Your Handy Racial Glossary

I know that with much of the racial stresses right now in America, many of you might be in need of a handy guide to help you navigate the non-white world.

Thank God you have me for that.

Here you go. If you’d like to thank me in hard currency, let me know and I’ll be glad to let you know what my PayPal account name is.

Deacon Blue’s Patented Racial Glossary for at Least Half of American Whites (NOW “Gluten-Free”!)

Angry black person—A person of the African diaspora/Black population who brings up any topic, fact or opinion that makes any white person within earshot (or sightline if viewing online) self-conscious.

Illegals—People in this country without official paperwork, typically working jobs no native-born Americans are willing to perform and contributing to their cities and towns financially by frequenting local stores, paying rent, often paying actual taxes, etc.

Justice—When a white person is either not indicted or is found not guilty of murdering a Black person, or when a Black person is killed by a police officer or white vigilante.

Police brutality—A non-existent mythical act (except for brief periods of time shortly after it happens to a white person and is caught on video).

Racism—When a white person is held accountable for assaulting and/or killing a non-white person, or when a white person is asked to consider the possibility that American society is designed to marginalize and disempower non-whites.

Reverse racism—The act of appointing, hiring or admitting a non-white (specifically, a black- or brown-skinned) person to any institution, job or position when there were still plenty of less-qualified white people to consider.

Riot—A public protest involving significant numbers of non-white people exercising their right to free speech and expressing outrage, while usually also refusing unconstitutional and baseless police commands to disperse from public areas they are entitled to gather in.

Seeking understanding—A process whereby a white person who doesn’t believe racism is a problem and doesn’t accept the concept of white privilege asks questions about both, immediately refutes all research and statistics offered to answer those questions without offering any solid counter-evidence, and insists on maintaining a firm belief in the fantasy that white supremacy is a myth and America is racially fair and equitable.

Thug—A Black man of more than 5’5″ in height and weighing more than 120 pounds or a Latino man taller than 5’6″ and weighing more than 130 pounds.

Welfare cheats—Any person receiving any kind of monetary or food-related social service benefits (whites are exempted from this label by popular consent of other white people).

It’s Not Luck; It’s Privilege

This morning, I had a brief but enlightening talk with my wife (Black Girl in Maine…check her out at her blog and on Twitter) about privilege. White privilege. Except that it began by being about “luck.”

Now, first off, let’s be clear: After being in a relationship with a black woman for around 20 years, the vast majority of those married—and having a couple of biracial kids (which really means black kids, because society isn’t going to treat them “half white”)—the existence of white privilege has not gone unnoticed by me. I know I have it, even if I don’t use it to its full potential, and I see white privilege in action everywhere, every day, all around me. If you’re non-white, you don’t need to remind me it’s there; if you’re white, don’t try to tell me it doesn’t exist.

But I learned something new today—something that even my wife herself hadn’t been able to pinpoint until now: It’s kind of insulting to black people (as well as a diminishing how screwed-up American society is about race) to say, as a white person, that you are “lucky” or “fortunate” not to have to deal with racism toward you on a constant basis.

No, you are privileged.

And there is a difference.

But more on that in a moment. First, a reminder: This “I’m lucky that my white child won’t have to worry about walking home from a store and being shot down by a police officer” and many, many similar sentiments have most recently arisen out of the chaos and pain recently in Ferguson, Missouri. While we don’t have video to give us a clear picture of what happened, all indications thus far lean toward the scenario that a white police officer got unnecessarily confrontational with two black youth, and when one of them (Michael Brown) attempted to surrender with hands raised, he got six bullets and a death sentence instead. Also, when the community protested and marched and had vigils, local police responded by yanking away their 1st Amendment rights to assemble and to exercise free speech and violated their 4th Amendment rights with all kinds of violations of personal space/property (including harassing a man for “violating curfew” when he was on his own lawn) and unlawful seizure (including raiding a church and taking supplies they were using to tend to protesters attacked by police). There were many needless arrests, and the police basically tear-gassed, terrorized and shot at the community while dressing up like an occupying military force.

But I digress (as I usually do).

The killing of yet another unarmed young black man by a white police officer, followed by the overblown police response toward the entire community of black residents, prompted a lot of white people to post selfies and messages online about how lucky they were that they didn’t have to worry about their children getting shot for walking home or going to visit someone. How they were fortunate to be able to march in protest over just about anything without being arrested. And so on.

