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Mommafucious: Final Thoughts for 2015, Part III

Kwanzaa 2014 Flyer

UMass photo

Final Thoughts for 2015, Part III: This is part three because I know that tomorrow, there will be more uncluttered ruminations.

Happy Kwanzaa, Everyone

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UJIMA -collective work and responsibility.

In 1985, Whitney Houston sang,

I believe the children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

 

I woke up this morning hearing these lyrics, first penned by Linda Creed in 1977 in The Greatest Love of All. But it was Houston’s 1985 voice and image that added the emphasis of Black and mother; love and hearth. I smiled because my children are out there in the world making the most of what this world has to offer them. And then as I settled in with coffee and a mouse, there were other visions.

 

The first article was of 2,000 youths rioting in a mall and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods of St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky where responding officers were busy “keeping people safe” and had no time for arrests.  The teens were described as unruly. One interview with a police officer described the scene as a fight and the barrage of calls to authorities a misunderstanding. He claimed from the outskirts of the crowd, it sounded worse than the incident actually was. Had it not been for various other reports of the youths spilling out into the streets, neighboring brawls and civil unrest from other news stations, his statement would have charmed the public into the “kids being bad” narrative.

 

The second article, a Chicago, Illinois family dispute between a father and son ending in the 19-year-old son, Quintonio LeGrier and a 55-year-old neighbor Bettie Jones shot dead by responding law enforcement, closed the nation’s conversation. Everyone is now safe.

 

The eeriest of this was the “Top Stories” ticker tape streaming across the screen’s bottom while the reporter described the Chicago scene. Floods, terror threats, fires, and of course the 1000-2000 “unruly-youths.” Media matters. I rolled back to the late 20th century argument against indicating the race of offenders when they are non-White and media bias in reporting. We fought for equal reporting, but we as Blacks were not there as yet within our communities. We worried more about respectability politics than respect for our lives.

Black abolitionist and writers sought to humanize the African and African civilization to the rest of the world before and after Reconstruction. But humanity loves and hates, it is pristine and messy, it is clear and polluted, and it is raw. We cannot dismiss this in our fight for recognition in all that is human. To dismiss any part of our human selves is to create an inhuman and inhumane approach to each other. No other body denies or denigrates its broken limbs as we do. They sting and burn and seek attention. The kind of attention easily utilized by the Other as they deny, yet understand that it is a part of their whole. This is our worry. This is our politics.

WorthyLIFE

w-dervish.blogspot.com

 

We understand that “All Lives Matter,” yet until a child was torn from us in public, with no regard from the perpetrator or authorities, did some realize that Blacks lives were never a part of that “All.” So we proclaimed, “Black Lives Matter.” The world rumbled on all sides. A burning CVS said, “They are not worthy as yet. The media showed the photo of a burning CVS more than the body of our young lying on the streets as an omen; — more than it popularized the burning of Black Wall Street.

 

I am not a fan of R. Kelly, but I did respect him for walking out on the Huffington Post interview.  We choose our heroes, not by merit, but by our own demented biases. He refused to be beaten by his challenges and that is ok too. Bill Cosby has challenges that are multiplied by his present game of Dodge Ball. With Cosby, the African American community is divided by respectability politics and nostalgia on one end and rape culture on the other. Is this so for R. Kelly? Can we enjoy his music and still guard our children as parents are wont to do? I have never had a problem enjoying Woody Allen’s genius, but I definitely would not hire him as a babysitter.

 

So what is our solution? When do we get real? In the 1980’s, I saw a White man outside of the Wall St. Stock Exchange dressed in an expensive suit smoking crack at a phone kiosk. No one in my periphery snarled, sloped away, or even acknowledged him. We might determine it was because he was white, or wealthy, or manicured, any of the deference we do not grant the common man. I thought of privilege; of the friends and world that grants him a stumble and help him rise again. Dr. Bernard LaFayette communicated, if I may paraphrase, that it is not the one community that supports an idea that gives it power; it is the millions worldwide that support it making the difference in the power it wields. But I have also been told that each drop of water creates an ocean.

 

When do we find enough credibility in our community despite our broken homes, gang violence, drug addiction, economic marginalization, illiteracy, and sagging pants? Every nation of immigrants has faced the same challenges in America. The difference is they were human when they arrived. They banded together in their ghettos, not around their achievements, but around their challenges. They climbed mountains together knowing that some may fall and others, in doing so, may add dead weight. But they held the rope, pulled each other up and never let go.

