When I was in 5th grade at PS 398 in Brooklyn, NY, I had a teacher whom I have no love lost for; Mrs. Thompson. From what I can remember, she was a bit of an old, out of touch, ornery woman, built like an old school nun and seemed to have a special distaste for the boys in the classroom. Now I could be wrong because after all, we are talking about the critical thinking mind of a 10 year old who made these complex character assessments probably after profound discussions like “would King Kong beat Godzilla in a fair fight?” Be that as it may, I had gotten so upset at her constant acrimony towards us that one day after class, I snuck back into the classroom and wrote on the chalkboard in 260 pt font “WHY DO YOU FAVOR THE GIRLS?”
Needless to say, the entire class saw my social graffiti the next morning and Mrs. Thompson was none too pleased. I somehow didn’t get in trouble but she knew it was me (I’m left handed and I write like a distressed deer that stumbled into a lion’s sweet sixteen party.) Penmanship aside, it seems the time has come again for me to ask the modern day version of Mrs. Thompson (The internets) … “Why Do You Hate All the Black Men?”
I’m really not a fan of the current “The black woman is the least protected” movement. Of all the Af-Am women and men that I know personally, I can’t think of one man who wouldn’t or hasn’t come to a woman’s aid when necessary and I can’t think of one woman (again, that I know personally) who doesn’t have a man of Af-Am descent in their life who would come to their aid at a moment’s notice. Now I am not oblivious to the fact that there are many men, many many many many men, who have put women in harm’s way or have been the one’s who women have needed protection from. The truth is the truth and in order for your truth to be respected, acknowledged and equally believed, you must also be open to the truths of others. So I want make it 100% clear that ladies, I HEAR AND BELIEVE YOU. My
contention has never been if not feeling protected in your communities is a reality but rather, that BLACK MEN are some how less adept than any other race of men.
I do not ever discount how black women feel. What I take contention with is that the issue of feeling unprotected is somehow an issue specific to Af-Am women. When we make it race specific, we paint a public picture of yet another perceived deficiency in the black community when women on a whole, regardless of race and region are not protected. I’m sure Asian and Middle Eastern women would feel they are the least protected. My argument (sad as it is) is simply “If he ain’t shit, it’s probably not because he’s black.”
I KNOW the black man is the least protected and most exploited historically and because of that trend, statements like these tend to roll off everyone’s tongue with ease. Sexism and stereotypes are the root cause of a majority of these issues between the sexes but because that is too daunting to tackle, we cherry pick what is closest to us and place blame.
We all need to be taught and no one comes with preset instructions. I absolutely believe that there are men who know how to protect a woman (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) and men who need to be taught. Call me crazy but I assume there aren’t a bunch of White, Indian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Asian men with capes on, ready to swoop in at a moments notice and save their respective cultural counterparts and ethnic empresses. I also venture to guess, like “black on black“ crime, the ratios and sentiments are most likely comparable across all races.
Whomever you are, please, if you can stop making certain things a black issue when it may just be a common issue and the person who you hold responsible happens to be of Af-Am descent, it would be appreciated.
When Brooklyn Has Fallen and you have that one guy who will leave his job and run across town on foot to protect you, whether he’s a friend, family or otherwise, he’s not gonna appreciate when you publicly decree you have no one to protect you.
Sidebar: I remember being 13 years old and not knowing what to do when some dude had cursed my mom out. I remember my dad getting in my a$$ for that when he found out. I remember being an adult and someone tried to raise their voice at my mom while I was in the vicinity at an airport. I remember the police having to escort me away because I was about to hop over the counter at Alaskan Airlines and drag this clown up and down the airport. Lesson learned. Sidebar Complete!
Chadwick Boseman Forever!!
It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)
Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.
Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.
Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”
If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.
R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.
