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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Friday, May 8, 2015

Just A Thug

Think for a moment.  Think about how many times you've heard the word "thug" in the past few months.  People wield that word in a very dehumanizing fashion.  There is a reason for that.  It's all very deliberate.  You see once we have successfully dehumanized someone it's easy for society to justify just about anything that happens to them.  It's how we think.  If we humanize the victims of police brutality we are likely to feel empathy for them.  We are more likely to speak up and speak out.  So society dehumanizes these victims.  They become "thugs".  With this word comes a host of prejudices.  Empathy is replaced with contempt.  Compassion is replaced with judgment. 

Think about some of the victims for a moment.  Think about Freddie Gray or Mike Brown or Eric Garner.  These men we all killed by police in broad daylight.  Yet all we heard about was how violent they were.  Or their arrest records.  Or how they might have been breaking the law.  The fact that they were murdered became secondary to their misdeeds.  The fact that Eric Garner was choked to death became secondary to the fact that he may have been selling loose cigarettes.   People were perfectly willing to look at everything except his brutal murder.  Why?  Well there is a reason for that too.

Many people don't want to feel empathy.  Their hearts are filled with hatred.  Or anger.  Or fear.  They don't want to relate to those victimized.  They look for any excuse to look the other way.   Labeling these victims "thugs" is an easy out.  They are thugs.  Bad people.  Hell they aren't even people.  They are criminals.  Scum.   Unscrupulous vermin who deserve what they get.  Labeling these victims "thugs" relieves them of the burden of human decency and compassion and gives them an excuse to dismiss the horrific nature of the deaths of these men.  .

What's really sad is that by taking away the humanity of these and other victims those people don't realize they forfeit their own.  By taking away the rights of these victims those people don't realize they forfeit their own.  Because at any given time they too can be victims of police brutality.  They too can be victims of the behavior they sanction.  They don't even see that by shuttling the humanity of so called "thugs" they have become worse than any "thug" on the street.

This is an old formula though.  It's been used time and again.  Think about how many times you've heard something to this effect: 

"I heard about that woman that got raped.  Personally I don't have any pity for her.  She was a bit of a whore.  I know three guys that she slept with off of the top of my head.  Plus look at how she dresses.  I mean skirt all hiked up.  Top cut low showing all that cleavage.  I mean she's practically asking for it you know?  Yeah I know rape is wrong and everything.  But for God's sake pull your skirt down.  Stop showing off all your assets.  Stop being so promiscuous.  I'm just saying...."

Now if that disturbs you, it should.  It's deplorable.  It's disrespectful.  It's outrageous.  It's also the same thought process people  use when speaking about young black men and police brutality.  It's equally deplorable. It's equally disrespectful.  It's equally outrageous.  As I said it's an old formula.  Unfortunately old tricks are usually the most dangerous and most effective.  It's the same blueprint used with every disenfranchised and oppressed group.  Dehumanize them.  Shame them.  Then blame them for their own plight.  It works with the poor.  It works with rape victims.  It works here.

So when you are building and speaking with someone about police brutality listen out for the word "thug".  Pay attention when someone says they were "just a thug".  It will tell you much about the character of that person and what is in their hearts.  Thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @DocSinn

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Black Women's Lives Matter Too: Something We Sometimes Forget

Like many of you I am overflowing with frustration and anger regarding the recent events in Baltimore.  The death of Freddie Gray has garnered national attention and frustration turned to outrage as riots broke out within the city.  There have also been many peaceful protests and many people including myself have written and spoken about this terrible tragedy.   We are justifiably angry and we are rightfully speaking out.

That said, I want to take this opportunity to speak on something else as well.  Many will question the timing of this but I've always been one to follow my heart and trust my instincts.   I feel compelled to speak on this now so now is when I will speak.  I want to speak about my sisters. 

Black women continue to stand with brothers in solidarity and lend their voices and efforts in the fight for justice and equality.   They speak loud and proud and walk in step with us as we march for freedom.  They fight with us in the trenches.  They hold us down and have our backs.   They deserve our respect, our love, and our support and I must be painfully honest:  They don't always get it.  In fact, very often their efforts are taken for granted.

