Tag Archives: race

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… CIVILITY

It was just about 2 years ago, when MY First Lady (had us all believing she was finna run in 2020) delivered the what I guess now is the “When they go low, we go high” speech. It was a display of grace and class as we’d come to know from the First Lady. While I didn’t care for the line that much (I’m petty), white people ate that shit up like it was kale flavored gluten free hummus. It was a precursor to their present favorite buzzword, civility. Fearful that the oppressed would stoop to their level, this idea of civility is largely just a fear of retribution as if we have the power to in the first place. We’re in different leagues, black people have a median net worth of $8 and being murdered by the police, white people get really bothered when you tell them to season their food or cast a minority in a Star Wars movie. Someone throws a water at Tammy Blahren, or refuses service to Sarah Huckabee and it’s being treated on the same level as Jim Crow. If I’m refused service at a restaurant, I maybe could start a hashtag on Twitter, meanwhile they have the President of the United States clapping back on their behalf. The caucasity it takes to even cry foul or to pretend these are equal sides is maddening.

Yet as these white liberals are wyling out, the onus turns to black people to go high, be better, turn the other cheek, be Martin… (who white people think died for their sins)

Fuck that.

I’ll quote their First Lady… I don’t really care, do you? Black people too busy trying to survive to worry about answering for the angry white liberals and definitely not worrying about placating conservative white feelings. It’s hard to muster a fuck to give about some bar banning MAGA hats when that bar probably had a whites only sign when it was founded. Stop asking me to have a dialogue, black issues have been well documented its not a matter of simply misunderstanding at this point. You try to compromise they’ll take what you gave and gaslight you, saying they never got anything. The Red Hen LGBTQ staff handled the matter privately and with civility, Huckabee runs to Twitter and now a bunch of conservatives are calling THEM the bigots. That’s what happens when you try to reason with the unreasonable. There’s no path to racial equality that doesn’t have white discomfort and it’s why I don’t believe this country will ever get there. When you have one side actually doing harm and the other dissenting but being treated as both sides need to come squash it in the name of civility; that’s not civility, that’s compliance.

-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

Today’s Word is… WHITE

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I have a guilty pleasure for ghost stories/haunted house movies or as I like to call them “White people won’t move movies”.  Poltergeist, Mama, The original season of American Horror Story…I love them all.  Seldom are they good, they almost all follow the same same exact tropes to the point they’re literally the same movie with reshuffled white people but bad, awful or mediocre, I’m in.

You’ve all seen one: Family decides to move to this secluded area for some undisclosed reason, the kids don’t want to go but they’re kids they don’t have a choice.  The entire ride up, the parent is reassuring the kids that this is a good idea whilst ignoring the fact they’ve been the only car on the road for the past hour.  They get to the house and of course, it’s never clean, how the realtor sold a filthy house never ceases to amaze me.  That realtor could sell a Gap hoodie and a pumpkin spice latte to Rachel Dolezal, the hustle is that strong.  The kids complain again, at which point the parent explains that they put all their money into this, so deal with it or sell drugs to get us out of debt. The kids consider it, but they ain’t about that life, so this is home now.  The movie then goes down the beaten path of ignoring every possible red flag until the ghost or creature literally says, I’m a ghost or creature and even then they are in disbelief.  Of course, these people won’t care about something until it affects them directly so that ghost that been trolling them all movie is going to possess someone. So then a family member clearly gets possessed but that won’t stop other relatives from simply asking them to snap out of it while the demon is clearly trying to kill their ass.  Yes genius, merely asking water yew doing is going to stop the person with no pupils, pale skin and trying to choke you.  Then comes my favorite part,  the obligatory fling someone across the room scene…never not hilarious.  Anyway, the ghostdemon chases family around the house while the family continues to look for safety in the worst hiding spots ever.  They go everywhere except out of the damn house because why exit the premises, there’s no way anyone will look under the bed.  Yada yada yada in spite of their stupidity they manage to exorcize whatever demon, because they spent one afternoon in the library and realized why the ghost is there in the first place.  Of course it’s always some sappy excuse and the ghost who killed every other family feels understood, so they gonna chill with all that haunting.  The family goes back to lives as normal, yet and still they won’t move out that damn house.  Because sequel. 

