Suspicious People vs Suspicious Behavior

For a very long time now I’ve been getting damn near physically ill at the sheer numbers of Black people being murdered by police officers. I can’t even begin to write about all my feelings on that, so this post while surrounding that issue, isn’t about it directly.

CChAqQoWgAAD-Yt

It’s about what leads up to my people being put in harm’s way. And this is how that happens:

When a white person sees a Black person they tend to have some kind of emotions about it. I know, because I see visibly the reactions to myself every time I walk out my front door. I might be generalizing here, or I might be saying the majority of white people, or some white people. But whatever way makes it easier for you to continue reading, choose that.

Here’s the thing.

Just like how we are now advocating for people to stop calling other people “illegal” or “illegals” or “illegal aliens” when talking about immigration. Why? Because people are PEOPLE, they aren’t illegal. They can have unsure or undefined legal status, they can be residing in a country illegally, they can be without documentation and/or papers that say they’re a citizen of that country. But a person is a person.

Shopping

Shopping or shoplifting? She’s gonna steal that pillow! Watchout!

Like how we advocate for saying “I have diabetes” instead of “I’m diabetic or a diabetic”. I have bipolar, I’m not bipolar. I’m not a disease or a disorder or an illness or any ailment. I may have that or those ailments, but I am NOT them.

When subconsciously or otherwise automatically you see someone with dark skin, or see a Black person, or a non-white person as suspicious: A Lot Of Stuff Can Then Happen.

And none of it is good.

Crowd of Criminals? The start of a jog-a-thon? OMG I JUST DON’T KNOW!

Instead you need to see people as people and not judge on skin color, race, creed, orientation and all that. But instead:

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING. Watch their behavior. Are they behaving in a suspicious manner? What exactly IS suspicious behavior? Do we have exactly what that is written down somewhere? Cops say that reaching for or touching the waistband area is suspicious activity. I say there ‘s lots of reasons people reach for or touch their waistbands:

1. Itchy undies. Maybe your tighty whiteys or thong situation is cutting into your waistline.

2. To give your pants, underpants, panties, pantyhose, skirt etc a good hike. Or my hands are on their way to go into my pockets because its cold/getting my phone/wanna look debonair.

3. If it was the 90’s errbody had their pagers and/or cellies clipped to their belts.

4. I’m always sweeping my waistline area with my hand to keep my purse from banging in front of me while I walk and shop.

5. Hands fall naturally to around the waistline level of the body while standing and walking 0_0

Did he just reach for.. Is he holding a WEAPON?????

Did he just reach for.. Is he holding a WEAPON?????

*****

Here’s a headline for you: Multiple Cops Held At Gunpoint by Other Cops Who Mistook Them For Criminals. Go ahead and check that article out and/or watch the video.

Now WHY or HOW could something like this happen?? Well it happens every day. It happens because some super nice well meaning white person gets on the horn to 911 and says how Black people are in a car wearing bulletproof vests.

There’s a lot to unpack here and I’m gonna unpack it ALL. I hope you have your seatbelts on!

1. Last I checked it wasn’t illegal or against the law or harmful to people around you to wear a bullet proof vest either in a car or wherever. I did a google search and turns out I can buy a bullet proof vest in a lot of places. There was only one website that had the caveat that you couldn’t purchase their vests if you had a criminal record.

2. The caller and the dispatcher and the police officers responding to the call all defaulted to Zebras or Unicorns instead of Horses. What do I mean by that? My version of Occam’s Razor; Or when you hear hoof beats, you think horses not zebras or unicorns. The caller unicorned those officers and got this whole thing started.

3. The officers in the car had no chance. it started with the caller who deemed them suspicious from the start. They couldn’t POSSIBLY have been law enforcement officers going about their business because in everyday life THE PEOPLE WHO GO AROUND WEARING BULLET PROOF VESTS ARE POLICE OFFICERS LIKE NO DUH. But the problem was they were BLACK so anything they did, wore, drove etc etc becomes suspect. And I used that word on purpose.

Some of you will tell me that you know for sure that the caller would have done the same if it was four white people wearing bullet proof vests in a car. I seriously don’t think so. Because we would be hearing about this happening all the dang time. If it was the VESTS that were suspicious….?

