Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

The Constitution Cannot Bend
November 17, 2015

As GOP governors pop out of the ground and declare they will refuse the entry of Syrian refugees into the states they govern, the angrier I become. The Constitution of the United States makes it expressly clear that governors CANNOT refuse refugees. Period. The Constitution was drafted as a living document which can be added to and/or partially revised as the American people move into the future. However, the Constitution cannot bend to suit anyone’s hateful rhetoric. The Constitution does not lean one way or the other, it is designed to suit all people, not just Americans but around the world, in the same fashion. Therefore, refusing to accept refugees into the United States is a violation of Constitutional law. Anyone who is familiar with Constitutional law, should know that violating it is an impeachable offense.

If you want to read more about this law, you can do so here: Refugee Act of 1980

If you are unfamiliar with the situation, allow me to sum it up for you. Paris was recently attacked by a terrorist group known as ISIS. ISIS primarily operates out of Syria, and because of the violence they have caused, thousands of Syrians are seeking refuge in other countries. Several states led by Republican governors have stated that they will refuse entry of refugees into the states they govern. However, Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, stated that it is our obligation to accept these refugees. Connecticut residents are calling and emailing Gov. Malloy, screaming at him to refuse refugees also. People are actually creating petitions, and signing them, in the hopes that they will somehow persuade Gov. Malloy to refuse these people.

One of the most common arguments I see is, “We should take care of our own first!”. I beg your pardon? They are us. They are just as much a part of the human race as we are. Many people have photos circulating Facebook which try to say that homelessness is a more important issue than helping Syrian refugees. Why can’t we help ALL people?

Another grotesque argument is, “How do we know they aren’t terrorists?” Well, how do you know they are? Where is your evidence that a human being is a terrorist? Other than their ethnicity, background, clothing or name.

When I look back on September 11th, 2001, and the weeks after the attack on the Twin Towers, I remember how quickly the hatred boiled over throughout this country. Innocent people who had come here, built their homes and businesses here, had children here, were violently attacked, racially profiled by police and told they should “go back to their country”. Go back to where, exactly? They are already in their country. This hatred very easily fueled the fear, which then fueled the invasion of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that didn’t actually exist. I remember in my Anatomy and Physiology class in high school, our teacher asked us who thought the weapons were in Iraq, and out of 25+ students, I was the only one who did not raise my hand. When asked why, I simply stated, “Where is the proof?”

I think when terror attacks happen, we need to look back on our history and remember events that transpired after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many people my age and a bit older, were not alive during World War II. Japanese people began immigrating to the United States in the mid to late 1800’s, primarily the West Coast. Our government actually believed that Japanese-Americans, people who had built their homes, businesses and lives in their country, were capable of being spies for the Japanese government. So Roosevelt decided that the best way to calm that fear was to corral thousands of innocent people into internment camps. Their reasoning was “How do we know they aren’t spies?”. The Japanese-Americans were blamed for the acts of the government from their birth country, or in many cases, a country that they were never born in. There were many “stories” and accusations made without any evidence, so any claims by the U.S. government that they found Japanese spies during WWII have to be deemed false. A more in-depth explanation of what it was like for Japanese-Americans during WWII: Densho – Background

Even though we have a Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to protect us from atrocities like these, as well as President Obama who genuinely cares about these refugees, who will protect them after his second term is finished? The GOP have no problem blaming an entire group of people, for the acts of a few, and many Americans have no problem supporting that hatred.

Identity of Our Names
February 9, 2015

So far into the month of February, and I haven’t written about black history yet. But the history of our blackness, and of our names, is not only rooted in Africa and the slave trade, but rooted in every place around the world. Our name defines our family, origin, culture, race and legacy. I am grateful to know that my surname, Nofi, comes from Nigeria. I also know that thousands of people in the United States do not know their true surnames, and likely never will.

There is a profound connection between Native Americans, Africans, and the slave trade. Not just because both groups of people were enslaved, but because both groups have lost their identities, place names, and cultures at the hands of European settlers. For example, an African brought to North America, who’s name originally was Kwame, would be beaten and tortured until he accepted his new “name”, John. Areas with place names given by the tribe living in that area were changed by European settlers, or destroyed altogether. For both Africans and Native Americans, they were ripped away from their communities, thus ripping them away from their culture.

The most frightening thing of all, is that this still happens in 2015. It may surprise you to know that it happens on Facebook.

Facebook has a policy (that is binding because we agree to it) that “unauthentic” names cannot be used on our profiles. I understand this may be in place to deter folks from creating a fake Facebook identity. However, this policy effects people who have real names that fall under the definition of “unauthentic”. I did a test with a Yomechas Federation name, “Running Deer”, to see if Facebook would let me make a new account with that name. It did, but it could be because that name is so widely recognized. So, I tried using Little Shark as a first and last name. It would not go through. The site presented an ‘error’, stating that I was trying to create a profile for a business. Who are you, Facebook, to tell me Little Shark is a name of a business, and not a human being? Who are you to decide what names are real, and what names are fake?

