Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Punks Everywhere

I have just read multiple stories about random racism.

This is a normal routine for me. Stories about racist police, racist landlords and racist business people all float across my computer screen every weekday and I consume them and consider them. It's what helps me pass the time, and has taught me something valuable.

Racism is often steeped in cowardice.

I'm not saying that racists are all cowards, at least not in the way we typically think of cowards. Plenty of racist love nothing more than a good fight with someone of an "inferior" race. What I'm saying, is that what I've noticed is that a lot of people want to enjoy and spread racism without having to pay any of the associated costs that go along with being a racist. I consider that cowardice.

I've read about politicians rapidly backtracking from racist remarks they made years ago or just last week.. I've read about people openly advocating discrimination, and then quickly trying to convince people that they don't have a racist bone in their bodies. I could chalk this up to stupidity, or confusion, but it's obvious that's not the case. These people know what they're doing, and they know the price. They just don't plan on paying.

It's more than a little irritating. After all, the world would be a simpler place if bigots just admitted they were bigots, and let the rest of us treat them accordingly. Instead, they want to make bigoted comments and still be treated like fair-minded respectable members of society. Of course this isn't a new attitude, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

Unfortunately, this a side effect of our piss poor attempts to "erase racism". We've added a social stigma to racism, but since so many people are so comfortable being racists, they'd rather change the definition of the word, than change their behavior. Everyday I'm reminded of how few people lack the moral conviction to stand behind their beliefs and truly reap what they sow.

Little punks.






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Laugh Where You Can

Digital ignorance is everywhere.

I mean that in every sense of the phrase. Ignorance about technology, which I'm largely guilty of, as well as just plain ignorance and bias being spread digitally. The internet puts tons of knowledge at our fingertips, but what it really makes it easy to do is reinforce every single bias you've ever held.

Check out that link above. It details how NYPD officers joined a Facebook group to protest having to participate in the West Indian Parade, and proceeded to spew racist, hateful, ignorant comments into the hundreds. And, they were later caught, and tried to deny everything.

It's not surprising. At least the part where we learn that cops despise most minorities and view them as sub-human is not surprising. Trust me, I've heard it all before, and it's just an off growth of the general perception in the world. But it's a little surprising that cops were stupid enough to post all this information in a group that can be publicly viewed despite the fact that their names and pictures were attached to their comments. That is shockingly stupid or incredibly bold, and given the rampant spread of digital ignorance, I'm going with stupid.

 I've heard cops laugh at criminals who get caught because they made stupid posts on Facebook or Myspace, or did some other boneheaded thing. So to learn that more than 1,000 of them would join a publicly accessible post, or that they themselves have Facebook accounts that are publicly accessible is laughable. In fact, that laughter is what is protecting me from the overriding anger I would normally that so many police view people who look like me as savage animals.

Well, whatever it takes.







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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the Status Quo for a Reason

I hope y'all checked out this series about the Presidential Pardon system.

If not, click the link because it makes for good reading. The headline on the first story is "Presidential Pardon system heavily favors whites."

It could have easily been "American life heavily favors whites."

Seriously, that's what the article basically tells us. Being white, with all the statistical and historical benefits that come along with that status, is better for your life. When it comes to pardons, the seemingly "random" factors considered are actually factors where white folks are much more likely to do well thanks to a host of other issues from historic wealth, to a biased justice system.

At this point in time, the system has been rigged for so long that you can actually avoid direct bias and still get the results you really want. It's incredibly easy to add the veneer of meritocracy to the rotten floorboards of discrimination, and then deny all culpability when the floor collapses and people die.  It's the Golden Age of racism, you might say.

 Sadly, nothing will change. It's great that this was investigated, but I can already see some easy ways the statistics will be attacked and progress thwarted. More importantly, the vast majority of Americans aren't interested in progress on these issues because that would mean acting in their own self interest.

So, folks will act shocked and dismayed, and they will vow to get to the bottom of things, but what they will really do is allow the status quo to continue. Because the status quo is benefiting the people it was always designed to benefit.

That's why it's the status quo.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh, Now You Understand?

So, the Occupy Wall Street movement is heating up, right?

I'll admit that initially I was nonplussed about the movement. After all, when have people in power relinquished something because folks held a camp meeting outside their door? The movement wasn't actually making life harder for people, just basically showing up and saying "We're not happy and life ain't fair." Well thanks for that insight peon.

But now things have changed. They've become confrontational. They are occupying space that people want and need. Police are intervening to remove them, courts are intervening to sanction them, and basically it's becoming a situation where people in power are becoming irritated and stupid. Those are the ingredients needed for social change.

But, what's also emerged, as police officers have clashed with protesters is outrage at the behavior of our police. Folks can't believe that the police are so arrogant, so callous and so violent. There is a sense that the police have abdicated their role as protectors in favor of becoming overseers. Folks are dismayed.

I'm amused.

See, I'm black. I know what the police do. I've been cursed, I've been threatened. I've had a weapon drawn on me. My friends and associates have been "detained." My family too. I've been asked to allow my home to be searched. Basically, I learned a long, long time ago that the primary function of law enforcement isn't protection. And it damn sure ain't service. The primary function of law enforcement is enforcing the law as it relates to those who need to be controlled. Basically, it's keeping folks in line.

And now that more people are starting to get on the same page as me and tons of other blacks folks, they need to start wondering who decides where "the line" is, and how they got on that committee. And then folks need to consider exactly how wide and all-encompassing that line can be. And finally, they need to apologize to all the black folks they doubted when we told stories of police abuse and misconduct and injustice.

Then we can talk for real.



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Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Are We?



As someone who has read a ton of post-apocalyptic novels, I often find myself evaluating the people I meet based on how I think they would behave if this whole civilization thing went into the crapper.

It's a depressing practice. The more I see of people, the less faith I have in them.

People are selfish, and that's understandable. All of us care about our self interest most of the time. It's the very rare human that is truly concerned with the well being of others on a consistent basis. But, what's truly disturbing is how few people temper their natural self interest with a set of serious morals or values. All of us may have impure inclinations, but we should also have a certain honor about how we live life.

But, the gap between what 'should be" and what "is" cannot be overstated. All the high minded ideals people claim to value are easily cast aside when those ideals affect their self interest. People only believe what they believe when it remains in to their benefit to believe it.

It's sad.

In fact, the only reason we're not a huge mass of raping, murdering, thieving bastards is because as society has grown we've established complicated controls to restrict our worst impulses. When those controls are weakened or destroyed, chaos reigns. In times of great stress, morals are abandoned and unhealthy compromises made. And what does that say about human beings?