Did the person even stop to wonder why they were all wearing the same thing (oh yeah! gang members!) or to look closely at the car – it was a government vehicle issued to them to go about their business of serving a warrant. And you need backup for stuff like that, hence them rolling so deep. Cars like that have official stickers on the windows, and special official license plates. I mean, REALLY.

Up to no good? They must be planning something... (Actually, they're tourists in Paris)

Up to no good? They must be planning something… (Actually, they’re tourists in Paris)

Racism is a pathology that renders those suffering from it to experience hyper-irrationality, loss of common sense, and the ability to think logically is completely impaired. I won’t mention the “racism goggles” that are attached invisibly to their retinas, and give a distorted view of the reality that is happening right in front of them.

I’m not trying to be funny because one of the results of this person calling 911 on my people is that these officers are traumatized, they felt humiliated and now have a deep distrust of those who they’re supposed to be working with. Needless to say they are suing and are out on workers compensation leave. Because their co-works all ganged up and pulled weapons on them. In case you think their reaction is too strong.

“All I could think of was if I sneeze, or blink, or clear my throat, that, yeah, I might have a bullet lodged in my head,” said Annette Thomas, one of the officers in the car that night.

Have you ever been stopped by cops at gunpoint? I have. See my Eff The Police post if you still don’t understand.

*****

In recent months the NYPD threw a tantrum and said they were going to stop doing police work because blah blah bah whine I dunno I forget. The minute they stopped policing crime in New York skyrocketed!!! No, actually it didn’t. The first month crime in NY fell like a rock. And kept on falling.

Now I’m still wondering what on Buddha’s Green Earth were these cops doing that they considered to be “policing” that when stopped, crime just plummets like that?

This might help. When Stop & Frisk was finally stopped in NY, the same thing happened. The police kept saying that crime would rise to an all-time high, when in fact the opposite happened.

I have some theories on both of those. NY can serve as a microcosm for what’s been going on and continues to go on in every city and town in America. What the police were doing wasn’t in fact any kind of policing. ie fighting crime, arresting criminals, getting drugs and weapons off the streets, making a safer city for everyone etc. You know, what police ALWAYS tell us they’re doing.

In fact they were focusing most of their budget, time, energy and officers on “policing” certain people and certain communities ONLY no matter what the stats for crimes on those folks or where they live said. Meanwhile in every other part of town, crime is continuing as per usual, because they all know the cops aren’t gunning for THEM.

I’ll leave you to google up the absolutely dismal stats that Stop & Frisk in NY had. Basically if a company started a project and had those stats, and that awful a return on investment – they’d shut the program down and fire buncha folks and look to find something that actually WORKS.

But S&F was to drag on in NY for over a DECADE. They were getting no guns off the street. They were stopping no drugs – unless you count the dime bags of weed people are sitting rotting away in Rikers Island were found to have on their person. It was a pogrom of violence, oppression, targeted harassment and profiling that had little to do with fighting crime.

So when they announced they were going to stop doing what they’ve been doing – what they called “police work” – it was a heads up to all those who’d been gleefully engaging in illegal shenanigans with nary a look from the police: That it was time to shut down operations and hunker down, wait this out, see what happens. Because as soon as law enforcement decides to stop focusing on Black and Brown people, they might actually have to start doing their actual jobs.

You know. Watching for suspicious BEHAVIOR and start policing EVERYONE and stop giving certain areas of the city and the people that live there a pass. Because crime happens EVERYWHERE. And if you don’t believe that, then you’re as foolish as the NYPD and every other PD that engages in that sort of “policing”.

Racism tells the police chief, the judges, the police officers that crime MOSTLY happens where Black and Brown people are. That dark skin is an indicator of suspicion. and if you crack down on those people and where they live wooo wow you’ll be cleaning up crime from the city! When statistics from recent bullshit as well as DECADES of stats shows that that just simply isn’t the case.

*****

Lastly. People. White people. Stop calling 911 like it’s your friendly neighborhood cop shop. Stop using that line that is for EMERGENCIES because you haven’t yet sorted out your issues with Black people.

I don't think she can afford all of that. Must have stolen that merchandise. Call the cops!

I don’t think she can afford all of that. Must have stolen that merchandise. Call the cops!

Take a moment to SEE what is actually happening before you. Envision horses instead of unicorns. Why that person didn’t assume they were law enforcement and went on about their day is beyond me. STOP CALLING DOWN HARM AND DEATH UPON MY PEOPLE!

