Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stop Comparing the Panthers to the KKK

I need to be clear on something because I'm getting tired of hearing this comparison being made and moving forward I'm going to be fairly merciless when I hear it.

The KKK is a domestic terrorist organization.  They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Black men and women.  Their heinous crimes include rape, arson, lynching, castration, bombings, and wanton acts of brutality and violence. 

I will not entertain comparisons between the KKK and the Black Panther Party any longer.  Only a moron or a closeted bigot would even attempt to make the comparison.  Nothing in the history of the Panthers can even be remotely equated to the brutal and bloody legacy of the KKK.  At no point has the Panthers ever advocated the eradication and/or subjugation of the white race.  There is no comparison.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch. 

If you are one of those people comparing the KKK to the Panthers, STOP IT.  Right now.  You look and sound like a fool and I wont hear that bullshit anymore.  Don't come around me with it.  Don't say it in front of me.  Shut it.  Seriously.  I wont tolerate it.  Perhaps you are looking to assuage your feelings of guilt.  Perhaps you are looking to deflect.  I couldn't care less.  Knock it the hell off.   No one has time or interest in that nonsense.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Assume the Formation

Social media is exploding with one word. Beyonce. People are praising, worshipping, vilifying, raging, and all points in between. It reminds me of something I learned long ago.....The media is a juggernaut. The game doesn't change.

Truthfully far too much is being made of this. One the one hand, it's great to see images of strong Black women and hear a message of Black southern pride. I feel that. It's great that she was unapologetically Black in the video. I also f...ind the amount of white tears coming from closeted bigots comical(seriously cry more). I've heard idiots call the song a Black Panther tribute. It's absurd.

One the other hand some brothers and sisters are behaving as if she suddenly became Harriet Tubman. You have people literally behaving as if Beyonce is the voice of revolution. Dial it down people. It's a song. It's a video. The fact that she performed it AT THE SUPER BOWL should tell you something. Beyonce is not going to lead some new age revolution. Or did you miss her tour advertisement at the end of the Halftime show?

At the end of the day, no matter what you think of Beyonce, her song, her video, or the Super Bowl performance one thing is dead certain...She has the entire world talking about her. Which, one could argue, was the ultimate goal. Mission accomplished.
The media is a juggernaut... ‪#‎zoomout‬ ‪#‎gamerecognizesgame

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Sad and Terrible Defense of Bill Cosby

I really wanted my first blog posting of 2016 to be something positive and inspiring.  But this is an issue I really can't ignore.  It's all over the news and I'm hearing some immensely disturbing things. 

Since Bill Cosby's formal arrest on December 30 many people have gone well out of their way to defend him.  They have used all manner of terrible excuses and some of the defenses used have be outright cringe worthy.  I've heard writers, bloggers, entertainers, and every day brothers and sisters give sad and terrible commentary.  I've heard people who seem to lack basic common sense offer outlandish reasons why Cosby might be innocent.  To say I am disappointed, particularly in my people, is a massive understatement.   I'm convinced people have no idea how they sound and it's time to break this down and lay it flat.  So let's begin with shutting down some of the bullshit I continue to hear....

1.  Why Did The Women Wait So Long?

This is the most popular and most frequent defense used.    It's also the most basic and most ignorant.  To ask this question is not only insulting to victims of rape and sexual assault but it also clearly displays an almost unforgivable level of ignorance.  When people ask why did the women wait so long I always answer "Because of you".  Naturally they act shocked and surprised, and ask me how they could possibly be responsible.  I point out that along with the feelings of shame, pain, hurt, and even guilt, rape victims must also deal with a judgmental society who often makes them complicit in their own rape.  Rape victims must often deal with the humiliation of being called liars, opportunists, gold diggers, whores, and other colorful dehumanizing adjectives.  Couple that with the fact that rapists often get away with their crimes and it should come as no surprise why many rape victims are fearful to come forward.  Oh and just for the record, many of Cosby's accusers DIDN'T wait to come forward.  Cosby has been accused of rape for decades. 

