Actually, it was more like January 1987, five years after the floods that I mentioned last week. Actually, both the weather and the date are irrelevant. It was a long time ago, but at the time, it was the present. We lived in it. We had some minor plans for our futures and careers, but not much more. We were more concerned with enjoying our next few years at college.
At that time, my experience with racism was limited mostly to the animosity of a few of the older generation for the Vietnamese refugees whom I grew up with. Observing comparably limited but similarly barbaric behavior directed at my colleague because of his African American ancestry was like a different flavor of the same old hooey.
Our parents raised us better than that because of the time that they lived through. My colleague’s father graduated from law school and eventually became a Los Angeles County Judge through the Civil Rights Movement. Our parents did not want racism to be as difficult for us as it was for them. It was not. However, a few older people within our Community were still quite comfortable with their outdated racism.
Sexism was a completely new concept to both of us. Women’s liberation started about the time we were born, and had evolved significantly by the time we were in the third or fourth grade. However, we attended a college that had been an exclusively men’s school only three decades earlier. A few of our oldest professors were students there prior to that, and resented the admission of women.
Both racism and sexism have improved over the years, although racism fluctuates significantly more, and made a resurgence in recent years. However, about a decade ago, discrimination against the impoverished and unhoused became much more prevalent. It is as if those who hate must hate someone, or a group of someones. If they can not attach their innate hatred to race or gender, they direct it to a particular social class.
Fortunately, this sort of discrimination is declining much more readily than other forms of discrimination. After only a decade, it is beginning to become vilified like racism and sexism should have been a very long time ago.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Day is often abbreviated as MLK Day. It likely has the most substantial name of all the important Holidays of American Culture, but was given one of the briefest of abbreviations. It is no wonder; but is it fair.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior earned all of his credentials. He attained his Baccalaureate at Morehouse College. He attained his Baccalaureate in Divinity at Crozer Theological Seminary. He attained his Doctorate at Boston University. He was the son of Martin Luther King Senior, a revered Pastor, Missionary and Civil Rights Activist.
Nonetheless, to many of his time, he was merely ‘black’.
Many described him more disparagingly than that. They needed others to blame for social dysfunction. They needed others to oppress. They needed others to fear.
Many people still believe that they need this. If they are unable to blame, oppress and fear those who are racially different, they rely on others who are differently different.
How pitiable. No one should maintain such extreme self disdain that they rely on others for self validation. No one should need to be unjustifiably disparaging to anyone else.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior said, “You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”, and furthermore, “Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.” Hate is too great a burden to bear.”.
There is so much to be thankful for. It sounds cliche, and it is easy to forget while there is obviously so much to potentially be unhappy about. Fortunately, neither is contrary to the other. For example, it is quite normal to be unhappy about the loss of a stable domestic lifestyle. However, those who are houseless here can still be thankful to reside within such a compassionate and proactively supportive Community.
There is no shortage of friends here. Those who temporarily lack employment here are often hired by neighbors and friends, even if merely for minor tasks, and even if merely temporarily until more appropriate employment becomes available. Neighbors and friends sometimes provide temporary shelter to those who need it, and were particularly generous about doing so after the CZU Fire. Neighbors and friends here are innately gracious with sharing their resources with the less fortunate who would likely experience very different reception within the context of another Community.
There is more than Community to be thankful for. The mild climate, which is pleasant to those who inhabit homes, is more of a major advantage to those who lack shelter. The availability of free resource, such as food and clothing, prevent those of us who temporarily lack personal resources from experiencing unfounded hunger or becoming uncomfortably shabby. Tents and bedding are available to those who need them.
We should also be thankful for the rare but aberrant haters. They remind us of some of what we should be thankful for. We should be thankful that we are not so disdainful of humanity that we are compelled to disregard that which we should be thankful for in the diligent pursuit of dehumanizing others. We should be thankful that we are not like haters. We should be thankful to be thankful.
“Bars on windows are a sign that I am in the wrong neighborhood.” I heard that a few times when I was a kid, mostly from people of my parents’ generation. It was not intended as disparagement of any particular neighborhood. It meant that relocation was a better option than installation of bars on windows.
I do not remember that anyone who said that actually relocated. Situations just never got that bad. Bars appeared on windows of a few businesses in some neighborhoods, but were eventually removed as people realized that the neighborhoods were not so bad.
