Tag Archives: trayvon martin

Today’s Word is… INNOCENCE

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I am #MikeBrown

It was about 8-9 years ago.  I’m at the local pizza shop grabbing some food, next thing you know I’m getting rock bottomed.  I should’ve just had called for delivery. I’m immediate turned on my stomach and trying to get a glance at my assailant, I see two shiny shoes and an navy pants, it’s the good ol Boston Police.  I’m searched frantically by one as the other watches with his gun aimed directly at my royal blue du-rag, they grab my wallet and let me up and escort me out as the staff and other patrons wonder what the hell just happened here.  I’m stare at the two men, trying to discreetly read their badge numbers in case I got a broken rib of something.  Apparently I fit the description of someone who was reported carrying a gun,  they run my name, nothing.  A girl from the neighborhood passes by and says “oooh Tristan what did you you do” “Being black on a Thursday” I responded. Technically I was right, I wouldn’t fit a description if I was white, but I digress.  The first cop, a mid to late 30s white guy chuckles and shakes his head, the other a taller heavy set black guy wasn’t amused.  Thinking about it now I can see why he was offended, perhaps he didn’t like his blackness being questioned *shrug*.  Perhaps in one of the earlier forms of YOLOing, I became somewhat smart with the officers, my side hurt, I was hungry, and I was a straight A student at one of the best high schools in the city, I only dressed otherwise.  I knew I didn’t do anything wrong so why worry…

That was me. Two years ago.  Even in my early twenties, in spite of being routinely stopped and frisked on my own porch, even after being charged with a felony with no credence just because they could, (intimidation of a witness, it took thousands of dollars and months of going to court for them to realize, the “witness” wasnt showing up was because this “witness” didnt exist, charges ultimately dropped.  I was bailed after a weekend, other friends lost months of their lives for no reason). Even after I got the talks, “dont roll in packs”, “carry and articulate yourself well”, “never give them an excuse”, two years ago, I still didn’t want to believe. 

Then Trayvon happened.

Then Mike Brown happened.

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And countless others.  The former two that much more profound because whats more heartbreaking than the loss of young black life is society’s rationalizing of it.  That all it takes is smoking pot, or a menacing photo for masses of people to feel comfortable with your murder. 10 years ago, I thought that my honor roll grades, and respectability was enough. Two years ago, I knew better but I didn’t want to accept it.  Now, I see the light as it coruscates across the country and across the world.

  I’ll never be good enough for them.

My stocky frame, my melanin, strikes fear whether my du rag is in a knot or my Armani tie is in a windsor. I could’ve died that evening a decade ago and my fellow Americans would say “good”.  My parents would to turn on the TV or computer and see outsiders discuss how the world is better without their baby boy.  Maybe the officer would be arrested, maybe they’d be a trial, not for him but for me….in my 16 years had a lived a life worthy that one ought to be punished for ending it prematurely?  At 26, I’m still one bullet away from being a hashtag being on trial for my own murder. That’s terrifying.  I or anyone I love can be the next Mike Brown, the next Ezell Ford, the next Sean Bell and all I can do is try to be a good old boy and  pray.  Not I didn’t know this before, but as I’m watching “respected” officers tell lies, the media amplifying said lies all because the masses would rather a trigger happy white cop play judge, jury and executioner than cross paths with Mike Brown on the street, you see why whats going down in Ferguson is much bigger than Michael Brown.  You see why Twitter has been on fire the past week and a half.   This can’t be life, the game is rigged, people are done standing idly by while police and media figuratively “sprinkle a little crack on him” Dave Chapelle(c).  Yet and still, some people, even black people, don’t get it…..actually I feel like I need a fresh post to vent on that……To be Continued

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… DISAPPOINTED

This just in, the news media, like many other entities is a business.  They prioritize stories on what will keep eyeballs on the screen and gain clicks online.  Of course, there’s the intent to inform the masses but let’s call it what it is.   Last spring, when the story of a cherub faced black boy being killed by a Chaz Bono lookalike nearly twice his age and size started to cause a stir online, of course the national and local media picked up on the scent.  Now if Trayvon looked more like Chief Keef would the media had been as quick to jump, probably not.  Would that had made his murder any less of a travesty, absolutely not.  What made Trayvon more unique than the unfortunately too common young black male murder.  Was that it resonated with everyone, even our President.

This case struck a chord with me on a few levels, last week I told you about an incident that occurred as a full grown man, however I was a child in a divorced household, my father lived in various suburban areas where I was not accustomed to living.  It could’ve been me or my brothers in a similar situation.  I’ve also lost more than a few friends to violence, many of those cases unsolved.  The fact that a young boy lost his life and the shooter wasn’t even arrested initially was just maddening.  THAT is why I became emotionally invested, not because I’m African American, not because the liberal media told me to care.  This resonated with me. 

