Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I Won't Sign Your Trayvon Martin Petition

So, this blog has been relatively silent in the last couple of weeks. I have seen some things go down in the media and have chosen to keep my opinion to myself so far... until today. I thought about writing this entry a couple of days ago, but wanted to sleep on the idea, because I am sure that it will not be well received. Eh, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. The following is my opinion on the Trayvon Martin (TM) situation taking place in Florida. For all that don't know, TM was an unarmed, Black 17 year old boy that was walking home in Florida and was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch member, George Zimmerman. The killing took place on February 26.

Let me just start by saying this: Do I believe that George Zimmerman should be arrested? YES. Do I think that he killed TM, in cold blood, for no reason other than his own demented issues? YES. Do I think that Zimmerman was racially motivated? YES. Do I think that the Sanford, Florida police fucked up the investigation, topped off by the fact that they did not arrest Zimmerman the vigilante? DOUBLE YES. Do I feel sympathy towards TM's family? Absolutely YES. Will I sign your petition to get "justice" for TM? No. No, I won't and I want you to STOP asking me. Listen, I am not going to feel bad about it either. I will not be bullied on social media to sign some shit, just so some of you assholes can feel good about your regular non-action, and I don't care. How about that?

People are all up in arms because Zimmerman is a non-Black man that shot a young Black man down in the streets. According to all accounts, TM was minding his own business, walking home from a convenience store and did not deserve being shot. People have said this is an onslaught, by the enemy, on the Black community. I disagree. The fact is this: this is not the beginning of the battle- the war has been ongoing and it STARTS and ENDS in our own community. I guess that the thing that pisses me off is that while the situation is ridiculous and should have never happened, the outcry would not be as loud if Zimmerman were a Black man. You may ask why I think that... um, because innocent Black children, in Black neighborhoods are killed every day, by Black people and there are no petitions on facebook, there are no vigils on college campuses, there is no national news coverage. There is just another Black child dead-- usually a young man. George Zimmerman is not the beginning of the American public showing their ultimate disgust with the Black community; he is not the start of the epidemic; not the start of the systematic destruction of the Black community. You know why? Because we do it ourselves-- EVERY day. To me, Zimmerman is just a cog in a machine... a machine that is run by Black folks.

Where was the outrage for Aliyah Shell last weekend in Chicago? What about the other 9 people slain this past weekend? Or the 49 injured in random shootings in the city? Where was the community concern for them? Do they not count because they were (most likely) shot by someone who looks like them? Are the stories of the families any less sad than that of TM's family? Did they deserve it? If not, then where are their petitions? Where is their national news coverage? Where are the YouTube videos seeking justice for them? They. Are. Nonexistent. And that, above all else, is the unfortunate part. Is racism alive and well in the United States of America? Land of the free... Home of the brave? ABSOLUTELY. That cannot/should not be denied. Being a Black woman, I see it. Life as a minority is hard; a lot harder than people think. It is hard to keep your head held high every day. It is difficult to take the high road. It is not easy to be me... and I don't have it bad, by any stretch of the imagination. But hard doesn't mean impossible and it certainly doesn't mean that we can call for someone to be held accountable for THEIR actions, while our actions go unchecked. We aren't holding each other accountable every day in the ghetto and suburbs. Every day, in Chicago and other major cities in America, Black men and women are killed and maimed by other Black men and women... to no fanfare. We let that go. Shit, I let it go. I pass that off as ghetto life-- I am telling you, I'm guilty. So are some of my friends. So are some of the people that are so up in arms about TM.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be protests, petitions, marches, national attention. There should be. There should be for TM... AND Aliyah-- a six year old who was shot while sitting on her porch. There should be for the unnamed child that will die tonight, tomorrow, next week and during the hottest months this summer. The strongest community takes criticism and fixes its weakest link. The weakest link in the Black community is that there is NO community... not until someone like George Zimmerman enters the picture. Then everyone wants to come together; show some unity against "the man." What about the gangbangers who sell drugs IN our community? They are killing Black people. What about the babies that are beat/shook/molested to death by people in our own community? They are killing our future and our spirit. What about the people in our community who see crime happen and don't tell the police? They are facilitating the death of our community. What about those who commit crimes? They are killing us by feeding the stereotype of what Black people do. What about the young Black man that will pick up a gun tonight and shoot a young Black man walking down the street? That will happen in Chicago, the city where I live, probably in the next 24-48 hours.  The shooter should be held just as responsible as George Zimmerman, and the young man shot should be mourned just as much as TM.

The way that others treat us is a direct reflection on how we treat each other. We cannot expect to see a change in any other group, until we are open and willing to change ourselves... so, how do YOU treat people in OUR community? What are you willing to do to change?

