Archive for January, 2014

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Hi, my name is Beyoncé and I approve your labels.

Here we are again.  We forage for the fodder that is Beyoncé.  Hungry for controversy, she feeds us a healthy dose of WTF and we devour it.

Having half-dressed, wet, women on grand stages, entertaining us, has become the norm for America. Hell, why not? It’s been done over and over and over and over and over again but now….It’s reaching a boiling point, where little girls want to be Beyoncé. They want the look, the body, the glamour and glitz and sadly the objectification that it comes with.

What do we do as parents?

As a Father of all boys, I hope that I don’t have to worry about them growing into a world with a different set of life rules when it comes to females and how they are viewed.  I have to do my part of course and I already have these conversations with my eighteen year old about the clothes that some of the girls his age are wearing and the things that they are doing with their young bodies. At the rate things are going now, how can anyone have respect for females when they are celebrated for doing things that show them in a lesser light.

Do we sit back and allow it because it’s ONLY entertainment and dumb it down because, it’s only kinda-lewd and it’s only T.V.?

We have such a double-standard in society.  We praise our First Family and adore them for being so regal, clean and qualified and perfect and we say things like that’s how I want my family to be….Then we acclaim shows about left-behind ex-wives, women that are cruel to each other, over-pampered and over-tolerated, spoiled celebrities that share their pre-recorded lives with us and then we have Beyoncé; dripping wet and dancing in the misogynistic mist of our male dominated culture.

Objectification is a long word and it’s not used often in the mainstream but, it still holds strength in circles of proud, self-respecting women that stream the internet with blogs about how out of order the state of womanhood is and how ‘good or bad’, image is everything. It’s a word that I hold on to when I need to pull it out because someone thinks seeing a woman as an object, is cool. Then there are the women that are proud of Beyoncé and how she’s a DivaBossChick and Jay-Z is PAID, so it’s alright, it’s cool, it’s just music. How is it that these same bastions of feminist theorists, comfortably criticize women in rap videos and applaud Bey for flaunting the same imagery?

What’s the difference?

To this writer, Beyoncé is being used to blight the minds of young people, while using herself to push a sex-crazed or drunk-in-love, music industry product that sells young women’s dreams to the highest bidder in the name of entertainment, money and sexual objectification.

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1924 Josephine Baker, The Chocolate Dandies

She’s a canvas for negative projection, a modern day Josephine Baker; a willing participant in her own objectification and unlike in the 1920’s, little girls weren’t trying to be like her and were likely shielded from her images.  They had parents that kept their kids in check, today there are no rules and somewhere, a mother is twerking and strip dancing in front of her children.

“Hello NASA, I’d like two tickets to the Moon please!”

CT

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A lot of people are pretty angry and upset about recent events that have climbed out of the fib we call post-racial America.  Even Russia, has gotten into the act.

The 2014 weekend dedicated to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was filled with “The Dream” and the “Dreamers.” Millions reveled in Martins’ dream of a world without racism, hatred and bigotry. A day we remember the love and compassion that he had for our “Sick White brothers.” A time when we sing Happy Birthday, Stevie style and watch old movies with Paul Winfield.  At a time when we are usually discussing the ugly historical past of the USA, we are now talking about it’s extremely ugly present.

Racism was on full force over the last few days, nationally and internationally. We either have a long way to go or we have nowhere else to go.  So, I have put together a few short thoughts (thank goodness) about a few of the happenings from this past weekend.

Zip it!


1. Idiotica

Madonna calls her son a ‘nigga’ and the world goes crazy. I know that the word has been used negatively towards Black people but, why does it only have to apply to us? Who said that she can’t call him that? Why are people making such a big deal?
Black people have been apt to call each other and themselves that every day and it’s regarded as just something that we do. To top it off Madge used the same BS defense of the word that rappers use by saying “it’s a term of endearment” to justify its use. Oh, and of course she’s not a racist, she has black children and has been with black men; guess that makes it easier to accept?

I don’t think so.

There may be pockets of people in the AA community, that say that they have “buried the N word” and have taken its power away, nonetheless it’s stronger than ever because it’s being used by whites against whites and it has reared its ugly letters in all of our faces again.

Really Mom??

Really Mom??

