Get Out – The mad late review.

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Before we all die I just want to say…

I saw Get Out the weekend it came out. I posted my review on Facebook and I figured I should put my reaction to this movie on here with a few additional remarks. I think it’s amazing that this movie is doing so well at the box office and while it’s not a perfect movie (very few movies are), it perfectly illustrates a feeling that many people of color have when navigating white spaces.

Light spoilers ahead.

Racism is scary. Bottom line, I learned early in my career I needed to be careful of who I can trust. I remember being at work receptions at Syracuse University where it was me and a few brown folk and we would look relieved to see each other.

Sure it wasn’t a look of… “did they get you yet?” but more of, “you still here?”

There’s a certain familiarity I took from this movie, particularly the way Chris was able to call his friend which allowed him code switch from one reality to another. This allowed him to stay true to himself and it quite possibly saved his life. Which leads me to think about my friends or lack there of. I may need to friend someone who works for TSA. That’s not awkward right? To ask a someone to hang out after they patted you down at the airport? lol

When someone asked me why I felt the need to become a Latino representative at SU,  it was because I didn’t want to lose myself. I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole (see what I did there?) of not remembering where I came from. As a young person of color working at PWI, there were so many things going on that it was hard to maintain myself worth and my self identity. Sure, I had self esteem issues, but who doesn’t? The point is that my identity became real important really quickly and that is what lead me to connect with so many students.

I often relate these experience to my time in Syracuse because New York City is different. The racism is still there but it gets hidden in the lights. To be honest, most of us are so busy just trying to pay rent that searching out passive racism is not the top of our lists. However, NYPD choking out a black man on the street for selling loose cigarettes will remind us the type of world we live in.

Syracuse snuggly fits right into Central New York and if you ever take a trip there you wouldn’t notice much is out of place. But, travel to near by Cooperstown (as I did last year) by way of the small roads you will see that America Trump is talking to. Yet, Get Out represents the progressive, almost color-blind, liberals who say they want to create change but want to be in the front of that line when change happens. They are the ones ordering $6 coffees and $8 chopped cheese sandwiches.

This isn’t just a movie about how scary passive racism is, this is about losing our identity to American assimilation of black and brown bodies and gentrification of our cultures and spirits.

Trust me I feel more comfortable in the South Bronx than I do in Skaneateles, NY.

So when someone asks if I will ever move back there…

giphy-5

 

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This Won’t End Soon

la-na-cvs-pharmacy-baltimore-riots-pictures-20150428None of this is going to end anytime soon. I want to start off by saying this because I believe there is a underlying question in the American sub conscience that asks the question, when is Black America going to stop rioting and move on? This is the same question that is fueled by the thought that if criminals didn’t act that way then what else do you expect to happen?

A: Severed Spine. Crushed Trachea.

tumblr_nnla15Uvcl1qzbucao1_1280People say violence isn’t the answer but we just happen to be at war all the time. Violence isn’t the answer but we’re ok with bombing other countries and we say nothing when Palestine gets leveled. So when people talk about violence, they mean Black violence. They don’t want to see any street in American on fire. Wait. It’s only acceptable if things are on fire because a sports team has won versus brown poor people acting all crazy.

I find it funny when people say, well if you don’t want the cops to bother you then don’t be a criminal (because obviously only criminals get harassed by cops). Clearly in that line of thinking… only criminals fit a particular profile. So what’s that profile? Are we talking about thieves who steal money? If that’s the case, where are the police when the housing market crashed? I don’t see anyone on Wall St getting stopped and frisked.

The reality is that to be viewed as a criminal in this country is to be viewed as less then human. So it’s apparently ok for you to get shot in the back or have your spinal column severed because these are criminals like in Law & Order. On that rare occasion they may get that Super Negro that frightens police and they need to shoot first because, as we know, The Avengers are only in the movies. They never get the benefit of the doubt (unless years later DNA tests prove otherwise….oops). Then when they get out of jail they cant find a job and can’t vote. What happens then?

