Saturday, February 28, 2009

Complain, Complain, Don't Go Away

I'm sure some of y'all have heard about this mayor out in Cali.

This cat had to resign after he sent a racist email out to bunch folks basically suggesting that since Obama's in the White House the annual Easter Egg hunt will be replaced by a watermelon picking contest. Just lovely. Oh yeah, he was a Republican.

But, I'm not hear to get all hot and bothered over the latest racist incident connected to President Barack Obama. If I tried to generate anger over all of these incidents my blood pressure would be higher than it already is.

Nope, I want to talk about the sister who snitched on the mayor. Yep, that's right. The only reason this cat got caught and ultimately had to resign was because a black woman saw his email and decide to take some action. She complained loud and hard, and forced the mayor's hand and the hands of all the other folks on his email list.

Start Snitching.

That's my message. When you see someone behaving in a racist manner, snitch on their ass with the quickness. Particularly if they have the gall to get all racist at work. I want you to run to the Human Resources Director so fast that cats start calling you Jesse Owens. Snitch like your life depended on it.

Some of y'all may be surprised by this advice. Most of our parents taught us that nobody likes a tattletale, and our peers made sure we learned that snitches get stitches. "Rats" are viewed with contempt in almost every social and professional setting, and the easiest way to become a pariah in this world is to develop a reputation as a fink.

I don't care. Keep snitching.

Don't allow the folks benefiting from the status quo to try to tell you that you have to adhere to the status quo. If you listen to them, you'll never get ahead. Don't be a team player when it comes to racism, don't be thick-skinned. Be a sensitive, complaining, snitching pain-in-the-ass.

Snitching, or complaining, is the only way we are going to force folks to own up to their racist behavior and change. We have to use our complaints as leverage. We need to document racism and if our immediate supervisors won't assist us in rooting it out, then we go over their heads. We need to go to the corporate office, we need to make EEOC complaints. Don't be a silent witness or victim, open your damn mouths.

Racism and discrimination flourish with silent acceptance. Look at our history in this country. The only time we've been able to force those in power to make some attempts to rectify wrongs is when we opened our mouths and told them that what they were doing was wrong. As long as we quietly ate shit, they kept taking a dump on our faces and saying "Would you like some more?"

I know complaining has some drawbacks. You'll probably get told that you're obsessed with race, that you're too politically correct, that you don't know how to take a joke. Your co-workers may stop inviting you out for drinks, or stop talking to you in the breakroom. People don't like their flaws pointed out, and they will surely attempt to punish you for exposing them.

Who cares? Do you really want to be cool with people who are fine with racism? Are those the types of folks you want to spend time with?

I didn't think so.

Obama's election has made it more difficult to get some white folks to admit racism is a problem. That's why it's our job to yell at the top of our lungs whenever somebody effs up so that there can be no mistake that racism and discrimination are still huge problems. We have a responsibility to our children to keep standing strong in the face of criticism and ridicule. We owe them the power to speak up and be heard.

Keep talking.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Living History

Sometimes God has to remind me how blessed I am.

It's easy to get distracted by the day-to-day craziness of life and become convinced that life is conspiring against you. Quite often, I find myself wallowing in my whining about how heavy my burden feels. Sure, I pay lip service to the concept that I'm blessed and that billions of people suffer much more than me daily, but in my heart of hearts I'm still whining.

I like when God opens my eyes.

Often it's so unexpected it reinforces my belief in miracles. This time I was attending a function that I expected to be boring, and my expectations were being met fully. In the midst of wondering what I was going to have for lunch, I got some inspiration.

It happened as I listened to folks talk about black history as a living, breathing organism, and I started to feel something. As these folks discussed their childhoods and the old ethos of their communities, I began to feel a connection to those ancestors who had trod dusty roads before me. It was only a stirring, but I stopped worrying about lunch and started listening to people talk about life.

My good feeling could have ended there, with me slightly inspired and still mired in my mundane concerns, but God didn't want that. He wanted to remind exactly how far we as a people have truly come.

To do that, he introduced me to an old woman, who was history. When I say that, what I mean is that she seemed like a typical old black lady, but when I talked to her about her life, I got a glimpse of how heroes come to life and how worlds are changed. There was nothing exceptional about this woman's appearance. She had rheumy eyes, and a hearing aid. She moved her mouth in that peculiar way that old people have, and she had the shuffling gait that all of us will likely develop if we live long enough.

But, when she spoke, she spoke in clear tones. She punctuated her sentences with little pokes of her finger into my chest and arms. This old lady had something to say, and she wanted to make sure I knew it.

She talked to me of eating in the back of gas stations and sharing old nasty faucets with her kids because she wasn't allowed inside. She spoke of desegrating churches because she wasn't going to allow anyone to force her to serve a Jim Crow God. This woman had organized her community and she was confident in her ability to make things happen.

She was secure in the history she had created.

There are so many people like this in our world. Black, white, Asian and Latino, they live among us, appearing to be just average citizens. But, when we listen to their stories, some of them have jewels of experience that can make our lives so much richer. They can give us an honest recollection of the things we only learn about through books.

I regret not taking better advantage of my opportunities to learn about history through the elders in my family before they passed on into death or senility. Unfortunately, when you're young you often have little time to reflect because you're so convinceed that what you're doing today is important. It's only later, when age and experience give you some context, that you understand how much you owe to the generations that came before you, and how much you can learn from them.

I wrote this post because that experience made a difference to me and it was a fitting way for me to end Black History Month.

With living history.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Just Not Me

Some of y'all may know that Tuesday was Mardi Gras.

Considering the fact that I've lived in New Orleans for most of my life, it should have been a day of celebration for me. However, it wasn't.

See, I don't "do" Mardi Gras.

Whenever I tell folks that, particularly folks from other parts of the country, they seem very shocked. How can I stand to live in one of America's ultimate party cities, and not go to the year's biggest party? Am I afraid of crowds? Allergic to beer?

It's none of those things. Primarily it's a religious thing and the issues I have with the origins and underlying purpose of Mardi Gras. Those beliefs were passed along by my parents who never celebrated the holiday, which actually made it quite easy for me to pass on it as well. It's what I've always done, so it's not a big deal to me.

What I've learned is that it is a big deal for some folks. It's like certain people see it as a personal affront that I don't "do" Mardi Gras. I don't know if they think I'm silently judging them, or if they believe I'm placing myself on a pedestal, but after folks get over their shock, they quickly start trying to convince me that I need to get involved with carnival.

