Tag Archives: black

Today’s Word is… GASWHITERS

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So there’s a clip from The Daily Show going around, a Roy Wood Jr segment on Boston’s racist reputation.  In the video, Wood goes around asking white Bostonians if they feel Boston’s racist and of course they all responded no only for him to ask black Bostonians and get the real.  What also stood out in the clip, was this one black woman’s answer where she said black Bostonians know where to go and not go around the city, which is something I’ve articulated on this here blog.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and to me that encapsulates the Boston experience.  Boston racism is not overt Confederate flag waving “you in the wrong town, boy” racism; it’s a downtown bar with little to no desire to diversify it’s happy hour crowd.  It’s me having to tell someone that “yes, I’m in line” or having to check some dudebro at the gym because he’s working out right in front of me like he didn’t see me in the mirror.  It’s a conversation I had with a friend about how uncomfortable she felt with a bunch of white people saying nigga at a Childish Gambino show.  Yes, white people aren’t beating minorities blind with a 2×4 like Mark Wahlberg (anymore), yes they tend to vote very liberal but they’ve also ran out of any fucks to be more inclusive and like that video showed, they are ready to argue the hell out of any black person who tries to point out any sort of racial inequality.  It’s a special brand of gaslighting, I shall call it “gaswhiting”.  Merriam Webster, holla at me.

How do you make someone fix something they don’t even think they’re doing wrong?  A few years ago we had a black Governor and a black President at the same damn time; you couldn’t tell a white person shit about racism.  Their acknowledgment of racism is blackface and n*gger and you still might get Bill who “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” complaining about how we say it and it’s just a Halloween costume.  Tell a gaswhiter that they have white privilege and they’ll tell you how they too grew up in a single parent home in the ghetto without recognizing that how easily they equate blackness to struggle. Challenge a gaswhiter too much and they’ll turn heel faster than a “nice guy” who gets turned down after a 3rd date.   Gaswhiters love to compare and contrast,  especially to extremes because that absolves them.  Trump, nazis, the south, slavery, those are easy things to point to and say Boston isn’t THAT.  Then you look at the numbers that say black families have a median net worth of $8 and it’s, well the whole economy is failing us, OCCUPY WALL STREET again pointing out an extreme and not what’s right in front of them.

I don’t necessarily feel unsafe in Boston, but I surely don’t feel welcome.  As I’ve alluded to in a recent post it feels more and more likely that if I want to own a home in a black middle class community it’s probably not going to be here.  I meet new people all the time who echo that same sentiment.  That harsh reality of you can’t grow here is as glaring as a whites only sign but to gaswhiters they don’t/won’t understand that.  It’s not like the mobs are bombing businesses (anymore).   Gaswhiters see Boston as a liberal utopia, far removed from it’s really racist past, at worst it’s no more racist than any other major city in America, and ain’t like it’s Mississippi.  To them, it’s not broke so why fix it?  To acknowledge racism is to be divisive, we need to come together at times like this.  Gaswhiters are tired of everything being about race, they just want to watch the game and the ensuing highlights on Sportscenter without being reminded of it all the time.  It must be nice to live in such a bubble.   Meanwhile, what’s actually more annoying than discussing racial inequality all the damn time?  Living it.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… COMMUNITY

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I remember way back in the day, me and my friends were walking home from school and the police roll up on us. They had said something about thefts in the area and needed our information. We were in like 4th grade none of us had IDs. So one of boys immediately lies about his name the officer picked up on it and then demanded we empty our book bags for something with our names on it. An older black woman pulls over and asks what’s going on, the officers explain they are investigating something and she’s like, well I don’t know what’s going on but I was just headed to get them from the bus stop and she tells us to grab our stuff and come on. We’ve seen her around but didn’t know this woman but in the moment we knew exactly what to do,

“Yes, Auntie”.

We grabbed our bags and got our asses in that car. She spoke with the officers a little longer and she drove us around the corner to my house. It’s what my mother would’ve done, what any of my friends mothers’ would’ve done. We all we got.

