Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No...Everybody DOESN'T Know That....

I haven't blogged much about relationships. I don't think they are all the same and most of the "relationship experts" seem to be giving you advice that would make dating THEM easier (there's a market in setting people up for the okie doke). But...I was discussing something today online and I wanted to expound.

During a conversation about nagging and the importance of having shared definitions of simple terms, i shared a story from a previous relationship. I was dating a young woman for about a month. Things were going ok...just ok. We weren't arguing, but there wasn't really a spark either. "Treading water" is what I'd call it. (yes i used a swimming term. Melanin doesn't prevent me from being able to...nvm) One day, I asked her if something had changed (she was extremely affectionate when we first met). Her reply? "You aren't being a man". Admittedly, I was burning up inside when I heard that. But...I chilled. I asked her to clarify her statement (partially because nothing anyone says ABOUT me changes who I am, and partially because I knew that whatever she said would be hilarious). She said "you don't take my car and fill it with gas, and you don't cut my grass". I was right. Hilarious.

Now, for all the women saying "but for real! if you don't do that, you're not a REAL man", I hear you. If THAT is what a man is to you, most definitely you should go find that man. Here's the problem...that's bullshit. Being a "man" is different to different people. If you grew up in New Jersey, NOBODY pumps their own gas. If you grew up in an apartment complex...or condo...you didn't HAVE grass. Would you say that there were no real men there? Of course not. And if you grew up there, those wouldn't be things that naturally occurred to you to do in a relationship.

Those are superficial things. I believe her bigger point was, I didn't make her feel taken care of. To which I also say...bullshit. I instinctively walk on the outside, open doors, pay for dinner, take out the trash (even at her house), help you with your coat, etc...but...i didn't pump her gas. To be clear...i DID pump her gas, but her expectation was that i would take her car and fill it up while she was at home. Not only was that the first time she had mentioned that...but...that was the first time ANYONE had ever suggested to me that being a man was connected to THAT.

But, before the men start high fiving each other...that's what HER father did. So HER definition of a man came from what she saw. Instead of arguing, I did explain that while her mother was able to stay at home and raise her family while her father did all of the traditional "man" stuff, my mother always pumped her own gas. I DID cut grass, but...I never associated that with "men's work" because I also saw the women in my neighborhood cutting grass. Point is...we make a LOT of assumptions/judgments about what is common knowledge. Rarely is it as common as we believe. (plus...fuck you MEAN i'm not a real man?!?!?)

I'd also like to point out that we live in a time where gender roles are shifting. Men cook. Women work. There are more stay at home fathers (still not a LOT...but more). There are more women who are financially (and otherwise) the heads of households. It's foolish to assume that your beliefs/experiences are everyone else's. Try discussing with the person you're interested in what your beliefs are. You're a feminist and you think gender roles are stupid? I should know that upfront so I understand why you hate it when i rush to open your door. Your father never went in the kitchen because "that's your MOTHER'S kitchen"? I need to know that upfront so I understand why you got pissed at me for trying to surprise you by cooking your favorite meal (no...it's not because i can't cook...hating asses).

It is the same for men. People usually have friends who share their values. That reinforces what you already believed and may give you a false sense of "correctness" when in fact, there is more than one "correct", here. You think a woman is supposed to cook every night because your mother did? Your mother had to cook every night because if she didn't, she wouldn't eat. Did you know your mother couldn't afford to eat out? Did you know your grandfather was a chef and did most of the cooking around the house? I'm not talking about preferences, I'm talking about believing that someone is a "REAL" man/woman based on how YOU were raised. Talk it through. You might find out that you're putting pressure on yourself to do things she doesn't even care about while neglecting things that are important to her. You ALSO might find out that people are individuals and you might mess around and like someone that doesn't fit your "preference". Or you can just keep bitching about how there are no real men/women out there. With your bitching ass.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Affirmative Action is White Slavery (and other stuff you didn't know were "things")

The title is not for shock value. I'm not making this up. Some of you who regularly read my blogs may even agree with it. That's the gift (and curse) of having a diverse audience. We're not always going to agree, but I do get to see different opinions. (it should be noted that I'm listening to "Back dat azz up" as I write this....taking over for the 99 and the 2000. just thought you should know) BTW... watch this video...because...let's discuss. White Slavery!

How in the entire hell would anyone make THAT analogy? Whetttt?!?!? White Slavery? What did white people lose...a few spots in college? A promotion or two? HOW IN THE HELL CAN THEY COMPARE THAT TO SLAVERY?!?! I mean...that's the emotional response. I'm not emotional, though. So I'll look at this as if I were white for a minute (indulge me...it'll be fun).

This is what they expected me to be on the news.

For the purpose of this exercise, I will assume that my character stays the same and I'm simply transformed physically. I'll remove the conditioning. I'll assume a position of equality based on hard work (and maybe a little family legacy...my parents earned that). Ok...so how do I feel about affirmative action? Well, if I'm better for the job, shouldn't I get the job? Why yes the hell I should! If I'm more qualified for the university, shouldn't I be accepted? You daaaaaamn right I should! I never owned a slave...why should I have to pay for slavery?!?!?! This is an outrage! This is oppression!!! This...is...it is....THIS IS SLAVERY!!!!!

This is what they got!

I imagine that's how that thought process plays out. And let's all suspend our background for JUST a second, and admit that seeing someone get a job you're more qualified for, or a spot in college you're more qualified for, hurts. I don't care what color you are, losing out on something to someone you feel is undeserving stings and causes you to react. The first reaction is often to say "this isn't fair". I mean...life is SUPPOSED to be fair, right? Of course it is. And...this is America gosh darnit! this is the place where hard work is rewarded and lazy people get exactly what they deserve...NOTHING! Cool...Cool...except that's NEVER actually been America. Ever. Not once. At no point has there been absolute equality (or even close).

