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It Happened On A Fourth Of July.


      [Life Encounters]

      Last week I started a topic entitled, as near as I an remember: "To Serve and Protect: Heartbreaking Traffic Stop."

      It was the story of a cop pulling over a 65 year old female for a lane change violation and the resulting altercation of the woman being removed from her car against her will. In a response to one of the replies I wrote the words that follow. It is a telling of the last time I was ever pulled over and given a warning ticket. It got so wordy I thought it deserved it's own heading.

      It Happened on a Fourth of July

      A Short Recollection By ~ Dajuan Candle. (Revised Copy)

      Now that I am older I seldom get pulled over by cops anymore. For sure that is because I seldom go any place. The last time I got pulled over, I guess it was 7 or 8 years ago now, I found it funny. So funny I had to hold in my laugh as best I could.

      It was the 4th of July Holiday. I was home alone in my bachelors lair, my mind and body aching and tired from a grueling work schedule. Who would have thought inspecting tires for a living could be so exhausting. Luckily the company always gave us production techs a full week off for the 4th. They used this time to also double as a maintenance week. Everybody got the whole week off accept the maintenance crews, but they didn't complain because they got paid triple time. If they had offered me $60 to $90 to work on a scheduled off week I would have gladly shown up for work too! But they never offer us production techs triple pay. Only double for holidays, but not the 4th.

      My neighbor across the street was having her 25th annual 4th of July backyard cookout. Family from around the city, county and state showed up at her house every year. Though I am not their kin, I was welcome; but I didn't attend.

      I got tired of being alone in my lair so I got tired body in my truck, cranked it, and headed 'cross town to visit family. But, wouldn't you know it, something unexpected happened. It had been so long since the last time I had being pulled over by a cop I couldn't remember, and being on the other side of fifty now I didn't know if I would ever be pulled over again.

      Along the way to the other side of town a strange thing happened.

      As I took a right turn off of the street me and my big holiday party neighbor lived, I noticed a cop car coming towards me. Just cruising. I thought nothing of it, until I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed him making a hasty U-turn. I immediately recognized what was happening and I chuckled to myself "for real? I bet he thinks I'm coming from the party and might be drinking on this holiday and he wants to see if he can make me swerve on the road out of fear? I am going to save him the trouble of pulling me over. I'm going to volunteer and pull over myself". By that time I had rounded a curve and went through an all-way stop sign. Where the road straightens out, just past the all-way stop, is where I pulled over. It was no wait. Around the curve here he comes flying, almost on two wheels. He slows at the all-way intersection, without stopping, and comes on through to where I now sit parked and waiting. Hell leaves about three cars lengths between his cruise and my truck. He gets on his radio and runs his routine checks. He exits his vehicle and approached mine with a wide sweep, out to the middle of the road, and then toward my vehicle at an angle. I'm looking out my driver side rear view. If the feelings I was having shown on my face my look would have been one of disbelief "what is this fool doing?" As he came closer he looked into the bed of my truck with a suspicious eye. Nothing there. Cautiously he stepped to my drivers side window, thank God I didn't laugh, but I almost did.

      "License and insurance" he said.

      I complied. As he looked over my license I'm sure he noticed my street address, which I suspect, confirmed to him, to his disappointment, that I did live in this neighborhood. And by now I'm sure he could tell that I hadn't been drinking anything on this holiday either. Bummer. He wasn't going to get to write me a ticket. I surely wasn't speeding. But wait, her he comes back to my window. I remain quiet, not saying a word.

      "I pulled you over because you took a wide turn at a high rate of speed when you turned onto this street."

      Still I remained mum.

      "I'm not going to write a citation just remind you to drive safely." Then I spoke up.

      "Okay" I said. It was only one word. Inside I was rolling with laughter. He just knew he had him one. But no, he didn't. He gave me a bogus warning ticket and went on about his day. Looking for people to pull over, especially if he thinks they may be leaving a cookout where lots of cold beer I available.

      I added that little stop to my memory of the other 60 or more I've experience in my life, the first when I was 16 and the last when I was 51/52, the bulk coming between the ages of 16 and 32. I just had that suspicious look about me and, when I was young, I dared drive whenever and wherever I wanted. Boy, you asking for trouble. Well, I didn't ask, but it did come. Over and over, again.

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      Canadian Cabinet Member Finds Out How Ordinary Brown People Are Treated At US Airports


          "Navdeep Bains, the Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, likes to travel incognito—“to understand better what ordinary people are going through when they sometimes have trouble getting along with people in a position of authority,” as he put it in a story by CNN.

          "He was doing this in Detroit Metro Airport, heading back to Canada after talks on topics which included strengthening Canada-US relations in April of last year, when airport security asked him to remove his turban.

