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Black Privilege Poetry Slam

Black Privilege

Spoken word artist Crystal Valentine performs a very emotionally charged poem titled “Black Privilege” in a poetry slam competition. One of the most moving lines in her poem tackled the issue of police brutality against black men, and the scourge of gun violence taking way too many young promising lives in urban communities. She says “Black privilege is me having already memorized my nephew’s eulogy, my brother’s eulogy, my father’s eulogy, my unconceived child’s eulogy. Black privilege is me thinking my sister’s name is safe from that list.” Valentine is one of six performing poets who represented NYU at the poetry slam this year. Her team ended up winning which was no surprise to anyone who listened to her performance.

Ms Valentine makes me proud to be part of a resilient culture who takes oppression and intolerance and turns it into extraordinary talent and beautiful artistry. If you’re not moved by her amazing 3 minute video clip, you should contact a doctor immediately because something is seriously wrong with you. She poured her heart out on that stage layering vulnerability on top of confidence on top of self critical introspection. There aren’t many people who can touch your soul with just a few words. That’s power. That’s talent. That’s the power of blackness.

Fox News Racist Views

Fox News Racist Views

If anyone is curious why I despise Fox News and everything they represent, the video clip below is a perfect example that explains why. You have 4 people pretending to have an intelligent debate on terrorism and policing in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in France, but if you listen to the overall theme of this phony debate you’ll see that it’s really another opportunity for Fox to make their viewers afraid of black and brown people. They try to make racism sound reasonable, to desensitize us all from that sick feeling we get when we realize we’re taking part in or doing something or saying something that we know is wrong. When we lock our car doors when we see a young black man approaching thinking he’s a criminal who might rob me. When we see a black mother and her kids in the grocery store with a cart full of food and think she’s probably paying with food stamps. When we see a Muslim man boarding our flight and hope that he was stopped for extra screening. Fox News and their guests are constantly telling their viewers that it’s not only ok to make racist assumptions, but those racist assumptions are most likely true. This ignorant moronic woman suggest that skin tone is an indicator of criminal behavior, or as she put it an indicator of who’s a “bad guy”. The man beside her takes this even further and connects the terrorist attack in France to the way policing is done in New York. He suggest that targeting black and Latino men, ignoring their rights as Americans, and policing ethnic neighborhoods with military style police armed with military style weapons will somehow prevent terrorism and make us all safer. Then another ignorant panelist adds something very telling. She says people like her will not be targeted so in her mind it makes it all ok. This was the only truthful utterance in this pathetic racist discussion. Everyone on that panel knows that their race would exclude them from the dangers and dehumanization of racial stereotyping and racial profiling. Even the African American female panelist would be excluded due to her gender.

This video encapsulates everything that’s wrong with Fox in 4 short minutes. After watching it a few times, I feel it’s necessary to challenge or break down some of the ridiculousness and speak directly to each problematic statement:

1. Militarizing the police or making them carry larger or more powerful weapons would not have prevented 9/11. Making police in France carry larger weapons would not have prevented the attack there. The police officer who died in France had a gun. Giving him 10 more guns wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.

2. Stop and Frisk in New York had absolutely nothing to do with the decrease in crime there. Every study that has been conducted to answer that question has shown that targeting people based on race is a waste of police time and resources and it has a negative effect on the relationship between minority communities and police. Stop and Frisk was an unconstitutional failure that should never be repeated anywhere.

3. The male panelist said he never felt like police looked at him as “the enemy”. Of course they didn’t because his race wasn’t targeted. That’s why it’s called racial profiling. Stop and Frisk made NYPD look at blacks and Latino’s as “the enemy”. NYPD officers were told that if they assume everyone they stopped potentially had a concealed weapon, that would make the encounter legal. So black and latino men weren’t looked at as law abiding citizens anymore, under Stop and Frisk they were all looked at as potential criminals.

4. NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES IS BEING HUNTED BY ISIS. That ludicrous assertion needs no debunking or rebuttal from me.

5. The best way to be safe is arming everyone with guns. This is probably the most irresponsible piece of the Fox News ideology. First they convince their viewers that young black and brown males are dangerous, deserves to be targeted by police, and are most likely criminals; then after they are convinced of this they tell them all to go out and buy guns to protect themselves from the black and brown men who are out to get them. This is the kind of reporting that leads to unarmed men of color being shot and killed because the shooter perceived them as a threat, only later realizing that they posed no threat at all. Crime continues to drop in this country but when polled most Americans believe crime is at an all time high. That misconception is mostly due to media who use fear to sell products. Unfortunately that misconception is also costing lives.