There’s plenty of things I don’t miss a out living in the “hood”, the aforementioned police harassment being one, but I do miss that particular sense of community that came with it.   The neighbors, the corner store that would let you pay them back on Friday, block parties, basketball tournaments, simply being able to go outside and all my friends were there.  For the reputation Boston had as a racist city, I lived in a bubble.  I didn’t see the 900% income difference in neighboring towns outside of Halloween.  As an adult, I read more about Mandela, Massachusetts; a proposal in the late 70s that would’ve had my neighborhood of Dorchester, as well as the predominantly black nearby areas of Roxbury and Mattapan simply secede from Boston altogether and form it’s own municipality.  The city never came into fruition but existed unofficially, as black people in Boston largely lived in our own bubble until one day, white people realized they were commuting 30+ minutes everyday and we lived 10 minutes from downtown with 2 subway lines.  Fast forward to now, I live 30 minutes away from my childhood home which would cost at least $650,000 if I was ever feeling so nostalgic.  Jesus be a GoFundMe.

I think about all this as I see more and more news stories of ________ while black and having the police called on them.  It’s what happens when there’s no community; Susan and Spencer just moved a few weeks ago and doesn’t get how and why people are just on the stoop all day kicking it, or why it’s 9pm and they’re still barbecuing, or they see me walking home in a hoodie and feel uneasy.  They don’t even attempt to ingratiate themselves into the community they’ve moved into, they try to force into it’s own likeness.   So Fernandez Grocery is turning into a Trader Joes (Full Disclosure, I love Trader Joe’s but that’s not the point).  That Jamaican spot that only has oxtail from 11-2:30 on Wednesdays but you love them anyway…now it’s a coffee shop.  Didn’t that used to be a dollar store? Well now it’s a froyo spot.  And those black people that were on the stoop, well they just keep getting harassed and arrested until they just stop coming around.  Now that 3 bedroom that had a family of 4, now is being rented to 3 rad professionals, that totally like the work hard, play hard.  One guy cycles a lot and another is in a band.  No worries, he doesn’t practice at home.  They come, Thanos snap, turn us to dust and brew cold brew with it.

Then there’s me, middle class? Eh, let’s just go with “mid” class black man who can’t afford to buy, can’t afford to rent but can make just enough to get the hell out of there.  There’s no soil to sow roots, Boston is becoming more and more the city you just spend your mid to late 20s then go.  Racial AND income inequality is a mighty strong cocktail, and so you have a major metropolitan city where the median net worth for a black family is $8.00.  Eight.  Yes, one digit.  Leave or struggle, such a far cry from the city my parents moved to and started a life in in the 80s.  I long for the Dorchester that once was, and the Mandela that could’ve been.  Where I’m not the only black person on my block, where the corner store at least has a cat.  Or maybe we should just all move to a city in Montana and don’t tell *them* about it.  What the weather hitting like over there anyway?

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… UNAPOLOGETIC

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I remember when I was younger I would go to this advanced program on Saturdays at this private school across town.  (They wanted me to go there full time, but when you’re one of 7 private school ain’t in your ministry)  Most of the other kids actually went to the school, but they allowed a few of us broke public school kids in.  (Thanks T’Challa)  It was a culture shock for me; I was used to my regular ol school up the road where I was the smartest person there, but here I was the blackest.  There I was in some Js and a walkman, looking like I was in the wrong place.  I remember one week I didn’t want to go, and my mother said something like “just cause they can’t live in your world, don’t mean you can’t live in theirs” then proceeded to take my ass up to that school (again, this was completely voluntary and on SATURDAY, thankfully not in hair rollers I feel like that would a bridge too far) And she was right, I did fit in there I was as gifted as any other kid there, but none of them would dare set foot in my neighborhood.  (One of them did, like years later looking for bud…years hadn’t been kind.  Which is sad cuz we were only be like 16).  I kept my mother’s words all through that program and beyond as I gradually learned how white Boston actually was.   I never thought of it as “unapologetic” blackness as the Blavity Blacks like to say, I was just me.

