Inner Michael » August 29 would have been a birthday

August 29 would have been a birthday

Only a racist cares about what color or shade someone’s skin is.

Is it too dark for you? Maybe too light?

“She is so light-skinned, she could pass for white.”

“He is really dark skinned. Probably African.”

“You certainly don’t look Native American!”

“I love your hair; OK if I touch it?”

“But you don’t sound black at all.”

“Is she your child?” “Or adopted?”

“What exactly are you?”


Bullying and cyber-bullying is not new. What is new is the vitriolic hatred that comes through the screen when people allow their shadow off leash. It’s good to remember that life has a mirror feature. What you accuse someone else of, already lives in you or you wouldn’t recognize it.

Comments say more about the commentator than the target of a verbal grenade. The comment reveals what lives in the mind of the person making a hateful remark. It reveals a kind of pathetic attempt to externalize one’s own internal aggression.

Facebook and Twitter serve up an opportunity to comment in real time. The problem with that is that there is no thought, no reflection about oneself when something is lobbed onto social media in reactionary mode. The next time you are tempted to write a hateful or derogatory comment, ask yourself “What kind of person would say something like this? What does this reveal about me?”

Social media is turning into a refuse pile wherein one can throw their emotional garbage. Well that stinks to high heaven! Who wants to rummage around in that kind of stinking sewer? There is a phenomenon that people forget about and that is: whatever you are saying about or to someone else is also going into your system. Studies have shown that the human subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. It just takes in everything thrown its way without judgment. During experiments with athletes in training, the human body and muscles reacted to an imagined circumstance the same way it would if the scenario were real. Adrenalin, cortisol and a host of brain chemicals are released when someone is “worked up.”

There is also a phenomenon called “projection” whereby what judgment you are throwing someone else’s way is really your own secret fear or feeling. When you call someone else a name, it is coming from inside you and is something that you won’t acknowledge because it’s uncomfortable.

These are good things to remember about the mechanics of bullying. The emotional impact is hormonal as well and affects all parties involved. The bully, the bullied and anyone observing is traumatized by the act of bullying. The bully is absorbing the hate into self also because that is where it originates, the bullied person is traumatized and the observer has the same internal reaction as if he/she were the victim. We humans, it turns out, are hard-wired for compassion. It’s part of who we are. We have to learn how to be mean and work at it because it isn’t our natural state.

You are what you think about all day. You are what you place into your consciousness. Think about the trending you inhabit (yes you are feeling/experiencing it internally) all day long. It’s your bubble; what’s inside that bubble all day long? Are you looking for the good in people or are you looking for the faults and failings? If so, why? Someone who is constantly pointing out the failures of others because they don’t live up to some fictional standard, is really insecure—otherwise why the need to disrespect others? There is no quotient of power that you gain from bullying someone. Nothing is added to you. Quite the contrary. You assimilate the hatred into your own body and it diminishes your soul.

It’s getting ugly out there. Where did all this ugliness come from? Well, if you think about it, media has created the habit of looking for the sensational, the ugly, the traumatic, the scandalous. The trend was started and capitalized upon by the tabloids that made millions feeding you the dark side of human nature. “Entertainment” Magazines, TV, and late night comics seized upon that same trend. So we have been fed our own manure for a long time now. We consume shadow instead of brilliance.

When people are fed their own darkness consistently, what is their mind doing? What kind of thought habits are being formed? What do we learn to look for? The way people shine? Or the way they stumble or make mistakes? We aren’t a very forgiving bunch, are we? Yet, it is not ours to judge, is it?

So being fed darkness and tragedy and garbage for decades has made us monsters too often for us to be comfortable about it. All the darkness has created a need to feel good somehow, and we practice trying to feel good or elevate ourselves by putting someone else down. We have created an artificial need to feel privileged or superior. The way we do that is by diminishing someone else.

Take racism, for example. It’s very prominent in our culture right now. It’s a convenient way to project our own hatred, garbage and need for superiority. We are a race of beings in big trouble. We trash others and we trash the planet instead of caring for others and stewarding our planet. We throw people away. We throw the planet away and eventually we will throw ourselves away.

So I am asking us to think a little deeper about self and what we contribute to society, to the collective consciousness and to the planet. Begin by observing where your mind goes and the aggressions and micro-aggressions you demonstrate every day.

If we are going to save this planet and the human race (headed for destruction) do you think we need more competition or more cooperation? More criticism or more compassion? We won’t work together if we don’t learn how to have compassion for others and treat them the way we would like to be treated. If we see them as competitors, someone has to “win” and someone has to “lose.” That won’t help us all win the struggle we are having with ourselves. It’s going to take the collective to fix what is broken on Planet Earth. We are going to have to recognize that we’re all in this together to mend the human race and our home, this planet.

Racism glaringly stands in the way of that.

