Category Archives: Social Justice

Eyes Wide Shut

(The puzzle pieces do not match the picture on the puzzle box)


How long will you labor over misunderstandings, confusion, and mess before you pause?  How long will you question and ponder the reasons before you slow down and step back?  How long before you stop planning and strategizing before you hault?

Be still. Close your eyes. Listen. Then stop listening.  Shut out the noise.  Put your hands down.  Breathe.  What do you smell? 

Does it smell good?  Or is it bull…?

Open your eyes.  Move about.  Stop.  Look around.  Breathe.  Is it the same?

When your position changes, but your perspective does not…STOP.  

How many times will you restrategize before you surrender?  This energy that we consume fighting a fight in a sea of complacency…

Who are we fighting for?  Are we fighting collectively?  Or are we fighting alone?

Breathe. 

 
Are we missing some of the pieces to the puzzle? Are we forcing pieces to fit despite the fact that the puzzle will never be complete.  Will we be satisfied with a partial result?  

Are our objectives aligned?   Are we fighting for the same thing?  Are we fighting each other?  Are we controlling access to some of the puzzle pieces?  Would you do that?  Why?

We are struggling daily with forces that we perceive as negative.  The change-makers will make change.  But what will they change?  Will they change their position?  Will they change their approach?  Or will they change their minds? 


There are answers.  We just don’t know the questions yet.  

We have someone fighting us right now.  They think they know why.  So do we.  But we are wrong.  We are all wrong.  

There’s another way.  Close your eyes.  Be still…

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Rise & Shine

Rise and shine, and give God the glory, Glory…

Before I awaken my resting Angels 
Before I walk out this door 

And inhale the air outside

I pray the Lord keep them by His side
We are blessed to have

each and every soul

That is in our lives

I pray He protects each of us

That He keep us

That He humble us

Empower us

Through wisdom

And Hope.

Through Faith

And Love

Amen

Sweeping Indictments

Tomorrow is just another Tuesday, but for the registered voters in New Jersey, California, New Mexico, Montanna, North Dakota, and South Dakota it is Election Day. You can tell who the democrats are by their level of enthusiasm. This is an anticlimactic time for the conservatives because their hero has already won by default. Even those who dislike the fact that Trump will be the republican candidate have long since quieted down.  

Who would have thought (even a year ago), that our nation would be at such a political impass? One thing is for certain. Regardless of how uniformed the voting public may be, everyone knows that the American standard is about to change.  Even the unregistered, non-citizens, and underage residents of our nation long to be a part of the conversation.  This will be an election year like no other.  EVERYone will have an opinion–and most of them will stink.  

There’s going to be a lot of shit-slinging.  And when the fight is over, we will all be covered.  

This is a time to watch the signs.  The decline of a nation (or even a civilization) will not be a sudden occurrence.  We watched it decline began hundreds of years ago. It is the rate by which we exchange information that makes this an interesting time to be involved.  

Social unrest, moral decay, hypocracy, economic injustice has reached intolerable levels.  This is not the time to be in power.  There will be no “sudden shift” like the politicos are forcasting. However, this will mark the end of an era. 

The ideas of obsconding to foreign lands were revisited when very few countries opened their borders to Syrian refugees.  They were being terrorized in their home land by extremist.  And still they received little empathy.  You think American defectors stand a chance in the eyes of the United Nations?  

Suddenly places like Russia and Western Europe seem mildly appealing. It’s time to start traveling–before U.S. passports become valueless.  It may time to visit the places that Bernie references (like Finland).   It’s not such a grand idea however to make reservations in places like Isreal or China.  The close proximity to Iraq and Afganistan does not make Americans any more welcome. The changing faces of American money (alone) is enough to be indicted for Western arrogance. It’s simply not a good look. 

Our entire political system has attention deficit disorder. Politics creeps their way into religious sanctuaries as pastors struggle to refrain from interjecting their personal beliefs. 

Who would Jesus vote for?  Clearly not the same candidate as Muhammad.  The social climate is no longer discrete.  Americans have become very vocal about their distastes and personal dogmas.  Feelings are getting hurt as everyone is openly professing their biases (and constitutional right to be a bigot).  Entitlement is at an all time high, but determination to thrive is at an all time low.  Who wants to be responsible for a nation of gluttons and theives?   For surely if this is the case, the Donald has already won.  

