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Op Ed

Fuck VSB

mrmarlonrice@gmail.com'

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I read the absolute most horrible blog article of the year this week, a piece written by a male named Damon Young, titled Straight Black Men Are the White People of Black People. It took me a couple of days to actually read the article, because the title is so disrespectful. In fact, it’s more than disrespectful. It is irresponsible.

To attempt to make a snarky comparison between the acute and despicable damage that the white race has inflicted, not just on Blacks in America, but on all peoples of color across the world, to even try and somehow equate this with the complex relationship between Black Men and Black Women is completely irresponsible. Completely Irresponsible. Either this Damon Young doesn’t know the history of White people, or he doesn’t know the history of Black people, or maybe he doesn’t care either way.

These new generation bloggers value cuteness over substance, and because the weaponization of tolerance in this country has decimated the ability to check anyone on their ways and actions, clowns like Damon Young get to write unmitigated bullshit without having to answer for it.

These new generation bloggers value cuteness over substance.

So, it took me a couple of days to read the article. I wanted to ignore it, just like I ignore most of the corrupt verbiage you find on social media. But, what I began to witness in my newsfeeds and timelines was what always happens when some irresponsible full-of-himself prick writes something that low-key reinforces the white supremacist strategy of tearing apart the Black family. Black men and women were beginning to have public heated debates and arguments about the article. You see Damon Young, our Brothers and our Sisters are damaged by a litany of issues, some self-inflicted, and others systemic. Emotionally hurt and damaged people will always start their personal healing process with finding someone or something to blame. It’s called the blame game, basic Psych 101. It is always easier for a person confronted with the truth, that things aren’t the way they should be, to blame someone else for what is wrong, rather than to look at themselves. Humans do it all of the time. This is why it is so important that those of us who have created a voice in our communities and in our common spaces use that voice responsibly. As soon as I began reading the arguments on Facebook, I knew for true that Damon Young had done no such thing.

Our Brothers and our Sisters are damaged by a litany of issues, some self-inflicted, and others systemic.

I will use plain and direct words to describe my thoughts on the article. The first thing that I want to say is that I do not disagree with the assertion that misogyny exists in our culture. Yes, misogyny exists. Our sisters are constantly under attack in our communities, whether from perverts and aggressive attention seekers that push for our sister’s acknowledgement when she just wants to get on the train and go to work, or from the popular music of our culture which continues to glorify the objectification of our women as nothing more than strippers and promiscuous women of advantage and deceit. This is the absolute truth of us. Our culture is misogynistic. I have a mother, two sisters, two daughters and two nieces that all live and experience the misogynistic side of our culture every time they step foot out of the house. Denying its existence is also irresponsible, and no man should ever try to downplay or minimize these issues as women see them. I learned from a woman that if a person feels wronged in any way, even if you don’t fully understand how they were wronged, it is still in bad taste to deny to them that they have been wronged. This action is called compassion. I have a great deal of compassion for my sisters, and would never look to write anything that takes away from their plight as women, living in a patriarchal society bereft of justice and equality.

Black men are the White men of absolutely nothing.

My problem with the article is Damon Young’s weak attempt to draw parallels between the way he feels about Black Man/Woman relationships and the privilege that White men specifically are able to exercise in this society, and it is that attempt that sours this article. I feel weird having to even address why this parallel makes no sense. Even more, Damon admits that he didn’t even make the term up. He says he read it somewhere. So, he read this silly phrase somewhere and accepted it? Says a whole lot about him. Black men are the White men of absolutely nothing. There is no Black man privilege, no place where our Black masculinity is enough to part waters or change policy. Your own article proves the fallacy Damon. When have you ever wrote anything as stirring and vehement regarding White men? This diatribe you posted, masked as some form of progressive journalism, speaks in way too many plural pronouns. We aren’t all included in your assessment of what Black men aren’t doing, and if you were a Black man you’d know that. We aren’t all turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the literal and figurative issues that our sisters face on a daily basis. We aren’t ignoring misogynistic language or going blind to domestic abuse. And, we are certainly not resistant to discussing these issues with Black Women, and offering our unwavering support and security. No, I and others like me are not included in your we. Your generalizations are amazingly narrow-minded, and better suited for whatever males you hang with, but with all due respect, don’t ever in your life speak as if you’re speaking to or for the whole.

