Cornel West — Public Intellectual Labor versus Academic Labor

I laugh to myself when I hear some academics agree with Michael Eric Dyson’s assertion that Cornel West has not produced any significant scholarship in years and that somehow makes Cornel academically unproductive. What have many of these critics produced? Perhaps a dissertation followed by a book at most. Who really reads their book? Perhaps an auntie, two friends, and fifty persons on the publisher’s subscription list.

These academics understand well that it is difficult or impossible to balance academic scholarship production, mentor young academics, mentor fans, serve on college committees, regularly accept local and international speaking engagements from which the college benefits, take care of family, take care of physical body, attend to mental health, and consistently serve the community as a grassroots activist. Cornel West balanced all these things and excelled. Yet these academics continue to point out that he has abandoned academic principles.

What do they mean? I don’t know. For what is the purpose of academic utility if it devalues the relationship of scholarship productions and accessibility to everyday people. If regular people do not understand how to enact fancy theories in academic productions in order to mobilize change, what does that say about the goals of academic labor?

Parts of the culture of higher education so annoys me—the snobbery, the laziness when it comes to engaging everyday people, the cowardice as it concerns the need to boldly articulate political positions without dodging behind other people’s quotations, and the tunnel-vision mindset that only values the production of consistent scholarship.

Some of these academics will tell you that it is not their passion to engage with everyday people. They argue that scholarship production by itself is intellectual activism. By expanding the notion of activism to include themselves, these scholars benefit by adding it to their CVs, resumes, and interview revelations. All in all, it makes their academic portfolio looks diverse: they have been eating bread and butter with the common folk, thus remedying their elitist-privilege guilt.

Observing this widespread 21st Century intellectual hustle, I can’t be mad, because academia, like many other corporatized spaces, is a hustling ground, purporting to be a venue of moralizing knowledge access, and a philanthropic service space. But that won’t stop me from wondering—how can they truly investigate the people they attempt to theorize without a commitment to engage those people frequently?

I, for instance, notice some academics claim they are studying people of color. Hearing their conversations, you realize they have an interest in issues of color that are written in books but not necessarily people of color. Indeed they can tell you everything about Rigoberta Menchú, Indira Gandhi, Junot Diaz, and James Baldwin. Yet they have no friends or close associate who are people of color. They have never visited or slept over in a community of color. And they make no commitment to understand the everyday, unwritten, sociologies of people of color. They suffer no guilt; because, in their heads, they are occupying spaces of color in archives and books. What more do you want them to do?!, they are perhaps saying now.

Nevertheless, the system of tenureship and professorial awards, in many cases, rewards academics who skillfully deploy all these annoying characteristics I highlighted. Many college professors are the finest when it comes to digging through archives and synthesizing theories to formulate published research-paper sociologies that affect lives. But many of these same ones are horrible at teaching, they have no intention to address their pedagogical disabilities, they consistently score low on teachers evaluations, and they do not have the skills and just don’t care about mingling with everyday people with grassroots access.

The problem is that as early as my community-college-education years, I realized such professors often are the department bulldogs, the gatekeepers of tenureship for other scholars who are not only doing research but are also bringing their message to the public in the way Cornel does. This is one of the many reasons I decided to do doctoral studies. I wanted to learn about what these professors know and be able to translate new knowledge to people with grassroots access. Do I regret my decision to do doctoral studies? Absolutely not. I am having the fun of my life, but things need to be said.

