It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Right, or Selective Outrage is Impotent

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. – Frederick Douglass

Just a few thoughts regarding the latest in protest and violence in America post what strongly appears to be unchecked police brutality.

I’ve had conversations with friends, African-American friends in particular who voice either in word, social media and otherwise their frustrations and disdain for looters and folk who are burning buildings in Baltimore.  They’ve praised the mother who went Ronda Rousey on her son for participating in the riots.  They say, “I hate what I’m seeing on TV!  This is NOT the answer!”

What occurred to me was the history of the world, the history of this country.  Change from those in power to benefit those with less has rarely happened without violence and physical struggle.  I think of the Arab Springs in Syria, Egypt and Morocco to name a few over the last several years.  People had decided that they had enough of their oppressive and corrupt governments.  I think of the history of the civil rights movement during segregation and Jim Crow.  Hell, I think of the Boston Tea Party!  That struggle is glorified in history books.  My response to my friends has simply been to ask them, “Well what IS the answer?  What should they do?  Call the police?  (The same police who have one of THE worst documented reports of police brutality?) Write the police commissioner? What should they do to make the difference? None could give me any answers.  I sure as hell don’t have any either.

I saw President Obama this morning demonizing the looters.  But he can ‘miss me’ with that until he also demonizes the police who crushed a man’s spine and voice box while in their custody for simply running away from them.  Freddie Gray wasn’t wanted for any crime.  The knife he had in his pocket was of legal.  His downfall seems to be that he didn’t possess NFL first round wide receiver speed to escape his killers.  The President isn’t the only using all of his vitriol against those in rebellion.  Mass media and the direction or misdirection of narrative shaping is solely focused on the fallout from Gray’s death instead of the original sin of Gray’s death.  The truth of the matter is, I am not willing to listen to anyone who is not nuanced enough to have a real discussion regarding the cause and effect of what’s going on in Baltimore, what happened in New York, Ferguson and Oakland to facilitate community unrest.  I mean, how many times does this have to happen before there is a recognition of human nature; that if you keep putting a boot on people’s necks they are going to rise up?   It’s easy to tell people, “Keep on taking this ass whooping and burying your friends and kin to police brutality.  Organize and wait for the next election.  Have a church services, pray and forgive corrupt cops and the institutions that protect them.”  Historically that is not going to be a unified or sustained response.  Again, just check the history of anywhere in the world!  It ain’t gonna happen!

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Furthermore, I am past the point of apologizing for the looters. Looting is something I have never done nor would I.  I was in Ferguson and it never crossed my mind.  It’s not my thing.  But why should I have to own the onus of those that do when my counterparts don’t own the burden of unarmed black boys and men being murdered by police?  Am I the only one (as an activist) that needs to make concessions here and take ownership?  If they want to isolate and tell me that all the facts aren’t in, then I will say the same thing.  Dammit we don’t know who burned down the buildings.  You got a name?  Have all the facts been gathered yet?  Has there been an investigation of who exactly started the fires?  What accelerant was used? At what point in each building was the fatal match thrown? …and by WHOM exactly?  Sound ridiculous?  I don’t know… Cause sure as hell we had Eric Garner’s death from start to finish on VIDEO and we saw how THAT turned out!  Mr. Scarface said it best, “Black men are being hunted!”

I have always been an ambassador of sorts.  I bridge gaps and intermediate many potentially explosive situations.  I’ve done it all my life.  It’s natural for me.  I love peace.  Thus I am a fan of Dr. King’s non-violent work.  Yet I have always understood the need for an armed movement like The Black Panthers too.  I don’t own a gun.  I don’t desire to own one.  But I do recognize that with non-violence it’s easy for the one oppressing you to get a little too comfortable believing no retribution is possible.  Having the thought that in the back of one’s mind that he can catch some hurt if he stepped to the wrong person or set of people is just smart negotiating.  In other words, Rosa Parks is going to sit on that bus, but Nat Turner may take a shovel to your dome!

Is that not how our own government deal with other countries?  It goes like this: “If you don’t act right, we may use economic sanctions. Or we may bomb the shit outta you!”

