Thursday, March 5, 2020

Death of a Friend

The past week has been a hell of a year. Perhaps you had read my guide as to what to do when you find out that one of your best friends is an “alleged” sexual predator. Perhaps at the time, I was feeling every emotion at the same time, and I cannot say I’m completely over those feelings.

Now let’s explore another hypothetical situation. Let’s say that throughout the week, others came forward, either to you or your other friends, telling you what he had said or sent them. Your eyes cannot unsee that, nor do you want them to. You need to know what happened, because you feel like you need to make amends for what he did, but you have no idea how to do that, since you did none of these acts. On the same token, you don’t want to see any more, because it keeps getting worse. You likely are paralyzed with the guilt of not knowing what to do.

What is your responsibility? I honestly do not know. I do know that all the women who came forward need and deserve all the support that they can get, whether you know them or not. The difficult part is that you don’t know them personally. Tracking them down and reaching out could re-traumatize them, also. All you can do, in most cases, is hope that they are being supported.

The next thing you think about is what needs to be done to make sure your friend never harasses or assaults women again. I like to believe in rehabilitation. There should be a long road before someone is completely beyond help. This is This is where the largest conundrum comes. Do you stick to your friend and make sure he gets whatever he needs to not do what he has done? Do you leave him and tell him he needs to find that help on his own? The fact is that he likely won’t get better without support. So will you be that support, or not? What kind of friend are you if you don’t give him that support?

But what kind of friend was he? Some of those women are also your friends. Associating with a known “alleged” sexual predator, THEIR predator, is not being a good friend to them, is it? How could you look them in the eye and still associate with their “alleged” assailant? But how could you call yourself a friend if you abandon your friend who so obviously needs some support to rehabilitate?

There is no perfect answer to questions like these. It is just a matter of the choice: stick with your friend and possibly be the support he needs to be better, or not. You will not feel good either way. The only things that are definite are that the people who came forward regarding his advances and worse need to feel safe again, whether you are part of that path or not. Also, one of your closest friends, who “allegedly” sexually harassed and possibly assaulted people, needs to never do it again, and though it is his responsibility, you feel compelled. You get multiple emails and calls from people telling you to not internalize all this, to know that you are not the one who hurt these women, and it was his choice to do that. You understand that, and you try your best to not take in all of that responsibility that is not really yours, and you are trying to not, but it is admittedly difficult.

Then, perhaps, this friend came out publicly with a statement through a local media outlet, and implicated a person who had nothing to do with the exposure of his actions in casting the bad light on him. Maybe there was no admission of guilt, and no owning of all the actions that came to light, just throwing someone under the bus who had nothing to do with the situation. At that point, maybe your decision was made for you. There’s a good chance you are finished with him. There is no way you can talk to him until he owns his actions and apologizes to the multiple people he tried to blame for exposing his own actions and makes right with them, in whatever form that takes. You are done, and he is finished in your mind. Problem solved. But why do you still feel like hell? Why does your gut have the same feeling you had when one of your friends died of leukemia?

Because your friend, who you trusted, who you defended against detractors, isn’t dead. He never existed. You defended a fa├žade of a person all this time. And you will forever feel indebted to the people he hurt, no matter how much people tell you otherwise.

I can’t tell you how to move on from this, but I’ll let you know if I figure that out.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Steps to Take When You Find Out One of Your Best Friends Is an "AlLeGeD" Sexual Predator

  1. Listen to the victims’ accounts.
  2. Get nauseous, angry, and morose simultaneously.
  3. Ask him “What the fuck”, and wait impatiently for his response.
  4. Reread the victims’ accounts, and not give a damn about what he says, because now you are recalling all of the good times you had developing a friendship, and reading the testimonies of these people he “allegedly” hurt, and are coming to the awareness that these things happened in parallel to each other throughout the years.
  5. Cry a little.
  6. Feel guilty for crying.
  7. Recollect all the warning signs that you shrugged off as “quirks”. And feel betrayed by the facade.
  8. Realize that you know some of the women, and feel like you betrayed them.
  9. Recall the time you were assaulted and had no one to help you. Recall the second time you were assaulted and you DID speak up, and it nearly cost you your job. Think, "Is this a good time to even bring this up?" And then decide not to.
  10. Cry a little more.
  11. Remember that none of this shit is about you or him. It is about his victims, and you need to  heed to what they say. Give them space if they want space. Listen to them if they want to be heard. If they want to let it all out in a flood of tears, then have some tissues ready. And for the love of everything, do better, because you obviously were slacking.
  12. Probably find a therapist, because holy shit...

Friday, January 25, 2019

Cloudy with a Chance of Negroes

Jeremy Kappell finally blocked me. I’ve been sending him Martin Luther King speeches that flesh out the shallow Martin Luther King memes he’s been posting since he was fired for (accidentally) calling him a “coon” on live television. I’ve also been sending him essays from James Baldwin and Angela Davis. I sent him links to books like “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”. I sent him a few articles that explicitly articulated how lazy and boring it is to continue to depict Martin Luther King as some sort of saintly figure that everyone loved, when the complete opposite was the case. I highly doubt he paid attention to any of that information.