In regard to Yomechas Federation, Running Deer is a name, not first and last, simply a name. So what do people trying to use Facebook do if they come from a culture that does not use surnames? Make up a name? Doesn’t that also violate the fake name policy? It sounds more like Facebook is filtering the types of people who use the site, rather than ‘catfish’.

That brings me to my next point about parents who name their daughters Gift, Lady, Future, etc. Unique and unconventional names have become increasingly popular. Facebook does not let these names go through as first names either. If the name on my birth certificate is Lady, what name do I use alternatively? A fake one?

In Sudan, the Dinka people have an identical first and last name. Believe it or not, Facebook will lock you out of your account for this. In the case of 7Song, who was using the name Sevensong Sevensong, because the number wouldn’t go through, recently was locked out for having an “unauthentic” name. This is just one more example of the extreme unfairness of this policy.

This business of picking and choosing who exists and who doesn’t, defeats the purpose of an internet community. It replicates the mentality of segregation, and robs us of our humanity. Some may argue that we do not have to use Facebook, or other social media. Some may argue that this is a silly thing to be upset about. My civil rights exist on the internet just as much as they do anywhere else.

How Men Can Prevent Themselves From Being Sexually Assaulted and Harassed
January 30, 2015

Several years ago while I was on the city bus, I witnessed a woman start groping the thigh of a man who was another woman’s boyfriend. He was visibly uncomfortable and seemed to have very little idea of what to do. His girlfriend stepped in, and these two women had a violent argument. The bus driver, myself and several other people were able to get this woman who had groped this man off of the bus. He was so quiet afterward, and he looked like a deer headlights. A lot of passengers tried to say she was coming on to him, or trying to steal him from his girlfriend. At one point I said to him, that was sexual harassment, and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. He said thank you, and he calmed down a little bit. This incident revived my anger toward people who believe that men are not capable of being raped or sexually harassed. In reality, nearly 50% of rape victims are men. Because our society thinks men cannot be victims, women take advantage of this, by telling these men that this is what they really want, and societal pressure discourages these men from saying no. After all, aren’t men the ones who will sleep with anyone, and who sleep around all the time?

I had to word the title of this article in a way that didn’t make it sound like it was about men preventing women from being victims of rape and harassment. I already have a blog entry on that topic. We need to talk about what men are forced to go through, and we need to do it fairly and compassionately.

1. Say No: No means no, period. When you say no you make it very clear that you do not want whatever that woman or man wants from your body. Your body belongs to you and no one has the right to invade it, or force you to use your body in a way that you don’t want to. I don’t care if you’ve never had sex before, I don’t care if you have never had a girlfriend before, I don’t care if you really like her. Don’t convince yourself that you have to meet a societal standard more than protect yourself from harm. If she tells you that she’ll accuse you of assaulting her, remember that you said no. You never consented to this behavior so even if she accuses you of something you didn’t do, you are safe.

2. Fight Back: Even when I was a kid, we were taught not to hit girls. Any woman who assaults you is exempt from that rule. You have every right to defend yourself from anyone who attacks you because that is the law. Women are not the weaklings that people think we are, we give birth, and I promise you we can seriously hurt someone if we want to.

Self defense is something that everyone in the world can learn. You do not have to be Bruce Lee, or have some sort of special talent in order to learn self defense. If you want to study a specific style, even better. Self defense also raises self confidence, and empowers you.

3. Carry Pepper Spray: Pepper spray is typically associated with being a woman’s weapon, but in reality, both genders can use pepper spray. Cops carry it, mailmen (and women) carry it. Last summer, a male college student was able to subdue a gunmen on campus by using pepper spray on him. State laws about the carrying and usage of pepper spray vary, so it is a good idea to do some research before you decide to get it. Just about everyone with at least half a brain is scared of it because it is extremely painful, and when inhaled can make a person’s throat close up. Therefore, only use it if you are in serious danger. I guarantee you, that a woman attempting to assault you will back off the instant you spray her.

Check out this cool video about how to use pepper spray: How To Use Pepper Spray

4. Be Mindful Who You Date: Don’t lower your standards, make sure that the woman you are interested in is really worth your time. A woman who is confident, respects your space, is interested in who you are, is mot likely a good woman to be around. It’s perfectly all right to ask people who know this about her personality, or what she is interested in. It may surprise you how honest people are when you do this. If someone warns you about a particular behavior, then this is a red flag. Stay away, you deserve better.

