TRAIL OF TEARS

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Are we ever able to accommodate
or are we only ever
going to grab our chance
to forge a trail of tears?

Did it matter at all that
the Celts were over-run by the Romans
(who am I?)
or that the Cherokees were / are
put out by the new world
Americans?

We have museums to our dismay.
Museums that tell pithy stories
for children
so that adults don’t need
to grow up.

The stories have to start long,
long ago in paleo days
the longer away the better
so far across time that our
hearts don’t even care
when confronted by the
living museums nestled by
the graves of the survivors
taking a tourist
dollar to keep old craft alive.

So lovely.

The stories have to finish with
the proud image of ones who
made it good in the world
where the tears have all dried up
on sculptured faces near casinos.

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Malcolm X Boulevard Harlem June 2018

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A long lean room
bound by an unclad red brick wall
and a smoothly painted plaster board
wall with hanging art and plants
and advertising coffee and food,
was a short step of relief
off the broad street and footpaths.

The summer sun and humidity
climbed with the circuitous
walk through the panhandlers
and the fast movers out of the 125
subway stop to the Markus Garvey park,
up the small hill and back
to the Malcolm X boulevard
towards Central Park.

The crowd thinned to a
few retailers sitting under
apartment buildings.
In Il Caffe Latte pairs of white people
took coffee and brunch.
Two black women ran the kitchen.
A young white man served patrons.
Jazz played quietly thru speakers –
Miles, Coleman and others.

A black man came in, ordered coffee to go.
I wondered if he was busy
or whether I / we left a bad impression.

A white young yuppie type
came in, ordered coffees and
rushed out.
He had ginger hair.
I didn’t care what he thought.

Down the road
outside Harlem Coffee Co,
two young black yuppie types
stretched their legs at the sidewalk
table, drinking lattes at ease.

Talking Dictionaries

You will want to check out the offerings on the talking dictionaries site. National Geographics’ Enduring Voices team has helped communities around the world to preserve their culture by preserving their language. A key element to that has been recording individual speakers and cataloguing translations of their various words and phrases. Many of those collections have then been made accessible to the community online, to serve as a resource to help them teach their native language to the new generation, who all too often would otherwise grow up learning only the regionally dominant language.

Several of these communities are now offering the online record of their language to be shared by any interested person around the world. While you probably won’t walk away from these Talking Dictionaries knowing how to speak a new language, you will encounter fascinating and beautiful sounds–forms of human speech you’ve never heard before, and through them, get a further glimpse into the rich diversity of culture and experience that humans have created in every part of the globe.

Deaf Boy’s Signing Name Forbidden at School

Following this report, the Grand island Public Schools have allowed ‘Hunter’ to keep his name. As if they had authority otherwise. Nonetheless the issue exemplifies the invasiveness of burgeoning protection legalities on all people. The extraordinary constraints that we democratic nations are tying around our every action is a constraint around the development of society. Might not is be a more sensible

Reported in 1011Now.com. Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it. “He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” explained Hunter’s father, Brian Spanjer. Grand Island’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon,” But a three year-old’s hands?

“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” said Hunter’s grandmother Janet Logue. “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E.,” Brian Spanjer said.

S.E.E. stands for Signing Exact English, Hunter’s sign language. Hunter’s name gesture is modified with crossed-fingers to show it is uniquely his own. “We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” said Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson. That’s just about all GIPS officials will say for now.

Meantime, Hunter’s parents say that by Monday, lawyers from the National Association of the Deaf are likely to weigh in for Hunter’s right to sign his own name.

Despite whatever rules and regulations may exist, some Grand Islanders we spoke with said they don’t think it’s right to make a three year-old change the way he says his name.

“It’s his name. It’s not like he’s going to bring a gun to school when he’s three years old,” commented Dana Schwieger.

“I find it very difficult to believe that the sign language that shows his name resembles a gun in any way would even enter a child’s mind,” Grand Island resident Fredda Bartenbach reflected.

But for now, that’s a discussion between the Spanjers and Grand Island Public Schools officials.

Sex and Power

The social philosophy program on the ABC Radio, THE MINEFIELD, tried to discuss the socio-political effect of the sexual abusiveness of powerful men, mostly in media, but some in politics. It was almost shocking to me to hear the striking inability of the guest on that program to deal with the biological imperative of sex, seeming to relegate sex to a social construct. My own 58 years on the planet and conversations with many men and women, suggest that trying to sideline the biological imperative of sex is most of the cause of our modern challenge around sex. If we are to understand ourselves and sex, at all, we need to take on the whole picture of human being-ness and history.

We must accept the biological nature of sexual urge, as in the same category of thirst and hunger. Unlike thirst and hunger, we will not actually die from not satisfying the sexual urge. However our brain’s biology is not set up for ‘actually’. It is set up for ‘as it will’. From the point of view of biology, to achieve an action, the brain is set up for the imperative ‘as it will”. Regarding sex, the human biology is set up as that ‘we will die’ without it. ‘Actually, it is our species that will die without it. Biology doesn’t account for this distinction.

Understanding the biological imperative, we can then begin an historical exploration  with a view of our pre-homo sapien sapien behaviour. Taking non-human primate behaviour as reflecting that history, we can conclude that the early human social group was dominated by the alpha male who bullied other males to their possible death, and strictly controlled his own access to females for sex. Females also, in the main, capitulate to this social formation as access to sex and other emotional rewards.

Through these alpha males, what we could now call, psychopathic, from about 100,000 years ago, the groups journeyed across the world, establishing new groups and new territories. This journeying is continuing today, and the European colonial movement that we get caught up with in many political expositions, today, is just the recent and largest, lead expeditions. Since then, the psychopath has lost a lot of power, although to understand today’s conundrum around sex is to understand the current imposition of the psychopathic male and his ability to draw sycophants, both men and women, around him.

It is important to understand that the key transformative mechanisms that allowed human society to move from those alpha dominated groups to today’s yearning for an egalitarian society, has been the development of religious concepts and structures. Religious structures, being often built parallel to pre-existing political structures, have created access for men and women to sex and social power in new ways. Somewhat like an adolescent primate, religion has maintained only just enough ‘cheekiness’ to be allowed by the alpha, while eventually building up challenging levels of power that become alpha, and taken over by alphas (psychopaths) who wield their power across both religious and political spheres. Periodically, a new religious view would emerge to support another, more egalitarian view.  Over millenia, the play between religions and social politics and, eventually empire building, while not over-powering the psychopath (because it would take a psychopath to over power a psychopath), created a greater and greater sense of egalitarianism. Today’s complaint against sexual abusiveness must be taken in the context of that as modern yearning being built over thousands of years.

In a certain way, the broad spread complaint against sexual abusiveness (a badly kept secret the whole of my life from Marilyn Monroe’s suicide and movies being part of my childhood; noticing that adolescent males I knew who had been exploited by older gay men and many of whom died of AIDs in the 1980s; to the litany of allegations from workplaces), is part of the final movements of the world of humanity towards an equality of men and women.

Fundamental to that equality are that the mainstream of human society transforms on three fronts: being clear about sex, sexuality, and that equality means independence of men and women agreeing on monogamous sexual relationships (in otherwords, marriage); transforming economic systems by striving for independence, removing support for slavers, and other sycophantic behaviours, and ensuring equitable resource distributions; transforming political systems by supporting participatory democracy, education, and powerless attitudes in unity.