I'm here to break the shackles for my white brethren

So...let's figure this out. How about we start with...Affirmative Action isn't slavery. At all. Not even kinda. Slavery involved people being forced to leave their country, family, lives and work for someone, with no money in return (if you say the slaves were provided with food, clothing, and shelter i might slap your lips off fam...cut that shit out). As a matter of fact, can we stop comparing shit to slavery other than people being forced to work for someone for free and not being allowed to quit, walk away, stop, etc? I don't think this is a lot to ask, ok? Ok. Also, the holocaust isn't a natural analogy to make for hate. Millions of people killed because they were Jewish. Unless you're comparing another group of millions killed because of their ethnicity/religion/etc...find another word. Shit can be really really really bad without resorting to the hyperbole.

Ok...soooo is Affirmative Action...bad? If you know me, you know I think most things are neither bad or good. Most. Sexual Assault, Pedophilia, Oppression...yeah that's bullshit. Most other things I recognize are rarely all one or the other. Take AA. For minorities (which includes women), AA helped (and still does) balance the scales of being denied fair opportunities. For the majority group (in this case, white males), AA took away some opportunities. Without context, you can see how losing opportunities that you once had, based solely on race/sex, can be viewed as discrimination (still bullshit because context isn't a make believe word but...) We can have an intellectual discussion about whether or not it's STILL relevant/needed if you'd like. We can discuss whether it's "racism against whites" if you'd like (it's not because it's not but....). What we can't do is pretend that the default setting on this country until the 1960's was legally protected discrimination. President LB Johnson said "" seems logical. But it's 2013. I'm open for the discussion. What I'm NOT here for is the extreme position on either side. Nope, a person of another race not liking me is not necessarily racism. I'm loud. I cuss occasionally (though far less in real life than you'd think). I refuse to shave my beard. I resist most attempts to define me and to assimilate. In other words...I can understand you not liking me and it doesn't necessarily have a thing to do with my beautiful copper toned skin and luxurious beard. On the other hand, every time a black person mentions race, it's not an attempt to make white folks feel guilty about slavery or ask for reparations (most of us have accepted that shit ain't gonna happen). Rarely do we attempt to discuss. If I discuss something for days it doesn't mean I'm outraged. Most of the black people I know (this isn't scientific, but it's telling) were NOT outraged about the Paula Deen situation. We made jokes about it. We hashtagged it on twitter. We even pointed out that the slavery dinner was probably a bigger deal than the use of the word nigger. What we DIDN'T do was picket, sit-in, ask for a government inquiry, riot, loot...unless you define outrage by "blogging the SHIT outta that story"....nah. Folks just found a story about a public figure and discussed it.

AA is white slavery? Reach on fam

Now...I'm not going to ignore the feeling of unfairness some white people are experiencing. I don't believe I can expect my experience to be respected while I'm dismissive of yours. But....let's not reach, Mr Fantastic. Affirmative Action was intended to right a historical wrong. It was clearly not designed with the sole purpose of demeaning white men (remember white WOMEN benefited from Affirmative Action, too). If you really believe it's unfair, then produce a less emotional argument devoid of hyperbole. Show how ending AA would be beneficial, not just to you, but to the country as a whole. Or...just keep saying ridiculous shit while I laugh. (now listening to Ha. my music choices didn't influence my writing...but i want to share)

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Mandatory Riley Cooper Blog (or..."you guys say it tooooo")

Seems like all anyone is talking about recently is race. Zimmerman, Deen, and now Riley Cooper (he of the Philadelphia Eagles) have kept the conversation going. I've written enough about race for a lifetime. I'm just as tired of it as you are. Here's the vid...

But...I had a conversation with a co-worker yesterday that helped me articulate my feelings a little better. See, my co-worker also happens to be a very funny (but clean) comedian. He strays away from "controversial" topics and does material that, for the most part, would be considered family-friendly. That's also his personality, so it makes sense (follow him or whatever @erikedmunds on twitter). Anyway, as you may know...I'm NOT a clean comedian. I say things that some may find offensive. I've never told a joke with the intention of offending (in fact, I rarely if ever say "nigger/nigga" on stage). But my personality causes me to address topics that people are passionate about. Those topics are often polarizing (not to mention i got this AMAZING bit about vibrators). Oh...and I cuss (Erik says I use "swear words"...because he's a 70 year old in a 31 year olds body).

Erik Says "Don't Swear"...asshole

Anyway, comedians use language to get their audience to respond (hopefully by laughing or applauding...hopefully). I don't expect the things I say on stage to necessarily be acceptable in public (i still say the shit...but whatever). There's a reason it's called "an act". So...let's discuss group dynamics and social contracts. I don't call women bitch or cunt because I understand that those words are offensive to women. I don't really need to know "why". Specifically because i'm NOT a woman and I grasp group dynamics, I don't care if women call each other 50 leven (if u don't get that...it's ok) bitches...I know I shouldn't. Same with "faggot". I grew up during a time where people said that word freely. Louis CK opens one of his sets with a joke about how it was used when he was growing up. As time changed, the contract changed. People realized (for the most part) that it was offensive to the LGBT (of course some aren't offended...in general though) community and stopped using it. I don't care if I was at a Pride parade and saw a bazillion people saying it...I wouldn't join in. Group Dynamics. I'm not a part of the group...I don't get to make the rules (Paula Deen...I grew up hearing that word and figured out NOT to use it...see?). Heterosexual privilege doesn't compel me to say "but you say it..." because I don't feel entitled to group membership.

