Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Don Lemon's Comments Endanger Young Black Men

Cable news has long been the theater of the absurd.  It's has been a bastion of apologists, provocateurs, and sensationalists.  It has also been a fountain of misinformation and many of the major networks have had no issues distorting instead of reporting.  Television personalities pretending to be journalists spend a good portion of these 24 hour news cycles bloviating, pontificating, and trying to reinforce a particular viewpoint.  Which is why I rarely watch.  But every now and then we get comments from brothers like CNN's Don Lemon.  Comments that are not only ignorant, but in large part very dangerous.

Recently Bill O'Reilly of Fox News made some very stereotypical(not to mention ignorant and disrespectful) comments about young black men.  Now of course this is to be expected from Bill O'Reilly and Fox News.  There are no real surprises here.  What took me back a bit was the comments from CNN anchor Don Lemon.  Lemon actually cosigned O'Reilly's comments and even said that O'Reilly didn't go far enough.  I'm not sure how far Lemon thought O'Reilly should go.  Maybe O'Reilly should've thrown in a few slurs to really drive the point home.  I don't know.  What I do know is that by cosigning O'Reilly's comments Don Lemon made life for young black men that much harder.  By cosigning O'Reilly's stereotypical rant, Lemon made life for young black men more difficult and even dangerous.  His comments were careless, thoughtless, and ignorant and it is our sons who will be forced to deal with the social atmosphere these comments create.  You can listen to his nonsense here:

Now I know what some of you are thinking.  "Doc Sinn you are exaggerating.  You are in angry black man mode again".  Some of you may even agree with Lemon.  The problem is that when Don Lemon, a fairly young black man himself, reinforces negative images regarding black males every young black man in America must deal with the after affects.  You see Don Lemon can sit in the CNN newsroom, run his mouth, and then retreat to his "predominately white community" he is so proud of living in.  Meanwhile, young black men in inner cities all across America have to live with the image he is allowing racists to thrust upon them.  An image he is helping racists to thrust upon them.  Here is a news flash for Lemon.  Not all young black men are gangsters and thugs.  Not all young black men are drug dealers and killers.  Yet ALL young black men have to live with the stereotype. 

So maybe you agree but you are thinking "Doc Sinn, Lemon has a right to his opinion.  He isn't truly hurting anyone.  He is just saying what he feels".  You could not be more wrong.   When Don Lemon goes on live television and starts reinforcing the notion that young black men are predisposed to crime, he sanctions men like George Zimmerman.  Men who see young black men as suspects.  As criminals.  As thugs.  America's fixation with the image of young black thugs is what cost Trayvon Martin his life.  Trayvon Martin was an unarmed teenager walking home from the store when he was profiled, stalked, and shot dead.  His killer, George Zimmerman, claimed self defense and Zimmerman's criminal defense team asserted that Martin was some "black thug" who was looking for trouble.  Even though Martin had no criminal record and his worst offense was a suspension from school for recreational marijuana use, the thug image was an easy sell and George Zimmerman walked out of a courtroom a free man.  There was little empathy for Martin outside of the black community and many people even hailed Zimmerman as a hero.

You see that is the real danger behind Lemon's comments.  It reinforces the notion that the average black man is a dangerous criminal.  It suggests to the world that young black men are criminal savages, unworthy of respect, empathy, or equal protection under the law.  It's why a young black kid can get killed walking home from the store with a hoodie on.  It's why a 14 year old boy can get tackled and choked out by police for making "dehumanizing stares".  It's why despite the fact that there are more black men in college than in prison, black men continue to be hated and feared.  It's why black men are 30% more likely to go to jail for the same crime as whites(which btw makes Lemon's assertion that black men commit more crimes ridiculous).  The problem is also exacerbated by the fact that Lemon himself is a black man and by co-signing O'Reilly he really helps to drive these dangerous stereotypes home in the minds of others.

Don Lemon is a sellout in my opinion.  A comfortable negro.  Some of you may disagree.  But it is hard to dispute the fact that irresponsible comments like the ones he made in the video make life harder and more challenging for every single young black man growing up in inner cities all across America.  He makes life that much harder for young black men who are just trying to make it.  Young black men who are not only trying to overcome the crime, apathy, and violence that exists where they live but the image that they are all nothing more than lowlife criminals. 

