Can Time Just Slow Down A Slight Bit, Please?

It can’t be October tomorrow. It still feels like this whole…whatever this is supposed to be…just started in some ways. Instead, I’ll be in Honduras for 5 months next week, which means that I’m almost halfway done. My wife is officially in her second trimester. I’ll be done with my undergrad program in 12 weeks. Nothing in my life is remotely the same from this past May, yet it feels like “this past May” was last week.

It was weird saying bye to my closest friends from California. There was an awkward vibe that surrounded our good times, a kind of “this is probably never happening with us again” cloud that never quite lifted. Although I’ve moved around a great deal, I’ve never had that feeling before, and I genuinely enjoyed it, as uncomfortable as it was. I left to South Carolina from Queens at age 11 without being able to tell anyone. I left to New Jersey from South Carolina at 16 without telling anybody outside of my very best friend at the time. I didn’t even get the chance to do that much with my new college friends on my way back to South Carolina from Jersey; I was on the first Greyhound smoking after my cousin found out about my grades. That was the routine for me. I was somewhere, and then I just…wasn’t there anymore.

Looking back from the point of view of the people who cared about me back then, that shit is weird. And hurtful. Having someone you talked to daily just disappear without a trace one day, especially when Facebook wasn’t widespread and Twitter didn’t even exist, just has to feel so abrupt. Like someone rage quit your relationship. I really regret doing that, even if a couple of those instances weren’t under my control.

Last May was the first time I’ve really said goodbye to anyone close. The first time that I’ve given (or had a chance to give) any widespread notice to my departure. The first time I’ve had any finality. A going away party. Closure. All that good stuff. It was also the first time the majority of my friends and family was able to say, “Oh yeah, Shawn’s moving to _______ during ________. We should see him before he leaves.” That was really important to me. It was cool knowing that someone actually cared about me leaving.

Until I got married, I never got the feeling that people’s lives would change after I left them. I’m sure people missed me in a “that Shawn guy was cool. It’s a shame he left,” sort of way, but I never felt indispensable to someone. That’s one of the benefits of having a set of parents and/or siblings that people take for granted. You know someone genuinely cares about your whereabouts. You know that you truly matter to someone. Since my family wholly consists of cousins and aunts and uncles without actual parents or siblings, I’ve always had the sense that I could only hope to be second fiddle in anyone’s heart of hearts. I could only hope to be “like a brother” to someone or “like a son” to someone else. No matter how much someone loved me, there was always at least one human being that they loved more than me. I couldn’t pass the ultimate cliff test (if two people were hanging off a cliff and you could only save one, who would it be?) with anyone because there would always be someone more important to them. This, of course, is selfish. And terribly unfair to my aunt and uncle and cousins (their two sons) who voluntarily took care of me and loved me as much as they possibly could. But I don’t think it’s false.

I think that’s part of the reason I’m irrationally excited about having a child instead of having the nerves that normally come with it. I don’t want my child to ever have that feeling. That’s not one of the common adversities that people overcome to build character. It’s debilitating, mentally and emotionally. It makes you think that ending it all wouldn’t bother the rest of the world all that much. In short, it sucks. Fortunately, I don’t feel it much anymore. Thanks, Rachel.

I just have this feeling that time will go exponentially faster as the birth draws closer and I’m going to blink and it’ll be Halloween and I’ll know whether we’re having a son or daughter and oh my God can I just please hit the pause button to process what exactly is going on sometimes? Everything is scary. But at least I’ll get to say goodbye to the past this time.

(No, my wife hasn’t ripped my head off via Skype yet. But it’s coming. I can feel it.)


My Wife is a Bundle of Hormones

Oh, this month should be an absolute blast. Rachel has already obligated that I shower her with compliments until Halloween, even if she’s in the process of ripping my head off via Skype, because she can’t help it and science agrees with her. You know? If I have to deal with that part, I should at least have the reward of Rachel being ready to bone 24/7 to counteract it. But no.

