tears in 2012

When folks started warning that this year was gonna be brutal, I figured they were being a little melodramatic.  I saw the signs: the GOP presidential race was heating up, the war on women shifted into high gear, the economy started looking up a bit.

I think it was the economy getting better that really springboarded a lot of people into action.  It carries a ring of ‘Obama got something right’ to it, and there’s no way the GOPers are going to let that fly in an election year.  And now, the Grand Old Party (and friends) has shifted from far-right to bizarro-right (outright asking brown people for papers, eliminating “ethnic studies”, asking Puerto Ricans to JUST SPEAK ENGLISH, ALREADY; and still saying the n-word [or the new substitute: ninja] whenever they can bring it into the conversation.)

I think I’ve become too old and jaded.  34 has done something to me.  Or rather – my 34th year.

I grew up pretty privileged.  Didn’t have it all by any means, but never worried about basics, never had to share a room, always felt safe…shoot – I didn’t even understand that the rules of life [as it is – not how it should be] applied to me.  I don’t even know if I truly know that now.  I’m still pretty doggone blessed.  But part of being a grown-up has been learning about how the real world works.  And the real world – the one my parents shielded me from, but tried from time-to-time to show me glimpses of – is no walk in the park.  Because I didn’t grow up seeing it like that, I still expect the best from people.  I still am a little surprised when people become their worst selves.

So seeing the talking heads and presidential candidates on the “Right” defend Rush Limbaugh (again), seeing them vilify the President for policies that they were in favor of 8 years ago, seeing them spout unadulterated foolishness about poor people, gays, people of color, and women – it brings my spirits low.  I don’t have a lot of hope about our situation.

It seems that the closer we get to the Brown Apocalypse [the moment when white people are no longer the majority in this country], the more desperate and overt white people [in general] become.  It’s trickling down into some day-to-day interactions with people.  I see the fear when some of these folks ponder their retirement years with The Brown Menace.

And then some vigilante had to go kill a child.

It’s too much.

I’ve been following Trayvon’s story for two weeks, and when I first read about it I was outraged.  Now I’m incredulous.  I know more about it and still I see no sense in it.  Because there is none.

This morning I was listening to Blacking It Up from yesterday, and they played the 911 calls in the upfront.  I ended up crying for about five minutes before I could put in my contacts.  And then some more in the shower.  When will it end?  When will people see?

I’ve seen a lot of great writing about this – different perspectives – different ideas – different experiences.  So here are some other places you should look for facts and commentary about the whole Trayvon Martin travesty. May his killer come to justice and his death bring positive change.

Things You Should Know – Think Progress
Being Good is Never Good Enough – Black Snob
Letter to an Unborn Son – Urban Cusp
Voices Roundup – Racialicious
Framing the Story – Shakesville
It Wasn’t the Hoodie that Made Him ‘Suspicious’ – Global Grind
Gun Laws and How Zimmerman Should Thank the NRA – Mother Jones
Last Words, Police Mishandling, and a Slur? – ABC News

Thanks for reading.  Spread the word.

put your war clothes on

After a basically funky month, I am tired.  Work has been busy and bananas, as I lost an employee today, after the most bizarre manner of resignation I have yet observed.  Not that I have the most experience.  Anyway, I had to travel for work, and ended up in New Orleans during the week before Mardi Gras.  That’s actually kinda fun.  And I got beads.

went for work - came home with beads.

Got sick on the plane ride home and it lasted through the beginning of the week.  Really, I’m still occasionally coughing now, so I suppose it’s lingering.  Anyway – because I needed so much sleep at the beginning of the week I was completely behind on my Blacking It Up/AfterBlack listening this week (I’m still not done).  So a lot of news got to me in a short period of time.

And apparently it broke me.

In fact, I’m not altogether sure I wasn’t already broken earlier this year when my idiot friend proclaimed on FB that she doesn’t believe in Civil Rights legislation.  But then there were 20 GOP debates, Newt dogwhistling everything, Santorum considered an actual real candidate, Arizona’s taking text books away from children, Texas wants to end affirmative action, and mother-effing Virginia literally wants to institute state-sanctioned rape in order to limit abortions.  Yeah.  Trans-vaginal ultrasounds involve the insertion of a wand into a woman’s vagina.  There is no medical requirement that this (by definition) invasive procedure be performed prior to abortion.  It is simply a law the VA state legislature wants to mandate for any woman planning to get an abortion in the state.  Regardless of whether the woman wants the intrusion.

Coerced vaginal insertions = rape.

Just so you know.

This war on women isn’t even underground anymore.  It’s freaking blatant as anything.

