Category Archives: Racism

Black Guest on C-SPAN Tells White Caller How ‘Not to Be Prejudiced’ (Watch)

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*When a white man called into C-SPAN to speak with Heather McGhee, an African American woman who was a guest on the show, and is president at Demos Action, a progressive public policy organization advocating for equality, he asked a question that I don’t believe he realized was profound. He asked, how can I get over being prejudiced? First of all, note that he said “prejudiced” not “racist.” We all know that the two words are different, as a racist is backed by a systematic power structure; whereas anyone can be prejudiced.

Even Black folks.

“I am a white man and I am prejudiced. The reason is it wasn’t something that I was taught, it was something I learned. I have these different fears and I don’t want my fears to come true.”

This is how the caller from North Carolina opened up the conversation.

He concluded with, “What can I do to be a better American?”

I was glad that McGhee, who was visibly moved by the callers words, opened her response to this man, thoughtfully, by acknowledging his honesty (and thanking him for it) in posing the question. And further, reminding him that it is precisely this question, or topic, that we in this country need to address. Continue reading

Judge Orders Parents of Dead Son to Pay Legal Fees of Alleged Suspects

Kenneth and Jackie Johnson with photo of son, Kendrick, in the back.
Kenneth and Jackie Johnson with photo of son, Kendrick, in the back.

*My god. Position yourselves people, because it’s going to be hard to wrap your brain around this one. Do you recall the tragic 2013 story about a teenage boy’s body that was found rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta? Well the case was just closed and they were no closer to what may have been the truth on how Kendrick Johnson ended up in that mat. But here’s the thing: after all was said and done, a judge has now ordered the dead teen’s parents to pay the legal fees of the two brothers they suspect murdered him!

Kenneth and Jackie Johnson pointed to Brian and Branden Bell, saying they killed their son, and filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the brothers, who had alibis and witnesses to back it up.

In March, the Johnson’s withdrew their lawsuit.

The feds got involved and Michael Moore, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia,  brought on lawyers and investigators from the Justice Department, District of Columbia police officers, U.S. marshals and the FBI to investigate. All of this personnel claim that nearly 100 interviews were done and, according to a statement by the Justice Department, “tens of thousands” of emails and text messages were reviewed, along with surveillance videos from Lowndes High School, where Johnson’s body was discovered on Jan. 11, 2013.

Still, no evidence to substantiate the parents claims of coul play. Continue reading

Muslim Women in France Cause Controversy With Upcoming ‘Burkini Pool Party’

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*Women from Smile 13, a Muslim Association based in Marseille, France, are causing quite a stir because they want to host a private gender-specific event in Les Pennes-Mirabeau and have rented out the Speedwater Park Aquatic Center for a Burkini Pool Party. The women, who are asking all who attend to respect the “awrah” (Islamic translation: parts of the body that are considered not permissible to show in public ‘for modesty’), appear to be piggybacking on an event that Muslim men hosted in Luton, London on July 29th with no problems. Yet, the mayor and other lawmakers in the city where this event is set to take place is trying to block it.

There is a large Muslim population in the city of Marseille, and Smile 13 has block-ordered Burkinis on their Facebook page, which advises the body be covered “from chest to knees…the minimum is a one-piece suit with short-shorts or sarong”.

Though the event is for women only, many of these women are undoubtedly mothers, which is probably why boys up to 10 years old will also be allowed to swim.

But unlike the Luton event, where the men had their day-only “cultural event” without disturbance, lawmakers are claiming the Burkini pool party would be “an affront to French values, the Republic, and gender equality.”

Just sounds like they want an invitation to me. Continue reading

‘I Eat Pigs, I Don’t Eat With Them!’ Oakland Police Invitation to BBQ Rebuffed by #BLM

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*Now is that any way to initiate peace talks? Recently, in an attempt to piggy-pack (no pun intended) on the successful and peaceful outcome of a BBQ held in Kansas between police officers and members of the Black Lives Matter movement there, officers from the Oakland Police Department extended a so-called olive branch in the form of an invitation to a cookout to the local BLM membership.

To say the invitation was not accepted puts it mildly.

Now, I would be remiss not to mention how deeply I relate to the pain behind this lack of enthusiasm. Afterall, I, too, am beyond sick and tired of seeing my people slaughtered. Rage is a difficult emotion to conquer, and Black folks are feeling a LOT of it towards the men in blue…and for good reason.

But we’ve got to turn this sh*t around folks. And we have got to start somewhere.

So why not at a BBQ? Continue reading

White Folks Support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Have Been Told it’s ‘Not Enough’

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*Will it EVER be “enough?”

I’ve been beating up on myself all day. Not unlike many of us, I am my own worst critic. No matter how hard I work, it never seems to be hard enough. No matter how much money I bring in, some bills will still go unpaid. No matter what I do, in the eyes of some, it will never be enough. 

