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Warning: This post contains use of extreme sarcasm.

Dear Certain White People:

Hi. Me again. You seem very defensive lately. Dare I say easily offended? Even fragile?

You say you feel attacked because of the color of your skin? Something you can’t change!

The nerve! How dare people judge you based on your appearance?

Let me assure you: You are a very special snowflake. Of course NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE are racist.

Surely no one can ever accuse you of racism when you are “just stating facts.” Like this:

And I FULLY understand that Aunt Jemima shouldn’t offend anyone as even her great grandson doesn’t want her image removed.

 

OF COURSE her image isn’t perpetuating the “mammy” stereotype and imagery of black servitude to whites. She was a REAL WOMAN, for crying out loud. It’s just pancake syrup!

And I HEAR YOU when you say your history is being destroyed when these LIBTARDS take down Confederate statues and remove the Confederate BATTLE flag. It’s HERITAGE NOT HATE. Yes, of course it is.

There, there.

I understand that equal rights must be like pie: More for others MUST mean less for you. That’s why you are so upset. All these things affect you personally. OF COURSE they do.

Shush now. It will be OK.

I’ll talk to that mean blogger friend of mine who tried to refute clear statements of fact such as, “If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we’d be racists.”

I mean, can you IMAGINE if white people wanted that? I’m not sure how it could be whiter than it is has been, but you should be able to find a way. You’re WHITE!

I UNDERSTAND that All Lives Matter. We are all EQUAL. OF COURSE we are. Systemic racism and COVID-19 are things dreamed up by those aforementioned LIBTARDS to whip people into a frenzy and distract from the REAL issue: That damn Hillary’s emails!

Here’s a white man talking about racism. Because OF COURSE.

I know, I know: It’s not FOX News or InfoWars. But he’s a good Christian!

No, I promise you ARE NOT embarrassing yourself. I know you’ve read important research like this.

You are in the right here, as you ALWAYS are. I DON’T UNDERSTAND why ANYONE would disagree with you. How DARE those SJWs! They’re just virtue signaling.

I’m SO SORRY you have to go through this. Things should just STAY THE SAME, amirite?

That unwillingness to evolve DOES NOT mean that you are racist. OF COURSE you aren’t. Some of your BEST FRIENDS are black.

Best wishes and warmest regards,
Beth

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Dear Schoolhouse Rock creators/artists/writers/musicians:

I grew up with your catchy songs that aid learning. (For Millennials and GenZ, it’s like the 1970s version of “Hamilton.”)

It should be no surprise that I’m partial to the grammar ones:

I mean, just TRY to get those out of your head.

I’ve been thinking about one in specific lately: The Great American Melting Pot.

And, even more specifically, these lyrics:

It doesn’t matter what your skin.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from,
Or your religion, you jump right in
To the great American melting pot.

Yeah. A bit idealistic, no?

People are actively protesting because skin color DOES matter. (When people say, “I don’t see color,” my eyes nearly roll out of my head. Of course you see skin color just like you notice if someone has brown hair. The key is not attaching JUDGMENT.)

And immigration … well. It’s like people want to say, “That’s it: America is closed.”

Don’t even get me started on religious bias.

So. I’m writing this because I’d really love a revival where you tackle thorny issues such as redlining, Jim Crow laws, Operation Mockingbird, First Amendment rights, white privilege, etc.

I feel like storytelling via music could come in handy here.

I remember when I first truly understood the concept of white privilege. I had walked a couple of blocks in downtown Atlanta and overheard three separate conversations among black people where the subject was race.

I went home that night and asked Eddie if he thinks about being Hispanic on a regular basis. He said he did. He’s been pulled over and asked to prove he’s legal, for example. He’s Puerto Rican, FFS.

And that’s when it clicked: I rarely thought about being white. And that’s a privilege. Now, of course, I’m hyperaware.

Not everyone has that moment of clarity. So I think it’s time for some lessons in your trademark accessible way.

Can you help?

Thank you for your consideration,
Beth

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Dear Readers:
Yes, this is another topical post (read: rant) about what is happening in America. The country is burning (literally and figuratively). Sorry, not sorry. A story about kayaking with the family can wait.
Beth

Police cruisers drove into a crown of people in Brooklyn. Yes, this actually happened.