According to my cool What To Expect app thingy, our baby is the size of a peach now. A big headed peach. Seriously, the baby is 75% head at this point (it’ll remain that way after birth, due to our genes). The baby is developing tiny bones, so that’s cool too. H/she’s also developing vocal cords, a process that I’m sure we’ll wish was delayed or disabled at various points.

Other than that, we’re both slowly getting back to our normal routines after her visit. My school and writing rhythm has been thrown off a bit, but that’s a small price to pay to see my radiant wife in the flesh (she totally approves this message). The next major milestone in the pregnancy (since, again, I won’t be able to enjoy her wanting to bone 24/7), is figuring out the gender of the kid. All of the silly signals that we’ve read in “how to tell if you’re having a boy/girl/whatever” articles point to us having a boy, but I’m still holding strong to my hunch that we’re having a girl.

I don’t know what happened between the rest of my adult life and Rachel’s pregnancy, but I would really enjoy raising a daughter. That’s something I would’ve never, ever said as recently as the moment before I found out my wife was pregnant.   I always thought about the moment that I would have to kill someone with my bare hands for hurting my little girl or worrying about her becoming a stripper or something else crazy, but I never actually considered the cool parts of having a daughter. Little girls are the cutest creatures on earth, there’s less pressure for them to turn into pro athletes, so it’s relatively easy to raise them to be well-rounded human beings, and when they inevitably turn into the preadolescent/teenage monster version of themselves, they just turn on their mothers, so I’m still in the clear! Plus, it would give me a chance to reenact one of my favorite scenes ever.

Not like I’m ever going to complain about doing father/son stuff, but the thought of having a daughter has really grown on me. Maybe I can wish it into existence.

I booked my flight back to California to be with everyone for New Years. By “everyone,” I mean “my wife, her family, and God knows who else because all of my friends left the Bay Area for greener and cheaper (mostly cheaper) pastures.” Should be fun to be back in the States again, at least until the next time a black or Latin kid gets shot in the face by a cop and I have to watch people justify it. Then I’ll be ready to leave again.

Time’s moving too fast. I have no clue where September went. I’m already in contact with my replacement for Honduras. I’m going to say something that will cause Rachel to stab me through the phone in a pregnant rage while I have to complement her as I swim in my own blood pool. Help.

My First Trip to the Boy’s Home

I strongly considered never going to an orphanage of any kind, much less one in a third world country. I hate seeing children in pain. I hate not being able to substantially change that pain. I feel like the whole endeavor is pointless in the long term, and knowing the big picture of why many people go to these orphanages, which is a sickening mixture of holding some position of superiority over the children and being able to pat themselves on the back while telling their friends in the States about how charitable they’re being to these destitute, hopeless kids, turned me off on the idea even further. The thought of experiencing that process in person made my stomach turn. I can’t be one of those fucking people. And really, how do I even avoid looking like one of those people?

Some of these local Honduran community leaders have to absolutely despise us. I know I would if I was in their position. They’re doing their very best to survive on a day to day basis, and here come these rich Americans once per month, flaunting their expensive clothes and jewelry, ready to throw their spare change from their pockets and act like they waved a magic wand that solved all their problems. Yet, times are so rough that every bit truly does help their cause. The amount of pride they have to swallow to accept money and donations from some of us has to be staggering. It has to be.

After changing my mind multiple times on whether I’d attend the orphanage, I decided to at least give it a try the evening before the group was set to leave. If I ended up hating the entire experience, I could still give from a safe distance in the future, something that would serve the purpose of helping the children while not developing an anti-American sentiment (that type of thing is frowned upon while serving in the military, I guess).

That morning, I was careful to dress as humbly as possible. I took off my wedding ring, wore a dingy white tee with basketball shorts, and slipped on the worst set of sneakers I owned. A couple of other concerns ran through my mind, the most pressing of which was the inevitable language barrier. How can I possibly connect with these kids if I can talk to or understand them? My Spanish was elementary at best, and resorting to Google translate after every sentence doesn’t exactly make for an organic experience.

