When I had heard the story about the men arrested in Starbucks, I had 3 thoughts; First, white people are entirely too comfortable calling the police. We should just treat the police like the mob that they are. You don’t call Frankie the Butcher to move a sofa. You call for a noise complaint next thing you know someone is getting shot 15 times because they thought a remote was a gun. Two, everyone who has ever had a retail or service job knows that the solution is always to provide great service. If the manager was so concerned with these nigg…loiterers in her store she should’ve went and asked them if they needed anything. This isn’t a liquor store or a bank, it’s a fucking Starbucks; thugs don’t sip macchiatos, there was nothing to fear in this situation. The men most likely would’ve explained that they was waiting on a third party and also read the temperature of the room and ordered something which brings me ultimately to my third point, black men are very much aware of your discomfort around them.
One of my favorite T.I. songs is a track off his second album (and the first we cared about) called Doin My Job. It was something I hadn’t really heard before, a pragmatic view on dope dealing. No grand tales about “Papi” or the money, the cars or the jewels. It was, look I don’t wanna be here any more than you want me here but I got bills. A sentiment that anyone can understand. I mean sure drug dealing is still very illegal but hey there’s a demand, he’s a supply. He won’t bother you, don’t bother him. He’s just doing my job. It’s the overall sentiment of being a black man living in America, we don’t wanna be here as much as you don’t want us here but we here and got shit to do. Leave us be.
Even for dudes who willingly went to Starbucks I refuse to believe that their black spidey sense wouldn’t had kicked in if approached. There are plenty of times where I subconsciously try to make myself less intimidating. I smile in the elevator, I slow my pace if I’m walking behind you, might cross a street, take off my hood…I get that I’m a stranger. I get that discomfort. There are plenty of places where I feel uncomfortable around a bunch of white people especially as a lifelong Bostonian, like Fenway Park after a crushing loss. Or after a thrilling win. Southie. Anywhere Martin Scorsese or Ben Affleck made a movie. About 85% of pubs. The 2am train. Championship parades. And apparently, Starbucks.
You know who is most aware of the only black person in the room? The black person. Most likely trying to survive the situation making as little waves as possible and don’t need you and especially not the police to intervene. (For what it’s worth, I would’ve gotten something, I don’t have a dream I can loiter in a bland coffeeshop without purchase, go to a library.)
[Editor’s Note 4/19/18 2:00pm: I had thought they were at least posted up for a bit, but no she called the cops within 2 whole ass minutes. Is this 1964? Was there a whites only sign that they missed? 120 seconds and you lose your mind? Fucking white people man.]
I assure you white people, black people really aren’t worried about your ass, we just doing our job.
I don’t know what it is about Ciara that just draws the ire of the internet. She can’t hit notes but she seems really good at hitting nerves. Usually it’s the #FutureHive being offended whenever Russell Wilson acknowledges his step son but this time in a plot twist, it was single women, the same women who ride out against the FutureHive on her behalf. With this video she posted on her Instagram of some pastor preaching the timeless classic; ladies this is why you single. Like all things Ciara and internet, people took sides and argued relentlessly and Brick killed a guy with a trident. In the video, he preaches this idea of walking in a “wife’s spirit”, whatever that means. You know what actually makes you marriage material? Being 18+ and finding a willing participant. You can cook, clean, fuck, not fuck, and make Henny from scratch… There’s no guarantee that’ll get you chose. So while Ciara can think she leveled up her spirit and that’s why God sent her Russell…more plausible they’re both celebrities bound to connect and they did. (In an alternate universe, Ciara the Walmart cashier who never makes the Ride video probably isn’t getting snatched up by a God fearing QB with a head full of eyebrow hair.) Whatever she did or didn’t do, she feels it got her a ring. And sisterfolk it can happen to you too. Level up, beloved.
