Justice for All” when adoption agencies are allowed to deny couples the chance to step into an orphans life, simply because they are gay.

It is not “Liberty and Justice for All” when women are discouraged from reporting sexual abuse, because colleges are no longer required to take the accusations seriously.

Those are just some very recent examples of ways that this country has let marginalized people down. I could list more, but we would be here for a very long time.

So what do we do? I don’t know. I want to know how to help. And I’m tired of using my privilege to ignore the problem because it doesn’t affect me. I want to use my privilege to help. I want to be, in the words of Luvvie Ajayi, author of “I’m Judging You”, an accomplice, not an ally.

My wife and Luvvie Ajayi

With Liberty and Justice for All. That should be our mission. That should be what we strive for. And I am truly deeply sorry for the years that I wasn’t striving for it. I realized a little while ago that it’s not enough to not intentionally be racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. You have to intentionally be NOT those things. And that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what all of us white, Christian, straight males should be trying to do. So I’m going to listen to people who are “other” than me. Try to find out how I’ve unintentionally hurt people. And apologize for it, with the understanding that my apology doesn’t HAVE to be accepted. As my Pastor Chris puts it, when you’ve hurt someone, they now have the choice to forgive you or not.

With Liberty and Justice for Some isn’t good enough anymore. Let’s fix it.

For more from Jeremy Haston-

Necessary Boundaries

Dear Readers,

There are a lot of people dying and not enough people are talking about that. According to Reuters there have been 251,000 deaths as of today, 5/5/2020. The absence of that statistical information in our daily newsfeed is terrifying.

It’s hard to find bright spots and silver linings in such a dark time, and it’s a coping mechanism for me, so here goes. This is a great time to reset some boundaries.

For your own safety, you have to set boundaries for how close someone can be in your proximity so why not use this opportunity to set other boundaries as well?

Just because some ignorant people decided it was okay for all of us to leave our homes and start the process of reopening sans the support of science, does not mean you have to follow their foolish example. Wear your mask, and insist on social distance as you continue to do your part to “flatten the curve” by staying home as much as you can, limiting your outings to work (if you are considered essential like me) and grocery. And when you, do, wear a mask.

Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s hard to talk and breathe. Wear it anyway.

At this time, when we are doing “Zoom” up the wazoo, and everything is virtual, we need to set very real and tangible boundaries.

Just because you get an invite to a Zoom event, does not mean you have to click “Join” – I know it sounds crazy and you can say “No” or not attend. (It might be worth examining ALL the work meetings too, but most of them I get you have to go to those.

Just because we are all at home, does NOT mean we are all AVAILABLE.” Professor Haston

Sounds simple, and the pressures to keep saying yes are causing us to be busier than ever and it’s making us frustrated and has us feeling overwhelmed or feel like we have to “be productive” in quarantine— on that—-

Stop beating yourself up! You are doing great!

I can’t speak for you, but it doesn’t take a lot to make me cry these days or perceive slights that are not really there. I am working overtime to “respond” and not “react” – It’s hard, y’all.

Yes, we are more sensitive these days, and it’s okay and expected and normal. Which is why it’s even MORE important we step back and say no when we need to.

Me, trying to Zoom, with the 3 year old crawling on me-

The Centers For Disease Control have done their part, now it is time for you to do yours.

What boundary do you need to set?

Think About It.

Wear A Mask.

Dear Readers,

I could go on and on about why this is a good idea, but as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”

Well, here are two-

My daughter- “wear a mask, it keeps you safe”
Me- Wear a flipping mask!

I really feel like the Centers For Disease Control are doing all they can to keep us safe, so the VERY LEAST we can do is wear a mask.

So, wear a mask, and protect everyone else around you including you, because the life you save COULD be YOURS.

Think About It.