On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)

Content Note: 

Death of a loved one

 

MW,

Hey little buddy.

Long time no see.

Or hear.

Or hang out with.

Or read new comic books with in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

So much has happened in the last decade (it’s hard to believe it has been nearly that long since I last saw you). A lot of it has been 31 flavors of awful, but not everything. There have been some bright spots. One of brightest of them has been the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It really sucks that you only got to see the big screen debut of Iron Man, back in 2008. Since then, wow, I really think you’d have been as excited as I have been, your inner comic book fan bursting at the seams. Scratch that. Your inner fan would have completely burst out of the seams and gone full scale cosplay (like you did for Where the Wild Things Are). I can easily picture you cosplaying as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy (a movie you probably would never have thought would get made, let alone be a financial and critical success) or even the Winter Soldier. Yeah, they made a GotG movie and incorporated Bucky Barnes into the MCU. They also made 3 Thor movies, 3 Captain America’s, 3 Iron Man’s, and multiple Avengers films. Hell, they even made a film about Ant-Man, which did well enough to get a sequel, Ant-Man & the Wasp. And that’s not all. Marvel got Spider-Man back (not completely, but enough so Marvel can use him in their movies). So he’s gotten incorporated into their fictional universe, with Tom Holland taking up the mantle of everyone’s favorite web-slinger in one movie thus far, with another coming this summer (in related news, following Disney’s acquisition of Fox Studios, the X-Men and Fantastic Four are back under the same house as the Avengers, though its gonna be a while before we see anything with them, according to Kevin Feige).

There are so many more surprises that you almost certainly would have loved. As a fan of animation, I think you’d have loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. You weren’t around to read about the debut of Miles Morales following the death of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe.  Let’s just say he gained a sizable following and eventually made the transition from the comic book page to the big screen (albeit in animated form, which I grumbled about at first, bc HEY LIVE ACTION, but after seeing it, I’m glad they went with animated, bc that shit looked amazing). Perhaps even more surprising, not only did the Black Panther make it to the big screen in his own movie, but it became a critical and financial juggernaut that went on to make over a billion dollars. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a Black Panther film would get made, let alone be top notch, and be such a successful movie. I could copy that last sentence almost verbatim to describe my thoughts on another movie that recently came out.

Can you believe Marvel made a movie with Carol Danvers aka the first Ms Marvel aka Binary aka Warbird aka Captain Marvel? Oh crap. I forgot you weren’t around for Carol stepping up to take the title. Well, she did, and she’s done the legacy of Mar-Vell proud. And that film she starred in? Like Black Panther, Captain Marvel broke a billion dollars (and counting). And just as Black Panther shattered long held beliefs about the viability of a movie with a Black lead (to say nothing of a virtually all Black cast), Captain Marvel showed Hollywood and the world that a movie with a woman as the lead character–a superhero movie at that–can be box office smash and receive acclaim around the world.

Living where I do now, it’s not easy to get out to see any movies. After wrecking my car back in 2013, I haven’t been in the financial position to get another one. I moved from Pensacola to a small town outside of Panama City, Florida. It’s one of those “wonderful” Southern cities that plasters confederate flags everywhere (as if a bunch of white supremacist, anti-American traitors deserve to be honored). I moved out here with my aunt and cousin (great aunt, technically) to get my bearings and try to get back on my feet. Thankfully, my cousin allows me to use her car on occasion, so I’m not stuck in this house. This city is verrrry small. There’s something like 3000+ people living here. We have 2 convenience stores (one just opened up a few weeks back), 2 dollar stores, and 2 small town supermarkets.  Buncha churches too. No gym. No swimming pool. One small bar with weird hours and a dart machine that doesn’t work. There’s just really not much here. For the first few years, I worked in Panama City, driving 45 minutes to and from work 5-6 days a week. Things were on their way to stabilizing when BAM, last July, the restaurant I’d been bartending and managing at (Bennigans) closed down. We had a feeling it was coming, but it still sucked. As if to add to the suckery, the vehicle my cousin was letting me use–a 2003 Dodge Ram (with a HEMI)–started acting up and becoming unreliable, so using it to travel back and forth to Panama City on a regular basis became untenable. That left me struggling to figure out what to do for work in this town that has precious little available.