2.  Why were They Drinking and Partying With Him?

This defense makes absolutely no sense.  According to Cosby apologists, the fact that some of these women may have wanted to drink, party, and use recreational drugs meant they deserved to be raped.   Or wanted to be raped.  I've actually heard people use the nefarious "they wanted it" excuse(which is quite frankly disgusting) many times.  You see in the minds of Cosby apologists, wanting to party and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Wanting to have a drink or a smoke and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Wanting to engage in CONSENSUAL sex and wanting to be raped are one and the same.  Many low key rapists are unwittingly out themselves with this one. 

3.  This is a Conspiracy to Bring Cosby Down Because He Planned to Buy NBC

This defense is so absurd it barely merits attention.  NBC Universal is worth somewhere between 23 and 32 billion dollars with an operating income of 4 billion dollars.  Bill Cosby is worth 400 million dollars.  Now I know math is hard but there is no way Cosby could possibly buy NBC Universal or the NBC Network.  People based this nonsensical myth on a 23 year old story where Cosby along with a HALF DOZEN OTHER INVESTORS attempted to buy NBC in the early 90s.   GE refused and that was that.  There is no truth to this conspiracy.  It's complete and utter nonsense.

4. They Are Attacking the Legacy of  A Strong Black Man

This one bothers me.  It bothers me because for the last two decades Bill Cosby has been shaming, belittling, and talking down to us as Black people.  Cosby has been pummeling us with respectability politics and looking down his nose at us for a long time.  Cosby has long abandoned his Pro-Black stance and has long embraced the kind of shaming and victim blaming that has stifled the upward mobility of Black people.  On more than one occasion he has blamed US for our struggles in society and has been dismissive of important racial and social issues.  He does not stand with us.  In his own words:

"Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

"Are you not paying attention, people with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up (laughter and clapping ). Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack…and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body.  We are not Africans. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail"

-His words.  Not mine.  Why would racist whites want to bring him down?  Here was a prominent Black icon shaming and degrading struggling brothers and sisters.  He was saying exactly what they wanted him to say.

5.  Cosby's No Different than Any Other Hollywood Actor

I'm not even sure how this is a defense.  If your defense of Cosby is "Well look at Charlie Sheen, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, etc" then you HAVE to know you're out of gas with no leg to stand on.  If the best you can do to defend Cosby is compare him to other rapists, pedophiles, and drug users then you've got nothing.

At the end of the day we need to examine these and other terrible defenses of Bill Cosby and understand that this it is a part of a much bigger societal problem.  Rape culture is real.  Cosby and his apologists and defenders are living proof of this.  We have a long way to go brothers and sisters.  A very long way.  Where we are right now is immensely troubling.  What does it say about us when we will go so far out of our way to defend an obvious serial rapist?

Thank you for Reading
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Confronting "The Bully": Applying Life's Lesson

*Before I begin, I confess there is a deeper meaning to this blog posting.  I wonder though how many will discover it...*

We all remember.  We all remember very well.  We all remember the first time we were confronted by "the bully".  Most of us remember like it was yesterday.  Some of us may be much older now.  Some of us may have children of our own.  But we all remember it well.  We remember it because we remember how it made us feel.  We remember how we felt when the bully insulted us.  We remember how we felt when the bully intimidated us.  We remember how we felt when the bully demanded our belongings.  We remember that terrible, crippling feeling and what it did to us.  We remember being struck by the bully.  We remember the other children pointing and laughing.  We know exactly how it feels.

We remember living in fear of the bully.  We remember locking eyes on the bully and the feeling of dread we felt as he walked in our direction.  We remember not wanting to get out of bed.  We remember not wanting to go to school, or to camp, or wherever the bully was.  We remember the physical pain of the bully striking us.   But even moreso we remember the humiliation and emotional distress.  We remember feeling helpless.  The bully was bigger than us.  The bully was probably older than us.  We didn't like violence.  We didn't know how to fight.  We were terribly afraid.  We were crippled and hamstrung by our own shame, fear, and embarassment.  We remember all this.  But.....we also remember something else.

We remember the day when we said "No more".  We remember they day when we said "Enough".  We remember when we decided we would tolerate it no longer.  That we would live in fear no longer.  We remember looking in the mirror.  We remember fear giving way to self preservation.  We remember intimidation giving way to anger.  We remember deciding that no matter what, we would be victims no more.  That we had been bullied for the last day.  We remember making the committment to ourselves that one way or another, it was going to end.

