Friday, December 19, 2014

Shifting the Blame: Calling Out Racism is the New Racism

There is a growing phenomenon in America.  A phenomenon that has grown exponentially over the past few years.  I've written about it before and since then it's grown even greater.  It's one that has me scratching my head in utter disbelief at times I will admit.  What is this phenomenon I'm speaking of?  The NEW racism.  Apparently, we have reached a point in America where calling out racism is in fact racist.  We've reached a point where pointing out injustice has become injustice.  We've reached a point where people are outraged at the outrage.  I often find myself confused and astonished by this?  How the hell did this happen?  When did calling out injustice become worse than the injustice we are calling out?  When did it be become OK to be outraged at those who are outraged at bigotry?  When did it become racist to oppose racism?

We've all heard it before.  All of us.  Whenever there is a manifestation of racial injustice in America(which unfortunately is all too often) there will always and inevitably be someone expressing their "concerns" and "frustrations" about those who stand against it.  Always.  You've heard them.  You've seen them. You'll be talking about Eric Garner and out of nowhere they'll bring up Al Sharpton.  You'll be talking about Rekia Boyd and out of nowhere they'll bring up Jesse Jackson.  You'll be talking about racial injustice and out of nowhere they'll bring up Barack Obama.  They will go out of their way to shift the conversation from injustice to something or someone completely irrelevant to the issue.  They'll make false equivalencies.  They'll ask idiotic questions like "Why aren't you concerned about black on black crime?" or "Why don't civil rights leaders speak out when someone white dies?".  They'll blame protestors for fanning the flames of conflict.  They will shift the onus and responsibility from those who commit injustice to those who are fighting and resisting it.

Let me be clear.  If you are more concerned about say Al Sharpton than you are about police choking an unarmed man to death you are the part of the problem.  If you are more concerned about say Jesse Jackson than a SWAT team throwing a flash bang into a home and maiming a child you are part of the problem.  If you are more concerned about what Obama had to say about Trayvon Martin than the fact that Trayvon Martin is dead, well....I think you get it. 

You see, we aren't fooled by you.  You aren't really concerned about issues in the inner city.  You aren't concerned about black on black crime, gangs, drug, teen pregnancy or any of those other things you try to distract people with when they are justifiably angry about social injustice.  You don't give a shit.  You don't. The only time you'll even mention it is when racism and social injustice rears it head and the only purpose of you doing it is to placate and misdirect.

The news media in particular has become quite adept at shifting blame.  High profile personalities like Don Lemon for example have all but mastered the art of misdirection.   Fox News, in addition to being a fountain of misinformation, has turned shifting blame into an art form.  Even local and online publications and news outlets engaged in shameless victim blaming and shifting responsibility.   A young man gets  killed?  Someone somewhere will attempt to shift the conversation to young black thuggery.  A young woman gets raped?  Someone somewhere will attempt to shift the conversation to teen pregnancy or black women out of wedlock or welfare recipients.  It happens without fail.

As we move into 2015 society's approach to racism seems to be one of "deal with it".  Racism is here to stay and it's not going away.  Keep your head down, keep quiet about it and hope to the high heavens it doesn't affect you too much.  Speak on it and YOU are a racist.  Challenge it and YOU are a bigot.  Resist it and YOU are the trouble maker.  Challenging racism has become the new racism.

I suppose that would make me a racist.  I suppose that makes me a hateful person.  I suppose that makes me an angry black man.  So be it.....

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Americas

America.  Land of the free.  Home of the brave.  In America we have been indoctrinated with superficial patriotism.  We have been indoctrinated with images of pride and freedom.  We have been imbued with an almost overwhelming sense of self righteousness.  If you allow the average American to tell it, America is a free and open country where anyone can be and do anything regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or religion.  This image persists even in the face of the undeniable fact that nothing could be further from the truth.