I honestly don't know.


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Talking About Penn State

I had another post all ready to go, but then I just had to talk about Penn State.

It's not a racial issue, at least not that I know of, although that could change if it turns out this coach was preying on poor little black boys because that will only make things worse. For those of you who have been avoiding the news, Penn State Coach Joe Paterno has been fired, along with the university president, after the Board of Trustees determined they behaved inappropriately in allowing a former football coach to systematically molest young boys using Penn State as a lure.

The decision, which was the only correct one if you read this grand jury report, has sparked outrage among Penn State students who have actually had mini riots in the streets.

And that's what I want to talk about in this post.

See, I've gone over this in my mind, and I can't figure out how intelligent, thinking people could take the actions those students in Penn State took last night. Nobody, NOBODY, who read that grand jury report with a working conscience could believe that Paterno deserved to keep his job. In fact, there should have been mass firings as a result of the allegations made, mainly because there is easily verifiable proof of their veracity.

Yet, these students marched, and chanted and spouted idiotic rhetoric that has made me severely question their intelligence and the well-being of a world where they will be given responsibility. It made me question their parents and their schools, and the values they hold dear.

When adults decide to allow another adult to engage in behavior like showering naked with children, they are wrong. There is no middle ground. You cannot allow someone to behave in that manner, and continue to allow them to be around you and your organization. You cannot decide to avoid reporting them to child welfare agencies. You cannot decide to give them more chances to hurt children. If you make any of those decisions, you have condoned the abuse of children, and you deserve no sympathy and no succor.

That report alleges that Paterno and others ignored signs of molestation, and swept a report of anal rape of child under the rug rather than take an action that would have resulted in outrage, pain and, most importantly, bad publicity. They chose to protect their livelihoods and reputations rather than save children from easily avoided pain. And for that, they are evil.

Anyone who not only refuses to acknowledge this, but defends their actions as "following the rules" is a person whose morality is lacking. If you honestly believe that Paterno "didn't know" or "did what he could" on a campus where he was only a step below God, then I don't just question your intelligence, I doubt its existence and the existence of a true moral compass in your bosom.

Watching students who are supposedly engaged in the activity of educating themselves take the actions those students took last night brings into the doubt the educational mission of Penn State, and the parenting of parents who send their children there. It is a system failure on a massive scale, and that's what people need to be talking about today.



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Monday, November 7, 2011

People, Balls and Occupation

Jay-Z has a lyric where he says "What you eat don't make me shit."

It comes right after he says that he doesn't spend much time worrying about how other people live, how they advance themselves or how much money they make. As long as their actions have no impact on him, he's willing to live and let live. It's also an admonition to avoid jealousy and envy, at least that's how I took it.

The lyric has been running through my head recently, as I contemplate the prevalence of jealousy and envy in this strange world, particularly as it relates to the much maligned NBA Lockout. Now, I know many of my faithful readers are not huge sports fans, and probably believe the lockout is nothing more than "billionaires fighting millionaires" because that's the storyline that's been promoted by the mainstream media. But, it's something far different in my opinion.

On one level it's true that this is a dispute between the rich and the wealthy. It would be asinine to draw a direct comparison between this labor fight and those that typically spring up in the national consciousness. Yet, there are definite parallels. Workers are being asked to sacrifice their pay and rights to generate more profits for industries that have been mismanaged. As an added bonus, those at the top of the industry have skimmed healthy benefits off the top for years, but now are complaining of poverty.

And yet, in a battle where it seems fairly easy to pick a side, people, in my opinion, seem to be inclined to pick the wrong side. Lots of folks support the owners who created the lockout and actually defend their "right" to earn more money than their workers.

It's interesting.

What I've come to realize is that people only want some people to be successful. Wait, I should say "certain" people. I've seem folks call the players uneducated thugs, speculate that they'd be working at McDonalds if not for the owners' largess and basically tell the players to shut up and be thankful. It's almost as if the public only allows the players to be rich because they have no choice, but if they had their druthers, the only people making money in this enterprise would be the owners.

Puzzling indeed. At first I tried to deny the truth that leaps out from among these facts, but I cannot any longer. We are a nation of people kept fractured and compliant through jealously, envy and strife, and honestly, we LIKE IT that way. Certain people should have money and certain people shouldn't, and that's just the way the world works. Right?

Wrong. Wealth is not bestowed based on morality, and often not based on talent, intelligence or skill. There are wealthy idiots. Wealthy businessmen who happened to be in the right place at the right time, and then parlayed that initial wealth into other opportunities. They are not better people, nor are they entitled to more money simply because they've made money in the past.

Another prominent issue is the idea that the players should just concede, take their reduced millions and get on with the business of providing the fans with basketball. It's as if people believe that despite the fact that the owners are denying them basketball, it's the job of the players to make a deal happen, regardless of what that means for them.  I'm actually shocked by the selfishness in this position. People want others to take less, so they can have what they want. I know that shouldn't be surprising, but I guess I was more than a little naive.

I recently got into a discussion with my father about the entire "Occupy" movement, and I expressed doubt that much would come from it. I didn't see the participants pushing for anything other than for the world to be more fair, and I didn't understand how they were going to convince the 1 percent to treat the 99 percent better. Deals hinge on leverage, and they appeared to have none. Yet, what I didn't expect was to realize that the main reason why the movement was doomed was far more insidious.

Protesting about the existence of the one percent and the tactics they use to maintain their position is doomed not because of tactics, but because most people in the 99 percent actually like their position. They think that's how the world should work.








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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Arrogance and Racism

A man told me the other day that my arrogance is really quite similar to racism, and therefore I shouldn't be so quick to castigate and call out racists given my own failings.

That made me think a little bit.

After all, many people have called me arrogant over the years. Hell, my own daddy calls me arrogant, and says it's a hereditary trait. Teachers, friends, and enemies have all noted that I have quite the superiority complex.

I would be lying if I denied it completely.

But, is my arrogance, my personal belief in my superiority, akin to folks who believe that they too are superior because of their skin color. And that other people, because of their skin color are inferior?

This question is interesting. The simple answer, of course is "No." This is a clear example of people using the dictionary definition of racism and not one more grounded in the real world. The dictionary definition, which is really just a collection of popular thought, which means a collection of white thought, focuses on preferences and feelings as opposed to actions and consequences.

