Black LGBTQ History Comes To Morehouse

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 • no responses - be the first

 

Via Colorlines:

 

Morehouse College, the nation’s most well-known all-male college for black men, announced this week this week announced a new course focusing on LGBT pop culture, history and society.

This is good news, and potentially a major step forward for HBCUs. I love that they are approaching this from historical prospective as well. Just within the civil rights movement there unsung LGBT heroes. Let alone wider society. A key component of progress is understanding, and nothing fosters better understanding like knowledge of history. Many props to Morehouse.

Tags: , ,

Scalia, Homosexuality & Morality

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 • no responses - be the first

AP:

Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.

“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective…”

If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

Scalia goes on to note that he’s not comparing homosexuality to murder (right), bu I don’t have much to say about that. I think the ludicrousness of the above statements speak for themselves. I acutely interested in this though:

Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

Oh really? I’d be very interested to hear what Antonin thinks of banning fur or meat-eating or hunting. How about a ban drinking again? Maybe we should ban women wearing pants? We could ban inter-racial marriage again too! All of these things have a constituency, and Justice Scalia has just said that if a legislative body has enough votes for ban any of the above because they think it’s immoral then that’s ok.

Somehow, I don’t think Antonin would go along with many of the above bans. But he clearly believes it’s ok to legislate your personal morality. Never mind that the point of laws is to protect people, other certain entities & create a society that’s as free & and as safe as possible. That’s why banning sodomy is stupid, and immoral. It has nothing to do with protecting anyone. It’s all about pushing a certain view of morality. So yes, Justice Scalia, you can have all the moral feelings about homosexuality you want. That is absolutely your right. It is not your right to infringe on someone’s individual liberty just because you, personally, think it’s immoral. When folks attempt to turn their morality into law on things like homosexuality, I find that profoundly immoral. Murder, as a law, is less about morality then it is about the most serious form of infringement of one’s personal liberty, the right to live. Laws legislating what we can do with our bodies infringe upon that most basic right as well. Keep your morals out of my pants.

 

Tags: , , ,

The Big Story: David Durk, The NYPD & Corruption

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 • no responses - be the first

R.I.P. David Durk.

Frank Serpico. David Durk. One of those names you almost certainly know. One man was played by someone who now a big time movie star. The other man had a minor character loosely based on him with a different name in the same film. David Durk doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.

Frank Serpico is alive. David Durk is dead. This is not an obit to Mr. Durk though, the NY Times has done a far better job than I ever could.

We probably never hear of Frank Serpico if not for David Durk. Their stories are intertwined, and you can run a direct line from Serpico/Durk to Adrian Schoolcraft, a man who’s technically still a cop, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he’s been treated. The stories of these three men, all great cops, should serve as an inspiration to all current, and future police officers. Instead the NYPD attempts to push them into the dustbin of history, and tries to minimize their achievements, and their (corroborated) accusations.

The NYPD has a corruption problem. Their PR guy will tell you that things are 10 times better than they were when Serpico was a cop. Does it even matter though? How much of that is through their own efforts, and how much of that is the decline of mob influence in NYC? The NYPD seems so eager to pat itself on the back instead of acknowledging that they have a shit ton of work to do. Abner Louima, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham. You know the names. You know what happened. And I’m telling you that the way the city, and the NYPD handled the findings of the Knapp Commission, which never happens if not for the persistence, and the insistence of Serpico & Durk, is why we have today’s NYPD. A police force of quotas, harassment, and racism.

…the fallout was minimal. Dozens of officers were prosecuted, but no senior police or city officials were charged.

A few people were cast out, and they called it a day. Ray Kelly was a police officer during those days. I wonder if he’s ever been asked about that era. Was he on the take? He sure does like to minimize police misconduct. How can we expect the NYPD to do their job in a fair, honest, and transparent way when they’ve never tackled the ghosts of the 60s & 70s? How many corrupt cops went on to become senior officers? How many are in the top brass today? We’ll probably never know. What we do know that is that the “blue wall” is as strong as ever. Adrian Schoolcraft’s apt was invaded by cops, and he was tossed in a mental ward by those same cops. Unlawful imprisonment anyone? Of course we’ve seen no criminal charges against any of the officers involved in these Gestapo tactics. I now feel vindicated every time I cross the street to avoid walking next to or crossing paths with a cop. If they can do this shit to another cop bet money they can, and HAVE done it a civilian.

