Tag Archives: Race

What Would Dr King Say????

What Would Dr King Say????

MLKJR

After another Martin Luther King Jr day I find myself wondering just what the good Dr would have to say if he saw the world as is. Would he shine with pride at our accomplishments or shudder in horror at the similarities of our world to the one he lived in. I honestly guess it would be a little of both.

Have we become a people-oriented society yet? Maybe we you’re talking about the top 1%. Like I say often, the United States is a casino. It’s a big roll of the die in trying to hit it big and cash out without taking too much loss. Martin Luther King Jr was one of those people who tried to set things right. He didn’t care for the casino rules and made massive waves to change things. We all know how that ended.

I asked myself earlier if I was blinded as a youth to some of America’s hypocrisy or has it recently become much more blatant. You really have to work to keep the bright spots in life in perspective while getting bombarded with negative news.

King preached of hope and dreams for a better tomorrow and while I do think things are better, I don’t know if can say they’re great. No, I don’t think I can say that. I can only press on and do what I can in my way hoping that there’s a reason for all this.

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Can We Do What We Want To Do????

Can We Do What We Want To Do????

whatever-i-can-do-what-i-want

The older I get the more elements of the past seem to reemerge with deeper meaning then when I originally encountered them. I was recently drawn into a conversation about similarities between the Jenner Sex Change and Rachel Race Claim stories. It was more of a listening session on my part but the chat did spark a thought in me. I don’t personally view these situations as being the same once you look at the details and circumstances but to a degree there is a common theme of people identifying with something that they physically were not born as.

This made me ask “Can we truly be anything we want to be?” As the classic In Living Color theme song says. “You can do what you wanna do” and that really does seem to be the theme these days. The phrase I see being used greatly now is “He/She/They are living their truth.” That sounds great and generally is but clearly in these 2 recent cases there are particulars and exceptions. The reality is that a person’s truth has to exist within the common good and honest representation of life. As much as we like to think otherwise our actions affect others. We’re a society of people. As such there is a limit to what “your truth” can be before you receive push back.

For years society has tried to tell us all who we are and what we’re worth. As we struggle to balance out those aging views with more open-minded accepting beliefs I wonder where the line gets drawn. I believe that all people deserve fair and equal lives. I don’t believe that being fair and equal that everyone has to agree and share the same beliefs and life views. Those differences are what make us the society we are. We’re in a very sensitive and critical period in time. These situations are highlighting struggles that have decades of emotional history behind them. I think Dave Chappelle had the right take on this. He chimed in this past weekend with the following.

“The thing that the media’s gotta be real careful about, that they’re kind of overlooking, is the emotional context of what she means,” Chappelle said thoughtfully, between drags of American Spirit cigarettes. “There’s something that’s very nuanced where she’s highlighting the difference between personal feeling and what’s construct as far as racism is concerned. I don’t know what her agenda is, but there’s an emotional context for black people when they see her and white people when they see her. There’s a lot of feelings that are going to come out behind what’s happening with this lady. And she’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her.” – Source

What are you’re thoughts on these situations? Are we free to do, be and identify as whatever we want?

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Are You Down To #BlackOut???

Are You Down To #BlackOut???

#Blackout

It’s March 6th and depending on what your level of online engagement is you may or may not be aware of the movement taking place. As you read this there is a social media #BlackOut over many of the major communicative platforms. Originating from Tumblr this #BlackOut is happening across Twitter, Facebook & Instagram as well. This #BlackOut is a digital call within the Black online community to post nothing but images of themselves. No not in basic selfie fashion, but rather fill your respective timelines with the beautiful faces that make up life as a Black person.

Today’s #Blackout is a social statement against a system that historically demonized the features, traits and behaviors of Black people only to accept the exact thing later via a more “mainstream” persona/image. The Internets have come to refer to this as “Columbusing”, the attempt to discover and claim something that was already in existence.

I find it interesting that Tumblr would be the breeding ground for this event. Functioning as a mini blogging platform that takes a little from all other sites and with very limited rule and regulations, Tumblr at times really feels like the wild, wild west where it doesn’t take much to be searching for one thing and suddenly fall neck-deep into pornographic content of all times. (Sometimes you come across that content on purpose lol). Either way many businesses have deemed Tumblr too explicit to successfully monetize. Yet, among all the questionable material there is an expressive community ripe with passion for the images and portrayal of our people and I must say it’s cool to see the energy directed in this manner.

#Blackout is active and I’m happy for that.

This is social media in 2015 so it goes without saying what many of the predictable negative reactions will be.

Isn’t this racist? – No its really not. It’s people taking a day to spotlight themselves in a space that generally doesn’t and would rather focus on cute pets then people of color

Why can’t we showcase everyone? – Technically speaking that’s what takes place everyday which falls into the Eurocentric images that have defined what “beauty” is supposed to be. The goal is to get away from that.

How about a #WhiteOut? Just turn on most mainstream TV channels or their respective sites. A #WhiteOut is essentially media as usual.

It is what it is. Hopefully the sensitive few wont derail the committed many. Bigger then that I hope this singular expression sparks something bigger. I hope to one day see a real ownership of what we are and what we contribute to the world. It’s taxing watching everyone live via your cultural creations and natural ways while you get someone beat down for those very some things.

So yes, #Blackout in whatever way suits you. Our beauty comes in all shapes, forms and styles. Embrace it  and own the Internets.

#Blackout

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New York Magazine Interviews Chris Rock

New York Magazine Interviews Chris Rock

chris rock

Chris Rock is delivering some great material via his recent interviews. This past weekend the people got 2 hours of Rock on the Juan Epstein Show also joined by Questlove and now we get his conversation with New York Magazine.  Chris has always had a way with speaking on current social and political matters. In this NYM interview you touches all topics from Obama’s Presidency to Ferguson to the effect of political correctness hurting comedy.