Dear White People:

I’ve been fighting with some of you all week. I refuse to scroll past your inane posts and try to make nice. You can unfriend me, unfollow me, ignore me — whatever you have to do to be safe in your echo chamber. But I am not going to resist calling you out if you post something ignorant.

You say: What happened to George Floyd was wrong, but the looting and property damage has to stop.
I hear: Destroying property is worse than murder.
I respond: Reverse that sentence. Say instead, “Looting and property damage is wrong, but police brutality and murder have to stop.”

You say: People getting arrested at protests deserve it. They must have done something wrong.
I hear: I’m trying to find a reason to believe our institutions aren’t broken.
I respond: You have to face it: They are, in fact, broken. Police are reacting violently to police protests ABOUT POLICE VIOLENCE. Let that sink in. This is what happened to someone I know personally during a peaceful protest. By the way, the First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceable assembly.

You say: People who comply with police don’t get in trouble.
I hear: La la la la la — I’m not listening.
I respond: Even if/when people comply, they still get murdered. Also, let’s pretend for argument’s sake that someone HAS done something wrong — like pay with a counterfeit bill. Does DEATH fit that crime? (The right answer is “no,” you mongrels.)

You say: The mainstream media isn’t trustworthy.
I hear: I’m desperate to find excuses not to face the truth that Trump’s America is a disaster.
I respond: You’re wrong, as I explained in my last post. Listen to me. I know my stuff.

You say: All lives matter.
I hear: I don’t know why we should focus on black people when we are all equal.
I respond: We’re clearly not equal. White privilege exists. Start from the 1600s and go from there. If you need something bite-sized, read up on redlining.

You say: I haven’t experienced “white privilege.” I’ve worked hard for everything I have.
I hear: I don’t want to believe that I have it better by virtue of my skin color.
I respond: It’s not about hard work. It’s about starting in a different place by virtue of skin color. No, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be white, but you should understand the concept of systemic racism and work to make changes. Read this. Watch this:

I hope this helps. We have to work together to make America great again, and I guarantee it’s not Trump’s way.

Love,
Beth

Courtesy of Creative Nonfiction, here are some action items:

LEARN

ACT

 

SUPPORT

 

FOLLOW 

 

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Hey Y’all:

It’s come to Auntie Beth’s attention that some folks don’t understand how the mainstream media works. As Auntie Beth has more than two decades of experience as a journalist for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines (yeah, no spring chicken), she is here to help clear up confusion with some DOs and DON’Ts.

DO have a healthy suspicion of social institutions.
DON’T only get your news from alternative news networks. There are many sources of legitimate news. If you need help finding reputable sources, use this updated interactive media bias chart.

DO understand the criteria for newsworthiness:

  • Timeliness: News is new.
  • Proximity: The news hits close to home.
  • Conflict: There is some disagreement/opposition.
  • Prominence: Names make news.
  • Impact: The news is of consequence and is useful.
  • Novelty: There is a deviance from the norm.

DON’T wonder why the conversation has shifted from COVID-19 to protests when protests hit all the above criteria.

DO understand that media representatives use the criteria to choose what to cover (see Agenda-setting Theory in communication studies). There aren’t enough staff or hours in a day to cover everything that is newsworthy. So editors, reporters, managers, producers, etc. have to make some hard decisions. These are economic/structural forces beyond the individual journalist (see Hierarchy of Influences model above).
DON’T mistake this for telling people what to think about what gets covered. In 1963, author/scholar Bernard Cohen said, “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” But again, it’s not willy nilly and based on bias. Also, no one is controlling you.

DO understand that the way to combat this structural issue is to get your news from many sources. Again, the key here is choosing reputable sources — usually the mainstream media as there is an attempt at objectivity. Therein lies the bigger picture of what is happening in the community, region, nation and world.
DON’T get your news from Info Wars or Wonkette and think you know what’s really going on.

DO understand that news is an industry with many, many employees.
DON’T believe that every person working in this industry is part of some elaborate conspiracy theory.

DO know that news owners/folks in charge typically don’t get involved in day-to-day reporting and news coverage. (Exception: Sinclair Broadcasting.)
DON’T believe Auntie Beth? She’s happy to send you her dissertation that delves into this exact topic. That’s right: Auntie Beth has a Ph.D. in journalism and mass communications.

