Enough with the Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality Stuff, Or Why It’s Not Going To Work That Way

Before I share my thoughts I’d like to note that I’m half (yes, 50%) American Indian, and I’m obese. I face harsh and unfiltered discrimination on a regular basis, and I’m actively working on changing the tide (starting with myself.)

I mentioned my chat with Senator Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago, and while I don’t agree with a lot of his political views, I’m pissed about what happened in Seattle on Saturday.

The senator and presidential hopeful was there for a rally that was disrupted and ultimately shut down by Black Lives Matter “activists” who stormed the stage, showing a complete lack of respect for the senator and for the thousands of people who waited all day to hear him speak. 

Of course black lives matter; I have zero tolerance for those who disagree. The fact is all lives matter, and it’s ridiculous and sad that there are people in this nation who disagree.

There’s a serious race issue in this nation that needs to be addressed, but it’s no longer one-sided. Misdirecting anger toward one elected official who actively fights for civil rights seems like a dumb move to me.

Note to the “activists” who showed no remorse for their blatant disregard of everyone else: If you really want to affect change, try showing some respect, as opposed to acting like tempermental lunatics on a stage that isn’t yours. 

And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t believe that everyone should be forced to be a woman, but I don’t see the problem in being on either.

I have friends who are transgender, and I understand and empathize with their struggle to find contentment because I am keenly aware of the difficulty associated in feeling different than everyone around you. Moving away from gender-based signs is a separate issue.

When I was growing up I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my dad’s sermon notes and highlighters. I wanted to be a consultant or an analyst before I was old enough to label myself as such. It didn’t matter to me if my blocks were pink and purple or if they were primary colors. I liked Lincoln Logs and Barbies, though my versatility never led to gender identity issues.

Society (myself included) has become so incredibly weak and overly sensitive that I fear we’ve forgotten that our differences make the world go around.

Men and women are different. We just are. When did that become such a deplorable and unacceptable thing?

 

 

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan
    August 9, 2015 at 5:48 am

    You are a prime example of the problem with Americans who think they are respectful, until it annoys them.
    Your arguments: I don’t care about gendered signs, so they shouldn’t change. Black peoples are dying, but they should be polite because I am fat and people can be mean to me.
    Wow. You cannot know what it means to be black because you are not black. You cannot know what it means to be transgender because you are not transgender. Those who are not being harmed and killed by the way we operate need to stop arguing with the oppressed and listen to their stories and their pain. Our change is small compared to their pain.

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    • Reply
      Jack
      August 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      I agree with everything said, Susan; however, I believe it is important that when we stand up and have discussions – we should be prepared to also put forth solutions/ideas for change. Otherwise, it comes across as whining. Black lives do matter, transgender lives do matter, but so does everyone else. The problem with what happened in Seattle is while those involved have a right to express themselves – they do not have a right to suppress everyone’s else voice just to ensure their voice is heard.

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      • Reply
        Kenlie
        August 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

        The overwhelming issue that I see in this is that the same folks who are screaming about tolerance are not offering any to anyone else. It’s a selfish, one-way street that leads to entitlement without any recourse for their oppressive, hostile actions.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      My opinion is that changing the signs won’t actually change anything. That doesn’t address the problem for those struggling to find identity.

      As far as arguing with the oppressed, that’s categorically opposite of what I do. Republicans don’t think I’m right enough, Democrats don’t think I’m left enough. I deal with it on a regular basis, just usually not on my blog.

      I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be black or to be transgender. I understand why they want change, but the BLM activists were wrong. Period. They attacked a man who got into politics because he wanted to see a change in civil rights. There’s NO ONE running for office who’s more willing to help that cause than Bernie.

      And the signs? If it helps people, cool. I can’t imagine that it does, but I certainly hope it will.

