I think I am developing Covid-19 quarantine ‘grouchiness syndrome’…

Symptoms: shortness of patience, low-tolerance for Bulls&%$, a propensity to just call things what they are, the inability to suffer quietly; and don’t give a D#&@ what people think! I am going to check-in with my former students in the medical profession to get a proper diagnosis!

34.5 Million, I’m sorry I really can’t…

“Shaun King Keeps Raising Money, and Questions About Where It Goes..”*—The Daily Beast

Note: The Daily Beast is not a right-wing rag; and in fact, I found the article well-researched, fair, and balanced; and offered Mr. King more than (the usual) ample opportunity to provide counter and clarifying narratives and explanations for the many charges leveled against him.

I don’t know if it’s the result of a quarantined life-style or just some naturally age-time acquired “crankiness” (or a combination of the two); but I find that I am losing what little mental-space-patience I had for foolishness. I am so sick of the black traffickers in Black pain and misery industry. Who I believe secretly want a Trump reelection because they have turned Black suffering into a marketable commodity. The other reason is that they are personally financially capable and secure (also having good health insurance) to make it through 4 more years of Trump; meanwhile, a large number of Black folks (especially children) and many of Trump’s targeted for destruction ‘others’ won’t survive or will survive irreversibly broken after 4 more years of his and the GOP’s rule.

I know, I have been told on many occasions throughout my life that I can’t say many of the things I say because: “White people will hear/see it!” (Like ‘white people’ don’t know that public education systems are tragically not meeting the needs of the majority of Black children!) And further, count it as either a strength or weakness, to be honest, my work efforts (no disrespect) don’t take into account what ‘white people’ see, think, or feel about the efficacy or direction of my work. But if I am to step further into honesty, much of the best support I have received over the years (up to today) has come from ‘white people’. I will never stop praising the courage and vision of the late Dr. Donald Scherl (Former President; SUNY Downstate Medical Center), who in the face of a lot of opposition, allowed people like Dr. Gerald Deas, George Leonard, Tiffany Harrison and myself to essentially turn a medical school into a dynamic summer medical science learning program for middle and high school Black and Latino students.

34.5 million!

I am thinking of all of the wonderful public school teachers and administrators who annually ‘donate’ to an unofficial ‘school supplies, materials, and helping students and their families support tax’ out of their own pockets; monies that will never end up as donations on anybody’s IRS tax forms.

If these woken and much spoken on radio, print and cable TV people, who make a career out of Black people’s suffering taught some Black children (other than their own) how to read, bought them a microscope or a computer and then taught them how to use it, and then helped those same young people to master algebra, and thereby unlocking and opening wide the ‘gate’ to a future STEM career; I could half-way respect them, but all of this only ‘telling white folks off’ mess, I find tiring. I was so proud to see Brooklyn’s Concord Baptist Church actually ‘do something’ substantially significant (Paying off $4 Million dollars of Medical Bills Amid the Coronavirus crisis) to relieve the Covid-19 suffering of our people; but if they wanted more ‘news-media-time’ for their wonderful efforts they probably would have done better to have a press conference and call Joe Biden names!

And this is why in my view, that great supporter of education, scholarship awarder, and a builder of schools LeBron James, is statistics and ‘GOAT’ documentaries notwithstanding, one of the greatest celebrities of all time!

*https://www.thedailybeast.com/shaun-king-keeps-raising-money-and-questions-about-where-it-goes-3?fbclid=IwAR3ovD3Du2abtEX-JKZPa7L3uD8emKDBEkgbZjVRrqzU0ZJdCr-mdsFsXgA

A Plague Can Bring a Lot of Clarity…

A plague clears up the myth of: “A land of equal educational opportunity and prosperity”. Valiant public educators efforts notwithstanding; the technology divide many of us have been talking about for years; definitely will not be closed during this national emergency. Also, the stark differences in COVID-19 educational responses and capabilities when you go from school district to school district, and in many cases the dramatic differences between schools inside of the same district, are tragically stunning. When we return to some level of ‘school-opening- sanity’ after these massive closures have ended, we will have learning winners and losers.

On another front I am deeply worried about something...

I am 100% all on board for Joe Biden (as I would have been for any of the Democratic nominees). But the Trumpsters are holding large demonstrations in some states demanding that they receive greater exposure to the coronavirus is scary; these people are suicidally committed to him. On the other hand, we have the ‘woke-privileged’ folks (they have good ‘options’ that allow them to remain ‘politically pure’; they have stable incomes, a place to live, plenty of food, health insurance, and a home library of ‘radical books’) who don’t have a problem having Trump serve another term. Not to get too theoretically complicated here; their theory is based on two false concepts put forward by Marx. (1) That workers of all races will see their common interest and unite; well we know how the white working-class feel about that in America (This is why the focus of one campaign was on ‘billionaires’ and the ‘oligarchy’, and not on the everyday people’s racism and bigotry that elected and sustains Trump). (2) Further, they (cynically) believe that as the suffering and dying of “the masses” under Trump increases ‘the people’ will be pushed to some ‘critical tipping point’, where they will become ‘radicalized’. Nope, another term of Trump will mean that a lot of Black, Brown, White, etc. poor and working poor people will suffer and die without becoming ‘radicalized’; as they are dying now because Trump mismanaged the COVID-19 crisis.
One historical thought from liberation movements the world over is that if the people are facing an existential threat(e.g. Fascism), perhaps some temporary uncomfortable alliances may be necessary. A movement that calls for the masses to face greater suffering and dying is problematic for me; and further, you definitely can’t raise the consciousness of a dead person!

