Black History Month – Still Hating It!

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Every day in America is Black History

In February, we are told it is Black History Month. We are allowed to celebrate our accomplishments and display them with pride before a nation that is only too happy to appropriate from us whatever it wants and give us nothing in return.

As it has always been. When Black Apologists say the past is the past and we should get over it, I hang my head in shame for their ignorance. It is clear that such people are given a pulpit to speak because it promotes the ideals so necessary for the system of disenfranchisement we live under to continue.

We can accept that stupid people will say stupid things and move on, or we can stand up and fight for what we know to be right.

Nothing that happened in America should be forgotten. The near-genocide of the Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, the decimation of new immigrants and ultimately the financial enslavement of an entire planet.

This is why we must never forget the indignities of the past. They are a persistent illusion perpetuated for profit. A canker that disfigures and stigmatizes the efforts of People of Color in America, acting as if our efforts were never meant to do any more than serve those who perceived themselves to be our betters.

Though they were not able to maintain their control over slavery, they have allowed it to be redesigned, re-purposed and hidden in plain sight in the modern era. They call it Jim Crow, Segregation, Separate but Equal, Economic Redlining, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, the Prison-Industrial Complex, the War on Drugs, and their latest addition, Sanctioned Police Brutality and Murder of People of Color in the Line of Duty (now with added vacation time!).

Today the chains are softer, internalized, and often self-perpetuated. Housewives of Atlanta, Self-Hating Rap Music, Celebrity and Sports obsessions, and a good ole America standby, Religion and all of its various self-loathing aphorisms.

The game has changed, but the message is still the same. You can’t compete. We won’t let you. We don’t say no. We just don’t say yes, either.

If you are able to be successful, many times you must do so by casting down your culture and claiming your identity from the one we allow you to wear. Marry White, move away from your people, don’t past down your wealth, disavow your past.

Wear your chains, know your place. I have no use for Black History Month. You cannot give me what I have already earned.

I am the dream of America. I am its awful reality. I cannot be broken and I will not relent. You cannot pretend I don’t exist. Change the media, warp the minds, create your lies.

The truth is far simpler than you would care to believe. For all of your power, all of your cleverness, the only thing you have proven to be superior in is keeping all of humanity in chains to whims better forgotten.

Promoting selfishness as a virtue is foolish. Promoting division among people to maintain your control is wasteful. How many lives have been thrown away furthering an agenda that benefits only a privileged few?

Billions, I’d imagine.

In a few decades, you reign of terror will be over. You will huddle in your walled enclaves and believe in your superiority while you count your worthless billions and hope no one scales the wall to make you pay for your generations of criminal activity.

In the meantime remember this: I will not be stopped. Not now. Not ever. Keep Black History Month for yourselves.

I claim the YEAR, all three hundred and sixty five and a quarter days of it to reminding you WE ARE STILL HERE.

Stronger than you can imagine. More fiercely determined to make our way.

And to be honest, we’re just not that into you. Never were.

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If you like this article:

RACISM IN AMERICA: The Scarlet Letter of A Nation

CIVILIZATION IS A FRAUD: What’s so civilized about it?

A LATE RADICALIZATION: Viewpoint of the Author

Thaddeus Howze is a California-based technologist and author who has worked with computer technology since the 1980’s doing graphic design, computer science, programming, network administration and IT leadership.

His non-fiction work has appeared in numerous magazines: Black Enterprise, the Good Men Project, Examiner.com, and Astronaut.com. He maintains a diverse collection of non-fiction at his blog, A Matter of Scale. He is a contributor at The Enemy, a nonfiction literary publication out of Los Angeles.

He is a contributor to the Scifi.Stackexchange.com with over a thousand articles in a three year period. He is now an author and contributor at Scifiideas.com. His science fiction and fantasy has appeared in blogs such as Medium.com, the Magill Review, ScifiIdeas.com, and the Au Courant Press Journal. He has a wide collection of his work on his website, Hub City Blues. His recently published works can be found here. He also maintains a wide collection of his writing and editing work on Medium.com.

His speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short (2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (2012), and Possibilities (2012).

He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013). In 2015 he will be releasing Visiting Hours and A Millennium of Madness, two collections of short stories.

If you have enjoyed this publication or any of the other writing he does, consider becoming a Patron. For what you spend on a cup of coffee once per month, you can assist him in creating new stories, new graphics, new articles and new novels. Creating the new takes a little support: http://patreon.com/ebonstorm.

 

 

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Civilization is a FRAUD – What’s so civilized about it?

 

‘The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.’  —James Baldwin

POVERTY IS A TOOL

It is in this writer’s opinion poverty, poverty as we know it in the modern world and in the modern sense, does not need to exist.

It is a byproduct of lifestyles, of policies, of politics, of psychologies driven through conscious and unconscious selections. But in recent centuries, the means to abolish poverty came to mean it was possible for humanity to share the wealth among its members, producing an age where poverty did not exist. Despite the occasional protestations about the end of the world or the world’s inability to support growing populations, Humanity continued to exist and grow. And grow more unequal.

Instead of growing more equal and egalitarian, society took a subtle but unpleasant turn toward selfishness, toward personal gain, toward greed and instead of abolishing poverty, poverty was embraced and recognized as a tool by those in control.

Poverty has been weaponized in modern society.