Cornel’s methods might not be always polite to or respectful of those who value political strategies different from his, but shouldn’t public-intellectual labor be respected as academic labor? Yes, Cornel has said some nasty things about Michael Eric Dyson, who has the right to return the literary nastiness. Dyson’s The Ghost of Cornel West and his supporters’ views, however, have made us aware of their lack of appreciation for academic labor whenever it shares a physical space with peoples who have grassroots access.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters, Uncategorized

Hypocrisy Around the Floyd Mayweather Conversations

I find it interesting–the coalition, consensus, aggressive activism, and flooding of responses through twittering and facebooking that condemn Floyd Mayweather’s criminality. Should he be condemned? Indeed, yes. But what concerns me is the unintentional, inadvertent, publicity of the public’s shortsightedness and perhaps its immorality as it declares its own allegiance to a moralizing position against gender violence. I mean to suggest that we identify the vacancy that urgently needs occupants whose residential mortgages will pool to address the violence similar to Mayweather’s.

(1) The violence of Obama’s unquestioned drone attacks and murders on peoples outside America. Which also means, the violence of silent Americans and Caribbean persons who need to understand that violence shouldn’t denote a different moral logic because of its status as nationalized, transnationalized, or globalized.

(2) The violence perpetrated by top politicians, such as Hilary Clinton, who continue to accept donations from political regimes such as Saudi Arabia, which sponsors inequality and violence against women.

(3) The violence of corporations and their wealthy executives who earn profit and privilege by guaranteeing low production costs and high returns on stock investments. These costs and investments benefits are possible because production is shipped overseas to Asian territories where political structures are sexist and often perpetrate violence, rapes, and assassinations against women and child workers.

(4) The violence of public institutions of higher education such as the one I attend, CUNY, that invest funds into organizations that manage their investment portfolios. These organizations maximize returns by placing higher education investments into prison industries. To be noted is that the public’s money ensures that prisons fail to act as corrective institutions. Rather, prisons’ fundamental missions become aligned to framing their image as attractive investment instruments.

The logic and evidence of this shows that politicians aggressively patronize the lobbyist wishes of prison unions and corporate elites that maintain a vested interest in preserving prison laws that maximize prison terms and deny justice to jailed convicts. Overcrowded prisons, therefore, are disastrous for women of color, but excellent for politicians and executives of higher education.

I wish to emphasize my point that we should continue to condemn Floyd Mayweather. But while doing so, we would benefit from questioning what motivates our agitation, and whether we have widened the critical lenses needed to locate similar and larger violence that continue to disable far greater numbers of women. Failure to do so leaves us like moral missionaries that invaded, colonized, and enslaved peoples of the “New World” yet justify the crimes as godly. And we might argue the missionaries weren’t aware they were committing crimes. And I would say, why didn’t they treat the people of their own world in the way they treated the peoples they conquered in the New World.

Posted in Politics Education, Uncategorized

Solidarity With Baltimore Protestors. Resist White Wisdom

The same narrative told to blacks to behave themselves and allow justice to run its course is the same meat of white wisdom given to plantation slaves for centuries. In the 21st century, police and prosecutors lynch the lives and opportunities of people of color daily. We see the video proofs that make us scream. Yet for each scream, people of color never get justice. In fact, white wisdom tells us that our screams are racist or too focused on race.

White wisdom in the 21st is not only telling people of color to allow the justice system to operate, it is also humiliating people of color who dare to demand too much justice from the justice system. The humiliation brands critics as unreasonable, too close to aggressive blackness (for instance), too affirming of unstablished blackness, not corporately driven, not ambitious one bit.

To be upwardly mobile in society, therefore, many people of color have employed white wisdom and stayed far from what they consider to be controversial discourse. Topics surrounding race and freedoms are thrown beneath the bus of politics though these people continue to benefit immensely from controversial discourses others deploy. Many whites seem more comfortable these days talking about the theory of race (not the facts of what happens in racialized communities) than many people of color.

Race politics has long been branded as a dirty word when marginalized classes engage it. But when the rich and white engage race politics, they are rewarded with power and fame. They are considered as pioneers enacting diversity reform. (Don’t get me started on this DIVERSITY word because I don’t know what the fuck it means these days because I could say I am diverse if I can prove I have a fetish for wearing my socks until they are really nasty stink.) The rich and white—which means the mainstream media as well—want to be the only ones shaping the talk about racism in America.

