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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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.

I Promote Divisions?

I am not a crime-fighter. I am not a super hero. I am man with a vision and goal. When one does the anti racism work that I do then one will know that some people misunderstand words and phrases because those who operate within the fabric of the system do not see the birdcage for what it is. It becomes difficult to explain that despite whether or not one may believe that words like “white privilege” is real, it becomes even harder to deconstruct the belief that there is a system of advantage that other have been born into.

As I look over the landscape of the Latinegr@s Project, I do see how I got here. There are a number of people who are glad that we exist and we promote ourselves and the education of others. I am not making this up when I say that more slaves ship landed in Central and South America than it did in the United States. Yet, Latinos refuse to see how they fit in to Black History Month and some African Americans do not even understand that we are closely related in more ways than just sharing project building space.

Michonne is a major
character within the series.

I have been told more than once by more than one person that the things I do and say promote division and that perhaps I am drumming up controversy for the sake of getting attention. I disagree. I am very open in my opinion and criticism of all forms of oppression when I see it. It is not my fault that a company like McDonalds decided to air commercials of African Americans dancing while eating chicken. I cannot possible be the only one who has an issue with this. I have the right to express that and the right to say that The Walking Dead comic book has more Black people in that the television show.

This is not me whining. This is me pointing out things for others to digest. The beautiful thing about living in the United States is that I have the right to say anything I want and others have the right not to listen to me. But, if one is to engage me on any one of these topics, please understand that I know what I am taking about. I did not coin the phrase White Privilege, you can thank Dr. Peggy McIntosh. She is a feminist and white woman. She coined the phrase because believe it or not, it exists! So much so, that there is a conference about it.

Which brings me to this idea that I am promoting division amongst people. That is absurd. Divisions of people already exist an yet no one wants to discuss this. It is like saying this makes it real and being quiet makes it all go away. I promote education and pride within people. We all need to hold and adhere to what we are and what our culture is because it will become lost. I also point things out because there are a plethora of ignorant people out there. Think about Linsanity that has take over New York and just about any sports channel.

I don’t think this is funny.

Here is a story of a guy who got cut by thee NBA Teams and then lands on The New York Knicks only to become an overnight icon. This is something that we would normally see in the movies. Jeremy Lin becomes the most popular Asian man in the United States since Bruce Lee. The best part about this is that he was born in this country and yet we see the ignorance of people come out. ESPN fired someone because of it. Not to mention the random things and pictures I see on Twitter that I do not consider to be funny at all. The sad part about it is that black and brown people alike make stupid ass racist comments. I guess 400 years of oppression give us the right to push others down?

Which leads me to my final point about the Matrix. Morpheus said it best: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it. That system, my friends, is the system of Oppression.

I will let Tim Wise take it from here:

Everything is About Race.


Yesterday I was called a Racist on Twitter. Reason being that I had the nerve to point out something on Facebook that that my guest blogger stated. If you read what yesterday’s blog was about you would know that Rameer was pointing out the simple fact that not many white people he knew posted anything about Haiti on their Facbook statues, yet just about all the people of color he knew, did. It was a commentary on sociology of race relations and what we hold to be important.

Like I normally do, I will tweet about my blog to let people know what today’s topic is. I asked a simple question: “How many white people do you know on Facebook that posted something about Haiti?” Let’s be real about this. I think it was a legitimate question in which I got answers to. One follower, who is a woman I have spoken to via chat and on the phone, was offended by my question. “Why do you have to make it racist?”

What I find interesting is that I just asked a question. Consider that I have taken classes in social justice, sociology, racism and education, and I am a trained facilitator in racist dialogue…I think I would know if I was being racist. But I digress. The point is, that Racism exists and pointing that out, does not make me racist nor does it mean I am perpetuating it.

“When people like you ‘point it out’ but are really just being racist yourself. I think its so ignorant.” I am one to believe that ignorance is bliss. If people like me do not point such things out then we are truly being ignorant about the world around us. Do I need to explain why Haiti is suffering so badly? Do I need to explain why that country is so poor? Race has everything to do with it. I was just saying this week that we need to know our history. Haiti was once a colony of France and after it was bled dry by the French, they left the Haitians to fend for themselves.

Let me explain what Racism is, since I am so ignorant about the world. Racism is a part of the system of oppression that is perpetuated by those who are privileged. Racism is power plus privilege. According to her, this definition is antiquated. I am not so sure how old this meaning is especially when sociologists still hang on to this definition, so let’s go with Webster’s Dictionary: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Ok…so how am I being Racist? Do not get me wrong, I can be prejudice. We all can be. We all have our thoughts about other people. Honestly, that is natural. “ANYONE can be racist! If you don’t like someone based on their race…your racist.” As I pointed out to her, I never said I do not like white people. But, if you really know me (which she does not), then you will know that I point shit out like this all the time. Why? Because I have heard people say that they think racism does not exist anymore…yeah ok.

“…and you are making assumptions. Maybe people didn’t post about it but chose to deal with it their own way or donated privately.” I will say this, I do make assumptions. But if someone points something out and many other people agree and see the same thing, what does that mean? I get the fact people want to deal with things in their own way. But, why donate privately? Do white people think they will be judged by their peers that donating to a “3rd world island” is not the in thing to do? Or would they rather hold up a blind fold and watch “Jersey Shore”?

Which being me to my point and why I had Rameer write that post yesterday. It is clear that we all live on the same planet, but we live in different worlds. It seems to me that most, if not all people of color, care deeply about what happen in Haiti. Most likely because they either have family there, or know people who do. More importantly, these people look like us! White people in general can be blinded to the plights of many of our people. The very system of privilege makes it hard for them to realize what we go through. So Haiti is a different world.

Everything is about race…Everything. If you do not think so then think about this. If you are a white person: Do get followed in a store because you are are white? Do you ever think you will ever be stopped by a cop because you are driving while white? Do you have issues buying a white doll from Toy R Us? Do you struggle to find a sitcom on TV that positively portrays white people?

Never EVER tell me that everything isn’t about race. When I think about Racists, I think about Pat Roberston. I am so not like him. I live my race everyday. Do you?

Where to Begin??? (Kramer is a Racist)

{Originally Posted on Myspace}

What can I say? I have taken a bit of a hiatus because I am so busy, but I could not let this one go by. It did take me a bit to digest this act. I have felt like maybe I have been too sensitive on issues of race. Maybe, I am looking too deeply into issues of white privilege. Then Michael Richards does his “meltdown” and after seeing this crap, I have decided 2 things:

1. I am never watching Seinfeld again. The show had its moments and had to do living in NYC. So, on a lot of issues I can relate to. This is despite the fact that there were hardly any black people (all I count is the black lawyer). But typically there were really no constant person of color. I guess NYC is full of white people.
2. I will never say the N-word again. I don’t say it much now, but I am done. When I am listening to hip hop I will substitute the word with “brotha” or just not say the line.

The way “KKKramer” said those words were hurtful to me, much more than I would have ever expected. I have seen Rodney King get his ass beat down in a video by a bunch of cops and that was no where near the horror I felt when seeing this clip. It confirms a lot of things in my head about many people.

The worst part is the “apology” given on Late Night with David Letterman. What a farce! Afro-Americans!!! Who still uses the phrase? We (and I say we, because Latinos are black too) are not a style of hair. Of course, he tells the world he is not a racist. Well he fooled me. Those comments were heart felt and it showed how he really felt. You don’t mention lynchings 50 years ago if you do not know what you are talking about. White privilege is real folks, if you do not know about it, I will be happy to tell you.