That's because for white people racism resides in the realm of feelings and preferences and they are often ignorant, willingly and unwillingly, of the power structures that augment and magnify the personal preferences endemic to all racial groups. In my definition of racism, stolen from a more erudite source, I see it as a system of advantage based on race. It's not about feelings, it's about results.

Basically, bigotry starts with a feeling, racism involves developing a system to validate and propagate that feeling. Everybody is a bigot to some degree. People with power, directly or indirectly, or racists.


My arrogance, when it manifests, is not part of a larger system to validate my feelings. People aren't denied housing or quality education because of my arrogance. My arrogance does not affect policing, healthcare or employment. My arrogance does not get people killed. Yes, it can make people uncomfortable and it can make them unhappy, but racism does so much more than that it's patently ludicrous to compare the two. Racism is not simply about individual slights, it's about the combination of those slights and a system designed to keep people at the lowest rung of society.

The willingness of this gentleman to compare my arrogance to his and the world's racism is telling though. It reveals the sort of mind that can rationalize and justify all manner of activities using the most flimsy of excuses. It is hard to have a serious discussion with that sort of mind because at every turn that mind is searching for a way to cling to its current beliefs. There can be no illumination because that sort of mind is quite content in darkness.

It's not a surprise those sort of people are the most bothered by my arrogance. After all, I'm terribly bothered by them too..


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

At the Core


Check this out:

"Okay, we now have a fourth national poll revealing this striking disconnect: Americans strongly disapprove of Obama on the economy, and are deeply pessimistic that it will get any better — even as they strongly approve of the actual fiscal policies the President is championing.
The new New York Times poll finds that Obama’s numbers on the economy are awful. Only 34 percent approve of his handling of the economy. Only 40 percent approve of his handling of jobs. Seventy two percent think the country’s on the wrong track. A plurality thinks we’re heading into another recession.
But the poll also finds that Obama’s new jobs plan, and the provisions within it, have clear public support:"

I jacked those graphs from Prometheus 6 who I believe jacked them from the New York Times. As you can see, they provoke some interesting questions about Barack Obama's role as a messenger in today's United States.

See, some people might posit that Americans disapprove of Obama while approving of his policies because they are largely ignorant of his actual policies. And you know, that is probably true to an extent. Everyday, I'm shocked at how often people develop strongly held beliefs based on very little actual information. It's pretty damn shocking to be honest.

Obama may just be the latest president to be victimized by an American public that gets its information in carefully crafted soundbites that impart very little actual understanding. People don't like to read long policy stories, or watch debates about them on the news. Plus, with more and more people getting their news from sources they agree with, it's way less likely that people are getting information they can truly use. So, it's quite possible that Obama's low approval rating is disconnected from his actual policies because people are genuinely ignorant with no malice.

It's possible.

But, possible and plausible are slightly different. It's not that I think that ignorance isn't a factor, it's that I also think that people, white and black, have become disenchanted with their personal Magical Negro in the White House and really aren't trying to learn anymore about what he's actually doing


Whenever I have conversations with people complaining that Obama is doing nothing, I start talking about the system changes in the Justice Department. The payroll tax changes, the housing changes, the regulation changes and things of that nature. I'm not an expert on the president's accomplishments, but I do know a little bit. And inevitably I find people, people who claim to have been Obama supporters, shrugging off those actions and instead complaining that he hasn't done enough, he hasn't been strong enough that he's failed to live up to his promises.

 Granted, there were a lot of promises made during the election, and several of them have fallen by the wayside. Yes, the economy is tanked, yes we are still fighting shadowy wars and yes the rich continue to get richer. But when I get to the core of many people's complaints, I discover that they are based around some nebulous sense that Obama just hasn't cut the mustard. That he's been a disappointment because based on their expectations, expectations that are as variable as the wind, he didn't deliver what he promised.

 And then the question becomes, "Well exactly what did he promise you?" See, I expected him to be a competent politician. Particularly when compared with the alternative. I've been rewarded for that belief. Beyond that, I hoped he would be fair-minded when it came to blacks folks and not implement policies that  kept us as second class citizens. Again, I feel he's done that. Now, I understand that everyone doesn't have the same expectations as me, but I'm curious about exactly what they really thought was going to happen.

Certain blacks seem to have believed he was going to right racial wrongs and champion our causes. Not sure where that came from. And even worse, many white folks seem to think that just because they "took a chance" and voted for a black guy, he should be the greatest leader of all-time. It's not enough that he was the best possible choice, and that's why he was selected. In order for his selection to be justified, he can't be normal, he has to be extraordinary.

And that pisses me off royally because I understand the roots of that mindset. I've seen it way to often. There are few things more frustrating than always being expected to be extraordinary, while secretly considered inferior. Few things at all.











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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Messengers and Messages


Bryant, Bryant, Bryant...

What were you thinking homie?

It's not that your comments are off base. It's not that they don't belong in this discussion. It's that I have to believe that when you made them, you knew how they would be received.

Which makes me wonder what you were thinking. You know that invoking slavery pretty much eliminates the chance that white people will think critically or have a decent discussion. Just the mention of the word drives them insane like Pavlov's bell. So, why did you do it?

The cynical part of me says you want to move units. That is you want to drive eyes to your show by stirring up some controversy. But, that seems like a sucker's bet. Yeah, white folks will watch you for a while, but if they think you're going to consistently talk about race, it won't be long before you fall out of favor. Not long at all.

So, was this just a selfish power move, or did you really feel so angry and upset by Stern's tactics that you didn't give a damn who disliked what you had to say? Were you so upset that you weren't looking to create a serious debate, but you just wanted to vent? Maybe.

If that was your goal, you succeeded. I've already argued with multiple people about this clip, and I"m sure I'll speak to more. I don't have a problem with your comments, and it's cool that you said what a lot of black folks have been thinking. But, I'm not sure where things go from here. I doubt anybody's mind will be changed, and I doubt this helps the players at all.

And, I'm not sure you care.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Dream

I dreamed a terrible dream the other night.

I was on trial, facing death or at best, life imprisonment. Accused of a murder I knew I did not commit, I was still convinced I would be convicted. Why?

Because it was the Jim Crow South.

I don't know who I was supposed to have killed, or why I was believed to be guilty. I don't know who I was, or where I was, or who put me there. I just knew it was the South, and I was going to court, and I was going to suffer.

Even asleep, and with the vague inkling that I was only dreaming, my angst was horrible. My heartbeat was elevated, I felt queasy to my stomach, and I couldn't tear my mind away from my impending fate. It was a slow march to doom, and every step cost more than the last.