  • Debt is the ultimate expression of power in this, our capitalist-focused pretense of a civilization;
  • Fantastic (as in imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality, definition) personal wealth has become the ultimate billy club, the ultimate expression of force, more powerful than any legal system.
  • The creation of socialized debt and poverty manufacture has become more enabling than any political power. More subtle than the quietly offered bribe and more invasive. More influential than any kind of charismatic leadership.
  • Money has become the ultimate aphrodisiac, lubricant, and problem-solver as long as the problem requires lots of money to be thrown at it, in perpetuity, with subsidies for all (who deserve them and know how to lobby to get them).

Combine the use of weaponized poverty by the fantastically rich who use their wealth to create opportunities of social imbalance:

  • Creating a “need” for education in the workforce while at the same time “providing” the resource at an exorbitant price, driving everyone into debt to participate due to the inescapable “requirement” for a degree to be had by everyone, even if you’re just serving fries across a counter in a fast-food franchise.
  • Altering a police structure from a “protect and serve” environment of civil service to a “fee collection service” managed by local government in place to offset taxes no longer collected against the wealthy and now subsidized instead by taking even more from the already cash-strapped lower-class citizens of major metropolises already struggling to just stay in the rat race.
  • Driving people to homelessness with any interaction with the civil system from a parking ticket to a speeding ticket. Any time a citizen in one of these cities meets a cop, there is a fee involved that will take away anywhere from a day to a week’s worth of pay in one interaction.
  • With most people living just a paycheck from homelessness, to meet the police may be to greet your harbinger to homelessness or even outright criminality as you are forced to choose between feeding your family or paying a fine to avoid getting a bench warrant which will eventually end in your arrest.
  • Creating a medical and health system so imbalanced that millions of people will go into debt through no fault of their own because the medical industry cannot be bothered with tracking and regulating itself so that people can find themselves in debt without even knowing it after a visit to the hospital that might have been thought to be covered by insurers.
  • Meanwhile entire food industries are enriched by the creation of food-like products from industrial food processes which create and exacerbate health problems in societies across the world, shortening lifespans, reducing quality of life and driving people into the arms of a corrupt medical-industrial complex only too happy to capitalize on the dying while making no efforts to change the systems which create these sicknesses in the first place.
  • The medical industry is little more than an accomplice in this orgy of food-product devastation across the planet.

People starve in lands of plenty, eating food that isn’t food, creating lives which end sooner, with a poorer quality of life. If the Sword of Damocles could be asked, it would be embarrassed by abundance of the damned dancing beneath it’s ominous shadow.

A PAUCITY OF JUSTICE

We have the dual justice system adding insult to injury in the lives of those not rich enough to buy JUSTICE and instead are forced to mutter beneath their breaths when the issue of the who the punitive aspects of our legal system are for.

They can reply unequivocally, “just us”.

Everyone who is worth less than a million dollars can agree, just as easily as the news media parades a multitude of cases before you, showing how the wealthy pay a fine when involved in atrocities that destroy the lives of millions and how the poor, even when they are engaged in non-violent, non-lethal crimes can find themselves arrested for upwards of three decades.

They are slaved out to corporate farms, fire-fighting teams, industrial widget builders and thralls-for-hire. Even when the murderer is clearly in the wrong for an act poorer men have hung for, somehow, an excuse, a malady real or imagined (i.e. affluenza) will excuse the wealthy from the punishments assigned to the rest of us.

Being poor in America is having a greater and greater meaning as the systems once used to bring prosperity to the masses creating a middle-class are dismantled under the guise of “de-regulation” when those regulations were put in place to protect all of us from the greed of capitalism run amok, unregulated, unconcerned with the effects of its rapacious growth on the environment, society, and ultimately upon itself as it strip-mines the people whom it needs to buy its products and services.

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‘The man most likely to want to lead government, such as it is, the man most likely to believe government has to do more with what’s in his pocket than in is heart or head, also tends to be the least fit to do so. This delusion should be satisfied by electing such folk as dog walkers, given a collection of various animals according to their nature and ushered out to perform a civic duty they are so aptly suited for.’ —Mark Twain (he didn’t say this, but I think he would have!)

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Is the final goal of this engine of capitalism to leave nothing but the scorched earth behind it as it absorbs the fruits and the bodies of its laborers toiling in conditions just shy of legally-sanction criminality, under the guise of double-digit corporate growth?

Is the goal to leave no natural rain forest unmolested, no oil-bearing shale deposit unmined, no natural resource unexploited for the sake of the next billion-unit gadget being sold to help folks masturbate virtually?

Is the goal to say “we are so wealthy, the environment doesn’t matter, burning carbon doesn’t matter, clean oceans bereft of all life, doesn’t matter; human lives where people have dignity, respect, education, a sense of worth and belonging to viable communities, doesn’t matter?”

Is the goal to remind us that all of the things we see in the media exist to serve the capitalist agenda of selling products, moving goods and ultimately pandering to created needs using propaganda, commercials and social manipulation of memes until people are willing to go into debt for the latest iGadget, no matter how many times a year it’s upgraded.

Is the goal really to say to everyone involved in this grand experiment of humanity to say “fuck you if you weren’t born wealthy or aren’t ruthless enough to sell your fellow humans up the river for your personal benefit?”

Is this why Pope Francis pisses everyone off? Because he has the temerity to point out to everyone who uses the teachings of the church as a cover for their cultural duplicity that he, as the titular head of that church, will not sit idly by and provide cover for their reprehensible behavior?