I doubt Don Lemon ever reads these words.  But on the off, off chance he might my message to him is pretty simple.  Shut the fuck up.  Please.  You aren't helping.  You are making it worse.  If you want to help stop reinforcing stereotypes, bring your ass to the inner city and speak to these young brothers.  Let them know that you have their backs.  Let them know they can make it.  If you aren't willing to do that then be quiet.  Don't offer negative criticism and stereotypes that do nothing but make life that much more difficult for them.  We don't need that shit from you.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Mark My Words

I just read an interesting news story.  It would seem that George Zimmerman is a hero.  Yep, you read that right.  A few short days after being acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman has resumed his self appointed role to keep America safe and rescued a family of four from an overturned SUV.  The story can be read here:

Now this is just my personal viewpoint and opinion.  But the word "manufactured" springs to mind.  I mean really.  What are the odds here?  Maybe it's the angry cynical bastard in me.  But this seems about as legitimate as a three dollar bill.  Not only that but it seems that there are a lot of people going really hard to try to present Zimmerman as some sort of hero.  It's like they are really trying to drive home this image of "suburban savior" and "protector of the community".  Hell if you read some news reports, it would almost seem as if Zimmerman hoisted the SUV on his shoulders and personally flew the family to safety. 

Let me be clear though.  I understand why this is happening.  There are people who have sought to capitalize politically on this case.  There are people looking to make a name for themselves by standing on the grave of Trayvon Martin and making George Zimmerman out to be a modern day Clark Kent.  But I would like to offer a word of warning to those people.  You can put a tuxedo on a dog but at the end of the day he's still a dog and one day soon you are going to get bit.

This is just a gut feeling. But one day, sooner rather than later, Zimmerman is going to do something to make the racist white community regret they ever tried to make him a hero.  He is going to embarrass them in the worst way.  He is going to violate them in the worst way.  I'm no Doctor(although I play one on the internet) but you don't need to be one to realize that Zimmerman has a history of sociopathic behavior.  Alcohol abuse.  Child molestation.  Murder.  Assaulting a police officer.  Domestic abuse.  That is the history of their "hero".  That is who Zimmerman IS.

George Zimmerman is going to be George Zimmerman.  And mark my words, one day he is going to go "George Zimmerman" all over these people who are seeking to make him a hero.  I'm sure he feels like Teflon right now.  I'm sure there is a part of him that feels near invulnerable.  He is going to show his true colors.  We have not seen the last of this man.  Not by a long shot.  Many of us will be able to look at these racists and say "I told you so".  But by then, someone else will have suffered needlessly at the hands of this man.  That will be the true crime.  At that point, there will be a lot of people with blood on their hands.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Every Brother Aint A Brother

I'm old school.  I don't hide that.  I'm pretty proud of it in fact.  I'm not an old man(well I am if you let my kids tell it).  But I'm not a young cub either.  Being old school, I am a huge fan of Chuck D.  Public Enemy really had a profound effect on me as a young man.  As I sit and build on this rather humid day I recall something Chuck said in a song called "Welcome to the Terrordome".  It was rather simple.  He said, quite plainly, "Every brother aint a brother".  It was simple, yet it was quite profound and unapologetically honest.  It's on my mind now because in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial, those words ring as true as the day they were spoken.  After recent discussions with many of my brothers and sisters its clear that there will always be apologists within the black community.  No matter what happens to us, there will always be many among us who offer absolution to those who trespass against us.  It's true.  It's always been true.  It's always going to be true.

Consider this. We all claim to love and honor MLK.  But when MLK walked the earth many of the black Americans he was marching and fighting for criticized him and even went as far as to disassociate themselves from the Civil Rights movement.  Now that he is dead, it is easy for many of us to embrace his effort.  But when he lived many wanted nothing to do with Martin.  Same with Malcolm X.  Sure we all love Malcolm now.  But how many of us disassociated ourselves with  Malcolm when he walked the earth?  Many of the black Americans Malcolm gave his life for criticized and openly spoke out against him and his efforts.  The truth is there will always be brothers and sisters who actions are contradictory to their own interests, welfare, and well being.