5. Pull Up Your Pants and Put a Shirt On: Many women are put off by men who do this, I know I am. I don’t want to see a stranger’s underwear, or even his breasts and abs. For some reason it has become socially acceptable for men to walk around half naked. Unfortunately, when you advertise your body, women will look. And women will desire what they see. Many women are good at giggling, making a cute comment o their girlfriend about it, and moving on with their life. A lot of women catcall shirtless men, and they think it’s okay. Well, it isn’t. Catcalling is inappropriate and creepy. You don’t sexually advance on a stranger. If you really have to mow your lawn shirtless in the middle of summer, then be prepared to tell any woman who harasses you to leave you alone.

6. Report It: Reporting harassment and rape is embarrassing and frightening. Many precincts don’t treat male rape victims like they deserve any support and justice. The more men report what has happened to them, the more it will be taken seriously. The more it is taken seriously, the greater the consequences will be, and hopefully discourage women from taking advantage of men.

7. Don’t leave your drink unattended: Men have been raped by both women and men with the date rape drug, and it happens more often than you think. What makes the date rape drug so frightening is that it not only renders you powerless, but it also makes it hard for you to recall what happened to you, so you cant even defend yourself.

8. Men are victims before they reach adulthood: Thousands upon thousands boys and teens are taken advantage of by members of their family, family friends, school teachers, camp counselors, coaches, neighbors, priests, celebrities, and even their parents. Your sons need to know how to defend themselves. They need to know who is their family and in their neighborhood is safe, and who isn’t. They need to be aware of the reality that people prey on little boys, and that they are not only protected by you, but that they can protect themselves.

Statutory rape is probably one of the most ridiculous laws in America, because it makes a teen girl automatically the victim, and the teen boy automatically the aggressor. This is not fair, because in a situation where the girl is 16, but the boy is 15, the boy is considered the rapist, even if he was actually raped by the girl. Teens are going to have sex, but it is our responsibility as parents to keep tabs on who they hang out with and where they are going. Teens need to be aware of what is healthy sex and what is not.

How Women Can Prevent Sexual Harassment and Assault
January 24, 2015

No one, man or woman, deserves to be harassed. Today I was reading an article about street harassment and I started thinking to myself, this doesn’t happen to me very often, why is that? I am in downtown New Haven constantly. I walk around town constantly. What makes me less of a target than these other women? Once I was able to answer that question for myself, it occurred to me that these women are fully capable of doing the same things that I do.

1. Carry Pepper Spray: Be sure to check with your local police department about what laws regarding carrying pepper spray may exist in your state. Here in Connecticut, it is legal to carry pepper spray, and you cannot be charged with assault if you use it to protect yourself. But not every state is the same. Even so, pepper spray is generally more frightening than a gun or a knife. I accidentally hit myself with my pepper spray a while back and I can tell you it is extremely painful. A lot of people know this, and simply pointing it in the direction of someone who is harassing you, or attempting to assault you, can deescalate the situation long enough for you to run away. And don’t feel bad if you spray someone who assaulted you, because their feelings don’t matter once they cross the line. Also, see this great how to video about how to use pepper spray: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4XfKU5YhS8

2. Be Unapproachable: I know that we all want to be nice and social in public. When I am waiting for the city bus, the last thing I am interested in is being nice and social. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t chat with people on occasion, but, if someone is acting inappropriately toward you, don’t feel like you owe it to them to respect their feelings. If someone says something explicit to you, they certainly don’t respect you. Tell them very loudly to get away from you. If they don’t, walk away. If they follow you, find the nearest woman and stand beside her (Also tell your children, if they are ever lost, to find a woman with a baby). Get your pepper spray ready. If he continues harassing you, call the police. If he gets to close, tries to touch you, spray him.

Another way to be unapproachable is to never stand in the same place for too long. Men who are planning to harass or assault a woman in plain view of the public tend to slowly cozy up to you. Sometimes he’ll act friendly at first, until there are about a couple inches between you and him, and it usually escalates to him trying to put his arm on you, or touch you elsewhere. If you see a man trying to get cozy, walk away five or ten feet. If you are at a bus stop, and a bus pulls up that isn’t your’s, get out of that crowd. People who are so focused on boarding the bus, won’t be very good witnesses if someone touches you. These crowds are also dangerous because this is when pick-pocketing happens, given that everyone is preoccupied.

3. Don’t Act Intimidated: City atmospheres are busy and hyperactive. There’s lots of people moving around all the time, and it can be overstimulating. Understand that this will never change. It’s your duty to act like it is not bothering you. I have a severe crowd phobia, but I doubt anyone knows that.

