Why I Love Scandal

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FYI This blog is now an ARCHIVE. All new posts will occur HERE in my new Awake Black Woman space on the web. Sorry blog dot com but you suck and I am therefore ditching out and moving everything to WORDPRESS. The following is my FINAL POST on this blog: ENJOY!
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Here is my Scandal post. The one I’ve been promising my Five Reader Crew (FRC) since forever. I was prompted to finally get on the ball by a recent discussion post about the television show Scandal over at one of my favorite internet hangouts, the OHN Blog. This post is an expansion of one of my comments on that thread. Because I’m Wordsmith, I could write whole dissertations while commenting on blogs, so I tried to keep my ish as short and sweet as possible. What also happened, was that I was for the first time able to articulate just why I love Shonda Rhime’s Scandal, and why this show is so popular with Black women.

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First, I will acknowledge that there is a lot to discuss here. You can Google and get in on all that. What I’m doing here is distilling it all down to the essential thing – the thing that I think many fans of the show may not even realize is a huge part of their attraction to the show. I think it starts out being very subconscious and slowly rises to the top of your mind. Maybe that’s what happened to me to, because it took so long for me to actually be able to lay a finger on it, besides the usual, more closer to the surface reasons for loving a TV show – excellent writing, great casting etc.

I read somewhere that it’s tacky to quote oneself. Well it’s also tacky to have a TV show set in New York or Chicago without any POCs in sight, so whatever. I’ll be quoting from my comment on the aforementioned blog discussion and breaking them further down. So you can better know just why I love Scandal so damn much.

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Easy On The Eyes

My brain gets to rest when I watch that show. My eyes are soothed and comforted. Because I’m not sitting tense in my chair squinching my eyes and peering at my monitor – hunting for that one POC I’m hoping will show up somewhere sometime on my screen.

This is one of those Things that chips away at you if you are Of Color and live in America. “Normal” TV is white people doing everything, all the time. You put up with those needling pinpricks of pain because maybe a show or a movie is in the genre that you love, and well you tune in anyway, and hope against history that you’ll see a decent representative of yourself showing up on your screen. That is the trade off POCs make day after day after day. Endure the ouch so you can tune in to the entertainment you love. How effed up is that? Didn’t know it was like that for us? Now you know.

As a Black woman, when I watch Scandal, I’m not stressed out. I’m not sitting in the comfort of my home encapsulated in a full suit of body armor in hopes it will protect me against the pain inflicted upon me from what I’m watching. I’m chilling. I’m at ease. I’m actually comfortable. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are drunk on the koolaid or too steeped in your privilege and have never had to experience television or movie watching like we have.

Shonda Rhimes makes Normal TV for ME.

Hello – GOODBYE

I don’t have to cross my fingers and wish and hope that I’ll get to see a Black female character on my screen – one that doesn’t blip by in 1.24 seconds while the camera lingers lovingly on white faces. One that doesn’t show up for one episode simply to be a foil for the (usually) white protagonist before being killed off or written out of the storyline.

Let me tell you a story. A fairy tale perhaps. Maybe an example of what happens all the time and when it does it kills you inside just a little. (Or maybe actually quite a lot). Once upon a time there was a television show called Once Upon A Time. The cast was (as per usual for American TV shows) nearly all completely totally white. The only Black person around for miles (not an extra, not background filler, but part of the main cast) was a Black guy and he (of course) was BAD.

In the fourth episode of this blizzardly whiteout, OMG! A splash of color! Cinderella’s fairy godmother appears! She is Black, she is Beautiful, She has a fabulous gown and is all magical and sparkly and glowy and hurrah! Now we’re talkin! And that suit of body armor starts to slip off a little.

She is onscreen for barely two minutes, about to hook Cinderella up with all her bling and glass slippers and whatsnot when BAM!!! Rumplestiltskin (white male) snuffs her out and steals her wand. It was brutal, sudden, unnecessary and callous. And yes, I took it very personally.

Aside from that pervasive phenomenon, you get WOC being cast as lures if they are cast at all, and even worse feeble and failed attempts to rise to the greatness of Scandal and failing miserably with the likes of having a WOC billed as the lead and then… She is left to suffer stereotypical storylines, and shunted aside repeatedly in favor of her white co-stars from promotional advertising to actual screen time. Deception anyone? Aptly named show, if you ask me.

