Friday, January 25, 2019

Cloudy with a Chance of Negroes



Jeremy Kappell finally blocked me. I’ve been sending him Martin Luther King speeches that flesh out the shallow Martin Luther King memes he’s been posting since he was fired for (accidentally) calling him a “coon” on live television. I’ve also been sending him essays from James Baldwin and Angela Davis. I sent him links to books like “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”. I sent him a few articles that explicitly articulated how lazy and boring it is to continue to depict Martin Luther King as some sort of saintly figure that everyone loved, when the complete opposite was the case. I highly doubt he paid attention to any of that information.

It seems the breaking straw was when I responded to him (finally) meeting with a prominent black person in the community, and his takeaway was that she was "over-sensitive" to racism and and blind to "REAL" racism. Because what the world needs is another oblivious white man to tell black folks how and when to react to HIS definition of racism.

His actions spoke to that. He did everything that every white person does when caught doing something egregiously racist, accident or not. So here is a list of things you should NOT do, should you find yourself in a pickle because you transposed the first letters of “Neil Rigger”:
  1. DO NOT claim that the people who heard/saw you do the racist thing didn’t hear/see what they heard/saw. We are not idiots, and we can detect your gaslighting a mile away. DO learn how what you did is problematic, and own that.
  2. DO NOT make your apology about you and how you are hurting. We don’t give a fuck. Also, DO NOT use terms like “if I hurt you”. The second you put “if” in an apology, you make your apology conditional, and you cast doubt on the people to whom you owe an apology. DO tell the people affected by your words that you are sorry.
  3. DO NOT expect things to go back to “normal” just because you apologized. If you break a vase, you may be able to glue it back together, but people will still see the cracks. Even if someone forgives you, no one owes you shit. DO make strides to be better THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS.
  4. DO NOT try to get “forgiveness” from people outside the community you hurt. It does not matter how famous representatives of a minority group you got on “your side”. Minorities are not a hive mind, and their opinions are based on what you gave them to ponder. So one or two of their opinions mean nothing to what you did. DO seek out people IN your community and see what you can do to be better.
  5. DO NOT think that boasting about a bunch of interactions with the minority group you slighted is “building bridges”. This is what I call “pulling a Lonsberry”. Bob Lonsberry regularly finds a negro with whom to take a selfie. Light negroes, dark negroes, faux negroes, real negroes, rich negroes, poor negroes, house negroes, field negores. All negroes he can. That doesn’t erase the horrible things he has said about Puerto Ricans, or the condescending tone he uses to talk about black folks, or the pictures of urban squalor that he takes during his “runs”, ot the fact that HE CALLED A BLACK MAYOR AN ORANGUTAN. It speaks volumes to what you think of people that you believe they would fall for such a vapid action. We are not props for your redemption tour. DO engage in discussions with people, and learn about what they need and how you can help.
  6. DO NOT think you have ANY business telling a member of a minority group what “real oppression” is. You have their oppression, so you have no business speaking on it. Perhaps hearing about the myriad of ways someone experiences racism/sexism/homophobia/ableism is painful to your delicate ears. Good. It is 100x more painful to experience it day to day than it is for you to hear it. Sometimes a small thing like someone screaming “nigger” at you will snowball into you on the ground with a bruised abdomen and a gun to you head. You never know. But listen. You might learn something. Railing about “political correctness” inevitably makes you look like an asshole who doesn’t care. Try respecting what someone tells you.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

The SNITCH Act: for White Folks Who Call Cops on Black Folks Minding Their Damn Business