Besides, some believed that bars on windows just informed potential burglars that there was something worth stealing within. Others believed that there was not much within their homes that burglars would be interested in. I believed that if a burglar wanted something within my isolated home, that bars would not stop him or her from taking it.
Most of us choose to not live in fear. We happen to live in an excellent place, and intend to enjoy it. It is certainly not perfect, and burglaries sometimes happen. We just do not allow such unpleasantries to dictate our lifestyles.
Those who choose to live in fear have the option of relocating to someplace where they do not need to live in fear. If they fear crime, they can go someplace where there is no crime. If they fear drugs, they can go someplace where there are none. If they fear houseless people, and believe that houseless people migrate to this region, they can relocate to someplace that is unpopular with the migratory houseless people whom they fear. Surely, there must be a place like that for them to go to. It is more practical than expecting those they fear to relocate for them.
The Memorial Tree in Felton Covered Bridge Park was not expected to survive damage inflicted by a vandal last June. However, it recovered with unexpected efficiency and vigor, at a time of year when growth should have been decelerating prior to autumn. It is as if the vandalism never happened.
After unsuccessfully attempting to poison the Memorial Tree with salt, the vandal sliced more than half way through the trunk in three places. The worst of these three slices is nearly healed. Another has already healed over. The third is so efficiently healed that the scar is barely visible.
A gardener who maintains Felton Covered Bridge Park installed a cage of chicken wire around the lower portion of the trunk to hopefully dissuade the vandal from attacking the Memorial Tree again. The trunk is sturdier and would be more resilient to such vandalism than it was last June.
Prior to the vandalism, the Memorial Tree had grown vigorously through spring, and was already decelerating its growth for summer, as is normal for the species within a natural habitat. By late summer, it would have been expected to concentrate resources into dormant terminal buds prior to defoliation through autumn and dormancy through winter.
Instead, the Memorial Tree responded to the vascular distress associated with the vandalism by suddenly and unexpectedly accelerating vigorous vegetative growth until it was compelled to decelerate by cooling autumn weather. Instead of producing such growth below the damage, as is typical, the determined little Memorial Tree expanded its developing upper canopy.
The Memorial Tree has recovered so efficiently that it will likely require only minor grooming while dormant through winter, to remove a few overly vigorous stems from the lower canopy. Minor stubble remains to promote trunk caliper development. The trunk may no longer need binding. The stabilizing lodgepole should remain for at least next year, even if it is unnecessary.
Members of the Community offered to replace the Memorial Tree after it was vandalized and not expected to survive. Fortunately, replacement will not be necessary. This little Memorial Tree has survived other forms of damage, and is determined to continue to survive and flourish.
Indigenous People of North America were perceived to be primitive barbarians by the first Europeans who encountered them. Some of European descent wanted to civilize them. Some just wanted them out of their way. Few had much regard for their culture. By the time modern American culture evolved enough to appreciate what was here before, the damage had been done.
People from Africa who were sold as slaves through almost two and a half centuries of American history were similarly considered to be primitive barbarians. Much of society justified their exploitation, but then wanted them segregated after their emancipation. American culture should have evolved beyond discrimination against those of African descent by now, but it has not.
Although technically not enslaved, American immigrants from China were exploited for their willingness to perform very demanding and often very dangerous manual labor for minimal pay. Yet, they were systematically discriminated against. Many were compelled to reside in neighborhoods on floodplains of cities they inhabited, merely because no one else wanted to be there.
There are too many examples of social discrimination in American history to list. The worst of them are difficult to comprehend. We like to think that, although American society engaged in such abhorrent conduct in the distant past, such discrimination could not be repeated. Yet, Americans of Japanese descent were released from internment camps just seventy-five years ago.
There are always new victims. At a time when ethnic discrimination is less socially acceptable than it had formerly been, it has become easier to persecute, vilify and discriminate against the homeless. Regardless of the original justification for such behavior, the patterns are the same. We are fortunate in Felton that these patterns are not as common as they are elsewhere, and that we recognize the perpetrators for what they are.
Homelessness in America has been increasing very slightly for the past three years. It has been increasing in parts of California for a bit longer, and at a slightly more accelerated rate. More substantial increases are concentrated mostly in urban regions, particularly Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. Homelessness really is a growing problem, at least for now.
