Friday, November 24, 2017

Beware the Zen Bro

Dear mediocre white dudes,
You may not think you’re a mediocre white dude MWD, but you probably are. There are not too many extraordinary white dudes. There aren’t too many extraordinary people in general, but white mediocrity has been hailed as excellent for so long, so this is why I address you mediocre white dudes. So if you don’t know if you are a mediocre white dude, take this easy test:
  1. Are you John Brown?
  2. Are you Jon Hamm?
  3. Are you even Jon Stewart?
If you answered “no” to these difficult questions, then consider yourself mediocre...actually, I just saw the last season Mad Men. If you answered “yes” to Question 2, just consider yourself mediocre for now, until you do more Black Mirror episodes. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to business:

  1. Your input is not always needed or wanted. If black folk, or people of color in general, are having a good time, discussing things in our communities, let us talk. If your black friend reposts an article from Ebony or Extraordinary Negroes or BET or any other source that is black focused, by all means read it! You could learn something. But think very hard about whether your input is necessary and whether what you’re saying is even relevant to the subject. Your ancestors have injected themselves into our conversations  enough, and because of that, we can’t find our ancestors. My DNA report says “definitely England and Scotland, and...uh...I dunno...Angola? Something African”. Stop “But-Her-Emailsing” us. This is not a refusal of allyship. This is a reminder that sometimes allying requires other leaders than yourself.
  2. You are nowhere near as enlightened as you think you are. I don’t care what Carter G. Woodson books you read or how many African American Studies electives you took. I don’t care that you read the the narrative 12 Years a Slave before you saw the movie. You cannot know what it is like to be a person of color in this country. Just because you don’t see something that someone has done as being racist or racist adjacent doesn’t mean that it is not. You are not “above race”.
  3. Talking about race doesn’t make “the divide” wider. The divide has been there. Not talking about race is what has let racism permeate throughout the US so much that it is ubiquitous and noticeable nearly everywhere. Seriously, do you think the Grand Canyon came about by the Indigenous people talking about it for years? When black folk talk about it, we’re not stoking flames. We’re pointing out that the house has been on fire all this time. Talking about race doesn’t make more divisions any more than a doctor talking to about your chain smoking has caused your emphysema.
  4. We fucking know race is “just a social construct”. MWDs love saying this, as if we weren’t aware of that. You’re not making a brilliant revelation. Political borders are social constructs too, and they are always discussed and fought over. Hell, our idea of personal property is a social construct. I’ll be sure to remind you of that when I take the Xbox out of your house after you tell me that verbal diarrhea.
  5. Fuck the Tone Police. Women know about this as much as people of color and LGBTQ people do. They say “men are trash” and some MWD comes out of the woodwork to say #NotAllMen. A person of color will say, “Dear White Folk”, and an MWD will say that we’re lumping them all together. If we say something rightfully out of frustration, then our “attitude” while saying something is the problem, not the problem itself. This calling out a person’s mood instead of acknowledging what they are saying is nothing but cowardly avoidance of the issue, which is an issue in and of itself. I wonder if I ran into your house and said, “Call 911! I am having a heart attack!”, you’d respond with, “Whoa, calm down. I don’t like the way you’re yelling at me. Please be civil.”
  6. There is no such thing as “black privilege”, so please miss me with that sentiment. People point to how black folk “get” affirmative action or how we have special scholarships and grants because we’re black. Socially, we seem more intimidating because we look much stronger, or we look older when we’re young and younger when we’re old. That is not privilege. That is what 300 years of white supremacy has “granted” us, and they are burden. Looking older when we are young is why so many young black kids are targeted by the police before they learn how to drive. Looking younger when older is why black professionals are talked to like they are interns when they’ve been at the job the longest. All of those grants and scholarships we get because we are black is because we were shut out of opportunities, specifically because of our race, often at the mandate of the government. So yes, you can say we all have “privilege”, however the only type of privilege that is static by design is white male privilege.
  7. STFU about “generalizing”. Of course we know and acknowledge that not EVERY white person is a certain way. We also know and acknowledge that our response that if you are not the people guilty of the sins we discuss then you shouldn’t worry about it, is similar to what you say when we bristle at the generalizations thrown at us. However, not one piece of legislation has been passed based on any black person’s saying “white folks do X”, especially none that put their lives in danger. Plenty of laws were passed based on a few MWDs saying, “Black folks to X”, and black folks have died because of those laws. When you can show me when a black person’s “white people” quip has killed a white person, then we might get all specific with “white people, but not all white people; just these types of white people; actually just Greg and Steve”. Is that fair? Don’t talk to me about “fair”. We have 300 years of legislated and social “unfair” put on us that make me not give two shites about what you think is “fair”.
  8. Above all beware the Zen Bro, and beware BECOMING the Zen Bro. All of the previous items are tactics of the Zen Bro. You think you sound intelligent by stating that “generalizing” is bad, and you don’t see race, and all this talk of race and gender is causing more divides. You may think that you have reached some sort of “awareness” of what the “real” issue is. You may think that the one quote you looked up from Martin Luther King that ISN’T from “I Have a Dream” is going to blow all these black people’s minds. You ain’t reached shit, and the only thing you’re blowing is your own ego’s dick. We see through your “Zen Bro” façade. You aren’t doing anything but the same tired tactics to silence oppressed peoples that we have seen before. You are not smarter about a subject than the people who have been living and experiencing this shit all of their goddamn lives. Get off your high horse, and STFU...respectfully. I don’t want another citation from the Tone Police.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

