By Todd Telford
It’s time to do an about face on race. Rather than focus on the pain, injustice, hatred, and all the political motives for protecting institutionalized racism, let’s promote the exact opposite of all that through what I call Tamir Tuesdays. We can stand curbside with a new way of thinking in our hands.
The images of shouting Neo-Nazis with tiki torches may feel like a gut-punch to the honor of the American people, but those intoxicated by that brand of hate are a dying breed. They may be vocal, but out of the shadows their inhumanity shows just how rancid this tiny slice of the American pie can be.
They espouse a twisted form of Christianity that in essence embodies:
Loathe Thy Neighbor Unless He Looks and Thinks Like Me
Most of us care more about each other than that. We know that judgement is a weakness that we strive to temper. And when it comes to race, we’re willing to hit the streets to fend off blatant racism. Now let’s take to the streets to celebrate that willingness, that triumph of character that drives us to show love for those we don’t know. Let’s participate in Tamir Tuesdays sprinkled throughout our communities and cities. Personify the changes ahead.
It only takes one or two people for a Tamir Tuesday curbside action, so with 50 people you can have 25 or more distinct locations scattered around to yield the greatest exposure.
This type of activism is as turnkey as it gets:
-buy 1 or more 30″ x 40″ x 1/4″ foam core signboards
-cut rectangular hand holds near the top so signs can be held at waist level – eye level for motorists
-write the following inscription (in arial, spaced 1.3 apart) on your text editor:
Honk Twice for Tamir Rice (large)
Trayvon, Garner, Ferguson, Charleston (small)
Honk Twice to Stand
Together Against Racism (largest, 2 lines)
-email to FedEx Office/Kinko’s and have them print it out on their 36″ roll paper
-tape to sign board and hit the streets
I’ve done it in Petaluma, Cal. at a busy intersection. Almost everyone looked at my sign, although, granted, a few expected me to be pitching pizza or cell service. That’s why two people are better than one, perhaps with the second person carrying an overhead sign in the traditional manner that says something like:
Tamir Tuesdays motto: Racism is Cancer of the Soul Everyone Has the Cure If They Have the Courage and Humility to Choose It
I got some honks. For some, it took a few moments to understand what my objective was. But with the recognition came light in their eyes and a quick, emphatic beep beep.
Here’s a link to how this can look: https://www.facebook.com/improbabletodd/posts/10207716748946595:0
As you can see from the image, back then I was calling it Trayvon Tuesdays because Trayvon Martin’s death was the first well-publicized murder of a young African American for nothing more than his race.
But with the case of Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann gunning down 12-year-old Tamir Rice within two seconds of exiting his squad car, we have a better example of institutionalized racism in America. Loehmann’s reflexive response would’ve been different had the face before him been white. And that truth had to be masked, with prosecutor Timothy Mc Ginty steering his Grand Jury towards deciding not to prosecute the officer by raising the bar for indictment very high and making the focus of the criminal act very narrow. The only unprovable case would ask whether Loehmann had the intent to kill as he left his vehicle.
The natural human instinct for atrocities like these is outrage which is completely justified. But in that moment we can react by making a different choice, focusing on the shared battle for a truly Inclusive America where race is not a reason to hate, merely a chance to learn and understand our differences.
And Tamir Tuesdays is a way to awaken that mindset. The greatest honor we can give to the late Tamir is to make him the posthumous poster boy for the changes ahead.
The threshold for action is minimal. All it takes is the time, the will, and a few bucks for the signs and inscriptions. With a dozen people, you could have six distinct groups only a block or two apart in a downtown area. And each trademark beep beep that echoes through town would make everyone who knows why smile. Imagine you have 200 people at hand. You could cover much of a city. Go to where traffic bogs down at intersections close to freeway or bridge onramps.
Do it every Tuesday, and slowly people will come to understand the overall goal. The honks will increase, and those that refuse to honk will begin to feel more isolated for what they allow to persist in their hearts.
Why do this? Because we’re tapping into the joy, the camaraderie of those who see that racism is something that can be rendered insignificant in less than a generation. That is part of human evolution, the overcoming of generalized hate justified by authoritarianism, mob mentality and fear. Racism has been an effective tool for the CORPservatives who rule the GOP, the pious with a corporate bias who squeezed out all the true conservatives. Hate, lies, and hypocrisy are the only ways the GOP can cling to power. If we can isolate the racists, we diminish the rock-solid element of the GOP base.
And Tamir Tuesdays can be at the center of this theme which has the potential to flourish. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to counter the alt-right after the horrors of Charlottesville. Let’s get them out every Tuesday back home near where they live. Not only will they signal the coming end of racism, they will be harbingers of the impending downfall of CORPservative rule through Republicans tethered to billionaires.