When school is the training ground for a police state

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2015 by klysha


I hate to turn my blog into the post police brutality trauma recovery site, but here I am again blogging in the wake of another incidence of unwarranted brutality on a young black female child. By now I assume everyone has watched and been outraged by the latest video release of a student in a South Carolina High School being thrown like a rag doll by the out of control police officer who served as their school resource officer. There’s no doubt that the images were extremely disturbing, but what I find the most disturbing is even though any reasonable person can clearly see that the officer is completely out of line, there are STILL people coming out of  the woodworks to defend this officers actions. Thankfully as of the time of this posting the officer has been fired, so at least the people with the authority to do something saw the wrong in his actions. But I’m still disturbed by how many people, particularly black males, I’ve seen commenting on every posting I’ve seen about this incident, who push the “well she should’ve just respected authority” narrative. Are you serious? Authority figure or not, no person has the right to treat another person that way over a minor act of defiance. People have said that she shouldn’t have been resisting arrest…Arrest? What exactly was she being arrested for? For having a phone in a classroom? For refusing to leave a classroom? Exactly what crime had she committed? So now we’re criminalizing minor acts of defiance by teenagers? The whole act of being a teenager is a nearly decade long act of defiance.  It appears that a disturbing number of you have been well conditioned for a police state and see fit to raise another generation to complacently accept a police state as normal and just.

Exactly what are we teaching our youth by pushing the idea that they should respect authority no matter what or suffer dire consequences? To raise healthy well rounded free thinking individuals I think there needs to be some balance and an acknowledgement that sometimes people in authority are wrong. I’m not saying that the authority figures were wrong for asking a student to put away a cell phone, or that the student was right to not comply with this request. But I am saying that none of that is the real issue in that incident. Using the argument that she should have just followed orders  to justify this level of violence and violation of her rights as a human being is just flawed thinking. If an officer is justified in throwing a girl across a room for disobeying an order I guess if she would have  yelled at him or some other ‘egregious’ offense he’d be completely justified in shooting her in the face. And why does a students refusal to put away a cell phone require police involvement anyway? Am I the only one disturbed that schools are involving law enforcement for minor disciplinary issues that in my day would’ve been handled with a simple in school suspension or detention? This results in children getting criminal records or at the very least exposing them to negative police interaction at an early age for actions that aren’t even actual crimes.

I’m also surprised at how many people think the right thing for this girl to do was to get up and leave a classroom full of witness alone with a man who demonstrated that he is unstable and liable to go berserk if his authority is questioned. If this is the way he behaves in front of a classroom full of witnesses, imagine what might have happened if she had the audacity to say something he didn’t like once he was no longer in view of cameras. I wouldn’t feel safe alone around that man and I certainly wouldn’t feel safe sending a child off with him. Police in general have demonstrated a lack of ability to deal with nuanced situations. From my understanding this child lost a parent and a grandparent and was in foster care. Imagine the emotional issues she could be dealing with given those circumstances. The last person in the world who should be called upon to handle a situation with her is this “officer slam.”

I will be the first to say that the almost constant stream of videos of police misconduct, especially misconduct in the form of violence against black women have made me increasingly uncomfortable in the presence of police officers. As evidenced by too many incidents to name, something as simple as a routine traffic stop could wind up being a death sentence if the wrong officer is encountered. It’s way past time that we rethink the role of the police officer and truly consider how much power we want the person holding this position to hold. I no longer think the police brutality problem in this country is a matter of a few bad apples. If this were the case the good cops would make themselves known and denounce these incidents when they happens. But instead, every single time an incident is brought into the spot light other police come out in droves to defend their fellow officers. There’s a problem with policing as we know it as a whole, and fixing this problem means first rethinking what the job of a police officer really is, then giving some serious thought to how someone should be trained to do this job. The “you should just do what the officer says” narrative is basically giving police the power to treat us any way they want and that is exactly how America could become a police state.

The McKinney Pool Incident and the Trauma of being Black in America

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2015 by klysha

I have a friend who frequently utters the phrase “It’s hard being Black in America.” She typically uses the phrase in lighthearted reference to any one of the many struggles that are unique to the Black American experience.  However I would venture to take that phrase a step further and say that, in light of the numerous incidents that have come to the public’s attention in recent months and the reactions to these incidents by an alarming number of people, it’s not only hard being black in America it’s woefully unsafe. This past weekend I watched that video that was shot at a swimming pool incident in McKinney Texas and by the end of the video I was so upset that I was shaking. I tried to watch it again and I could barely stomach the way I saw those children being treated by someone that society tells them to respect and trust. In the past several months the media has inundated us with images of black bodies being brutalized by law enforcement to the point that many of us may have started to become desensitized to the imagery. But this image shook me in ways that many of the other images had not.