About ALL of Your Dumb Blackface Costumes

I don’t think enough people know exactly how black paint on white faces affects their black and brown friends. I’m not just talking about frat bros going to Halloween parties as “gangsters” or trying to get through Tropic Thunder (goddammit, RDJ), black face in general is just not cool. Don’t dress up as a shadow, don’t be a hockey puck, don’t be a domino piece, and don’t be a demon. Well…do so, but expect ALL of the side-eye.
I am sure saying these things will produce some blue-eyed eye-rolling, but you can’t be mad at us for just being tired of seeing white people in black faces. With all of the other shit that we have to deal with in the day, The LEAST you could do is put the Dove brand black face paint down and think for a minute. Lili Reinhart got a bit of a drag this week when she didn’t really think. She posted a picture of herself in head-to-toe black makeup with the caption, “Found my Halloween costume!! Inspired by the color of my soul.”
GET IT??? Because she is saying that her soul is dark! She’s a demon on the inside! It’s FUNNY, EVERYONE!...But it’s really not. Lili Reinhart is probably not racist, and at least in this instance she had no racist intentions. To her credit, in the obligatory process of deleting the picture and penning an apology tweet, she did not mention her presence of black friends, so that’s a start. She learned a lesson, I hope.
As for the image of black being something bad, I concede that nearly every culture has had a fear of the dark and total absence of like. This is because before we had 24 hour lights, things that go “bump” in the night could and would literally kill you. So of course the shade is the hue of darkness, evil, fear, etc. in societies on EVERY continent.
That black shade has been applied in ancient depictions of Satan and demons in general, too, especially in Christianity. Demons were nearly always black as night in paintings and etchings. Hell, if you look at the deities throughout the world, you’ll see a distinct and stark lightening of their depictions after Europeans colonized those regions. Skin lightening cream is a multi-million dollar industry as well. In lore, when St. Nicholas was transitioning from historical figure to benevolent NSA spy for children, he was often depicted with a black-as-night devil that he had captured and enslaved. SInterklass made him either build toys or mete out punishment of bad children. That demon evolved into the Krampus and Zwarte Piet. The former stayed black as hell, but maintained his standard demon shape: hybrid goat-human with pointy ears and sometimes horns. Zwarte Piet, however, went from enslaved demon to enslaved “blackamoor”, so not only is he black and creating mischief, he’s a Muslim dude dressed up to look like a damn fool. That transition links demons to black people, as in black skinned people are descended from demons. Zwarte Piet is essentially an enslaved demon, afro and all. Where in literal hell does one get a hold of shea butter and Afro Sheen?
The idea that black people came from demons is not even new. It was one of the many justifications for establishing the construct of racism that permeates today. It also was the justification for torturing enslaved Africans as if they were not human. If they’re damned already, then why not mutilate them? In theatre and cinema, if white people in blackface weren’t acting like shuckin’ jivin’ fools, they were beastlike, devilish super predators, pouncing on and defiling innocent white women. This is part of the reason why the myth that black people, especially larger ones and especially men, are often seen as being more brutish, violently impulsive, stronger, more impervious to pain, etc. I guarantee this is why in nearly every publicized police shooting of an unarmed black man, there is mention of how “large and intimidating” the victim is.
This is why blackface is so offensive, and also why thinking just putting on some black paint sans horns, tails, leather wings, etc and saying you’re your own dark soul or a demon is not a good idea. It’s also why just putting on black face paint is just a bad idea, intentions pure or not. I’m willing to give anyone a pass, but only if the perpetrator promises to think and reflect.
So perhaps you think before you slap that brown/black face paint on your face. Maybe consider that especially in this timeframe, while we have a racist sack of carrot puree who hired literal nazis to his cabinet, while violence against brown and black people by white dudes has risen, while my street harassment quota while I’m committing a BWB (biking while black) has doubled, that perhaps you can go without the makeup to make the costume.
For the white people who are incredulous that someone wrote an article about Lili Reinhart’s “joke”, you have no right to be incredulous at our shade. Something will be said no matter what the costume is. Bowling balls, giant loafers, Ipod commercial shadow…hell, don't even be Groot unless you have a mask. Someone will rightfully drag you. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at your European ancestors who have made blackface so toxic that it inevitably gets a negative reaction, from receiving minor shade to catching repeated hands. THEY ruined blackface, not us. You don’t see anyone named Adolf or walking around with a tiny moustache and Bieber swoop either. You, not we, can get over it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Facebook Doesn’t Give a Damn About #MeToo or Your Sexual Assault