The Barbershops in the hood laughs at what Madonna said while Supercuts on Main Street, cringes in horror. Whites are okay with it as long as it stays in the field with us but when ‘nigga’ is applied to white skin, it encroaches on their culture and entitlement, White America is not having it and I can’t blame them.

Thanks to the Material Girl for bringing an immaterial word back to mainstream media!

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Snatchies!


2. This Richard, is not a Dick

There is a great article about the Richard Sherman situation. The situation of which, shouldn’t be a situation at all but, Blacks and Whites alike are saying really stupid things about this man. This is the fault of the NFL; they’ve tried to turn these athletes, these men, these football field slaves.  Into quiet, docile, good little boys, while ignoring the essence of the athlete and the warrior spirit that they have within them.  That being said, the internet tough guys and Klansmen, came out from underneath their cyber rocks to let everyone know just how upset and angry they were about Mr. Sherman and his antics.  Instead of taking the loss like champs, the chumps flocked to twitter and facebook and whatever form of social media they could get their grubby sticky fingers on to call him all kinds of names from “nigga, nigger, monkey, ape” and other colorful expletives.

I applaud Richard Sherman personally for expressing himself in a way that seems befitting of a MAN that just won a WAR. The NFL and the NBA suppresses and punishes BLACK MEN for expressing themselves in victorious manner on the field and court and have them on even tighter leashes, excuse me nooses, off the field. They can’t celebrate, they can’t stare, they can’t gesture and they’re not allowed to release that energetic-joy that comes from victory.

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Credit: Greg Howard on Deadspin

It’s enough to make a man explode and release an epic Sherman-sized, conquering Negro rant right in the face of America.

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Get out of that seat and have several others!


3. Sitting on the Black of the Day

Oh My Osiris!

There is a picture of a Russian magazine editor of Garbage, I mean Garage magazine and is the girlfriend of Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich, who put her tiny bottom on a chair cushion that is strapped to what appears to be a submissive Black female (mannequin) This garbage attempt at artistic expression, has the real world and the fashion world in an uproar. This image destroys so many Women’s Lib philosophies about feminine freedom and the abolishment of the  objectification of womanhood as a whole. In this patriarchal society, women are placed underneath the booted-heel of a male-dominated system, so why would a woman contribute to that and ignite a fire with the African diaspora and those that support it throughout the world?  On Martin Luther King Day at that! The timing couldn’t have been more “planned” as I feel that this was a distasteful tactic to fuel anger and hatred; what else were they expecting?  I’m sure they don’t celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King wherever Ms. Zhukova-Miroslava Duma is from however, I’m sure that someone, somewhere knows that in America we were in the middle of celebrating a Black Man Publicly and Nationally, they were very wrong to publish something like this on this day or any day for that matter.

January 2014 has certainly been an unashamedly racist beginning to the New Year.  Let’s see what Black History Month brings us.

I Blog 2 Much

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

See! I’m blogging again and I think that may be a problem. I’ve become a BLOGGING addict and I’ve tried to spread its innocuous venom to friends, family and other bloggers.

I recently read an article about ‘Quality over Quantity’ and while I totally overstand that, I like to believe that we can “Win, Win” with both approaches, “Quantity & Quality.”

There are tons of bloggers and writers’ in general, that write and write and write and while we may love their scribing frequency, we get lost in lack of reading enjoyment because the content sucks.

By no means do I believe that I have gotten by without any of my blogs sucking or have drifted over rookie mistakes and writing errors that new bloggers make.  Nor do I think that my blogs are some of the best blogs out there…I know they are because they are my thoughts and my feelings and if it’s not my best then I wouldn’t share it with the rest. Confidence, is important in other aspects of life; why not blogging?

Understanding the context of your content is important and if it’s not for everybody then it’s not for everybody. Writers’ love feedback. I am a feedback junkie and if I don’t get likes or comments, I get antsy not angry.  I check my stats all of the time, hoping that I get just one like or a comment. It’s not a necessity but, it shows me that I’ve reached someone that thought my blog was worth reading.  People, who talk and write, talk and write because they want to be heard; I want to be heard.

I see other bloggers post blogs and get hundreds of likes within minutes and I’m enviously happy for them. I wonder how much work they had to put in to amass such a following. Do I need a niche? Do I need to write about specific things and cater to a specific crowd? That’s the issue with society; we like to compartmentalize everyone and everything. Why not be a writer for the sake of writing and not limiting ourselves to one flavor of ice cream.