I was first jarred by the language that this supposed respected authority figure chose to use to address a group of children who largely weren’t even old enough to drive a car. I would not allow someone to speak to me in that way, police officer or not.  I was then jarred by the images of him placing children, who were at this point being completely compliant to his maniacal demands, in handcuffs. There was no legitimate reason to handcuff them other than to humiliate them and punish them for “making him run in 30 lbs. of gear.”  But then came the part of the video that shook me to my core. In response to what he viewed as defiance, this fully grown adult male grabbed a bikini clad child that appeared to weigh no more than 100 pounds and flung her forcefully to the ground then proceeded to put his full weight on her back. To make matters worse, when two young men tried to come to the aid of this young girl who was being physically and mentally abused, he pulled out his service weapon and brandished it at them.  My understanding is a weapon is not to be drawn unless the intent is to kill.  So that means this officer threatened to kill two unarmed children for having the audacity to try to come to the aid of a female child who they saw being brutally attacked by a man who was clearly out of control. This type of behavior is absolutely unconscionable, and inexcusable by anyone, let alone a person who is called upon to help.

Before anyone responds to this with anything about the girl’s non-compliance with the officer’s commands I want to pre-emptively tell you to take your comments and shove them into a very dark place. That’s the nicest way I can think of to describe how I feel about your comments.  I don’t want to hear them. I don’t care if the girl was mouthing off, or hadn’t followed his order to leave quickly enough or if she carried out any other perceived act of defiance. That girl had the same right to be on that public street as the white boy behind the camera that filmed this whole incident, who by his own account, was virtually ignored by the officer. That child had broken no laws whatsoever, yet she was treated in a way that would be unsuitable even if she had have committed a crime. If it were her father who we saw flinging her around and humiliating her that way everyone would be calling for her father to be thrown in jail for child abuse, or assault.  So why would a badge and a blue uniform make it okay for a grown man to treat a child that way? Even if he was acting within the bounds of the law, that doesn’t make it right. It just means the law is wrong. After watching that video I concluded that Officer Eric Casebolt is a terrible cop, a complete coward with a very fragile ego, and a despicable human being unworthy to serve the public in any capacity. I hope he’s fired and I wish he could be thrown in jail for assault. At the very least I hope that young lady’s family sues him.

Watching that video was traumatic for me. As I watched I felt like I too was being brutalized by that officer. Then I was further traumatized when after reading articles about the incident I read the comments underneath the articles. I know the comments section is the cesspool of the internet, but I was still shocked by how many people came to those articles and tried to justify the very actions by Officer Casebolt that I saw as completely unjustifiable. I felt like each comment compounded the trauma I had already experienced from watching the video. I think a part of me expected that surely most everyone who saw the same video that I saw would immediately see how out of line this officer was. Even if you’re someone who normally sympathizes with police officers there’s no way that a rational, feeling, human being could see a child abused in that way and take up for the abuser. Then the reality hit me of how irrational and inhumane the type of racism one has to harbor to see those images and not sympathize with a child being brutalized by an adult. As painful as it is to swallow, I have to come to terms with the fact that there is a segment of this society that will see black bodies being violated and instead of being horrified will always think the violence is warranted and will even celebrate the abuse. Two of the biggest traumas of the Black American experience are having to constantly plead for your right to exist and the incessant pursuit of the validation of your humanity.  With every incident that comes to light there are people who ask the question “Will this incident be the turning point in the fight against police brutality?” Or they may ask “Will this be the incident that finally makes people (i.e. white people) realize that what we’ve been saying all along about how we are treated is true?” Yet no incident ever seems to be the one that unilaterally turns white society in our favor.  Having it hit home that no matter how much we plead and no matter how we behave, there are some who will never see Black people as fully human is a deeply saddening and eye opening experience. I realized this a long time ago, I just hate that those children had to see that at such a young age. But sadly those children need to know that living in a society that does not view them as human is extremely dangerous and they have to be constantly vigilant and aware of that fact to survive, literally.

This incident, like the many others we’ve seen before it, further drove home the fact that Black people have to love ourselves and love our people unconditionally because waiting on white society to love us and treat us as fully human is a form of psychological torture that we shouldn’t have to endure.  When I say unconditionally I mean we have to also love the black people that so many black people who “make it” try to disown. If we don’t love them who will? This society is designed to keep a certain segment of the population in bondage, whether it’s the literal physical bondage of incarceration or the bondage of poverty. We can’t turn our backs on those of us who haven’t been as privileged to escape from all the traps designed to keep as many of us as possible in bondage.