I’ve always said that the police should be held to a higher standard than the average person, but this country seems to completely disagree with me. All over America cops are held to lower standards. Shoot a Black man in the back while he’s face down being handcuffed by another cop? Say you were scared, and you were reaching for your, far lighter, Taser. No one will even ask why you were reaching for your Taser in the 1st place. After the judge gives you double credit for time served you’ll end up serving a year in prison total. Now try, and imagine an average white man who’s not a police officer using any or all of that as an excuse. Now do it for the average Black man. I can’t see either of them getting just a year. Add some “fear”, and make ‘em both cops & it’s likely that they’re acquitted, and continue to be police officers.

All a cop has to do is say they were scared, and they’ll have people lining up to defend them. “You don’t know what it’s like to be a cop.” “Their job is dangerous.” There are around 800,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. (including state & federal officers). In 2010 160 of them were murdered. That’s a rate of .0002. In 2005 about 57,600 cops were assaulted. A rate of .072. Out of that number, about 15,800 were injured. A rate of .0197. My intent is not to minimize police shootings, and assaults, but show that this fear that cops regularly invoke, usually after they’ve shot another unarmed person, is unsubstantiated by the stats. Most cops probably don’t know another officer who’s even been assaulted let alone killed. So what are they so afraid of? The answer seems to be be Black & Latino men. Since we’re the ones that usually end up on the wrong end of a cops glock.

Despite all the talk about “community policing” Ray Kelly has been very confrontational when confronted with just about any criticism of the NYPD. This unwillingness to criticize the self is at the heart the NYPD’s problems, especially with regard to Blacks, and Latinos. When it comes to unwarranted defensiveness, only self-aggrandizing millionaires, and billionaires are in competition. 16 officers get arraigned for ticket fixing, 100s show up in protest. It’s someone else’s fault. They were “just following orders.” Guess what? I believe them. I believe they were just following orders when they stopped, and frisked 685,724 people (87% of them Black & Latino) last year. I also believe that they were just following orders when they stop and frisked 25% less people in the 2nd quarter of this year than last. This brings me back to Ray Kelly, and other cops who were “on the job” during the years the NYPD was nearly completely overrun by corruption. Where are many of these men now? David Durk said during a formal lecture at the police academy he was told to always carry a SASE with him in case he got a bribe. That way he could immediately mail it to himself without fear it would be found later. This is what they were telling recruits! But I’m supposed to believe that the overwhelming majority of corrupt cops who never got any  disciplinary action just suddenly became good cops? Maybe for a little while, ’til the cameras & the reporters & investigators went away, but not for long. Until society stops treating cops as above the law, and infallible we will continue to see corruption, racism & violence flowing from the NYPD.

In 1970 Frank Serpico said:

the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers.

That’s still the case. Just like in the 60′s, and 70′s today’s cops are “just following orders.”

Tags: , , ,

On D.L. Hughley & Women

by TKOEd • Friday, Nov 2, 2012 • no responses - be the first

D.L. Hughley is an asshole. Furthermore, his ludicrous, reprehensible, and despicable answers to Michel Martin’s questions lead me to believe he’s a misogynist. I don’t know if he & Martin were in studio together, but if they were I wouldn’t have faulted Martin for smacking the taste out of his mouth. This exchange, which begins with Martin reading from his book, is more than enough to sour me on a guy who I once thought had some sense:

MARTIN: I’m sure every father feels the same way that I do about his daughters. I love them, but I don’t like them. Who likes women?

Really?

HUGHLEY: Really.

MARTIN: Really?

HUGHLEY: Really.

MARTIN: Really?

HUGHLEY: Really, darling. Really.

MARTIN: You don’t like women?

HUGHLEY: I don’t like the way they process – no, I don’t. I enjoy their company. I do not like the way that they reason. You can’t understand them

Mr. Hughley, I can’t fucking understand you. Wait, maybe I do understand you. You’re a misogynist asshole who in addition to saying women are incomprehensible, is an extremely condescending dick to boot. No surprise on the latter given the former I guess. I’m not going to read Mr. Hughley’s book just like I haven’t, and won’t read any of Steve Harvey’s books. I’m not interested in rich Black men telling our women they ain’t shit. I’m not interested in anyone doing it. Now I’m not sure what D.L. Hughley has to do with “Black manhood” (whatever that is), but Kimberly Foster is dead on when she says:

Painting Black women as irrationally angry justifies the verbal and physical violence we endure daily.

Let’s go a bit further. Mr. Hughley does not just paint Black women as “irrationally angry.” He paints them as irrational. Full Stop.

