Black Really Is…

I’m outspoken,
My language is broken into a slang,
But it’s just a dialect that I select when I hang  

– Edward K. Archer

It is difficult to imagine a white person feeling the same anxiety a Black person feels when we are involuntarily thrust into a situation where trumpets constantly blare the racist notes of olde – but in present day arrangements.

It carries a tune that is harmful to more than just our ears, for within it lies the conscience of a feigned supremacy. Like Elvis trying to sing Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.
It is a fascination that in a twisted, delirious way evokes a self-concocted reality that only exists in the minds of the unlearned. But we all know there’s only one David Ruffin. Continue reading “Black Really Is…”

America Keeps Plowing Forward

Brett Kavanaugh (Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Someone needs to check Lady Justice’s blindfold. I’m not totally convinced she can’t see through that jawn.

We’ve recently been inundated with news about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault as well as views concerning the veracity of his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Opinions from every direction abound but what we know to be factual is this:

Kavanaugh’s  lawyers turned over five pages from his 1982 calendar to the Judiciary Committee.
They may be hoping his calendar events clears his name because, get this: attending a party that night wasn’t on his schedule. This attempt by Kavanaugh and his lawyers leaves them scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel, not only exposing the desperate nature of his defense but sending a hearty insult to our intelligence. Continue reading “America Keeps Plowing Forward”

The Blueprint

(Photo: CBS News)

Botham Shem Jean is dead.

The woman who murdered him, Amber Guyger, is a cop. Hopefully, she doesn’t walk; however, there will be a lot to overcome to ensure that does not happen.

Guyger was off duty. She clocked out. Every rule of the law that applies to you and me should then have applied to her with no special treatment attached.

But… Continue reading “The Blueprint”

Silent Sam’s Club

Silent Sam (Photo: WBTV)

History in its complete, contextual, and unabridged form can be devastating. Educational, yes, but devastating all the same. It is the great equalizer. When one denies truth, point to the undeniable evidence of history then sit back and observe. Don’t take my word for it, though – ask ol’ Silent Sam on the campus of the University of North Carolina. He was in the news again over the weekend.

The truth hurts. When you look in the mirror in the morning after first rising out of bed, that’s the truth. You can freshen up, make yourself look nice, and go about your day but that dopeness will be there tomorrow morning waiting on you.

Let America tell it (or America’s classrooms, theatre, and books, more specifically), and they would have you believe that the Civil War was a fight that simplistically pit one zealous brother against another, their mother softly crying, pleading with her sons to reconcile their differences before being called on to fight. Continue reading “Silent Sam’s Club”

A Not-So Simple Request

Earlier this week, I saw a friend request from years ago. It was from when I was registered on social media but not on social media, so I never realized it was there until recently. I looked at it for a few moments before moving on. As I skimmed my timeline, I went back to that invite.

“Brian, wake up! Wake up! Let’s go!” my father said as he shook me from my slumber. Pop always had things under control, so I could tell from the excitement and the tad bit of nervousness in his voice that this was serious. I woke up to see him helping my pregnant mother to the door as my brother hurriedly grabbed my arm and both of our coats – his was the green one with the gold and white stripe that went halfway down the sleeve; mine the brown one with the hood. “Mom’s about to have the baby! C’mon man, hurry up!” I was in my pajamas. And sleepy. Hurry up meant nothing to me. Continue reading “A Not-So Simple Request”

Englewood Doesn’t Deserve This

It doesn’t make sense.

I was sitting outside this Saturday morning in Panamá enjoying a fresh cup of coffee, listening to some morning jazz, getting my thoughts together for the day. As you might imagine, birds are singing and aside from the occasional bark from Jojo, (who got up early with me and sits at my feet), it’s quiet. It’s relaxing. It’s necessary.

I decide to break my personal protocol, interrupt the music, and look at my timeline. I know I shouldn’t. Not right now at least. Not only that but…how disrespectful is it to interrupt Miles?

But I do.

There it is again. Englewood. Right there in the Chi. Just two days ago, I was reading about the same area and what occurred there. The backdrop of jazz is in such contradiction to the video I am watching that I decide to turn the music off. It’s not fitting. It’s out of place. Normally, I can find beauty in contradictions – from an artist’s standpoint, that is. There is nothing beautiful about what I am watching. This is not art and the contradiction is repugnant. Continue reading “Englewood Doesn’t Deserve This”

To My Trump-Supporting Acquaintances

Not going to keep you but just wanted to let you know a few things. Making this one short and simple so no one is confused.

Here is the predicament: you have friends with whom you have had work or personal relationships. They and their family have been to your house, you and yours to their abode. You’ve exchanged gifts at Christmas, shared a bottle of Malbec or a few tragos of choice, even been to their kids’ graduations. You trust them and they trust you. Then Trump is elected and they are in full support of him.

If you are an aquaintance of mine who supports Trump, there is something you need to know and understand:

You can’t be for a president that is racist and be for me at the same time.

If you don’t know what he meant during his presidential campaign run when he said,  “In the good old days…” then let me tell you what he meant. He meant that Blacks would have been beaten, attacked by dogs, hanged from trees, or a combination of them all. He didn’t and couldn’t possibly or truthfully mean anything else. It’s what he meant. I hope you get that. Listen to me. You can’t support anyone like that and be for me at the same time.

