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”

Make America Great…Again?

Getty Images

When was America ever great for Blacks?

The question begs some serious review of our history in America in light of the political view and slogan of the current president and the Republican-controlled Congress. The presumption of “making America great again” is that there was a period of greatness followed by a subsequent fall from grace. This narrative of this “cult-like” following have the majority of Blacks in America asking, “where were we during this time of greatness?” Let’s see if we can pinpoint the exact time of greatness: Continue reading “Make America Great…Again?”

Who’s Next?

Portrait by: Karl Staudinger

There you were.

No one really knew you back then. Shit…we still don’t. You had just dropped a single and garnered a little bit of fame from it. We were in L.A. for a music and awards luncheon celebrating Earth, Wind, and Fire. No big cameras out in full force, no autograph seekers. It was cool. I had my drink and was mingling. I nodded my head in true bruh fashion. Not downward toward the thin, outdated, wine-stained carpet that almost seemed as if it didn’t belong with the rest of the surroundings in the Beverly Hills Hotel, but toward the sky.

“What up.” You nodded back. “What up.” Continue reading “Who’s Next?”

An Emperor, Shakespeare, and Forrest Gump Walk Into a Bar…

I swear I get the best inspiration from Facebook comments.

A guy who worked under my charge in the Marine Corps was at it again yesterday. As a matter of fact, from here on out, I’ll contradictorily refer to him as – Buddy. I posted an article about supporting Black businesses and the fella had a meltdown. In real time. With each passing statement, Buddy made sure to put on public display his lack of knowledge and inability to comprehend the simplest of concepts as if ignorance coupled with being unread were a badge of honor. The tragedy of his crash and burn was Shakespearean in a theatrical sense, only because his slow demise was of his own doing. The nobility associated with characters such as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, or Macbeth would have to be omitted.

He might not appreciate being compared to Othello, either.

 

However…

I know of another noble comparison that’s right down his alley.

“Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes…,” so the story begins. Continue reading “An Emperor, Shakespeare, and Forrest Gump Walk Into a Bar…”

Don’t Kill the Messenger

I was told I have no idea.

A white teacher in Beaumont, Texas, was shown on video violently and repeatedly assaulting a young Black student and I was told I don’t understand. I was told, “it’s hard to keep your cool.” By a teacher, mind you.

Mary Hastings, a teacher at Ozen High School, was arrested after a video showed her slapping a student. (Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

I was told the kid “wasn’t even mad.” That he was smiling right after the uncontrollable, enraged, and violent teacher, Mary Hastings, physically attacked him – all the while being called “an idiot ass” and mocked afterward. Yeah. Why would he be mad, right? I would confidently argue that his reaction did not mean that he wasn’t even mad. More than likely, it meant that he was embarrassed and in order to mask his true emotions, he smiled. Those type of responses happen, tu sabes?

I was told that she must have been provoked to assault her student with the fiery aggression that she wantonly displayed. Provoked? Hey, don’t kill the messenger. Provoked was the excuse they told me. Continue reading “Don’t Kill the Messenger”

Just a White Lie, That’s All

I was going to respond to a post on the ‘book yesterday but I didn’t. Considering there was a good chance it would lead to frustration (but also not wanting to spill this opportunity in the comments section), I decided against it. Instead, I chose to write in depth about it in hopes that the reader would learn something new by examining this short discourse.

The title of the article I was reading earlier in the day and posted on my timeline was in reference to an 18-year-old white woman by the name of Breana Rachelle Harmon: “Woman Who Lied to Police About 3 Black Men Raping and Kidnapping Her Faces Zero Years in Prison.”

A fellow Marine with whom I served replied to the post saying, “She needs to go to prison for however [long a sentence] those men would have [received].” While I can fully understand his view, I can also say with a large degree of certainty that, from a historical context in America’s not-so-far-removed past, he was only thinking on the surface by solely mentioning a prison sentence. And understandably so. Conversely, when I heard of Harmon’s lie, my mind immediately recalled that in times past (and present, truth be told) the sentence for Black men being accused of raping a white woman was death by lynching.

Not prison.

The reaction to Harmon’s story is typical of how whites are treated in a white supremacist society. Continue reading “Just a White Lie, That’s All”

“If Black, Shoot Them”

It’s going to happen again, fam. Another innocent Black person will be murdered by the police. We bear the scars of a nation that has proven itself to be the antithesis of justice and has given us no reason to believe it will change anytime soon. Handcuffed by a system and a government that refuses to do anything that will alter the outcome of innocent Black lives being taken by so-called law enforcement, I write. By choice, yes, but in large part by necessity.

We’ve heard it all before:

  • Do what the cops tell you and you won’t get hurt.  Lie #1.
  • Keep your hands where they can see them. That’s a lie, too. Just ask Charles Kinsey.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements. FOH. Even when we’re still, we’ve been shot. So what’s the right thing to do?

“Fuck the right thing. If black, shoot them.” These were the exact words last month from an assistant police chief in Kentucky while discussing a training scenario with a recruit. Continue reading ““If Black, Shoot Them””