 

“The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all”

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Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

DeRay McKesson, like most of our young protesters, has had to have a thick skin during the past year. He has been the subject of many attacks surely aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is now referred to by some journalist and agencies as a “professional protester.” Now, Yale University is giving this new civil rights activist and chronicler a platform to show that he is more than any of the disparaging symbols forced on our conscience.

Those that have not supported McKesson, nor championed his energy during the many protests against Black genocide held around the country, may have to rethink all of what they have heard and seen. What lies behind the mask?  
If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.

But social media was our weapon against erasure. It is how many of us first became aware of the protests and how we learned where to go, or what to do when teargassed, or who to trust. We were able to both counter the narrative being spun by officials while connecting with each other in unprecedented ways. Many of us became friends digitally, first. And then we, the protestors, met in person.

Social media allowed us to become our own storytellers. With it, we seized the power of our truth.

Source: Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

Bryant Gumbel: ‘My Son Was Arrested for Walking While Black’ (Aug. 6, 2015) | Charlie Rose

Bryant Gumbel to Charlie Rose:

“It’s like, NO! Stop! Stop! This has nothing to do with the victims. This has everything to do with the culture of demeaning a person of color. And… and there is no justification for society where my son has a far greater chance of being stopped, held, killed than your son.”

Bryant Gumbel‘s statements in this video isolated the main point of the #BlackLivesMatter movement away from the detracting “blame the victim” or the personal claims of those in communities with a lesser chance of experiencing institutional brutalities en masse.

Social Media has been ravaged with videos, memes, and postings decrying #BlackLivesMatter with Black on Black crime scenarios. We would expect this backlash from the ignorant and racist poor counterculture. Sadly, however, some Black individuals, too ignorant of the separation in discourse, have also hijacked the same rhetoric, not realizing its self-deprecating and dangerous implications.

Whites killing Whites, Hispanics killing Hispanics, Blacks killing Blacks, Europeans killing Europeans, and Africans killing Africans need their own hashtags. They are not to be commingled into a conversation which is politically, visually, and academically set apart to be addressed. In other words, if you are so concerned about the amount of violence in your ethnicity, race, class, or gender, study it, write about it, encapsulate it to the point that when those outside of that intra-conversation attempt to open their mouths, their breaths are as starved as their brains for lack of oxygen.

Published on Aug 6, 2015

via Bryant Gumbel: ‘My Son Was Arrested for Walking While Black’ (Aug. 6, 2015) | Charlie Rose – YouTube.

On #BlackLivesMatter and Defending Bernie Sanders – YouTube

Jay Smooth puts the moment in sync once again.
My two cents on the disruption of the Bernie Sanders speech in Seattle last week, and the pushback it sparked from some Sanders supporters.

via On #BlackLivesMatter and Defending Bernie Sanders – YouTube.

Published on Aug 15, 2015
http://twitter.com/jsmooth995

Bernie Sander’s supporters are quite upset with the women of #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLifeMatter is not playing fair. Sander’s supporters have always been the catalyst for liberal and progressive change. But they have also been the gatekeepers monitoring Black dialogue leading to Black Progress.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement does recognize, yet storms the gates of the past Liberal parenting fortress.  These women mean business. They want a candidate that can articulate his intentions toward righting centuries of Black trauma. If this is Bernie, he had better speak up.

Oath Keepers Under Attack For Going To Ferguson – Then Its President Dropped A Truth Bomb

Far from wanted to be seen as a threat, [Stewart] Rhodes [President of Oath Keepers] explained that his group traveled to Ferguson with weapons in tow as a lesson to those who have bought into the “false choice being presented to the American people that the only way to stop arson and looters is to trample on the First Amendment rights of the protesters or to have a hypermilitarized police state.”

via Oath Keepers Under Attack For Going To Ferguson – Then Its President Dropped A Truth Bomb.

Falling in Love with the Work of Black British Filmmaker Cecile Emeke | ForHarriet

Cecile Emeke

Cecile Emeke, courtesy of ForHarriet.com

I grew up listening to stories of greatness in the Caribbean seas. My formal education is in American culture. I often wondered why I trip over photos of MLKing everywhere, while Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian of St. Kitts, my childhood hero, is seldom noticed. Thank you, #ForHarriet. #Cecile Emeke

Excerpt:

There is a large number of people who feel as though the focal point of black activism and black success is and has always been centred on Black Americans. With powerful Black American men and women from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Angela Davis, to Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey inspiring black individuals from around the world, people forget about the complexities of Black life and experiences outside of the U.S. Trying to put together a similar list of powerful Black British men is difficult. And to trying to compile a list of powerful Black British women even more so.

via Falling in Love with the Work of Black British Filmmaker Cecile Emeke.