We remember seeing the bully and locking eyes on him after declaring we'd had enough.  We remember him walking toward us and the rush of fear we felt.  We remember pushing that fear down and rising above it.  We remember the bully making his usual demands.  We remember declaring "No!".  We remember the bully threatening us.  Then...we remember summoning strength, courage, and will that we didn't know we possessed.  We remember giving the bully the mother of all ass whippings.  We remember beating the bully into powder.  We remember declaring "If you EVER mess with me again I'll BEAT YOUR ASS AGAIN!!"  We remember the fear that once was visible in our eyes now being clearly visible in the eyes of the bully.  We remember the bully fleeing, shocked, beaten, and defeated.

We remember the next day.  We remember locking eyes with the bully.  We remember the bully quickly looking away.  We remember at that moment....learning a valuable life lesson.  There is only one way to deal with a bully.  There is only one way to deal with someone who constantly seeks to hurt you, humiliate you, take what is yours, and disrespect you.   We remember learning that we are worthy of respect and we should never be afraid to stand up for ourselves.  We remember learning that we should never allow fear to cripple us.  We should never be intimidated by a bigger, stronger, or better armed opponent.  We should face our aggressors and those who would to do us harm with courage and fire.  Because within us lies the strength to overcome them.

We remember.  Sometimes many of us forget.  Sometimes we become intimidated.  Sometimes we feel humiliated.  Sometimes we become afraid.   Brothers and sisters....remember...

Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Will it Take? One Man's Frustration

Something I will admit. I admit to getting frustrated. Not just at the constant social injustices, murder, and attacks on our people but at what I perceive as flaccid, spineless, weak and cowardly defense of white supremacy by my own brothers and sisters. Even now, not 24 full hours after the release of the dash cam video, we have brothers and sisters suggesting that perhaps if Sandra Bland hadn't been "non compliant" maybe she'd be alive. We've already forgotten that the official story is supposedly she committed suicide(an obvious lie) and are already preparing to accept the next line of bullshit that's being served up.

We have brothers and sisters suggesting that we should do what cops say, no matter what, lawful or not. We have brothers and sisters, some openly and some vaguely, suggesting Bland's death was her own fault. We have brothers and sisters who are so fearful they will walk willingly into the open arms of fascism and white supremacy and accept supposed peace keepers as their overseers.
It vexes me. It irritates me. It really gets next to me. Because in my heart I wholly believe that until we STAND against this it will keep happening. I reject that Sandra Bland or any of my sisters and brothers who dare resist are their own murderers. That kind of talk to me is cowardly and largely the reason why police have no qualms about killing us.

I often wonder what it will take. What more must be done before we find the will to collectively stand up. It's a problem for me. I struggle with this. I wanted to share that with the group as well as in my blog. I don't know if any of you can relate but I wanted to share.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The God Complexes: How Many Conservatives and Progressives See Minorities

In speaking with a lot of progressives and conservatives about social and racial issues(particularly my caucasian brethren) I've noticed that often times the conversation tends to go one of two ways.  If I'm talking to a progressive it often goes one way.  If I'm talking to a conservative it often goes the other way.  What's interesting though is that both paths have the same point of origin.  Both paths seem to lead back to what I can only describe as a God complex.   Yes, a God complex.  An innate sense of superiority that far too often is injected into the discussion.  Curious?  Let me explain.

With many conservatives, the God complex is a "superiority complex".  Many conservatives will quickly talk down to you if the discussion is not going their way.  They will speak at you and not to you.  They become prideful and arrogant when proven wrong.  They will deny and deflect while almost dogmatically asserting their viewpoint.   In their minds they are, in short, better than you and if you are suffering or being oppressed that's why.    They don't wish to hear about inequality, injustice, or anything related to these things.  In their minds you are the author of your own suffering, they exist at the top of the food chain, and you are simply a burden on society.  If you were as good as them you wouldn't be suffering.  But you can't be.  Because again...they're better than you.   Poor?  That's your fault.  Nevermind their ill-gotten gains.  They got them and that's all that matters.  Racism?  They'll tell you there is no such thing and the reason that you're suffering is not because of an broken, bigoted system but because you aren't working hard enough.   They are superior and they will reject anything that speaks to the contrary.  No matter how poor they are, how ignorant they are, how unsophisticated they are, they are better than you. 

