Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Slut-Shaming Feminisim: The Amber Rosery

Until last week, I had no idea who Amber Rose was, nor did I understand why everyone was going crazy over her Instagram account. By now, though, I know who she is, and by the looks of her Instagram account, she really likes string, and really hates clothes. Good for her. String is very useful, and sometimes clothes can be cumbersome. Her penchant to wear string as clothes, however, confuses me, but hey, she’s her own woman.

What I still don’t understand, though, is why everyone was going crazy over her string-as-clothes selfie. As predictable, many people ogled and then called her a slut and whore, as per patriarchal protocol, and then people said she is setting women back by not dressing “respectably”, and of course, some brought up that she’s a mother and should know better.

The claim that she is “setting women back” by posting selfies of her nearly nude is as ridiculous as thinking that women posting selfies of themselves nearly nude is a threat to women. As long as they are taking these pictures of their own volition and not under any duress, then where is the problem? The Hobby Lobby decision is a threat to women. The new House of Representatives, who tried to push through a bill limiting abortion rights not even a month after being sworn in, is a threat to women. There are a bunch of old men who have never in their lives had vaginas actively trying to regulate vaginas more than they wish to regulate things that are ACTUAL threats to our lives, like chemical pollution in drinking water and guns. You’d think that vaginas were Cthulhu or something. Disproportionate sexual assaults and loose laws to deal with them are a threat to women. Then of course, things that are threats to men, like poverty, income inequality, crime, are threats to women. You realise Cee-Lo Green, who essentially admitted to drugging and raping someone, and Bill Cosby are still on the loose? A buzzcut blonde woman who wears dental floss as clothes is NOT a threat to womankind.

To the “She should know better, she’s a mother” point, I must ask, “So what?” What is this “better” thing that she should know? Mothers are no longer allowed to be sexy? Someone had to have found them attractive, because that is the first step in long process of making a baby. (In Ms. Rose’s case, I assume the second step is getting a pair of scissors so that she can undress.) Why should a mother no longer do things that she did before, so long as she’s not hurting her child? There is an entire million-dollar niche industry in porn that is centred around sexy mothers and their clothes-optional adventures. So why is it so bad that Amber Rose, mother of one, still wants to feel sexy, and acts on that want?

This same tripe was lobbed Beyonce any time she performed after she had Blue Ivy. How dare she go out and perform in skimpy clothes and dance and sing about sex? THAT IS HER JOB. Beyonce is a performer. Just because she is a mother, she still has a job to do, and nowhere in her lyrics connotes that she must now wear an oversized grey poncho and only talk about her baby and motherhood. Mothers are not saints. They are not exalted to asexual seraphims after they have had children. They are humans, and they have the right to have human desires, like wanting to look good/sexy, doing whatever their jobs are, and not being judged by hypocrites who like have a pile of Mom-on-Teens porn stashed on their thumb drives labeled “Taxes”.

This all just harkens to  the ridiculous double standard that we have that claims that women must be chaste, virginal vessels of tranquility, especially after they’ve had a child, even though men can go by the credo “boys will be boys” and get away with anything. Who the hell do you think boys are “being boys” with? People who have this view generally have a problem with boys being boys with other boys, so there are obviously girls “being girls” with the boys.

Being hot and showing it off establishes absolutely no evidence about one’s aptitude for raising a child. If Beyonce and Amber Rose want to act/feel attractive and express it and want to continue to sing and dance and...whatever the hell Amber Rose does...as long as they’re not hurting anyone, you sound really dumb criticising them.Maybe if we spent more time registering to vote than we did going nuts over some woman’s selfies, perhaps we wouldn’t have such an inept Congress, and women everywhere would not have their uteruses regulated as if they were guns.



...JUST KIDDING! America doesn’t regulate guns.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Si Je Suis Charlie, Je Suis Aussi Ahmed.