6. If a terrorist sees a heavily armed police officer they might decide to call off their planned attack. This kind of thinking is almost laughable. The truth is if a terrorist is determined to attack Americans and take lives, there really isn’t a lot we can do to prevent this. Human’s aren’t perfect and neither is our government and law enforcement. For every 10 attacks that they prevent, there’s always going to be 1 or 2 that gets by them. That’s why I believe looking at the reasons that lead someone to become a terrorist and trying to address those issues in a realistic rational way would be much more effective than waging wars and stockpiling weapons and passing concealed carry laws that encourages citizens to be suspicious of those who do not look like them, and adopt the role of a vigil anti justice crusader.

7. The NYPD being exemplary in blending in with the citizenry and becoming part of the population without being the enemy? This statement is only true if you’re a white New Yorker which makes up about 33% of the city’s population. For the rest of the non white citizens this statement is not true, and even more so for the black citizens who make up 25% of the population. Choking an unarmed man to death on a sidewalk, forcing a man to strip naked while people on the street watch, or anally raping a man with a plunger is not what I would call an exemplary police force. But this panel at Fox if fine with all of that just as long as their white privilege protects them from it.

At the end of this video clip the panel talks about the bravery of those who worked for the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I’m in total agreement with them on that, but “brave” is a word that becomes meaningless when it comes out of a Fox News anchor’s mouth. There is no bravery in ignoring the suffering of those who aren’t a part of your perceived “good guy” skin tone or race, and there’s certainly nothing brave about profiting from manufactured fear. Fox News and those who subscribe to their ideology are cowards. Racist predictable cowards. Charlie Hebdo’s cutting edge commentary that spared no one’s sacred cow is the antithesis of Fox News and their crusade against African American culture and the minority community.

 

Here’s a link to an older post that also points out Fox for their racist ideology. ttp://sociallyurban.com/video/how-fox-news-views-race/.

 

The Real Al Sharpton

The civil rights activist, the radio/tv personality, the revered reverend, the best selling author, the voice of black America, the founder and president of The National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton has been a lightening rod of controversy for decades now. But ever since Barack Obama became president Reverend Al’s close relationship with him has raised his national profile in ways that even he did not expect. The positives are quite obvious such as increased visibility which gives him a platform to bring attention to specific areas or incidents of injustice, an hour-long cable news program on MSNBC (Politics Nation), a lucrative book deal for The Rejected Stone which chronicles his personal evolution from a controversial street activist to a national civil rights icon, increased visibility for his nonprofit civil rights organization the National Action Network, and a seat at the table when new civil rights legislation gets crafted. His proximity to power is envied by many, but there is a downside to being as outspoken and unapologetically supportive of President Obama. That downside is Fox News and the cabal of conservative media who are dedicated to destroy the president, his legacy, and anyone who supports him.

Every liberal commentator and political activist in this country should expect harsh and sometimes unfair critiques from their conservative counterparts. It comes with the territory. I’ve heard people say a vigorous debate is a sign of a healthy democracy, which is true. But there’s a caveat that says if you’re going to enter the world of politics you better have a tough skin, a strong sense of who you are, and a clear set of guiding principles that underpins everything you say and do. If you’re lacking in any of those, it will show sooner or later and the power and influence you thought you had will all disappear. The Reverend Al Sharpton has been in the public eye fighting for civil rights for almost 5 decades and continues to prove himself effective when injustice victimize’s the voiceless. There aren’t many leaders who have a 5 decade long history that sees their power and influence grow exponentially without being the real deal. Character, integrity, and passion aren’t things you can fake sustainably. That’s why all the hate and vitriol being thrown at him constantly over the years have never stuck and that’s why many African-Americans respect and revere him as a leader. Conservatives tried to block Barack Obama’s first bid for President and failed. They tried to stop President Obama’s reelection and failed. Now they are trying to attack Sharpton and marginalize the power of his organization, and they are failing at that as well. Their most recent attack came from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly after the murder of an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri. The African-American community of that town expressed their anger and outrage through nonviolent protest. There was a very small number of people who used the protest as a cover to loot and vandalize local businesses. Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News hosts accused Reverend Sharpton of inciting violence and inflaming tension between the African-American community and the police.

