Sunday, March 17, 2019

America's Response To Police Brutality In 26 Steps

1) Guy pulls gun on Black woman. 
2) She calls cops. 
3) Cops forcibly tackle HER and take HER to jail. 
4) Guy who pulled gun is not detained. 
5) Black people get upset.
6) White people get mad because we are upset.
7) They say, "We need to see the whole video."
8) They say, "She should have just complied."
9) Police release body cam footage. 
10) Footage shows egregious abuse of power.
11) Cop placed on desk duty. 
12) They say, "Police work is hard."
13) They say, "Sure, there are some bad apples."
15) They say, "All lives matter."
16) We say, "Yes, but clearly our lives matter less."
17) They say, "You are a hater. Why do hate so much?"
18) We say, "How is loving ourselves hateful?"
19) They say, "You are dividing the country."
20) We say, "like Black Codes and segregation?"
21) They say, "We were immigrants."
22) They say, "Our family didn't own slaves."
23) The conversation is no longer about the incident. 
24) We get mad, disappointed and then sad.
25) Systematic dehumanization goes unchecked.
26) Another brutality video goes viral: restart at step 5.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Was It Really Gayle's Fault?

I've avoided a lot of the social media conversations surrounding the R. Kelly interview. This has been difficult: I've never had a problem using my 2 cents to make it rain. With that said, at what point in the interview did Gayle King become responsible for the answers he gave? When did his tone and temperament become her responsibility?

Full disclosure: I think R. Kelly is a pedophile. I wouldn't let him near anyone in my family. He's a pedophile and comparing his brand of pedophilia to the pedophilia practiced by Woody Allen or Elvis Presley does nothing for the victims of their crimes. I understand the racial component of this story. Hollywood has protected prominent white and Jewish pedophiles for too long. There is hypocrisy at work, but that hypocrisy doesn't negate the fact that R. Kelly went on national television and had a complete meltdown.

Let's say you were accused of a heinous crime. Let's also say you were given an opportunity to go on national television and give your side of the story. Who would be responsible for you accepting the interview? Who would be responsible for making sure you had legal counsel by your side? Who would be responsible for the way you comported yourself during the interview?

I'm troubled that so many of the people "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" this interview found more fault with Gayle King than R. Kelly. Gayle did what any journalist would do: she went out and got the interview. She asked questions specific to the subject at hand. R. Kelly could have said no. He didn't have to go on television. He didn't have to make the spectacle he did. If he went on CBS and made a compelling case for his innocence the news cycle would have gone on without him. This blew up because he blew up.

There are a lot of the R. Kelly supporters who refuse to accept the fact that he created all of the problems he's facing. If he's innocent he will be given a chance to prove it. If he's guilty he will serve his time. Pinning this debacle on Gayle King does nothing constructive. There has been a collective blind eye turned to protect some of America's most beloved pedophiles, but Gayle King isn't responsible for this reality. She wasn't responsible for the sideshow that took place during her interview. She didn't create any of this and yet she's faced more heat from Black America than the man at the center of the story. We shouldn't be so quick to kick someone when they are down, but we shouldn't reflexively defend Blackness to the detriment of other Black people.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Top Three Reasons I Didn't Write About Paul Manafort's Sentence

The irony of me writing about why I'm not writing about this isn't lost on me, but here  goes.

1) My own personal experiences with our two tiered justice system has rendered me incapable of responsibly writing about this lenient sentence without using profanity: I don't use profanity in my writing; unless, I'm quoting someone and it's imperative to providing full context.

2) I'm not in the mood to educate folks who willfully ignore or defend the racial and socioeconomic discrepancies woven into our legal system: that time is always better spent helping people who are sincerely intrested in researching the data and information for themselves.

3) I'm tired of the "illogical fallacies" and "whataboutisms" that doom serious discussions about illegitimate systems of power: these social media "debates" are exercises in futility and tribalism; facts, like the truth, is no longer part of public discourse.

* Honorable Mention 

Y'all already knew how I would feel about it. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Your Blog Is Valuable!

There's more to blogging than writing. For every blogger capable of seamlessly weaving together succinct ideas at blazing speeds there are hundreds, if not thousands, slowly throwing words at a screen hoping they stick. Both groups are part of the same historical, social and cultural epoch. Our blogs, no matter how silly or serious, have the potential to be part of a larger canon. Our words confirm or refute the dominant narratives about the events defining our present and shaping the future. This is valuable. Historians and sociologist of the past would have loved to have access to all of the information we produce.

Blogging isn't about who writes the best sentences or has the biggest audience. We are conquerors. We colonized territories once dominated by traditional media, think tanks and academia. We are a snapshot into a moment; we are the reflection of our audience. Our true value isn't measured in dollars and clicks, but in perseverance and authenticity. 

Our blogs form a block of information previously unavailable. So much of the history we learned as children was shaped by people who had access to wealth and power. This doesn't necessarily mean their motives were bad, but events are perceived differently depending on circumstances. There are so many instances where the voiceless were rendered invisible by the people who thought they were telling their story. How many of the books written about America’s move from an agrarian based economy to a manufacturing based economy do you think were written by farmers needing to learn industrial skills?

If you are a blogger, THANKS! Producing content can be difficult. Blogging requires more time and energy than most of us have. This can be a thankless and fruitless endeavor. Please keep honing your craft. Every blog has value: even if you are struggling to find the value in your own work.

If you are thinking about starting a blog, stop thinking and start blogging. Don’t worry about picking the perfect platform, templates or themes: all of those details will work themselves out over time. Don’t obsess over sentence structure or grammar: those details will also work themselves out. If you have something to say: say it. Presentation is important, but not as important as content. Your audience is waiting on you.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

When Did God Forsake Us?

Throughout the course of my life I've heard Christians, especially Evangelicals, argue that God has removed the blessings and covering from America we took for granted. They say all of the violence, addiction, death and destruction we are seeing is a result of losing favor with God. Let's say, for the sake of agreement, that's all true. Where was God during the genocide of this continent's original inhabitants, chattel slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow, misogynistic treatment of women and segregation?

Did God sanction those atrocities? Did a loving God turn a blind eye to the undeserved suffering of those people? Did God bless and cover those responsible for the crimes against their humanity?

When did God turn his back on America? What was the final straw? I have questions.

These aren't questions about Theodicy, bad things happen to good people all the time and we are left wondering why God allows the innocent to be victimized. These are questions about a nationalist ideology that ignores history and prioritizes the culture wars. Too many Christians refuse to address these kinds of questions. Did God bless the dehumanizing and barbaric behavior that was a fundamental part of the formation of this nation?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Something I wish I understood in My Teens


Duh! This should be obvious, but the truth is: a lot of us figure this out too late. We live in a society that applauds every effort and accomplishment of children, but at some point the cheering stops. The overwhelming majority of our lives are lived without people on the sidelines rooting us on. That's fine as long as we remember to cheer for ourselves.

We are the only ones responsible for setting and accomplishing our goals. All of us have had doors open and close right in front of us. Some of those doors closed because we were too afraid to walk through them. It's up to us to find the confidence necessary to meet our potential. It's better to fail miserably at something outside of your comfort zone than to live the rest of your life looking back and wondering what if.

This advice is cliche, but it rings true. Find yourself! Accept yourself! Love yourself! Believe in yourself! Keep pushing! Fail trying! Never fail the same way twice! Die living!

Your successes all start with a healthy relationship with yourself. Keep Grinding!