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HIV+ (Not Me!)

Greetings friends!

Gonna jump right into this:

Months ago, an old boyfriend from long ago painstakingly revealed to me when we met for coffee after running into each other randomly that he was HIV +. I detected a deep sorrow, fear and regret in him that despite his best efforts to hide, forced his face and other body language into tattle-telling. It was my birthday. Something was very wrong yet I knew it had nothing to do with me. He had remembered my kindness and trustworthy nature and concluded that I was the best person outside of his family most likely to solicit & receive empathy from. I hadn’t seen him in at least 5 years, and it’s been much, much longer since we were intimate. He knew I was the one unaffected by this whom he could trust. I didn’t disappoint him. I wasn’t afraid of this revelation at all – I had only protected sex w/him years back & had myself been tested multiple reasons in the span of years for whatever reason.

I had donated blood & plasma as recently as the month of his revelation. It wasn’t the first time. A few years earlier I did it to obtain life insurance. Again when I switched policies last year, and once voluntarily at a health fair I participated in on behalf of my employer at the time. A hospital rep I had quickly bonded with that day asked me if I’d take a test to “unfrighten” (made up word as far as I know – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but my spell check is screaming red-no time to check, this is important). The problem? The bulk of women and men in attendance would rather not know their status to avoid discovery of a devastating disease with potentially a lifetime of secrets and lying. It ain’t lying if you remain ignorant for too many. This was probably certain death in their minds. They had no desire to experience something so devastating and life-altering. Truth. They knew the risks they took with their own lives. They knew they had engaged in Russian Roulette. I was unafraid & just as confident as they were. Willful, self-imposed ignorance can be deadly.

She asked me to make public everything relevant. I said “sure” without hesitation. In doing this I know I reached into the depths of at least one person. As it turns out, we reached 34 out of 200. I don’t know how many were HIV+. That wasn’t disclosed to me for obvious reasons. Many others were so confident they were negative so that they ignored us. Atlanta has extremely high rates of new HIV cases. So many are under age 25. We’re talking third world numbers in the black community here. Some of those who passed by shouldn’t have. They’ve probably infected others by now. Those others have likely infected others, and so on. *Sigh*. I know so much about this disease. I can’t claim ignorance, but even I hesitated to touch him that day. How could I do that armed with so much detailed knowledge? What the heck? This isn’t right. T!!!!!!! God help me. Forgive me. Enlighten me. Enable me to share when the time comes. I realized later, that it was a knee-jerk reaction to the reality, that had I not protected myself so much over the years, I’d could’ve been a statistic just as he was. Yeah……..

Until next musing,

T

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Richard

I had a rough day today. I work for an eye surgeon, and we get our fair share of indigent patients. Today a homeless man came in as recommended by the ER of the hospital down the street where my doctor is on call as a trauma eye surgeon. This older, white gentleman w/sunken & “cloudy”’eyes came in & his sight was so poor I had to fill out his paperwork for him & lead him to the exam room. We had to lead him everywhere because he was running into walls. I tied his shoe for him because he couldn’t see well enough to tie them himself. He had no insurance but said he was a veteran. He stank. No one wanted to sit next to him. We see patients referred by the VA all the time. He was off mentally but knew his SSN, an old address & his sister’s name & phone number. Long story long, we pulled up his records from the ER but the info there was limited too. I got his sister on the phone & she confirmed that he was in the military (USMC) & homeless. She hadn’t seen him since 2015 & lives out of state. She informed me that whenever they came to check on him, he was normally under a bridge down the street. We knew he couldn’t pay for his visit, but the doctor I work for never cares about that and was not going to turn him away.