Black women suffer from this oppressive system the same as we do.  They suffer from police brutality the same as we do.  They deal with injustice the same as we do.  Yet they don't always get the same level of support.  We don't always go all in for our sisters.  We aren't always there for them.  That is a sad yet undeniable truth.  They must also deal with misogyny.  They must also deal with gender inequality.  They must also deal with the many stereotypes society heaps on black women.  Yet they are still out there.  Marching.  Speaking out.  Fighting.  Yet too often we are dismissive of their efforts and don't recognize the significance of their presence.  That must change.

We need to go as hard for our sisters as we go for our brothers.   We need to go as hard for our sisters as they go for us.  We need to go as hard for Rekia Boyd as we did for Freddie Gray.  We need to go as hard for Ayana Stanley-Jones as we did for Tamir Rice.   We need to go as hard for Eleanor Bumpurs as we did for Walter Scott.  We need to make sure we are going all in for them because they are going all in for us.

Black Lives Matter.  That includes Black women.  They are on the front lines with us.  They are fighting with us.  To my sisters who are out there, thank you.  I am humbled and I appreciate everything you do.  I have always stated and will continue to state that Black men and Black women are inextricably bound to each other.  If we are to overcome injustice we will do so together. 

So while we are speaking out about Freddie Gray, while we are remembering Ferguson and North Charleston, let us also remember our fallen sisters as well.  Let's also pay respect to those who continue to stand up and lend their voices to the struggle.  We need them.  More than we know.  Thanks for reading.

Following me on Twitter @DocSinn


Monday, April 27, 2015

Riots: Understanding the Truth Behind Them

Baltimore is burning.  Riots have broken out in the streets.  We are all aware(or should be if we are not) of what is taking place.  But in this blog posting I'm not going to talk about this particular riot or any particular riot.  I want to talk about riots themselves.  I want to speak about riots in general because many people seem confused as to what a riot is and what inspires them.

Throughout human history, in the absence of social justice, people have always taken to the streets. Riots in the face of injustice is nothing new. It happens globally and it has happened historically. "No justice, no peace" isn't simply a saying
or a slogan or a rallying cry. It is an undeniable truth.

People don't just wake up in the morning and decide "I think I'll riot today." Riots take place in the absence of justice. When people feel that cannot and will not receive justice through the system you can bet that when tensions flare something is going to be set ablaze.   You can bet something is going to be destroyed.  It is the nature of humans and humanity. 

A riot is the result of what happens when people cannot take a given situation anymore. A riot is what happens when people feel they have no other recourse. A riot is what happens when justice is gone. When hope is gone. When all there is left is anger and frustration. A riot is a reaction. It's what happens when people feel they have nothing left to lose.

When people collectively take to the streets it's because those people feel all else has failed. It is the purging of pent up anger, pain, and despair. Again humans don't just wake up and decide to riot. They don't say "Hey everybody! We are going to riot at 6pm! Be there!" No. It doesn't happen like that.

Injustice is the powder keg. A riot is the explosion. When people are rioting in the streets en masse it's because we have failed as a society. To focus on the riot itself is short sighted. To paraphase MLK "A riot is the outcry of the oppressed".

If you are one of those people who are going on about how "violence begets violence" or "violence solves nothing" or "why are they destroying their own neighborhoods" or anything similar, I must tell you that you are missing the point.  It's time we shifted our focus on what inspires these acts and not just the acts themselves. It's time we learned from our history as human beings. Social injustice has always and WILL always lead to violence in the streets.  That is the bottom line.

Follow me on Twitter @DocSinn

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Audacity of Creflo Dollar

Greetings readers.  I'm sure by now you've heard about controversial pastor Creflo A. Dollar's 65 million dollar jet campaign.  Now for those of you that haven't, Creflo Dollar wants his congregation(and pretty much anyone else foolish enough) to send him 65 million dollars so he can buy a brand new jet.  Yes.  A jet.  I'm dead serious.  In a recent sermon Creflo Dollar proclaimed that he had a dream.  A dream that one day he would fly in a luxurious 65 million dollar jet on his congregation's dime.  He even claimed that "The Devil" was trying to block his dream.  I'm not kidding.  Speaking as a brother who has seen and heard all manner of shit, I was dumbfounded.

