Visit The Barber?

By: S. Davis

Funny how in the aftermath of the Michael Vick interview with Jason Whitlock people are now jumping behind a guy that was maligned for his play as a quarterback and the decisions he made on and off the field of play. So he’s the one to rally behind as it relates to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities under center? Oh the lines people draw….

Vick had to ingratiate himself to any and all who would listen. Furthermore he needed the vetting of Tony Dungy just to get the ball rolling on his NFL career when he was released from prison. His advice to Kaepernick was genuine and I feel that he was doing it for the greater good of the quarterback’s future – but you have to view it from Vick’s distinct point of view. There were steps to take; he had a list of objectives he needed to meet in order to earn his desired result: employment in the National Football League. His whole existence – as far as the NFL is concerned – is to redeem himself in the eyes of the power brokers. Even now, as a retired player, he’s still on the redemption tour when doing goodwill for his  youth camps and outreach for his commitments related to charities involving animals. These are the lenses in which he’s viewing Kaepernick – and the barriers he’s facing in resuming his career.

It is not even close to being in the same universe.

Football is my favorite sport but I personally may go without my favorite way to kill time – until Kaepernick is signed or he retires. So people who have taken lives, although not through convicted murder, can line up on Sundays. You can beat your wife and assault other human beings, drive drunk and kill animals but someone who happens to be African-American QUIETLY protests and that’s the line? That’s the transgression that the league deems as too extreme?

We can’t have that in our game!

How odd is that? Why don’t white people, by and large, understand that the American experience isn’t the same for everyone? It isn’t.

Hey, white people do you remember that tiny, secret, work-exchange program called slavery. It happened. No matter how much you want to forget it. Listen this isn’t a diatribe against white America but we all view this country based on our experiences. Your worldview is built upon those experiences – and the black experience is not remotely close to those who happen to be in the majority in America.

Why the hell are white people so sensitive about the truth of this country? This ridiculous stance the league is taking against Kaepernick is proof.

Vick needed a fresh start. He was convicted of a crime and went to jail. He needed to make things right and be redeemed. There was a legitimate stigma and baggage that followed him. He had a mandate to be presentable to the 32 owners and general managers in the league.

Kaepernick carries no such baggage and, no, he doesn’t need to visit the barber. He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

On the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday Vick was thoughtful and apologetic. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I’m not a general manager, I’m not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I’m truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words. Obviously we all know his afro has nothing to do with him not being signed.”

Why isn’t he signed to a contract yet? It’s the end of July. There are not 32 quarterbacks in the league fit to start. Kaepernick was a handful of plays away from having a Super Bowl ring on his hand. He had 16 touchdowns against four interceptions last season when possessions/turnovers is the most important facet of football. There’s not a single job for him?

Outside of the game, he’s an activist donating time and money to the causes that inspire him. If Tom Brady led the exact silent protest I wonder how he would be viewed, covered and dissected. I know the answer, he’d have a church erected in his honor and the country would cite him as the coming of a new deity. People already worship him as if he is one.

If whites protest an issue that draws their attention they’re viewed as passionate and true Americans whereas any protest involving African-Americans (and other minorities) get labeled as malcontents, mobs, and breeding a dangerous element. It’s shameful and the media covers things in such a way where it’s normal for them to pass those adjectives out.

This country was started on a rebellion. Americans wanted freedom of expression, clear of tyranny and rule from Great Britain. America protested. America fought. American gained its independence and in that same vein mandated that its citizens do the same. Yet a quarterback staging a quiet and personal protest against the National Anthem – which was penned by a slave owner and anti-abolitionist – is wrong for exercising his right? What he’s doing couldn’t be more American in nature.

He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

Un-American?

By: S. Davis

AFlag

Disrespectful.

I see you America. I see exactly what you’re saying in attacking Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest (quietly) by refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As an American citizen he has the right to stand (or sit) for his beliefs, regardless of whether it’s popular or not. I guess that a large number of those angered by his choice forgot how this country was founded.

Those feeling disrespected are focused on what he did instead of why he did it. Of course that’s the case because that’s what the ignorant chorus is likely to do….it’s standard operating procedure.