After I got off the phone w/his sister I called TriWest (military insurance) & they didn’t see him in their system. I called the VA. Same thing initially, but when they transferred me to another department the 2nd person I spoke to found him, but much to my dismay he was dishonorably discharged in 76’ & had no benefits. Huge sigh. I was expecting a totally different outcome. I wanted to go above & beyond for this man. I wanted to be a hero to him & couldn’t. My hands haven’t been tied like that in a long time. It hurt. He so desperately needs cataract surgery & seeing him fumble around broke my heart. I don’t care that he was dishonorably discharged. He served – something some Americans lack the courage to do despite all the patriotism some claim. Whatever he did, to get kicked out of the Marine corps seems so unimportant to me right now. He’s much older & I’m sure a shell of his former self. He’s paid in full for that infraction w/his life. We recommended that he seek assistance at the local public hospital here smack in the middle of downtown Atlanta. Locals on my page know of it all to well.

A person he was engaging in panhandling with sprayed him in the eyes w/mace & told him to get lost. Wow. That’s what sent him to the ER & ultimately our clinic. Some of us can be so cruel. Why couldn’t this person simply give a “no thanks’” & keep it moving? Ignoring him completely would’ve been much more humane. I happen to believe, that if every one of us on the planet stepped into the shoes of the indigent & homeless – the “least” of society, our empathy would shoot up higher than the tallest building we’ve managed to erect. We cannot grow as a nation if we cannot take care of the “least” of us. I made a split second decision to go and get him something to eat at least. Then I had to tell him painfully direct & tactfully near closing, that he didn’t have to go home but…..on the bright side your sister is coming as soon as she can, and you now have the money for a round trip on the bus. I gave him that too. I’ll never forget the flood of empathy he solicited from within me. I’ll never forget his face. I’ll never forget his name – it’s Richard.

Until next musing,

T

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Wealth And Consumerism, Black Folks Need to “Get Over” Slavery

Greetings Friends!

I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s solar eclipse! I did, but my mind was also churning with what I wanted to share this week. Let’s get right into it:

Wealth & Consumerism

Anytime someone brings up consumerism in a economic discussion, as evidence of black wealth, and/or to disprove the so-called “myth of racial wealth gap”, you’re wasting your time with someone who is fiscally illiterate. If you think the ability to buy expensive stuff proves wealth in and of itself, you’re probably a person who is either wealthy & out of touch, or poor and living way beyond your means. My patience is growing thin in either scenario. This is why entertainers paid to endorse & peddle products to the poor shouldn’t be revered for doing so. As part of the problem, they have no business telling you which liquor you should drink, pre-paid Visa to get, or which headphones to buy. You can’t claim to be about empowering the masses of black folks to “do for self,” if you’re the spokesperson of excessive consumerism. Nope. Not gonna let them off that easy. It’s the blind leading the blind, and insisting that they can see. Ironically, the claims from such celebrities are false anyway. These aren’t products they created themselves, they are paid endorsers if I’m polite, pimps if I’m not. Ridiculous. I’ll take “stop insulting my intelligence” for $200 Alex…

Black America Needs To Get Over Slavery

I wanted to share a point made by a FB friend. Whenever someone tells me black people need to “get over it” (slavery), I’m still taken aback by their profound, ignorant deflection. It’s a way of ignoring the century (and beyond) of legal discrimination, murders/lynchings, the destruction of black wealth that kept it from being passed down to future generations, and horrific medical experiments/cruelty (Tuskegee, Henrietta Lacks & J. Marion Marion Sims – the latter during slavery) that followed. The Civil Rights Bill was signed just 50 years ago. What do some of you mean, “that was long ago”? Stop that. I’m embarrassed for you:

“The value in the protests and removal of these monuments is not in the removal …but rather the awareness raised that these events took place

Too many people want to make the discussion about slavery because that’s intellectually easy. Very few are willing to discuss 1865-1965″

Yep. He’s absolutely right. Former slaves and their descendants didn’t gain sudden equality when the ink on the Emancipation Proclamation dried. Leaping over this fact is intellectually dishonest. It’s also hypocritical, but what can anyone expect, from folks who are telling black Americans to get over slavery, when they can’t seem to get over the Civil War.