Image courtesy of Afropunk.com
I am tired, y’all…Damn near every week, I hear a story about police who interrupted a black person (or any other shade of brown) from doing something mundane, be it waiting in a coffee shop or sitting in a park. The Starbucks incident was not an anomaly.
A pair of Native American brothers were questioned on a Colorado State University tour because they were too quiet. Talking was not required for this tour, and if you’ve ever been on a college tour, you usually want to keep quiet so that you can LISTEN TO THE TOUR GUIDE. It wasn’t the tour guide who called the cops; it was a parent of someone on the tour guide. It’s bad enough that the university was likely built on the graves of someone’s ancestors, but to have their legitimacy question for being polite? What the hell?
This week, a black Yale grad student was questioned in her own dorm because she was sleeping in a common study area. Before anyone claims that she should have slept in her room, and this would have been avoided, 1.) fuck you, and 2.) College kids live on naps. They sleep wherever they can whenever they can. The library, the dark corner of the cafeteria, under a work bench in the engineering building, in the foyer of the science building; EVERY part of a campus is fair game. The black woman who was studying in the common room and took a quick nap did what every other college student does. How dare she be human???
One woman in Oakland had the caucasity to not only harass a group of black people barbecuing in the park, but when the police didn’t come for 2 hours (because barbecuing while black is NOT a crime), she made up a story of how THEY were harassing HER, and then when she found a cop, she started crying on command.
These are examples of inconvenience. I could go on with my personal experiences of being “suspicious” while enoying life. A brother can’t even walk his baby in a stroller in peace. Sometimes these calls end in death, like when a mentally ill but harmless black staple of a Brooklyn neighborhood was gunned down because a white person thought the shower head he was carrying was a gun. I guarantee that there will be no punishment for the officer OR the person who called.
And that is the problem. Part of the tensions between police and people of color are caused by people calling the cops when they are not needed. No one likes their schedule interrupted for bullshit, even if their schedule is reading a book in their own car. It wouldn’t be a big deal if white folks were ecumenical with their nervousness and called the police on white folks who were minding their goddamn business as well. I straight up saw a bunch of white kids skateboard INSIDE a store, past a sign that explicitly said, “no skateboards or bikes”, but no one lifted a finger, and the shop owner was too busy eyeing me looking at a shirt, which is what you are supposed to do when shopping for shirts. It wouldn’t be a big deal if our lives were not in jeopardy with these calls, and the misjudgment of the slightest movement, like reaching for our identification, could be the last thing we ever do.
For this reason, there needs to be a punishment system for white folks who call the police on us for living. We need to push for legislation that. With much thanks to a friend for the name, I propose the “Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Heather”, or the SNITCH Act, for short. People who violate the SNITCH Act would be severly punished. But since fining and jailing people never goes over well, and since Americans HATE apologizing, why not have a tiered system that will hit these SNITCHers where it hurts?
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 0 TO 3 HOURS: White caller is not allowed to talk about The Wire or Breaking Bad for a week.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 4–7 HOURS: Previous punishment, and no Taylor Swift for one month.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 7–10 HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must watch both the original “Roots” and the 2016 remake.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 11+ HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must delete pictures of them in Africa, Asia, and South America with little brown kids.
IF POC IS HANDCUFFED: All previous punishments, and caller must surrender all Sriracha from home and office.
IF POC IS ARRESTED: All previous punishments, and caller is banned from purchasing avocado products for a year.
IF POC IS KILLED: All previous punishments, and caller must wear a locket with a picture of the person for whose death they are indirectly responsible for the rest of their lives. Also, no more brunch.
I should call my local lawmaker right now. We need to get the SNITCH Act pushed through and signed. However, I’m typing this and laughing quietly to myself, so I should expect someone to suspect me of robbing this coffee shop any second now. Until then, Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Heather.
Stop SNITCHing.

Eric, You Ignorant Slut

Eric Schneiderman didn’t have to be an abuser. He did that all on his own.

Schneiderman, the NYS attorney general who filed cases against trump regarding sexual allegations and misappropriating funds, resigned after several women came forth with allegations of their own. They all claimed that Schneiderman beat, hit, or slapped them, not at work, but during sex. They all claimed it came from out of nowhere. What the unholy hell, Schneiderman?

It sounds like Schneiderman has a kink. He likes a little rough play. It’s a kink. Kinks are fine. Nobody wants to admit it, but a LOT of people have a kink of some sort. That Schneiderman’s was rough play is not a big deal. What IS a big deal, is that he DIDN’T TELL HIS PARTNERS before engaging in his kink. So now he is out of a job, because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. No one should feel bad for him.

We SHOULD feel bad for the kink community. Actions like Schneiderman’s are why the “kink community” is portrayed as a morally bankrupt group of people who need to create their own secret networks and sometimes use aliases in searching for like-minded people. Sexually conservative people will point this out as an example of why people should be punished for having a quirky thing they like to do during sex, and why sex should ONLY be for procreation, and anyone who veers from that goal deserves all the physical and social punishment that they may receive should it be exposed that they are into a quirky thing. The irony is that it is a guarantee that those conservative soap boxers are also the ones with “quirky things”. Regardless, the kink community will be demonized and shamed some more.

The problem is that this could have been easily resolved, and it would not have been a big deal, had Schneiderman just told the women he hit in bed that he likes to do that. If they were up for it, they would have gone with him. If not, then they could have finished their duck a l’orange and go their separate ways. His statement was trash, as he didn’t even acknowledge that what he did was wrong. “In the privacy of intimate relationships”, he said, “I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity…I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

But he DID! Those women consented to sex, not getting hit during sex. Because of that, he crossed a line, and he IS an abuser. I don’t know why men have such a hard time understanding consent. They either think it is an impossible cryptex, or they think that once “yes” is said once that it’s a golden ticket to ALL parts of the Chocolate Factory. Consent is neither, and all you have to do is talk to someone to know that. America is so sexually repressed that we can’t even talk about sex openly to discuss this. Sex education needs to be done in and out of schools, and it need to be more than teachers saying, “Wait until marriage or you’re a slut…except you, Chad; you’re the man”, or parents saying, “IDK, just wrap it up; I don’t wanna be a granddad early”, or just saying nothing. ADULTS need sex education classes to unlearn all the bullshit they were taught when they were kids. I’ll bet all types of assaults would go down if this country were more open about sexuality. It is not enough to point someone to Google to learn. Teenagers and adults (especially cishet men) need to sit in a class and learn/re-learn sex and sexuality, or things like this will keep happening.