It’s one of our biggest social problems. It contributes to every facet of society—lifestyle, fiscal wellness, community wellness, law enforcement, the prison system, schools, politics, and the general social welfare. It affects us personally whether we recognize it or not.

There have been a number of unjustified killings of black men by police—those who are supposed to serve and protect. Do you suppose they might be feeling the shadow too? They certainly encounter it more than the light side of the human race. And they are so quick to respond. Is that because we are all trigger happy? Do you “fire off” cheap shots on social media without thinking? Are the police just reflecting what we all are doing?

The killing of black men cavalierly is not new. It’s been going on for decades. Racism is so institutionalized that we don’t notice these things unless we’re black. Black people have been living with this since the days of the colonists and slavery. If you don’t believe it, rent or check out of the library, Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.” The film was released in 1989 but you will find parallels to what is going on today on the streets of our cities. Not much has changed. However, if you are not black or a dark skinned minority, you don’t have an awareness of the dangers. That’s called White Privilege.

White people don’t have to sit down with their young teen boy and give him the lecture about “when the police stop you…” Not if; when. An encounter with the police for a black youth is inevitable. And it’s not likely to go well. Black parents have to sit down with their own child and tell them how to stay alive. It happens to every black youth, and every day.

White privilege is very real. It would be a good idea to educate yourself if you’re white about the privileges you enjoy just because of the hue of your skin. Two recent cases illustrate the glaring differences in police encounters. A red-haired and freckled white youth carrying a gun was stopped and questioned about carrying a firearm and he told police he was contributing to making the appearance of guns in public “more comfortable” and they let him go, while a black man in the toy section of a store who was holding a toy gun was shot dead immediately when the police arrived in answer to a call by a fellow shopper. The state in which this occurred is an “open carry” state meaning it is lawful to carry a loaded firearm. He was holding a toy.

There are a host of micro-indignities and micro-aggressions that people of color must consistently endure. Racism in little bits, bytes and bites. People of color suffer these micro-aggressions regularly. You might want to know what they are.

And African Americans are deliberately targeted. Especially visible or well known ones. For example, now comes Shaun King, “Black Lives Matter” activist who is “too white” to be black. Bullied, verbally pummeled on social media, threatened with bodily harm and even his life, Shaun King is forced to reply to charges that he is “the wrong color.”

By whose standards? Who determines too black or too white or black as white or white as black? Where are the guidelines written? Show me the book that is the final authority. Or the principles in someone’s imagination in overtime.

Compelled to answer the charges that began with a vitriolic amateur blogger with agenda and obviously uncomfortable with a race discussion in America and were picked up by the Breitbart website and its kind. Then maintream media piled on—entering the fray without restraint, fact-checking or talking with the target of all the spewing hatred. That hatred aimed at—think about it—someone who is a stranger to all of them.

Shaun King was eloquent in his response and more civil than deserved, to an audience that was hostile and vulgar and bent on shaming him and his family. Actually, he garnered more respect by the savvy and lofty way he handled himself. But the fact remains that a complete stranger was pushed until he felt compelled to reveal very private feelings and experiences, including the sex life of his mother—something that the rest of us are not ruthlessly prodded to do. How would you like to talk about your family’s sexual history and worse yet, reveal the sex life of your parents? Does that sound to you like friendly discourse? When did someone’s humanity come to mean so little? When did humanity, the collective, become so cold?

The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and Romans throwing Christians to the lions is history. How is virtually dismembering someone with words any different than tearing them limb from limb in an arena to satisfy some sick need for violence and to feel superior? Weren’t enough Jews exterminated in Hitler’s camps? Do we still think it’s acceptable to single out a race for persecution?

I look white. I was born white. With Native American on my father’s side, I found reason to be proud of my heritage. I come from sturdy stock fierce and powerful and respectful of Earth and animals. The Spirituality of my ancestors was something they lived out loud, and daily. They had no need to feel superior. As a matter of fact, they saw all others as brothers under the skin. The idea of privilege, ownership of others or parcels of Mother Earth was an abomination.

My people were persecuted, killed for no other reason than the color of their skin. Most of the time, by people professing to be “Christians.” The Creator meant for us to come together as a tribe, not kill our brothers. We were charged to care for one another as brothers, and steward the Earth. We have not followed those principles very well even though the core of every religion on earth teaches it.

What is spiritual about “divide and conquer?” Separation? Marginalization? Haven’t we had our fill of conflict and war? Do we secure the future more by competition and conflict or cooperation, compassion and creativity?

So please explain to me how someone else’s skin color is my concern? Or anybody’s concern? Why should that topic of discussion be on the table? Should I be concerned about what color underwear you are wearing? That’s about as personal as the color or hue of skin, or the ethnic background of an individual except underwear can be changed.

