I support #BlackLivesMatter

I came across this on a message board that I frequent. I couldn't think of anything better to show the disconnect many display with their sloganeering.

I came across this on a message board that I frequent. I couldn’t think of anything better to show the disconnect many display with their sloganeering.

I’ve debated writing this for a while.  Given the media’s insatiable appetite for sensationalism, I have too much on my mind and heart to not write it now.  So here it goes….

*please bear with me if I get long winded…

First and foremost, I am 100% American.  My ancestors arrived on American soil in the late 1790s.  Yes, I am Black, and my ancestors arrived here from Africa.  I wear Blue as do many of my friends and family members.  I support #BlackLivesMatter.  I support them just as I support any other American individual or group that wants their rights respected and protected.  Also, just as any other American person or group, that support is not unconditional.  I don’t suffer foolishness, intemperance, or criminality.

#BlackLivesMatter is not racist, nor are their motives steeped in racism.  To the politicians, talking heads, and media outlets that only seek to portray them or label them as such, look at that photo at the top.  They are not the racists.  They are simply asking that their rights be respected and protected just as yours are.

I’m sick and tired of the single-sided portrayal of Black people by the media and politicians.  It’s constant jibber jabber of how Black on Black crime is rampant.  It’s how Blacks are prone to being criminals.  You constantly hear about inner-city crime and poverty.  That is not Black America.  We are more than what you hear on TV.

We are doctors, surgeons, nurses, and administrators.  We are lawyers, judges, paralegals, and stenographers.  We are astronauts, scientists, and engineers.  We are professors, principals, teachers, and secretaries.  We are workers, managers, vice presidents, and even CEOs.  We are carpenters, electricians, brick masons, farmers, and other laborers.  We are not simply a page full of crime statistics and poverty.  So, PLEASE quit trying to portray us as a single monolithic crime statistic.

I support #BlackLivesMatter because I listen attentively.  I hear what they’re asking, and I understand why they’re asking it.  Perceptions shape reality in many instances, and the reality is this.  Many Americans in the public and prominent positions to positively or negatively affect others tend to negatively portray Black Americans.  The continuous negative portrayal is ingrained into the daily lives of others to where there arises a bias against Blacks.

I’m not accusing people of being racist, and this is where the disconnect arises.  Some people jump to the assumption that claiming that Black Lives Matter is a racial claim that Black lives are more important than everyone else.  That is not what the movement is claiming or attempting to put forth.  They’re simply saying that Black lives matter TOO.

When we don’t see or address our biases, we react to things without understanding or realizing how our reactions are received by others.  That image above is the perfect example.  If you suggest that all lives matter, then you should have no problem with supporting the statement that Black lives matter because Black lives are indeed a subset of all lives, right?  If you support Blue Lives Matter, would you say that you’re support means that firefighters don’t matter?  I don’t know of a single person who supports law enforcement who would ever agree to that.  Yet, yelling Blue lives matter to someone who suggests Black lives matter is exactly what you’re doing.

Every single American should support #BlackLivesMatter if you sincerely believe the U.S. Constitution is there to protect our rights.  If we don’t protect the rights of a subset of Americans, then the Constitution fails to protect us all.  It’s not a matter of treating someone better than others.  It’s simply treating us all one and the same.

If your response to #BlackLivesMatter is to segue into Black on Black crime, then why not address White on White crime?  To do that is to do what I talked about above, which is to claim that all Blacks are criminal.  #BlackLivesMatter is asking for law enforcement to NOT treat us all as criminal.  How many White people can tell multiple stories about being stopped, patted down, or hand cuffed because they “resemble” a wanted person?  Now ask that same question to Black people.  Both racial groups commit crime.  Both racial groups are arrested for committing crime.  Let the media tell it, we Blacks are disproportionately arrested for criminal activity.  Now, think about the question about being stopped and ask yourself who’s being stopped more?  Why would Black people NOT be disproportionately arrested for criminal activity when they are disproportionately stopped or detained for criminal activity?

I won’t make a claim that there is no crime in inner cities.  It’s there.  The citizens look to the police to protect them from criminal activity, so why people think Black people hate the police is beyond me.  If that were the case, Black people would be more like Charles Bronson and applying vigilante justice in the inner cities instead of asking the police for better protection.