The findings of this study are in opposition to the ‘powerful pressure’ idea that the dominant ideology of the status quo finds its way down to the news product via the highest levels of the media organization: the owners who represent the status quo (Sutter, 2001; Iggers, 1999; Herman & Chomsky, 1988; Smith, 1988; Bagdikian, 1985).

DO understand that mainstream media reporters are literally risking their lives to cover what is happening in our world.
DON’T disrespect them by calling their work “fake news.” Don’t let the President of the United States (!) work you into a frenzy for his own ends. The mainstream media is not the “enemy of the people.” News he doesn’t like is not “fake.”

DO think carefully before you post something possibly incendiary.
DON’T run from dialogue if you go ahead and post it.

DO have an open mind. Be ready to admit you are wrong if someone who has actual experience tries to explain how things work — even if this flies in the face of the conspiracy theories you’ve been swallowing.
DON’T double down and tag Auntie Beth in something you think proves your point.

DO listen to someone who works in the industry you are criticizing.
DON’T watch a YouTube video and think you know everything. You didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.

DO understand that Auntie Beth is a living, breathing human being. In fact, High School Friend has known Auntie Beth since eighth grade and knows she is trustworthy. HSF also should know by now that Auntie Beth speaks her mind.
DON’T try to “other” her so you don’t have to pay attention.

Auntie Beth understands it’s a big industry. Not everyone in it acts responsibly or ethically. But Auntie Beth believes in the importance of the Fourth Estate.

If you have any questions, Auntie Beth is here for you. She also can call on any of her dozens of current and former colleagues at the national and local level to help set your mind at ease.

Happy watching/reading!

 

 

 

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Today is Sunday. I usually post something innocuous about teenagers or Coronacation or whatnot.

But today I don’t wanna.

It would be tone deaf to whine about Dominic using every pan in the house to make an egg sandwich when a man has died from a cop kneeling on his neck.

Yet another black man.

Yet another cop.

How terrible is that?

When will it end?

I’m mad that a black CNN reporter covering protests was arrested before the white Minneapolis cop who killed George Floyd was.

I’m mad at people saying protests should be peaceful when they absolutely crucified Colin Kaepernick.

I’m mad at police shooting rubber bullets into crowds of peaceful protestors, using tear gas, escalating violence.

I’m mad at a white male high school “friend” who wants to mansplain everything to everyone all the time, even about race.

I’m mad at another high school “friend” telling people how the mainstream media operates when she has never spent a day in a newsroom.

I’m mad at the white lady in Publix who told Eddie she doesn’t understand the protesting: “I mean, these people! Didn’t we just have a black president?”

I’m mad that systemic racism clearly exists, but there are still people who deny its existence.

I’m mad at Trump. Perpetually. I want him to STFU and anyone who supports him/agrees with him to GTFO.

There’s plenty going on in my life. Fun stuff to write about. But maybe later.

Right now, there are bigger things going on, even just down the road in Atlanta.

I’m phenotypically white. I can’t change that. I have no idea what it is like to be a person of color in this country. So at the very least, I can STFU and listen to what people who do have to say.

America is broken, and I don’t know what to do about it except:

1. Listen to other people’s stories, believe them and learn.
2. Call out people on their bullshit.
3. Harass Contact elected officials about important issues.
4. Research candidates and vote in EVERY SINGLE ELECTION.
5. Be an ally every day.

Black lives matter.

And I’m sorry that things are STILL not remotely equal. In 2020.

Love,
Angry Beth

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Hey Y’all!

I’m inspired by Jeff Foxworthy’s bit about rednecks. Here’s my take on hypocrites.

If you think private businesses can make their own rules (i.e., not making a cake for a gay couple) but then get angry that a business wants you to wear a mask, you might be a hypocrite.

If you think crossing the border illegally to provide for your family is wrong, but refusing government orders to close your business because you need to provide for your family is ok, you might be a hypocrite.

If you think a woman’s right to choose what happens with her body should be subject to government regulations, but you protest government regulations regarding your right to choose where you can go (i.e., shop), you might be a hypocrite.

If you are staunchly pro-life and want to see abortions criminalized but are ok with some elderly people dying as a consequence of jumpstarting the economy, you might be a hypocrite.

If you think Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in protest is inappropriate, but you protest government shelter-in-place orders, you might be a hypocrite.

If you wear a mask while protesting, you might be a hypocrite.

If you rail against government handouts but now are desperate to get your stimulus check and/or unemployment, you might be a hypocrite.

