I have taken the unusual tact of going dark on my personal pages on Facebook and Twitter due to the inordinate amount of hateful vitriol I have endured as a result of my stance on entertainers and pro athletes taking a knee or protesting during the singing of the US Anthem at an event wherein:

A) I bought a ticket to attend said concert, play, movie/game
B) I pay to watch your concert/play/movie/game on TV by enduring insane amounts of commercials.

NEWS BULLETIN: You lose the entertainment/escape value that I perceive you to have when you try to shove your politics down my throat.

As a consumer, I am not attending your concert/play/movie/game to be subjected to your politics, I want to be entertained. I don't care if you are Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Pink, Purple or Green.  I don't care if you are Polish, Jewish, Greek, English, Hispanic, Hawaiian etc.
If I bought a ticket to your concert/play/movie/game, if I paid taxes for you to be afforded to play in a taxpayer funded stadium, if I endured the endless commercials to watch you on TV, I deserve to get what I paid for - ENTERTAINMENT - ESCAPE.  

I am not saying you don't have a right to protest what you perceive to be social injustice, police brutality and the like. You have a social media platform and the TV Talk Show circuit as well as the press and events hosted specifically to promote said beliefs to engage in your right of free speech, you can demonstrate or rally.

LEAVE the politics out of the entertainment you are being paid to supply to me, the consumer. PLEASE.

I am merely exercising my power of choice to turn off the TV, not buy a ticket to attend your concert/play/movie/game.

Because I have taken this as my personal stand on this topic I have had a long time contributor to my paper pull out and have lost a few people in my life that I could have sworn were my friends before this.

I actually had someone accuse me of supporting a "deranged man" - insinuating that I somehow was supporting Donald Trump on this topic. No debate, no discourse. Nope, instead on my personal pages these great big disclaimers about who I must be and how they can't stand me now.


That's not what Donald Trump is fighting with you all about, but since you gotta got there....

As the daughter of a veteran, I personally think the method of protest these people are taking is wrong minded,.
I feel that during the playing of the anthem of a country is not when you should be protesting.
I am often proud of my country but ashamed of my Government.
The Government is not the Anthem nor is it the Country.
The Anthem represents the Country, and the country is the people that live there and their spirit.
That's how I feel. It's a personal thing.

The former contributor to our community paper told me that since I have a small amount of pseudo celebrity I should stick to talking motorcycles - well newsflash, if you watch my TV Show Ride Like a Local on either YouTube or EastLink TV you are going to get motorcyclist interviews, sometimes motorcyclist related politics and riding...If you go to the Busted Knuckle Newspaper, you are going to get motorcycle news and usually motorcycle politics if there are any to discuss - you know the whole police profiling, the MC world politics, but they are at least specific to our community and that's what a newspaper's job is - information dissemination etc...In fact my blog title and my column in the newspaper is kind of a give away that you might get some personal opinion and some politics if you decide to read my blog. So - the whole you are a "hypocrite" from the former contributor really doesn't work in my case.

On my personal page, the Renee Charbonneau page you are going to get me, unabridged, because you are supposed to be my friend.  Do you know what the real definition of a friend is?

It's someone who knows you and likes you anyway.

I am entitled to an opinion like everyone else and about 25% of the world and I are going to see eye to eye on things and the rest are here to teach me something.

Sometimes the thing they teach me is; "turn it off or go ride your motorcycle more girl."

I enjoy debate. I don't enjoy vitriolic hatred.

I will defend your right to your freedom of speech and expression, but when your rights begin to infringe on my rights, I will push back, as is my right.

Freedoms and rights work both ways, even people I don't care for are entitled to their say, their feelings and thoughts.

As a consumer, I just think that if I am paying to hear you perform, I'd rather you just perform, if I am paying to watch you play a game, please play the game.

If I want to know your political view I will tune into a talk show that you are on or go visit your Twitter feed.

Now I am going to get into another hot topic - White Privilege.

I read an article wherein a woman used a number of situations that have transpired in her life, that in her mind prove that there is White Privilege - click on the words to read her article.

I want to tell you about what I now understand thanks to the article quoted above (White Privilege);
I have been subjected to Black Privilege & Ukrainian Privilege just to name a few.

Please remember as you read on that I am a White, Canadian born female of French, Scottish, English, Irish, Polish descent. Apparently the folks in my family had no problem playing the field so to speak.

 Let's see how many people will actually read what I have to say and then take an honest look at what they are complaining about and understand that the problem here isn't that you are black, brown, white, yellow, green, pink or purple, Ukrainian, First Nations, Polish, Jewish or French but that you are HUMAN. 

A few examples of "Other Race Privilege":

I lived in the US for a period of time when I was married to jet car driver, Doug Rose of Green Mamba fame.  During that time, while pregnant with my daughter, I had to go to the hospital for a check up. My mother in-law was sleeping, my ex-husband was gone with friends and I was alone with no one to drive me to the appointment.  I decide to take the bus.  Unbeknownst to me, I would be travelling through what I was later told was the "ghetto". (I was 24, and fairly fresh off the farm with not much for big city experiences.)

At one stop, there were a lot of Black people, a few Latinos and a couple of other White people.
When I got onto the bus, all the seats were taken. A lot of women, Black women, were seated close to the front but they did not offer up their seats. I was very surprised by the fact that a man had given up his seat for me. He was such a gentleman.