We have now reached the point of no return. We have reached a point where a man has no qualms about asking you to send him 65 million dollars for a fucking JET and will actually get indignant and lose his shit if he doesn't get it promptly.  Have we really made it that easy? Have we abandoned all sense and reason? This man wants 65 million. For a jet. A jet. He's actually whining because he hasn't gotten it yet. I mean how is Creflo Dollar not the Undisputed King of Douche Bags?

To me it's not even the fact that he's asking for money.  I mean I get it.  Asking for money is what these "prosperity" ministers do.  It doesn't surprise me that yet another one is asking for money.  But he wants this money for a jet.  A damn jet.  If vanity is a deadly sin then dare I say Creflo Dollar is in deep, deep trouble.

I mean think about what could be done with this money.  Think about what he wants this money for.  Not for a school. Or a grocery store in a struggling neighborhood. Or to build affordable housing. Or for a college fund for financially impaired students. He wants 65 million for a jet. And he's now whining about "The Devil" because he hasn't gotten it. How does this man get a pass ya'll??  How does he get away with this?  Why are we not calling him out on this?

Think about something else.  Think about how hard you have to grind just to earn a living.  Think about what you have to go through to get a dollar.  People are struggling to pay mortgages and rent.  Struggling to put food on the table.   Struggling to send their kids to college.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Yet here we have a greedy pastor already living high on the hog asking for even more money.  Money that he will use to buy a lavish, expensive luxury item that most people wont be able to afford in their lifetime.  An item that's all for him and no one else. It's beyond shameful.

Creflo Dollar's request is asinine.  His monumental hubris is disgusting.  This whole jet nonsense highlights everything that is wrong and immoral about these so called "prosperity" ministers.  Dollar should be absolutely ashamed of himself....and he's not.  That should bother you.

Follow me on Twitter @DocSinn

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Coon Exam

Have you ever been referred to as a "Coon"?  Do people often complain about your "coonish" behavior?  Are Uncles "Tom" and "Ruckus" often mentioned in the same sentences as you?  Does it bother you?  Are you not quite sure about where you stand?  Do you feel you are being judged unfairly?  Then take the Coon Exam!  It's a brief, simple test that I've come up with to help you understand where stand and how people see you.  It's easy and it's fun!  Let's begin shall we?

1. When a Black person is unjustly assaulted by police you should....
A)Protest and speak out
B)Remind people that not all cops are bad
C)Stay quiet and thank the heavens it didn't happen to you

2. When a hate crime is committed against a Black person you should
A)Protest and speak out
B)Immediately comment about Black on Black Crime
C)Trick question.  There is no such thing as a "Hate Crime"

3. For the most part Black Women are...
A)Beautiful and loving
B)Baby factories and welfare queens
C)Loud, Angry, and Annoying

4. For the most part Black Men are....
A)Strong and intelligent
B)Violent and angry
C)Thugs and Criminals 

5. True or False:  Racism is woven into the very fabric of American culture
C)Why must it always be about race?

6. How should we as Black people view slavery?
A)Slavery was a crime against humanity of genocidal proportions.
B)Slavery was like a jillion years ago.  Get over it
C)We should disregard it.  It's the twenty first century.  There are no slaves now.

7. How should we as Black people view racism?
A)We must confront and combat racism in all it's forms on every front
B)Racism is never going away.  We should just deal with it.
C)America is a free country.  We live in a post racial society now.  Racism is basically dead.

8. Fox News is....
A) A right wing propanda machine
B)Fair and balanced
C)A network unafraid to tell the gospel truth!

9. One of the many ways we can combat racism is by....
A)Speaking out and pushing back against societal stereotypes
B)Pulling our pants up, dressing better, stop listening to Hip Hop, get off welfare, etc...
C)Stop seeing it everywhere.  If we just stop looking at it and pointing it out maybe it will go away...

10. How do identify yourself in terms of race?
A) I am a Black Man/Woman
B)I'm not sure
C)I don't identify as "Black".  I don't see "Color"

See how easy that was?  Be sure to share your results with your neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends.  The Coon Exam is a quick and easy way to help you understand whether or not you are a self loathing, apologetic coon!  It's fast, easy, and fun.  Thanks for reading everyone!!