That's the issue for me. The "it's hypocrisy because you guys say it" argument is boiling down complex dynamics into "if you want equality, then everyone can do the same things". If you believe that...cool. It's bullshit. But cool. Because you also have to live with yourself. Do you want to say nigger/cunt/bitch/faggot for equality? Because I've never seen anyone using those words in that context attacked. Louis CK didn't get charges of racism/homophobia for his stand up where he used both the f/n words within 10 minutes of each other. Why? Because...context. Context. But...nuanced thinking isn't for everyone. Neither is honesty. If you're intellectually honest, you know that there are things your wife can say to you that aren't acceptable if someone else says it. You get it. You just don't want to. Stop It B

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's not You, It's ME...Really

I've got an announcement to make...you suck. You are not nearly as awesome as you think. I know all of the self-help books are there to make you believe that you're AMAZING and worthy of not just love, but praise and worship!!! *catches the holy ghost...does the cat daddy to Mary Mary* You're not. You're probably a good person. You have a lot of great qualities. Probably have a good heart and allat. But you're not perfect. None of us are. And the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can be better. 
Probably Not

I'm a great debater (no Denzel). I can argue. That's my gift....and my curse. I've broken up with women because I was wrong and made them feel like it was THEIR fault. That's called "being a piece of shit". Not in every case, but...enough to see a pattern. Now to be fair, I've loved women before. I've cared greatly for a few women. But...taking responsibility for my mistakes was never a part of my makeup. When I finally figured out "oh...they're NOT crazy, I'm full of shit"...my life changed.

Ask yourself...when your significant other tells you they don't like something you did...do you think about it, consider how they're seeing it, then address it? Or... (what most people do) do you defend yourself? No one likes to be "attacked". But this isn't your enemy. This is someone you're either getting to know better, or building a life with. When you defend yourself, you're saying "whatever I'm doing is cool, you've got it all wrong". When you think/consider first, you're saying "the person that I care about is affected by my behavior. How can I correct that?". I mean...if your goal is to actually have a happy relationship, you'd probably want to do the latter. Is that what you want? Or do you want someone to worship the ground you walk on and see you as the modern day Christ, incapable of mistake?

Some woman out there is reading this and nodding. She's going "yep...i just want him to accept that he's wrong sometimes". Yes, ma'am. I'm here for you. But... (come on fam...you knew a "but" was coming) what are you contributing to your own demise? When he says something you do bothers him, do you say "i only do that because I care"? Or one of my favorites "I'm a women, what do you expect?". Own your shit, too. If this is a man that you want to be with, it's important that you know what he likes/doesn't like. Asking him to give you a pass whilst changing who he is will leave you alone and bitter. 
Come on...can't ONE of these not be corny?

Nobody gets a pass. You gotta know your strengths and weaknesses. Then find someone you can be yourself around. Someone who knows how to work through misunderstandings and come out stronger. If every time you argue, you love him/her less and less...you're doing it wrong (or you're with the wrong person). Listen to your own conversations. If you find yourself talking about everything that's wrong with the opposite sex...you're losing. Don't misunderstand...it's JUST as unhealthy to think it's ALWAYS your fault. You need balance. Once you have a realistic view of yourself, you can really go and find what you deserve. 

P.S. I'm not a relationship expert. These are my observations and if you can relate, cool. If not? It ain't for you. In the meantime...waffles.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The "Either Or" Conundrum

Obama said it. Cosby yelled it. O'Reilly tried it. Romany Malco wrote an article about it. The "it" in question is Black accountability. All received both praise and criticism. I posed a question about prioritizing the fight against "systemic racism" and the "need for personal accountability". While not a large sample size, the results were interesting. Most people, regardless of race, saw accountability as a bigger priority. Those who saw racism as a priority didn't deny accountability as an issue.

Oh THAT'S Romany Malco...

Now, let's look into this a little further. Barack Obama is often criticized by the right as a "race-baiter". Which is interesting because some on the left says he doesn't speak on race enough. He's biracial so I'm sure he's used to the duality (that was a joke...his ethnicity isn't the reas...nvm). During his commencement speech at Morehouse (which was only lightly covered by the media) he called for the graduates to take responsibility for their communities and avoid the impulse to make excuses. Bill Cosby has been VERY vocal in recent years about the state of the Black community and the need to take responsibility for our condition. O'Reilly recently did the same, as did Malco. Different responses for different reasons.

This points to a mentality that I think is problematic. You're either on one side or the other of the debate (nuance is not what you get if two of your uncles find wives). Either Black people are completely blameless or completely responsible for their collective condition. Why? In most complex issues there's an intersection of responsibility. For those who say "racism was forever ago, shut up about it"...no. It's effects are long-lasting and far-reaching. Your disbelief doesn't change that. HOWEVER, pretending (at least publicly) that there aren't people who don't even attempt to do for themselves is just as ludicrous (please read "ludicrous" in Mike Tyson's voice. PLEASE). We all know someone (whether family, friend, or associate) who does nothing but complain while making no effort whatsoever to improve their situation. Please know...that's not just Black people. There are lazy people of ALL races/ethnic backgrounds. If you don't believe THAT...you might just be racist. Really. Own your shit.
It's possible for both sides to be wrong you know

We spend a LOT of time arguing about what the REAL problem is, and not enough time working on solutions. BOTH are problems. BOTH require work. For those of you who think racism is no longer an issue (or like Larry Elder says..."not the main issue") cool. Work on being individually accountable. If you get a little extra energy, perhaps you can join one of the MANY (also not often covered in the media) programs available to teach money management/parenting skills, or even those programs working to end drug dependency/violence. Those programs exist. Some are government funded. Some are privately funded. Most do good/important work. Those who think systemic racism and the laws (both formal and informal) that support it are the only problem, cool. Work on putting pressure on the lawmakers to change those laws. Work on forcing the media (by not watching and not supporting their sponsors) to provide fair coverage to positive images of all races. Work on not ATTACKING artists, but holding the labels accountable for offering more balance. Making the radio stations accountable. Teaching those in the community how the law works, and how to avoid the pitfalls of a system that appears to be slanted. We're all trying to achieve "better". Fighting people who have the same goal, but a different approach...nah. When a bully is too big, sometimes you gotta "jump" that bitch. Hit him high and low at the same time. We're letting the bully walk away while we fight each other. Let's work on that.

