#FergusonOctober Ignites a Generation

This post had been a long time coming, and in truth I was rendered unable to write anything coherently for a long while. I still really can’t, but NEEDS MUST and so here I am. I’ve also sprinkled lots of twitter hashtags around – you should check those out. First, a brief background on who I am and what I’ve done so you know where I’m coming from.

My parents marched with Dr. King. My siblings and I grew up in a household that taught us what civil disobedience was and is, and why it was necessary at times to engage in activism. I learned about boycotts. I remember as a kid old going to a rally that was protesting the South African Krugerrand. When I was 15 or 16 I got arrested at Cal Berkeley for “obstruction of a public walkway” while I was participating in a sit-in urging the University to divest from South African interests. My folks took me out to dinner to celebrate my activism that night after I got released from the campus jail.

In college I stopped many of my fellow students from being unnecessarily arrested when they decided to protest – too little, too late, not organized – on the eve of the first Iraq war. I’d already known from experience that you need to have a plan, and most of them were, unlike myself, already 18 and getting an arrest on their adult record was not a good idea. Especially for something that was a done deal, and they were jumping into the fray without any knowledge or anyone to help them through the arrest and release process.

I marched in Los Angeles with hundreds of thousands of people in similar marches around the nation to protest us getting into the second Iraq war. I had been organizing a group of spoken word folks at a local cafe at the time, and we marched under the banner of Patriotic Poets for Peace. The word “Patriot” being thrown around a lot those days by war mongers. We wanted to show that going to war wasn’t the only way to show how much you love America. Being a Pacifist and a Buddhist and raised as a Quaker and all that.

So that’s most of my background in a nutshell when it comes to activism and protesting.

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What was sad to see over these past months since the Mike Brown murder, and really in the intervening years since the last time I was physically able to get out onto the streets; is how many Americans – particularly white Americans – seemed completely confused by and totally ignorant of what civil disobedience is, why Americans engage in it, and how it relates to the Constitution – the fabric that this nation was created with.

Sure, lucky me, I grew up within an activist family, lived in the hotbed of activism and student protest – Berkeley California – but dayum yall folks can’t hit up the Google machine and get your learn on if you’re confused?

You went so far as to hold “a protest” for Darren Wilson the officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen – not even a “rally in support of” but you yourselves called it a PROTEST. What exactly are you protesting? The man is not doing a lick of work, yet he’s receiving his paycheck. Should anything legal happen to him, his lawyer and defense is PAID FOR by the police officers union. Which is the same entity that makes sure officers get put on PAID leave/suspension during investigations in the first place.

Are you protesting him being called a murder, a killer? Well golly gee, if we know one thing, we know that he shot and killed an unarmed teen. What happened to officers using their training to make an arrest and take people into custody?

You don’t even have the correct words for the things you do. You look puzzled and upset when the people who have everything to lose – their very LIVES – are actually Doing It Right and exercising their constitutional rights.

You should stop for a moment and read this link right here. I’ll wait. It’s from August 11th, and documents what had been actually happening night after night up to the point the article was written.

Perhaps you didn’t see any of that on the news. I’d be surprised if you did. Because I was following people on twitter who were there on the ground every night. And I’d watch as they’d document the mainstream media leaving, and then police moving in right after to lob tear gas canisters and shoot wooden bullets…at peaceful unarmed protesters, who were breaking no laws. I’d read a report from MSM how “calm and peaceful” the protests were last night, when I’d been watching footage of people being gassed, and shot at and manhandled, beaten and arrested.

These past recent weeks, military grade pepper spray, ie MACE has been deployed, choke holds have been documented, police shoving people to the ground, using unnecessary force with arrests, HOG TYING, pointing lethal weapons at unarmed women, children and men – and the footage of this officer shoving down with all his weight on his baton onto a seated protester made me physically ill.

Let me tell you something. Like those doing sit-ins in the civil rights era, and what we were doing at CAL Berkeley and the other protests I’ve participated in – There was a protocol. We were trained on it, and knew what to expect. For the most part, by and large in my experience the cops were cognizant of those protocols too, and adhered to them.

If you opted to be arrested, you were clearly shown the places where you should stand or sit. The areas outside the “arrest zone” nobody was touched. You could choose to link arms and the police had to extricate you one by one from the line and take you into custody. You could choose to go limp, or walk. No officers would beat you over the head, punch or shove you, or cut off your circulation with the cuffs or restraints. The idea was to simply arrest you, get you off the protest line and into jail.

Because it was understood that the protesters were getting arrested on purpose, going to jail to make a point, and to show how far you were willing to go for your cause. The police were there to do their job, as you were there to do yours. There was mutual consent to and adherence to the protocols. I’m not saying they were gentle, or always respectful – in individual cases, with individual officers, some weren’t adverse to being a bit more rough with their methods of taking protesters into custody.

But this casual brutality, out of control and targeted hate and aggression at protesters simply just shattered my soul and boggled my mind. It’s bad enough to just see it outright, but to have experiences under my belt that were far opposite to what has been going on in Ferguson, Shaw and all around St. Louis now has fucked up my brain and bruised my heart.

It’s a brand New Day and the Old Protocols no longer apply.

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That was brought home all to clear this past weekend during #FergusonOctober where the activists who have been protesting the Mike Brown’s murder and subsequent NON-arrest of Darren Wilson invited everyone to come down and march, rally, vigil and protest with them. When on Sunday the usual marching out of clergy intoning platitudes was met by the youth who’ve been out there from day ONE with a general “Oh NO, you really do NOT understand. Those tactics are NOT going to work this time around”.

It became even more clear, as I saw similar commentary and retweets flowing down my screen. These police, backed with city AND state officials are given free reign to behave in any manner they please, and the protocols of the past are gone from the playing field forever.

We got to see the clergy getting into the spirit of things on #MoralMonday. Kneeling and praying in front of the line of officers, putting themselves in between out of control cops and protesters and getting arrested. Some of the feeds showed a few (male clergy) who still hadn’t twigged to the new paradigm, unsure and not very happy that a young woman was both leader and catalyst. I’m sure they’ll eventually catch on. Either join in, pass the torch, follow the new leaders of the revolution or tap out.

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Thoughts and things that pop into my head as I write this:

-How upset I was to see the National Guard come in. Not to protect civilians, but to protect the cops going loco, and to protect property. I was not prepared for that. The last time I’d seen the National Guard deployed they were there to help protect US Citizens and not cordon off a McDonalds like protesters were out there laying siege to retail establishments instead of fleeing to them for refuge from tear gassing, rubber bullets and to get milk for burning tear gassed eyes.

-When Amnesty International was escorted out of the area at gunpoint. My first thought was that in my mid-forties I’d lived too long. That image is forever burned into my soul. It is the epitome of what is all wrong with what is happening there.

-Seeing the exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks come out to Ferguson to show their support. It was amazing to see and warmed my heart. I’ll never forget those images of them out there interacting with the protesters, letting them know they are not alone, that people world-wide are watching, and that truly yes indeed: #BlackLivesMatter

-Outright lying from the local and STL police departments and erroneous reporting from MSM who do little if no research whatsoever and continue with their inflammatory headlines. The combination is a wicked brew and serves only to perpetuate the painting of the protesters as rioting thugs, criminals and miscreants. The truth is on Twitter. Getchu some. Want updates from folks who pack it in at 8pm every night or from those on the ground who stay there until the wee hours of the morning night after night?

-The 5 Second Rule finally being thrown out and deemed unconstitutional. Because oh hey it WAS. Police just made up a policy – they were doing that a lot – and forced US Citizens to keep moving and would be subject to arrest if they stopped for more than 5 seconds. Children, the elderly, disabled people – EVERYONE.

-The protest at the St. Louis symphony. That was amazing, beautiful and powerful. Despite what you HEARD, every single protester bought a ticket to the show. They unfurled banners and sang during the intermission. And filed out quietly when they finished. The director of the symphony was fine with it, and members of the orchestra applauded them.

