Archive for the ‘Race Matters’ Category

Birth of a Nation

Posted: March 10, 2015 in Current Events, Race Matters

imageRacism is like that crazy uncle who lives on the top floor of the house and his family brings him dinner on a tray and leaves it on the floor and then knocks and runs back downstairs. That uncle is up there doing what crazy uncles do, and the family pretends he doesn’t exist, and the family NEVER acknowledges “unc” in public cuz everybody knows crazy uncle is alive and well and crazy.

Remaining oblivious on purpose is awkward but it quickly becomes normal. Until one day someone IMPORTANT decides they “NEED TO LOOK INTO” the fact that someone is harboring a crazy uncle on their premises.

Yeah, sometimes racism is like that. Some folks try to pretend it doesn’t exist.

When the video of the University of Oklahoma frat KKK kids sang their little new millennia Birth Of a Nation team spirit song, America got outraged. A lot of Black people did the slow blink. The collective national white shock and anger about overt racist issues often over-shadows the voicing of  the everyday slights and injustices that people of color live with on a constant basis. When a black person complains, its “pulling the race card.”

It’s a good, and interesting thing to see the outrage of white America when racist events are publicized. I know they wonder why our reactions vary from wild fury to indifference. I bet they’re dying to ask their one black friend who they only see at work:

“Hey how come Black people aren’t more angry about this fraternity thing?!?!?”

“Well, white people, you gotta understand we’re STILL furious from two incidences ago and Ferguson still stings and Trayvon’s not yet a distant memory and there’s Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, he was only 12 you know. We’re trying to decide if it’s safer keep our children off the streets and lock our sons in the basement till they’re about 40. We’re processing ANOTHER teen just recently being gunned down by police and we’re trying not to do a weekly body count because that’s just too frightening.  We still think about how Marissa Alexander was jailed for three years for trying to stand her ground, which we heard was a law in Florida. What’s that you say? She was finally released? The ish shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  So forgive us if we’re not throwing furniture and as shocked as you are because some privileged fraternity children do what we know people do when they think no one’s going to find out. This is the racism WE know exists that YOU try to pretend is a thing of the past. WE ARE ANGRY, but not surprised.”

The Ferguson Report was finally released and national outrage erupted because someone decided to finally “LOOK INTO” the rampant racism that people of color knew was there all along. We shall see what steps are taken to rectify the situation there. It’s fascinating how often issues like these are not considered “valid” until the situation is “studied” and then recognized by non-blacks.

I’d really like an explanation about this so-called post racial color blind nation that idealists like to pretend exists?  What the hell does post racial mean anyway, and when was the birth date? Was it November 4th 2008 A.O. (after Obama)? How about November 6th, 2012 A.O.II (second election) cuz that REALLY upset a lot of folks who couldn’t believe a brother got voted in again.

This crap is exhausting.

 

 

SELMA

Posted: January 13, 2015 in Current Events, General Interest, Race Matters

 

This is an open request – PLEASE GO SEE SELMA.

I know you have reasons why you might not go.image

To all those who lament “why do we have to keep telling these depressing stories?” I feel you. But as long as there are those who don’t know their history, or who prefer to learn their history from fictitious movies told by those who re-write history for their own commercial gain, new movies still need to get made. If you went to see D’jango, then you really need to have yourself in a seat watching Selma.

To those who can’t go to see these kinds of movies because they’re so raw, sometimes brutal, and often disturbing, I’m feeling you too. But as hard as those scenes are to watch, those are just actors, imagine how painful it was to actually experience it. So put on a couple of pair of “extra strength big girl panties” or “man up.” Knowledge is power, inspiration, and fuels appreciation for all that has preceded us.

Many say “I don’t want to see it cuz it’ll just make me mad.” I’m SO feeling you too, but you know what? You’re probably already mad about something racial; you might as well learn more of your history, so you can get that anger more focused and specific. Yes I agree with you, PLENTY of events have happened lately to be absolutely furious about.

Selma is a movie that elevates the usual civil rights movie to a higher level, including the important contributions of John Lewis, and the inclusion of the participation of Bayard Rustin.

I was six years old when the four little girls were killed in the 16th Street church bombing in Birmingham Alabama. Children are like sponges, absorbing much more than they can comprehend, I knew Alabama was way “Down South,” but I still felt scared when I watched reports of the bombing on the news, and saw the pictures in Life and Ebony magazines.  I remember seeing voting booths (which used to be enormous and had an actual curtain for privacy) at my elementary school; I thought everyone got to vote. I thought it really sucked that the people “Down South” couldn’t vote. Watching Selma yesterday brought back many memories.

If I can’t convince you, perhaps listening to Director Ava Duvernay’s interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross will help. Mz Duvernay is THE FIRST black woman EVER nominated for best director by the Golden Globes, no she didn’t win, but her skills are superlative.

Or maybe reading an excerpt from Malcom X’s last speech on February 14, 1965, here in Detroit at Ford Auditorium will help convince you.

 …Every time you pick up your newspaper, you see where one of these things has written into it that I’m advocating violence. I have never advocated any violence… I saw in the paper where they — on the television where they took this Black woman down in Selma, Alabama, and knocked her right down on the ground, dragging her down the street. You saw it, you’re trying to pretend like you didn’t see it ’cause you knew you should’ve done something about it and didn’t. It showed the sheriff and his henchmen throwing this Black woman on the ground — on the ground.

And Negro men standing around doing nothing about it saying, “Well, let’s overcome them with our capacity to love.” What kind of phrase is that? “Overcome them with our capacity to love.” And then it disgraces the rest of us, because all over the world the picture is splashed showing a Black woman a with some white brutes, with their knees on her holding her down, and full-grown Black men standing around watching it. Why, you are lucky they let you stay on earth, much less stay in the country.

When I saw it I dispatched a wire to Rockwell; Rockwell was one of the agitators down there, Rockwell, this [George] Lincoln Rockwell [leader of the American Nazi Party].

And the wire said in essence that this is to warn him that I am no longer held in check from fighting white supremacists by Elijah Muhammad’s separatist ‘Black Muslim’ movement. And that if Rockwell’s presence in Alabama causes harm to come to Dr. King or any other Black person in Alabama who’s doing nothing other than trying to enjoy their rights, then Rockwell and his Ku Klux Klan friends would be met with maximum retaliation from those of us who are not handcuffed by this nonviolent philosophy. And I haven’t heard from Rockwell since.”

Malcolm never got the opportunity to honor his pledge of protection, he was killed one week after that speech.

I’m so geeked to drum up support for Selma, I pledge to go again with anybody who needs a movie hostess. Last year I was so excited about Fruitvale Station I saw it four times. I saw The Butler three times, and 12 Years a Slave twice. Then I wrote a post begging people to support all three.

Hollywood’s usual lame excuse for lack of funding and support of good black movies is that Black audiences don’t always go to see them. Please help prove them wrong. If you wait for it to come to cable and plan to catch it On Demand, you’re not buying a ticket and that’s one less body in a seat at the theater.