Full disclosure, I don't ever worry about "tone" when i read what someone says. I try to determine whether or not what they're saying is valid based on the facts. The messenger isn't important to me. I'm not suggesting you do the same. I'm telling you that's where my perspective comes from. Facts are facts and if you're not trying to make them fit your argument, they are useful to get an accurate picture. Fact, racist attitudes still exist in the world. Debating to what degree they exist is tiresome and does little to change those attitudes. Fact, there are lazy people of all races. Debating whether they are few or many does nothing to stop it. I've personally made a decision to no longer engage people who fight people trying to progress. Go stand in your holier than thou section with the rest of your "my way or the highway" homies. I'm supporting anyone attempting to move the dialogue AND the community forward. The rest of you can keep arguing over who knows best.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Logical Fallacy or "That SOUNDS good but the math doesn't add up, chief"

Recently the pro-profiling crowd have used a common meme to support their behavior. Not just in support of George Zimmerman, but in support of Stop & Frisk, Muslim profiling by the TSA, and others. It goes something like this: "Of course all black men aren't murders. BUT, since black men commit more murders, it's logical to be afraid/profile". Sounds about right. I mean...if there's a behavior that is clearly occurring at a high rate in a particular community, then of COURSE when you see a member of that community it's reasonable to assume they engage in that behavior...right? Wrong...and math will help us get there!

Let's use my previous example. Black men commit MORE murders. True. Of the approximately 13,000 murders committed in 2011, 52% were committed by black males. Around 6700+ murders. There are around 42 million Black people in the USA. Approximately half are male (21 million if you're lazy or bad at math). Assuming every murderer only murdered one person...1 out of every 3100+ black men is a murderer. Or... 0.03% chance of a Black man around you being a  murderer. So let's go back...it's reasonable to be afraid of someone who has less than a half of a half of a percent chance of being a murderer statistically? Perhaps my understanding of "reasonable" is different than yours. (Side note: in 85% of murders committed by black men, the victims is black. If you're NOT black, the chance that a black man will murder you goes down to 0.004%). Math doesn't lie.

Too much math? Ok...let's do an easier problem. Most tall mountains are capped with snow. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that if I see snow, I must be on a tall mountain. Except.... Look, you can be afraid of black men if you want. You can blame the media. You can blame misunderstanding of statistics. You can blame it on the rain (sorry Milli Vanilli...or whoever actually sang it). But in the end, there is no amount of justification you can use other than "I'm scared and it makes me feel better. The statistics don't justify your fear. It rarely does.

Base Rate Bias is the name of this logical fallacy. It says you will ignore the overall statistics when you can zero in on something that groups the statistics. I get it. "More people without college degrees are billionaires", therefore it's better financially to NOT have a degree. Wait...THAT one doesn't make sense to you? But it's the same reasoning you used before...Too deep? Ok Ok Ok... I'll make it simple. The overwhelming majority of black men do NOT murder people. Even those who DO don't murder non-black people. So no, you can't use that statistic to justify your fear. You can use your fear to keep looking for justification, though. Or...you can use your logic to overcome your fear. What ya gon do?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Black American, Black, American, Black in America...What's the difference?

I've lived with an open secret all of my life. I'm not who you see. By "you" I mean...everyone. As the years go on, I'm more and more..."me"...but still not fully myself.

When I'm around Black people? I'm comfortable. I easily communicate either using colloquialisms, or standard English. I say nigga without concern for being perceived as a hypocrite or self-hating minion. I listen to music that is offensive. I grasp the nuance. When I'm around other races? I'm comfortable. I easily communicate using standard English. I never say nigga because I recognize the weight of the word. I listen to music that doesn't offend. I grasp the nuance. Both of those people exist. In me. All of the time.

"why the black side gotta cry?!" calm down, it's a joke
I've read Shakespeare and listened to Dead Prez. I've worked in corporate America and read the Autobiography of Malcolm X (and Behold a Pale Horse). I hate it. Shakespeare did nothing for me. Who talks like that? Yes, I grasp the explanation of the human condition...and I grasp it even better by listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire. I hated working in corporate America. Putting on a facade for people so they would feel comfortable in my presence. Removing the "edge" from my voice so I wouldn't appear threatening. Laughing at jokes that weren't funny (to me). But...I wanted to succeed so, I "played the game".

That's what my life WAS. Playing a game. Holding on to my "self" while trying to improve my situation. Feeling the need to assimilate because "that's the only way they'll allow you in". Guess what? I don't want "in" like that. I'm a dope person. I mean...REALLY dope. You should want to be around me. As I am. Ask yourself why my beard bothers you. Why the tone of my voice intimidates you. Why my music scares you. Let me help you...it's because you don't understand it. So instead of trying to understand, you ask ME to change. Nope. I'm good. My beard is flourishing (it's beautiful). I'm passionate, so I speak with a fluctuating tone (and often with exaggerated hand gestures). My music speaks to a struggle that still exists...often far away from your neighborhood. I'm not assimilating. You will love me like this, or you can lose out on all this (waves hand all over my body) dopeness.
Ok folks..."Take Care"

But hold on....I also LOVE doing certain things that are "mainstream". Hell, as a comic, I've been embraced by more middle aged conservative audiences than the so-called "urban" audience (by urban i mean minorities because...duh). I watch Friends (Chandler is funny...sue me). I have a few hipster friends who keep me abreast of what the plaid shirt and tight pants generation is doing. I think Bill O'Reilly is a brilliant man. I disagree with him more than occasionally, but he's entertaining and at least puts some thought into his arguments. And i won't hide THAT either. Black people saying we're not monolithic means I can go skiing AND play basketball. I like hockey (NJ Devils) and listen to classic rock.

That's my secret. For years I was playing a game. I was never really being myself. I felt like I was hiding my "blackness" around white people, and hiding my mainstream tendencies around black people. Fuck all of you and your judgmental asses. I'm me. I'm dope. I mean...REALLY dope. The question is...are YOU dope enough for me to want to be around?