You can’t be for a president who refuses to denounce David Duke and the KKK’s endorsement and be for me at the same time. He was lying. Like always. Like he did in Helsinki. Like he did when he returned from Helsinki. Like he’ll continue to do. As terroristic as the KKK has been to Black people and other minorities, you can’t justify backing a man who refused to denounce them. You can’t be for racism and be for me at the same time.

You can’t be for a president who called white supremacist Nazis “very fine people.” He knew what he was saying and so did we. You included. No more pretending that it was anything other than what it was: doubling down on his racist beliefs and ensuring that his base remained content. Not sure what else a racist has to do to show you they’re a racist. But you’re cool with it. It’s not a deal-breaker for you when it comes to backing him. That’s a problem. You can’t be on the same side of someone like that and be for me at the same time. Just can’t.

You can’t be for a president who appoints racists to be in positions of power. One such appointee put in place, Attorney General Jeff Sessions could not answer basic questions regarding the FBI’s erroneous classification of so-called Black Identity Extremist groups –irresponsibly equating anything Black as some type of threat. Even the fight to keep Black bodies alive. It’s no different than the historical punishment of Black people by concocting false labels for us in hopes of justifying our deaths. In other words, one of the main pillars of systematic white supremacy. Cointelpro all over again. When the injured have been injured without provocation and decide to resist, the injured are somehow criminalized. You can’t be for that and for me at the same time.

The Central Park Five. You can’t be for a person who openly campaigned to end young, innocent Black lives as he did, stubbornly refusing to admit he was wrong – even after DNA evidence exonerated these young men. You can’t support someone who champions the killing of Black bodies and say you have my best interests at heart at the same time.

You can’t be for a president who has a history of boldly refusing to rent to Blacks and being taken to court over his overt racial discrimination. And it is racial discrimination, just so we’re clear. No bells, no whistles. Deeper than just being against the law, discrimination of any kind conflicts with my upbringing (word to Pat and Audrey Mae), moral beliefs, and spirit. You can’t be for a president who has continually discriminated against Blacks and other minorities and be for me at the same time.

You can’t be for a president who enforces color-based immigration. It’s color-based. It’s racist. It’s morally corrupt. It’s inhumane. You can’t be for that and be for me at the same time.

You can’t keep resorting to “But Hillary…” and expect for me to take you seriously. You sound just like him, deflecting to the point of chagrin. It makes you appear unlearned – as if you don’t know anything. Nothing. Nathan. Nathaniel. Even when I know (or at least hope) you do.

Last thing.

The same people who so eloquently drafted America’s independence on parchment either owned slaves or were cool with those who did. They may not have felt good about the situation but neither did they feel responsible enough for its existence to help change it. As much as they may have thought nothing was wrong, history tells a different story. They weren’t for me. Much of the same is carried on today with the lies, actions, and attitudes that the president of our nation continually displays for all to see. It’s plain that he’s not for me. If you support him, you aren’t either.

You really aren’t.

 

Till Martin Comes Home: Emmett, Trayvon, and Blind Injustice

All I knew about Emmett Till was the image of his bloated figure in that coffin. I think I saw it in an article in one of the magazines we had in the house at the time. His mother was standing next to him looking down on his lifeless body with a countenance that openly displayed her heartache – as open as the casket in which her son lay.

It was an image that stuck with me for a long time. It scared me – I would even say it left a scar on my psyche. I never said anything about it because in my young mind, the mere mention of it would make me feel as if the same thing might happen to me. My mother briefly spoke about the backstory to his murder but I don’t think a single word registered. I was too focused on that gruesome, awful photo. Was that really a little boy? How could a human do something like that to another human, I thought – so grizzly was the image.

Years later, I thought of Emmett Till when Trayvon Martin was murdered. Continue reading “Till Martin Comes Home: Emmett, Trayvon, and Blind Injustice”

America’s “Waffle House” Mentality (Part I)

(Photo: Denny’s, circa 1967)

Walking into Denny’s restaurant, all I could think about was that burger. I was probably five years old. Maybe a year older, I cannot remember exactly. What I did know was that I wanted that burger and fries more than anything else in the world – something starkly different from the style we would get at home: a huge ground beef patty in between two slices of Evangeline Maid white bread. Even though there was more meat in the homemade version, somehow I always felt cheated.

But not tonight.

(Photo: Flickr)

We ordered. Hopefully, we wouldn’t have to wait for what seemed like an eternity – like the last time we were there. Took about an hour for our food to arrive. My dad chalked it up to a busy night. Nothing more, nothing less. At least that’s what he was sanguinely trying to convince himself of, I’d imagine.

This night, however, while anxiously waiting for my food, I looked around the restaurant full of white people and spotted a Black family seated on the other side of the dining area. Continue reading “America’s “Waffle House” Mentality (Part I)”

M-V-P…M-V-P

(Photo: CAIR, Chicago)

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that game.

We were riding around the city when someone mentioned that there was a basketball tournament at one of the area’s high schools. A team from Gulfport, Mississippi had a star point guard that was playing that night against one of the city’s best high school teams – Washington-Marion High School – so we made our way toward the gym. Washington-Marion was, to us, the best team in the city. A predominantly Black high school located on the north side of town, I always viewed WM as a representation of our Black community – particularly through sports – even for those of us who didn’t attend WM. When any of their teams played, the Black community would be out in full force. Even as a kid, my father would take me to the football games on Friday night. Those cold-ass Friday nights in Goosport.

And I couldn’t wait. Continue reading “M-V-P…M-V-P”