Then Mother Nature decided the least of my worries was finding a job. On October 10, Hurricane Michael hit.  It was a catastrophic hurricane that straddled the line between a Category 4 and 5. We live 24 miles from Mexico Beach, which was ground zero. The hurricane decimated this region.  By January of this year, the death toll in Florida was 47. The damage of course was in the billions. There were no deaths as far as I know in this town, but there was a metric fuckton of damage. We sustained surprisingly little damage. My aunt’s home lost some shingles off the roof and some vinyl siding. And some trees were uprooted, while others were nearly snapped in half by winds over 150 mph. But the structure of the home was fine. There were no leaks and no substantial damage. Of course the power was out. 17 days with no power really is not fun. Relief efforts came quickly, supplying food and water for the community. We had two generators so we could charge laptops and cell phones (though no carriers were up and running in the days immediately following the hurricane so we had no way to tell people were ok and vice versa). More importantly, we could keep our refrigerators cold. By the beginning of November, things slowly returned to normal, but the job situation hasn’t. There’s just not enough opportunities for anything in this town and without a reliable vehicle, I’m pretty much stuck.

But enough of that.

Last week, I had the opportunity to see Captain Marvel. The only movie theater left after the hurricane is almost exactly an hour and a half away from us (which is one reason I don’t go to the movies very often). I know this bc–and if you were here, you’d laugh, bc you know how I am–the movie played at 3:30 and I left the house at 2:05. I arrived at the ticket stand at 3:24. Of course, having been a manager in a movie theater, you know that I wouldn’t have missed the movie, since previews go for like 20 minutes. I grabbed my popcorn, a hot dog, and drink ($24–geez; but you always told me that theaters make their money on the concession stand items), found the seat I’d picked out (it’s still weird to me that we get to select our seats) and settled in. And by settled in, I mean, got reeeeeeeeeally comfortable. These weren’t the old school theater seats. They were the luxury seats. Very comfortable. Soft. Wide. No cramped spaces. Quite nice.

A few hours later, the movie finished and I rushed to my car. I had to get there before the waterworks came. I held them back during the movie with ease bc I was distracted by the film. With it over, the emotional turmoil that I’d kept a lid on was boiling over and I didn’t want to be a crying mess as I walked out of the theater. The walk to the car seemed to take forever. When I finally got there, the dam burst. In a million years, I never would have thought a Marvel movie would trigger me, but Captain Marvel certainly did.

Continue reading “On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)”

On best friends, Keanu Reeves, and why I was triggered by Captain Marvel (but still loved it)
{advertisement}

Where is this great, exceptional nation “they” keep talking about?

The United States is a shining beacon of morality, setting the standard for proper behavior the world over, they say.

The inspiration to other countries seeking to transform their societies into thriving cultures.

Our nation is a source of hope for the hopeless and for those oppressed by tyrants yearning to breathe freely.

What happens when great men come together and devise the perfect system of governance? The United States.

They say this and more about this country.

“They”, whoever they may be, are so wrong that all the money of Bezos, Buffett, and Gates couldn’t make them right.

Continue reading “Where is this great, exceptional nation “they” keep talking about?”

Where is this great, exceptional nation “they” keep talking about?

Representation matters

The last several years has seen a shift in both the type and the quality of Hollywood films featuring African-Americans. For years, I have felt like there has been a very narrow range of movies featuring the experiences of Black lives and I’m not the only one. I’ve long wished we could see less comedy and trauma/suffering movies and more science fiction or fantasy or period pieces or thrillers. Seeing the wider range of stories and genres covered by the likes of Hidden Figures, Girls Trip, Moonlight, BlacKKKlansman, Straight Outta Compton, and Sorry To Bother You has been a joy.  These were all critically acclaimed and financially successful films that centered the experiences of Blacks and cast Black actors in leading roles.