Men who are planning to rob someone, or assault someone, typically pace in front of their target like a lion in a cage. If you see a man doing this to you several times, make eye contact with him. Let him know that you know he exists, and you don’t take your eyes off of him. He won’t like that, because he wants to creep up on you, so you can’t defend yourself. Get out your pepper spray and make sure he can see it. Eye contact is a threatening behavior, so there is a chance he may still approach you. Warn him not to come closer or he will be sprayed. If he doesn’t listen, spray him, and get away immediately.

A few years ago, I was downtown around 7:15 pm, and a man kept pacing in front of a high school student at the bus stop. This girl very loudly told him to leave her alone, which is how I knew what was happening. I got up from my seat and walked over to her, and took out my pepper spray. He continued to pace for several minutes and I watched him like a hawk the entire time. He finally got the message that I was not going to let up, and he walked away down the street. There were several more times that we saw him downtown, but he never behaved that way toward myself or this young woman again.

4. Don’t Tell People Your Personal Information/Business: This should go without saying, but sadly, it doesn’t. If you do talk to people, don’t tell them where you go to school, or where you work. Don’t give them your phone number, address, etc. Not even facebook. Granted, I do have conversations with people who take the same buses as me, and are students at my college, because I have seen them several times. And there are people who I see downtown often who never start trouble, and even look out for each other. So conversation is at your discretion. But the people I talk to, don’t know anything about me unless I want them to.

Don’t tell people your life story, either. No one you just met needs to know what your problems are. And if you are that willing to tell people every single aspect of your life, you are an easy target to be taken advantage of. If someone tries to tell you their life story, do yourself, and them a favor by letting them know you aren’t interested.

5. Don’t Let People Push You Onto the Bus: A lot of people over the years have shoved themselves against my back because they can’t wait to get on the bus. Don’t ever let someone get away with this. This is dangerous, not just because they can push you onto the ground, but they can also push you into someone else, who can fall and get hurt. This pushing behavior is also how people ‘cop a feel’. Unfortunately my butt has been felt or grabbed during situations like this. Whenever someone starts shoving me, I start backing up into them. This makes women stop it immediately. I have driven my elbows into the stomachs of men who do this. The stomach is a very weak point on a man, and it’s a larger area than the groin and much easier to get to. I have also had many loud arguments with people who shove, which often times has made the driver refuse to let them board the bus.

6. Don’t Give People Money: I don’t care how polite this person is, how in need they may seem, DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY. I don’t care if they have a child with them, or if they are a child. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY. That money will most likely be used for drugs, not food, not a bus fare. Also, do not buy anything off of anyone on the street. Whenever you make any kind of transaction on the street, every panhandler learns that you have enough money to give away. This opens you up to someone who is desperate, and might try to rob you. In addition, if someone approaches you, and says they are hungry, and you have some food with you, offer it to them. If they refuse it, then they aren’t actually looking for food. My favorites are the people who ask me to buy them food, and I offer them some food I have, and they refuse it. Those people are just trying to steal your credit/debit card information, or see where you like to store your purse or wallet so that they can try snatching it.

Why is this a way to prevent sexual harassment or assault? People who are looking for targets, are very observant. If they see you give things away, then that means to them that you will give away your body, too. You are easy to approach, easy to deal with, and you don’t put up a fight.

7. Don’t Dress Provocatively: I know that this is very controversial, but it has been my experience that whenever I have dressed in my nicer clothing, or in skirts, tank tops, or anything that shows some skin, I have been approached far more than when I am wearing sweatpants and a hoody. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been approached while wearing a variety of clothing. But my belief is, there’s only one reason why you want to show something off. Yes, we have the right to wear whatever we want, but our actions have reactions. If you are walking around downtown, or waiting for the city bus in a skirt that barely covers your butt, and your breasts practically hanging out, you have lowered your integrity. The lower your integrity is, the more of a target you become. It’s very easy for men to say you were asking for it, when you wear a for sale sign.

8. And lastly, Learn Self Defense: A woman who can defend herself physically, is a very powerful woman. Anyone can learn any type of self defense. I started training in Kenpo when I was 7 years old, and I continuously watch various self defense training videos on youtube. Visit the information desk/office at your college to see when they will have self defense classes. If they don’t do them, recommend that they do. Encourage people you know to do the same. Ask around to see if your town or city has a place that offers short term self defense training, or free classes. Visit your local martial arts school if you are interested in a particular style. You don’t have to be athletic or in shape to take these classes. You don’t have to have some special talent or be Bruce Lee. Self defense is for everyone. And don’t be afraid to hit someone who is trying to hurt you. An attacker sacrifices his/her well being the instant they attack you.