We have to love ourselves and each other hard because just dealing with the daily traumas and dangers of being Black in America is enough to warrant therapy. I know other cultures have their own struggles, and I don’t mean to dismiss any of them, but to quote my friend, it truly is hard being Black in America.

Losing sleep over Obama’s stance on Gay Marriage

Posted in politics with tags , , , , on May 10, 2012 by klysha

I almost managed to go the whole day yesterday without watching the news at all, a practice I’ve found to be quite helpful in maintaining a positive outlook on life in general. Then just as I was about to doze off into my 10 PM pre-bedtime nap I got a call from my mother that shattered any hope of finishing the day completely oblivious to the days news.   My mother called me to express her distress that Obama had come out and spoken his support of gay marriage. 

Obama taking the stance that cost me my 10 PM nap

A little background. My mom is a relatively newly ordained minister living in Alabama, the heart of the Bible belt. She also used to be one of the biggest supporters of Barack Obama around. Until yesterday. Because of her faith and what she believes to be true about the bible she feels as though she may now have to forgo voting this year because she can’t support a president who is in support of gay marriage. Not only that but she said that she thinks she’s going to have to start preaching against him now that he took a stand.

I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was to find out that my own mother was one of those evangelical Christians that tend to muck up the entire political process by boiling an entire candidacy down to one morality based issue.  I have the utmost respect for my mom and love her dearly but on this issue we squarely disagree. I tried my best to present a logical argument for why her stance made no sense. But I quickly remembered that you cannot use logic to argue against religion. It just does not work.

For example I pointed out that the bible doesn’t actually take any position on the issue of gay marriage. Probably because this wasn’t even considered during that time but still how can we say the bible is clear on gay marriage when it doesn’t even address it. I also pointed out that while homosexual activity is addressed as a sin in the bible so are numerous other sins that aren’t addressed by law. And many of the other sins are given far more attention in the bible. But somehow the gay marriage issue is the one that evangelicals choose to take a stand on. I don’t see anybody standing up for a legal ban on straight people shacking up, fornicating, adulterating, or over indulging in fried chicken at the church picnic. 

 I asked her to examine whether her stance was actually based on the bible or based on the agenda that’s pushed by the church but I’m not sure she separates the two.  My mother continues to stand firm in her belief that Obama taking a stance on gay marriage is going to contribute to the downfall of society and she can’t be a part of that.

I read the tweets from my almost entirely liberal Twitter timeline and I see how many people just can’t believe that there are people who would take a position like my mom’s and I remember that while I now live in a mostly progressive and liberal bubble in the suburbs of Washington, DC, there is indeed a whole world of people who live by guidelines that would simply baffle the liberal masses.

So I sit here today still in a state of hurt, awe and disbelief that the woman who allowed me to come into this world and raised me to be the person I am today is a promoter of some of the very beliefs that I stand so strongly against.

I’m really hoping that my mother’s position is just a knee jerk reaction and that she actually thinks it through and realizes that taking that position misses the big picture.  But the hold of the evangelical church is a powerful thing so there’s a good chance her position might shift more strongly in the opposite direction from my own. Let’s just hope this doesn’t result in a very awkward Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Rush Limbaugh’s Flakey Fluke logic

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by klysha

Unless you’ve spent the last week or so with cotton in your ears, you’ve heard wind of the Rush Limbaugh commentary on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke and the  debacle that has affectionately come to be known as “slut-gate.” But if you haven’t please refer to these sources.

Transcript of Sandra Flukes actual testimony   


Is it just me or does this guy just exude sliminess in every pic he takes?

The slimeball’s Commentary

If you’re anything like me you feel a little dirty after listening to that fecal wad talk so feel free to take a few moments to grab a quick shower before continuing to the remainder of the post. I’ll wait.

It’s hard to listen to Rush Limbaugh speak without wanting to hurl but since the only thing I heard about on the news for the past week was people’s reflections on what he said I finally went back and listened to his commentary. And of course his commentary gave me the usual physical reaction but this time it was intensified not as much by the slanderous and completely inexcusable way he attacked Sandra Fluke but by the complete inaccuracy of almost everything he said.

Do Republican’s really take this guy seriously? Like for real for real? I question the morals and intelligence of anyone who can listen to that man speak for more than 5 minutes and not want to vomit.

 Based on Limbaugh “logic” Fluke can be reasonably assumed to be both a slut and a prostitute because she wants birth control to be covered under her insurance plan. Note that I said covered under her plan that she PAYS for not handed out for free the way that Limbaugh characterized it.  Well to be more accurate he characterized including said coverage in an insurance plan as “paying for her to have sex.” And took it even further and said that as compensation for us “paying for her to have sex” she should send us all tapes of her in the act. 