As I’ve written about before Black women in this country face an incredible amount of domestic violence. If you know that 91% of married Black women are married to Black men, and when you know that intimate partner violence is the violence that most women have to face, then you know who’s perpetuating violence against the women in our communities. Real shit, seeing someone say the things that Hughley says in this interview makes me think that maybe the police should be talking to his wife, and daughters when he’s not home.

I’m not done with that point either. Let’s pull out another D.L. Hughley quote from this interview. Bold mine:

HUGHLEY: Like black women are angry just in general. Angry all the time. My assessment, out of, just in my judgment, you either are in charge or they’re in charge, so there’s no kind of day that you get to rest(ph).

Now think about this quote. Again, the emphasis mine:

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.

Now I’m going to racially patholgize Hughley’s comments. They are his, and his alone. He does not speak for me or any other Black man. BUT he speaks to something incredibly pernicious in human society. Sexism. Misogyny. Patriarchy. As men, we are all responsible for our contributions to these issues. We have all contributed to them at some point. Knowingly, and unknowingly. We must do better. Black men must do better. You want men, and boys to respect your daughter? Your wife? Your mother? Respect your wife. Respect the random woman in the seat next to you. Respect the woman one lane over. Respect the women you hit on, and teach your sons, cousins, nephews, etc, to do the same.

Don’t tell me you “love Black women” if you talk like this. Don’t tell me you love Black women if you won’t speak up for them, and/or help them speak up for themselves IF they need or ask for your help. Don’t tell me you love Black women if you sit there, and chuckle when your boy/dad/son says “I had/wanted to smack some sense into her.”

If you do, I don’t understand you. I don’t like the way you process. I do not like the way you reason. Some of what Hughley does in this interview, and apparently is his book, is the same thing we always talk about when it comes to race. It’s not the blatantly obvious things any more. It’s not as obvious as saying women shouldn’t have the right to vote or that they shouldn’t be able to control their bodies, but it’s insidious all the same. And he’s talking about the women WE love. Who LOVE us. Who, often, give us everything they have. At a minimum we should speak up, but even more importantly than that, we need to self-interrogate. It starts with us. It starts with one. We have to take hold of our misogyny, our sexism, and our patriarchy.

Now I believe that we need to take the right side of this fight across all of America, not just in the Black community. We can’t successfully combat patriarchy in our community if wider society has made no changes. The Black community is not an island. Our people are affected by American society on whole. So we can’t win at home if we’re not winning all across America. In white homes, as well a Black, and all the homes in between. That being said, I’m the man that believes that Barack Obama is a great symbol, and role model for Black men & boys in this country. I’m not going to sit here, and tell you that we can’t begin to make a difference. We can. We should. We will. I’m a role model for someone. My nephew comes to mind. I’m as big of an influence on him now, at 8 years old as anything else in his life. He watches me when I talk to my daughter. He watches me when I talk to my fiance. Gentlemen, the young men, and boys in your life are watching you too. What are you going to teach them. To love, and respect Black women on their terms or will you be another D.L. Hughley?

The Choice is Yours.

Tags: , , , , ,

Apparently Domestic Violence Is Funny

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 • no responses - be the first

At least that’s what these students from Waverly High School would like you to believe. Yesterday I wrote about the blackface, today we’ll talk domestic violence.

Do you that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month? If you’re not aware, that’s probably due in part to it sharing the month with Breast Cancer Awareness.

Let’s get some stats (PDF):

      • 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
      • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
      • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
      • Historically, women, and girls have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
      • Women who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
      • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
      • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.
      • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners, and children when they become adults.
      • Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships.

Emphasis mine. Anything about these stats funny to you? Unless you’re a complete & utter scumbag, the answer is no.

Apparently the blackface wasn’t enough for these morons. They had to make fun a brutal assault on a woman. A Black woman. I wonder if we would have seen these white kids making fun of DV in their community? I already know the answer though: Fuck No. That’s where the racism beyond the blackface comes in. It’s easy for them to make fun of a couple of Black people “acting ghetto.”

Who gives a shit, right?

We should (PDF):

  • African Americans account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides. In 2005, African Americans accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides in this country.
  • Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population but in 2005 accounted for 22% of the intimate partner homicide victims and 29% of all women & girl victims of intimate partner homicide.

But who are we to let facts, and reality stand in the way of a good laugh, right?