“He’s disrespecting the military.”

Is that true? He clearly stated in his chat with the media over the weekend that he means no disrespect to anyone in the military, past or present, and that he has veterans within his family. Veterans are voicing their opinion and it seems that most disagree but there are some that don’t have an issue with his actions.

When did joining the military drape someone in a halo and a cloak of perfection? So every single person that’s active or former military is above everyone else? The professions I hold in the highest esteem are the armed forces, teachers, social workers and firefighters but there’s not a single person on this planet that’s perfect and can’t be wrong.

People are infallible, clearly, and that extends to those in the military. Military members have received traffic tickets, screamed at their children, cheated on taxes, got into fistfights, cheated on their spouses, been incarcerated, etc. You get the point, right? They’re human just like the rest of us. I don’t agree with veterans who call his position wrong but I respect and value their opinion.

America does a great job of disrespecting its own military by not paying them enough and not caring for them post-active duty. How many homeless veterans do you encounter regularly? How many of these soldiers are returning, broken, to a country that does little for all their sacrifice? It seems the best ones love this country more than it loves them. I could be wrong though. The country conveniently ignores the plight of service members once they return to our shores. Why isn’t that un-American?

“He’s disrespecting those that died for our flag.”

There’s not a single person that died for the fabric that makes our flag – which is increasingly manufactured OUTSIDE of America, by the way. They sacrificed themselves for what the symbol represents.

They died so he could protest; so he could speak against wrongs in this country. It’s that simple. He’s honoring what they took up arms for.

What exactly does the flag represent?

It’s a conflicting sight for African-Americans and other minorities. We don’t know how to feel about the flag, the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. The three of them were created by whites during a time when slavery was big business, the main business. The national anthem wasn’t written with African-Americans in mind. The Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t created to include minorities. The flag is a symbol…of something.

There isn’t a single thing about Kaepernick’s position that’s incorrect. He’s right on all accounts. Systemic racism, injustice for minorities… “Liberty and justice for all?” Where is he off-base? America is this proposed utopia…for a select few. Ignorant whites are really uncomfortable about that and they need to wake up and realize there are two versions of America. Informed people – of all colors – understand and don’t run from it. African-Americans, specifically, see the contradictions in what this country actually is and what it claims to be.

Why doesn’t America care about racism?

Why does America continue to oppress non-whites?

I hear the screams about the rich, black, quarterback and how “he needs to leave the country.” I’ve read the outrage about him making “millions” and “cashing his American checks” because I guess being rich overrides his skin tone. Where is the outrage about how divided this country still is? There is none except for those suffering: Americans of color.

Why does the Civil Rights Act even exist? Why did it have to be written into law? Whites didn’t have to fight for the right to vote, ever. Why did minorities? This country was so vehemently against equal rights that millions of black people had to die just so we could gain the same equality that whites are gifted at the time of birth. There isn’t a white Civil Rights Act, it isn’t needed.

Why does the hypocrisy of this country go unnoticed?

I remember paying attention in history class when the topic of World War II was on the syllabus. (Personally, it’s a moment in time that fascinates me. I’m completely enthralled by it. It has so many layers.)  So America finally entered the war, reluctantly, to stop an evil dictator who was killing a select group of people due to his own twisted bigotry and ideal of racial superiority. Thousands of innocent Jewish people where being exterminated for…being Jewish. That’s it.

We were steadfast in our resolve to make a statement and end the racism, oppression and murder that Adolf Hitler was dolling out across Europe. Our troops played their part in ending the war, returned home and America continued to oppress and limit the rights of African-AMERICANS. That was America, then. We fought for the freedom of Europeans but resisted the same freedom for fellow Americans…whose only crime was darker skin.

Is that disrespectful? Is that a symbol of a united America?

America is proficient at this. We fought for our rights when we felt we were under an oppressive regime. We rebelled against Great Britain because they blocked our freedom, our rights to exist, our religious freedoms, our right to form a nation, etc. We revolted against subjugation – and then subjugated an entire race.

I remember asking my grade school teachers about this in comparison to what happened during WWII – and I recall blank stares and a great deal of stammering.

Can we still ignore that? Are you still cool with that white America?

