I’m Not Afraid of Muslims


I’m not afraid of Muslims. Perhaps because I’m not always watching TV. I don’t buy into the news telling me how to think and feel when I can read various reports and decide for myself.

I’m concerned about Islamophobia and how that will play into world events because history, at this point, is destined to repeat itself. Yes, we’ve seen what happens when a group of people are singled out and possibly rounded up.

I’m concerned about mass shootings. No matter what college I’ve worked for, we’ve had to prepare for these. Drills have been designed to help administrators save lives. We are taught to stay in place and lock down our areas. Active shooters are terrorists but you would never know that from the media.

I’m concerned about trigger happy law enforcement. None of that has changed. People of color are still being targeted. Black people, Latinxs, and Native Americans all suffer at a significantly higher rates. What’s happening in Chicago is systemic terrorism. Sure, I can put it another way but most people won’t like that either. Shall I call it corruption then? No. Institutional Racism? Well, that would be every where.

Did you know Transgendered people are also killed at a higher rate as well? Probably not, but I’m sure you can tell me all about your assumptions on Syrian refugees. How about you read up on the war in Syria instead of watching Homeland.

Let’s put it out there. 9/11 was terrible. I was there. I know people who died. It brought this country together so we can start a war for oil and create the Patriot Act. All of which has increased our Islamophobia. With that said, ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) are terrible people that need to be stopped. ISIL does not represent the billions of Muslims across the globe just like these bad cops don’t represent the entire American police force.

So, If you want to be afraid of something… then be afraid of every thing because something is going to kill us right? Climate change maybe? Oh right, that’s not real either. It’s just hotter outside because of El Niño. Just continue eat fast foods and sugary drinks because that wont kill you. Maybe you’re afraid of Ebola… which bring us right back to refugees.

Nope, wait, I got it. Mexicans. That’s what our issue is. We want to build a wall to keep out the Latinxs who clean the houses and pick the fruit. Those dangerous people are rapists because after all, Americans don’t commit heinous crimes like rape…we just shoot people in theaters.

The thing is, fear has a way of making people say and do stupid things like buy guns or vote for racists. Instead of being afraid, you can be concerned and realize that terrorism has always been there and we’ve always lived our lives. You can reject the idea that refugees are a problem and accept that our twisted way of gun life is troubling.

Just understand that if you’re afraid of a random person who (you think) is Muslim and you’re not afraid of the guy who has an open carry permit (with gun strapped to him) then you are part of the problem. Which leads me to my last point, how do you expect me to be so afraid of Syrians and Muslims when we have to deal with mass shootings and rouge police?

No, I’m not afraid of Muslims. I’m concerned about everything else.

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.

Again…Race is Everything.

I just needed to take some time out to point something out to people that think or believe that racism is over or doesn’t exist. I wanted to take my personal time away from work and doing the book thing to send a message to those who think white privilege is something that was made up by a bunch of Black/Latino people who complain too much. I wanted to take this time to explain to all the the knuckle heads of any color, race, sexual orientation, gender, and religion that everything is about race.

It’s simple. The moment we (or you) decided to internalize the imagery of Jesus being a white man despite the fact that the story of the bible takes place in the current day Middle East is when we (or you) began to think that anyone of a darker color was inferior. If God is white then how are we in his image right? Let me put it in modern terms for those who are not in the religion thing. When we (or you) decided to internalize the standard of beauty to a unhealthy looking, less than a hundred pound, frame of a (normally) white model that will never eat rice and beans (or wont keep it down). If that doesn’t work for you then think about the fact that we have Black president that constantly gets disrespected in ways his predecessors never have.

How about the lack of Black coaches in the NFL? How about the fact that it is ok the swoon over a show called Scandal? (Omg! what is wrong with that show?) Wait… let me make it simple. How about we (or you) think about how a college educated person of color can sound white (or be called articulate)? Or if we decided to go camping or go see the symphony that could be considered a white thing to do. Is that not good enough?

How about we (or you) think about how Blacks and Latinos are the face of the Welfare system when the majority of people who are on it are white? Let’s think about the stop and frisk policies that focus on people of color. Better yet, look up the statistical ratios of Black/Latino males in jail versus those in college? Do you really believe that we are predestined to be criminals?

I can go on and on about this and quite frankly the list will be too long. So do me a favor and read a book. If Fox News is where you get your information than you are already lost and they are retrofitting the Vader armor for you.

Let me take a moment to laugh because the people who need to read this will probably never care to read it. If they do stumble upon this, they will make more excuses and think that people like me are delusional which only proves my point. If you can seriously dismiss things that are said about race in general than you have bought into the system of oppression and white supremacy.

This is not hate speech. It is my speech and the speech of people like me who see the world for what it is. For now I will just leave you with this picture below to symbolize our (yes you too) oppression:

birdcageroundgfairy004aConsider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, even if, one day at a time, you myopically inspected each wire, you still could not see why a bird would have trouble going past the wires to get anywhere. There is no physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could discover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, none one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon. – Marilyn Frye “Oppression”

We are not Delusional

1045158_10151468822662541_33507666_nThis is, in many ways, is a open letter to my (former) facebook friends who think that race was never a factor in the Zimmerman case. I have had some time reflect on the verdict that was completely unsurprising to me.