I like myself. I like compliments, too.
January 15, 2015

The Huffington Post had a very bizarre “social experiment” on their site today, regarding how a woman received compliments, and the reactions men had to what that woman said. The woman was given compliments by random men she chose to speak to. She responded to these compliments with “I know”, occasionally a “thank you”, but mostly comments which would be seen as conceited or even unappreciative. This was a failed social experiment because the language used, is a severe hot button in any conversation, whether or not it is flirtatious. There are no alternative scenarios, in which a man responds to compliments from women, including male to male and female to female conversations. We could even go as far as to include conversations among friends, and gauge those reactions too. I have a strong suspicion that the majority of the people giving compliments, male and female, would be put off by a response like “I know”.

My primary issue with this experiment, in addition to its sloppy execution. is the deep seeded undertone that if I am a woman, I am somehow too perfect or special to take a compliment. I think it is the epitome of arrogance, when a woman constantly believes that every time a man, or anyone, compliments them, it is because that person is trying to validate them. Because the general public has nothing better to do with their lives, than worry about making sure that you feel absolutely perfect all the time.

Compliments within themselves have multiple purposes. Some are, unfortunately, used to insult other people. For example, when a 40 year old women encounters a 20 year old woman, and “compliments” the younger woman’s thin waist. Sometimes compliments are fake, just to pretend there is a good relationship there, or because you are co-workers and you have no choice but to “get along”. Compliments are also used as a flirtatious behavior, just because that is one of many ways that humans court each other. But I generally believe that the majority of compliments are given as a sign of respect to the person they are given to. When I compliment someone, it is because I like that person, and I want them to know that I like them, because they are human and they deserve to be liked.

There are also phrases or terms people use in the guise of a compliment, which are really inappropriate. Telling anyone that they are hot and sexy, or constantly telling anyone that they are pretty or handsome, is a severely sexist and appearance oriented thought process (saying these things rarely, in a different context, is not what I am talking about). It has nothing to do with the personality or interests of the person being spoken to. In 2011, 2NE1 came out with a single titled “Ugly”, which targeted the over-complimenting that Korea’s society does to women, as well as the societal obsession with plastic surgery. This over-complimenting is often the use of the word “pretty”, the users of that word often desire to look exactly like the person they are referring to. This is an inappropriate validation, and 2NE1 decided that the term “ugly” needed to be redefined. Simply put, you think prettiness is based on an unrealistic, plastic body. Therefore pretty does not exist, and since you cannot perceive a non-existent thing, you do not have permission to use it to describe me. Ugly is the opposite of pretty, therefore it is real.

However, this experiment that Huffington Post reported on, did not send the same message as 2NE1 did. Instead, this article told us that if a man says something nice to a woman, and she never says thank you and simply agrees, that he should just put up with that. Well no, he shouldn’t, for two reasons: He gave you that compliment because he respects you, and has taken the time to pay attention to who you are, and if you throw it away, that is ungrateful. The other reason is that you just told women they do not need to be complimented because they do not need a man’s approval, but that agreeing with what a man says is a way for a woman to use what he says to be validated. So you are putting yourself in a situation where ultimately, you are being “demeaned” by a man, and putting this man in a situation where he is “oppressing” you. Or I could rephrase that as you believe that women need to agree with what men say about them, because they do not need to be validated by men. You are oppressing women with this logic, and you are doing it in the guise of the word “feminism”. How dare you.

This should not be a debate about whether or not I deserve to be validated by what anyone says. I don’t feel that way, because I like the person that I am. I am also glad when people care to tell me that they enjoy something about me, because meaning something to that person is a good thing. So in essence the debate should be about whether or not I deserve to be respected, and my answer is yes. Even so, when I am given respect, it is my responsibility to return that respect, either with thank you, or another polite term. Even saying something tactful such as “There are times when I feel the same way about myself”, is fine, because it is an expression of humility. When someone sees you for who you are, truly sees you, not themselves, and shows you that, that is their expression of humility as well. If you throw that back into that person’s face, as though it means nothing to you, then your right to be respected by that person has been lost. No man or woman has to ever take that from you, and your gender does not give you special permission to treat someone in a disrespectful way.

Target’s White Bias Ad Campaign – Everyone Take a Breather
January 1, 2015

Before we go into hyperventilation mode, let me make something very clear to my readers: As a biracial woman in this country, I can tell you that while white bias campaign ads are toxic, they are not the root of the issue. The issue I’m referring to is the fact that our civil rights are still underrepresented in the justice system. I say “the” instead of “our” because it does not belong to us. It was not written for us, it was not made by us. I think we are the last people who would create such a vicious, broken and dishonest system. Just like when they decided we could be set free, we’ll have to fix the problems and pick up the pieces that they created for us.

Target Under Fire For Using White Model In ‘Annie’ Clothing Ads

My fear is that the young model in this ad will be attacked purely because Target were the ones who made the mistake. She is a child, probably with only one quarter of the average adult population’s common sense. I highly doubt this young woman said to herself “I will accept this job as a model to screw over black people”, or alternatively would have thought “I won’t take this job because it feeds into white bias that I want no part in”. If anything, this should be a good lesson for her about integrity, and what certain careers can do for your character in the long term. (Knowing how the child-star culture works though, I doubt she had any choice in the matter).