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Facebook doesn’t give a damn about women and black folk. I present the latest evidence.
My friend participated in the #MeToo hashtag by telling her story of sexual abuse in her status. Less than a day later, she was notified that not only was her story flagged for “abuse”, her account is suspended. SHE told a story about how SHE was ASSAULTED, yet SHE was the person who is being punished, much like what happened to her when she tried to get justice. Facebook loves punishing the victims of abuse while they let abusers run rampant. The only Face they care about are white male faces.
Below is her fiance’s words about what happened, and a resharing of her story, because it needs to be told. Facebook is perpetuating the rape culture that they claim they want to end.
CONTENT WARNING: Detailed information regarding my partner’s sexual assault.
Yesterday, as many of you know, my fiancé ALW courageously shared her story of when she was drugged and sexually assaulted during her senior year of high school. The amount of love and support she received (much that came from survivors of sexual assault themselves) was heartwarming, to say the absolute least.
Today, she received a message from Facebook letting her know not only that her post had been taken down, but that her commenting, messaging, and posting privileges had been taken away from her as well. The reason Facebook gave was “to stop behavior that others may find annoying or abusive”.
Let’s put it this way - Facebook is silencing someone who used their media platform to bring more than a hundred people together after something traumatic happened, as well as erasing every bit of the support that was given (and for the record, the ONLY person who voiced any opposition to the status was Nick Colakovski, the man who assaulted her).
The “Me too” movement is successfully bringing millions of people together to stand in unity, and Facebook is choosing to cater to the ones that seem to find it “annoying” or “abusive” (which, given the topic at hand, should be a joke).
This is rape culture. I encourage you all to share and circulate this post, to show you stand with survivors and to show Facebook that we will not let survivors of sexual assault that are brave enough to come forward be silenced.
Show rapists and those who sexually assault others that they don't have power over the situation anymore. They can try to remove the post, but they can't remove the message. And if they try to remove the post, just keep sharing and reposting it so even more people can see.
Let's work together to make sure survivors are supported and that people who sexually assault women are held accountable.
Here is ALW's original post:
Me too.
Over the past year or so, I've battled with myself over whether or not I should write an essay about my experience with sexual assault. It's something I have kept bottled up for such a long time, mostly because I've been scared, deathly afraid, that this intimate and horrifying moment in my life would be met with negative attention or worse, apathy.
The reason women take so long to publicly come forward after an event like this is that opening up this incredibly vulnerable moment in your life is not worth it if you will not receive support and sympathy. Wounds like these stay fresh for a very long time, and I have debated myself many times on whether opening up my story to public scrutiny will simply undo the healing I've managed so far.
But I am stronger now, and I know that even if my story reaches one woman and lets them know that they are not alone, or reaches one man and shows him the reality of rape culture, that my trauma can be a force of good for someone. So without further ado, here is my story:
It was senior year in high school. I had never been that popular, but at this point I had a solid group of friends and felt generally happy. I started hanging out with some kids from Brighton, one of which happened to be an ex from over two years prior of a member of my friend group. She got upset, and I was abruptly excommunicated from all of my friends.
As time passed, I began to date the boy in Brighton, all while trying to find other friends to replace the ones who had abandoned me so readily. A popular bad boy from school, Nick, invited me over to hang out one afternoon and I jumped at the chance since he had always seemed cool and I wanted to find a new friend group so desperately. I knew my dad had heard of Nick since he and his friends had a reputation of druggies, so I told him I was going to hang out with some preppy kids from school, and he dropped my off at Nicks house after school.
I was very naive at this point in my life. I had never even smoked weed. But here I was, knocking on the door of a local druggie looking for friendship. He seemed cool enough at first,  we watched some TV and talked about random stuff. I had a headache, and he grabbed me a pill and said "here this will help." I asked him what it was, and he wouldn't tell me. I was an idiot to take it, but I wanted to seem cool and I figured it was just extra strength Advil or something and he was just messing around.
I started to feel a bit dizzy. What was going on? Nick came over to me and offered me a listerine strip. I was perplexed but didn't have enough mental coherency to say no. He told me to put it under my tongue, and it tasted bad. I was starting to feel very confused. Why was the listerine strip orange? Why did it taste so bitter?
The answer was: Nick had given me a Klonopin and a suboxone strip. Two extremely powerful drugs, one of which is synthetic heroin for recovering addicts. As I started to slip in and out of consciousness, Nick began kissing me. I still remember the taste of cigarettes. I clearly and with as much energy as I could muster said "no, stop, I have a boyfriend," but although my mouth was working, my body wasn't. I couldn't fight back. I remember shaking and crying and for some odd reason became fixated and embarrassed about the fact that I hadn't shaved. I continued to say no and feebly try and push him off until I passed out.
When I woke up, I was naked except for my underwear. There were several people standing around the bed. I didn't have time to take in the scene before promptly dashing to the bathroom and vomiting. As I crawled back to the bed, I saw two of Nick's friends, John and Taylor, who had also gone to school with me, talking to a shirtless Nick who was in his boxers.
I collapsed on the bed, wrapped my nakedness up in a comforter, tried to process what was happening. Nick was saying, "I don't care what you do with her, just take her somewhere else. My dads coming home soon and I'll be in deep shit if she's still here." My mind was starting to race, I was panicking. I was scared.
Then, a blessed thing happened that in all likelihood saved my life. My phone started going off, and kept on going off over and over. I managed to crawl over to it, and saw my dads name on the screen. He told me he had felt weird after dropping me off, and that he had googled the address and found out Nick lived there. He was heading over there now and I was in so much trouble.
I was more grateful than I had ever been in my life. I struggled to get dressed, all the while Nick's friends leered at me and even offered to help me get dressed. I had enough clarity to tell them to back off. I stumbled down the stairs and out to my dads car, thank god he'd arrived.
When I got in the car, my dad immediately noticed something off. I had huge, I mean golf ball sized, hickeys up and down my neck and chest. I was slurring my speech and kept falling asleep. He immediately drove back to Nick's house to ask what had happened and called an ambulance. He pulled into Nick's driveway and his dad, a doctor, answered the door.
My dad told him what condition I was in and informed him that he had called an ambulance, and the mans first response was: "can you please move your car off the driveway? We're getting it redone." My father remained parked solidly in the driveway until the ambulance arrived. I vaguely recall Nick coming out to the car and apologizing. Of course my dad didn't know how far his abuse had gone, otherwise Nick probably would've gotten mowed down right in his driveway.
The ambulance took me to the hospital where I remained for several days. The combination and strength of the drugs Nick had given me had compromised my heart, and although I don't remember it, I wavered close to the boundary between life and death for some time.
During



the first 24 hours in the hospital, where I was recovering not only from my first time ever having drugs like that in my system but also from an overdose, is when the police came. I had consented to a rape kit, which involved pictures of my various hickies and bruises, of my genitals, and an in depth examination similar to a gynecologist visit. They said they'd get the results back soon.
Then the police came, as they do when rape kits are done, to interview me. I don't even remember the interview. I don't even know what I said. I was so hopped up on the drugs Nick gave me and the drugs the hospital gave me that I'm sure much of what I said was incoherent gibberish. However, as I later came to find out, that interview was counted as evidence and what I said then, not when I was sober and could actually recollect the events, was the only statement they would take.