I could easily list about 10 or 20 more examples but I won’t.

Let’s talk camera work. “…hope that I’ll get to see a Black female character on my screen – one that doesn’t blip by in 1.24 seconds while the camera lingers lovingly on white faces.”

That scittering away from Black faces camera work thing angers me to no end. And this is part of that whole unconscious thing I mentioned at the top of this post. Kerry Washington is all up on my screen, all the time, every episode and I’m loving it. Your soul is loving it too, you just didn’t realize that that is a big part in your attraction to this show. Now you know.

Just how Oprah gave a lesson to all TV show techs on How To Light A Set For Black People, this show soothes with the science of seeing me reflected back at me. You don’t know how much the opposite of that is actually affecting you until you get exposed to camera work that doesn’t ignore and sideline POC actors.

Thank You Shonda Rhimes

If I ever get to meet Shonda Rhimes I will thank her personally for the gift that is Olivia Pope and her TV show Scandal. I’m not happy with all of her character choices for Olivia and the show in general, but as it is ongoing, I’m interested to wait it out and see where she is taking things. “Side piece” is the least of what Olivia Pope is and certainly doesn’t define her. But if that is all you want to take away from this show, then so be it. But IMO I think you are missing out on a paradigm shift in television entertainment.

A show that actually has a Black woman in it. A character that isn’t specially created to appear just once in one episode and then disappear forever. A Black woman cast as one of the main characters. And said character isn’t a caricature or a stereotype. A Black woman as the main character. As the protagonist. As the star of the whole friggin shebang.

A television show on a major network on prime time TV, that stars a Black woman. A successful show. (On March 21, 2013, Scandal acheived a series-high 2.8 18-49 rating, and 8.51 million viewers.) A show that has the BUZZ. A show that not only features a Black woman as the lead, but was created by a Black woman, has supporting POC characters, and POCs in re-occurring roles. A show that has POCs writing for POC characters.

A Black female lead in a highly rated and highly successful television show, written and created by a Black female. That happens a lot. I’m not saying support it just because of that. But don’t dismiss it outright either. I’m not being very articulate, but what I think it breaks down to for me, is that there is a safe harbor for me to go to every week. A rest from the microaggressions, the negating, the huge block of entertainment out there that doesn’t even bother to include me, much less have a complicated, humanly flawed and incredibly interesting character for me to enjoy, relate to and talk about.

A television show that has a Black woman starring. The character she plays is fleshed out, not one-dimensional. She has flaws like you and me. She is also a powerhouse in her own right. She is highly successful at what she does, and surrounds herself with hand-picked squad of “Gladiators In Suits” to help her get the job DONE. She is at the top of her game. She is human. She is multi-faceted and complicated. She looks like ME. I can relate to the lead role in a popular, smart, well-written, successful television show.

The things I have just written in the last few paragraphs are revolutionary. Those things are anomalies and not the norm. Find me any currently on the air television shows that are doing all of those same things and I’ll write you a check from my Life Savings Account.

Do you GET what that means to me? To have that safe harbour? To be able to strip away that body armor and just curl up in my jammies and sip my tea and be simply entertained without having the worry, the stress, the killing me slowly piece by piece that occurs with 99.99% of every damn thing else on television today? Do You Understand???

That’s why I love Scandal.

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*Something you should know if you don’t know already. I “cut the cord” years ago and I don’t watch television. The cable that comes into my house is for the internet ONLY. The cable provider also takes care of my land-line telephone. That’s IT. I started watching Scandal on Netflix and then hulu to get the more recent airings.

On that note, I urge all POCs to consider the soul-killing damaging effects of exposing yourself to television all the time. From the content, depiction of yourselves, and yes, even the advertising that comes along in between all that – you could do yourself and your family a great service if you begin to wrest more control over what you see, and what you choose for your entertainment.

Netflix, while far from perfect allows you to choose and be in control of what you and yours watch. From television shows to movies. There are other services you can use that allow you to have that same power – hulu, amazon, blockbuster online (I think), youtube, and keep your eyes peeled for Red Box online movie screening coming to your computers soon.

Take the money you are spending on television and apply it areas where you have control over what you see. Look at your bill. How much are you paying for cable? How much does the average Netflix and/or hulu subscription cost? Factor in those tangible “intangibles” like that suit of armor I spoke about and things like spiritual and emotional damage and: Do The Math.