Honestly, that's not that unusual in life. Lately, I've become more sensitive to the way people try to pressure you into behaving in a manner they deem acceptable. More importantly, as I've become more committed to rebelling against that pressure, I've come to understand the consequences of that decision.

How many of you all have been labeled outsiders? As I look back over my life, I find that I'm a study in contradictions, which has forced me to be an outsider. In church, I asked too many difficult questions. Outside of church, I was considered a "goody-goody." In school, the jocks thought I was too nerdy, while the nerds thought I was too much of a jock. With the ladies, I've been called too sensitive and inquisitive, while also managing to be tactless and bland.

For instance, I was fairly well-known in high school. But, I never had a single, really close friend in high school, and I don't keep in touch with any of the cats I hung out with back then. I was cordial with a lot of folks, but there was nobody whose house I visited, or anybody who came by my crib. My school life and home life were almost completely segregated.

I've often wondered if that's because I would never do enough to fit in. I have an incredible stubborn streak that requires me to do things my own way. As you all know, in order to "get along" with most folks you have to "go along" with them as well. People have an incredible need to see others conform and toe the line, even if they would claim to love individuality if asked about it in a survey.

We all carry around our internal visions of what the world should be like, and I think many of us are constantly trying to create that world when we interact with people. Some of us pressure people subtly, others are more direct, but all of us do it. Maybe if we become aware of this predilection, we can fight its influence in ourselves and in others. We can control our impulse to shape others.

We can let them be them.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dope Boyz versus Stock Boys

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you picture a dope boy?

For me is slightly unkempt dreadlocks, baggy blue jeans, a white t-shirt and black lips. It's a permanent sneer only broken by calculating grin. I see loud music, frequent curse words and the ever present aroma of marijuana.

Yep, that's what dope looks like to me.

Now, depending on your locale, your own internal image may be different. And some of y'all, striving to be truly conscious, might even claim to picture CIA suits dutifully allowing cocaine and heroin to flood inner city communities when you think about dope boyz. More power to you. While I know that white folks deal and use far more drugs than black people, my image of a dope boy remains the same. Blame it on subtle marketing, or blatant racism, but that's who I see when somebody mentions a "D-Boy."

On the surface, that image is about as far away from the standard image of a "stock boy" as Michael Jackson is away from normal.

When I say stock boy, I mean the cats who work on Wall Street, not the cats who work in the backrooms of Winn Dixie. I'm talking about the slick brokers in the Armani suits who drive the Ferrari's, Beamers and Benzs. The fellows who view a $500,000 salary cap as an undue hardship, and who pay less in taxes than their secretaries. Those are stock boys.

Like I said, there doesn't seem to be much in common between Dope Boyz and Stock Boys.

But, strangely enough, my pops and I were discussing the similarities between the two jobs just the other day. The conversation began as a normal rehashing of the actions of President Obama. My father has been converted into a news junkie by Obama's presidential bid, so he's always up-to-date on what's going on in the political world. We were discussing the opposition by several Republican governors to accepting stimulus money, and the mostly favorable response they were receiving from the Republican base.

Both of us were somewhat perturbed that these people didn't see how the absence of stimulus money was going to affect their lives. I mean, some folks were practically cheering for the governors who refused the money, and they were certain that a hardline stance was the correct way to get those "welfare recipients" off the public tit.

That just tickled me.

I explained to my pops that the source of most people's opposition was their erroneous assumptions about exactly who would benefit from public assistance. They were convinced that Obama's package would only benefit the same undesirables they'd moved to the suburbs to avoid, and that it provided nothing of value to them. Of course, a critical analysis of the plan shows that's baloney, but the truth has never had much of an effect on longstanding racial prejudices.

To illustrate my thesis, I pointed to the different way Americans view dope boyz and stock boys.

See, dope boyz are seen as the dregs of society. They prey on the weak, and use intimidation and violence to advance their ideals. They destroy neighborhood security and undermine the social fabric of this country. Nothing good can come from a dope boy.

On the other hand, stock boys are captains of industry. Using ingenuity and hard work, they artfully manage large sums of money to benefit us all. They are true businessmen, living on the strength of their innovation and guile. While they may have temporary periods of indolence, they are valuable and favored members of our society.

As I explained to my pops, both of these descriptions have some granules of truth, but they are also corrupted by a lot of mythology. Sure, dope boyz are criminals and they are effing up many communities. But, as recent events have shown, a whole bunch of stock boys aren't much better than criminals themselves.

Dope Boyz and Stock Boys share some common traits, at least the successful ones do. To be successful in either field, you need to have generous helpings of intelligence, courage and ruthlessness. It also helps if you understand numbers and also do a good job of convincing customers that your products and services are much better than the competition's.

The simple truth is that most of the massive economic downturns in American history have been driven by the irresponsible actions of folks working on Wall Street. And most of the terrible moral ills in this country have been abetted by folks peddling illegal narcotics, whether that be crack cocaine in the 80s, or whiskey during Prohibition. Both activities have threatened the fabric of America in their own ways.

Some would argue that Stock Boys differ from Dope Boyz because the denizens of Wall Street are ultimately working for the betterment of everyone. I'm going to have to call bullshit on that one. From what I've seen, folks on Wall Street are working to enrich themselves and any ancillary benefits to the general public are strictly coincidental. They are kind of like the dope boyz who buy the local basketball teams uniforms and sneakers in an effort to recruit new customers and workers. Sure, it looks like something positive is happening on the surface, but the core is rotten.

Yet, many Americans refuse to see the connections and similarities between "the block" and the boardroom. We refuse to acknowledge the fact that dope boyz are just practicing capitalism at its most basic level, and that they have many of the same talents as corporate raiders, only less refined.

I think it's important to realize the similarities between the two professions because we need to decide what's the best method for solving the problems they create. Right now, we seem to be using the law and order method to deal with dope boyz; lock them up, throw away the key and let someone else deal with the repercussions. Although the law and order method has yet to succeed, we stubbornly cling to it and denigrate all other options.

With the stock boys, the general consensus seems to be to let them do what they do with a minimum of interference, and then let somebody else clean up the mess they make. Sure, this may lead to a predictable cycle of booms and busts, but we've been told that the alternative is much too dire to contemplate.