#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian

When the Florida courts handed down the verdict freeing George Zimmerman for the death of young Trayvon Martin, there was little response from those in my locale, from those near enough for me to judge the impact on our cities in Upstate New York. Our problems flash. We are startled, and then we return to nothingness. I thought, “Wow. What heartless beasts we have become.” Still, I kept up with subsequent news articles on social media and reposted as many articles as I could find on Trayvon, his family, even the lunacies of Zimmerman. Alicia Garza of  Black Lives Matter helped me to understand that what I determined to be coldness was a slow rising unfathomable fear. Garza, her husband, and another couple were at a bar when she heard the news. She tells “The Guardian:”

“Everything went quiet, everything and everyone,” Garza says now. “And then people started to leave en masse. The one thing I remember from that evening, other than crying myself to sleep that night, was the way in which as a black person, I felt incredibly vulnerable, incredibly exposed and incredibly enraged. Seeing these black people leaving the bar, and it was like we couldn’t look at each other. We were carrying this burden around with us every day: of racism and white supremacy. It was a verdict that said: black people are not safe in America.”

#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian

Elizabeth Day’s article on the history of the Black Lives Matter, so far, tells a few stories. The changing face of Black activism such as appropriating spaces and audiences once held captive by main mass media outlets, the agile network of local activist working together nationally, power shifting from convention conservative leadership to the masses, and utilizing social media hashtags to create forums and meeting houses.

Samuel Sinyangwe, Black Lives Matter data guru states:

“We have been holding a mirror up to the nation. And we’ve shown what has been going on for a very long time: that we are being brutalised. That the state is being violent against us… The nation is now aware of the problem. Whether we can agree on a solution or not is another question but at least they acknowledge something is going on and that’s a great first step.”

But what happens after that first step? Zuckerman warns that although social media can give the illusion of empowerment, it also runs the risk of diverting attention away from the knottier problems of longer-lasting policy change.

“We’re at a moment where trust in our major institutions is at an all-time low,” he says. “When you start losing trust in those institutions, you start losing your ability to change things. Social media is a place where people feel they can move the wheel, and they’re right – they can change the representation of a gun victim in mainstream media. They can build momentum around removing the Confederate flag. But the fear is that it might be harder to make these much bigger structural changes in education or wage policy or to have a conversation about our gun culture.”

Read the entire article at The Guardian via #BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian.

Martin Luther King on the Dream & the Nightmare – #JusticeOrElse – YouTube

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’sI Have A Dream” speech and all of his peace-filled sermons are treasured tools of the American race catalog. They are the slices of King’s life that please us most. The problem with this is the same with all great leaders, – men grow up over time. All leaders eventually face realities beyond the heart and those realities are the ones of nightmares. Martin Luther King, Jr had those same revelations in the last years of his life, a secret heavily under guard.

Published on Jul 16, 2015

Minister Louis Farrakhan has advised all to study the last speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to reflect on the evolution of his message—from one of an integrationist “Dreamer” in 1963, to one of a true wide-awake revolutionary in 1968 when he was murdered.

 

Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome #RDFS – YouTube

Published on Jul 17, 2015

Times are hard, and some people are really dumb. But you’re not alone.
+ If you lol’d, click-to-tweet: http://ctt.ec/2o9D8
+ Share this on FB for those who need to see it!

The racial climate (sidenote: what a weird term) isn’t always so great in America, and with the past two years being some of the bloodiest post civil-rights-era, you have to learn to take care of yourself and not lose your mind.

via Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome #RDFS – YouTube.

Jay Smooth: 12 symbols of Southern pride actually worth celebrating – YouTube

Published on Jul 16, 2015

In this installment of the Illipsis, Jay takes on the Confederate flag and considers the ways in which Southerners can take pride in their culture without celebrating symbols of white supremacy. Jay has a message for Northerners too, namely, that they aren’t exempt from the need to grapple with the uglier parts of United States history.

via Jay Smooth: 12 symbols of Southern pride actually worth celebrating – YouTube.