I was terrified by the black women who hissed venom at me, saying things like "Bringing another white trash bitch into the world are we?"  "What is your white cracker ass doing on this here bus in my territory you fat slut?" I was called a few other things by these women, but I won't repeat them.

Now you see based on the logic of the writer of the article referenced above: White Privilege, this situation exhibited Black Privilege because based solely on my skin colour I was verbally attacked and insulted by Black women for being on their bus in their territory.  The same Black man who gave me his seat, intervened on my behalf. If it hadn't been for the kindness of that Black gentleman, I'd probably have been beaten by those women that day, they were truly that hateful.

HMMMM - but what does that say about the kind Black man? And how does that blow the whole Black Privilege narrative up?

We'll get to that a little later...

If what this author says about how to determine if you have experienced White Privilege is true, then.... I guess I could talk about Ukrainian Privilege. My family moved from the farm to a predominantly Ukrainian community, and the Ukrainian girls in my class range did not like me.  They would call my mother in the middle of the night to tell her that I was having sex with some boy, when I was asleep downstairs. They would put gum on my seat so as to ruin any nice clothes that I could afford. I was bullied and brutalized by this ring of Ukrainian girls.
Why? Because I was not Ukrainian and did not belong, they verbalized that on more than one occasion.  The torture went on for 6 years until I graduated and moved away.  Did I mention that I am a WHITE female?  These Ukrainian girls where also WHITE females.  They, like me were also Canadian born. Hmmm...this can't really be called White Privilege so I think I am right in calling it Ukrainian Privilege. Yeah that's it, Ukrainian Privilege.

Based on the logic of the writer of the article referenced above: White Privilege, I guess I can talk about social injustice and profiling by the police too...
I could and did bitch about the police who shut down my event in Olds in 2007 by blocking all the entrances and jacking every rider up all because one full patched member of the Hells Angels was present and it damned near cost me everything I owned. Why did they do that? Because I wear a motorcycle vest and consort with others who do as well. Its profiling, but because it's not racial, it's not protected. They can brutalize a small business because they profile, but there is no civil recourse for me. I am right though, it is a social injustice that I am profiled because of the clothes I wear and the conveyance I ride, there is just little that I can do about it.

I had a Greek man tell me I needed to sleep with him to keep my job as a waitress. I went to the change room, came back and in the middle of a busy restaurant walked up to him, threw my uniform in his face and made it clear I didn't need to sleep with anyone to keep my job - I quit and walked out to huge applause.  Is that White Male Privilege or White Greek Male Privilege - sorry, I get them confused....

These are things I have put up with and lived through - but there are other things we need to discuss - we can't look at the bad things in a bubble, in isolation - we need to look at them in a greater context...

I can also tell you about the times when there were kind Black people who touched my life, like the lady behind the front desk at a motel in Shreveport -Bossier City, Louisiana who lent me her car to go get some Pedialyte for my sick baby. She didn't know me from ADAM!

I can reiterate that the kindness of a Black man saved me from getting beaten by some Black women who did not appreciate a pregnant White girl in their midst in Milwaukee in 1984.

I  have had kind police officers help me get through the aftermath of a crash, or give me the benefit of the doubt over a speeding ticket.

The things these people are upset about really do exist - YES -  but they are NOT RACIALLY MOTIVATED as much as they are part of the HUMAN condition.

 Is it possible to accept that Human-ness is the problem and not racism, is that at all possible?

Think on this - can we agree that....
Not all cops are bad apples, not all priests are pedophiles, not all Black people hate White people and not all White people hate Black people...

Quit judging the world by the actions of the few and look for the good that IS going on all around you. Start acting with kindness yourself and you'll start finding kindness. Work at being the change you want to see in the world.

Our countries, Canada and the USA have flaws, they are, like everything else in the world, a work in progress - we are better at most things today than we were 100 years ago, 50 years ago and we will keep evolving and hopefully continue to work at becoming better, kinder, more in tune people.

The Law of Attraction states that what you put your focus on is what you will find.
The Law of Attraction works on everyone equally the way the law of Gravity does.
Focus on bad crap - then that's all you see.
The war on drugs brought more drugs. The war on terror brought more terror.

Focus on the good things and very soon you will start seeing more good things.

Quit giving the negative people and things all the energy folks. 

If we simply were to start focusing on everyone having enough, feeling accepted and learning to embrace every little thing that happens that is good - you'd see so much more good in your life.

It's never going to be perfect - it's not meant to be - what journey is?

Life - it's short and it's precious - live it like it is.

Precious, that is.

That's why I have shut out social media for a while, seeing so many hateful things being hurled about has me over the edge with frustration.

I just need a break from all of the negativity.
I need to recharge my soul. I need to look after my health, physically and mentally.
I need to ride my motorcycle, support the children of our community here in Grande Prairie, mourn the the loss of another friend, work on our Afghanistan War Monument Project and see to it's unveiling ceremony on October 7th .

I need to do things that are positive, that move things forward in a positive way, spinning my wheels trying to fight keyboard warriors is not my idea of rich, fulfilling or rewarding work.

And to those that turned on me because of my stance over PAID entertainers and pro athletes protesting, people who assumed they knew what was in my heart without having a civilized conversation or asking me that question, please know, I love many people who have differing ideas and opinions from mine, I am always willing to have a fair and honest discussion, until you start with the name calling or the profanity or the vitriol that is so outlandish that I can't abide by it.

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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