-Watching white people push back on protesters with racist commentary, remarks and in some cases outright attacks. If I see/hear one more person come say “we gave you all the freedoms you have” I don’t know what I’ll do. You didn’t “give” us anything. You fought tooth and nail to keep us enslaved, went to war, sent your sons to DIE and even cobbled up a flag to represent your traitorous actions. What little we do have, surely wasn’t given to us by you or anyone else. We have struggled, and fought and died. GTFOH with that mess. Case in point look at how begrudging, upset and downright angry you are at seeing us out there continuing to fight for equality, dignity and our human rights and citizenship.

-Police officers on duty at the protests seen wearing “I am Darren Wilson” wrist bands. They’ll wear that, but not their badges or their name tags. Watching them use Bull Connor tactics of intimidation, provocation and aggression on people peacefully exercising their constitutional rights. Pointing loaded weapons at unarmed women, children and men.

-Exhausted at seeing officers going about their “duties” like a gang of thugs with no respect for human dignity and rights. Pepper spraying a passenger after breaking a window to get at them during a traffic stop, tazing and then arresting a middle aged woman for no apparent reason, shoving a pregnant woman to the ground, slapping and beating children, tazing people who are breaking no laws, stopping, questioning and arresting people because they’re standing waiting for their family or having a drink at a bar, opting to shoot and kill rather than make an arrest. Being judge, jury and executioner is NOT your job description! iCan’t anymore. All out of cans.

-STL police department tweeting about their broken tail light like it’s a THING when one of their own just murdered another young Black person. Watching them make up stories about protesters throwing a rock or was it rocks plural? Their story kept changing. Watching them finally start to get the hang of twitter…and then using to frame their story and broadcast outright lies and disinformation.

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What I really don’t want to think about as being true but I have to wonder…

I’ve blogged a lot about what is called Legal Slavery. I’ve talked about the Prison Industrial Complex, the School-to-Prison-Pipeline and other entities that pretty much end up as ways for billions of dollars to be made off of Black and Brown people.

There is this thing that has been going on for awhile, but in recent years almost happenstance in that it happens so often. White people co-opting, and appropriating Black culture, mores and fads and making millions off of it. All without the inconvenience of having to be Black. And actual Black people doing similar things are looked down upon, not given the same kudos and money making opportunities etc.

All these ways, large and small to make money off of us. From plagiarism, co-opting, appropriation, exploitation, white-washing and reframing. And now murder.

Yes, I said it.

MURDER for MONIES.

I wasn’t the only one who began to wonder if the murder of Vonderitt Meyers on the eve of #FergusonOctober was motivated by financial gain. Think about it. This is an officer who is moonlighting ie working another job – for a private security firm – when he accosts Mr. Meyers in what the police called a “Pedestrian Check”.

1. WTF is a Pedestrian Check. And why you exercising your police powers when you are officially OFF DUTY and working another job? Even though you were wearing your PD uniform – you’re not on their clock, dig?

1a. Why does the account from the police department on what happened keep changing??

2. Shoulda went back to your actual job you were being paid to do – instead of chasing after and shooting down that guy. And 17 shots? You were seriously TRYING TO MAKE SURE HE WAS DEAD.

3. Because him coming out of your altercation alive wouldn’t work for the FINANCIAL PLAN YOU HAD SET UP.

Hell if I wasn’t a Buddhist (I know from karma), a decent person and owned a gun, and killing a white person dead brought me a work-free paycheck and protection behind the blue line as well as city and state backing: I MIGHT GO AROUND CHASING DOWN AND MURDERNG WHITE PEOPLE.

You might call me paranoid.

You might call me an alarmist.

You might call me a conspiracy theorist.

But really, think about it for a minute. Very few cops get to see the inside of a courtroom if it even gets that far when they murder a Black person. Usually they walk if they go on trial. In cases that are settled, the money comes from the department or the city – not the individual officer. In very rare cases the department will outright fire the cop in question, and I think that only happens if they are tired of ponying up the cash for officer shenanigans, don’t want the hassle and spotlight on their department.

They almost always across the board get put on paid leave. The cop who killed 7 year old Aiyana Jones IN HER HOME has been on paid leave since 2010.

On October 3 2014, the judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge against Weekley, leaving him on trial for only one charge: recklessly discharging a firearm.”

Darren Wilson got at additional half a million dollars from his “supporters” via donations from the gofundme website campaign set up for him. Which btw we are boycotting because yeah. Yes, people were sending money to the guy who’s still getting his paycheck and benefits. He hasn’t been indicted or charged or even arrested and has no legal fees to worry about. Which are covered by the police officers union anyway. That is not support money, that is reward money. For murder.

A cop who’s hard up for cash, working two jobs, might see murder for monies as an option. IJS.

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Lastly Before I Go. Please Do NOT Forget About the Women and Girls Being Murdered by Police Officers.

I know that the youth are the leaders of this movement. I also know that young women have been at the forefront, behind the scenes, organizing, on the front lines, getting arrested, leading marches, leading the chants, reporting and live-streaming, out there IN SUPPORT OF THE BLACK MEN AND BOYS who are the focus and highlight of these goings on.

I Intervened on Behalf of a Young Man About to be Falsely Arrested – by Pia Glenn

I know that they are doing this for All Of Us. I know that they are out there in solidarity.

I ALSO know that I expect the same when it comes to Black males to return the favor. I appreciate that there are MORE men and boys being targeted and murdered, but that is no reason to not ever mention the women and girls sharing the same fate.

I CALL TO YOU NOW, MY STANDUP BROTHAS: DON’T LEAVE OUT WOMEN AND GIRLS IN YOUR MESSAGES OF PROTEST, RAGE AND SOLIDARITY.

I’ve seen so many panels, speeches, tee-shirts, posters, protest signs, websites, blogs, tumblrs, interviews etc. etc. that always focus ENTIRELY on Black males. It is BLACK PEOPLE that are under duress. We fly the flag upside down for ALL OF US. We are ALL in acute distress. We burn the flag to protest the government that condones the actions of those keeping ALL OF US under duress and in fear for our lives that enacts and supports the laws that do the same.

-Also, the reports I saw of women being street harassed while out there in #STL fighting for justice… that really saddened me. During all the Arab Spring protests and celebrations women were assaulted, raped and gang raped. So freedom for men to continue to behave like mindless predators? No respect for your Sisters out there in Ferguson supporting the cause? Standup brothas: Shut your boys down. This is unacceptable.

Remember Aiyana, Renisha, Rekia, Yvette, Tyisha…

Black Women and Girls Killed by the Police.

#NeverForget. Black Women are killed by the police too. And not only that, we face sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault and battery as well. ADD DANIEL HOLTZCLAW TO YOUR LIST OF POLICE OFFICERS WHO NEED TO FACE JUSTICE.

He specifically targeted Black women because he’s seen that not much hue and cry goes up when its us coming up missing, shot, killed, beaten, raped. He wasn’t wrong about that. So CHANGE IT UP and make sure he gets put under the jail for the crimes he committed.

When your turn comes: Step up to the plate and do what your Sisters have been doing for you. Return the support and solidarity. We march on together or we fall apart divided.

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Lemonade out of these godawful lemons – to paraphrase Elon James White CEO of #TWiBNation – a whole generation has just been radicalized by these events. Thank goodness for them. I might not be to old to get out in those streets, but I’m broken and tired and I gladly pass the torch. March on Sisters and Brothers! LEADERS.

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For accurate reporting, video streams, dispatches, tweets, vines and instragrams of what has TRULY been going on in St. Louis take a look at my twitter feed, and Millennial Activists United, @MusicOverPeople and the amazing Netta too. #Ferguson #FergusonOctober #ArrestDarrenWilson #JusticeForMikeBrown
Which side are you on?
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Viola SLAYED and Scandal Stayed

I’ll kick things off with my usual —-> SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT <—- Not because I want to spoil things for ya – I’m actually so not into doing that, but in my enthusiasm, I might ruin some aspects of the the two season openers (How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal) I’m gonna talk about next.