For myself and many African-American moviegoers, one film has stood out from the rest. Not because the others listed (or those absent) are sub-par movies, but rather, because the Black Panther was the kind of movie we have long thirsted for. The first Black superhero of Marvel Comics got to headline the first Black superhero movie from Marvel Studios, with a Black director, a predominately Black cast, diverse presentation of Black bodies, an Afrofuturist aesthetic, complex nuanced characters largely devoid of stereotypes, a rich backstory, and a massive budget. A monumental box office hit, the movie shattered record after record on its way to a final global tally of roughly $1.3 billion. The movie was a critical hit with audiences across the globe, most especially with its target audience: those of African descent.

Image of actor Chadwick Boseman dressed as the Black Panther, (except for his helmet), gazing upon his hands.

In a country that has devalued Black lives since it began and has a long history of criminalizing Black bodies, it makes a certain amount of sense that our lives, experiences, and stories are rarely centered in Hollywood. After all, most of the people who have been involved in the industry were socialized in the United States. As such, they have been influenced by and have aided in the perpetuation of stereotypes and prejudicial beliefs about African-Americans. These racial stereotypes are present all throughout  the media, including the film industry and can affect the emotions, cognition, and behavior of viewers. Especially worrying is the effect of racial stereotypes on children of color, whose encounters with racism and discrimination can have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem and identity, as well as their physiology  (media depictions of racial stereotypes have an impact on adults as well). When a movie like the Black Panther is released, it has an impact, as noted by Yvette Nicole Brown in the Nerdist’s Impact of the Black Panther :

It’s a game changer in a way that I don’t think we can even quantify.”

and Dr. Erlanger Turner in his article on the importance of the movie to the Black community:

Many have wondered why “Black Panther” means so much to the black community and why schools, churches and organizations have come to the theaters with so much excitement. The answer is that the movie brings a moment of positivity to a group of people often not the centerpiece of Hollywood movies. Plus, what we know from the research on RES [racial and ethnic socialization. Read more on that here. –Tony] is that it helps to strengthen identity and helps reduce the likelihood on internalizing negative stereotypes about one’s ethnic group.

As illustrated by the following series of Tweets, Black moviegoers were not the only racial group in 2018 who were impacted by a film that centered their lives and culture:

Continue reading “Representation matters”

Representation matters

I think I’m done listening to Delilah

Image of radio host Delilah with curled blond hair, and left hand on left hip, in a black dress in front of an iHeart Radio emblazoned wall in Las Vegas
(image courtesy of Billboard)

Over the last few months that I’ve been jobless, I’ve spent many a night at home. I tend to keep the radio on to have some background noise bc I don’t have a television in my room and I don’t like having the volume on my computer turned up bc too many sites auto-play videos, which gets old fast. The only radio station I’ve listened to that I can regularly pick up out here in the middle of Nowheresville, USA is a local station that’s part of the iHeart network, and features Delilah Rene Luke. ‘Delilah’, as she is known to listeners, has been a radio personality since 1974, when she was 14. Her enormously popular, eponymous show (which has roughly 8 million listeners) begins at 7 pm CST and runs til 11 pm CST and is notable both for the atmosphere Delilah has created and her callers. She gives the show a relaxed, down home feeling, full of support, encouragement, hope, and words of love.  One of the hallmarks of the show are her listeners, who are encouraged to call or email the show to share their lives with her. They share stories of hope, joy, sorrow, and frustration. Every night, upwards of 50,000 people call hoping to talk to the famous host, but usually only 50-70 actually reach her (she screens the calls herself). Typically, the caller will request a song to be played as a dedication to a friend or loved one, but on a fairly regular basis the caller asks her to pick a song for them.