Take Chicago for example as it’s the conservatives favorite whipping post in relation to this topic.  Chicago has a serious issue with violence.  Gang issues are rampant just as the gun violence has people on edge.  Now answer these questions.  Where does the drugs and guns originate?  Where are the marijuana farms, meth labs, or cocaine labs in Chicago that produce the drugs found on the streets?  Where are all the guns being purchased that end up shooting and killing the residents of Chicago?  They don’t originate there, and Chicago pays a heavy price for their importation into the city.  As much as you hear people clamoring about the number of shooting victims in Chicago, you never hear of them offering any suggestions on how to decrease the gun trafficking that leads to the high number of incidents.  When you hear people talk about the drug and gang issues, there are never any ideas given on how to decrease the drug trade or how to improve the economic situation of the inner city to lessen the appeal to sell drugs to make a living.

THIS is why Black lives matter.  It’s all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  If you only see a criminal when you see me, then you don’t know me.  If you support policies like Stop-and-Frisk because you think it helps, then you don’t value my 4th Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure.  If your knee-jerk reaction is to shoot me because I tell you I’m armed, you don’t respect my 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.  If you advocate for policy or legislation that restricts my right to vote, then you show that you don’t care about my Constitutional rights.

Black America doesn’t want special treatment.  Black America wants to be American.  That’s it.  No more.  No less.  That’s why I support #BlackLivesMatter.  If we allow any single group’s rights to be trampled, then we are not American.  I am 100% American, are you?

Stuart Scott, you will be missed by many

This is the speech from the 2014 ESPY’s where Stuart Scott accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.  I can think of no better tribute to post to the guy who made “boo yah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow” part of our daily dialect.

Rest in peace, brother.  You no longer have to feel any pain or suffering.

I’m turning the other cheek

Photo courtesy: Dave Marner/Gasconade County Republican/From the Columbia Daily Tribune Rondal Studdard of Leslie, right, and other residents of Gasconade and Franklin counties halt the progress of two chartered buses supporting an NAACP march from Ferguson to Jefferson City by blocking Highway 50 in Rosebud on Wednesday. Studdard said he was angry because his elderly mother lives in Ferguson and was afraid to leave her home.

Listening to the yakkety-yak about the Missouri and New York grand jury cases got me to thinking about how I would react if the shoe were on the other foot.  Not the cases themselves, but the reactions of my fellow Americans to those who used their Wagner Power Painters to blanket label all protesters as thugs and/or supporting criminals.  I was wondering how long it would take for me to come across something that would test my judgement, and boy did I not have to wait long.

This whole police shooting in Missouri has brought out the worst in some people.  There is a group of people marching from St. Louis to the state capital to protest the grand jury proceedings in the case of Michael Brown.  It’s bad enough that Ferguson erupted into such chaos thanks to the ignorance of a few.  It upset me to see fellow Americans calling everyone thugs and other crap because a few people wanted to riot, loot, and burn things down.

Anyway, the people have been marching since last Saturday.  By their accounts, most Missourians were quite hospitable towards them and even providing food and beverages to the marchers.  Then, they hit the small town of Rosebud.  There’s always either a “then” or “but” when these things are discussed.

In Rosebud, a town of about 409 according to the 2010 census, the marchers were met with about 200 people, or half the town’s population.  As a welcome gift, an empty 40z beer bottle was left in the road along with a display of watermelon and fried chicken.  Along with the welcome basket, the marchers were greeted with shouts of obscenities, a kid holding a sign reading “go home”, and the prerequisite Confederate Battle Flag.  In addition, one of the buses following the group had a window shot out.

Now, I know enough about history to understand and respect those who view the CBF in its historical context from the Civil War.  What I don’t understand, is how the historians allow such as symbol to be co-opted for hate.  I don’t fear that flag, nor do I fear people flying it.  I enjoy discussing the history of the flag with those who honor the history of the flag.  I won’t cower to those who try to use it as intimidation though.

Anyway, if this is the Post-Racial America that Chief Justice John Roberts think we have achieved, why does places like Rosebud still exist?  Using the logic displayed by some in reference to Ferguson and the protests, do I get to broad brush all of rural, White America now as racists because of the actions of a few?

