Black Lives Matter: A Statement

The Pelikan’s Perch has long striven to be apolitical, preferring to focus on pens and not politics.  While I am not without conviction, I have never felt it appropriate to espouse my personal views on this forum.  While I will continue to refrain from doing so on a regular basis, I would like to make it a point to acknowledge the exceptional pain and anger that we see bubbling over in our communities.  Silence is no longer a luxury that any of us can afford.  Since the earliest days of our country, people of color have long had to deal with systemic racism, whether overt, insidious or structural, as well as brutality suffered at the hands of those in positions of power.  I have seen firsthand what racism looks like from the vantage of my white privilege.  I grew up with it every day of my life and yet I do not hate the way I was taught to hate.  I long ago made the decision to not discriminate, to not judge, and to not hate solely based upon the color of one’s skin.  Despite that, I have no doubt that I have been passively complicit in furthering racism within our culture.  By choosing to not see color, we marginalize and invalidate the racist experiences that those of color encounter on a daily basis, thereby contributing to the problem.  I am not a perfect human being, none amongst us are.  We all make mistakes and will continue to do so.  We need to learn from those mistakes, to recognize that we must do better, to strive for empathy, and to never settle for complacency within ourselves for as long as people continue to be discriminated against.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Racism and discrimination are a daily presence in our lives and the fountain pen community is not immune from these scourges.  I stand in solidarity with the entire African American community in condemning the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and the innumerable others from the Black community who have suffered or lost their lives as a result of this brutality.  As a physician, I have come to understand that all life has value and I mourn for each and every life that is shortened by the institutional racism that permeates the very soul of this great nation.  I hope that you will stand with me in denouncing racialized violence and work to upend the culture of oppression that exist today, both domestically and abroad.  Each of us must examine our conduct and values in order to ensure that we lift each other up until no one remains shackled by inequality.  There are no easy answers but we can start by being engaged and striving to be a part of the solution.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

37 responses

  1. Thank you, Joshua. Well said, as usual. You echo my thoughts exactly. My rights don’t mean a thing unless yours are also respected and honored in every way.

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  2. Dr. Danley, you have my complete support & thanks. Hopefully, your public stand will encourage more to asses their positions on this & align themselves with our American principles that “all men are created equal.” You have spoken most eloquently on this vital issue in our society, and I thank you most sincerely for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It just felt wrong to continue with business as usual and not at least acknowledge what is going on around us. It is an uncomfortable position for me on this blog but sometimes we have to come from a place of discomfort to grow.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for speaking up, Joshua. I hope that after these protests are over, we as a country do not go back to “business as usual”, but will begin the hard work of dismantling systemic racism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fixed it for you. I don’t think business as usual is possible at this juncture on many fronts. The world that will emerge from these times will be very different than the one we knew just a little while ago.

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  4. Dear Joshua, you have my full support and understanding on this. Sometimes it’s not a question of skin colour, but of appearance, religion or behaviour. But racism is still the same. I join in your words and sign them with both hands.

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    • Yes, absolutely. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that issues were limited to just skin color. Any type of discrimination based on nothing more than being a little different is unacceptable.

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  5. These events will not in any way improve but degrade the position of the “people of colour”. USA has the least control over the virus among all the countries not only among the so called developed countries. Given that the poorer part of the population suffers most, gets laid of first, the lack of control hits them harder. Now, mass protests are not exactly the best method to contain an epidemic. And riots do not boost economy. Those people are cutting in their own flesh as always. One man got killed. It was not the first one and will not be the last one. It is going on since the colonization of America. Nothing new or relevant. But 100.000+ COVID-19 death are relevant. And they are not only white! The protesters lost their minds. And sinister forces organize more of them and see for heaps of stones are placed on the streets just in time. Those people on the streets are nothing but cannon fodder. But who are the people behind all this who pull the strings? I do not think they are black or poor. This thing has a lot of levels. And the majority of people sees only the front, the people on the street. All other levels are hidden to them. The phrase BlackLivesMatter ist just a blanked to hide the next deeper level. Mass media will not show You any deeper layer.

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    • I’m not sure that I believe that there is a grand puppeteer pulling the strings here. I think what we’re seeing is generations in the making. I’m also not sure how 1 life is irrelevant but 100,000 are meaningful. All lives have potential and the loss of any of them is tragic. I too worry about these protest contributing to the spread of the virus and I would ask those protesting to take all possible precautions. You are absolutely correct that the toll of the virus is disproportionately affecting the minority population the most.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Joshua,

    Your statement reminds us all that we must speak out, no matter how usually reticent we are to do so. You have set an eloquent and moving example for the rest of us. I certainly stand with you and all those who are protesting peacefully to bring about the equality and respect that all people deserve.

    Ruth

    Liked by 1 person

    • And reticent I was. I debated this post for some time but, in the end, I simply could not ignore the goings on of the world around me. Silence is one of the reasons that we’ve arrived where we are.

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  7. Thank you Joshua. You’ve said well what many of us are feeling, thinking and speaking in our own contexts.

