Protect & Serve? I Have Some Answers.

10599415_10101795369337306_5780719047339870187_nI wrote an article for the Huffington Post asking some questions about Police Brutality in this country. After looking at the events in Ferguson last night. I might have some answers to my own questions.

Are we at war? Yes we are. It is very apparent that the lives of Black people are not valued. We have become targets, actually we always were.

Although the real question is what kind of war is it? Are we talking about the war on guns? Are we talking about the war on crime? Or are we talking about the war on drugs? None of the above. We are talking about a war on Black people. A war on the oppressed. There has been a lot of rhetoric over the past year about people wanting to take back their country. There is no other way to express this and don’t think for a second that because we have a Black President that it changes the status quo in the country. The Civil Rights causes in the 1950/60s never went away.

Did we somehow get transported to District 11? Are we now giving up our youth as tribute so that the rest of the country can feel safe? I was being sarcastic when I asked this but it certainly does not seem far from the truth. I’m tired of seeing lists of all the black people that die unnecessarily in the country. I’m tired of seeing police (or people who think they are above the law) get away with atrocities. I’m tired of our people getting criminalized.

Is it normal for law enforcement in Los Angeles to beat a Black woman on the side of the road? The definition of normal is conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. The sad thing is that none of what we are seeing is all that surprising. It is shocking but almost expected because we are used it.

Are we being dehumanized? Absolutely. It’s like an older version of cops and robbers where you don’t really care about the criminal. As long as we’re viewed as animals then we will subjected to this kind of brutal and unrelenting behavior from police officers who are heavily militarized. There is no way this happens in the streets of Apple Valley or The Hamptons. We are seen as less human which makes us easier to kill.

The motto of many police departments across the United States is “Serve and Protect” right? Who is being served and who is being protected? Someone commented on my article saying: Police are not here to protect you. There is no legal obligation for the police to protect you. Isn’t that the damn truth. I knew this already because we will never see these scenes in suburbia. A man can shoot up a theater in Colorado and be given the chance to live his life in jail where he gets three meals a day and be deemed as having mental issues. I can tell you right now, the police are not here to serve or protect us, or as another commenter would put it: Protect the 1% and their possessions and keep the 99% in line, very simple.

Mike Brown. John Crawford. Eric Garner. Marlene Pinnock. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker. Rosan Miller. Denise Stewart.

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Shut Down

shutdownI don’t like writing about politics too much. It’s not because I don’t understand what is going on, it’s because I view American politics sorta like Game of Thrones played out in a democratic/capitalistic society. I do vote and I’m a registered Democrat. I roughly follow what happens in government but it’s not apart of my daily life. Despite all this, I do fundamentally understand what is going with this governmental shut down. The question in my mind about all of this crap is, who does the Tea Party hate more, President Obama or poor people?

Let’s just say, for argument sake, that this whole action of shutting down the government due to Republican wanting to defund Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) is not about race. Factor out the fact that conservatives have fought POTUS with every tooth and nail. Factor out that the Affordable Care Act is SAME THING Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and they all loved it. If it’s not about the race of Obama, then what’s it about? His political views that allowed him to win the popular vote twice? So if it’s not about that, then one could conceivably deduce that this issue is about poor people.

Is Universal Healthcare that bad? One could argue that healthcare is a fundamental right of being American (or a basic human right). Yet we, as a society, seem to be ok with the rising prices of private insurance costs. I suppose that it is fine that the best medical care goes to those to can afford it. Honestly, it sounds a lot like Higher Education but what about those American citizens, who cannot afford insurance? You have some states, like New York, whose minimum wage is not sufficient to keep people about the poverty line and you expect those people to have decent healthcare?

Well according to some Republicans, those people should really do their homework and search the free market to get a fair price (assuming you do not have a pre existing condition). Of course, if you come to the table already having been sick then you’re pretty much screwed (so move to Canada or Cuba). But, hey this is the system that we has worked for many years and the think we should go back to that, which pretty much means they give zero fucks for those who can’t afford it.

So now the government is shutdown and each side is blaming each other when we all know that Obamacare is a LAW that passed both houses and deemed constitutional by The Supreme Court. Why fight this? Millions of people signed up on Day One and the website was down due to massive over use. What does that mean? Could it possibly be that there are more people who need this than previously thought? How is that possible when considering the rate of unemployment?

Having said all that, understand that this shutdown is about the common person. There are people out of work and thus not getting paid because the privileged are having a tantrum. All these politicians, arguing for or against what’s happening, are all getting paid. They do not and cannot feel nor truly understand how it feels to forced to not to work while people debate the validity of a LAW that has already been passed. Sure some can empathize, but at the end of the day, they can pay their bills.