Finally let me bring this point home.  If something goes down at my house where I need help, I’m calling the police.  I have several friends who are police officers.  One is a high ranking member.  If I see one of those guys driving behind me, it wouldn’t phase me a bit.  As a matter of fact, I may try to flag them down and start a conversation.  Equally true, is that because of my own experiences with bad police, I am scared as hell when one gets behind me who I don’t know.  *Especially if he is white*  I’m on the road almost every day going to someone’s basketball gym, football field or baseball diamond.  Sometimes I am some very remote areas where there are rarely is any folk who look like me.  And the reality is this; On any given day I could be the next Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Eric Garner or Oscar Grant.  That ain’t hyperbole.  That’s real!  Look, I was on a field last week working a baseball game.  I saw two cops approach and started watching the game. I hadn’t done anything wrong, yet I was scared.  I wondered if they were there for me.  At the time there was a baseball game and a track meet going on right next to the diamond.  I didn’t see any faces of color anywhere.  My tensions didn’t subside till the police vacated the property.  And it’s not as if I am afraid of any man in isolation. But I expect danger and conflict from police who I know mostly operate with impunity.  But this is my life.  And the fact of the matter is, if it IS me, if I am the next to be murdered by police many detractors will believe that I somehow provoked it or deserved it.  Yes some of my white friends will say, “Well, he is a fiery guy!  You ever see his Facebook page?  He must have went off or took a swing at them…went for his gun.”  And this is how they will live with the lie that they tell themselves in NOT getting involved or using their own voices to promote an end to this bullshit!   If I’m lucky, others will rally for me as I have rallied for them.  I shouldn’t have to live with this conflict of having a cognitive dissidence of respecting police and their duties and yet fearing the one in the badge that is supposed to represent service and protection from REAL criminals.

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So no I don’t pretend to know what black folk should do in reaction every time this happens to us.  But I do know that when white folk decide that enough is enough, things will change , and change in a hurry.  Folk like Baltimore Oriole’s COO John Angelos who said;

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Jeering at protesters is low hanging fruit.  Going after bad police, digging into the policies of oppression, mass incarceration and the roots of class warfare and suffering is HONEST!  OWN THAT and then we can talk.  Otherwise… See you after the next police led murder and cover up in a city near you.

 

 

 

 

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In Defense of Empire, Black Images and Nuance

Image matters!  I agree!  Race matters!  Absolutely! African-Americans don’t have much power in Hollywood. Check.

The images of black folk in television and film has been both marginalized and groundbreaking.  From Bert Williams, Bill Robinson, George Walker, Hattie McDaniel,  Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, to Ron O’Neal, Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Diahanne Carroll, Richard Roundtree, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, our images have fit most every possible dynamic.  I am conscious of the image game.  I care about how black folk are portrayed.  If you can’t read any of the dozens of books available on the subject, Spike Lee’s somewhat satirical film, “Bamboozled,” covers the darker history and current struggles in how black images are portrayed.  It’s important to know this history. It is with this in mind that I approach the subject of critics like Dr. Boyce Watkins.  He’s been going in hard via social media and news shows like CNN to criticize Fox’s smash drama, Empire.  Watkins went as far as describing the performances of stars Terrance Howard and Taraji P Henson as ‘coonery.’  I can’t think of a harsher criticism for an African-American to receive from another.  As a social critic and an avid watcher of Empire,  I find his choice of words reprehensibly irresponsible.

I admit that initially when I first saw previews of Empire before it premiered, I was skeptical.  The heavy rotation of promos weeks ahead focused on the glitz and glamour of the music industry, the debonair persona of Luscious Lyon, (Howard) and the powerful hurricane that is Cookie Lyon, (Henson).  My skepticism had everything to do with the history of the so called, “black drama” on network television and the recent phenomenon of other shows appearing on networks like BET.  I worried that Empire would be Fox”s version of a pseudo Kardashian-like program that focuses on the most simple minded of viewers.  It was the reputations of both Howard and Henson that convinced me to at least view the show before writing it off.  My respect for Henson in particular convinced me that she would not participate in a show that didn’t have substance just for a paycheck.  After a full season culminating in a special 2 hour finale, my gut reasoning was on point.

Surrounded by Henson and Howard, the cast is set around mostly unknown actors and actresses.  Astute viewers noticed how these newcomers’ performances improved as the season progressed under the direction of Lee Daniels.  While it’s premature to project the future for Bryshere Gray, (Hakeem Lyon)  Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) and Trai Byers (Andre Lyon) they’ve blended into a believably legitimate family to surround a television drama.  Adding veterans like Malik Yoba and later Derek Luke added more star power to balance the new talent.  Daniels was careful not to let veteran actors like Luke, outshine the rookies, which is genius.

It’s hard to comment on a man’s agenda, or where his heart is on a matter.  Watkins, the self described ‘people’s scholar‘ has been a cultural critic for years.  He seems to spend half his time attacking racism in mainstream America, and the other time criticizing other black folk and or black culture that he feels falls into dangerous stereotypes.  His visceral zeal against Empire seems to be more personal.  In an article he wrote for allhiphop.com, Watkins rants about Daniels’ homosexuality and Jamal’s homosexual character.

I also have a few things to say about Lee Daniels and his admitting that he’d like to use the show to “blow the lid off of homophobia in the black community.” I’m not sure why black people are always the target of this kind of propaganda, especially when there are millions of white conservatives who have their own issues with homosexuality as well.  Not to say that any of us should be forced into a position on gay rights or that we can even agree on what it means to be homophobic, but black people do not have a monopoly on homophobia, however it is defined.

