Tag Archives: race relations

From Hero to Heel – Internets Dismiss Common Sense

From Hero to Heel – Internets Dismiss Common Sense

common

The Internets never cease to amaze me. The over-the-top communications, sensationalism and trigger moves are in one part sinister and in another way brilliant. So for those that don’t know let me set the scene. About 2 weeks ago, Common, fresh off a Grammy win for his work in the moving film Selma, was a guest on the Jon Stewart show.  The relatively lighthearted conversation covered a number of topics. When the discussion moved to race Common made a comment that I’m sure in hindsight he may have re worded.

Common said that race relations can improve with an increase of understanding and “extending a hand in love” towards White people. He also referenced that while everyone knows the ills of the past continuing to bring it up may not be helping. You can watch the vid below to hear his comments verbatim.

 

Now let’s put a few things on the table before I proceed because my feelings are less about the comment then the resulting actions from it. I personally feel Common’s heart and intentions are in the right place. He’s put too much work in for the people over the years for me to write him off over this, BUT I did find his  comments here to be incredibly, unrealistically idealistic. In my personal opinion, based on U.S history certain things just won’t change simply via peace, love and nappiness. I don’t knock Common for the thought, but maybe he’s still on an emotional high post Selma award wins.

common

Anyway this content was shared by many people after its initial airing and no one seemed too pressed by what he said. About a week later the interview started reappearing on with eye catching headlines framed around Commons “extend a hand in love” comment. This set the always rational Internets ablaze with claims of “sell out” “responsibility politics” “New Black” and every other digitally birthday social buzzword and negative catch phrase you can think of. When I caught wind of this I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised  at people disagreeing with the statement but rather how far folk were running with their “outrage and disgust”. Assuming you have seen the interview above to get your own interpretation of what the context was it seems to me from the reactions you would think Common was supporting a re-institution of slavery and personally turning our kids over to the KKK.

What worries me in these instances is that a person can build a career of service to the people. Lay a foundation of support and positive works and in an instance,  in a laid back moment watch their name and legacy take massive hits because of the “what have you done for me lately” fickle social media era. Oh you can’t listen to Common any more? Ladies you don’t love Common any more? It’s all over from this one statement? GTFOH. Where did perspective disappear to? Why must all mole hills become mountains? Can we not disagree with one statement without the acting like a person has in reality done more for the people that many of us have individually?

And before folk think I’m insane or trying to excuse the statement let me add to the vantage point I’m coming from. How many of you are riding out to that new Kendrick Lamar album? KDot came through and dropped that #BlackLivesMatter soundtrack for real. He’s dropping that knowledge that Common used to right? Well while young Lamar is now Hip Hop royalty with To Pimp a Butterfly let’s not forget just recently the same people toasting him were roasting him for comments made on race relations.

common

 “I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.” -Kendrick Lamar in Billboard Jan 2015

See what the reactions were to this here then see how many of the same people are #TeamKendrick today.

Oh how quickly the celebrity worshiping masses forget. As we all sing along, myself included, to “I Love Myself” & “King Kunte” please take a minute to be as personally critical of the person we see in the mirror as we are to those on the big screen. If recent social events have proven anything it’s that we hold the power for change in our hands. Maybe if we weren’t see busy pointing the “oooooh look at him” finger so much we’d focus on the goals at hand.

Be clear. I’m actually in agreement with a lot of the views I’ve seen. Peace isn’t something we are going to achieve holding hands and singing songs with the folk that see us as being beneath them, but if this is how quickly we turn and disown our own people after years of work it makes me question our staying power. In addition to that it worries me for my own circle of people. It makes me wonder what the situation will be, what the topic of discussion will be when someone close to me that is fighting for us gets misquoted or has a line pulled out of context for clicks and page views. When you’re forced to realize that in this age you are one statement away from being thrown out into the street and digitally excommunicated. Your work means little in the moment vs sensationalism, gotcha media and the selectively over critical eye of the people. I don’t want that for any of my peers, but these Internets are super predictable so I know it’s coming.

I can only imagine what social media would have done to Nas back in the 90’s……

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

My Selma After Shocks

My Selma After Shocks

selma_ver3

This past weekend I finally saw Selma, the retelling of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s’ fight to bring equal voting rights to the people of Alabama. I was familiar with the story but I wanted to see this film as a reminder to myself and to be a context provider for what is taking place in the U.S today.