Check out some of my favorite excerpts then read the interview in it’s entirety.

Black Progress?

– To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before. So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.

Bush vs Obama?

There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, ‘What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do!’ So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.

Political correctness in comedy?

It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough to write a perfect act and get onstage, but everybody else workshops it and workshops it, and it can get real messy. It can get downright offensive. Before everyone had a recording device and was wired like fucking Sammy the Bull,4 you’d say something that went too far, and you’d go, “Oh, I went too far,” and you would just brush it off. But if you think you don’t have room to make mistakes, it’s going to lead to safer, gooier stand-up. You can’t think the thoughts you want to think if you think you’re being watched.

On social media and keeping up with trends:

I follow a couple people on In­stagram. You’ve got to follow all that stuff. You have to understand it, because if you don’t, then you’re going to sound like an old guy. You got to have the ability to use it as a reference. A lot of the time, the difference between hip and unhip is just reference. We did some sketch the other night on SNL, and in it I tell my wife –actually, we messed it up, but it was better in the dress — anyway, I tell my wife, “Hey, honey, the cab’s here.” Then I look at it again. I go, “You know what? We got to rewrite this.” “Hey, honey, the Uber’s here.” That little difference, it’s a big, big deal. I remember seeing Robin Williams at Town Hall. He did some Elmer Fudd bit, and I was like, dude, if you change that to SpongeBob.

On Bill Cosby?

I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.

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Whiteness Project – Will It Result In Anything We Didn’t Know Already?

Whiteness Project – Will It Result In Anything We Didn’t Know Already?

Whiteness

I’m big on opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. I don’t get on these Internets to convince people who I’m right about anything and I don’t lose sleep over someone disagreeing with me. That’s exactly why I’m very interested in seeing what comes from this Whiteness Project.

People are predictable so I already see the tidal wave of reactions that will come from this, but I think it’s long over due. Every element of society should be heard in all it’s unfiltered politically incorrect glory. CNN has given us all these Black on America programs so it was only a matter of time before this happened.

Continue reading Whiteness Project – Will It Result In Anything We Didn’t Know Already?

The History of Peanuts Comic’s Franklin

The History of Peanuts Comic’s Franklin 

peanuts

Thanksgiving ushers in the official Holiday season and as is TV tradition the networks have started airing the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas specials. I’m a grown man yet I still love these programs. Now as an adult its interesting to watch these shows from my youth and realize all the odd things that you don’t realize as a kid. One of the characters in Charlie Brown’s world that I liked but never asked many questions about was Franklin. He was the first Black character in the comic strip. It wasn’t until recently that I looked up the actual history behind Franklin and some of the opposition to his presence with the other characters.

This is leads into the story of Harriet Glickman, a school teacher from a Los Angeles suburb that made the initial request to top cartoonist Charles Schulz  to see The Peanuts strip integrated in 1968.

 “The introduction of Negro children into the group of Schulz characters could happen with the minimum of impact…..hope that the result will be more than one black child…. Let them be as adorable as the others…but please…allow them a Lucy!”

From these initial communication a relationship would grow as Schulz and his contemporaries were already mulling the idea of introducing a “Negro” character. The hang up was a question of balancing a quality role that didn’t patronize the Black community while not going too far beyond what many felt the overall society could accept. Fortunately the decision would be made to go ahead with the introduction of this new character. In the summer of 1968 Franklin made his peanuts debut and did so as a legitimate character of substance that interacted with all the main characters in the comic.

peanuts

While some may look at this and say whats the big deal about a comic character, keep in mind how many of your favorite cartoon characters indulged in blatant racist and discriminatory acts back in those days. Warner Bros icon Bugs Bunny has an insanely long rap sheet of offensive toons (google it), Hanna-Barbera staples The Flintstones and The Jetsons depicted a history and future devoid of people of color.

Franklin was a major step towards progress and worth the acknowledgement. You had to have a Franklin before you could have a Cleveland or Boondocks. For more on Franklin’s background Click Here.

Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai

Jay-Z Releases Update on Barney’s Profiling Matters

Jay-Z Releases Update on Barney’s Profiling Matters

Barney's

While the attention of many has moved away from the Barney’s issue (surprise surprise) Jay this evening just released an update statement as to the current status of his dealings with the high end retailer.

In the past several weeks two separate investigations were launched as a result of the wrongful detention of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips. My team has been privy to the status of the Barneys third party consultant investigation. In continuing our research, we also contacted the New York State Attorney General’s office for the status of their investigation into both Barneys and Macy’s. Those findings are not yet available.

While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s Office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.

As I previously stated, the collaboration with Barneys has always been about giving and The Shawn Carter Foundation. From this collection, the Foundation will receive not only 25% of sales, it will now receive the additional 75% of Barneys’ sales, totalling 100% of all sales from BNY SCC. Along with 100% of sales from the collaboration, the Foundation will receive an additional 10% of all retail sales from Barneys New York stores nationwide and Barneys.com on November 20th. – Shawn “JAY Z” Carter

For many Jay-Z’s position to not walk away from Barneys will have a negative meaning. For others they’ll see a positive in it. In the end, in my opinion regardless of Carter’s own business moves have we changed? Are we giving our money to the same retailers today that we were 2 months ago? Once the immediate media focus fades away do we live up to the standards we place upon others? The Holiday season is here so if ever there was a time to show the power of where and who you purchase from it’s now.

Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai

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