You see there is America and then there is the America that exists in our minds.  There is the real America and the America that has been manufactured and indoctrinated into the hearts and souls of it's citizens.  What's amazing is that the manufactured, illusory image of America is always the dominant one.  We consistently reject the truth.  We always accept the false image.  In fact, not only will we consistently reject the truth, we will take issue with anyone who even attempts to speak it.

For example, we are taught to believe that the Founding Fathers of this country were champions of freedom who discovered a new land and built a nation where all men and women could live free and prosper.  We eat that image up.  But it's not the truth.  The truth is that the Founding Fathers were slave owners who saw blacks as 3/5 of a person.  They were misogynists who believed women did not have the right or even the intellectual capacity to vote or own land.  They were murderers who drove Mexicans south and brought the Native Americans to the brink of extinction. 

Now those are facts.  I didn't make a single word of that up.  But if I were to speak that truth, most Americans would lose their minds.  They would seethe with rage and anger.  I would be called everything from racist to unpatriotic.  I would told things like "If you don't like this country, LEAVE!"  Even though nothing I've said is false.

I'll give you another example.  America is a racist nation.  That is an undeniable truth.  America was founded on white male supremacy.  Again blacks were considered 3/5 of a person.  Women did not possess the same rights as men.  Native Americans were viewed as savages and pushed from their land.  America has a history of racism, discrimination, and civil unrest.  Less than 50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King was violently shot and killed.  Dr. King fought tirelessly for equal rights and change.  He was an advocate of non-violence, even in the face of it.  Even as he was stoned, jailed, and attacked he still refused to raise his hands to his opponents.  Ultimately he was shot in the head.  Even today black people do not enjoy equal justice and opportunity under the law.  Blacks still make less than their white counterparts per average for doing relatively the same work.  Hate speech is a regular occurrence.   Then there is the criminal justice system.  One has only to ask the families of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and Tamir Price about justice to understand that the criminal justice system sees blacks in particular as criminals almost by default.

Again, those are facts.  Harsh facts to be sure.  But facts nonetheless.  But if I speak those facts aloud?  Well, I shouldn't have to tell anyone what will happen and what will be said about me.

It's not just from whites.  Should I speak the truth to power many other black people will rage as well.  I've learned a long time ago there are black people who are completely invested in Illusory America.  I like to compare it in some ways to the Matrix.  It doesn't matter if they aren't really eating steak.  As long as they believe they are eating steak, that's all that matters.  When given the option to see America as it exists versus illusory America, they will choose illusory America 10/10 times.

So here we are. Living in two Americas.  The America that exists in reality and the one that exists in our minds.  What's sad is that the more the America that exists in reality asserts itself, the harder we cling to the America that exists in our minds.  Because of this, any progress we make toward making our nation truly better will be slow and painstaking.  You don't fix what you wont acknowledge as broken.  We will never escape the hell as long as we collectively cling to the illusion that we are living in heaven.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You Don't Know Bill Cosby. Stop Pretending You Do

I want to preface this blog posting by saying by no means am I implying guilt or innocence with this post.  I do however want to make a clear point. 

I've heard several people say over the past few weeks that there is no way that Bill Cosby could possibly be guilty of the allegations of rape and sexual misconduct that have been brought against him.  I've talked to people who have staunchly and rigorously defended Cosby against his accusers.  What has baffled me to be quite honest is not that they are defending him but the reasons why they are defending him.   I've heard people say "I grew up with Bill Cosby.  I grew up watching Bill Cosby.  Cosby could never do anything like that."  If you are one of those people then I must tell you that I find your position...well...ridiculous.

First of all let's deal in reality.  Bill Cosby is a comedian and an actor.  The beloved characters you grew up watching are just that.  Characters.  Heathcliff Huxtable is not real.  The animated characters you grew to love are not real.  The man that was on stage telling jokes that made you laugh until your sides ached was simply doing what comedians do.