From my vantage point, it seems like neither approach is working and both systems are crying out for a major overhaul. In addition, it seems unfair to apply two different standards of correction to two very similar professions. Maybe it's just my need for balance, but I think there needs to be a reckoning.

What about you?


Monday, February 23, 2009

Speaking From the Heart

My blogging sister BGM, also known as Black Girl in Maine posted a heartfelt blog today about the daily travails of marriage.

She discussed the hard work that is mandatory to maintain a committed, happy relationship with another human being, and she also discussed the many temptations we must overcome to remain in marriage. It was a deeply personal post, and she and her husband should be commended for being willing to discuss their personal lives so openly for the benefit of others.

Couldn't be me.

Some of y'all might be shaking your heads saying "But Big Man, you seem so honest and open on your blog. Surely you would be that way no matter what topic came up for discussion."

Y'all are wrong.

Let me be clear. I always strive for honesty. Writing sucks if it's not honest, and it's impossible to generate content that other people can feel if you don't have some sort of feelings on the topic yourself. My feelings might not be as strong as they come across in the blog, but that's because the blog allows me to explore the outermost reaches of my emotional landscape.

However, there are some things even I won't discuss.

It's not because they are not important topics, or because I don't have strong feelings on those topics. I think about my marriage every day, and I pray about it a lot too. People who are married know that this sort of intense attention is pretty standard. However, I just wouldn't feel comfortable sharing those thoughts and worries to a wider audience. Some things I just can't talk about.

But, that only increases my admiration for those folks who are willing to take on these difficult subjects and spill their guts about how things work in their own lives. It takes courage to lay your foibles and failures on display for the world to look at and pick over. Even the cloak of anonymity only offers limited protection. Although people may not know xactly who you are, as they discuss your life they have the ability to wound you in ways they could scarcely imagine.

So, for all of you sharing your lives on the internet or in person, I say, "God bless you." You are providing a service that the world needs, you are providing real world examples of the problems most of us face, and hopefully one day you'll provide solutions.

I'll be cheering from the sideline, even if I won't be writing.


Happy Monday

No post today, but I hope to have something up tomorrow. This virus or whatever that is circling the nation keeps settling on my house and it's made life a revolving door of misery. Anyway, I'll work hard to have something to entertain y'all for tomorrow, which happens to be Mardi Gras and one of the biggest holidays in the city.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Top Ten for the Weekend

As a man, I like lists. So, here are my Top Ten thoughts from this past week for y'all to ponder over the weekend.

1. Monkeys and black people don't go together. If you're making a joke and it involves a monkey and a black person, you're probably going to get called a racist. It doesn't matter if the black person is implied, or if the monkey is really evil. If a black person can be connected through six degrees of separation with your monkey, then don't make the joke.

2. Keep your damn hands to yourself. That's a carryover from last week but it's still relevant this week. Doesn't matter what gender you are, how much you weigh or how angry you might be, hitting is not cool if you don't want to get hit back. Period. Do not depend on men, or women, doing some sort of threat analysis before they respond to your violence. Expect them to beat your ass if you touch them. That's a good rule of thumb for everybody. Expect ass whippings when you touch people. It will make you more cautious and probably a better person.

3. Al Sharpton has a knack for saying good stuff, but he still has a perm. That's about it. Good public speaker, horrible Dark and Lovely.

4. All of your black friends have worked with racists. In fact, if you're black and haven't worked with a racist, then you should run for president in 2016 because you are the luckiest person on the planet. This doesn't mean that all black people deal with racism everyday, or that everybody is a racist. It just means that if you assume that black people automatically leave situations when they spot racism, well you don't know jack shit about black people. Black people have bills like everybody else. Nobody is going to pay our bills just because we can't handle racism. Besides, dealing with racists is good for your brain. It keeps you alert.

5. This stimulus package is massive and I'm still not convinced it's going to work. However, people who voted for George Bush, but oppose the stimulus just because it gives out money, are hypocritical dicks. This country has been feeding at the free money trough for the past eight years. If you didn't speak up before when your guy was in office, I'm going to look askance at your push for fiscal responsibility now. True, you could have had a legitimate change of heart... And Scientology could be a real religion and not a massive scheme concocted by a mediocre science fiction writer.

6. Monkeys again. If you need to sedate your pet with Xanax, it's probably not a pet. It's a ticking time bomb and when it tries to eat you, well, that's YOUR bad.

7. Allen Iverson cut his hair. He also plays on a horrible basketball team. One thing makes me happy, the other one makes me sad. A man over 30-years old can rock cornrows only so long before he looks like a herb. Iverson's innate coolness protected him for years, but even he was starting to crack under the pressure. And I hate Rasheed Wallace.

8. If you have children, love them hard and protect them harder. Too many folks don't give their kids enough love and those children then search in all the wrong places for that love. There are too many of the wrong people who are more then willing to fill a void in your child's life. They will hurt your child more than you can imagine. Don't give them an opportunity.

9. This post-racial utopia is really picking up steam, right?

10. Officer patting down black man: "What do you got there?"
Black man with his hands above his head: "Thaaaat's my penis."
Officer: "That's your penis... Oh... Sorry about that..."

Enjoy your weekend everybody.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Morning Funny

The real post for today is below this, but I ran across this video at Denmark Vesey's blog, and I had to post it. This has gotten my day off to a wonderful start.


A Thousand Words

What does that say to you?

Is it a funny pun about rampaging chimpanzees and the ridiculous size and scope of President Obama's stimulus plan? The kind of joke that pokes funny at those always idiotic politicians we seem to send to Washington every year?

Or, does it say something darker. Does it seem to you that this cartoon is advocating that a "monkey" like President Obama should be shot for even attempting to pass something like the stimulus package. A reminder that this "monkey's" tenure as president has barely begun and already he's out of control and needs to be put down.

What do you see?

I'm sure most of y'all can guess what I saw in that picture. And, those of you who have discussed racism with folks in the general public can probably guess what the many commenters on blogs and websites across the country saw as well. Obviously, they were not the same.

On my sidebar, I have a famous quote from W.E.B. DuBois that talks about life as a black man in America; the masks we wear, the double consciousness we must possess. This photo reminds me of the existence of that double consciousness.

After all, without trying, I was able to understand both potential meanings of this cartoon. I instinctively knew how the New York Post would respond to any criticism of the commentary and I knew how the general public would react and what their explanation would be. A chimp had just gone crazy the day before, bitten off a woman's hands and been shot by the police. Obviously there was obviously a valid reason for connecting chimps and police shooting.