          "Minister Bains is a Sikh, a person in whose religion wearing a turban is a mandatory sacred act for men. In Canada, Sikh men in the armed forces and law enforcement agencies have legally won the battle to wear their sacred headgear even though it’s not the official uniform headgear.

          "So of course he said no.

          Bains said he initially went through a metal detector without any problem, but was then asked to go through an additional security procedure because of his turban.
          An agent asked him to go through another screening but the machine was not working properly, Bains said. When it emitted a warning sound, a security officer asked Bains to remove his turban. "I asked him why I had to take off my turban since the metal detector had worked well," Bains told the newspaper. "I will never be asked to take my clothes off. It's the same thing. It's a piece of linen."
          After passing a second test Bains was allowed to continue, he said.
          But when he reached the boarding gate, less than 20 minutes before departure, a security guard approached him and said he had to go back to security because protocol had not been followed. He again asked Bains to remove the turban.

          "It was at this point Bains decided he’d had enough of being treated like an ordinary person, and whipped out his diplomatic passport. Of course then he was let through, and ultimately received an official apology. TSA said in a statement that the employees involved are receiving further training in appropriate procedures."


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          How Training Doctors In Implicit Bias Could Save Black Mothers' Lives


              'There was a pool of blood, a look of panic on her husband’s face — and then everything went black.

              'Alia McCants was back at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where nine days earlier, she had given birth to healthy twins. She and her husband had brought the babies home to their apartment in Harlem, and everything seemed all right — until complications from her cesarean section caused her to hemorrhage.

              'She rushed to the emergency room, where her vision went dim.

              '“My husband said, ‘You have to stay here, you have to stay here.’ And then I thought: I’m going to die,” she said.

              'Each year in the United States, about 700 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery issues — while 50,000 experience severe complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide; in New York City, they are 12 times more likely to die. Postpartum hemorrhaging, or heavy blood loss, is one of the leading preventable causes.

              'McCants, who is black, did not know the grim statistics in December 2014, when her twins were born. Her birth experience was generally positive, and she credited the hospital staff with later saving her life when she needed emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging.

              'But she has since wondered if there was anything her doctors could have done to avoid such a near-death experience in the first place — if they might have been more open to her concerns about her care if she were white.

              'She recalled that her obstetrician was dismissive of her desire to avoid a C-section. While cesareans are common when delivering twins, McCants, who had a complication-free pregnancy, had hoped for a natural birth.

              'Then, McCants said a social worker who stopped by her hospital room seemed “visibly surprised” to meet a black couple who were both working professionals — McCants is a director at a graduate school and her husband, Christopher, who now works in software, was a manager at a TV network at the time.'


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              Inside VA Healthcare - A "Tease"


                  Inside VA Healthcare

                  Building 500 - West LA Medical Center

                  Prime Property - Westwood adjacent - 388 acres

                  By Ray Cunneff

                  April 27, 2018

                  Consider this a "tease".

                  As some of you know, I've been away from Yabberz, in fact completely off the computer, for over six weeks. I had hip-replacement surgery on March 13th at the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles and there were complications that I'm still dealing with.

                  Now that I'm home and allowed to climb stairs for the first time (my home-office in on our second floor) I'm still mulling over how to write about this experience because it's more than a personal story, it's also a window into the state of Veteran's Administration healthcare, both good and bad.

                  In all, I spent almost three weeks as a patient in a major VA hospital, initially for scheduled surgery and physical rehab, then an unscheduled return to the emergency room and recovery, first as the "perfect patient" and then as a problem patient whose post-op complications weren't supposed to have happened - but did.

                  And as positive as the first part was, the second was almost equally negative.

                  But I believe these are more than personal anecdotes given the current controversies surrounding VA leadership, the shortage of doctors, the political fight over healthcare privatization, the problematic "Veteran's Choice" program, and the calls for commercial development of prime real estate, including veterans cemeteries, currently under VA administration.

                  It's a bigger story than just me and I'll need a bit more time and thought to do it justice.

                  Stay tuned.

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                  Pundit Post

                  Historically, Respect Is Always Earned


                      “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given.” -Hussein Nishah
                      In pre-colonial and capitalist African societies everyone had roles in the community. These roles afforded the individual the opportunity to earn respect within the community. Respect was never given, it was always earned based upon the roles that the individual held in society. As a Black man, I have learned the art of respect from my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.

                      I have decided to write this piece because the lack of respect on this site is getting out of hand. In my opinion, what I have learned is that the elders on this site are some of the most disrespectful people. They also believe that they are entitled to respect because of their age, which is inherently false. Some may view this as ageism, but that is false.

                      “In most indigenous African cultures, there was a significant division of roles between the youth who provided the warriors to defend society against aggression and the elders who were the adjudicators, mediators, and peacemakers. Associated with the role of the elders was political-and administrative leadership.” http://democracy-africa.org/articles/afr997.html

                      “The pre-capitalist and matriarchal societies throughout Africa allowed women to have substantial control over politics, the quintessential example of this cultural practice was found in ancient Egypt. In 3,000 BC, Egyptian women managed real estate properties, slaves, livestock, endowments, and annuities” https://study.com/academy/lesson/women-in-ancient-...