So I’m not shocked that large numbers of people of color have not fully grasped that rich and white agenda. These people of color have bought into the media narrative that the majority of the Baltimore protestors are violent. I deeply worry that many people of color are not learning. Why can’t they decode the ole rules of the ole white media playbook? Why can’t they remember—that’s all: just at least try to remember—the consistent rich and white efforts designed to paralyze and rebrand activisms by people of color.

To enact these rich and white efforts, the media has always ensured that the biggest discoursed subject of the activism is not about the violence committed by the police and prosecutorial state. The biggest subject usually concerns the questions—are the protestors peaceful? Are the protestors destroying their own community? Are the protestors ignoring police orders designed to protect them?

Protestors’ activisms demand that power structures gaze upon the system of justice. But white media efforts shift the gaze to the protestors and question whether protestors are deserving of justice. The media bias also focuses only on a handful of protestors in order to brand communities of color as violent. Violence captured on videos are constantly replayed and refashioned into different presentation mediums in order that the effectiveness of harvested violence imageries can further racialize the American and global psyche.

Cartoonists get to work. Lighting designers get busy. Photoshoppers are overwhelmed. Sound artists have a role too, because the role of music and particular sounds shape imperialisms–in the same way the frequency of ambulance sirens remind us that we are living in big cities rather than rural communities, in the same way that constant police guns in communities of color teach peoples that certain lives need to be birthed and nurtured beneath militarisms.

In a nutshell, the media bias films violence, customizes and technologizes its appeal to frighten cultural sensibilities, and then brands the violence as a representation of the character of people of color. This violence branding further validates police and prosecutorial lynchings, further affirms popular white wisdom that black lives did not matter on the plantation system and should not matter in 21st century.

Thus I refuse to engage conversation for long about the subject of violent protestors in Baltimore. Not that such isn’t worthy of conversation because we can only agree that violence has often been an option that counteracts violence. We see no clearer evidence of this philosophy than glancing at America’s perpetual drone warfare upon and assassinations of Third World peoples and governments. It is that, rather than talking about the protestors violence, I would be more interested in talking about what the protestors intended to occupy the vacancy in popular rich and white discourses—that is, the subject of police and prosecutorial lynchings in Baltimore.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters, Uncategorized

Separating From My Dog Is Painful

One of the hardest decisions of my life, but I will have to find a home for my four-year old Cairn terrier dog. My life is moving into a different direction, one that I delayed for two years to care for my dog; but my dog is in a healthier place than when we began living together, so I decided that I can begin living the other life I always wanted, a life of traveling a lot, a spontaneous life where my locations will depend on my mood at any given moment.

I need to live this life to cater to my emotional and physical well-being, and to suit my desires as a writer, reader, and producer of knowledge. Since this decision is a tough one, I know I will continue to flip flop about what I really want, and I welcome that experience. I do not view mood and decision flip-flopping as modes of weakness but as experiences fused and riddled with compassion and conscience in negotiation with desires for self advancement. At the end of the day, however, I have to find a home for my dog if I intend to thrive and survive.

I don’t intend to sell her at all. That act would seem filthy to me. I don’t judge others who sell the thing they love, but I just couldn’t do it. And I don’t intend to give her to a total stranger. I’d have to know how the person lives, the condition of their home, and closely discern their personality. I would also like to be able to see her at least thrice a year, and would like to be the first option to dog-sit her if need be.

Yes, I have preferences for the ideal person though exceptions will apply. I like the idea of finding her a home with an economically and emotionally stable person, not someone too young who moves from house to house, and job to job. And I don’t like the idea of her being around kids. Love them and their sweet excitement, but they tend to be rough with small animals when parents aren’t looking. She is very delicate, though she can be tough and rough, and sensitive. She is like my personality in many ways: tough, soft, likeable, loving, and independent.