As I’ve gotten older I feel as if my own emotions are getting more sensitive. Images of ignorance, bigotry, hate and violence aren’t new to me but Selma did a masterful job of framing the brutality our people opposed in a manner that forced me to fight tears during a number of scenes. Tears of frustration for what has taken place, tears of anger for what you want to do even if you know that it would be the death of you. Tears at the realization that it’s still taking place today.

biden_lewis_selma_voting_606

More and more I’m thinking about fatherhood. What that would mean not just for me but for the family I one day want have. Viewing Selma helped put so much in greater perspective for me. There is a rage that I believe exists within all Black men. This world in many forms and fashions opposes us and puts us in positions of tension and conflict. I believe that depending on where you live and how you experience things in life its only a matter of time before this rage is tapped into. It’s like Pandora’s box and once it’s been accessed you can’t go back. I’ve supported in media form and in person for social issues of injustice but I feel as if my rage in the past few yrs has been legitimately opened up. I can’t explain why things are done to us still for the color of our skin. I don’t know if I have it in me to hold back any more. This is why I respect the young leaders in our community so much.

selma_march

Selma is a powerful film. If you haven’t seen it yet I hope you get the opportunity to do so. It will evoke deep emotions and I think the we all need that. It’s a necessary balance and reality check for the world we are dealing with.  It hurts but there is still a beauty to be found in our resilience and the belief that we will overcome this….eventually.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

Jordan Davis The Continued Legacy Of Fear

Jordan Davis The Continued Legacy Of Fear

Jordan Davis

What do you say that hasn’t been said already a hundred times? This is the world we live in. This is the country we live in. For every advancement, every step of progress, every accomplishment we get that chilling reminder of what reality is. The playing field is full of opportunity but it is not balanced. It’s never been and as a betting man I can’t say it ever will be. At least not in my life time. This time around the life of a young Black man Jordan Davis was taken and the Florida system of “justice” remained consistent. By consistent I mean that it has again allowed the perception to remain that to feel “threatened” by a Black man is reason enough for murder.

I wasn’t sitting around waiting on the Verdict yesterday. I flipped back and forth to CNN while working on other things. In my gut I knew what the verdict was going to be. This was less about the underlined evil of the “Stand Your Ground” law but the loop holes in the legal system that allow for doubt in a 1st degree murder charge. The common sense view-point says if you pull a weapon and fire on an unarmed person and kill them its murder. That’s simple enough but when the defending argument is self defense, backed up by this absurd law, any defense lawyer worth his pay can plant the seed of doubt regarding intent to kill. The notion that Black people are dangerous is rooted deep and many people harbor this belief. So, it’s no shock that a lone juror could some how “understand” this imaginary fear that was presented as the catalyst to these events. This killers life will end in jail regardless of the details of how he gets there.

Continue reading Jordan Davis The Continued Legacy Of Fear

The Power of Our Social Sharing

The Power of Our Social Sharing

social

While It’s one of the biggest things about me I like to remind folk race, skin tone, complexion etc is not the only that defines us and makes us who we are. What else makes up a person besides the racial role they play in society? What are your interests, what are your goals, dreams, ambitions. When’s the last time you had a simple get together with friends and laughed about something silly. I try to keep in mind that the Internets are a funny monster and can be very generalizing and misleading at times. I just refuse to get locked into this generic negative Black box and seeing nothing outside of a racial prism. Is it a big part of life, yes. Is it the ONLY thing in life, no.

I hit up a guy who I know who tutors and teaches sports to young kids. I asked him how it was going? He said “Great” Then I asked him why don’t you ever share the great stuff you’re doing? He replied to me,

“Nobody wants to hear about that….”

Is he right? I know that bad news sells and good news is no news BUT this is a mainstream media belief and in the age of social media we create the news. We have access to stories far and wide and yet we elect to showcase trouble after trouble, depressing tale after depressing tale. Are we programmed to do this? Are we incapable of showing our best on any consistent level. We complain about how we don’t we enough good images of ourselves but we show the same negative images and stories the corporate media does.

I understand the world can be a harsh and cruel place but is that the only world we exist in? Why can’t we share our smiles as much as we share our cries? Do we really stop and think of the energy we spread on the daily? Just a thought. It’s not a new one from me but its a continued frustration. One that realize may never go away…..

Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai

Black Face Bowl 2013

Black Face Bowl 2013

black face

The pumpkin’s are being dumped, post Halloween candy sales are being swarmed and as Thanksgiving thoughts start to take root I can’t help but give thanks that Black Face season is now over. Yes, Black Face season is that 1-2 week period wrapped around Halloween when folk lose their minds, take good ideas too far or just bluntly set out to cause pain and make waves. As is the case with many things these days it doesn’t just rain it pours. I think these Internets provided me more Black Face stories per day then I’ve ever seen. It got to a point where personally I was like “OK, OK I get it. Water is wet, Fire is Hot, Black Face is bad. What next?” And you see that’s the point I always arrive at. Whats next?

