Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Racing For Relations

President Obama said in an interview recently that race relations have gotten better under him. I nearly choked on my coffee with the spittake that I did. I almost died. Thanks, Obama.

Obama came out of his mouth to say that race relations are BETTER? Is he insane??? I have seen more blatantly racist incidents happen in the last 6 years than in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Shooting unarmed brown people is the new planking. I’ve been profiled by police more in the last 6 years than I was when I was 15, for doing the same insidious looking thing to raise suspicion that I did then: walking.

I thought about how we got to this place. Think back to 9/11. The day after those planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, violence by citizens against anyone who “looked Arab” went up. There were cases everywhere, and the victims were usually NOT from Saudi Arabia (most of the perpetrators’ home country), and sometimes not even Arab or Muslim. They were American, Persian, and Indian, Christian Sikh. We were told to be alert and aware of suspicious activity. That was translated by most (including government agencies) to mean, “If they ‘look Arab’, keep an eye on them”. This laid the groundwork to be again be wary of anyone who didn’t look like he came from Pleasantville. Stop & Frisk policies had already been happening, but back then, it was call “Tuesday”...honestly, any day. The most egregious reason for suspicion of a person was that he was brown and walking somewhere. Sometimes, he was driving. I mean, how could he have afforded that car? He HAD to have been up to something.

Now we’re up to the last 6 years, there have been dozens of incidents where unarmed African Americans (and some Africans) have been shot by either police officers suspecting them of wrongdoing, or by citizens who were “just defending themselves” against perceived threats, because bottles of iced tea and Skittles and loud music are sure signs of imminent danger. Conversely, white men who were more armed (machine guns) than their black counterparts in similar situations were either detained without having been shot, or they got off free.

All the while, media outlets, mostly Fox News, whitesplain this disparity by spouting crime statistics to show that blacks commit more crime than whites. They show racial makeup of the prison population compared to the about of blacks in American society, the amount of black arrests for certain crimes, the incredulous that we don’t talk about “black on black crime”, the violent lyrics in “black” music, etc. They then say, “Well we SHOULD be afraid of black males, based on this data. That’s not racist; it’s common sense!” Then the same media outlets ask why there is such little racial diversity in the Republican Party, and why the Democratic Party seems to have the black and brown vote on lockdown. They cannot figure out why it has been like this for so long, when some of their policies MAY be appealing to all people regardless of race/ethnicity. They then accuse Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Eric Holder or Barack Obama of race baiting.

Here is the real answer, though: If my neighbour spent most of his day belittling me, telling everyone I’m a dangerous demon-on-earth who might cut you when you least expect it, then why would I want to accept an invite to his house party? Tweak crime stats without explaining them, like the fact that there are more blacks in prison because drug laws were lopsided for possession of derivatives of certain drug over their more potent form sent more blacks to jail. Leave out the fact that white defendants tend to either get charges dropped or better plea deals for the same crimes. Never mention MURDER BALLADS put to lyric country singers’ fantasies of torturing and killing women, long before rap music got really hood. We should more be afraid of white men in cowboy boots with acoustic guitars! Omit the fact that not many people actually actually get behind Jesse Jackson or AL Sharpton when they truly chase windmills, but every media outlet goes to them when something racial happens, as though they are the black popes to whom white people must pay penance when someone mishears someone saying “niggardly”. Don’t mention that Eric Holder is doing what he is CONSTITUTIONALLY OBLIGATED to do, and that Obama has been disappointingly quiet on race relations unless there is a beer involved. Do all these things, and then you expect us to get on your bandwagon? I don’t think so. It also doesn’t help that your majority whip spoke at a white supremacist mixer, and lauded David Duke. This is the same reason most single women don’t get on board. You cannot keep telling a woman that she’s a whore because she wants access to birth control, or doesn’t want a court involved in her basic healthcare, or because she is wearing a thin shirt or is blonde or has large natural breasts or wants to work for equal pay, and then be incredulous that she is not ok with you. Bye, Felipe.