I will fully admit that the luster of Obama’s administration has worn off on me. There things that he has done that I do not agree with when it comes to drones and the almost war with Syria. Despite this, he is still the President and the blatant disrespect of him from the Tea Party show that race play a factor at least on a subconscious level and if you do not believe me simply look up Michelle Bachman’s remark about how she feels that Obamacare is the POTUS’ attempt to drug dealer.

5 Days until the End.

Earth will not be Vulcan in 5 days.

A funny thing happened during the supposed last year of our existence, I was living life. I had not paid much attention to any count downs or apocalyptic warnings. Yet, I am wondering how much time people have put into the belief that the world will truly end. I will admit that because of my propensity to have a vivid imagination that sometimes I may get caught up in the illusion of such things. Yet, this time around I am not concerned with any of this, even if it is for humor’s sake.

However, I feel compelled to write about this because I haven’t really mentioned it since I first wrote something about this last year. The point I made then was that this could be the end of the world as we know it, (cue song from Independence Day) which was more of ideological notion of the world around us. I know that based on the changes to my personal life that the world around me has changed forever.

Now we are 5 days away from finally hearing the end of all this Mayan talk and I truly believe that the world has changed within this year. Of course, the world I refer to will be largely localized to this country but still, most of what we know about the world are things in our immediate area of familiarity. I still believe one of three things happened when it came to the “ending” of this calendar. The first being that, like every calendar, the numbers simply start over. Secondly, when the Mayans were wiped out by European Settlers much of their records died with them. Thirdly, however improbable as it may be…perhaps they were charting something bigger than this planet…maybe another Galaxy. Think about that.

In any case, the world is not same. For many Americans, the re-election of Barack Obama means the ending of their proverbial world. Many people have pointed to this as the end of the power that white people have held in this country. Personally, I do not believe that but I do think that it does mean that people of this color now have more say in who runs this country. So in many ways there has been a paradigm shift within politics that will resonate for decades to come (if you believe in that sort of thing… *waves to New World Order*)

Many people have been pointing to Hurricane Sandy as the reason for Obama’s win and also as a sign that the end is near. I think with every big storm there is a call for the end of days in which there is the expected 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse to show up. Climate change has made people really wonder how much time we have left because there really is nothing mankind can do again Mother Nature. The other side to the climate change argument has been that weather patterns have just been repeating from century to century which does makes sense in some ways considering that America is still fairly young and we have no adequate records of such (outside of Farmer’s Almanacs), but that does not address the polar ice caps melting. (I digress….)

Sadly, the death of 20 children in Newton, CT at the hands of mad man can also be pointed to the end of days. The death of innocence that has been felt all over this country for last few days has caused many people to rethink our society’s policies. Veteran politicians who have been all for the NRA have now been changing their tune looking to redefine gun laws. That would be a major step in changing the world as we know it. Unfortunately, the world at large is used to dying children. In places like Syria and Gaza, parents bury their children on a regular basis due to war. That does not mark the end of days but just how barbaric we truly are to each other. We do have a chance to really show what the value of a child’s life really is…AND that will change the world indeed.

I could go into more signs but it is pointless. The truth of the matter is that we live in a vast universe in which the cosmos is still growing and unless the sun were to go nova, which it wont for another 5-6 million years, we are fine from any cataclysmic event. Besides, if anyone remember how completely underwhelming Y2K was, then hopefully you can join me on the morning of December 22nd when I have a drink of Coquito to celebrate surviving, yet another, end of the world event.

Yes, 4 More Years

You know, I started this blog in 2009 — two days after Barak Obama was inaugurated. I felt so much hope for the country, for my students, and for my own life (which was in turmoil at that time). So I like to think that this blog lives on during his presidency in some small way. It also made me think that I needed to get back to who I am…which is a writer.

That hope that I have for myself and my continuing journey has seen a lot of hardship along the way. I have doubted myself and many times almost succumbed to fear. Yet, I have turned on the television and see the leader of the free world and know that I have to keep working at it. I need to continue to believe in myself. Even more importantly, I think about how many young boys and girls are going to grow up knowing a Black man will be president for 8 years of their life. That stark reality is amazing to me.

Of course, the fact that Obama is getting another 4 years does not excite everyone. This is a deeply divided country, in which, he did win the popular vote but that is just by a little more than 1% more than poor Mitt Romney. While the GOP is reeling, there are tons of unhappy conservatives who are making it known that they do not want a nigger in the White House. These are things that I simply cannot make up and while most of these people may be ignorant, these were the people that also came out in full force against Obama (and not necessarily for Mittens). That is why I had a bad feeling but I suppose I was just being overly cautious.