Why did that person call 911 because they were uncomfortable about a child playing in a playground? 12 year old Tamir Rice is DEAD and his family is devastated.

I need there to be consequences for making erroneous 911 calls. Because it seems to me there aren’t any laws around that. Maybe something around making a false report to the police. Is that a thing? Well I think nationwide there should be a THING. Something like this:

You call 911 and it turns out to be bullshit – ie the people or person you called the cops on was in fact NOT a criminal nor were they engaging in criminal behavior: You get fined $250.00. While that doesn’t seem like much, it’s a noticeable pinch in the wallet for the average person.

If you call 911 and it not only turns out to be bullshit – for those same reasons as above – but the person you called the cops on gets injured, beaten, shot, killed because of your call: You get fined $500.00

I’m not putting a price on a human life, because you simply cannot. What I’m trying to do is merely establish a deterrent for knee-jerk phone calls to the police. If you knew you might have to cough up some cash if you’re wrong, then you might pause and look at the situation more closely before deciding to call (or not to call).

You might say this will stop people from calling 911 when they should. I say no, it won’t. Because when a true emergency is throwing down, you’re calling 911 regardless of anything. What it will put a dent in – in this wonderful world where this would actually be a THING – is prevent people like that person who called the cops on this guy because he was walking down the street with his hands in his pockets.

The man was stopped and questioned after a “nervous” passerby called 911 to report that he was “walking with his hands in his pockets.”

What the hell is that???? It was DECEMBER in MICHIGAN. Maybe his HANDS WERE COLD. And maybe because he was Black those simple things that everyone (white) else does, becomes nervous making. Because HE was suspicious.

So anything he does after that – including walking down the street with hands in pockets – becomes problematic for the person suffering from racism. I’m sure they passed several (white) people walking with their hands in their pockets, and they didn’t even register to them. Because those aren’t SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE.

See what happens when you make people suspicious, instead of looking at their behavior? If that person had stopped themselves before calling and said something like this to themselves: “hmmm ok why am I nervous exactly? He’s just walking down the street. People put their hands in their pockets for lots of reasons. He isn’t threatening anyone, he’s just…. walking. Ok I see he doesn’t have gloves and its pretty cold right now, so maybe he’s just trying to keep his hands warm on his way home”.

MAYBE THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TO GO ON AND RUIN THAT GUYS DAY. AND IF YOU THINK I’M EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY PHEW AT LEAST HE CAME OUT THAT ALIVE THEN YOU CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF.

I’m sick unto DEATH of all of this. SICK.

STOP CALLING 911 ON MY PEOPLE!! Think before you press that button. LOOK at what’s ACTUALLY going on in front of you. And in between? CONFRONT your biases.

Start watching behavior instead of people.

Make yourself a list of what you would consider suspicious behaviors. Really think about it. Because the list of things that Black people engage in that have been deemed suspicious is absolutely ridiculous. From being “Pedestrian Checked” like that guy walking in the cold, being questioned, beaten, tazed, arrested to being shot and killed:

Standing, Walking, Running, Sitting at a table in a restaurant, Sitting waiting to pick up child from daycare, Eye contact, Clenched fist, Holding a screwdriver, Having a toy sword slung over your shoulder, Playing in a playground with at toy gun, Talking and laughing with friends, Standing on the pavement waiting for your family, Driving, Riding a bike, Having a snowball fight with friends, Sleeping on your couch, Sleeping on a park bench, Waving a bread knife around, Walking with a purpose, Following police officers directions, Filming the police, Exercising your constitutional rights ie Protesting, Being legally blind, Attending a pool party. The list goes on and on and on.

Recommended:

White Civilian Culpability in Black Assaults and Deaths.

Cops To White People: Stop Getting Freaked Out By Your Black Neighbors.

I’ve lived in the same place for over 10 years and sometimes my neighbors will get froggy and say the most outlandish things. Mistaking me for “one of the bad ones” and somehow not recognizing my car despite it being parked right next to my place since forever. So far they haven’t called the cops on me…..