Why didn’t Bernie run for president in the 80s?  Was Carter so bad that the Democratic Party lost the confidence of the majority.  Where was the civil rights movement in the 70s?  Were the hippies too hung over on the gonja, or did they have a severe case of dance fever?  It seems that once we got some semblance of  what we wanted, we became complacent.  The yuppies and the buppies (Black Upwardly-Mobile Professionals) had enough easy access to timeshares, BMW’s, real estate, and education that the struggle dissipated. 

Now the struggle is real, and there are no more heros.  The private interest has gotten very clever in rallying public support. The mules keep hoping to get fed off of the excess wealth that was carved away from the American infrastructure.  The public didn’t even see it coming.  The few that did were deemed fanatics, socialist, and “liberals.”   

Conspiracies are real when they are FACT. Zealots warn of “the machine” just as the Panthers warned of “the man” but the status quo was acceptable to society as a whole. 

Tomorrow is Election Day and the fate of America is not sealed. In fact, the republicans who don’t vote tomorrow are also living on borrowed time.  How quickly can you change your party affiliation?  Quicker than you can sell your home and run away. That’s for sure!

Don’t give up, America!  We created this problem, but it’s not too late to fix it. We can take responsibility.  We can right the wrongs if only we recognize what we’ve allowed this to happen.  This IS your land.  This IS my land (too).  Let’s not run for the border; because no other nation wants to be contaminated either. 

Vote!

“Smile, You Look Too Serious”


Do I look too serious?  I can smile. I usually do.  For a long time I was considered the life of the party, the class clown, or “Mr.Social!”  As the center of attention, I can entertain or take a stand.  

To be honest, I’ve grown tired of entertaining. My smile entices, but my humor provokes.  I want to do more.  I CAN do more.  I am more than a clown.  I never resented the tomfoolery as long as I was the one orchestrating it, but there comes a time to  do more.  I need to stimulate the mind   There’s a time to awaken the spirit.  We are on the cusp of a revolution.  

Every generation experiences a turning point.  Whether it be political, religious, socio-economical, or even musical, how we confront change or challenge norms defines us.  Like my hair, I can not allow my grimace to define me. 

Watch me!

We are a nation that has smiled through injustices too long.  We’ve accepted the status quo so long that our stripped liberties leave us naked but still luke warm.  By the time we get cold enough to demand a restoration of our rights, it will be too late.  We won’t be placated any longer. We will demand heat!   We will start a fire.  We will burn it down!!

Am I mis-speaking?  Is this not what happened in Ferguson.  Is this not what happened to MOVE in Philadelphia 30 years ago?  Watts??  L.A. Riots in 92?  There’s not enough tainted water in Flint to keep souls from burning.  

Tension is high!  My smile could bring some relief, or it could mask a larger problem.  We’ve been wearing masks too long. They’ve smiled in our faces, and then stabbed us in the back. Who, you ask?  The ones we’ve trusted.  Our leaders, our clergy, our families…   Not deliberately, of course.  Accidentally, for sure!

They too are sheep leading, and being led.  Who will you follow?  And will you be smiling while you wait to be nudged at the slaughterhouse?

Too serious?  I don’t think so.  Not serious enough!  I’ll smile in the morning, 

when the dealing is done.

Words Hurt


Sticks and stones?  Nah!  Words hurt.  Do you remember the last time someone hit you with a stick?  Probably not. It’s barely a memory and the injury has long since healed itself.  But that’s just it. Our body heals. Our mind…not so much.  
There’s two kinds of doctors: medical doctors (M.D.) and doctors of philosophy (Ph.D). We tend not to think too much of the latter because we put a greater importance on our physical health than on our mental health.  

When we get sick, we make an appointment to see a physician.  It isn’t until we can not pinpoint the physical ailment that we consider  an alternative remedy.  Some of us will turn to holistic remedies before we decide to sit in a psychologist’s chair.  Others may seek counsel from clergy or the comfort of a prayer group.  

Personally, I believe a spiritual sense will bring about more healing than any of the above;  but that’s because when we pray, we release. The stress on our flesh and our souls is often too much to bare.  A simple but thorough release of all worries and stressors will be met with miraculous results.  

But what of the sticks and stones?  “He who is without sin, should cast the first stone…”  And yet we are encircled by stone throwers daily.  When we find ourselves in the center of that circle receiving all those blows, it’s hard to drop to our knees and await a hedge of protection.  Heck no!  We fire those stones right back; and with impeccable aim.  