There are brothers and sisters who refuse to identify with their ancestry.  There are brothers and sisters who are invested in white supremacy.  Whatever the reason on the surface, all of these roads lead back to the self hatred that was instilled into us as a people through years of slavery and oppression.  After all these centuries, we are still a race of house negroes and field negroes.  It is a sad truth of our current existence.

We need to do what Malcolm did.  What Martin did.  We need to trim the fat.  We need to remind America that these Toms, Apologists, and Self Hating Agents do not speak for us no matter how loud they might be. If they don't want to fight, then to hell with them.  We don't need people on the field who don't want to fight.

What's more, we have an obligation to call these people to the carpet.  We cannot allow anyone to be fooled into believing that they are the voice of our people.  It doesn't matter their social or financial status.  It doesn't matter their occupation or level or education.  It doesn't matter if they are musicians or politicians or athletes or any of the positions we revere in society.  We can't allow apologists to become the voices of the people.  If we do, all progress will be lost.

Every brother aint a brother.  Every sister aint a sister.  Do not allow some of our less enlightened brothers and sisters placate you and lull you into an apathetic funk. 

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

One Man's Anger

George Zimmerman was acquitted.  Cleared of all charges.  He is a free man. 

If you know me, or even know of me, then you know right now I am as angry as I could possibly be.  Rage doesn't even begin to describe what I feel.  As I process my feelings I thought it would be a good idea to write them down so I could "see" them.  As I write, I realize that I am angry at three specific things.

1. I am angry at myself.  Yes.  Myself.  I am angry at myself for how I feel.  Why?  Because for the briefest of moments, I believed that Martin and his family had a chance at justice.  Surely in the year 2013 an unarmed teenager's murder would not go unpunished.  Surely they would look at the law.  Surely they would look at the circumstances.  Surely they would be able to relate to losing a son.  Surely they would understand that Martin did not deserve what happened to him.  I was an absolute fool.  When has a black man ever received equal justice under the law in America?  Did Aiyana Stanley Jones receive justice?  Or Rekia Boyd?  Or Chavis Carter?  Or Emmitt Till?  What in the Nine Realms made me believe that Trayvon Martin would be any different?  Because I cared so much?  Because I thought about how I grew up?  Because I'm afraid for my son?  No.  I was a fool to believe for one second that there was a shred of hope this case would turn out any different than it did.

2. I am angry at some of my brothers and sisters.  My brothers and sisters who entertained hypothetical nonsense, speculation, and ambiguity.  My brothers and sisters who co-signed Zimmerman.  My brothers and sisters who conflated Trayvon's death with black on black crime, inner city violence, and all sorts of other foolishness.  My brothers and sisters who insultingly suggested that because we cared for Trayvon that we cared nothing for other brothers and sisters who were killed and are being killed.  My brothers and sisters who not only refused to stand up, but criticized those who DID stand up and reinforced the idea that all black men are suspect and guilty until proven innocent.  You boot licking slime turn my stomach.  You truly make me want to vomit. 

3. I am angry at racist America.  You have been killing my brothers for over 400 years. You've lynched my brothers.  Hung them from trees.  Castrated them.  Shot them.  Burned them.  Beat them.  You've raped my sisters.  Abused them.  Beaten them.  Attacked them emotionally.  Physically.  Psychologically.  You've attacked and even killed the best and brightest among us.  Malcolm.  Medger.  Martin.  The list is endless.  We have been forced to learn your language.  Your culture.  Your ways.  We have been forced to assimilate into your society.  We even bear the names of those who used to own us.  But despite what we do, we will never be more than monkeys, niggers, tar babies, and jungle bunnies to you.  Despite the many successful young black men and women out there we will always be thugs, welfare queens, drug dealers, and hoes.  We are second class citizens at best and gun fodder at worst in your eyes.  Fuck you racist America.  Fuck you straight to hell. 

So this is where I am at right now.  This is what I feel right now.  I imagine these feelings will linger for quite some time. 