__________________________________________________________

Think twice before you call 911 on my people. Me? I don’t call an emergency line because someone makes me nervous. Especially when they are in no way going to be crossing paths with myself. 
If you feel you owe it to whoever that you call in every little thing that rubs you the wrong way, then I suggest you go get therapy and save a few lives. Stop calling 911 on my people.
You might think I’m advocating letting criminals and lawbreakers have a free pass. I’m not. As I said when a true emergency throws down: you know it. You also know better than to call up 911 over your feefees.
And funny thing is NOBODY calls 911 when they see those gun enthusiasts walking around stores and malls with AK-47s strapped to their backs. 
When it’s the WHITE MALE who is 9 times out of 10 going to be the one shooting shit up with that automatic rifle. Yet you keep calling 911 cuz some Black dude has his hands in his pockets.
If you’re gonna profile: PROFILE CORRECTLY.
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Why I Cried Today

Cop-Flashlight

Last night was surreal. I tweeted about it seconds after it happened, when I was back safely inside my home. I can’t say as I felt that my life was threatened, but I was made to feel startled, scared, upset, like I was a criminal, and totally creeped out.

Right now, I don’t feel particularly safe in my own home.

Why do I live in a world where I have to feel a sense of relief that I wasn’t shot dead, or assaulted or beaten or sexually assaulted? – Feelings that interfere with the feelings about being pretty much stalked by a police officer.

I’ll admit to the crime that put me on this individual’s radar – I’m guessing here – in the first place. The tags on my car are not up to date. I have full insurance coverage that is though, just my vehicle registration is expired.

I’ve blogged about how I never get pulled over in this red border state that is focused so much on immigration, but as I traverse the streets, I’m fully aware that I need to get my tags up to date – and should I get pulled over, I’ll know why, for the most part.

I’m too exhausted to go into details of what happened, but the gist of the matter is, I was noticed by a police officer as I was driving late at night – around 12:30 a.m. – and instead of pulling me over on the main street I was driving on when I passed his vehicle parked at an intersection, he decided to pull up my plate, get my information and lie in wait for me at my home.

I don’t know WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK THAT IS but it doesn’t sound like normal procedure to me.

He concealed his presence to me, so that neither the security motion detector light nor my car headlights picked him up as I pulled in along side my place to do my three point turn to park my car alongside my home like I usually do.

I saw a shadowy figure out the corner of my eye as I was completing the 2nd part of my turn and I jumped, startled, slammed on my breaks, and threw my hands up in a defensive gesture to protect my face – it was pure instinct, because I was in my car with the window up, but  you dunno what your body is going to do when it’s startled within and inch of it’s life. Let’s also not mention my heart murmur and my behavioral health status that doesn’t work well with being scared to death.

So a second after this figure looms up next to my car a flashlight pops on and I’m about to start screaming, looking through my fingers – remember my hands hand gone up automatically to protect my face – and see that it’s a fucking cop.

I wasn’t thinking clearly at all, because aside from the initial scare, I had no other fears for my life at that point, which is completely weird, bc normally I’m completely sketched out worrying for my life whenever I have to deal with cops. I hit the window button and I said very clearly: OMG YOU SCARED ME TO DEATH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?? WHY DID YOU POP UP LIKE THAT?

He sort of laughed and said he was sorry and then went into cop mode, asking me to put the brake on my car and do that thing where they look into the back seat of your car with the flashlight, like I’m transporting bricks of heroin or bags of cocaine or WHATever.

He then goes around to the back of my car shining his lil flashlight all business-like and then comes back to the window and mentions my expired tags. I say yes I’m aware of that, and I’m working on it. He then makes it clear by the things he says next that he’s the cop that I drove past like 10 mins ago. I said yes, I noticed his vehicle, and complimented him on the fancy paint job. It was an SUV type dealy with POLICE painted all big on the side with swooshing whorls of color around it.

He’s rolling in a pimped out vehicle – not a regular squad car – but I’m the super criminal here. So much so that he chose not to pull me over on brightly lit main street, but pull up my address and hide out and wait for me to come home.

I’M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THAT MAKES ANY FUCKING SENSE.

He then inferred that when I’d noticed his vehicle, I took off – peeled away – and zoomed past him all SUSPICIOUS LIKE. I said: I’m a forty-six year old woman, I drive a family sedan, I really don’t think I’m going to go around peeling away in general, and certainly not when I see a police car. I said to him that his car could have been that one – and I pointed to my neighbor’s SUV, it wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t change my driving habits. I don’t peel out, sorry dude, you got the wrong person.