Courtesy aljazeera.com
As I write this, news outlets everywhere are covering the deaths of the murderers* of the employees, visitors, and two police guards at Charlie Hebdo headquarters. The assailants claimed to be avenging the honour of Islam and their prophet, who were often targets of the publication’s satire. Their act of terror is the worst France has seen in a very long time, and it seems that instead of fear, it merely solidified France with the #JeSuisCharlie meme, and also showed how hypocritical they were when they killed a Muslim police officer. Look up #JeSuisAhmed. Now that this ordeal will hopefully be over soon, and hopefully with minimal casualties, let’s get a few things straight.

If you think that prominent Muslims in the public eye should be denouncing these acts, then you are an asshole. The “men” who executed this attack on unarmed citizens are no more representatives of all of Islam than the Ku Klux Klan is a representative of all Christianity. No law-abiding Muslim person has to apologise for the acts of terrorists as if they are drunk uncles who keep saying racist stuff in front of your black boyfriend who you brought home for the Holidays. They co-opted a banner and fueled their hate through it, much like the murderer of the two patrolmen in NYC. He was never part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement; he used the tags and did terrible things, and now anyone who marched for reasonable reforms and dialogue are roped in with him, and leaders of the movement must denounce his crimes as not representative of that for which they stand. Both of these events were hate crimes, yet when white people commit hate crimes, they are depicted as lone wolves and slightly disturbed, no matter how many memberships to hate groups or hate movements they have. No one demands that Wolf Blitzer make a statement when a white supremacist, say, bombs an NAACP headquarters. So stop demanding that brown people denounce the acts of hate groups whose roots are in a specific religion or cultural background. Either that, or before you demand denouncements from large groups of brown people, formally denounce the Inquisition, the Middle Passage, the Nazi Holocaust, the Expulsion of the Moors, Apartheid, the Hottentot Venus fiasco, and every other major crime done by “Christian people”. You need to be honest with yourself: If the Internet existed in the Dark Ages, the world would be calling for the eradication of Christianity, and demanding that the Pope denounce the crimes of Christians, from witch burning to the Crusades...actually, the Popes at the time were leading the charge to do those acts, but you get the point…

If you are defending the religion of Islam by saying that the assailants were not “truly Muslim”, sorry, but you’re doing it wrong. They were Muslim. However, they were part of a hate group. Just as Christianity has many sects, there are many sects of Islam. Sadly, just as with Christianity, Islam has hate groups as well, and some of them are violent. Christianity has the Neo-Nazis, the National Front, Focus on the Family, and various militant anti-secular government groups. Islam has al-Qaeda, ISIS, and various militant anti-secular government groups. The murderers in this case undermined their actions, because as much as they claimed to be defending Islam, they killed a Muslim man. That is how indiscriminate hate works. The Klansmen who thrived on fear in the South were Christians who were killing other Christians. It is irrational, and it is despicable, and it drags the religions they represent through the mud. That does not mean the religions themselves are bad. It means the hate groups who claim to follow these religions are manipulative assholes.

If you are not hashtagging #JeSuisCharlie because you don’t feel sorry for them because they printed a lot of racist stuff, don’t be a dick. You are doing the same thing that mansplainers do when a woman is assaulted, and the first thing they say is , “Well, you shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirt”. I never liked much of what Charlie Hebdo published, but I never thought they deserved to die. I just noted how much I didn’t like them and didn’t read their publications. This is the way a free press should work. If you don’t like it, you are free to criticise it, but don’t kill the author, and don’t blame the author for his own death. There is nothing wrong with saying #JeSuisCharlie et #JeSuisAhmed, and you can still not like their content, and you can still not sound like you're victim blaming people who were freely expressing themselves, as you are doing by expressing disdain for their content.


There are about a billion Muslims in the world. I know a few, and they are pretty awesome, not necessarily because the are Muslim, but I would be foolish to think that their choice to follow the religion did not help hone their own sets of values and traits that make them awesome now. The religion is not forming terrorists, unlike what you’re hearing in the news and editorials. Any religion can be used as a beacon for goodness or a bludgeon for hate. So demanding someone to apologise for what others of his/her faith/ethnicity has done is as foolish as claiming that the assailants are not of said faith, which is as foolish as blaming the assholes expressing free speech for their own deaths.