If it’s ok with you to have the government mail you a stimulus check (and passports and IDs) but not a ballot, you might be a hypocrite.

If you are trusting scientists about prescription drugs but not climate change, you might be a hypocrite.

If you love Trump calling people names but don’t like it when Pelosi does, you might be a hypocrite.

If you mourned nearly 3,000 people dying on 9/11 but not the 3,000+ dying every day from COVID-19, you might be a hypocrite.

If you didn’t think it was ok to allow the president to have a Supreme Court pick in an election year in 2016, but it’s ok in 2020, you might be a hypocrite.

If you didn’t believe Christine Blasey Ford but believe Tara Reade, you might be a hypocrite.

Similarly, if you believe Christine Blasey Ford but don’t believe Tara Reade, you might be a hypocrite (or maybe not).

If you made it to the end, great! Thanks for reading.

I’m really not trying to pick a fight. I’m just asking everyone to really consider actions/reactions — especially right now.

Kthxbyeeee,
Beth

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Dear People in a Certain Facebook Group,

Thank you for bringing me joy during the Coronapocalypse. I am not a fan of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. It’s not his politics as much as it is that I think he might be a beer short of a six pack. He’s also shady as hell. (My blog = my opinion; you disagree = stop reading, or we can have a rational debate.)

I’m also not a fan of our president. He was fine on “Celebrity Apprentice.” He’s not fine as leader of the United States. It’s like a pervy drunk uncle is running the country. (Spoiler: I didn’t vote for him. You know, because of silly reasons, really: racism, misogyny, narcissism, etc.)

So imagine my surprise and GLEE when my two dislikes collided on this page, thanks to a new member. In his first HOUR of joining, he made his first post.

I HOWLED. And as I started scrolling through the comments, I started doing that smoker’s laugh I do when I’m really amused. That led to cry-laughing.



Yes, it is completely disrespectful (not like the target of these names has any respect for the office, but I get it).

Yes, I know that I objected when people on the right did this to Obama (seriously: no better name than “Obummer?”).

Yes, we should all behave more like responsible adults.

But DAMN if this isn’t funny to me.

So thank you for your existence.

Yours in shared contempt,
Beth

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Dear Gov. Kemp:

Can I call you Brian? What about Ronald ’cause YOU’RE A CLOWN.

Right. I’m not a comedian. Got it.

Look, I understand that I’m not running the state (not that you really are either, with any success, in my opinion). I understand that you are trying to balance pressure from a variety of sources. I understand that you can’t please everyone.

But dude, the CDC is — as we say in the South — just down the road a piece.

I’m not a scientist (in this case, being a communications researcher doesn’t count), so I will believe those who are. And you can’t swing a cat without hitting one at the CDC. So I’m guessing NO ONE was surprised at this headline after you “reopened” Georgia last week.

Even Trump criticized you. Trump! That’s a surprise.

And you’re doubling down. That’s not a surprise.

In my mind, your actions led to this:

That’s from last weekend, Gov. That’s a flock of people who don’t care about social distancing. Many of them were out to watch the Blue Angels’ tribute to health workers.

Um.

  1. If you don’t want people to gather, don’t stage this event!
  2. That flyover cost taxpayer money that I — a taxpayer — would prefer benefit small businesses.

I’m not blaming you for the Saturday event. I am blaming you for letting people think the fight against Coronavirus is over. It’s clearly not.

I mean, I guess I should be happy that I’m in Atlanta, instead of cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Lansing and Raleigh where people are protesting stay-at-home orders, claiming it is an overreaction. Of course, they are doing this WHILE WEARING MASKS.

 🙄

Listen, I’ve been trying really hard not to write about politics here. (In fact, it has been more than three years.) In these polarized times, any criticism of a Republican brings on name calling of the “libtard” and “snowflake” variety (among other names not suitable for a family blog). I’m technically an independent voter. I do, in fact, think for myself when I vote, instead of voting along party lines. But, full disclosure, I didn’t vote for you because I think you are kinda dumb, just like the masked protesters.

Sorry. Not sorry.

You know what Forrest Gump’s mama always said.

You can fix that by listening to people who know more about a subject than you do.

I know you want Georgia to be No. 1 in something.

Can it just not be cases of COVID-19 and deaths?