A woman would be ideal or a matured gay man. Why? From what I have observed, women tend to be more sensitive when it comes to caring for life; and gay men in the city areas show great appreciation for small size animals. I am not excluding straight men but I don’t know enough about straight men’s behavioral patterns with small dogs to consider them ideal.

I hate to have to insert the following explanation, but I suspect some persons will wonder why gender and sexuality matters in influencing my ideal. My own understanding of what is love, how to love, and who showed me (and the things and bodies) I loved the most compassion are shaped by gender-and-sexuality’s forcefulness in my histories. I’m not hoping to open a debate about what populations are best with animals, but it would have been dishonest to not note my preferences.

If I had someone to watch my dog while I was away, I wouldn’t be writing this. Friends have indeed offered to watch her, but I have to feel their promises in my heart. Additionally, most of my close friends do not show the excitement for animals that would make me comfortable leaving them with my dog. As well, I don’t like the idea of asking people to do me repeated favors. And obviously, dog sitters are too expensive for a doctoral student’s budget.

I feel horrible writing this post, and I am wondering why—especially since my dog is lying next to my feet. I guess I feel like I am deciding her fate without her knowledge and permission. Yesterday, I looked at her curved body lying next to my feet and I read it as her being a dog, her being comfortable. Today I look at it as I write this note and I read it as her being depressed, her sensing an impending separation, her anxious about the future. What I dread most is that my dog could end up with a family that shows her less love than I had.

This is what many women go through when they must leave their children to survive, I now understand a bit. A bit, because there is indeed a difference when the life speaks back to you and say, “Mom, where are you going?” “Mom, are you coming back?” “Mom, why do I have to live with Grandma?”

But what is even more saddening is when Mom does the ultimately–gives the child up for adoption, and consequently lives with guilt rather than with the satisfaction of knowing that her accessing adoption was her best act of love.  Thus Mom’s guilt cultivates imaginary voices of the child in her head: “Why did my real Mom give me away?” “What does Mom look like?” “Did Mom love me?”

My inability to live the life I dream has increasingly been stifling me. I like the idea of getting up, heading to Manhattan; and while in Manhattan, if I suddenly feel to board a train to Atlanta because I feel a sudden spell to write something for hours while on a train, I want to be able to do it. The winter, too, is sucking my energy away, disrupting my ability to read, write, think, and exercise. The days when the sun is not shining bright and the cold wraps my body and brain are the days when I have to force myself to rise and remain energized about life and my dreams. These days have been many for a long time. But somehow I have remained energized all these years. Now, I feel this fuel that kept me energized is running out. To refill, I need to access new ways of living. I have no doubt about that. Yet somehow I feel like my head is not clear, for already, I feel like I can’t go through with my decision. But have I made a decision? I think I need advice on this. No doubt, I need a lot of advice.


Posted in Life Talk

Controversy Empire TV Series

Regarding the old controversy about the TV series Empire, it’s my position that some people place too many demands on filmmakers that address black lives. This very reason explains why some filmmakers do not want to take on issues that deal with the black community. People want to produce art; nobody wants to produce art that pits them into war.

I won’t even argue with people about this, because it takes skill to be able to decode the multiple readings of this show. Some of Empire’s critics are too stuck on reading only the drugs part of it without realizing that the film balances its weaknesses as it allows the black community to see black bodies navigating the political and economic structures as power brokers, victimizers, and victims.

We also cannot ignore the opportunity it gives viewers to acknowledge erotic queerness such as the sadomasochistic relationship between Naomi Campbell and the singer (I forget his name) where he calls her Mama in the bedroom. This particular scene raises an opportunity for viewers to ask–how do artists deviate from the norms, not only with their art but with their bodies and desires? Is there a relationship between erotic deviation and the production of art and the stability of culture?

The movie also forces us to wrestle with the question: how is wealth formed? how do entrepreneurs keep their wealth? What is the role of manipulation? What is the effect of using eroticness and sex in order to seal deals and survival?