I like to write about lots of subjects from Soul Train to Tuna Melts to Confederate flags, I’m opinionated but I like to give a fair assessment of the things I write about. Life is too complex and exciting to lock ourselves into a specific genre unless that’s what you want.  Actors complain about it all the time about how they don’t want to be “type casted” and only get roles that involve the same theme or characters.

Read the following quote:

The richest and greatest place on Earth is the graveyard. It’s full of people, who never acted on their dreams, because they were too shy and too comfortable, their dreams are buried with them. It contains projects that have never been done, books that have never been written, ideas that have never been shared and songs that haven’t been heard.

Let’s not go to our graves without sharing our ideas and writing our songs.

A lot of people shy away from the responsibility that words carry. We can say damaging things or uplifting things. I prefer to be on the upside. Sometimes the info works for people, sometimes it may not however, I still did my part in sharing what was in my heart and using cyberspace to peacefully spread my thoughts and how I process things. I am proud to be a part of the “multi-author blog” society and to be knows as a Multi-Blog Author.

I wear many hats and know a little bit about everything, I think we all do, some of us just blog about it!

Write On!
CT

Hidreew

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OMG! You’re Brack?

I was recently told a story about an African-American male who’d been discriminated against but, not really.

Let me explain.

One of his customers whom he’d only had phone relationships with said Merry Christmas to him last month, in which he replied that he doesn’t really get into Christmas, because he celebrates Kwanzaa.  Then she said, “Kwanzaa is for the Black people, wait, you’re Black?”  Yes, was his reply and from there she went on and on about how she didn’t know that and that she was amazed that he spoke so well.  Now oddly, she is Chinese and from what I was told her “Engrish” wasn’t all that up to par.  However, her amazement stemmed from the fact that she’d only been exposed to “difficult” Blacks that frequent her store and constantly gave her a hard time.  Every time that they talk now, she continues to listen in amazement as he speaks and conducts his business, always complimenting him at the end of the phone calls for being the professional that he always was before she knew what color he was.

How does that make you feel?  I know it makes me feel good and bad at the same time.  Good to know that this young man is well spoken, polite and handles his business, the bad/unfortunate part is that her expectation of all Blacks is likely in the negative.  It doesn’t take anyone outside of our race to define us.  Not by how we speak, dress or wear our hair, her prejudice and dim-witted thinking is the modus operandi of lots of Americans.  Guilty until proven innocent and it’s not until it’s been proven that we are safe enough to be included in certain professional and educational circles, that we get a proverbial pass.

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Yeah, what you thinking?

If you are too Black too Strong, you will have a mark on you other than the skin you are in.  You’re labeled, categorized, placed into a funnel that continuously sucks you down.  Why?  Isn’t being who you are a part of what we were taught as children; your individualism is what makes you special right?  Now, as adults many of us or “you” have to conform to someone else’s standards to fit in.  How many stories have we heard about people of color being turned away from jobs that they were worthy and well qualified for?  Only to be passed over by an equally or under qualified white person.  This happens in every aspect of life; from business to the arts, if you Black you have a strike against you and it’s not a matter of fairness, it just is.

A man or woman can’t be who they want to be when they’re being something or someone else that they are not.  We put on masks at work or out on the streets, come home and we are different people.  Conformity is not normal.  It’s a quick fix to the problem of you being you and they love it.  Is that success?

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. ~ Booker T. Washington

A lot of us like to blame the “Man” for our failures.  Blaming whites for keeping the Black man down, is a poor excuse that is used to distract others from our own individual failures. Pathetic self-lies that we tell ourselves to talk ourselves out of reaching for our dreams.  “Oh, I can’t do this.  I can’t do that.  No one is going to do anything for me.”  Then do for self, is what I say.

The young man recently received an email from his boss saying that his customer service was great and that the “customers” really enjoy working with him.  It was the same company and the same lady that took her story of the “Amazing Brack Man” to the very top and is now throwing all kinds of praise and rewards at his feet because he’s an “exceptional nigger.”  Where have we heard that term before?  I think it was in 12 Years a Slave, how Solomon Northup, the free man turned slave was somewhat special.  He could read, he could play music and was a carpenter; is this a fair analogy of the young man? I don’t know but, it wasn’t until his race became a highlight, that he received “exceptional” attention that wasn’t necessarily the attention that he wanted or was working for.