The truth of the matter is that I said it all along, this is a race issue. When the networks were analyzing the data they came up with some staggering numbers about the white vote. While I may be off in my numbers, the percentage of white votes dropped about 8% from 2008 white Latino voters increased about 10%. When we are talking about millions of people…that is a huge amount. There is no secret that people of color came out in full force. The funny thing is that this is no longer a voting trend. This is a fact that people of color are becoming more dominant in this country and in the political landscape. That is something that the GOP will have to figure out before 2016 because the extreme ideas about immigration and women’s right will not fly anymore and that is not even considering gay marriage.

Times are changing because Latinos will eventually force states like Texas to turn from a red state to a blue state. Gay Marriage is upon us faster than anyone anticipated and I am all for it. There is now even legalized Marijuana in Colorado and while I am against that particular issue, the fact of the matter is that this is what people voted for. These are things I never thought I would see in my life time and that also included the proposition of Puerto Rico to become a the 51st State. I can be very vocal on this issue of Puerto Rico, but I will save it for another time.

All of this makes me think about where I will be in 4 years. While I have pretty much done what I said I was going to do this year, there are still more goals that I have to reach. There are still some plateaus that need to crossed. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to…and when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, all I have to do like that our President and realize that he has accomplished his goals…so that means I can accomplish mine.

An Electoral Bad Feeling

There is something not right going on that I cannot put my finger on, but I have a bad feeling about the outcome of this election. There are too many variables as always but this just all seems too familiar to me. I almost feels like Gore vs Bush again and we learned how a person or a party can really steal an election. I feel that we are in for something oddly familiar with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

I just can’t escape this feeling that one of two things will occur (and to be honest I hope they don’t), either Romney steals this election via some kind of recount situation or Obama loses narrowly loses the popular vote but still wins the electoral college. Unfortunately, ever since Tim Russert died, I cannot trust real news coverage on the election. The real problem for me is that I see things ending badly because as a whole, people do not want a black man for president (cue the eye rolling conservatives – do they even read this blog?).

Before someone comments about how this issue is not about race, I will say that the amount of disrespect that people can have for one person (who is in the highest office in this country) is unreal. I think a large majority of people hated Bush, but there was never a call to assassinate this man. So to say that color is not an issue in “post racial” American only proves one’s ignorance and/or privilege. However, I do not believe it is all about race. I think this is also about class. This seems to be about the have and have nots.

Republicans in general do not want big government. They want people to take care of their own with no handouts because this country was founded on the idea of our founding fathers (and on the backs of their slaves). But, when a hurricane hits a coastal city or a tornado wipes out a few flat land states…then FEMA (big government backed) is the greatest thing in the world. Then it is not so bad to have something like this to give “hand outs” to people who have lost everything.

What I really have a bad feeling about is how a candidate like Mittens can have no plan and no real answer for anything can be leading in the polls. This is the same man that was called out as a liar (see below) by his own affiliated party (Newt Gingrich to be exact). I am not saying Barack Obama is perfect because he is most certainly not, but let’s give this man credit for being consistent considering that Mitt Romney is not. New York City Mayor Bloomberg (who I do not care for) can be considered the leader of the independent vote, wanted to endorse Romney (thus endorsing Obama) if not for the fact that Mittens has reversed every known position he has ever had. Why are people still willing to vote for this man? Then it makes me wonder how much of these polls I’m willing to believe.

The thing that really startled me is the rumor that Romney’s son owns voting machines in swing states through H.I.G. Capitol. Whether this is true or false, the fact is that this is possible. Before I start asking exactly how, I think about the haves and the have nots. There is no way someone like me or person who makes my pay grade can just buy voting machines or invest in a company who has them…and further more, why would I? Very simply, when you are rich, you can do just about anything you want! Don’t believe me? Ask Donald Trump. This the man now wants Obama to show every transcript and every fiber of evidence that he either went to school or is a US citizen. Now if I say that this is racist are the conservatives who do not read this blog gonna roll their eyes again?

Yet, it remains a close race because all of these people are unhappy. Never mind that a Republican Congress did its best to counter every move the President has made so this has nothing to do with actual politics. This has to do with what our country is going to look like in the years to come and who will represent us. The far right or the far left? There is no middle anymore.

No matter what happens, I have an ever growing bad feeling that come tuesday this country will be turned upside down.

LBC 2012 Day 5 – Romney or Obama?

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

This is a scary time for the United States of America. There is such a political divide that things are getting messier as we get closer to November. It is very apparent that we are in a pivotal point, like 4 years ago, as to what direction we will be going in. We have our current President that has put policies in place that his current opponent has vowed to repeal when he gets into office.