PS. I'm going to eat fried chicken and cry about Kovalchuk retiring (he played for the Devils...smh)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Zimmerman and the Legal System are BOTH on Trial

I've avoided writing/tweeting/vlogging/fartin about this Zimmerman trial, since Zimmerman was arrested. Not because I'm apathetic (I'm not outraged, but I'm more than a little interested)...but because I didn't want to fan the flames of irresponsible/uninformed opinions already being bandied about all willy and nilly like. But...

Here we are. I was outspoken before about the "need" for Zimmerman to stand trial. He's standing trial. I've been quiet. Because...I mean...all we REALLY wanted was an opportunity for the case to be heard. A chance for the family to know what really happened that night. Right? Except...I've lived in this country for a loooooooong time. I know better. YOU know better. Regardless of your race/ethnicity/religion/sexuality/choice of breakfast meat, we've all seen cases of the legal system failing. But, once again we suspend reality for another "case of the century". How many examples of innocent men being found guilty, only to be released years later when DNA evidence clears their name? How many guilty men are found "not guilty" because of a procedural issue (or jury bias)? How many times do we have to see it before we acknowledge our legal system is flawed because...WE are flawed as humans?
Guess When I was 100% Legal

This is a case about a man who killed a 17 year old boy. Yes, he's a boy. He's still legally a minor. He can't buy cigarettes, sign a contract, or join the military. Our country considers him a child. Those are facts. I've seen him called an animal. A thug. And other things I choose not to repeat. All of these strongly held opinions about a child whom none of us ever met. "He smoked weed. Look at his pictures...he looks like a thug. He got put out of school". So? Guess what...I smoked weed. I still look like a thug to some. I got put out of school for punching a kid in the nose (true story...senior year in HS...he called me "boy"...i reacted.). How many of you believe I deserve to die?

Zimmerman is also a stranger to me. All I know about him came from the same media sources that gave me only partial information about Trayvon. So let's be honest...this isn't about what we know. This is about what we've always believed. Young black kid in a hoodie. Smoked weed. Had problems in school. He probably started the fight. Or is it...wanna be cop with a racist bent, murdering a child in cold blood and being protected by other racists in his community? And THAT is where the legal system steps in. To give us the facts, not the media hype.

But, I know better. I know that this case SHOULD be about whether or not Zimmerman murdered Martin or acted in self-defense. I've read what you think. Those who think it's murder say "he had no right to follow Trayvon". Those who think it's self-defense say "it's not illegal to follow someone". I say, if you follow me...at night....in the rain...and I don't know you...you better have a gun. But that's me. And I'm not you. And that's why this legal system is flawed. I'm just as convinced that I have the right to walk home without being followed as you are convinced that you have the right to follow me. What does the jury believe? We'll find out. But until then...we're just talking.

So let's talk. For those of you saying "this isn't about race"...you're right...kind of. It shouldn't be. No case SHOULD be. Yet, here's ANOTHER example of the two ways that 'Merica views anything. A lot of black people (and some of other races) are convinced that Zimmerman is a racist and Martin was targeted. Geraldo Rivera (yeah yeah, i know) even alluded to this when he suggested that wearing a hoodie makes brown/black children reasonably subjected to suspicion. That's ridiculous. But it's reality. How many of you think you know what a thug looks like? To be honest, I dressed much more conservatively when I was doing illegal activities. I'm also in a news station looking at 2 young white guys in hoodies who NO one would accuse of being thugs...(because they're white...duh). It's not the hoodie. It's. Not. The. Hoodie. Ok...what about the rest of it? He WAS put out of school. Yep...for having marijuana on his person. Are hippies thugs? Baby boomers who grew up in the 60's and early 70's smoked all of the weed. Now they view weed smokers as...hoodlums? Why? It's not the weed. It's. Not. The. Weed.
It's because I'm BLACK! 

Trayvon Martin is black. And for some of you, that's enough to remove "benefit of the doubt". George Zimmerman isn't black. And for some of you, that's enough to remove "benefit of the doubt". Justice may be blind, but the people charged with meting out justice are sighted den a mufugga. I don't know if justice will be served in this case or not. I DO know that we still have a LONG way to go with race relations in this country if justice continues to be polarizing, nearly 20 years after OJ killed those 2 people and walked (yes, black people KNOW he did it...we were just amazed that he got away with it). By the way, if you bring up OJ anytime a black person mentions the unfair legal system, shhhh....relax. One case in 400 years of being in this country...that's called the "exception proving the rule".  Anyway...if you see me walking through your neighborhood wearing a hoodie, I'd suggest you stay in your vehicle. There won't be a trial. I don't trust the legal system.

PS. I didn't mention the actual trial because...we ALL thought Casey Anthony was going to jail, and you see how THAT turned out. I'm not really into speculating.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg and the ILL Logic of Oppression

I'm rarely (if ever) amazed at stupid things politicians say. Matter of fact, as a comedian, I appreciate the disconnect between their alleged brains and their mouths. "Women who are victims of legitimate rape don't get pregnant because their bodies block it"....thank you Mr. Akin...you just added 5 minutes to my stand up routine. "we'll never target Americans with drones" (ignore al awlaki tho...he was buggin)...thank you President Obama...needed a one liner as a transition. But...as a citizen of the USA, that shit is terrifying.

These are the people charged with running the cities, states, and country we live in. We assume (yeah that's our fault...assumptions usually end poorly) that you suited, clean shaven, ivy-league educated people can think. We're repeatedly proven wrong. Ahh the audacity of "hope". 