The racism hasn’t calmed down either, though.  Some doofus called Whitney a stupid n-word, and two different racist videos from doofus high school students have been in the news this week.  Not to mention the Linsanity business.

Newt’s moonbase is actually starting to sound good, right about now.  Cuz Earth has too much crazy to be sustainable.  Speaking of sustainable – I almost forgot about the Cult of the Green Dragon.  Sigh.

Thanks to TWIBIU for keeping me informed.  This was kind of a depressing news week, though…maybe next week I’ll eat candy and dream about unicorns or something.

officially old: what do I do with G+?

So.  I’m not actually an early adopter.  I like technotoys and all, and even though the longer I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Google = Skynet, I got one of my friends to hook me up with a G+ invite.  I’m not totally behind the curve here, but far enough behind that I don’t have a lot of friends that are on, and I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing.

My most favorite thing so far is that folks from BIU and Racialicious are on there, and I can follow them without doing Twitter.  Because yeah.  I also don’t do Twitter.  I do not all the way understand Twitter, either, actually.  I get the following part.  I don’t get the conversation part.  I’m still not sure how that happens.  And I don’t think I have time for it anyway.  Honestly, I don’t understand how all these people can have jobs and have time for all this social media!  Unless.  Well.  There are a lot of unemployed people these days.

See, I must be crazy old, because I freaking LOVE del.icio.us (just delicious now).  I love getting to just outline some relevant text in an  article that someone should totally read, and then addressing it to that person, and sending it off.  I get to keep a copy to know what I’ve sent.  With add-ons on Chrome and Firefox I can just hit a button to tag something.  It’s easy and functional.  And a dinosaur.  (And in the midst of writing this I just delicious’ed [yes, it is now a verb] 2 articles to the R and 2 to my mom.)  But really, who wants to send an email link every time they come across an article that they want someone to read?  And who wants to receive that email?  Nobody.  Not me anyway.  Delicious me, sucker.

In other news, I recently involved myself in a political discussion on FB.  Which I don’t normally do.  The post was just so inflammatory to me though:

oh this is the kind of fight i can get behind. Go Cantor! Go Boehner. DO NOT CAVE. If the president won’t bend (whether on principle or bc he’s trying to keep his left base happy) on spending cuts then FORCE the debt ceiling freeze. Then he will have no choice but to prod his party to cut spending or default. And he’s surely not stupid enough to default.

I was apparently in just the right place to HAVE to respond.  I knew I’d get whacked, but I had to. And I did get whacked, but not by my friend, by her husband.  Which I’m not into simply because he doesn’t know me. At all. Anyway, my point is that this whole debt ceiling mess is grating on my last everloving nerve.  I realize governing isn’t as clear as it seems to us folks in the peanut gallery, BUT!  Can we not get it together?

the stone on 'Secession Hill'

I live in Podunk, SC.  Nestled between the seat of secession and a town that hosts a store actually named The Redneck Shop (Google it if you must).  Nearly every white person I meet around here is a staunch Republican.  And yet many of them see the need for compromise to work things out.  To be clear, the Tea Party has South Carolina by the nipples, but there are still reasonable people (of the Republican persuasion) here.  If we can have them here, how did none of them end up in DC?!?  Why is Boehner so beholder to the TPers that he can’t even lean toward reality?

Eh.  I don’t know.  I wish the President wasn’t so centrist, because then we might actually end up in the middle.   But now, he’s so centrist, and wanting to work with everyone, he’s leaning further and further right.  It’s like he keeps capitulating and the GOP is like – “that’s right, we’re not caving on ANYTHING”.  But they should be held responsible for holding up progress and gumming up the works, and somehow that’s not happening.

SO frustrating.  Especially since I live in Podunk, SC.  We all know the score here in South Carolina.  The Dems here vote party lines whenever we can and it makes no difference.  It’s spitting in the wind.  And I don’t know what it’s like other places, but here?  It’s mostly because there are so many poor and middle class white people here who would rather miss out themselves than see the gov’t do something to help poor/middle class brown people.  You can tell when it comes from that kind of place.  Because the arguments have HUGE holes.  Something like. “Yeah, but you know, State’s Rights!”  Or just a pure bootstraps argument.  I’m tired of it.  I try to stay out of it, but CNN is on blast in our work breakroom 24/7.  It is very uncomfortable to be the only brown person at the table during some of their topics.

Anyway.  I’m still not clear on G+.  Ideas?  =)

media consumption

I’ve been watching a lot of tv in the last year – although I couldn’t actually tell you what, now that I think about it.  (Other than Bones.)  For some reason, thinking more at work makes me want to think less when I get home.  But I think I’m reaching a better equilibrium now that it’s summer and I’m getting more used to my job.