I didn’t know a single person. The orphanage that we were attending was sponsored by the Army, and I was the only Air Force guy among the 20+ people who ambled onto the bus that morning. The “who is the new guy” stares that I felt as I signed my name on the accountability sheet only amplified the feeling that I was in foreign territory. The Air Force and Army have an interesting dynamic with each other. Their overall relationship stops short of animosity, since we do work together on occasion, but we make our share of jokes about the other branch. They very much do the same. A friendly rivalry, I suppose. I thought about creating small talk with a couple of them while waiting, but instead opted to drown myself in my iTunes playlist. Our Chaplin said a few words that I didn’t hear due to the music blasting through my ear buds, then I felt the bus engine start. We were off.

After a brief trip into a town called La Paz, the bus made a right turn from a public road to the middle of nowhere. We drove onto a road that made me wish for the dirt roads that I often travelled during my time in South Carolina. An endless stream of giant stones and potholes turned a half mile stretch into a 20 minute ordeal, since driving over 5 MPH would mean severe harm for either the bus or the people inside it. The snail’s pace meant that we felt every bump and sudden dip that the road had to offer, and the accompanying discomfort that everyone felt was obvious.

We stopped on the right side of the road, and saw this giant black gate. It was about ten feet tall, rusted over, and imposingly surrounded the property I assumed we were about to enter. The two doors that dictated entry into the property were wide and sturdy, with the tops of the doors steadily curving upward to create a sort of antiquated elegance. After waiting in front of the gate for five minutes, we saw two little kids sprint towards it. They could not have been more than eight years old. They each unlocked a door and pulled them backwards for the bus to enter, with the dragging of the doors against the ground reminding me of someone digging their nails into a chalkboard.

The bus churned through the gate and into the orphanage, where we were greeted by a building surrounded by a barren plot of land. The building was made of stone, and it had “San Antonio Boys Home” painted on the side underneath a cross. There was a soccer field that didn’t have any nets. A large slab of concrete that was used as a basketball court. The rims were about 7 feet tall and poorly maintained. As we stepped off the bus, 30 children of various ages and sizes enthusiastically greeted us. Many of the people who had been there before greeted them back, whether it was with hugs, high fives or piggyback rides. None of the kids were wearing clothes that seemed fit to play in. Most of them were wearing jeans and button-up shirts, and quite a few of them wore shoes normally associated with formal events. The Honduran version of putting their arm around someone in friendship is interlocking arms, and it seemed every kid instantly found someone’s arm to hook.  Their reaction took me aback. I was expecting these downtrodden children who needed to be prodded to interact with us, but it was very much the opposite. There was genuine joy in their eyes, as if this was the first time they’ve been let loose from imprisonment.

Before playing with the kids, we gathered everyone around a small whiteboard and the Chaplin taught them a basic english lesson. The lesson centered around how to translate what the kids wanted to be when they got older and the qualities it took to get there (which just so happened to coincide with the Army’s values). As the Chaplin was speaking, I felt someone hook my arm. It was one of the older kids. I looked down at him. He looked up and smiled at me. I smiled back. I guess we were best friends now. After the lesson ended, it was time to play with the kids. We brought soccer balls, a basketball, and a football from the base. My attempt to communicate with my new best friend went like this:

“Ummmm, como se llamas?”

“Juan Manuel”

“Y usted?”

“Me llamo es Shawn”




“Jugar fútbol?”


And off we went.

I should’ve started with basketball. After passing the soccer ball to each other for a few minutes, I thought it would be a great idea to try to take the ball away from him while dribbling. I had been dabbling with soccer since coming to Honduras, and I thought I was developing a knack for it. He ensured that I had no delusions about my talent level. After 10 minutes of chasing him around to no avail, I resorted to defeating him the best way I knew how: with tickles. We wrestled to the ground and while playing in the dirt with this little person I had never met before, I realized that everything I worried about the night before didn’t mean much of anything. Nobody cares about language fluency and the big picture when you’re rolling around in dirt having the time of your life.

After an hour, it was time for the kids to eat. We had brought some burgers and candy to share with the kids, and they were being grilled while everyone was playing. After a quick prayer, the kids sat around a giant wooden table that comfortably seated all 30 of the children. As the kids ate, I noticed that Juan’s eyes followed me everywhere that I went. I went up to him and asked if he was ok, and he just kept looking at me. I rubbed him on the head, smiled at him and walked off.

