TransRachel


DISCLAIMER: I’m not Ja Rule, but I am gonna try and make sense of things in regards to Rachel Dolezal.

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First let me begin by saying this situation has brought some A-1 jokes such as the one above. The memes, the trending topics and the observations were gold. While the whole ordeal does warrant a good laugh, it’s also problematic for a few reasons. The main two things that haven’t sat well with me are the lying by Dolezal and the responses I’ve seen from African-Americans.

The most common response I saw to TransRachelgate was “if she wants to be black, let her. She’s done more for the black community than the average black person has.” Oh really? I would like for everyone to take a moment and ask yourself “What exactly has she done and how does it surpass the average black person?”

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Bottom line.

Many people get stuck on the first question and that’s a huge problem to me. For you to 1) throw your entire race under the bus for a white woman whose accomplishments you’re not even sure of and 2) ignore the fact that we’re in the midst of a nationwide social justice movement, is irresponsible, ignorant and downright insulting. The average black person I know has been tutoring, mentoring and donating within their community for years. Whether it be for a school requirement or a moral obligation, black people around the country have been in the streets making things happen. And in terms of social justice, I myself witnessed a shift in the interest of my generation during the Troy Davis case years ago. At that moment we all became aware that it was our time and we must get involved. I watched as we fought to get a case for Trayvon Martin, protested on behalf of Marissa Alexander, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and most recently Dejerria Becton of Mckinney, Texas. So if the average person you know isn’t doing anything, speak for yourself and step your game up. While her contributions to our community are appreciated, they would’ve been just as well received if she had been herself.

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A while back, actress Mindy Kaling’s brother decided he too wanted to be black. This was the result.

Next is the idea that we should “be happy that somebody wants to be us.” What? Whet? Whut???? Our race, our lineage, our culture is not some costume that can be put on whenever someone feels like being “urban.” We’re not some insecure middle schooler at a dance happy to have somebody pick us. Have some pride about yourself and stop perpetuating this mindset. The reality of the situation is in certain instances, we’re not even allowed to be us. Not one black person had a non-servant lead in the movie Exodus, which by the way was set in Africa, but you want anyone who wants to be black to just come on down? This situation is also one-sided. There’s no way on Earth I can wake up tomorrow, decide I want to be of another race and that particular group of people accept me without question and they’d be well within their right.

In closing, I’d just like to say I don’t want her burned at the stake. I don’t think she should join the ranks of George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson as national black enemies, I do however, think there should be some repercussions. At the end of the day she’s been lying about her identity to gain entrance into a particular community and taught them based on experiences she herself hasn’t had (See the fake hate mail situation). It belittles the struggles of actually black women who have a hard enough time having their voices heard as it is. I’ll end by saying the movement is open to all who are willing and able to join, just don’t do it in black face. And that’s just how I’m feeling…

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Diary of A Mad, Militant Black Woman


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

It’s the fourth month of a new year and we’re already at over 100 shootings at the hands of the police officers. That rage continues to burn deep inside of me as I watch name after name get added to the already extensive list of unarmed black men and women slain in cold blood. As though the actual hunting of our people wasn’t enough, we must also deal with America’s callous response to our plight.

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A reporter in Charleston’s initial thought was about the murder’s dogs. It’s disturbing that animals take higher precedence than black lives in 2015.

I’m tired of hearing about a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. At this point I’m convinced that it’s not a few bad apples spoiling the bunch, rather a tree of inequity producing a dangerous fruit. It is this tree that must be dealt with at the root, chopped down and replanted if necessary.

We’re still dealing with the same inane arguments and attempts at justification of the killings of unarmed blacks by some and the blind eye of those who are “still waiting on the facts,” despite hard evidence of misconduct on plenty of occasions.

What’s even more infuriating is the amount of ignorance and vitriol coming from other African-Americans, particularly those in the public eye. From conservative pundits Larry Elder, and Crystal Wright mislabeling many of the victims as thugs who were deserving of their demise, to entertainers such as Pharrell and Raven-Symone who proudly and foolishly proclaim that they don’t see color. Common recently insinuated we should extend a hand to our white brethren in love as though we are the antagonist in this whole ordeal and the onus of ending racism is on us. And don’t even get me started on Isaiah Washington describing how he traded in his Mercedes for a Prius, urging others to simply accept and adapt to the injustice around us.

For months after George Zimmerman was acquitted and up until right before Darren Wilson was set free, I was fueled by this rage. It motivated to me to stay informed and engage in, at times, fiery debates with others. As the percentage of policemen ruled not guilty continued to increase, the events began to take a toll on my psyche, most recently the Walter Scott incident.