I’ve also been consuming more online media.  I’ve been a fan of This Week In Blackness for about 2 years, now, but just became aware of Blacking It Up this spring.  It is now a part of my life.  Most of the time I am totally cool with Elon and the crew, and it’s definitely a good time, with a bit of cool analysis and some relevant news interspersed with random music.  It’s where I first heard this:

Yeah.  That’s real.

Other than BIU, I’m basically checking the R, rr, shakesville, and Persephone every day.  Often multiple times a day.  Because I still live in Podunk.  And there’s this really annoying guy at work who ends up requiring me to take a break after I interact with him.  I was going to the NYT for my daily news, but when they put up the paywall, that was it.  Now it’s the Atlantic, Salon, CNN, GOOD, NPR, and other random places – still supplemented by the NYT.  Oh how I miss full access.

I’m trying to get back into writing more, so we’ll see how that goes.  In the meantime, check out my fave places on the web.  They’re cool.

deteriorating conversations: to protect and serve

Recently I’ve been pondering the attitudes that I’ve observed and absorbed about the police and the relationship between people of color and police.  Living where I live, I have very little contact with the police – unless the Mustang lulls me into speeding (and I get caught).  Even though my uncle is a policeman, and I’ve had friends on the force, I don’t generally trust cops.  I never really have.  The institution seems to perpetuate the subjugation of people of color, no matter the race of the officers.

There are stories upon stories of police brutality – even killings – and even though these stories really are a minority, harassment is common.  I know that a lot of people who end up in a life of crime have experienced disadvantages that increase the likelihood that they’ll choose that path, and I can sympathize with that in the abstract.  I’ve never really had to exit my abstractions since I haven’t been so closely touched by crime.  [Certainly, the recent theft of all my music was big to me, but in the grand scheme of things – itty bitty.]

Take the recent story of Aiyana Jones.  Awful police mistake ending in the loss of a 7 yr old.  There really wasn’t enough coverage of the story (surmise your own reasons why), but the coverage that I saw generally discussed Aiyana, the police, and/or the reality tv show that was filming the officers involved.  It was much more rare to run across an article that discussed the impetus for the investigation: the murder of a 17 yr old named Jerean Blake.  It seems the perp was in a relationship with Aiyana’s aunt who lived upstairs (in a separate unit).  Both killings were senseless.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been possible for the police to protect Jerean.  But shouldn’t they have?

And I certainly feel for Aiyana’s family, but what of the scum that chose to kill a kid for looking at him?  In a broader view, what of the kids who choose to join gangs and end up being perps and victims themselves?

Having been placed a lot closer to observing violence in the last couple weeks, I was starkly awakened to the fact that this type of crime [senseless killings] is just as much terrorism as anything mounted by Al Qaeda.  Not that we need completely militaristic methods for deterrents – I’m not even sure that works.

It’s complicated.  We need cops.  But what is it about the justice system that skews the serving and protecting to certain neighborhoods, and the arresting toward other neighborhoods?

carnival of me

I’ve been woefully unmotivated to write, recently.  A host of reasons have contributed, not least of which the fact that I didn’t get to talk to my best friend for longer than I ever have since I was about 4 yrs old.  Never underestimate the meaning of friendship.

I’ve been following the various race@school debacles happening at UCSD and now Missouri and I don’t really have much left to say.  Other than the succint: “Post-racial, my eye!”

I actually wasn’t super-concerned about the thing at Missouri, even though they’re pursuing it as a hate crime.  But I realized that may have just been due to my own lack of context.  I spoke with a coworker about it and he was very upset.  He told me that he remembered his mother picking cotton – as her job – when he was a kid.  He also remembered her not being able to go to work one day because the Klan was burning the fields.

It’s kinda crazy to me that this stuff was happening in the last 50 yrs, but I suppose it should be, considering what’s happening today.  We haven’t come as far as we like to think we have.

My work-spouse has been gone for all of one week and I barely know what to do with myself at work.  Besides work.

Having a buddy sure makes a difference.

Speaking of buddies, I found out that a very old friend will be moving away.  Far enough that it’s likely I won’t see him…much, if at all.  We’ve been through all kinds of things together so even though we’re not as close now as we once were, it stings that he’s leaving.  Some more unenlightened acquaintances liked to imagine that we would marry.  This is highly unlikely, but I suppose I should never say never.  One of us could have a stroke and become a different person.  You never know.

Since the olympics have been on [and I’m not into the winter olympics], I’ve watched a bunch of movies.  My recommendations?

Amreeka: a great story about a Palestinian woman and her son who move to America right around the time “shock’n’awe” starts.  Realistic, but still fun, with a great heart.

