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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Thursday, May 03, 2018

11:00 tv news!!! Lafayette IN

When my truck was (visibly parked as I attempt to do to get the most exposure to my messages) in a social services building parking lot and I was returning from an event I participated in, a small TV news van was circling around it. As I approached, the young, white female journalist threw on the brakes, backed up, and stuck her hand out the window as she asked me if this was my truck.

Hmmm - how did she know? Just kidding. She asked me what I was doing in Lafayette and whether I was willing to be interviewed. Of course I was.

We made an appointment for the following day. She interviewed me for about 20 minutes and then turned it into a one minute news story that showed on the Lafayette 7:00 and 11:00 news! I'm hoping it will inspire tons of folks to come out to the reading tomorrow!

Here's the video

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- A woman who's traveling the world in an eye-opening truck is making a stop in Lafayette.

After 9/11 almost 17 years ago, Xan Joi began to paint her truck with the message, "Thou shall not kill." From there, she's traveled the world sharing her beliefs on current social issues.

Joi  lives in her truck and travels to different states sharing her book "But what can I do?" She said bringing racism, homophobia, and sexism to light is a conversation people need to have.
Joi said her truck is a way to spread her message.

"People can paint their truck also. They can paint their car also. They can speak up. They can stand up. They have to we have to push everyone, even myself to do more." said Joi.

Joi will present her book Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m at the Tippecanoe County Public Library.

So you know the confederate flag is racist!

Sitting in my truck, getting ready to take off down a residential side street, a honking big-ass black pickup truck with one side of the front bumper hanging off, dark tinted windows, pulls off the main road and crookedly parks across the rear bumper of the passenger car parked directly behind me.

I see a large white man jump so quickly out the truck, he leaves it running with his door open. His navy blue sweatshirt has been ripped at the should, revealing huge white arms with tattoos running up and down both sides.

I here him say something like "I don't care" as he bounds toward me, bald headed but sporting a bushy red beard.

I hop down off the my seat to meet him on the road as I greet him with a cherry "hello".

He whips out his phone and starts taking pictures before telling me in a very neutral voice that his mother would like to see this. Apparently she lives up north.

He declares, surprising me, that he can agree with almost everything on my truck. I am surprised and test him, asking if the "death to racism" doesn't 'offend', as I point out my experience with other white men (I don't mention the pickup or the tattoos - yet) do object to what I've written.

He looks at me with crystal blue eyes and says, "Why should it? I'm not a racist so it doesn't." Then he goes on to declare his "live and let live" personal attitude and as long as people leave him alone, he leaves them alone.

He finishes with a littany of all the friends he has: Black, Mexican, white - you name it. He doesn't believe in not giving people jobs or places to live and the same things he wants for his family, everyone should have for their family.

I smile encouragingly and then state: "That's great but there's such a thing as institutional racism that ensures you and white people get to live and work where we want and prevents people with darker skin from getting those very things."

He protests that of course he knows these things. I comment on his tattoos, that are colorful and geometric shapes. He immediately exclaimed with a wide grin "No racist things" as he pulls up the material hanging slightly over one shoulder, twisting his arm so I can get the full view, "not even a confederate flag."

I nod with approval as I say "So you know the confederate flag is a racist symbol!" and watch as his face flushes almost the color of his beard. "Yeah" I think is what he mumbles as he waves good bye, bidding me to "be safe" and "keep up the good work"...

The 'n.....' word...

I think 'liberal' white people feel more comfortable saying the 'n.....' word than the word 'Black' or even 'white' - especially when they can couch the taste and feel of that word coming off their tongues as regurgitated from something a Black person said or sang.

My heart was ripped open today when the white lesbian womon who befriended me on a lesbian list serve, invited me to stay at her home, and even set up a reading for me in her conservative republican mostly white town began a conversation about a billboard and used that word.

I immediately interrupted her with my hurt and horror, sitting in her pleasant homey kitchen on an equally pleasant warm Indiana spring day, shocked that she could so easily push those heinous, abhorrent, detestable sounds out of her mouth.

I told her so. She did not accept what I had to say but argued with me.

My white host felt that the fact it was on a billboard, that she was just saying what was written for all to see, and that she was repeating the story that a womon told her, a Black womon, it was okay for her to use that word.

Then she claimed that because Black people use the word - she's heard the music, she's witnessed guys and girls calling each other that, she has friends who easily say the word - that if 'they' can use it, why can't she?

Yes, why can't she? 

She asked me if I felt the same horror earlier that day when we were at a gathering of mostly white folks where a Black womon shared a story of being in Kindergarten and two white girls not allowing her to play on the swings, calling her the 'n' word.

I told her I felt a deeper horror: the fact that this womon had to experience that hatred and violence at only 5 years old; and deeper horror that two little white girls, also 5 years old, already knew that word and how to use it and against whom.

She insists, asking me again, but didn't I feel anger towards the womon telling the story for her use of that word. I repeat, no, and reiterate my horror at the white girls and the violence itself.
I talk with her about her desire to be an ally, let alone an accomplice, of Black people. She claims she is and yet when I ask her how does she think she can disconnect her whiteness, her racism, her white power from the history of that word?

I suggest she can instead say "the 'n' word" to communicate she recognizes the horrific history - past and present - of that word and all it implies. She insists it is the same thing, saying 'the 'n' word, and/or saying the entire word itself.

Really? I tell her when she as a white womon saying "the 'n' word" she is sending the message to Black people she has an understanding of racism, and to white people that whites should not use that word.

It's very hard to reason with white people who feel they are 'entitled' to repeat what Black people say.

I end up telling her that I can only ask that she take into consideration the years I've spent studying racism and, whether she believes me or not, I beg her to not ever use that word again. I also suggest to speak with other white people and find out what they think.

She falls back into a white response typical of too many white people. She wants to ask her Black friends if it's okay for her to use the word.

"But why would you want to put your friends in that position? Don't you think it's time white womyn take responsibility for figuring out what racism is and for protecting Black womyn from their own racism?"

She insists it would not hurt her Black friends for her to use that word. I groan and think how best to address this. The only thing I can say is that I hope she asks white allies first and to really listen to what white people have to say.