A severed spinal cord is a break in the network of nerve cells in the spine. The spinal cord is a spongy white substance encased inside the hollow vertebrae and discs of the spine. This cord can be severed due to a traumatic injury. If the spinal cord is severed, it can cause paralysis below the point of the damage, which can be total or partial, depending on the level of injury and degree of impairment of the cord.

I find it funny that people say, oh, but why destroy your community? You mean the poor community no body bothers to think or care about until its actually on fire? I don’t live in Baltimore so I have no idea what they’ve been through. However, history shows that decades of police brutality, disenfranchisement, and poor socioeconomic conditions play into everything thing that’s happening right now. There’s no question that I have no idea what I would do if I grew up in a place such as this but I’m sure that if I was subjected to all these issues and was sick and tired of all the abuse and living conditions, I might burn down shit too.

tumblr_nnkh9dPVEH1qc8jh0o7_540Again, the only riots I see happening that have nothing to do with black lives are when sports teams win or lose. I see no one in the media condemning those to the same degree as what we saw in Ferguson and in Baltimore. <sarcasm font> I’m glad there is outrage over property being destroyed </f> because this is what many people value as opposed to Black lives which is what WE value. How do you expect anyone to care about property when they will never own it?

CVS has insurance for fire damage.

This country was founded on violence and murder. Black youth are criminalized all the time just for fitting a profile and while not all cops are bad….let’s acknowledge there is a problem with the system. Take responsibility by admitting this problem; if you cannot do that, then all you’re really doing is calling each and everyone of us delusional and I got news for you, none of this is going to end anytime soon.

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Constant State of Rage.

Photo Dec 01, 1 07 44 PMI was saying to myself the other day that I wish that I could see a bright future that is so vividly displayed on Deep Space Nine where Captain Benjamin Sisco is captain. I was also commenting to myself (because I talk to myself quite often) that being human means to be inherently stupid, egoistical, violent, and often times self centered. No matter how much I can be angry about the world and its war on the oppressed, the inescapable and laughable fact is that we are choking ourselves with politics and needless rhetoric.

I am good at work. You can see me at work and think I’m the happiest person in the world. I do my job well. I have a good woman that I adore. I love my family and friends, who all relatively make my days in various ways. I have a good life filled with passions, dreams, and goals. But, there is a darker side of me. There is a switch that is constantly on that I have buried. It is that f*ck you very much switch.

I am in a constant state of rage. Sure, it is a low level rage that I will equate to a semi dormant volcano and every time I see some bullshit on the news I just want to scream. Black men are still getting killed with impunity, Black women are still being treated as the lowest forms of life, Muslims get blamed for just about every fear people have, the President gets disrespected by a branch of our own government, racist chants by a Fraternity, Transgendered people being targeted and killed, Michele Obama is called a monkey on Univision, and apparently apologists are the new black. That was just to name a few.

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” – James Baldwin

I cannot even begin to tackle each issue individually because I am just tired of all of this. Starbucks wants to have a conversation on race. What conversation needs to be had? What is talking going to do? That is all people do, talk. Granted, about 40% of all baristas at Starbucks are people of color and thus the intention might be good but honestly all it does is put people in a uncomfortable situation because many people are not trained to talk about something like this and nor should they have to.

What is there to talk about? Let me guess the DOJ report that states Darren Wilson was justified in killing Mike Brown? So because the forensic evidence states he was justified doesn’t mean we know what was was said to spark a teenager to commit suicide by cop. Which also means the #Blacklivesmatter cause is a lie? Perhaps no one read the second DOJ report that states Ferguson systematically targets African Americans unfairly. So let’s talk about that.

Lets talk about Rodner Figueroa. I do not believe for one second that he’s sorry for his remarks. He’s sorry he lost his job. He’s sorry is career is done. But sorry for his remarks? Nope. That is some typical shit that can fly out of the mouth of a white person who just so happens to be Latino. Name one dark skinned person you see normally on Univision? Assuming that you don’t watch that droll nonsense, I can tell you that the number is close to zero (I’m accounting for the darker Mexicans in commercials).