                      Allison Chavez stated, “Just because someone has managed to live past 50 does not mean they automatically have respect from everyone else” asked, “What exactly is it about being old that makes you think you deserve respect?”

                      Our elders have a responsibility to set the example and teach civility. However, when they fail to meet the needs of the community or society at large. They can no longer expect to be respected unless they are willing to accept their roles. Respect is defined as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

                      If you are an elder on this site and over 50 years of age, it is important of you to either accept your role and the responsibility that come with it. Failure you to do so indicates that you are not fit to be a leader of the community and provide the necessary leadership that comes with the position of being an elder.

                      “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you've got to give it.” -R.G. Risch


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                      Pundit Post

                      IS There Any Spiritual Home For Transgender People??


                          I have identified as a Unitarian Universalist for twenty years. I have found myself now in a place where I wonder if all the inclusion, "Blessed Community" and "Welcoming Congregation" stuff isn't all just bullspit. I never thought I would reach this point with UU, but I am. And I am losing the faith.

                          I wrote this in my UU/Trans blog, thought I would share it here.

                          OK...I have something I need to put out there.

                          I have, after twenty years...come to a place I never thought I'd find myself. I find myself no longer identifying as a UU.

                          The experiences I have had, in North Carolina, with the UU church here...have made me truly question whether there REALLY IS a place within UU for transgender people...if it isn't all just talk.

                          I know I'd never feel that way back at UU Fellowship of the Poconos. But here in North Carolina...I had one UU congregation turn their back on me just when I needed support most (right after the Trump election) when I utterly broke down, and was at my most vulnerable and most needing of support, they chose to turn their backs instead.

                          Eno River...in Durham...had, for a time, felt like it might be okay. But I haven't been for a couple of months due to car problems...and NOBODY from there has even bothered to check on me if I am okay or anything. All I get from them are form emails and letters asking for money I do not have all the time.

                          So I am beginning to look at other possibilities outside of UU for a spiritual home, and have reached out to the Society of Friends here in Raleigh...I would not be the first UU to go Quaker.

                          I'm not sure what to do with this anymore...so much of me wishes I had never come to North Carolina. Ever since HB-2 this place has no longer felt like home to me. Even with the so-called "repeal" which wasn't REALLY a repeal, but rather a "please let us be bigots for four more years and still have basketball, thanks" bill.

                          I just feel as though the UU talks a really good game about being trans inclusive...but the fact remains that when the chips are down, they have turned their backs on me. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN THERE FOR ME WHEN I NEEDED THEM MOST. And now I am not so sure I want them anymore even if they said I COULD come back.

                          I know I'd be looking at everyone with very different eyes than I used to...wondering what was REALLY going on behind their eyes...and no longer believing their words at face value. I wish I could see a way forward...a path to a true spiritual home for people like me...if such a place even exists.

                          I'm pretty sure the UU is no longer that spiritual home.

                          I am beginning to feel that the whole "Welcoming Congregation" the whole "Blessed Community" and the whole inclusion thing that is always spoken of within UU congregations....is not all just a bunch of bullspit. I find myself wondering if there really IS a place for us trans in the UU..and I keep coming back to what was done to me, and feeling like there is not.

                          But I also do not know if there is ANY spiritual home for transgender people like me. ANY place where we will be accepted for who we are...and loved for the broken people we are...and loved and nursed back to health and wholeness. I find myself badly in need of it.

                          But I also need a place that is willing to understand that I cannot accept God and Jesus...at this time either....what my head knows of them...is something very different than what my gut and twenty years of horrible experience tells me. I find I cannot trust God...I cannot trust Jesus....and I can't seem to trust even those places that SAY they are inclusive and welcoming, because all too often it proves to be JUST TALK...and they do not DO the things we trans really need...to be healed...to be saved and made whole once again...to be loved as the very broken people we are.

                          I wish I knew where to turn anymore. More and more I keep finding myself wanting a society of just transgender people and nobody else.

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                          Inclusion Integration And The Left Out


                              In the book Why I’m No Longer Talking TO White People About Race, author Reni Eddo-Lodge states, “Racism’s legacy does not exist without purpose. It brings with it not just a disempowerment for those affect by it, but an empowerment for those who are not. That is white privilege. Racism bolsters white people’s life chances. It affords an unearned power; it is designed to maintain a quiet dominance. Why don’t white people think they have racial identity?”

                              Discussing the topics race, religion, and human rights with white people is contentious at best. They have always led the way regarding the direction that the conversation. Oftentimes, I encountered individuals that are willing to walk away instead of listening to me. It appears to me that their comfortability factor is not as high as the allow themselves to believe.