He never questioned his Asian colleague about her culture or why her accent was so bad, he just did his job.  Her ethnicity was never under review, he knew who she was and that was it, a colleague, now he’s the Black colleague that speaks very well.

Until the colour of a man's skin Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes -

Until the color of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes –

How does this play in the rest of our society?  There are millions of us that speak articulately, work like professionals and are dedicated-educated, is it possible that America doesn’t know that we exist or does America fail to believe that good Blacks can still exist in this torn up culture of ours?  Where images of our men are bordered by white chalk lines or saggin jeans and our women are naked, single, pregnant and poor?  That’s how Chinese media views African-Americans in this country.  Asian media is ripe with caricatures and sambo-esque pictures that mock and belittle the existence of Black people all over the globe.  Just like newspapers and comics in the US a little more than a century ago, other countries have taken up the art of showing us to their part of the world in a racist negative light.

Chinese racism

Dis is some bull….

Now as far south into the realm of negativity this could go, as a blogger I’m supposed to be subjective but, this time I’ll remain on the objective side of the scale and try to end this blog peacefully. (*@&%$#)

In order to change the perception of the world and America (yes, it’s in its own little world) we as African-Americans need to stop giving these people excuses and material to use against us.  We are the ones that are holding ourselves back from competing with everyone else for jobs, education, home-ownership and the realization of the American Dream, which isn’t really bad if you think about it.

I don’t think the color of your skin disqualifies you instantly from success; it may also hinge on your individual definition of success.  Personally, I’m successful does that mean that I drive fancy cars and live high up on the hog? No, but it means to me that I’ve reached a certain level where I feel I’ve achieved a sense of accomplishment, doing the work that I love to do.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The implication that your skin color impedes success can affect you if you want to conform and assimilate.  If you are an against the grain person, you’ll likely have less stress and less heartache and pain when you are not accepted to certain circles, clubs or corporations.  Nevertheless, we do deserve a fair share.  We do deserve to be heard and not just seen.  Perception is the epicenter of our innermost thinking.  We conceive and conceptualize our realities through our eyes and ears and are sometimes fooled terribly by them.

I wonder what kind of revolution it would take to free these close-minded people from the realities they’ve created for themselves.  A revolution of the mind comes to mind and it won’t be televised or digitized, it will be an awaking of the masses to fight against the prejudiced precursors that lead to institutionalized racism and its ugly way of blocking Black success.

In the end, success shouldn’t be pre-determined by social or racial allusions, it should be a reflection of your indomitable spirit that works hard for the rewards that you receive.  Success is more than a euphoric feeling of accomplishment; it’s a way of life that was once guaranteed in our pledges of allegiance, where liberty and justice for all, paved the way for everyone to be successful.

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CT

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Over 20 years ago, a friend of mine and I were out playing basketball. We played for hours under the hot summer sun. After we’d shed some weight and got a few shades darker, we took a break and went into the house to grab something to drink. We didn’t go for the water, no, we went for the red drink.

I stood there panting, patiently waiting but begging silently for my drink.  Finally, I took a sip. I took another sip. As I took my final sip, a clump of leftover mashed potatoes that had been stuck at the bottom of the tall glass thumped against my lip! I was traumatized and sick to my stomach at the thought that I had been drinking residue from last night’s leftovers because my friend didn’t wash the cup properly. Til this day, I still razz on him about that and we get a good chuckle out of it, eventually my stomach starts to hurt all over again.

Traumatized and many years later, I am a stickler and a certified rage machine when it comes to dirty dishes.  I can’t stand dirty dishes and I do not want anyone to ever have to go through what I went through, trust me you don’t want to.

With that being said…
I don’t mind washing dishes because; I know they’ll be clean.

Now, I don’t like to wash dishes when it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas or any holiday that draws together more people than an average household, more food than usual and requires the good China. If it’s a pan, a pot, silverware, come cups and containers, I’m good anything more; the dishwasher has to come into play.

When I was dishes, I usually fill the sink, soap it up, and grab a washcloth (no sponges) hot water and an obsessive intent to clean the dishes. I scrub, I rinse, I inspect.