I eventually came back to my senses, covered in bruises from the assault and from the IVs, and called my old best friend, the girl I had been close like sisters with for years before I had been kicked out of our friend group. I told her what happened, I was completely distraught. I called my boyfriend as well, and told him what happened. He was sympathetic enough and said we'd talk about it when I was out of the hospital.
When I finally did get out of the hospital, I didn't know what to do with myself. I had to go back to school where I had no friends, carrying the weight of this trauma on my shoulders. The morning before my first day back I picked out a nice outfit, a skirt, a long sleeved shirt to cover my IV bruises, a scarf to cover the bruises on my neck and chest. I also threw on a pair of heels, because I wanted to feel pretty and confident.
As soon as I arrived at school, the formspring messages started pouring in. For those of you who don't know or remember formspring, it was a platform to ask anonymous questions online, similar to Sarahah, except everyone else could see the questions and answers as well on a feed. People were messaging me things like "ur lying about being raped who would dress like a slut after something like that?" I knew then that my best friend of years had told someone what happened to me. She took away my anonymity and forced me to relive my trauma on my first day back to school.
My boyfriend broke up with me the next time I saw him. He didn't believe I had been assaulted, he thought I had cheated on him.
The rest of my senior year continued like that. I eventually made new friends, but John and Taylor, Nick's friends who had been there at the time of the assault, were part of the group too which made me uncomfortable. I repeatedly asked John why he didn't do something. I asked both of them if they would testify if I brought the case to trial. Both refused.
How naive I was to think the case would ever go to trial. 7 months later and my rape kit came back. Negative. The nurse told me all that means is that he could have used a condom. I have never been able to remember what happened that afternoon in his room, and I don't know whether to be angry or thankful.
After my rape kit results came back I met with an RPD detective to talk about pressing charges. My dad came with me. I told the detective clearly and succinctly that I wanted to press sexual assault charges. Even with a negative rape kit, there were still two witnesses that could be subpoenaed, there was photographic evidence of hickies, my hospital records would show that I had been unable to consent due to the large amount of drugs Nick had given me.
The detective said I would never win. He said that Nick told detectives I had consented to both taking the drugs and the sexual activities. Despite my insistence to the contrary on both counts (I hadn't willingly taken suboxone knowing it was a drug, and I very clearly articulated my lack of consent before passing out) it was my word against his, and his wealthy and connected father had pulled some strings.
I insisted I wanted to take the case to court, and the detective said he would get back to me. He never did.
As the years passed, I heard stories that similar things had been done by him to other women. He was arrested for other things eventually. But then, once I thought the wounds of trauma had healed, he began popping up. First at the grocery store, then at the gym. Then, I found out he went to my college. The first time I saw him there it was like a lightning bolt of ice raced through my body. I started hyperventilating. The worst part is, I doubt he even remembers what he did to me.
I wish this story had a happier ending. I tried to do the right thing, I thought I had enough evidence on my side. But until this day, I have never felt comfortable publicly acknowledging this story. Nick Colakovski sexually assaulted me, and I let my shame keep me silent.

I will be silent no more.
Attached are screenshots between J and ALW after the assault.
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Why #WomenBoycottTwitter, As If You Didn't Know

After at least twenty years of predatory sexual behavior toward women, Harvey Weinstein is out of his company, and he may face criminal charges. That’s twenty years of him behaving badly, twenty years of people around him either denying or ignoring what he was doing, and twenty years of women who may have come forward to report his abuses being silenced or dismissed as crazy or opportunists. This tale is as old as time, and I wish we’d be better at handling these situations, but time shows that no one with power is REALLY interested in adjusting the status quo. Whether the victims are women or children, the abuse will go on for years, and when the shadow is too big to ignore and there is no choice BUT to shed light to expose it, the victim, not the assailant or his enablers,  is accused of not coming forward sooner.
Twitter, in the wake of women from all over the entertainment industry speaking about Weinstein, bravely took a stand and said they would have no more abuse of the people about whom they REALLY care on their platform. They suspended the account…of Rose McGowan, one of the first people to publicly report Weinstein’s abuse. Congratulations to you, Twitter. You just proved the diseased point that every victim of sexual misconduct has been saying. You don’t give a shit about victims, only the people in power. Twitter, though not as bad as Facebook when it comes to reporting and kicking off abusers of their service, still allows abuse and threats to go on hours, days, weeks, before they do anything about it, if they do anything at all. The only “abusive” thing in Rose McGowan’s tweets in the aftermath of the Weinstein fiasco was when she told Ben Affleck to “fuck off”. I tweet “fuck off” to the President nearly every day, and I have not been touched. One can assumed that Rose believes that Affleck is one of the many men and women who tacitly protected Weinstein and his open secret, either by defending him and attacking victims or living in denial and ignoring them. Either way, “fuck off” is probably one of the most innocuous of attacks one can lob on Twitter.
A person sent me death threats for weeks one time on the platform. I reported him the first time he said I’d be “next” after I lamented about the inaction in the Freddie Gray case. Nothing happened. He threatened to hang me. Nothing happened. He said it was time for a “drag” (Google James Byrd, Jr). Nothing happened. He said he was going on a “coon hunt”. Nothing happened. Finally, after weeks of reporting and seeing nothing happen, after screen shooting nearly everything @joahu4 said to me, I blocked him. That should not have been the case. He was explicitly violating Twitter’s own rules, yet Twitter did nothing. A year later, it seems the account is dead, but whether it was the user’s volition or Twitter FINALLY doing what it was supposed to do, it shows that Twitter does not give a damn about victims. My situation is only some digital trolling and nothing new for me online.
Rose McGowan is not only an ACTUAL victim of an assault; she is brave enough to talk about it. She brought it to the courtroom, where though the case was settled monetarily, Weinstein got away with admitting nothing. She was the person who got to say, “I told all of you!”, and for that, SHE was punished. This is much like when fuckbois say, “If you were attacked, you need to speak up”, but then when the attacked speak up, the same fuckbois say, “No way that happened! You’re lying!”
I think this is just a long way of saying that there are too many fuckbois running Silicon Valley. They are showing their asses every day that they keep suspending black, brown, queer, and female participants of the online world but keep allowing abusive MRA, white supremacists, and LGBTQ-phobes run rampant until they absolutely HAVE to say something to save face in the real world. But what are you gonna do? Fuckbois gon’ fuck.  I hope #WomenBoycottTwitter lasts a week. You motherfuckers need them more than they need you. You have no idea.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