Posted in Race Matters, Reviews

Know Your Negative Friends

You certainly must know your negative friends: know the potentials of the ones who will slay you behind your back the moment you have a disagreement with them, and those ones who like to divide a group of friends so they can be the main contact person in the friendship, and those ones who think they have a starry crown when it comes to keeping a long-lasting malice, and those ones who do nothing for your well-being except offer frequent phone calls in which they talk only about themselves but they think they are so super important as a friend, and those ones who have nothing to say when you talk about your career and health goals but they can’t stop talking when the subject turns to the girl and boy next door, and those ones who always express that they cannot trust any friend or family when truth is that they can’t trust their own selves because they betrayed their own self so many times, and those ones who do not support your healthy sacrifices but instead tempt you to destroy your dedication with a slice of pie, an alcohol or soda drink here and there, a drug to take away your worries, and words that make you feel like a gym-and-diet addict who cannot just relax like everybody else, and those who want to stay close only because they see you as being only a block away each time their pussy, dick, and ass hunger for a jolly time, and those ones who cannot understand your passionate aversion to drama so they say you are acting as if you are always peaceful and smarter than every body else, and those ones who expect you to treat them as close friends but you know that the closest they will ever get to you is to sit with you in a coffee shop, and those ones who keep telling you about the great accomplishments others with big names are making in their field but never once acknowledge that you are in the same field doing big things too even though you don’t have a big name, and those ones who find your company uninteresting when they find a partner, some peace, and sex, when, otherwise they see you as their adviser, their therapist, their person to call when an urgent decision is needed, and those ones who stop answering their phones the moment you begin to answer their calls more frequently, because history tells you that they will begin to answer your calls the moment you stop answer theirs with frequency, and those ones who don’t want to understand why you must step away from their company sometimes to see only yourself and listen only to your heartbeat—yes, know your negative friends because you must always be ready to love some of them some more, pause the relationship with some, and cut off some more.

Posted in Life Talk

Stop Taking Advantage of Your Academic Friends

People, stop taking for granted your academic friends who teach, do academic research, or write for a living!

(1) No, they won’t read your college and work assignments for free!

(2) No, they won’t read your emails for free!

(3) No, they won’t read your poetry or manuscript for free.

(4) No, they won’t write for your low-ranking blog, which you started yesterday, (not even for money), because that platform won’t benefit their career advancement!

(5) No, they won’t make appearances on your video blog or radio show that has only 100 subscribers and consistently low viewers on each show.

(6) No, they won’t serve on some bullshit board of a not-for-profit business you started this morning, one similar to the one you started two months ago, and that one you started a year earlier, and the others you started in the last five years, which all closed after they were opened.

(7) Yes, while you may be able to get writings and knowledge for free all over the Internet, these writing-and-knowledge producers still need you to understand that teaching/academic research/writing is their profession.

(8) So yes, consider the productions and labor of their profession as you consider that of friends who are filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, doctors, lawyers, and stockbrokers.

(9) Oh, yes, yes, your friends are sick and tired of your constant disregard for their profession.

Posted in Life Talk

State of the Union Show

Amazing State of the Union show by Obama; impressive rhetorical strategy that began with his accomplishments, then he laid out his proposals, then he softly (skillfully) revealed Republican hypocrisy, and finally he appealed to our emotions as human beings. Obama’s latter technique of appealing to the nation’s emotions ensured that the last thing viewers will remember is not necessarily that his proposals are not new or that most of his proposals will never see the light of day in a Republican-controlled congress, but that Obama knows how to string words together to make us all feel hopeful, make us feel like we can move mountains, and make us feel like he deeply wants everyone to work together for the good of America and the world. After watching the speech, it is hard not to love Obama more. He is my favorite president. And who doesn’t love a great show and the star of the show? Yet I wonder—what do we love?