Besides demonstrating that he’s a walking sack of fertilizer which we already knew Limbaugh demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about how birth control works.  I can overlook him being a jerk but that kind of stupid is inexcusable.

He said Fluke and her friends were having  “so much sex that they couldn’t afford their birth control”.

Sir the amount of birth control you take is not regulated by the number of times you have sex. That’s just not how it works.

Also the $3000 figure she quoted is the price of birth control without insurance coverage for the 7-8 years it takes to complete law school.  It doesn’t mean she wants to have $3000 worth of sex….whatever the heck that means.

Now let’s enter Limbaugh land and use a little bit of Limbaugh logic. If covering birth control pills under an insurance plan is paying for people to have sex then by extension isn’t covering a child’s delivery also paying (a whole lot more money) for people to have sex?

Since we’re talking about paying for people’s personal choices let’s go a step further…

Isn’t paying for cholesterol meds, high blood pressure meds and other medications that treat food related disorders paying fat asses like Limbaugh for their unhealthy eating? I suppose insurance companies should drop those coverages as well.  Many of the things that people wind up going to doctors for are due to lifestyle choices. So based on Limbaugh logic insurance shouldn’t pay for anything that might be the result of a lifestyle choice. If you break your leg walking down the stairs why should everyone else on your plan have to pay for your choice to take the stairs instead of riding in an elevator like the rest of us lazy bastards.

Oh I forgot to point out that Limbaugh completely neglected to mention that birth control pills are prescribed to treat many other conditions besides preventing pregnancy. Half the women I know are on birth control for some non sex related reason. This is because in reality prevention of pregnancy is really one of many side effects of the hormone adjusting drug known as “the pill”.  They’re frequently prescribed to treat painful periods, cysts, etc.  That they also  help prevent pregnancy could be viewed as a bonus. 

I swear if men had periods pills that help ease the symptoms would be standard in all insurance coverage …. wait no…they would have already come up with a “cure” for the period by now because men wouldn’t just accept bleeding constantly with intense pain and mood swings for 5-7 days as a normal part of life.  But women who want access to drugs to ease the pain and possibly as a bonus avoid bringing a much more expensive child into the world are automatically sluts and prostitutes.

Republicans are spinning the debate into being about protecting their religious freedoms. But the freedom they’re trying to protect is their right as religious institutions who employ people to impose their beliefs onto their employees who do not share their faith. And in some cases they’re denying access to medication to treat conditions that have nothing to do with violating their faith. This is the murky water  you get into when religion, politics and employment mix.  I wonder if they have issues like this in secular societies like France.

Speaking of France, they care way more about women’s vagina’s than Americans do…but in a good way…

5 Things to Love about Valentines Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 14, 2012 by klysha

In the past I’ve written posts that could be interpreted as hating on Cupid’s big day. A lot of those sentiments still apply, as Valentines Day still isn’t on my top five list of favorite holidays, but I no longer harbor any negative feelings about it. Honestly my overall feelings about the holiday were never truly negative. I just didn’t like the fact that this holiday makes so many people feel bad.  I also don’t like red and pink in combination.  That sentiment still stands. But as for the holiday as a whole I suppose that in my older age I’m more or less ambivalent.

So in the spirit of ambivalence I decided that to balance out any negative sentiments that could have been gleaned from past posts I’d write a totally positive Valentines Day post this year.

So I present to you 5 things to love about Valentines Day


We’re in a recession and during a recession retailers try to find every gimmick they can come up with to get shoppers into their stores. Valentines day provides a perfect opportunity to draw both single people and people in relationships in to buy. Those in relationships are of course looking for gifts or possibly outfits for those Valentines dates.  Valentines day also comes with a bevy of single women who need retail therapy to help them cope with their lack of romance on this most romantic holiday. I’ve gotten a number of emails trying to lure me into the stores to get a little something special for the one I love the most…namely me (gotta love yourself before you can love anyone else right?).  Thus far I’ve resisted because I’m trying to be fiscally responsible but I’ve definitely been tempted.

Half price chocolates on the 15th

Who doesn’t love that? Also I read that chocolate creates a similar reaction in the brain to being in love. So even if  you aren’t in love you can get that loving feeling for half price on the 15th.

Text messages from people you rarely hear from

I’ve already gotten a few of them today. So what if some of them were mass texts…at least someone thought enough of me to leave me in their contacts list and make sure I wasn’t Happy Valentine’s Day textless today.

Cupid Gets His Day in the Limelight

Every holiday icon needs their day to shine. Santa gets the biggest holiday of the year, the Easter bunny gets his day…why shouldn’t cupid get a day to do his thing. Let that dude get a day to rock his diaper and sash and get in some target practice with the bow and arrow. And if you listen to 112 you know Cupid doesn’t lie so let’s listen to him for one day.