Metaphors aside for a moment, real stones damage the flesh.  Healing is required.  That healing comes from physicians and the medical establishment.  Unlike with bullets or blunt objects, no tourniquet or bandages are required.  Sticks sometimes pierce, but they are not spears.  A wack with a stick bruises!  Again, no ambulance or emergency medical services will be called. 
“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but [words] will never hurt me!”  

Nonsense!

Why do we teach this to our children?  It’s an age-old tradition that we all recall from our childhood.  The bully teases.  The child responds.   Sometimes with this unwitty chant;  other times with a cry for help, we just want it to stop.  

In second grade, I grew tired of the teasing.  I can’t recall what caused the harassment.  It could have been because I looked different.  It may have been because of where I lived.  Either way, no one deserves that type of treatment.  My parents behaved like it was a part of growing up.  To this day, I can’t quite determine whether my folks were entertained by my growing pains or whether they wanted me to become stronger and wiser.  Instead, what I learned was far less pleasant.  

I came home from school whining that the kids at school were mean to me.  My mother offered a solution.  She didn’t ask what caused it, or what remedies I’d already attempted to stop the bullying.  To her, it was irrelevant.  She didn’t ask who or where.  It just needed to stop.  

Mom said, “I want you to get the biggest stick you can find and find the biggest kid you can spot on the playground.”

“Now you take that stick and beat his ass with it!  And you be sure to do it in front of ALL the other kids!”

“You beat his ASS!”

It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, especially since it wasn’t THAT kid who was bullying me.  But I would do what I was told.  After all, momma knows best, right?

Wrong!

I found that big stick. I found that big kid.  I made sure I had an audience, and I swung that stick at that kid!

I’d like to tell you that I became an instant hero amidst all my watching peers.  I’d like to  reveille in the 15 minutes of fame…that I liberated all the school-ground-kids from the throws of tyrany.  I’d like to, but I can’t.  Nope.

It didn’t happen that way at ALL!  When I spotted that kid, I walked right up to him. Swinging and muttering, I was just a sight. Whew!  I was going to do THIS!  He saw me coming.  He was surprised, but not worried.  When I got within three feet of him, I swung aiming for his shoulder. He stopped me mid swing.  He caught that big stick. He grasped it from my sweaty hands.  He took that stick and beat MY ASS with it!

I came home bruised. Both my body and my ego hurt.  No one got in trouble.  No ambulance was called and no physician was sought.  I was still stunned. I was almost afraid to approach my mother. But I needed comfort.  


Here’s what she said:

“What happened to you?!?”

“I did what you said.  I got the stick, and I found the biggest kid…”

“Hmmm…I should have taught you how to fight first, huh?”

Warm tears rolled down my face. My eyes burned, and I was no longer reviling in the pain from the blunt force trauma.  My trauma was internal.  I hurt. I was confused. I was angry.  

Those words hurt.  The smiling lips they leapt from exacerbated my torn ego.  Comfort in my mother’s arms I did not find.  Nor was there any respite on the playground the following day.  

My hurt was emotional.  My physical pain had already subsided. My pride was restored when I learned to coexist with my peers, but avoid my tormentors.  
Plenty of lessons are learned in our formative years. Each of us could tell a story.  The biggest hurt in our lives didn’t come from a bullies swing though.  The biggest hurt came from betrayal–the words spewed from someone we thought had honored us.  


Even the malicious acts that occur contrary to our personal and emotional safety hurt.  Why?  Because we thought we were safe.  We’d convinced ourselves that we would not be in harms way.  

It’s when our belief system is rocked–that’s when we hurt.  And that’s the kind of hurt for which a medical doctor can not prescribe a cure.  Even a physchiatrist can not truly heal that trauma.  Monsignor Vitty BoomBox  can’t pray me back to righteousness.  

Words hurt.  Even the good ones; like LOVE.  Words that represent the greatest joy can bring forth the biggest pain.  It’s these types of words that dwell so deep in our heart, not even our brain can make sense of it.  Words that connect the brain, heart, and soul–these are the most dangerous of all.  


Words can drop us to our knees.  Words evoke understanding (or misunderstanding). They cause pain.  Every now and then they heal.  But ignoring the words is no easier than avoiding the pain.  

Sadly, I can find enough words through writing or speaking, through joy or anger, to undo the pain or that will birth pleasure.  At some point those words,  stringed together in the right order will manifest a plan of action.  It is the actions that may create change.  