-Follow me on Twitter @DocSinn

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gun Fodder

In yet another case of excessive use of force another black man was shot dead by police in North Charleston, SC.   Officer Michael Slager was caught on video fatally shooting Walter L. Scott in the back as he fled.   Here is a link to a related story:

I have become weary of these stories.  My patience for this sadistic nonsense is exhausted.  I am tired of this bullshit. I'm also tired of people acting shocked and astonished when this shit happens. Black people have become gun fodder for racist and trigger happy police. It's become commonplace. What's more, we've sent a clear message to our oppressors that killing us is permissible.

We've reached a point where they are killing us ON VIDEO. We are literally watching our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and brothers die right in front of us. Yet far too many of us still cling to the delusions of society and refuse to accept America as she exists. Even being slaughtered in the street isn't enough to spur many of us into action.

You know the drill. A black man or woman is killed on camera in broad daylight. Almost immediately some coon will appear on Fox News and explain why it was not only the victims fault, but our fault collectively as a people. Comfortable "famous" negroes will also chime in and remind us that if we just pulled our pants up, stop having babies out of wedlock, and stop listening to Hip Hop then maybe the police wouldn't murder us in cold blood. These high profile coons will use their profile to drown out the outrage of the grassroots.

Not only that but at some point someone will start a "Go Fund Me" for the police officer. In what can only be described as bizarre and sociopathic, people will victimize the police officer and demonize the victim. Unarmed victims shot multiple times and left to bleed out and die in the street will be labeled thugs and criminals and trigger happy police officers will be labeled peace keepers who were frightened and fighting for their lives.

Why are we surprised? Not only is killing our people encouraged, it's rewarded. Why are we still appealing to the morality of those who kill us? When will we push back? When will we fight back? How many of us have to die? How many cops have to walk?
People can pretend it isn't what it is.  We can keep lying to ourselves.  We can keep pretending we live in a post racial society.  We can keep pretending American law enforcement isn't corrupt and filled with armed sociopaths.  But the truth is right in front of us.  We are gun fodder.  Like it or not.  Accept it or not. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MLK: Understanding His Legacy

Today January 15, 2015 is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  During this time period we celebrate the memory of Dr. King and give thanks, praise, and pay respect to one of the most important men in American history.  The accomplishments of Dr. King cannot be overstated.  His contributions to black people, civil rights, and humanity helped to change a nation.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. King, a man who struggled, fought, and ultimately died for what is right.  Those of us who respect his accomplishments must make sure that his legacy lives on.  A legacy that some seek to trivialize, diminish, and even commercialize.  There are many who seek to marginalize Dr. King.  There are many who seek to minimize what he has done.  There are some who seek to deify Dr. King also.  But what is most troubling is that there are far too many people who simply do not truly understand the depth of Dr. King or the importance of what he sought to accomplish.

There are many who seek to dumb down the legacy of Dr. King.  With each passing year we lose more and more substance.  Dr. King's vision has been reduced to a utopian fantasy.  His work has been reduced to marching, hand holding, and singing songs.  His words have been reduced to catch phrases like "Free At Last" and "I have A Dream".   Dr. King in many ways has been reduced to slogans and catch phrases.  Not only it is disrespectful to the man but it does a disservice to all of us who honor his memory.

No one speaks of the Dr. King who spoke out against economic injustice.  No one speaks of the Dr. King who spoke out against American Imperialism.  No one speaks of the Dr. King who was labeled "The Most Dangerous Negro in America" by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.  No one speaks of the Dr. King who was hounded, harassed, taped, and threatened by the United States government.  No one speaks of the Dr. King who fought to politically empower Black Americans.  No one speaks of the Dr. King who spoke against both political parties and rallied against systemic racism.  These aspects of Dr. King are very rarely discussed.

While we pay respect and seek to understand his legacy we must also be careful not to deify Dr. King as well.  We must remember that Dr. King was not a saint or an angel.  That he was a man, as flawed as any other.  It was his ability to rise above his flaws and failings that made him great.  It was his ability to overcome his personal weaknesses that made him the man he became.  We must accept all aspects of Dr. King if we are truly to understand his legacy.

Dr. King is more than "I Have a Dream".  He is more than "We Shall Overcome".  As we pay respect to this great man let us continue to strive to understand the fullness of Dr. King's legacy. Please take the time out to learn about Dr. King.  Study his dream.  Study his work.  Study his legacy.  We owe him that.  We owe ourselves that.