We are not delusional. There is no way that anyone can say that the millions of people who are marching and protesting are about the outcome of this trial are delusional. Yet, there are people out there who are celebrating the not guilty verdict. There are people saying that there was a clear case of self defense and that Travyon Martin contributed to his own death. The best part about some of these idiots on Facebook is that I’ve seen them posting articles of crimes that black people have committed against white people. This is when I know we are living in two separate worlds.

We do not live in a post racial America. I wish people would stop saying that America has changed. The fact of the matter is that the value of Black life is not equal but I don’t expect those in the majority to understand. Quite frankly, I am tired of having to explain American History to them. They never had laws created, changed, or amended so that “on paper” they can be considered equals. But, they can get offended easily to the point where they have to question whether the word “cracker” was just as bad as “ni***r” (yet, they know they cannot say the latter of the two words).

There is no delusion in the simple fact that the Stop & Frisk law in NYC as allowed the police to make 533,042 stops in 2012 in which 87 were Black and Latino. But is ok to dismiss our claims of racially biased laws, it is ok to say that we are crazy to believe Travyon Martin received zero justice despite the fact that he was indeed profiled by Zimmerman. So, I suppose it is ok to follow anyone and accost them in the middle of the night and not expect a fight? So it is ok to proclaim self defense when the simple fact is that had Zimmerman listened to instructions by the police to stay in his vehicle, Travyon would be alive today. But, he did nothing wrong, right?

We don’t live in the same world. I know a plethora of parents (who are Black and Latino) who are genuinely scared for their children now. Some have wept about their future and some have wondered how will they explain this to their children. I don’t see that concern coming from the other side. I don’t see any white people (who are celebrating) feel any concern for their kids because they don’t have to. There is no one profiling their children.

Let’s also not pretend that just because Zimmerman is Latino that it is not still racially biased. White Hispanics are just has bad. I have said it time again on this very blog that Latino racism is real and you can tell simple by those who refuse to consider any African influence in their culture. Why do they fight it? Because black has always be considered something bad and that is not a delusion.

I thought that having different opinions coming across my timeline was a good thing. I wanted to see both sides of many issues. But, after this weekend, I just can’t. We just live in two separate worlds. We may have gone to the same high school or grown up in the same areas but I refuse to be associated with anyone that is going to think that we are delusional. Everything is about race, EVERTHING. The fact of matter is that you do not think think about about your whiteness, while we are reminded of our blackness, our immigration status, our language use, our cultures every fucking day. Why? Because it is people like you and the laws that put in place and later amended that remind us of our place in this country.

Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Kimani Gray, Yusef Hawkins, Troy Davis, Luis Ramirez, James Byrd Jr., Willie Edwards, Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, Micheal Donald, Sean Bell, James Chaney, The Central Park 5, John Collado, Darius Simmons, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin. (just to name a few)

We are are not delusional. You are. Get the fuck off my Facebook.

Do I Look Illegal?

I am amazed about how much people are really taking to the issue with Arizona and Senate Bill (SB) 1070. By no means did I come up with the “Do I Look Illegal” tag line nor did I come up with the idea of the picture. I would like to think that I did help spread awareness that racism and it’s laws do exist. So, when May 1st came around I took the above picture which I now have on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. This was my way to show people that we cannot just let things like this happen without a response.

There have been several people that I know who have taken the time to take pictures and create videos about this. One thing that strikes me is the sheer diversity of the pictures. There are people who are as white as can be along with Black and Latino who are joining in on this silent of protests. I will not fail to mention the pictures of children as well.

I used to think that immigration was not my issue. After all, I am a 3rd generation Latino and none of my family deal with issues quite like this. I can also say there was a time in which I thought immigration was more an issue for Mexicans who cross the border or Cubans who try to sneak into this country via boat.  But of course in my ignorance of early age, I never thought about this as a Latino issue. I think back to my past and I did not know any illegals. Of course, it wasn’t until recently that an old friend told me that he had been illegal for years.

Clearly there has been a growing sentiment on closing our boarders and curbing the amount of undocumented people in this country. In one hand you have politicians who want to regulate and round up illegals and in the other who some who are try to force Puerto Rico to make a choice about statehood. Where is this all coming from? Clearly it all comes down to the all mighty dollar. Latinos generate money and we can have our own economy if we continue down the road of success. What undocumented people do is work the jobs that none of us would ever want to do. Lets be honest, fruits and vegetables would not nearly be as a affordable if “normal” Americans were picking them. In the case of Puerto Rico, that could be a whole other state that could be paying taxes and adding to the amount that government can use.