So read at your own risk if you have not yet seen these shows. Ya Been Warned :D

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Let’s start with Scandal. Season 4 Episode 1 for those keeping track. I had one thing I wanted to see happening on that show, and one other thing I sure didn’t want to have happen, but knew was pretty inevitable, despite my hopes, wishes and dreams.

1. OPA and Olivia kicking butt with FIXING Washington D. C./White House scandals and Olivia’s gut back in fine working order, to help the process along.

It looked like to me, that that was the direction things might be heading in for this new season. The scandal they took on, was pretty run of the mill – compared to some of the doozies that have been on this show in the past – but The Gladiators had been apart for a long while, so I’m cool with giving them something easy to Handle first thing.

2. I want Olitz to go bye-bye. Ugh!

I knew this thing with Olivia and President Ghost would become a fixture on this show, but I hoped and prayed anyway lol. Oh Well.

At least I’ll always have THIS MOMENT. Brief, but Truly Awesome ROFL ;D

For the BEST Scandal Recaps EVAR check out Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie, her pop culture and humor blog, including This Episode’s Recap. There were some pretty fine TV moments, and I think Luvvie captured most of them. Some Twitter hashtags to keep track of on Thursday nights: #MustyMellie #FuckItMellie

Overall, Scandal stayed at it’s Kinda Meh stage for me, as it had been pretty much all last season. (see the tail end of my Why I Love Scandal post) However, I AM going to watch and continue to hope and pray for more FIXING, for more OLIVIA’S GUT IN TOP WORKING ORDER, for LESS OLITZ, and maybe cast a talented young BLACK WOMAN or LATINA or (hawt!) ASIAN GUY to take Harrison’s spot at OPA?

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Viola Davis SLAYED in the premiere of How To Get Away With Murder.

/end review.

No but seriously? She SLAYED so completely. I was stomping and cheering and doing backflips (in my mind, ok lol) the whole time watching.

She absolutely smoldered on screen. Honey, HUSH! The second she strode into her lecture hall, wearing wine colored leather on top (unzipped down to Glory!), curve-hugging pencil skirt….. I was On The Floor!

Then she let loose her acting chops all over the episode and I was in HEAVEN! I kept having to hit pause and wipe away tears of absolute JOY every ten minutes.

I’m not sure you understand.

This will explain it MUCH MO BETTA. Viola in her own words on The View. Yeah click it, watch the clip. I’ll wait.

Yeah :D

Twitter hashtag to keep track of Thursday nights: #DatMurda

Viola Davis as Annalise Keating (<—yeah click dat!) is something special, and not to be missed. So go watch if you haven’t already. DVR, VCR, Hulu, Amazon, Youtube, Betamax – me don cair… aww heck! Just Click Here and watch it NAO. Not sure how long ABC is going to have that up available to watch w/out signing in and all that so do eet soon as you can!

I leave you with a picture of even MORE Viola Slayage. You’re Welcome :)

1ViolaSlayage

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Yes, I did also watch the 2nd Season opener of Sleepy Hollow. Another show featuring a Black woman lead :) Go Nicole Beharie! <—YES, click dat!
I loved it too, despite their hanging onto the Katrina character who has as of yet done nothing really to further any storylines or whatever. Ditch the witch, please. *yawn*
I look forward to more interaction between the two sisters, more Orlando Jones, and more John Cho. That hope and dreams thing LOL. They stayed true to form with the top-notch banter and SPARKAGE between Abbie and Ichabod (Ichabbie!), and the over the top fantasy elements that we’ve come to know and love. #SleepyHolla
I’ll keep watching, because it’s TV for ME, and there is so little of that around as you well know. Here’s A Fall 2014 Guide to Black Women on TV that should help out with that too :) Thank You, For Harriet!
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Viola Davis is Beautiful

Classic African Beauty: ENJOY

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Viola Davis

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z Viola Davis

Gurl, BYE.

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For those that don’t know, Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice fame has cast the amazing actor Viola Davis AS THE LEAD in her new show How To Get Away With Murder premiering on ABC this week.

Apparently that didn’t sit well with some folks. A Black woman at the top of her game, reaching out and elevating other Black women to career positions that they should have been offered DECADES ago, based on their chops and resume’s alone…

…but were somehow overlooked…..wonder WHY that is.

My Intersect Tessracts who’ve read my Invisible Woman series of posts know what time it is though. GOOD. Love yall!

Recommended:

In Defense of Clair Huxtable & the Angry Black Woman In TV & Beyond by the fabulous Janet Mock.

Melissa Harris-Perry: If “angry white man” was a caricature.

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I’m celebrating the BEAUTY that is Viola Davis because of a recent article in the NY Times that was HUGELY problematic that dissed Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis and many other Black female actors, and Black women in general. Click the link under the final picture above for more info.
There is a REASON I have darker hued Black women scattered around my blog on the sidebar and also on my footer. Scroll around and down and revel in the BEAUTY that surrounds my words. It is ON PURPOSE.
To combat articles like that and other endemic societal entities and institutions that at best forget Black women exist and at worst disrespect us and promote stereotypes and spread disinformation and lies that do the most to uphold white supremacy.
Yeah I said it.
I speak Truth.

Viola, I love you! I wish you all the success with your new show. Thank you, Shonda!

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Renisha McBride’s Killer Gets Sentenced

According to This Article from the LA Times Theodore P. Wafer who murdered Renisha BcBride, is getting 17-32 years. At the very least he is gonna do 17 years. I say he got off easy. A couple of people on my twitter TL disagreed a little bit. The relief for having some sort of justice in these days when it’s been few and far between of late might be a mitigating factor in that, so I’ll agree with them on the emotional part of it, but I disagree on the rest.

Consider This Post I did about Renisha McBride when Wafer’s name was released when he was (finally) charged with anything. I quoted from a Think Progress Article that listed what the charges were and their possible terms:

The charges include murder in the second degree, which carries a term of up to life in prison; a manslaughter charge with a maximum term of 15 years in prison; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony or attempted commission, which carries a term of two years in prison.

At that time, and in my post, I expressed my doubts on getting any lengthy prison terms for Wafer because of the language of the charges. I’ve bolded the parts that were of concern to me. And you can see I was right in my concerns. You take a life, you do life in prison. That’s the way I see it. You forfeited your life, the second you decided to take someone else’s away. I don’t believe in the death penalty (religious reasons, Buddhist), but you commit the crime you do the time.

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He’s going to do the maximum on that manslaughter charge. And do the two years they tacked on for those firearm charges. The rest, the tail end of the 17 to 32 years part, well I guess he might get time off for good behavior or be able to appeal after his 17 years are up. I don’t know. Something was mentioned in that original LA Times article, on how 17 years is “a death sentence” because Wafer is 55 years old. He’ll be 72 at the end of those 17 years. My father is around that age and still alive and kicking and doing pretty well healthwise.

But GUESS WHAT???

If it does end up being that he dies in prison: WELP.

Shoulda thought about that BEFORE he opted to kill Renisha on his front porch.

I mentioned I was a Buddhist and we are supposed to have compassion for everyone. I said I was a Buddhist. I didn’t say I was a GOOD Buddhist.

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He ended the life of a 19 year old young woman.

With what I thought to be premeditated actions on his part. Peep this:

You have to think about whether you’re gonna grab your gun or the phone. You have to think about it when you check to see if your gun is loaded. You have think about whether or not you’re gonna open your front door, or keep it closed and decide put down the gun and opt for calling the police, or ignoring the knocking-excuse me-I mean banging on your door and go back to sleep.

I read somewhere that Renisha had tried a few other houses and got no response. Either those folks weren’t home or they ignored her. Which is fine really. Because if you are so damn scared of WHATEVER you think is banging on your door, what you DON’T DO is open it wide. You keep it shut and cower silently in your house and hope it goes away.

Or you could call through the door, or a side window or something and ask the person who they are, what do they want, or yell at them to move on and leave you alone. There are SO MANY CHOICES that Wafer could have picked OTHER than to open his door and shoot Renisha in the face.

So yeah, I’m saying he should have gotten the maximum for that first charge of Murder In the Second Degree which is LIFE IN PRISON.