Instead of serving as a basic buffoon, ready and eager to use a broad stroke to point out issues in such a polarizing manner, issues that in truth can only be repaired as a whole, together, and not by taking sides, you should be using your vehicle to build bridges, and not to throw a certain group under the bus. That connection you guys have made with The Root recently has you acting like them now, politely backslapping Black men whenever you see an angle to do so. Maybe that’s what your check writers want from you, I wouldn’t know. However, your article serves as a perfect example of why dudes like GFK and KRS-One used to look for Hip Hop journalists in these streets to offer corrective advice to when they felt it was needed. You have a responsibility as someone who has a voice to use that voice in a responsible manner. Calling out Black Men as being the White people of Black people is irresponsible, not to mention dangerous to whatever gains we’ve made with regards to our complex and layered relationship with Black Women.

By using your article to reinforce stereotypes in such a blanketed fashion, you’ve done more harm than good. So, hold that Damon. And, be prepared to stand firm on your ideals when confronted.

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SHUT ‘EM DOWN

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The longest shutdown in our government’s history continues on and should lead us to ponder these particular questions; Who would go to work for no pay? Why is congress still receiving pay checks? What is the tipping point to institute some serious changes in this government?

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”

If these questions have not entered your consciousness, you aren’t paying attention and will be forced to do so sooner than later. An estimated 800,000 people aren’t getting paid due to the ineffectiveness of our government officials and the impact is real.

Below is a list of several federal employees not being compensated in multiple departments that effect us all.

Law enforcement

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents
  • Bureau of Prisons correctional officers
  • FBI agents
  • Deputy U.S. Marshals
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents

Homeland security

  • TSA employees
  • Customs and Border Protection agents and customs officers
  • Coast Guard employees
  • U.S. Forest Service firefighters
  • National Weather Service forecasters

Furloughed employees

  • Department of Commerce
  • NASA
  • The National Park Service
  • The Forest Service
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • IRS staff members

The notion that this is occurring over the need of a wall for national security is preposterous. Placing agencies responsible for protecting us at a disadvantage is a direct attack on our national security. This is not a matter of opinion but an absolute fact. The vulnerability our elected officials have placed this country in should be viewed as a dereliction of duty punishable by replacement.

Checks and balances were created to avert the impulses of absurdity by one of the three equal branches of government. Allowing the executive branch to steer this republic towards the behaviors of a dictatorship is a crime that history won’t remember kindly. Hopefully the silent mouths/votes in congress will put country over party before one of our adversaries realizes just how weak we are and fully aims to take advantage of it.Z

But before that occurs let us all remember the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” It’s our turn and the time is now to place those words into practice! We can no longer sit idly by and hope for the best.

If we aren’t already at the tipping point, how much more can we really endure? When will enough be enough? Being used as political pawns and discard-able commodities has become clearer by the day. We’ve got to SHUT ‘EM down!

Mypens Real is immersed in the digital world with the keen eye of sifting through the fat and pulling out the meat. Always keeping tabs on the latest pros & cons technology has to offer. Whether it's sports, politics or pure stupidity...he'll find what's what.

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Op Ed

Who’s Sleeping With Your Man?

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People who involve themselves in contracts without understanding the terms and conditions are bound to encounter issues down the line. Comprehending the obligations presented in a written or verbal doctrine is a basic (and primary) tenet of contract negotiations. You know exactly how many chicken nuggets are supposed to be in your value meal and you will graciously burn that Mc’Establishment to the ground should they misplace a single nug. Yet, we’ve all made the same mistakes when it comes to negotiating monogamous relationship contracts; No one ever addresses frequency!

Within the confines of a relationship, it is expected that you engage sexually with one, and only one, person. This stipulation is clear, concise and widely understood. No one discusses however, how much sex you would like to have with your partner. Funny how we speak of quality without batting an eyelash (“How was I?”) but no mention of quantity. What good is amazing sex if it occurs as frequently as Game of Throne’s episodes? If 7- 8 times a year is the net amount of sexual encounters with your mate, winter may be the only thing coming.