But regardless of how we act, it’s the words the cause fear or reduce anxiety.  A pill can ease the pain, but the pain is mental.  It’s emotional. It’s spiritual.  And it will return.  

Do you remember the pain?  Use your words, but choose them carefully. 

Words

Seeking the Presidency

Consider for a moment the groundwork the 2016 electoral process has layed.
We now know that a celebrity can be the president.  George Clooney says no;  but it’s certainly possible. Recall the Reagan Administration.  If Charlton Heston can be the leader of the NRA, why can’t Jay Z be the spokesperson for the NAACP?


Why stop there?  Why not seize the presidency?  More rappers have visited the White House in the last seven years than EVER before.  And it’s not to perform for POTUS.  Common the rapper mentioned just last night as he posted to FB Live that although this is his first time going to the White House, it may be the last time the opportunity is extended.

Unless…

What if Beyoncé became the First Lady?  Once we accept that politics is merely political showboating, we can better understand that her recent release LEMONADE was merely a brilliantly executed marketing scheme to draw attention to a musical dynasty that holds more importance than any presidential campaign.

That weekend it was released was one of the first that the media didn’t lead their newscasts with something stupid that Trump had uttered.  It took a disgusting Cinco De Mayo tweet to get America’s attention back on “what’s really important!”

We are so easily manipulated and distracted that we still accept major events in our contemporary history (such as 911, and Benghazi) at face value. How can an email scandal trump countless corporate bankruptcies and a refusal to release tax returns.  Wake Up!  Meanwhile amidst the bickering, a career-socialist democrat stole America’s heart!  Bernie’s likeliness to win the democratic nomination is contingent on how well the media is able to rob him of the needed attention. Will the media keep him from mobilizing a nation of free thinkers.  It is the imbeciles that are still embracing the electoral process–a process that relies on party delegates in leui of an electoral college, and a non-popular vote to elect a president.

Keep them subdued and blind, and the general public will believe anything.

Jay Z for President

Let’s consider the qualifications.  He is an American citizen.  So no one will question his birth certificate.  He was born here in the United States to American parents (that he keeps OUT of the spot light).  He makes no excuses for his urban upbringing and will never need to deny his relationship with drugs.

He’s over the age of 35, but has a huge demographically charged following.  Imagine getting head-bopping tweens to canvas their neighborhood encouraging their teachers and bus drivers to register to vote. He’ll have seniors leaving their 55+ Communities to vote for Hov!

Backwards thinking?!?   Not at all!

What’s the last qualifier?  Nobody remembers.  No one cares. As a nation we’ve tuned in to debate after debate.  The ratings for these televised events surpass American Idol. And even the mayor of Paris has partnered with the new Muslim mayor of London in calling the leading American presidential candidate a fool.

But Jay Z is known worldwide too!  He’s circumnavigated the globe more times than a TWA pilot. He’s got more people wearing blue than the Yankees do!  He could even get the Crips to stop battling the Bloods long enough to be challengers at the polls.  When you are both gang affiliated AND a Illuminati Icon, there’s no need for a national guard.  Do you get it?!?  He’s CONNECTED!  And his access to the White House is unlimited.

We joke that there’d never be a Lewinksky-esque scandal on Michelle’s watch, but Barrack can get dangerously close to the Queen of R & B.  And who would be the wiser?  After all, Kennedy was the sitting president during the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to many. Marilyn worked out this kinks, we learned later.

But the traditional misogynistic appeal of hip hop has given way to a larger social conscientiousness, and the rappers have grown up to be sitcom stars, movie producers, and political activists.


R & B / Hip Hop no longer accepts social norms that degrade our people.  Well, there’s a few rappers whose lyrics we can’t make sense of, but we’ll revisit them in a few years after their speech therapy and they’re WOKE.

We’ve raised the standard, and we want more. Obama was the first, not the last.  We want him to be able to run for s third term, but the Constitution won’t allow it.  We recognize that we must be the change we want to see.  Who better to bring it than an icon we all trust?

Heck with it!   Beyoncé for PRESIDENT!  Why not make the POTUS and FLOTUS the same person and the make Jay Z the chief of the SCOTUS?!?

When Black Becomes White

Every time I hear a report of an egregious crime, I cringe. All crime is bad, but crimes against humanity get my attention.  Cruelty, violence, and social injustice fuel my curiously.  I’m not the only one.  These are the ingredients for most television crime dramas.  But the reality sets in when a public figure, celebrity, or ANY person I may have held in high regard has been alleged.  