But what about the men, maybe we too need to get blessed outchea. Is there a husband spirit I should be walking in, (cuz if it’s anything like what I did for the first half of my 20s that shit was trash only spirit I walk in is whiskey now.) It’s not drilled in us how to be the best husband for our future maybe might could be wives. To buy a house in our early 20s, manage our body count, go to therapy, master a grill (not bad things to do for yourself but still ) If a relationship go south no one is saying that it’s just the women WE choose to be with. Why, because it’s largely understood it’s ridiculous to expect single men from the time they are boys to devote their whole life to a future wife who may or may not ever come. It’d be just as ridiculous if Leslie Jones wrote a best seller telling men what they need to do to get a woman, or if a bunch of call center reps moonlighted as relationship bloggers giving men “real talk” about why they single. There’s no expectation to marry or have kids, provide if we don’t feel like it. It’s how Drake can whine poetically about how he just wants to find a good woman, go an entire 10 year career never being in any serious relationship he claims he wants and no one bats an eye. Men aren’t validated by a ring, it’s a choice some make some don’t. Women aren’t given that benefit of the doubt.
While I found the video and the debate about it mostly absurd, I think I might agree with the overall sentiment. Not “girlfriend spirit” and “wife spirit” but setting expectations and standards and holding yourself to them. I think there should be a consistency in that with men and women. You know what you want, so kick it accordingly. That’s not carrying yourself in a wife or husband spirit, it’s self confidence and knowing your worth. In an age of “it’s cool girl”, “nice guy”, situationships and unrequited love because no one knows how to be honest with themselves, the ones who do stand above the rest and that real will recognize real eventually. And when it does… Don’t then become the person who is posting know your worth videos. You see it doesn’t go over well.
I always abhorred the idea of “men are dogs”. Men are trash… Well, we’ll get to that one another day. The idea of a man being a dog though, I always found to be simplistic. It’s the logic of the Steve Harveyisms of the world, a man don’t know no better he must be taught like a dog, good deed for treat. Give him too many treats and he becomes spoiled and now doesn’t know how to act. Don’t give him treats at all, he’ll leave. Either way whatever this grown ass adult does will be your fault. Plenty of men also accepted this logic as fact and so they are raised that the only incentive to court, listen or even just respect women is for a “treat”. Primary incentive to being successful, is for a “treat”. It’s why President H.W. Bush is well into his 90s and doesn’t see why groping women and calling himself David Cop-a-feel is wrong. It’s why President Dotard thinks it’s okay to grab them by the pussy. It’s why President Underwood feels empowered to sexually assault staff on set. (and teenage boys) It’s why President Clinton… (let’s be real here you KNOW a story is coming). They aren’t able to process being told no because they’ve excelled at their craft, received power and influence and therefore are entitled to treats. Woof.
What I find most baffling is like, I know better. I always knew better. And I’m not special. I didn’t need to take a feminism course in college, have a daughter or get dragged by the internet 18 times in my 30s to know better. I just know right and wrong and respect people. Sadly, that’s not as common as I thought it was. Even if I hit for a lick I can’t see how I would ever be so comfortable just whipping it out and masterbating in front of strangers or groping my Twitter followers at a day party.
It’s a new day, now. Even as society (slowly) progresses and proceeds to get all of these creepy dudes up out the paint (except the Dolt45 apparently)…I find myself wondering aloud:
Men don’t know how to process a “reward” from a woman that isn’t sexual.
It’s why so many struggle with the idea of a platonic female friend. They lament the idea of a friend zone because it flies in the face of the logic they were raised on. I’m… Nice to you and you don’t…want to see my dick?404 Error. It’s why so many men struggle with holding a conversation with a woman without flirting. (okay I do this but really it’s because there don’t be shit else to talk about) “What do you bring to the table besides sex” is a common quip but most won’t even notice the new plate setting. The women in their life nurture or fuck them or a mix of them both.