The Pope reminds us:

  • Climate change is bad and we know it. We can lie and say “we’re not sure, but we truly already know its bad and saying anything but that is disingenuous at best.
  • Punishing the poor for being poor, throwing them in jail, pushing them out of their homes is not Christian. Hell no it’s not. Nor is bringing back debtor’s prisons or redlining, or the prison-industrial complex. Making people poor and then arresting them for being poor is criminal.
  • Hydraulic fracturing? How do you square the circle of saying we would rather have oil than water, when there are already millions around the world without enough water?
  • Aren’t there corporations with no problem risking fresh water for millions of people deeming their lives less important than the billions of dollars to be made by using that water to get access to fossil fuels we could, if we were forward thinking, be putting aside for something better, using renewable energies instead.

THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU

This part is for my Sisters and Brothers out there who I trust have figured it out by now. America’s amble bosom does not provide equal nurturing for all her citizens. “With Liberty and Justice” for those who are properly connected and doing what the established system of inequality deems is your place to be.

People say its because the dominant subculture doesn’t take People of Color seriously and that is why they ignore us in the media.

While I use the term People of Color, I realize it is more inclusive to say anyone who isn’t part of the lucky sperm club. If you weren’t born rich, you are the problem and the system does take you seriously.

You are not necessarily a problem individually. After all, you are an individual without much in the way of resources, it’s only when you are part of a larger movement do they acknowledge you. But they have figured out how to keep those movements from happening. See: Occupy.

You see, they take us quite seriously and we are a far greater threat than we realize to them. You don’t marginalize an enemy that doesn’t matter.

You ignore him.

When you systematically make an effort to undermine a particular enemy, demonize him, incarcerate him, kill him, destroy his family, take his women, undermine his way of life, this is how you get rid of an enemy you fear.

If the system is doing that to YOU or someone in the public sphere, they fear them. They fear their power, their influence, their ability to generate a viral idea which might unseat them.

Their fear is of a Black Planet. Genetically speaking we are already a Black Planet since all life started in Africa but what they fear is the visual confirmation of something that already exists and will only continue from this point forward, unless in their minds, they do something about it.

Part of this article came about because of the deaths in Nigeria and why they haven’t managed to draw the attention of the deaths of the cartoonists in France this week.

They didn’t pay attention to Black deaths because, to them, they don’t matter. They never have. Likely, if current trends remain constant, they never will.

Since the end of “chattel slavery” the dominant subculture has done everything possible to attempt to return to the days of free labor. All of its “engines of progress” are simply other ways finding new ways to reduce the cost of labor which can be 50% of all costs for a business.

In other words, how can we make people work for less?

Slavery was the most effective means of wealth-building the United States and the world has ever known. And though it isn’t talked about in polite company, know organizations around the world are trying to find new ways of exploiting a worldwide workforce, without paying for it. See: “TransPacific Partnership”.

“Respectability politics” has never meant anything to the dominant subculture. Even when People of Color were self-supporting and maintained our own separate but equal facilities, towns, places we could call our own, they were never content to leave us in peace.

The bottom line is simple and few of us want to accept it. Racism is an economic ploy, not just a social one. It has allowed entire industries to blossom on the backs of bigotry, hatred and cultural appropriation and destruction.

Note the recent police “slowdown” in New York City where with the reduced activity of the police in across the city, our people are spending less time being arrested, harassed and cited, being forced to spend our already weakened dollars on fines, fees and defenses against a city using the poorest members to fill its coffers.

Adding insult to injury a recent news article by Reuters reports that lawyers and bail bondsmen are experiencing “economic hardship” because the police were funding their “industry” with arrests from our community. (http://www.reuters.com/…/us-usa-police-arrests...) What happened to the question of whether there should be as many of these services in the first place?

What needs to be understood is this: Poverty is a weapon. When you can control what a man earns and how he spends it, you can control all aspects of his life, his future and direct it in whatever fashion you want.

If we want to be more independent of this negative cultural control, we must find a way to free ourselves from the economic hegemony being exercised on our backs. Our children need to step away from the TV and get back to the basics.

Mastery of skills, mastery of self, preparation for the future, first by being educated and second by avoiding the media engine designed to undermine self-esteem, self-worth and self-determination.

Unless we can shake off our generations of “induced poverty” and “media-mentality” we have no chance of making effective strides in this society. If you wonder why nothing appears to change, that is the reason. There’s no profit in treating you as a person, with dignity, respect and a sense of individual purpose and wealth.

You are much more valuable as a brain-damaged, suffering, emotional wreck, barely able to pay your bills, willing to get into debt across the entire span of your life. Early in your life, with college debt, with a house in your middle years (if you’re lucky) and with numerous organ transplants or cancer treatments when you’re old.

They want to make money on you from the cradle to the grave.

Would you like fries with that?

The Standard Script Given to the Grieving Mother Whose Black Child Has Been Murdered by Police

Tamir Rice

by B. Sharise Moore

1.

Dress as you would for Sunday morning communion.
Black women appear least aggressive with heads bowed,
while kneeling.
Black rage does not photograph well.

2.

Quote I Corinthians, every grandmother’s go to book.
Call on Jesus.
Even as your stomach knots, restricts to a rawness that numbs,
convince them that this is His will, and that His will shall be done.

3.

Plead for the peace your child was unworthy of while alive.
Pause deliberately.
Denounce. Distance yourself from the riotous fires
that have done more to honor him than this law has.