Bill said Sharpton inserted himself into the protest to get media attention and no one asked Sharpton to get involved or for any help. Of course none of that was true and anyone who knows how to use google could debunk everything O’Reilly said with an internet connection and two minutes. For example, here are two video clips. The first video is Al Sharpton’s first speech given as soon as he arrived in Ferguson at the behest of Micheal Brown’s family. The second video is Bill O’Reilly lying on air saying Sharpton incited violence.

There’s not one word in Sharpton’s entire statement that anyone could misunderstand as inflammatory or a call for violence. Sharpton clearly called for peace and pleaded with the community to keep the protest nonviolent. Fox News and Bill O’Reilly never aired this clip and made a conscience decision to lie on air to their viewers. Fox does this all the time but O’Reilly lies over and over about issues that involve race. Here’s another video where O’Reilly lied saying that African-American democrat organizers of an MLK day event excluded white republicans from speaking. The day after he lied and ranted about this he had to apologize on air because the press called him out on it.

Bill O’Reilly has a very skewed racist view of black America and constantly confuses Hip Hop culture and entertainment with African-American culture. Al Sharpton invited O’Reilly to have dinner in Harlem at one of Harlem’s most popular eating establishments Sylvia’s. After the dinner O’Reilly told his radio audience about it the next day. He told them that he was surprised how clean and nice it was even though it was owned and run by African-Americans. He said no one was yelling profanity, everyone was nice and respectful, and the African-American’s eating there were well dressed and well-behaved. He was amazed by this. When talking about Bill O’Reilly I always go back to this story about Sylvia’s because it explains how he views African Americans. So when he calls our first African-American president and our first African-American attorney general thugs, and calls well-respected African-American civil rights leaders “race agitators” or “race hustlers”, we all know what kind of mind that comes from.

One of Al Sharpton’s most popular critiques from conservatives asks why doesn’t Sharpton talk about black on black crime. Why isn’t he organizing and marching in Detroit and Chicago where inner city crime is rampant? You’ll hear that one on Fox a lot too. I have to laugh every time I hear a conservative say that because it shows they have no idea what they are talking about. Al Sharpton and his nonprofit have organized rallies and marches in both of those cities. He held a widely televised town hall in Detroit and even temporarily moved into an inner city apartment in Chicago to see first hand what the impoverished residents were dealing with. Despite how easily accessible this information is, somehow it remains hidden from Fox and other conservatives.
SOCIALLY URBAN PHOTO

Another popular critique from conservatives is Reverend Sharpton only wants to help black people, so that makes him racist. To debunk this first we need to understand what a civil rights activist is. A civil rights activist or a civil rights organization uses political levers to secure equal opportunity for members of a less powerful minority group. The key word there is “equal”. So if you’re working towards making things equal for every race, you are trying to give minorities the same rights and treatment as those in the majority or those who have more power. African-Americans are a minority group who have been and continue to be discriminated against because of race. So a civil rights organization or activist takes on issues where African-Americans aren’t being treated as equals (to whites). That does not mean you only want to help black people because you don’t like white people. That is just ridiculous. When we finally have racial equality then we will not have a need for civil rights activist anymore.

One more popular critique I’d like to discuss is why doesn’t Al Sharpton and his organization help out when a black person kills a white person. First we need to correct a common misperception. Al Sharpton and his organization do not get involved with every case where there’s a black victim and a white perpetrator. To get involved they look for instances where the crime that was committed has racial elements that lead to the crime or racial elements that have the potential to hinder a fair and equal outcome. I’ll use the Trayvon Martin case as an example. Al Sharpton did not get involved just because Trayvon was a black kid. He got involved because the district attorney in Sanford had no plans to charge George Zimmerman with anything. Check the facts and you’ll see that the D.A. hadn’t filed charges a full month after Trayvon’s death. Then the family called Reverend Sharpton for help. He organized protest and used his high-profile to get the media to pay attention to the incident. The pressure from media and other civil rights organizations finally forced the DA to file charges against George Zimmerman. So Sharpton and NAN weren’t asking for a conviction, all they were asking for was a fair trial. If the district attorney in Sanford would have presented the case to a grand jury (just like they are supposed to) there wouldn’t have been a need for Sharpton to get involved.