Getting back to the toxicity of bias campaign ads… My childhood was filled with them. I don’t recall any commercials that featured black children, and if I did see them, probably no more than what I can count on one hand. Couple that with living in a white neighborhood, and going to predominantly white schools, black folk were rare. Anyone with skin darker than mine, was rare. I remember a school I went to in Atlanta, GA however, which was an all black school except for four white kids, technically myself included. It was different for me, being ten years old and not having fully grasped race relations yet. The world was blacker than even I had known it to be, and that’s really something coming from a child who is part Nigerian. So these bias ads, I think they, combined with other factors, do a very good job of misrepresenting what the real world looks like.

I’m certainly not going to sit here and say we’ve come a long way, or that we are better than we were before, because if you consider choking a man to death for selling cigarettes, or shooting a teenager for walking down the middle of the street a better world, you are sadly mistaken. We might not be working the fields, but aside from having flashier clothing/hair/nails, we are the exact same as we were a hundred years ago. And why, in the holy fucks of fucks, are we putting up with it? It’s not like we woke up this morning and for the first time realized that the world is working against us.

Protests, specifically peaceful ones, are wonderful to see. I will not condemn the riots, because as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Rioting is the voice of the unheard.” Yes, we have been unheard, and a lot of us have given up on ever being heard. But protests are not enough. We have plenty of great minds in this country, young, old and in between, who can enter the system that is unjust, and bring justice the way it should be brought. It wasn’t the lack of hand holding, it was the hatred, inequality, unfairness and evil that broke Martin Luther King Jr.’s heart.

The Black Bible Thumper and the White Savior.
December 19, 2014

There are two things on this planet that scare the living shit out of me: The black bible thumper, and the white savior. I can’t figure out which one is worse, so I’m going to call them both equally terrible, equally racist.

The black bible thumper is any black person who devotes themselves to Christianity so heavily that they insert it into every conversation and shove it down your throat. If you aren’t careful, you might be called a demon or the voice of the devil if you don’t agree with and accept everything they tell you.

The white savior is a strange person who goes out of their way to prove they aren’t racist by “saving” black folk. We often call this behavior a complex. White saviors think they if they “save” us, then somehow we will decide society isn’t oppressing us. Racism won’t really be a serious issue anymore. Bottom line, there’s nothing more racist than trying to prove you aren’t racist.

The reason why I fear the black bible thumper, is because unlike white bible thumpers, they have taken a weapon of hate and aimed it at the descendants of people who were, and still are hated. Slaves were often rounded up in large groups and were repeatedly read passages from the bible that speak about slavery. For example, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)” That is just one of many, and it is so gross that I prefer not to quote any other passages. It’s one thing when white people spread hate, but it’s another thing when black people spread hate and don’t even realize they are doing it. When you worship something like that, you have decided it is an okay way to live. You’ve decided you, and people like you, are supposed to be slaves.

Why is it worse when a black person hates other black people? For starters, whether we want to admit it or not, the color line does exist. We are all human but we do not look exactly the same. Therefore this kind of hatred is a betrayal. And the black bible thumper can try and justify it all they want, but that white person is going to hate you, oppress you and benefit from it all the same.

The reason why I fear the white savior, is because as long as this diffusion of responsibility exists, racism will exist. We cannot stop racism by ourselves, we have to have everyone join the fight against it. But the white savior is a snobbish beast who is hellbent on being the one who saves that black person from an uncertain doom. Or decides to be nice and recommend a college we might like. Or repeatedly remind us we are smart, because you know, we need permission to be smart, and you are certainly the one who can tell the difference. I don’t need you to ensure my future, because I can do that just fine on my own.

What makes the white savior so damn horrible? Read this: http://deadspin.com/the-blind-side-lady-shares-a-heartwarming-racial-profil-1671442935 Ms. Tuohy, you could have just left them alone.

If You’re Not With Us, You’re Against Us
December 7, 2014

Social media is a powerful tool for spreading the word. Even so, I have had the displeasure of coming across many things suggesting or outright saying that the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were justified. That if the media says “white cop killed a black man”, they are playing the race card. The media is calling it as it is.

At this point, if you are not with us, you are against us. If you turn a blind eye, if you say we pull the race card, if you say a cop has the right to shoot an unarmed 18 year old who was fleeing for his life, if you say choking Eric Garner to death was justified because he was selling cigarettes, then you are my enemy. You are what is preventing me, and people like me, from being treated like human beings.