My ability to predict the future wasn't some mystical gift. It's not that I'm blessed with an incredible amount of foresight, it's just that discussions of race have become so mired in a morass of recriminations and denials that it's hard NOT to predict the future.

I knew how many white people would react to this picture because it's in my best interest to know that information. Conversely, many white people seem shocked that a black person would have a problem with this picture because it's not in their best interest to have that kind of double consciousness.

Honestly, what benefit is there for most white people in knowing what offends or bothers black people? What benefit is there for people of any race? It probably won't you get a job or buy a home, it won't make you money, and it'll probably just make your life more difficult. If you worry about what black people find offensive, then you have to change your jokes, have uncomfortable conversations with family and friends, and generally interrupt your very settled and comfortable life. Who wants to do that?

It's much easier to say, as one commenter on TMZ put it: "Only a person who can't see past race would see this photo as racist." That neatly shifts the blame for being offended to those kooky people who go out of their way to find reasons for offense. So smooth. That way, you can feel superior and brave. You're telling an inconvenient truth and black folks and their sympathizers need to understand how the real world works. Lovely.

Truthfully, there are some legitimate questions to be asked about the response to this pic. After all, President Bush was compared to a monkey and black people didn't think that was racism. Here's a refresher, if you don't remember:

Only, from where I'm sitting, none of those pictures involve the former president getting shot. I mean, he looks funny, but he's not dead after being shot by the police. Just an observation. And, while the actual chimp was killed, that was only after he attacked an officer inside a patrol car. Originally, he was led away alive and in shackles.

See, that makes all the difference in my mind. It's not about me searching for a reason to be offended, it's about me having an understanding of the subtle messages society feeds us about the lives of black people and how to handle black people when they get out of line. Furthermore, my feeble mind is struggling to see how the shooting death of a rabid chimp relates to those people who worked on the stimulus.

Are they being compared to rabid chimps? If so, why? What about their actions shows that they are engaging in uncontrolled violence? There are far easier ways to make the point that the individuals who constructed the stimulus package and championed it were bumbling apes. I don't quite understand how comparing them to a violent monkey that was eventually shoot serves that purpose. A friend of mine posited that it might be an allusion to an old mathematical theorem about a chimp pecking away at a typewriter. But, that seemed a little too abstract for the Post.

Being attuned and informed about historical and current events makes it impossible for me to look at that cartoon and not see the connection between President Obama and a dead monkey. That would be like me seeing a picture of Lil' Kim today, and not being reminded of the damage European beauty standards do to black women everyday.

Unfortunately, that picture doesn't speak to everyone the same way, and neither do most things in the world. It's unlikely that we'll ever reach a consensus on subtle racial matters.

The monkey business will continue.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Priority Pow-Wow

Everybody who is familiar with the intimate details of the Chris Brown/Rihanna brouhaha, please raise your hand right now?

Now, those of you who know as much about the collapse of that relationship as you do about President Obama's stimulus package, please raise your other hand.

Just so y'all know, I only have one hand up.

As the homie from Raw Dawg Buffalo website has pointed out on many occasions, I'm probably not the only person with one hand up.

I would be lying if I said I've spent the same amount of time discussing exactly where all that money is going, as I've spent discussing where Chris Brown's punches went. I've been involved in multiple arguments/discussions about domestic violence and this whole ordeal, and I haven't had one substantive discussion about how the stimulus will affect me.

Am I a loser?

Honestly, the Chris Brown stuff was more interesting to me. And while I won't say it's more important than the stimulus package, it's not the mindless drivel that some folks have said it is. After all, domestic violence is a real and serious issue, and we need to discuss the proper responses to violence if we as a society have any hope of seeing the next generation use them.

But, I still feel bad. I should be breaking down that stimulus package and judging Obama's performance. I need to know how this is going to help reverse the recession and put Americans to work. This is important for my present and future, Chris Brown is going to be all right.

But, I'll probably check Bossip before I read the New York Times tomorrow.

I'm weak.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What You Talking 'Bout?

When I was a little kid, my mom put a poster on my wall that I've never forgotten. The poster read :"Great minds talk about ideas, mediocre minds talk about events and small minds talk about people."

My parents always pushed my brother and I to be leaders instead of followers. In addition, they had little patience when we made mistakes and blamed those mistakes on the actions of others. In their minds, we were responsible for our own thoughts and our own actions. Any attempts to shift responsibility were met with swift dismissal.

I remember the first time I got into a fight with someone because of a "Yo' momma" joke. In the black public schools I attended, the easiest way to start a fight without actually hitting somebody was to talk about their momma. If you didn't fight to defend your momma, everybody assumed you were a punk.

So, when a classmate made a crack about my mother, I knew what I had to do. I started swinging, we started fighting, and pretty soon I was in the principal's office explaining the nebulous code of honor that ruled the playground.

Unfortunately, my mom didn't seem to care about that code. As I explained to her just how vile an insult my classmate had directed at her, she asked me one simple question: "Does that little boy know me?"

Blew my mind.

After all, my classmate didn't know my mother from the tooth fairy. Who cares if he said she was so fat her belt size was "equator?" He had never even seen my mother and probably couldn't spell equator. His words had no power because he had no power over my mother. He couldn't make her fat, or dumb, or ugly. All he could do was talk.

My mom taught me an important lesson about letting people control me. She always said that if you let somebody push your buttons, they'll keep on pushing to watch you dance. Despite that old rhyme about sticks and stones, we all know words have the power to hurt. The difference is that when someone hits you with a stick, you have no choice in being hurt, but you do have a choice when it comes to ugly words.

There have been many days where I cried real tears about the words somebody said to me and how they made me feel. I'm sure most of y'all can relate to that. But, that pain taught me how to craft my words into weapons, and then life taught me when it was time to use that weapon. There was a time when I was much less careful with my speech, much more careless with the power of my words. Slowly, that's changing.

I think before I speak now. I'm more discriminating when it comes to lending my voice to certain discussions. My words, and my thoughts, have the power to wound or heal. The same thing is true for everyone. We all carry that power around with us.

So, what you talking about?


Friday, February 13, 2009

Get It Straight

I'm going to jump right in to this one.

How many of y'all have heard about what's going between the Los Angeles Clippers and Elgin Baylor? For those unaware, Baylor is suing the Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA because he says that he was fired recently because the team's owner discriminates based on race and age.