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Never. Not. Funny

So I was watching one of these films the other day and I couldn’t help but think…this is literally white privilege.  What is white privilege? In layman’s terms:   There’s even a movie coming to MTV about it (Sidenote: check the link, the writer is sooo mad). Someone should tell MTV to save their money, because nothing showcases some good old privilege like a horror flick.  Who wants to watch a bunch of white kids crying about how it isn’t their fault that waaay up they feel blessed when there’s a plethora of  haunted house movies full of thrills, scares and naivete.  THAT’S how you get the point across.  You’ll never see any black families in this type of film, because they wouldn’t approved be for the mortgage any damn way. There’s only so many “coincidences” until they would get up outta there.  We just aren’t wired with that level of privilege like a middle class white family moving way over yonder to live in some house with no wifi.

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What MTV should do if they are so obliged to tackle white privilege, is show white people watching The Conjuring. As they roll their eyes and jump up because its so obvious there’s a ghost in the room, hopefully they feel the same way when a racist shoots up a black church, says it was fueled by race yet some gasbag will go on CNN and say it’s not a race issue.  Next time that person on Facebook says racism will go away if black people stop bringing it up, just tell them to watch Annabelle and what happens when they keep pretending that doll isn’t evil, then the evil will just go away.   Maybe the way to get through to privileged folk isn’t debate but showing them other silly and ignorant people.  Perchance then they can see that asking why isn’t there a WET awards is just as stupid as a protagonist asking a demon to just cut it out.  Because that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works. 

The way to approach white privilege isn’t to express fake guilt, it’s to acknowledge that you have it and understand how ridiculous you look when acting otherwise.  Being self aware goes way farther than trying to explain yourself…thats how you end up making songs like Accidental Racist or looking like the simpleton parent in a horror movie, and no one wants to be the simpleton parent in a horror movie.  

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BLACKISH

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So I ended up watching “Black-ish” last night.  I really hated the trailers but I gave it a shot, I’ve spent 30 minutes of my life doing worse.  I was also mildly amused by white people and for some reason Crystal “GOP BLACK chick”  Wright calling the show’s existence racist, especially since its just an overly neurotic Dad sitcom, a common trope in television (Home Improvement, Family Matters, According to Jim, My Wife and Kids, Modern Family also all ABC shows, and I didn’t even mean to, boom, nailed it).  Anyway, the show itself was….coo.  Not bad, not excellent, but coo.  What I found most interesting about the show was the initial scenes when the protagonist Andre, played by Anthony “I killed Law and Order” Anderson briefly narrates his black experience at work.  I don’t have a wife out my league and raising naive millennials but being the token black in a corporate setting? Now you’re talking my language, now you’re talking my language.  

At my job, I’m not only a sparce black but also one of the youngest there.  And I love my job, and I’ve grown used to a certain standard of living (glosses over me writing about leaving my comfort zone about a week ago *resists urge to toss hat and shmoney dance*).  But being the black sheep in the herd isn’t the greatest arrangement. So while Black-ish isn’t anything spectacular; I did appreciate those scenes For Colored Boys Who Considered Self Employment When Side Eyes and Blank Stares Wasn’t Enuf. The struggle is indeed real.

Especially when coworkers want to ask you about Ferguson and it feels like an interview more than a conversation.

Or you let your hair grow out and you’re asked what did you do to it to make it so curly

Or when you give the head nod to another brother and they ask “how you know them”

Or when you’re listening to ratchet music or a podcast and they ask what you’re listening to and you really don’t want to say

Or when they make a Chappelle’s Show reference and expect props…..okay, I usually give props.