That isn’t to say I don’t code switch at all.  I’m not walking into work with a Soul Glo shirt and a chicken box.  (Okay that was one time but I was supposed to be off that day and had a hoodie at my desk.  Oh and that time I say brazy in a meeting.  Oh I may have ended a call with “iight bet”).  We all have to kinda get in where we fit in.   I have to be constant mindful of my tone, my facial expressions, my overall demeanor.  Slang isn’t professional yet corporate twitter accounts are tweeting out “yeeeeeerrrr”.   The problem with code switching and assimilation in general is that, “white” is seen as the default.  Workplaces like to have a culture” without culture.  I might not walk into work with a fro and a chain but I will make myself comfortable as I see fit. (Which kinda means avoiding  them mostly). But I have bills so I try to meet them halfway; I can chop it up about sports, just don’t ask me about the anthem protests.  Ask me what I’m listening to, its probably someone you never heard of but I’ll just say Kanye and make it easier on you.  And there’s always Game of Thrones talk, which might be the one thing this country is actually united on.  (If you don’t I like Missandbae, you’re racist. That woman doesn’t do anything but bring love and light).

Which brings me to earlier today, I had seen there was a discussion about Tiffany Haddish and if maybe she’s doing a bit much.  Personally, I enjoy her, Cardi, Marshawn and others who don’t have a code switch in em.  Then there were the chefs at NYU who got fired for serving ribs, greens and macaroni for Black History Month.  (Maybe the watermelon drink was overkill…but I went to a chicken and waffles spot the other day that literally serves kool aid; we can’t hide from who we are).  It made me wonder if the people who have an issue with them are bothered because frankly, they don’t straighten up and act right around white folks.  There’s a feeling of secondhand embarrassment they feel when Marshawn Lynch can’t pronounce quesadilla, or Cardi is on the Tonight Show acting like she’s not on The Tonight Show.   They aren’t shukin and jivin, they are just being themselves and people are more worried about what white people will think when they see this.  When Desus and Mero are befuddling Jimmy Fallon, he looks out of place not the other way around.  You can find Tiffany Haddish unfunny without fake caring about how Ellen doesn’t seem to get it.  They nor anyone are representative of the entire race and I wish people would stop placing that burden on them (I do die a little everytime Deray shows up somewhere in that musty blue vest…its been 4 years, and even he doesn’t represent my blackness or yours).

Blavity Blacks like to say they’re unapologetic but the key to being unapologetic is being unapologetic, unapologetically.  It’s not performative, its actual.  It’s eating ribs at your dining common without a second thought, not 100% Melanin Educated Queen Wakanda t shirts.  Because being real the white people who feel a way will always find a way to, and it doesn’t have shit to do with what you wear, how you talk or what you watch on Monday nights so fuck em.  Live through the immortal words of Sisqo, “one thing you gotta know, imma be a nigga for life”.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… EVENTS

So this past weekend I was at a Must Love Beards party, a day party where men got in free, beard or not and the ladies paid a cover. I’m not presently looking for anyone, I was largely there to support the host and was curious at who would pay to attend.  (I found out later it was $25, and good on them because you must be out your damn mind, you tell me a club cost $25 I’m probably turning around.  $25 I expect a performance, a drink ticket, something.  Better yet I’m surprised women wasn’t just feeling up beards and saying “aye red Jordans… Whatever you ugly anyway”, if you gonna do it, DO IT.). Actually, the whole experience was an interesting role reversal as ladies showed up in their baddest dress and heels and the fellas were there in kicks and hats.  Plenty of dudes shot pool, only danced when Future came on, took some selfies and dipped.  So basically, the ladies seem to go through what we do just about every other time. 

I had a good time; as did plenty of the guys I talked to afterward.  A growing sentiment was there was finally an event that actually felt *for* them.    I’m not the biggest club guy myself but to my earlier point, between the usual dress code, music selection, cover charge, parking, expensive drinks it’s easy to see why men are typically like, yeah fuck all that.  You can meet a woman with a swipe of a finger now, why are you going through this? Clubs here are always women, dude bros, cat daddies, the promoters 8 homeboys and the people who just moved from New York and DC who will quickly learn this ain’t New York or DC.  Round here, Nightlife don’t love us, we don’t love it. Sad. 

