I ain’t Mad At’Cha Bro: Open letter to Ryan Lochte

Dear Ryan,

You been taking a lot of heat for your recent shenanigans in Rio but I wanted you to know that this angry black guy is not the least bit mad at you bro. In fact I kind of appreciate you and the rest of the bros going to Brazil and doing your bro thing. You really showed them what America  white America is all about. You should be in the Broham Hall of fame for  what you did before and after that encounter with that Brazilian gas station bathroom (that had the audacity to be closed when the bros needed it most) was more American White American than eating apple pie during the seventh inning stretch of a Boston Red Sox vs New Yankees  game while some C-list celebrity sings Take me out to the Ball game (followed by God bless America).

ryan and boys

ryan and matt

Seriously bro–you dudes were on some certified American exceptionalism type shit and I applaud your high level of keeping it realness. Now you may think I’m being facetious for applauding you for keeping in real when it is crystal clear that you were lying through your Speedos when you claimed that you were robbed by some locals in Brazil but lets be real– You are not the first white dude that blamed a crime on some phantom colored person to escape the wrath of a society that sometimes forgets that with privilege comes an opt out clause when it comes to accountability. Their fault not yours bro, because this practice of evading responsibility for ones acts or inventing facts to coincide with a specific narrative is as old as the America (s)that Christopher Columbus “discovered”. I mean did Brain Williams & Hillary Clinton really come under sniper fire as they publicly claimed? All indications are they both lied– or as your boy Billy Bush would say embellished when speaking on their  dalliances with war zones.

Brian is still passed off as one of the most trusted names in media and Hillary barring a catastrophic upset from an even more duplicitous white American is on her way to becoming the first female president of these United states. So why should you apologize for simply being a typical American white male with access to fame and fortune? And who is Al Roker to judge you? He of all people should understand that you were well within your rights to trash a bathroom in Brazil for not being open when you needed it; lie about the facts of the case before fleeing the country without giving your fellow bros a heads up. I mean they’re good ole American white boys too–not your fault that they were slow to play their white privilege card. Speaking of Al Roker word on the street (actually word from the NY Post) is that he was reprimanded for his public rebuke of yourself so ignore that brother–he obviously does not get the fact that you are a white dude fully cloaked in and protected by the  umbrella of white supremacy/white privilege and that even though Tamir Rice (12), Trayvon Martin (17) and Mike Brown (18) were all considered men by the mainstream media that reported their justified murders, at 32 and in a third world nation full of scary brown people you and the bros are still just kids doing what kids do. And while Ralph Lauren and a few other sponsors dropped you for your “youthful” indiscretions thankfully Dancing with the Stars still honors your privilege card. So ignore all of the naysayers that say that you embarrassed America over in Brazil. You did not embarrass America you showed them the true America. Your actions in Brazil and subsequent non-plausible denials was the best representation of America put on display in the Olympics. At least the most accurate representation. Sure there was a whole lot of #blackgirlmagic on display over the course of the last few weeks in Rio but…

…none of the precious medal winning performances by Allyson Felix (track & field), Brianna Rollins (track & field)  Claressa Shields (boxing), Gabby Douglas (gymnastics) Daliliah Muhammad (track & field),  Kristi Castlin (track & field), Nia Ali (track & field) Michelle Carter (shot put) Ibtihaj Muhammad (fencing), Simone Biles (gymnastics) or Simone Manuel (swimming) at the end of the day matter. They do not hail from or represent the America that you do bro.  You represent exactly what the median white id looks like. The Ryan Locthe ethose is what America Murica is made of. You are what all lives and blue lives matter is made of. You are who both Donald Trump and Hillary for that matter represent. You are  America bro. And I ain’t mad at you one bit!

 

Signed,

The Angry Black guy (but not at you bro)

 

PS Al Roker keep on stirring your drink bruh. I get what you really mean to say 😉

 

 

 

 

STOP THE MADNESS: The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis and Dontre Hamilton are NOT the Mothers of the Movement

I’m probably gonna ruffle a few feathers with this one but someone has to do it. It has to  be said and overstated that The grieving mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis,  Dontre Hamilton and Mike Brown are nothing close to being the mothers of any kind of movement and to label them as such for the express purpose of getting Hillary Clinton elected  president is as embarrassing as it is offensive. Offensive and embarrassing to the untold mothers who have had to bury their sons and daughters due to an encounter with an overzealous  non-empathetic cop and  offensive and embarrassing to the millions of people from all walks of life that have taken to the streets with myriad acts of civil defiance  seeking redress for the long standing and ongoing grievance of state, local and federal police officers abusing their authority and murdering innocent unarmed black people with impunity.