One particular segment of the show (one I suspect is quite popular) is the equivalent of the ‘Dear Abbey’ advice column. She selects a caller asking for advice on a subject, and a short time later, she offers her words of wisdom for the caller. In the time I’ve been regularly listening to her, I have heard Delilah offer a lot of advice. It didn’t take me long to notice a heavily religious slant behind not only her words of wisdom, but behind the whole show. Only recently did I learn that she is an Evangelical Christian. Discovering that was a light bulb moment. It explained why her guidance frequently came across as being of questionable merit. Rather than offering solutions to her guests that were based in reality and had evidence to back them up, her advice frequently, but not always, turns out to be some variant of ‘gods got the wheel’.

I usually tune out her recommendations when they are too god focused, and pay more attention when she offers up her personal, less divinely inspired solution for how a caller should handle a situation.  On occasion, I’ve written about her advice on Facebook. Sometimes, her wisdom is tolerable or even reasonable:

(note: The four sets of quoted material below are all reproductions of my own posts from Facebook)

Dude seems to be flailing in his search for an answer. On the one hand, he characterized his wife as “playing the role of the Wicked Stepmother to a T”.
On the other, he said his son is a teenager now (a recent development) and teens are “cr*zy anyway”.
So he seems to be blaming both of them, I guess. At any rate, he doesn’t know what to do, so he figured to call a popular radio show host with a hotline to god.

(not seeing any special qualifications that she has for solving his family problems. Yes, she’s a mother with several children, but without being part of their family and seeing the nature and extent of the tension, it’s really hard for anyone to say “AHA, here’s your problem”. In addition, I don’t think Delilah is a qualified therapist, so her advice wouldn’t necessarily be derived from evidence-based solutions)

To her credit, she noted something of importance–Dude referring to his wife as “playing the role of the Wicked Stepmother to a T”. Without saying “Dude, that’s a sexist stereotype. You really should treat your wife with more respect than reducing her down to a stereotype”, (which is totally something I would say, though there might be a little bit more ::ahem:: coarse language (“might be”? Ha)), she basically said IF she’s acting in this way and it’s not just his perception (or his son’s or both of theirs), then he needs to act to protect his child. Not having any further information–I don’t recall him mentioning any particular abuse his son experiences from her, for instance–I’m not really sure what he can or needs to protect him from. That’s a teensy quibble, not a significant problem, given her lack of information.

She then went on to say basically, that if it’s just his perception (or his son’s) and that’s not actually how his wife is acting, then they need to find a good family therapist. Which is what I think she should have started off with, TBH.

1

Sometimes it’s the most unhelpful, facile advice. The kind that would make you want your money back if your therapist offered it:

PEOPLE NEED A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL GIVING THEM ADVICE YOU HACK!

The fact that she is so beloved and respected (her Wiki page says upwards of 8 million ppl listen to her each week) amplifies the problem, bc listeners will hear her “encouraging” advice about drug addiction–‘move on, leave it behind’ (spoken, at least, with a note of care, rather than dispassionately)–and take that to heart, rather than seeking assistance and answers that have an evidence based approach to handling complex issues like grief and addiction.

2

 

Other times her suggestions are less compassionate and more authoritarian leaning:

On tonight’s episode of ‘No More Advice Delilah, Please’,
the radio personality gives her motherly advice to an 18-year old high school senior who is dating a Hispanic guy roughly her age. His parents have met her and are perfectly fine with their relationship. HER parents, OTOH, are anything but fine with it. Apparently her parents don’t want her dating outside her race. The issue at hand is that they have been dating for a while and she has had to lie to her parents about where she’s going and what she’s doing and she’s tired of doing that. She’s a star athlete, with great grades, is active in her church, and does community service work regularly. She feels she is a great child and that lying to her parents is antithetical to that status. OTOH, she cares deeply for her BF and doesn’t want to end the relationship. So Delilah, please tell the world:

WHAT FUCKED UP PIECE OF ADVICE ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE THIS YOUNG WOMAN?

