Social Media, Kaepernick, and You

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kapMillions of people are talking about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem. But what exactly does his protest prove?

On social media, two basic opinions abound. One opinion is that Kaepernick’s actions are justified; that his protest somehow helps people who are oppressed by systemic, institutional racism and white supremacy. The other dominant opinion is that it’s ridiculous for a professional athlete and millionaire to identify with either the actual or perceived oppression of blacks in America.

Regardless of your opinion, once you log off social media and return to actuality, (if you ever do) you’re left with yourself alone. And what does Kaepernick have to do with YOU?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who follow sports religiously, you might feel justified in being outraged and  outspoken against the athlete. Whether you believe Kaepernick’s protest is outrageous or outstanding, you have something in common with the opposing side in this debate: You’re discussing the NFL.

You might say, “I’m discussing racism” or “entitlement”–not football. But a discussion about Kaepernick is a discussion about celebrity, wealth, popularity, and yes, football.

How many times, in your ACTUAL LIFE,  have you glanced around the room during the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance to see how many dissenters were present? And when you caught someone “protesting,” did you take a stand and publicly denounce his or her actions? Did you applaud the person and stand in unity and defiance against the corruption that is “AmeriKKKa”? Furthermore, when was the last time you saw or heard racism in an offline environment? Were you the victim or the perpetrator? A bystander? What did you do? Oh. That’s right: You vented about it on social media.

The average reader will be tempted to turn the discussion back to Kaepernick, but let’s focus on YOU for a moment. Do you use racial slurs in private? Do you secretly hate America for its history of colonialism? Do you wish black people would shut up about being “oppressed?” Do you wish white people would shut up about black people needing to shut up about being “oppressed?”

As people engage in virtual arguments about whether racism exists or not, the greater argument is internal and secretive: “Am I a racist? Am I a victim of racism? Am I both? Will racism ever end? Do I care? Should I care?”

Whether you believe Kaepernick’s protest is appropriate or ignorant, arguing with your friends and associates is “taking the easy way out.” (Posting memes supporting either opinion qualifies as arguing.) Very few people acknowledge that the most important argument is against the self: “Am I oppressed? Am I an oppressor? Am I good? Am I bad? Who am I?”

The nationwide outcry about Kaepernick’s protest proves that sports matter. Football matters. Celebrities matter. Whether or not black lives, blue lives, white lives, or “all” lives matter–and to what degree, and in what order, has yet to be determined. In the meantime, football continues to trend.

 

 

 

Indigentitis: The Answer to Affluenza

Affluenza defense: A slap in the face to poor convicts.

Affluenza defense: A slap in the face to poor convicts.

The “affluenza defense” made headlines recently when 16-year old, rich, white Texan, Ethan Couch, was found not guilty of killing the four people who died during his drunken joyride when he lost control of his vehicle. Avoiding a 20-year prison sentence, Couch’s Attorney argued that the teen can’t be held responsible for his actions because the nature of his rich life was such that his parents imposed no limits or restrictions; he was allowed to run wild. Therefore his actions were not his fault.

Teen drunk-driver Ethan Couch was given probation instead of jail-time after killing the victims above, because his wealthy upbringing affected his judgement and decision-making skills.

Teen drunk-driver Ethan Couch was given probation instead of jail-time after killing the victims above, because his wealthy upbringing affected his judgement and decision-making skills.

Whether critics agree or disagree with the “poor little rich kid” defense, it worked. Ethan was sentenced to ten years of probation. The courts have ruled that Ethan’s wealthy upbringing negatively influenced his ability to make wise, safe, responsible decisions. This ruling begs the question, “What about indigent youth, whose decision-making skills are, likewise, influenced by their upbringing?

Case in point: The Trayvonn Martin murder trial, which seemed to be an inquisition into the morals, habits and character of the deceased, rather than those of his assailant, featured tales of the N-word, stories about marijuana, and images of hooded sweatshirts, which, to some people, are threatening and indicate a hoodlum or thug. Why were these issues breached during the trial?

When Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvonn, it was because the jury believed Zimmerman was defending himself from a thug. But what if Trayvonn was socialized to fear non-blacks; that they kill young men like himself? Indigentitis.

When Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvonn, it was because the jury believed Zimmerman was defending himself from a thug. But what if Trayvonn was socialized to fear non-blacks; to believe that whites and other races kill young men like himself? Maybe he fought Zimmerman because he feared for his life. Why? Indigentitis causes black men to swing/shoot first, and ask questions later, when confronted on the streets.

George Zimmerman’s defense team successfully cast Trayvonn Martin as a threat. The jury became convinced that Zimmerman shot Trayvonn to save his own life. So the unspoken conclusion; that a black youth in a hoodie is dangerous, grew legs. Young black men haven’t felt safe on the streets since the verdict was rendered.