After eating the burgers, it was time for the candy to be passed out, which quickly devolved into a chaotic scene. During the scrum, I noticed that Juan wasn’t among those wildly scrambling for the candy. He calmly waited for his turn, grabbed a few pieces of candy and offered me a piece. My voice cracked with emotion while declining the candy, since I couldn’t fathom anyone being so gracious and unselfish when their circumstances almost dictate them to take on opposite qualities. Being in that situation forces people to develop a mean streak for the sake of self-preservation. But Juan still seemed like a genuinely warm human being. Like he had been raised in a normal, loving home instead of all the difficulties that came with being a foster child. For whatever reason, I thought about all of this right after he offered me his piece of candy, and it briefly overwhelmed me.

After gathering myself, we resumed playing, and I taught him how to arm wrestle and play Rock, Paper, Scissors (I still don’t know how to say this in Spanish) while everyone else was winding down and getting ready to leave. As our time with the children drew to a close, I thought about different ways to actually help them long term, and I concluded that the best way to do that would be through education. As I looked through the building, I didn’t see anything that would help the children learn anything. No books, no puzzles, no computers, nothing. It was just…them. They were literally all they had. So I resolved to transform the orphanage little by little during my time here. One month I’d bring books, the next month I’d bring school supplies, and so on.

Juan and I took a selfie together and shared a long hug. I promised him that I would come back as often as I could and that I wouldn’t let him down. He didn’t understand it, since I said it in English, but I hoped he at least felt the tone of my message. I dragged my feet on the way back to the bus and glumly returned to my seat. As the bus exited the orphanage and we prepped to traverse the same battered road that led us here, I heard the screech of the gate closing, knowing that a piece of me was trapped on the other side.

What Did I Expect, Really?

Well, I’m shocked that I wanted to spend more than four days with my wife after not seeing her for over two months. I don’t even know how else I’m supposed to feel in this stupid situation. Not like I’m going to watch her leave and think to myself, “You know? I’m totally ready to not see my pregnant wife for another three months. Those four days were justttttt enough to hold me over.” It’s the most obvious thing to write in the world. Watching her leave was sad. I’m still pretty sad about it. Watching her cry sucks. I felt like crying at the time too, but it never happens. It’s always at an airport or something. Too public.

We had a great time while she was here, though. Took her to the base the first day so she could get a sense of my daily routine (and to make sure I wasn’t hiding her existence to random women on the base, but that went unspoken). She couldn’t envision what the base looked like from my description because my description consisted of, “it’s just like any other base,” which proves that I need to write way more often. I think she wanted me to wax poetic about how the maroon tin roofs (rooves?) of the buildings defiantly reflected from the sun and gave the base an eminent glow while…I don’t know…the antiquated but reliable architecture of the offices reminded those entitled military Yankees of Central American improvisation and mettle. Whatever. She got to see my dorm room, and we got to take the twin bed for a spin like we were in our late teens. Fun stuff.

I think my favorite part of the entire visit was the both of us sitting on my bed, using the TV as background noise while we both caught up on our assignments. Silent, with the occasional exception of leaning over for a kiss or asking how far we were in our papers. Everything else in our lives is basically new and totally liquid, but none of it mattered for the 90 minutes that it lasted. It’s something we’ve done countless times while I was at home daily, and I took it for granted right up until that point.

I lied. My favorite part of the visit was definitely Rachel framing her first ultrasound for me and tracking the baby’s rapid heartbeat together. The previous paragraph is a solid runner-up, though.

The next afternoon, we took a two hour ride to a brewery when neither of us could drink alcohol (my squadron is doing prohibition since we’ve mistaken this assignment for a reality show and Rachel is pregnant) and hung out by the lake all weekend. Went birdwatching on a poorly designed boat (which was way more fun than it sounds). Took way too many pictures of the waterfall. Spent much of the evening walking through town with this older couple that teaches in different international schools in Central and South America for a living. No TV, very little wifi, no minutia, no worries.