So sue me if you think I’m wrong, but that’s what I believe would have been justice, and been fair sentencing. As I said. Life for a Life. You end a life, you forfeit your own.

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And one last thing to comment on before I go. Remember how Wafer went from “shooter” and “killer” too “homesteader” (really??) to “homeowner” in the first few hours when this story broke? Maybe you don’t remember, because it happened so damn fast, and then you couldn’t even pull up any headlines with shooter or killer in them anywhere near the first 10-20 pages of a Google search. I know because I TRIED.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw it happen.

Now guess what?

He’s back to being called a Killer, Murderer, and Shooter.

INTERESTING ISN’T IT?

He was initially being framed in the press as a HOMEOWNER when the initial report and subsequent reporting on this case up until TODAY when he was actually sentenced and there was “no doubt” that we was indeed a KILLER.

(If you don’t know, referring to Wafer as a homeowner makes him look like a guy rightfully defending his home, his house, his property from whatever teeming hordes were banging on his door late at night. Framing which I think muddied the jury pool and was responsible for the lighter sentencing. Wafer could have very easily walked, and I’ll stake my life on knowing it was a near thing in that deliberation room. Praise Buddha he made it to sentencing and to that Judge who wasn’t going to be completely hoodwinked by the “afraid for his life” nonsense.)

Well fuck you too press, media & MSM. Fuck you ENTIRELY. I also saw some headlines and tweets from major news outlets that focused on Renisha’s toxicology report as if she deserved to be shot in the face and KILLED because she was impaired.

Where was the toxicology report on Wafer? Oh yeah, that’s right. They don’t do those on murderers. Only on the victims. Welcome to America. The 911 operator said he sounded confused. Was he drunk when he shot Renisha? High? Just sleepy because her “banging” on the door woke him up? We’ll never know.

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And the really really last thing. People.

Please.

If you should murder someone. DON’T ASK THE FAMILY OF YOUR VICTIM TO FORGIVE YOU! JUST DON’T DO IT!

Read This if you don’t know what I mean. Especially the comments.

I’ll quote myself for the lazies who won’t read that post, because THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:

If someone I’ve harmed in any way comes up to me and offers me forgiveness all on their own, well that is their choice to do so, because I certainly wouldn’t ever ask them to forgive me. My compassion for the suffering I caused another human being would lead me to apologize, offer to make amends, make things right, take responsibility for my actions, and other things along those lines – but I would never never never ask for anyone to forgive me.

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Rest in Peace Renisha. I’m glad you got some justice, and I’m truly happy to see something going mostly right for a damn change. But I’m gonna #StayWoke and I hope you all do too.
People who have murdered our Women, Children and Men are still running around free/walking away beating murder charges. The fight is still going on.

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#Ferguson #HandsUpDontShoot Black Women Are Killed by the Police Too
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The Gabby Douglas Story

Remember that cute as buttons little Black girl actor for the role of the gymnast little sister that the casting crew for Twisted just seemed they couldn’t find – or even bother to cast? I wrote about it my Invisible Girl: Twisted Sister post. Where I also harked upon the wasted opportunity to show a young Black girl going for her dreams – or at the very least having fun – in the same sport as Gabby Douglas, just like Gabby.

I introduce to you Sydney Mikayla who played young Gabrielle aka “Breezy” in the Lifetime biopic The Gabby Douglas Story that I just finished watching:

Sydney Mikayla as Young Gabby

OMG! a cute as buttons little Black girl actor to play a gymnast on TV! Who knew?? WHERE on Earth did they find her??? OMG!! By the way Sydney was absolutely great in her role. If you got Netflix you can watch the biopic on Instant Watch.

I loved the film even if it was served up with the usual Lifetime dose of saccharine; But it got the basic job done and featured such fabulous POC actors as Regina KingS. Epatha Merkerson and the always Hella Fine Brian Tee. Please Click Here for the rest of the cast in other info on the movie.

I read a review on this film that said it was white-washed – meaning it didn’t really talk at all about the racism, discrimination and other racially induced stresses and hardships that Gabby went through on her journey to Olympic gold. From her fellow camp mates, even her Olympic team mates, to the media/press and social media.

Well, I’m ok with that for the most part, in this case, because I was watching the camera work – which I believe was done purposefully – and it kept showing how glaringly white the world of gymnastics is. You could see it from the panning shots portraying each gymnastic camp Gabby went to, where every single other gymnast was white, to the panning shots of the crowd at her competitions – same thing. You’d have to be pretty oblivious not to notice the side by side contrasts.

Gabby always the lone Black girl in the training camps, Gabby’s family quite noticeable in the sea of white cheering faces.

So I thought, while they did chicken out of actually even really tackling the subject, they didn’t avoid it completely. And hey, it is after all a Lifetime Movie. I kept that in mind as I was watching.

I’ve also trained, participated and competed in glaringly white sports myself, so I already know the drill – Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis, Soccer, Ballet—been there done that, bought the tee shirt, so I already knew what time it was. Also, we as Black people know the Basic Drill In General, and can easily imagine what kind of things she went through.

And despite ALL of that and enduring so much of the same crap WHILE she was competing, at the London 2012 Games:

Gabby Douglas became THE FIRST U.S. gymnast to win both the Team and All-Around gold medals in the same Olympics.

YAY Gabby!!

I’d also like to note something that they always seemed to leave out when they reported on the Team Win. Gabby pretty much carried the whole team. She was the only one on the team who competed in ALL four areas – beam, floor, vault and bars – she racked up seriously high numbers in each and swept the US Team on to victory.

Golden Gabby Douglas

Highly Recommended: Athletic Sisters from The Black Girls Club. You’ll never look at gymnastics, figure skating, tennis and rhythmic gymnastics the same way ever again :)

________________________________________________________

So while the news and the state of the world has been getting me down of late, it was really great to watch a nice feelgood movie telling about a wonderful Olympic Dream coming True. 
Gabby is such an inspiration, and she’s one of my personal heroes. Watch the movie, take a break from all the madness and shout, cheer, laugh and cry happy tears and feel great, even if it’s only for an hour and a half.

The Gabrielle Douglas Website. You’re welcome ;)

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We Are Living in a Police State

We have been living in a police state for a long time now. The grip Law Enforcers have on this country (the so-called United States of America) has waxed and waned over the centuries, but Trust and Believe that this has for the most part always been How It Is.

And also for the most part, People Of Color (POC) especially Black People have been the ones bearing the brunt of their attentions. In fact, policies have been drawn up, laws have been made specifically to keep us in line, under thumb and with jackboots on our necks as we lie there helpless to do anything about it.

If you as a white person have felt any little piece of this Police State, it’s only the inevitable overflow, or you put yourself in harm’s way, on their radar, by your own actions. Because, again, Trust and Believe, this status quo is for sure not meant for you, or to affect you, or at least not as you go about your daily lives.

*****

Stop & Frisk interrupts the daily lives of thousands of Black and Brown youths – especially young males – each and every day in cities across this country, and this policy, while finally getting special scrutiny in New York after over a decade of being able to operate with impunity, is being looked at by many cities as a policy they want to implement. Hell, why not? They might get a good 10 year run out of it, before anyone does anything about it.

Racial profiling, especially DWB (Driving While Black) has effected my own life in significant ways, and while Dave Chapelle and other Black comedians may joke about it, we know that sometimes laughter eases the pain, and maybe the message might be a bit more palatable couched in an HBO special, or within the lyrics of a song.

But the truth of the matter is I’ve seen with my own eyes my fears come to life with devastating results. Nobody seemed to blink when the Patriot Act became policy, became the law of the land. Because you were tricked into thinking it would be Them and not You who would be getting the highly accelerated attentions of Law Enforcers. Who now have the blessings of the government to do whatever they want to you and yours.

Not Me, though. I shuddered and worried for my people, because I knew it was such a small step to take from rounding up “suspected terrorists” to enacting those same modes of conduct on my people. I’m way too tired to list the hundreds and thousands of incidents that have been wracked up in the ensuing years that proved my fears to be justified.