Wordless Wednesday - Spring Time!

Found HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, Bald Monday

So, this weekend... I did something amazing! There was a fundraiser, there is a shaved head. There will be a cure! For those of you who don't know-- this weekend I was a "shavee" in a St. Baldrick's event. For those of you who don't know, St. Baldrick's is a charity that fund raises for a cure for childhood cancers. Fundraising, head shaving, helping out kiddos-- what is not to like, right? Right!! :) I got this button when I checked in... how cool is that?!
My friend and I planned accordingly-- we took a before picture, while we were at lunch. Here I am, smiling before eating the world's biggest baked potato (topped with broccoli cheddar soup, cheese and fresh broccoli) at Jason's Deli... yeah, how good does that sound? I know-- I'd be jealous of the food too! :) This picture is of me with my natural hair (see, I don't have long hair-- all the time!), with a twist out and a lovely head band. Me, not typing furiously over my MacBook... oh, take it in, while you can! 

A few hours later, I made my way to the stage, sat in the same row as a grandpa, a high school girl and several elementary school students. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with my noggin-- no dips, dents or other random looking deformities to obsess over now that I have an exposed scalp. (yay!) It was amazing to see everyone that came out. There were somewhere in the area of 1,200 people. The event planners wanted to raise $25,000, and from an email we all received today, that goal was vaporized!! We are waiting for final numbers, but we know that we did surpass $25,000. I, also, surpassed my goal-- which is amazingly beautiful. A special thanks to all of my friends and family who have supported me throughout this process, emotionally and financially. I am so glad that we could all come together and help out some families that need it, ensuring that sometime, somewhere, a child will perhaps live a bit longer because of some research that we helped fund. For now, you guys get to hang out with my, as my hair grows back! Love, love, love. Here is the final product...

How is that for some sassy baldness? ;-)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Manic Monday - You Said What?

Wow- the last week has been full of people saying stupid stuff and paying the price for it. Here is my question: in this day and age with nonstop news, social media, and nosy people in general, why, why, why would you ever say something that you will have to pay for later? There are three clear answers: 1- you are stupid (about 90% of people fall into this category), 2- you want/need/long for publicity, or 3- you don't give a fuck (this is my home category). Let's see where these two offenders fall.

Rush Limbaugh: This mofo never leaves categories #1 and #2. People need to stop treating what he says as gospel. He is a fucking DJ. A DJ. He is not educated on the topics that he talks about-- as seen in this last debacle. So this time last week, Rush took to the airwaves and called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute. Why? Because she went to Congress and advocated for an expansion of birth control coverage. For that he painted her as a hooker that wanted to paid for having sex (which, by the way, was not her contention, at all). He even proposed that since the American public was going to pay her for having sex, we should be able to watch her have sex. Annnnnnd, I want to slap him. Some other people wanted to slap him too. People were so outraged that he lost endorsements, so he issued a half assed apology. Yes, I am a proud member of the apology police, and he didn't say that he was sorry. He apologized for his "choice of words." Which really means that if he could have called her a slut or a prostitute, using different words, he would have. To quote from his "apology": "I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress." Really, hmmm. Ok. He then went on to say "In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level." I'm sorry. Did Rush just say that it is no one's buisiness what happens in other people's bedrooms? He doesn't care about what happens in others bedrooms, but he comments on it-- a lot. So he is a liar too? Yet he has a fan base? See, this leads me to believe that his fan base is stupid and/or attention whores.

Kirk Cameron: Anyone born after 1983 just looked at that name and said "WHO?" Ha! He used to play bad ass Mike Seaver on Growing Pains and then he met his wife and became the definition of a Bible thumper. Good for him. We need more Bible thumpers-- right?! :) Last week he fell firmly in Category #2. Kirk was on Piers Morgan and said that he does not (in any way, shape or form) believe in gay marriage. Firestorm started. Funny enough, my beef is NOT with Kirk. I type on here all the time that people can say what they want- God knows that I do. We live in a free society where Freedom of Speech is a crutch that most of us lean on at least once a week and I will totally fight for your right to say whatever you want. If it is dumb, I'll call you on it, but still-- it is your right to say what you want, I don't care. Kirk can say what he wants. In this situation I am more upset with GLAAD, and here's why: why would you ever (EVER) give Kirk Cameron air time? He lives in obscurity. Why are you blowing him up? It is not like everyone is going to believe what you believe. There are people that do not believe in gay marriage... especially Bible thumpers, so what, exactly, did you think he was going to say? He speaks and stands up for the faith that he chooses to follow and as long as he is not calling gay people the "F" word, physically harming you, or burning crosses in your yard, why do you care? Of course he doesn't believe in gay marriage-- and he is not going to, so stop giving him a spotlight! He is freaking Kirk Cameron-- let him go back to his house in the middle of nowhere suburbia and do whatever it is that he has been doing for the past 20 years (which hasn't been in the movies/tv/spotlight). This is the most publicity he has had since 1991... and it is free. Duh. Whatever the case, when GLAAD has something to say about everything it makes people not want to listen anymore. The rhetoric gets tired. It is all about knowing which battle to answer the call for. Let me give you a hint... Kirk Cameron? Ain't it.