There’s nothing funny about someone abusing their partner(s) or ex. We especially need to get this message to the young folks in our community. Specifically our boys, and young men. Fellas, it begins with us, we need to let our boys (friends, sons & others) know that there’s nothing acceptable about harming the ones we care for. We must set a good example for them. It all starts with respect. In any disagreement with your partner respect must be at the forefront. Respect for women’s bodies, minds, and most importantly their boundaries. We do not force, we do not intimidate, and we do not cajole.

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Safety Plan.

Together we can help

 

Tags: , , ,

Massachusetts Lab Tech Arrested For Faking Drug Tests

by TKOEd • Monday, Oct 15, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Police said the former state crime lab chemist admitted that she altered or faked test results of drug cases assigned to her. Prosecutors said she went as far as adding cocaine to samples that were negative.

“There was clearly a short cutting of corners,” State Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “There was just getting this done as quickly as possible and all of that we’re looking at.”

Officials said during her nine years the lab, Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples. About 11,000 people now in jail were put there in part due to her work.

Already more than a dozen have been released because of questions about how she handled evidence.

But for some reason lots of folks in this country don’t understand why so many people, especially those most likely to be targeted by police, don’t trust the justice system. Couple cases like this with all the forensic science issues with have in this country, and all the police brutality & misconduct & you have a system that hardly any objective observer can be confident in.

Leah Bartos for Pro Publica:

One afternoon early last year, I punched in my credit card information, paid $495 to the American College of Forensic Examiners International Inc. and registered for an online course.

After about 90 minutes of video instruction, I took an exam on the institute’s web site, answering 100multiple choice questions, aided by several ACFEI study packets.

As soon as I finished the test, a screen popped up saying that I had passed, earning me an impressive-sounding credential that could help establish my qualifications to be an expert witness in criminal and civil trials.

For another $50, ACFEI mailed me a white lab coat after sending my certificate.

I don’t know about you, but shit like this makes me not want to leave my house, and carry a video recording device that’s on at all times.

Tags: , , ,

The Achilles Heel of Affirmative Action?

by TKOEd • Monday, Oct 15, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Richard Kahlenberg writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Set aside the fact that American universities have no dearth of privileged students of any colors—86 percent of African-Americans at selective colleges are middle or upper class—or that those minority students most likely to be admitted without a preference are those from wealthy backgrounds. To most Americans, the privileged minority student is the very least sympathetic affirmative-action case, which helps explain why President Obama has said his own daughters do not deserve a racial preference in college admission.

Justice Alito pressed on. Does a minority applicant whose parents are successful lawyers and are in the “top 1 percent of earners in the country” deserve an admissions preference over white and Asian applicants from families of more modest means? Gare’s eventual response, “we want minorities from different backgrounds,” spurred Justice Kennedy to comment, “So what you’re saying is that what counts is race above all.” Justice Kennedy continued, “The reason you’re reaching for the privileged is so that members of that race who are privileged can be representative, and that’s race.”

Emphasis mine. Kahlenberg is very knowledgeable on these issues, and has edited a book on the subject. So I can’t understand why he doesn’t bring up affirmative action for the most privileged of all when it comes to college, legacies. To say that “privilieged” minorities are the least sympathetic in AA cases, and not contrast or ask why the same isn’t true for legacy admissions is a massive oversight.

I agree with what Laura Stampler wrote in The Nation in 2010:

…legacy preferences seem to clearly violate basic notions of fairness and equity

Maybe I’ll take attacks on race based Affirmative Action seriously when I see legacy admissions being challenged all the to the Supreme Court.

Tags: ,

More Contraception = Less Abortions

by TKOEd • Thursday, Oct 11, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Shocking, I know.

So anti-choice radicals are willing to kill to stop “murder”, but many of them are not for higher or even any contraception use at all. Instead they preach “abstinence-only.” Because that’s worked brilliantly.

If abortion is akin to murder, then why not promote contraception to prevent these needless deaths? This is where anti-choice “logic” gets even more strained. You see to many of them contraception is also murder. The Catholic Church states:

“The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.”

So not only is contraception “evil”, it also “harms true love.” I’m sorry, but this is bat-shit crazy. I say that as someone raised in the Catholic Church who is still relatively religious.

So ladies, no sex. If you decide to be sinful and give up the goods, you can’t use contraception either. Because you know, you wouldn’t want to harm the true love you may or may not be interested in finding.

Enough snark. You want your own free condoms don’t you? Of course you do:

NYC.

NY State.

DC.

Chicago.

Philly.

L.A.

USA/Canada.

Some of these are only for orgs, but I like to think that my readership is involved with some great non-profits out there, so get ‘em, and give ‘em out! You can of course just do what I did, and search online for free condoms in your area if it’s not listed above. There’s probably some government agency or NGO givingem out almost everywhere in this country. Leave any that you know of in the comment section.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

License To Kill, Or License To Murder?