The thing is, I can talk about this all day. I can discuss how people are looking to apologize or looking to suggest that we as people of color need to hold hands and pray for racism to go away. I need celebrities to shut up. You made your money and now you need to save face and play the game. It is rare see the conscious Black actor with the exception of Jesse Williams.

There is a rage that is the under current in most people of color in the country and that’s why there’s this constant fear from the majority. They want prominent black folk to calm us down and remind us of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech while constantly degrading us in the media. So, if you want to talk about something let’s talk about the fact that you cannot kill an idea, this mind blowing idea the Black Lives Matter.

We Have A Perception Problem

Photo Dec 13, 3 40 50 PMToday is the eve of Christmas Eve and as much as I really want to talk about my book and how you should all buy it because it’s on sale, I feel the need to continue to talk about what is going on around me. I find it fascinating that we’re living in a time of sheer division. Before it was about Obamacare, or gun control, or Ebola, or gay marriage, but now it’s about policing and protesting for accountability.

Once again I look at the media and see the dollar signs that sells papers and web clicks. Although I find it to be really interesting that two policeman are killed during a terrorist drill in Brooklyn, I feel bad that people have to lose their lives in order for a discussion to happen or to continue. What I can’t stand is how predictable people are.

The moment that those two police officers were killed I hoped and prayed that it was not going to “linked” to the peaceful protests of a week ago. But, in my gut, I knew that this was going to add fuel to the fire.

It’s shame those cops were killed. It’s also a shame that everyone who stands to gain political capital has taken advantage of that, which means that the sheep who believe everything they read will follow suit. Blaming the protesters for a crazy man’s deed is just as stupid as any police supporter saying we’re blaming all police for the actions of a few bad cops. Which brings us to the real problem… perception is reality.

There’s a real perception problem that is overplayed by the media. There are people who believe, with good reason, that the gangsta lifestyle has been glorified and that these “thugs” want to live that lifestyle (by the way, thug is the new “n” word, think about the that). Sure, you can point to music, movies, and video games for such attitudes but lets think about this for one second. If you’re perceived as person who wont amount to anything and you live in an area where your life means nothing then would you think you had a future? How would you act?

There are also people who believe, with good reason, that bad cops don’t exist. They’re first responders to danger and are sworn to protect and serve. If there’s an incident they respond to that must mean that thugs and criminals are present, which may be true. However, it’s only in the pages of the Batman or in television shows that police do bad things. After all, if Tamir Rice (12 years) had only listened to the police and put down the toy gun he would be alive today.

Maybe that assessment may seem unfair but bad people exist on both sides. What continues to pop up is absolutism. If you’re not with me than you’re against me. If you support Obamacare you’re anti-American. If you’re protesting police brutality then you’re against cops. Why can’t we live in the grey anymore? Why can’t our interests be mutually exclusive?

I know the answer but if I talk about race then I’m a race-baiter or I’m being divisive. We have a perception problem and it will not be fixed until we place the appropriate value on human lives.

If I talk about Mike Brown, someone will say, “he wasn’t innocent.” My response has always been, it doesn’t matter. We’re suppose to have this glorious justice system that can determine that

“Well, he’s this big guy and the cop was afraid so he had to shoot him.” My response has always been, you mean shoot him after he ran? Couldn’t Wilson shoot him in the leg? “Cops are taught to shoot to kill.” Bingo. That’s the problem. Why have a judicial system if that is truly the case?

Again, we have a perception problem because if anyone of us talk about any of these officers in a bad light in terms of history of police brutality, any guesses on the response?

It doesn’t matter they were a cops.

Perception is reality and we need to fix this.