This is directed at white people who keep their heads in the sand or say he’s “un-American.” What does being American truly mean? The answer will differ depending on the person being asked – and their skin tone…and that’s bullshit. It was bullshit during the formation of this country, during the Civil War, Reformation, the Civil Rights Era and it’s bullshit in 2016.

That Kaepernick is an athlete doesn’t matter much. I like that it’s a huge story because he’s an athlete and this country worships sport and celebrity. There’s no way to avoid it but it’s ok, America. The news cycle will churn swiftly to sweep this under the rug. We all know that.

People don’t like that he protested in the manner in which he did, ok. What type of protest would’ve been acceptable? What would’ve made his actions easier to digest? I respect that he stood out, alone, instead of with the backing of other athletes.

Liberty and justice for all? Not if you have a natural tan.

This country loves symbols and maybe that’s why it has such a hard time removing the Confederate flag. Why does that flag still exist? The only place that piece of cloth should hang is in a few museums and that’s it. However its defenders claim it’s a sign of “southern pride and values.” Who do these values belong to exactly? It’s racist. It’s disgusting. It’s hurtful.

People lauded the politicians of South Carolina for taking it down but it should have never been raised in the first place. Does this country want to keep racism alive? Does America want to really end racism? Or does it just need to hold on to these little trinkets to remember that they held that power in an overt way?

Stop making an issue about what Kaepernick did. Please, focus on why he did it. I’ m not rich but I’m black and I’m conflicted about the flag and this country depending on what day it happens to be.

He protested the country and its government. Like it or not it’s American. If anything else lives up to the definition it’s his actions. It’s akin to the time during the birth of this nation when we spoke out collectively and were stamped as “un-British.”

Focus on why he protested. That’s where all the attention should be pointed. The reasons of his protest are the only things that matter here.

Black Lives Matter

By: S. Davis

BLMatter

When the response to anything related to Black Lives Matter is “All Lives Matter,” well, it directly comes across as short-sighted, disrespectful and heavy-handed in nature. It carries a subtext of “shut up and go away.” When activists are chanting it, having it applied to shirts and banners and making it newsworthy, it’s not because they believe that black lives mean more than any others on this planet or more specifically, America. It’s just to simply highlight that for most of this country’s history ONLY white lives have been deemed relevant, important and worthy of defending.

Black lives don’t matter as much as white ones in this country. There’s no disputing that. This country was built on the back of slaves, Africans. They were viewed as property so of course they held the same level of relevance as a cup, dish or scissors but they were far more lucrative to their owners based on the amount of work – and commerce they were able to generate. Remember those good ole Southern boys wanted to ensure “southern values” and their “way of living” by dying in combat over their position to have slavery exist in perpetuity.

In addition to blacks being owned in this land of the free they had the glory of being counted as three-fifths of a person in the U.S. Constitution of 1787 (Article I, section 2). Over time the clause has been misinterpreted to mean that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a person or three-fifths of a complete citizen of the country – although I clearly see why anyone could make that argument. I won’t even dispute them. The clause was written to count enslaved blacks as three-fifths of their white counterparts for direct representation in Congress. Even with the correct explanation of the clause a simple question of, “Why aren’t all lives equal on a one-to-one basis?” can easily be posed. This is another instance of black lives being devalued.

Why don’t people understand this? Why are some whites afraid to admit that blacks and other minorities have been discriminated against since…forever? Why do they insist racism is “in the past” and slavery “wasn’t that bad”?

In an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “The Black Lives Matter movement, and what it stands for, is important for this country. The very phrase ‘black lives matter’ is an absolute and direct response to a broken history in this country of structural racism in this country. It is a necessary movement.” De Blasio is a white man if things like that matter to any of you and his wife’s black as well…again, if that matters.

While I don’t agree completely with the BlackLivesMatter movement – in so much as I find their lack of response to black-on-black crime to be unsettling – I understand what drives them and what they’re doing is important.