The most recent example of our inability to choose is Mayor Bloomberg. On his WOR radio show he discussed "stop and frisk" and made THIS comment “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little,” (full article here)

Pardon my French but...mother fucker WHAT?! The elitist/academic statement "i don't know what school they went to...but they didn't take math/logic courses" implies that your reasoning can only be comprehended by those who took specific classes in the appropriate schools. Of course my lack of appropriate education prevents me from being able to reason that civil liberties aren't determined by statistics. "illegal search" has been defined by the courts. Frisking me without probable cause (or probable cause being based on my melanin content) is not only illegal, but suggests that phrenology and all of the other racially tinged pseudo sciences are real. What school teaches phrenology Mr Bloomberg? Whatever. There are several reasons why that "logic" is bullshit. 

First, statistics should be read in context. Murders also occur in places where black people don't even live. GASP!!!! "You mean that what happens in New York isn't representative of the entire world?" Yes my highly educated, math/logic proficient compadre...murders happen in all-white communities, too. Statistics also show that Black people are disproportionately affected by poverty. Should i extrapolate from that data that white people are trying to keep us down and all of them should be considered white supremacists? Finding "facts" to support bullshit policies only works when people DON'T use logic. By your logic, rich white men are disproportionately engaged in systematic racism. Thus, we should NEVER elect rich white men to offices that require them to represent a wide range of ethnic groups.

Second, most murders (statistically) committed against white people are committed by....(drum rolls and all types of "build to a climax" stuff).......... ............. ......... WHITE PEOPLE!!!  Are you in white neighborhoods protecting the good citizens from the statistical reality that is "white on white" crime? Oh I know...this is unbelievable to some. But the facts are the facts. Although what you see on TV has convinced you that black people are just out here murdering up shit all up and through your white neighborhood, the FACTS say otherwise. According to the Justice Department, an overwhelming 84% of white people murdered...were murdered by other white people. (i'm not pulling stats out my ass...here)  Ain't that a bitch? So where is the stop and frisk for that? 

That's not logic. Ignoring the socio-economic realities of violent crime isn't "logic", either. But what should we expect...you're the same guy who "reasoned" that since soda makes you fat, banning soda will make people healthy. Your ability to reach for the moon when touching the ceiling would be enough...amazing, sir. You shouldn't stop and frisk anyone without probable cause. And being black...ain't....probable...cause. Asshole. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"You're Straight, Why Do You Care about DOMA?"

DOMA is DONE. I'm grateful. Nah...i'm not gay. Not even sure what my number is on the Kinsey Scale (that's the test that tells you whether you might be a little straight...or at least that's what they say...). So, why would I be grateful that something that "doesn't involve me" happened?

"I'm just trying to show you the big picture" ~~~ Loaded Lux

Gay rights are human rights. I'm human. There. Now, that should be enough of an explanation, but some of you raggelly bastids enjoy breaking people up into groups and assigning values and privileges to each group based on how you feel about that group. An adjective is a modifier. A tall woman. A short man. A straight human. A gay human. That's the origin of the bullshit. Because, no matter what modifier you use, the essence of the object is the same. Ok...i went too deep? Allow me to say it another way...calling a cat a dog won't make it bark. So...a straight human, and a gay human, are BOTH human. Human rights aren't "straight" rights. They're not "Christian" rights. They're human rights. So, if you're human, I'm here for your rights. (to those who wish to get off of the animals rights tangent, shhh relax...not today).

On a fundamental level, I care because I want everyone to be treated equally based solely on their humanity (yes, that goes for those who aren't US citizens as well...later tho). On a broader level, I recognize that standing idly by while some other group is oppressed jeopardizes MY freedom, as well. You don't think that women being allowed to vote helped influence the civil rights movement? You don't think Martin Luther King, jr. and his speeches impacted the LGBT movement? To those who say that the civil rights rhetoric has been "stolen" and "re-appropriated" for the LGBT movement...look. We don't own oppression. If the tools used to fight our oppression worked, why WOULDN'T another oppressed group use those tools?  To go from oppressed to oppressor is some bullshit. We couldn't believe how "good hearted people" could stand by and watch as Black people were systematically marginalized in a free country. Now you got yours, huh? "Fuck gay people, I'm not gay"? Really...which black president was responsible for enacting the legislation that attempted to end Jim Crow? Let's be real...if Black people were the ONLY people who fought for the civil rights act, we'd still be "separate but equal". Acknowledging that white people were involved in the struggle doesn't minimize Rosa Parks. Mentioning the Jewish groups who fought to push civil rights doesn't take the light off Malcolm X. 

Oppressive groups have the advantage of power. The ONLY way to combat that power is to be consistently opposed to all oppression. DOMA was overturned. But oppression was NOT. You don't have to be an activist to care. Shit, I'm a comedian...my activism usually involves me going on stage and holding a mirror up to hypocrisy, then ridiculing it until you at least consider a different way. You don't have to be gay to support gay rights. Hell, you can even be opposed to homosexuality. But unless you are willing to admit that you believe that some groups were inherently created better than others....you should probably relax on the "fuck gay rights" talk. Because just a couple of generations ago, there was a good hearted white guy saying "I don't care about civil rights, I'm not black"...don't be THAT guy...ok?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SCOTUS on Voting Rights or "change I can't believe in"

Today (June 25, 2013) I'm concerned. Not because of the threat of terrorism. I'm not afraid of North Korea, or GMO's, or hip hop music poisoning the minds of our innocent youth. Nope. I'm concerned that the SCOTUS decided that an important part of the Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary.

Some of you may agree. You'll mention the giant strides we've made regarding race (because giant strides isn't ambiguous at all...). You'll suggest that the law itself was originally an overreach by the government (Ron Paul...how you been?). You'll covertly imply, or overtly state, that "black people have to stop living in the past". And I'll offer you my whole ass to kiss. Ok...not really. I'll attempt to be civil and suppress my disgust at your inability to see outside of yourself (or your actual racism...get in where you fit in, homie) and try to explain WHY this was a horrible ruling.

Let's go with the obvious. Congress has been consistently incapable of making effective decisions for years. So now, the SCOTUS is placing the responsibility of picking and choosing which states need to be monitored in the hands of THIS congress. This congress can't balance a budget. THIS congress has a lower approval rating than Charles Manson (that's for the older folks...young folks...think craigslist killer). "And this is in whom you want to place your faith?" SCOTUS had the ability to make a decision. Instead they passed the buck...again (see Affirmative Action ruling). Cowards.