He then kept insisting that’s what he saw me do. I then said, ok then why didn’t you pull me over? Did I surpass the speed limit on _____ Avenue? And if so, again, why didn’t you pull me over then and there – WHY ARE YOU HERE AT MY HOUSE?? He indicated that I had not broken the speed limit, he started stuttering a bit, because he began to realize – it took him awhile, but it finally dawned on him – that I was not the one to fuck with. I’d been nursing one of my migraines all dang night, and that’s why I was up past midnight driving to get some stuff at the convenience store.

None of his damn business, but I told him that’s what I was doing and if he wanted to pull me over for tags he shoulda done it. I said it’s not a good look for you to popping up all at my house, I’m a single woman, living alone, I had no idea who or what you were and YOU STARTLED ME AND SCARED ME TO DEATH.

He mumbled something about making sure I got my tags up to date and then left.

*****

EDIT: I’m putting couple of my series of tweets RICHEA so I have a cotdang time stamp. (and also to show exactly how this incident made me feel directly after it happened) I started tweeting about it 5-10 mins after cop left & my hands stopped shaking enough to type on my computer. I figure this whole thing happened – if you count my driving time as well as the conversation at my home – around 12:10 a.m. – 12:45 a.m.

 

*****

So I call the precinct earlier today around 1pm – around 12hrs after the incident. I knew I’d be speaking to a cop, so I kept that in mind. I think I wanted to file a complaint, or I wanted someone to tell me that lying in wait at someone’s house in lieu of a traffic stop was standard procedure. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, really. I was still shook. Still upset. Still wondering WTF.

The conversation was interesting. And by interesting I mean completely strange and weird and utterly filled with neck-high stacks of manure. I think he found out my info or pulled up the incident, while speaking to me, because the first half of the conversation was very different from the second half. He was a bit brusque and all that – I expected that, from me having to call precincts often during my years in LA – but he was polite, and he was helpful. Up until he got the info that I was a Black person. I’m just guessing, but it was like night and day.

Remember, I “sound white” on the phone. He went from being informative – he even gave me a brief explanation (that I thought was utter bullshit btw) from “the cop’s point of view” on why Officer StalkaSista was behaving the way he did, and he listened to my account of things. But suddenly he was ultra defensive, and started saying things like, “well if you are going to infer wrong-doing on that officer’s actions, I’m going to end this conversation” and then offering me the phone number to Internal Affairs if I wanted to “complain about the incident”.

When all I’d ever said up to that point was express my confusion on why the officer was at my home, why he didn’t identify himself, why he concealed himself from my view, so much so that I was heavily startled when he showed himself. And why didn’t he pull me over if I’d done all those law-breaky things he said I did.

There is the edge of my neighbor’s place and two cars parked that he could have hid behind, and I looked out there today in the bright sunlight, and there was no way I would have missed seeing him unless he’d hidden himself.

So I was basically told by the officer on the phone that:

1. I was driving the wrong car. Did you know that family sedans are the criminal’s choice of vehicles? Because they blend in and don’t look conspicuous. Horseshit! You and I both know if I’d been driving a tricked out sports car with a rear spoiler and spinners, he’d have said the exact same thing only opposite. Flashy car = criminal.

2. I’m the awful person who did all that SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR that prompted Officer McCreepy to go all stalker on me. Victim blaming 101. When I said ok me driving my car is suspicious? Because that’s all I was doing – the cop on the phone for the 2nd time said ok this conversation is over, I’m not going to speak to you any more – his voice all raised and upset sounding. I literally took the phone off my ear and stared at it like WTF did I say?

3. Officers sometimes opt NOT to pull people over because (garbled weird sounding reason that flew out of my brain 2 seconds after I heard it – in other words more bullshit) and that’s why he was at your home. I’m sorry, but I see no reason why pinning someone at their residence is (safer?) or (more efficient) or (WHAT THE FUCK EVER) than doing a normal traffic stop.

Intimidation tactics pure and simple. All this over some expired tags. Which he never actually ended up giving me a ticket for. Just a mumbled verbal warning as he walked away. And I’ll tell you what. The only way this makes sense in any way, is that he saw I was a Black person behind the wheel. Because they had to go stake out my home and see if they could find ANYTHING on me.

Listen. I know what info comes up when you pull someone’s plate on the police vehicle computer system. You get my name. My date of birth. My address. ALL the info on my car and driver’s license including any wants, warrants, parking tickets, criminal record – alladat.