****

But I did write a breakdown post about the video of 26 officers coming to help arrest one skinny Black guy who did nothing but allegedly jump a turnstyle. The law enforcer’s response to the Black male “suspect” is to go overkill and subdue at all costs. In my opinion, it was pure luck that man didn’t go the way of Oscar Grant.

I did write about police tackling and nearly killing a 14 year old Black kid because they didn’t like his body language. A child. They nearly murdered a child, because he expressed his anger and upset at being targeted and profiled not with words, or actions, but with a look and a tensing up of his body. They say he clenched his fist – as if that is even a justifiable reason for two grown armed men to tackle an unarmed child – but he was holding his puppy in his arms at the time so… yeah… NO.

And let’s not forget when I wrote about Howard Morgan who gets jumped by FOUR fellow law enforcers, they shoot him up, leave him for dead, but he survives his injuries only to be put on trial (twice) and end up with a 40 year prison sentence for attempted murder. Yes, the attempted murder of the 4 police officers who nearly killed him. Welcome to Amerikkka. Yes Howard Morgan is Black and the four law enforcers who jumped him and shot him 28 times were white.

LeVar Burton Explains How He Avoids Being Shot By Police. Yes, the very same gentleman who recently raised 5.4 million dollars to help further literacy for American children. And a film and television star to boot. But he’s Black and male and his life hangs in the balance every time he has an interaction with the police.

***

I’m writing this post because the murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD this past July 17th, is just about the last straw. Not only was he murdered in cold blood, and on tape for the whole world to see – a video I will not ever be able to watch btw – he was killed using a chokehold which had been outlawed by the NYPD itself in 1993. It was against the law for police to use that particular “technique” as they go about their “duties”. Yet and still, during the intervening decades there have been weekly (on average about 3/week) complaints from citizens about officers using chokeholds. You do the math.

I’m guessing the officer(s) in question are “suspended with pay” yet again, and will in the long run face no criminal charges at all. Why do I think this? Because they were doing their jobs exactly the way they were supposed to. Excessive force being the unspoken code of conduct when it comes to arresting Black people, no matter what window dressing laws are passed to police the behavior of the police.

[UPDATED TO ADD]: The officer who actually killed Eric Garner has been “stripped of his badge and gun” so that means he’s fired right? NOPE. He’s on desk duty for the duration of the investigation. Still pulling in a paycheck for murdering someone – doesn’t even lose his job. The other officer involved has been put on desk duty as well, but will keep his gun and badge. They have both been “taken off the street”. Like that even means anything.

So many deaths at the hands of police could have been avoided. Remember the recent rash of “suicides” by Black males in Police custody? We are magical negroes indeed when we can shoot ourselves in the head while being unarmed and handcuffed in the back of police vehicles. Or alone in a jail cell. Or handcuffed and being taken into custody. We just magically end up dead. Over and over and over again.

I for one am sick and tired of it. And it isn’t only our Black men being targeted and bearing the brunt of this kind of lawless behavior. Black women and our Black children are increasingly being made victims of this.

**

Law enforcement systems in this country were originally set up to protect wealthy white males, their property, their women and their homes. They teamed up with segments of the Ku Klux Klan to create Paterollers and drew from that pool to populate their Sheriffs, Police Chiefs and to run the so-called Justice Departments.

You’ve heard about the Oakland PD’s Rough Riders? There’s a reason why they chose to call themselves that, and a reason why they were able to operate in such lawless ways for so long, and when finally brought to court in 2002-2003, there was somehow no way to get any of the 100’s of charges of misconduct to stick.

People talk about advocating to Stop Police Brutality and End Police Department Corruption and all that. But what needs to be looked at is the endemic system of racism that exists in this country. These sorts of things don’t happen in a vacuum. They don’t flourish and become unspoken policy by happenstance.

You can put a bandaid on a symptom, but unless the actual problem is addressed, this will continue to happen. I write this post today, because I can’t NOT write about it. Not one of those law enforcers saw Eric Garner as a human being. They snuffed out his life like it was nothing. And they will face little to no reprimand for their murder – caught on tape as it was – because hardly any of these officers ever do.

When you suspend someone and yet still keep paying them, that is not a punishment. You are giving them a paid vacation. They don’t have to show up to work, and yet they will still receive a paycheck. When you opt to  “take them off the street” by way of giving them desk duty instead of their regular duties, you sure haven’t even fired them or even suspended them at all have you?

Rarely do we ever see officers in similar circumstances get suspended without pay, or fired, or in any danger of losing their jobs, their pensions, or paychecks. Nor brought up on charges of murder either for that matter, and if they do get charged and end up in trial, they more often than not: walk away scot-free.

*

More and more, people in countries around the world are coming to the realization that America is a police state. I wonder if Americans are going to wake up to that reality anytime soon. And when I say Americans I mean White America, because everything is always so peachy keen in this country, and they view the police and law enforcers in a whole different way than we do. But we been knowing about this Police State since our ancestors first stepped foot on these shores.

One thing I wanted to mention before I sign off, is something that one of my favorite TWiB (This Week In Blackness) podcasters Aaron Rand Freeman brings up often. There is no actual need for any of this excessive force and overkill response from law enforcers. In nearly all of these situations they are the only ones armed. They are also in radio reach of calling for backup: for more armed personnel to come to their aid. They also have the power and backing of the laws of land in their favor as well as the solidarity of the Blue Line.

Why not simply just put someone in handcuffs and take them down to the station? Why is there a need for the chokeholds, tasing, beatings and shootings? There isn’t any need. Plenty of law enforcers manage to make arrests of unarmed people without resorting to all that madness.

And yet we hear of officers slapping children, punching people, using illegal chokeholds, applying excessive force, tackling kids, shooting unarmed people – over and over and over again. If there is no need for all of that, then why does it happen? When you live in a police state guess who has all the power, and guess who can behave in whatever manner they see fit, without fear of any major repercussions?

The law enforcers that’s who.

The police.

Stop murdering my people.

No Criminal Charges Coming For Officers Who Shot And Killed Kimani Gray, 16.

Barely three days after writing this: #MikeBrown Another Unarmed Young Black Man Shot Dead by Police. And today – 8/11/14 – RIGHT NOW in fact, Police are tear gassing people and shooting rubber bullets in #Ferguson.

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I’m so tired. I usually have something to say here in this section of my post, but today, I got nothing. My soul is hurt and scared and I fear for this nation as I fear for my people.
I will say this though. I usually have a picture to go along with my posts, but all of the ones I found pertaining to this subject – even the ones what were just text – I found too triggering, and I try to make this a Safe Space.
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#HistoricalBlackness Opened My Eyes

black-woman-thinking

I talk a LOT about being AWAKE and sending out the call for everyone to WAKE UP and by that I mean all of the levels of awareness. Basic #StayWoke policies and all that.

But the other day on the latest Historical Blackness podcast with Dr. Blair Kelly via TWiB FM, I got a nice refreshing boost up to the next level of waked-uppness.

In case you didn’t click the above link and listen (hey you can do it later) here it is again:

#HistoricalBlackness #6: The Negro Problem.

 ~*~

There was a moment during the podcast (at about 0:50:00) where Dr. Kelly was exploring the legacy of fear and violence that has been poured down upon us – from an historical perspective.

She talked about the laws and policies created based around “I feel threatened”. I’ve written a lot about those things myself. So I thought I had gotten the whole picture. But it was just a small tilting of the lens, a few degrees in one direction and I was able to see things in a different way. It was a small thing and yet so HUGE.

She said that murderers are going free/unpunished for their murders, and Black people and POC in general are put through the wringer –  tougher sentencing rates, longer prison terms, justice being put on the wayside – etc. all due to FEELINGS rather than FACTS.

For example the focus is on how the defendant up on murder charges FELT during the situation in which they committed their crime. They FELT like their life was in danger. They FELT threatened.

Instead of focusing on the FACTS. Were you in FACT actually in danger for your life? Were you in FACT actually threatened? Who in FACT actually escalated the situation? And so on.