4.

Quote an out of context syllogism,
preferably“I Have a Dream.”
After all, you are grieving
and no one has studied it anyway.

5.

Tell them they must vote.
This will not happen if they simply vote
…more.
often.
They can move Forward with their Obamas and Holders
on their shoulders. Tell them he cannot really speak for you.
He is not the President of Black America.

6.

Make it plain you’ve raised all of your children to be color blind.
in church.
You are Christians in spite of your dead son’s
Kindergarten suspension.

7.

Call for faith in a system that has failed you for 400 hundred years.
Tell them justice must run the same course
as the too many bullets that splintered your child’s temple,
opened up his abdomen like some twisted Cracker Jack prize.

8.

Mention the good police.
Not all bad. Not all vigilante.
Not all trigger happy. Not all racist.
Yet all more alive and well than your child.

9.

Be respectable. Remind them of Black on Black crime.
Tell them the police kill them because they kill themselves.
Tell them that they are responsible for the smashed skulls
of their own daughters and sons
with their sagging pants, poverty,
and murderous rhymes that malign collective progress.

10.

Repeat:
“This is not about race.”
“This is not about race.”
“This is not about race.”
Repeat as you watch yet another mother fold her tears in her already bulging purse.
Watch while she strains to push her child back inside the safety of her womb.
Stare as she leans over a son who looks oddly like your own:
Dead and stiff and indicted and tried more than his murderer.

11.

Repeat:
“This is not about race.”
“This is not about race.”
“This is not about race.”
Remind them of Black on Black crime.
Of Black on Black Crime.
Of Black on Black crime.
“This is not about race.”

12.

Convince her it is necessary
that she believes it too.

Killed by Police Under Questionable Circumstances

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Rage against the Dying…of Black Men and Women

The Black men and women on this list died by circumstances which should make their deaths suspect, should have resulted in some form of indictment or action against the police. In almost every case, little was done to investigate their deaths or they were covered up by the system. Does this make the system inherently corrupt? Not for me to say. What I will say is of the cases I have followed personally, there were enough inconsistencies which should have lead to arrests, loss of jobs, and trials which should have resulted in jail time. In most cases, that is not what happened.

For the record, this list is by no means complete or exhaustive. The US government does not keep track of Black people killed by police and when they do, the circumstances of being shot may mitigate the list or change the circumstances so the police are not even questioned about that particular shooting. Take that statement to mean, it is possible for even more Black people to have been killed under less than ideal circumstances and we are none the wiser since paperwork can hide a multitude of sins…

I will eventually link information for each person, as I can find information regarding the case and the ultimate results. I am certain this list will grow…

2014: Rumain Brisbon (Phoenix, AZ) – Shot after conflict with officer, unarmed, pending investigation

2014: Tamir Rice (Cleveland, OH) – video; pending investigation

2014: Akai Gurley (Brooklyn, NY) – The city’s medical examiner ruled Gurley’s death a homicide. Pending investigation.

2014: Victor White III (Iberia Parish, LA)
2014: Dante Parker (San Bernardino County, CA)
2014: Kaijeme Powell (St. Louis, MO)
2014: Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, CA)
2014: Michael Brown (Ferguson, MO)
2014: McKenzie Cochran (Southfield, MI)
2014: Tyree Woodson (Baltimore, MD)
2014: John Crawford III (Beavercreek, OH)

2014: Dontre Hamilton (Milwaukee, WI) – Seven months after the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office has said that it is still determining whether or not to charge Manney.

2014: Eric Garner (New York, NY)
2014: Yvette Smith (Bastrop, TX)
2014: Jordan Baker (Houston, TX)
2013: Kayla Moore (Berkeley, CA)
2013: Barrington Williams (New York, NY)
2013: Andy Lopez (Santa Rosa, CA)
2013: Carlos Alcis (New York, NY)
2013: Deion Fludd (New York, NY)
2013: Jonathan Ferrell (Bradfield Farms, NC)
2013: Kimani Gray (New York, NY)
2013: Kyam Livingstone (New York, NY)
2013: Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. (Austin, TX)
2013: Miriam Carey (Washington, DC)
2012: Chavis Carter (Jonesboro, AR)
2012: Dante Price (Dayton, OH)
2012: Duane Brown (New York, NY)
2012: Ervin Jefferson (Atlanta, GA)
2012: Jersey Green (Aurora, IL)
2012: Johnnnie Kamahi Warren (Dotham, AL)
2012: Justin Slipp (New Orleans, LA)
2012: Kendrec McDade (Pasadena, CA)
2012: Malissa Williams (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Nehemiah Dillard (Gainesville, FL)
2012: Ramarley Graham (New York, NY)
2012: Raymond Allen (Galveston, TX)
2012: Rekia Boyd (Chicago, IL)
2012: Reynaldo Cuevas (New York, NY)
2012: Robert Dumas Jr (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr (Orange County, CA)
2012: Shantel Davis (New York, NY)
2012: Sharmel Edwards (Las Vegas, NV)
2012: Shereese Francis (New York, NY)
2012: Tamon Robinson (New York, NY)
2012: Timothy Russell (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Wendell Allen (New Orleans, LA)
2011: Alonzo Ashley (Denver, CO)
2011: Jimmell Cannon (Chicago, IL)
2011: Kenneth Chamberlain (White Plains, NY)

2011: Bernard Bailey (Orangeburg County, SC) – In 2014, the former police chief has been charged with murder in the death of an unarmed black man shot four years ago. Bail set at $150,000.