I don’t remember (or care to research) her name but I saw that one of girls that presented her Black Face foolishness to the people lost her job within 48-72 hours of her images going viral. I consider that a good end to the tale unfortunately that’s not how many of the stories I saw ended. It really became a lot of public anger venting which is perfectly fine as we all deal with negativity differently but for me I was removing posts from my Facebook feed long before Halloween actually hit. Nothing differentiated Black Face story #9 from story #4 and so on. It was doing me no good and leading me to no new ground. What I knew 20 days ago hadn’t changed and wasn’t going to with more anger being added to the situation.

I did have a few folk ask me what I thought. Truthfully do I think every person is trying to be insensitive? No, but i think many of ignorant of the meaning behind their actions as it relates to history. That’s my view and I keep it moving.  Then I started witnessing something disturbing that was later confirmed to me by a friend. People were not just mad about the Black Face but then flipping on people who weren’t expressing  the same level of outrage they were. Not that they were condoning or excusing it but they just dealt with it in a more low-key manner. These Internets frequently develop a group think where folk end up attacking those that actually agree with them.  It becomes a “I can’t believe you’re not more mad…” type of thing which I’ve then witnessed get real very ugly for no real reason.

We can’t stomp on the next person’s right to express feelings how they do because we are upset. At least fire that venom at those that warrant it. Our ability to turn on each other is so disturbing to me.

In regards to Black Face the anger is serious. The disrespect is real and I get it. I just hope that in dealing with the ills of this world we don’t become prisoners to our feelings so much that it results in equally negative reactions. There’s no limit to the things that can and will offend us. How we deal with them is what defines us.

Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai

Police Profiling And Disregard For Common Sense Leaves Unarmed Black Man Dead

Profiling And Disregard For Common Sense Leaves Unarmed Black Man Dead

Police kill crash survivor

Imagine getting into a horrible car crash, realizing that you have survived and are in good enough condition to go seek help. As you search for assistance you must be feeling a degree of thanks for the continuation of your life. Unfortunately in this instance the car wreck was far more gracious to Mr Jonathan Ferrell then those he would seek help from. This played out yesterday morning as the Ferrell having escaped his vehicle made his way to a nearby home for help. His knocks at the door were answered by the female homeowner. She assumed it was her husband and upon seeing Jonathan, who was obviously a stranger to her, who slammed the door on him and called 911.   Ferrell, according to reports, continued to try and get the woman’s attentions before leaving. I call this lack of common sense point #1.

Making his way from this home Ferrell encounters Police, who are responding to the 911 call. What follows is to make least of common sense point #2. The 3 officers on the scene say Jonathan ran towards them. Now, because he “matched the description” of the attempt break in this woman called in, a stun gun was “unsuccessfully” used followed by 1 officer shooting Jonathan several times.  If there are any police reading this please help me out. 3 armed police and one man running requires deadly force? I grew thinking that deadly force was the last line of action, the final measure if nothing else failed. People in the position to take life as the police have done for decades should have better reasoning to be allowed operate but we all know no one’s listening.

How can I even write about this anymore. I often feel it’s just a countdown until this happens to me. The law enforcement of this nation has shown a heart breaking level of poor judgement and deadly misuse of force towards people of color to the point that I can only ask questions in an attempt to reach some sort of understanding. I have more apprehension around police then I do in the hood. The codes of the streets may be twisted but they often times seem to be way more consistent then the nonsensical acts we see played out by police time and time again.

Folk simply believe that black is dangerous. If you’re moving fast your up to no good and if your moving slow your planning something which is not good. It often feels like a gamble to walk the streets these days. Now this young man who beat fate in making it from this crash gets his life taken anyway….a fiance loses a future husband for no reason at all. And the powers that be call it all “unfortunate”.

As I try to make sense of this life feel free to connect with me on Twitter at @Trueomeganexus.

Look What You’ve Made Me (Black Man In America)

From the Blog Closet Originally posted April 29th 2012

Look What You’ve Made Me (Black Man in America)

IMG-20120423-00360

It’s funny what one conversation can do to/for you. Having a casual chat with good company then finding yourself in a personal moment of self examination and deep perspective change.

Let’s set the stage a bit. I’m a 31 yr old man……a Black Man……..a Black Man in America. That’s what I am. It is not all that I am but if you ask me how I view myself then that’s what you’ll get. That comes with much good, much bad, much ugly. To this point in my life everyone I’ve dealt with understood what that means without need of explanation or clarification. In my world pre Toronto, that was just how it was. There was never a questioning of that. Issues of race come up all the time but always with the understanding of where I was coming from. As America’s 1st Black President prepares for re-election season, the nation’s racial tensions have been on an extreme wave that I’ve never seen before….case in point Trayvon Martin. Trayvon’s name sparks those sensitive convo’s pretty consistently. That was the case last Saturday…..
Continue reading Look What You’ve Made Me (Black Man In America)