The Punchline

BLMI laugh. Everyday I laugh because someone or something inevitably happens that proves various points that I’ve been making. This doesn’t make me smarter this just means I’m observant. The thing is… I laugh because I see where we are in this world and it’s a joke to even think for a minute that people will be able to accept difference in other people.

When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek there was this thought that at some point in the near future “mankind” would put aside it’s petty differences and we would view each other as equals thus spawning an age of peace where we would embark on exploring the galaxy. How funny is that? His vision may not have been wrong in the sense that of our evolution as a people may be based on us accepting diversity.

That is the punchline. That is our ultimate fate and the reality is that the world around us is crumbling and no one really cares because it’s not making them money. It’s not cost effective to accept diversity, or to lower our carbon emissions, or pay women equal wages, or to save the bees, or consider transgender rights, or to simply have affordable healthcare. It’s certainly not cost effective to hold our police officers accountable. Which means the world as we know it will probably end and not by some meteor that killed off the dinosaurs. Our world is ending because people simply forgot what it is to be human.

I laugh when people on my Facebook wall want to talk about how I point fingers or I incite people with posts about racism. I fucking crack up when people think that we’re delusional (meanwhile they eat, sleep, and drink Fox News) because we must believe everything we see and we must follow Al Sharpton. Then it hit me, people are terrified. CNN was amazed at how the protestors in NYC last week were so peaceful and moved with such purpose. They searched for a leader. Take me to your leader. Why are they searching? Because there is this thought in the back of people’s minds that we must have a leader because thousands of people can’t possible do any of this on their own. I laugh.

Having a leader means that people can focus on a person to blame or perhaps someone to take down in the media. Many people think Al Sharpton is a joke and are happy to rip him as the leader of everything thing black, but guess what? People of color are smarter now than ever. Some of us are highly educated with various opinions. Let’s not forget that African Americans got the right to vote in 1965. August 6th 2015 with mark 50 years. FIFTY YEARS. That is not that long ago. We may have needed a leader then but we don’t need one now because we are all leaders and that is some scary shit to the majority.

I laugh at people who suggest that we have progressed and moved on, that people are using the race card for selfish reasons. That makes zero sense because I’m quite sure that all of us would rather be doing something else instead of reminding the world that Black Lives Matter.

So have we truly progressed? Technologically we have done things that we’ve only seen in movies as kids and it’s amazing. Modern medicine has kept us alive longer than ever. We have a space station… A SPACE STATION. That shit is awesome, but you know what?

It all means nothing. Why?

World Hunger. MONEY. Racism. MONEY. Cancer. MONEY. HIV/Aids. MONEY. Sexism. MONEY. Patriarchy. MONEY. White Privilege. MONEY. Climate Change. MONEY. Gender Bias. MONEY. Pesticides. MONEY. I laugh because I hear the walk in music of Ted DiBiase.

Roddenberry might just be a genius. We cannot evolve until we solve our issues and actually BE human.

Welcome to America’s Hunger Games

Mother of Michael Brown Addresses ProtestersThere are many reasons why I don’t watch much television. Take away the fact that cable is insanely expensive. Subtract the fact that all my sports teams have no respect for my life. Just minus the fact that great shows rarely exist and focus on the fact that television has become a tool.

What’s considered good TV? Anything that Shonda puts out? The WWE? The Walking Dead? How about reality shows? Let’s think about reality shows and how “real” they are. I can’t tell if some of these shows are fake but most of these reality stars get paid with the goal of advancing their careers. Perhaps we lost the sense of creativity some where when watching rich people slapping each other around is more popular than sitcoms. But that’s really not the “good TV” we’ve been privy too lately, has it?

The drama we’ve been watching unfold in Ferguson is reality TV. It’s important to note that anyone who has seen this show before knew what was going to happen. There were no such thing as spoilers because we all knew there would be no indictment but things kept dragging on. I knew that there were going to wait until the week of Thanksgiving to make this announcement. Why? Because it made sense in a sick way.