Presently, we see a myriad of stories about “hood” parties by white fraternities with dude-bros in brownface, unarmed black teenagers getting shot for playing their music too loud or being angry because someone is following them while they’re trying to go home, or black men being stopped while walking with their hands in their pockets on a cold day because someone called 911 to report that a black man was walking around with his hands in his pocket, and we think that things are getting worse. They are not, though. We just have the Internet now, and more people on all sides are recording what has been happening for years...except the New Orleans Police. For some reason, their camera shut off when something suspect happens.

Another thing we see now is people carrying this video and photo evidence and taking to the streets NON-VIOLENTLY to protest unfair treatment. As I have stated before, the people who give in to violent acts are idiots. Sadly, since the rhetoric in new outlets only allow for a “you’re with us or against us” view, people make the assumption that if one is against police brutality, then one is against the police. This ignores that all the protesters actually COOPERATE with their local police departments to carve out marching routes and venues for demonstration. There is nothing in human society that is strictly 1 or 0. I love law enforcement, but I don’t like being suspected of having stolen my own tablet when I’m reading it outside. This is a problem, and does not diminish the fact that we need good cops on the street. The position that Patrick Lynch and NYPD unions have taken to accuse de Blasio of being against them when he pointed out flaws in their policing is like if I submitted a test to my professor, and when she pointed out that I got a few questions wrong, I screamed, “You’re trying to make me look like a failure! I turn my back on you!” If we all acted like this in school, we would all be 4.0 honour students. We would also be complete morons, because we never learned to remedy our mistakes. The KKK is raising funds to support Darren Wilson. Does that mean all police are in the KKK? This isn’t 1950’s Alabama, so no. The jump to that conclusion would be idiotic.

Back to Obama’s assessment: are race relations really better? Well, the divide is definitely still there, and the incidents that prove it are still happening, now at least we have more documented proof. With this documented proof, we definitely can see who is truly racist and who just doesn’t know better. I have cleared out so many friends thanks to social media! In this case, yes, race relations ARE better, because pretty much everything is on the table and we know where we all stand. The issues that cause the divides, including lopsided media outlets and idiotic 1/0 trains of thought, are still here, though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No One Is Igging Azalea

Such a shame they're enemies. They have the same
taste in clothes!
An odd byproduct of the controversy over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (and John Howard and Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin, etc.) and susbsequent non-indictments is a good ol’ fashioned hip-hop beef: Azealia Banks vs. Iggy Azalea, with special guests Anonymous and Q-Tip...and (sigh) T.I.

The short story (which is still long) is that in the midst of all the #BlackLivesMatter protests, Ms. Banks called out Igloo Australia Iggy Azalea for not speaking up about issues facing the black community, like the unfair penal code and police mistreatment, while appropriating black culture for her personal gain. This got a rather flippant response from Azalea, who basically said, “Well I just saw this since I was in dance practise, but somebody needs to get a life!” Banks then gave an emotional interview on Hot 97 expounding on her point that she feels that Iggy Azalea, as well as other white artists, has mined black culture, namely hip-hop, and given nothing back. Azalea responded to that by calling Banks a racist whiner saying she’d be successful once she grew up. This prompted Anonymous to go #GamerGate on Azalea and threaten to release a sex tape of her if she didn’t apologise to Azealia Banks, because we all know slut-shaming solves EVERYTHING.

AN ASIDE: Before we delve too deeply into the main subject, one should also remember that Azealia Banks has a long history of picking fights, many times unprovoked, with MANY artists. This is not to dismiss anything that she said, but if next week she starts a beef with Kreayshawn or Diplo...again, this will be old news very quickly.

Q-Tip then actually stepped in and gave a 40-Tweet explanation of the history of hip-hop, from whence it came, and where it is; it is rebel music. It is a political movement off the heels of still-disfranchised vets and emergers from the Jim Crow South. It’s music for EVERYBODY, but one cannot forget its roots and why some may resent its manipulation for just profit. He wasn’t even saying that this is what Iggy Azalea was doing, but he wanted to set the record straight. Seriously, it would bring a tear to your eye. He won the internet that day. It ended the argument.