Let’s temporarily set aside Eric Garner and Michael Brown, to talk about more people who have been victims of police brutality and murders. Aiyana Stanley Jones was asleep on the couch in the living room when she was fatally shot by Officer Weekley with a submachine gun. You can read the article here: http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/aiyana-stanley-jones/ Aiyana was seven years old. Assuming the flash bang grenade is true, and assuming Weekley was blinded, he could not have seen Aiyana to know she was black. I’m not sure what race card can be played here. The point I’m making is that someone’s little girl is dead at the hands of two cops who did not care about the lives and safety of the people in that home.

Now let’s talk about Malik Jones. Sadly, I didn’t know about this story because in 1997 I was living in Atlanta when it happened, but I wish I had. Malik was chased by police into a parking lot, blocked in, and supposedly was ramming his car into at least one cop car. Fearing that Malik would ram his car again, the officer got out of his vehicle, went to the driver side window of Malik’s car, smashed it with his gun and then fired into the driver side four times, killing Malik. You can read about that too: http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140817/emma-jones-relives-97-east-haven-police-shooting-of-son-malik-in-ferguson-case Here are more facts: Malik was black, the officer was white. Malik did not have any firearms. Some might argue his car was a weapon, but, three cop cars blocked him in, so whether or not he was ramming their cars is uncertain. Were the cops really ramming into Malik’s car? Why didn’t this officer order him to turn off the vehicle and exit it?

The duty of every police department, and the duty of every police officer in the United States is to serve and protect. You serve the people means that you are here for the people. Protecting the people means that you are not judge, jury and executioner, instead that you are here to prevent harm from coming to civilians. We are the people and we have the civil right to live, and you are here to serve and protect that civil right. If you, police officer, do not protect that civil right, then you are not an officer but a criminal hiding behind a badge. Power can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

There are multiple solutions to this problem; some of which are obvious and some which are not. But the best way to solve this issue is to look at what it stems from. Think about all of the black folks during the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s, who were beaten, murdered, sprayed with fire hoses, arrested without being read their rights and jailed for things they did not do, or for enormous amounts of time. They demanded equality, and the law no longer be used as a weapon against them. They raised their voices and resisted. That resistance had so much power that it inadvertently helped teach cops to be extra afraid of blacks and what they might do if an officer tries to violate their civil rights. Cops are still trying to stop us from resisting their attempts to dehumanize us. Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does not matter to these cops any more than it did over five decades ago. Over hundreds of years ago.

Sadly, a local artist I know had written on Facebook that she condoned an officer choking a white man who allegedly resisted arrest. In the video footage, the man is standing still while being handcuffed, and the officer in question simply walks up to and starts choking this man. The justification this woman used in her Facebook post, is that anyone who is committing a crime, anyone who is resisting arrest, deserves to be choked or shot. We are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. In other words, it is not a crime until we have been convicted of it. No one of any race, gender, age, deserves to be subjected to that abuse by police. I promptly removed this person from my friends list, because I feel betrayed. It is a horrible day when police brutality can turn black folk against their own people. Someday she may be a victim of police brutality because she is black. I wonder if then, she’ll believe she deserved it.

If you are not with us, you are against us.

Feminism is a Fancy Word for Sexism
November 16, 2014

Here’s the problem with American society: We spend so much time and effort on discussing and fixing the problems that women face. Doing so undermines the problems that men face daily, and makes it seem like women are the only victims on this planet. Throw feminists into the mix, who will bash women for wearing dresses and make-up, bully men but expect respect in return, and we have to wonder, who is the real bully here? The amount of times I’ve been bullied by a man, I can count on a couple of hands at best. The amount of times I’ve been bullied by a woman… I lost count a long time ago. Men tell women to be more feminine, and women tell women to be more masculine. My response to that is, I’ll do whatever and live however I damn well feel like living. Period.

I don’t think we understand just how demeaning it is to women as a whole, when we repeatedly tell the world that we are victims. That doesn’t mean that sexism, rape, pro-lifers don’t exist. But if you hear that men are out to get you every single day, all day long, that you have fewer opportunities, fewer rights, fewer pay, it doesn’t feel very good, does it? Awareness of a problem has never done anything to fix a problem. Perhaps the right women who support women stepping up to the plate as leaders, and being voted into office will be more effective.

The news doesn’t like to report on it, but men and women have similar problems. Men have to have big muscles and penises. Women have to have large breasts and butts. If a man is abused by a woman, then it’s his fault for not being man enough to stop it. If a woman is abused by a man, then it’s her fault because she did something to deserve it. Men have to bring home the bacon, pay the bills, have a nice car, have a high-paying job, and regularly prove that they are a man by doing “manly” things. Women have to raise the kids, clean the house, cook dinner, wear make-up, and dress up. There is equal pressure on both sides from both sexes to be a certain way, otherwise you are a failure to society as a whole. That’s a frightening and dangerous notion, that you fail at being a part of society. This is the concept which was used to institutionalize people with disabilities, and women during the Victorian period. This is how Jim Crow laws were made.