If you know anything about the advice offered by Delilah, then you probably have some idea of the answer.

First of all, Delilah characterized the parents and their opposition to interracial relationships as ‘absurd’.

And. That’s. It.

I was screaming at the radio for her to call it what it is:
R A C I S T

She couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. Way to beat around the bush.

The advice she offered kinda pissed me off too. She said “you live at home you have to follow the rules set forth by your parents”. Now, I get where she is coming from on this, and ultimately there is a lot of truth to that. Despite being 18 and an adult, the woman does live at home with her parents and is still in high school (I’m guessing this is a past episode or that this piece of mail came to Delilah after the school year ended), so her parents’ rules do have to be acknowledged.

But where I think Delilah went and gave her trademark bullshit advice is when she told the woman “you have to respect your parents’ rules and be honest with them”. Ummm, no. She is not required to respect her parents’ racism. And be honest with them? She’s an adult. If she wants to lie to her parents bc she is in a relationship, that’s her call. It’s not their business anyways.

Delilah basically told her to stop lying to her parents and suspend her relationship until she moves out of the house.

Me? I’d have given her advice on how to effectively hide the relationship until such time as she no longer lives at home (which might not happen immediately after high school and even if it does, going to college often happens with some kind of support from parents and that could be threatened). I’d have supported the woman and said she has every right to be in a relationship with the person she chooses. I’D HAVE FUCKING TOLD HER THAT HER PARENTS’ RULES ARE RACIST AS FUCK. She sent a letter asking for support and instead, Delilah tells her she’s up shit creek without a paddle for who knows how long.

3

Here, have another one of my “favorites” (where the word is spoken with as much contempt as possible):

Dude calls in to complain that he invited his mother to his college graduation months ago. She invited his father whom he did not want there.

Delilah tells the guy he cant change his mom from being codependent (dad is apparently toxic and emotionally unavailable & Delilah is somehow qualified to decide the mom is codependent over a phone call with the son). Nor can he change his father.

So her advice?

Forgive the father or the resentment with eat you alive.

There’s that toxic religious bullshit again.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EVER FORGIVE ANYONE–EVEN A FAMILY MEMBER–IF THEY HAVE BEEN A TOXIC PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE.

Perhaps it _can_ consume you, but that is not a destined outcome and treating it as such is, once again, bullshit advice from Delilah.

4

 

Then there’s the counsel she gave a caller on tonight’s show. This crap took the cake and moved me firmly into the I don’t just dislike her and think she needs to be off the air, but I despise her camp:

Continue reading “I think I’m done listening to Delilah”

I think I’m done listening to Delilah

The Grinch in Chief

Merry Holidays!

Happy Christmas!

Almost anyways.  In honor of the holiday season, I decided to tweak the lyrics to Dr. Seuss’ ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch‘, from the classic animated short ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’. Hope you enjoy!

Image is a mashup of the current POTUS and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, complete with red hat and red shirt with fluffy sleeves
It’s pretty bad when a fictional character can undergo character growth, while a real human appears unable.

Continue reading “The Grinch in Chief”

The Grinch in Chief

Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity

I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I believe her account of what happened to her and I believe that she was sexually assaulted and would have been raped if accomplice Mark Judge had not jumped on the bed. Thankfully, the asshole did, which enabled her to escape and hide in a bathroom. Of course, the man who would be the next justice on the Supreme Court denies this happened, which effectively means he is calling her a liar (as are many people, some of whom don’t seem to understand that victim testimony IS evidence while others don’t understand that the government is bound by the presumption of innocence, not civilians).

