TOWOIT #218

August 26, 2017… Day 219

Black Lives Matter rally and march in Seattle.

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A lot of people came out. The BLM events I’ve been to since the election have been really diverse. A lot of different communities were represented — LGBT of all races, Asians, Latinx, black people, people of all races with mobility devices and service dogs, rafts of preppily dressed 13 year old girls of all races, walking arm in arm with their hair in long plaits and ponytails down their backs, old mom & pop white people (not just of the hippie variety), black-clad young scrappers of all races with kerchiefs over their faces.

Waiting for the event to start, I sat next to a middle-aged Japanese man who was making an origami x-wing fighter out of tracing paper, and an older white trans woman in a motorized wheelchair. They seemed to be friends who came there together. I thought they might be a couple at first, but she had a wedding ring and he didn’t. We talked about past BLM events we’d been to, and who we follow on Twitter who is trustworthy and not too “out there.”

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As we sat there, a Native man walked into the middle of the crowd and stood near us. He started yelling at no one in particular about how Black Lives Matter was stupid because it was a black man, Barack Obama, who tried to put a pipeline across tribal lands. The man seemed emotional and possibly mentally unstable. I thought he might have been one of the people who hang out near Westlake Center all day whether there is an event there or not.

He made eye contact with an ethnically ambiguous man with long black hair and started talking to him specifically about historical and present-day crimes against Native people, all the while disparaging black people and their concerns as secondary. The second man listened. When asked, he said he was Chinese and Scandinavian. The angry man said he wasn’t about to blame anything on the Chinese. The Chinese-Scandinavian man kept listening to his rant while keeping his body language firmly neutral.

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Then the Chinese-Scandinavian man shook the Native man’s hand and introduced himself. Without talking down to the guy, he gently explained his own point of view, that marginalized groups need to stick together and that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t contrary to Native rights.

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The angry guy listened a lot more quietly and respectfully than I expected him to.

When the rally started, the sound system wasn’t sufficient and the crowd struggled to hear what the speakers were saying. What filtered through made it seem like the organizers did not have their most-experienced orators on hand. (This has felt true at almost every rally of every kind I’ve been to since the election, not just BLM — maybe it’s a lost art.) Still, the whole crowd sat quietly and strained to hear all of what was being said. The allyship (if you want to call it that) on display wasn’t “I’ll do this thing for you even though I’m not black, because I’m against racism.” It was far more like, “We all need each other and need to stick together, so thank you for organizing this worthwhile thing and for standing with me against Trumpism.”

As we started to march out of Westlake Center, two black men with loudspeakers seemed to be counter-protesting the rally. They seemed to be talking about black-on-black crime. A young black woman and I looked at each other quizzically. We were on the move and I didn’t get a picture but I saw that their t-shirts read “It Starts With One.” A block later, a scrawny red-faced white man ran alongside the marchers shrieking “ALL LIVES MATTER!!” And then in a crosswalk, two young men of unknown ethnicity and gelled-back hair scoffed at the marchers. “Get out of the street!” one yelled. Mostly people stood and watched. The white people had especially hard-to-read facial expressions. One black man grinned and threw a fist in the air as we went by. When we moved into a more residential area, a houseful of young Asians in cocktail attire whooped and hollered off the front porch of a sedate old wood-framed house.

I was talking to a trans woman as we passed that house and she said, “Most people are for this stuff, they just don’t come out and participate.” She showed me pictures on her phone that someone had sent her — photographs of herself at another BLM march. Someone sent her the photos to say “We know who you are.” A little later, we both noticed a tattoo running the length of a bicycle cop’s forearm. We tried to make out what it was, but could only conclude that it was Latin.

Later, on Facebook, someone posted a photo and the translation:IMG_5683

 

 

TOWOIT #156

June 25, 2017… Day 157

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Shade the Changing Girl, Issue #8 (Castellucci, Zircon, Parks, Fitzpatrick)

Pride is going on downtown. Black Lives Matter protested and halted the parade, and my queer friends are the sort that supported that.

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I’ve been inside by my fan, looking on by social media and reading the first 9 issues of Shade the Changing Girl (finally).

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Shade the Changing Girl, Issue #7 (Castellucci, Sauvage, Temofonte)

I’m really enjoying this comic.

On the healthcare front, which is currently the everything front, all I can say is COME ON, SUSAN COLLINS. COME ON, LISA MURKOWSKI. As a former Alaskan, I know you flinty, pragmatic Republican ladies of the north can make some reasonable decisions. I know you can dooooo ittttt.