Do we love the brilliance of Obama’s performance? Do we love his proposals though we know they will go nowhere? Do we love the theater he gave us—the Spanish couple, the freed Cuban prisoner; and the statistics that spoke about growth in numerous sectors, such as economy and education, though the present reality of a significant number of Americans isn’t aligned to that evidence of growth? Do we love the references to China’s economic dominance and keeping jobs at home as he has done in all previous State of the Union shows?

Do we love the equal pay proposal for women, overtime-pay equality, rejection of the lobbyist culture, references to closing Guantanamo Bay, drone warfare necessity and global warming urgency? Do we love the greatness of his speech, or do we love the truth that most of Obama’s regurgitated vision will never become law? And perhaps some of us love that Obama shows a determination to fight though he is in his weakest position in terms of his ability to influence legislation in the Republican congress. If this latter observation is true, are we in love with drama, the politics of battle? Or are we in love with realistic policies that will really improve our lives?

I always wonder why people get so excited after watching a performance in which sentences and proposals are merely scrambled and repackaged year after year. It’s sad observing even informed people demonstrate a lack of consciousness of their own role as political pawns. Throw a toy bone to the dog! The dog will chew for a good while until it realizes the bone isn’t filling its belly. The dog will even go back to chewing the bone day after day.

I’m not mad at Obama at all. He is doing what politicians are supposed to do. And he needs to do that; so I celebrate him for that. But I worry about us—that we forget Obama is performing a show. We forget we are the audience, and that Obama took the stage after many rehearsals under the tutelage of some of the most brilliant rhetoricians that studied the art of the stage of persuasion and performance. I worry because many comments aren’t addressing the brilliance of the show; many comments are instead acting as though Obama’s proposals are realistic and change in really on the way.

Posted in Politics Education

I Love This Friendship

I’m in San Diego with my friend whom I haven’t seen for many years. He reminds me of the days I had just come to America. I had no food. I showed up at his house to eat sometimes. Winter approached. I had only one pair of shoes. I went inside his closet to find shoes and clothes. We had fun times too. We visited the clubs and danced. Battles as well? Yes; loud arguments in each other’s face. He is a forthright character. Me too. So we fought loud and passionately. But I can recall no moment of bitterness, no episode of vengeance, no betrayal, no disloyalty.

Life has been good to me so that I always remembered these histories. But I had forgotten the depth of the pain and pleasures experienced in those past. Through him, I remember and feel again inside those memories. This remembrance forces me to acknowledge I have done well with time.

As I get older, I bond with people more easily because I learned the skills of spending time with others. I learned how to mask my vulnerabilities amongst strangers. I learned how to make others happy in my presence and how to socialize with peacefulness even while conflict flirts in the air. I learned how to reveal enough of myself to others to court their friendships and to deny them any possible relationship with me. I learned how to separate different kinds of friendships, associations, business relationships, intimate relationships, family relationships, and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of persons close to me, so that at all times I serve my relationships in a meaningful way and ensure they serve me productively.

It, however, becomes more challenging to develop deeper bonds with persons who do not know my history. Most of the persons I meet and smile with daily are persons I don’t want to see or hear from when I close the doors of my house. Indeed, I can hang with them and eat several meals with them, but it takes more time for me to trust them. Time has given me the skills to more professionally understand relationships, but this skill has become the very tool that makes me cautious about developing deeper bonds too quickly with persons.

When I was younger, if I didn’t trust someone, I would still allow them deep into my life. Now, I pull away from some persons if the relationship is getting deep too quickly. This strategy has worked well for me, so I will not change it. I like moving slowly when it comes to developing bonds with persons. In the same way, I move slowly when it comes to disabling deep bonds I have built over the years.

That is, I don’t let my friends go easily when we have issues or fights. I know family members fight; so why should I be alarmed when friends fight as well? I sometimes reach a point, nonetheless, when I will struggle no more to keep an old bond. Usually I make this decision if I realize the old bond seriously thinks she/he can do without my friendship when we are confronted by crisis. And I don’t tolerate betrayals or disloyalty or certain insults. Still, usually, the decision to struggle no more for a deep friendship is something that emerges very slowly.