What does this have to do with Indigentitis? Indigentitis is the inflammation of tensions after prolonged exposure to poverty and injustices. Indigentitis can also be described as, “actions resulting from an upbringing wrought with poverty, destruction and death.”

Suppose Trayvonn Martin called Zimmerman a “creepy cracker,” to his face, and stalked Zimmerman down with the intent to kill before being killed? Indigentitis? Black men in America have seen themselves enslaved, lynched, hosed, beaten, raped, murdered, jailed and utterly degraded and disrespected for no reason other than the color of their skin. Poor black people. No wonder they stand at the ready to riot whenever a grave miscarriage of justice takes place. They suffer from indigentitis. Should anyone be surprised that black dollars are spent almost exclusively on entertainment, Jordan tennis shoes, depreciating cars and flashy jewelery? Say it slowly: Indigentitis; the urge to spend every dollar you acquire on material items that impress other poor people in your neighborhood.

Sometimes ghetto residents are killed for money, clothing, jewelry, or Jordans; indigentitis.

Sometimes ghetto residents are killed for money, clothing, jewelry, or Jordans.  Indigentitis causes an overwhelming urge to obtain flashy tennis shoes, clothing and jewelry by ANY MEANS NECESSARY, even robbery and murder.

When little Tameka is expelled from school after being caught in the act of theft, will the police bother to question her parents; the ones who taught little Tameka to steal bread and meat from the grocery store; because stealing is a means of EATING? Will little Tameka be sentenced to 10 years of hard time behind bars? Or will an attorney step forward to plead her indigentitis defense? Indigentitis causes people to steal on instinct to avoid hunger, starvation and death.

Is affluenza real? Obviously it’s real if its diagnosis prevented a 16-year old rich kid from going to prison after his wreckless driving caused four people to die and another to be paralyzed. Instead of arguing against the affluenza defense, maybe concerned citizens should advocate the indigentitis defense. That way, teenagers who sell drugs because they are surrounded by suggestions to do so, can be re-educated and counseled after successfully arguing  indigentitis. As it stands, poor teens and young adults are being sentenced to long terms in prison, which facilitates the vicious cycle of indigence…

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Billion-dollar corporations (record labels, television and radio broadcasters) spend unspeakable amounts of money promoting drug-dealing, while indigent black men are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Can drug dealers use indigentitis as a defense, since an entire economy and culture socializes them to sell drugs?

Sure, each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, but if Ethan Couch can blame his upbringing for his mistakes, so can anyone else. For instance, Chris Brown has repeatedly confessed that he witnessed his mother’s abuse at the hands of his father. Yet when he becomes involved in a domestic assault case, he is not shown leniency, nor is he given the opportunity to blame his upbringing. Why not?

And finally, what about the issue of slavery? Any fool can see that black Americans have a HARD TIME escaping poverty, drugs, miseducation, lack of education, violence, AIDS, sexual and physical abuse…the list goes on and on. Why are black people perceived to be more “loud” and “violent” and “aggressive” and “ghetto” than other races? Could it be the fact that blacks as a people were beaten, killed, raped, stolen, bought, sold, worked to the bone, abused, harrassed, and labeled inferior? Could it be that the entire black race suffers, in one form or another, from indigentitis. Sure, some black people are wealthy. But for the ones who are still poor, can indigentitis be used as a viable defense for stealing, killing, and etc? Can Kwame Kilpatrick argue affluenza? What about political family-enza?

Many people joke about Chris Brown's abuse of Rihanna, but Chris Brown was raised in a household where the woman was beaten. No, he didn't get counseling. No, he never "got past it." He repeated the behavior he saw from birth to his teen years. Indigentitis?

Many people joke about Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna, but Chris Brown was raised in a household where the woman was beaten. No, he didn’t get counseling. No, he never “got past it.” He repeated the behavior he saw from birth to his teen years. Indigentitis?

Wonder Why They Call You Nigga?

     

Black America Shocked as White Atlanta Housewife

Drops N-bomb

by Darryl Gayle

Embraced by an all-black cast as the lone White Chocolate Sister, Zolciack lost her chocolate by dropping the N-bomb.

 

Kim Zolciak, as the lone white woman on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, was once considered a White Chocolate Sister by many.  Embraced by NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield, Kandi Burrus and others, Kim once condemned the ladies for insinuating that she was racist during the fiasco called, “Black Baby-Gate.” Fans of the show  still remember when Kim lashed out at Kandi in astonishment at the assertion that Kim would never visit and orphanage in Africa or hold a black baby. Fast forward a season, and the fans are equally as astonished when Kim, upon her exit from the show, spits the phrase “these niggas” in a moment of disgust and frustration.