The sentiment was sound and well-meaning. A show of recognition that things are not balanced and that non-whites tend not to get the full slate of rights and privileges that white Americans get. A sign of sympathy and solidarity across racial lines.

However, the use of words like lucky and fortunate skirt around the concept of privilege.

You see, even the most well-meaning white people often cringe at the term “white privilege.” They don’t want to think of most of the institutions and systems in the United States being inherently racist, because to do so is to admit complicity in some way in the perpetuation of that inequitable system that is slanted overwhelmingly toward white people in terms of law enforcement, the justice system, employment, education, housing, healthcare, banking, loans and so many other things. Even the most liberal white person who hates racism chafes many times about being called “privileged” and they respond, “I’m not privileged; I struggle to get by and get ahead, too.” And the people who don’t believe racism even is a problem anymore say that even more vociferously.

On an intellectual level, I understand this. Even people who actively treat non-whites badly often don’t want to be called racists. They often prefer “white pride supporters” or “white rights defenders” or something like that. Likewise, white people who don’t like racism and who operated in a society that privileges white people don’t want to be labeled as “privileged” because it makes them part of the problem.

Well, almost all of us white folks are part of the problem. Because we’re all privileged.

In terms of white privilege.

You see, white privilege doesn’t mean you don’t struggle. It doesn’t mean affluence. It means you have the advantages—almost all of them—relative to non-white people. It means that when you, as a white person, are pulled over by police, chances are that while you might be nervous and anxious, you know that unless you are drunk, high or very stoned, you will not be hauled off to jail. And you almost certainly don’t fret that you will be removed from your vehicle and assaulted.

As a white person, chances are that you have never been harassed for jaywalking. That you don’t get scrutinized and followed while shopping. That you don’t get passed over for interviews or loans because of your skin color. That you don’t have your credential and qualifications questioned when you do get a good job. And so on and so on and so on.

Basically, white privilege means being able to walk around and almost never have to think about your skin color unless potential sunburn is involved. To never have to wonder except in very rare circumstances whether your skin color caused you to be treated as less than worthy or even less than human. To not have to adapt yourself to the society around you in such a drastic way that you have to deny who you are and how you feel much of the time. And, you know, when you add heterosexual and/or male privilege, you get even more free run of society. White people rarely need any kind of unity rallies or pride events or things like that (except where gender and non-hetero sexual preference come into play) because they are allowed to be who they are all the time. We whites shouldn’t complain about why so many other groups have pride events—they need them to call attention to the injustices they suffer; most whites don’t need such events at all because they’re already ahead of the game.

Non-white people get to be concerned about how they are perceived, based on skin color alone (something they can’t hide ever), pretty much ever day—and they have to worry about being treated to micro-aggressions and sometimes overt harassment or violence on a regular basis.

That is what white privilege is about. A cocoon of relative comfort and safety where your skin color is concerned. A knowledge that overall, the systems will work for you often enough, usually pretty often, frequently most of the time and—for some—pretty much all the time. But it’s never a feeling that the entire society is designed to crush your spirit or make you the butt of demeaning/dehumanizing jokes or marginalize you.

So, it’s nice for you to acknowledge that as a white person, you (like me) will not have to experience many of the fears, abuses and sometimes horrors of being black in America. Or even light brown/tan or any other shade other than pink/white. That’s an important first step. Acknowledgement of the inequities.

Please realize, though, that you aren’t lucky that you don’t face racism every day.

You are lucky that you were born white; all that comes out from that is privilege.


Ailments to avoid jailment

So, recently we were treated to a case in which “affluenza,” a disease that sometimes ravages communities of rich, white Americans, was used as a legal defense. As Wikipedia put it:

In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch to 10 years probation for drunk driving and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison. The defendant was witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in his father’s Ford F-350, speeding (70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone), and had a blood alcohol content of .24%, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas, when he was tested 3 hours after the accident. Traces of Valium were also in his system. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert by the defense, testified in court that the teen was a product of affluenza and was unable to link his bad behavior with consequences due to his parents teaching him that wealth buys privilege.

And today, there was the verdict in the case of the killing of Jordan Davis, which put me in mind of the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, the latter being a case in which the killer completely got off the hook.

So, I started thinking, why stop at affluenza? Why not find more terrible, illusory diseases with which we can insulate ourselves from responsibility? And so, good people, I provide you with your future legal defenses. You can tell ’em what ails ya, so they just won’t jail ya…

Affluenza – A chronic condition, easily transmittable via family wealth, that renders a person incapable of realizing (or caring) that there are consequences to his or her actions that might adversely affect others, even when those consequences are things like disfigurement, dismemberment and death.