This has alway been an easy choice for me. There is no way I will ever vote for Mitt Romney. I am pretty much against anything he proposes or talks about. Here is a man who allowed universal healthcare to happen in Massachusetts (he was governor at the time) and now opposes it. Romney made himself look foolish at the Olympics with his idiotic comments and he selected a running-mate that has no foreign policy experience.

Let me also just state that Mitt believes that 47% of the country do not pay taxes. According to him, “these” people are always looking for a government handout (i.e. welfare, unemployment). But, when you examine that statement, take into consideration that as the CEO of Bane Capital, thousands of people were laid off. Wouldn’t that mean that some of that 47% were given those handouts because of him?

When I think about Barak Obama, I think about a man who has been the calming influence after the Bush years. I also see a president that has tried to do as best he could while a Republican Congress has tried to hand cuff him at every turn. I do love the fact that he was the first US President to get Universal Healthcare passed. While he has done other things like expanding Medicare, supporting gay marriage, and expanding Pell Grants, his biggest accomplishment is Universal Health Care. I am not a person who needs government assisted Health Care, but I know that there were millions of people who were uncovered before this bill was signed.

Yet, there are many Black and Latino people who felt that Obama could do more and to those people I will say that this political system is not designed for all of us to everything we want. I believe that 8 years will be better that 4.

For those that wonder what Obama had done over this term should chick this.

A Banner Year for Racism

Jeremy Lin. Trayon Martin. The Hunger Games. President Obama. White History Month. Shaima Alawadi. Ervin Jefferson. 2012: Racism Strikes Back. This is not say it never went away but this year it seems to be back with a vengeance. Perhaps it is the growth of Social Media has allowed me to see how ignorant people are on a grander scale or perhaps we as people of color have gotten so complacent that we forgot what country we live in.

I had a student tell me the other day that she is tired of teaching people about race every day and yet I grow tired of having to teach her civility everyday. Truth be told if we grow tired of having to point out to people the stupid things they say or do then that is another day that the system of oppression that perpetuates racism wins.

This is not just a black and white thing because Blacks and Latinos will cry racism all damn day and in the same breath make a racial slur against Asians. Latinos will be the first ones to say that they are not black but when those salsa or merengue drums start kicking they are out there moving their ass as their ancestors from a country that is not Latin America did centuries ago. I will also admit to you that the first time I was EVER called a Spic was from a Black man, so do not tell met that people of color are not tearing each other down. It is always our responsibility to teach each other.

Yet, as we fight each other, we see the people saying ignorance things about President Obama and how he is the food stamp President. We see the character assassination of Trayvon Martin as if it is a crime to be an unarmed 17 year old walking alone in a Florida gated community. Most of us witnessed Jeremy Lin rise to fame and also being called every Asian stereotype in the book. Speaking of Books…Please get off this blog right now if you read The Hunger Games and did not know that there were prominent Black characters in the book because if you missed that then you will miss the point of this blog. Do you even know who Shaima Alawadi or Ervin Jefferson are?

I laugh at the people who once looked in my face and told me that racism is not an issue anymore. The real problem is that racism never left. People of color got complacent and now it rears it’s ugly head and we are all shocked. Facebook and Twitter are showing us the world around us in a digital format of thoughts that people harbor and now we feel the need to act.

I can provide a list of black men who have been unarmed and killed recklessly while we all just sat and watched on the news. Yet, this has been a banner year for racism because it is in our faces on a daily basis since the beginning of the year. We put on our hoodies in honor of Trayvon but what happens if and when El Zimmerman gets justice. Do we stop? Do we get tired of teaching each other again?

We are in March. Perhaps the Mayans were right..the end just may be near.

Tidbit Tuesday

About a week ago, I thought about some themes. I am introducing Tidbit Tuesdays. I consider these to be Mini Blogs. These are things that are too short to post in a normal blog. I have done this before. Now I am making this a weekly thing. Enjoy!


Star Trek

All I can say is wow. I am not going to review the movie because I think so many people have seen it by now. There are only certain moves that I can say “wow” too as I am watching it. This movie definitely made me do that. I am very impressed by the character development and the overall direction of Star Trek. I am quite sure there will be tons of sequels!

This may be a movie I see a second time. Perhaps in Imax! I have never seen a movie in Imax. Perhaps on my trip to NYC, I will do that…

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New York City

Speaking of NYC, I am going down there the last week of May because my father is getting married for the 3rd time. I am actually quite surprised by this. I cannot tell you the countless amount of times that he has told me that he will never get married again. I am truly happy for him and for my step mother. I have been calling calling her step mother for quite some time. Let’s face, they have been together since I was in High School, so it is about time.