Keep your eyes peeled for and support Black/POC created, and Black/POC cast, and Black/POC written web series <—LIKE THESE. This is the new area where we are saying eff you Hollywhite we going to do our own thing. Keep your eyes on indie films and directors of color not only from the US, but world wide. Become international. Be savvy.

Regain control of what media comes into your home, and support that things you find that you love not only financially, but by watching, by tweeting, by signal boosting on Facebook, your blogs and other social media. Over brunch with your girlfriends, at a family gathering and so forth.

Donate when and if you can. Put your hard earned money towards the people that are creating entertainment by and for YOU. And in the process you are taking away support from the places that don’t do or have that. Money is the language they speak. Ratings, box office, viewership numbers = The Bottom Line. Drain away their income and direct it in more healthy directions.

Be a part of the paradigm shift.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where a Shonda Rhimes and TV shows like Scandal are the norm and not the anomaly?

Non-Traditional Casting.

Organization of Black Screenwriters (OBS).

Proof Is In The Percentages

This is no joke.

Black people make up 22% of the poor but only 14% of the government benefits.

Meaning, 8% of poor Black people are not taking government benefits when they need them.

White people make up 42% of the poor but receive 69% of the government benefits. Meaning, there are white people who are classified as middle class who are receiving government benefits.

But welfare queens and lazy Black people wanting handouts.

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In the U.S., where ninety-six percent of the reported perpetrators of rape are white, eighty percent of the men in prison for rape are black.

Because well, THIS.

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Chicago: Black students are 45% of the student body. But they are 76% of those suspended.
New York: Black students are 30% of the student body. But they are 54% of those suspended.
Los Angeles: Black students are 9% of the student body. But are 28% of those suspended.

With the increasing existence of school-to-prison pipelines, stemming almost directly from student suspension populations, you just gotta wonder…

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Don’t want to get stopped (and frisked) by the NYPD? Stop Being Black.

There were 601, 285 stops in 2010: 53% Black people, 9% white people.

Top reason for being stopped: 32% “furtive movements”.

Number of stops with Black people including: up against the wall/ on the ground/ had gun, pepper spray or baton drawn: 28,359.

How many of those were NOT arrested afterwards? 76%.

Percentage of all Black people stopped that did NOT have any contraband on them: 98%.

32,375 stops with Black people were for: “Having a suspicious bulge”; 1 (ONE) found to have a pistol.

Wow, with stats like those, if this program was actually about stopping crime and fighting drugs, it would have been trashed years ago. Instead we have a continued thinly disguised pogrom of sanctioned harassment, discrimination and racism.

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Peep THESE percentages:

The Mass Incarceration of Black men.

Slavery by Another Name.

Thanks, Abo. You are always my go-to guy.

On Marriage

A little background on myself and marriage. My parents have been married for a bazillion years and are still married and will stay married forever.

Although I’ve had three marriage proposals, I have never been married myself. I am for the most part, heterosexual, so I have the privilege of one day getting married if I want to. But I do know that I have the capability to fall in love with a woman, so if that happens and I’m marriage minded, I know that I don’t have the equal right and access to marry as I would if I fell in love with and wanted to marry a man.

And there is also a reason I put in the words “marriage minded”. Because, on the whole of it, I am not. But far be it for me to deny anyone – ANYONE – the rights and privileges that come with legal marriage, because – well because for any reason.

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I like to break things down here on this blog. So I’m going to break down what marriage is in the United States of America. It is a legally binding contract. It has nothing to do with love. It has nothing to do with religion.

Case in point. I was the maid of honor at my college roommate’s wedding. This was a ceremony that was pretty much hands on. Meaning that I arrived a day early to help out with all the stuff that was being done by family members. The bride’s maid dresses were all sewn by a family member. The flower arrangements, the food, the cake, the decorations – everything all done by family and friends.

It was a gorgeous wedding on the beach, under a canopy Jewish style with a female Rabbi presiding. After the ceremony she was hunting me down, because I was one of the people who needed to sign the legal paperwork as witnesses to the legal proceedings. See, all the preparation, the lovely ceremony, the people flying in from all over – all of that was just window dressing. If I’d somehow managed to fly off and not sign that document – they would not have been legally married. (Well, of course, I’m sure they would have found another witness, but you get my drift).