Mame: Definitely read the book first [Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis], and then enjoy Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur, and Robert Preston in a musical that may have you singing along the first time you watch.  Lucille Ball *makes* this movie – and she’s at her most attractive here, I think.

Dakota Skye: indie rom-com ostensibly about a girl, but also a lot about the boys she likes.  Still, how cool would it be to actually be able to always tell when someone’s lying to you?  This one was right up my alley.

Phoebe in Wonderland: indie with some big names [Felicity Huffman, Bill Pullman, Elle Fanning (Dakota’s lil sis)] plots the story of a family with two precocious little girls.  Phoebe is enamoured with the story of Alice in Wonderland, and as the movie unfolds you begin to understand her.  Excellent!

I loved them all, and wouldn’t rank them…except for maybe Dakota Skye.  That was more of a guilty pleasure for me, but I still really liked it.  Everything else was fantastic!

I love how specific netflix is with me, now that they know me, my #1 recommended category is: Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead.  =)

inappropriate coverage

I do not watch the news.

I am not well-informed.  Maybe mediocrely-informed.

Unfortunately, CNN is on constant blast in the break room at work, and while it’s marginally useful when something’s actually going on – perhaps you wanna catch the inauguration of the first black president or something – day-today news pretty much sucks.  Because the news is depressing.  It’s always bad.

Maybe not always. Sometimes it’s stupid.  Or…not even news.  But it’s mostly bad.

And I’m not saying that I don’t want to know what’s going on, but watching something like a news channel [bad news on a 30min loop for 24hrs a day] can make you wanna pluck your eyes out on a not-so-bad day.

Friday was a *bad* day.

There I was sitting at the table with my coworkers, when a story/video (reading the story is preferable to watching it) from Haiti came up.  There were reporters talking about a police shooting they’d just witnessed.  It sounded like they had British accents, but I didn’t hear where they were actually from.  Anyway – they talked about how they’d been riding down the street in their van and seen two guys with bags of rice detained by some cops.  There was yelling back and forth [cops saying that the dudes had stolen the rice, the dudes saying it’d been a gift].  And then, there were shots fired.

The news crew went over to film what was happening, and found one of the guys shot in the back, laying on the ground, gasping for breath.  And filmed it.  And CNN showed us this nameless man, accused of looting rice, bleeding, gasping for breath, and dying on the pavement of a street in Port-au-Prince.

I turned away, but it was too late.  I still see him.  Every time I think about it my eyes well up, and I think – that shouldn’t have been shown – should it?  I mean, maybe I shouldn’t want to censor the news, maybe I shouldn’t be turning away because it’s upsetting…but it just feels wrong.

The story continued to say that a police supervisor came along and said that this was improper and would be looked into and that an ambulance would be called.  Two hours later the young man’s mother was by his side, to mourn, as he still laid there on the pavement.  The news crew further elaborated that they’d talked with shopowners along the street and found that a truck had gone by and ostensibly, some bags of rice fell off the truck.  The shopowners said that there hadn’t been any looting there.

Obviously, Haiti has some serious issues with corruption, along with all of the destruction due to this horrific earthquake disaster.  But is this the way to spotlight injustice?  Should we really be watching the last breaths of a man shot on the street – innocent OR guilty?

I think not.

friday wrap-up: crappy news week

I’ve been battling strep this week, and I’m winning now – so that’s good.  I actually had no idea because the last time I had it [when i was a kid] I was miserable with a fever and all.  This week was just gargling salt water and drinking tea – no fever, etc.  But what a week of disaster and craziness!

Don’t talk about the weather.  It might hear you.  Not to mention the fact that CA and GA are still dealing with fallout from last week’s fires, floods, and mudslides.

We’re all totally over Kanye now – which is good – but it seems Hollywood/the Entertainment industry decided to give Spanky and the gang their own DiscoveryChannel style ‘women-hating’ week. [trigger warning]

There was leftover Mackenzie-furor from last week, as people are still trying to process what she called a “consensual relationship”.  [I don’t get it either. With a clear pattern of abuse/steady supply of drugs, how is there *ever* a “consensual relationship between one who has power and one who does not. ]

Then there was the Roman Polanski mess – which still has me pissed.  More because of all the misplaced support from people I used to have a lot more respect for like Whoopi.  How is drugging and raping a child made better cuz it happened ‘a long time ago’? Especially when the perp has said this?!?!

Then I happened upon this article about Elizabeth Smart’s ordeal, and I was almost in tears at her description of endless rape she endured.

All this awfulness and we can’t even get a public option on the table…bad guys won in the news this week.

Please don’t be depressed though.  The people in Rio de Janeiro are having a party – rejoice with them for the first Olympics in South America.