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Or license to maim, threaten, abuse authority, and be a racist scumbag?

Robbie Tolan

Oscar Grant

Sean Bell

Noel Polanco

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

And many more.

Some names you know, some you may not. Either way we need to ask ourselves why so many Black, and brown men keep ending up dead at the hands of the police in this country. Anaheim police have shot more people this year than in the last 2 years combined. Even a white, double amputee in a wheelchair, and wielding a pen was shot, and killed by an officer who “feared for his partner’s safety and his own safety.” That’s all before we get to Chavis Carter. We’ll probably never know what really happened, because I’m sorry I just don’t buy that this was a suicide.

In my eyes it all starts with ALL forms of law enforcement & military being put on the highest pedestal in all the land. America, and many Americans seem to think the police can basically do no wrong. Other than Oscar Grant I don’t believe that any of these men or their families have received even the slightest amount of recompense from the criminal justice system.

If this many, literally & figuratively, unarmed men can be shot by police we have to seriously wonder what kind of training the law enforcement in this country is receiving. Guess what? We have some idea of the training they’ve received:

The police have received no training that enhances the likelihood they will spot the drug criminals as they drive by and leave everyone else alone. To the contrary, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers have received training that guarantees precisely the opposite. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) trains police to conduct utterly unreasonable and discriminatory stops and searches throughout the United States. Perhaps the best known of these training programs is Operation Pipeline. The DEA launched Operation Pipeline in 1984 as part of the Reagan administration’s rollout of the War on Drugs. The federal program, administered by over three hundred state and local law enforcement agencies, trains state and local law enforcement officers to use pretextual traffic stops and consent searches on a large scale for drug interdiction.

That’s from Michelle Alexander’s excellent book, The New Jim Crow. Considering the large amount of young Black & brown men shot and often times killed after a traffic stop or a “stop and frisk” this is extremely alarming, and infuriating knowledge.

As for that license to kill, we don’t really know much about what cops are taught about when to “discharge” (as if shooting someone is akin firing them) their weapon. What we do know is that there are way too many scared cops on the streets. Let’s take Oscar Grant’s murder for instance. Mehserle claims he was reaching for his Taser. Many have asked, and I’ll ask again. Why? Why would you tase a man who was lying face down being subdued by another police officer? You’re that scared? Why the fuck are you a cop?

In this country police officer is synonymous with “hero.” Unless of course you live in certain communities where the only times you see cops are when they’re pushing you up against a wall for being young, brown & male. Every time I see cops walking the streets I get a little bit nervous. I wonder if this will be the day I have a run in with them. I instinctively want to cross the street. You can’t change that with platitudes or by changing your slogan to Courtesy Professionalism, and Respect. There’s got to be more, a lot more.

Rarely does it ever seem that the police are interested in actually interacting with the people they are supposed to be keeping safe. Every time I see a cop he or she is standing around talking to another cop, giving someone a ticket or arresting someone. Never are they talking to business owners, chatting up the old ladies sitting outside on Eastern Parkway or anything that resembles any sort of outreach. This type of behaviour only reinforces the skepticism the police have earned.

The question we’re left with is what can we do? I’m not sure how we can dramatically lower police shootings of unarmed brown people, but I’ve got some ideas on where we can start:

  • Strong, and persistent pushback against illegal police tactics. I think that this was largely responsible for the drop in stop & frisks in NYC last year.
  • We must acknowledge, and publicize all suspicious police shootings. To me, they’re all suspicious until proven otherwise.
  • We need to push for laws that hold law enforcement to higher standards for shootings, not lower. If they are so well trained as every police commissioner & captain claims then they should have no problem meeting this higher standard.
  • We need support projects like MXGM’s People’s Self Defense Campaign
  • We need to continue the fight to end the “War On Drugs.” The WOD can credibly be considered World War 3 considering the amount of direct, and indirect deaths owed to it.

There’s a lot more we can do of course. Please leave your ideas, projects, and programs in the comment section.

Tags: ,

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011 • one response - join in

A protest in Utah against Wal-Mart

Image via Wikipedia

This is a very good documentary on the business practices, and effects of Wal-Mart. If you’re like me, you don’t shop at Wal-Mart & have no intention of ever doing so, but this doc will anger, and sadden you. Wal-Mart is worse than I ever knew.

The High Cost of Low Prices

Tags:
Page 1 of 212

Search