...But then (sigh) T.I. had to chime in, with an unnecessary Tweet parade of his own. It was about as useful to the conversation as making a prequel or sequel to “Dumb and Dumber” was. Finally, Iggy Azalea responded to Q-Tip’s history lesson, calling it patronising and saying she DID do her homework, and then told everyone to get off Twitter and get a life and celebrate the Holidays...and then sent another Tweet.

ANOTHER ASIDE: Anyone who was a 23 year old who went from being homeless freshman to an engineering baccalaureate within 5 years and got a job straight out of college, only to be talked to by his older peers as if he doesn’t know how to do basic math may have felt insultingly partonised. If Iggy Azalea really DID do her homework and work hard te 8 years she was in the States to get where she was, I can understand her getting lesson from Q-Tip as partonising. BUT, seriously, dude. It’s Tip.

This is neither the first controversy over Iggy Azalea, an Australian white girl who is dominating popular hip-hop right now, nor will it be the last. Whether one thinks she deserves the shower of praises she’s getting, mostly from other white critics, is up to the listener. There must be at least 20 articles out there referencing her and the white appropriation of hip-hop, a genre and culture created by blacks, but profited from by mostly white record executives. The ire seems to have grown this last quarter of the year, but I have definitely seen many comparisons to her and Christopher Columbus, and other invaders and pillagers of lands not their own.  I get it. It can be frustrating to work twice as hard at your job, and see someone else soar to success by seemingly putting in half the work. I would wager it is as if you are a tailor spending half a year making a suit, and then some big booty white girl from Australia walks in and tries on the suit, and a window shopper peers in the window and exclaims, “Oh my God, that is the BEST suit I’ve ever seen! That big booty white girl really knows how to sew!”, all while you are sitting there still holding the needle and thread in hand.

Here’s my question though: when HAVEN’T white people in America appropriated black culture? Cultural appropriation has been an American tradition since Americans appropriated black PEOPLE so that they could build their economy and pre-appropriate the lazy stereotype they later gave black people. So a white person from a country once in the English Empire came to a land and adopted and profited from a brown people’s culture without truly showing appreciation. How is this new from the last 300 years? I’m surprised she didn’t sneeze on some blankets and give them to some people living in the Seneca nation. Most of our modern popular music has roots in appropriated black culture. Do you like Rock and Roll? Yes? Well, you’re welcome. Were it not for the creeping crossovers in the 50’s and 60’s, Your Weekends would have NO Vampires in them. There would be NO Fighting of Foo. Your Zeppelins would be made of a less heavy metal than Led. You would not second-guess yourself when spelling “Beetle”. Your Lo would not be Dipped. And The only Madonna you would know is the one who birthed a magic sky baby that made people in the South hate blacks and people in the midwest hate gay people.

Granted, most of these rock artists pay at minimum lip service to their pigmented predecessors, but there will always be one or two yutzes who don’t. These are the ones who will lick the froth off of your cappuccino and announce, “That was good! I’m done!”, leaving you a little bit bitter. They’re the two-pump wonders of music, and for the most part, they won’t last. Does anybody really remember Snow or Vanilla Ice? I didn’t think so. I don’t like any of Iggy Azalea’s music, but this negative freakout over her is drawing attention away from actual callous appropriation, like when Vogue announced that “big butts are in now”, thanks to “pioneer” Jennifer Lopez, ignoring our 200,000 years of humans with booties and their previous disparaging of darker models who had moderately shapely posteriors, or when Elle announced that Timberland boots, those shoes that EVERY kid from the hood wore to school from 1990 to NOW, are officially fashionable. Assuming she actually DID her homework and is just not so talented, Iggy is just making mediocre music. Elle and Vogue editors are truly culturally and egregiously tone deaf. That is the thing about which we should get mad. Their “discovery” of things that we’ve been doing for years and they’ve been dismissing as “thuggish” or “ghetto” for years but then poaching those things they feel are suddenly okay speaks volumes to the way that society has treated brown people in this country: they’re gross, but OOH! Can you sing that again? I want to imitate it! But they’re still gross, but OOH! gimme that drum! But they’re still gross...and so on...