Until next musing,

Talitha McEachin

 
 

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Robert E. Lee & Jefferson Davis on Flying the Confederate Flag

Greetings Friends!

After someone shared these facts with me privately on Facebook, I did a bit of research and was astonished to uncover this truth, which I never knew. It adds a tremendous amount of irony in the aftermath of the Charlottesville, Va riots, where racist, white nationalists protested the removal of symbols of the Confederacy:

It's so ironic that some folks are fighting to keep the Confederate flag flying on government property, when two huge, iconic figures from the Confederacy clearly did not want the flag flown after the war. Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, respectively, said:

"I think it wisest not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the example of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered." – Letter to the Gettysburg Identification Committee, 1865

"My pride is that that flag shall not set between contending brothers; and that, when it shall no longer be the common flag of the country, it shall be folded up and laid away like a vesture no longer used." – The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 1881

So, a general in the Confederate military, and the PRESIDENT of the Confederacy, did NOT think it was a good idea to fly the flag anymore after the war, yet some folks are kicking, screaming, protesting (which is their right as long as it's peaceful), and resorting to violence to keep it flying. What exacerbates this is that anyone can fly whatever flag they want on their private property. Removal efforts concern government property. It's still in museums (as it should be, it IS a part of American history) but folks are going nuts over a flag that both of these men felt should be retired. Hmm. Ain't that something?

Until next musing,

Talitha K. McEachin

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in In The News, Politics, Society, Uncategorized

 

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From The Right: “White Nationalists Are Left-Wingers”

Greetings Folks,

Most if not all of you should know by now about the violence, rioting, and unfortunately, the death of two people, during a protest march held by racist, white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Prominent, charismatic leaders of the white nationalist movement, like David Dukes stated their purpose. Inspired (according to them) by President Trump, their missive is to:

"We are determined to take our country back… this turning point for our country”

"We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

Of course this doesn't mean Trump is the catalyst for their movement in reality. It doesn't necessarily follow that he condones their behavior, nor their self proclaimed purpose. What's disturbing to me, is the insistence of many on the right, that these racists are left-wingers. It's absurd, and intellectually dishonest.

Conservatives who label racist, white, nationalists left-wingers are beyond delusional, and/or outright liars. White nationalists, skinheads, Klansmen, extremists do not align left. They'd never align w/the political party that most minorities are members of. They sorta hate em'.

Putting their race based superiority complex aside, their belief in closing the borders, the nuclear (albeit white) family, anti-bloated federal government, pro-life, pro 2nd amendment at all costs, pro-free market capitalism, and belief that affirmative action is no longer necessary are ALL tenets/beliefs of conservatism. Come on now some of you, stop it with this nonsense. It's ignant'. Wanna know what's so silly about this? It's not even necessary to deny the political affiliation of these racists.

All we have to do, is respond truthfully, by saying that yes, these folks align right on most things, but their racist infiltration, and all that other superiority rhetoric is not what we're about. They perverted our beliefs, and we won't stand for it. It's just that simple. If I see carvings into a carrot's flesh, I can acknowledge that that's not how a carrot should look normally, but it's still a carrot. I'm sorry, but some of you give some legitimacy to claims that the right-wing is full of racists, by your refusal to acknowledge the obvious truth, regarding some of their beliefs. Thankfully, I'm free from such ideological dishonesty, and make no bones about telling these Neo Klan members to get out – you're not welcome here.

Until next musing,

Talitha K. McEachin

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Google Drama

Greetings Friends!

