Tumultuous Thoughts…

So much going on, lately – almost too much for me to bear. I feel like a tsunami or a volcano from recent events, and my soul feels raw. Mere days before the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” brutality Selma, Alabama, another unarmed young man was shot and killed, this time in Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin. From Al-Jazeera America:

“March 7, 2015 11:39AM ET

Wisconsin police fatally shot an apparently unarmed African-American teenager on Friday, prompting dozens of people to protest at the site of the killing, according to police and videos published on social media.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval told reporters that an officer responded to a disturbance at around 6:30 p.m. local time and later forced his way into an apartment that the 19-year-old, who was also suspected of a recent battery, had gone into.

Koval said that a struggle between the suspect and the officer ensued and the teen was fatally shot, according to a recording of the news conference published by broadcaster WKOW.

“The initial finding at the scene did not reflect a gun or anything of that nature that would have been used by the subject,” Koval said.

The shooting comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of police violence against minorities across the country. Protests have been held in Los Angeles and Washington state in recent days over police killings of unarmed men from minority groups.

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice released a report lambasting the Ferguson, Missouri police department for routinely violating the rights of African-Americans. The report includes evidence that freedom of speech was regularly denied to residents who talked back to officers.

Videos published on social media showed around 100 Madison protesters at the scene of the shooting chanting slogans like, “Who can you trust? Not the police,” in front of a row of officers.”

On Monday, 2nd March, a homeless man was shot and killed by police, after he was already on the ground after being Tasered – the claim was that he was “reaching for the officer’s gun,” yet the still photo of his hand in the air shows a hand that is NOT trying to grasp anything…his body is in involuntarily spasm from the Taser!

“Three Los Angeles police officers fired on and killed a man on the city’s Skid Row during a struggle over one of the officers’ guns, and authorities said they planned to use video captured by a bystander in their investigation.

The graphic video widely circulated on social media within a few hours of the incident Sunday brought heightened attention to the death of the man who wound up wrestling with police amid the tents, sleeping bags and trash of Skid Row, where many of the city’s homeless stay.

The three officers, one of whom is a sergeant, shot the man as they struggled on the ground for control of one of the police officer’s weapons, after a stun gun proved ineffective, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. They were answering a report of a robbery.

Smith said the department was aware of the video, and would attempt to amplify its sound and pictures to figure out exactly what happened.

“The video is disturbing,” Smith said at a briefing with reporters late Sunday night. “It’s disturbing any time anyone loses their life. It’s a tragedy.”

Smith said at least one of the officers was also wearing a body camera.

Police did not release the man’s name or give any other identifying details, and Smith said he did not know whether the man was homeless.

The shooting is the latest in a recent series of fatal police shootings in Missouri, New York and elsewhere around the country that have drawn widespread protest, including the killing of a homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March, a shooting in Los Angeles in August and migrant worker in Pasco, Washington on Feb. 10.”

A fraternity associated with the University of Oklahoma has been closed, after a horrid video came to light:

March 9, 2015 3:30AM ET

The University of Oklahoma has severed ties with a fraternity and ordered its immediate closure after the group’s national headquarters confirmed their chapter at the university had produced a video showing members participating in a racist chant.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) said Sunday that an investigation had validated the contents of a video showing people chanting a racial slur against blacks and indicating that blacks would never be admitted to the fraternity. The chant also references lynching.

OU President David Boren confirmed on Monday that the university had severed ties with SAE. He directed the chapter’s house be closed and said residents needed to remove their belongings by midnight on Tuesday.

“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners,'” said Boren, referencing the university’s nickname.

The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity earlier said in a statement on its website that it had closed the Oklahoma chapter in question “following the discovery of an inappropriate video,” adding it was “embarrassed” by the “unacceptable and racist” behavior.

“I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video,” said Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president. “SAE is a diverse organization, and we have zero tolerance for racism or any bad behavior.”

How charming…oh, wait – this must have been faked! No such thing as racism exists in our esteemed, elite bastions of “higher learning!”