2011: Kenneth Harding (San Francisco, CA) – On June 16, Kenneth Harding, a convicted pimp wanted in Seattle as a person of interest in the slaying of a 19-year old woman, fled from police at a Muni stop in Bayview after being stopped for fare evasion. According to police, Harding then began shooting at officers, who then returned fire. Harding was fatally shot in the attack.

2011: Raheim Brown (Oakland, CA) – Raheim Brown was shot twice, then moments later five times more in his car by OUSD Officer Barhin Bhatt in 2011. Not indicted due to lack of evidence.

2011: Reginald Doucet (Los Angeles, CA)
2010: Aaron Campbell (Portland, OR)
2010: Aiyana Jones (Detroit, MI)
2010: Danroy Henry (Thornwood, NY)
2010: Derrick Jones (Oakland, CA)
2010: Steven Eugene Washington (Los Angeles, CA)
2009: Kiwane Carrington (Champaign, IL)
2009: Oscar Grant (Oakland, CA)
2009: Shem Walker (New York, NY)
2009: Victor Steen (Pensacola, FL)
2008: Tarika Wilson (Lima, OH)
2007: DeAunta Terrel Farrow (West Memphis, AR)

2006: Sean Bell (New York, NY) – The five officers involved in the shooting were found not guilty in a judge trial, but the city settled a civil suit with the Bell family for $3.25 million.

2005: Henry Glover (New Orleans, LA)
2005: James Brisette (New Orleans, LA)
2005: Ronald Madison (New Orleans, LA)
2004: Timothy Stansbury (New York, NY)
2003: Alberta Spruill (New York, NY)
2003: Orlando Barlow (Las Vegas, NV)
2003: Ousmane Zongo (New York, NY)
2001: Timothy Thomas (Cincinnati, OH)
2000: Earl Murray (Dellwood, MO)
2000: Malcolm Ferguson (New York, NY)
2000: Patrick Dorismond (New York, NY)
2000: Prince Jones (Fairfax County, VA)
2000: Ronald Beasley (Dellwood, MO)

1999: Amadou Diallo (New York, NY) – All four officers were charged with second-degree murder and acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.

Thanks, Spo Da Chozn-one for the list.

 

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Tamir Rice: Murdered Before Your Eyes

CLEVELAND, OHIO

Tamir Rice was murdered. Yes, I said it.

Someone needs to.

Watch the video, the entire eight minutes of it. I could have grabbed the last 30 seconds of Tamir’s life but there is something important you will be missing if you don’t watch the whole thing. Something innocent and child-like, something young Black children rarely get to be anymore.

Watch the video and see if you can see past your partisan bullshit and see just a child, being a child and dying because someone couldn’t be bothered to give a damn about him, as a person. For all you folks who will say this child is dead because they followed policy. We need new damn policies.

I watched the entire seven minute and forty second version of this film. For more than six minutes the boy is just walking around, minding his own business, doing nothing in particular.

Know that while he is doing nothing, someone is reporting him as threatening people in the park with a gun.

When the child sits down on the bench in the park he is probably just resting but little did he know he would be dead in two minutes.

The police do not arrive on the scene and park a discrete distance away to ASSESS the situation. They do not arrive at a distance to DETERMINE THE NATURE OF THE THREAT.

They instead drive up within three feet of their subject. They do not ANNOUNCE their presence. And they surely couldn’t have because they are leaving their vehicle within three seconds of their arrival.

Two seconds after the door to the police car is open, the officer is shooting and the child is dead. Only then do they call in shots fired.

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To sum this up:

The police could have arrived at a distance and announced their intention, while still within their vehicle (as they do when they pull me over to the side of the road, with their internal loud-speaking system).

“This is the police. Put your weapon on the ground and step back. Put your hands behind (or above) your head.”

Once the boy complies (and he most assuredly would since HE KNEW he was armed with a toy gun) they would have been able to approach and determine the nature of the threat called in and the boy playing in the park were NOT the same thing.

And Tamir Rice would still be alive. This is negligence, pure and simple. Neither of these policemen should still be allowed to be remain custodians of the law. Their blatant disregard for young Black men is clear in their approach and use of unnecessary force.

Rest assured, there will be another media shuffle where they vilify this child or his family, call him dangerous and his death was a boon to society. And these two officers will get two weeks of paid vacation. At least at home, they won’t kill anyone else.

We hope.

UPDATE: From Policy.MIC

Tamir Rice’s 14-year-old sister was handcuffed and left to watch her 12-year-old brother dying in the snow after he was shot by a Cleveland police officer on Nov. 22, 2014, as seen in a new video released by the city late Wednesday. The teen, who was tackled and detained as she tried to approach her wounded brother, witnessed the ordeal unfold from the back of a police cruiser less than 10 feet from his body.

The disturbing new details, which match the account given by Rice’s mother, Samaria, at a press conference in December, are taken from an extended surveillance video clip obtained by the Northeast Ohio Media Group. City officials had initially released a short portion of the video and refused to release the full version to the public.

Tamir Rice was confronted by officers while waving an air pistol in an empty Cleveland park. Officer Timothy Loehmann, seen in the video exiting from the passenger side door, opens fire less than two seconds after the stepping out of the vehicle.