It’s a great excuse for people who aren’t that sappy (like me) to get their sap on

Even non saps like myself need an occasional outlet to do something on the mushy side. Sometimes it takes massive commercial exploitation to get it out of us.

Okay that’s all I’ve got for now…I hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentines Day…or at the very least makes it through the day without wanting to hit a double back tuck off a ledge.


If anyone reading this is looking for a hint on what to get me or whether to get me anything…I like candy, cupcakes, not having to cook for myself, and hugs (from the right person…please no unsolicited random stranger hugs….I generally prefer not to be hugged or otherwise touched very much by strangers)….I’m so easy to please! (Hey I never said I was against receiving (or giving) gifts)

Happy Valentines Day All!

For those who don’t think white priviledge is real

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 14, 2011 by klysha

I happened upon a tweet this morning that linked to this article on Forbes.com and I’m not sure why this article was the one that drew me out of my blogging hiatus and not any of the other ridiculous things I’ve read in the past year and a half. But alas I’m here. This article just rubbed me the wrong way for so many reasons that I couldn’t just let it slide. So let me try to summarize the points the author was trying to make and why his point of view just made me itch.

Let’s start with the title

If I were a Poor Black Kid

Why are you calling out black kids like poverty and lack of privilege only know one color? Nothing in his article even dealt with the factors that are tied to race specifically. Everything he called out was more or less  about economics and access.  Of course he would have likely been even more off base if he would have actually tried to tackle some racial factors because I doubt this guy would have had the subtlety to give the complex issue of race and privilege or lack there of its just due.  And I since I need to be writing a term paper not a blog post, I don’t have the time to give it its just due either. (Nothing like procrastination to get the wheels turning on something completely unrelated to what you’re supposed to be doing.)

It’s easy to say what you would do if you were born under completely different circumstances.  I can easily say if I were a billionaire I’d donate 75% of my money to starving kids all over the world and give scholarships to all the non-athletically inclined high school underachievers who were pretty smart but just needed a little push (These kids really do kind of get ignored.  Someone should do something about this because everyone isn’t gonna be in the top 1%, and if you think they can you probably need to sign up for a course in basic statistics.)  But the truth is I have no idea what I’d be like if I had billions of dollars at my disposal and I couldn’t be sure who was my friend because I’m infinitely awesome and who was just there hoping to be my plus one when I got invited to Barack and Michelle’s Easter brunch.  Until you walk in someone elses shoes you have no idea how they got that bunion on their pinky toe.

Now on to the finer points of his piece…

He goes on to list all the wonderful things he’d do if he were a poor black kid raised in West Philadelphia.  Because if f he were a poor black kid in West Philadelphia of course he wouldn’t be spending most of his days on the play ground, cooling out maxing, relaxing all cool and all or shooting bball outside of the school because of course that’s what kids from West Philadelphia do. TV taught me that. Ok where was I because you know I just sang the whole Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song in my head and lost my train of thought. Oh yea the finer points of his article.

He says he’d do the following:

Get the best grades possible

Make it his #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently

Use the technology available to him

Become an expert at Google Scholar

Visit study sites like Spark Notes and Cliff Notes to help him understand books

Watch relevant teachings on Academic Earth, TED, and Khan Academy

Get free books from Project Gutenberg

Learn to do research at the CIA World Fact Book and Wikipedia to help with his studies

Use homework tools like Backpack and Diigo to help him share work with classmates

Use Skype to study with other students

Take advantage of study websites like Evernote, Study Rails, Flashcard Machine, Quizlet, and other online calculators

Use the internet to better high schools and find out how he could get admitted, find out the names of the admissions person and make it his goal to get admitted to one of the good high schools

OR get a scholarship to a private school

Develop a relationship with the schools guidance counselor

Learn to write code

Make sure his writing skills stayed polished

Well Eureka! He’s totally figured it out! This is a great list of helpful websites. On the real I might see if some of these sites can help me pass this grad school class I’m taking right now.

But how many people reading this blog post, poor kid from West Philadelphia or not, have ever heard of all of the resources he cited? How many of you were that driven when you were between 14-18 years old to seek out that many resources if they would have existed back then? How many rich/privileged kids do you know who are driven enough to seek out that many resources to help them succeed? But this guy is saying that if he were born into the type of circumstances that often land a kid on the other side of the tracks that he would be a super star and seek out every single opportunity at his disposal and overcome all the hurdles that make even seeking these opportunities challenging. Minor distractions like any one of a multitude of bad family situations, poverty, crime, lack of someone who even knows about these opportunities there to tell him about them, not to mention the normal distractions like peer pressure that come with being a kid wouldn’t get in his way, not this guy. He spoke of the parents being able to afford a cheap computer and internet but if his parents couldn’t afford that surely he’d have time to take the bus to the library to use the internet and teach himself to write code, and research scholarships all while possibly working part time to help bring money into the house, and dodging violence just getting back and forth to school. Because if he were a poor black kid he’d be the most super poor black kid ever.