If you wish to pledge your life together in front of family and friends and before God in a church – why that’s just fine and dandy. But unless there is legal paperwork and signed documentation – you are not considered married under the laws of this country.

I’ve been to all kinds of weddings. Buddhist, Christian, Hippie, Catholic-Quaker – and most gut-wrenchingly those ceremonies between same-sex couples that you know even as they are pledging their love in front of family, friends and God – are not actual legal and binding – and that would break my heart into pieces. But I would always go. Just as I would always go to those 5 year, 10, 20 and 35+ year anniversary parties of LGBTQ couples as well.

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I know I’m preaching to the choir here for the most part on this blog, but if someone should stumble upon this post, or this blog or whatever, who holds differing views, I say this to you.

Please think for a moment on the privilege it is, to be able to go to the beside of a loved one should they heaven forbid end up in the hospital. Imagine of you could, not being allowed to do that simple thing because under the laws of the land you are not legally considered family. ie a wife, a husband, a sibling or any type of relative at all.

I’ve asked people to read about the high cost of being single. That article compares the financial breaks that you get when married, with costs of not having those legal and binding contracts with another person. Also, consider the care of children, inheritance and other aspects of daily life and living that can be taken for granted under the legal umbrella of marriage.

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Yesterday Justice Sotomayor asked pro-Prop 8 attorney Chuck Cooper:

“Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?”

To which Cooper responded:

“You’re honor, I cannot. I do not have anything to offer you in that regard.”

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True Colors

While SCOTUS wrestles with Equal Marriage and other civil rights stuff, lots of other people are showing their True Colors during this time of upheaval.

Starbucks CEO doubles down on Equal Marriage support and tells the stakeholder who had issues with that, to take his stakes and take a hike if he (and any others) can’t get with the program.

We need more CEO’s like that :)

Shame On Dem! Yeah… 10 democratic senators still against Equal Marriage. Me? not surprised. I know my democratic party. Aaand here they are!

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

And one more who didn’t give an official statement at the time of that article, but she voted against DOMA and her spokesperson has stated she IS against Equal Marriage: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). So that’s ELEVEN now.

Want to know why I ain’t even bothered to mention the Republican side of things on this issue? Here’s why:

Only 2 out of the over 200 Republican representatives support Equal Marriage. Only 1 out of the 45 Republican senators support Equal Marriage. And notably he is the one who’s son recently came out, and instead of doing what so many others have done – disown, hide, condemn – he avoided hypocrisy and didn’t choose politics over love, acceptance, decency and humanity.

Gay relative or not, why is that so hard for so many people?

Smarter than a 5th grader? No, notsomuch:

A Day And A Half

Blog dot com, where I hang my blogging hat for this blog, was down for the count for a day and a half.

In internet time – that is about three years, give or take a month or two.

I appreciate that they are back up now, but there is nothing anywhere to tell us WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED. Their blog hasn’t been updated since December 21st, 2012 much less having a post explaining and/or apologizing for their outage.

I don’t make money from this blog. I don’t even post daily. So for things to go belly up for over 24 hours really didn’t impact me that much.

But I’ll tell what DID have impact on me nonetheless:

That panicky feeling that every single word I’ve written here had just poof disappeared into the ether forever.

Because in this day and age, if a hosting entity goes offline, or servers down or whatever – the problem is usually rectified within minutes, or an hour or two, three at the most. That I had to go to sleep and then wake up and STILL have my blog disappeared freaked me the fuck out.

A helpful website you can use that tells you if a website is down or not: Is It Down Right Now.

Also. I checked their Facebook page and there was nothing recent either. My fellow bloggers were forced to comment on the last post available which was on February 22nd. Which was ironically also talking about some server issues that were occurring then.

UPDATE: For about four hours now they have had a recent post on their FB. Apparently things are not up for blog dot com’s international customers. But still no word on what exactly happened. So I’m still stuck with my decision:

So. What to do now?

I purposefully started this blog so I could explore some themes that I was unable to fully get into on my WordPress blog that I’d been writing on for years. I took a long time in looking for another host, and well I’m thinking I might just have to ditch Blog dot com and….

Wait.

You know what?

