Archive for the 'Race' Category

Revolutionary Empathy

One of the most troubling bits about the rash of stories involving unarmed civilians killed by authority figures that dominated the news cycle over the last couple years wasn’t their seeming frequency. Yes, the fact that there seemed to be a new one every few days was beyond alarming, but despite what social and the news media suggested, cops weren’t running around shooting everybody (just like most young Muslim dudes don’t spend their days calling for jihad and most black/Latino kids aren’t in street gangs). What’s REALLY troubling about these events is how they expose the lengths some of us will go to convince ourselves that another human-fucking-being DESERVED to die.

It doesn’t matter our reasons either; doesn’t matter if we’re having difficulty accepting that the people tasked with our protection could do such things (which is odd given that behind every badge is another human-fucking-being dealing with real human-fucking-being shit), nor does it matter how much ‘less’ of a human we think the victim was; to THAT PERSON (and their friends/family) they were just as much of an eat/shit/sleep/die human as us; this we cannot explain away (no matter how much we lean on bullshit “but they stole a candy bar when they were six” rationalizations). It all boils down to us damning another person to DEATH for VIRTUALLY nothing

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Turf Wars: Black Feminists v. Black Masculists

black-man-frustrated

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will be a regular series where I dissect the various ‘battles’ I see being waged between two (ironically) intrinsically linked factions, as in: Their constant fight is what defines their respective identities.

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For tha love of country

jay-zkayne

For as long as I can remember it has never been ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ to be patriotic. Such a thing is typically associated with Second Amendment dick-riding, Fox News-watching, pickup truck driving, big-ass flag waving middle-aged white men, aka the DEFINITION of uncool. But here’s the thing: Hip hop (the current EPITOME of cool) is incredibly patriotic…in-its-own-unique-way. On damn near every hip hop album you’ll find lyrics gushing about the American cities from which the artists hail. They’ll even have endearing nicknames for ’em: The Boogie Down, The Chi, The ATL, The Town, The Sucka Free—the list goes on an’ on; and these towns don’t exist anywhere else in the world, but thanks to hip hop, the neighborhoods—and sometimes single streets or intersections—within these quintessentially American cities are now internationally known. Tell me that shit ain’t patriotic as fuck.

Blacker Face

blackface

Confession: During junior high (some of you call it ‘middle school’) and my first couple years of high school I pretended to be Black™. It reached its zenith during 8th grade when a fellow suburban race perpetrator and I shoplifted red bandannas from a local K-Mart so we could more effectively ‘claim a set.’ I wasn’t too good at the faux-Black™ thing though. I could never quite master the noun/verb disagreement, disregard for the possessive and superfluous pluralization (example: “We goin’ over Tim mama house to play some Maddens.”) or that damn Swag™. I had my moments though, but I was far too inconsistent. Oddly enough, there were a few white dudes I knew who were WAY BETTER at this than I. I was in awe of them actually. Took notes an’ everything.

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Some timely shit…

Jasper_Johns's_'Map',_1961

    Jasper Johns, Map (1961)

In lieu of writing a piece that touches on all the crazy shit that’s been goin’ on, I thought I’d just aggregate some pertinent old shit. So just click that link for a few bits (of varying lengths) about the zeitgeist and our condition an’ shit. If you don’t have the time and/or patience to slog through all that just peep this.

Light Ones : Dark Ones

I wonder if the damn near global deification of ‘light’ skin has less to do with the self-aggrandizing PR that The West™ has spread around the world, and more to do with a ‘simple,’ primal relationship with literal light and dark. Primarily our prehistoric understanding of light’s capacity to illuminate dark, scary places (the dynamic that likely influenced the arrogance and entitlement that led to the aforementioned wag-the-dog PR). Just think about it: We’ve only been ‘light creators‘ for a relatively short period of time. Before that, we were hyper dependent on the sun to ‘save’ us from the darkness (hence our pedantically precise measurements of light and dark; see: solstices, equinoxes).

We coveted the light and feared the dark; and since we’ve never really overcame this fear, the fact that we consider the peoples who look ‘like’ the light ‘good/right’ and those who mirror the darkness ‘bad/wrong’ kinda makes evolutionary sense. But here’s the ironic—possible existential crisis—causing rub: The peoples who evolved under the sun’s most intense wrath developed a defense from it; a ‘dark’ defense. I wonder if our ancestors who decided to leave the equatorial region to settle in more temperate climates where they ‘lightened’ up—prior to leaving—thought this was an ‘offense’ (a curse; one they were ‘born into’) and the subsequent transformation they experienced; as well as their ‘discovery’ of ‘new’ seasons; only confirmed this. Oh, and enduring shit like this probably corroborated their king-of-the-hill self perception; solidified their chosen-one status.

A Fag, a Nigger and a Spic walk into a trap…

An ‘offensive‘ joke that references race, religion, sexuality or any other ‘sensitive’ subject matter is like a fragrant, impossible-to-resist hunk of cheese that attracts identity fetishists; brings them out into the light and then SMACK!!! traps ’em. Now we can all gawk at ’em; see just who among us is ADDICTED to their superficial identities; see who is fighting tooth-an’-nail to keep their heads above the surface; the ones afraid to dip below to that unifying regardless-of-‘who’-you-THINK-you-are-love-is-love-and-fear-is-fear place. That ‘bloody truth’ that comedians trade in.

The great thing about a (good) ‘offensive’ joke (not talkin’ about that hacky “look at me saying ‘nigger’ without any context just for a cheap unfunny thrill” shit) is how it exposes the diversity of our fakeness. I think some comics avoid mining this territory because they fear people who—simply because the comic doesn’t look like them—may feel ‘obligated’ to protest, which (given the vociferousness/notoriety/level of ‘victimhood’ of the protester) could result in the comic getting labeled (read: ceremoniously ‘branded’) a Racist™, Sexist™, Homophobe™, etc.

But you know what?

Continue reading ‘A Fag, a Nigger and a Spic walk into a trap…’


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