When we exist in a society that deems me and people like me to be threatening just as we are – Sitting waiting for a table in a restaurant, waiting for a bus, sitting in a car playing music, walking in the rain – and then to build laws that back up those irrational fears, so much so, that you can simply state your FEELINGS and have that become a legal option for you to not have to pay for the crime you committed – well you tell ME what chance in hell do we have for justice?

There is no level playing field here at all. The inequalities are glaring.

I hadn’t thought about it in those specific terms. FEELINGS vs. FACTS. That is what it boils down to.

Just recently a man who was convicted of raping his three year old daughter got no jailtime whatsoever because the prosecuting judge FELT that he “wouldn’t fare well” in prison. The convicted rapist in question is a white male and hair to the Dupont fortune. Never mind the FACT that he raped his child and was convicted.

But a poor Black woman who was trying to change her circumstances in the best way she could, and get a job to be able to feed her children gets thrown in jail. Where are all the FEELINGS for her and her situation?

“You commit a crime, you do the time”. Well only for SOME people.

Please let someone walk based on FACTS not FEELINGS. Please serve sentences and prosecute with EQUITY ACROSS THE BOARD.

I’m not asking for much. We never are.

My existence is indescribable when I draw breath in a world that operates like this.

______________________________________________________

This is a set up. This is done on purpose. This is historical. This has been in place for CENTURIES. These “new” laws are the resurrection of Southern Strategy and Jim and Jane Crow. Irrational fears being backed by power and law.
Are you  more AWAKE than ever? I sure am.
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The Day The Earth Stood Still

It happened one day. From one moment to the next. Things were carrying on as usual and then in the next moment everything was different. This was the day over two-thirds of Earth’s population disappeared. At first some thought it was The Rapture, but as early reports from around the globe quickly began to trickle in, it became clear there was nothing “in the twinkling of an eye” about the disappearances. Not to mention when it became confirmed just who all was being disappeared, and what little we could ascertain as to the method, there was clearly nothing heavenly about their journey or destination.

All across the world, husbands disappeared. Boyfriends melted shrieking for mercy into nothingness. Pastors, priests, monks, imams, reverends and rabbis melted like wet witches in agony in front of their followers. The US military took a huge hit, and really, most military forces throughout the world were decimated. Athletes and coaches and nearly whole teams in some cases from the little leagues to the pros in nearly every sport, but football seemed the hardest hit, were whittled down to next to nothing in minutes.

College campuses, schools, after school programs, community centers, offices where everyday business is conducted, homeless shelters, political party headquarters, the local bakery, the bodega down the street, all of your neighbors suffered losses in equal measure. Prisons were hit particularly hard as were fraternities across the board. The music and other entertainment industries like television and film were gutted. The medical and other service professions weren’t spared either, which was a shame as you can imagine the collateral damage that ensued when bus drivers, people driving cars, trains and planes and so forth up and disappeared.

It was mostly males who disappeared. Very many females as well, but most obviously the majority of those targeted were men and boys. People wondered about that until it also became obvious the one thing that those who were now gone had in common. For some, and this was mostly how it began to be pieced together, it was a matter of record. Of criminal record. For others it was witnesses who for the first time felt it was safe to come forward, as their perpetrators had never been accused, caught and/or convicted.

That was the day all the rapists on planet Earth disappeared.

~*~

One of the last things I read last night before falling asleep was a couple two three of the people I follow on twitter were half jokingly batting about the scenario of what might happen “if the #FeministaMafia shot and killed every man that raped all of the women sharing their stories yesterday….” I woke up this morning and began to write, to flesh out that What If scenario. Take a few minutes to think about it… re-read what I just wrote…

and know that I barely scratched the surface.

THIS LINK tells about the phenomenon that was the outpouring of stories to which they were referring. I won’t mention that buzzfeed ganked a huge chunk of those tweets and printed them without permission from those people, much less the OP who had asked the original question, and got the whole discussion started. That is for another day.

But what is for today and every day is just how commonplace rape is. And also to be noted, is how rare it is for someone to be raped by a stranger or strangers. It happens, to be sure, but the bulk of rapists are people that the person knows. From family members, neighbors, “friends” to those in relationships – boyfriends, fiancees and husbands.

Growing up the stats were 1 in 5 females sexually assaulted. It became 1 in 4. Now it is 1 in 3. Will it have to get to be half the women and girls in your life will have been sexually assaulted before we put an end to it?

Does the Earth have to stand still before men and boys step up and shut it down?

This is not a women’s issue. When rape is so obviously common place. When sexual assault is so everyday a part of the human lives of so many of us. When street/sexual harassment is the fabric of our daily existence.

When will it end?

Women and girls have been fighting on the front lines for decades – to keep it 100, for centuries actually – and it is still happening. Why? Because men and boys are not part of the solution in any significant ways yet. Yes there are many who have stepped up and are helping to teach other men and boys how to step up. But it is way too little and might even be too late – but it isn’t.

~*~

Hey male person reading this:

Do something today to become active in putting an end to the sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, the harassment, the assaults, the rape. Speak Up. Stand Up. Shut It Down.

Because the world you are allowing your daughters and sons to live in is disgusting, horrifying and dangerous. The world you allow your sisters, aunts, girlfriends and wives to exist in is unacceptable. The world in which YOU live in should be sending you screaming to the streets, offices, religious centers and pretty much anywhere – including your own homes – in an attempt to start making changes for the better.

Lord Buddha please give me the strength to continue. To write down for the thousandth time how men and boys can start to be a part of the solution and not the problem.

Here Is How:

1. Start at the beginning. If you are the parent of a male child, be aware of what you are teaching him about women and girls. Be aware of what he is absorbing from his pals, the media he is exposed to, society at large about women and girls. Talk to him about it, every day if you have to. Combat what you know is forming his opinions. As appropriate – age-wise and this is earlier and earlier – speak to him about consent. Start today.

Note: Become hyper-aware. Society and everything that is a part of it is male dominated (the patriarchy), comes from the male point of view (the male gaze), and learn how that affects how women and girls are portrayed, treated and shown. Your male child is absorbing all of that through his skin. Be there to counter-act those effects, and put something healthy and true in it’s place.

2. Work on yourself. I wrote about that man who saw the bumper sticker that said “Men Can Stop Rape” and how he was stunned. Because it had never occurred to him. Because rape was a women’s issue, and him being a nice regular dude who wasn’t a rapist, he didn’t think he had anything to do with it. Wrong. Get involved. Start HERE or find local places that are similar. Or start one in your community. Speak Up. Take Action.

Note: Be aware that as you go on your journey, you may find that you have/had been in a situation that you did not consider to be rape, but indeed was. I have seen this happen time and time again – the male ignorance around consent and the actual realization that female beings are fellow humans is astounding. Like I said, rape, assault, harassment is common place. So common that you may have been perpetrating it because everything in society is backing you up and telling you that your behavior is normal. (it isn’t).

3. Listen to the women and girls in your life. If someone tells you they have been raped, assaulted, harassed: Support them. Believe them. If you are confused or don’t know exactly what to do – help them get to a professional that can help them. Err on the side of the person telling you that they have been hurt. This male dominated society might have you believing that false accusations are as common as the assaults. Don’t you believe it.

Note: A guy insisting that what clothing women wear can be faulted for them getting raped, assaulted and harassed is what sparked this whole thing off in the first place. Don’t. Be. That. Guy. Don’t blame the victim and don’t gaslight.

Remember: For each and every one of those hundreds of tweets there is a rapist – in so many cases multiple rapists – still running around out there raping, abusing and harming other women and girls with impunity. And those were only the people brave enough to come forward and say anything at all. They spoke out for those hundreds and thousands more who could not. Now what are you going to do about it?

4. Check ya boys. And by that I mean when you see/hear your guy pals making a rape joke, pinching or slapping the butt of a waitress, putting their hands on a woman, talking about “willing to do the jailtime” for “hitting that” underage girl etc etc etc: Stand Up. Speak Up. Stop It. Shut. It. Down. Tell them to stop it, put a stop to it – intervene. Tell them their behavior is unacceptable.