Let's be honest.  Bill Cosby has touched all of our lives in some way and many of us have fond memories of him whether it be from stage, movies, TV sitcoms, or animated cartoons. But we should not dismiss the charges against him just because at one time he made us feel good.  We should not be so quick to defend him simply because he made us smile or laugh.  Rape is a very serious crime and we should treat it as such.  Blind reverence is a very dangerous thing and if Mr. Cosby is guilty of these charges he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I've been very critical of Cosby for a long time and I will readily admit that.  I've taken issue with Cosby's condescending approach and tone to young black people.  I've sharply criticized his comments regarding struggling black Americans.  That said,  this is not an attempt to strike at Cosby.  As I said, this blog posting is not about suggesting guilt or innocence.  It's about why we shouldn't dismiss these allegations simply because it's Bill Cosby.

You didn't grow up with Cosby.  You grew up with characters on television, stage, and movies.  You grew up with animated shows and stand-up routines.  You don't know Bill Cosby. Stop acting as if you do. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Surprises. No Justice.

The Grand Jury in Missouri has made it's decision.  There will be no indictment of Darren Wilson.

Don't act like you are surprised.  Because truthfully you aren't.  Don't act like you didn't see this coming.  Because truthfully you know you did.  Don't act like it isn't what you think.  Because deep in your heart you know it is.

To review:  Darren Wilson shot an unarmed young man six times at point blank range, killing him dead.  A grand jury collectively decided that he did nothing wrong and at no point did he violate protocol or police procedure.  He also received the backing and support from not only other law enforcement but he received almost $300K dollars in donations from "honest citizens".

Now you tell me.  How much more proof do you need?  What ELSE does society have to do to show you that black life is expendable in this country?  That you do not enjoy equal justice under the law?  That the system will protect it's own?  What more has to happen?

Do politicians have to come out in support of the decision?  They will.  Does the first black POTUS have to go on television and remain calm in the face of injustice.   Because he's going to.  Do self hating brothers and sisters need to stand in solidarity of your oppressors and make you complicit in your own murders?  Because they will.  Does law enforcement have to use this verdict and civil unrest to kill even more of us?  Because that's going to happen.

Tell me I'm wrong.  Tell me.  Tell me it's raining and we are not being collectively pissed on.  Speak to me of post racial America.  Go ahead.  I'm listening....

Why Marching and Non Violence Isn't Enough: The Genius of MLK

I want to talk a bit about the genius that was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In the wake of the grand jury decision regarding Darren Wilson I can't help but think of him.  He was more than just a charismatic leader of men.  He was more than just a well spoken minister.  He was an incredible man.  He was a genius.

We often lose sight of the true MLK and the magnificence of what he was able to accomplish.  We are often blinded by the light so to speak.  We often try to put MLK into a box.  When we think of MLK we think of "I have A Dream" and "We Shall Overcome".  We think of marches and speeches.  We often miss the true substance.  We often forget one of the most important lessons MLK tried to teach us.  That lesson is that marching and singing alone isn't enough.  If we want to see true change we must decisive and definitive actions.

MLK chose the path of non violence for a number of important reasons.  He knew that we could not over power the system at that time.  He knew that we were outgunned and outmanned and force was not a feasible option.  He knew that our message would be diluted through violence and bloodshed.  So he chose a different path.   That said, he also knew that marching and singing would not be enough.  He knew that while non violence would ensure that we could not be dismissed or framed as violent thugs looking to cause harm, it would also not be enough.

MLK knew that it is impossible to appeal to the morality of your oppressor.  Your oppressor is completely aware of their actions.  They are completely conscious of what they are doing to you.  Appealing to their morality is useless.  So MLK chose a different path.  He attacked the system economically and socially.  And it worked.

Think about the bus boycott for example.  Black people showed their collective economic power and crippled the public transit system.  He showed our oppressors that he knew where to strike them and that he had the ability to rally black people together to make that strike.  That's why the American establishment was so afraid of him.  Because they knew that through King's inspiration Black people could cripple the system.   J.Edgar Hoover called MLK the most dangerous negro in America.  They knew what King knew.  That those marches and songs were not the means to fight.  They were the rallying cry.