When Hillary was not on the chitterling circuit  with these mothers shoring up her southern  firewall (also known as the black vote) she was in the homes of the other half of her southern constituency (Dixicrats) raising funds and talking about “the issues”

The two diametrically opposed dispositions by Hillary Clinton in the last two videos is rivaled in galling political pivots only by the great feat that her husband pulled off in June of 1992 while he himself was on the stump. During Bill Clinton’s  first bid for the white house  he played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show to illustrate how down he was with the blacks and ten days later at a Rainbow Coalition event using Jesse Jackson as a backdrop he conflated an  out of context a musing by Sister Souljah with some of the lyrics in one of her songs to build up a black radical  boogey monster  that he was there to destroy. He actually compared her to David Duke to an audience full of black people. Of course his true audience were not the black folks sitting in attendance.

bill plays the sax
June 3, 1992: Bill playing the sax on Arsenio Hall letting the good black voters of the 90’s know that he can shuck and jive with the best of them
bill clinton disses sister souljah
June 13, 1992: Bill Clinton using his invitation to a Rainbow Coalition Convention to assure the soccer moms and NASCAR dads of America that he is willing ready and able to put black folks in their place as Jesse Jackson looks on in bemusement.

To be clear the movement that they are referring to as being the progeny of these women is the #blacklivesmatter movement. And to be even more clear it is a movement  that the murders of the children of these women no doubt helped buoy and embolden. For that these women should be recognized for as having paid the ultimate sacrifice. No mother should have to endure what Sybrina Fulton, (mother Trayvon Martin), Lucia McBath,  (mother of Jordan Davis), Geneva Reed-Veal, (mother of Sandra Bland), Gwen Carr, (mother of Eric Garner), Maria Hamilton( mother of Dontre Hamilton) Samaria Rice (mother of Tamir Rice) or Lesley McSpadden (mother of Mike Brown) have had to endure. All of these women are inextricably linked to the movement due to their involuntarily blood sacrifice, but to call these grieving mothers the mothers of the actual movement is to deeply discount the millions of black mothers before them that have lost their children to state sanctioned and/or white vigilante violence. Before these women there was Mammy Till, mother or Emmit Till, Eloise Glover, mother of Clifford Glover, Kaddiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, Valarie Bell, mother of Sean Bell and hundreds and even thousands of other mothers in the last decade alone that walked the same precarious walk that these mothers have had to. For these women to sell out their share of the movement for the perks and pittance that only a Super Pack with tons of dark money can afford is unconscionable. And no, I don’t have proof that this group of grieving mothers were paid for their less than logical endorsement but I’m pretty sure that they were.

The true irony in  the Stockholm like love that Hillary is getting from the “Mothers of the Movement” and the millions of other less than enlightened black politicos, pundits and voters that have her well on the way to the democratic presidential nomination is that she has successfully  latched herself on to a movement created to abate a problem that she and her husband greatly exacerbated while Bill Clinton was president and she was the first lady touting his “tough on crime” legislative goals.

Mike Browns mother Lesley McSppaden encapsulates the kind of incongruity inherent in the logic of these mothers “I’m with her” proclamation with this ringing yet confusing endorsement.

Since August 9, 2014, I have wondered where do we go from here? I have made it this far by my faith, but we need more than faith. Our criminal justice system is broken and damaged, and it left broken hearts and damage in our communities. Fixing this will require time and commitment of someone who wants to make things better for us all. I want a leader who is willing to take the steps to reform a justice system that dehumanized my son. I want a leader who will now honor my son’s life and fights for our children’s futures. I want a justice system that is fundamentally based on fairness for everyone…This election season, we are at battle for the soul of our nation…if we want to continue to build on the progress made by our country, we need a president who is ready to lead–and I trust Hillary” ~ Lesley McSppaden

Ms. McSppaden seems to have a solid grasp on the kind of cultural construct in law enforcement that deems it prudent to dehumanize and over criminalize black people to justify their lethal method of policing but she seems totally oblivious to the not so hidden political forces that empower them. For every 100 police officers that have said “I feared for my life” or “he reached for my gun” to explain away them shooting to death an unarmed African-American there’s at least that many politicians on the local, state and national level pushing the kind of hyper-criminalized trope to create the space for these men to continue to get away with murder. It’s no coincidence that the super predator trope was used by Darren Wilson to escape justice after he murdered her son in cold blood. I mean he did not come out and call Mike Brown a Super Predator but you’d be hard pressed to argue that he was not inferring as much after reading the following quotes of his to the grand jury that ultimatley decided that he was justified in killing McSppaden’s son.