I was talking to someone that night who asked, “so where the hell y’all be every other night?  It’s not like y’all don’t–” 

*cut to dance floor, circle of bearded bruhs like*

…like to dance.” I gave the same nightlife don’t love us speech but then we spoke more about how everyone says they prefer to meet people at events while not ever going to, you know, events.  I started to think about what typically gets men out the house in general (women, food, money), what typically deters men from an event (convenience, rejection, money) and the fact that some of our interests (sports, video games, women) don’t actually require us to go anywhere.  She asked so where would we go that isn’t a club/party and while personally I’m more of a festival, museum, movie kind of guy and those things I’m far more likely to bring a +1 than with some single homies or even go alone. So unless you’re shooting your shot while she’s in the restroom (I’m not saying this happened but I’m not not saying it) it once again doesn’t really solve the problem. 

I guess the solution is more Must Love Beard like events or just a shift in nightlife culture in general.  There’s always Greek events (even though no one wants the guy who still riding hard for his set in his 30s)(I’m just teasing) (No I’m not).  Just have to adjust with the times, with apps and social media at your fingertips, the promise of “women gon be there” no longer suffices. Til then men gon be over here at happy hour with half priced apps, swiping for a date to the pop up art gallery r&b brunch day party thing. 

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SUPERCALLOUSMISOGYNISTICRACISTNAZIPOTUS

So first, I’m sure that is and will be the longest word in the history of SFW.  And second, I swore I was going to take a Trump break but well, it’s been a long week.  This….is…the…remix.  

           

1/22/17 (Day 75) – So I read the inauguration speech, because the sound of Mango Mousellini’s voice makes me want to jump out of a window.  I didn’t expect much, but I found myself shocked how blatantly divisive it was.  There was little to no message about coming together, it was a rally cry for all of his supporters. As millions protested his inauguration  (some of which voted for him), Toupee Fiasco sits upon his throne with no incentive to win them over, he’s already secured a 4 year bye. (So he thinks). 

The black President was never afforded such luxury.  Not that he even wanted to.
Every word hyper analyzed, Obama was tasked with palliating white fear that he would be the BLACK President, appealing to his base only.  The revolution has been televised. Black people can barely enjoy February, BET, Black Girls are Magic without first swimming across a lake of white tears as they complain about exclusion.  What little we have, we are expected to share, as the new President of the United States openly gloats about how he and his supporters have successfully deboed the country back and it’s normalized. This country is conditioned to fear the black revolutionary; a black Trump couldn’t exist.  Not even a black Bernie. The black president will always have to hold white people’s hands and tell them he won’t abandon them.  The orange one…he just points to the electoral map like a #Scoreboardt.  

1/25/17 (Day 78)- Richard Spencer got punched again. The New Edition Movie has been a pleasant distraction from a lot of the nonsense.  It’s the little things. 

1/27/17 (Day 80)- You know how they say the pen is mightier than the sword? Persimmon Putin has shown how mighty it can be as he’s made white supremacy go platinum in its first week. 2001 Islamophobia is back with a vengence and he didnt even need to buy a 9/11 with his trap money.  He enacted a muslim ban, because he could.  Lord help us all if theres an actual attack and the country is in a panic.

I weep for the bill, sitting on Capitol Hill, as the Supercallousmisogynisticracistnazipotus seems to have decided that even with a fully supported Congress he can just rule via executive orders. Congress argued against Obama’s use of EOs, but allow Trump to cook because if and when it blows up they can say they didn’t do it. Cowards.

1/29/17 (Day 82)- One of the biggest struggles of being a black man in America is the duality of having privilege and being oppressed at the same time. So far, Trump has gone after women, Mexicans, immigrants but has yet to do anything specifically to ME, but I remain in constant fear that time will be up soon enough.  So I find myself looking upon the wreckage and can’t help but see the irony in seeing the world react to everyone being treated like black people. 

From slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, prison industrial complex, war on drugs, student debt, underemployment,  gentrificiation…this country has been legally attacking us for generations only to be responded to with gaslighting.  “I didn’t own slaves”, “we elected a black president”, “racism is a dated concept”.  Even our own bought into the rhetoric using black on black crime and respectability politics to rationalize an undeserved war waged against us.  

But….this isn’t about me. Yet.  Edward Littlehands is distracted for the moment going after refugees. A country “founded” on religious freedom and Give Me Your Tired… is turning innocent people away because they believe that they may turn on the America who by the way are bombing the fuck out of them.   It’s being sold as a precautionary measure but Boston Marathon bombers? Russian.  Dylan Roof?  All American boy. Automatic rifles? Still able to be purchased by civilians. So tell me more how blocking immigrants is keeping us safe?

Terror isn’t a religion or a skin color.  It isn’t even something you can actually wage war against.  You can make it into whatever you want it to be and then attack that (you know like “drugs”)  

1/30/17 (Day 83)- I don’t care what your politics are…if you think this would be the first 10 days under Hillary you’re insane.  That is all.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BOSTON

 

This don’t really have shit to do with the post but I died.

It was about 10 years ago my father accepted a transfer and moved to Raleigh.  He says it’s the best things he’s ever done, I would argue that making me was, but you know, semantics.  Boston was always intended to be a pit stop for himself and his new bride.  He’s from Brooklyn, she from Indiana…the only connection to Boston was his mother and uncle and he went to high school here.  That pit stop turned into 5 more kids and 2 decades because that’s how life works.  My mother fell in love with the city, he simply adjusted. Being a black man raising a family of black kids in Boston in the 80s had to be troubling.  Fast forward to the 99 and the 2016, I’ve grown up love Boston as well, it’s all I’ve ever known.  I was in a bubble of sorts, it wasn’t until the internet that it set in how many people don’t bang with Boston like that.  It wasn’t until the move I realized my father didn’t even like it here.  Naiveté, I suppose.

I get annoyed with people who never been to Boston or live here on their own free will and complain.  Every time someone talks about the cold or “where the blacks tho” I want to throat chop them.  Put respeck on my city. Point  me to the black mecca where it’s always nice weather (shut up Atlanta y’all segregated).  Of course, Boston is far from perfect…but I mean neither is America, you just make it work.  I grew up around black people, went to school with black people, I work….well, never mind.

I was out with someone the other night, she’s still fairly new to the area and she casually mentioned she would move closer to home were she to have kids.  I had nothing.  Of course it was way way way too early to be having that conversation but it did cause me to stop and wonder, was Boston a dealbreaker?  Should it be?  (Especially after what happened with the last one).  Again, I felt struck with the same naiveté of assuming everyone who is here, wants to be here.  I couldn’t imagine going to grad school (.) located somewhere I have no intention of living, a pit stop can turn to life real quick, just ask my father.  Then again, if I was from like Florida or Jersey (yuck), I would probably need to get away for a few years.  She wasn’t as anti Boston was much as she was pro family, which is hard to argue against, it’s about 70% of the reason I’M here.  (I mean for the sake of arguing, technically we would both have jobs here, so why would I have to go start anew…but again, way way way too early).  It was the first time I had even considered it, if a fish falls in love with a bird, where would they live?

It’s something I hadn’t even had to consider before, most of the women I dated, even in college were born and raised here. When I did the distance thing, it was implied they would move here (big bank take little bank).  Maybe that was selfish of me to assume (yes, maybe) but I rather just chalk it up to just being something I hadn’t considered not that I never would.  So now, the million dollar question…is Boston a deabreaker?  If my dream job was in Los Angeles, I would be like…I mean I only see my family on holidays anyway.  Dream woman? *cue Jeopardy music* I’d like to say I would.  With qualifiers….major metropolitan cities, serious relationship, I need to make at least 25% more.  That’s fair.  But of course all of this goes out the window depending on the election in a few weeks…hi international readers.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… COPS