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  • Reply
    Mike
    August 9, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Very well said Kenlie. Being a black man myself, I certainly believe that black lives matter. All lives matter, like you said. I believe that too. I get so ticked when we as a society puts people’s skin tones as a high priority that nothing else matters. Who cares what color one’s skin is? We’re all human beings and we should all have equal rights. But I agree. I don’t approve of those who show disrespect just to make their point about what they stand for. And I don’t think it says a whole lot when people (no matter what color you are) tear up their own neighborhoods, essentially ruining it for everyone else because they’re mad or upset. Excuse my choice of words here but that’s a load of crap! The first step in making a positive change in the world starts by respecting yourself and others. And what these people did as you described, clearly they don’t respect themselves by doing this.

    Please know that not all people of color act in such deplorable ways Kenlie. I would never do such a thing just to make a point. I find that what these people did to be shameful.

    And as far as the gender thing goes, I don’t think that just because you’re one gender or the other, you should be forced to like certain things because you are a man or a woman. I’m a man and I don’t like sports. I don’t care for basketball or football or any of those things that society says that I should like. And I like classical music and hate rap music. And I’m proud and not ashamed to stand by either of these interests and don’t care what anyone else thinks. I don’t have a problem with those that like those kinds of things. BUT I DO have a problem when people say that I should like something because I’m a man or because I’m black. Since when are interests and roles defined by one’s gender or ethnicity? Foolish.

    When I was little, I didn’t want to play with trucks or cars or anything that the typical “boy” wanted to play with. I liked art and office supplies and I wanted to be a writer or artist when I got older.

    Good post Kenlie, as always. And if I may add a little something to your last statement, men and women are different, that’s true. But I go so far as to say that every individual is also different. Men are not all alike just like women are not all alike. I’m sick of all that crap society throws in our faces about how all men are the same or all women are the same. No matter what skin color you are or what gender you are, every person is unique and special.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Mike –

      Thank you for the response. You definitely don’t need to tell me that not everyone acts that way. Of course I know that, and I’m sure you know that not all white cops are vicious killers.

      There are no words to express the anger I feel, and I’m sure many of us feel, when someone is wrongfully hurt by those who are there to protect them.

      Destroying cities and threatening senators just doesn’t make any of it better; it makes it so much worse.

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      • Reply
        Mike
        August 10, 2015 at 7:58 pm

        Yes Kenlie. I can see by your words that you know that. I apologize if I sounded contentious in any way. I always try and think carefully about my words before I post and I always try to be as polite and respectful in my writings. I tried my best to word my reply in the best possible way. I hope that I did not upset you. And yes, you’re right. I know that not all police are bad. It’s unfortunate that there are a few bad ones out there and because of that, many want to hate on all police. And while I may not always agree with what they do, I still can and do respect them. I think you said once that just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean that you don’t respect them. I’m sure that their job is not an easy one.

        But it seems to be a dire situation in our nation of what is going on as far as violence is concerned. If something is not done to improve these unfortunate tragedies, I fear that our nation can not stand…

        I stand with you Kenlie with the issue and again, I hope that I didn’t offend you in any way.

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        • Reply
          Kenlie
          August 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm

          You didn’t offend me at all, Mike…You are more careful with your words than any commenter I’ve ever seen (myself included.)

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          • Mike
            August 11, 2015 at 9:19 pm

            Thanks Kenlie. I appreciate that. I do try very hard to think about how I will say what I want to say before posting. I’ve always been like that as I’m a reflective thinker.
            I have a lot of respect for you Kenlie so I do my best to express my views as respectfully and positively as I can on your blog. I am happy to be a part of it. 🙂

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  • Reply
    Beverly
    August 9, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I totally agree with you. It’s a wonder the whole nation doesn’t suffer from back problems from bending so much to accommodate the issues we are dealing with. Our differences make us a strong nation, or at least it use to.

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  • Reply
    Sabrina Alexandra
    August 9, 2015 at 9:51 am

    You are spot on, Kenlie! Very well written!

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  • Reply
    Lynn Allen
    August 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for saying what needs to be said more frequently and more publicly. The chief problems facing black people are of their own making; civil rights laws saw to equal opportunity and affirmative action. ALL LIVES MATTER, not just black ones would be far more appropriate.