Those marches and songs were for US not for our oppressor.  They were meant to inspire us.  They were meant to encourage us. They were meant to embolden us.  Once inspired, encouraged, and emboldened we had the fortitude to do what was necessary.  Imagine what we could do today.  Imagine if we decided to stay home from work and keep our money in our pockets on Black Friday.  Imagine if we came together and did something of SUBSTANCE. 

We are so busy marching, singing, rallying and listening to weak ass milksop leaders that we are missing a great lesson that Dr. King tried to teach us.  Non violence isn't enough.  Marching isn't enough.  Unless we want to see cities on fire we need to do more than just sing and march.  Our people are crying out for justice and they will have it one way or the other.  It's time we remember one of King's most important lessons. 

Missing Our Leaders....Especially Now

When I was young I was a troubled young man with anger issues.  I often fought and got into all manner of trouble.  One of the ways I was taught to control my emotions is to write.  I find that when I'm consumed with emotion, writing helps me "see my thoughts" and control my energy.  On the eve of the grand jury's decision regarding Darren Wilson I again find myself consumed with emotion.  I imagine I'll be writing quite a bit.....

It's times like these when I wish we had leaders like Malcolm and Martin still with us.  It's times like these when I wish we had leaders with the fortitude of the elders and not these milksop cowards we've got running around now.

These fools don't do anything.  They'll show up and organize a rally or march, run their mouths, march, raise some money and disappear.    They'll placate us with honeyed words and patronize us with useless platitudes. 

Most importantly they'll tell us "violence is not the answer" without providing any answer of their own.  Our young people need guidance.  Help.  Leadership.  They are despondent and frustrated over a society that seems to want the dead.  They aren't receiving equal justice under the law.  They tell our young people to "be smart" but they wont provide a reasonable and pragmatic solution.  They wont arm them with a means to properly resist and oppose the system.  Again they'll just offer useless platitudes and nothing of substance.

Then it hits me and I'm reminded of the truth.  We can't rely on our "leaders".  We must be our own leaders.  Each one must teach one.  We have to find our own way and not depend on these suited weasels to assist us.  Still, even with that understanding, we could sure use Malcolm right now....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ray Rice Incident: Why Some of My Brothers Need to Stop the Nonsense

I'm going to be short and to the point.

My brothers we need to stop.  Seriously.  Stop.  I'm growing weary of hearing the same bigoted, oppressive, and privileged logic used by racists being applied to black women.  The Ray Rice incident has really exposed some of you.  It's really frustrating for me as a seasoned brother trying to do what little I can, to see us being set back by our own arrogance, ignorance, and misogyny.

We are never, and I repeat, NEVER going to heal the rift that exists between black men and women if we engage in the same type of victim blaming, excuse making fuckery we constantly go in on racist whites for.  We love to go on at length about how Black women are Queens and how they are the Mother of the Earth and the foundation of the family.  But for some reason when the time comes for us to speak on her behalf, far too many of us lose our voice and even more of us start parroting the same demented foolishness we hear coming from bigoted racists. 

Cut the shit.  Please.  Domestic violence is a serious problem.  I don't want to hear shit about Rice losing his job, how women are gold diggers, how she provoked him, how this is a distraction, or any of that other shit you're using to justify domestic violence.  Just stop it. 

I don't believe you when you say you care about black people or the black experience when you've got all kinds of excuses for Rice dripping from you lips.  I don't hear you when you speak of social injustice but then take an apologetic tone to domestic violence.

You get angry when racist whites suggest Eric Garner had it coming.  You get angry when racist whites suggest Trayvon had it coming.  You get angry when racist whites suggest Mike Brown had it coming.  Then you sit there and suggest that Janay had it coming.  Stop that nonsense.  Enough with the victim blaming.  I really can't stand it.  Cut it the hell out.  I will hear no more of it.

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