We spent Sunday at the Intercontinental, where we exchanged nature for room service and hot showers and adequate plumbing. Football was cool too. Even had a first world issue of the room not having ESPN in English. The IC is a pretty somber experience for us both because it reminds us of the end, since the next stop is always the airport. There’s this inescapable cloud of finality that hovers over an otherwise wonderful experience. I tried Twitter for a solid 15 minutes. Gave it a real effort. Nothing. Maybe it’ll be better during basketball season. It won’t, but I can dream. Who cares?

The countdown resets. Again. I should probably look forward to seeing Rachel again in late December instead of dwelling on the fact that I won’t see her during her entire 2nd trimester. She’ll go from having a baby bump to a full grown belly. I won’t even be there to find out what the gender will be. This is supposed to get easier. I’m on month four. It’s not getting easier. Everything sucks again. Can’t wait to not do this anymore. Until then, I’ll just keep breathing.


I saw something else on Facebook that made me pause and write stuff. It was this:

Before I begin, I should let you guys know how much I hate, hate, HATE writing about softball topics, even ones that directly benefit me, such as cops not getting away with shooting people who look like me in the face. It’s boring, doesn’t require much creativity or nuanced research, and is often deep rooted in paternalism and/or self-indulgence. I could stand on metaphorical soapboxes and write about how terrible ______ is when most normal, healthy humans already know how terrible it is and be a wildly successful blogger/internet personality/gasbag. And I’d never run out of material because clearly and obviously terrible things occur every single day! That’s way too easy. It’s like patting yourself on the back for beating the computer on Rookie: it’s a great start, but you won’t truly improve until you start playing on All-Pro and All-Madden.

With that said, society needs to start treating fat people better. That doesn’t mean that obesity should be encouraged, since it drastically lessens quality of life and life in general. It just means that people shouldn’t be solely defined by their obesity and subsequently judged/shamed/discouraged for their disability.

I think that people misunderstand the nuances of dietary disorders (whether they involve over or under eating) the same way they misunderstand people who become addicted to drugs. It’s really easy for people who are fortunate enough to not have gone through those issues to look down on them, saying stuff like, “if he really wanted to lose weight, he’d just do it like (insert totally different human with different circumstances). He’s just lazy.”

Many people see these addictions as the actual root of the problem instead of merely a symptom of a larger, deeply psychological issue. And guess what? The “tough love,” “real,” and “in your face” approach that I suspect the young lady is trying to use in that video (and many, many do this) is the absolute opposite approach someone should take if they’re actually trying to help and not compensating for their own unique insecurities by making someone else feel small.

The more society condemns overweight people, the more entrenched they become in their own “identity”. There’s a reason many overweight people attract each other the same way a group of drug addicts on Skid Row would hang out together: they feel like they’re the only ones who truly understand each other. It’s a unique brand of tribalism. It’s their way of saying, “No matter what the world thinks of me, these people are down for me and the only thing that matters.” If the world thinks that they should be marginalized because they’re overweight, they might as well double down, embrace their disability and indulge in it further as a middle finger to society at large. And that’s bad because, you know, obesity is bad, since it kills people before their time and prevents them from living fully during their time here.

Would you like to know the best way to approach people who are overweight if you’d like to actually help them? Treat them like people! Not some sort of sideshow or freak of nature. Actual, real life humans. Because that’s what they are. Humans. Talk to them nicely and respectfully, you know, the same way you would talk to any other human. You let them know that you love them for themselves and that obesity is what they have, not what they are.

After you gain their trust and they’re confident enough in the belief that you actually see them as a human, try to figure out what the real problem is. Chances are, those real problems have absolutely nothing to do with food. Once you figure out what the real issue is, whether it’s depression, insecurity, fear of failure or another deep-seeded issue that we compensate for in various ways, figure out the best way to solve it. It might require a shrink. But, it could also be as simple as someone finally caring for him enough to talk through the issue. Once they solve that issue, they’ll realize that they no longer need to overeat to compensate for said issue and they’ll slowly change their lifestyle accordingly. Simple stuff. Easy? No. But simple.