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  • Reply
    Shevvi Crowley
    August 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with Susan’s comments and am no longer going to follow you. Change will not come from only “respectful” protest. Lifes are at stake.

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    • Reply
      Jack
      August 9, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      I appreciate that lives are at stake; however, there is a difference between assertive and aggressive tactics. What they did was aggressive and will not result in anyone listening (or even feeling empathy enough to want to listen). If you want change and to save lives, try using assertive tactics. Otherwise, the protestors are no better than those they protest against.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Shevvi, but it is certainly your choice. Change will never come out of malice and total disregard for life…ever.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, Shevvi…They never will.

      All the best to you..

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would be disappointed by the “protests” that have destroyed cities and left many innocent bystanders without their homes or businesses or a way to rebuild as well. Just saying.

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      • Reply
        Kelly
        August 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        Kenlie, I really recommend that you read up on gender and racial politics — a lot of what you are writing about has been very capably handled by very intelligent people. Te-Nehisi Coates has been brilliant on the subject; to wit:

        “When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight [in Baltimore]. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/nonviolence-as-compliance/391640/

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    • Reply
      crazycricketlove
      August 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      I am sure Kenlie is crying about this. ha!! Apparently, you didn’t even really read what she had to say. lol

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  • Reply
    wayne
    August 9, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Shevvi, Bernie Sanders has been an advocate for the civil rights. Could not these “protesters” have gone instead to an “enemy camp,” rather than to a sympathizer’s meeting?

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  • Reply
    Michele
    August 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    To an extent I do agree with you. My thought is that the way we start changing the conversation in this country is to change the vocabulary slightly. Instead of racism, and feminism, and genderism, and any other -ism, can we just call it humanism and take color, gender, body size and religion out of the discussion.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      I think Ben Carson was spot on during his closing comments in the debate last week. He made a point that when he’s operating on someone’s person, it’s a human brain…it’s not a specific color. I’m paraphrasing obviously, but it was a stellar point.

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  • Reply
    Heather H (@YummySushiPjs)
    August 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I’m raising a daughter who, at 6, is already exhausted by constantly being told she can’t or shouldn’t like what she likes because it’s not “girl” stuff. Yes, we can swim against the tide, but it’s exhausting to always have to, and it’s irritating when well-meaning friends and family buy her a gift from the “pink” section just because she’s female. When I read her the article on the Target site today about changing the paper backing colors to no longer be pink and blue, she literally cried with relief. So while it may not matter to you, it matters a lot to a lot of people. By removing the visual reinforcement of socially determined gender sterotypes, people who ARE bothered by them are more comfortable being themselves, and no one is stopping you from continuing to buy pink frilly things if that’s what you love.

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    • Reply
      Jack
      August 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Well said, Heather!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Heather –

      You have been at the top of my list of ‘Awesome People Everyone Should Know’ for a long time, and I’m glad you spoke up. The difference in our opinions definitely comes from different perspectives.

      I honestly can’t imagine any 6 year old exhausted or tormented by such things, but that knowledge breaks my heart.

      If removing the colors at Target helps her, then I’m sincerely happy for her.

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  • Reply
    Jack
    August 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I agree with you in regard to what happened in Seattle, Kenlie. The blatant disrespect showed toward Mr. Sanders and the rest of those at the event will ultimately result in little respect for those who actively took part in the display. They seemed to miss the basic rule of change… To get others on board and create ownership, be respectful and collaborative. What they managed to do was significantly reduce the power of their voice.

    However, I do take issue with: And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

    My name is Jack. And I’m female. I was born and raised female. I just happen to have a traditionally boy’s name. And I cannot tell you the number of times gender assumptions were thrust upon me because of not only my gender but because of my name. I applaud Target’s move. As a child, I was not a “tomboy” nor was I a “princess.” However, I was incredibly offended when my friends’ parents would purchase birthday presents of blue stuff and boyish toys because of my name – just as I was offended when those who knew I was a girl would purchase pink stuff or girly toys. People make leaping assumptions based on gender and Target’s move to reduce the potential for those assumptions should be applauded – not labeled as “stupid” or “mildly offensive.” If you do not like what they’ve done and believe those gender-based biases should continue to be perpetuated – that is your choice. However, I celebrate their move.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      I think it’s awesome that you celebrate their move. I don’t, but I’m willing to listen to those who believe it’s a good thing.