*I know the names of the assailants, but much like with the Nice Guy™ who went on a shooting spree this summer, I am not going to immortalise their names so that they can be martyrs for their false cause. Other outlets can do that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Racing For Relations

President Obama said in an interview recently that race relations have gotten better under him. I nearly choked on my coffee with the spittake that I did. I almost died. Thanks, Obama.


Obama came out of his mouth to say that race relations are BETTER? Is he insane??? I have seen more blatantly racist incidents happen in the last 6 years than in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Shooting unarmed brown people is the new planking. I’ve been profiled by police more in the last 6 years than I was when I was 15, for doing the same insidious looking thing to raise suspicion that I did then: walking.


I thought about how we got to this place. Think back to 9/11. The day after those planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, violence by citizens against anyone who “looked Arab” went up. There were cases everywhere, and the victims were usually NOT from Saudi Arabia (most of the perpetrators’ home country), and sometimes not even Arab or Muslim. They were American, Persian, and Indian, Christian Sikh. We were told to be alert and aware of suspicious activity. That was translated by most (including government agencies) to mean, “If they ‘look Arab’, keep an eye on them”. This laid the groundwork to be again be wary of anyone who didn’t look like he came from Pleasantville. Stop & Frisk policies had already been happening, but back then, it was call “Tuesday”...honestly, any day. The most egregious reason for suspicion of a person was that he was brown and walking somewhere. Sometimes, he was driving. I mean, how could he have afforded that car? He HAD to have been up to something.


Now we’re up to the last 6 years, there have been dozens of incidents where unarmed African Americans (and some Africans) have been shot by either police officers suspecting them of wrongdoing, or by citizens who were “just defending themselves” against perceived threats, because bottles of iced tea and Skittles and loud music are sure signs of imminent danger. Conversely, white men who were more armed (machine guns) than their black counterparts in similar situations were either detained without having been shot, or they got off free.


All the while, media outlets, mostly Fox News, whitesplain this disparity by spouting crime statistics to show that blacks commit more crime than whites. They show racial makeup of the prison population compared to the about of blacks in American society, the amount of black arrests for certain crimes, the incredulous that we don’t talk about “black on black crime”, the violent lyrics in “black” music, etc. They then say, “Well we SHOULD be afraid of black males, based on this data. That’s not racist; it’s common sense!” Then the same media outlets ask why there is such little racial diversity in the Republican Party, and why the Democratic Party seems to have the black and brown vote on lockdown. They cannot figure out why it has been like this for so long, when some of their policies MAY be appealing to all people regardless of race/ethnicity. They then accuse Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Eric Holder or Barack Obama of race baiting.


Here is the real answer, though: If my neighbour spent most of his day belittling me, telling everyone I’m a dangerous demon-on-earth who might cut you when you least expect it, then why would I want to accept an invite to his house party? Tweak crime stats without explaining them, like the fact that there are more blacks in prison because drug laws were lopsided for possession of derivatives of certain drug over their more potent form sent more blacks to jail. Leave out the fact that white defendants tend to either get charges dropped or better plea deals for the same crimes. Never mention MURDER BALLADS put to lyric country singers’ fantasies of torturing and killing women, long before rap music got really hood. We should more be afraid of white men in cowboy boots with acoustic guitars! Omit the fact that not many people actually actually get behind Jesse Jackson or AL Sharpton when they truly chase windmills, but every media outlet goes to them when something racial happens, as though they are the black popes to whom white people must pay penance when someone mishears someone saying “niggardly”. Don’t mention that Eric Holder is doing what he is CONSTITUTIONALLY OBLIGATED to do, and that Obama has been disappointingly quiet on race relations unless there is a beer involved. Do all these things, and then you expect us to get on your bandwagon? I don’t think so. It also doesn’t help that your majority whip spoke at a white supremacist mixer, and lauded David Duke. This is the same reason most single women don’t get on board. You cannot keep telling a woman that she’s a whore because she wants access to birth control, or doesn’t want a court involved in her basic healthcare, or because she is wearing a thin shirt or is blonde or has large natural breasts or wants to work for equal pay, and then be incredulous that she is not ok with you. Bye, Felipe.


