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Say No to Hate: Priscilla Smith

Greed. The only consistent measure of success is wealth. If you’re so good, so smart, so talented, why aren’t you rich? Why should anybody listen to you? You’re accomplished, but if you’re poor, you haven’t “succeeded.” Rich, therefore smart. Rich, therefore good. There’s a paucity of everything, so you’d better have dough. If you’re needy, it’s because that’s what you deserve. Loss of wealth is loss of power, loss of status.

Priscilla Smith has performed regularly as an actor, poet, musician, and performance artist for many years. Amazing that she looks so young, isn't it?

Say No To Hate 1

Priscilla Smith: I’m an absolute relativist. Identifying The Most Important Problem is a problem, because the Almost Most Important Problems are crucial. So when I got this questionnaire, I looked for the fruits of the human tree. Mmmmm, yummy: hatred, division, apathy, distrust, demagoguery, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, scapegoating, irrationality, The Fundamentalisms, theories of conspiracy, suppression, repression, war … .

I asked friends and my daughter. When their immediate answer was the same as mine, and it almost always was, it made me jump. When I read another respondent’s answer (from an inadvertently shared Google doc) and it matched mine, I jumped again.

It’s greed, here, in Atlanta, in Georgia, in the U.S., in the increasingly market-driven world.

Greed. The only consistent measure of success is wealth. If you’re so good, so smart, so talented, why aren’t you rich? Why should anybody listen to you? You’re accomplished, but if you’re poor, you haven’t “succeeded.” Rich, therefore smart. Rich, therefore good. There’s a paucity of everything, so you’d better have dough. If you’re needy, it’s because that’s what you deserve. Loss of wealth is loss of power, loss of status.

At the root of the root is what’s at the root of everything that interferes with our ability to live together in peace. Insecurity and mortal fear show up as lots of -isms and phobias and excuses.

The thing I can’t get past is that being willing to share is only in my own best self-interest. If my neighbor is better off, I’m better off. Period. There’s way more than enough to go around on the earth, so no one need be immiserated. There’s no need for hunger or homelessness or lack of education. (At least there hasn't been up to now, in the post-industrial age. Climate change is changing everything.)

At the local level, a personal big issue is the wholesale loss of our city to a few people who really don’t care about anything but making money. Oh, wait. That’s a manifestation of the above, isn’t it?

Say No To Hate 2

Priscilla Smith: Like the problem, the solutions are manifold. As individuals, we have to remember kindergarten: Share. Be compassionate. Be in the world in a way that undermines tightness — of wad, of ass, of mind. Be daring. Dream.

How do you make us as a whole not be greedy? Maybe we can't. That's why there's government, to “provide for the general welfare.” Take the money out of elections — the NRA is not defending the Second Amendment, it's defending gun manufacturers. Democracy works when everybody votes and when voters vote in their current best interest — not to protect other people's wealth in anticipation of some day needing that protection. How do we keep elections honest? People being elected shouldn't be in charge of elections, for one thing.

There's no one way to solve it; it will always ebb and flow. It's a very long game. There's probably an action that could be taken that's inductive, that we haven't yet put our finger on. It's probably like the surprising things that happen when we educate women — reduced birth rates, reduced infant and maternal mortality, reduced poverty in general.

Say No To Hate 3

Priscilla Smith: Historians say that street activism didn’t actually help stop the war in Vietnam, but it sure feels like it did. Maybe street protest didn't hasten U.S. withdrawal, but culture in America and around the world was forever changed by what happened in the ’60s and ’70s. The Occupy Movement is criticized for lack of focus, lack of agenda. What did it accomplish? There's a greater willingness to speak up and take to the streets. Occupy made us aware of the hyper-privilege of the 1%, put the meaning in our vocabulary. Currently, Keisha Lance Bottoms is looking at closing down the Atlanta Criminal Detention Center — we've been in the street about that. Did it help? Randolph County was going to shut down seven of nine precincts. Activism impeded that, but we didn't take to the streets to accomplish it.

Say No To Hate 4

Priscilla Smith: All avenues for spreading information are viable. They may be incremental, but every little bit helps.

Say No To Hate 5

Priscilla Smith: I get info from groups and individuals on social media and through email: RefuseFascismGeorgia Alliance for Social JusticeNew Georgia ProjectGeorgia Peace and Justice CoalitionACLUC4 Atlanta. Why didn't I know about the Democratic convention on August 25?

Say No To Hate 6

Priscilla Smith: Laugh. Make art. In the words of Carlton Mackey of the Emory Center for Ethics, "Resist and make it look like joy."




Article

Sunday August 26, 2018 03:18 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing Americans today is our loss of focus on living together as one nation. Because we are more divided in many ways, we are losing ground in the global landscape and will not be able to compete on a global scale if we don't figure out how to work in accordance with one another. | more...