However, for the decade prior to the
the relatively recent increase that began only three years ago,
homelessness had been decreasing at a substantial rate. Furthermore,
the substantially increasing rates of homelessness in urban regions
of California are sufficiently offset by decreasing rates in suburban
and rural areas, to average out to only a minimal increase for the
This is not about homelessness in all
of America though. Nor is it about homelessness in the rest of
California. Here in Felton, the rate of homelessness has decreased
significantly in the past seven years since 2012. Only a few people
became homeless here during that time, and most of those were not
homeless long. Several more who had been homeless have since found
So, why do haters so regularly and
predictably complain that homelessness is a growing problem in
Felton? Well, that is part of what they do. They perpetuate false
information intended to vilify their targeted victims, and exaggerate
any innate problems associated with them. They strive to be a
divisive force within an otherwise remarkably cohesive and inclusive
No verifiable statistical information
is necessary for a hater to claim that homelessness is a growing
problem in Felton. Conversely, any observant and sensible person can
plainly see that it is not. If homelessness really had been a growing
problem since 2012, there would be more homeless people in town
rather than less. It is that simple.
It would be negligent to not share this update to a slightly earlier article about exactly what the title above describes. The topic is unpleasant, which is why it was not mentioned here sooner. Only these links are shared here, without associated text. The update links back to the original article.
How disappointing it is, that after so many historic atrocities performed by various hate groups throughout history, some of us continue to find such primitive barbarism to be appealing. We should be better than this. Yet, some of us continue to be prejudiced against those who are even slightly different from us. A few use this prejudice to justify discrimination and even violence.
Not too long ago, violence directed at
local homeless people, although rare, was not as rare as it should
have been. Until about 2014, people were still getting attacked and
beaten up as they tried to sleep. One was shot at in her camper.
Another was shot at with a flare gun, and a few weeks later, covered
with paper and ignited as he tried to sleep. Verbal assaults were
What is such behavior supposed to
accomplish? Why do minor social groups condone and even encourage
such behavior? Why do these very minor social groups believe that
they represent the rest of civilized society that wants no
association with such barbarism? There are so many questions.
Unfortunately, hate groups innately lack proficiency with providing
Back in about 2014, the car of a
homeless lady was vandalized repeatedly. After each occurrence,
pictures were promptly shared online among those affiliated with hate
groups who target the homeless. It is how they believe that they
benefit society, by vandalizing a car that a homeless lady needed to
make a good impression with when she went out to try to find
Not long prior to that, immediately after a hate group claimed to be concerned that homeless encampments were fire hazards, one such encampment was soaked with gasoline and ignited. Predictably, before and after pictures were posted online. The homeless involved were still homeless for about a month afterward, but relocated farther out into the more combustible forest.
Why do those who hate the homeless so
much want to make it more difficult for the homeless to improve their
situations, and perhaps eventually not be homeless? Is their
consuming hate that precious to them? Do they really thrive on such
dysfunction? Again, there are more simple but unanswered questions
that haters are not concerned with providing relevant answers to.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America protects the freedom of expression. We can say what we want to say; and we can write what we want to write. Furthermore, we can share any of it with whomever we want to share it with. The First Amendment, however, does not guarantee means with which to do so. We are on our own for that.
This blog is one means by which I get
to practice my freedom of expression. I get to write what I choose to
write, and make it available to anyone who chooses to read it. I
generally try limit topics by relevance. I always conform to my own
discriminating standards. Those who dislike it need not read it.
Some who read what I write choose to
comment on it, as a means to express their relevant concerns. Such
comments are generally appreciated. However, a few have been too
objectionable to remain associated with my blog, so were deleted
without reply. Unfortunately, such censorship has become necessary to
maintain the standard of civility.
This is not an open forum for anyone
to write whatever they want to write. This is my blog; and I am not
at all obligated to provide a venue for others practicing their
freedom of expression. Threats, bullying, name calling and unfounded
accusations will not be tolerated. Furthermore, comments that can be
interpreted to be even slightly abusive are likely to be scrutinized.
‘Hater’, within the context of this
blog, is a technical designation that describes those who engage in,
among other things, the hateful tactics of threatening, bullying,
unfounded accusing and name calling. Use of this technical
designation is not name calling. Those who do not want to be
designated as such should not behave as such.