I hate to break it to you, but two of the best hip-hop artists ARE white: El-P and Aesop Rock.  These are artists who not only appreciate their place and acknowledge what came before them, they collaborate with their idols and peers. Have you heard Run The Jewels or Hail Mary Mallon? El-P has produced so many of my favourite hip-hop artists, I’m almost disappointed he didn’t name himself White RZA (WZA?). And Aesop Rock wins, every time. His oldest music rings as true and eloquent as his newest. Listening to him make me want to get a PhD, just so that I can keep up. And if you want to talk white female artists, let’s talk about Dessa. Let’s talk about Princess Superstar. Let’s talk Lady Sovereign with her Patwa freestyling. Yes, there’s plenty of white “infiltration” of hip-hop, but it is mostly sonically pleasing, and the stuff that isn’t or sounds shallow eventually does what every shallow pool does: it evaporates, and people just look at it and say, “Ew, look out for that mud.”

The arguments about Iggy Azalea remind me of the arguments about Barack Obama. With Obama, people saying he’s a ruthless Islamo-fascist dictator who is secretly usurping power through confiscating our automatic Jesus guns are the same ones saying he’s an aloof, big-eared, monkey boy who spends most of his time playing golf and eating watermelon. With Iggy, she’s either an European invader who deviously infiltrated and usurped southern style hip-hop and plumped up her butt to get all the money and poop on all the people making REAL music, or she’s a vapid, ecstasy-addled 50-feet tall blond woman carelessly skipping through terrified streets of the music industry, completely unaware of the damage she is doing to foundation and monuments of hip-hop culture.

So we can keep making the claim that Iggy Azalea is the hip-hop anti-christ (Anti-Bambata?) who will mine hip-hop like it’s a trove of blood diamonds, or when another article about her insidiousness and/or shallowness arises, and we can put on our headphones, pump some #RTJ2, and know that everything is going to be all right. I think I’m going to visit the Bestiary.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ismaaiyl Brinsley and the Tale of Here We Go Again

Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a motherfucker. I think we can all agree on that. He’s the “man” who shot two NYPD police officers. The patrol men, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were working overtime, working on an anti-terrorism drill when they were shot at point blank range in their squad car. They had families. He then fled the scene and turned the gun on himself. Seriously, Brinsley was a motherfucker.

What is going to happen next is that the #IAmDarrenWilson police “supporters” will blame the #BlackLivesMatter protesters for advocating this murder of two officers. Some police unions will join in the chorus, and everything that the protesters did to get people to understand that they were raising their voices against police BRUTALITY, not the police, will be undermined. Any upcoming protests will be very tense. Fox news is going to get very racist...actually, that is not a new thing...This, after even Congress took things seriously, and passed a bill that would help investigate all police related shootings. CONGRESS, the most inefficient of the three inefficient branches of our modern government did something! Motherfucking Brinsley...

Let’s try to not go down the road we seem to always travel in situations like this happens. Let’s not go to our usual mode of blaming Obama and Holder, claiming that they are stoking all this racial tension by bringing it up. Obama has been unsatisfyingly silent on most of these issues, and when he does speak, no matter what it is, it is either not enough or too much, depending on whether your favourite news source is MSNBC or Fox. Holder has been initiating investigations to see if there is a disparity in doling out justice, which is WHAT HIS JOBS IS. He is the Attorney General. If a DA investigates a case and discovers that a person has a stash of severed human heads, we don’t say that the DA is causing trouble by discovering that someone has the heads. We arrest that dude and applaud the DA.

Let’s not demand that leaders of the protesters speak out against Brinsley’s actions. That is insulting. We do this to Muslims in America all the time. The second a terrorist attack happens that was perpetrated by someone saying he’s Muslim, someone with a microphone and a camera demands that a Muslim cleric speak out against the attack, as if all Muslims can be painted with the same brush. Usually the idiot with the microphone never met a Muslim. This apologising for an entire race or religion or movement is dehumanising. No one demands that John McCain apologise for all Republicans whenever Louie Gomert opens his mouth. Contrary to popular belief, the #BlackLivesMatter protesters don’t want a random police chief to just apologise for the actions of a few. They want overall reform.