For years, we all talked about the idea of “driving while black”. I would joke with my friends and colleagues that I had to be careful of a DWB. I think now this acronym can really stick by changing black to brown. I have had another friend state on my Facebook that the police can not stop anyone without probable cause because if not, that would be a violation of the 4th Amendment. For those who did not study what this is:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I get that if you know this law then maybe you can protect yourself from being unlawfully stopped by the police in Arizona or anywhere for that matter. But really, all it take is for them to say that your vehicle matches the description of another that they are looking for. In most cases, that is probable cause enough to stop anyone. More importantly what this law does is scare people. How comfortable can any Latino be driving around Phoenix or any other city in Arizona. Let’s not mention those who are perceived to be Mexican, like darker Italians or Native Americans. Almost reminds me of how the TSA is looking for “people of suspicion” in airports.

So when I think about those idiots who have told me that racism does not exist or that not everything is about race, it is time to re-examine your view on life. The people who make racist laws do not have to be racist. Institutional Racism is a system of oppression that was made by those whom had the best of intentions in mind.  

Dear Arizona…

Dear Arizona,

What a wild ride it must be. To take a stand against immigration! Wow! I am sure that all the Republicans in your great state are celebrating this monumental victory. Think about how you have all the illegal Mexicans cowering in their sombreros (big Mexican hats).I am sure that our borders are now much safer from those brown aliens that do nothing but work the jobs you wont do and multiply! We certainly do not want The United States of America (land of the free) to be a melting pot of all cultures. After all, the American Dream is reserved for it citizens only (or at least the rich ones anyway).

Speaking of dreams, I am sure next January, when you have a day off for Martin Luther King Jr, you can think about all the Mexicans who get pulled over for just looking brown. Let’s face it, this is what that holiday is for, to observe the idea of Civil Rights. Martin Luther King’s dream was of little black and white children playing together in harmony. There was no mention of Latinos (or Mexicans…let’s face it, it is all the same to you). Of course, it took you all so long to even recognize that holiday that perhaps the true significance is lost some where in the desert that is your state.

Nor should I mention that the true illegals are us. Of course, I wont count African Americans because they were brought here. In fact, I wont even count Latinos because…well most of us were either here first or forced to come. We cannot count Asians because who else was gonna build the Railroads? So I guess that leaves you. I know, it wasn’t your fault that your ancestors raped and killed most of the original population here before this was considered the “land of the free.” The Native (please note the word “native”) Americans were just savages right? How dare they not use up all the land and natural resources! We could have blamed them for Global Warming (which you don’t believe exist because it is always hot in Arizona)!

Well when you think about it, I guess it is only right to pull over every Mexican look-a-like since Arizona used to be a part of Mexico. Great Job Arizona! Let’s make sure we stand proud because as you know, before this decade is up, Latinos will be the majority in America!



Driving While Black

One of the things that I have said during my Racism classes and various dialogue circles is that there is a reason why I try to be very careful when I drive around the city of Syracuse or any of its many neighboring towns. As person who is as brown as myself, I understand that I can be pulled over for any reason at all. It has been my experience that we tend to fit many different profiles and can be easily mistaken for anyone. Perhaps, I even look like the type of person who can look suspicious while I am driving.

It is not to say that racial profiling is just a problem within Central New York. I feel the same way driving everywhere I go. Truth be told, I have never been stopped when I am driving. So I can never been guilty of a DWB. However, I have been in a vehicle when a friend has been stopped. As, a matter of fact, I have several friends who have committed several DWBs.
To understand what it is like to be stopped here in CNY, you first need to understand that I live in a very lily white city when it come to the infrastructure and the law enforcement. I am generally surprised if I see a Black Police Officer. So, when someone like me gets pulled over, which is commonplace here, there is often a need for two police cars. Which, is a surprise to me. Growing up in NYC, when someone is pulled over, it is normally one car. Two cars generally mean that NYPD has been looking for you

So, getting back to being in the car when a friend commits the crime of driving while black, I am sure one can imagine how it may feel when you come home from picking up food and pulling into the driveway of the house you live…and seeing 2 police cars in the rear view mirror. While that happened more than 13 years ago, it still happened in Syracuse and still remember it vividly. Which has given me the reason to think twice before I go out and drive with my brown skin on.

I have been followed. I have been followed on campus by Public Safety. I didn’t have on my official business attire on that day. But, I was in the car with a co-worker driving to one of our student centers. When my co-worker got out of the car (I was dropping him off), the officers must have recognized who he was and then proceed to move on with their day. So, when I tell people that racism still exists, I am not making this up.

Which brings me to the point of this who post today. My good friend Eddie that I went on that shopping trip with, committed his very first DWB last night. We went to Chili’s last night and hung out for awhile. He lives in the village of Liverpool which is very upscale and white. So, on this way home he gets the CNY police treatment. He gets stopped…by 2 cars…and he gets 7 tickets. Don’t adjust your screen saver…7 tickets! One for having his high beams on (it is mad dark..but ok), One for the SU parking decal hanging from the mirror, One for having his headphones on…(he as an iPhone), One for a small crack on his windshield, and I am not sure about the other 3 but I can guess (too black, too tall, and too southern).

Personally, I think that breaks a record of how many tickets you can get in one sitting. But, since I know the Liverpool Projects are really hopping on a Thursday Night, they have to make sure they keep the Negros in check.