This is my two cents on the Google Drama, in the aftermath of them firing James Damore. It’s necessary to know the story before you begin reading my response, so here it is:

It’s amazing how many people have misunderstood & utterly failed to comprehend the long memo written by now former Google employee James Damore. He made a point in his response to being fired, published in the WSJ, which is lost on far too many, and that is the culture that is Google. I’m sorry, but Google can hardly claim to be a mere “employer”. They have a campus with residential dwellings for employees. Meals are free in the cafeteria & rival those of some restaurants I hear. You can bring your beloved pets and/or children to work – they have daycare & petcare for employees. Employees can take a nap if needed – there’s a place for that. They pay well & have stellar benefits which cater to any family type. There are people who’d perform certain favors to work there if they could. Google is a way of life. You can’t fart without someone there to make sure the smell doesn’t disrupt the ambiance of their workspa. Those are just a few benefits.

When you, as an “employer” & business entity, are so deeply entrenched into the lives of your employees (a misnomer too really, but I digress), you don’t get to hide behind the subterfuge of the normal rules of so called discrimination & political etiquette, that “normal” employers adhere to. And Damore didn’t discriminate against anyone. He wrote the 20 page memo in a work environment that allows such free time for innovation & creativity. Google isn’t just a place to work – it’s literally home too, for some. If Google hasn’t cleared the blurred lines between work & home in its policies, there’s a very good case to be made in his defense.

Folks, this is silly and outrageous. You don’t get to have so much room as an employer to involve yourself fully into the lives of your employees then abandon them when outsiders peep in & don’t understand. Google isn’t an employer, they’re not even in loco parentis, heck they ARE the parents. Shame on them for cutting the umbilical cord instead of being as nurturing as they’ve been in every other aspect of their employees lives, work-relatedness notwithstanding.

Until next musing,

Talitha K. McEachin

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Black community & The Economy

Interesting exchange today, on the Facebook page of my friend Yvette Carnell’s. One of her passions as a writer/commentator (she’s basically a left-wing version of me, for the sake of brevity), is black America’s economic problems (the lack of collective wealth due to historical disparities for far too many generations). In short, our past has had a lasting economic impact on today. I think we still have time to save the future, though none of us alive will see it, unless a fountain of youth is found. That’s cuz’ of what my big brother & writer Steven Barnes said – “There’s no such thing as a wound, that takes less time to heal than it took to conflict.” That’s a minimum of 400 years. If you can’t grasp that, accusations of black people being shiftless, lazy & too slow to “get over it” are profoundly inappropriate, if I’m polite. Racist if I’m not.

“Our economic woes as a community, are our fault alone,” some insist. But we’re all humans, right? Isn’t that the battle cry for the #ALM crew? The physical differences are just our inheritance from our ancestors, whose survival in their environment meant having dark skin. The same is true for whites whose ancestors had to survive the cold. The stuff inside is the same. What Ben Carson said. But I’m derailing my own post a bit.

Let me harmonize these statements. With the unique, historical cards we were dealt, I don’t see how anyone can argue, that discussions of slavery are irrelevant to economic ones. Yet I’ve heard them too many times. Slavery discussions are fundamentally economic. This is exacerbated by centuries of head starts others had. I’m tired of these faulty, racial comparisons, and anecdotes, use by some to thinly veil their contempt. The discussion on Yvette’s page started off, with an erudite article about the definition of socialism. Discussions of capitalism inevitably are brought up whenever socialism is. It’s a philosophical piggyback ride in fact. Capitalism is evil, capitalism liberates. My approach opposes both schools of thought on some level, because neither has ever been fully successful. I’m all about precedents, and trailblazing approaches. What is America to do then?

But back to that post in question, a commenter, after the evils of capitalism were presented said, “Capitalism worked for Black Wall Street,” – I agreed. He’s right, but the elephant in the room is that this is anecdotal. Hmm. There are nearly 43 million of us now folks. When at least over half of that number benefits generationally from capitalism, I’ll bite. Until then, leave flippant remarks like “catch up with the rest of us,” and anecdotes at the door. Yvette is justified in focusing on economic growth (or the lack of it). You’re not an ally of either one of us.

Til’ next musing,

Talitha McEachin

 
 
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