When Black Lives Matter is heard there should be NO rebuttal at all. It isn’t needed. It’s not being expressed as a matter of dissension. It’s being said to remind those who pine for the days of slavery, segregation and ignorance that we won’t just sit idly on the sidelines and accept death. Simply put, black lives deserve an equal amount of respect as any other humans in this country – and on this planet. Yet there are those that want to fight against that…in 2016. Just take a look at the Republican nominee in the race for the White House.

I’m Just Black…Don’t Kill Me

By: S. Davis

I don’t like to write with anger. There are obvious reasons why but the last few days in America make it damn near impossible. So now it’s not safe to reach for my wallet…ok. How can I provide my identification without being pumped full of bullets?

We surrender and we die. We raise our hands in the air and you still shoot. I tell you that I can’t breathe because you’re putting pressure on my throat and I die. I’m fleeing arrest – and maybe I shouldn’t have run, I get that – but that’s no reason whatsoever to kill me in a hail of bullets that all enter my back.

Do you want us to leave your country? Because I honestly feel you still want us in chains, subservient and asking permission to look you in the eyes while we shine your shoes and press your clothing. Still, in 2016, we aren’t given the same respect as human beings. Pets are treated better in this society than the African-American male. That’s not a hyperbolic statement! An animal is treated badly and there’s such a vicious reaction and sympathy but a black man is gunned down by authorities and thoughts are expressed such as, “Well, he should’ve complied with the officer” or “Why did he talk back to the police?”

What’s the excuse now? “We feared for our lives” is the common response. Fear? When you have the advantage in numbers and the benefit of the doubt in the justice system? You’re afraid? You should feel emboldened to keep the status quo in this country alive and well. I can’t even see straight right now, I’m seething.

Race relations in this country aren’t better; not at all. They’re far worse than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement. You shoot, we die, there’s outrage, it soon evaporates and then another African-American male is riddled with bullets while the world feigns concern and then the news cycle just motors forward. Race will always be a problem in this United States of Racist America. The country was founded on it and that stain can never be washed from the fabric. That needs to be understood before we can mend relations going forward.

We need authentic understanding, dialogue and action. Cops don’t have to kill but they’re trained to use lethal force in almost every instance when tensions are on the rise. Apparently death is the only way to remedy conflict of any kind. I get it. Why can’t training be altered? Is that impossible? Can you just stop pretending to protect and serve and just put on the white hoods already? At least cut out the pretense of justice and get right down to your true nature.

All Caucasians aren’t racists, obviously, but a good portion of their population doesn’t care about race because they say it doesn’t factor in their lives. That’s part of the problem as well. Hey racists, you do know that whites had important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery (this does NOT include Abraham Lincoln) and all the protests currently? Ignoring race and color only exacerbates the problems for everyone in this country. Look at the faces in anger gathered together in the crowd, they’re not all brown and dark tinted.

The problem is too many whites in America just don’t give a shit about anything outside of their bubbles. They don’t feel that they’re part of the larger issue because they have black friends to prove they are clearly not racists. (Because having a minority friend is the end-all to these issues, right?)

I don’t feel American at all today and looking at that flag makes me want to fucking puke. Dialogue is full of shit, action is needed. A(nother) black man will be killed very soon…and America will do nothing about it.

My heart goes out to those in mourning today. My prayers go out to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My heart goes out to the families of those officers that died in Dallas. It’s just more tragedy…on top of tragedy. It’s savage, disheartening and not a single answer will come out of it.

Land of the free…

I Don’t Date Black Men

By: S. Davis

This is an actual conversation I had the other night when I was hanging around the City of Angels a few nights ago. Just to frame this conversation here is some context in the event it matters: It’s not about racism or anything of the sort. This isn’t being posted with a judgmental eye at all yet it continues to run in my mind and it’s been a joy to have it dance around in my head. I figured to share it because you may find it amusing.

I was out on the town because women are there and I wanted to be around them. Simple? Very little alcohol was consumed during this compelling meeting, for the most part. For privacy purposes, I’ll refer to my primary interlocutor as “Jane.” I was having a fun little chat with Jane’s friend – we swapped phone numbers; I’ll refer to her as “Dana” going forward – and as Dana was talking with her brother’s friends I went to the restroom and upon coming back to the bar….well, just read along.

Jane: Oh…hey I’m sorry but I don’t date black men.