The reaction to his claims has been pretty standard. People are quickly pooh-poohing the idea that race had anything to do with Baylor's firing. They note that he worked for the team for 22 years, and he only managed to get the team to the playoffs three times. Why stick around so long if your boss is a racist, they ask. Besides, Barack Obama is the president.


I've argued about the topic until I had raw fingertips. I tried to explain that just because you stay in a bad situation doesn't mean you don't think the situation is bad. And, while I can't argue the fact that Baylor has been pretty bad as a GM, he's been bad for 22 YEARS! If they were going to fire him just for being bad, that should have come long ago. (Also, Baylor was probably the lowest paid GM in the league. In a profession where multi-million dollar contracts were the norm, Baylor made $350,000. That's not chump change, but it's a huge dropoff from his peers.)

The response to this incident has been telling. People are much more focused on finding reasons why Baylor must be lying, than examining why he might be right. After all, Sterling has been sued multiple times for housing discrimination. By the federal government. During the Bush era. Come on, if you were getting sued for discrimination while President Bush was in office, you had to have been fucking up big time.

I'm always shocked at how quickly people try to eliminate race as a possible reason for problems. What's really funny, is how these people quickly claim that anybody willing to consider the possibility that race was a factor, must have an ax to grind and be itching to blame white folks for all their problems.

That's just ridiculous. People are arguing that if I take into account one the most important issues in the history of this country, an issue that has started wars, riots and lynchings, then I must be looking for a white person to blame?

That's that nerve.

I mean, how can anyone who claims to be an intelligent and well-informed member of society not think that race affects pretty much every aspect of American life. Who you date, where you live, what kind of car you drive, how much money you make; all of these things are often affected by your race. That doesn't mean it's the sole determinant, but how many studies have to be done before people finally accept that the United States has never been colorblind? What is it going to take to prove this to people?

Anybody know?


Mental Overload

The great discussions from the past few days, and an increased workload at home and at work, have prevented me from getting something up so far today.

I'm going to try to get a good post up before the end of the day so y'all can check it out over the weekend and Monday.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Role Play

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson said people should know your their roles and shut their mouths.

I hadn't been a wrestling fan since Hulk Hogan first introduced the world to ripped t-shirts, but like many young men, I liked The Rock when he burst on the wrestling scene during the late 1990s. Although by then I knew the matches were faker than Steve Harvey's old hairline, I still found The Rock interesting. He had a certain swagger about him that had cats all over the world calling each other, "jabronies."

But, it was The Rock's cutting catchphrase that really turned him into a star. I mean, I can't think of a more effective put down than telling someone to "know your role and shut your mouth?" It's really quite perfect.

However, things can get a little more difficult when we talk about knowing our roles in real life. Particularly when we're talking about men and women.

See, some conversations I've had since the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga began have made me re-examine how I view my role in life and how I see the role of women. For example, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but when I think another man is behaving in a manner unbecoming a man, I tend to say "he's acting like a bitch."

Now think about that. That's kind of disrespectful to women. I'm assigning the negative characteristics of one man, to the entire female gender and using a pejorative to describe women for good measure. Not cute, right?

The thing is, I'm quite sure that more than a few of us, men and women, have made similar comments. Not only are these comments degrading to women, but they also seem to force men into pre-conceived roles of manhood. Men who are gossips, or messy, or "soft" are often seen as being less than full men. Yet, we as a society have made it clear that the macho male roles of the past are no longer acceptable either. So, many men are operating in a sort of limbo, where they are chastised for not being manly enough, but then criticized for being "too manly."

Let me be clear. This is not an attempt to excuse domestic violence or an attempt to rationalize it. It's not even related to domestic violence. It's really about what each of us see as acceptable male and female behavior.

After all, women haven't escaped this confusing morass. Women are told to be independent, to "have their own." They are asked to be caring, but strong; soft, but tough; a real rider, but also the type of girl who knows how to let a man be a man. Shoot, the old saw that most men want a "lady in the streets and freak in the sheets" is yet another example of the schizophrenic behavior men expect of women in order to fulfill some fantasy they've carried around for decades.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for both men and women to know their roles. Most individuals have conflicting desires when it comes to the role of their mates, but most of us aren't honest with ourselves or others about that fact. We expect the world of the opposite sex, and then act surprised when we're constantly disappointed.

Can y'all smell what I'm cooking?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Celebrites Can Teach Us

I'm about to step in it.

Since the majority of the folks who read this blog are women, and typically of a liberal bent, I'm pretty sure that this post is not going to go over well. But, I just finished having a rousing debate with one of my homegirls and I want to discuss this issue. To be clear, I do not support domestic violence and I understand to some degree how many women have their lives turned into living hells because of it. Please check out the post with that in mind.

What the eff is up with C-Breezy and Ri Ri?

That's Chris Brown and Rihanna for those of you who don't get your celebrity news from Bossip. Anybody remotely connected to pop culture knows that one of the hottest young couples in America has split in dramatic fashion amid reports that Chris Brown went upside his girlfriend's head the night of the Grammy's. He got arrested, she's in hiding and rumors are flying about what the hell happened.

So, me and my homegirl got to talking.

It started innocently enough with an instant message from me that said "So, is Chris Brown just an abusive boyfriend?"

What I meant was, given the various rumors flying around, was this incident a sign that Brown thinks putting his hands on women is normal, or was this a momentary lapse of control sparked by extraordinary circumstances. See, if Chris Brown was the second coming of Ike Turner, well I had no sympathy for his high-yellow ass. But, if he was somehow put under incredible stress before cracking, then I might understand things a little more.

Of course, my homegirl didn't see it that way.

Her response was complex in its simplicity. She said "Well he did abuse her, so yes, I say he's an abusive boyfriend." Before I go any further let me give y'all some background. My homegirl is the type of chick that might bump "Survivor" and "Independent Women" on her alarm clock if she didn't think Beyonce was a horrible songwriter. She is uber-liberal, with a smidgen of black nationalism thrown in, although she keeps up with every new show the Disney channel releases. What I'm trying to say is she's the type of woman who has no patience or sympathy for men who don't understand that their fists do not belong on a woman.

Her response tripped me up though. See, as a man, I think there is a stark difference between a boyfriend who has hit you and a boyfriend who is abusive. For example, say your boyfriend comes home from work and finds you doing the horizontal mamba with another man in the bed he bought for y'all at Rooms To Go. In a fit of anger, he lashes out and slaps you.