But wait, there’s more…

Basically, “Empire” wasn’t created to entertain black people (although I’m sure it has black viewers).  It is instead selling an image of blackness to a predominantly white audience that has been long fed stereotypical messages about what blackness represents.  These thug-gangster-hoodrat images are the ones that are deeply embedded in the minds of police officers who shoot black men and potential employers who refuse to give black people jobs.  Just like animals in the zoo, the world loves to observe black people at our most ratchet, because ignorant negroes are simply fun to watch.

Empire

I don’t know how to describe this throw up of hyperbole beyond ridiculous.  Perhaps Watkins believes every television show or movie with black people in them should be like NBC’s Cosby show. *Imagine the irony of THAT!  He talks about being fans of Howard’s and Henson’s work previously.  I’m trying to figure out whether he’s referring to when Howard played DJay, a Memphis pimp and aspiring rap star in Hustle and Flow, or Henson’s as one of his whores?  Perhaps it was when she played Yvette, a single mother with a convicted felon for an ex boyfriend in Baby Boy.  Both performances were some of their best work.

Chances are black people we will never have control of Hollywood.  Chris Rock detailed who has the power to ‘green light’ a show.  Still, each show should be judged based it’s content can bear the brunt of it’s own praise or criticism.  Judging a show with a lack of nuance as Watkins does is not only unintelligent, it’s dangerous.  Art, even black art’s purpose is not meant to change social thought and carry cultural burdens to save a people.  Second, police are not shooting unarmed black boys and men because of a television show.  If Paul Robeson and Sidney Poitier – two of the most positive and powerful actors in the history of film couldn’t stop lynchings, then how in the hell are Howard and Henson supposed to protect Michael Brown or Eric Garner by not starring in Empire?  Is Watkins that naive?  Or he just an old bitter black man?  Art is being able to enjoy Denzel Washington portraying Silas Tripp in Glory as well as Alonzo Harris in Training Day.

White folks can be as honorable or as ‘ratchet’ as they want to be on television.  They play cops, doctors, gangsters, idiots, bigots, whores and so forth.  No show is indicative of the entire Caucasian, Italian, or Chinese population.  Shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad aren’t apologizing about a damn thing; Nor should they. Equally true, black folk like myself, are nuanced enough to watch both Eyes On The Prize and Empire without expecting one to be the other.

There are shows, movies, and music that deserve our critique because of negativity, or more importantly lack of creativity.  Empire is not one of them.  It’s well written and wildly entertaining.  It doesn’t try to be what it’s not.  Watkins wouldn’t know that as he claims he doesn’t watch the show.  What kind of of ‘scholar’ comments so feverishly on a subject matter he has little knowledge of?

Perhaps the repressed and uptight scholar should eat some “Cookies” so he can smile and lighten up a bit.  Regardless, I can’t wait till next season!

 

 

 

 

Of Blackness, Presidents and Bald Headed Step Children With No Teeth!

So I have a bit of a rant.  Maybe it’s just a thought, a conundrum of sorts.  Walk with me a bit.

Yesterday I saw an interview with rapper Killer Mike on CNN.  The subject matter was Ferguson, with specifically his reaction to the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who murdered unarmed teenager Mike Brown. Killer Mike (His rap name for killing the microphone) is intelligent, thoughtful and passionate as he cleverly orating a wide range of thought.  Then a question was asking of him by the reporter:  Should President Obama have visited Ferguson?

This was his response:  “He’s the president of the United States.  Not just 45 million Black people.”

He went on to say that as a black father he wished the president had visited Ferguson.  Then he elaborated, “He has to be hands off in the office of presidency in that way.  But as a Black father and as a Black man, I would hope that when he stepped away from that podium; when he went and sat on the bed next to his wife I would hope that he experiences the same feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that I felt.  Because those feelings are what invigorates you the next day to fight the better fight.” 

Now understand I am not at all offended by one thing that Mike said.  His theme is what many Black Americans have endorsed for the last 6 years.  The reality that in this day and age of psycho racial hatred towards The President because of his skin color, he has to be reticent to extend any sort of helping hand towards people who look like him for fear of being labeled a racist himself.  You see that’s the problem.

A question to ponder: Why would concerning himself with something effecting Black people be racist?  (I’ll get back to that.)

Let’s examine the first sentence: “He’s the president of the United States.  Not just 45 million Black people.”

Last I checked black people ARE a part of the United States.  Since Obama was elected the first time, most intelligent Black folk have given him some latitude understanding that he has to ride a fine line of not appearing too partial towards black struggle for fear of backlash and not getting a second term.  But we never thought that gave him a free pass to ignore us.  Yes there Obama sycophants who are so in love with the idea of a Black president that they don’t dare publicly express any displeasure in his shortcomings or mishaps.  I’ve challenged them often that any president has to be pushed in order to have him pay any attention to your issue.  President Johnson told Martin Luther King that he wanted to pass a civil rights bill, but that King would have to make him do it.  In other words, he needed the pressure in order for him to act.  This is so in President Obama’s case as well.  You actually honor the man and his position by holding him accountable to certain things that you find important enough.   And yet here we are less than two years away from a newly elected president and we are still asking this one to seek comfort in the arms of his wife in the secrecy of his bedroom so as to not offend White folks who disdain him anyway.

