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One Love

I'm sitting here in my bed thinking. Honestly, I have no idea of the direction that I want this blog to go so I apologize now for how incredibly disjointed this blog will likely be.

I have been blessed to spend time with so many different people in my life. I have had the pleasure and honestly the honor of listening to different people's stories. I'm honored to have this social position where people feel comfortable enough with me to entrust me with their stories; with their histories. I have learned so much and I think this blog entry is about that.

One of the most important things we can do, as people in a society, is self-reflect. I cannot express the importance of looking at ourselves and constructively reviewing our faults, not dwelling on them, and learning from the people around us to have a better understanding of what's around us so we can, in turn, grow into better, more improved versions of ourselves.

This is one of the reasons I've spoken in the manner in which I have about race and the impact of words and terms and expressions. These things are very important as they reflect your understanding and acceptance. As I've addressed many times, you should NEVER say things like "You're the Whitest Black Person" or "Oh, you're not Black" or "You don't act Black" or anything in that vein because of what that implies. If you've never heard my explanation for this, it goes as follows: You shouldn't tell me that I'm the 'Whitest Black Person' because what you MEAN is that I'm well behaved, well mannered, intelligent, and articulate. To say that that makes me 'White' implies that I can't be well behaved, well mannered, intelligent, articulate AND Black; that those are inherently "White Characteristics" and I, a Black man, can't have those.

This is usually the part where whoever I'm talking to realizes that the next sentence will be me concluding that they are racist and they are quick to deflect the label. Which is a reminder of the real issue.

See, growing up we learn all kinds of things and different ways. We are taught things directly by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, neighbors, teachers, and strangers - meaning they directly tell us this or that. We also learn things from observing the people around us. Lessons get cemented when both source's teachings support each other. Uncle Whoever tells you whatever and you see it in action, the lesson sticks.

I heard a comedian as I was flipping channels years ago and I heard him say, "People only do one of two things - What they're taught or what they're allowed." This has stuck with me ever since because it's SO true. Look at kids: If you TELL them to do something, they will. If they don't and they're ALLOWED to do whatever, they're going to continue to do the whatever for as long as they are indeed allowed. This applies to all people in all situations which is why, when I'm told anything close to "You're the Whitest Black Person", I've stopped accepting it and taking the "intended compliment" and corrected people.

All of these things are taught at some point. This lessons are carried with us from childhood and we have been told, through continued teaching of the lesson, pop culture reinforcement of the lessons, or from negative encounters with the stereotypes, that these horrible lessons are harmless or meaningless or worse, that it's the proper way and these negative things are okay.

Now, obviously, RACE isn't the only subject in which we see this in play in America. Religion has been under fire in America forever, but after 9/11/2001, this was ever so evident. The publicly accepted persecution of Muslims in America became so insanely commonplace. It was not only accepted, but it was encouraged to see a Muslim person and insult, ridicule, and even assault them just for being Muslim. This was ACCEPTED. This was ENCOURAGED. Think about that for a second - a person who lived and worshipped a certain way inherently became a random person's enemy. We were taught this was wrong in World War II studies and studies of the Inquisition and studies of the Crusades (yeah, we can't just point fingers are the Germans... They weren't first or last). And yet, here we were and still are.

Race and Religion... not even what pushed me to write this. Sexual Orientation is just as affected by this behavior. All the time, I see videos or hear stories of a person coming out as gay, bi, pan, trans and them being shunned or being told "you're not, but okay" or being outcast from their families. These things break my soul. As a parent, I understand the unconditional love that comes with it. The idea that someone can make a personal choice and their FAMILY can end that love. I'm floored every time I hear a story like that.

I'll take this moment to make this point super clear: If you have lost your family because you came out or because you chose to love someone your family said you shouldn't, you are WELCOME at the House of Moon. We are officially family now. You're more than tolerated here. You are ACCEPTED and LOVED. We are your safe place.

I suppose the goal here is to remind people that we are truly One People and our goal should always be ONE LOVE. I've often suggested that we should go outside of our comfort zones and talk to someone different than us. One of the best conversations I've had recently was at a bonfire (Yes, we were generally socially distance, that's why it was a gathering outside) with a straight White woman, a straight White man, a gay White man, a Black woman (I don't think I confirmed her orientation so I don't want to assume it) and myself, a straight Black man. We discussed all kind of "sensitive" topics and it was just open and honest and I'd like to think we all walked away from that conversation a little bit better people. We walked away with ONE LOVE.

If you meet someone who lives a life that you don't agree with understand that YOUR standards and YOUR thoughts on how life should be lived only apply to YOU. You can teach your children, but they don't always do what you want them to, especially into their adulthood. You didn't. You didn't do things exactly as your parents wanted. If you DID, are you happy? Truly? Do you feel fulfilled? That's what people are looking for in life - fulfillment. They want to be happy. Let them. If that means Adam and Steve wanna get married, let them. If Becky and Julie want to adopt, let them. It's Sarah wants to become Samuel, let HIM (I can't ignore the opportunity to tell you how important it is to respect pronouns here. It's not cool or funny to ignore that choice and do that thing were you're like, "Well, they were born a ___ so I'm only going to call them ___". Think of it like this: If your name is Robert and you don't want to be called "Bobby", people should respect you enough to call you what you want to be call. So it's Robert, not Bobby. It's Richard, not Ricky. It's Michael, not Mike. It's Charles, not Chuck - just ask and show respect. You don't have to like that I'm a grown man going by the name Moon, but that's my nickname. That's what, nowadays, most people call me. My son likes to be called Donny. He'll answer to his full name with no issue, but that's his preference. Doesn't hurt. It's just a matter of respect. I think people confuse acceptance with participation. You can accept that someone is Transsexual without participating in Transsexuality. Same with homosexuality. You can accept that someone is homosexual without participating in homosexuality. Just bloody relax!)

That was a rant... sorry, not sorry - had to be said.

We want things to improve in our town, or state, or country, or World... that's what we need - One Love.

If you're reading this, I love you. You will always have a sit at my table.

- Moon

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