In the wake of the sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh, the nation’s eyes have been upon him. After all, no reasonable person should want the perpetrator of sexual assault (and attempted rape) to serve on the highest court in the land. So of course rape apologists (who are not reasonable people) have been coming out of the woodwork to smear, shame, and victim blame Dr. Ford. Others have chosen a rather curious tactic of attempting to speak to the ::ahem:: “good name” of Brett Kavanaugh. There of course were the 65 women who wrote a frankly bizarre letter affirming the character of Kavanaugh. Aside from being a public relations stunt, the letter was meaningless. I’m sure there are plenty of people that Kavanaugh has never sexually assaulted. Which has no bearing on those whom he has sexually assaulted.  Then there’s former President and First Lady, George W Bush and Laura Bush, who continue to stand by their longtime friend, even after listening to Dr. Ford’s passionate speech. They think of Kavanaugh not only as a “fine friend, husband, and father”, but as a man of the highest integrity.

I suggest the 65 women as well as Laura Bush and her war criminal husband go spend some quality time reading about the true moral character of Brett Kavanaugh. They can start with the multiple lies Brett Kavanaugh has told, many of which were spoken during his hearing last week:

Word cloud containing terms that I feel apply to Brett Kavanaugh

Continue reading “Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity”

Brett Kavanaugh is neither a good man nor a man of great integrity

The world just got a little darker

A demagogue with the emotional maturity and temperment of a child sits in the Oval Office, wielding the power that comes with the highest office in this nation, but lacking the desire to use that power to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate than him. With a moral code and ethical core that centers himself over everyone else, his only concerns are how he can best enrich himself (and with no concern about the legality of his plans, nor their impact on the lives of the ~330,000,000+citizens of the country he is accountable to).

America’s favorite fictional African-American doctor, who spend decades entertaining some with his humor and wit, while terrorizing others with his predatory, misogynistic behaviors (and simultaneously chastising African-Americans for not being respectable enough)  received a 3-10 year sentence for one of a litany of crimes he committed against scores of women during his time in Hollywood. Even if he is given the full sentence, it is barely a fraction of what he truly deserves. I hope the only time I hear of him again is when it is reported that he died in prison, where he belongs.

Yesterday, on Capitol Hill, a woman spoke about her sexual assault and a nation listened. Recounting the events of a horrific night more than 30 years ago, Dr Christine Ford testified that she feared she was going to be raped by the man who is now within spitting distance of becoming the next judge on the Supreme Court. Fighting against anxiety, she laid bare her soul in front of a group of old, white men whom she knows have no sympathy for the violence she faced (to them, sexually harassing, sexual assaulting, and raping women are rites of passage all boys go through and are behaviors that are intrinsic to all human males). Standing on the shoulders of Anita Hill and countless other women, I suspect Dr Ford knew the male politicians before her were not guided by the pursuit of truth or a desire for justice. Living in a patriarchal society, especially one with the high levels of sexualized violence as we have, it’s probably difficult to not see that men like these hunger for more and ever greater power. More influence. More control over a nation they feel is slipping through their hands. And of course in this specific case, Congress has already established that they don’t care if 45’s SCOTUS nominee is a rapist or not. They won’t lose a single moment’s rest.

Since he became President, it seems like the nation is going through one crisis after another, with no time to rest, relax, on engage in necessary self-care. I’ve felt like that since January of last year. The last week and a half have seemed worse, with people–especially victims and survivors of sexual assault–having difficulty keeping up with breaking news. Not because they are uninterested, but rather because so often the news triggers memories of their assault. On top of that, for many people who use social media as their primary or only way to interact with friends, article after article is being shared and spread and talked about, making it difficult for people to socialize positively and without stress.