But now for the meat. There are those who feel like "it's no big deal". Because you know...racism isn't AS bad. I agree that it's not lynching, water hoses, and dogs biting. But...how much racism is acceptable? If I make you a sandwich and it's 95% turkey and 5% human flesh...you're ok with that? it's just a little...right? No. They ignored the millions of people who still see covert racism in their communities. Places where there is no secret made of "us" being unwelcome. That is the very reason the VRA was created. Because no matter how the majority group felt about me, the government at least appeared to protect my right to have a voice in how the country was run. Now...nope. I'm sure this has NOTHING to do with the Immigration Bill that's up next either. Because Brown is the new Black (but Black is still the old Black...)

Now...I am forced to imagine living in a country where not only Floridians take 2 days to vote, but several states may "put some shit in the game". What's most amazing to those of us who have lived through blatant discrimination (i'm 40...i have receipts) is that some people still have faith that our government would never discriminate against people in 2013. Fact: this government has discriminated against SOME group since it's creation. Like...that's our "thing" here.  Black people were chattel. Women didn't fare much better. In fact, AFTER slavery, women still couldn't vote until the early 20th century. It was another half-century before black people gained that "right". In 2013 the LGBT community is fighting to be acknowledged as fully protected citizens. Nope, voting isn't their issue...but discrimination still exists. That it's implausible to some, that a country that still blatantly, through specifically crafted laws, discriminates against ONE group would EVER discriminate against another is as illogical as believing a 2000 year old religious war in the middle east can be solved by a few conversations. We've made this mistake before...several times. A lot of people see slavery as the one big mistake this country made. Women's voting..."that was just the way things were back then" (hey Paula Deen). Internment camps for Asians..."we were at war...but we paid them back!". Ronald Reagan placed Nelson Mandela on the terrorist list during his presidency....but in 1982 he REMOVED Saddam Hussein from the same list. Mandela wasn't removed from that list until 2008...18 years after apartheid ended. Don't ask don't tell. Iraq has WMD's. Look...i'm saying that this country, as great as it may be, isn't flawless. And discrimination isn't a thing of the past. It has been a continual part of this country's value system. A system that was created to protect people from religious persecution, but has consistently used religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation to discriminate against the very people who make this country such an amazing place to live.

I'm concerned. Not because this is a "set back"...nope. This is a continuation. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Acceptable Racism (or it's only wrong when YOU do it)

So…racism. “Oh no, not THIS again”. Nope. You’re right. Not “again”. Because “again” implies that it’s been successfully addressed in the past and it’s unnecessary to do it…again. But…that’s not accurate, is it?
Recently, Salamishah Tillet used the term “white supremacy” during a discussion about abortion. Bill O’Reilly immediately labeled that racist. Paula Deen admitted to using the word “nigger” (I don’t say “the n word” because I’m an adult, grow up) and some people (ok…a LOT of people) were outraged. Let’s look a little deeper, shall we? (when you read “shall we”, read it with a British accent. It’s fun. Do it. DO it.)

First of all, if racism has been “addressed” successfully, then why would Salamishah Tillet’s use of the term “white supremacist” be deemed racist? Here’s the entire quote that got O’Reilly’s undergarments gathered together in the most uncomfortable manner 

Well, I think, the Census just released data, so part of it is the changing racial demographics in the United States. For the first time in American history, children born under the age of five are racial, the majority of them are racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.

So I think that there’s a kind of moral panic, a fear of the end of whiteness that we’ve been seeing a long time in that I think, you know, Obama’s ascension as President kind of symbolizes to a certain degree. And so I think this is one response to that sense that there’s a decreasing white majority in the country and that women's bodies and white women’s bodies in particular are obviously a crucial way of reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege. And so I think it’s just a kind of clamping down on women’s bodies, in particular white women's bodies, even though women of color are really caught in the fray.” 

Now…as I read that, I notice she said “one response is…”. I’m not a genius, but when I see “ONE response” I assume that there are other valid responses as well. So…if she’s not saying everyone who is against abortion is a white supremacist…what’s the problem? Is it that people can’t believe that there still exist others who hold thoughts of white supremacy? Really? A Google search can show you that Aryan, Neo-Nazi, etc. groups still exist. Do you just not WANT to believe that? Or do you believe that by not acknowledging it, it doesn't exist? Cut that crap. Her statement was clear. Bill O’Reilly is a VERY intelligent man. So either, he missed the “ONE response” part of her statement, he’s being extreme for ratings, or he’s really accusing her of using “coded language” to arouse racist sentiment. Ironic.
Now, the question I asked myself…”did I perceive her statement that way because she’s black? Because she’s a woman? Because she’s attractive (I like natural hair, sue me)? Or because I really believe her intent wasn’t to call all white people “white supremacists”? I sincerely believe that wasn't her intent. But let’s be real. I AM black. Does that have ANY impact on how I perceive the world around me? Hell yes! I work on that constantly. I question, then adjust, then repeat. But, the converse is true. Did O’Reilly perceive her statement that way because he’s white? Maybe not. But he IS white. And whether we want to admit it or not, being a particular race, gender, etc. DOES form the basis of our perception. We CAN overcome that by constantly looking at our beliefs and at least TRYING to see “the other side”. But this arrogant belief that our perspective is the only logical one is one of the reasons that racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination exist.