                              Dr. Nicki Lisa Cole wrote an essay The Definition of Racism: A system of Power, Privilege, and Oppression. This profound essay defined racism where many have failed because they simply believe that racism is tied to hate instead of the power that is wielded by what some defines as the dominant group of people. This group is generally defined as white by appearance instead of place of origin. Many of these groups (Italians, Irish, Polish, Jewish, etc.) immigrated to this land.

                              Dr. Cole states, “Racism refers to a variety of practices, beliefs, social relations, and phenomena that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yield superiority, power, and privilege for some, and discrimination and oppression for others. It can take several forms, including representational, ideological, discursive, interactional, institutional, structural, and systemic.”

                              The seven forms she listed above have shaped what some would call White Supremacy (Racism) and have been used consistently for centuries to maintain a system of oppression by those that control it. I have written about these things several times, but it doesn’t get the traffic it deserves either because of fear or the individual’s unwillingness to deal with truth. I do know that some are very selective regarding what they will read, support, and defend.

                              I also found that it is easy to defend one’s personal truths as it relates to those that look like them, while condemning others that do not. I have done this, yet I also defend others that do not look like me despite the horrific treatment of Black people in America. Every group of people have endured a level of atrocity that should not be forgotten including Black people in America who seem to have never been allowed to keep their pain alive. We have always been told to that our experiences are in the past, while others remain at the forefront of their very existence.

                              This is what racism is all about and how it shapes the past, present, and future of a people that have been marginalized for centuries because of the color of our skin and the lies that people have created to perpetuate false narratives. Dr. Cole utilizes the following forms including representational, ideological, discursive, interactional, institutional, structural, and systemic to show the negative effects of racism.
                              Representational Racism, “Depictions of racial stereotypes are common in popular culture and media, like the historical tendency to cast people of color as criminals and as victims of crime rather than in other roles, or as background characters rather than as leads in film and television.”

                              Ideological Racism, “It refers to world views, beliefs, and common sense ideas that are rooted in racial stereotypes and biases. A troubling example is the fact that many people in American society, regardless of their race, believe that white and light skinned people are more intelligent than dark-skinned people and superior in a variety of other ways.”
                              Discursive Racism, “This kind of racism is expressed as racial slurs and hate speech, but also as code words that have racialized meanings embedded in them, like ‘ghetto,’ ‘thug,’ or ‘gangsta.’”

                              Interactional Racism, “Racism often takes an interactional form, which means it is expressed in how we interact with each other. For example, a white or Asian woman walking on a sidewalk may cross the street to avoid passing closely by a black or Latino man because she is implicitly biased to see these men as potential threats.”
                              Institutional Racism, “Racism takes institutional form in the ways that policies and laws are crafted and put into practice through society's institutions, such as the decades-long set of policing and legal policies known as “The War on Drugs,” which has disproportionately targeted neighborhoods and communities that are composed predominantly of people of color. Institutional racism preserves and fuels the racial gaps in wealth, education, and social status, and serves to perpetuate white supremacy and privilege.”

                              Structural Racism, “Structural racism refers to the ongoing, historical, and long-term reproduction of the racialized structure of our society through a combination of all of the above forms. Structural racism manifests in widespread racial segregation and stratification on the basis of education, income, and wealth, the recurrent displacement of people of color from neighborhoods that go through processes of gentrification, and the overwhelming burden of environmental pollution borne by people of color given its proximity to their communities. Structural racism results in large-scale, society-wide inequalities on the basis of race.”

                              Systemic Racism, “Many sociologists describe racism in the U.S. as "systemic" because the country was founded on racist beliefs that created racist policies and practices, and because that legacy lives today in the racism that courses throughout the entirety of our social system. This means that racism was built into the very foundation of our society, and because of this, it has influenced the development of social institutions, laws, policies, beliefs, media representations, and behaviors and interactions, among many other things. By this definition, the system itself is racist, so effectively addressing racism requires a system-wide approach that leaves nothing unexamined.” https://www.thoughtco.com/racism-definition-302651...

                              Fear is the driving force behind racism and the desire to control another group of people for survival. This is my experience as a Black man in America that must fight to survive daily in the mist of self-preservation, self-determination, and to maintain knowledge of myself. I will never ask anyone for permission to be me, share my personal truth, or my history as it relates to Alkebulan and America.

                              There are 6 Things Black People Need to Stop Saying to White People in 2018 according to author Shannon M. Houston: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/01/6-t...

                              “1. Well, the thing about white privilege is…”
                              “2. As a white woman, Rebecca, you have to understand that…”
                              “3. There’s a great article out by…”
                              “4. No, you can’t even sing the word because the history…”
                              “5. Excuse me.”
                              “6. I forgive you.”

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