For the First White Rapper to Say, "Fuck Trump"

I would like to give props to the first white rapper to voice the theme “Fuck Trump”: MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER. Were I an alien who just arrived to earth, though, I would think that Eminem was the loudspeaker for the new hip-hop generation. He isn’t a “rare white artist speaking out for his black fans” as CNN said. His anti-Trump rap isn’t “different” as The New York Times claims. It’s not even anything different from what he’s done for years. “He wrote “Mosh” for Bush II. Ain’t shit changed, except that people are treating MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER like the black people who invented rock ‘n’ roll while acting like Eminem is the Jerry Lee Lewis who “innovated a sound”.
I know that the world is going crazy over Eminem’s freestyle he filmed during the BET Awards. He did precisely what a white person given time in a black space, using what was originally a berated black form of musical art at that, should do: said his piece, did not overstep, and did not stay too long. He also said all the right things. I know this because they are things that black folk have known and said all along. He put them to verse. Cool.
He was not the first, though. Don’t be fooled by the “liberal left wing” media and their marveling at Eminem’s “heroism”. He was not even the first WHITE rapper to say “fuck Trump”. He may be the rapiest, but definitely NOT the first. MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER called out Trump after he wrote a song CALLED “Donald Trump” in 2011. It was more a song about getting rich (not a beef song), but then Trump tried to start beef with him on Twitter in 2013, to which MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER said, “Um, no. Fuck you”, and then and in 2015 he went on the air on The Nightly Show to read Trump for 3 minutes. He was so amped, he called out privileged (white) people who said that they were going to move to Canada if he got elected. MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER is the man, and he’s getting treated the way Sammy Davis, Jr. was when he had the audacity to die the same weekend that Jim Henson died. No respect.
Let’s not forget that black folk have been putting the “fuck Trump” theme in the ether for a long time. The Game made “El Chapo”, Rick Ross and John Legend made “Free Enterpirse”,  and Waka Flocka made “RICO” in 2015. YG made TWO “fuck Trump” songs called “FDT” in 2016, one featuring Nipsey Hussle and a second with Macklemore, another white rapper who said, “fuck Trump” before Eminem. Anderson .Paak’s “Come Down” remix, Ty Dolla $ign’s Blasé”, A$AP Ferg’s Flem, Emilio Rojas’s “I Hate Donald Trump”, will.I.am’s “Grab ‘Em by the Pu$$Y, Common and Bilal’s “Letter to the Free” Amine’ Caroline”, Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Pt. 4”, Joey BadA$$’s “Land of the Free”, and Wale’s “Smile” have been out there, some for the last 2 years. They hardly got the attention that Eminem is getting. The best one, A Tribe Called Quest’s “We the People” was performed even liver than Eminem’s freestyle and began with Busta Rhymes calling out Trump by name! and I don’t doubt that someone like Public Enemy or someone dissed Trump on wax after his words about the Central Park Five, or any of the other racist stuff he’s done in the last 40 years.
I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t have Eminem’s first 4 albums. The man has real talent. He also has a serious issue with women. Half of all of his early songs are berating or hurting women in some way, from “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” to “Stan” to “Superman”. Hell, he did what is rightly considered one of the dopest freestyle cyphers with Yasiin Bey (When he was Mos Def) and Black Thought, and he couldn’t go 16 bars without talking about raping someone to the point that they “thought they liked it”. His BET performance was good, but despite what the “liberal” media is hailing, The first and best diss of Donald Trump by a white rapper is MAC MOTHERFUCKING MILLER, and you can make a 2-hour Spotify list of dope anti-Trump hip-hop. It can be its own genre: Trump Trap.
…OK, I apologize for writing “Trump Trap”. That’s a bridge too far.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear "Liberal" Man, Check Yourself