Thugibetes – An incurable disease that renders white people unable to tell good black/brown/tan-from-something-other-than-a-sunlamp people from bad people of the aforementioned non-white hues. This disease is known to sometimes trigger an irresistible reflexive response known as standyourground.

Rapeheimer’s disease – A degenerative, untreatable, progressive condition that eventually renders a man incapable of understanding the meaning of the word “no” when uttered by a woman he wants to have sex with and/or from conceiving that a woman being unconscious cannot consent to sex.

You’re welcome, America! Oh, and also, a special you’re welcome to the trial lawyers. I’ll expect a kickback fee if you use thugibetes or Rapeheimer’s disease in your future cases.


The Shutdown vs. the Real World

I know that some out there are blaming President Obama for the shutdown, and saying that if only he’d negotiated more (i.e. capitulated to unreasonable demands and terrorist-style hostage-taking measures) Congress could have averted this.


For those of you still confused, let me offer an analogy that I think hits pretty close to accurate and that you may understand better:

Imagine that you work for a big company that has had a plan in the works for a couple years to change the health insurance plan. There was some major debate and contention over it, but ultimately, management and employees agreed on the plan.

Still, a few people who really hated it wasted the company’s time with dozens of meetings trying to get the plan changed back to the old, shittier system. Their efforts failed.

So, a few days before people are supposed to start signing up with the new health insurance plan, the minority of people dead-set against it threaten to shut down the company.

And, indeed, in an alliance between the human resources department, the accounts payable department and a few executives, that small number of people block the entrances to the company, shut down the IT department, refuse to release paychecks to much of the company and refuse to pay a lot of the bills. They declare that they are perfectly willing to let people not get paid, ruin the reputation of the company and possibly fundamentally damage the ability of the business itself to recover.

A few dozen people.

Shutting down your company and cutting off paychecks to you and/or people close to you.

Willing to let the company metaphorically burn to the ground, affecting your future livelihood.

All over a healthcare plan they don’t like but that the majority gave the green light to.

So, if you’re still supporting the people in Congress who’ve ensured this shutdown because they want to shut down the Affordable Care Act, I guess you’re not one of the rank and file workers in the company.

You must be one of the collaborators who’s happy to see chaos because you didn’t get your way.

In other words, you’re a petulant child.

I’ve put up with a lot of useless and damaging crap, like the failure-ridden No Child Left Behind Act and the civil liberties-taking USA Patriot Act that President Bush put into place, and I never would have supported a government shutdown to de-fund or delay either one of them.

That’s because I’m a damn adult, and I accept I can’t always get my way.

It’s high time for a lot of other people to grow up, too.


The Many Faces of Deacon Blue

I keep meaning to post a pointless and meaningless post with a pictorial history of my facial hair from college until now. Until I scan a few older photos, though, you’ll have to make do with a pointless and meaningless post of me “cartoonizing” myself. Simply because this is my blog and I can.

First, a few reference shots of me in recent years:




Damn! What a handsome devil, right? *ahem* *fidget* OK! I could use some work! Especially in the belly area, which I’m judiciously not showing you right now. So, what better way to work on oneself than to simply ditch reality altogether?

Me as a “Walking Dead”-style zombie…


Me as a Na’vi from the sci-fi film “Avatar”…


Me as a cartoon (first attempt)…


Me as a cartoon (second attempt)…


Me as a cartoon (third attempt)…


Me as a “South Park” character…


And no, none of these images have anything to do with any graphic arts skills on my part. All thanks to apps online.

So, what’s my best look? 😉

More Aggressive Than Passive

I’ve come to loathe passive-aggressive behavior. Maybe it’s me getting older and more persnickety, but to me, it’s more aggressive than outright aggression—it is often cowardly, petty, presumptuous, narcissistic and arrogant.

Really, if you flip me off on the road, I’ll be much less likely to road-rage you into a ditch than if you suddenly pull in front of me in an obviously irritated fashion and start driving 10 miles under the speed limit.

Today’s early dose of passive-aggressiveness? I return some books and a DVD to the library. I exit the library behind a woman. She opens the door. I follow, and say “Thanks.”

Admittedly, that “thanks” is very quiet, as my voice caught while I was saying it. Also, the woman chose the door that is the handicapped-accessible automatic door (why people do this, I don’t understand, as it’s harder to push open manually than the one right next to it), which makes a loud whirring sound regardless of whether it’s opened by button or by hand.