I just can’t face having to either 1) import everything I’ve written here to a new blog, or 2) just ditch everything and start from scratch.

All I know is I don’t want to have to ever feel again what I felt these past 36 hours. I’m afraid this will not only happen again, but that this is just a wake up call (yeah I get the irony on that too) letting me know Blog dot com is on shaky ground and could very easily just poof be gone forever at any moment in time taking all my writing and hard work along with them.

What should I do?

Awake Black Woman was my new internet home and I’d just started to feel settled in and now I think I have to move.

:((((

Stop Raping

This was originally going to be a post about Zerlina Maxwell’s ordeal (yeah click dat) when she spoke out about rape culture in America, but I’ve been incoherently speechless and couldn’t type a word. Then the whole Steubenville verdict went down and CNN showed their whole ass. They weren’t the only ones:

Reactions documented on Public Shaming Tumblr (part 1).

Part 2.

Part 3.

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I’m still pretty incoherently speechless so I’ll link to folks who were able to write about this whole thing without keeling over and frothing at the mouth in rage:

I Don’t Want To Write About Steubenville by Emily L. Hauser

I Am The Blogger Who Allegedly “Complicated” The Steubenville Gang Rape Case – And I Wouldn’t Change A Thing – by Alexandria Goddard

TWiBRadio weighs in via Angry Black Lady Chronicles: Who Is Responsible For Steubenville?

Oh, I See, He Was A White Guy Is What It Was – by David von Ebers via ABL

This has been going on for DECADES in that town. Understand, there are hundreds (thousands?) of towns all over America with this exact same set up.

Also. It is widely known that members of the Steubenville high school football team were called The Rape Crew.

Think on that for a long while.

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This is the America you live in:

A woman receives rape threats and other harassment because she brought forth the controversial idea that a really great way to stop rape is to train our men and boys to ummm NOT RAPE.

A so-called respected international news agency adds to our nation’s rape culture by sympathizing with CONVICTED RAPISTS and victim blaming if they even mentioned the victim at all in their trial verdict coverage.

Hordes of people turn to social media to express their contributions to our rape culture and sympathy for CONVICTED RAPIST SEX OFFENDERS and join in on the slut shaming/victim blaming and hate all across the internet.

One of the witnesses (who were granted immunity) to “someone performing a sexual act on a 16 year old girl” said he deleted the video he recorded of said act because he realized he’d done something “stupid and wrong”. Yep. Making a recording of a crime was stupid and wrong. Apparently standing around and not lifting a finger to try and prevent said crime from happening in the first place was not stupid or wrong. Or even the the actions of the person committing that crime weren’t stupid or wrong either. Just making a recording of it was.

Add to all that:

“I didn’t know exactly what rape was”. That link goes on to explain just why that might be the case, as unbelievable (to some) as that may be.

I’m so DONE.

Men Can Stop Rape

No More

Protect Our Defenders

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According to Rainn.org every two minutes someone is the United States is sexually assaulted. How many people were hurt while you were reading this?

African Queen

This is how you do it:

Danai Gurira. Stage, film and television actor and playwright. Currently starring as Michonne in The Walking Dead TV series.

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Alek Wek. South Sudanese British model. Designer and activist. Seen strutting the catwalks worldwide since 1995.

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This is my response to THIS. Which is Nothing New. And the Divine Ms. Ankhesen Mie breaks it all the way down RIGHT HERE.

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See here I was wondering why the persistence with the blackface and the racism and the culture appropriation when unless you’ve been living under a rock you should know by now: THAT IT ISN’T OK TO DO THAT.

So Ankhesen tells us its all about the M-O-N-E-Y and I would have to believe her. And she also states that they JUST DON’T CARE. I’m cosigning on that one as well. Peep this in case you forgot to click that last link up there:

Racism sells.

Time was, the phrase went, “Sex sells” but then sex was suddenly everywhere and it didn’t sell anymore…not like it used to anyway.  Now if you want to sell those tickets, raise those ratings, and get those page clicks, you need to get down, dirty, and racist otherwise no one will pay attention to you.

Mmmmm-HMM!! And also:

How many of you had heard of this magazine before it started with the tacky?  I hadn’t.  Those of you who had, how many of you subscribed?  *nods*  That’s that I thought.  With the steady rise of online POC-centric media, folks like me aren’t watching a whole lot of TV or going to theaters (I don’t even know what’s playing right now).  And since this is the 21st Century (and a recession, no less), magazine sales just aren’t what they used to be.