Dear “Liberal” Cis-Man,
Get your shit together, check yourself, and collect your mans, too. If Harvey Weinstein’s case has shown us anything, it’s that Hollywood and news media are not the progressive bastions that detractors claim, and liberals, especially “liberal” men, need to check themselves for the trash behavior they attribute to their opponents. They especially need to call out their male cohorts who are acting up, and they need to do it early, not after 15 or 20 years of them being shit.
Minorities already know that Hollywood and the media being aggressively liberal is a myth. Every time a movie casts a round-eyes for an obviously Asian character or a bunch of white people for a period piece in ancient Northern Africa or Persia, we are reminded of Hollywood’s obvious, blatant, and often deliberate, blind spot.  Women have been little more than props in most works on screen or in print. They are either victims of horrendous acts that must be avenged, or perhaps they were “crazy” psychos who deserved their comeuppance. Perhaps they are shiny prizes that the main character must earn through arduous trials, be it fighting monsters or turning form nerd to cool kid. Fridging was a thing before the term “fridging” existed. There is a damn good reason why Allison Bechdel proposed her test for movies. And don’t get me started on the ableism. From Blofeld to Dr. Doom, there is not enough time to list off all of the “villains” in stories who have some sort of physical disability or have been “horribly disfigured”, yet I cannot find examples of a person turning suddenly evil after being permanently debilitated. If they ARE assholes, they were likely assholes before their accident. Don’t tell Hollywood that, though.
The news media is not much better. Compare the way a black unarmed victim of a violent crime is treated compared to a white armed perpetrator of crime. For the former, if the person has so much as a detention from middle school, you’d best believe that it will be covered in the nightly news. What was he wearing? Was he wearing gang colors? Did he talk back? Surely, he did SOMETHING to spook the officer and force him to kill him. Even when no person was killed, media find a way to demonized victims. When that child fell in the gorilla pit at the zoo and Harambe was shot in order to save the kid, the child’s parents criminal records (all of which were long ago and not major) were brought up! So we now know that in the world of news media, a dangerous animal’s life is more important than a black child, his parents, and a zoo’s shitty security. Conversely, the latter will always be considered a tragic figure who somehow “lost his way”. He was an honor roll student, ran track, was an Olympic class swimmer, had a wife and children, was in the local Rotary Club, but he must have had some mental illness or something to make him snap! So in order to exonerate a white man from responsibility, they throw the mentally ill under the bus. Even when they say that they are doing evil for evil’s sake, they are still pitied. The murderer who shot up a predominantly black church explicitly stated he wished to kill black people to start a race war, and his past was STILL depicted as stable, as if that even mattered. The man who murdered a black man with a sword in New York City was described as “well dressed” when he was arrested. Oh, good! I’m glad he had the time to clean himself up after murdering an innocent man, unlike all those slovenly black children who were murdered in hoodies! How gouache!
Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment case is not the outlier. It’s not “just a few bad men” making the industry look bad. Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Stephen Collins, Jeffrey Jones, etc are more the norm than we want to think. However, instead of listening to victims of their crimes, we rattle off all of the progressive groups that the accused chairs, we hold up all of the great charities he’s started, all of the women that he knows that prove he CAN’T be the misogynist predator that his victims accuse him of being, and then we accuse the victim of attempting to “ruin a good man” or doing it for money and/or fame…until 20 years later when the physical evidence is nearly lost, but there have been too many multiple reports from other women to deny that something is definitely wrong, at which point we accuse the victims of not coming forward soon enough. We pick apart what she said. We ask the woman that if she knew that said powerful man is rumored to be a predator, then why would she work with him? Not once, in the many years of said assailant’s behavior, has someone thought to tell him to NOT be a said assailant? It is all on the woman who was assailed?  Imagine being beaten to a bloody pulp, and instead of arresting the beaters, YOU get arrested for an unrelated thing? Because that happens as well.
If this phenomenon is happening out in the open, you can best believe that it is happening in private as well. This is where you, the “liberal” man”, need to check yourself, and then check others around you. “Liberal” men will be quick to point out all of the sexual assault cases of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump, but will hem and haw with excuses and diversions when someone brings up Anthony Weiner or Bill Clinton or Hugh Hefner. I get the idea of “protecting your own”, but that protection should not extend to acts of unwarranted violence against people they claim to want to protect. Even if not a violent act, using the mask of liberalism to coerce women into your bedroom has no honor.  Hoisting up Jemele Hill onto a pillar does not give you the green light to call Ann Coulter a “cunt”. You really don’t care about women on a whole if you tweet out that you hope Tomi Lahren deserves to be raped. Calling a political opponent “retarded” or making fun of their “gimp” leg makes you look hypocritical, especially after you spent 5 minutes ranting about how Trump did it once. Calling Caitlyn Jenner a “dumb tranny” negates your claim that you are an LGBTQ ally, especially when you can easily talk about her very real vehicular homicide. Your pink Pussy Hat doesn’t grant you immunity from criticism when you mess up. “But I’m an ally! Look at my Atwood library!” That does not fly. You’re doing the “I have a black friend” equivalent to excuse your misogyny…also…Don’t LET me hear you say the N-word.
Plenty of “Liberal” men have used what power they have to hurt others who they claim to support. I’m thinking of people like Joss Whedon, Harvey Weinstein, and Hugh Hefner, off the top of my head. Yes, they’ve done a LOT to push more forward-thinking themes and trying to normalize women’s roles in front of or behind the camera. That doesn’t mean we can excuse their “minor” indiscretions of spousal psychological abuse and infidelity, incessant sexual harassment and possible assault, and assisting sexual assault possible economic terrorism. I am just as guilty as anyone else from slipping (not to that extent), and I’ve been called out for it. It doesn’t feel good, but I welcome it…later. I’ve stopped calling myself a “feminist” or “ally” because of the hypocrisy of “liberal” men. You’re making the people who actually WANT to put in the work bad names. It’s better to do the work that needs to be done, and then if a person from helped group believes me to be a true ally (or preferably cohort), then I know I’m doing it right. More men who wish to be allies need to do this, and check the men who slip. So check yourselves, and check your mans, and if you need to collect, then do so.
Love,
Me.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Like Johnson & Johnson, No More Tears. Just Repetition