I was only dreaming, but it felt real. My fear was so real that it gripped my bowels forcing me to the toilet, and as I slowly shook off the cobwebs of sleep, something hit me.

This was how it felt. For so many men who looked like me, my dream was their life. They took that same walk, and faced those same fears.

My dream was only a pale reflection of that terrible reality, but even then, it was almost too much for me to handle. How did they find the strength? How did their families ever overcome that fear and anger? How did they learn to forgive?


We have failed in this country to truly understand the scars left by this country's past. We've spent far too much time trying to put things behind us, sometimes as a coping method and sometimes as a way to avoid blame. But, that decision has left our past misunderstood and, in many ways, forgotten. That means it will only be a short fall to descend back into that madness.


A short fall indeed.




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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Niggerhead's Hidden Story

Who is really surprised about Rick Perry's sign problem?

Seriously, raise your hand if you honestly can't believe that he grew up hunting in a sundown town in Texas, where black folks were greeted with "Morning nigger" and knew better than to be caught across the tracks after dark?

Come on, now that's like being surprised that the moon comes up at night.

What was really interesting about this Washington Post story wasn't the revelations about Perry's sordid racial past, and current penchant for lying because those are to be expected. No, what's interesting is the glimpse it gives certain folks into just how dehumanizing life was for black folks in the South. Not just that, but the glimpse it gives us into how so many white people can be deluded about that past.

Seriously, if you read the story, older white people actually appear to believe there was no need for a Civil Rights movements in their neighborhood. They say their black folks were perfectly happy. And, that's in the deep, harsh Jim Crow South. So you know older white folks up North saw no need for Civil Rights in Maine, or New Hampshire. And they passed those feelings on to their children and grandchildren, and we ended up with the racial morass we have today.

Racism is always somebody else's problem, and is stirred up by outside agitators. It's never personal, never something folks need to address in their own lives.

And that's what I learned from the story of Niggerhead.



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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Intentional Pain



 Read this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day.

It was all about how the federal government has slowly eroded the use of intent in determining whether or not someone has broken a law. Basically, when federal laws were created, the need to prove intent was paramount in getting a guilty verdict. But over the years as the types of crimes have expanded, so have the laws, and the focus on intent has waned. I suggest you check it out for some good information.

Intent is a tricky thing in America. I was taught as a child that ignorance was no protection under the law. That meant that when I screwed up, I couldn't plead ignorance and expect  reprieve from my parents. They would remind me that my ignorance would be no protection in the real world, and then proceed to punish me. Hell, I remember a teacher asking me to solve a math problem using skills she had never demonstrated to us, then grading me harshly because I didn't know those skills. And when I protested the inherent unfairness of this situation, she told me "You should have known..."

But, for many Americans, intent reigns supreme. The consequences of their actions must be weighed by their intent. If they hurt someone unintentionally, their punishment should be muted by their lack of intent. If they destroy something without intent, the destruction must be considered alongside their intentions. If they commit a racist act, it must be weighed against their unknowable heart's intent.

It's a mess.

But, after reading the Wall Street Journal, I see why the idea is so persistent. It's been ingrained in many Americans, particularly those who have grown up with a certain level of privilege, that it's not just about results, but intent. This is a luxury the privileged enjoy that many others do not because we are taught early, either by elders or life, that in many situations our intent doesn't matter. All that matters are the results and how those in power see those results.

Unfortunately, if you approach life from an intent-based perspective, it is very difficult to see racism or racial animus in today's world. This country has done a decent job of scrubbing most of the so-called "overt" racism from the surface, at least compared to how this country once behaved. Now, only those who take the time to properly study and consider the power structures in this country can see it, and many white folks aren't interested in examining power unless it results in more power for them. We are at an intellectual impasse because we have two competing views on how the world should work.

Not really a new thought, but one worth considering from a different angle..




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Friday, September 23, 2011

Blinders

My wife brings her problems to me.

Sometimes they are big problems, often they are small, but most of them come to me. We discuss them, we argue about them, and eventually, we figure out what we're going to do. Sometimes a real solution is developed, other times we walk away disgusted, but we only get to that point after hashing things out. The same process gets repeated with my problems.

See, you don't solve problems by pretending they don't exist. Sweeping them under rug, where they are allowed to fester and grow, solves nothing. If you're poor, you solve it by either reducing expenses or finding more money. If you're sick, you solve it by getting healthy. When you're hungry, the solution is eating, when you're tired, the solution is rest.

It's only with racism that the solution is doing nothing.


Don't agree? Then why do so many people of so many different hues consistently argue that discussions, debates and studies about racial problems in America and across the world are what's really causing racism to continue? Every single time a racial matter is discussed a determined minority of those involved will insist that if everyone would just shut up about race, things would be all better.

It's a puzzling belief, and one I obviously don't subscribe to since I have an entire blog dedicated to examining the way race affects black folks. I clearly see the the need for honest and frank discussions. But, sadly, I'm not mainstream. I'm the opposite of mainstream, and that is confusing. Why does it make sense to believe that solving problems is best done by ignoring them?

Honestly, it doesn't make sense. There is no reason to believe that is a viable solution, which leads me to believe that people who argue that we should ignore race actually aren't interested in solving racial problems. They either believe they are all solved, which is ludicrous, or they are comfortable with the status quo. The latter appears to be more likely since humans are typically happy with the status quo as long as the status quo benefits them.

And there are definite benefits to ignoring race. There is the ability to pretend that America is a meritocracy. The ability to celebrate success without questioning how it was obtained. They ability to believe in an overall just world. Don't forget complete absolution for any wrongdoing or injustice in this country. Basically, ignoring race and promoting the status quo is easier and more enjoyable than the alternative.

And you know how Americans love easy fun.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This is America

If the justice system is comfortable with potentially killing an innocent man, what is the system?

If men can be ordered to die despite compelling proof that they deserve to live, what is life worth?

If the law does not provide justice, then why is it law?

Because this is America.




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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Is Law

Is being colorblind worse than being racist?

I wondered that recently.

Is believing that race is not a factor, or not a large factor in the way the world works as bad as actively practicing racism?

I can't decide. I do know that dealing with colorblind people is just as frustrating as dealing with a racist. Dealing with someone who actively denies reality, the reality that obviously exists based on objective facts, is just as frustrating as dealing with someone who is actively working to benefit one racial group over another.

I don't care if they have good intentions. I don't care if they are nice people. Their refusal to deal with reality, to acknowledge and handle the problems that exist in this world is dangerous. It's danger to me, it's a danger to my family and it's a danger to any thinking person seeking to improve the world around them.