I’m not saying whether President Obama should have visited Ferguson or not.  (If not Obama, which president should or would?)  What I am saying is that I don’t believe he should have avoided Ferguson for fear of what his haters would say about it.  I don’t believe he should tip toe around a reality that is as much American as apple pie: racism, police brutality, police cover-ups, and a lack of justice when it comes to the Black lives that millions of Americans from New York to Seattle are boldly proclaiming matter.  To be blunt, Black folks should not have to be treated like bald headed step-children with no teeth.  We are just as American as any other group of people.

Getting back to my question; Why would concerning himself with something effecting Black people be racist?Recently the President signed an executive order on immigration.  This order affects the lives of millions of Latina children.  Some within their community applaud the order.  Some say it doesn’t go far enough in protecting the parents of the children. And yet he signed the order; an order benefiting a specific group of people who were not White.  He did this against the backdrop of the GOP threatening to impeach, prosecute, or shut down the government.  He’s not going to apologize for it either.

That far too many Black people don’t feel we deserve such attention when warranted, we are by default endorsing our own second class citizenship status!  “Sure Mr. President.  It’s OK.  You don’t have to look out for our interest.  We understand.”  I find that attitude seriously problematic.

 

 

 

 

 

Of Michael Sam, Black Folk and the Deity Factor

When I was at Webster University I took a class called Religion and Political Conflict.  It was one of my favorite classes, as it inspired critical thinking. Our professor, Chris Parr assigned us a paper asking the question: Why do people threaten violence and wage war in the name of religion?  I titled my response paper, “The Deity Factor.’

The basic premise is that a person will do most anything no matter how heinous if they believe the orders are from their highest power.  As much good that is done in this world for the sake of the deity factor, there are just as many if not more evil done against mankind. This could range from feeding the poor, evangelism, or strapping a pack of C4 on their bodies and killing innocent people. Logic and self analysis fall to the deity.  This is because the follower believes his/her eternal state depends on pleasing the deity.  Frankly, when dogmatic belief is serious enough, one would do anything to satisfy that longing to be approved of by his god.

What is interesting about the deity factor, is that it’s easy for those to believe their own illogical ideologies, while thinking others are ridiculous.  For instance, I can’t understand how radical Muslim extremist believe that the reward for martyrdom is 72 virgins in the great by and by.  I mean, you blew your body to pieces, and dead people can’t have physical sex.  And what does that say about a female martyr?  She can’t have 72  fresh penises because the sexism that rules on earth carries over to heaven or paradise. Sounds like a raw deal for the sisters to me!

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Unnamed female Islamic radical

There is a segment of the White Christians who inherently believe that they are superior to all others based on their color.  They have used their interpretations of the bible to justify slavery then, and status now.

As silly as that martyr/virgin sounds to most, many Christians, don’t see the similarities or hypocrisy they display when they openly discriminate against the gays and lesbians.  This seems especially true of the Black Christian community.  I’ve had a plethora of discussions with my Black  Christian socially conservative friends.  I am amazed at how they hand select scriptures that supports their discriminative beliefs, but turn an unapologetic blind eye to other scriptures that would make their own lives uncomfortable.  Many are otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people.  But once the dogma of the deity come into play, they turn into blind nincompoops.

I wasn’t always as passionate about supporting the LGBT community as I have been in recent years.  I had never been an all out bigoted idiot, but I certainly wasn’t a friend.  There are some elements within the gay community that still rub me the wrong way.  I still typically frown on what I view as an overly effeminate male who acts more girlish than the most girly girl I know.  I agreed with a former gay male friend of mine when he told me, “I’m gay, but I can’t stand a sissy!”  That’s on me and I’ve been working on growing above that judgment.

A more appropriate critique that I do challenge them on is wanting to be equal without embracing the ability to take a joke. I hate racism but I am able to critique black folk,  laugh at myself and my people.  No group can truly prosper and be taken seriously if its members take themselves too seriously. Some of my gay friends haven’t gotten there yet.

In a most recent conversation on social media, some black folks were asking the question, “Why does Michael Sam have to announce that he’s gay?  What is the big deal?  He’s gay…. I’m straight.  So what?”  I explained why Michal Sam made his announcement.  (As if it wasn’t obvious)  I further explained that these same people who resent Sam for making his ‘announcement,’ don’t bat an eye when a ball player is interviewed after a victory and they say, “I want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ who gave us the victory.”  When Kurt Warner played for the Rams, St. Louisans heard this every week.  (Unless the Rams lost and Kurt sucked)  When Tim Tebow talked about his faith 24-7, it never occurred to Christians who supported his rhetoric, that Jesus never threw a pass, never threw a block, made a devastating tackle or sacked the other team’s quarterback.  Public figures give credit to their deity thereby ‘announcing’ their religious beliefs every day.