Every time there is a mass shooting in America, I simultaneously feel despair for the numbers of victims who have been killed or injured and guilt over worrying whether the shooter is a person of color or of a different religion than Christian. This country is famous for demanding answers from every group except for straight white men. If the shooter is Muslim, then the person is “radicalized” whether the person has any ties to any terrorist movement. It it’s a black person, then he is either a gang-related or the person is part of some fringe anti-white group. Again, it matters little if said black or brown person actually WAS in a gang, or if he was in whatever organization that people have deemed “fringe”. The important thing is that the narrative is perpetuated. In all cases, a “representative” of the group MUST come forward and answer for the crimes of the person who they most likely never knew. This is the way of the news cycle.
In Las Vegas, it turns out that the shooter passed the “active shooter” brown paper bag test, so that entails a whole new narrative. Despite early bullshit reports that the assailant was an ISIS recruit, it turns out he’s as WASPy as WASPs can be. NOW the killer is a “lone wolf”, motives still pending, but you’d best believe that he will be accused of being part of either side of the political spectrum by the opposing side. He’ll be associated with some sort of mental disorder, and his upbringing will be depicted as pristine and saccharine as can be, and since he’s dead we “just don’t know” what could have gone wrong. There are so many of these “lone wolves”. If only there were a term for a group of wolves…a word in which you could PACK all of these white assailants with extremely similar personality traits with excessive fragile toxic masculinity who must unleash their angst physically on on other people…
Either way, it will be “too soon” to talk about gun regulation. It will be “too soon” to discuss all of the gun related violence, and any attempt to so much as allow the CDC to do research on the effects of gun violence or simply study the safe practices of gun owners will be demonized as an attack on personal liberties and an insidious attempt to take legal firearms from American citizens. The NRA may make another terrorist-style propaganda video where they depict anyone who doesn’t like them, so non-violent protesters, victims of gun violence, living relatives of victims, political opponents, and black and brown people, as gun grabbing monsters who need to be shot.
In a few weeks, this will die down, and we will go about our business bringing up inconsequential data points, and eventually, we’ll move on to other pressing issues, ad infinitum, until the next mass murderer shoots up another public place, and then we well do this all over again: Brown paper bag test, narrative based on test results, “too soon”, dog whistle terrorist NRA statement, lull to zero state until the next shooter.

Rinse, Repeat.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

FINE! Let's Pretend It's About a Damn Flag and a Song!