This is law. And I stand by it.


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sometimes I...

Sometimes the anger turns to sadness, and the tears just can't be held back.

Sometimes when you truly grasp how long this thing has been hurting people and destroying families, it can be too much.

Sometimes when you catch a glimpse of how many lives have been ruined, you wonder at God's plan.

Sometimes you thirst for vengeance.


Sometimes you need revenge like babies need love. Sometimes hurting others feels like the only thing that will soothe your hurt.

Sometimes it's shocking how far reaching this thing is, how it has stretched across continents and countries.

Sometimes you just can't stand to have another person whose benefited from this thing try to deny their favored position and avoid any responsibility for doing the right thing.

Sometimes it's so easy to hate.

Sometimes, I cry. Big, crocodile tears in-between sobs that shake my chest. Not for me, or for anyone I know, but for people I've never met and will never meet, but whose pain makes my very heart constrict.

Sometimes I wonder.

I wonder.

And

I cry.




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Friday, September 2, 2011

Reasonable People Might Agree

I didn't have to teach my sons how to discriminate.

I didn't sit them down and tell them to establish different rules for themselves than the rules they apply to other people. I didn't teach them to try to scheme to find ways to increase their advantage in every situation. And I definitely didn't teach them to allow others to suffer so they could profit. They came into this world as so-called innocent babes already inclined to do all of those things.

My job has been to try to curb their natural impulses.

Often, when we discuss racism and discrimination, it becomes a conversation about people's intentions, their hearts, and their upbringing. People take offense at the idea that they may be discriminating because that accusation is viewed as a direct assault on their morality. They reject claims of discrimination by noting that they have nothing against certain types of people, and are only living their lives as good human beings.

That assumes that human beings are "good."

I know many people don't like the whole "original sin" and "inherently evil human" concept. But, I believe in it. I think the problem is with the definition of "evil." Even doesn't only mean genocide and rape, it also means the opposite of good. So, if good behavior involves being generous and kind, evil involves being stingy and cruel. All of us struggle with evil, and it's not something we learn from watching television.

My sons like to have the advantage. They create rules for their games that benefit them, and change those rules as soon as the expected benefit isn't realized. They demand that their sibling be punished for infractions that they themselves beg to avoid punishment for committing. They are constantly seeking an advantage, constantly looking to block their peers advantage and always keeping score.

In short, they are little humans. They were born with vestigial forms of this behavior, and as they've aged, it's only gotten more serious.

This has provided me with some interesting insights into the behavior of adults. I've always known that most racism and discrimination comes from a desire to establish and maintain supremacy, but watching my children confirms it. More importantly, it confirms that avoiding racism and discrimination requires an intense desire and effort because that aim is not "natural."

That's why it's dangerous when people don't want to discuss or think about racism. It's dangerous when they refuse to educate themselves about historic and current power dynamics. It represents a threat because without that effort, it's impossible fight against these twin evils. Until people come to grips with the human instincts that lurk in their hearts, and decide that those impulses are incorrect, no change can occur.


One of the authors on a blog I read likes to use a quotation that basically says that cheating begins as soon as monogamy stops being reasonable. For many folks, evil begins as soon as being good stops being reasonable. The problem is that most of us don't understand how we truly define reasonable.



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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Nature of the Beast

It started with a stupid decision.

There is no reason to watch the McLaughlin Group on a Friday night.
If you're seeking news, there are far more current and detailed sources of information. If you're seeking enlightened debate superior examples can be found elsewhere as well. And nobody is honestly looking for entertainment from the McLaughlin Group, at least no one with a fully functioning sense of boredom.

 But, there I was watching a half dozen curmudgeons argue about four-day old news that had already been hashed to death by talking heads with far more verve and roughly equal insight.

I've already admitted it was stupid.

As I wondered how the show had managed to survive the media blood-letting of recent years, the hosts skipped from discussing Obama's abruptly ended vacation, to speaking on Dr. Martin Luther King and the deferment of his now well-known dream. As is common, while the discussion pretended to be about America's failure to make good on the dream King died for, it quickly became something else. They trotted out the tired factoids about the wealth gap between blacks and whites, and then cut to the statistics about the differing rates of incarceration.
(By the way, that information was actually interesting mainly because it revealed that 5 percent of the black population is incarcerated compared to 1 percent of the white population. It's not the gap that's interesting, it's the fact that despite the dominant stereotype about rampant black crime, 95 percent of us are not doing time!)

Things were rolling along in a fairly predictable manner when the white-haired and bespectacled host-- McLaughlin I presume-- asked something like "Why are black people failing to succeed?" That is a paraphrase because the ensuing emotions that comment caused made it difficult for me to remember the exact quote, but it's a fairly accurate paraphrase.

After this ridiculous comment, the token black guy on the show, Clarence Page, began to try to explain why black people fail. He talked about society and personal responsibility, and even threw a bone to racism. It wasn't a bad answer, but in a way it was terrible.

See, in my opinion, any time a white person asks a question that is so obviously asinine, it cheapens black folks when we deign to answer it seriously. I'm not saying I haven't done this, I'm just saying that I was cheapening black folks when I did it. The correct answer to that ridiculous question was "Because they are Americans." After all, failure is not a special trait of black folks, and black failure or even pathology shouldn't be treated as some aberration but instead a shining example of our humanity. Human beings fail. That's what we do.

But, the host obviously believes that black people have some sort of monopoly, or at least an affinity with failure. It's drawn to us like flies to rotting meat, and clearly that means there must be something wrong with us. After all, if we haven't managed to start succeeding 40 years after Dr. King died, when exactly were we planning to start succeeding, right?

Of course this is idiotic, but these are the types of conversations way too many white folks have and that they think are insightful. This is what they talk about amongst themselves, this is why they get so huffy when the topic of Affirmative Action comes up, and it's why there is so much thinly veiled resentment towards black folks among white people of all ages. They really and truly believe that the problems of black people are unique to black people and caused by some sort of moral, intellectual or emotional deficiency that accompanies dark skin.

That's what white supremacy looks like. And it's all around you.


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Winners and Losers

By most accounts, newly minted NFL quarterback Cam Newton is a winner.

He won a national championship at Auburn, secured an impressive NFL contract as the first pick in the draft, and is competing for a starting spot. I would imagine Charlie Sheen would say he's "Winning."

But, everything that sparkles ain't a diamond..