SOCIALLY URBAN MEDIA

I wrote this blog because I thought Reverend Sharpton didn’t deserve all the hateful comments and coverage from conservative media. He is flawed just like any other human and has made mistakes in the past, but the people who are throwing slurs and criticizing him for being passionate about civil rights hasn’t done anything close to the kind of work he’s dedicated his life to. This man is cut from the same cloth as MLK or Kennedy. Don’t believe the racist caricature the conservative media has tried to make him out to be. Do some research about the real man and see what he’s about before passing judgement. We have so few national civil rights leaders left. We should be thankful that he is still able to fight on our behalf, even when his character gets called into question and the hate gets thrown. I’m not sure I’d be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny. So please do some research on him and his nonprofit group National Action Network and see for yourself. Don’t let people who have an agenda tell you who he is (me included).




Racist Rancher Becomes GOP Hero

Conservative media and the GOP crowned their newest hero over this past week, and his name is Cliven Bundy.  Mr Bundy is a Nevada rancher who had a very tense armed standoff with government officials trying to collect money he rightfully owed to the US government for 20 years worth of grazing fees that he refused to pay.  Fox News and every single conservative media outlet rushed to Mr Bundy’s side very quickly because they saw an opportunity to exploit the situation and feed it to their base as big bad Obama government persecuting a hard working man who’s done nothing wrong.  Casting Mr Bundy as a “maker” instead of a “taker”… which is ironic because Mr Bundy is so obviously a “taker” but I’ll explain that a little later in my post.  First let’s go over the facts about the situation and the man at the center of it.

1.  Mr. Bundy has been grazing his cattle on government owned land for 20 years without paying the proper fees that ALL ranchers have to pay.  Accumulating for the past 20 years these fees add up to approximately $1 million.  When normal American’s duck taxes and refuse to pay their bills, they get liens, repossessions, court judgments, and property seized.  If a bank repossess someone’s home and the occupant refuses to leave, the bank will show up with an armed Sheriff and they will drag you out and arrest you for not complying.

2. Instead of handling this tax/fee dispute in court, Mr Bundy goes on Fox News and makes a call for armed anti-government militia men to come to his ranch with their guns to help him in an armed confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management so he can continue to steal from the government with no consequences.

3.  When the government officials from the Bureau of Land Management came to seise Mr Bundy’s cattle for the 20 years of nonpayment and trespassing on government owned land they were met with heavily armed militiamen who watched Fox News and listened to Sean Hannity’s and Mr Bundy’s call for assistance.  They had snipers pointing sniper rifles directly at law enforcement.  Everyone who came to Bundy’s ranch had guns pointing at law enforcement… and here’s the unbelievable part, NO ONE GOT ARRESTED.  Not one person was put in handcuffs.

4.  Mr Bundy makes easily confirmable lies in numerous interviews but all of conservative media decided to ignore these warning signs that this man is dishonest and is misrepresenting himself and his situation.  One of the biggest lies was about how long his family owned the ranch.  He told Fox and all the others that his family has been on that land since the 1800’s, when county records clearly state that his family only purchased the land sometime in the 1980’s.

5.  Mr Bundy says in an interview that he doesn’t recognize the authority of the United States government.  Then he holds a victory rally and brings a state sheriff on stage to berate him for 20 minutes while the crowd cheers him on.  He tells the sheriff and every other county sheriff in the country that they need to “disarm government bureaucrats” and if they couldn’t do the job then the citizens need to take-up arms against them just like he did.  This was his third public on air call to violence… armed violence against law enforcement.  The sheriff on stage listened to all of this and did nothing.

After going over the 5 factual points I’ve made, please tell me how anyone could see this man as a hero.  Everything he’s done is supposed to be the stuff that conservatives are against.  He doesn’t pay his debts.  He does not follow the law.  He shows contempt for law enforcement.  He lies very easily.  He wants the government to provide free grazing land for his cattle. He makes anti-American statements and says he does not consider himself as part of America.  All of this and somehow conservative media loved this man. Can you imagine if a black man went on television calling for armed assistance to settle a dispute with the government?  If a group of black men pointed guns and sniper rifles at law enforcement?  Everyone knows exactly what would happen if Bundy was black.