It also speaks to modern dating and being unwilling to put forth any effort to anything that isn’t going to be worth while. It’s something I found myself struggling with at one point…I show interest by courting, she showed interest by affection. After a few dates if there wasn’t any of the sort, I took the curve and went home. Then over time, I met the girl who just wanted sex and company, the girl who “wouldn’t be here if she didn’t like me”, the girl who loved me but didn’t want to be with me. Like…. None of this was in the manual. I was told by apple care that sex was the closer. But it isn’t. For some it might be, others you just caught her on a good night. It would be like if women were individuals who you should treat as such and not just assume they all kick it the same way. Otherwise, you go decades thinking your David Cop-a-feel joke still kills because it worked one time 30 years ago. But maybe, that’s too much like right.
RIP raising the roof, watching me whip; watching me nae nae, the dab, “for shizzle”, twerking, “Bling Bling”, “on fleek” and the countless other things white people came, saw and ruined. It’s kinda their thing. Shoutout to Columbus. Well, fuck him. But a day off is a day off. Where was I? Ah, yes white people ruining things. My thought as I watched white people turned Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest turn into the mannequin challenge. (Another thing that was ruined… They even tried to do it on a flight once, like I know it’s been some years since 9/11 but we ain’t THAT comfortable. Tell me the safety instructions and give me my half a can of soda and go). It was the NFL’s chance to show “unity”, not actual unity like, we support your fight against injustice and police brutality but moreso…we’re on the same team. Literally. How you gentrify a protest? It’s like turning the Montgomery Bus Boycott into a Fitbit steps challenge or making Ghandi’s hunger strike about clean eating. All while the elephant in the room, they DID fire the person who “disrespected the flag” in the first place. So where is this unity?
No one was asking for your unity, B. Pumpkin Spice Putin doesn’t have the power to fire NFL players, so Tom Brady standing with his team mates in a “I got you gesture” serves about as much purpose as an umbrella on a windy day. Unity sounds good, like “post racial”. But you can’t fast track to unity without the work. Not when we can’t come to agreement on what should be simple shit, like Confederate monuments, stop painting your face on Halloween, don’t murder civilians before they have a day in court or whether or not you believe in standing for the national anthem, that wasn’t even a thing the NFL did 8 years ago. Obama was elected twice and no one knows if he prefers the Star Spangled Banner or Love on Top (of course it’s Love on Top… The Star Spangled Banner isn’t even seeing America the Beautiful if we being real) So back to Sunday, I’m watching standers and kneelers come together and feeling satisfied with themselves and it’s like watching Bob from Accounting try to dance at the holiday party. Just…. Stop, you’re embarrassing yourself.
So, how does this unity work anyway? What happens the next time someone is killed by the police? Is Jerry Jones going to call out the police brutality or respect his players right to feel a way about it for 2 minutes while some random Grammy nominated country singer sings. It’s easy to call Twitler divisive, “divisive” has become the gluten free vegan substitute for “racist”, but are we ever going to ask why he and his base are always being “divisive”? Since kneeling is cool now, is anyone going to give Kaepernick a damn job? Or is this “unity” about as stable as a Bad Boy records contract.
Right now I’m writing this, dinner is in the oven, I have a drink that Brady is determined to spill, so I have to keep throwing his ball in the opposite direction, I’m having multiple text conversations, awaiting my turn in Words With Friends and Trivia Crack, the TV is on ESPN game but muted because I’m listening to The Internet’s “Just Saying/I Tried” on the stereo. (Somewhere in America, National Grid is still twerking). I’m able to multitask, I do so from the time I wake up, I do so at work, and now that I’m home. This isn’t anything special, we all multitask, its simply inefficient to focus on one thing and solely that one thing at a time. Except apparently, when there’s a story about black people being killed or harassed….then you must enter activist mode and remain there indefinitely, stay woke B. It’s perhaps one of the things that annoys me the most on Facebook outside of my grandparents having conversations under 4 year old pictures and seeing friends from college share memes from whatever Right Wing nonsense page, every day somebody’s cousin makes a meme about a tragedy in black America and something else that we are being distracted by.