I have none of that THOUGH. They let me coast on by without a pullover because well the only thing wrong with my picture was expired tags, and this guy seemed like he was itching for something more dramatic. He should have pulled me over, written a ticket, or gave that verbal warning or whatever, and let me go on my merry way.

But I had that SUSPICIOUS BLACK SKIN so I must be up to SOMETHING so let me go TO HER HOME and ROOT AROUND THERE and LIE IN WAIT and PUSH HER AND BLAME HER FOR SPEEDING WHEN SHE DID NO SUCH THING

Because why?

You tell me.

I wasn’t even tempted to call Internal Affairs – which seemed a really weird overkill thing to do when I just wanted to file a complaint – because this CRAY CREEP COP knows where I live. Both officers – the creep one and the one on the phone – behaved in such completely strange and weird ways, that I am for sure not going to put more of a target on me – retaliation is the word that comes to mind.

HE KNOWS WHERE I LIVE.

And after I finished that call – on my cell phone (no camera or vid or internet) – 10 seconds later my land line phone rings. Did I pick it up? HELL NO I DID NOT. Whoever was calling opted to not leave a message when the machine picked up.

I don’t feel safe in my home.

Thanks a fucking lot.

Fuck The Police.

___________________________________________________________

Lucky me I had a head shrinker appointment already scheduled today. So I went after that strange phone call to the precinct. I got to talk it out a bit, and I feel a tiny bit better.
I cried. A lot. I hate crying.
But. I’m still not feeling all that secure in my home.
I just don’t know.
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2014 in review: How My Blog Did

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Dream for Ferguson on No Indictment Day

I’d like to see the Ferguson protesters and pretty much all the other cities and counties that have joined them in solidarity adopt what I call Operation Tumbleweed (or not really a hashtag ((yet)) #BoycottThePolice). This is just a dream I have. I know that it won’t happen because there’s already THIS: National Ferguson Response Network – but hear me out anyway.

Tumbleweed_rolling_2

We’ve all seen and heard the reports of the Ferguson and St. Louis police departments gearing up for the response to what looks like to be a given – that Darren Wilson will not be indicted. I’ve seen members of the military aghast at the prep – oodles of grenades, tons of wooden and rubber bullets, batons, plastic restraint bands, armored vehicles, weapons, tear gas, mace, pepper spray, armored gear – you name it, they’ve got it all stockpiled and ready to be deployed on… peaceful protesters. I kid you not.

So they’ve obviously been spending money like crazy with all of this – they have been from the get go – I can never forget that one night when they had blocked off the streets, and were following the singing, chanting and marching peaceful protesters up and down the streets of Ferguson with a phalanx of cars, jeeps, vans and paddy wagons. All pristine, and brand spanking new. It was absolutely ridiculous to behold.

So I say make them look doubly foolish. Everyone stay home on No Indictment Day. Or no Indictment Night – whenever they are going to give the announcement. Protesters can gather in homes, local churches, community centers – anywhere but out on the streets. Shame em with a complete new game plan that flips the script on em and shows the world just how completely asinine the police departments, city and federal law enforcement really are.

All dressed up and nobody showed up to the party.

Everyone is ELSEWHERE. Let them roll up and down the streets in their armored vehicles, dressed to the nines in military camo and riot gear, with all their weapons and canisters of tear gas.

I would love to see the deserted streets of America on that day.

Empty-streets-of-Los-Angeles-2690

The only foot traffic the hordes of law enforcement milling around in confusion. Maaaaan listen. That would rock my world and make me just point and laugh and cackle for three days straight. Everybody gathered in solidarity not on the streets, but in their homes, in their community centers, in their places of worship.

Popo across the nation be like

ConfusedPopo

~*~

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being flippant about this completely serious issue. I would absolutely in all seriousness love to see this happen. It would be a win on so many levels. The media would have nothing to spin. The police departments would have to account for near-bankrupting their budgets in amassing all that gear for “the race war” or whatever they thought was going to pop off.

Protesters would still be able to gather in SAFETY and solidarity and as per usual get their message out via twitter, vine, instagram, podcasters and live-streamers who will be attending the indoor events at Ferguson and all over the country. Doing what they have already been doing for the past nearly 100 days.

