This is your official invitation to join me on BlackfriendTV for the serialized reading of my book with commentary. You are free to pick and choose the questions of interest. Sharing is caring. Be sure to share with your friends and/or the people you want to save from asking these same questions. Learning is fundamental.
By now you’ve seen Django Unchained. It’s a movie and as such is meant to be entertaining; a means of distracting you from the reality of your day-to-day life. Mission accomplished.
However, when it comes to the big picture, it’s an unimportant footnote. It’s astounding to see Black people constantly revisiting old circular arguments and repeating the same observations about Hollywood representations. In this case: how no Black person could’ve made the movie (untrue), how the movie is disrespectful towards ancestors (give us your version Spike), how White people were laughing inappropriately (Black people too), how the depiction is inaccurate (it’s not a documentary)…the list goes on. But does any of it truly matter?
Obsequious validation seeking from Hollywood, blaming “The White man” or any other boogeyman to whom you attribute all your personal and social ills is not getting you what you want. Right now you’re stuck in a behavioral loop because you’re getting something from it. Somehow you’re still at the stage where you believe that even negative attention is good, complaining is productive and if you rage long enough, you’ll get your way. [By the way, that’s not “The White man”, that’s your infantile ego.] So you remain immersed in negative thoughts (energy), never changing the things you rail against or yourself because you’re thoroughly conditioned by forces (media) designed to keep you asleep. It’s not too far a stretch to say that right now, YOU ARE a SLAVE to that which you have given over your power (including your mindset).
Listen, I am merely doing the friend thing here and drawing attention to the behaviors that keep you in the same angry, frustrated, bitter 2012 state of mind. I want better for you in 2013 but that’s not enough; you have to want better for yourself. Consider carefully what truly matters, what it will take to get what you want and act accordingly.
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery” ~Bob Marley
There’s a meme floating around the internet that states: Every 40 hours, a Black person is killed by the police. I didn’t vet this report but it’s linked for your consideration. Now, whether we can actually know if the number is 100% accurate, it’s likely enough to have gotten everyone’s attention. And when I consider those numbers along with Black on Black crime statistics, it’s enough to literally make me cry.
Like many of you I care but feel powerless to stop the ever increasing wave of senseless violence or have any impact on changing the reasons why it’s occurring. And before we consider solutions, we first have to accept the fact that it IS actually happening. Sparse reporting, overwhelm and a lack of concern has led many into denial and thinking the fish-in-a-barrel style taking of Black life is an overblown urban myth. It is not; it is real.
For those of us who see and care, I have a simplistic working theory and a partial solution. It sounds trite (and unoriginal) but if I had a fancy infographic, my theory it would read like this:
People don’t like Black people: Police are people. Black people are people: Black people don’t like themselves.
Accordingly: Hurting people that nobody likes (Black people) is okay (deserved). And people that don’t like themselves hurt people (esp. those in close proximity) that look like them.
Black people and Black men in particular are in desperate need of a strong public relations campaign (damage control) and mass deprogramming sessions.
I am in no way excusing Black people from the ways in which we contribute to the reasons why we’re (to put it mildly) “not liked” and flat out killing each other. However, I am suggesting that these behaviors are in large part a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy, further promoted by the way we’re portrayed –and as a consequence, become how we view ourselves and others who look like us. [That was a mouthful] Even the shining beacon that is President Obama in the Oval Office has not been enough to overcome massively deficient public and self-perception; especially when not even the President can escape blatant, race-based disrespect.
How can we convince damaged people that their lives are worthwhile and valuable when there are so many indications to the contrary? My ideas are not totally practical. I am frustrated and sad but I am not totally without hope. I am merely venting.
Did I need to say I wasn’t referring to ALL Black people? Does it matter? The overall perception does not change. Please click the picture or this link and check out Brainwashed.
As the “story” of Trayvon Martin spreads, I doubt we can/will ever know the Truth. And who believes a solution will be found that will satisfy ALL interested parties? But that doesn’t stop people from reposting, re-tweeting and otherwise spreading information, whether it’s true or not.
I’m very concerned because it’s mostly NOT about keeping the story alive; and now, I keep seeing talk of an impending race war/race riots. Conditions are ripe: longstanding buried racial tension, economic frustration, rampant political partisanship and lack of civil discourse coupled with inflammatory reporting by the media. And don’t think it can’t happen because there are plenty of unstable people who would love nothing more than for the country to be (further) destabilized by interracial violence.
The main problem with this (besides the obvious) is just like a drive-by shooting, it’s rarely the fringe types who are affected when something happens. And what if you did get word of a race war, what would you do? Who could you trust? Where would you turn for day-to-day updates? As my mother is fond of saying as a proof: “It was on the news AND the internet.” While the part about the news may have meant something many, many years ago; you also can’t totally rely on the Internet. We never see the retractions, corrections or apologies for disseminating information that could easily have been fact checked – and the damage is done.
I’m reminded of the old War of the Worlds scenario where a panic was caused based on a radio drama–because the people were already living in a heightened state of anxiety. WE are there. And with technology the way it is, isn’t this so much more likely today?
I guess we’re just going to have to trust each other, in the inherent good in the majority of people and stop giving into the worst/basest instincts in each of us. If you agree, PLEASE spread THIS message and don’t be afraid to call out the crap when and where you see it – even/especially from a person that looks like YOU.
It’s the fact that even in a 3-piece suit, you can’t hail a cab;
That you’ve shopped and been followed as a risk;
That you can’t congregate without raising suspicion.
And the fact that you have to defend against being thought/called a racist;
That there’s never an opportunity to “talk” about race relations;
That it’s easier and possible to pretend like everything is equal.
I wonder if we will use this latest “incident” (Trayvon Martin) to talk about what really ails us as a nation. So far it’s not looking that way. Everyone is lining up in their usual corner: name calling, casting aspersions, leveraging for monetary/political gain, etc. What happened to the “teachable moment” talk?
I don’t need you, these figureheads or talking heads to tell me we have a serious problem and that the way Trayvon Martins are seen is a symptom of that much bigger problem. Or that the ONLY reason we are taking about Trayvon Martin is because the perpetrator is NOT Black. Because to the media, Trayvon Martin is just a story with a perfect lead in (racial strife); one that will likely fade from the public imagination as soon as something “better” comes along. But to me, Trayvon Martin is more than a story with an expected outcome. He was a person who suffered the lethal consequences of our inability to talk about race relations, inequality, stereotypes, media bias, historical implications and easily anticipated consequences.
Are we even capable of TALKING to each other anymore? Or better yet, are we capable of hearing each other? We can lock up the accused but we still have to have this out – preferably in conversation – hopefully sooner than later.