Not Looking Forward to 2016

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I will not let 2015 end without mentioning that there is no justice. In may respects this was a terrible year. As much as I try to live my life and write as much as I can, there are things happening in this country that trouble me.

Black Lives Matter.

I’m not going to describe once again how important it is to keep this going. At this point, you either get it or you don’t. Tamir Rice was 12 and was killed by  police within 2 seconds of seeing him. He was playing with a toy gun and was considered armed and dangerous.

No indictments.

Sandra Bland was a woman pulled over for changing lanes with no turn signal. She was arrested and died in her jail cell for reason unknown.

No indictments.

Remember Walter Scott? Shot in the back by a police officer, that trial will be in 2016. Laquan McDonald? That trial will also be next year. Let’s also not forget Freddie Gray’s killers face a trial too. While these killings got indictments, there is very little hope for actual convictions.

I’m jotting all this down because I think that the whole idea of celebrating a new year is almost disingenuous considering that nothing really is changing. We can march, protest, and create hashtags but it does nothing in the minds of those who truly believe that “all lives matter.”

We have a problem. A huge problem that the father of Quintonio LeGrier can attest to.  The police have to be held accountable for the things they do. Why is that so hard to understand?

How many killings will we see in 2016? I’m sure we cannot predict that but it will be too many. This is the part of next year that I will not be looking forward to. I will not be happy with the new hashtags and the same narrative of black people being killed by police. I will not look forward to the same story of not guilty verdicts and non indictments.

I will not look forward to, once again, bearing witness to what continues to be a dark part of this country’s color blind legacy of allowing police to get away with murder.

I’m not looking forward to this part 2016.

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I’m Not Afraid of Muslims

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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.

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.