Darren Wilson on the initial confrontation at his car:

DW: I see them walking down the middle of the street. And first thing that struck me was they’re walking in the middle of the street. I had already seen a couple cars trying to pass, but they couldn’t have traffic normal because they were in the middle, so one had to stop to let the car go around and then another car would come. And the next thing I noticed was the size of the individuals because either the first one was really small or the second one was really big...

He then grabs my door again and shuts my door. At that time is when I saw him coming into my vehicle. His head was higher than the top of my car. And I see him ducking and as he is ducking, his hands are up and he is coming in my vehicle.

I had shielded myself in this type of manner and kind of locked away, so I don’t remember seeing him come at me, but I was hit right in the side of the face with a fist. I don’t think it was a full-on swing, I think it was a full-on swing, but not a full shot. I think my arm deflected some of it, but there was still a significant amount of contact that was made to my face.

And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.

prosecutor/defense attorney*: Holding onto a what?

DW:Hulk Hogan, that’s just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm.

Prosecutor/defense attorney*: And it was your opinion that you needed to pull out your weapon because why did you feel that way, I don’t want to put words in your mouth?

I felt that another one of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse. I mean it was, he’s obviously bigger than I was and stronger and the, I’ve already taken two to the face I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right.

He grabs my gun, says, “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.” The gun goes down into my hip and at that point I thought I was getting shot. I can feel his fingers try to get inside the trigger guard with my finger and I distinctly remember envisioning a bullet going into my leg. I thought that was the next step.

Like I said, I was just so focused on getting the gun out of me. When I did get it up to this point, he is still holding onto it and I pulled the trigger and nothing happens, it just clicked. I pull it again, it just clicked again.

At this point I’m like why isn’t this working, this guy is going to kill me if he gets a hold of this gun. I pulled it a third time, it goes off. When it went off, it shot through my door panel and my window was down and glass flew out of my door panel. I think that kind of startled him and me at the same time.

Darren Wilson on what happened once he exited his vehicle:

DW: The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.

When I look up after that, I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him. I then get out of my car. As I’m getting out of the car I tell dispatch, “shots fired, send me more cars.”

We start running, kind of the same direction that Johnson had pointed. Across the street like a diagonal towards this, kind of like where the parking lot came in for Copper Creek Court and Canfield, right at that intersection. And there is a light pole right there, I remember him running towards the light pole.

So when he stopped, I stopped. And then he starts to turn around, I tell him to get on the ground, get on the ground.

He turns, and when he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me. His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me.

At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.

And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.

And when he gets about that 8 to 10 feet away, I look down, I remember looking at my sites and firing, all I see is his head and that’s what I shot.

I don’t know how many, I know at least once because I saw the last one go into him. And then when it went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.

 

Again he did not call Mike Brown a super predator but he sure did describe him as such. He actually got away with telling a jury of HIS peers that Mike Brown who was unarmed and already wounded by at least one round from his .40 caliber pistol grunted at him and charged him head on before having to be put down for good with what was left in his clip. If only Mike Brown’s mother and the mothers of the other well chronicled victims of police abuse were enlightened enough to connect the dots they would know that Hillary is neither a leader or a visionary when in comes to truly understanding and rectifying the problem of our broken criminal justice system.

Hillary did not invent the Super Predator bathos and neither did Bill Clinton. They both however used it in the most insidious and political expedient ways to justify their means to an end. These mothers have every right to endorse who they wish but I don’t think that it’s too much to ask them to leave the movement out of such a dubious decision.  They certainly cannot lay claim to the “Mothers of the Movement” moniker while bestowing undue praise on the very same  people who helped necessitate the movement in the first place.

 

the real mothers of the movement
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi are the creators of the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. A hashtag that has helped galvanize and inspire millions to fight back. If there is a mother to the movement these three women are it.