When you call EVERYone out on their stance that is different from yours, you subtract from the validity of your argument. Just like those people who pull the race card for everything. Number 1- so fucking annoying and 2- EVERYthing is not about race, just like not everything bad that happens to you is because you are gay. Maybe you're just an asshole. Maybe the person that is harassing you doesn't like YOU... not all Black (or gay) people, just you. GLAAD actually said that Kirk's views "statements are not only out of touch with the beliefs of most Americans, they contribute to a climate of hostility and falsely suggest that communities of faith are not accepting of LGBT people." Um, that is simply not true. If he was out of touch with most Americans beliefs then he would be in the minority and the sad truth is that he is not. C'mon GLAAD, do not counter arguments against you with lies. That puts you in the same boat with Rush. Say this: "it is unfortunate that Kirk Cameron chose to come out of hiding to say something negative about our community, but we will certainly forget him and his comments once he and his Bible find their way back to the land of soccer moms and minivans." End of story.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Funday - I'm a Believer

You know-- not so long ago, bands were NOT orchestrated. They were made up of people (friends) who knew each other and each person in a group/band had their own unique gift that they brought to the table. Someone was the bass, the soprano, the drummer, the lead guitar. You get it, right? They weren't for show. They were for music. That all began to change in the mid 60s. The Monkees were THE group that helped change that. They were a group of unknowns, thrown together, made into a group... a moneymaker. When it was found out that they didn't make their own music, the backlash was monumental, but before that, they were the hottest thing on the airwaves.

During the resurgence of the Monkees in the 80s (when Nick at Nite started replaying the show) I was caught in the upswing of new Monkees fans. How could you not love that show? It was like the three stooges (plus one) with music. My parents can attest that my regular play list consisted of the Monkees, Janis Joplin, 60s protest songs... what can I say? I was a strange kid, I guess. I have to say I watched the Monkees because of Davy Jones. He owned the original Bieber haircut! He had an accent and he was about my height (clearly this was before I realized that two short people will generally have short babies...) I swear Davy Jones and Ted Danson are responsible for my interracial dating. Yep, I blame Cheers and the Monkees! ;)

This past week, Davy Jones (dreamboat that he was) passed away. I was actually upset. He always seemed cheerful and every time I saw him on a tv show I would automatically remember him as a goofy teenage on the Monkees, chasing girls and singing songs...about chasing girls. This post is dedicated to my Daydream Believer from one of his Homecoming Queens... RIP Davy.

Daydream Believer

*Our good time starts and ends, without dollar one to spend. But how much, baby, do we really need?

I'm Not Your Stepping Stone

*You've been awful careful 'bout the friends you choose; but you won't find my name in your book of who's who's

Pleasant Valley Sunday

*Another Pleasant Valley Sunday, here in status symbol land. Mothers complain about how hard life is, and the kids just don't understand.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Soulful Saturday - Bon Jovi

In celebration of Jon Bon Jovi's 50th birthday yesterday. This 80's "hair band" has found a way to stay together, make good music, and remain sexy (Jon, I'm looking at YOU!) Oh the big blue eyes, the sandy blonde hair that mysteriously covers his face when the songs get REALLY good!! Yes!! In today's day and age, Jon has married (and remained married) his high school sweetheart, has 4 kids and is a philanthropist. So, he is a family man, gives back to his community, acts (remember his stint on Ally McBeal?), sings love songs, plays guitar... and looks like that? He needs to have a twin who is my age (yes, I know that is impossible... don't shit on my dreams, people!)

The hair, the body, the bad ass songs and the weepy ballads. I love it all. From the days where their hairstyles used Aqua-Net like their lives depended on it and spandex was the fabric of choice (let's not EVER do that again, please) to being refined rockers today, Bon Jovi has given a plethora of great music for me to love and pass on. Here are a few selections.

*I will love you, baby, always.
*I'll be there till the stars don't shine; till the heavens burst and the words don't rhyme. I know when I die, you'll be on my mind.