Then Mr Bundy does an interview with The New York Times and decides to share his views on “the Negro”.  I won’t paraphrase because you need to read his entire statement:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. I recall driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do.  They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do.  They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.  And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?  They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.  And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom.  They got less freedom.”  –  Cliven Bundy **video of him saying all of this is at the bottom of this page**

 

Yes, that was a direct quote.  Mr Bundy’s comments are not only uninformed and blatantly racist… they are horrible, they are vile, they are disgusting, they are ignorant, moronic, vulgar, crass, imbecilic, dumb, idiotic and completely indefensible.  What sane person with a working brain wonders if “the negro” was happier being a slave?  Who thinks like that?  And he has the nerve to talk about black people being on government assistance when he’s been receiving government subsidized grazing fees for 20 years and even with the huge government subsidies that only charges him 25% of the fair market price for grazing cattle, he can’t even pay that.  I almost can’t blame him for thinking that black people are all on welfare, all living in government housing, all from single parent homes, all unemployed or in jail.  He believes this because Fox News, conservative pundits, conservative media, Tea Party & GOP legislators are constantly pushing those false racist views.  That’s why they have embraced people like Bundy over and over again.  Remember Ted Nugent? He’s the no talent has-been “rockstar” that the Tea Party and conservative media embrased even after making racist and violent comments about the president.  He called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in an interview.  After Nugent learned that Obama won the election he said “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America.”  Nugent told a CNN reporter that either Americans can vote Obama out of office or he can suck on my machine gun.  Even after making these idiotic comments and violent threats republican congressman Steve Stockman invited Ted to attend the President’s State of the Union address as his guest.  Ted even campaigned for Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.  You are the company you keep.

Remember the Duck Dynasty guy?  Phil Robertson made some really stupid racist remarks in an interview saying that black people were happy and singing picking cotton during segregation until the government came along with civil rights and gave all blacks welfare.  After making those blatantly racist comments conservative media, the Tea Party, and the GOP all rallied around him and he became their hero.  Again, you are the company you keep.

Remember George Zimmerman?  He shoots and kills an unarmed teen after racially profiling him.  Fox and conservative media rallied around Zimmerman… especially Hannity.  A man that killed an unarmed teen became a hero to them.  Then after the trial was over and he got acquitted Fox and conservative media was shocked and surprised when Zimmerman’s ex wife had to call 911 because he threatened her and her dad with a loaded gun.  Since the Trayvon trial Mr Zimmerman has had 4 different incidents with law enforcement.  Again, you are the company you keep.

I’m pointing out Ted Nugent, George Zimmerman, and Phil Robertson because it’s becoming a pattern for conservatives to hero worship these racist assholes.  When it happens over and over again you can’t ignore it or say those are coincidental isolated incidents.  The racism has become a very visible part of the conservative movement.  Cliven Bundy is just the latest in a series that will keep repeating itself.  Next month I’ll be blogging about the new conservative hero that turns out to be racist and all of conservative media will be shocked and surprised again… and again… and again.  It’s sad that this keeps happening in 2014.  I have friends who are republican and I know this kind of racialized politics makes them sick.  I’m sure there are other republicans who are just like them but their party has been hijacked by the extremist and co opted by a huge billion dollar money making conservative media machine.  Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck are destroying the credibility and electability of real conservative legislators who do not agree with the nuts, but feel they have to go along with it to stay in office.  That’s good news for democrats, but bad news for anyone trying to legislate and govern.  Conservative media keeps talking about a “post-racial” America, while proving over and over again we are far far from it.

Liberal’s Dirty Little Secret

www.sociallyurban.com

Before i begin this blog post i feel i need to preface it with some important factors to keep in mind while reading it. I am a very proud and vocal member of the Democratic party and even though I’m about to share some harsh critiques about my party and some of its representatives, I feel even at their worst they are still miles ahead of any republican at their best. Now, i felt I had to say that because it was needed to put things in the proper context.