This week, its the tragic MURDER of Sandra Bland and the rap “beef” between Meek Mill and Drake. Now, on Twitter I gave my thoughts on both matters. My heart broke watching that dashcam video, I’ve spoken before about a time I got sassy with an officer, and I think about times even my sisters had. We’re human we have emotions, we react, and it’s terrifying to think one of us could lose our lives if we dare show them. I also believe Bland was murdered; there’s no way a woman over 6 ft tall could physically hang herself with a trash can liner on a wall that’s shorter than her. Even if you believe that fallacy to be true, you can watch that video and see she had no business being in jail with a $500 bond in the first damn place. I also opined on the Meek Mill/Drake beef, Meek looks foolish and I think like authors, artists reach a level of prestige and then start to outsource their work. Speaking on something as ridiculous as that doesn’t take away from my desire for justice for Bland’s family. I can live tweet an episode of Power it doesn’t make me less aware of Kindra Chapman, an 18 year old girl who also “committed suicide” after spending a night in a holding cell for taking a cell phone. I’m painfully aware of a lot of things going on and at times it’s just….exhausting, being angry and hurt and afraid every day. Sometimes I rather just watch Ballers and escape for a few. And I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. So one of yall go get your cousin with the distraction memes.
What is a distraction is people going off online about how everyone else is turning a blind eye on something they themselves just learned about minutes ago. Time spent attacking others is a distraction. It’s like black people aren’t even allowed to compartmentalize, you got to #staywoke incessantly and damn if you want to just make fun of rappers, listen to ratchet music or debate sports. There’s this expectation to just be “on” all the time and it’s tiring. Perchance some people are able to shoulder that burden 24/7, I am not. I’m able to suffer in silence for a little bit, take my mind off and try and enjoy a distraction. Lord knows there’s only a limited time until there’s an announcement of no charges being filed or someone else is killed.
So last week, The IlluminaTMZ released a second video actually showing the assault of Janay Palmer Rice by her then fiance Ray Rice, former Baltimore Raven and June 19ers fantasy player. I expressed my feelings on the initial video, then again following reaction to his diminutive 2 game suspension, and now the story has been given new life because people are realizing that how poorly this was handled from day one. Suddenly people are curious why wasn’t he imprisoned, why was he only given a 2 game suspension (ironically enough he would’ve been reinstated today), and of course, why did Janay stay with him and has since married him and to this day is riding out for him.
This sparked an online debate of why do women stay, why do women leave, and why do outsiders even care about what life she chooses to live. If you’ve been reading this blog or follow me on Twitter, you know I’m staunchly against a man hitting a woman; yes its a double standard, no I don’t give a fuck. I ain’t pass the the Bar but I know a little bit, enough to know it’s against the law to assault people. That’s not me concerning myself with people’s private lives, that’s not me expressing fake outrage. I’m also aware in different eras, this may not have always been as black and white as it appears to me now.
I’ve had discussions with other people who support Janay standing by her family and trying to push forward. They cite what their grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles have done and sometimes shit just happens. I don’t agree, but I can understand. Some people are just conditioned to love being hard, adverse, a struggle, and as I’ve expressed numerous times here, it doesn’t have to be. I don’t want a woman I would have to strike to gain respect, nor a woman who doesn’t have enough respect for me as a man to strike me. Yes, we all seen the old grumpy couple who seemingly abhor each other but still together because, where else they going to go. We’ve also seen women stick around abusive relationships and be killed by that very person. I personally feel there’s violence where there’s no respect, no respect where there’s no love, but this time I have no law to support it, I’ll just be in my camp they can be in theirs.
As for my final words on Raymell and Janay, because I legit cannot debate this anymore for my own faith in humanity; what I saw in that video I do not believe was a “bad night” or a mistake. I’ve knocked out grown men and immediately after felt some remorse, this man KO’ed his fiancée and couldn’t even pick her up or pull her skirt down. I don’t agree with her standing by her man, but I can understand it to a degree. I think the NFL shouldn’t be held accountable for what the law should be doing. I don’t believe that was his first time striking her, for her and their daughter’s sake I can only pray it’s his last.