You wouldn’t accept a job that told you what you would be doing but did not specify frequency or pay rate. It’s also a recipe for disaster to expect an employee to show up whenever and wherever you requested. So how come we try to apply these unspoken rules to relationships and expect them to work?

If you knew your wife was only going to have sex once every 2 months, would you have married her? If you knew your husband wanted to have sex during every commercial break of every show, would you have married him? Some may say those levels of infrequency border ridiculous but given the amount of relationships that end as a result of infidelity in which infrequency plays a role, is it really a crazy notion to have the discussion to set and manage expectations?

What good is amazing sex if it occurs as frequently as Game of Throne’s episodes?

Feeling your partner up, er…I mean out, which is most often common practice during the courtship phase, seems like a logical method of determining sexual frequency/compatibility. Unfortunately, you are probably having sex every free second you can get your hands on each other in the initial stages so to assume your sexual rampage will continue at that rate is almost a recipe for disaster. There aren’t enough condoms at Walmart to sustain this pace and you may fracture her vertebrae attempting to do so. Blown backs aside, the best you can do is probably just have a conversation and hope both parties are honest with themselves and have at least assessed their own desires before attempting to make someone else responsible for fulling them.

When dating, we tend to ask for what I believe to be idiotic requisites. Let me guess; you want to be with someone that is smart, funny, attractive, caring, etc.. What the hell does that even mean? Was there ever a time in your life that you (or anyone) were in search of an ignorant, troll faced heathen of a person to form a happy union? The answer is undoubtedly “Hell to the No!” You want someone to fit these qualifications as you see fit. It is very important that you always keep that in mind. There isn’t a pool of candidates just sitting there that you can’t seem to obtain. You are looking for something that is very specific and that you conjured up in your imagination. Don’t get upset at an entire gender or the “Dating game” when you can’t find what you are looking for. Maybe we should start asking questions and looking for actual building blocks relevant to a healthy relationship and not canned ideals of what a worthy mate should be.

 Sidebar; This article was not written to justify infidelity. The intent of this is to open dialogue to avoid future transgressions, not rationalize them. Its amazing what one discovers when you revisit desires you believe have been addressed but were only assumed. Sidebar Complete.

Crazed Afrykan is a writer / hip hop producer (Nas / Damien Marely) and aficionado of hip hop culture. For over 30 years, he has gained personal introspective into the motivations, rhymes and reasons for one of the most revered genres in modern music. He is also a smug, smart ass with a perplexing penchant for alliterations. You’ve been warned.

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Op Ed

Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Frenemies Closer

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This past Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Carolina Panthers. Prior to the game, Eric Reid – the outspoken activist, friend and former teammate of Colin Kaepernick, and All-Pro safety – ran out to confront Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.

The camera caught the two getting in each others’ faces, with Reid seemingly the instigator (as a non-captain, he was not technically “supposed” to be on the field at this time). Jenkins has served as one of the most visible leader of the Players Coalition, a group of socially active NFL players formed in the wake of Kaepernick’s protest. Reid, once a visible member himself, left the group, citing differences in the approach – he believed the group should have pushed harder to include Kaepernick in meetings with the NFL and made his employment by the league the foremost part of their agenda. Ultimately, the NFL responded as all large wealthy institutions typically do – by thinly veiling a PR stunt as social engagement, and donating $90 million in “a local matching funds component to the social justice initiative”.

After the game, Reid cited this incident and called Jenkins a “sellout” and a “neo-colonialist”, in the process accusing him of co-opting the movement for his own charity. The beef and history between the two, which stems from the NFL league office’s hijacking described above, is nuanced and complex. But this confrontation left me with quite a simple, albeit surprising, feeling – sadness.