Or its just assumed that I have at least a kid

Or they reference a Rolling Stones song and they are surprised by that same props

Or when you hear them refer to an athlete as a thug and you really wonder what they really meant.

Or when a black woman is hired they assume we’re going to date soon

Or you speak and everything grows silent and you wonder if its respect or fear

Or they say who you look like and you know it’s about to be any black person

I dont work in a racist workplace, they mean well but sometimes you just want to freeze time like Zack Morris and exit immediately.  Like Anderson’s character sometimes  I’m just thinking too much but most of the time I can just let things ride.  Another aspect of the show I hope they explore is how the kids of this new age sees race less.  I let more things slide than my father would, my kids will hopefully have nothing to let slide in the first place (wishful thinking).  Life is too short, sometimes the blinders are necessary for ones own sanity.  Society isnt perfect, like not even remotely but I’m strutting into a nice building listening to Jeezy and getting paid for it.  Things could be much worse.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… NIGPOCRACY

It was about 2 years ago, I was walking home from working a late shift.  There’s some white guy, visibly drunk was stumbling a few feet ahead of me on my street.  He kept looking back at me, I didn’t pay him no mind. 

“You following me”

I ignore him.

“Yo whats your deal stop following me”

This time I respond “dude I’m not following you”

“All i know if i turn around again I better not see your big black face”

I keep walking, he stops and turns around, I stop and stare right back at him

“You think you’re tough nicker

It didn’t register at first, maybe I heard him wrong

“Stop following me nipple, you think you Biggie Sma-”

I hit him once, he dropped, I walked right over him and headed to my apartment.  Didn’t care who saw, didn’t care if he was still sleeping there when morning came.  This was a year before Trayvon, didn’t even think if he had anything on him.  It was just instinct, he happened to call me the n word but he could’ve called me anything and probably sparked that same reaction.  But of all words, that word, to my face, I just…reacted.   

Flash back 2 more years, I’m called a ninja by another white guy, this time the instinctive swing, a dap.  He was my friend, dare I say my nickel.  He swore he was part mexican but I doubt it, either way I wasn’t policing him.  He wasn’t disrespecting me, more likely he got it from me, or Chappelle’s Show, whatever.  He wasn’t from the hood, rock a low caesar with a bunch of tats, and damn sure wasn’t a mexican.  Just a friend who picked up on some of my lingo.  Just as my other friends did, I had a lot of nicknames and words for things back then, I was weird. 

I never felt it was my personal responsibility to check his or others usage of the word.  Just like other ignorant things we say, there’s a time and place.  It’s more or less common sense. I personally cringe when anyone tries to intelluctualize the n word, to me it’s silly.  We’re not taking the power back, going against the grain.It’s an ignorant word, a slur, a curse and really shouldn’t be used by anyone.  I say that yet I use it.  I do a lot things I know I shouldn’t.  I ain’t sh t. “Nibble” just rolls off the tongue sometimes, don’t belee me juh watch.  It’s a noun, verb, adjective, common name, it just works.  Nevertheless, I know better, I know my views are not someone elses and so as far as my own usage or even broaching this topic i tread lightly.

I just feel there’s so many more conversations to be had within the black community than the usage of one word.  Especially in light of when white celeb X says it.  Paula “I is what I is” Deen is just woefully ignorant and out of touch.  I laugh in the face of ignorance, like Simba does danger. (Seriously #pauladeensbestdishes gotta be one of the funniest social media moments ever) The issue is when said ignorance is in a position of power, which led to the discrimination and abuse that brought all of this to light in the first place, not her vocabulary.  Yet the n word is center stage again, not the dangerous views behind its inappropiate use.

Going back to years ago, as I said he could’ve called me anything.  My issue was that he took a look at a young black man in a decent area and assumed I didn’t belong.  That I was supposed to cower because of his mere presence.  It felt good to knock him out, better to pull out my keys and walk into my house.  He tried to take my power I took it right back, no word can ever do that.

-Stan-

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