[Editor’s Note: I had a post in mind but in light of recent events, I really have nothing to say.  Maybe later this week.  So, I went back to tweaked an old post… RIP Alton Sterling]

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So it was about 5 years ago, I had just moved into my first apartment.  I got up went to work and when I got home there was note on the door by a neighbor, “the cops stopped by looking for you”. My reaction, well, now this is odd.  They had also left a voicemail on my home phone saying they needed me to come by the station.  Total, help me sing. I go to the station, wondering every bad decision I’ve made in the past year and wondering who got some bail money, if necessary.  I just moved here, I’m a law abiding citizen, what could they possibly have to say.  I get there and…..they were just returning my wallet.  I had lost it weeks ago, already went through the arduous task of replacing everything in it and just when I made peace with the fact that it was lost in the sauce lost in the game…here it was.  Won’t He do it.   I had a talk with a few officers, talking about how I just moved out here, sights and sounds stuff like that.  They recommended a bunch of places that I probably would never set foot in, and then I was on my way.  Over the years, I would get familiar with the cops of the town, they walked the streets regularly, most lived in the town, whether I was in a suit or baggy camo shorts and a fitted; they waved, made meaningless small talk and essentially, treated me like a neighbor.

It was a whole new dynamic I wasn’t used to.  Prior to this point, I’ve been falsely arrested twice, weapons drawn on me, followed home, stopped and frisked on my own porch, called bitch, nigger, punk and thug, witnessed a family member being assaulted, knock on wood the only thing that hasn’t happened yet is someone I knew personally being killed.  (So you see why I may have been anxious about going to the station in the opening).  Of course, this was in my old neighborhood, where I was still for the most part a good kid.  The cops there maybe lived in the neighborhood, they didn’t know me by name which was ironic because I was getting frisked and name ran 3 times a day.  Me and my friends would take alternate routes home, keep our bookbags on so they would believe we were actually students, we would split up into separate groups of 2-3 because a large group of us together was just asking for it.  It was almost like having a playground bully except you couldn’t stand up to him, you just learned to stay out the way.   It wasn’t even worth explaining to our parents, hell, people have gotten hauled off for “disturbing the peace” just for defending us.

For what its worth, I do respect law enforcement and the thankless job they have. However, recent events has really made me reflect on my personal experiences with the boys in blue; which as you can see were two very different ones.   The glaring difference being the connection between officers and community they are serving.   In my old hood, we were treated as the enemy, to the point our mere presence was enough to drive them mad.  Their job wasn’t to serve, it was to eliminate, we weren’t allowed on these streets anymore and they made sure we got the message.  [These days the old neighborhood has got a face lift, a lot people have moved because of rising rent and the old park has been remodeled and named in honor of one of the lone white residents (who is actually a close family friend, so no shade or whatever). Funny how that worked out.  Shoutout that G’Cation, I’m sure the corner store will become a Starbucks one day.]

So what happens public servants are treated as guard dogs instead of part of the community they are supposed to be a part of?  Well, this does.  A cop familiar with his community could’ve told Eric Garner or Alton Sterling to cut the shit and go home, Tamir Rice to not flash his toy in public, Mike Brown and his friend to get out of the street.  Instead, they just saw targets, saw “the enemy” and acted accordingly.  So as the President on down asks, how can the police improve relations with people of color, it starts by establishing one period.  It starts with humanizing everyone and not thinking every brown person is The Incredible Hulk.  It shouldn’t be my job to make person who swore to protect me feel safe.  I shouldn’t have to pull my pants up, wear my cap forward and grin ear to ear just to be viewed as an equal.   In the same way I don’t view every cop as the same one who choke slammed me in that pizzeria, every cop shouldn’t view me or anyone else as a “demon”.  That doesn’t start with video cameras and fashion, it starts with empathy, acceptance and community.  Until police officers, truly love and accept all civilians, sadly I expect more of the same.  Living in a reality where myself and anyone I love being one bullet away from becoming a hashtag.

-Stan-

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July 6, 2016 · 9:50 am