The country-wide debate of New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy that unfairly targets African American and Latino males has uncovered something surprising about my fellow liberals. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the Trayvon Martin shooting and racial profiling titled “No Justice For Trayvon”. In that blog I highlighted how some whites perceptions of young African American males are based on a subconscious irrational fear that makes them see those males as potential criminals. This is true for both conservative and liberal whites although that perception may be slightly more common among conservatives. After a court ruled that NY’s “Stop and Frisk” policy was unconstitutional and a violation of American civil rights it sparked a huge national debate about the ruling and NY mayor Michael Bloomberg’s defense of the program.Socially Urban Blog Those who supported the policy pointed to the low crime rate in the city which they attributed to Stop and Frisk. To me and a lot of African Americans it sounded like they were saying it’s ok to violate a young black male’s civil rights if it makes whites feel less fearful. That was a huge insult unto itself but what came after that was even more insulting. They tried to spin it in the media by saying the policy is in place to protect African American’s living in poor neighborhoods. African American’s translated this to mean they were racially profiling and violating our rights for our own good. Like a parent punishing a petulant child. To me that insult was beyond disgusting because segregationist used the exact same language in the 1950’s to defend Jim Crow. I felt it necessary to write this blog because there were some very important points that were never articulated in the media and among pundits. Watching panel discussions on MSNBC and CNN became tortuous for me. I found myself screaming my points to the tv like they could hear me. Since I’m not a cable tv news political pundit or host, my blog will have to suffice (lol).

The first and most important point I want to make is about those who think Stop and Frisk is necessary. In order to support stop and frisk you have to believe that race determines behavior. How else can you believe that stopping and searching African American’s and Latino’s almost exclusively is acceptable and necessary to prevent crime. This is a hard truth but it needs to be addressed so we can fix it and move on. I’m sure stop and frisk supporters do not want to ask themselves that question. Especially liberals and cable news pundits like those on MSNBC. Don’t get me wrong I love watching MSNBC because I like their reporting of political news and I’ve come to respect the on-air talent. One of my favorites is Chris Matthews the host of Hardball. He’s a moderate democrat with an astute political mind. His views usually mirror my own, but his coverage and views of Stop and Frisk has been very disappointing. Watching him interview pundits has exposed his support for the policy. Time after time he’s expressed fear of New York returning to the violent city it was in the 1970’s and 80’s. When one of his guest presented the idea of stopping more than just blacks and Latino’s Chris likened it to searching grandma at the airport for explosives. When Michael Smirconish guest hosted End Stop & Frisk Chris’s Hardball he was a lot more vocal in his support for the policy. I naively thought progressives would see this Stop and Frisk policy for what it was. Racial profiling, unconstitutional, a severe violation of civil rights, a throw-back to Jim Crow, and just plain wrong. If equality, your personal ethics, and basic human fairness weren’t enough to convince you that this law is racist and unjust, take a look at the stats and ask yourself is this an effective use of police time and resources. According to a study done by the Center For Constitutional Rights during the year 2011 NYPD officers stopped and frisked a total of 636,288 people. Out of those 636,288 stops, 574,483 were African American and Latino. That’s a shocking 87%. Out of those 574,483 minorities only 2% were found to have contraband. TWO PERCENT!!!!!! Under any other circumstances this program would have been rejected years ago due to it’s ineffectiveness.

When you take an objective look at the overwhelming evidence against Stop and Frisk you have to ask yourself why is mayor Bloomberg fighting so hard to keep this in place and why are some white liberals like Chris Matthews and Michael Smirconish vocally supporting the policy or at the very least why aren’t they vocally advocating for its demise. I think the answer can be found in my Trayvon Martin blog titled “No Justice For Trayvon”. They see all young black males as potential criminals, and Stop and Frisk placates this irrational fear. I’m not saying these people are intentional racist. I believe they’ve been conditioned to think about young black males in that way. Their subconscious has made this connection and every crime committed by a young black male reinforces that belief. It’s very disappointing to see so many of my fellow democrats quietly supporting this vile version of institutionalized racism knowing it dehumanizes an entire race of people. Extremely disappointing. Unfortunately this race behavior linkage is perpetuated by the language we use when talking about inner city crime and violence. When we use terms like “the black community” it lumps all blacks together. Even the president has made this mistake. He said we need to address the crime and violence problem within the black community. But this problem mainly exist in the inner city. So instead of lumping all blacks together, he should have said we need to address the crime and violence happening in the inner city. I do not live in the inner city and I have never been involved in any crime. I’m a college educated law abiding citizen who lives on the coast of North Carolina. I have absolutely nothing in common with a violent gang member hundreds of miles away in Detroit. But since we share the same skin color I’m treated like a suspected criminal and I’m supposed to accept that. It’s ridiculous and extremely frustrating.