Presently, we see a myriad of stories about “hood” parties by white fraternities with dude-bros in brownface, unarmed black teenagers getting shot for playing their music too loud or being angry because someone is following them while they’re trying to go home, or black men being stopped while walking with their hands in their pockets on a cold day because someone called 911 to report that a black man was walking around with his hands in his pocket, and we think that things are getting worse. They are not, though. We just have the Internet now, and more people on all sides are recording what has been happening for years...except the New Orleans Police. For some reason, their camera shut off when something suspect happens.


Another thing we see now is people carrying this video and photo evidence and taking to the streets NON-VIOLENTLY to protest unfair treatment. As I have stated before, the people who give in to violent acts are idiots. Sadly, since the rhetoric in new outlets only allow for a “you’re with us or against us” view, people make the assumption that if one is against police brutality, then one is against the police. This ignores that all the protesters actually COOPERATE with their local police departments to carve out marching routes and venues for demonstration. There is nothing in human society that is strictly 1 or 0. I love law enforcement, but I don’t like being suspected of having stolen my own tablet when I’m reading it outside. This is a problem, and does not diminish the fact that we need good cops on the street. The position that Patrick Lynch and NYPD unions have taken to accuse de Blasio of being against them when he pointed out flaws in their policing is like if I submitted a test to my professor, and when she pointed out that I got a few questions wrong, I screamed, “You’re trying to make me look like a failure! I turn my back on you!” If we all acted like this in school, we would all be 4.0 honour students. We would also be complete morons, because we never learned to remedy our mistakes. The KKK is raising funds to support Darren Wilson. Does that mean all police are in the KKK? This isn’t 1950’s Alabama, so no. The jump to that conclusion would be idiotic.


Back to Obama’s assessment: are race relations really better? Well, the divide is definitely still there, and the incidents that prove it are still happening, now at least we have more documented proof. With this documented proof, we definitely can see who is truly racist and who just doesn’t know better. I have cleared out so many friends thanks to social media! In this case, yes, race relations ARE better, because pretty much everything is on the table and we know where we all stand. The issues that cause the divides, including lopsided media outlets and idiotic 1/0 trains of thought, are still here, though.
 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No One Is Igging Azalea

Such a shame they're enemies. They have the same
taste in clothes!
An odd byproduct of the controversy over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (and John Howard and Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin, etc.) and susbsequent non-indictments is a good ol’ fashioned hip-hop beef: Azealia Banks vs. Iggy Azalea, with special guests Anonymous and Q-Tip...and (sigh) T.I.

The short story (which is still long) is that in the midst of all the #BlackLivesMatter protests, Ms. Banks called out Igloo Australia Iggy Azalea for not speaking up about issues facing the black community, like the unfair penal code and police mistreatment, while appropriating black culture for her personal gain. This got a rather flippant response from Azalea, who basically said, “Well I just saw this since I was in dance practise, but somebody needs to get a life!” Banks then gave an emotional interview on Hot 97 expounding on her point that she feels that Iggy Azalea, as well as other white artists, has mined black culture, namely hip-hop, and given nothing back. Azalea responded to that by calling Banks a racist whiner saying she’d be successful once she grew up. This prompted Anonymous to go #GamerGate on Azalea and threaten to release a sex tape of her if she didn’t apologise to Azealia Banks, because we all know slut-shaming solves EVERYTHING.

AN ASIDE: Before we delve too deeply into the main subject, one should also remember that Azealia Banks has a long history of picking fights, many times unprovoked, with MANY artists. This is not to dismiss anything that she said, but if next week she starts a beef with Kreayshawn or Diplo...again, this will be old news very quickly.