Maybe a poor black kid should write a response and say if I were a rich privileged white kid I’d get drunk and smoke pot every other weekend, blow my parents money on wild spring break vacations in college and still manage to get a decent job because my dad would of course be well connected.  It would have just as much, actually more, merit than this guys article.

Basically what I gathered from this article is what I already learned from Chris Rock which is the opposite of what I’m sure the author intended for me to get from this.  In one of his routines Chris talks about how got to his neighborhood by being one of the top comedians in the country while his neighbor got there by being a regular old dentist.  Yes there are opportunities out there for everyone. Success is possible regardless of the circumstances you were born into. It’s just that some people  have to jump through hoops and walk on fiery coals to get to where some privileged white kid can trip and fall and wind up.  And of course the guy who tripped and fell into success is going to look at the guy with his feet on fire jumping through hoops and ask them why it’s taking them so long to get to the promised land.

I don’t know anything about the author of that article so I have no idea how much work he had to do to achieve whatever it is that he’s achieved to make him think he’s qualified to tell someone how to overcome all the circumstances they were faced with.But it’s pretty clear based on the things he says that he’s writing from a place of white privilege.  He in no way manages to even scratch the surface about why economic inequality is a real problem and without intervention most poor underprivileged kids will remain poor and underprivileged.  I wonder how driven this guy actually was when he was a teenager. Did he take advantage of whatever the equivalent of all those resources was back in the dark ages when he was a teen? And I wonder how many high schools in West Philadelphia the author has visited to share his infinite wisdom on how he would make it out of West Philadelphia.

White privilege is real in America and it has real effects, like people writing articles telling us what they’d do if they were a poor black kid. And if white privilege is real then it’s converse is real and needs to be acknowledged. Sitting around blaming people because they didn’t jump through all the hoops or step on all the fiery coals when it is indeed possible to do so is not going to fix the problem. Or should we face the even uglier truth that most people who benefit from white and or economic privilege don’t really want the problem fixed.

Not surprisingly, someone wrote a response to that guys post already. There have probably been several already because, even though I’m sure that article was written to get a bunch of page views, the article was just that ridiculous.

Happy Birthday President Obama! Yes we still can!

Posted in politics with tags , , on August 5, 2010 by klysha

I don’t really have anything profound to share today (ok truthfully I have a bunch of stuff I could talk about but I’m too tired and I need to wash my hair) but I wanted to take a moment to honor the anniversary of the much contested birth of our president. So much of the drama and controversy that accompanies every single thing that President Obama does is completely unprecedented in American history including the debates that STILL take place about where he took his very first breath.

At any rate I want to send a message out into the cosmos in hopes that Obama receives the vibes to let him know that his true followers still fully support him despite the media trying to tell us all the reasons we should lose faith. The true supporters are those of us who came into this thing knowing it wouldn’t be a cake walk and knowing that O-B-A-M-A is not the new way to spell Jesus. We knew that things might get worse before they got better and we knew that there would be adversity at every turn.  The true supporters like the fact that you manage to keep the same cool demeanor no matter what the circumstances are. That’s a sign of a competent leader.

As a true supporter I salute you and hope that you have a fantastic birthday. In honor of your special day I plan to sip on a homemade Ciroc Obama and sleep in a product of your first contributions into the economic stimulus, one of the many bootlegged Obama T-Shirts that pumped millions of dollars into the black community.  Happy Birthday Mr. President!

The stimulus started in the hood

When blogger hacks have too much power and what we can all learn from the Sherrod case

Posted in politics, television with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by klysha

I was going to blog about something entirely different to end to my 3 month blogging hiatus but I just have to say something about the story I saw unfold on CNN and the web last night.