Sometimes, for a single moment at least, I wonder why bother?

But then I realize: I bother because in the whole scheme of things, when “enough” is actually accomplished, it will probably be time for me to exit this place.

And I don’t plan to do that anytime soon.

Which is why I decided to pen this article, which will show much more than tell. I’ve heard some complaints that white folks are not doing enough to change the narrative on Black injustice. And I am not here to say whether this complaint is legitimate or not. But I would like to ask those people, what would ENOUGH look like? Continue reading

Has Pro-Colorism Dating Site, Smoochr, Pissed ‘You’ Off…Yet?

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*Imma be upfront witchu’ right now. I marvel at some of the sh*t my publisher throws my way and expects me to write about. Like this article on a dating site that has Black folk choosing who they’d like to share their journey with based solely on colorism. I’d of NEVER even looked at this twice because of my own disdain for the whole “light skin, dark skin” bull. What can I say? I just don’t come from that place. But then again, I have always had this way about me that looks at the positive side of everything. And though I will be the first to say not EVERYTHING has a positive side (afterall, I’m still trying to find Donald Trump’s…and yes, I am aware I have identified him as a “thing”) I can lift a positive from why my publisher thought I should write on this colorism site thing: Because, after working with me for close to 15 years, he thinks I can write thoughtful commentary on everything. Anything. As in bar-none. That is the only thing I can think of at this point.

So let’s get started, shall we?

In my opinion, Smoochr was designed for people shallow enough to think that a potential partner can be found (and kept) based on their complexion, grade of hair, and hell, I don’t know, the size of their lips?

Wait! I was just kidding, but even since writing that line I’ve discovered, yes, that is one of the profile questions.

In all honesty, many black folk are mad as hell that such a site exists. And what can you say about a site whose OWNER or FOUNDER won’t even come forth? Hell, we wouldn’t even know about Smoochr if it were not for tech developer Elen Awalom, whose own disdain for the site motivated her to create the hastag  #ShutDownSmoochr recently.

So now, here we are. And thanks to an article in The Root, we get to see the profile questions without even having to sign up. We also get to see how others’ feel about the site. Continue reading

Study Says Black Folk More ‘Easily Offended’ By What People Say

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*Now THIS should spark some interesting dialogue. A recent PEW Research Center study shows Black folks overall think people should be more careful with the language they use, so to not offend people. 59%) of the general population (all races) say ‘too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use,’  according to Hannah Fingerhut on behalf of PEW.

“Fewer (39%) think ‘people need to be more careful about the language they use to avoid offending people with different backgrounds.’

But in the race breakdown, Fingerhut writes…

“Among blacks, 67% say people should be more careful with language to avoid offending people of different backgrounds, while just 30% say too many people are easily offended by language these days.

Just so you know. I’m with the 30%. Continue reading

Police Chief Reaches Out to Author of Viral Post on Racism

Police Chief Robert Marshall
Police Chief Robert Marshall

*It may be difficult to hear because of the rage many of us are experiencing as we find ourselves living in the most racially-charged, divisive era since legalized slavery; but there may actually be police officers of Caucasian descent out there who want to change things, just don’t know how.

Hear me out. 

You may have heard about the essay a brother named Brian Crooks wrote and posted on Facebook. Crooks says he’s been using his Facebook page to write about incidents of injustice on Black people by police since 2006. His posts were inspired by a man named Sean Bell. You may recall Bell, a Black man, was killed in Queens, New York in 2006, after police fired 50 rounds at a car near a strip club. His friends, who had taken him out on the night before his wedding, were luckier. They were only wounded.

I remember Mr. Bell’s story well. How I reeled in horror wondering why these muh-fuh’s thought it necessary to FIRE 50 SHOTS into a car at all. It sounded like a scene from Bonnie & Clyde!

Crooks’ Facebook post talks about his growing up in Naperville, a town with very few Blacks and attending Neuqua High. He claims he didn’t necessarily set out to write such a long soliloquy (my word) on race though and seems more surprised than anyone that it has hit such a nerve and attracted so much attention.

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“I really thought only 10 to 15 people at most would read it,” Crouch said, after learning his post had gone viral. He apparently knows how short peoples’ attention span on the Internet is, and admits that this short attention span mirrors his own reality.

But after uploading his 4,747-word post on July 9, it was shared 300 times the first day and the numbers only grew throughout the week, by Thursday, more than 10,000 shares had taken place. The media went wild; sharing excerpts and stories in publications such as USA Today, the Des Moines Register, the Iowa City Press Citizen, the Naperville Sun.

Apparently, Chief Robert Marshall caught wind of it and found it hard to just go to another page. He wanted to talk to the author. So he placed the call.

You still with me? Continue reading