7 Reasons why Kwanzaa Is A Great Weapon In The fight Against Police Brutality

Washington Post reporter and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart recently wrote a long winded nonsensical blog questioning attacking Kwanzaa, its merit and its worth to the  black community. The misguided missive was written under the guise of attacking a racist tea Party Congressman who he quotes in his piece as saying:

“Why must we still hear about Kwanzaa?…Why are hard-core left wingers still trying to talk about Kwanzaa — the supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year’s?”….Of course, almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa — just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans,” ~ Tea Party Congressmen Glenn Grothman

Now this was said almost two years ago (January of 2013) by the incoming freshmen republican congressman while he was still in the Wisconsin state senate so I find it odd that Capehart would use this guys wayward musing as a spring board to express his own dislike for the “made up” holiday (as if all holidays are not made up) almost two whole years later. Capehart goes on to say:

“Kwanzaa-themed holiday cards elicited hard eye rolls from me and a few choice words delivered . When a well-meaning white friend sent me a Kwanzaa card a few years back, I was enraged for hours. A Christmas card would have done nicely. My disdain for the holiday runs so deep that when Kwanzaa was the answer in the game Heads Up, my clue was “made up black holiday!” My teammate answered the question without a nanosecond’s hesitation. The ensuing laughter can only be described as uncontrollable.” Jonathan Capehart

Now I don’t begrudge Mr. Capehart for eschewing  the Kwanzaa holiday in lieu of the more mainstream holidays that puts his bosses, BFF’s and  adversaries at ease. I have not celebrated it in a significant way since the late 90’s so it’s not at all one of those monolithic endeavors that would get your black card revoked if not adhered to. However as a black man working in the mainstream media it’s not a good look to be so overtly and needlessly dismissive of the cultural construct–it’s one of those opinions that he could and should have totally kept to himself. As a black man in mainstream media you should be duty bound to respect black culture–even aspects as obscure as the decades old Kwanzaa holiday. Especially when so many of its principals are so contemporaneously apropos. One could even argue that the 7 principals that comprise the holiday is the perfect panacea for the ongoing problem of police brutality and misconduct. It’s principals are the antithesis being a victim or a purveyor of violence.

1. Unity

Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."

When Mike Brown was shot down in cold blood in broad daylight in August of 2014, in addition to claiming the life of an 18 year old college bound African-American, those bullets that recklessly exited Officer Darren Wilson’s gun sent out a clarion call to African-America. It was in and of itself a unifying call.  Umoja which is the first principal of Kwanzaa is all about unity and even though it was precipitated by a heinous act of hate, the spontaneous combustion that ensued gave rise to a movement. One that is focused, fortified and fearless. An American spring led by a black agenda with tangible demands. #blacklives matter is one of the central themes of the movement–now what’s more Kwanzaa than that?

2. Self-Determination

Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

A lack in the self-determination has been a problem possessed by the black family ever since the first slave ships reached the shores of Jamestown VA, in 1619. Some 395 years later it still remains the crux of the problem as it pertains to full equality for the black family in America. Self-Determination, or Kujichagulia as it pertains to the current grass rooted protest is what has people like Pat Lynch and other notable and formerly respected voices speaking in such unhinged ways exposing to the world what community activists have long decried as an endemic and systemic culture of abuse and disregard for black life within the department.

“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.” ~Pat Lynch (Police Union Boss)
“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.” ~Pat Lynch (Police Union Boss)

Self-determination is not just putting your enemy on blast. It’s also respectfully telling your friends “no can do” just as these very same protesters that are being threatened with war did Mayor De Blasio upon his request that protest be halted until the two slain officers are buried. If the “benevolent” officers of NYC see fit to wear “I Can Breath” t-shirts as an affront to the protest and as a show of support for killer cops, than protesters should be able to continue the protests that have absolutely nothing to do with two slain officers.

One could never accuse NYPD of  being too sensitive (or bright).
One could never accuse NYPD of being too sensitive (or bright).

3. Collective Work And Responsibility

Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
Ferguson clean up
The News Media is quick to show who rioted, looted and burned the place down, but they’re awfully slow to show you who was out there cleaning it up. If they show it at all.