      It’s important to be tolerant, and for the most part, I am. Sure, I’m not perfect. I have views that are based on my perspective just like everyone else.

      I’ve shown a lot respect toward people today who have absolutely NOT shown it back, but that’s not why I’ll continue showing respect for them.

      I think it’s awesome that you’re on board with Target. Clearly, many are, and I’m not going to hate those who disagree with me. I’m not going to proudly isolate someone because they don’t feel the same way.

      I’m just going to look for something to learn from it and move on (and probably post a photo on Instagram if and when I notice the changes.)

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  • Reply
    Tara
    August 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This is rich coming from someone who actively sued a company for discrimination. It’s astonishing that you can be so hypocritical. I’ve been reading your blog a long time. I started out reading it for the weight loss focus and stuck with you after the focus seemed to shift to your religious views, even though they’re not views we share. I’m telling you this so that you don’t label me a troll and brush off my commentary.

    You sound so ignorant. “I have a transgender friend” is not the same as BEING transgendered.

    I’m really glad for you that you’ve never face discrimination for your gender. Try being yelled at in a bathroom because you happen to be a woman who prefers to wear gender-neutral clothing and hairstyle. It’s humiliating. It makes you freeze up and dread using a bathroom anywhere but your home. I’m sure it the same feeling you get before you approach a boarding gate to get on a flight. Changing the world to be more gender neutral is a STEP towards eliminating people’s gender bias.

    I figure that this is never going to make your comment section, so I’m going to stop typing. I’m also going to stop reading because I want to remember the Kenlie I related to back when she wasn’t such a stereotypically Southern Conservative.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      I sued a company who was discriminating against me and people like me. I brought light to the circumstances, refused to accept one cent of money, and continue to seek change where it’s needed.

      I didn’t storm a stage that didn’t belong to be in order to screw over thousands of people who waited to hear someone else talk.

      I sued a company for no money, then I worked with a non-profit to establish equal rights to equal access.

      Damn right, I did….

      In regards to my transgender friend:

      I don’t claim to know how it feels to be transgender. I claim to understand what it’s like to feel isolated, discriminated against and even suicidal. (Yeah, I’ve been there too.) Changing signs at Target doesn’t address any of those issues.

      Changing signs at Target also does not change the reality that men and women are different. I just don’t understand why it became so terrible to be different.

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  • Reply
    DubyaWife
    August 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I started off this comment with research, facts, statistics to refute some of your claims but then realized that what you were posting here has no basis in fact.

    You said “Moving away from gender based signs is a separate issue.” That’s a huge claim with no justification. You are basically saying that you understand the problems of transgender people, but this one, which they say matters, and you think it simply doesn’t. And as for BLM, you don’t even mention that except in the title. Just seems needlessly inflammatory.

    I want to be sure you understand how your words affect those around you, especially people who you know. As you know, my daughter is an LGBTQ teen. She’s not decided on her gender, her sexuality she’s 50/50 about. Because of her I’ve learned that gender and sexuality are very fluid. While we all have parts for reproduction that doesn’t mean we’re tied to those genders or the “normal” sexuality that comes with those. Gender is on a spectrum and so is sexuality. Meaning there’s not straight and gay and there’s not man or woman… there’s many degrees in between. And they can change.

    Remember *who* the minority is here and *who* has the privilege. You do. You look like a white female, therefore in the eyes of society, you are a white female. You’re straight and not transgender. Therefore everything from fashion, to food, to entertainment is geared towards your race and gender. What Target is doing is saying “Let’s gear it in such a way that it includes everyone, and doesn’t passively discriminate.” What BLM is doing is saying that they matter too. This is a good thing. It’s not taking away our privilege, it’s including others.