Schneiderman had consent to have sex, and all he had to do was ask, “Hey, are you into rough shit, like slapping?”, and he would still have a job. Now he is jobless, an abuser (at best), and in not understanding how consent works, he pretty much put kink on trial. Again.
Eric, you ignorant slut.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Everyone Is Assault-Adjacent

Dammit…I thought Cosby Showed my arm. Today I learned that I patronized a business that harbors/is run by an “alleged” sexual predator. In cases like these, I my knee jerk reaction is to junk the product and get a replacement one, if any at all. However, this time the product is a TATTOO, and I can’t get rid of my forearm. I need it for activities.

I did not get my ink done not by the “alleged” assailant, but by an artist in his employ. Still, my heart sank. My money indirectly went into the pockets of someone who “allegedly” perpetuates the very type of behavior I’ve been rallying against for nearly 20 years. I told other people to go to that shop! I told them to go to my artist, but what if she wasn’t there, and they had to deal with him? How many women to whom I talked did I send into a lion’s den? The women who WERE inked by him probably have some very mixed feelings right now, and hopefully some men with some humanity do as well.

The “good” news is that despite the excessive amounts of victim-blaming the victim who spoke out has received by some “men” (And A LOT OF WOMEN! WTF!), the word is out on this tattoo shop, and I doubt that many decent people in town will bother to patronize his business, especially since her courage to speak out has inspired others to give reviews with their accounts of his unwanted behavior with them. Just as good news, the artist who did my work has left that little shop of horrors, and she will set roots in a new location and flourish even more. I can’t say it’s all a happy ending, because I cannot speak for the dozens of people with whom this guy was verbally and physically inappropriate, but at least moves are being made.
The only problem is, will there be a next time? The answer is yes. If you live in the United States of America, you are either assault-adjacent, or you are in denial about being assault-adjacent. Someone you know has been assaulted whether you know it or not. Someone with whom you share witty banter while getting your coffee may have been an assaulter. That is because America is so busy pointing out how dangerous it is for women in brown countries that it ignores the fact that is just as dangerous as hell here.

All of our histories and tangible items have the potential to have a dark side to them. What we do with that knowledge is on us. I still love what a member of that shop placed on my arm. It is a little bit easier since she has since left the shop, but even if the “alleged” assailant worked on me, the reason and story behind WHY I designed my piece and committed it to permanent scars on my body is not diminished. I’m not patronizing that shop anymore, however. Like the Cosby Show, the crimes of the real Cosby don’t diminish the value of the story of the Huxtables, but we still need to remember that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist, which is why the Cosby Show is not in syndication anymore. Nothing is simple anymore. I know there is an idea among some that since we live in a capitalist society that economic activism is pointless. That is just an excuse to be lazy. If you can decide to not patronize a shop because the clerk looked at you funny, you can definitely not patronize one because the owner assaults his female customers, or because corporate donates its money to hate groups, or because you’re tired of its racially insensitive ad campaigns. Maybe your one decision will not make a difference, but at least you can sleep at night.
As for the local shop itself, if it goes down because of this, then it goes down. Anyone who decries the social action taken by the victims as trying to shut down a guy’s livelihood, just keep in mind that this all could have been avoided by the guy NOT “allegedly” ASSAULTING ANYONE. Good luck to the artist who left the lion’s den.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#KillmongerWasWrong #FightMe


Ryan Coogler is a damn genius. I fell into a hotep trap watching Black Panther. Some of y’all have been saying #KillmongerWasRight, been changing your online names to #Killmonger4Ever, identifying with his struggle for greatness against all odds.

That’s cool, but just like in the comics, Killmonger was wrong as fuck. In both versions, he thought he was OWED the throne due to jilted feelings and a family spat. He ain’t shit! I totally get the perspective in the movies, though. He wanted to disseminate the technology and knowledge of Wakanda to the African Diaspora. They had suffered so much out of Africa for years that they need relief. The added mass murder is not a great bonus though.

We should have known Killmonger wasn’t right. Besides the all the murders, his origin story was basically that his father set him down and told him, “We wuz KANGS!” Nothing positive could have come from fake wokeness. You’re kaping for Killmonger now, but wait until he starts going off on a tangent about how garlic is poison or toothpaste is mind control or women’s periods are not natural. And I’ll BET you that nigga is a flat-earther.

And then he died saying some hotep shit. Something like, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.” Motherfucker, you are from EAST Africa! And they were thrown from the boats, and your ass is half Wakandan! Shut yo ass up and die!

Anyway, Killmonger was not right. NAKIA was. She left Wakanda because she was frustrated with the lack of helping others. She was out in those streets HELPING the indigent instead of training to kill. Nakia wanted to bring Wakanda to the world, not with a bomb, but with an open hand. It was ALWAYS Nakia. We wuz blind!

That’s okay, though. We all make mistakes, and I’m sorry. Historically, we have been listening to the loudest over the wisest, and look where that got us. Next time, just remember: Listen to black women.

#NakiaWasRight

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