Here is the full 30-minute clip. Rice’s sister approaches the scene from the left-hand side at the 1:42 mark:

“This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen,” Akron, Ohio-based attorney Walter Madison told Cleveland.com after watching the extended video.

No help: Neither the first-year officer who shot Rice, nor his partner Frank Garmback, appear to offer the wounded boy medical aid or comfort. Garmback is the one seen confronting Rice’s sister and pushing her to the ground. The first person to administer first aid is an FBI agent who arrived on the scene by chance.

Paramedics arrive eight minutes after the first shot is fired, and Rice is stretchered into an ambulance about five minutes later.

Unfit for duty: Hours before they received extended surveillance tape Wednesday, the Northeast Ohio Media Group also reported that Loehmann failed an exam to become a deputy with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department in September 2013. According to internal documents, his application was denied after he scored a 46% on a written cognitive test. Seventy percent is considered a passing grade.

 Mic, . “Watch the Shocking New Tamir Rice Video the Cleveland Police Didn’t Want You to See.” Mic.com. N.p. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <http://www.mic.com&gt;

Un-affirmative Action: Marvel Style

Falcon and Thor

IN MARVEL NEWS:

Captain America has been forcibly retired and sent to an old folks home in issue 21 of his most comic series. He will be succeeded by long time friend, former sidekick and present day Avenger, Sam Wilson, also known as the first African American superhero, The Falcon. Sam will bring his trademark wings to the role of Captain America.

In related news: Thor Odinson has been determined to be ‘unworthy’ to wield the mystic hammer Mjolnir, his constant companion and signature weapon for over a thousand years. He will be replaced by a mysterious woman who will be calling herself Thor, at least while she is using Mjolnir.

This is not news. This is hype. Hype is a specialized form of propaganda which is expected to turn into money at the box office, store front or on the sales floor. Hype does not last, most changes that take place have little to do with the history of the characters being hyped or changed and in the end, things tend to return to their status quo. In other words:

MARVEL JUST WANTS YOUR DAMN MONEY

Neither of these MINORITY characters who have experienced this recent “promotion” in social status into the roles of long established legacy heroes.

Why?

Because it isn’t about social justice. It isn’t about opportunity. It isn’t about making things more balanced. It isn’t about promoting diversity in non-diverse ranks.

It’s about money. Plain and simple.

They want you (or someone who has not been frozen in the ice for 50 years) to obsess over the idea of Captain America being a Black man.

Anthony Mackie rocked the role of the Falcon in the Winter Soldier so the boys at Marvel Marketing and Development decide to take advantage of that and make Cap Black.

Sorta like they did with Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. For an entire generation of readers and the general movie going audience, Nick Fury is Samuel Jackson. Except he wasn’t.

movies_avengers_comic_to_screen_4

Marvel’s money grab is endemic in the nature of their promotion. But it is a fail before it has even begun because, in the typical new Marvel fashion, they have shown nothing but contempt for the characters and their underlying concepts.

In the case of the new Thor, she is a woman taking a man’s name as her Title. Yes, she is becoming the new THOR. But isn’t that the son of Odin’s actual name? Thor Odinson?

She may be acquiring Mjolnir and all of the powers that go with it, but what happened to her name and since when did being THOR become a title, not a name? When Beta-Ray Bill became Beta-Ray Thor. But note, he kept HIS name.

beta-ray-bill

Her adoption of the title of Thor, replacing her name is patriarchal without ever mentioning it. She will be less than the male white character in the role because for her to be more, there would have to be a woman somewhere in the development team to address those issues.

And we already know there won’t be. THAT isn’t the Marvel way.

And more importantly she would have to do things Thor Odinson would never do, in order to be recognized as equal. Her promotion was nothing more than a gimmick, something to bring in new readers. Note the level of promotion used.

For Christ’s sake she appeared on ‘The View’. How desperate is Marvel to appear more egalitarian especially in light of so many egregious articles discussing their lack of TRUE diversity? Who were they marketing the new Thor to? I can assure you very few men are watching the View unless someone has chained them to a chair…

MARVEL HAS BLACK HEROES, AND NOW ONE WILL BE CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Yawn. Big Deal.

Yes, Marvel can claim they have Black superheroes, (and I can name ten without breaking a sweat – Falcon, Black Panther, Cage, Spectrum, Storm, Blue Marvel, Battlestar, Goliath, the Prowler, and Bishop) but none of those heroes have the notoriety, fame, accolades or active titles of some of Marvel’s longest running white heroes.

And that is Marvel’s fault for not doing the work to create characters who could bring the imagination to life. To bring the concept of Blacks as equals to the mythology that is the superhero genre. We can imagine, aliens, Negative Universe, god-like men and men like gods, but we cannot imagine a Black Superhero with Powers that can shake the world. It is more than those comic creators want to be responsible for.

To make an equal Black superhero would imply there was an imbalance in the first place. Hence, the most famous of Black superheroes often have NO POWERS AT ALL.

Which brings us to the Falcon. If in the late seventies when Cap and the Falcon were nearing their combined title together, if you had suggested that the Falcon become Captain America, it would have been a significant idea. At that point, they had been champions of justice, trained together significantly (in fact, at that point, there had been no other hero who had trained to work with Captain America as much or as often.)

The two had developed a level of teamwork that was both seamless and amazingly efficient. The Falcon was his own superhero and had earned his wings (so to speak.)