UPDATE:
Puerto Rico's death toll from Hurricane Maria has risen from 16 to nearly 3000, China is denying that they are holding over 1 million Uighurs in prison, despite all evidence to the contrary. Germany’s election just yielded 12.6% win for an alt-right and blatantly racist faction, and we all remember how that worked out last time. But no,  let’s ignore all that very scary shit to talk about how black people protest, because our jaundiced Julius Caesar wanted to focus on that all goddamn weekend, and it spilled into Monday, and NOW TUESDAY. Take the match away from your Nike gear for a minute, and listen up!...unless you're IN your Nike gear. In which case, have at it.
Let’s get one thing straight. NO ONE KNEELING IS DISRESPECTING THE NATION, THE ANTHEM, OR THE AMERICAN FLAG. Kaepernick himself said as much. He stated why he was kneeling: to bring attention to the unfair treatment that black and brown people STILL face today. Originally he was sitting, but he had a conversation with a Nate Boyer, a former Seahawk and military veteran, who told him it would be better/more powerful to kneel, as that could not be misconstrued as disrespect. He likely forgot that Colin Kaepernick is black, so anything he does will inevitably be scrutinized and framed negatively.
Kneeling is NOT a form of disrespect. Not in the history of modern civilization has kneeling for ANYTHING been a form of disrespect for ANYONE. It has ALWAYS been about respect for superiors, physical or metaphysical, reverence for the fallen, or a manner to tie one’s shoes. Season 7 of Game of Thrones ENTIRE plot has revolved around Jon Snow’s knee and to whom he’d bend it…also consensual incest and dragon proprietary rights. But STILL, Sersei and Daenerys weren’t begging Jon Snow to disrespect them. This explanation has gone off the rails, much like the point of the original protest. And that was precisely the goal of the “respect the anthem” faux patriotic rhetoric. People are not offended by an act of non-disrespect. They are mad that black people are exercising their rights as if they’re American, and they must now think about things about which they are uncomfortable.
Detractors further prove that point by pointing out from whence Colin Kaepernick came. He is biracial and was adopted by a white family that was well-off. He went to a good university and made millions. For this, he is framed as unfit to protest anything. He’s “ungrateful”. He is “disrespecting his upbringing. How disrespectful is an athlete being if it turns out their parents are proud of their actions and after said parents are ostensibly called a bitch by the goddamn president of the United States? What is the economic echelon at which one should protest injustice of a community? What is that sweet spot between “Get a job you lazy bum” and “why are you whining you’re rich”? What color grade must one’s parents match where getting good grades, going to college, and attaining a coveted spot on a national sports team precludes one from speaking out about something in which they believe? No one has illustrated the enigmatic metric for when someone has a “right” to protest, though. Except for the team owners, no critic is paying these athletes’ salaries. They didn’t put them through college or took their tests for them. I’m quite certain that their parents didn’t take them aside and say, “Now young Colin, I’ll feed you and house you and help you with school, but by no means say anything about institutional racism when you grow up.” The term “Ungrateful” is just a kind way to say, “Shut up, you uppity niggers”.
When a black person’s station in life is brought up, it is often married with what they SHOULD be doing instead of kneeling, as if that is the only thing that they are doing. “Put your money where your mouth is instead of disrupting my Sunday sportsball time!” The fault of that argument is that not only are humans capable of performing multiple tasks at once, but also, Colin Kaepernick himself has invested nearly $1 million of his own money to the causes in which he believes and hours of volunteer time. This is possible, because he is human. Many protesters are met with this, as if they only know how to make picket signs and stand and yell their grievances. When it comes to activism, protesters, much like improve troupes, use the “yes, and…” approach to activism, where while they are planning for their next demonstration, they are also getting meetings with elected officials, running voting drives for people vulnerable to disenfranchisement, holding tutoring sessions for youth, etc. To think that a person is kneeling and ONLY kneeling is a derision of their character as a human being. It is lazy racism to think that a person is so lazy that they can only do one thing.
Now that we know why these NFL players, especially Colin Kaepernick, took a knee during the anthem, let’s all pretend that the people who don’t like these uppity black millionaires exercising their rights as American actually ARE protesting the fabric of America, including the anthem, the flag, and the veterans. When this country was born, blacks were not included in the “We the People” part. It wasn’t until Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 that “Negroes” were acknowledged. At that, it was only for state representation. The plantation owners of the South didn’t like that their states would have lower representation due to their lower populations in relation to their Northern colleagues. This compromise would boost their numbers, meaning
they would have more representatives and more influence in Congress. The Constitutional Convention decided that 3/5 was a reasonable ratio to count black folks to bolster the South’s numbers. So not only were black people not considered 100% human, they were being used to uplift whites both on paper and physically with no hope of returns for their efforts. The Electoral College is actual plantation math. When that wasn’t enough, a Civil War broke out. After the North won, Reconstruction was supposed to help, but it collapsed, and Jim Crow was law. Then came US government-mandated segregated housing, hospitals, schools, and even retail venues in both the North and the South. Oregon was originally founded to be a bastion for whites only. Any time a black (or Chinese) community got “too successful”, white neighbors would burn it to the ground with residents still in it, and the survivors would be pushed farther into a non-visible corner. Even Central Park was built at the peril of a nice black neighborhood. confederate monuments popped up any time people of color made a modicum of headway in vying for equality. Thousands of people have been hanged over the years. If anyone has a right to kneeling to mourn the lack of American inclusion, it is people of color.
Then there are all the wars fought. Black people fought in nearly every war in this country, all the way back to the American Revolution. They fought with valor and honor. They risked their lives and were often put in even worse positions than their white counterparts. They were told they couldn’t handle leadership positions, deep sea diving, piloting planes, Marine training, Special Forces training, and every time, they unequivocally proved those notions wrong. Despite that, they received fewer Medals of Honor, fewer Purple Hearts, fewer accolades from the country for which they risked their lives. When they came home, instead of ticker tape, they were greeted with the same abuse and murder that they often fought against overseas. White residents would accuse black soldiers of stealing their uniforms. One black veteran was accusing of lying about his service and denied service at a restaurant just last year. How is that “paying respect to veterans”? Beside the fact that they are not railing against the congress people who continually either vote against or do nothing about legislation to improve the VA system, detractors need to admit that they only care about white veterans.
Bristling at the thought that one only cares about white veterans? About to create the #AllVeteransMatter hashtag? I’ll ease up on that, and talk about the national anthem that kneelers are supposedly disrespecting. First, here is the whole thing:
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
That third verse, tho…That is the banger. “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” That line refers to the black slaves who attempted to and did escape slavery to fight for the British for their freedom. Francis Scott Key was calling for the deaths of black British regiments in the war. He wanted them to suffer. Black soldiers fought on both sides of this conflict, though. So was he just against blacks who fought against the US? It is doubtful. He was a slave owner himself, after all, and of the Africans in America, he said that they area distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community”. So I don’t think he was a fan.
In 1833, he was City District Attorney for Washington, where he worked hard to stifle the efforts of abolitionists. He did little to punish the instigators of pro-slavery mobs, and he defended a series of gag rules to table anti-slavery petitions (sound familiar?). After a riot against a free black restaurant owner, Key sought to prosecute Reuben Crandall for simply HAVING abolitionist literature in a trunk. This trunk was found by US marshals who were off-duty slave catchers. Their search of his property was legally murky at best (sound familiar?). Key wanted him hanged for this, but he Crandall was acquitted.
One time, as documented in Snowstorm in August about the 1835 race riots, a free Potomac woman was fleeing from police constables trying to attack her, and she fell off a bridge into a river and drowned. Nothing was done about this, of course, and an abolitionist newspaper pointed that out. “There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district…No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”
Instead of even attempting to bring to justice the constables who caused this crime, Key railed against the paper who published the critique, saying that the newspaper intended to “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”
Bottom Line: Francis Scott Key was a piece of shit. He made a shitty song that called for the deaths of black folk, and he always thought of black folks as lower than human and only good for subjugation. So IF all this kneeling were about the national anthem, IF it were about the fabric of the United States and the American flag, then why not? Who in their right mind would pay reverence to an institution that was born with the idea to only gain free labor and congress seats from them, that after slavery still intended to humiliate and denigrate them, whose national song is one that is a call for their deaths for the crime of striving to be the free person that the institution claims as its cornerstone, whose author thinks so lowly of them? Before anyone PMs me and says that if I don’t like it here (something I didn’t say, btw), then I should go back to Africa, you’d better damn well have all the visa papers filled out for me and the boarding pass.
Do you want black people and other people of color to be truly equal, or just to develop Stockholm syndrome so that you can ignore their voices a little bit longer? They’re not “ungrateful” or “disrespectful”. Just be honest and say what you really mean. They’re just like the rest of us: uppity niggers who are expressing themselves the way you don’t want them to. Every American who claims to believe in equality needs to ask themselves a question: If you are mad at black athletes for kneeling for a song that literally calls for their deaths, written by a person who never cared about their lives, then who is the real patriot here?

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