Q-Tip then actually stepped in and gave a 40-Tweet explanation of the history of hip-hop, from whence it came, and where it is; it is rebel music. It is a political movement off the heels of still-disfranchised vets and emergers from the Jim Crow South. It’s music for EVERYBODY, but one cannot forget its roots and why some may resent its manipulation for just profit. He wasn’t even saying that this is what Iggy Azalea was doing, but he wanted to set the record straight. Seriously, it would bring a tear to your eye. He won the internet that day. It ended the argument.

...But then (sigh) T.I. had to chime in, with an unnecessary Tweet parade of his own. It was about as useful to the conversation as making a prequel or sequel to “Dumb and Dumber” was. Finally, Iggy Azalea responded to Q-Tip’s history lesson, calling it patronising and saying she DID do her homework, and then told everyone to get off Twitter and get a life and celebrate the Holidays...and then sent another Tweet.

ANOTHER ASIDE: Anyone who was a 23 year old who went from being homeless freshman to an engineering baccalaureate within 5 years and got a job straight out of college, only to be talked to by his older peers as if he doesn’t know how to do basic math may have felt insultingly partonised. If Iggy Azalea really DID do her homework and work hard te 8 years she was in the States to get where she was, I can understand her getting lesson from Q-Tip as partonising. BUT, seriously, dude. It’s Tip.

This is neither the first controversy over Iggy Azalea, an Australian white girl who is dominating popular hip-hop right now, nor will it be the last. Whether one thinks she deserves the shower of praises she’s getting, mostly from other white critics, is up to the listener. There must be at least 20 articles out there referencing her and the white appropriation of hip-hop, a genre and culture created by blacks, but profited from by mostly white record executives. The ire seems to have grown this last quarter of the year, but I have definitely seen many comparisons to her and Christopher Columbus, and other invaders and pillagers of lands not their own.  I get it. It can be frustrating to work twice as hard at your job, and see someone else soar to success by seemingly putting in half the work. I would wager it is as if you are a tailor spending half a year making a suit, and then some big booty white girl from Australia walks in and tries on the suit, and a window shopper peers in the window and exclaims, “Oh my God, that is the BEST suit I’ve ever seen! That big booty white girl really knows how to sew!”, all while you are sitting there still holding the needle and thread in hand.

Here’s my question though: when HAVEN’T white people in America appropriated black culture? Cultural appropriation has been an American tradition since Americans appropriated black PEOPLE so that they could build their economy and pre-appropriate the lazy stereotype they later gave black people. So a white person from a country once in the English Empire came to a land and adopted and profited from a brown people’s culture without truly showing appreciation. How is this new from the last 300 years? I’m surprised she didn’t sneeze on some blankets and give them to some people living in the Seneca nation. Most of our modern popular music has roots in appropriated black culture. Do you like Rock and Roll? Yes? Well, you’re welcome. Were it not for the creeping crossovers in the 50’s and 60’s, Your Weekends would have NO Vampires in them. There would be NO Fighting of Foo. Your Zeppelins would be made of a less heavy metal than Led. You would not second-guess yourself when spelling “Beetle”. Your Lo would not be Dipped. And The only Madonna you would know is the one who birthed a magic sky baby that made people in the South hate blacks and people in the midwest hate gay people.

Granted, most of these rock artists pay at minimum lip service to their pigmented predecessors, but there will always be one or two yutzes who don’t. These are the ones who will lick the froth off of your cappuccino and announce, “That was good! I’m done!”, leaving you a little bit bitter. They’re the two-pump wonders of music, and for the most part, they won’t last. Does anybody really remember Snow or Vanilla Ice? I didn’t think so. I don’t like any of Iggy Azalea’s music, but this negative freakout over her is drawing attention away from actual callous appropriation, like when Vogue announced that “big butts are in now”, thanks to “pioneer” Jennifer Lopez, ignoring our 200,000 years of humans with booties and their previous disparaging of darker models who had moderately shapely posteriors, or when Elle announced that Timberland boots, those shoes that EVERY kid from the hood wore to school from 1990 to NOW, are officially fashionable. Assuming she actually DID her homework and is just not so talented, Iggy is just making mediocre music. Elle and Vogue editors are truly culturally and egregiously tone deaf. That is the thing about which we should get mad. Their “discovery” of things that we’ve been doing for years and they’ve been dismissing as “thuggish” or “ghetto” for years but then poaching those things they feel are suddenly okay speaks volumes to the way that society has treated brown people in this country: they’re gross, but OOH! Can you sing that again? I want to imitate it! But they’re still gross, but OOH! gimme that drum! But they’re still gross...and so on...