It appears that Newton's new employer notified him before he got drafted that tattoos, piercings and long hair weren't the way to go. He said this right after he hired a white player who has tattoos, long hair and piercings.


Hmmmm....

On a certain level, the demands make sense. Many businesses have formal and informal dress codes. Maintaining a job requires adherence to these guidelines. When your job pays you $24 million, it seems like a reasonable demand, correct? Hell most of us follow the dress code for far less than 1 percent of that type of money.

But, why would there be different rules for a black player and a white player. It would be easy to make a simple racial connection here, but that would be wrong. The racial connection is far more complex. Jeremy Shockey, the white tight end with the tats, piercings and hair, isn't allowed to have those things because he's white, he's allowed to have them because he plays tight end.

Cam Newton wasn't just drafted to play football, he was drafted to play the sport's glamour position: quarterback. He was drafted to be the new face of the franchise. As such, his black mug will be marketed all across Carolina to white fans with pockets deep enough to pony up for season tickets and gobs of merchandise. The bottom line is that the quarterback puts more butts in the seats than the tight end on most squads.

The concern over Newton's appearance is related to the fact that his face has to be sold to white folks, and many white folks don't want to get behind certain types of black people. They may tolerate dreads, tats and piercings, but they don't like them. They don't respect them. And if they have their druthers, they would rather support a black athlete who didn't have them. Or, better yet, a white athlete who doesn't have them.

The Panthers owner is aware of these feelings and shares them. He wants to keep those folks happy, so he's more than willing to allow their discrimination and bias to drive his actions. And for the most part, the rest of the sporting world will shake their heads, but agree that it's his right.

Just like folks agree that it is the right of businesses to serve who they want to served, or police to stop who they want to stop, or governments to fly the flags they want to fly. Way too many folks seem quite comfortable with bending their heads and saying "What can I do?" when faced with obvious instances of actions based on racial prejudice.

Seems like certain folks are just born to be losers.






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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why Bother?

Black people can’t talk to white people about race anymore. There’s really nothing left to say. There are libraries full of books, interviews, essays, lectures, and symposia. If people want to learn about their own country and its history, it is not incumbent on black people to talk to them about it. It is not our responsibility to educate them about it. Plus whenever white people want to talk about race, they never want to talk about themselves. There needs to be discussion among people who think of themselves as white. They need to unpack that language, that history, that social position and see what it really offers them, and what it takes away from them. As James Baldwin said, “As long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you.”

I feel like this many days. Even when I make a little progress in opening people's eyes, I'm always left with the thought that they could have just as easily done that themselves with a little effort.

But they aren't interested.

And it's not just white people, it's black people too. In the rush to assimilate, many black folks these days have decided to abandon in-depth examinations of race mainly because they don't see any benefits.. Others are ignorant of basic historical facts and resent people who present them with information that challenges their deeply held worldviews. So, while I'm calling out the white folks, Negroes are not getting a pass here.

But, y'all white folks are the ones holding all the cards. At least with most black folks, even if they aren't interested in race, they admit to some easily accepted facts. With way too many white folks it's like pulling teeth to get y'all to acknowledge truths that should be part of your basic education on America. Then again, "basic" is an interesting concept.

I was talking to a friend the other day and we agreed that one of the benefits of attending majority black schools is the vantage point from which American history is presented. When your teachers are black and your students are mainly black, certain issues become big deals that otherwise might get glossed over. For example, the 3/5ths compromise was a big deal in every history class I've ever had. And Abe Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was widely derided since it only freed those slaves he had no control over.

But, I would wager that for many white folks, those two factoids weren't considered key issues, nor were they something that stuck in their heads over time. While those things may have reminded black folks of the rampant hypocrisy in America's past and present, for white folks they were just answers on a test that were promptly forgotten. Basically, depending on who teaches you, the definition of "basic" changes drastically.

That can make racial discussions perilous. I often discover I'm operating from a totally different set of facts than a lot of white folks. And since we don't agree on the facts, we can't agree on the nuances.

That's the frustrating position many black folks find themselves in these days. We're asked either to allow racial ridiculousness pass unchallenged, or to engage in pointless debates where the burden of proof is ridiculously high, and the level of discourse is ridiculously low because few people have read the source material. It's a terrible, terrible cycle that often can make it simpler to just keep your mouth shut, mark people down on The List, and keep it moving.

Sometimes I just can't be bothered.




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Friday, August 19, 2011

It Is What It Is

One of the first things that happens when the words "racist" or "racism" are introduced into a conversation involving white folks is an attempt to mind read.

By that, I mean that if I bring up racism or racists, it's pretty much guaranteed that some white person will speak to me about the dangers of trying to judge another man's heart. It doesn't matter what was just said or done, there is always some white person who bristles instantly at the idea that the situation is about racism. Take, Sen. Tom Coburn's recent comments for example.

Granted, the paraphrase job by the reporter from the Tulsa World wasn't the greatest. The story clearly lacked some context that would have provided more insight into where Coburn's comments came from and his overall mindset. Honestly, after I read the transcript, I no longer suspected that Coburn is a closeted member of the White Citizen's Council.

But I still thought he was a racist.

That would probably surprise the reporter from the Washington Post who wrote the column about Coburn's actual comments. (Actually, maybe it wouldn't since white folks always expect black people to call somebody racist and therefore rarely believe us despite the evidence.) The reporter from the Washington Post bent over backwards to try to provide a non-racist explanation for Coburn's comments, but there isn't one. It doesn't matter if he likes Obama as a person, or thinks that the president is just misguided. His entire worldview is built on the premise that African Americans have benefited from a "culture of dependency".

That's some racist crap.

I'm not sure how white people got confused, but clearly it happened. It seems that they took a wrong turn during Jim Crow, and forgot that the government programs that benefit the poor were first created for white people by white people, and only extended to black people after we paid taxes with no benefit for a long time. Moreover, they seem to have forgotten that the sort of "dependency" programs that President Obama would have benefited from, say Affirmative Action, were created because white people couldn't seem to follow the rules of the very meritocracy they love to tout now. We don't have Affirmative Action because black people couldn't survive without help, we have it because white people refused to even give black people a fair freaking shot.

Moreover, as one of my white colleagues pointed out, if ever there was a person who has proven that Affirmative Action doesn't necessarily lead to unqualified people getting jobs, it's this president. As much as George Bush was an indictment of the legacy system and generational wealth, Obama is the living and breathing proof that if black folks are given a legit shot, we can easily excel. To claim that Obama was raised on the teat of dependency despite all the evidence to the contrary is the act of a racist.