Let’s stop pretending that we are 1/0 entities. Throughout the year, the situation in America has been described in simple logic coding: IF person=black; THEN person=#BlackLivesMatter, ALSO person=anti-police AND anti-white AND secret criminal. IF person=white, THEN person=#IAmDarrenWilson, ALSO pro-police AND racist AND law-abiding citizen. IF person=believes any of this, THEN person=simplistic moron, ALSO person=needs to shut the hell up. Nothing is that black and white. Not all protesters are black “victims”, and not all policemen are white “oppressors”. This is exemplified in that the two policemen who were killed WERE NOT BLACK OR WHITE. Humans are Venn diagrams, not Boolean gates. Extreme people on either side of this movement want to paint the other side with one large brush.

Let us remember that ALL movements have extremist outliers who don’t represent the heart of the group, but manipulate their message in order to do terrible things. Remember how Christianity was manipulated to justify slavery? Does that mean that all Christians are bigots who are too lazy to do their own work? No. Also, let’s not lump the peaceful protesters in with this extremist schmuck. If we ARE going to bring up extremists, let’s lump Ismaaiyl Brinsley with other extremists who killed or injured cops: Jared and Amanda Miller, Dennis Marx, Byron Williams, Richard Poplawski, and Jerry and Joseph Kane. These are people connected to right-wing and Tea Party groups. They got less press, and they were usually viewed as “lone wolves”, not products of the movements they claimed to represent, as the NYPD police unions seem to want to do with Brinsley and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It seems a little bit odd that one would blame nonviolent protesters for the violent acts of one person against two patrolmen, yet not blame a movement known for its love of assault rifles and anti-government rhetoric for the murders and maimings of multiple people.

Let’s not shrug off this murder as chickens coming to roost. Specifically, Let’s not listen The Game and what comes out of The Mouth. The fact is that most of us want to have a good, pleasantville style relationship with their local law enforcement that others in the community enjoy. It can be done. It has been done. First, we need to acknowledge the long history of distrust due to legalised discrimination that festered up to the 20th Century. Blacks are 15% of the population yet are nearly 50% of the prison population. This is not because blacks commit more crimes. It is because blacks are punished more for the same non-violent crimes than whites, and sentencing for all crimes are closer to the maximum sentence for blacks than whites. In developing laws, the penal code leans towards punishing blacks more than whites. For example, look at the way the laws were crafted for possessing crack compared to cocaine, the more potent drug. Applauding the death of police officers, the people who are enforcing the laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law, does not resolve the main issues. So sentiments like The Game’s are The Inappropriate and The Totally Missing The Point.

I have friends in law enforcement, and I know that they are not programmed to assume I’m a suspect, or else I would not be friends with them. I know that most police aren’t inherently racist, but I do know that assumptions about me without knowing me prompt incidents like them stopping me when I’m walking in my own neighbourhood to question from whence I got my own tablet. These negative assumptions are why more unarmed blacks are killed by police while white men with machine guns seem to be able to be taken down and arrested with less bloodshed. The deaths of two policemen, who were just doing their jobs and working overtime to do it, just derailed the opportunity to discuss this disparity in any civil way, and drove the wedge further between law enforcement and the communities it is charged to protect.

Seriously...Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a motherfucker.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Interview: A Free Speech Refresher

My planned selected movie for my annual Jewish Christmas1 has been pulled from theatres and essentially cancelled. “The Interview”, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, triggered a threat of war, a SUPER hack of Sony, and finally, the pulling of the movie from its debut everywhere. That is too bad. It looks like it would have been a good movie...while stoned beyond recognition.

A lot of people are saying that Sony is cow towing to an oppressive regime and that this is a blow for free speech in America. I get it. It is frustrating that a company would spend all that time and money to make a product, advertise it profusely, and now no one in the public will be allowed to see it, all because they got a few threats from agents of a country known for hyperbolic threats. This is the type of disappointment we felt in 1992 about Pepsi Clear, except the problem there was that they actually distributed it. The obligatory Blaming of Obama has even commenced.