It seems the breaking straw was when I responded to him (finally) meeting with a prominent black person in the community, and his takeaway was that she was "over-sensitive" to racism and and blind to "REAL" racism. Because what the world needs is another oblivious white man to tell black folks how and when to react to HIS definition of racism.

His actions spoke to that. He did everything that every white person does when caught doing something egregiously racist, accident or not. So here is a list of things you should NOT do, should you find yourself in a pickle because you transposed the first letters of “Neil Rigger”:
  1. DO NOT claim that the people who heard/saw you do the racist thing didn’t hear/see what they heard/saw. We are not idiots, and we can detect your gaslighting a mile away. DO learn how what you did is problematic, and own that.
  2. DO NOT make your apology about you and how you are hurting. We don’t give a fuck. Also, DO NOT use terms like “if I hurt you”. The second you put “if” in an apology, you make your apology conditional, and you cast doubt on the people to whom you owe an apology. DO tell the people affected by your words that you are sorry.
  3. DO NOT expect things to go back to “normal” just because you apologized. If you break a vase, you may be able to glue it back together, but people will still see the cracks. Even if someone forgives you, no one owes you shit. DO make strides to be better THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS.
  4. DO NOT try to get “forgiveness” from people outside the community you hurt. It does not matter how famous representatives of a minority group you got on “your side”. Minorities are not a hive mind, and their opinions are based on what you gave them to ponder. So one or two of their opinions mean nothing to what you did. DO seek out people IN your community and see what you can do to be better.
  5. DO NOT think that boasting about a bunch of interactions with the minority group you slighted is “building bridges”. This is what I call “pulling a Lonsberry”. Bob Lonsberry regularly finds a negro with whom to take a selfie. Light negroes, dark negroes, faux negroes, real negroes, rich negroes, poor negroes, house negroes, field negores. All negroes he can. That doesn’t erase the horrible things he has said about Puerto Ricans, or the condescending tone he uses to talk about black folks, or the pictures of urban squalor that he takes during his “runs”, ot the fact that HE CALLED A BLACK MAYOR AN ORANGUTAN. It speaks volumes to what you think of people that you believe they would fall for such a vapid action. We are not props for your redemption tour. DO engage in discussions with people, and learn about what they need and how you can help.
  6. DO NOT think you have ANY business telling a member of a minority group what “real oppression” is. You have their oppression, so you have no business speaking on it. Perhaps hearing about the myriad of ways someone experiences racism/sexism/homophobia/ableism is painful to your delicate ears. Good. It is 100x more painful to experience it day to day than it is for you to hear it. Sometimes a small thing like someone screaming “nigger” at you will snowball into you on the ground with a bruised abdomen and a gun to you head. You never know. But listen. You might learn something. Railing about “political correctness” inevitably makes you look like an asshole who doesn’t care. Try respecting what someone tells you.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The SNITCH Act: for White Folks Who Call Cops on Black Folks Minding Their Damn Business