So, I guess she didn’t hear me. Because when we passed through the next set of doors a few seconds later through the other side of the small entryway, she advances a couple yards and then says, darkly, without looking back at me, “I opened the door for you. You’re welcome.”

It’s the kind of thing that make me want to be passive-aggressive in return, and say, “What a pity you didn’t hear me say that.”

But what do I gain? Nothing. Except that I’m the last dick standing. I get the last douchey word. So I held my tongue and muttered those things quietly to myself to bleed out the venom.

I guess some small part of my compassionate side hopes she got some pleasure or satisfaction over “getting” me for what she perceived as a slight.

But really, folks, why do this?

If I hadn’t said “thanks,” will shaming me make it all better? If I said “thank you” again, would you feel happier? Why do you need my validation to make you happy? Why do you need to force something from me?

Let’s say I hadn’t said “thanks,” even though I did.

How do you know I didn’t just get news last night that my dad died? How do you know I didn’t just finish a horrid argument with my wife? How do you know I’m not suffering from laryngitis or maybe even that I’m mute? Or, as the truth is: That I’m a soft-spoken guy whose voice went way lower and was drowned out by a noisy door?

There’s a lot of anger in society these days; more so, I think, than has ever really existing in my lifetime. We all seem to be carrying huge chips on our shoulders and we’re just waiting for a chance to lash out.

Here’s another thought: Let’s not do that.

Or if we’re going to, how about let’s do it on Twitter or something instead of pissing on someone for walking behind you through a door you needed to open anyway?

Hypocrisy Helps No One

We all have our moments of hypocrisy, but if we’re ever going to move forward in this country, politically, economically, racially, sexually, socially or in any other fashion, we need to keep our hypocritical actions small and infrequent.

Being a fairly left-leaning guy on most issues, I could choose to beat up solely on conservatives, as they have a strong track record of hypocrisy, especially lately. People still insist Barack Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen and keep insisting he prove it even though he already has; but no one raised any significant peep about John McCain having been born outside the United States when he ran for president. Obama is supposedly a socialist for trying to reform the healthcare system and ensure that everyone can get care, yet Tea Party types and others who blast him on that ignore the fact that their symbol of conservatism, Ronald Reagan did “socialist” things, too, like sign into law that emergency rooms had to treat anyone who came in, regardless of whether they had insurance or ability to pay. “Cap and trade” programs to help rein in pollution are now somehow left-wing, even though it was conservatives who ushered in such ideas over the objections of environmentalists.

Just a few examples. But the right isn’t alone in this.

Feminists, for example, have a history of trying to stamp out sexually explicit images of women, even though research doesn’t bear out that porn makes men more deviant and exploitation of women in that business isn’t the rampant beast they claim and even in the actual sex work (prostitution) industry, there are many women who chafe at being told they are exploited when they see it as a legitimate job in many cases. Yet those feminists want to dictate what women do with their bodies, even as they claim it is evil for right-wingers to control women’s reproduction, downplay rape or for men, in places like some Arab nations (for example) to dictate how women dress. Either women are free to make their choices or they are not. You cannot pick and choose. And then there is the issue, as my wife pointed out recently as part of a blog post, of the divide between white and non-white feminists and the racial baggage carried there among people who would decry racism in other venues.

Then there are people on the left who talk a good game about free speech and how the right tramples all over it, but then try to shut down people with whom they don’t agree, justifying that they know which speech is truly hurtful and non-productive. And then many of them ignore the notion of religious liberty. They see so many rampaging Christians who trample other religions that they try to prevent people from celebrating Christmas or offering Christmas greetings, as if browbeating one group for their beliefs is the same as championing the beliefs of others.

Hypocrisy is ugly. Everywhere. Right, left or middle. Most of our beliefs have some validity at their core, but none of us is “right.” We all come with our own baggage. But if we heap our beliefs and views on others and shut theirs down…committing the same crime as they do…we advance nothing.

This was a nation founded on liberty, and it’s high time we stopped telling people what to do with their own bodies, what to say and how to express their culture. We don’t have to agree. But we do have to be fair, whether we like it or not.

How to End Those Pesky Discussions of Racism

The answer to the matter posed in my headline: Stop being racist.

But, it’s a hard human habit to break, along with religious intolerance, class conflict and a host of others. So, let me break it down more effectively.

