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.

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same ish, different century

My dad has been into real estate since before I was born.  It’s what he likes to do – buy a place that needs some fixing up, fix it up, and rent it out.  Well, he bought some places earlier this year, and has been fixing them up for the past several months.  The cops are all over the neighborhood in which he bought – I suspect because they had a lot of empties in the subdivision and they want to make sure they don’t turn into crack houses.  That, and, parking in front of an empty duplex makes for a good spot to nap til something’s actually up.  So he has seen and talked to a lot of the cops that patrol there.

So even though it’s been crawling with cops, the neighborhood’s still had it’s share of issues.  Dad went back to the places about a month ago, to find that one had been broken into.  He called the cops, I don’t think much was actually missing [all he had there was tile, ceiling fans, and laminate – none of which was taken], but a couple doors were badly damaged.  It took forever for the cops to come, but they did, and I think my dad filed a report.

Last week or the week before, he was there – maybe still asleep – when a cop started banging on the door.  He came to the door after getting dressed, and three cops were standing there to ask him who he was and why he was there.  He told them he’d have to go get his ID, so they barged right in after him as he went back to get it.  As he was walking, he explained that he’d bought the place and was fixing it up.  He even showed them the door that had been broken into and told them about how he’d called them himself just a few weeks prior.  They asked for proof of ownership, and so he had to go out to the car to get it – they followed again.

Apparently, they were a couple of white cops and a black cop.  Dad said that when the black cop saw him with his pants covered with paint and the stuff in the house, he backed off and was sure that he was there to fix up the place as he said.  The white cops needed the proof of ownership.

All I heard as he told me this story so matter-of-factly was that my father – who will be 65 next month – still cannot get respect from police.  Being a black man means that age/station/class/etc. don’t mean anything.  And it hurt.  Hurt, especially, that after all he’s already lived through – Jim Crow South and all – it’s 2009 and it’s the same ish.

So,

I shouldn’t have been surprised when a friend on facebook posted the story about Henry Louis Gates yesterday.  But I was.

And hurt all over again.

See, my mom called me yesterday to tell me that she was going to have to go have dinner with a woman from church last night.  It seems that she spoke at their church this past wknd, and referred to “colored churches” when discussing differences in worship style.  No one said anything at the time because they weren’t all quite sure that they’d heard it.  The next day, Mom talked to a couple other people who were there and they asked – “did we hear what we thought we heard?”  And Mom thought – I’ve got to talk to this woman…she’s got to know that was unacceptable.

And yet, with all this, and SO much more I’m not even mentioning [the BART incident, the vilification of Malia, etc] I still know people who have the nerve to say

Barack Obama has evidenced proof of the American Dream and shown that the practice of racial discrimination and oppression on a national/societal level is a closed chapter of American history.

I won’t link to that, but yeah…I know her.  And a few other people I know think the same way.

And seeing other folks comments about this HLG incident [he was at fault, too – blah blah blah] just brings me back to what macon d says here:

To think that I could really have much of any idea at all what it’s like to be black in such all-too-familiar (for black people) moments. And yet, I think we white people do that all the time.

Yeah.  Same ish.

another one bites the dust

Presidential hopefuls are dropping like flies, these days. Can’t say I’m sorry to see Mr. Romney go, except for the self-serving reasons that -had he won the nomination- he woulda been easier to beat. [I know Republicans who would vote Democrat before they’d vote for Romney.] Now, he was funding his own campaign by this point, which I’m sure got expensive, so I can understand why he’d wanna throw in the towel. But the bogus reason he seemed to give was a doozy.

His ‘graceful’ exit was marred only by the bizarre notion he posited as his parting joust at the Democratic Party. He mentioned Hillary and Obama and their history-making roles, and then he made mention that if either one of them won, the terrorists would ‘win’. [or be ’emboldened’, or some such buzzword] Seriously? The terrorists are cheering for either a woman or a black guy to win? Woo.

Here’s an actual quote:

Mitt Romney suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, saying if he continued it would “forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win.”

“In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision. I hate to lose,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

“If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.” –CNN

Crazy.

Thankfully, at least, Britney’s retreated from everyday front pages news, cuz she’s gonna be institutionalized for another – oops, shoulda checked myself, trent’s got other news.

Oh well, we’ll see how things go.