I worry for the protesters in Ferguson. I know people are going to get hurt. All the police have ever done is escalate things. Their response to a peaceful candle light vigil, where mourners were gathered in the name of Mike Brown is what set this whole thing off. They are not interested in abiding by the laws, rules and regulations of their own police departments much less adhering to the constitution of the United States.

How do I know this? We’ve seen it in their behavior. They’ve refused to wear their full uniforms – no badges or name tags, they sport support for Darren Wilson wrist bands instead. They enact unconstitutional policies and rules and consistently trample on the civil and constitutional rights of the American citizens gathered to protest. If you have no idea what I’m referring to Read This Post and all the links therein. Get caught up.

As I write this groups from Ferguson, Chicago and other states in this nation and civil rights orgs have been meeting at the UN in Geneva yesterday and today – and are doing a silent protest right now. It is particularly telling that the U.S. delegation sent to respond had not one person of color. See #FergusonToGeneva hashtag on twitter and/or follow @Ferguson_Geneva for more information. End police brutality and the killing of Black and brown children, women and men by the police.

I say Ghost Town it. Operation Tumbleweed. Flip the script. Empty the streets. Gather in safety and solidarity. Turn the tables. Shine the spotlight on the ridiculousness and harshness of the response to Americans simply exercising their rights. Show the world who exactly the violent thugs really are.

EmptyStreet1

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I have a dream. For empty streets on No Indictment Night.
And if by some miracle they do indeed #ArrestDarrenWilson I say gather indoors anyway. The “law enforcers” will be hurting and spoiling for a fight.
Whatever happens. Be safe out there. My prayers go with you all. #Ferguson #JusticeForMikeBrown 
Posted in General, Hellz YES, WELP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

This Is What You Get When…

What happens when you take your 10 hours of street harassment footage and give it to a white male to edit? Well you get just shy of 3 minutes of almost benign catcalling and no white dudes shown even doing that.

What I would have then done was send it back with detailed instructions on what to do. Actually, I would have done that in the first place. Actually I would have done a whole lotta things differently.

It’s not surprising to me that Hollaback!  – who when asked WTF said they are indeed all for multiculturality and intersectionality –  still a very white cis female organization would make these kind of huge mistakes. We’ve seen it happen time and time again.

I would have been more bold with it. I would have had at the very least a 5 minute cut of the 10 hours, if not ten minutes. We all know people have the attention span of a gnat, so going for the near-3 minutes of say the average movie trailer was understandable.

But I’d have put the more disgusting commentary in the first 60 seconds. I would make sure that ALL the types of guys that engage in SH were represented within the first two minutes as well. I also would have released the full uncut 10 hours on a link somewhere to be available for those who wanted to peruse that as well. Or at the very least have available an edit that documented the 100 incidents, whatever length that ended up being.

Because there’s one thing that I know for sure. IF they had that actor walking around ALL boroughs and ALL areas of NY where street harassment is prevalent – she was subjected to some pretty awful things AND they came from all type of guys. All different races, all different walks of life.

I would have also put locations in my edited version as well. Just words on the screen saying, Wall Street, Bronx, Upper West Side, Harlem, Brooklyn etc. To not only show WHERE they went, but to show you how wide spread and prevalent street harassment is, no matter where you go.

I know it was difficult for that guy who edited the footage down to include dudes who looked like himself in the final cut. And maybe that’s the main problem with trying to end street harassment in the first place. Dude’s don’t want to look at themselves. Guys don’t want to take responsibility for the problem. They’d rather edit away any culpability and keep on doing what they do.

When given the opportunity to do something in the right direction, he not only edited out his race, but cherry picked and chose to not include the more horrible encounters that I know were caught on tape. You can’t tell me during that whole 10 hours she caught nothing but stares, and hello beautifuls and just that one guy following her for 5 minutes.

I’ve seen my share of undercover footage from NY and other cities around this nation and seen some crazy stuff go down. From white guys, Black guys, Latinos – you name it. And from rich college guys, guys in suits, blue collar guys, male teenagers, homeless men, dudes hanging out on the stoops. It doesn’t matter. So I know A LOT WAS LEFT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR and you can’t tell me different.

I’ve read the articles, the blog posts, seen the footage, read the interviews, heard the stories, seen the tweets and I have my own experience under my belt to boot. Basically what the final cut of that video did was 1. Show Men Of Color to be the only guys in NY who street harass, 2. Water down the actual disgustingness of what guys say by selecting the least awful footage to include and 3. Create a whole lot of focus on pretty much anything but HEY GUYS WHY DON’T YOU JUST STOP STREET HARASSING.