*SIGH*

The sickening comments in each item I linked are testament to how insidious racism is…and people still want to believe the lie that the entire world has somehow transformed into a ‘post-racial’ utopia, simply because the U.S. has a “Black” president – I put the term “Black” in quotes, because that is how it’s stated by anyone who says it! Especially when they immediately jump to the immediate heritage of President Obama, almost gleefully pointing out that he “has a white mother and was raised by his white grandparents” – code for, “See? The only way ‘you people’ can succeed is if you learn the WHITE RIGHT way to do things!”

Speaking of the President, it fascinates me to note the how the vitriol being heaped upon him has escalated exponentially as his second, and final, term in office draws to a close. He is labeled as a “wimp” and an effeminate “mom-jeans-wearer” – and those are the ‘polite’ insults! At the same time, he is called “King Obama,” compared to Adolf Hitler, and labeled a “dictator” who is single-handedly “destroying this country and all that it stands for.” He must certainly be Superman, to pull off being a “dictator” and a “wimp” at the same time! One thing I’ll say, though – the people who wish that he was more like Vladimir Putin are so delusional, I don’t know where to start dismantling their nonsense! Seriously – if Obama was as much of a dictator as those paranoid fools believe, do you think he would stand for the insults hurled at him? Do you think that the Secret Service would be the bumbling, careless idiots they’ve become since the first day of his first term? Do you believe that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of “Team Tea-Bag” would be as smug as they currently are? Please…spare me. We know how Putin has dealt with his foes in the past, and how he deals with those who dare to criticize him. Nemtsov knew that his life was forfeit from the first word he uttered against Putin…it was only a matter of time. The people at FauxNews are raging psychopaths and sociopaths – small wonder that the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Geraldo Rivera, Sarah Palin and ‘Judge Jeannine’ are their darlings! *RETCHES* Sorry…I just threw up a little bit in my mouth at having to type that filth – my apologies.

One, final note…R.I.P. Sam Simon, co-creator of “The Simpsons,” which has been a main part of my life since they debuted on the Tracy Ullman show back in the late 1980s. He passed away after a long battle with colon cancer…he was 59 years of age.

I am also conflicted over a deep, personal matter…it occurred unexpectedly. C’est la vie…

Musings on the March on Washington’s 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, 28 August 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of the iconic and history-making March on Washington, D.C. on 28 August 1963. It was the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his legendary ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Today, a statue dedicated to him stands near the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. If one cannot see the historical significance of that, as well as the irony, then that individual is severely myopic and suffers from a closed mind. I would say that about the people who downplay the significance of Barack Obama being POTUS, as well. If you consider the fact that it was virtually impossible for a Black person in this country to attain that position a mere 50 years ago, much less consider applying and/or running for it, then that is quite an accomplishment. But it doesn’t mean that racism isn’t a problem; it doesn’t mean that racism has miraculously been erased and eradicated, or that it isn’t still one of the most glaring social ills facing humanity.

I watch the footage from those bygone days, seeing how people from all backgrounds pulled together to face hate-based adversity and injustice, and wonder: “What the hell happened? When did people stop caring about what happens to their fellow man?” I see the racist prejudice and vitriol dripping from opinion pieces in papers and on blogs, and hear it in the incendiary words spewed by separatists on TV, the radio, and on YouTube or via internet ‘podcasts.’

I don’t believe that there is a ‘Black community’ – too many people of all shades and stripes keep echoing that falsehood, which is a separatist contrivance akin to Ebonics and the ‘one-drop rule.’ At one time, when the Underground Railroad was widely used (and necessary), there may have been a ‘Black community’ of sorts: but it dissolved when we scattered to the four winds after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared – but it was never really enacted. The insults of segregationist, Jim Crow laws, political gerrymandering, and legal lynchings seemed to drive us further apart. Other factors to include would be the destruction of entire towns with a Black populace, the hunting down of ‘freemen’ and ‘freewomen’ and returning them to slavery in the south, and the rape and murder of Black women and girls. The state we are in, here in the 21st Century, is better than it was 50 years ago – but only slightly. We seem to have made great inroads in the quest to be seen as people; to be judged ‘not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character’ – but when you step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see that mere baby steps have been accomplished and there is still a long way to go and much tougher ‘rows to hoe.’