Period.




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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Wanted

Just saw that A Tribe Called Quest movie this weekend.

It was a cool joint. Decent exploration of the group's formation and demise with some stuff that made you ask questions about the nature of friendship, love and black maleness. I would recommend even if you weren't a big Tribe fan, which I wasn't, because it's cool even to newbies.

As I was leaving the Tribe movie, another joint was letting out. Yep, "The Help" the famously infamous movie that tells the story of the Civil Rights era in Mississippi through the eyes of a young white woman and the black domestic help she knew. The movie, which of course is based on a novel by the same name, has been lauded by some critics and lampooned by others, and it's been steadily raking in the money.

I have no desire to see The Help or read the novel. Some folks would say my unwillingness to consume the work makes any critique I provide invalid. I say they can stop reading now.

See, I don't need to read the book or see the movie to know the story. As soon as I learned that it was the story of black domestics told through the eyes of a young white woman who cared about them, I knew the story. It was Blood Diamonds in Jackson. Or Bagger Vance without the golf clubs. Dangerous Minds without high school. Another tale of how kindness and love shown to white folks, or shown by white folks, makes the world a better place. The coloreds are just the ever changing set pieces.

Some folks may find that cynical and simplistic. After all, I didn't see the movie, what do I know? I know that the director said this in a recent interview:

The scene where Viola Davis sitting on a toilet in a garage in 108 degrees, and then a white woman comes out and tells her to hurry up was visually brutal. To me that's worst than seeing a lynching. It just is."

That came after the director said that this wasn't the story of victims, and that it wasn't supposed to be historical, just a story. That bothers me. First, because black people were victims. Sure, we triumphed and fought, but we were victims. A terrible, terrible wrong was done to black people and we were victims. Many of us are still feeling the effects of being victims. To tell a story where you set out to avoid victims, or where you consider victimhood to be a sign of weakness, is the first sign that something is wrong.

Second, if you're telling a story, it should be rooted in truth. It doesn't have to be a rote retelling of the facts, but it needs to be rooted in accuracy or truth or else you're not telling a story, you're creating propaganda. That's what this movie is, in fact. It's racial propaganda seeking to absolve white people of the squeamish feelings they don't want to have. It helps justify their decisions not to think about plantation tours that don't feature slaves, or Nana and Paw Paw's role in facilitating Jim Crow. These false portrayals of the past are a soothing balm to their barely chafed spirits. And let's not even discuss how these tales distort the historical record since most Americans lack the knowledge base to understand that what they're watching is in no way true.

Lastly, there is no way a personal act of humiliation is worse than a lynching. NO WAY. To even make that comment shows a shocking, SHOCKING lack of understanding of what a lynching was. It wasn't just being strung up and forced to die in a way so brutal you were guaranteed to void your bowels. No, often it meant being tortured, castrated, jeered and mocked. It meant being denied due process in a land that you helped build. Far too often it meant paying the ultimate sacrifice just for daring to be human. There is no way being told to hurry up off the toilet could EVER compare and I doubt the black people of that time would have agreed with that sentiment.

The director, along with the author, both talk in glowing terms about the black women in their lives who helped mold them and shape them. They helped them become adults. But, these white folks refuse to understand that these black maids were not their family. They were their employees. They were in a subordinate position largely because of the racist economic system in place at the time, and they were forced to either find solace and joy in the crumbs of life offered to them, or go mad. These women may have genuinely developed feelings for their white charges, but they always, ALWAYS understood, at least the smart ones did, that they were employees. And when they were pawed at, humiliated and degraded, they continued to work because like all employees they needed the job.

Those are the types of salient facts that make a story real. But, real don't sell movie tickets. Nope, not at all.





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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last Moments

Inspired by this story.



What's happening?

Why are they beating me? What do you little bastards want? Yeah, take that white boy!

Get off! Get off!

Where did they come from? What do they want?

Nigger? White Power?

Who are these kids? What the fuck is happening?

It hurts. My God it hurts. Please stop beating me. Please stop...

What did I do? Tell me please! What did I do?

I'm sorry. Just don't hurt me anymore. Just don't hurt me anymore. justdon'thurtmeanymore. hurtanymore. hurthurthurt.

Please...

I think they're gone. I heard car doors slam. They were laughing. They're gone. Please God let them be gone.

Must get up. Find help. Need help. Somebody please help.

A car. They will help. Please stop. Need help. Maybe if I wave a little...

OH MY GOD IT'S HIM.

Pain. So much pain.



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Monday, August 8, 2011

Inspired by a True Picture



 She's smiling at me.

I can't believe she's smiling at me. I told those uneducated idiots who questioned her feelings about black people that she had our best interests at heart, but they scoffed at me. Now, she's smiling at me.

And it's a real smile. Not like those patronizing smirks Democrats use as they enslave my people with the twin shackles of welfare and low expectations.

Who would want to improve their plight if they are given free food, housing and money every month? What's the incentive to get a real job and become captains of industry if all of your most basic needs are met simply by breathing? That's how they trap black people. They trap them with handouts, and false claims of equality. There can be no equality without a chance to find your own bootstraps.

Liberals don't care about righting wrongs. Their white guilt is not a real emotion, just a fill-in. They use their affirmative action and welfare to keep us inferior. It's not about schools or poverty; I was poor. I know what it's like to eat Wish Sandwiches, and walk miles on dirt roads to get to a ramshackle classroom. I know what it's like to be insulted, demeaned and abused for attempting to read a book.

And not by white folks, but by my own people. It wasn't "The Man" who refused my shy attempts at dating because I didn't have the nicest clothes, or a new car. I couldn't afford those things because the money from my job went into a savings account for my college education because I knew that this day would come. I knew that the future held more for me then factory jobs and common law wives. I knew I would not be trapped in a poor excuse for e neighborhood surrounded by black and brown faces sweating and straining five days a week only to get drunk Saturday night and pray to some invisible God on Sunday morning.

I knew better.

That's why she's smiling at me. She seems that sacrifice. She sees those jeers. She recognizes that I'm different, that's I've thrown off the mental shackles that confine so many like me. She knows that I've been educated, that I'm special, that I deserve her acceptance and appreciation. She seems that I'm worth something. I'm not voting bloc. I'm an individual.

Look at how she leans close to me. Notice how wide her smile has become. How could she be a racist when she's so comfortable with me? How could she hate black people when she so obviously loves me?


She will be my president. Those who doubt her worth are wrong. She cares. She cares about me most of all.