In an earlier post, I made a passing reference about having no idea how I finally quit smoking cold turkey after smoking for all of my 20s (I’m 29). That was a lie. I know exactly how it happened. I stopped caring about failing. Smoking for so long had nothing to do with the physical effects. It was just much easier to continue smoking than it was to potentially fail at quitting again. That stifling fear of failure manifested itself in many ways, and smoking was just one of them. I failed at my first attempt at college and didn’t try again until 8 years later because the thought of failing at it again terrified me. I didn’t stick to writing my original basketball blog, and it took me a solid three years to write anything for anyone because I was scared of failing at it again. I’ve scared myself out of God knows how many positive relationships and opportunities due to not wanting to repeat an interaction that didn’t go how I envisioned.

My friends meant well when they tried to get me to stop smoking, but they often went about it the wrong way, and it made me smoke even more. My wife was the first person who looked at all my shortcomings and basically said, “I love you regardless. It’s ok if you try and fail. I’ll be there either way.” It seems like a pretty simple statement that most people would say to someone they love, but it was the first time I’d ever heard it, and without it, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. I’d be outside, sucking down my third straight cigarette, saying that I’d just quit tomorrow. Again.

My Wife Has a Lime in her Now

According to my handy dandy What To Expect app, our baby is growing hair follicles (pray that he/she inherits Rachel’s hairline) and fingernails. The baby also has hands and feet without webs, open nasal passages, a tongue and (hopefully picky like his/her parents) palate in the mouth, and visible nipples, which is a blessing, since we know that nipples aren’t a given for everyone.

I think I put my finger on the most difficult part of being separated from your loved ones. This doesn’t even necessarily have to apply to your spouse or kids; it can be the product of being away from your parents, relatives, close friends, people from your hometown, etc. It’s the fact that you just aren’t living the same life as anyone else you’re close to anymore. The same ties that were present to the point where you took them for granted no longer exist. You’re doing something drastically different from your loved ones the vast majority of the time you’re apart, and over time, after the initial shock of missing each other wears off and you both return to living your separate day to day lives, it gets really difficult to relate to each other.

Rachel and I have gone through this lately. My life is pretty simple out here. I work reasonable and stable hours, go to the gym, do reasonable amounts of schoolwork, read a bunch, write silly blogs on wordpress, and have fun with my friends on the weekends. Most of what I do makes me generally happy. Rachel’s life? Not so much.

She works these ridiculous, ever-changing hours as a property manager for her parents’ company while taking three (fucking three!) Master’s courses at a time, since she’s casually condensing a 18 month program into a 12 month dash to the finish line before giving birth and almost immediately moving away from everything she’s ever known for the next three years. Which is to say she doesn’t do too much outside of that. Her idea of a good time these days consists of getting our poodle to stay in the case that he’s traveling in during our flight for gradually longer periods of time. That brings her genuine joy. So when we’re on the phone and I’m talking about all the places I’m seeing and the cool things I’m doing on a regular basis, she gets…jealous? Yeah, I think she gets jealous. And I’d be pretty jealous if the roles were reversed.

If I was bogged with a never-ending burden of papers and discussion boards with the occasional 8pm-3am work shift thrown in just to ensure that my sleep cycle is never quite right, I’d probably tire of hearing about my wife’s relatively paradisal days pretty quickly. And I’m not even pregnant.

She always talks about how our lives are so different now. They were different from the moment I left for Central America, but we at least had the common tie of crying about how much this sucks and how we miss each other more than anything. Now we’re approaching the dog days of the deployment, and exchanging variations of “I miss you” for hours on end doesn’t exactly make for compelling conversation after the first month.

As much fun as I’m having out here, I’d kill to be doing the day to day grind with Rachel. I think most guys take a unique sense of pride in caring for their pregnant wives, especially if they were independent beforehand. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard my friends brag about their pregnant wives making them get pretzels and ice cream from the store at 2am or watching their walks gradually turn into waddles as the belly inflates, and I used to think to myself, “Huh? That sounds horrible. What’s so fun about that?” But now that I’m in the situation, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. Massaging Rachel’s feet until my hands cramp while she threatens to kill me for impregnating her in the first place has never sounded more appealing.