For instance, it’s supposedly illegal to discriminate against others when choosing amongst job applicants: their skin colour, personal beliefs, country of origin, etc. One should only be judged on their ability to learn a specific job and to do the job well, not some fucked-up stereotype festering in the mind of the interviewer/employer. My personal experience has taught me otherwise! I have overheard people justify their so-called reasoning for only hiring whites for any given position at various corporate offices, and the reason was this: Non-whites, apparently, are “HR nightmares that nobody wants to deal with” so that is a perfect justification for not hiring us in the first place. I suspect that same ‘reasoning’ is behind the fact that we are “last hired, first fired” at those same offices. Imagine how well that ‘reasoning’ would be received if it were used to deny employment to a white, blonde woman, even if it were ‘justified’ – I can think of many reasons not to hire that sort, personally!

50 years ago: we had to drink from separate water fountains. The only jobs we could get were menial service positions, barely better than what was forced upon us as unpaid slaves – and that practice continues today. Certain areas of trains, restaurants, hotels, and movie houses were designated ‘for coloured only’ – and that was only if those places deigned to render service to us at all. In some parts of the country, toilets for ‘coloured’ people were poison-ivy infested paths which ended in a precarious drop if you missed the flimsy plank with rusted nails around the ‘sitting hole.’ Speaking of the term ‘coloured’ – isn’t it funny that the very people who forced that term on us, now say that we have no right to use it? I saw something like that on a blog not long ago – some white person was saying that the term ‘POC’ was “stupid and unnecessary.” I wonder what they thought of its usage during segregation? They never mentioned how the term came into being in the first place, but I guess it was just a convenient oversight on their part. Same goes with the term ‘Black community’ – imagine how silly people would sound if they started saying things like ‘the female community’ or ‘the Asian community’ or ‘the European community’ – for that matter, I challenge other bloggers to start doing that! Start talking about “the ills of (such-and-such) community” and see how dialogue changes! Do it IRL as well as online, since gauging people’s reactions up close and personal is what really counts.

50 years ago…I wasn’t alive during that turbulent time. My mother was weeks away from her ninth birthday, so I’m certain that she would have seen news reports on television. Sadly, strokes have robbed her of her memories. She might remember bits and pieces of events if I ask her, but it would take some time for her to recall anything – and it would take hours (or even days) for her to grasp at those fleeting recollections. The man who fathered me would probably remember a great deal more, if he wanted to take the time to talk to me and answer my questions…he was an adult and owned his own business at the time, so he certainly would have a vested interest in those long-ago events. I wonder if he attended…I should ask him – his answer would definitely be included in my book. Part of the issue with finishing my book is trying to find a good stopping point!

I digress…events leading up to, and following, the March are in history books – but not as many as are warranted. I wasn’t taught about the March in any school history classes; I had to learn about it by going to the local library, and only after the age of 12 did I start reading anything of pertinence, because the library didn’t allow children under the age of 12 into the upstairs, ‘adult’ section. Some books in the school library were more helpful and informative than my so-called ‘history teachers’ ever dreamed of being, so I looked to those books to find the answers. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is always talked about, as is that of John F. Kennedy – but the reasons for the Civil War are obfuscated, slavery is glossed over, and the Civil Rights Movement is rendered nonexistent in most public (and private) schools. Educating oneself about all events in this country’s history should begin as early as possible, and it is an education that should last for the rest of one’s life. Events of 50 years ago are important and significant. The fight that began before those events is still being fought today, but the rules have changed. Claiming the small victories and saying that the war is won was premature. Fighting to use certain words isn’t what the March on Washington was about – people reducing it to that is sad and shameful, indeed.

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