Shirley Sherrod

In some ways its absolutely awesome that the blogosphere has given any average joe a voice to share their opinions with the world. Unfortunately a lot of average joes really don’t deserve to have working vocal chords or the kind of power a keyboard can give you in our microwave society. This unfortunate reality is evidenced by the whole fiasco I just learned about involving a woman named Shirley Sherrod. Apparently some idiot blogger hack with a clear agenda named Andrew Breitbart posted a video on his blog of a speech Ms. Sherrod was giving at an NAACP function. However he apparently only posted about a minute and a half clip of the video that when taken out of context appeared to be racially incendiary. Faux News also apparently broadcast his partial video and went on to sully this woman’s reputation. Then the NAACP after being shown this edited clip quickly moved to renounce Ms. Sherrod and her employer, the Department of Agriculture, quickly forced her to resign from her job. Well it turns out that when you watch the whole 42 plus minute long video you see that her story was actually one of redemption and overcoming racism despite having lost her own father at the hands of racists. The irony that a woman who spent her life fighting to overcome injustice lost her job because some hack with an agenda tried to use her to prove an erroneous point is just evidence for how screwed up our country is  when it comes to the race issue. It’s also evidence showing why it’s just stupid to pass judgment on someone based on quotes, short video clips, and internet snippets.  The saddest part of this is, instead of issuing a quick apology for the hand they played in costing this woman her job, Faux news has tried to flip the storyAn idiot with an agenda into blaming the Obama administration and the NAACP for their character assassination. They have taken little to no responsibility for the hand they played in fueling the fire by reporting this story without checking the facts. And the second saddest part is that instead of apologizing, that Breitbart idiot came out to say his use of the video wasn’t about Ms. Sherrod, but about how the people in the audience reacted to what appeared to be a story about discriminating against a white man.  He isn’t taking into consideration that the audience saw the whole speech and was reacting to her story IN CONTEXT.  Is there no limit to the lengths conservatives will go to to alter the narrative the fit their agenda? Wait a minute I take that back…both Fox News and Breitbart have an agenda…while it’s sad, this kind of thing is expected out of them. The saddest part is the willingness on the part of both the NAACP and her employer, the federal government, to believe a story as told by people with a negative agenda. See this link to see Breitbarts own words and his clear statement of his agenda.

At any rate, I firmly believe that there is always a lesson to be learned when things like this happen.

Lesson 1 There’s no way to get to know a person’s character based on any one thing they said. No matter what the circumstances are, is there is almost always a bigger picture and an untold narrative behind anything someone allows to come out of their mouth. In this case the bigger narrative was readily available in the rest of the 42 minute speech that was misused, but sometimes the story isn’t so obvious and we should all consider this before rushing to judgment.

Lesson 2 Being reactionary isn’t the most effective way to bring about change. In this case the NAACP quicky responded to the video and almost immediately renounced Ms. Sherrod without even reviewing a tape that was shown at one of their OWN events. They did this because this tape was leaked in the wake of their call for the Tea Party to renounce racism in it’s ranks. They were so quick to try to show the Tea Party, “see we don’t condone racism”, that they didn’t even bother to get the whole story. NAACP you’ve got to be smarter that this when dealing with conservatives. They are skilled at altering the narrative to fit their agenda. (I’m very tempted to write a post later this week outlining what I think the NAACP needs to do if they want to remain viable as an organization. Let us not forget the recent Hallmark Card incident.)

Lesson 3 There are people…ahem…conservatives…who are willing to twist the story any way they can to try to prove a point. Therefore we must ALWAYS consider the source before running with a piece of information.

Lesson 4 Anyone who considers the Fox News Network to be a legitimate source of news is either racist or stupid. Okay maybe that’s not a lesson, but I am starting to firmly believe it’s true. Anyone who can sit and stomach much less agree with more than 60% of the biased, inflamatory, and often downright inacurate reporting that goes on on that network is probably either harboring  some deep seeded racist views or is an idiot.

This link shows the whole video

Click here to see CNN’s coverage of this issue.

Alabama Gubernatorial candidate shows his true colors

Posted in politics with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by klysha

I take pride in my Alabama roots.  I really do.  Even if I tried to pretend I wasn’t born in the deep south this thick southern accent that I can’t seem to shake would blow my cover every time.  On multiple occasions when I’ve told people who had never been to Alabama where I’m from their  response was a wide eyed “Wow! Is it really, you  know, all racist and stuff?”   Usually they’re actually disappointed that I don’t have an arsenal of war stories about overcoming oppression and bigotry at the Woolworths soda counter.

It’s rich racist legacy has afforded Alabama a spot on many a northern born black person’s “Will never visit list”,  but for the most part I’ve felt like Alabama has gotten a bad wrap.  Then just when I get pretty good at defending the honor of my home state somebody like this comes along and ruins everything.

Now I’m not arguing against expecting imigrants to learn the English language. In most countries you’re expected to learn the local language to live and function. My issue is with this guy making the language the driver’s license test is issued in a campaign issue. Really???? Because this is an issue that really effects a lot of Alabamians right????  In a state where there are counties with illiteracy rates as high as 34%  (That means in some rural counties in Alabama 1 in 3 people can’t read on a basic level) are we really gonna make requiring people to speak the English language a campaign issue???  Why not make  working to increase literacy for some of the poorest Alabamians a campaign issue….you know something that might actually BENEFIT some people.  Instead this son of a biscuit eater is making a blatant appeal to the bigots in Alabama who will eat up an oh so “Pro-American” sounding message like this.