So what’s an institution of media to do when their future’s not so bright?  Break out the blackface.

You better BELIEVE IT girls and boys:

You can tell these apologies are drafted before the stunt is even pulled.  They have no meaning or emotion whatsoever.  They lack any sense of remorse or accountability.  They are merely part of “the script”.  First, they shock/offend/disgust, then they patiently milk all they can from the attention.  When they sense the drama’s about to wind down, they issue an apology to milk whatever additional response they can get for another few days.  Because these apologies aren’t actually meant to absolve the offender or even silence the critic.  They merely exist to prolong the publicity.

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Vogue Japan obviously Knows How To Do It Right. So really people all the excuses you’ve seen, heard and read are utter and complete bullshit. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t fall for the nopologies. Stop pleading and begging and hoping that white America or any other European ruled country is going to ever come correct on this. Remember. There’s money to be made by playing the racism card and besides that they really just do not care.

Whites Won’t Give Up On Racism.

White History Month.

The White Chamber.

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I’ve got my eyes on you white America. Awake and eyes wide open. I see what you are doing. I see how things are. POCs of America. Wake up! Take a good long look around you. Then take your focus, attention, money, time and effort AWAY from those things that do not serve your interests. Hone in on those things that DO. Support them with your focus, attention, money, time and effort and IGNORE any an all things that serve to negate, destroy, use and abuse you, your image, your spirit.

I’ve pointed this out time and time again. We are NOT powerless. We have that 1 TRILLION dollar buying power in this nation. Vote with your wallets. Become WISE. Use your networks. Get the word out out. SHARE with others.

To be Black in America is to suffer from a mental illness of some degree or other. (And if you don’t know that simple Truth then Heaven Help You). Stop adding to the problem by expecting things to change. They will not. They have no vested interest in changing how they do things. Why should they? Things are working just fine the way they are and those greenbacks just keep on rolling in. They are leveraging our buying power. So put an end to it and pour your hard earned dollars ELSEWHERE.

And its not just money I’m talking about, although that is the single most powerful entity that is available for us to use to are advantage – right NOW. Today. You can start to look at where your dinero is dancing off to.

But also be aware of those entities that damage your spirit, hurt your humanity and destroy the love of self. Avoid those. Point them out to your peers. Seek out those things that do the opposite and spread the love and let everyone know there ARE alternatives out there.

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You know that old adage when speaking on relationships, and how if you are at least still fighting, then there is something to salvage. Its when indifference kicks in, and you don’t even care enough to even squabble anymore is when the death knell of the relationship is sounded. America is indifferent to us. They simply don’t care.

Its not even about hate anymore. The random pockets of yeehaw rednecks here and there not withstanding – those wielding the power and the control: Don’t Care. And they are part of the systemic process that is hell bent on – and succeeding quite handily I might add – turning us into slaves. Legal slaves. Economic slaves. Emotional slaves.  Literal slaves as our prisons continue to be filled by our men, women and yes our children too – school-to-prison pipeline ringing any bells for you?

And they laugh and crack jokes while a 96 year old Black woman goes through hell to combat her own personal disenfranchisement.

So what are you going to do?

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Oh, and Sebastian Kim? I got your “tanned and golden skin” right here:

Gina Torres

Open Season On Police Departments

It’s our turn now.

To America, From Chris Dorner. The media kept telling us this “manifesto” was the ramblings of a disturbed individual. Ramblings? I wish the majority of my own blog posts were as well ordered and detailed. As for disturbed: America, you created Chris Dorner. So now its time to take responsibility. You trained him at your military and police academies, you instilled within him a sense of pride in his uniform(s) and fostered his innate sense of justice and of always doing the right thing. Then you turned everything he was and everything you’d built upside down and pulled the rug from under his feet. You ignored his pleas for justice and instead of doing the right thing when he pointed out wrong doing: you retaliated and took everything he had and was away from him.

Do I agree with his actions? Absolutely not. Do I understand where they came from and why he went out like that? Hell yes. He’s not a hero to me outside of the service he gave to his country while he was in both uniforms. My guess – and yeah I’m guessing not making blanket assumptions like the media and errbody else – is that he finally had enough (or snapped in the vernacular) and defaulted to the excellent training America had given him. What training was that you may ask? How to take out the enemy. Who he chose to perceive as his enemy and the subsequent people he killed in accordance to that perception is where my support for Dorner ends.