I hate to break it to you, but two of the best hip-hop artists ARE white: El-P and Aesop Rock.  These are artists who not only appreciate their place and acknowledge what came before them, they collaborate with their idols and peers. Have you heard Run The Jewels or Hail Mary Mallon? El-P has produced so many of my favourite hip-hop artists, I’m almost disappointed he didn’t name himself White RZA (WZA?). And Aesop Rock wins, every time. His oldest music rings as true and eloquent as his newest. Listening to him make me want to get a PhD, just so that I can keep up. And if you want to talk white female artists, let’s talk about Dessa. Let’s talk about Princess Superstar. Let’s talk Lady Sovereign with her Patwa freestyling. Yes, there’s plenty of white “infiltration” of hip-hop, but it is mostly sonically pleasing, and the stuff that isn’t or sounds shallow eventually does what every shallow pool does: it evaporates, and people just look at it and say, “Ew, look out for that mud.”

The arguments about Iggy Azalea remind me of the arguments about Barack Obama. With Obama, people saying he’s a ruthless Islamo-fascist dictator who is secretly usurping power through confiscating our automatic Jesus guns are the same ones saying he’s an aloof, big-eared, monkey boy who spends most of his time playing golf and eating watermelon. With Iggy, she’s either an European invader who deviously infiltrated and usurped southern style hip-hop and plumped up her butt to get all the money and poop on all the people making REAL music, or she’s a vapid, ecstasy-addled 50-feet tall blond woman carelessly skipping through terrified streets of the music industry, completely unaware of the damage she is doing to foundation and monuments of hip-hop culture.

So we can keep making the claim that Iggy Azalea is the hip-hop anti-christ (Anti-Bambata?) who will mine hip-hop like it’s a trove of blood diamonds, or when another article about her insidiousness and/or shallowness arises, and we can put on our headphones, pump some #RTJ2, and know that everything is going to be all right. I think I’m going to visit the Bestiary.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ismaaiyl Brinsley and the Tale of Here We Go Again

Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a motherfucker. I think we can all agree on that. He’s the “man” who shot two NYPD police officers. The patrol men, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were working overtime, working on an anti-terrorism drill when they were shot at point blank range in their squad car. They had families. He then fled the scene and turned the gun on himself. Seriously, Brinsley was a motherfucker.


What is going to happen next is that the #IAmDarrenWilson police “supporters” will blame the #BlackLivesMatter protesters for advocating this murder of two officers. Some police unions will join in the chorus, and everything that the protesters did to get people to understand that they were raising their voices against police BRUTALITY, not the police, will be undermined. Any upcoming protests will be very tense. Fox news is going to get very racist...actually, that is not a new thing...This, after even Congress took things seriously, and passed a bill that would help investigate all police related shootings. CONGRESS, the most inefficient of the three inefficient branches of our modern government did something! Motherfucking Brinsley...


Let’s try to not go down the road we seem to always travel in situations like this happens. Let’s not go to our usual mode of blaming Obama and Holder, claiming that they are stoking all this racial tension by bringing it up. Obama has been unsatisfyingly silent on most of these issues, and when he does speak, no matter what it is, it is either not enough or too much, depending on whether your favourite news source is MSNBC or Fox. Holder has been initiating investigations to see if there is a disparity in doling out justice, which is WHAT HIS JOBS IS. He is the Attorney General. If a DA investigates a case and discovers that a person has a stash of severed human heads, we don’t say that the DA is causing trouble by discovering that someone has the heads. We arrest that dude and applaud the DA.