Trayvon Martin was tried for his own murder....and found guilty.  It could've been my son.  My brother.  Or even me.  I'll never be good with this.  I'll never be right with this.  Ever....

Self Hate Disguised As Constructive Criticism

I need to get something off of my chest.  Have you ever noticed that whenever we as the black community are slighted, harmed, infringed upon, or disrespected in some way that there is always a handful of brothers and sisters who somehow make it our fault?  I'm not just talking about the overt "Uncle Ruckus" types.  I'm talking about those "concerned negroes".  Those brothers and sisters who, under the guise of constructive criticism, regurgitate the same stereotypes forced upon us by racists and those who view us as second class citizens.  The ones who claim to love and support the cause yet all you hear from them is "black people this" and "black people that".

You know the type.  They ramble on about black on black crime.  They ramble on about rap music.  They ramble on about welfare queens.  They ramble on about drug selling and drug usage in our communities and inner cities.  These are all serious issues.  Issues that we as a people must address.  But instead of tackling these issues in their entirety, instead of placing these problems in the proper context so that we can find ways to eliminate them, these "concerned negroes" speak and behave as if these problems are inherent to black people and that we are solely at fault for the conditions that exist in our communities.

Some of them are pretty convincing too.  They use phrases like "we must take responsibility" and "we have to do better".  And they are right.  But once you start speaking about tackling systemic racism, discrimination, and other important issues these Agents of Self Hatred quickly reveal themselves.  They will say things like "We cant keep blaming the system" or something similar, effectively absolving systemic racism and ignoring the discriminatory cipher in which we live.  They will pretend that it is all on us.  That we ourselves are the problem and that our struggles are born of our failings and nothing else. 

They will also vehemently cling to stereotypes, as it is the foundation of their self hate and the essence of their false constructive criticism.  When you point out things like the fact that there are more black men in COLLEGE than in PRISON, it punches a hole in their narrative and gives black people a sense of pride.  These Secret Toms cannot abide that so they will tell you its not enough.  When you point out that more black women are in the workforce and college than on welfare, they will quickly counter with anecdotal evidence, usually taken from some inner city experience.

It is important that we identify these agents of self hatred and "concerned negroes".  They are dangerous.  Not only do they reinforce stereotypes but they lend legitimacy to racists and validity to those who contend that systemic racism is merely a figment of the imagination of angry militant blacks.  These agents set us back.  We must identify them, call them out, and demand that they get out of the way. 

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Monday, July 8, 2013

What Zimmerman Supporters Think

Listen to George Zimmerman supporters when they speak.  Just stop and listen.  Frustrating isn't it?  I know.  Ever wonder why they say what they say?  Why they take the stance they take?  It's simple really.  So simple that it's frightening.  Frightening because to accept the logic of a Zimmerman supporter is to accept the concept and idea that the life of a young black man means virtually nothing.  Yes, you read that right.  In the eyes of Zimmerman supporters young black males are angry, vicious, violent animals and people should be allowed to do whatever is necessary to "protect themselves" from what they view as these degenerate thugs.

Again listen to GZ supporters when they speak.  Pay attention to what they say.  In the minds of GZ supporters a young black youth has no rights.  If you are a young black male, at any given time you are a suspect.  At any given time you can be followed and detained.  By anyone.  Not just law enforcement.  Anyone.  As a young black male you are obliged to stop and comply with the demands of any shmuck who chooses to follow you.  You may not protect yourself if you feel afraid.  You may not protect yourself if you feel threatened.  Stand Your Ground does not apply to you.  You are a thug.  A suspect.  A degenerate.  An animal.  You will comply with whomever decides to stop and pursue you.  Should you feel fearful and decide to fight back that person has the right to kill you and then claim self defense.  You have no rights that anyone is obliged to respect. 