So thank you edit-dude. And thank you whoever it was at Hollaback! who let that ish slide. Thanks for that. And for also having Feminista Jones be the one to catch hell from Black dudes on twitter by way of some weird convoluted thing – since she in no way shape or form had anything to do with that video – but she caught absolute hell for over 24 hours – prolly still ongoing  – on twitter because of it.

They went for the easy target, instead of confronting Hollaback! and/or the edit-guy – who was named in several articles I read about the video – they focused on Feminista and her #YouOKSis hashtag campaign against street harassment. It was that wonderful mix of white supremacy and patriarchy that had MoC taking the brunt and blame for street harassment, not FJ who is actually receiving AN AWARD for all her hard work in ending street harassment.

But again, we’ve seen this time and time again. And I, for one am sick and tired of it. Stop taking it out on Black women. Check yourself, check ya boys and step up and shut it down.

~*~

Videos of interest:

#YouOkSis Ending Street Harassment. This video didn’t get to go viral and have millions of views. Wonder why…

Definition of Street Harassment. It’s interviewing drunk college kids so view with a grain of salt. However, in vino veritas

Male dresses as a woman to explore Street Harassment. Kind of problematic, but whatever. Also the comments from the street harassers are in non-translated Arabic – but really, I don’t have to imagine that hard what they’re saying…

Exploring Street Harassment in NYC. NYU students take to the streets with hidden cameras. Interesting to note that in THIS video there are actual white guys shown harassing…

Sexist taunts halts French parliamentary session. Really dude? And don’t get it twisted. OUR own elected officials have come that incorrect many a time…

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Links of Interest:

On Why We are Not Out Here Going Hard for Brothers over that Hollaback Video by Crunk Feminist Collective.

Three Decades of Street Harassment by Pia Glenn via xojane.

Yo, I SAID You’re Beautiful Though! by Pia Glenn from Valid Magazine.

#DudesGreetingDudes Is One Guy’s Flawless Takedown On Catcalling.

Storify of Feminista Jones’ tweets that drops MUCH science on Street Harassment.

Also sadness that I had to retweet the tweet that said: RT if your first street harassment experience happened when you were under 18 years old.

(9 or 10 years old, a neighbor kid, prolly 15 or 16 years old grabbed me around my waist, pawing at my non-existent breasts while saying the awfullest things) When that tweet came down my time line it had over 600 RTs. Less than 24 hours later I saw it again, and it was over 2K and climbing :(

And seeing that grinning, smirking white male mansplaining away street harassment on CNN and then saying for women to just “go get a gun”. Right. So I can catch a 20 year prison sentence for firing a warning shot like Marissa Alexander? How about you guys just stop street harassing. How about that?

YouOkSis

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I wanted to write something about street harassment in general but this is what happened instead. For those who don’t realize just how pervasive this is, I ask you to take the time to read the links and watch the videos.
Perhaps when I’m not so mentally exhausted, I’ll write the post that is still clamoring within me. These past two weeks or so have been TIRING seeing guys just not getting it. “Why can’t I just say hello?” My response: “Why can’t you just go about your day and not bother another stranger on the street, subway or bus?” 
To quote N’Jaila Rhee who co-hosts the TWiB After Dark podcast with Feminista Jones: “…Because I’m not decoration…” and also we can’t tell the difference between the for real just friendly guy and the guy that’s going to go ballistic. #SorryNotSorry but YOU LET IT GET TO THE POINT WHERE YEAH YOU CANNOT JUST SAY HELLO. So go out and FIX IT and END STREET HARASSMENT and then we can all say hello to each other on the street again without worry or fear.
Posted in General, Hellz YES, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

#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 an 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.

~*~

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.

upside-down-flag

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.

Recommended: My Dream for Ferguson on No Indictment Day.

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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?
Posted in General, Hellz YES, WELP, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

~*~

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?

~*~

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!
Posted in General, Hellz YES, WELP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Viola Davis is Beautiful

Classic African Beauty: ENJOY

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Viola Davis

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z Viola Davis

Gurl, BYE.

~*~

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 Tesseracts 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 McBride, 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.

~*~

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.

~*~

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.

~*~

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.

~*~

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 :)

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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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