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Susan Collins said she has reservations and doesn’t want to vote on the healthcare bill before the July 4 recess.

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I spent my whole life bending over backwards to not think along the lines of “smart” and “dumb” — always recognizing the different forms of intelligence, the different levels of articulation, still waters run deep, don’t judge a book by the cover, have some fucking humility, you don’t know what’s going on in people’s heads. I don’t know if people are born dumb, but for one reason or another their brains are rotting now. And that’s why I watch the Gallup poll numbers when they update every day at 10:00 am Seattle time.

**UPDATE** I feel sorry for saying this about people’s brains rotting. It is also possible that they are a) REALLY not paying attention, or b) craven.

**UPDATE #2** I do actually know several Trump voters. They don’t seem to be dumb. They seem like nice people. That’s why I want to bang my head into walls.

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That little spike to 42% had me worried.

I just liked this headline:

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And in reply:

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I did get out of the house for awhile, and was sitting in a shady place with my significant other, sipping iced coffee. We had the perfect view of a developing Pokemon birthday party of a small Asian child with a large extended family, and a burgeoning picnic gathering of Muslims in especially beautiful clothes. The kids of both gatherings ran back and forth to the same merry go round in the middle. We were over-heated, but we scraped together our knowledge of religion. “End of Ramadan,” he said. “Eid,” I added. And then nodding in the other direction, “Pikachu.”

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TOWOIT #47

March 4, 2017… Day 44

Unhinged tweets early this morning from Trump. He says Obama wire-tapped his phone before the election. He also says mean stuff about Arnold Schwarzenegger as a TV personality.

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I don’t even know what to make of all this anymore, but the day ended with an even more unhinged Roger Stone, admitting in a fit of pique that he had contact with Julian Assange. He quickly deleted the tweet. Roger Stone is an advisor of Donald Trump’s.

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There were small pro-Trump protests around the country today. The Willamette Weekly reported on one in Lake Oswego (near Portland). There was a woman with a sign thanking Russia unironically, a man threw a sieg heil salute, and someone said to counter protesters, “You’re all n—–s and Jews!”

A Sikh man in Kent, WA was shot in his own driveway. The shooter yelled at him to get out of the country before shooting him.

I went to a Black Lives Matter protest that was allegedly co-opted by a “Block the Bunker” protest. Block the Bunker is the group protesting the new youth jail. There’s plenty of overlap between their interests and Black Lives Matter interests. Block the Bunker works closely with Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist city council member. But they aren’t a black group. People started to flood out quickly from the rally point at Seattle Central Community College. Someone with the microphone said that the people leading the group out of the rally and into the march were not the leaders, it was a different group. They said, “They’re just trying to cause more trouble.” Then, confusingly, there were three ragtag white kids up there talking into megaphones, one after the other. One of them said, “We have to keep organizing, even if we have different factions.”

The Black Lives Matter guy said he was shoved aside in a physical altercation as Block the Bunker took over all their stuff and physically wrested the march away from them.

Tweeted photos from the sit-in at the end of the march show mostly white faces in the first rows of the ring of participants. A lot of the people in the center of the circle, holding the floor, were people of color, but almost none of them black. Someone tweeted, “We have to sit at the back of our own protests. Seattle is still racist.”

It already felt awkward to have so many white people there — most of whom came because they were specifically urged to come in searing “where have you been? We expect you to report to BLM in future” think pieces. So these earnest white people did show up in droves, which probably made black people feel even more co-opted when the march was co-opted by Block the Bunker.

Afterward, talked to a woman in a drink gathering in an Emerald City Comic Con hotel room, about how the adults in her family were amnestied by Reagan in the 1980s and what a difference it made in her life. They finally stopped moving around so much, her father and step-father were able to get better jobs than picking fruit and vegetables in the field. She had some stability for her middle school and high school years, and a little bit more of a normal American working class income–even though they were still poor. Now she is a researcher on diseases like cystic fibrosis, and she also runs a bike shop with her husband. She is a huge contributor to society in a lot of ways.

Comic book writers and artists coming down from Vancouver for ECCC told tales of the U.S. border. They had deleted Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps from their phones and deleted text conversations and photos. But still, one guy was told to sign into his Tinder account so that the officer could peruse his conversations there. I wouldn’t be surprised if people just stop coming to this country at all.