Being that many of these protests, from Ferguson to NYC are carbon copies of protests from the past, the mere notion of people today petitioning their local, state and federal government for redress of long standing grievances indicates ones connection and more over ones understanding that we who protest in 2014 stand firmly on the shoulders of those that were fighting this same power in 1964. Ujima reminds us that we are part of a continuum. One that we too must pay forward with our blood, sweat, tears and even lives (for some).

ferguson-palestine-girl

One of the more heartwarming and crucial connections that were made during the tragedy that is the Town of Ferguson is the linkage to the Palestinian cause. The global  connection in addition to the parents and Mike Brown taking their grievance to the United Nations is the embodiment of this generations responsibility to the world. It’s also a reminder that white supremacy is the enemy and that enemy is global. It’s also what helped buoyed the respective movements pus

fergusonpalestine3

4. Cooperative Economics

Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

The 4th Kwanzaa principal is perhaps the crown jewel when it comes to principled protest. The power of the purse just as it did during the Montgomery Bus boycott has the power to move the previously immovable. When the call went out to boycott Black Friday a lot of black people balked. They rightfully logically surmised that a single day of abstaining from shopping will only net higher sales receipts the following days as Black Friday merely marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. With that point duly noted many decided to sit out the entire 2014 Christmas shopping season. Black Friday sales were down about 11 percent and while I don’t know the exact figure overall, I do know that it’s down from last season. It’s not down in a mountain moving kind of way but this is just the beginning. Next year with a little more honing the holiday season boycott could be every bit as effective a weapon as the Montgomery Bus boycott which itself took well over 300 straight days of all manners of sacrifice to come to fruition as the game changer that it was. A sustained annual protest of Black Friday and the commercial Christmas holiday shopping season, if done in a unified manner could be the the most powerful weapon wielded collectively since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.

Mall die in

And here’s why: Many of the giant retailers like Target and Walmart  that siphon the expendable incomes of poor to upper middle class blacks are strategically located in or around these majority black communities. This means that black people, and black people primarily  have the ability to stop many of these stores bottom lines from ever getting out of the red and into the black. That’s a pretty powerful thing to do. It’s one hell of a statement to make. Especially since both Walmart and Target are already in the legislative game. Often times to the peril of many of their shoppers so there really is a direct correlation and leaning on them as a political strategy is actually the logical thing to do. The American Legislative Council (ALEC) is an organization of corporate conglomerates that lobbies congress and state houses across the nation for laws and bills most favorable to their respective bottom lines. One of the more nefarious bills successfully lobbied for and implemented around the country is the Stand Your Ground law. You don’t need me to remind you of how bad such a law is for black people. However you might want to remind Walmart that #blacklivesmatter.

The money saved from being spent with these major corporate conglomerates could and should be spent with black and small neighborhood businesses so that the dollars you spend actually have a chance to contribute to the growth of your community.

5. Purpose

Nia (NEE-YAH) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

Protests must have principal and in order to find principal in protest one must establish purpose. Truth be told their has been a purpose for organized protest for many centuries now. Along the way we have been side tracked and distracted but thanks to people like George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo we will never forget our purpose.

6. Creativity

Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

The creative energies out in the street in mass protest are undeniable. From the chants of “No Justice, no Peace, no racist police”, to the creative and thought provoking signs and internet memes that makes mockery of our nations failed justice system. The rush hour traffic shut downs, the mall protests and die-ins are all examples of the creative forces bringing about much needed change. The creative ways in which these protests are agitating the populace is keeping the protests at least one step ahead of the police and moreover forcing the mainstream media who has for years been adept at ignoring or outright misrepresenting black pain into actually covering it. So much so that the fight against police brutality has been voted the biggest story of 2014. It only took about 400 years…

7. Faith

Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the current pathology that engulfs black people today and come away discouraged. Devoid of a long view that employs nuance of thought it’s completely logical to come away with a rather pessimistic view for the future. It’s even easier to come away with the opinion that these protests are a waste of time and energy and will yield zero gains. Such primordial  misunderstanding is understandable but no longer acceptable. No longer can we rely on short views of historical problems. No more vacuous conversations that at best can only come up with linear solutions to holistic problems. Imani does mean faith, but it ain’t the kind of faith that you learned about in Sunday school. It’s not blind faith. It’s an open up your damn eyes and look what’s going on (and has been going on) kind of faith.  Once that kind of perspective is gained it is  rarely lost. It is more often than not spread.

In summation

In summation the sum total of the 7 day celebration is one that runs parallel to the mission at hand, so why not partake? It’s not a religious holiday, nor does it conflict with the Christmas holiday. And since Santa Clause has next to nothing to do with Baby Jesus in the manger it even makes sense to do your gift giving AFTER the 25th. It also makes very sound personal economic sense since pretty much everything that you purchase will be discounted to the tune of 70 percent o better.

Think about it….