Let’s go the opposite direction. Paula Deen. Completely different take. She used the word nigger jokingly. I didn't buy that.  By her own account she never used it in a cruel manner. Nope...didn't buy THAT either. I’m honest. My thinking is colored (no pun intended) by my own experiences. So the fact that Paula Deen is a southern white woman definitely impacts the way I perceive her situation. Again, I have to ask myself “would I give her the benefit of the doubt if she were someone else?”. The answer is yes. I've admittedly defended several comedians’ use of the word nigger (the jokes were funny. That’s my criteria for whether or not it’s acceptable) while drawing the line at Michael Richards use. I don’t know Louis C.K., Bill Burr, Michael Richards, OR Paula Deen…so how did I come to these conclusions? I guessed. I used logic, reason, and my gut. And you know what…I could be wrong about ALL of them.

That’s it. We’re debating the intent of strangers. Arrogantly. Ignorantly. But we’re at least having the conversation. Because one thing that’s inarguable…there is a real difference between being real and being right. Racism is real. But it ain't right. It won’t go away with silence. But I’m still na├»ve enough to believe that enough of us can rid ourselves of racist/bigoted mind sets, that we’ll marginalize the remaining idiots. Or not. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day is coming...with the BS

This ISN'T directed to women (although you're welcome to read/comment). I don't speak on women's issue very often, because without a vagina, my opinion will usually be based on partial (at best) information. In other words, I'd be talking out of my ass. Nope...this is for the men.

Father's Day is coming. And that means the "i'm a mother AND father to ray ray" comments are coming with it. Fuck that. Stay focused. If you're a good father, bravo. We need more of you. If you're a deadbeat...let's talk.

Oh Word?
Lot's of understandable reasons why a man wouldn't be there for his child. The mother is violent towards you. The mother's new boyfriend/husband is violent and you are on parole. The mother moved out of town and didn't give you a location. You're a dickhead. Ok...that's the list for the most part. And while 3 of the 4 reasons are understandable, NONE of the reasons are acceptable. Because no matter how much you "hate that bitch", you put your raggedy ass sauseesh inside of her without protection. Say what? The condom broke? Fam...no the fuck it did not. You mufuggas been running that bullshit lie for too long. I'm a man. I know what happened. It feels WAY better raw. She didn't make you. You both fucked up. Now a baby is here with a woman you can't even get along with. Deal.

I HATE with a passion seeing that "i gotta be a mother AND a father" bullshit. You're a mother. Period. You may even be a disciplinarian. But you're NOT a father. However, what irritates me even more is that you're in the position to say that shit. My ex can't honestly say it. And IF she did, I would react. I haven't always been the BEST father, but I've ALWAYS tried. And by trying, I got better. It wasn't easy. We argued, fought, all that. At one point I wouldn't even answer her phone calls. Only communicated through text because I wanted a record of everything that was said...you know...childish shit. But we worked through it. Because our DAUGHTER matters more than US. 

And that's it. i don't care that your "baby momma" is a bitch. Fix that shit. I don't care that she's violent. Go to court and establish supervised visitation. Same if her new man is a dick. Fuck him. That's YOUR child, too. You can't talk that "I'm a man" shit without handling your responsibility. Grow up. 

Now...in our community I know there are a number of "historical reasons" why men and women struggle with relationships. But for some reason, for the first 100 years AFTER slavery, the black family found a way to stay together. (see the stats) Now we find reasons NOT to. You don't want to get married? Cool. Take care of your responsibilities. The kids are suffering. While we talk about the government conspiracies to emasculate the black man, your punk ass emasculated yourself. Man up.

Happy Father's Day

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dr West's Biblical Politics

Let me begin by stating, I LOVE Dr Cornel West. I appreciate his unwavering love of...love. I respect him for keeping his Afro. For supporting hip hip. For being a brilliant, thoughtful, and brave man (publicly saying what's unpopular because you believe that truth trumps politics, is the height of bravery). With that said, Dr. West...I've got a bone to pick with you!

First, let me give your statement verbatim. You said "When I got the news that my dear brother Barack Obama, President Obama, was going to put his precious hand on Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible I got upset. And I got upset because, you don’t play with Martin Luther King Jr. and you don’t play with his people. By his people what I mean is people in good conscience, fundamentally committed to piece and truth and justice." You go on to say "All the blood sweat, and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don’t use his prophetic fire as just a moment in presidential pageantry without understanding the challenge that he presents to all of those in power no matter what color they are, no matter what color they are. So the righteous indignation of a Martin Luther King Jr. becomes a moment in political calculation and that makes my blood boil.” I'll point out that this is your very passionate, and extremely well educated opinion. I don't mean in any way to say that your opinion isn't valid, or that you have no right to state it. I do take issue with the inherent hypocrisy. To criticize the use of MLK's bible for political expediency while using your affinity for Dr King to further your own politics is blatantly and transparently hypocritical. The idea that Dr King's "people" would somehow not include his own family (MLKIII was present and presented the bible) is questionable.

You are correct in being offended by the atrocities committed by the administration in the area of human rights. Obama isn't flawless and I appreciate your usual critiques, especially rare coming from anyone of our hue. Black and brown suffering hasn't decreased under this president. The suggestion that it should have is seeped in a different type of delusion...that Black people in power will behave differently than anyone else. No, that's not where you went astray. Dr King as a unifying figure...when the very book you're concerned about (the bible) was written about a figure who most Christians would argue did way more for peace than MLK ever could. How could you be MORE upset about WHOSE bible it was? Your words would ring truer if you were offended by the use of the bible, period. What you've done is extend the apparent pissing match that you & Tavis Smiley have engaged in for years with Obama. Speaking of hypocrisy, while the two of you complain about Obama's lack of an agenda for poor people, has Tavis spoken openly about the millions he received from Wells Fargo as a spokesman for their predatory mortgage lending arm? Practices which have been universally denounced as unfair and causing further damage to the very people whose agenda he allegedly champions?

Again, I have loads of respect for Dr West. But, this issue seems less about right/wrong and more about grandstanding. This issue seems more about your ongoing "Obama won't acknowledge me" campaign than anything Dr King stood for. Because, the bible (and other holy books) have been used for centuries to justify the marginalization of black, brown, AND white people. Doesn't THAT make your blood boil?