He's never hit you before, but is he now an abusive boyfriend? To me, that's a gray area. One part of me understands that a man should never hit a woman unless he's attacked. Another part of me is appalled at the amount of disrespect inherent in a woman copulating with another man on the sheets that she shares with you at night. So, while my intelligent mind says, "Just walk away," another part of me says "Beat that ass!"

My homegirl thinks the part of me that says "Beat that ass!" is a damn fool.

She says that the only time violence should be an option in a relationship is in response to violence that is a legitimate threat. So, not only does she believe that it's unacceptable to smack your girlfriend after she reveals that she knowingly infected you with herpes, it's also unacceptable to respond to a physical attack by your girlfriend if you know that she's unlikely to really hurt you. As men, she says that we know that most women can't really hurt us in a fight, so we should just walk after taking their licks.

Obviously, that didn't sit too well with me.

But, instead of rehashing the entire argument, I'd like to return to an earlier point. When my friend gave me her definition of an abusive boyfriend, it grated on my mind. I haven't hit a girl since I was child, and my pops beat my ass for that one time lapse. But, as a man, I still understand how damaging it is to be labeled "abusive." It seems grossly unfair to earn that title for a one-time response to extreme provocation. What my friend seemed to be saying was that no matter what a woman does, there really is no reason for you to hit her.

Logically I understand this, and I plan to teach my sons the same thing. But, emotionally, it doesn't sit right with my view of the world. As a man, I learned early on that certain words and actions result in fights and if I didn't want to fight, I'd better be circumspect. As men, particularly as black men, there are unspoken rules to how you have to behave in public and private, and when those rules are broken, violence is often the response.

I wonder if this is just a fundamental difference between men and women. Amongst ourselves, men are trained to establish pecking order and hierarchies and one of the most common ways of doing this is by determining who can whip whose ass. I remember in college I slapboxed with nearly all of my friends to determine which ones I could handle in a real fight and which ones would be a threat. I never planned to fight them, but that knowledge was important to determining where I stood.

I know women have their own ways to establish dominance, but typically that does not involve violence. I wonder if that's one of the main reasons why men and women clash so often in relationships. Men may view certain actions by their mates as a threat to their dominance and respond in the same way they have responded for years. However, because women typically do not handle these types of dominance battles with violence, they are woefully unprepared when men take this route. Combine that with the physical strength differences between the two genders, and well things seem a little clearer.

I'm not trying to justify domestic abuse. There is no justification for that. But, sometimes violence within a relationship is not as clear cut as it seems and I wanted to explore those gray areas and try to determine what one of the causes might be.

Blame it on C-Breezy and Ri Ri.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Is Not A Joke

How many of y'all saw the comedy "How High" featuring Redman and Method Man?

It was a pretty typical stoner flick, with the two rappers, have a well-known fondness for cannabis, playing the role of stoners with hearts of gold. It had some funny moments, even if it will never be considered a masterwork.

Anyway, one of the characters I loved in the movie was a trifling pimp played by Mike Epps. Now, Mike Epps is a funny dude, and his character in this movie was perfect. The pimp, whose name was Baby Powder, was a bumbling preener, but he had a hilarious habit.

Whenever his "pimp-in-training" or one of his hoes would mess up, the pimp would you yell out "Where my powder!" Then once someone sprinkled a liberal helping of powder into his hand, the pimp would slap the shit out of whoever offended him. Like I said, hilarious.

Well, after I read this story in the New York Times, I wanted to yell out "Where my powder!"

'Cause somebody needs to be smacked.

Those of you who bother to click that link will learn that Obama's new $500,000 cap on executive pay has some New York denizens shaking in there $2,000 Gucci loafers. Seems that what to most of us seems like a ridiculously generous salary, doesn't seem so hot when you have the mortgage to pay on two homes worth $5.5 million, along with an assorted amount of other expenses. While the article goes out of its way to note most people struggling in today's economy won't shed any tears for these bankers, the mere fact that the piece was written seems to be an attempt to stir up some sympathy.

Epic fail.

It would be easy for me to just rail against the skewed values in today's society that make it a struggle for some folks to survive on $500,000 a year. If you check out the list of "expenses" described in that article, it's easy to come to the conclusion that rich people have very skewed priorities. It's even easier to hope that they get their just desserts.

What might be harder, is to see a little of yourself in these rich people. I know that several of my readers have had their pockets pinched in recent months, but most of us are still above the poverty line. We may not have everything we want, but seem to have most of our needs and a few creature comforts that might make other less fortunate individuals swoon.

One of the most interesting things in the article was the justification that these rich people can't just save money like the rest of us because their sense of self is tied into the extravagant lifestyles they lead. At first that made my Bullshit Sense start tingling, but when I really thought about it, it made sense.

Don't most of us use certain goods or rituals to reinforce our feelings of who we are? It might be that daily trip to the coffee house, that weekly trip to the hairdresser, or that monthly movie that you just can't miss. For me, I could point to my big screen TV or the $700 machine I use to play cutting edge video games or my penchant for Polo shirts, although they are always purchased on sale.

Anyway, while most of us could get used to living without these comforts if we had to, it would seem like a pretty significant sacrifice. I've had firsthand experience dealing with someone who has to have certain little comforts or they feel like the entire world is conspiring to make their lives miserable. While these things may seem optional to me, they are life and death issues for that person.

Yet, for those individuals scrambling to feed themselves everyday, our "comforts" probably seem like ridiculous extravagances. They look at us the same way we look these rich people who spend $425 every two weeks on groceries for their tiny families. They wonder what right we have to complain.

What right do any of us have?


Friday, February 6, 2009

Let Me Explain Myself

In response to yesterday's blog, regular catankerous reader Darth Whitey asked me a good question.

How would I feel if all the beignets in New Orleans were replaced with churros.

Those of you who read my last post know that it dealt with a push by conservative Italians to limit how much "foreign" food can be sold in certain areas of Italy. Those conservatives argue that "foreign" food is a detriment to traditional Italian culture. In my post I called this push what I though it was, an attempt to use racism to control economics.

Anyway, there are a couple things that I wanted to address in Darth's comment. First, the random selection of the word "churros" reveals a lot. While it's clear that Latinos and Hispanics are the primary immigrants to this country, they are not the only immigrants to this country. He could have chosen any ethnic food to replace beignets and he focused on churros.