Fast forward to the trial, I kept one eye on it but between the inconsistent testimony and social media ignorance, I kept my distance….until Saturday.  I watched all the testimonies ultimately leading up the verdict; not guilty.  But that wasn’t what I was primarily disappointed in, what disappointed me was the reaction.  Of course, many were merely being contrarian saying anything to rile people up and finally get some internet notoriety but what bothered me most, was being told how much to care or what else I should be caring about.  Excuse me?

I wasn’t sure there was a limit on caring.  The media is a business they will move on that doesn’t mean I have to.  I’m passionate about many causes/issues and just because I’m not posting hashtags months after the fact does not mean they are not in my thoughts/prayers/actions.  The mantra that “thing’ll never change, you don’t really care anyway” is disheartening.  That even within the African American community we act as though if we wear hoodies for Trayvon that somehow makes us numb to what goes on in our own backyards.  Supporting a loved one in prison does not mean we endorse criminal acts.  I feel what happened Saturday was pathetic and no one has the right to try and tell me to feel otherwise by implying racial bias or otherwise.  Time will pass, unfortunately a new tragedy will capture our hearts and airwaves but never will that mean Trayvon Martin will be forgotten, Troy Davis will be forgotten, Boston will be forgotten.  Far too often we handcuff ourselves to negativity, that even when we are galvanized there’s someone with an excuse to discredit.  It’s sad.

-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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Today’s Word is… APPEARANCES

So I’m out shopping and this girl hits me up.  She happens to be out shopping as well so we naturally we came on the subject of clothes.  She talks about some stuff she bought as I her, I point out that one of the first things that attracted me to her was her sense of style, contrary to say the woman in Tweety Bird pajama pants and sneakers who just walked past.

 “So if we were gonna chill and you seen me in that what would you do”

“I would walk away like I didn’t know you

“Blah blah blah patriarchal society, objectification of women, judging people you don’t know they struggle”

“She’s in a mall shopping tho, but aside from that you’re saying roles reversed you wouldn’t look at me differently”

“Nope, I don’t judge others on appearance like you”

“Wasn’t you doing #thingsIfindattractive on Twitter the other day”

This went on for a while, she started losing and started reaching.  However, it brought up an interesting point, typically, as women are quick to nitpick and reject, men simply aren’t allowed to.  You don’t like any type of women its attributed to some sort of brainwashing or judging.  I remember on another blog, the writer made a comment about his dream women and it spiraled out of control when the Spike Lees pointed out there weren’t any sistas on the wall.  In this case, she got mad because hypothetically I would reject her if she wore pajamas and Jordans out in public.  I think the outfit wouldn’t bother me as much as the clear lack of a damn given.  We can’t read minds at the end of the day it all comes down to appearances.  Good or bad, the way others see you is the way they’ll perceive you.

This is what’s hot?

That isn’t changing.  Sure there’s plenty of people being judged unfairly but there’s also people who need to understand there’s a time and place for things.  Pajamas in public could be some sort of statement. I look at it as you probably didn’t bathe before you left your house.  I’m admittedly self conscious, I try to look my best in any setting.  Being an African American man, there’s the obvious thing about my appearance that I cannot change.  Things that are constantly reinforced, in cases like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.  My skin tone alone comes with its own stereotypes and judgments, at the very least I don’t need to do more add to it.  I shake my head when other black people cause scenes, I don’t know them but I feel shame.  They represent my race, whether fair or foul.  We are all judged on appearances.  Going against the grain doesn’t change much.  The idea that I wear a tie instead of a du-rag to work is somehow some sort of cultural imperialism is silly, just as the fact that if I’m take a woman out I expect her not to wear pajamas and sneakers is not me treating women as a lesser sex.

When I was 16 I dressed a certain way, I was never the toughest guy but I did look the part.  The reason I did was I wanted to come across as someone who was hood, someone who wasn’t a 4.0 student, someone you didn’t want to mess with. I told you before how that backfired ,karma karma karma karma chameleon.  Now I dress a certain way because I don’t want to perceived as anything I’m not.  They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but when you’re in a bookstore what grabs your attention first?  In a perfect world, everyone everywhere would wear what they want without judgement, but in today’s world whether one wants to admit it or not there is a standard.  There’s casual attire then there’s lounge wear, sexy then there’s over the top slutty, your size and too damn small.  We’re all being observed, we’re all being judged, you never know who is watching so I make show I look and act accordingly.

-Stan-

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