First, off, when I talk about racism and getting rid of racist attitudes, I tend to be talking to white people…those people who are, like myself, “melanin-challenged.” That isn’t because white people are the source of all racism; far from it. Racism exists everywhere, along with the other ism’s that plague us. But I tend to target my fellow whites (racism), fellow males (sexism) and fellow Christians (religious intolerance) because I live in the United States and most of the people reading me live there, too. It’s a nation controlled by white, male Christians for the most part. They hold the most powerful political offices in a disproportionate number compared to the overall population, they hold the most influential corporate positions, they hold the vast majority of the nation’s wealth and they have the most access to getting their message out and keeping discriminatory structures in place.

Don’t even argue with me about that, because these are cases where the statistics are very obvious and clear, and no amount of internal jockeying on your part changes the truth of them.

So, while my comments here are aimed primarily at whites as I talk about racism today, my points are applicable to nations that are mostly black and persecute whites for the sins of minority white populations before them  who were cruel and destructive to the mostly black native population. Or Asian nations. Or Latino ones. Or Arabic ones. Racism is everywhere.

But it’s here in the United States where I keep hearing how much whites want to stop having racial discussions and want to declare racism over even though there is nothing statistically to show that racism is on its last breaths yet, much less dead.

You want to stop hearing about racism? I’ll give you a starting point with a tweet I made today:

We all have racist thoughts/make racist “observations.” Instead of downplaying them or feeling guilt, acknowledge they’re STUPID & do better

That’s the simplest beginning. The moment you understand that thinking an African-American person is going to rob you just because they are black or a Muslim is going to hijack the plane simply because he or she calls the almighty “Allah” instead of “God” or “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or a Jewish person is going to swindle or cheat you or an Asian driver is going to do something stupid because somehow Asians are all bad drivers…well, you get the idea. Those notions are not true. If they were, the white majority in the United States would be in shitty shape. As it happens, they aren’t. There are plenty of white people who aren’t exactly swimming in financial or social comfort, but their numbers are not so great percentage-wise as the African-American, Hispanic, Arabic and other folks who deal with discrimination large and small every day.

The Earth isn’t flat, yet it wasn’t that long ago historically there was still a Flat Earth Society, and I bet there are people who still insist the world isn’t a globe. Dinosaurs didn’t live at the same time as humans, and the science bears that out (and no, atheists, as a side note, science doesn’t disprove God because science can no more disprove the spiritual world than I can prove it to you). All black people don’t think alike. Neither do all white people.

But if you, my fellow whites, don’t want to talk about racism anymore, actually end it. And that starts by owning your own ignorance when it arises and calling it for what it is.


And then try not to do that stupid thing again. It’s a policy that serves me well, and that’s why I don’t have too many people having to tell me to stop being so racist.

On the Lighter Side…a Pedestrian Rant

And no, I don’t mean “pedestrian” in terms of being a common, run-of-the-mill rant. I mean I need to rant about pedestrians. In this case, Maine pedestrians, who are the worst I’ve ever encountered in the process of living in five different states in my life (not counting Minnesota, because I only spent the first 3.5 years of my life there and have hardly ever driven there when on visits).

People of Maine, I want to give you some tips about crossing the street:

When you are crossing the street and cars are waiting for you to finish doing so (particularly when you a jay-walking), kindly walk straight across the street. Y’know…a 90-degree right angle from the curb. Stop walking at an extreme, exaggerated angle, especially if you’re strolling slowly. You only cause yourself to be in the street longer, instead of getting your business done quickly, thus increasing the chances someone will snap and just run you over one day. Or are you purposefully being passive-aggressive? I’d rather that you make that clear by giving me the finger as you walk so that I know you’re just a jerk instead of having no survival instinct.

When you do not have the light in your favor, particularly when there is a left-turn lane feeding onto the street you are about to cross, do not cross the street. Wait for your light. You only snarl up traffic (because the light doesn’t last long for turning vehicles) and run the risk of being accidentally or perhaps one day not-so-accidentally being run over.

The same applies when there is heavy traffic on the main straight-ahead lanes and the light isn’t with you. Why are you going to make all those cars stop just so that you don’t have to wait 30 seconds? Are you off to go save a life or something? Quit it!

And please, for the love of God, especially when you ignore the previous advice and cross against the light or jaywalk at an angle, please look before you cross. Stop blindly walking off the curb without any glance in any direction assuming that cars will (or more accurate assuming that they can) stop in time.


A Guy Who Would Like Not to Run Over Anyone…Ever

What to Say About Trayvon Martin…and George Zimmerman

I really wanted my wife to look this over before I posted it, but she’s a bit busy this week (hell, this summer), so I’ll just go with it, or it will be a moot point soon as it won’t be timely.