Thanks for your consideration,
Beth, a registered voter who has a valid ID and votes in every election

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Dear DeKalb County:

I’m intrigued and impressed by your jury processing. I guess with a population of 752,088, you need to have your act together.

On Monday, I arrived at the courthouse as Juror 401 of 1,001 called. That’s a shocking number. In my experience in Chatham County, I had to call every night to see if my number was up the next day.

Not y’all.

You call everyone in.

Judges and attorneys get one day to make a decision to field a jury. And that’s genius because it puts pressure on people to settle.

While I waited to see if I was chosen (and by the way, I am NEVER chosen), I had the pleasure <sarcasm alert> of sitting between two of the kinds of people I hate: A guy watching videos with no headphones and a woman talking loudly on her phone.

Why, Sir? Why must you torture me?

The other people in the room were sitting quietly. But I was sandwiched between these two.

And the guy sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME, even though there were dozens of empty spaces all over the room. He was so close, I could smell his chicken-biscuit breath. I had to move down one chair.

It happens all the time. I can be in an empty movie theater, and the only other person will sit one seat over.

Why don’t people understand personal space?

[Insert deep cleansing breath.]

I’m not sure this is common practice, but it was surprising to me that one of the judges emerged to test out what he thought was a rousing stand-up routine.

It was, predictably, about civic duty and, unpredictably, the importance of driving under the speed limit.

At least my seat neighbors silenced themselves for the occasion.

A little while later, I was dismissed. My case was settled while I was seething.

But that part was not your fault, DeKalb County. You made the process as painless as possible.

See you in two years!
Beth

 

 

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Dear Readers:

You know how excited I get when I have a guest post. Today, I’m pleased to present one from Disgruntled Danny, a lovely-despite-the-moniker person I met while pursuing my passion for a particular U.K. band.

He’s pissed about the lack of road repairs in Chell Heath, the borough he’s called home for 12 years.

Here he is, in rare form. Enjoy!
Beth

 

“Harry Pothole and the Tarmac of Terror” and other tales
Guest post by Daniel Harrowven

Misery, frustration and disappointment. For most British people these are our default settings, but on a Friday morning in early May these emotions were amplified.

The reason? I had just read the results of the local government elections and, as feared, my local councillor had been re-elected.

For the last nine years, since my councillor was first voted into office, Chell has gone from being “a little bit rough” to a town that can now offer visitors an experience akin to Kabul circa 2003.

How did this happen?

Chell Heath is a Safe Seat. Many of the families in the area have lived here for generations and they always vote for the same political party. They are afraid of change. As long as nothing improves, they can continue to blame all their problems on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (She was forced out of office in 1990 and has done nothing at all since 2013 on account of her being dead.)

I was inspired to act whilst driving home one evening. Listening to the latest CD by Jesse’s Divide, I suddenly felt my spine shatter, thumbs dislocate and the CD skip, causing me to wonder whether I had suffered a brief blackout.

No.

I had driven over one of Chell Heath’s impressive (and growing) number of potholes.

Danny recreates his death-defying drive.

In mainland Europe and the U.S.A., drivers drive on the right of the road.

In the U.K., drivers drive on the left of the road.

In Chell Heath, we drive on what is left of the road.

The following day, I went back to the pothole and had my long-suffering wife photograph me pretending to punch the pothole.

Disgruntled Danny, Superhero

I posted the photo to my Facebook wall and the Facebook page of my local council.

And became an Internet troll.

Lately, my trolling has taken the form of movie treatments and posters fitting the pothole agenda.

 

Here’s a medley:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How much of a stir has this trolling caused within the council? Have I been asked to remove the posts? Been offered a meeting to discuss my grievances?

No.

I have had no response whatsoever.

Not even a “Sod off and bother someone else.”

But one person did take notice. Rathi Pragasam, the woman who ran against my councillor — the woman for whom I voted — found my pothole series amusing. So it came to pass (that sounds a bit biblical!) that Rathi visited me recently to discuss my rantings.

To be clear, she is not elected, has no power or authority in the ward, but within 24 hours she had contacted parliament (WTF!), arranged funding, and now the potholes are due to be repaired in the coming weeks.

All more than anyone on the council did.

I understand that there will always be bigger problems than some holes in the road, but little victories make life slightly more bearable.

And writing this has been a joy, because for 40 minutes I, a British person, have not had to talk about Brexit.

 

 

 

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