S: Wait, what? What are you talking about?

Jane: Huh? I dunno, my friend said you wanted to know if I was single.

S: What friend is that?

Jane: Dana.

S: Are you sure because, for one, if I wanted to know if you were single I would just ask the question to you directly.

Jane: Oh, ok…

S: And your friend and I just exchanged numbers.

Dana walks over.

Dana: Are you coming back over, cutie?

S: Hey there, yeah I am. Love, did you tell your friend that I was interested in her?

Dana: No! Woman, I guess there was a miscommunication. It was another guy, bitch.

Jane: Shut up, bitch!

Both women begin laughing. I shake my head and smirk.

Dana: I told you to get under your skin because you have your quirks and shit about guys you date. Certain guys you date, it wasn’t him.

Dana’s phone rings.

Dana: It’s my cousin, I have to take this. I’ll be outside with my brother. I’ll be out front, handsome, don’t take too long.

S: You got it, gorgeous.

Jane: Is she coming out, girl?

Dana: I don’t know, let me talk to her.

Dana exits.

S: Now about the first thing you said to me. Hmm…

Jane: I don’t date black guys, it’s nothing personal. It’s just a preference, it’s not a big deal really.

S: I see. Was there a bad experience in the past?

Jane: Uh, nope. It’s just not my thing.

I take a scan of the room.

S: You’re aware that there are a ton of black guys in this place, right?

She shrugs her shoulders.

S: What if one of them came over, respectfully, wanted to chat and maybe buy you a drink or wanted to take you on a date?

Jane: I’d say that I have a man.

S: But you don’t.

Jane: I know what I want. What’s the big deal with that? I’m sure you have preferences. I don’t get it; it’s like guys that only date girls with big boobs, big butts or whatever. It’s just a matter of preference. Like, I’m sure my ex dated me because I’m busty.

I slyly glance at her chest. She’s correct!

S: Sure but I’m almost positive that he’s dated women that weren’t as ample, cup-size wise.

Jane: He’s in a relationship now with a girl who’s smaller that I am.

S: Ok, see he has a preference for women with big boobs but he didn’t turn away a woman who didn’t fit those parameters.

Jane: Maybe.

S: Definitely.

Jane: So what about you, mister? Don’t you have certain types of women you go for more than others?

S: If you want to go into my dating history, most of the women I’ve dated have been Hispanic, specifically Puerto-Rican, or Black…or a mix of the two. However I’ve dated across the rainbow of nationalities and ethnicities. I’m shallow so as long as a woman is pretty, I’m game and then I hope she’s smart and funny so I won’t want to chew through my arm when she opens her mouth to talk.

Jane: That’s funny.

S: Question, if I may…

Jane: Sure.

S: What other men do you date?

Jane: I only date white men.

S: Got it. So let’s say three men approach you and they all have what you’re looking for, specifically, an African-American, a Mexican, and a Caucasian. They have all the things you want in a boyfriend or even future husband – and the black man is actually a better fit in terms of personality…no, in terms of everything. So when you add things up, the black guy is a nine in terms of what he offers while the others rate at a six or seven…who’s the choice?

Jane: The white guy. I don’t date black men.

S: So you would date the guy that was the worst of three choices?

Jane: In your scenario, yes.

S: Isn’t that more than a preference?

Jane: I don’t think it is. I just think it would be easier for me to date someone with a similar upbringing, similar background, ethnically, and it just would be easier to get along with each other in the long run.

S: Sure.

Jane: Do you have a favorite type of ice cream?

S: I have a few.

Jane: What are they?

S: Butter almond, pistachio, vanilla, chunky monkey, chocolate chip, coconut, cookies & cream, banana, chocolate brownie…I mean there are just so many.

Jane: But if you had to choose just one? You have nice slice of cake and just have to top it off with a couple of scoops of one flavor, one, which would it be?

S: Well, I would probably take butter almond.

Jane: That’s YOUR preference, see?

S: In the way you framed your question, yes, I didn’t have another choice. I would gladly choose any of the flavors I mentioned though. I didn’t exclude any of them but your question forced me to do so. All the flavors appeal to me, whereas you accept one and one only.