Bed of Roses
*I wanna be as close as the Holy Ghost is...
*Now as you close your eyes, know I'll be thinking about you.
*Tonight, I won't be alone, but you know that don't mean I'm not lonely...

I'll Be There For You
*You left me drowning in my tears and you won't save me anymore.
*I can promise tomorrow, but I can't buy back yesterday.
*I'd steal the sun from the sky for you. Words can't say what LOVE can do, I'll be there for you.

Thank You For Loving Me (with tacky Richie Sambora)
*Lock the door, leave the world outside... All I have to give to you are these 5 words when I... thank you for loving me

This Ain't a Love Song
*It made me so mad 'cause I wanted it bad for us, baby; Now it's sad that whatever we had ain't worth saving

Friday, March 02, 2012

Fed Up Friday - No More Black History Month For Me

I have decided not to celebrate Black History Month again. At least not the way that most people celebrate it. I have grown weary of the same information, the same pictures, same speeches, same everything; I am not participating anymore. I am not sure who is responsible for teaching us that Black History Month is for the celebration of the same six people every year... or that Black History Month should only highlight the victimization of the entire Black race, but I am not buying it! Listen, you can take the Big 6- Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Oprah, Maya Angelou and Marcus Garvey (if you are fancy) and have a long sit down, in the corner, because I am ready for other Blacks to be showcased in a month that is supposed to be the uplifting/praise of a race of people that helped build the country that we live in- flaws and all. People are going to be pissed, yeah, I know. Somebody, right now, is shaking their head and thinking "No this bitch did not say that Malcolm X can go sit down... she must be crazy" and maybe I am. But tell me, really, how long are we going to pretend that Black people have only made a difference in slave revolts and the Civil Rights Movement? Am I to conclude that an entire race of people have not contributed anything except militancy and civil disobedience? We have nothing else to show for ourselves except being victims of a system that has set out to destroy us? We have NO ONE else to serve as examples besides the six people named above? Well, and the President... he is half Black. Nothing? We have given nothing else to this country in 400+ years except one President, a billionaire who talks on TV, slaves who revolted and people who staged marches and bus boycotts? 

Clearly, that is not all we have done. If it were then I would close my eyes and, like many of you, join the herd of sheep that learn these few names each year and be satisfied. I am not satisfied and you shouldn't be either. You should not rest easy with the fact that your children are being taught the same things that you were taught... and nothing else. You should want and DEMAND that they learn more. Our kids should be learning about other contributions; the rich history that courses through the veins of the Black people they see today. Their knowledge should EXCEED yours, not just barely meet it. 

I am done "celebrating" with y'all because you stopped learning about other Black people (besides the big 6) so that you could catch "Linsanity." I am done because instead of celebrating the lives that we lost in February (namely Whitney and Don Cornelius), some of us reenacted crabs in a bucket, dragging everyone down and making remarks that would only serve to make us look better than the dead. Don't believe me? GO back on your facebook timeline and see what you talked about after Jeremy Lin's second big game. What did you post after Whitney was found dead? Then, what did you post about Black History Month after that?

I am done celebrating with people who don't know who Jessie Fauset is. I need you to know who Charles Drew is and why what he did in in the 30s and 40s is saving lives right now. I want to be able to hold a conversation with you about the life and times of BK Bruce and how he (and people like him) helped plow an avenue for our current President. Chicago people MIGHT know, but I need all of us to recognize and revere the name Jean-Baptiste Point duSable. How about Sarah Goode, are you familiar with her? Mae Jemison? Garrett Morgan? William Still? Thomas Jennings? Granville T. Woods? Percy Julian? 

Well, I'll be damned. You mean we aren't all shucking and jiving, illiterate, slaves running for freedom in the middle of the night? We aren't all victims of circumstance? We aren't all waiting to be saved? We aren't all waiting for the reemergence of another MLKJr type? Some of those people mentioned above created things that we use every day. Some of those people are Chicagoans, Ohioans, next door neighbors, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and, sadly, they will eventually be forgotten. Forgotten because we have become too complacent to make sure that our children know more than MLK and Malcolm X. More than "I have a dream," more than the Black Panther Party, the 1960s civil unrest, the slavery revolts. 

So come next February-- I am doing nothing out of the ordinary. I won't be changing my facebook page every day to reflect another picture of Martin Luther King Jr and his stint in jail in Birmingham. Or Malcolm X on that fateful day in NYC, or Rosa Parks staring longingly out of a bus window. I am not doing it for y'all. My plan is to learn all that I can, every day, about Black History. About American History. So you can have the 28 days of February and your same six people. I'll take 365 days and as many Americans as I can fit into that. My suggestion would be for you to follow suit.  

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