There was a small issues with the date in which they were going to get married. Based on a commitment from work I could not go with the original date set, which was 5/26. So I tell my father this and they were trying to work something out. I thought this was a firm date. But then that commitment fell through weeks later and I just took the rest of that week off. Come to fins out they switch dates on me to 5/22. So now I have to come down after work on 5/21.

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Joe Biden

For those who don’t know, the Vice President was up here at Syracuse University giving a speech during the Commencement ceremonies. I was lucky enough to be in attendance since Josie did graduate this past weekend. It was very surreal to me to be in his presence. This is the first politician (that I voted for) I have ever seen live and in person. It was almost this larger than life feeling.
His speech was on point. He talked about his Syracuse days as a Law Student and then talked about the vision of America the he and President Obama share. Normally, when you go to a commencement so early (we were there by 7:50), you expect to fall asleep at some point, well it was not meant to be in this case. I was awake the entire time. I really enjoyed listening to Joe Biden speak….and he did not put his foot in his mouth

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Commercials

I do not watch all that much television. What I do watch is Baseball, ESPN, and shows that I tend to DVR (Lost, Heroes, Biggest Loser, The Office, etc). I tend to fast forward through commercials anyway. However, when I watch the Mets play, I have to watch the commercials. There are a few that are really amusing. Heineken seems to do a very good job at providing some good laughs about their product. I believe that if you really want to get your name around your commercials need to memorable and funny.

I don’t like Heineken. Not a fan of their beer. But there commercials make me laugh:



Someone needs to pay the people who write these a lot of money! Have a good one!

Obama’s 100 days…the signs are there.

The signs are there my friends. Just like in every action movie or show that has a black president, some bad shit is going to happen. I had predicted this years ago!

The economy is a wreck. The ghetto is expanding because all the rich people are losing their jobs and moving into “affordable housing”. No one has credit to buy a house or get a loan. Young students cant get into school and the old people are going back to school.

The Koreans want to blow us all to hell. Their oppression by the West has been so severe that they are close to doing something we may all regret. Lets not forget Iran is dying to develop a Nuclear program as well. This is the new arms race for the 21st century.

Swine flew is every where. This thing will turn into a pandemic that we have not seen before. Although we have modern medicine, there are going to be a lot of sick people. Those who do not have insurance are in deep shit. What a way to get rid of the poor!

So what does that mean? I cannot recall a president that had to deal with this much in his first hundred days. It is almost like the next big thing will be a Meteor coming to to earth just like in did in Deep Impact. Morgan Freeman was president and we all knew that once a black man was president we were in trouble…lol

All kidding aside, this man is doing a great job. I am the most amazed by his dealings with Cuba and Venezuela. It is a bumpy ride and we all knew it would be. But I am happy with the leadership of this country.

Racism is Still Here…

Racism exists. Racism is systemic. Racism is mind numbing. It dulls the senses. It makes you think that it is not there. Witnessing so much of it makes you desensitized to the every day reality of it. Even as much as I think about it and see it, I will always need someone to remind me of it.

It is a sad reality when you realize that you have to work harder and longer than other people. It is a sad reality when the hard work you can put into something can be rendered meaningless because you have no real power. To come out and admit that you in a Racist environment is not an easy thing to do.

Many companies, while they offer extensive EAP benefits, do not have support groups for victims of Racism. These are victims you know! These are the people that are passed up for promotions while watching someone else get appointed to that very same position. These are the people that refuse to talk about their experience because it is too painful; they spend decades at one place only to be betrayed by the “system”.

I am angry. I know people like this and to be honest, I was one of these people. It hurts when someone can tell you that Racism is not as bad as it used to be. It hurts when someone can say that Racism is not a problem anymore. My answer to them is simply, wake up.

I have learned over the years that some people would rather employ a white person who is a complete idiot than a brown person who is a genius. Some may not believe it to be true, but I have seen and I even deal with it now. Someone asked me today, “what is worse a white idiot or a black one?” Shit, the black one is worse, of course. As a person of color you never want a brown idiot running around on the job. It makes us all look bad. But to white people a white idiot…is just an idiot. There is no remark like “Well you know how they are”.

So, don’t be fooled about the fact that we have a black president. Most white people may celebritize Obama like they have Lebron James. Larger than life…or rather, not really a ni**er like the rest of them. Don’t be fooled about the choices that are made during these “hard economic times”. Though I will say that the people of color have been in a recession since slavery ended. So while a lot people are out of jobs, they are just joining the rest of us…