This evening, I was washing dishes and I covered my normal routine, rinsed the dishes off inspected them and what did I find…Remnants of cheese; stuck in the corners of a dish. Now, I had been very thorough with the cloth, using my fingers to dig out what I had seen earlier in the dish and in my mind the dish was CT clean, but somehow in the deep recesses there was a glob of wet soapy cheese that was hanging in there and wouldn’t let go.

That’s when my OCDishes kicked in and I went to town on it again. One corner, cheese. The next corner, cheese. I had somehow missed every corner of the dish in my first wash and was about to leave it in the strainer as such.

After another inspection, I was able to confidently place the squeaky-clean dish in the strainer to dry.

A word of advice to the dishwashers out there, be thorough and aware, check your corners; you never know what leftover may decide to stay left over.

CT

Emotions

Posted: January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

What are emotions? In psychology and philosophy, emotion is a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psycho-physiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states.

In other words, FEELINGS.

As the two common words share nearly the same meaning, they are two different experiences. Feeling is when you feel something is wrong (your spidey-sense) in an area and when we feel things with our fingers. For the sake of title continuity now, let’s deal with Emotions.

Emotions can get us in trouble. We tend to lose control of our emotions and make irrational decisions. It happens in relationships. It happens at work. It can happen at school. It happens, it’s LIFE. Sometimes we can’t control our emotions. We fight hard to maintain a sense of control when we are faced with something and no matter how hard it is and how hard we try; we still get up and get that ice cream bar at midnight. It’s okay, you’re simply human.

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I was speaking with a friend the other day, a female friend and the subject of Female Emotion vs. Male Emotion, came up and I immediately rolled my eyes. “Here we go again”, I thought, another bloated diatribe about men and how dense we are emotionally. To my surprise, she understood that men are more logical than emotional. She wasn’t speaking for all men because according to her she knows some guys that are effeminate by proxy when it comes to expressing how they feel.

Women are emotional and are more prone to over-explain or over-question guys in regards to things that could be resolved quickly and peacefully, had the question or answer simply been given without all the wishy-washiness. When a woman has an issue that needs to be addressed she tends to drag it out into a tell-all-ask-all-tear fest montage of everything and every minute that led up to that particular moment.

When the police say, “Just the facts ma’am”, they are not trying to be out there all day or all night taking a hyper-emotional statement. Their writing pad is only so big.  So, I’m giving the fellas carte blanche to say, “Just the facts baby!” Please send thank you messages in my comment box.

Emotional men are rare to find. I would like to consider myself in tune with my emotional side because I’m a writer, a poet and a parent. Does this make me the easiest person to deal with? Not at all! I do claim to have emotions but, I don’t let my emotions have me. (sometimes) There are a few guys that aren’t so lucky. It could be due to upbringing? A man raised in a house of females will definitely express his feelings differently from a man who was not raised that way.
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By no means am I saying that this is true in all cases but, in a lot of cases I’m sure it is. So, what’s an emotional man and what’s wrong with him? Absolutely nothing however, it does leave little to no room for logical problem solving skills which is important for most men to survive in today’s world. Men are the physically stronger species in terms of brute strength so allowing our emotions to run wild could result in people getting hurt or worse. We’d hurt ourselves socially and end up in roadside ditches more often than not.

Emotion is considered, “Reciprocally influential, with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation.” It is also, “Influenced by hormones and is linked to behavioral tendency.” All of these ginormous explanations about emotions and feelings are making me emotional. Just a little bit.

Are women are overly emotional and over-the-top when it comes to expression? It could be part true but, that is just the nature of women and I don’t mean to generalize but, if the high-heel fits, rock that shit.

Guys, stop being a hairy ball of whiny gummy-gum drops when it comes to dealing with your issues and how you express how you feel about them. Stop talking, stop gossiping, and stop being what you complain about. Listen to your woman, process the information and be logically smooth with your responses. She’ll appreciate you for that.

Me thinks that there has to be an imperfect balance of emotional and logical representation in a relationship. Having two ‘EMO’ people bumping heads will lead to more headaches, fights and breakups. Not saying that women have to completely drop the whole emotionally-present thing but, just tone it down a little bit. Men are really not that complex, we hear, we listen, we process information differently. Losing control like an out of control baby carriage rolling down a hill, isn’t going to help you get the message you want to get across to your partner. Men like to get information straight, not around the corner, around the block with a stop at the corner store, up the stairs and into our ears.

We also hate being talked to loudly or yelled at, we’ve reserved that for the fellas.

CT