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Aside from the individuals denying our humanity and trying to convince us that it’s all in our heads, there’s the overwhelming amount of images being circulated of slain black victims. Videos of Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and now Walter Scott in their final moments of life on constant loop on news stations and satirical talk shows such as The Daily Show with Larry Whitmore. The other day someone basically brought up the fact said news outlets didn’t feel the need to constantly show horrific images of Sandy Hook or Boston Marathon victims, why are the videos and pictures of black lives being taken so readily available for consumption? We should not have to use shock value to tell our story. I saw a string of tweets that for the most part sums up how I feel about the damage these images cause here

At this point in time, I’m emotionally drained. I spoke to one of my younger cousins the other day as he prepared to go out that night with some of his friends. Having helped feed, change and bathe he and three his brothers as infants, I still look at them and see the same innocence and quirky characteristics they possessed as kids, despite three of them standing at over six feet now. My heart skipped a beat when he told me he was going out because society does not afford our boys or girls to maintain any sort of innocence.

I see family members in each one of the victims of police brutality and can’t help but internalize the pain of their surviving family members. To go through the routine of arguing our humanity, taking in horrific images and worrying about my own family, I’m exhausted to say the least, but still feel it is my civic duty to stay abreast of the events unfolding so that I can help this movement in any capacity that I can.  

In my opinion, the key to moving forward is for America as a nation to cut the crap. White people must stop putting their feelings above our black needs. Being called a racist is far less damaging than being a victim of police brutality due to racism. Ending police brutality and systematic racism in general is on those doing the oppressing. A friend of mine had an article that discussed changes that must be made going forward here

And that’s just how I’m feelin…

You Can’t Sit With Us (This Month)


We’re a few days away from the end of another Black History Month and in comparison to last year, it’s been pretty mild. I would like to keep it that way so here’s my list of people I’d like to keep to themselves if not indefinitely, just for the rest of the month.

  1. Don Lemon. Every time we get him out of the paint, he comes sashaying back in with another inane “talking point.” It really seems like whenever there’s any sort of racial injustice against African-Americans, there’s Don Lemon attempting to justify it. Below is a clip of him basically saying it’s ok to think all black people look alike, because we kind of do. *sigh*
  2. Nikki Minaj. She dropped a track last week that got dudes, I’m assuming those that have been posing as  big time ballers, pretty riled up. My issue was the original cover art she used for it. She tried to justify using the picture or civil rights leader Malcolm X by saying he was shooting for a cause he believed in and in her video, she was shooting for a cause close to her heart. No girl, no. You calling out posers is not even close to the same thing.

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    No ma’am.

  3. Rappers. Last year Weezy hit us with a gem that used Emmitt Till’s name in a punchline about rough sex. This year it was Nikki. You may say this is a Young Money thing, but I’m a firm believer that there’s an 80 percent chance another rapper would say something equally  stupid. They generally have no sense of responsibility to the black community and their music typically reflects that, but that’s an argument for another day. Just have a seat for four weeks, please.
  4. HLN regulars. Not all of them, but there a handful that are there for fatuous reasons. HLNFor example Frank Taaffe. He’s basically famous for being George Zimmerman’s bff and essentially serves the purpose of defending racists’ rights to be racist. HLN has attempted to balance him out by having Ms. Shahrazad Ali as a guest. Aside from donning the latest in the Queen Latifah Ladies First hat collection, Ms. Ali is there to refute that there is any good in white people, at all. They are nothing but white devils and nothing can be said to change that for it is set in stone. I have the hardest time dealing with the two of them and I hope as the aftermath of the Michael Dunn trial  is discussed, that the two of them are omitted from all conversations.
  5. George Zimmerman. Not gonna waste anymore words on him.
  6. through 10. Don Lemon. Yeah that’s right, he made the list twice. Don’t think for one second that your rant after the Dunn verdict absolves you from our collective side eyes. You were the enabler not too long ago, remember? Pull up your pants and stop littering ring a bell?
    And that’s just how I’m feelin…

Guilty Is The New Black


So I was going to write about the need to protect the black athlete, but I think there’s a bigger problem that has surfaced.

Smart

A 55-year-old man and a 19-year-old kid. Guess who was expected to be the bigger man?

By now you’re probably aware of the Marcus Smart incident. The emotional, Oklahoma State guard was suspended for shoving Texas Tech “super fan” Jeff Orr.

There was a lot about this situation that didn’t sit well with me starting with the initial reactions. The sentiment shared by me and my predominately black Twitter timeline was “that guy must have called him the magic word or at least alluded to it.” A few of the commentators and analyst on ESPN all but called for his head as they wondered why he wasn’t automatically ejected from the game. They said his actions were inexcusable and basically there isn’t  room for that in college basketball. While I don’t agree with using violence as a method to solve problems, I do feel like it does matter what was said. Buying a ticket doesn’t give you the right to hurl racial slurs at 18, 19, 20-year-old players. So problem number one: There’s is an overall lack of empathy and concern for the 19-year-old black kid.