“This is Alabama. We speak English.”

Really? Because the people of England would listen to anybody from Baldwin county speak for 30 seconds and beg to differ with this statement.

The thing that pisses me off the most about this ad is he’s trying to dress his blatant bigotry in a cloak of perceived logic.  That’s where things get get dangerous.  Unfortunately that’s a tactic that is frequently used by Republicans.

For me the bigotry is pretty blatant in this ad, but some people who share the “Pro-American*” views  Tim James is trying to portray here could easily get duped into thinking this is really about saving money. How much money is really spent on offering the driving test in other languages Tim?

However since I for one like my bigotry straight up with no chaser I suppose I should thank Tim James for pretty much doing the next best thing behind wearing a fitted tee shirt with I’m a bigoted jerk emblazoned across the chest. Too bad I’m not an Alabama voter so I can’t vote against him.

*I’m not necessarily saying that “Pro-American” is synonymous with bigoted but I’m not saying it’s not either

Why did I give Tyler Perry another $10… err Get Married Too

Posted in Movies with tags , on April 5, 2010 by klysha

Several days before opening night I read a scathing review of Why Did I Get Married Too that set my expectations even lower than they generally are for a TP flick, so low that I had pretty much decided that I probably wasn’t going to bother to see it. But on Friday I was out with some of the girls from work on a spring arrival celebratory happy hour outing and someone got the brilliant idea to cap off the night with a viewing of Tyler Perry’s latest. My initial reaction was to reject the suggestion based on the scathing review I had just read, but a tiny part of me wanted to believe that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as they said.  Plus I like to see things with my own eyes before passing  judgment.  Besides there had to be some entertainment value in this movie …there just had to…and there was actually…but not all of it was in the ways I think Tyler Perry intended.

I’ll try to describe how I felt about Why Did I Get Married Too did without dropping too many spoilers lest I ruin a bunch of black folks Easter weekend.

Let’s start with the good.

There are some great messages about communication in marriage, and thanks to Perry’s subtle as a foghorn delivery you can’t miss them.

A lot of black actors and actresses got a paycheck.

Sharon Leal’s dress in the opening scene made me believe in style again.

Lemman Rucker’s fine self.

Despite closely resembling two balloons stapled to his chest Michael Jai White’s pectorals provided a welcome and much needed distraction from how contrived the dialoge was between the men in that post jet ski  ride scene early in the movie.

Unlike most of Tyler Perry’s movies this movie wasn’t laced with churchy excessively moralistic themes.

This movie brought out the biggest crowd of black people I’ve ever seen at one time in Friendship Heights.  Since I live in Montgomery County MD, I welcome anything that brings me into the presence of a lot of black people.

Now for everything else.

Maybe I just don’t have a strong enough suspension of disbelief switch to sit through a Tyler Perry movie and ignore all the things that just don’t make any sense to me.

Things that didn’t make sense to me in this movie include:

Jill Scott’s character’s ex from Why Did I Get Married showing up at the time share.

The way Tasha Smith’s character only knew one speaking volume.

How Jill Scott’s character could make the exact same mistake Bird made in Soul Food. Don’t movie characters watch movies too?

Ciciley Tyson’s wig.  That wig was just disrespectful to our elders.

Janet Jackson’s and Malik Yoba’s characters relationship and all the melodrama that ensued. Perhaps some character development would have helped me out here.

Scene's that made me say why????

Tyler Perry playing a man. Even though I honestly don’t think Tyler Perry is gay,  he’s incredibly unbelievable to me as a straight man. I don’t understand why that’s the way it is but it just is.

Aside from a lot of things just not making sense to me and Tyler Perry’s complete inability to make use of nuance to deliver a message it seemed like TP just got a little lazy when he wrote this one.  But then again if I think back to every other movie he ever made  I suppose they all seem a little lazy so maybe my less than stellar impression of this movie is mostly my fault.  Silly me for going in there hoping to see some growth.  According to the reactions I saw on Twitter from most of his fan base and the extra dialogue provided by the audience in the packed theater I was in, this was an amazing flick.  So any negative impressions on my part are very likely a sign that either my expectations for this movie were in complete misalignment with the fact that this was indeed a TP flick or they could mean I’m just not in TP’s target demographic.  Either way I couldn’t help walking out of the movie theater feeling like I had just witnessed one of the worst movies I had seen in a very long time. But I also haven’t seen a Tyler Perry movie in a long time so…yeah.

But then there was Lamman Rucker so I guess it wasn’t the worst movie I had ever seen.