With many progressives, the God complex is more of a "savior complex".  Those poor, poor minorities.  Wont someone have mercy on their wretched souls?  On the surface it may appear that many of these people are allies.  But once you start to dig a bit it becomes crystal clear that it's more about their egos than it is your suffering.   They quickly start to speak for you.  They tell you what they think is good for you.  They tell you how you should feel about social and racial issues.  They are easy to spot too.  You'll find them on the nearest soap box screaming about whatever social issue is "in".   They should not be confused with true allies.  You see true allies know when to speak and when to be silent.  They know that their role is one of support.  Those with the "savior complex" have no desire to support.  They want to be at the forefront.  They want to be seen.  They want to be praised.  They're whole set up is basically "look at me!".   They want you beholden to them and in a state of perpetual gratitude.   Try to exclude them, try to speak for yourself, or try to place them back in the role of support and they will quickly lash out at you.   Their attitude is one of "how dare you be so ungrateful"?  Thou shalt not bite the hand of thy savior.

Now it should go without saying that not all progressives, or conservatives for that matter, are like this.  But they are out there.  Odds are strong that you are going to encounter them sooner rather than later.  Systemic racism and white supremacy has them by the minds.  They have a God complex.  In their minds you are just a humble mortal soul, either to be saved or ruled over.  Beware these people.  Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Talk With Your Kids

Greetings readers.  I wanted to make a quick blog posting today and I wanted to share something with all of you. 

Today I had a long conversation with my son.  He's nearing his 13th birthday and I've noticed some things.  He's getting older and his life is rapidly changing.  Now my son and I are close, as is the case with all my children.  We talk all the time.  Still, I felt it was important to reach out to him and discuss some things in heavy detail.  It was a great albeit tough conversation.  It was uncomfortable at times.  But it was a great conversation nonetheless and he and I were both happy it took place.

I'm sharing this because I want to remind all the parents out there who are doing whatever they can to raise their children the best way they know how.  Talk to your kids.  Really.  Talk to them.  It sounds so simple but you'd be surprised at how many parents simply don't do this.  As I have always asserted parenting is by far the most important job you'll ever have.  You will be surprised at how far just a little communication goes.  It will solve a host of problems and preempt a host more.

I also want to stress that talking to them means exactly that.  Talk TO them.  Talk WITH them.  Don't just bark instruction.  Telling children to "Do what I say" is not talking to them.  Sure there are some things that are non negotiable.  Sure there are times where they must do what you say and that's the end of it.  But you also have to remember to keep the lines of communication open.  You also have to remember that sometimes you're going to need to converse with them.  Hear their thoughts.  Hear their feelings.  Respect their positions.  It's not as simple as saying "No" all the time.  In fact, rarely is it ever that simple.

You have to remember that society is going to bombard your kids with all kinds of things.  You wont be with them all the time.  You wont be able to shield them from everything.  It's simply not possible.  It is better to arm them with knowledge.  It's better to prepare them with the truth.  Then not only will you be able to shield and protect them, they will be able to shield and protect themselves.  Society is going to tell them all kinds of lies about their bodies.  About their minds.  About their race.  About their gender.  About their sexuality.  Without the knowledge and open discussion only a parent or close loved one can provide, the effects on their self image can be devastating.

Also be frank.  Be straight.  Speak plainly.  Be open.  Be firm.  Kids are fine tuned BS detectors.  They'll know if you aren't being genuine.  They'll know if you aren't being straight with them.  Don't sugar coat your words or sugar coat a discussion.  It will greatly diminish the impact.  Be loving and be compassionate.  Be respectful and be sensitive.  But put it down plainly.

This goes not only for parents but anyone in the role of mentor also.  Please.  Talk with your kids.  They need us.  We've been down the road they've traveled.  How many times have you said to yourself "I wish someone had talked to me about [x]"?   You don't want your kids in their 20s, 30s, and 40s saying those things.  So build with them.  Initiate.   Have those tough conversations.  You'll be really, really happy you did.  Thanks for reading.

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