I respect both players tremendously, and I believe in a world where their differences in approach should be allowed to not only exist, but flourish. In oversimplified terms, Jenkins has been cast in the role of the pragmatic and cooperative activist, while Reid takes a hardline about the wrongs of the entrenched power structure. To some, the Players Coalition failed in not getting Kaepernick reinstated and distracting from the genuine reason he took a knee in the first place. But to others, the Players’ Coalition secured funding from the league comparable to the amount which the league donates in their largest charitable endeavors. These are the types of philosophical differences that we hope the players – and leaders of movements generally – would hash out privately and rally behind, with the proverbially “difficult conversations”.

I believe in a world where their differences in approach should be allowed to not only exist, but flourish.

In this instance, Reid and Jenkins seemed to each serve as strawmen for a frequent divide amongst those fighting for change; the reason being that this divide remains under-discussed. Typically, when we consider our philosophical divides, we do so only as those divides pertain to opposites, whether it be opposite sides of an issue, opposite views of a person, or the “end of civil discourse” (a nebulous proscription that mainstream media loves). Once we’ve identified these differences, the prevailing narrative holds, we must “reach across the aisle”, “try to understand each other”, or “expose ourselves to different viewpoints”. In today’s media, disagreement among “reasonable” people can’t happen because we’re all too hysterical to handle ourselves like thinking adults.

Forget all that. As it pertains to politics and culture, I really have no time for people who defend, directly or indirectly, putting migrant children in cages, sexual assault, or the legal erasure of trans people. After a certain point, it feels I really can’t convince you to care more about others. A more vital discussion would occur between me and those of us who generally agree, but disagree on how to tactically address what needs to change. A successful coalition is one that incorporates people who generally agree on the big picture, but as we are all individuals, naturally tactical differences will occur.

For while the media preoccupies itself with how “divided” we are in the big picture, they scarcely discuss how divided we are in the little picture.

Recent memory abounds with coalitions started on the premise of a shared general belief (or “worldview”), only to fracture due to strategic and/or tactical differences. Though it may be over-reported, the rancor between Bernie Sanders voters and Hillary Clinton voters felt very real; I’m going to guess if you had a strong predilection for either candidate over the other, you would even more strongly prefer that person be president than the one we got. This pattern seems to come up in almost every social movement in history; from labor struggles to racial justice. By the time these splits occur, it is almost always too late.

Eric Reid’s choice to call Jenkins a “sellout” was particularly fascinating. For while the NFL certainly acted cynically in co-opting the promise of the Players’ Coalition, are we supposed to believe that when Nike – another large, multinational corporation – released an ad with Kaepernick, they had suddenly been paid a visit by the altruism fairy? Powerful though these ads were, corporations don’t do things that are not in their best interests! And both Nike and the NFL reinforced this: Nike wouldn’t have made Kap the face of its campaign if they didn’t think he was marketable (Nike stock rose significantly in the wake of the ads), and the NFL wouldn’t donate to any charity if it didn’t garner good press.  At the time of the Nike ads, some called Kaepernick a sellout, as if partnering with ANY corporate brand tarnishes his reputation as a fighter for social justice, even as the advertisements brought greater awareness and spotlight to his desired goals (and greater financial means to devote to them).

In addition to the disagreement itself, I felt sadness at our tendency to even lump Jenkins and Reid together, as people who are fighting for social justice in the first place. We should all support justice for those murdered at the hands of the police and the civil rights of people of color, yet because they happen to have pointed this out in public, they are grouped together as “fighting for the same thing”. Again, nuance matters, and it remains possible that their individual versions of justice and the steps to take towards it may differ, even within the context of something we should all agree on. The range of discourse is so narrowly defined that we can’t even adequately spot the difference in people who generally want the same thing through different means, and people who are truly allied in the same fight. This flattens our discourse and makes us think everyone agrees, and thus we are simply unprepared for the inevitable moment when they don’t.

When does one become a sellout?

Clearly, the entire episode here provides more questions than answers: When does one become a sellout? When do the amoral motives of organizations looking to capitalize on a moment outweigh the benefits of their actions? At what point have those with whom we share a general goal turned their back on that goal enough to warrant aggression or excommunication? And most importantly:  if our struggles are overwhelmingly interconnected, how do we address them in a way that satisfies both of our goals and moves the needle? I don’t have answers to any of these, but I hope we navigate the difficult arrival of those questions with awareness and civility.

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