Plus, given the unique culture in New Orleans it would have made as much sense to ask me how I would feel if beignets were replaced by funnel cakes or doughnuts. One of the fears of many New Orleanians after Hurricane Katrina was that the city would get "Disney-fied," and have its distinctive culture santized and re-packaged for mass consumption. Using the word "churros" instead of "doughnuts" exposes a lot about what Darth thinks are acceptable and unacceptable replacements for New Orleans' distinct food.

But, I digress.

I really want to discuss something else. See, the reason why I wouldn't have a problem with churros in the French Quarter isn't because I'm so hip and anti-racist, it's because I honestly don't care that much about New Orleans culture.

Uh oh, I'm about to get strangled with a Mardi Gras bead.

I like the city. I grew up here. There are certain quirky habits that I find endearing. But, I do not have the love affair with New Orleans that many of its paler denizens seem to have. (Seriously, the white people who actually still live in the New Orleans city limits LOVE this place. The ones who don't move to the suburbs and talk greasy about the city. Black people love the city too, but it's a different kind of love.)

It's probably because my parents were transplants to the city and never truly embraced it. So, while I picked up some of the city's lore through osmoisis, I was never indoctrinated like most New Orleanians. It's kinda like I know the steps to a dance, but I don't feel the rhythm all the way down in my bones.

Consequently, I wouldn't be dismayed if New Orleans' culture was changed by immigrants. After all, the reason why we have this current culture is because of all the different immigrants that came to the city over the years. We're a glorious gumbo of traditions, and that would have never happened if the dominant group refused to incorporate the norms of immigrants into their lives. (While I did oppose the Disneyfication of the city that was mainly because it seemed like that Disneyfication went hand-in-hand with getting rid of black people. If that hadn't been the case, I would be wearing my new mouse ears proudly.)

I think it's funny how threatened some folks are by the way immigrants change places. I'll admit that in the past I've gotten upset when I've gone to restaurants and stores where nobody spoke English and I couldn't make myself understood. However, I've learned to be more accepting of that. Most people try to carve out their own individual comfort zones wherever they go, and I've realized it's pointless to take that as a threat. Besides, when it comes to food, I'm a lover, not a fighter, as my moniker suggests.

People cling to traditions as if the fact that we've been doing something one way for a long time means it's wrong to change things up. We had been electing white men as president for a long time, but obviously change isn't that bad. Culture should be alive and constantly evolving. If a culture is set in stone, most likely it's a culture of the past that nobody really cares about anymore. The traditional New Orleans habits are nice, but there is no reason to believe this city can't be great if we create new habits. The same thing goes for Italy and the world.

I hope that cleared things up.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

You Thought Things Were Bad? They Can Get Worse

I want you all to think of what you would consider the most outlandish, ridiculous and unexpected form of discrimination that you could ever imagine. You know like a way to discriminate against people that seems so unbelievable, so crazy that nobody could ever think it made sense.

And then I want you to read this article from Racialicious.

Bet you didn't think of that.

I don't blame you. My first reaction when I read that article was to make sure it wasn't from The Onion. You'll have to excuse my shock, while I thought that nothing related to racism could surprise me, clearly I was wrong.

So, basically, people in Italy are even racist when it comes to their food?

It's not like I didn't know Italy had a problem with racism and xenophobia. Anybody whose paid any attention over the years knows that both of these issues are problems throughout Europe, and Italy and Spain have fairly acute problems. Truthfully, if somebody would have asked me beforehand which European country would be most likely to pull an outrageous racial stunt, I would have chosen either Italy or Spain.

But, never in the deepest recesses of my mind would I have thought that racism and discrimination could extend to food. I can understand discrimination in who gets to eat food, after all I am black, but restricting what types of foods can be served in general just seems unthinkable.

Now, I know some of y'all are saying, "But Big Man, isn't this really about who gets to make money, not about what type of food is served?" You know what, y'all are right. That is the root of the problem here. Italians don't want to compete with immigrants for customers, so they've found a slick way to prevent the growth of immigrant businesses, while also pretending to still be a capitalistic and democratic country. I understand that.

Shoot, if you really pay attention to the article, you'll notice that one politican basically admitted that immigrants are willing to work longer hours in the their restaurants so they can charge less money for meals. This means that can undercut traditional businesses when it comes to price, and it makes them more profitable in the long run. So it's obvious that this is really about money.

But, you wouldn't know that if you listened to some of the other arguments being used. These folks are talking about protecting traditional Italian values and a traditional Italian way of life. Some of them are pointing out that this ban affects McDonalds just as much as it affects those pesky Arab restaurants. But, for some reason, I get this sinking feeling that "traditional" is a euphemism for "white."

The funny thing is that none of the famous cuisine in Italy is wholly Italian. As the article points out, many of the most famous ingredients in Italian dishes come from other countries.

What's sad about this whole fiasco is that ultimately there are millions of people in Italy, regular people trying to make a living, who could see their livelihoods negatively impacted because of these new rules. Moreover, there will be millions of other folks who will think that's perfectly ok because those folks who get hurt aren't "real Italians." The situation has a sickening familiarity to it for someone who grew up in the United States and has studied its history.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hold Up, Are They Serious?

Update. My homie MODI over at Sports On My Mind is one of the most thorough bloggers on the planet when it comes to breaking down bias in sports. Check out his latest take on the Phelps issue here. That dude drops some knowledge, and he also takes the time to give me some credit for a past piece I wrote.)

This is going to be short, but it has to be said.

What the eff is up with the response to Michael Phelps' newly revealed love-affair with a bong?

Yes that is 14-time gold medalist Michael Phelps using a bong. No that is not tobacco. Yes, Michael Phelps is getting a masssive white pass.

Phelps is an elite athlete. He got caught doing illegal drugs, while reportedely engaging in binge drinking. And many mainstream media talking heads, and just plain old fans, are falling all over themselves to make excuses for his actions.

They are lamenting the fact that he may lose all of his endorsement deals(although several companies have already said they are sticking by their party boy). Folks are pointing out that it's only marijuana, that Phelps is still a young man, that he didn't hurt anybody and, the kicker, that he's basically a good kid.

If good is a euphemism for "white and good looking" then I guess they are right.

I follow the sports news, I know how black athletes get handled when they eff up with drugs, or anything. I remember what happened to Joakim Noah and Josh Howard. I haven't forgotten the Lamar Odom and Zack Randolph jokes. Shoot, I even remember how the media treated Allen Iverson's bust for weed. They made it seem like he was a hardcore felon trying kill babies.