Don't believe me?  Why do you think people are calling Trayvon's character into question?  Why are we talking about school expulsions and marijuana use?  That's like asking a rape victim if she is promiscuous.  Why bring Trayvon's character into question at all?  Because in the minds of Zimmerman's supporters there is only one type of young black man.  The angry, gang banging, gun toting, rap music listening, weed smoking, baby mama making thug who would just as soon snatch your wallet as look at you.  It doesn't matter that despite recreational marijuana use(which more than half the country is guilty of) and issues in school(which many kids of all races experience) that Trayvon doesn't fit that profile.  Zimmerman supporters will make him fit.  In their minds, Trayvon is just another angry black thug who had it coming and nothing you can say to them will make them think otherwise.

Now here is what is really disturbing.  If Zimmerman walks(which is a very real possibility) then it will confirm that this is what the majority of Americans think when they look at young black men.  It's disturbing to me and it should be disturbing to any black father with a son.  It will send the clear message that in the eyes of America, your son is street trash at best and gun fodder at worst.

I've stopped talking to GZ supporters.  Largely because I know how they think.  In their minds, there is only one type of young black man.  In their minds, young black men have no rights.  In their minds, whatever happens to a young black man is justified, no matter how wicked or unjust the action.  In the minds of Zimmerman supporters our sons are fodder, unworthy of love, respect or the basic dignity that all human beings demand. 

So now I just respond to Zimmerman supporters with just two words:  Fuck you.   God forbid something ever happen to my son.  It will be me on trial....

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brothers and Sisters. Protect Yourselves. At all costs

I was asked not to write this blog after I shared with someone close to me what I intended to write.  I was told it was divisive.  I was told it was dangerous.  I was told that it could even potentially get me into trouble.  While I care very much for the people that I build with and I respect their opinions, I am going to write this.  I'm going to say this.  What's more I hope that every black man and woman in America heeds my advice.

I want brothers and sisters to understand something.  The very real possibility exists that George Zimmerman will be acquitted.  It is very possible that Trayvon Martin's death will go unpunished and his killer will walk out of that court room a free man.  If that happens, I DONT want black men and women to riot.  I don't want them to destroy property.  I don't want them to wild out in the streets.  What I want simply is for every black man and woman in America to exercise their Second Amendment rights and arm themselves.  That's right, I'm telling you that if Zimmerman gets acquitted you need to strap up. 

Now this is NOT a call to arms.  I am not advocating violence.  I am not proposing that brothers and sisters start shooting up neighborhoods.  Not at all.  I am saying protect yourself.  I am saying do what you must to stay alive because in my view a George Zimmerman acquittal confirms that in America a black man or woman does not possess equal rights under the law.  In my view, it says that in America a grown man, who is not a police officer or appointed peace keeper, can stalk a teenage boy, shoot him dead, and claim self defense.  A Zimmerman acquittal says that anytime someone doesn't recognize you outside of your neighborhood(or even inside your neighborhood) they can take it upon themselves to stop and forcibly detain you and if you don't comply they can shoot you and claim self defense.  It says no black man or woman is safe on the street.

Sounds extreme?  Then ask yourself:  When was the last time you recall hearing about a white teen killed by police?  Or shot dead walking home because someone THOUGHT he looked suspicious? Did we get justice for Rekia Boyd?  Did we get justice for Jordan Davis?  Did we get justice for Chavis Carter?  Why should we expect justice for Trayvon Martin?  Think about it.  Be honest with yourself.

No.  I say exercise your Second Amendment rights while you still can.  Arm yourself.  If someone approaches you, don't hesitate to protect yourself any way you can.  The law is not going to protect you.  The police are not going to help you.  The courts will not grant you justice.  In the streets, you are all you have.  Your life is precious.  Don't just give it up.  You owe it to yourself to stay alive.

If the Tea Party can arm themselves to protect themselves from the government and then so can the black man in America.  If NRA supporters, hunters, and pro gun advocates can arm themselves then so can the black man.  In fact, we have more at stake.  It's not Tea Partiers, NRA supporters and hunters dying in the streets.  It's young black men.

We cannot allow ourselves to become fodder for those who would kill us dead without thought or hesitation.  Protect yourself.  Do what you have to do.  Yesterday it was Trayvon.  Tomorrow it could be your son.  Tomorrow it could be you.  Especially if Zimmerman walks free. 

Judged by twelve.  Carried by six.  I'll take the former.....

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