Into all of that came a gut punch today. It was as if some great cosmic force enjoys watching us suffer and wants to watch us break, because in addition to everything occurring around the nation, many of my friends and I found out that a dear friend had died. While reading through my Facebook feed is not anxiety inducing or triggering as it is for many other people, I have been a bit on edge lately. Even still, I wasn’t prepared for the ton of bricks that hit me when I just happened to see what I thought was a random post from a friend. As I sat there reading that post, the tears just started flowing and the ability to deal with anything went dormant as fuck. But I couldn’t stay silent. He was my friend and I had to say something, so I did.  And I’m glad because doing so helped me focus not on the extinguishing of a bright, passionate light in the world, but on the fact that that bright, passionate light existed and touched the lives of others:

Continue reading “The world just got a little darker”

The world just got a little darker

Happy 500th Birthday to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

I find it rather amusing hearing white supremacists like Richard Spencer or David Duke or Jason Kessler talk about how the United States is a white nation and belongs to their people. On occasion, you’ll hear of them saying something to the effect of wanting to kick out all People of Color as part of their dream of a whites only nation. Richard Spencer, for instance, has talked about “peaceful ethnic cleansing” as a way to rid the country of people they find undesirable (i.e. those of us with more melanin than most white folks).  He claims it can be done peacefully, but the smarmy asshole isn’t fooling anyone, because you can’t reasonably expect roughly 41% of the population to be cool about uprooting their lives and going to some other country on some other continent all because a racist hatemonger thinks the country is only for white people. But even if it were possible to peacefully kick people out of this country, there would be a fairly immediate problem: the loss of nearly 41% of the population.  The idea of white supremacists proudly celebrating their success only to see it undercut by the loss of millions of people in all industries brings a very satisfying smile to my face. Along with that smile comes a good chuckle when I think of how this will no longer be the case:

Foreign-born residents not only expanded the U.S. high-tech workforce but helped start new businesses that have generated billions in revenue and hired tens of thousands of workers. Foreign-born entrepreneurs helped start one-fourth of all new U.S. engineering and technology business established between 1995 and 2005, including Google and eBay. In high-tech Silicon Valley, California, more than one-half of business start-ups over that period involved a foreign-born scientist or engineer; one-fourth included an Indian or Chinese immigrant.

Among those companies that are already established, the loss of much of their foreign-born workforce would hurt. Badly. Come to think of it, the U.S. military would take a hit as well, since they actively recruit from communities of color.  Of course, my amusement ends when I think about the number of people who would suffer.  It’s likely the U.S. economy would take a nosedive, with everything from agriculture to the service industry to jobs in STEM fields being hard hit. Not to mention the emotional toll on those white people who were friends or loved ones of the forcibly relocated POC. Ultimately, I am not convinced that forcibly relocating all People of Color is feasible.

To be honest, even if it were, I don’t think there would be sufficient support. Yes, the United States is still a country with white folks in control of the wheel, brakes, accelerator, and even the turn signal (the latter can be seen in the 2016 election when the majority of the population was unsuccessful in preventing the nation from driving off a cliff). Yes, the interests of non-whites are only paid lip-service to (and only at convenient times), And yes, there are far too many racial extremists in this country. Despite all of that, and despite the fact that implicit and explicit racial bias is prevalent in white people of all backgrounds, I do not believe most of the white people in the United States want a whites only nation. Heck, even if a Richard Spencer and Pat Robertson ticket won the presidency in 2020, I don’t think any ethnic cleansing–peaceful or otherwise–would receive widespread support.

There is only one hope for those longing for a whites-only nation. It’s a long shot, and one that’s going to take a few steps, a lot more blood, and someone with Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Victor Von Doom level intellect. That last part is essential, because they’ll need a time machine to travel back to the year 1518 to prevent the events that led to the true birth of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade:

Continue reading “Happy 500th Birthday to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade”

Happy 500th Birthday to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

The press is not the enemy of the people

They awaken every morning to a brand new day, just as we do. Brushing teeth, kissing spouses, grumbling at the difficulty in getting a child out of bed and ready for school. They drink their morning cuppa coffee or hot chocolate or orange juice.  Some of them grab a bite to eat at home, while others are in a hurry bc that child–or those children–dragged their adorably precious, but annoying butts just a little too slow and everyone is going to be late if they don’t leave right now.  Others get to take a more lackadaisical approach to the morning, relaxing with little more than the morning paper and Spotify playing in the background. There are even those who awoke before everyone else. Springing from the bed as if they just slept a week, they freshen up throw on some clothes and go for a walk/run/jog, head to they gym at the ungodly hour of it’s not even sun out yet, or hop on their bike to see the sunrise. They are us.

They eat what we eat.

Vacation in the places we vacation.

Thrill to baseball, basketball, football and no-ball just as we do.

They stress over paying the mortgage, the rent, utilities, the water bill and more, just like we do.

They gasp in shock and disbelief at the never-ending series of tragedies that unfolds on a daily basis.

They do so many of the things we do, these women, non-binary folks, and men.

In so many ways, we and they are the same. Except they are hiding a secret.  A secret that, of course, they don’t want you to know. These people have insinuated themselves into the fabric of our country, eating our food, enjoying our culture, using our resources, acting as if they belong here. They go about their days with smiling faces, doing their jobs, but beneath it all, they are not our friends. They are not our family. They are not our loved ones at all. They are something more insidious.

They are the enemy. The enemy of the people.

That’s what the current occupant of the White House would have the citizens of this country think of them: journalists, reporters, the Fourth Estate, the press.  It is well known by now that POTUS45 has a high level of disdain for the press. In fact, disdain is probably not a strong enough term.  Given the naked hostility he regularly displays toward the press, antipathy is accurate and even hate really isn’t too far off.  This is the same individual who openly admitted to wanting United States citizens to treat him as North Koreans treat their leader. Given his numerous, well documented attacks on the media (attacks with deep roots) it is not a huge leap of logic to assert that, based on his behavior over the last few years, that the forty-fifth President of the United States would prefer a state-run media, under the control of some branch, probably a new one with a catchy name like The Media Force. If the media were government controlled, one can easily imagine that new coverage of him would be far more favorable.  Because favorable coverage, rather than honest, accurate truth telling is what the media should be about in his eyes.

Continue reading “The press is not the enemy of the people”

The press is not the enemy of the people

It was an absurd idea, but it worked

Scale of 1 to 10, how believable is the following?

Back in the 1970’s, the Colorado Springs Police Department hired its first African-American (as an officer, not as the help). Not long after being hired, Ron Stallworth (if you thought CSPD would hire a Black woman before a Black man, recall that while Black men are Black, we’re still men, so a society that values men over women would still show bias against Black women and in favor of Black men) saw an ad in the newspaper for the Ku Klux Klan, who were looking to increase their membership. I’m guessing members of everyone’s favorite cross-burning racist organization were doing some spring cleaning and noticed a surplus of white sheets in their stockroom. So instead of donating the sheets to the Red Cross or Goodwill, they figured to begin a recruitment drive. Given that monitoring and dismantling extremist groups was part of his job, Stallworth had an idea. He would infiltrate the KKK and learn all about the local chapter, gaining crucial information that would enable him to bring them down. Yeah, his idea hinged on him, a Black man, infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. By April 1979, he had not only joined the KKK, but he’d also pulled the wool over the eyes of the local KKK chapter and the Grand Wizard himself, David Duke.

Sounds like something out of The Onion, doesn’t it?

As preposterous as that sounds, it’s all true. Today,  just shy of the 40th anniversary of Black Man Makes Fools Out of Local KKK Chapter, BlacKKKlansman debuts, further immortalizing Stallworth’s efforts. Starring John David Washington (son of Denzel Washington) and Adam Driver, the Spike Lee-directed film tells the story of Ron Stallworth’s successful bid to do that which most other African-Americans don’t even have on their fictional bucket lists, let alone their real ones.

a copy of Ron Stallworth's 'certificate of citizenship' into the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Essential to verifying his highly implausible tale, here is Ron Stallworth’s actual certificate of citizenship (don’t ask me why the haters didn’t go with the more logical ‘certificate of membership’). See, I told you it was true.

Continue reading “It was an absurd idea, but it worked”

It was an absurd idea, but it worked