The list goes on and on. When black athletes eff up there is no rush to give them the benefit of the doubt. But, let a white athlete screw up and folks try to find any reasons to excuse their behavior. In fact, if a famous black athlete from a single parent household in a decaying urban area who loved to listen to gangsta rap and bang skanky girls got busted with pot, you'd better believe we'd get a rash of articles about black pathology. (By the way, Phelps has all of the characteristics I described in the previous sentence. Don't believe me? Check out his girlfriend below)

She has a tramp stamp. Case closed.

I'm so tired of this double standard. I appreciate the fact that great websites like Sports On My Mind chronicle this type of crap, but it still gets old. Do y'all understand how disheartening it is to see unfair treatment over and over again, and then have folks tell you it's all in your mind? That is what happens when you point out racial biases in the media, particularly in the sports media. Folks put their hand of their ears and scream "La, la, la..."

Are they serious?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Um, I'll Have Two Babies Please...Hold the Daddy.

I'm a little miffed, and I'm not exactly sure why.

Just checked out this article from the New York Times and it just rubbed me the wrong way. The article discusses the lifestyles of college-educated single mothers who elect not to seek out male companionship. These women are heterosexual, but they just don't want men around as they try to raise their children.

Something about that is bothering me.

The more cynical of you readers would probably say "Well, you're bothered because you see the future of families and you're not included." Or, some of you might wonder if I'm bothered because these women are asserting their independence from the societal norms that men have established. Finally, some of y'all might just think I'm a busybody, looking for something to get bent out of shape about.

Those are all interesting theories, but I don't know if they are correct.

A friend of mine once said that whenever he hears about single women adopting children he wonders when men became an optional accessory in child rearing. I'm not talking about all the women with children who want a man and who want to raise their families in a two parent household. I'm talking about the lovely ladies who figure that a man only adds stress and difficulty to a situation they are managing just fine.

Yeah, those ladies.

It's a touchy subject. Who am I to tell a woman she doesn't have the right to adopt a baby because she isn't attached to someone with a penis? (I'm focusing on women because few single men adopt children. In fact, I doubt that most agencies would allow a single man to adopt a child.) Do I honestly believe that it's impossible for a woman to raise a child, male or female, without a man there eating Cheetos and drinking beer?

I used those over-the-top stereotypes because it seems like that's what most women think men add to a relationship. While women, particularly black women, have complained for years about men abdicating their responsibilities in families, sometimes I get the feeling that a large subset of women figure men aren't really good for much more than a paycheck and occasional romp in the sack. In fact, I sometimes wonder if women think that men bring anything to the table when it comes to raising children, particularly if those children happen to be female.

As a man, particularly as a man with offspring, I find this saddening and, honestly, a little insulting. I think there is something about my role role as a parent that cannot be duplicated by a woman, no matter how hard she works. In my heart of hearts, I feel like I'm special and my children need that special something that only I, as a man, can provide. Besides, if men started claiming that women weren't really necessary to raise children, how long do you think that dog would hunt?

I guess, I am being overly sensitive. It's not like these women prevented me from marrying a wonderful woman and procreating. Hell, it's obvious that these women are only a small minority in the world considering all the thirsty females I've seen practically begging a man to live with them and raise babies. And, since it's not economically feasible for most single women to easily raise multiple children, it's unlikely that this trend will spread very far.

But, I still can't shake the feeling that something is wrong about this whole set-up. For some reason, I still feel diminished as a man by some of the things these single women have said about the role of men in families. I guess it's my own issue.

I just don't like being optional.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Interesting, But Misleading

I just found out that Charles Darwin may have hoped to end slavery with his theory on the evolution of man.

Check out this article for a larger discussion of these facts.

For some reason, I found this extremely interesting. Black people have regularly been called monkeys and apes as a way to demean them. Yet, the person who first tried to connect all humans to primates believed establishing that link would help black people get out of bondage. It's a weird footnote in history.

What I found more interesting, was a comment about this article that I found on Racialicious. Here's the comment:
A big theory of mine is that the whole “intelligent design”/natural selection debate is deeply rooted in the struggle between those who would seek to extend the white Christian hegemony and those who would seek to dismantle it through science. Unfortunately, the media always portrays it as some dense philosophical debate, without any implications for social power structures.

Hmmm, where to begin?

I'll admit that I'm no expert on intelligent design, but my basic understanding is that it's based on the idea that the world was created by an omnipotent being. Since most of y'all know I'm a Christian, with traditional Christian beliefs, y'all can probably guess that I don't have a problem with this concept. In fact, I think it's silly that so many people have decided that if you believe in evolution you can't believe in creationism or natural selection, since from what I understand about Darwin, he actually never tried to go to deep into the origins of life.

What got me, was the idea that belief in God and creationism was part of some sort of vast plot to maintain, white, Christian power.

I'm not naive. I understand how religion has been used to oppress people over the course of time. I know it's considered an opiate for the masses by many people. I get that.

What I also understand is that for most regular folks their belief in God, no matter what form it takes, is a deeply personal thing that provides some sort of succor to their lives. From what I've seen, an intense connection to God does not lead to a desire to subjugate folks. In fact, it's typically the exact opposite.

It's also somewhat insulting to be told that there is no deep philosophical meaning behind my belief in God and my belief that he created the world. It's demeaning to be told that I'm just a lemming who has been co-opted by the dominant structure. I think it's dangerous to make those kind of blanket assumptions about people.

The fact that many racists have used the Bible as a tool for control does not make the Bible inherently evil. In fact, what it does confirm is that humans have the ability to corrupt and misuse just about anything, a central tenet of the Bible.

There is no doubt that Christianity has been paired with a "white power" and "male power" ethos over the years, and its followers have often wreaked havoc on the lives of people of color, gays and women. Yet, I don't feel that's the fault of religion, but more the fault of people in power trying to exert control over the less powerful. Most people need a justification to commit wrong deeds, and if you search and twist the Bible you can find justification for almost anything.

Anyway, I thought the new information about Darwin was interesting, but I could not agree with the other point the connection between creationism and white Christian hegemony. I think the two things are connected by chance, not because of some deep flaw in the Biblical explanation of the word's origins.

It's an interesting theory, but I ain't buying it.


Raving Black Lunatic