Why should who your grandfather was concern me? Why should where your grandmother came from be my business? And exactly what gives me the right to that inquest, and to make some kind of judgment based on that information? Who bestows to me the privilege of deciding who is important and who is not and to diminish and dismiss those that I deem unimportant? And to verbally or virtually abuse them?

It’s violence, people. Violence.

Institutionalized racism didn’t just happen. It had to be instituted and taught and passed down to the next generation. In scientific fact, we are all descended from “Lucy” who came from Africa. Pigment is a chemical reaction in the skin—not something shameful. Great empires and civilizations of the ancient world were created and built by dark skinned people. Think about the Giza Plateau and the Great Pyramids and sophisticated culture of Ancient Egypt. In the modern world, King Tut would have had to sit in the back of the bus.

Let me repeat that for emphasis—King Tut would have been sent to the back of the bus in a modern city. He would have been a slave or a servant and during Jim Crow, would have been beaten and maybe even lynched. He would have had to drink from a non-white fountain and use a bathroom designated for “coloreds.” King Tut! Nefertiti. Cleopatra. Ramses.

Terrorism can come in many forms. It can come in the form of ISIS or it can come from your next door neighbor. Are you engaged in making the world a better place or a bitter place? Do you meet the definition of a “bully?” If you are treating someone with contempt or disdain either verbally or virtually with your words, you are a BULLY.

What gives you the right? Who gives you the right? Most of the world’s recordings of scripture in most of the traditions say otherwise—that we are all in this together. The sooner we get that, the sooner we enter Shangri-La, get back to the garden, or reach Nirvana.

What compels the human to do violence to other humans? What prods us to separate or tear apart something that the Divine meant to be intact? The mind, the ego and particularly the shadow side of the human ego that gets in the way of meeting the savior within. (Oh yes, that’s where he/it is—we’ve been told that in many faiths in many scriptures and even shown the formula for how we can become enlightened and become like those we admire.) The blueprint is there.

Haven’t we matured from the sophomoric and juvenile youth that clamored for the juicy scandal so that we could elevate ourselves in our own mind? We never thought about the damage and violence to a fellow human when we traded our souls for the scandal and shadow. Haven’t we become disillusioned enough about the state of the world and affairs to dedicate ourselves to changing it? We must begin and begin with self.

Skin color is a chemical—melanin. Nothing more. There is no inherent value in melanin. It’s an accident of nature what color and who your parents are. It’s a twist of fate where you were born and to what culture you belong.

There are little indignities that people of color suffer every day because there is no understanding of the racism and stereotypes behind the hurtful comments. The often go unaddressed because the person on the receiving end of the battering would have to be hyper-vigilant and constantly on the defensive.

The offense is most times unconscious, can be rooted in unacknowledged white privilege, or ignorance of what is savvy or politically correct. They are little stereotypical barbs that are like fingernails on a blackboard or worse to the person experiencing them. The term “micro-aggressions” was coined to describe these lapses of unbiased gracious discourse.

Do you remember another man who was too white for his race? Who was the “wrong” color? Who upset people because his skin blurred the lines of demarcation between races? The biggest case of bullying on this planet was suffered by a man who only wanted to sing the songs he heard inside. He wanted to bring joy to the world. He wanted to use his fame and fortune to make the world a better place.

He wasn’t a great orator and was basically shy and an introvert. But the creativity and art inside had to find its way out just as it does with every artist. An artist can’t NOT do his/her art.

Because he was such a talented artist, he became very famous and very rich. But that isn’t acceptable for a “negro.” Colored people, especially men, must know their place. And black men can’t be trusted! They’re likely to be criminal underneath, so they must be scrutinized, watched and put in their place…

He knew about racism. He addressed racism in his art. He lived racism. He used his art to teach about racism and prejudice. He knew racism. He lived it.

This man was a consummate humanitarian. He contributed to scores of charities and generously gave his money, his heart and even his soul in service to humanity. He used his very visible pulpit to coach people how to bring out their light, their brilliance and change the world. He was humanity’s greatest cheerleader. He believed in human beings until the day he left this earth.

He was a man who loved. He loved everybody and he was very vocal about it. He was very public about it. But that was a problem in a culture that encouraged men to be macho. His soft voice and gentle demeanor must have been an indication that he was “gay.” And because he was an unusual adult who cared for children—all of them as if they were his own as in “it takes a village to raise a child” and we are all stewards of the worlds’ children. He felt that If someone is poor or hungry or homeless—that’s on us. And he preached through his art that we could fix what’s broken in the world.

In fact, he organized lots of charities, donated money and time and his art to improve the conditions of people everywhere. He felt and thought planet-wide and in terms of all humanity. He saw us as “one.” He was a visionary. He was a juggernaut.

But he was black.