I’d like to share one more observation that no one else has brought up. The Stop and Frisk policy was built on a supreme court ruling that relaxed the Stats on Stop and Frisk rules for search and seizure when an officer believes a suspect may have a gun.  Before this ruling law enforcement could not stop and search random citizens without a clear and articulatable reason. But Bloomberg found a way around the 4th amendment by using that supreme court case. He argued that NY police could stop and search anyone they wanted to and justify it by saying they thought the person had a firearm. My question is why aren’t the NRA (National Rifle Association) out lobbing to end Stop and Frisk? It goes against the very rights they say they are protecting. The right to own a firearm and the right to carry a firearm without being searched by police hoping to find and confiscate a legally owned firearm. The lack of action from their organization shows an obvious racial prejudice in the way they choose issues to speak out against. I sent this question to the head of the NRA but got no response in return. The lack of response makes me think my suspicions are valid.

As a result of discriminatory policing practices like stop and frisk, New Yorkers feel as if their communities are under siege.  To learn more about the human impact of these practices, visit www.stopandfrisk.org.

STORY UPDATE:

Chris MatthewsA few weeks after I published this blog post I got the chance to ask MSNBC show host Chris Matthews where he stands on Stop and Frisk. In my blog post I stated that he seemed to support Stop and Frisk. It was very easy to draw this conclusion because he never condemned the policy and never once called it unconstitutional. Instead he would share his fear of New York’s crime rate returning to the very high levels the city had in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Here’s a link to read his response: http://sociallyurban.com/reply-headlines/chris-matthews-response/

Conservative Media Lies

www.sociallyurban.com

When will conservatives stop listening to conservative media (Fox News & Limbaugh) and conservative politicians? How many times do they have to be wrong before their base starts to question their credibility? I know most liberals are well aware of the many conservative media lies that show up frequently in their reporting, but for those who watch conservative media exclusively I’m not so sure they know when they are being lied to. In recent history Fox News and their pundits have been proven wrong on a number of issues, and proven wrong in a big public way. First let’s start with the 2012 presidential election. All of conservative media which includes Fox, bloggers, columnist, radio personalities, religious leaders etc told their audience over and over again that Mitt Romney was going to win in a huge landslide. Even though every single poll projected President Obama as the winner. They duped their audience into ignoring the polls by telling them that all the polls were rigged by the liberal media to favor President Obama. Then on election night Obama wins with a very comfortable lead and Fox’s viewers were in shock because they all had their trust in a news network that was supposed to be “fair and balanced” as their slogan proclaims. You’d think a gaff that big would at least warrant some kind of apology… but surprisingly none were offered. For several months leading up to the election all of conservative media trotted out a number of big company ceo’s from across the nation to warn voters of the grave consequences that awaited them if President Obama won reelection. All of the ceo’s said the stock market would take a huge dive, they would have to lay off thousands of employees, they would have to close plants, interest rates would skyrocket, etc etc etc. These guys weren’t saying these things may happen, they were saying emphatically these things will happen. Now that we’re almost one year into President Obama’s second term we saw none of those doom and gloom predictions materialize. In fact quite the opposite. The stock market is surging at an all time high. Company’s are reporting record breaking profits. Unemployment has seen a slow but steady decline, but still no apology from any of those who made the misleading comments… not even an explanation as to why they got things wrong.  I’m not even going to get into the many many many lies they’ve reported about Obamacare. For that I’d need at least 3 or 4 blog entries to properly address it.  Fox has a habit of reporting misinformation to manipulate their viewers and sadly they continue to do this.