The following day, there were several interviews  in regards to the incident. Smart issued an apology and accepted his three-game suspension, which will ironically end on Feb. 22, when Ok State plays Texas Tech again. Orr denied using any racial slurs, but admitted to calling Smart “a piece of crap,” and he voluntarily banned himself from Texas Tech games for the rest of this season. Head coach Travis Ford and athletic director Mike Holder said Smart made a mistake and this incident will be a learning experience for him. Holder went on to say something to the extent of athletes can’t let external factors distract them from playing the game. Now we don’t know exactly what was said, though it was reported Saturday night that Orr said “go back to Africa.” There was no further investigation on the matter on Orr’s end Oklahoma State decided not to appeal Smart’s suspension. Problems number two and three: The 55-year-old white antagonist’s story was taken at face value and Smart was told to basically to accept everything, racial slurs included, in stride and that this was still his fault.

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That fact that they’re still deliberating is making me nervous.

The sports world is now acting as a microcosm on how society views black men in general. Trash-talking, defensive black athletes are seen as thugs and bad for the game, while their white counterparts are seen as fiery competitors. There are very few instances where the black man is the victim and this attitude is becoming more prevalent in society. As we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, he was basically put on trial for his own death and found guilty. The most recent incident is the Jordan Davis case, where Michael Dunn basically shot up a car full of teens and killed one because he was upset their music was too loud. The case seemed pretty open and shut from the beginning and yet the jury is on day three of deliberation. The questions they’re asking lead me to believe that they’re trying to make 100 percent sure the black kid wasn’t at fault, despite the three living witnesses and inconsistencies in Dunn’s story. Oscar Grant, Troy Davis, the list goes on of black men killed with little to no consequences or sympathy from the general public.

I write this wearily, but hopeful that the aforementioned incidents will, as Holder put it, serve as a teaching moment. Not just for those involved, but for everyone on the outside looking in. My hope is that we continue to challenge society’s perception and fight for justice so that our black men are no longer painted as villains while being victimized.

And that’s just how I’m feelin…

Respectability Sports


After shutting down Michael Crabtree on the final play of the NFC championship game Sunday night, Richard Sherman managed to shut down the the internet Sunday night with his now infamous post-game rant. Take a listen to the WWE style declaration he made.

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Don’t start nothin, won’t be nothin.

Now as a Miami Hurricanes fan, I may be a little biased because he said nothing that the Canes of the 80s and 90s wouldn’t have said, so I had absolutely no problem with it. Many didn’t share my sentiments and took Twitter, the greatest and worst creation of all time, to voice their disapproval. The most common key words used when describing Sherman were classless, thug and punk.

The first problem I have with all of this is the diction. By definition, thugs are usually violent people that engage in criminal behavior, not a football player who graduated from Stanford with bachelor’s degree in Communications proclaiming he is the best at his position. Pretentious, off-putting  and ostentatious? Yeah, most likely. Thuggish? Not at all. Let’s stop throwing that term around all willy nilly.

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An emotional spark plug. Coincidence? I think not.

Secondly, the media enjoys picking and choosing when athletes are acting “classless” and when they are playing with emotion. For example, I saw several sports writers condemning Sherman for calling out a rival that apparently started the beef, but I’ve seen very few chastise or criticize Phillip Rivers for his trash talking to Jay Cutler a while back. Quite the contrary. Sports Illustrated did a piece on how he’s misunderstood, Bleacher Reports said he’s entertaining and Mike Klis of the Denver Post wrote that he was the emotional heart and soul of the team. And before anyone starts saying I’m making this a race case, I’ll point out Muhammad Ali I believe it is. CBS published a piece today on hockey players responding to Sherman’s interview. The general consensus is he would be “handled” for his brash remarks. Anyone that watches hockey, or at least the highlights, knows it’s not unusual for a fight to take place a few times a week. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander wrote that Sherman would’ve gotten hit with a pitch had he played baseball and no one really questions that unwritten rule. So what I’m getting is that players can make hypothetical threats of violence and no one questions it, but Sherman’s a classless thug for celebrating his own talents. Mmkay.

Finally, the moment in which all of this was said needs to be taken in consideration. He just made a game winning play against a guy he hates to get his team a chance to play in the Super Bowl and then had a mic thrust into his face seconds later. As amped up as he was, he said nothing profane or even remotely offensive. Honestly if you check the stats, he may not have been entirely inaccurate either.