Christians love it when famous people do it.  It confirms their own brand of faith.  On the flip side, they merely reject Sam because his gayness doesn’t jive with their brand of religion dogma.  I told my Christian friends that to reject this recognition in light of the original question they posed about Sam’s announcement is being intellectually dishonest.  Of course, neither logic, theory, nor the incredible amount of irony couldn’t crack that steel wall of dogma!

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Michael Sam’s return to Mizzou Feb 15, 2014

I pointed out that… “the real issue for you wasn’t Sam making an announcement, it was what he announced.  To suggest otherwise when you applaud announcements that support their own beliefs  is hypocrisy and intellectually dishonest.  And while gays are catching hell every day, you lack empathy for their struggle while still getting pissed at white folk who are racist against you and people who look like you.”

Look, the LGBT community has been here since the beginning of civilization.   In 20 years, there may not be a such thing as a closeted gay person.  You won’t be able to pray them away… and they aren’t trying to change your minds about them.  Neither will I.  You are free to hold on to your prejudices.  Just keep in mind the flip side.

Every time you criticize them for asking for what is rightfully their’s, (which is to live and be allowed to live,) you sound just like White folk who say, “I’m tired of your black shit!  Trayvon Martin was a thug and deserved what he got!  And so did Jordan Davis. What are you crying about?  This isn’t 1964 anymore.  Don’t talk to me about disproportionate injustice and  mass incarceration rates.  You have Oprah, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.  Dammit you have a black president for godsakes.  I never owned slaves.  Shut the hell up about racism already!   

Many Christians I know say that homosexuality and gay rights are being forced down their throats.  And yet this is the same language used in Mississippi, Alabama, and so forth when it came to Black folk as it pertains to equality.

I am certainly not going to suggest that you change your mind about approving of homosexuals.  Just as I am not looking to convince a racist white person to appreciate me for who I am.  But what I am asking you to consider is the same thing I ask of the prejudice:  

You don’t have to love me.  You don’t have to like or approve of me.  But don’t attempt to stop me from prospering.  Don’t kill me advocate or excuse violence against me.  Don’t arrest me for unjust reasons.  Don’t deny me equal opportunities.  Don’t stand in my way as I look to create a decent life for myself and feed my family.  Don’t support legislation that denies me full equal rights that you support for yourself.  Keep your prejudices if you must, but don’t exploit my life and ruin my opportunities because of them.  And dammit don’t support or excuse those who do.

If you can do that, you won’t hear me say another word!

Round 1 to the Challenger

Full disclosure.  I’ve only watched the first presidential debate once.  Last night when after returning from work before I could turn on the DVR and watch the recording, CSPAN had already begun their replay.  I enjoy watching CSPAN’s version of most any political debate because they don’t have as much hype and sensationalism with their programming.  This is why I never watch anyone’s pre-debate shows either.  I would rather go into the debates and listen to the way things play out without anticipating anything in particular, and let the partisanship bullshit slide by the wayside.

While winding down both mentally and physically I took in the show.  And these are my observations:

1) Mitt Romney was as feisty as a horny young teenager.  He was so excited and wide-eyed,  that if I didn’t know better, I’d say he sniffed a few lines before coming on stage.  The look on his face said from the beginning he was prepared, had a game plan, and was confident he could execute it.  Since he’s had plenty of time to prepare, he had his talking points queued up.  The second portion of his strategy was to bulldoze his way through the moderator, filibuster, redirect the narratives and keep the POTUS on the defensive.  This was a clever strategy and it partially worked.  Sure he lied about a shitload of topics, but that’s besides the point.  Folk like me and every other politically astute viewer noticed the many lies he told regarding the policies he has campaigned on for months.  Romney fork-tongued his way through his presentation as if he were Lord Jeffrey Amherst, and the 47% of us Americans were actually the original Native Americans he was offering a nice set of blankets to in the winter of 1763.  Of course he was going to leave out that little thing about the smallpox.

2) To the novice, much of the this strategy worked.  However, part of it was because the narrator Jim Lehrer got owned by the ‘Mittster!’  Every time Lehrer even suggested that Mitt’s time was up or that it was time to move on, Romney told him to STFU and let him talk.  Lehrer was bitch-slapped to biblical proportions.  I’m sure Lehrer had way more questions on his little cue card than he got out.  In the words of Lauryn Hill, Romney defecated on his Lehrer’s microphone rendering him huddled in the corner naked and in the fetal position.  Lehrer need Mackenzie from The Newsroom to call upon his inner Will McElroy giving him instructions and direction to move him along.  But alas, instead of the microphone of an executive producer, all that we could see in Jim’s ear was Mitt’s dick!  Plain and simple.  Romney even threatened to put Lehrer out of job by cancelling funding for PBS.  How gangsta is that?  Lehrer was all but tossing Romney’s salad as if he was some old felon on Oz looking for protection.  This was really obvious as at one point when Lehrer actually tried to press on the time, it was when the president talked at 1:55 of his two minute time limit.  I just shook my head.