Jane: I hope you’re not calling me racist or anything.

S: No, not at all. I just find it weird that you would take someone who you know is less worthy of all you have to offer him because he doesn’t fall into a particular category.

Jane: I wouldn’t date a total bum if he was white, I’d leave him alone, and after all I’m not desperate. I do have a type though.

S: I see that. Yet it does seem to be a rule.

Jane: Don’t judge me; I don’t have anything against any one of any color. I have black friends.

I smiled.

S: I’m going to go outside and spend some time with your friend.

I went outside to chat with Dana.

It was a fun night and we all danced and had a good time. I didn’t drink because I have enough trouble staying alive in LA traffic when sober but a part of me wanted to during the highlighted conversation. Dana and I watched guy after guy…after guy get turned away by Jane. Oddly enough she complained about being single at the end of the evening but in her defense she did have a few cocktails as the night progressed. Blame it on the hard liquor, I guess.

Over the last six months I’ve been giving an ample amount of time to the thought of taking on a committed relationship. To all the important women in my life: Yeah, you read that right, ha.  I like being single, I always have, but having a girlfriend is something I’d like to try again. I don’t feel this way often so I’d like to capitalize on it while I do. The biggest obstacle in making this a reality is that I don’t run across many single, attractive women. The few I’ve come across were good for a fun weekend but frankly not intelligent enough to hold my attention for anything deeper.

Were the women that told me they were involved being completely candid? This question crossed my mind recently, when it never really has; it’s something I doubt I ever considered over my entire life. Was being African-American a negative in their eyes as I approached them?There’s no way to be sure.

Recently I learned through an associate of an associate of an associate that a woman I had a flirtatious conversation with months ago doesn’t date black men. Of course the aforementioned woman didn’t divulge that little morsel as we spoke for about five minutes. She said she was “in a relationship” so I wished her well and got on with the rest of my evening.

Never have I once considered race when I’ve gone after a woman; nationality, ethnicity, skin color, hair texture…none of that ever enters the equation for me. Maybe that makes me odd. Amazing. I’ve never been labeled normal anyway.

Baltimore

By: S. Davis

For a week now I’ve been avoiding the need to address Baltimore, Maryland. A supporter of my page wanted to read my opinion so I decided to cave and put my thoughts out to be read.

Race is a topic that I’m completely comfortable discussing but it’s one that scares the shit out of most people – and I get that. Will just discussing race solve the problems in America? No, it never has. More has to be done but that next step is bewildering and no one has dared to take whatever that next step is in decades. It’s 2015 or maybe it’s 1944 when our country fought overseas to free innocent Europeans from tyranny but continued the practice of domestic segregation, legally.

I completely detest the rioting and looting that took place last week; it was wrong and destructive to the community. Burning the CVS Pharmacy will probably dissuade that corporation from rebuilding there; I hope they’re aware of that. Those jobs may never return to the area, I hope they know that. Also, the sick and elderly that relied on that CVS for prescriptions may have just had their lives unnecessarily altered for the worse.

Now the media had their cameras trained on the rioters and looters. See, I understand that. Why? Simply put, it’s splashy and newsworthy – and should be covered. It’s the same reason why someone could be killed or kids could be abducted and the local news will begin their coverage for the morning or evening with a celebrity breakup. Of all the protesters, those committing crimes were a small percentage. Most of the dissenters were peaceful and never let their anger escalate to violence yet that was rarely highlighted.

What happened nationally, thereafter, wasn’t difficult to predict. White Americans, who are the majority in the United States – and furthermore have more eyes on the news – were shocked to see the rage and unrest. I feel most Americans, somewhere in their hearts, knew the fires, looting and fights weren’t the way to solve anything.

Oddly most of the country, the media, and all the talking heads at networks, ignored why the citizens in Baltimore reacted in the manner in which they did in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death. Gray’s death was just the last straw, so to speak. They were frustrated and a fuse was lit that led to the city imploding.

It all blew up because of a lack of financial mobility, a dying city infrastructure, racial profiling, under-funded and failing schools, the lack of political capital, current and decades-long treatment by the police department, etc.