They were gonna wait until the last minute so that people couldn’t make travel plans to Ferguson. I’m sure they thought that the holiday season would make it hard for people to protest…unless there was a desire to have the opposite effect. Think about it, the Governor calls for a state of emergency prompting the national guard to come just days before this announcement. Clearly they expected some thing to go down. Monday rolls around and they tell the media outlets that a verdict will be announced, but no time was given. So that gives the various news channels time to gather. Then they say it will happen at 6pm CST. Then they postpone it until 8pm CST but still have a pre-press conference. This is like the meeting before the meeting.

So the time finally arrives and they makes us wait about 20 minutes before the ever boring District Attorney Robert McCulloch begins to monologue about how everyone else but Darren Wilson is to blame for this mess. The speech was so long that it just seemed like it was all done for ratings. Then, as expected, the no indictment charge is announced and people lose their minds.

Now, one of the most important things here is the timing of all of this. As McCulloch is taking questions there is pop up on the screen saying that Obama is about to speak. Now, if you know anything about presidential speeches, you never know when they will actually start. But just as the clock hit 9:59, McCulloch wraps up and when the 10pm hour hits the President speech starts. Like fucking clockwork. Of course the President goes on TV talking about how people need to remain calm meanwhile on the split screen you see rioters breaking windows of a police car. He mentions “Good TV” in his speech. I’m not entirely convinced that was an accident. I made up my mind right then and there that this was all a coordinated effort to show that people of color are animals.

Also take note that the National Guard was no where to found when buildings started to burn. So what were they guarding? (I know the answer, do you?)

They could have made this announcement in the morning but they knew that if they timed it right, the power of television will distract people, like an Ebola outbreak, from the real issue. We have a problem in this country and not everyone sees it and that’s part of the problem. I’ve made it clear several times over the last few years that everything is about race but many people don’t see it that way, so I guess we’re all just making it up.

Most people believe what’s being presented to them with no question and it is those people that are stuck on the 24 hour news channels as they spill garbage. They are all guilty in some way: Fox News, CNN, & MSNBC for trying to grab that all mighty dollar for ratings. But it is the folks at ABC that get the prize for landing the interview of the year. Darren Wilson gets to tell his story about slaying the demon and the majority eat it up faster than Thanksgiving turkey. Welcome to America’s Hunger Games.

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.

Clipping Oblivious Racism

ows_139865886478565One thing you should know about me is that I like to point out some things when it comes to race and discrimination. I often like to talk about how there is this belief that racism doesn’t really exist and the varying degrees in which people view race and oppression. The last few days we’ve been witnesses to the shit show that is The L.A. Clippers ownership. No one is surprised by this which is, in itself, a horrible thing to admit. Yet, The Clippers’ players did what so many of us who have worked for someone who is racist wished, they protested.

Here is the issue that I have with all this (besides the obvious), the anti-racists and all the other people that think racism is a thing of the past have someone to point to. Everyone is always ready to talk about the obvious racism instead of the oblivious racism. Donald Sterling has become the villain that we all can rally against and have discussions about, which is good but this is the chance to really talk about the racist people (and the policies) we don’t see at the work place.

Interestingly enough this comes at a time when the Supreme Court has ruled that Affirmative Action is now in the hands of the states. People like Justice Roberts think that people can just stop being racist. Perhaps there is an on and off switch that I’m not aware of but if this incident with Donald Sterling has taught us anything, institutional racism starts at the top. I’m sure that are many of business executives in high levels of business that feel the same way and even if there are many that do not share these sentiments, I betting that very few would fight against this thought process.

x1zxepjjeto5hjc2fvetSo I applaud The Clippers for their protest and the NBA players in general for showing a sense of unity. My fear is that this will be pushed under the rug eventually. This may all blow over because not enough of the right people are saying anything. Where are the other owners? They can express their “discontent” privately but we need to hear them publicly. Their silence only proves my point and I’m not talking about the silence about the latest  racist remarks via TMZ either. There has been an ongoing issue with Donald Sterling and the way he has treated black employees and tenants of his buildings. No one has said a thing and in fact, the NAACP has given him awards (Best Plantation Owner).