3) The president looked tired in my opinion.  Some of this is understandable in that he does have shit to do being the president and all.  The last time we saw Obama in a debate, it was between he and Senator McCain and neither of them were president.  Therefore they both had ample time to prepare their talking points.  Obama’s moonlighting as a debater came through.  Not that he didn’t make his points and tell the truth.  But in that he often stumbled over his words while doing so.  He wasn’t so professorial as some have said in my opinion, he just wasn’t terribly passionate.  So while he wins on the facts, again his target has to be the people who aren’t astute; Who don’t pay attention to the day to day but are tied up in their own lives until the election comes around.

As an Obama supporter, I ain’t mad at him.  If he’s going to pick a time not to shine then the first debate is definitely the one to do it in.  There are still two more to go.  No one knew how Romney would perform or what his game plan would be coming into the debates, other than him lying and flip flopping.  The president has seen Romney’s best shot.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.  The next time Obama will definitely have his fight face on and be ready for battle.  No way I believe this next moderator is going to be the p#ssy that Lehrer was.  Otherwise, it’s like boxing; you see what the opponent is doing, adjust and fight the fight the way you trained in the first place.  I’m confident that is what we will see in the next two debates.

Catching Up With Charlie Bubba

**Parental Discretion Advised

Been a long time since I caught up with my old friend from the neighborhood.  For those not familiar, Charlie Bubba is an old timer from East St. Louis who was a friend of my father’s.   A street philosopher if you will, Bubba has a funny way of seeing politics, religion, and just life in general.  Normally I catch up to him say once a quarter.  But with my schedule it’s been quite a while since I’ve had the chance to get his opinions on the comings and goings of America and the world.

I saw Charlie at Lincoln Park over the weekend.  As usual he had his potions with him.   And I brought a little something myself.  He was glad to see me; and I him.  So after exchanging pleasantries, and toasting a sad goodbye to the two young children shot to death by their mother a few days ago, I pulled out my recorder to get the latest. 

Me:  CB.  What have you been vibing on lately?  What you wanna talk about?   Jobs, POTUS… 

CB: The president?  You mean Beohner’s Bitch?  Ha!  That’s what I call’em.  I swear I think he must have some compromising photos of Bama or something. Cause he is one compromising negro!  I mean got’damn.  He’s the POTUS!  How you gone let a mufucka tell YOU when to announce a fucking jobs bill?  Security?  Shit.  He’s the fuckin president.  You got secret service under the bed when he’s doing Michelle.  You control security.  You spose to be running the motherfucker!  You don’t let congress tell you what the fuck to do.  Now he put his self up against the NF fuckin L.  On opening fuckin night!  Dumb!  You think imma be lookin at his ass?  Imma tell you what I’m gonna do.  Imma be lit up at the spot with some Henney in one hand, and some ribs in another, seeing what kinda JOB the Packers gone do against Breese nem’.  Shit.  I’ll catch up in the morning.  He’s putting himself last so imma put him last. 

Me: I heard they may move the speech up a bit time wise.  But speaking of Michelle.  Do you think she speaks her mind or shares her opinion on these things?  What do you think she thinks?

 CB:  Imma tell you what she thinking.  She’s thinking do she want to keep the drapes she’s got in Chicago when she moves back in 2012.  She’s thinking about what school she wants to send her daughters to.  That’s what she’s thinking.

 Me:  So who’s going to challenge?

 CB: Shit I don’t know.  Anybody with a back bone for starters!  In this country nowadays.  It’s who ever talks the most shit no matter how ignorant.  I guess Mitt or that Ken Doll country preacher lookin dude. 

 Me: Rick Perry?

 CB: Yea that mother fucker.  He’s a scary son of a bitch too.  Just on the gay thing a while ago he was like New York can do its own thing.  States rights shit.  Then after the fact, signs the marriage act.  He don’t know whether he wants to be a preacher or a politician.  Hell I guess they both the same right?  And what the fuck he talkin about he would do the fed chairman in Texas?  After he supported him?  He ain’t shit.

 Me: What about Palin?  Is she getting in or not?

 CB: Palin… oh that bitch is fine ain’t she?  I’d tap that Alaskan ass.  (laughs hysterically)  But she ain’t givin it up is she?  She is the ultimate dick tease.  Ridin buses every other month talkin shit.  ‘Imma run… maybe… maybe not.  Imma suck ya dick, no I ain’t.  Imma let you get it…. SIKE!’  Attention whore!  She should thank McCain every day for putting her on the squad.  I’d like to see her and Bachmann in a debate though.  Bet Bachmann would bitch slap her silly ass.

 Me:  But Palin knows bows and arrows.