And speaking of working and ‘class’…

A plague separates those who have the “power” to work from home; and those who must overexpose themselves daily to the virus.

More to the personal…

If you live alone, how much of yourself do you like (or can you take) alone? And if you live with another person, well…

A person who loves reading and has access to books; and someone who can engage in some kind of creative art activity at home, will have a ‘maintaining-sanity-advantage’ during a home quarantine situation.

And…
You don’t need to be a “great and famous” person during a plague; just being a regular good humanitarian person is a wonderfully great thing to be.

I’ll never take hugging, closeness or compassionate touching for granted again! … Part 10

A Plague will bring out the best, the beasts, and the not so brilliant…

Notes from In-house exile: Taking Notes on the Plagues Teachable Moments.

April 11, 2020

“…Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone…” — W. H. Auden

There are just too many unbelievably unhelpful stories… The NYPD had to enforce distancing regulation at a beauty supply store yesterday! Can we all agree to give ourselves a ‘Covid-19 Beauty Pass’ for the duration of the stay-home-stay-safe quarantine period? And Gov. Cuomo could you please issue an executive order declaring every New Yorker as Beautiful for the duration of the crises(and then we can go back to that: “In the eyes of the beholder” thing)! My goodness…

Yesterday, because I am a chronic learner (or a glutton for intellectual punishment), I painfully watched the entire 2-hour White House Covid-19 briefing/update yesterday. Trump spent the majority of those two-hours bashing an assortment of ‘enemies’ (including past presidents) along with a long, rambling and sometimes incoherent hour blaming the Chinese for everything except the war of 1812. I kept saying to myself, who (what kind of person) would think that this type of behavior and presentation is appropriate from a national leader during a moment of national crisis? Which leads me to my next point…

I tried to imagine really hard, as to what is in the minds and hearts of the 40, 60 or whatever percent of Americans who are approving of his behavior. The present historical situation is only helpful in this sense. After reading the biographies of people like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot; one essential question that insist on being heard: “In each case the leader is in every clinical sense of the word obviously dangerously insane; and so, why are so many people willing to follow his evil and destructive leadership?
Normally, I would default to my favorite: ‘lack of education’ as the reason position; but in the case of Hitler, Germany (like America today) was an intellectual center of learning, STEM, theology, and the creative arts. And further, Trump’s 40-60% of ‘approving’ Americans can’t all be be people whose education ended after the first grade.

No I think Trump has figured “it” out; “It” being the social-psychopathology of ‘bad-acting’ social movements.
It’s the ugly bullying of various groups and individuals; the bigoted attacks on people of color like the Chinese, that endears him to people who are somehow disconnected from our evolved ability to make intellectual, moral and empathetic decisions.

I’ll never take hugging, closeness or compassionate touching for granted again! … Part 8

Notes from In-house exile: Taking Notes on the Plagues Teachable Moments.

April 5, 2020

When I Think Of Home (WITOH) I…

(My sincere apologies to ‘The Wiz’ fans!)

WITOH: I don’t think of a place of quarantined-isolation. Where I’m reduced to dialoguing with an air-fryer!

Me: “OK, how are we doing?

(After another month of a solo-quarantined existence and the air-fryer will start answering me back).

Air-Fryer: “It’s almost done sir, give me 7 more minutes.

WITOH: I think of a NYC where I was born and raised, and served as a superintendent during “9/11”. I learned then about a city that was overflowing with love, patience, perseverance and the determination to come back better and stronger…

WITOH: And living in a nation that would (with all of Hillary Clinton’s very human flaws), select one of the most unqualified, amoral, unimaginative, uninspiring, unethical (did I miss anything–Just fill in the blank), and ___________ person to run this country. And tragically, for all Americans (including his supporters), to lead a nation that is presently facing one of its gravest challenges.

WITOH: I think of a present world-wide place and time, where the plague’s pain will reveal the best people, as well as revealing the best in people; including the emergence of extra-ordinary people, who in this moment of collective suffering, will reveal their best extraordinary gifts of human-kindness service.

I’ll never take hugging, closeness or compassionate touching for granted again!… Part 4

Notes from In-house exile: Taking Notes on the Plagues Teachable Moments.

March 31, 2020

Collecting a work of personal art in progress…

“Solitude is the place of purification”—Martin Buber.

Now, I would make a film, but I am not like two of my favorite film directors: Akira Kurosawa or Ousmane Sembène, and so I don’t know how to star in and direct a quarantine-isolation movie. And so instead I am working on collecting a lot of pictures of me engaging in social closeness. Carefully putting these silent pictures together in tender concentrated togetherness allowed them to speak loudly to me without the use of words. These images are very much close and closer memories of the power and sacred purpose of touching. Some of them are people who the plague brought me back in touch with, although I can no longer touch them; seeing them again still touches me deeply.

Quarantining alone under the siege of a plague separates you from other people; and yet it also brings you much knowingly closer to yourself. You are drawn to pay extreme attention to so many of the small taken-for-granted parts of yourself and the world where that self resides.
It’s the separating out of those things that are really important from those that or not-so-important; the constant counting and counting down of life-items that came so easy to acquire in the pre-plague period; “will I run out of…?”
But we are always in a state of running out of something—-time. Ultimately we all die alone, that is with ourselves only, even if two people die at the same moment, or from the same disease, we still only die to ourselves alone.

At the end the still living are in charge of our no-longer lives. This idea leads to the last right operational thought of: “What do I do if I die alone in this place?” And me of course focused on and thinking: “How can I best managed that (the dying thing that is), without being a troubling inconvenience for too many people!” Since life seems to be so hard and complicated, then why not also death?