While it is very tempting to do so, I know better.  Therefore, I will turn the other cheek.  I know far too many good people from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to know that these ignorant a$$holes don’t represent America or Americans.  I’ll call them for what they are, but I will not soil my views or opinions of everyone else lacking in melanin because of the stupidity of these people.  We’ve come too far as a society for that now.  Whether we like it or not, we’re stuck with each other for the long haul.  We may as well get used to being around each other.

Cattywampus

Cattywampus, or catawampus as some pronounce it, is a Southern term for something that’s not straight or centered.  There’s many times and places where it is warranted, justified, or even expected.  A commercial airplane landing isn’t one of those places that I think many would expect to hear this term used.

[kat-uhwom-puh s]
adjective

1.

askew; awry.

2.

positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.
adverb

3.

diagonally; obliquely:

We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field.

Working in the travel field, I talk to pilots all the time.  I’ve also thought about obtaining my pilot’s license as well.  So, the landing itself isn’t surprising to me at all.  Pilots are trained to land in cross winds, and I’d guess that they would all experience such a landing at least once in their careers.

The technique is called crabbing, and there are many videos available showing crosswind landings.  This particular crosswind landing at O’Hare just happened to be televised on TV.

A tip of the cap to the Captain and First Officer of that bird because they performed just as training would dictate.  Looking at that video made me think of something I learned long ago.

There’s one particular plane that was designed to land in cross winds, and it can even taxi down the runway or taxiway kicked out sideways, or cattywampus, to accommodate the wind.  The B-52 Stratofortress can taxi and land with the landing gear turned off-center to keep the plane aligned with the runway in a crosswind situation.

Seems like this wouldn’t be a bad design idea for commercial planes.  However on second thought, I don’t know how many people would fly again if they were actually able to see the approaching runway out of their window when they’re not supposed to be able to see the runway at all.

Welcome to our world

“Walkin’ down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin’ for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Wonder when I’ll find paradise
Somewhere there’s a home sweet and nice
Wonder if I’ll find happiness
Never give it up now I guess”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”–War circa 1972

Listening to the news today, I couldn’t help but notice the stark difference in the media sensationalism with gun violence.  For some reason, I still expect some semblance of balanced journalism from the corporate owned media outlets.  At the same time, I still get let down by the ratings and advertising revenue chasing aspect of the media as opposed to providing some semblance of balanced news reporting.

This afternoon, another school shooting took place in Marysville, Washington.  One student was killed, and there are 4 others in critical condition.  Unlike most other school shootings, this one was perpetrated by a popular student as opposed to the typical loner or outcast.  The gun used allegedly belonged to the father of the shooter which means that it was likely a legally purchased and owned gun.

My sympathies go out to the students and families affected by this tragedy.  I send out anger and scorn to the media and the talking heads over the selective reporting of violent incidents like this.

Since the shooting occurred, I’ve heard the actions, thoughts, and everything else about the shooter being analyzed on tv by people who don’t have a clue about this guy.  The media outlets have gone through social media accounts to piece together as much as they can about the shooter.  Some outlets have interviewed students live on-air to get an idea of what the victims were like in school.

When this happens in Chicago, or some other urban setting, why is there not equal reporting or analysis?  Why don’t we hear the stories about the victims of these violent incidents?  Why isn’t there wall-to-wall coverage analyzing every single aspect about the incident?  We don’t even see televised press conferences when shootings happen in urban environments unless there’s a baby or little kid killed.

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out already, there is no avoiding or escaping violence.  There’s violence all around us daily.  We just choose to ignore it until it comes knocking at our front door.  Then, when violence rings our doorbell, it’s an urgent matter that has to be dealt with swiftly.  As long as it’s happening on the other side of the tracks, it’s out of sight and out of mind.

You can’t escape violence by turning off the television or moving to the suburbs.  As we all know, violence knows no racial, social, or economic status.  The sooner we all realize that we’re rowing the same ship, the sooner we can all work together to limit the possibility of violence striking at your feet.  Don’t think for a second that you’re immune to violence.  The world is a ghetto, and we’re all residing there regardless of our station in life.