Before I get into the blog post proper, two things to note:

  1. I am not here to argue the legalities, the moralities or the details of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, though I will repeat some of my thoughts via Twitter since the jury handed down a “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch guy who shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin dead; the main reason for this post is to reach out to non-black people, particularly the white ones, about the issue of “what should you say?” (or not)
  2. To my black readers, who will probably read this too to make sure I haven’t lost my mind and am up to no-good, this is not a post in which I am trying to steal attention away from the aftermath of this case and bring it to myself. In fact, it is a post I am making only because my black wife suggested I probably should

So, how do I feel about the culmination about the Trayvon Martin case? Here’s what I said on Twitter in the 24 hours after the verdict came in, in chronological order:

  • July 13: Tonight marks a great victory for those who want to ensure that black people can continue to be assaulted/killed w/o fear of repercussions
  • July 13: Remember, if black person isn’t cooperating at 1st w/ your desire to “stand your ground” just keep following/harassing them until they do
  • July 14: Justice only for those with whom you identify or justice geared for majority is not justice at all. It is instead a pass to allow wrongdoing
  • July 14: Succinct, calm and clear–if you don’t get this, you’ll probably *never* get it RT White supremacy, meet Black rage
  • July 14: Supplement to previous tweet, black woman faces 20 yrs for firing *warning* shots near abusive husband, b/c denied Stand Your Ground defense
  • July 14: Even when Blacks *don’t* riot, they are fucked RT Right Wingers Post Fake Race Riot Video After Zimmerman Verdict
  • July 14: And, with that, I’m probably done posting about the Trayvon Martin verdict debacle. Will still mourn it & pray for Trayvon’s family though
  • July 14: No, it’s not that the issue doesn’t matter anymore. But I’ve said piece & as wife tweeted last night, allies must sometimes just stand aside

So, now you’re probably wondering, since I said I’ve spoken my piece already, “Why, Jeff, aren’t you shutting up like you said you would, and then stepping aside to let black folks work this out and have their say?”

Well, because I’m not really here to talk about this tragedy or my own place in it, except to note that the night of the verdict, I was useless. Utterly useless. I had intended to write some fiction. Instead, after hearing about the verdict, I was done. Toast. Yes, my wife and I talked about it a bit, but I couldn’t do anything else remotely useful that night (I wasn’t much better the next morning). Couldn’t write. Couldn’t watch a movie. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t play a game on my PC or phone. No, I could only just sit, with a stabbing pain in my temple and a churning in my gut, and stare into space.

I felt useless, and I felt helpless. I have a 21-year-old black stepson, who’s been in situations where he was a hair away from being a victim like Trayvon, without having done a thing to deserve being at risk of a beating or death. I have a nearly 8-year-old black daughter who will face her own challenges, many of them less potentially deadly than black males face, but still horrible. And no, I won’t call them biracial because society isn’t gonna…everyone who sees them in this society as it stands now will never see the white in them; only the black that their brown skin advertises (and marks them with stereotypes at times).

OK, I’ve said that. Why? Is this about me and my pain? No. My pain doesn’t matter one iota of defecation compared to the pain of Trayvon Martin’s family and the pain of black people who feel once again abandoned by the justice system.

Thing is, though, I didn’t know what to do or say, and there are probably a lot of non-black folks out there who didn’t agree with this killing or this verdict…especially white ones…who felt like crap when they heard the verdict but didn’t know what to say.

Say something.

Dammit, say something.

As my wife tweeted the day after the verdict, “your silence says more than an awkward statement would” (or something like that).

You don’t need to say much. You don’t need to pontificate. You don’t need to roll out empty platitudes like “I wish I could do something.”

You can.

Stand by the black community. Let them know you are sympathetic. Maybe you can’t change society, but show that you give a crap. Retweet a link to a story about how blacks are far less likely to be able to claim “stand your ground status” and how whites are way more likely to get off for killing a black person than vice-versa. Post on Facebook that you can’t imagine the pain but your thoughts are with Trayvon Martin’s family. Even if you say only one thing and it isn’t much, say it. Even if you might risk saying the wrong thing, say something.

Because I’ve seen only a very small percentage of people in my Twitter timeline who are white and are posting anything about this verdict.

You may not mean for your silence to mean anything, but it is more likely to be perceived as “not caring” than it is to be perceived as “respectful silence.”

Don’t make it about you. Don’t make a big to-do about it. But say something to show that you actually give a shit.