Let’s be honest, though; was this movie some groundbreaking exposé about western countries who secretly do business with North Korea, violating their own trade bans, or a documentary of egregious crimes that the country commits against its own people? No. It was going to be “Pineapple Express” with more Asian people. “This Is the End” was Pineapple Express with all of their friends and well-endowed Satan. ALL of their movies are “Pineapple Express” with special guest stars and some absurdity. We all know this. Don’t get me wrong; I like their movies, but it is definitely NOT for their cerebral gravitas. Sometimes you just want to veg out to a barrage of drug and dick jokes with a smattering of borderline homoerotic situational comedy. You know what I’m talking about. Man shit.

Is this an assault on free speech? Let’s think about this: In the United States, you are free to express yourself in any way you like, so long as you do not inhibit others’ rights in the process. the thing is, you can say whatever you want, but that also means that others can say whatever they want about you. If I say, “Trevor is a schmuck. Fuck Trevor2”, I cannot infringe on Trevor’s right to respond, “No, fuck you, dude. I don’t even exist!”, and when Trevor says this, he is not oppressing me. I would like some of the people harping about free speech and censorship go to some countries where expressing yourself WILL land you in state-ordered prison or death, just so that they can see firsthand what real censorship and stifling of public voice is. Also, Free speech means that I have the right to NOT express myself if I do not wish to do so. Even if I think that Trevor is a schmuck, not saying it out loud does not necessarily mean that I’m “self-censoring”. Sony Pictures chose this option. Also, I’m all for the US’s 1st Amendment rights being preserved, but let’s not forget that Sony is a JAPANESE COMPANY, whose headquarters is in JAPAN. As much as we’ve been trying to “spread our freedom” to other countries, Japan is still an autonomous entity that does not fall under the US constitution, which leads me to my next point…

We here in the United States may not be in range of their missiles and weapons, but guess who most likely is: Japan, which is where Sony was born. So is South Korea, which is a US ally. We have no idea what intelligence law enforcement and Sony itself had about any threats. Maybe a terrorist attack was unlikely. It’s not like this is a Batman premiere, and there’s a white dude with a machine gun3 waiting for a signal from Kim Jong Un. Maybe North Korea has a nuclear warhead. So it is easy to yell and scream about how non-threatening North Korea is when we’re over 10,000 miles away from it, well out of their missile range, and unaware of the full information about the threats they sent out.

It somewhat stinks that “The Interview” was pulled, but was the decision an affront on free speech? I don’t think so. It was definitely an exercise in free speech, and we are not going to know how much Sony and intelligence knew about credible threats. Maybe they erred on the side of caution for a reason. As much as our media likes to depict North Korea as a Keystone Cops-like ineptocracy with mule-driven missiles made of bottle rockets and duct tape, there is a reason why there is a permanent US presence in South Korea and Japan. We would not do that for a state full of people we don’t find threatening4. Furthermore, where was everyone’s incredulousness when Kim Jong Un killed his own uncle, or when he executed his former fiance, or when she reappeared a year later? There will be another dick- and drug-laden movie soon, don’t worry. And For Jewish Christmas, maybe we’ll go see “The Hobbit 3: With a Vengeance”.

1 Chinese Food and a Movie! You should know this! Anti-Semite!
2 No Trevors were hurt in the making of this essay.
3 Too soon?
4 Well...except for in the Middle East and various Central and South American countries back in the 70s and 80s.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

To the Guy Who Told Us to Get a F***ing Job and a Life

To the man who told us to “get a fucking job and a life”,

I apologize that our protest of the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson, and recognition of other young men who were unarmed and died at the hands of police, delayed your drive by 4 ½ minutes. We delayed you, I know. If you were too busy yelling at us to read our signs, we were marching in protest of the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, and also the common practise of being unfairly treated by the police, and the desire to have a healthy relationship with the people who are supposed to protect us instead of being assumed a suspect before a crime happened. Our signs were a little bit less verbose, so perhaps you couldn’t comprehend.

Though I am always open to good life tips, I already have a job and a life, as do most of the people in that intersection. They were teachers, lawyers, military veterans, members of law enforcement, students, etc. I personally am an electrical engineer. I got (moderately) good grades in school. I was accepted to the three schools to which I applied, but I could only go to the one that would a offer me a full academic scholarship, as I was so poor, I was homeless. Still, I got that degree, I got a good job, and I can safely say I have a good life.  If you have any other suggestions, though, I’m open to them.