Consider why the rioting took place – and not that it simply did for all to witness on national news outlets. We are a civilized nation aren’t we? I almost spit up vomit typing that question.

You get the point, right? It seems if your skin is a certain tint you understand more than others. Maybe only certain people are supposed to know…or care.

Everyone gasped, judged and bloviated from their pulpit. The need to editorialize came from every form of media an individual could consume. It was tremendous; a sign of the digital age we know live in. Also, it was sad.

There’s this popular argument going around that “race relations in this country are more poisoned that they’ve ever been” and the “blame” lies squarely on President Barack Obama. A great benefit of the internet is that it highlights how prevalent racism is, currently. Racism is enduring and refuses to die in America, let alone the rest of the world. We DO NOT live in a post-racial society and I doubt that we ever will. I would love to be wrong but I feel confident in the aforementioned statement.

Back to the person in the White House and his relation to the problem of race in this country: Obama is the problem, through no fault of his own…other than having a natural tint to his skin. Meaning that so many people in this country are against a president being anything other than white and male – maybe Hilary Clinton can break through for women – that it doesn’t matter how he attempts to bring Americans together. The audacity of him to stand up and attempt to lead, right? He’s being blamed for income inequality, race relations – and it’s his fault that all these recent, powerful, incidents that are sending black men to the morgue. It has to be someone’s so let’s just blame him.

America turned on its head the night he won the election. There was true hope of a united country and it seemed to be on the precipice of coming to fruition…for about four months. The fact that a black man won the presidency is a deep problem for those – either indirectly or otherwise – that think of the office as a white birthright.

Obama isn’t the problem, here; it’s everyone else that has an issue with him holding that seat, in that office, in that position of power. Period. He’s supposed to work the land not govern it. Am I going too far?

I don’t care about white guilt or shaming whites because of sins linked to slavery – and all the bullshit this country allowed after it. Everyone that’s white didn’t own slaves and there are people walking around whose families played a major part in fighting for equal rights for everyone.

Unfortunately there is putrid ignorance to the fact that whites and blacks (along with other minorities) live in separate versions of America. It’s profoundly disheartening and proven in times like these. Baltimore lashed out because they’ve been ignored and marginalized to the point of despair, suffocation and raw emotion. How else will someone focus on their plight? There are other cities that feel a kinship with those residents because the problems they face as a city are prevalent in other minority-dominated areas. Again, I do not agree with their actions but I understand the factors that steered them to such a potent conclusion.

Baltimore will recover but will it change? My heart goes out to the family of Freddie Gray. I do hope they receive the justice they’re seeking. All six of the police officers have been charged – and I hope they’re punished if they indeed caused his death. We’ll have to wait and see what ultimately comes from all this anguish.

This country makes me cringe but I also fill with pride when I hear the national anthem; such a dichotomy. As protests broke out in other major cities there were moments that made me smile. Protesters screaming, staging sit-ins, yelling, being handcuffed, crying, were people of, wait for it, all colors. What a novel idea.

One that’s far too inconsistent for a nation with “united” in its name.

 

Oppression

By: S. Davis

Racism

I don’t understand it

How seemingly, reasonable, people can claim superiority over others based only on the tint of skin is preposterous

Slavery, housing discrimination

Executed in the streets by cops now; legally hung from trees before

You haven’t been oppressed, shackled

Suffered gentrification, standardized testing

Labeling particular neighborhoods undesirable

Your oppression started when exactly?

Voting criteria to dissuade minorities from polling and making it arduous to register

Skin color, your position is founded on skin color

Zoning to increase funding for certain schools in certain districts

Incensed that you cannot speak the N-word

You gave us the lovely gift; it was fired from your tongue

You should be able to use it but please do so in one of those undesirable areas

You need to say it, you yearn to scream it, say it there

We took the power of the word away from you

My natural tan makes me…inferior?

No, but cling to that line of thinking

If my melanin rich skin is abhorrent then why try to replicate it?

Spending money on chemicals

Sleeping under the hot sun and using tanning machines?

What are you crying about?

Have you been subjugated for a reason you cannot control?

When have you ever had to die to gain equal rights?

Racism should not exist

I hate that it still does…and always will