And it's not because I'm black.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Where TALA meets reality

I wasn't going to discuss this whole flap about black babies being happier in slavery, but well, I haven't posted something in a while.

As the article states, this isn't just about the fact that conservatives and others have a disturbing misunderstanding about how slavery actually worked. That's actually not surprising since most white folks actively avoid reading any book that deals with this country's past racism against black people, and do their best to scrub the books they're forced to read of any such references. See the recent flap over Huck Finn and the word "nigger" for more proof.

But, as the author notes, it's the more serious attempt to "soften" this country's past that is bothersome. Not just because a failure to accurately relate the past makes it much more difficult to fight against the lingering effects of that injustice, but because it provides handy dandy protection for modern racism.

See, black folks know what's up. At least most of us do. We know when white folks talk about taking their country back, or state's rights, or reverse racism that what they are really saying is that they are tired of all these rules preventing them from keeping niggers in line and they want to be freed of these recent shackles. We know that while the attacks on President Obama may have some policy roots, they are also clearly connected to his race and the fact that many white folks can't stand to have a black man as the president. Period.

But, what white folks know is that if they can provide just enough camoflauge for their racism, if they can muddy the waters even slightly, then their fellow white folks will leap through hoops to protect them from accusations of bigotry. By distorting history, they provide the cover for spreading bigotry and discrimination today. It's devious.

It's also just another symptom of what I like to call TALA, or Taking A Loss Aversion. In the black vernacular, you "take a loss" when you readily accept the negative consequences of your actions because you understand that your actions were wrong, stupid or crass. It's a certain stoicism that is hard for many people to develop, but it is essential, in my opinion, to the development of good character.

Way too many white people develop TALA when it comes to this country's racial history. I just read this article about a white guy who has argued that the genocide against Native Americans was perfectly justified because indigenous people were "morally disqualified" from having this country. When white people took the land from the Indians, their argument was that Native Americans weren't using it right, and they were being selfish because they had more than they needed. Yes, I'm being completely serious.

Hell, most black folks have heard a variety of arguments about slavery and Jim Crow that shift the blame for these horrendous periods in American history away from white folks, and often on to the victims. Who hasn't heard the argument that black folks are better off here than in Africa? (This argument tends to ignore the reality that white folks effed up Africa too.) When white folks were actively enslaving black people a popular argument was that we lacked the ability to function on our own so we forced them to put us in chains.

Sadly, these arguments are all examples of TALA. Instead of just stepping up and admitting they and their ancestors were wrong, and dealing with the consequences, white folks have worked as hard as they can to shift and minimize blame. Their TALA is so severe that they are forced to invent the most ludicrous explanations and rationalizations for the past, to the point that they look like raving idiots.

Normally, this sort of illness would just be cause for pity, but seeing as how white people still control most of the resources in the country, wield most of the political power and are entrenched in those positions for the foreseeable future, it's a serious concern.

Their TALA is messing with my life, and it's probably messing with yours.





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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who Needs Novels?

Real life is always stranger than fiction.
Here's proof:

"I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're gonna hurt some people.
 ...Whose car we takin'?"

That was Ben Aflleck's character, Dougie MacRay, trying to get his boy to accompany him on a beat down in the movie, "The Town".

It's also the line from the movie that republicans met and chose to watch in order to rally around each other for this debt ceiling debate. Nice. It's apropos, seeing that it is a movie about a bank robbery, and these clowns are holding up A-merry-ca.
Anyway, like a good Negro, my man Allen West volunteered to drive the car. (Because that's what good Negroes do.) 

"After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan."
That's from the Field Negro's blog.

Just think, if a screenwriter tried to sell a script featuring a scene where the political party of family values watched a movie about gun toting bank robbers as they plotted a plan to hold America hostage he would be met with scorn. If his script also called for those same folks to regularly decry any attempts to label them as stubborn, pig-headed for at fault, he would be met with ridicule. It would be deemed an unbelievable farce.

Yet, that's the world we live in today. That is our reality.

Crazy.






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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We Should Know Better

Sometimes, well actually a lot of the time, black people disappoint me.

I know this is dangerous ground. I try to avoid criticizing black folks because Lord knows there are more than enough folks willing to do that every day. Too often blacks folks spread the worst lies about each other, and believe the worst stereotypes. But sometimes, we have to take a good hard look at our habits if we ever want to break them.

Like our habit of thinking black folks who receive government subsidies are "getting over."

Maybe you've run across this mindset, hell, maybe you're guilty of it. Who hasn't been behind a "food stamp" grocery cart filled with food and thought "Well that must great." Some of us hear about Section 8 vouchers and monthly welfare checks and wonder why certain folks get for free what we have to work so hard to obtain. Since black folks are overrepresented in both programs, most of us know somebody who is receiving or has received government aid and it's not uncommon for us to study all of their failings and deduce that they are gaming  the system.

So when your resident bigoted politician attempts to pass a law requiring drug tests for welfare recipients, or calling for them to be mandated to take birth control, it's not unusual to see a very disjointed response in our community. You will see black "leaders" decry the measure as closeted racism, while you will see regular black folks cheering that "they" won't be getting over any more.

Sadly, although we should be able to spot the tricks of racists by now, we can't and we don't. By appealing to our sense of envy and "bootstrap" ideology, racists are able to convince lots of black folks to vocally or silently support actions that are malignant and bigoted. There is a reason these types of laws only get pushed forward by politicians who think the confederate flag is no big deal and the White Citizens Council was a great community organization.

Black people should know better, but we don't mainly because most of us don't like each other. We particularly don't like those of us who are poor and exhibit behaviors that we've been taught represent the worst habits in society. If there is anything black folks hate more than "ghetto" black people, I've yet to find it.

Personally, I think it's an inferiority complex that many of us don't even know exists. We're consumed with not being lumped in with the "Bad Negroes". Many of us think that if we can just get identified as Good Negroes we will be safe from the dangers of the world, and we're silently angry at the Bad Negroes for ruining things for everyone.

But the truth is, nothing is going to save us. There is no protection. You can be labeled a Bad Negro at any moment simply because you're a Negro. You can be subjected to humiliation and pain for the same reason. Those people who receive welfare and the like don't have it easy. There is nothing easy about being poor and getting government help. It's much, MUCH easier to be rich and get government help. Just ask all those investment bank managers.

We should know better than to allow racists to trot out the same basic divide and conquer strategies that they've been using for centuries. At some point we have to stop being our own worst enemies.








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Raving Black Lunatic