The old boy network protects their own. He may get admonished and take a public relations beating but guess what? If he does sells the team, it will be for BILLIONS of dollars and he will still win in terms of monetary equity. So while we may point to this man as the enemy and deem him to be the worst of all racists today, it’s really just a blip on his radar. This is why institutional racism is so much more dangerous than the obvious forms because men like him in the long run lose nothing.

I wish I had an easy answer but racism in all its forms is indeed a complicated issue. Now is the time to figure out what side you’re on because people are taking notes. One thing is for sure, there is no place for racism is this society, but are are we willing to fight it in every form or only when it rears it head via a celebrity?

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”

Halloween: The Death of Cultural Sensitivity

tumblr_mvf6t2i0UC1r0jlbgo3_500Consider this a follow up to Blackface is the New Black?

The Halloween shenanigans are not just about blackface. They are about the caricaturization of other cultures. The amount of blackface is appalling as it is because there is a stark realization that cultural sensitivity is just about dead. Along with that death comes a very real lack of understanding as to why certain things might be viewed as insensitive. I get the excuse that people don’t know and regardless of understanding that excuse, there is no tolerance for it. This is 2013–the age of information–which means you should know the history.

212909_v1The fact that I can read an article about offensive costumes and have people question why a guy dressed as a taco with a sombrero is considered offensive is insane to me. It brings home the point I’ve made time and time again that most people think that all Latinos are Mexican. Not only that, consider that the immigration debate and how Mexicans are viewed as “aliens” (something not human) in this country. Put it all together in your mind and realize that there’s a lack of respect for the culture.

I personally don’t understand it and maybe because Halloween was not all that fun for me as a kid. I was always at the mercy of what my parents got me for a costume. I would have the cheap, full-bodied, plastic onesie of what ever superhero and a plastic mask with slits for the mouth and eyes. I really had no choice as to what race of superhero I wanted to be because they were all white. Yeah, I could have been a Thundercat but I wanted Mumra but that was a just horrible looking costume. I would’ve loved to be Voltron but none of the stores in the Bronx sold these things. Anyway, the point is that Halloween was always a day to dress up like cartoon character or a hero and score some serious candy. Sure, people dressed as monsters and stuff but never did I see anyone come dressed as Michael Jackson with their face painted. More importantly, people would dress up as Mike for the fashion of the jacket with a thousand zippers and a glittery glove.

o-ZIMMERMAN-HALLOWEEN-COSTUME-570However, as I mentioned in the article above, maybe blackface and cultural insensitivity is something that has always happened and with the advent of the internet, we are just noticing it more and more.  I suppose there are people in this country that have never seen a person of color up close. So there is very much this “alien” view of us. I’m pretty sure there are photo albums of a some suburban family that contains pictures of them in some sort of blackface because they liked The Cosby Show, or The Jefferson’s. I’m also willing to bet some serious money there are old photos of people attempting to look like Speedy Gonzalez.

The questions are, where is the sense in any this? How do people think it is ok to paint their skin? It’s almost like there is some sort of desire to be Black or Latino. Here is the issue, (as Paul Mooney once said) everyone wants to be Black, but nobody wants to be Black. People of color have a rich culture that looks so good on the outside but try catching a cab, or being followed in department store. Try finding positive role models in the media, try walking down the street without having someone wanting to touch your hair. It seems all good until your child is shot for no other reason than being Black. Now imagine seeing pictures of idiots dressed as your dead son pop up all over the internet. Sounds fun right?

Halloween has become a dark day for many of us because people’s stupidity is out there for the world to see. This is a coming out party for the closeted racist and we all know it. I don’t feel bad for those people who have lost their jobs and who’s lives have been turned upside down because Black Twitter went in on them. This is 2013 and people are tired of having to teach others civility when none is shown to us.