Kim poses for a photo with Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burrus, one of the “niggas” she referenced in her dramatic exit from the show.

So is Kim a racist? Does she think black people are inferior?

“Impossible! She has black friends. And besides, she didn’t say ‘nigger,’ she said ‘nigga,’ right? Black people say it all the time, so Kim can say it too… Right?”

“No.”

“Maybe black people should stop saying it.”

Not so fast.  Despite what you’ve heard from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and other proponents of banning the word “nigga” from Ebonics (black American language), black people in America have every right to call each other “niggas” if they so choose. Black people in America may flaunt the word “nigga” in all of its power, while whites may not. And here’s why:

Racism against black Americans was once legal.Think about it.

Not only are black people in America the descendents of Africans, slaves, Jim-Crow Era parents and single black mothers, but also, black people in America are the targets of deeply rooted, systematic racism today. Why? Because during the famous Civil Rights Era, two different US Presidents had to use military force to integrate state Universities (less than 50 years ago). In addition, countless blacks were murdered, beaten and otherwise attacked in pursuit of basic human dignity.  For numerous reasons, blacks around the world are considered, by some, to be the lowest human beings on the racial totem pole. And unlike sexual orientation, race can hardly be hidden, unless your into skin-bleaching.

Everyone in America who is older than 50 lived in a time when blacks were openly degraded and labeled as being inferior.

What message did legal racism send to our parents’ parents’ parents? That blacks are inferior. “But look how far we’ve come!” Right. It’s no longer en vogue to reveal your disdain for “the niggers” or “Mondays,” (nobody likes ’em) as blacks are often secretly called. Nowadays, it’s neither wise nor profitable to openly admit that you believe blacks to be inferior. But many racists reveal their beliefs through their actions, which include racial slurs, racial profiling, discrimination, and murdering any dark person wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Racists believe black people to be loud, rowdy, dangerous, violent, drug-related, gang-affiliated people who were created to be hated. Even President Barack Obama is not immune to the hate, as illustrated here :

Dont Renig

Although Obama is both white AND black, he, too is called “nigger” by racists.

“But what about smart, rich and successful black people? What about interracial marriages? We have a black president, so racism is a thing of the past, right?” Wrong. Racial discrimination is now illegal, therefore it’s hidden. Every now and then, it slips out, as in the case of Kim Zolciak. Throughout the bloody history of black Americans, the word “nigger” has been used to degrade and undermine the race for so many years, that hearing it uttered from the mouths of non-blacks instantly produces a charged and potentially volatile situation.

Even blacks who are very rich and successful face racism. After years of being treated as an inferior race, black people sometimes display indignation and disgust, which society calls, “having an attitude.”

In discussing the “nigger” controversy, it’s important to note the cleverness of owning the term, removing its stinger, infusing the word with a new energy, and using it in a new way. The term “nigga,” when used between blacks, not only speaks solidarity and familiarity, but also invokes comedy and adds emphasis in conversation. Sure, it can also carry a derogatory meaning, but most often, it’s used differently among blacks than by others. Changing the term’s connoted meaning and using the word “nigga” enjoyably is a blatant smack in the face to black people’s former oppressor. It’s genius. It’s a defense mechanism and survival tactic in a brutal world. Black people calling each other niggers or niggas is like siblings teaching each other to fight; it’s a survival tactic. It’s similar to saying, “I’m black and I’m proud.”  Not every “black” person in America actually has black skin, but just like blacks embraced “negro,” “colored,” and “African-American,” blacks have embraced, and even celebrated, being labeled as “black,” the least favored color in the crayon box, although most so-called “blacks” are truly brown! Embracing the word “nigga” is no different. Is it fair to throw nigger lemons at blacks and expect them to not make nigger lemonade?

nigger plane

The word “nigger” is still commonly used by racists. But it’s hidden. And few racists are brave enough to utter it on television.

Black people can openly and enjoyably use the words nigga and nigger. White people can not. Why? Because when certain races of people say it, it means “inferior-scum-of-the-earth-monkey-minstrel-tar-baby- piece-of-shit.” Between blacks, the word takes on a totally different meaning. The bottom line is that the word “nigga” is for black use only. During slavery, when blacks gathered leftover scraps from their masters’ farms; turning pig intestines and leafy collared greens into the world-famous cuisine we now call Soul Food, they learned a valuable lesson. Life as a black person in America is all about taking the leftovers and scraps and creating something good. It’s about catching the stones that the oppressors threw, and using them to build a fortress. Certainly, many blacks still love Kim.  And while she is welcome to eat black people’s chitlins and collard greens, the word nigga is not to be shared with the non-black world.