Article

Sunday August 26, 2018 03:30 pm EDT
There are so many problems we’re facing, it’s overwhelming: systemic racism, sexism, ageism, inequity, homelessness, marginalization, immigration policy, school shootings/gun violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, climate change … this is an incomplete list, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. Much of it stems from hatred and fear of “the other.” It feels like we’ve lost a basic sense of human decency. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 04:37 pm EDT
I want very badly to name the issues of poverty, wealth inequality, and class oppression, but all of these are intertwined with, and compounded by, the problem of race, difference, and grappling honestly with America’s history and identity. I have a metaphor for this process, it is a cracked egg with the yoke running long. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 05:43 pm EDT
Healthcare is a human right.  That means ensuring that every person doesn’t just have access to health care, but has the ability to afford health care. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 06:10 pm EDT
Apathy towards injustice is toxic. We have become so entangled in conversational clouds on social media that we honestly feel that ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ are making a direct impact. This helps to a certain degree, but it does not solve the problems plaguing our nation today. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:27 am EDT
The biggest problem facing Americans today is the stark difference between where we have made progress in this country under the Obama Administration and where the Trump Administration is going. With regards to the Trump Administration right now on immigration and voting rights, we believe they are moving in a direction against the values of most Americans. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:38 am EDT
I believe that racial discord remains the most divisive issue facing Americans. It continues to suppress wages for all and promotes anger that leads to violence within the oppressed communities. Remove racist symbolism and implement long-term remedies to counter the long-term legacies of discrimination. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:54 am EDT
Of all the global issues facing us, including biggies like climate change and nuclear war, what troubles me currently is the rise of fascism in governments around the world. This is what also troubles me about America. People are emboldened to openly discriminate and hate because our elected officials represent values of hate. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:38 pm EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is partisan politics that removes empathy from the conversation toward compromise on the real issues that are affecting everyday Americans. Everything is viewed through the lens of tribal political division, when the solutions to most problems facing the nation can be solved through bipartisan collaboration. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:50 pm EDT
There are so many things that need to be fixed but somehow we need to stop the OTHER mentality. Trying to embrace difference — and understanding that our differences are what make us stronger — will lead to a better unity within our populations. We spend so much time hating and singling out those that are different. If we used that energy to come together we could make a better life for all of us. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 03:53 pm EDT
The continued oppression of marginalized people. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 04:50 pm EDT
Atlanta and America have never participated in reparations for its genocide, land theft, and displacement of indigenous peoples, its kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples, or its destabilization, colonization and assassinations in other nations. So, in 2018, what we are still faced with is the displacement, incarceration, and murder of black and brown people in this city, this country, and this globe. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:06 pm EDT
The most important problem facing all of us is our increasing inability to work with and get along with those who don't share our views. I know it's a cliché, but "United we stand, divided we fall." | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:24 pm EDT
The most serious issue for all Americans is the very real risk of our democracy being taken away, which is happening on a daily basis. There are so many issues: racism, human rights, climate change denial, guns, income equality, lack of a universal heathcare system, police brutality, tearing refugee families apart and putting them in interment camps, our status in the world and how we interact with other nations, and a government party in charge that refuses to act in the best interest of the American people. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:05 am EDT
The greatest problem facing USA citizens today, is how to become a global citizen without having an imperialist or colonial mentality. The greatest problem facing Atlanta today is how to move from the white and black mentality to become a multicultural city in action and not in words only. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:25 am EDT
Greed. The only consistent measure of success is wealth. If you’re so good, so smart, so talented, why aren’t you rich? Why should anybody listen to you? You’re accomplished, but if you’re poor, you haven’t “succeeded.” Rich, therefore smart. Rich, therefore good. There’s a paucity of everything, so you’d better have dough. If you’re needy, it’s because that’s what you deserve. Loss of wealth is loss of power, loss of status. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:40 am EDT
The most important problem is the denial of the problem. Most white people have been lulled into the myth of a “post-racial” America. Research on implicit bias and the persistence of numerous forms of institutional racism, including in the criminal justice system, demonstrate the reality of racism in 2018. A much greater threat than hate crimes and organized white supremacists is our inability to address core issues like white privilege and internalized white supremacy. We cannot progress until we have that honest reckoning. Atlanta paints itself as the city “too busy to hate,” but it’s been too busy to do the real work to begin to heal the very old wounds of its racist history. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:53 am EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is the pervasive ideology of white settler colonialism. By this I mean that we live with a way of thinking brought over to America that goes back as far as the English Reformation in the 16th century — the belief that God has ordained a select group of white people to claim land — regardless of who might already have been on it — as a God-given right. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 09:21 am EDT
"The most important problem facing Americans today" is that we have so many problems that rotate in and out of first place that we cannot choose and therefore cannot answer the question. The second part of the question is easier (for me). Atlanta's most important problem is a subset of a national problem.  | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 02:45 pm EDT
A decline in trust. We're losing opportunities to get to know each other. We spend all kinds of time and money creating our own private, secluded spaces, both in the physical world and online, where we don't have to encounter people who look or think differently than we do. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:12 pm EDT
The most urgent problem facing not just Atlanta, but all of humanity, is the fact the U.S. is now ruled by a fascist regime (Trump/Pence) set on reshaping society in a way that will be catastrophic for humanity and the planet. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:23 pm EDT
The rise of white supremacy. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:52 pm EDT
How to get people to follow The Real Donna J. Trump instead of Donald J. Trump. This is true throughout the world. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:14 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing America is the widening income inequality/economic mobility gap. For many, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream they will never realize. Many of the social and political challenges we are dealing with today stem from this problem. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:40 pm EDT
The list is long and it’s all really important. But most of the things on that list have a root cause, and I think it’s greed. People’s desire for power and wealth outweighs their humanity and their ability to see humanity in others. | more...
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