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  8. Very well said. I agree that it is time for people to speak out even on blogs and forums and places where it is nice to go and not have to read about political views. But, as you said, silence is no longer acceptable. Thank you for posting your views.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why do You think that silence is no longer acceptable? Is the freedom of speech not also the freedom to keep silent? If You force people to speak up or force them to keep mum, where is the difference? It is intolerance in any case. Why would the death of a single person make any difference? What about the racism against Chinese people? Calling it the Wuhan Virus and attacking people who look Chinese? Why is it a good idea to disrespect the decision of an subscriber of a blog with an explicit topic like Pelikan pens that he wants to read about that by posting random different stuff? Just because of uprising emotions who shadow the common sense? What is the use of just anybody with hardly any political education to post random stuff here? If I would be a fan of silly opinions I could read tons of it on facebook in just about any group. And since when does writing anonymous comments in blogs does anything at all to end racism? Where are Your heads at? More than 400.000 people died because of COVID-19 by now, most of them because of mismanagement on account of their governments. And virus dies not know race, religion or nationality or any such opinion-related think. Virus has no ears, hears no complaint. What about sanctions against Russia, Iran and the like that are still in place even while the pandemic is still on the rise. How many people die because of that and ongoing “conflicts”. Do black people not go to war? No black people in Government, high military ranks? What was about Powell and his “weapons of mass destruction” lie in Irak? Was that a white lie? this “need” to speak up is just another form of racism. It does not lead to any good at all. It is not the way to reason. If forum or blog owner can not keep their topics clean, I unsubscribe. Pelikan will survive. They offer their high end products in China now. There is the market of the future. They do not bother the American market any more. It is going down. Pelikan is a product for civilized and educated people.

      POST FLAGGED FOR VIOLATION OF TERMS & CONDITIONS

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      • Here I will have to adamantly disagree with you as well as issue you a WARNING. I have never censored this blog as I’ve never had to but you are skirting dangerously close to losing your privileges to comment. I will refer you to my Terms & Conditions, specifically the section about the moderation of comments. I am leaving your comment up because I do not wish to suppress speech and have always welcomed all viewpoints but your viewpoint violates this site’s terms.

        You and everyone else have the right to remain silent, for sure, but more of us are acknowledging that our long held silence has not been helpful to society. You do not have the right to attack others on this blog. I have always made every effort to keep this blog focused on the pens and will continue to do so as much as possible going forwards. People have always been welcomed to comment on my content and all viewpoints are welcomed, even yours. That is how we have discourse, learn from one another, and grow. Your attacks have become personal and are therefore unacceptable. You can express an opinion without attacking the opinion of others. If the topics of this blog are not to your liking, you are free to no longer follow. If you cannot keep a civil tongue, your departure will not only be welcomed, it will be insisted upon. You have been warned.

        Liked by 2 people

    • And I will not make it a regular habit of posting my views. This is first and foremost a blog about Pelikan pens and I hold that model sacred. Still, extraordinary times call for new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Joshua,

    I don’t understand Mr. Manorainjan’s arguments, but I admire your careful statement, its candor, its well-chosen quotations, and its passion. I understand the risks of protesting during such a virulent pandemic, but to me, that so many are choosing to risk their health to move our society past the disease of racial inequality tells us how vital these demonstrations are.

    My mother liked to tell a parable about a young student who brought a picture of our planet she’d cut out of the newspaper to her teacher to share. The teacher, thinking to teach some kind of geography lesson, tore the picture up and told the student to put it back together.*

    More quickly than the teacher could believe, the student was back at his desk with the picture taped back into a whole. “How did you fix that so fast?” the teacher asked.

    “It was easy,” the girl replied. “There was a picture of a person on the on the other side. I put the person back together, and it fixed the world.” Tikkun olam. To save a single person is to repair the world.

    Thank you again for speaking up and setting an example for us all.

    Ruth

    *And I have to say, I don’t think destroying something a child found beautiful is the best way to teach geography or anything else, but this is fable, not a real event.

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    • Thank you. As far as the “risk to their health,” that is not what concerns me the most. I am most concerned with the risk these protestors pose to everyone else’s health. A cluster of people like that can disperse far and wide, taking virus back with them and can trigger an exponential spread of infection. It’s a concerning situation that we should watch closely. Nothing to be done for it I’m afraid though. That’s a great parable, one I hadn’t heard before. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love thy Neighbor. If your a Christian or just a reasonable person this should not be difficult.

    I grew up in basically an all white community of 30,000 people in the northeast (Whites now only 40% of the pop.). When I went into the service in the late 1980s I was really surprised to see how the races didn’t socialize outside of work. I still don’t get it since most people have more in common than have differences between them.

    I now live in the south right in the hotbed of this.
    All of this could have been prevented by simply living up to values that were taught in Sunday school.

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    • Agreed. I’m not sure why such basic principals as human decency and respect for ones fellow man/woman has fallen by the wayside. Everybody is so tribal these days that we seem to have lost all common ground. The problems are preventable but it speaks to just how deep seated an issue this is. It took generations to get where we are today. Change for the better may take more still.

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  11. Joshua, thank you for speaking out at this important time for the world. I appreciate the effort/thought you put into everything you write. And thank you for your forthright and transparent two responses to Mr. M. Stay safe as you continue your valuable work on the medical front line.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Black Lives Matter/Juneteenth 2020 – Ruth Feiertag

  13. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 14, 2020 | Fountain Pen Quest

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