Let’s not demand that leaders of the protesters speak out against Brinsley’s actions. That is insulting. We do this to Muslims in America all the time. The second a terrorist attack happens that was perpetrated by someone saying he’s Muslim, someone with a microphone and a camera demands that a Muslim cleric speak out against the attack, as if all Muslims can be painted with the same brush. Usually the idiot with the microphone never met a Muslim. This apologising for an entire race or religion or movement is dehumanising. No one demands that John McCain apologise for all Republicans whenever Louie Gomert opens his mouth. Contrary to popular belief, the #BlackLivesMatter protesters don’t want a random police chief to just apologise for the actions of a few. They want overall reform.


Let’s stop pretending that we are 1/0 entities. Throughout the year, the situation in America has been described in simple logic coding: IF person=black; THEN person=#BlackLivesMatter, ALSO person=anti-police AND anti-white AND secret criminal. IF person=white, THEN person=#IAmDarrenWilson, ALSO pro-police AND racist AND law-abiding citizen. IF person=believes any of this, THEN person=simplistic moron, ALSO person=needs to shut the hell up. Nothing is that black and white. Not all protesters are black “victims”, and not all policemen are white “oppressors”. This is exemplified in that the two policemen who were killed WERE NOT BLACK OR WHITE. Humans are Venn diagrams, not Boolean gates. Extreme people on either side of this movement want to paint the other side with one large brush.


Let us remember that ALL movements have extremist outliers who don’t represent the heart of the group, but manipulate their message in order to do terrible things. Remember how Christianity was manipulated to justify slavery? Does that mean that all Christians are bigots who are too lazy to do their own work? No. Also, let’s not lump the peaceful protesters in with this extremist schmuck. If we ARE going to bring up extremists, let’s lump Ismaaiyl Brinsley with other extremists who killed or injured cops: Jared and Amanda Miller, Dennis Marx, Byron Williams, Richard Poplawski, and Jerry and Joseph Kane. These are people connected to right-wing and Tea Party groups. They got less press, and they were usually viewed as “lone wolves”, not products of the movements they claimed to represent, as the NYPD police unions seem to want to do with Brinsley and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It seems a little bit odd that one would blame nonviolent protesters for the violent acts of one person against two patrolmen, yet not blame a movement known for its love of assault rifles and anti-government rhetoric for the murders and maimings of multiple people.


Let’s not shrug off this murder as chickens coming to roost. Specifically, Let’s not listen The Game and what comes out of The Mouth. The fact is that most of us want to have a good, pleasantville style relationship with their local law enforcement that others in the community enjoy. It can be done. It has been done. First, we need to acknowledge the long history of distrust due to legalised discrimination that festered up to the 20th Century. Blacks are 15% of the population yet are nearly 50% of the prison population. This is not because blacks commit more crimes. It is because blacks are punished more for the same non-violent crimes than whites, and sentencing for all crimes are closer to the maximum sentence for blacks than whites. In developing laws, the penal code leans towards punishing blacks more than whites. For example, look at the way the laws were crafted for possessing crack compared to cocaine, the more potent drug. Applauding the death of police officers, the people who are enforcing the laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law, does not resolve the main issues. So sentiments like The Game’s are The Inappropriate and The Totally Missing The Point.


I have friends in law enforcement, and I know that they are not programmed to assume I’m a suspect, or else I would not be friends with them. I know that most police aren’t inherently racist, but I do know that assumptions about me without knowing me prompt incidents like them stopping me when I’m walking in my own neighbourhood to question from whence I got my own tablet. These negative assumptions are why more unarmed blacks are killed by police while white men with machine guns seem to be able to be taken down and arrested with less bloodshed. The deaths of two policemen, who were just doing their jobs and working overtime to do it, just derailed the opportunity to discuss this disparity in any civil way, and drove the wedge further between law enforcement and the communities it is charged to protect.


Seriously...Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a motherfucker.

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