That being said, I believe in women who can be astronauts, presidents/world leaders, athletes in all sports, construction workers, firefighters, police officers, and being good people. I also believe in empowering men to do the same things, but most importantly, being good people. Respect is a two way street, and if you don’t give it, you won’t get it. Bottom line ladies, if you treat a man like shit, he does not owe you respect. Or as Whoopi Goldberg said in response to THIS video, “If you slap a man, don’t be surprised if you get slapped back.” What angers me most about this video, is that no one appeared to defend this man. So being a man who has to “act manly” automatically makes him less worthy of respect, space and safety? A woman who was being taunted and assaulted by three men probably would have been defended by at least one person on that subway car.

When it comes to empowering both sexes, the idea of strength and what makes a man or woman strong, is severely skewed. Superheroes, for example, are often men like Thor or Hercules, who are your basic “jock” personalities. They have the physical strength to take down giant monsters, but as you’ve seen in many Marvel films, Thor hits things, and when that doesn’t work, he hits it again. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. That is the ultimate weakness, to be a slave to what society expects of you as a man. Physical strength is fine and dandy, but a man who doesn’t think for himself, doesn’t respect other people, doesn’t take steps to educate himself about his craft and the world, is a weak man.

The other skew is a female character who’s primary attribute is beating the living hell out of other characters. That is NOT a strong woman. I don’t have anything against women studying martial arts, especially given my background in studying self defense. My character is not all about how hard I can punch someone else. This is why I admire Wae Ming-na’s character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., who is a strong martial artist, but also a profoundly emotional character. Women are usually stereotyped negatively for showing emotion (as are men), but Ming-na is able to portray anger, sadness, love, regret, humor, and many other emotions which make us human. That’s the point, after all, that we are all human beings no matter our gender.

Sadly, we probably will never get rid of sexism completely. But we can certainly stop attacking people for who they are. A prime example is attacking men who are gay, because they aren’t “man enough”. I say, if you are genetically born male, then you are a man. Nothing in this world, not your clothes, your personality, your race, anything, can change your genetics. Doing things that hurt other people will certainly garner disrespect, but that doesn’t make you less of a man or woman, that just means that you’ve hurt a lot of people and karma has had a field day with you. In short, if you want sexism to stop, stop being sexist.

Groundbreaking? Really?
April 28, 2014

The definition of groundbreaking is: “breaking new ground; innovative; pioneering.”

It’s one thing when we say that the original Star Trek series was groundbreaking for its time. It was, not because of Uhura and Kirk kissing, but because of the multi-cultural cast. Understand at the time, having Nichelle Nichols on the show, in such prominence and atypical portrayal was rare. There are shows in 2014 with black characters who can’t even get that right!

I’m not about to jump on the “I hate Frozen” bandwagon. I won’t jump on the “Frozen is groundbreaking!” bandwagon either. I saw the film with my friend and we both enjoyed the story. I don’t have a problem with the movie at all, aside from the lack of non-white characters. (Disney seems to do it wrong every time they try to include a black person in their stories so maybe it’s best that they don’t torture us). Bottom line, Frozen does everything that’s already been done.

Sister Archetype: The older sister is usually one of these: Responsible, wise or mature. The younger sister is usually carefree. Elsa fits into this mold because of her maturity. She may hide from Arendelle’s people, but in her conversations with Anna and other characters, her mind is well beyond her years (approx. 18). Anna spends most of her time running all over the ice mountain biome fighting mobs.

I apologize for the Minecraft reference. Moving on.

The plot: Long story short, it’s based on a legend about an ice princess. There’s nothing new about Disney adapting a fairytale/legend/folklore.

True Love Cures Curse: Sure, the true love was between the sisters and not Anna and Kristof. Nice twist. I can’t even count how many stories I’ve read and seen, in which there’s a spell or curse that is cured by true love, kiss included. Sleeping Beauty is a prime example of this.

Strong Female Characters: Anna is like Scarlet O’Hara, or Lara Croft, in the ice mountain biome. I’m not saying weak female characters are a good thing, but we have plenty of strong women to look up to. Strong men are far and few between these days. I don’t think Disney has ever made a male character who is feminist – THAT would be groundbreaking.

Anna gets with Kristof: Yep, male to female pairing, as usual. Both the same ethnicity too.

So please stop calling Frozen this film that does things we’ve never seen before. It’s a movie your kids should definitely watch, because it’s so unexpected in terms of how the characters behave toward each other. Disney did tweak their formula, but they didn’t re-write it.