Perhaps you think that public protest is a pointless effort. Did you think that of the numerous Tea Party protests since 2009? There were so many, I cannot keep count of them. Maybe you were insulted by our signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “We Want Justice”. Those are MUCH more offensive than “Obama Is a Nazi” and “Put the White Back in the White House”. Unfortunately for you and your lost 4 ½ minutes, Both types of protests are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. That is why we were free to protest, and you are free to tell us to “get a fucking job and a life.”

Perhaps you can point out that just because someone is stopped, it is not always because of race, because your hippie uncle Ted gets stopped all the time. Maybe I actually DO fit a description of someone. The difference between your uncle Ted and me is that when Ted shaves off his dreadlocks and just wears a regular pair of jeans and a hooded sweater, he won’t fit anyone’s description. I, on the other hand, will still have a zero-state of suspect. I know this, because I once wore a hoodie on a cold day, and I was suspect. I once wore a suit, and I was suspect. I once was asked where I got my smartphone. Has your uncle Ted had to carry around the receipts of his electronics and clothes, just in case he was questioned about the ownership of it? I once wore peacoat, and I was slammed to the wall and my book bag was emptied. You know what they found? Books. The horror. Ted has the benefit of just being a guy in a shirt and jeans after he shaves. I look more suspect of [INSERT CONTRIVED VIOLATION HERE].

Perhaps you’d like to tell us that maybe I should stop bringing up race, because that makes me a racist and that  Darren Wilson was “just doing his job”. I wonder, Do you call a gynecologist a sexist when he/she brings up women’s health? Is a homicide detective a murderer because he/she keeps talking about homicide? Perhaps Darren Wilson was “just doing his job”. It is true, police work is difficult. The police that I know will attest to that. Maybe killing Michael Brown was the only option, unlike the time police snuck up on a belligerent white man holding a loaded weapon and subdued him without firing a shot, or the time a white man ignited a smoke bomb in order to coax police to a scene and then shot at them with an illegal firearm. He’s in jail for aggravated assault. I suppose if Michael Brown had shot at Wilson instead of just stolen cigars, he’d be alive...Actually, probably not, Since John Crawford was just carrying a BB gun that he was likely going to buy and was killed without warning. If only he’d had a real gun. And been white. See, maybe in these cases, they were “just doing their job”, but it seems the methods of doing those jobs vary with hue. So I’m not bringing up race all the time. The justice system is.

Perhaps you’d like to tell us that we’re hypocrites, because there is much more black-on-black crime than white on black. You’re so right about that. You know what else of which there is an overwhelming amount? White-on-white crime. The rates of black-on-black and white-on-white crime are nearly identical. So once you get on white-on-white you can talk. Or we can just call all of it what it is: “crime”.

Perhaps you can tell me how this cannot be racially motivated, because, dammit, we have a black President! This is a post-racial society! Electing one black dude to the highest political office does not resolve 500 years of an ingrained institution any more than putting a bandage on a cut makes the cut immediately go away. Progress was made, yes. It has been 149 years since physical slavery was abolished and 149 years since black people were upgraded from being 60% to 100% human. It has been 50 years since institutionalized segregation was abolished. That is not much time. Women have been subjugated for 6,000 years, and one amendment in 1920 didn’t resolve all their issues. Hell, the Catholic Church didn’t admit they were wrong about Copernicus until 350 AFTER his death. Thinking one act or two will resolve the underlying problem is foolish. That is like a crappy boyfriend who thinks a dozen roses will make up for years of forgetting his girlfriend’s birthday over and over. It’s one act that highlights many others.

Anyway, I do apologize for holding you up for 4 ½ minutes to honour a teenager who lay for 4 ½ hours dead in the summer sun, due to an altercation that is so blurred in contradictory accounts and rumours that we will never know the truth. Nothing is good about this case. A teenager is dead. An officer now has no job. There is no respite for either family. But don’t worry. Since Eric Garner’s case will not see indictment, a case where a camera WAS in hand and everything was placed online, I’ll see you again this Sunday.

You know what? I take it back. I’m not sorry. you can wait 4 ½ minute a lost life.


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