 CB: Touché mother fucker!  (laughing) The point is that irregardless, they should do a reality TV where all them fuckers are in the house like The Bachelor or something.  You know some Survivor type shit.  Let America vote.

 Me:  (laughing)  I feel you on that.  Then throw Gadhafi  in the mix too!

 CB: Oh hell yea!  Is he the emperor with no clothes or what?  Talkin about, “I’m in charge.  Ya’ll keep on fighting.  I know they ran me out the crib.  Took all my guns, swam in my pool and stole my goat skin silk sheets and shit.  But I will not be denied.”   That dude been in the palace too fucking long.  That’s probably how Castro would act.

 After a few more sips and laughs I asked Charlie Bubba what else had his ear in the news besides the obvious.  He thought for a second and then his eyes brightened. 

 CB: Oh yea!  White chicks gone missing.  I ain’t even going there on how they report when blonde women goes missing vs. Blacks or Mexicans.  Fuck that.  What I wonder is when they show all these news reports about who dunnit, why and all that shit.  They never have a mother fucker on there saying, “Hey stupid bitches – stop meeting mother fuckers on the computer box and leaving the country with them!  Niggas is crazy.  You might get killed! I mean what these gals think gonna happen to them?  In these days and times?  Got-damn where they get their decision makin skills from?  They give the sob stories, but never talk about the dumb ass decisions in the first place.  That’s what they need to be talkin about.  Do a whole special report on it!  Have Soladad or Coop do a special on it.  They can call it, “Dumb bitches meet a man in public a few times, meet his friends, parents and shit then leave for Aruba.”  How about that?

 Me:  That’s kinda hard Bubba.  But I get your point.

Soon after that it was time for me to go.  Charlie Bubba’s getting old and not looking as good these days.  Physically, life has taken its toll.  But his mind is still sharp and his opinions haven’t waned a bit.  I wished him well and told him to stay up.  His last words…

CB: Flyers got that ass spanked in Georgia last week.  (East St. Louis Football Team) (Coach) Sunkett is dumb.  He shakes hands with the other coaches when he wins but walks off the field when he loses.  What he may not realize is that if any school ask the conference for tapes, they get them.  Cause everybody hates him for embarrassing these White schools.  Period.  They got that whip though again though.  Hope the kids be eligible so the state won’t fuck them over again.  Imma check them out tonight.  Playin some school from Kansas.  We’ll see.  If it ain’t one thing it’s another.

ME: Later C-Bubba

CB: C-Mac my dude!

 

Carter Debate Sets Blog Ablaze!

Since CNN was kind enough to share my blog as a link to their story yesterday I received quite a bit of feedback from readers on both sides.  Passions ran pretty hot but one question in particular prompted me to respond.  That was the question by my blogging friend Jim Thornber.

“If I disagree with you, must it be racially motivated, or could it simply be that I disagree with you? You are African American and I’m not. So what? If you disagree with me, does that mean you don’t like white people?

Is it possible for me to disagree with President Obama simply because I disagree, or must there be, in you opinion, some inkling of racism mixed in there? Just wondering.”

I would like to answer my friend Jim’s question.

Jim, you ask a great and wonderful question.  One I am happy to answer.

Let me frame it this way.  You are indeed correct that they call me African-American and that they call you white.  It is also true that as an African-American I disagree with other African-Americans all the time.  I have disagreed with liberal and conservative African-Americans in politics and in media.  I disagreed with Kanye West and Serena Williams over the last few days.  I don’t consider myself racist by any means towards African-Americans.  So the short answer to you my friend is, “No.”  Certainly in this great nation of ours you have the right to disagree with black folks for whatever reasons your principles compel.  However, you are not the person I was talking about in my post.  You are not the person Carter was referring to in his comments.

The people we are talking about started making their voices known after Obama won the democratic nomination.  When it became apparent that he had a chance to win the presidency, folks like Sara Palin got the racial party started when she said that Obama was not an American like she and her followers are.  (code language to be sure) This continued with congregant rants during town hall meetings and speeches by Sen. John McCain when folks shouted things like, “He’s a Muslim!, or “Off with his head!”  Americans mind you. 

The people we are talking about are like the guy in Florida who had on the T-Shirt that said, “Nigger please! It’s called the White House,” during the election.

The people we are talking about joined and increased numbers for hate groups.  They bought guns and assault rifles at an alarming rate, so much so that places like Wal-Mart ran out of ammunition.  The people I am talking about get their que from Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to name a few.  These guys fan the flames of racism like no other.  Then quickly hide their hands as if they did nothing.

I am talking about are the ‘birthers’ who questioned the president’s citizenship as yet another reason to attempt to delegititimize him and his holding the office.

Jim let me tell you.  I had occasion since the election to visit a couple federal buildings since January.  When I see that picture of President Obama it trips me out.  I saw all of the election results and the inauguration.  But seeing that picture of the president in that official federal format is still quite unbelievable to me.  I am so serious when I say that.  Well likewise many other American can’t wrap their brains around it either.  But it affects them differently.  I may say, “Wow!  Unbelieveable.”  They may say “WTF?! Oh hell no he ain’t my president.” 