Image courtesy of
I am tired, y’all…Damn near every week, I hear a story about police who interrupted a black person (or any other shade of brown) from doing something mundane, be it waiting in a coffee shop or sitting in a park. The Starbucks incident was not an anomaly.
A pair of Native American brothers were questioned on a Colorado State University tour because they were too quiet. Talking was not required for this tour, and if you’ve ever been on a college tour, you usually want to keep quiet so that you can LISTEN TO THE TOUR GUIDE. It wasn’t the tour guide who called the cops; it was a parent of someone on the tour guide. It’s bad enough that the university was likely built on the graves of someone’s ancestors, but to have their legitimacy question for being polite? What the hell?
This week, a black Yale grad student was questioned in her own dorm because she was sleeping in a common study area. Before anyone claims that she should have slept in her room, and this would have been avoided, 1.) fuck you, and 2.) College kids live on naps. They sleep wherever they can whenever they can. The library, the dark corner of the cafeteria, under a work bench in the engineering building, in the foyer of the science building; EVERY part of a campus is fair game. The black woman who was studying in the common room and took a quick nap did what every other college student does. How dare she be human???
One woman in Oakland had the caucasity to not only harass a group of black people barbecuing in the park, but when the police didn’t come for 2 hours (because barbecuing while black is NOT a crime), she made up a story of how THEY were harassing HER, and then when she found a cop, she started crying on command.
These are examples of inconvenience. I could go on with my personal experiences of being “suspicious” while enoying life. A brother can’t even walk his baby in a stroller in peace. Sometimes these calls end in death, like when a mentally ill but harmless black staple of a Brooklyn neighborhood was gunned down because a white person thought the shower head he was carrying was a gun. I guarantee that there will be no punishment for the officer OR the person who called.
And that is the problem. Part of the tensions between police and people of color are caused by people calling the cops when they are not needed. No one likes their schedule interrupted for bullshit, even if their schedule is reading a book in their own car. It wouldn’t be a big deal if white folks were ecumenical with their nervousness and called the police on white folks who were minding their goddamn business as well. I straight up saw a bunch of white kids skateboard INSIDE a store, past a sign that explicitly said, “no skateboards or bikes”, but no one lifted a finger, and the shop owner was too busy eyeing me looking at a shirt, which is what you are supposed to do when shopping for shirts. It wouldn’t be a big deal if our lives were not in jeopardy with these calls, and the misjudgment of the slightest movement, like reaching for our identification, could be the last thing we ever do.
For this reason, there needs to be a punishment system for white folks who call the police on us for living. We need to push for legislation that. With much thanks to a friend for the name, I propose the “Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Helen”, or the SNITCH Act, for short. People who violate the SNITCH Act would be severly punished. But since fining and jailing people never goes over well, and since Americans HATE apologizing, why not have a tiered system that will hit these SNITCHers where it hurts?
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 0 TO 3 HOURS: White caller is not allowed to talk about The Wire or Breaking Bad for a week.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 4–7 HOURS: Previous punishment, and no Taylor Swift for one month.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 7–10 HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must watch both the original “Roots” and the 2016 remake.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 11+ HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must delete pictures of them in Africa, Asia, and South America with little brown kids.
IF POC IS HANDCUFFED: All previous punishments, and caller must surrender all Sriracha from home and office.
IF POC IS ARRESTED: All previous punishments, and caller is banned from purchasing avocado products for a year.
IF POC IS KILLED: All previous punishments, and caller must wear a locket with a picture of the person for whose death they are indirectly responsible for the rest of their lives. Also, no more brunch.
I should call my local lawmaker right now. We need to get the SNITCH Act pushed through and signed. However, I’m typing this and laughing quietly to myself, so I should expect someone to suspect me of robbing this coffee shop any second now. Until then, Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Heather.
Stop SNITCHing.

Eric, You Ignorant Slut

Eric Schneiderman didn’t have to be an abuser. He did that all on his own.

Schneiderman, the NYS attorney general who filed cases against trump regarding sexual allegations and misappropriating funds, resigned after several women came forth with allegations of their own. They all claimed that Schneiderman beat, hit, or slapped them, not at work, but during sex. They all claimed it came from out of nowhere. What the unholy hell, Schneiderman?

It sounds like Schneiderman has a kink. He likes a little rough play. It’s a kink. Kinks are fine. Nobody wants to admit it, but a LOT of people have a kink of some sort. That Schneiderman’s was rough play is not a big deal. What IS a big deal, is that he DIDN’T TELL HIS PARTNERS before engaging in his kink. So now he is out of a job, because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. No one should feel bad for him.

We SHOULD feel bad for the kink community. Actions like Schneiderman’s are why the “kink community” is portrayed as a morally bankrupt group of people who need to create their own secret networks and sometimes use aliases in searching for like-minded people. Sexually conservative people will point this out as an example of why people should be punished for having a quirky thing they like to do during sex, and why sex should ONLY be for procreation, and anyone who veers from that goal deserves all the physical and social punishment that they may receive should it be exposed that they are into a quirky thing. The irony is that it is a guarantee that those conservative soap boxers are also the ones with “quirky things”. Regardless, the kink community will be demonized and shamed some more.

The problem is that this could have been easily resolved, and it would not have been a big deal, had Schneiderman just told the women he hit in bed that he likes to do that. If they were up for it, they would have gone with him. If not, then they could have finished their duck a l’orange and go their separate ways. His statement was trash, as he didn’t even acknowledge that what he did was wrong. “In the privacy of intimate relationships”, he said, “I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity…I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

But he DID! Those women consented to sex, not getting hit during sex. Because of that, he crossed a line, and he IS an abuser. I don’t know why men have such a hard time understanding consent. They either think it is an impossible cryptex, or they think that once “yes” is said once that it’s a golden ticket to ALL parts of the Chocolate Factory. Consent is neither, and all you have to do is talk to someone to know that. America is so sexually repressed that we can’t even talk about sex openly to discuss this. Sex education needs to be done in and out of schools, and it need to be more than teachers saying, “Wait until marriage or you’re a slut…except you, Chad; you’re the man”, or parents saying, “IDK, just wrap it up; I don’t wanna be a granddad early”, or just saying nothing. ADULTS need sex education classes to unlearn all the bullshit they were taught when they were kids. I’ll bet all types of assaults would go down if this country were more open about sexuality. It is not enough to point someone to Google to learn. Teenagers and adults (especially cishet men) need to sit in a class and learn/re-learn sex and sexuality, or things like this will keep happening.

Schneiderman had consent to have sex, and all he had to do was ask, “Hey, are you into rough shit, like slapping?”, and he would still have a job. Now he is jobless, an abuser (at best), and in not understanding how consent works, he pretty much put kink on trial. Again.
Eric, you ignorant slut.

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