Social injustice though?  This is an interesting twist. Who commits these crimes?  And who are the victims. Crimes against humanity have  numerous victims. The punishment never fits the crime.  The damage is immeasurable and confidence is lost. 

Active shooters and serial rapists trump fraud and imbezzlement (which are also crimes against humanity).  How many Americans will truly recover from preditory loans, pension scandals, retirement fund fraud?  But these are not juicy enough to hold our attention unless it becomes a personal loss.  There’s this old adage:  if it bleeds it leads!  The first 10 minutes of the nightly news proves this.  Politics encompasses the second third of the news, leaving the final portion to public interest “feel good” stories for which no one stays tuned.  

We are driven by fear.  Our culture feeds on the angst.  We are anxious for everything.  And    we panic over a lot of what we digest from the news.  But the news is spoon-fed to us based on our steady diet of sensationalism.  They sell what we are buying.  


We are offered few choices.  We have liberal news or conservative politics.  The truth is slanted and the viewing public doesn’t ask enough questions.  There’s no major media outlet for the conspiracy theorists, leaving the an entire market ripe for the picking.  Underground reporting, research, and responses to legitimate concerns are only slowly surfacing.  YouTube and Facebook are the primary source for so many Americans only because the information flows at a steady stream (and the palm-held technology is already providing an endless timeline of informal content).  

“Snopes” and other fact checking sources are no more reliable than Asking Geeves (ask.com).  Our search for information is abbreviated the moment Google tells us just how quickly it gathered 2 million results on any given topic.  

Sensationalism

There are certain types of criminal events that recurr, however.  And we rarely question their validity.  Human interests in a socially sensitive climate, race-related and gender bias stories lead.  I don’t think I’m lending a bias when I suggest that our socio-political climate lends itself to crimes against humanity.  The abrasive comments that the political leaders, presidential candidates, and their media correspondents spews are the biggest crimes committed in the past 8 months.  These are the train wrecks that we can’t look away from.  

There’s another crime against humanity that holds our attention just a tad longer.  It’s sad really because this type of social behavior has no solution and yet ties up our judicial system and challenges our community resources far greater than any (ignorable) election.  


Cruelty Through Violence

Rape, molestation, serial crimes…  Are these crimes more rampant or are they simply reported more frequently?  The perpetrators are looking less and less familiar.  Or are they?  A certain demographic seems to be the audience for these news events. 

The New Jim Crow suggests that for decades a systematic injustice has been perpetuated to jail black men.  The war on drugs has yielded prison over-crowding and a renewed fear of the black community. And these manipulations and untruths have perpetuated a mistrust of law enforcement in many “ethnic communities.”

Now through mass media, we are learning about crimes that are committed by ethnic minorities.  When allegations are made against black celebrities like Bill Cosby or Michael Jackson, America cringes. We begin to accept that no one is above the law.

We’ve witnessed that a nation of oppressed minorities can become a powerful force that can seize authority and change the cultural landscape–politically, socially, and economically. Conversely, powerplays can expose white America to a new kind of hatred and fear of anything non-white. The tables have turned, and the word minority no longer has the same meaning.  Term such as “urban” and “economically disadvantaged” were coined to disguise a demographic that was once black, but is now simply poor.  When we speak less of race and more of class, what we are really talking about is wealth and power. 


And what we are learning is that although the wealthy and the popular have the means to escape penalties, no amount of celebrity can cloak public opinion.  Our society condemns more now than it ever did during the conservative “good old days”.  There’s no escape.  

Will we see more bankers, CEOs and corporate managers go to jail for their misdeeds?  Not likely.  Celebrities however are more likely to endure the wrath of the justice system.  Wesley Snipes or Martha Stewart–neither could escape.  Juicier crimes like sexual molestation, sexual assault, or murder will offer the viewing public the opportunity to play judge AND jury. 

When the public reacts to tabloid journalism, we can not at all be surprised that we have a presidential candidate whose former career was in business fraud and reality television.  


 Afrika Bambaataa Victims will tell their story. The media will exploit them. Hip Hop music will get a black eye (no pun intended); and the news-makers will suggest that if “they” could do it, no one is beyond reproach.  
Put on your seatbelt America!  As African Americans embrace the kingdom that was always denied them, there will be a recognizable force that will shine a spotlight on the indecency of our actions (while demonstrating indifference to its own injustices). 

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