Note: When it becomes a loss of social status and standing instead of a badge of honor to demean, harass and objectify women and girls, we finally will be taking a step forward on this issue. When it becomes absolutely unacceptable for men and boys to behave in these ways. This starts with you making sure your social circle understands that you will not tolerate that kind of behavior. Clean house.

5. Get Active. There are people in positions of power from police officers to judges that keep this system rolling like a well oiled machine. Make some noise locally. Find out what’s going on. Begin to understand just why it is that the majority of rapes and assaults are not reported. They system that is supposed to protect the victim and punish the perpetrator does in fact do the exact opposite. Figure out how to come together in your community and make it a safe haven for the women and girls who live there.

Note: Men and boys being able to act however they please with women and girls devastates society. We are hurting ourselves, our collective selves. We are allowing for the ruination of ourselves as human beings. We are revoking our rights to hold up our heads as enlightened beings striving to be our best.

Take part in the solution. If you do nothing. If you continue on as a regular nice dude who (hopefully) has never raped anyone without stepping up and taking action: You are part of the problem.

This will not be easy. We’ve just finished an award season, that like nearly every season, every damn year, manages to uplift, praise and award known child predators and rapists. Out in public. On national television. Right in front of God and everybody. But responsibility for How Things Are has to be taken and this system that allows for such things to happen must be dismantled.

~*~

Don’t stand by while this is happening. Have some goddam empathy. Maybe it is not your daughter, your child, your sister, or mother or wife. Maybe it is. It should not matter. You should be absolutely disgusted that this is how our world is. You should be burning with utter and complete shame to be representing the men and boys who do this to women and girls everywhere. You should be clawing out of your skin trying to put an end to this. The insult to your basic humanity should galvanize you into action.

~*~

I have never been raped. I have been harassed and assaulted sexually and otherwise many times though. However, until the day I die I will live under the threat of rape. I can become a statistic at any moment. 1 in 3. From the cradle to the grave. Infants have been raped. Toddlers have been raped. Girls, young adults, woman have been raped. Elderly women, senior citizens have been raped. From the moment a female child is born until the day she dies the threat of bodily harm is there for her. Men and boys are the bulk of the perpetrators, so men and boys need to be the ones to put and end to it.

You tell me if that is how you want the women and girls in your life – and all over the planet – to continue to live.

Recommended:

A Call To Men.

Violence Against Women: It Is a Male Issue.

Men Can Stop Rape.

Protect Our Defenders.

___________________________________________________________

Stand Up. Speak Out. Shut. It. Down.
The Earth should stand still because finally there is equity and balance and the safety of our women and girls is paramount. The Earth should stand still because women and girls are finally protected. The Earth should stand still because finally men and boys have risen up and put an end to those men and boys wreaking a global swath of terror, harm, rape and abuse on half the population.
If I had the power to wave a wand and make my above end-game scenario come true would I do it?  I very well might despite the collateral damage to the innocent. Because right now, at this moment, I truly believe that How Things Are will never change. Good men will stand by and do nothing. Bad men will be allowed to continue on as per usual.
Prove me wrong.
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Before Lupita There Was Whoopi

Whoopi Goldberg

I, like a whole lot of people have gone loopy for Lupita Nyong’o. If you don’t know why or who she is just Google her name and let her talent, beauty and images of perfection be your guide.

Nutshell: She is a Yale trained actor who starred in the movie 12 Years A Slave that resonated around the world and particularly here in America and she just won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in that movie which won Best Picture as well.

A lot of statistics were flowing around on twitter after her win, and yes, after twitter BROKE DOWN because of the heavy load of YAY LUPITA TWEETS, statistics I am very familiar with.

In 2012, I wrote about the history the Academy Awards has when it comes to doling out its golden Oscar statues to Black actors. I chose to highlight the two highest award categories – Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress.

READ THE POST RIGHT HERE while the link lasts. I’m am never sure what is going on over there at the last place my blog was hosted on, but suffice it to say it should be an eye-opener for some and in other news water is wet to others.

Note: I use the word actor to mean both male and female people who act. I do not as a rule use the word actress, as the word actor is not actually a male defaulted word. If you are confused, read my No Ess, No Ette, No Trix blog post and get schooled. I can’t help it if the Oscars are divvied up between “actor” and “actress” however, when in Rome…

~*~

The Oscars have been around for 85 years. 75 years ago Hattie McDaniel won the first Oscar given to a Black actor EVER. It was for the category Best Supporting Actress.

I emphasize category because why? Because the other stat that was floating around twitter went something like this: “Only 7 Black people have ever won an Oscar in the 75 years since they one the first one”.

Yes, that is true, but what needs to be further broken down is that ONLY ONE BLACK WOMAN HAS EVER WON THE OSCAR FOR BEST ACTRESS.

Only one in the 85 year history of the Oscars and that was Halle Berry in 2001. IT has been EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS since the Academy began these awards in 1929. 85 years. And only 1 win for Black females in the Best Actress category.

The discussion for why that is so, is for another day, although I did highlight several telling aspects in the aforementioned and linked to Black Oscar Winners blog post which I KNOW you read.

But I will say this. You have to be in it to win it, as the saying goes. You have to be cast in Oscar-worthy films, you have to be cast in Oscar-worthy roles. Black women by and large are not cast hardly anywhere, much less at the top echelon. It’s not because there aren’t any Oscar-worthy Black female actors, #Doe.

~*~

Now back to Whoopi. Because without her barrier-breaking wins and stats there might never have been a Lupita. Shall we begin?

Remember that movie The Color Purple? Of course you do. Whoopi got nominated for Best Actress in the 1986 Oscars along with 10 other nods, including Best Picture, for that film. The win went to Geraldine Page for The Trip Bountiful. Note who else was up for Best Actress that year: Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange and Anne Bancroft. (I won’t mention that Best Picture went to Out Of Africa. Won’t mention that at all).

Some of you are of age to remember that the 80’s were all about Whoopi Goldberg. She was in movie’s all over the damn place. From Jumpin’ Jack Flash to Cara’s Heart.

She played a psychic in the 1990 film Ghost, and became the first Black female to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in nearly 50 years.

I’ll let that sink in.

She went on to play Guinan in the Star Trek: Next Generation series, and let us not forget the smash hit movies Sister Act and Sister Act 2. Or her iconic performance in Sarafina!. Oh you didn’t know Whoopi could sing?

She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. (There’s only 12 people on that list btw).  Winning all four awards (EGOT) has been referred to as winning the Grand Slam of Show Business. She haz that.

Goldberg became the first African-American female to host the Academy Awards show in 1994, and the first woman solo host. She hosted the awards show again in 1996, 1999 and 2002.

I heard Ellen was great up there last weekend, and I’m sure she was, but Whoopi did it first, and yes, paved the way for other women, like Ellen, to be asked to host. Recognize.

Whoopi has been writing, producing and performing in film, television and the stage for decades now. She is a powerhouse. Many of you only know her from her current stint on The View.

She has won All The Awards all over the place, but I’ll just hit the highlights here as a sort of recap on why I’m talking about Whoopi today:

She has won an Oscar, two Daytime Emmys, two Golden Globes, a Tony, and let me tell you about the Grammy she won:

Whoopi Goldberg won a Grammy Award in 1985 for “Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway,” becoming only the second woman at the time to receive the award, and the first African-American woman. Goldberg is one of only three women to receive that award.

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To say that she has been smashing the glass ceiling for women in general and in particular for Black women in show business is an understatement. She is not “conventionally pretty”. She isn’t “Hollywood Actress Thin”. She wears her hair naturally in dread locks. Her skin is chocolate brown. Her features, like many of us, are, as I like to say “Unmistakably African”.

She has built a highly successful career and at least during the 90’s was the highest paid female actress across the board at the time. (She was paid somewhere around $12 million for Sister Act 2).

Whoopi Goldberg paved the way for Best Supporting Actress winners Jennifer Hudson (2006), Mo’Nique (2009), Octavia Spencer (2011). And for Best Actress winners Halle Berry (2001) and yes, for last weekend’s win for Lupita Nyong’o.