But unlike many who are dissecting what happened, I haven’t been distracted by that. I have always kept my eyes on what he wrote, and also wondered at the the information he had but didn’t include in his writing.

I mean, first of all, anybody who would kill innocent folks, I don’t think is a hero, so let’s kind of get that off the table, because I think when the question is raised about, “Let’s look at what is going on here, what he’s raising, let’s investigate that,” the immediate response is like: Are you supporting a killer of innocent people? Are you supporting a cop killer? No, he named dates, times and places. Let’s look these — let’s check these out, because those allegations are pretty serious. (source)

So let’s do that.

We already know The Racist Legacy Of The LAPD. We can start there. But we must also expose historical shenanigans that continue on in other police departments nationwide including what’s been going on with the Oakland PD. Aside from everything listed in that article I’ve even heard rumors New York’s misguided and ineffectual “Stop and Frisk” program being talked about for implementation in Oakland. Seriously?
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The Fast Food Lie

When I first read about this lie I was flabbergasted. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now, and I’m still flabbergasted with a heavy dollop of appalled thrown in. But not surprised. No. Not surprised at all.

I’m just tripping on this and along with my research and info gathering of the last few years on how Black people are treated in this country, it all starts to make some sort of horrible sense. Its just another cog in the wheel that is doing its best to grind us into dust. Here’s the deal.

Density Of Fast Food Restaurants In Black Neighborhoods

Fast food companies don’t target black people. They just don’t have any restaurants in white neighborhoods.

In depth analysis of that reality Part One.

In depth analysis of that reality Part Two.

You should study and read the above links. But I know this is the interwebs in the digital age and some of you might not have or want to take the time to do so. So I’ll quote some ish from those pages so you can get a feel for how meticulous the break down on this was. The maps and all those stats and whatnot are in the articles you should have read but here goes:

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For example, a study in New York City showed that across the 5 boroughs, fast food was prevalent in commercial areas, such as shopping districts, tourist areas, transportation hubs and central business districts (e.g., Times Square, Port Authority, Penn Station, Wall Street).

But in residential neighborhoods, fast food was most prevalent in Black and Latino neighborhoods.  In that study, the percentage of Black residents was the strongest predictor of fast food density—income was not related.

White and Black areas with comparable incomes did not have the same exposure to fast food, and Black areas that were high in income did not have lower exposure than areas that were lower in income.

This suggests that fast food location in NYC is about race, not income.

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Not Feelin It [UPDATED]

With all this hoopla about the United States lifting the ban on women in front-line combat jobs: I’m not feelin it.

Rape Statistics In The US Military

Google those above words and you’ll find things like the links below. I’ve accompanied them with a paragraph or two from the beginning of each article.

I suggest you read them all in their entirety:

1. Why rapists in the military get away with it. “If you serve in the U.S. military and you rape or sexually assault a fellow service member, chances are you won’t be punished. In fact, you have an estimated 86.5% chance of keeping your crime a secret and a 92% chance of avoiding a court-martial.” Those gettin away with it stats are not surprising, because they are equivalent to civilian statistics, I’ll have you know.

2. Rape on the US military bases left unchecked. “”You always have protection with Jesus,” former seawoman Kori Cioca tells the camera, brandishing the long, serrated hunting knife she always keeps in her purse or pocket. But sometimes, you need just a little bit more.”

Ms. Cioca, who left the U.S. Coast Guard after being stalked, beaten and raped by her supervisor, is one of 36 veterans from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force documented in The Invisible War, an investigation into the epidemic of rape — often by serial offenders — in the U.S. military.” If you have Netflix you can watch The Invisible War documentary on instant play right now.

3. The Pentagon is camouflaging the truth about rape in the military. “On Friday of last week, the Department of Defense issued its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. First conducted in 2004, this report has helped shine a light on the severity and scope of the crisis of rape in the US military. The disturbing statistics that have been reported include the stunning estimate that, in FY 2010, there were 19,000 sexual assaults among Active Duty personnel.

