To be Black, and to be sane and lucid, and to be paying attention to the current climate in America right now, is to be confused, concerned and cantankerous all at once.
Lately, not one day passes where I don’t say to myself “What the fuck is going on?” It is a valid question. It seems as of late that lines are being crossed, boundaries tested. Trust me, when you’re from Bed-Stuy you know damn well when someone is testing you.
The first point I need to make, the point that lays the foundation for everything else that I’m going to write, is that the conventional American Ideal has always been one of acute white supremacy. More acute than your run-of-the-mill imperialist manifest-destiny white supremacy the rest of the world is used to, America deals with a doubling-down of actually conquering one land, totally eradicating its people (shout out to my Indigenous folk that were here before Columbus) and then using imperialism to manipulate another land, shipping those people over here to literally build an entire nation, and then maintaining the marginalization and subordination of the second group for centuries as a symbolic feather in the cap of white supremacy. America’s white supremacy is the most supreme white supremacy in existence. The shit is acute. And, it has seriously affected not only African Americans but White Americans too.
It is my personal contention that there is a connection between the fact that 64% of mass murders are committed by White men and the corruptive manifestations of White entitlement. Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of special privilege or special treatment. Try controlling a child who thinks they are entitled to a certain thing. Even if you are their parent, what you will certainly get from your attempt is an all out tantrum from the child. Can you dig it?
Try controlling a child who thinks they are entitled to a certain thing.
These White folk are really bugging the fuck out lately. I get it, though. Symbols are very important to humanity. They relay ideas and concepts that communicate literal or figurative meanings. Over the last eight years, Whites have witnessed symbols that have dealt enormous challenges to their American ideal. You had a Black man elected to the office of President. You had the LGBT community make significant strides with regards to their inalienable right of equality. The world has become more worldly, the power of social media has made people more communicable. Smart phones have cameras, and those cameras record incidents that can be posted and reviewed. Popular culture has become more and more Black. The percentage of Black men who marry women of other races has almost doubled from 2001. All of this could make your regular white man concerned. The American ideal was changing, shifting to represent a more diverse and inclusive palette, putting at odds the antiquated ideals that your most prejudiced citizens hold so dear.
Popular culture has become more and more Black.
If you’re a Black man or woman that works in corporate America, you work around Whites that voted for Trump. My sister works in corporate America. She works with a group of women, that group includes just one White woman. Leading up to the election my sister and her group would discuss the campaigns. They all agreed that they would be voting for Hillary. All of them. After the election, the White woman confided to my sister that she voted for Trump. When my sister asked her why she would act like she was voting for Hillary if at the end she really wanted to vote for Trump, the woman told my sister that she was only agreeing with the rest of the group because she didn’t want to be judged for her viewpoint. Truthfully, she just wanted to make America great again. 53% of White women voted for Trump over another White woman, because they believed in his message. They voted for an America that their White sons could reclaim.
I’m a Jets fan. The Jets don’t win much, but on those occasions when they win and the Giants lose in the same weekend, I start that new week with my chest puffed out just a little bit more. I talk a little slicker to Giants fans. Yeah whatever, y’all lost this weekend, your team is bums. I think it’s natural to be boastful in victory. But the Jets don’t win all of the time. We haven’t won a title since ‘69. So I don’t feel any entitlement. The feeling of entitlement comes as soon as the Giants are back to winning and the Jets are back to losing. That’s when I have to deal with my friends’ entitlement issues, them constantly reminding me that they are in charge in New York. They have won four chips in the last 30 years. It is the Giants, not the Jets that run the city, and I need to remember my place as the junior varsity team.
Trump winning the election, and the GOP controlling both the Senate and the House is like the Giants winning and the Jets losing. White men have taken it as a chance to remind us that they run America, not us. Trump has built a team of White men that all know what it feels like to wear a sheet over their heads with holes for eyes. From Steve Bannon, a propagandist and proponent of the alt-right, to Jeff Sessions, a man that the late Coretta Scott King wrote a letter to Congress about way back in 1986, expressing her concerns about a man who has “intimidated and frightened elderly Black voters” this is a rogues gallery of covert and overt racists. And, this is their moment to restore the classic American ideal.
Can a White man be a White man again?
Bill O’Reilly’s comment about another iconic Black woman, the honorable Maxine Waters is another example of these froggy white men trying to jump across those lines. Can a White man be a White man again? Can he speak with entitlement and demand deference to his wishes? Can he go back to telling the Blacks and the Mexicans and the gays and the women how things are going to go? These are the boundaries being tested in this bizarro administration where immigrants and Muslims are criminalized publicly in every tweet Trump sends, but when a White man says he came to NYC specifically to kill Black men our so-called President and his administration have absolutely no comment on it. Tom Brady’s missing jersey gets more FBI agents assigned to it then the young Black girls missing in D.C., and I won’t even remind you that White cops are murdering young Black boys every week.
White women voted for an America that their sons could reclaim.
Who’s Sleeping With Your Man?
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.
Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Frenemies Closer
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.
The first season of #metoo is heading towards a climactic season finale entitled “KavaNAW.” With all the twists and turns involved in this latest episode, it’s sure to garner the vaunted ratings our Child in Chief adores.
We start things off with a Supreme Court judge nominee that went above and beyond to express the influence of women in his life during the beginning of his hearing – detailing how his mother was his role model, his wife his rock, and the joy he felt coaching his daughter’s basketball team.
Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!
That was followed by a slew of questions from the Senate that revealed his impeccable memory and a sudden convenient case of amnesia that struck in the middle of the scene. Let’s just say KavaNAW’s acting performance in this segment will not garner him an Emmy nomination.
Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!
It appears that KavaNAW foreshadowed the dilemma to come by trying to head us off at the pass. His previous admiration of the women in his life has now been interrupted by allegations of fawning over a classmate in high school. The only problem is the type of fawning alleged seems more like attempted rape than expressing interest.
Now we’ve reached the pressuring of the alleged victim by the Republican senators to appear before them without any further investigation this part of the saga. Seems pretty fair if you want to expedite a vote for a supreme court justice for life ahead of midterm elections. I’m sure the Republicans aren’t afraid to hear from the American public in the polls.
If your head isn’t spinning yet, try this one on for size. A second woman has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against KavaNAW while I was writing this article! Let’s just say it’s going to be a very interesting SEASON FINALE!
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