It is interesting to note the distinctions made in the wiki listing about Lupita’s win:

“First black African (Kenyan) actress to be nominated.
First black African actor to win in any category.
Second black actor to win for a debut performance.”

If you want to get technical African-American women still only have those 6 other wins in that category. But I hate getting technical in that area, because what it boils down to is that a woman who according to her highly publicized genetic test is 92% “sub-saharan” African has been pushing the envelope, and breaking barriers for decades, and is the Fore Mother of all the joy and celebration of Lupita’s fabulous win.

Lupita’s win is for all of us.

I am glad that it happened. And Miss Nyongo’o is a powerhouse in her own right, with her own acting chops, intelligence, beauty and gravitas. Thank goodness for her! Thank goodness for Whoopi!

~*~

There is so much to touch upon, but I will just put it out there bold as you please:

Some discussion has been bandied about concerning the racism of Academy voters. That they are very white, very old and very male. All of those things are true. The Academy exists in a country where racism is endemic, and indeed part and parcel of how this country was built.

That members of a voting bloc in any area are racist comes as no surprise to me. They are part of an industry that has been well documented as being racist. I pointed out very specifically in my Black Oscar Winners post the roles that we are usually – and repeatedly – awarded for playing. Within the types of movies that are comfortable for those old, white, male, racist Academy voters to watch.

Which makes 12 Years A Slave and Lupita’s win so very interesting to me. However, I also know that this movie was created outside of American Hollywood. This was a British made film, and really for the quality and non-effing-up of the subject matter, I believe it could only have been made outside of the USA/Hollywood machine.

Goodness knows, Hollywood has tried and failed miserably countless of times.

Highly Recommended:

For a very interesting and in-depth discussion of these and other themes surrounding the film 12 Years A Slave please check out the TWiB.FM #HistoricalBlackness podcast HERE or HERE or HERE.

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Thank You Whoopi Goldberg for you, your life, your energy, your talent and for allowing Hollywood to “get used to” seeing women who look like you and me – and Lupita! – in prominent roles and Winning All The Awards.
Posted in General, Hellz YES, WELP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Average Age is 7 to 17

Just for once I’d like to see an article about how a middle aged white man shot an actual gang member. Or to read about how a white “homeowner” defended his castle against actual criminals hell bent on invading and stealing.

Or whatever.

Because I know you’ve noticed that when these grown men are “standing their ground” or “defending their homes” or “policing the neighborhood” their targets are invariably children or young teens. Unarmed. Not criminals. Just everyday young Americans.

And you can bet that they knew good and well their targets were weaker than they were as well as being unarmed. That they posed no threat to them, or caused them any fear despite what they go on to say or have their lawyers say in court.

People do not hunt down, pursue, confront, approach, open their doors to people or persons that they are afraid of or feel threatened by.

People usually avoid confrontation, turn the other way, run from or keep their doors firmly shut against such things that bring on fear and the threat of life.

Yet time and time again you see grown white males shooting and killing that which supposedly scared them so much they feared for their lives, after not avoiding, but confronting; Not walking or driving away but going towards; not keeping the door firmly shut but opening it wide.

You never read about how these men were chased down by their victims and as a last resort felt they had no other recourse but to shoot and kill. You never read about how these men were under siege in their homes, and called the police for help.

No, you get to hear about how frightened they were. How they were protecting their property and their white women, how righteous they were in killing Black children.

I, for one, am sick and tired of it.

~*~

A grown man shooting an 8 year old child in the face.

A grown man shooting a 19 year old young woman in the face.

A grown man opening fire in a public place aiming at young teens in a car.

The list goes on and on and just for once I’d like to read about some white guy confronting a real thug. An actual gang member. An actual criminal. Hell just even an actual adult of any ilk for a damn change.

There is a reason why their targets are so young. And always unarmed.

Base and craven cowardice.

They might have fear, hatred and who knows what all else for the monolithic “Black People” and be gun owners just itching to “kill a nigger”. Well why don’t you roll on over to gangland territory and start shootin shit up?

Well why on earth should they? They might actually be killed. They might face actual bodily harm. The odds are not in their favor. Or maybe they would be equalized. Armed adults facing armed adults.

But when you target children and teens, girls and boys who you know good and damn well pose you no threat whatsoever – well you have a 100% chance of coming out of your encounter alive and well.

And should you even get arrested for ending a human life you have a legal system that was created just for you, and works in your favor, with laws created for just the situation you put yourself in. Laws and a system of “justice” that is made for you to get away with murder, to be able to trumpet your justifiable reasons for killing to the world, created for you to kill and kill and never have to be responsible for your crime, or do any time for murder.

Some have said it is now open season on Black bodies. Well I say it has always been. There might have been a lull where the laws on the books weren’t so blatant – you know that progress thing we always talk about – but as I said in a recent post – these Stand Your Ground laws are brand spanking new.

So open season as per usual, but now with the additional bonus that there are actual laws provided for you to get off scott-free should you take it upon yourself to commit murder.

~*~

I am absolutely thrilled to be living in a world where if someone should murder my son he would be painted in the press as being a thug. No matter, like Trayvon Martin, or Jordan Davis, that he might just be a regular kid. Not a gun-toting criminal. Have no criminal record. Be a good student. Just be chilling out being a human being going about his life.

Until he’s shot to death and mealy mouth lawyers drag his name in the dirt. Never mind he’s brilliant, smart, funny, educated, plays guitar, excels in both math and sports and is beautiful, vibrant and my very own. But he is a threat, a thing to be feared, a ravening beast to protect white women and white-owned property against.

Fuck You World That We Live In I Hate You So Much!

To be sure my child is an adult now, but that just puts him in the path of other dangers. Sure cowardly white males won’t be gunning for him, but I’m sure being stopped and frisked is always a present thing, or “fitting the description“. Or heaven help him if he gets hurt and goes knocking on a door for help.

This stuff is historical. This is not anything new. The stuff that gets spouted on those witness stands in courts has been said over and over again for hundreds and hundreds of years. Sweet Buddha could you not hear the tone of voice Dunn took on the stand? He was severely affronted, put out, insulted, highly MIFFED that he was even arrested, much less put on trial for doing something so uneventful as doing away with a Black life.

He was one step up from the “I only shot a nigger” guy. In fact he is that guy. Just with a skosh bit more education, articulation and basic smarts.

Used to be you could just shoot a Black person and go about your day without being hassled. That’s what was between the lines of everything he spoke about on that stand.

How he described being finally arrested. The insult of being treated like a criminal! Making him take off his shirt and kneel down! It’s not like he murdered anyone or anything like that!

Because at the end of the day, Black people, POCs in general are not human.

You can say “oh he was a thug” and half the planet believes it. Because he’s Black so…..

You can say you were afraid for your life and you will be believed because those Black animals, those criminal THUGS are terrifying beasts and well you had to shoot and kill.

You were after all protecting your precious white life, your pure white woman, your home and property…

So Of Course.

And don’t get me started on those white people who do awful crimes – murdering children etc – and blame “A Black Man” for it. And why shouldn’t they? They have a very good chance of being believed. Last week I read an article about a guy who was ALONE and shot himself and – you guessed it – blamed “A Black Man” for shooting him. O.o

~*~

Just for once I’d like to read an article about one of these guys mixing it up with someone from the MS-13, the Crips, Bloods or a stone cold hermano from The 18th Street Gang. Effing cowards. Stop killing our children!

Of interest and recommended: These Two Podcasts from Historical Blackness brought to you by the amazing folks over at TWiB FM, This Week In Blackness. In particular podcast #2 which puts the Dunn trial into historical context.

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Enough is Enough.
If you as a white person  reading this, are tired of this ish too, it is time to stand up and start being active. It is my heartfelt belief that racism and the dangerous and unfair practices that spawn from it WILL NOT BE STOPPED UNLESS THOSE THAT CREATED IT ARE THE ONES TO DISMANTLE IT.
If we could do it on our own, it would have been done already. You are the majority demographic in this country and can move mountains, repeal laws, vote people out of office etc etc.
Join The Fight.
Posted in General, WELP, WTF | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments