Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Malcolm

He would've been 84. I wonder what he would be saying if he were around today. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner

Not only does Obama have "swag", but he's got jokes to. Check out this footage from the White House Correspondents Dinner:

Cleary, Obama's "got it." He definitely gave the dinner some "fla-va." Enjoy.

Justice Appalachia Style

Mix the following ingredients:
"Former high school football stars"
"All-white jury"
"Small town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania"
"The beating death of a Mexican immigrant"

It's hard sometimes to make sense of something like this. But lets go for the obvious--what does this story tell us?

To humans, to society the value of human life is variable. In Shenandoah, the death of a Mexican is worth less than the death of a white citizen. Simple assault charges were given for a gang beating that, according to the medical examiner, resulted in the "brain oozing from his skull." And even if Ramirez wasn't blameless, he was fatally kicked in the head after being knocked unconscious. I can hear the underlying the sentiment of the jury. It just doesn't make sense to punish these fine young men just because a Mexican died. Why inconvenience them? The DA probably thought the same thing.

Boys will be boys.

Now there is a statement that I've heard before. It's used to explain away a lot of mischief that boys find themselves into. But why have I felt that it hasn't and doesn't apply to me? As a black man (and very recently a black boy) I was never the recipient of this sort of grace. Not in the classroom and certainly not in a street fight.

Imagine for a moment if I, along with a few of my football playing black friends, beat up and killed a white man, I don't think things would've been explained away this easily. The resulting narrative would've certainly played out differently. Perhaps we were in some sort of defacto gang. Sure we were talented football players but we were always the selfish and egotistical, not the hardworking "lunch-pail" types that Piekarsky and Donchak were.

Subconcious racially tinged narratives are all around us. They bleed into many parts of our lives, regardless of race and affect both how our actions are perceived and how we are treated. For some it helps us and for others it constrains us. For Donchak and Piekarsky, I have a hunch that this dynamic played a role in jury deliberations. It probably helped them and I am certain that it didn't hurt them as it would've for me in the other scenario.

Regardless of the details of the story, the life of Luis Ramirez was brutally taken, and his family has not found justice. That is the profound tragedy in this story. Sadly, the justice system often fails to live up to its name and even in the age of Obama, we find no dearth of examples. Even sadder; we aren't surprised by stories like that of Ramirez.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

East High School, Home of the Orientals


Obama's Swagga

Thumbs up to CNN for spending time enlightening it's viewers on a very important quality of President Obama, "swagga". The anchor, Kyra Phillips is absolutely giddy about her discovery that Obama has "swagga" and none of the other Presidents before him did. The white camera man also does not have "swagga". Shaft does though.

My fav line: Swagga, it's like swagger with a little more flava.

T.J. Holmes "swagga guru" (who knew?) broke it down: Obama goes to b-ball games and nice dinners, only black men have "swagga" and other black men "will look at" Obama's "swagga" and call him a "brotha". Hugging is a part of Black culture, everyone does it. That's why Obama is comfortable hugging people and that's why people love him. This "swagga" assessment takes place on Obama's 100th day in office; completely absent from this segment is any discussion of policy. The focus is on our President's "swag". Awesome.

The clips speak for themselves.

short and sweet:

a bit longer:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gay Taunts Causes 11 Year Old to Commit Suicide



The homophobia and ignorance that plagues our society should not affect our children like this. As a society, we need to fight against the restrictions of gender roles, especially when dealing with its intersection with race. Because the young, black boy smiled, he was gay?! Worst of all, he felt he had to take his life because of this. None of these children are to blame. We, as a society, share responsibility for Joseph Walker Hoover's death. We perpetuate hate and intolerance in music, television, churches, and everyday conversation. We allow our children, sliblings, and ourselves to use such hateful speech.

Joseph Walker Hoover, our prayers go out to you and your family.

A Woman of Color on the Supreme Court?!

It's a possibility. David Souter, the Bush appointed "Conservative turned Liberal" is said to be leaving the court in June.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/01/toobin.souter/

I was estatic, to say the least, when I cam across this article. In this day and age we should not limit ourselves to race and gender when evaluating people for this position. Nonetheless, there is currently only one woman on the Supreme Court and there is very little color on the supreme court. The disconnect between the court's ethnic and gender make up to that of America seems to have disabled their ability to comprehend minority and women's rights.

Hopefully the Obama administration will keep this in mind.