While athletes are here for our personal amusement on the field, we must remember they’re still humans with thoughts and emotions and personalities and I would like to see more players be accepted for who they are instead of being mislabeled because they speak their mind or wear their hats backwards. And that’s just how I’m feeling…

Buster of the Week


rick-ross-corrections-officerIn the latest installment of As the World Crashes and Burns, Ricky Rozay got on a track with Rocko and gave us this little gem.

“Put molly all in her champagne/She ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain’t even know it.

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Hip hop doesn’t want you to respect a woman, but instead encourages you to dress like one.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Officer Rozay’s rapping about date rape now. What’s more disturbing that his line is the response is garnering, particularly from young, black males. I’ve seen several tweets from them saying it’s not that serious and one young man even tried to tell me I was taking the song out of context. He refused to explain how, so

As soon as we're done drawing the line in music, we've got to draw the line in men's fashion. This is ridiculous.

As soon as we’re done drawing the line in music, we’ve got to draw the line in men’s fashion.

that argument was deemed null and void. Condoning that type of through rap is very dangerous, especially in this day and age where everyone seems to think the responsibility of not getting raped falls solely on a woman. While I wholeheartedly agree there are things women can do to be safe, we can’t sit here and ignore the responsibility of men to be decent human beings and NOT force themselves on a woman. And for those that want to argue that “it’s just a song, it has no effect on people’s thinking,” why do you think snapbacks are in? Why are jokers consuming gallons of on Ciroc and Moscato? Or even rocking skirts, yes skirts.  Because a rapper told them it was cool, so that argument is dead. Let’s pause a second, because the case out of Stuebenville, OH showed that some people aren’t even fully sure what rape is . In case ya didn’t know rape is:

1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse (this includes drugging people!).

2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

3. statutory rape (intercourse with a minor).

4. an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation:

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let us move on shall we?

One of the main arguments I’ve seen is that women have been disrespected in music for so long, so why are we getting upset now? There’s a huge difference between rapping about a women’s body parts and having consensual sex with a woman then discarding her with no regards for her feelings, and drugging her before having your way.

There is, however, some validity to that argument. As with Lil Payne in the…Lil Wayne’s Emmitt Till line, people were outraged, while many said they don’t look to him to be socially conscious about any other subject; why should black history be any different? The question now becomes where do we draw the line? How far are we going to allow rappers to go under the guise of “it’s just a song/it’s art?” I don’t know about y’all, but I think if nothing else, we need to start here with rape.

So after I finished typing the top portion of this post, Officer Rozay came forward to clarify the controversial lyrics.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/rick-ross-uoeno-lyrics-rapper-responds_n_2974891.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

If you bought that explanation, or lack thereof,  then I got some land on one of Jupiter’s moons to sell ya. And that’s just how I’m feeling…

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I’m Black And I’m Proud…For The Most Part


Make no mistake about it, I love my people. The problem I have is understanding my people.

We should've canceled Black History Month as soon as this was made...

We should’ve canceled Black History Month as soon as this was made…

I’m not sure about y’all, but I’m still pretty upset  from the events that took place these last four weeks. For me, February 2013 will go down as the worst Black History Month ever. From the Chris Dorner incident to young Quvenzhane’ being insulted in the name of “satire”, it seemed we were bombarded with incidents and the reactions I saw from my people would’ve made it perfectly ok to cancel Black History Month, but I digress. A friend of mine brought this video clip to my attention. In the clip, political commentator Melissa Perry-Harris condescendingly describes the latest “Harlem Shake” dance craze before describing the rich history of culture that originated in Harlem. She ends by bringing out dancers to show the world how to properly do the Harlem shake. With the Real Harlem Shake video being circulated around the internet the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but think “this is the battle we chose to fight?”   Don’t get me wrong, I understand her argument that we must preserve our culture and history and not let it be made a mockery of, HOWEVER, I’ve never considered the Harlem Shake to be significant part of our history. New Yorkers feel free to educate me on the matter. I’m disappointed in this argument not because I think the dance isn’t that important, but because Lil Wayne is still running these streets after making an Emmitt Till reference and NOBODY seems to be concerned about that. Aside from Till’s family and a weak scolding from Stevie Wonder, I’ve seen more attention given to this Harlem Shake argument than to this incident, which is clearly a slap in the face to those that came before us. The question I pose is why should any other race respect our history and our culture, when our own people don’t? We don’t hold rappers and celebrities, or even our friends/family accountable for a lot of things, yet we get outraged when someone of another race disrespects one of our own or something of our culture. We can’t have our cake and eat too my friends. And that’s just how I’m feeling…

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