    Lastly, this is *your* blog. And that does mean you can voice *your* own opinion as much as you want. No one is taking away that right. However, I implore you to think before you post. And to remember how many readers you have and the impact this has on others. Voicing our opinions doesn’t save us from being called out by society as wrong, racist, or sexist. It does, however, call into question our morals and empathy towards others.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      You’re right, DubyaWife…

      This post is based on nothing more than my other posts; it’s just my opinion. On the BLM issue, I think I said everything I needed to say. Yes, they matter. Yes, other lives matter too. Yes, the jackass cops who are murdering black men and now women need to be punished.

      Bombarding a senator who entered into politics because of civil rights, leading peaceful rallies (sit-ins) in no way made anything better for anyone in the BLM movement. There’s even a petition floating around by other BLM activists suggesting that they apologize to Bernie. (I don’t see any merit in that either, as he’ll have to be tough enough to handle that and a lot more if he becomes president.)

      Perhaps I should have expounded on the gender issue. I could have used better wording too. When I said “it’s a separate issue” I should have said *changing the color of signs at a big box store doesn’t address the actual issue.

      My friend still nervously walks into restrooms, afraid of being asked, threatened or forced to leave. She still faces stares, snide remarks and a level of isolation that no one should ever have to endure. She’s not the person asking for gender neutral signs; she’s the one asking to be accepted as a woman because it’s who she feels she is inside. Changing the signs at Target is undoubtedly a good marketing move for Target. Maybe it’s even heartfelt too, but it simply puts a condescending little band-aid on lives of people, some of whom are hurting deeply.

      We know each other, and we know we’re different. I like that about people I know because I get to learn from them, or at least see things differently than I might have before.

      I’ve sat in the same room with you and cried with you for very personal things related to this, so if my post, which was admittedly, a highlight of my opinion, hurt you, then I’m deeply sorry. I hope you’ll forgive me.

      Thanks for putting a different face on it. And like I told Heather, if this helps them, I’ll deal with it…

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      • Reply
        debwillbefree
        August 15, 2015 at 9:19 pm

        Ohhhh, I see the motivation for your latest post . I really skipped over the gender issue and focused on the BLM issue. I really thought that (The behavior of the BLM movement) was your main point.

        Time is unraveling like a scroll, sweet girl, evidenced by our current decisions to call good, evil and evil, good.

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  • Reply
    debwillbefree
    August 15, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Hey. 🙂

    I’ve come to this post after reading your most recent one to see what exactly your wrote here before I commented. I have not read the comments, so I don’t know if you rec’d flack or had obnoxious input there.

    So. From your post alone–You did not write anything that is inappropriate here or even un-Christlike. Really. You didn’t.

    While everything you wrote in your recent post is true–you know, that whole mercy, grace, love thing-when Jesus walked on earth and talked with man, He often was quite direct and always honest. Sometimes the truth is not pleasant. You spoke truth and you did not do it in a demeaning or spiteful manner.

    Some may be offended and others may allow your words to encourage their bigotry, but you aren’t expected to control how people interpret and apply what you wrote. You did not write what you wrote to incite anyone to bigotry nor were you mean-spirited.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with this post. For those who happen t read this comment and don’t know me: I’m a social worker who came of age in the sixties. My career has been spent advocating for those who have been “done wrong” in one way or another. My agreement is not from bigotry, insensitivity, or ignorance of the pervasiveness of prejudice in our society–I agree simply because you’re right.

    I am familiar with Alinsky techniques, not just because I learned about them in school, but because I lived thru them. This whole “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations are right out of Saul’s handbook. Thing is, the context here is wrong, and wrong for a number of reasons. I’ll refrain from making this a post on why that is so. :}

    Bottom line: You did okay with this post, and your apology if yo hurt anyone is a gracious addition.

    Forgive typos, please. Short on time.

    Deb

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