To return to my friend, the history we share is a history most of my new friends do not know. Thus, at my lowest points, it’s important to have someone around who can recall those memories to recenter and uplift me. This very reason reminds me of the need to preserve healthy friendships as long as I can.

Being in San Diego is therapeutic. Not because I’m going to sightseeing places; just being around a close friend, another body, who houses my history is a form of healing. And I house his history as well. So what is happening now is that our histories are massaging each other, massaging away the aches and pains of time, sweetly tickling our nerves as we reminisce, healing our bodies, revising the translation of our memories, giving body to our deepest desires for excellence, and fashioning a prosperous new year for both of us.

Posted in Life Talk

Stop Terrorizing Your Children. In Memory of Leelah Alcorn

Regarding the suicide death of Trans teen Leelah Alcorn, I hope parents learn from this. Stop trying to force gender identity on your children. Just let your children be who they want to be. Often you see the signs of who your children are very early but you don’t want to accept it. Then they tell you, and you still refuse to listen to them, because you think listening to your preacher is more important. You think you can change your children. So you force them to dress a certain way, to speak a certain way, to play with certain toys, avoid certain games, and attend weekly meetings you think will change them.

In a post before her death, Leelah Alcorn wrote the following:


And now for my sorry notes to some people I knew…

Amanda: You are going to have such a wonderful life. You are the most talented and pretty little girl I’ve ever met and I love you so much, Amanda. Please don’t be sad. I’m going to miss you so very much. I love you.

Tiffany: We haven’t talked much recently since we’re both so busy but I’m so happy you’re my sister. You are so courageous and determined to achieve what you want, you can accomplish anything. I love you.

Justin: We’ve been jerks to each other a lot recently but I really do love you. You get on my nerves almost all the time but no matter what a part of me will always love you. Sorry for picking on you so much when we were kids.

Rylan: I’m so sorry I’m never there for you. I love you so much.

Abby: Thank you for dealing with my pathetic problems, all I did was make your life harder and I’m sorry.

Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up.

I don’t really feel the need to apologize to anyone else… odds are you didn’t give a shit about me and if you do, you did something that made me feel like shit and you don’t deserve an apology.

Also, anyone who says something like “I wish I got to know him better” or “I wish I treated him better” gets a punch in the nose.

What a sad note! And from other news stories, we know the parents had been a terror in Leelah’s life.  When will parents learn? When? Is the “when” some time in the near future?

Parents, you need to understand that your controlling methods had not worked for millions of other people who embraced their queer identities, so why do you think it will force your child to conform to your notions of identity? How about changing your own self? How about getting educated about non-conforming identities—the LGBTQ community?

Hearing about LGBTQ people on the TV or in social media doesn’t mean you are educated about the community. When you suspect you have a member of the LGBTQ community in your household, start the process of extensively educating yourself. Believe me, your child will love you more.

But, by the way, where does love factor in your efforts? Have you seriously evaluated the goal of love in your struggle with or against your child’s identity? Is your goal to make your child love you more? Is your goal to make society love your child more? Is your goal to make your God love your child more? Who is defining the role of love in the relationships—you or your child? So, whom is love healing?

If you try to change your children by giving them your brand of religion with the goal of curing them, your children will resent you for many years. Your efforts will destroy both you and your children. How many more suicides do we need to hear about for this point to become clearer?

And after children have graduated your household, they will have to use years to lift a mule off their back, that mule you had put on them. They could have used the time to focus on other things, but you have impeded their growth with your baggage, which you call parental guidance and spiritual intervention. When is parental demonic intervention inseparable from godly spiritual intervention? Because of you, your children have spent a huge part of their life committed to destroying the psychological destruction you did them. How about making a New Year’s resolution to stop terrorizing your children?!

Posted in Atheist, Gay Voices

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