She’ll be here on Thursday, and she’ll stay through the weekend. I’m sure I won’t be writing much, since I’ll be busy trying to fit two months of affection and quality time and sex (YES YES YES YES…sorry) and just getting back on the same page and generally doing the same things into those next four days. The time will go way too quickly, and I’ll be kicking myself for not doing a bunch of cool things that we didn’t have time to fit, but she’ll know that I tried my best and appreciate me for it. Then the cycle starts again.

Is #BlackLivesMatter Even a Good Thing?

Bill O’Reilly is an incredible human being and is really, really good at what he does. I was aimlessly scrolling down Facebook a few days ago and skimmed an article detailing O’Reilly’s attempts to get a couple of criminologists to say, or to at least imply, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is the cause of the recent police murders. They didn’t bite, fortunately.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve read anything explaining why the name is specifically “Black” lives matter, and not “All” lives or “American” lives or the like. If I was a skeptic (I am), and I didn’t get a straight answer for a question I had, especially for something that can be seen as discriminatory on the surface, I wouldn’t feel great about supporting it either. I get it.

Well, here’s the thing. We don’t need a reminder or a movement of White lives or Cop lives mattering in the United States because it’s pretty obvious that they do matter. We know their lives matter from the day we’re born, through every possible outlet. Look at our school textbooks. Look at our movies. Just…look around. A majority group doesn’t need reminders of their importance to society because the reminders are already everywhere.

Black lives? Ehhhhhhhh, not so much, you know? I’m not sure how much more proof of discrimination and marginalization a rational person would need at this point. Black people are discriminated against in terms of education (at every level), housing, finance, art, film, incarceration, getting in fraternities, getting interviews, getting jobs, promoting upwards, drug arrests, and basically everywhere else that’s important. That doesn’t even touch on the cognitive biases and negative stereotypes that have been masterfully crafted through the media since the moment they had to be more discreet about their means of slavery. Hell, do you know why anti-discrimination laws are even in place? Because if they had the chance, they would discriminate (more bluntly) all the time! Even now! In 2015!

You know why we can’t collectively focus on turning the tide on discrimination in all of those aforementioned areas? Because we have to worry about getting shot in the face by the people sworn to protect us and them not even being held accountable! And if that wasn’t enough, the poor families of those who were left behind probably just want to be totally devastated with some semblance of peace and dignity, but instead have to watch and listen to that person’s name and reputation get dragged through the mud posthumously  while total strangers (and the news!) seriously grapple over whether he deserved to live because he smoked weed or something. That’s a big deal, you guys. And Black people shouldn’t be alright with that.

Many white people outwardly sympathize with this plight, but they don’t like the protests. Unfortunately, that’s the entire point of a protest. You’re not supposed to like it. It’s supposed to be disruptive. It’s supposed to get you out of your daily routine, whatever that may be, and make you notice what’s going on.

Another common reply is to be patient, since all of these wrongs will eventually be righted organically. The problem with that approach is that it never works that way. Ever. In the history of the world. History doesn’t change on a natural timetable. It changes through a spark and subsequent revolution. Even objectively, it doesn’t make any sense for a majority party to voluntarily cede power (or leverage or anything else of importance) to a minority one. Real, permanent change has to occur through force, whether it’s political, legal, or (God forbid) physical.

It’s one of the precious few drawbacks of being in the majority. As a man, I enjoy the many subtle and obvious privileges of being the majority party, and I can’t protest about how men are the ones who are really being discriminated against because women are fighting for equality. Reason #1 being that I’d be incorrect and Reason #2 being that I’d be incorrect while looking like a total moron to anyone who wasn’t a sexist or bigot. The same concept applies to race.

So yes, #BlackLivesMatter is a good thing, no, they shouldn’t change it to #AllLivesMatter and no, they shouldn’t operate at your convenience or on your timetable. Saying #AllLivesMatter is the equivalent of holding a Straight Pride Parade (this actually happened in Seattle) or supporting that terrible fucking “Menimist” twitter account.

Bill O’Reilly considers #BlackLivesMatter a hate group and has made it his personal mission to destroy it. It’s clearly a good thing.