Let’s Argue About Kamala Harris
Ok, Now let’s argue;
1. “She locked up black men!” Kamala didn’t lock up black men. She was a prosecutor in a racist criminal justice system that TARGETS black men / minorities. There’s a difference. She did her job and she is no more culpable for incarcerating black men than EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE of the criminal justice system. Please find me a prior candidate that isn’t guilty of buttressing racist practices to some capacity (Stop & Frisk, Super Predators, Busing, etc…)
2. “She’s not qualified.” Kamala is more qualified to be VP (and President) than Barack was to be President when he ran initially, and more qualified than both the current occupants of the Oval office.
3. “They only picked her because she’s a black woman and they are pandering!” Congratulations!! That’s called influence!! Get used to being considered if you ever want true representation. Who do you think they’ve been pandering to for the past 244 years?
4. “She’s not black enough.” She’s blacker than the last 45 VPs and 44/45 last Presidents. Also, I’m still waiting for my copy of the “How to be Black and Influence People, Yo!” manual that everyone else seems to have received at birth.
5. “Her politics do not align with mine!” Yet you found a way to vote for prior candidates whose politics obliterated your community. If you believe in democracy, her politics are more closely aligned to yours than 45.
6. “This has nothing to do with her being a woman. She’s just not the right woman for the job!” The right woman for the job is the woman that is qualified, available and chosen for the job. Also, not acknowledging her gender is akin to “I don’t see color;” wholly dismissive.
7. “I just don’t like her.” You don’t know her and she probably wouldn’t like you either. The only thing you need to like is if she is better for you than the current occupants.
8. “She attacked Joe Biden during the debates and now their friends? FOH!” You know Barack’s Secretary of State was Hilary Clinton who he ran against in the prior election right?
9. “No one above the age of 21 is morally fit to run for office.” If you lived in the U.S., you’ve propped up institutions that are not in your best interest on countless occasions. In other words, NO ONE is in a position to judge moral aptitude, not even the 99 percenters who complained about the 1% on Facebook using the iPhones they ordered on Amazon. #irony
10. “She doesn’t inspire me!” Are you voting for a motivational speaker or a politician that will help normalize current conditions?
“Keeping it real” is not a skill. It just means you are easily susceptible to your own emotions. Everyone’s so eager to tell the world how they really feel but this is not a feeling competition. This is politics. After you’re done pretending to like your boss to get that promotion and pretending to like someone to get sex, money, or attention, you turn around and decide to “keep it real” because you are …”honest?” In the illustrious words of Nikki Giovanni, “Lie to Me.”
Sidebar; I was personally riding with Val Demings just in case you think I am defending my own choice. Now I’m riding for Kamala. Plain and simple. Until there is equal representation, we don’t have the luxury of division so in the illustrious words of Issa Rae “I’m rooting for everybody Black!” Sidebar Complete.
OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS
Dear Members of Congress,
The tipping point is here and we need to put aside our political differences to save this country right now! Silence and remaining behind party lines is no longer an option. A unified address by our elected officials in Congress on the issue of police brutality and equality under the rule of law is required to begin the healing process as well as ensure the future of this nation.
There are three steps that immediately need to be taken to bring this to fruition. The arrest and charging of the three remaining individuals involved in the death of George Floyd must occur as the first step of good faith. The second step requires clear and transparent action items stated to the public in order to address the issues at hand. Those action items should include:
- The revision of Qualified Immunity to specifically address the problematic assertion that “Qualified Immunity means that government officials can get away with violating your rights as long as they violate them in a way nobody thought before – Institute of Justice“
- The reforming of Civilian Review Boards with the purpose of increasing the decision-making abilities on the disposition and discipline of police officers.
The third step is the creation and funding of a systemic racism task force with the goal of dismantling systemic racism.
- Accelerating judicial system reform
- Equating the public education system
- Eliminating redlining
These are just the preliminary steps that will begin the framework of the changes we need enacted to better the experiment called the United States.
I look forward to seeing a response in the form of action on the behalf of the citizens of this country.