The-Falcon

At that point, very few people had ever been Cap and he had never stepped away from the role. But today, being Captain America has been little more than a slot on a resume of superheroes. Hawkeye, Battlestar, Super-Patriot, and Bucky have all been the good Captain since the Falcon and Cap teamed up in the past.

So why now? By now, Marvel knows what both you and I already know. The Falcon is the Falcon and a Black man and Captain America is Steve Rogers. The seeds of the replacement are set in that very statement.

Every time they put someone in that Cap’s uniform, THAT PERSON IS DOOMED TO FAIL AND BE REPLACED BY THE GENUINE ARTICLE. The American Dream as embodied by the character means only Steve Rogers will ever hold that role successfully by the inherent prejudice of the character’s design.

America wasn’t ready for a half-white president. The reality caused a social schism that proved racism was not only alive, but happy living in witness protection in the flyover states.

Fans will tolerate their myth-space being overturned for a moment, for the sake of diversion. But think about the nerd-rage over Heimdall becoming Black in the Thor movies. The apoplexy over Johnny Storm being adopted and the brother to Sue Richards in the new Fantastic Four movie.

The nerd answer is always: this is the true depiction of these characters and there is no reason to change them.

300px-Avengers_Vol_1_181Except they were written in a time when racism and exclusion were the order of the day. Don’t be fooled. The day when a Black Character can represent America will come. But it isn’t today. It isn’t the Falcon dressed in Captain America’s uniform.

The day will come when a Black Hero can step up with their own name, without wearing the legacy of a white hero paving the way for them. When the respect of the efforts of Black Men and Women who paved the way for this nation to be the potentially great thing that it is acknowledged by presenting that character with dignity, flaws and the bravery we know Black Men and Women deserve for their time and treatment in the US.

That hero was the Falcon. One of the first non-legacy Black heroes.

If Marvel wanted to do something significant, they would give Sam some superpowers besides, to quote Hawkeye, when the archer was passed over due to color quotas in the Peter Gyrich Avengers, “besides flying and rapping with birds”.

Amen, Hawkeye. It’s about time.

————————————–

As an added treat, from Avengers 181(back when comics were 35 cents: When the government decided the Avengers could no longer operate without its mandate, it appointed their first liaison, Peter Gyrich. I hated this man but by the time the Civil War came about, I remembered every word he said had come true. This is one of my favorite issues because we watch Hawkeye, a long-time Avenger get temporarily ousted from the team by Gyrich since the Avengers had to conform to governmental hiring statues, including it seemed, affirmative action. The Falcon wasn’t too pleased with this either. Sam Wilson is many things, but he was not digging the Token Negro thing one bit.

avengers181-09

Dissonantly Yours, with a Perspective

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Let’s start the year off with one of my favorite ideas. Good mental health and the idea of cognitive dissonance. I am a believer that one of the reasons our nation seems to have slipped its gears is the overwhelming number of dissonant events they are forced to accept just to make it through the day. With our news media in the tentacles of the great vampire squid of corporate power it becomes harder to put the pieces together and know what makes sense anymore.

So that we are all on the same page, we should start off with a more official point of view…

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE:

Social psychologists refer to cognitive dissonance as the presence of incongruent relations among cognitions (thought and understanding) that frequently results in excessive mental stress and discomfort. Ultimately, individuals who hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas and/or values frequently experience cognitive dissonance. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction.

For example, an individual is likely to experience dissonance if he or she is addicted to smoking cigarettes and continues to smoke despite believing it is unhealthy.

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

  • “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”
  • “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance.”

With this lovely explanation in mind, (thank you, Wikipedia) I am going to engage in a bit of cognitive dissonance discovery after reviewing the last few months of what passes for news. If you find yourself in agreement, you too may be experiencing a tiny bit of STRESS due to your inability to process the incongruencies of our times…

You have a right to an education…as long as you aren’t a six year old hugging another classmate and being accused of sexual harassment or unless you chew a pastry into the shape of a gun, or unless you are a Black kid who might be hungry, or distracted, or harassed by gangs or any number of other reasons you have difficulties in school; or unless the School-to-Prison pipeline is clogged and they need fresh bodies to keep those corporate prisons full…

And while we are on the topic of education, you have the right to an educationas long as we don’t need stealth bombers or tanks or any other kind of infrastructure necessary for bombing brown people all over the world. In which case, screw your education, there are people that need to be “freed” somewhere else.

You have the right to buy and smoke up to an ounce of marijuana…in Colorado. Everywhere else in the nation, you can expect to spend ten to twenty-five years in prison (if you haven’t already) for carrying that same ounce of that sweet cannabis sativa. If you’re brown expect a longer sentence, if you’re not, expect that “Affluenza” ensures you find your way into a rehab facility for…help.

You have the right to privacy…as long as you don’t expect it from your government’s intelligence agencies, your employer, the police or your spouse. The development of social media and the strange vanity of an insecure nation allows people to put everything they know, everything they do, and everything they are on public display for people who would happily exploit that information for profit. Privacy is dead, anyway.

You have the right to media representation, the ability to see yourself reflected in your local media…unless you are some shade of brown. Then you can expect that newscasters will be white men, experts on said news about brown people will be white men, consultants on the behavior of brown people will be white men, and even when the issue is about women, let’s say female reproduction for instance, the person they will be interview will be a, you guessed it, a white man. The only time you can expect to see a brown face is if it’s being married to a white one (or selling Cheerios, fighting monsters on science-fiction movies, or rejecting each other in night time dramas for their white co-workers…)

You have the right to eat food…as long as you don’t expect to know how it was raised, where it was genetically modified, or what artificial chemicals are pumped into the vat its processed in. Megacorporations like Monsanto (a chemical company, not a food company) don’t want to label their products because you might want to hold them accountable when your grandchild has three eyes attributed to genetically modified food. Don’t expect to eat healthy anymore. Frankenfoods are becoming more inevitable than ever.