The 2011 report validates our worst fears. The data shows that the military’s handling of sexual assaults is getting worse, much worse. Charges, courts-martial and convictions plummeted, but there is absolutely no indication that sex crimes decreased.

But while the report is extremely troubling, of even greater concern is the Pentagon’s determined effort to confuse and misinform the public about its own findings.”

4. Rape in the US military: America’s dirty little secret. “Rape within the US military has become so widespread that it is estimated that a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. So great is the issue that a group of veterans are suing the Pentagon to force reform. The lawsuit, which includes three men and 25 women (the suit initially involved 17 plaintiffs but grew to 28) who claim to have been subjected to sexual assaults while serving in the armed forces, blames former defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates for a culture of punishment against the women and men who report sex crimes and a failure to prosecute the offenders.

Since the lawsuit became public in February, 400 more have come forward, contacting attorney Susan Burke who is leading the case.”

5. One third of women in the US military raped. “According to NPR“In 2003, a survey of female veterans found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving. And a 1995 study of female veterans of the Gulf and earlier wars, found that 90 percent had been sexually harassed.”

Army specialist Chantelle Henneberry spoke of some of her experiences in Iraq, “Everybody’s supposed to have a battle buddy in the army, and females are supposed to have one to go to the latrines with, or to the showers – that’s so you don’t get raped by one of the men on your own side. But because I was the only female there, I didn’t have a battle buddy. My battle buddy was my gun and my knife.”

6. “The invisible war”: A heartbreaking look at military rape. “The statistics brandished by the documentary “The Invisible War” are scandalous, but what makes this savage indictment of the epidemic of rape in theU.S. military so unforgettable are not numbers but the devastating personal stories of the victims of brutal sexual assault.

It’s not that those numbers, all courtesy of U.S. government studies, don’t have their power: 22,800 violent sex crimes in the military in 2011; 30% of servicewomen sexually assaulted during their enlistment; women in combat zones more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by the enemy. But the agony of those who live with the nightmare trumps even these.

People like the Navy’s Trina McDonald, drugged and raped repeatedly by the military police in Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands. Or the Coast Guard’s Kori Cioca, whose jaw was pulverized in an attack that is still so painful and traumatizing she does not leave the house without a crucifix and a fierce-looking knife.”

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This epidemic and entrenched problem has not been addressed. Nothing has been done about it. This was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news about allowing women more access and opportunities within the military.

1980′s-1991 – The Tailhook Scandal. 1996, Army, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Scandal. 2003, Air Force Academy Sexual Assault Scandal. Present Day, Marine Barracks, Washington DC . The two sentence blurb indicating cases of rape at that “prestigious institution” barely covers what actually goes on there. Watch the documentary The Invisible War to get the full disclosure.

A Navy study found that 15 percent of incoming recruits attempted or committed rape before entering the military. Twice the percentage of the equivalent civilian population.

Rape is an occupational hazard of military service.” So deemed the court (the Supreme Court?) that dismissed 17 military rape survivor’s lawsuit in December 2011.

These bare statistics don’t even cover the wake of devastation that occurs in the wake of these violent crimes perpetrated on our servicewomen. There is the physical damage from the rape itself, including back and hip injuries, broken bones, dislocations, facial injuries from being hit, and internal organ damage. PTSD, divorce, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide stemming from the psychological damage to just scratch the surface so you know what I mean.

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And this is only talking about the women who have been raped while serving their country. I won’t even go into the stats on the men – I’ll let you find out about that on your own. Just understand that it is the heterosexual male that is perpetrating ALL of the rapes in the military.

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So for those women who are not already in the military and DO NO KNOW HOW IT REALLY IS: You need to think about what it is exactly you are signing up for. Don’t let this new shiny make you all start to flock to the military in droves. You are asking for a world of hurt when all you want to do is serve your country.

A country that considers you a second class citizen. A country who’s military arm serves you up as fodder not for the enemy’s cannons but to your fellow servicemen. You are barely safer on the streets of your own cities, but in the smaller and encapsulated world of the military you are tipping the scales toward you being assaulted with unfortunate certainty. And should you become a statistic, as you (should) have read, you can see there is little to no recourse for you legally or otherwise:

30% of victims never report their rapes because the person they would have to report to in the chain of command is a friend of their rapist.

25% of victims never report their rapes because the person they would have to report to in the chain of command is their rapist.
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