Watching the way conservative media has covered the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has been an eye opening experience for me. I have never seen the murderer of a teenager get embraced by a political party, a television network, and major radio personalities before. George Zimmerman was hailed as a hero to these sick minds. The Trayvon Martin shooting brought out the absolute worst in conservative media. Normally they would dance around race and use euphemisms and code words to keep plausible deniability just in case someone tried to call them out on it. But during the Zimmerman trial they threw caution to the wind and flew their confederate www.sociallyurban.comflag high. Bill O’Riley, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh all warned their viewers that if Zimmerman got acquitted African American’s would riot. They all reported this over and over again for a whole week. But hearing them say that made me realize they actually believe the racist crap they report. They believe every black man is a suspect and should be treated as such. They saw the whole black community in the same way that George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin… as a criminal. I knew there weren’t going to be any riots, and so did every other black person, but those who buy into ugly racist stereotypes talked about it like it was a forgone conclusion. Then the verdict came and surprise surprise NO RIOTS. There were plenty of civil protest but no riots. You’d think after being wrong about that they would stop warning their audience about scary black riots… right? No, of course that didn’t stop them. Truth and facts never gets in the way of reporting at Fox News. Over the weekend Reverend Al Sharpton and the parents of Trayvon organized rally’s in major cities all over the country. Sean Hannity again predicted violence and anti-white demonstrations. He even went as far as to warn his audience to expect a race riot if these Trayvon rallies continue. And again he was proven wrong. Thousands of black and white people gathered together all over the country for rallies and speeches and not one incident of violence of any kind. This is the second time Fox has promised racial violence and were 100% wrong. When are their viewers going to hold them accountable? When are conservatives going to demand the truth from the people they support. How many times do they have to be proven wrong before people start to see them as tired outdated racist clichés who are always part of the problem instead of being part of the solution?

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein

TO FIND MORE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA LIES DEBUNKED VISIT THIS SITE: http://mythopedia.mediamatters.org/



Who Knew Racism Sells Skin Care Products?

Who knew racism sells skin care products?

The well known skin care company Nivea has a line of very popular men’s care grooming products available.  I’ve used their shower gel for almost a year now, and  I’ve even recommended it to friends when they ask me why do I smell so good when I get out of the shower.  I like it because it has a mild yet pleasant masculine sent that isn’t overpowering like some of the other shower gels aimed at men.  It lathers well, and it’s reasonably priced.  So when I saw their new print ad campaign, I was shocked , disappointed and somewhat confused.  The ad depicts a very well dressed clean cut African American man holding the decapitated head of another African American man who has an afro and a beard with a scowling almost menacing facial expression, with the catchphrase “RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF and LOOK LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN” prominently displayed in the center of the ad.  But the abundance of offensive stereotypes didn’t end there… to top it all off they have the clean cut African-American head chopper posing on a football field… yes, a football field.

According to Nivea’s brand messaging, Black men are inherently uncivilized and can only become civilized if they forsake what comes out of their hair follicles naturally and adopt a more European look.  But, have no fear, Nivea will come to our rescue and saves us from savagery by getting rid of our “unacceptable” wool like coarsely textured NATURAL fro to make our appearance more like our “civilized” Caucasian counterparts.

Unfortunately to some people this ad and anything like it will never click for them as being racist.  I have some of the most open-minded progressive thinking (white) friends, and I know a couple of them would never see the racism in this ad no matter how eloquent and descriptive I made my explanation.  This use to bother and frustrate me like nothing else until I had one of Oprah’s “ah-ha moments” (lol don’t we all miss Oprah).  My friends weren’t purposely refusing to see racism, or purposely ignoring things with racist connotations… they weren’t doing that at all.  When they look at me and other minorities, they were looking at us without any historical context.  They saw me and other African-Americans the same way they saw themselves.  Not figuratively or metaphorically… but they actually saw no difference.  So when stories like this would pop up, they would judge it by putting themselves in the situation and base an opinion on how they would feel or react.  They wouldn’t understand or see the racism.  Like the hair issue with this ad.  It’s saying that African-American hair in its natural form is uncivilized, and the racism there is pretty clear to me.  Sure there are degrees of racism, but racism of any kind big or small should not be tolerated by anyone who believes in equality.

So my advice to those who are white and have a problem with understanding how things like this could be seen as racist would be this:  If you have a close African-American friend who you respect and trust to always tell you the truth, and you believe them to be rational thinkers in every aspect of their lives, and they confide in you that they are offended by something because they found it to be insulting and racist… BELIEVE THEM.  They have experienced all types of discrimination and racism throughout the course of their lives, so why not trust that this friend is better equipped to recognize this when it happens.  Being flippant or dismissive about it is hurtful and it shows your trustworthy respectably friend that you in-fact do not trust their judgement (which more than likely came from painful real-life experiences of racism against them).  I know this is not your intention because you see life from a totally different perspective, but the next time something like this occurs and you’re discussing it with an African-American friend, please keep this in mind.

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