You have the right of free speech…unless you are protesting the rapine corporate practices which bankrupted you, or if you happen to be a whistleblower reporting on government malfeasance. Or you say the wrong thing to a cop and he shoots you and gets a three week paid vacation before going back to work.

You have the right to remain silent…unless the cops can convince you to confess by any means necessary BEFORE they read you your Miranda or can plea bargain you into cell avoiding a trial altogether or they pay a backed up police lab to mix up your DNA and some other convicts so you can do a cool stretch in prison for a crime you didn’t commit.

You have the right to clean water…unless you live downstream from a chemical plant which spills its effluvia into your water supply causing sickness, mutation and death, or live next to a fracking facility which will poison your water supply in its quest for clean natural gas, or unless your a performance artist who really prefers your water to catch on fire.

You have the right to an attorney…not saying you can actually afford one. Some states are even considering getting rid of public defenders altogether. Not that having one will matter if your judge is being paid by prison corporations to put you behind bars to fulfill a quota and a receive a tidy payoff.

You have the right to a fair and impartial government…unless you happen to notice that half of your government is comprised of millionaires who are voting primarily for their corporate interests instead of your public safety or when you notice you work 290 days a year and are called lazy by said officials who work a mere 90 days and make $175,000 a year plus Cadillac benefits packages.

You have the right to own a house…unless you give up the right when your banking institution runs a scheme which collapses the banking industry and disrupts the world’s communal economy while forcing your property values to drop to zero, putting your house underwater and which further destabilizes the economy and puts you and everyone you know out of work and ultimately out of your home which the bank will then sell for an excellent profit to a corporate real estate agency. The circle of corporate life…guess which end you are on.

You have the right to a fair justice system…unless you are a banker who destabilizes an economy with commodities fraud, or insider trading with government officials or launders money with criminal cartels, or you get the idea. No bankers will ever be penalized as long as they can pay a fine with three weeks of earnings to the justice department. Only the protesters who stand out in front of said banks will ever be sent to jail.

You have the right to expect that when confronted by the police and unarmed you will be taken into custody…unless you happen to be handcuffed, face down, surrounded by police and get shot in the back, by accident, of course, or unless you happen to be a child walking through a field and get shot by an gun expert who couldn’t tell the difference between a real gun and a toy or unless you happen to be an unarmed but mentally disturbed man who after running from the police gets shot at and is subsequently charged with assault after the police’s bullets (from their guns) hit two innocent bystanders.

If you are driving down the road, you have the right to expect that if the police stop you, they will speak to you before they start shooting…unless there is a manhunt going on and extreme measures are necessary, as in the case of the Los Angeles police who shot up three vehicles (with people not related to the case in any way) in their hunt for a fellow officer, REPUTEDLY on a rampage. While no one, besides the rampaging officer who was set on fire and burned alive, was hurt, I am certain none of the people who were shot at for driving a vehicle that resembled the dead officer’s were pleased to be a police target without so much as a warning before shooting at them.

You have the right to discriminate…wait you don’t have that right… unless you are a highly religious zealot who believes God doesn’t want you to make cakes for homosexual couples and would rather you burn your business to the ground rather than sell a wedding cake to gay people. We will ignore all the cakes you may sell to gay party planners, corporate event, private parties and to anyone who happens to NOT announce they are gay when they come to your store. Perhaps when this case makes it to the Supreme Court, you can make a case for a “religious right” to discriminate based on their constitutional interpretation.

Can hating minorities as a “religious right” be too far behind?

Now ask yourself, when you walk out the door on any given day, how many of these do you have to put out of your mind before you can make it to your job only to engage in a different set of dissonances necessary to make it through your work environment…

Next on our list of social-psychological dysfunctions: Cultural Schizophrenia!

Dissonantly Yours,

Thaddeus Howze

PS. Normally, I tag and link all the articles these are referenced from, but I decided to let you, the reader have the fun of figuring out where and how these things affect your life, without any special news bias from me. If you can find other samples of cognitive dissonance which affect your life in particular, share them in the comments. Keep it clean, folks.

A Parting Shot

Legislative Dissonance: The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid’s Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident

Criminally dissonant

Sara Jessimy Kruzan (born January 8, 1978) is an American victim and survivor of human trafficking. In 1995, at the age of 17, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of her alleged pimp, George Gilbert Howard. She was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. As a result of her status as a convicted juvenile sentenced to life without parole, Kruzan has received national attention from individuals and judicial reform groups, who advocate for a new trial. On January 2, 2011, as a result of the media attention, Kruzan was granted clemency by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole; she remained incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. In January 2013, her sentence was reduced to second-degree manslaughter and 15 + 4 years, effectively time served, making her eligible for a parole hearing. She was found suitable for parole on June 12, 2013, and the decision was forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown. On October 25, 2013, Brown took no action on the parole board decision, thereby effectively confirming it, allowing the parole board to proceed with the parole of Kruzan. On October 31, 2013, she was paroled from Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla after serving 19 years.