Because he was black, privileged whites thought it was acceptable to bully him. They made fun of him, his gentle nature, his voice, his face—my god his face! The bullying was so brutal that he could do nothing right.

The whole culture projected its shadow onto him. He came to represent to the world, human shadow incarnate. He was beat up by three cultural institutions—by the arts, by law enforcement and by the fifth estate—mega media. Never has one man been so humiliated, persecuted and ridiculed by his own people, by the collective and by institutions.

He was prosecuted by someone who identified as his nemesis using his position and the justice system. Researchers have found the charges to have been trumped up and based on one man’s self-serving political agenda.

He was accused of a crime that is considered the most heinous and horrendous in modern culture—harming children for self-serving perversion. He was tried in the court of public opinion and judged guilty. It was easy to find him guilty because there was a long and established history of battering him. The public couldn’t break from tradition; they couldn’t be wrong; he couldn’t be innocent.

But he was. He was found not guilty because there was no evidence to support the accusations. The charges were proven to be extortion. The prosecutor found to be zealous and biased.

But nobody remembers that he was not-guilty. They remember the accusations; they remember the trial; they remember believing in his guilt. They remember the darkness. They remember the tabloids. They remember being fed human shadow, human garbage. And some people, to this day still want him to be guilty.

He wasn’t.

He was wealthy. He was famous. He was black.

And he refused to ride in the back of anybody’s bus.

He was the most beloved man in the world.

He was the most hated man in the world.

He wanted to change the world. He did. He came back again after his crucifixion to try again. He died trying.

He would have been 57 today.

That man was Michael Jackson.




Oh and one final insult: bullying beyond the grave…

Translation: “Michael Jackson Finally White”


“Lies run sprints but truth runs marathons.”


We remember.


  1. Dalia said . . .

    Thanks Rev. Barbara for making me remember this. Often without realizing we are inclined to the negative side as a way to defend ourselves from the same negativity that surrounds us. That’s a vicious circle and insane. Being negative and judging others doesnt help. We must find the light when shadow reach our heels, and move to the place where the light is. It is not easy but it is a habit to constantly practice. It is difficult because every day I have to deal emotionally with people who assault MJ´s memory. Otherwise, how do you respond to aggression when you’re feeling yourself attacked even by supposed MJ fans? Most often the impulse is to respond in the same way. How do you forgive someone who is attacking and be calm? It is a difficult exercise indeed. But I made a stop after reading this. You are right. I need to analyze what in my heart and in my mind before to say something negative even in self defense.

    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    It’s not easy for any of us to remember, D. We have to work at it. Ultimately, nobody is going to listen or hear you if you’re rude. People close off, shut down and sometimes attack or escalate an already volatile situation. It’s hard to stay calm because there is a background here– of all people, Michael Jackson did not deserve what happened to him. Slowly the world is finding out what really happened and we have to keep faith that the truth will be revealed. MJ is not the only one harmed by an out-of-control media madness and cultural hysteria. Other people were injured irreversibly by irresponsible journalism, rumor and “spectacle” for profit.

    The problem when MJ fans engage in this kind of aggression is that it is not what Michael’s essence was about, nor would he be happy about it and it gives fodder to the media to continue to call him names and call his fans “crazy.” If the fans behaved maturely and offered calm cogent counter debate, there would be more respect AND- more importantly (as his children are) the fans would be a refection of him. It’s hard to argue when the evidence of who he truly was is alive because of his legacy. If the world could say… “you know, those Michael Jackson fans are an intelligent well-mannered bunch. They say that he influenced them in how to check the mirror and make a change in the world. They are doing awesome things in his name. Do you suppose we were wrong about the kind of person he was? Maybe we should look into it more closely.” But nobody’s going to take a screaming, attacking fan seriously– they are going to conclude he was the same way. Bad fan behavior makes Michael look bad and damages, instead of uplifts, his legacy.

    Posted September 9, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
  3. victoria said . . .


    Thank you for so eloquently bringing us back to the core of his message, of the man he was and of the magic he created that still inspires the world. That the major issues of our times were the ones he brought to the light. That what he gave to the world still lives within so many of us and the eternal message that love is the greatest force in the universe. He touched humanity to the core. Much has changed in the past 6 years but not the need for each any every one of us to be the light in our own corner of the world. So proud of the work you have done educating others – it is exactly what this movement is about….

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words of wisdom and inspiration…..


    Posted September 13, 2015 at 3:54 am | Permalink
  4. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    OK lump in my throat now. Thanks for noticing. Keep shining!

    Posted September 13, 2015 at 3:57 am | Permalink
  5. quinta vince said . . .

    cara amica…riesci a srivere quello che è nelmiocuore…. grazie diesistere!

    Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  6. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Benedici che generoso cuore umano. Prego!

    Posted September 15, 2015 at 12:10 am | Permalink

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