With that as a backdrop here is where I agree with Carter.

I argue that race is what made Joe Wilson comfortable making his remarks.  Certainly I knew that Bush was lying about 9-11 being related to Iraq.  I was not unique.  Other House members knew this.  They knew it would cost billions of dollars and thousands of American lives and yet while he made those speeches neither of them thought it righteous to shout the man down and call him a liar. 

I didn’t agree with a lot of what Bush did.  I didn’t watch most of his speeches because I felt they were mere lies and propaganda.  But I’ll tell you what.  If the man while he was president walked in the room I’m standing up and giving him the honor the office is due.  I’m addressing him as ‘sir’ and ‘Mr. President.’

If you’re not familiar, and I am sure you remember some of my blogs before that detailed some of the pictures and cartoons that have been put on the internet.  For example, one show the president dressed in Muslim garb while the first lady totes an assault rifle as they fist bump one another.  Another show the front lawn of The White House with watermelons planted abroad.  Another depicted the president as a witch doctor.  Yet another show two police standing over a dead monkey they had shot.  The police then make references to the stimulus package.  I could go on but you get my drift.  We got wind of these pictures as politicians on the right passed them around to each other in email.  Each time they were caught they claimed, “What me, a racist?” 

The same people who create and promote these cartoons and caricatures are the same people who believe these stereotypes.  These are the same people who tried to turn out the healthcare town-hall meetings.  These are the people who are making the most noise;  not people like you who may or may merely disagree and take the president to task intelligently.

These people are like the ones who sent Rep. Scott of Georgia a letter saying,

“To: NIGGA DAVID SCOTT / You were / You are / And / You shall forever be a nigga!” It added, “The Ethiopian cannot make himself white.” 

As far as Joe Wilson goes, we have enough evidence of his own work and words where he fits the description of a racist.  As Maureen Dowd wrote in a recent column:

“The congressman, we learned, belonged to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag waving above South Carolina’s state Capitol and denounced as a “smear” the true claim of a black woman that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond, the ’48 segregationist candidate for president.

But let me say this.  Let’s say Wilson isn’t a racist for the sake of argument.  He feels comfortable in doing what he did because he knows that he comes from a constituency of people who believe that his actions were justified.  He like McCain/Palin early in the campaign against Obama rode the racist base with as much momentum as he could muster.  McCain later backed off and tried to quell that base when it became bad press but by then he couldn’t close that barn.  Republicans know full and well that a large part of their base is racist and furthermore they are easy to scare and rile up.  These politicians at best play on the hatred and fears of such people.  It’s a strategic easy sell.  The Right is not willing to challenge or risk losing that base.  So at the very least they are ‘accessories to racism’ if they don’t personally agree.  What you see now is a result of said tactics.  Carter, a white man from Georgia no less, is merely calling them out for who and what they are.  I happen to agree with him.

Finally, I understand that many are fatigued at the mention of racism.  I fit that description as well.  I am often reluctant to even discuss this because most won’t even admit that there is still a problem.  (Just read some of the comments on yesterday’s post.)  Others are perfectly comfortable saying, “Sure racism exists,” as long as we don’t address anything specific that happens.  If cops shoot a black man in the back shouting the “N” word many whites and a few conservative blacks will say, “Hold on now, this doesn’t necessarily mean its racist.” 

Look, I am not trying to lecture you on race Jim.  I know you are a better man than that.  I am answering your question still believe it or not.  The healthcare debate for you and others like you who may disagree is different from the rants going on out there.  I have a few issues I disagree with the president about.  I expected to when he won the office.  I expect that of any president.  Who am I?  Still my behavior is in tact. 

People like you are not the ones drawing the pictures, carrying guns into meetings, calling the president ‘Hitler’ and ‘socialist.’  In the healthcare debate the name ‘socialist’ is the new ‘nigger.”  People like you are not keeping their children from class because they don’t want the president to ‘put his agenda on them.’   This is a different breed and they are making the most noise.  They get the most media coverage. 

These  people don’t disagree with the president.  They hate the president for who he is.  They feel the country is slipping from their control and, “My God Obama is going to help lazy black people get healthcare.  Pretty soon we are going to have to swim with them and then they will sleep with our women.”  Trust me it always goes back to that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  If white Americans want people like me to stop talking about racism, all they have to do is police themselves and other whites who step out of line.  Check those who speak lies and promote hateful stereotypes.  But unfortunately I don’t see the rage in white folks in trying to do that.  They rather I just shut up and be glad slavery is over at least.   

People can call Carter ‘peanuts’ or whatever.  That’s certainly easier to do than to grapple with what the man is saying. 

What is that saying about “De-Nile” not being merely a river in Africa?

Well anyway, I hope I answered your question Jim.