F*ck the police.

pigThe fallout following Mike Brown’s murder is a couple of days old now and I’ve seen many give their opinions of various topics related to this heinous crime including racism, classism, the ineptness of the NCAAP, the backlash behind President Obama’s official statement, respectability politics and the role of police in our community/police brutality. The latter is a subject I want to broach today with this post. Before I begin let me state how I feel about the police.

Fuck them.

Of course I don’t mean fuck ALL the police but my general attitude towards police still stands. Why do I have this viewpoint? I doubt my story is different from most Black men that grow up in America but I’m still going to share my story.

In 1989 when I was seven years old my father was severely beaten by Greenbelt police (PG County, MD) officers. What did my father do to deserve a beating (the question that apologists always ask)? He was fired from his job and when my dad refused to leave the premises the police were called. Upon arrival after a few words were exchanged my father was beaten with nightsticks. His injuries required hospitalization. My father went on to sue the city of Greenbelt.

This was my first introduction to exactly how some police officers protect and serve. Last week I had a discussion with a couple of frat brothers on GroupMe and our conversation centered on the murder of Eric Garner. Our discussion then shifted to what cities on the east coast had the worst police force. Eventually we started sharing our stories. Some were pulled from cars, some were verbally harassed and one was even punched in the face. As my frat were telling their stories I couldn’t help but chime in “My experiences have been nothing like y’all.”

I’ve never had an officer pull their gun on me or physically put their hands on me. I’ve lived in PG County, MD during a period of heightened police shootings, in the South where racial tensions are supposedly higher and in New York City during the stop and frisk era. This doesn’t mean I don’t feel anxiety when I’m driving and I see a police officer pull behind me. I wonder if my license or registration is expired. I start doing calculations in my head. “Even though it’s the middle of the afternoon and I’m driving to a meeting would I fail a Breathalyzer?” “If this cop doesn’t like me would he intentionally plant drugs in my car?” On the chance I do get pulled over I wonder if the additional 4 police cars he calls for backup are there because of my color or if he’s taking a routing police precaution.

Two years ago my youngest brother was slammed to the ground and arrested in front of my mother’s home in the middle of day. My brother was home from school that day because he wasn’t feeling too well. A friend and him were sitting on the porch and when the police asked them what they were doing my brother got smart with the police officer. This was enough justification to put his hands on my brother. According to the officer the reason he stopped to question my brother was he “fit the description” of a burglary suspect. Ultimately all charges (resisting arrest) were dropped and shortly after my brother cut his locks off.

The job of law enforcement is to protect and serve. I’m tired of them doing everything but that when it comes to our community. I read a report by the Malcom X Grassroots Movement report entitled “Operation Ghetto Storm” that showed data where every 28 hours a Black man in this country is killed by a police officer or vigilante. When I first heard of this statistic I thought to myself, “That seems pretty high; it can’t be right.” Then I really contemplated the number of black men who have been gunned down and never gained national media attention. This is an epidemic that too many people outside of our community don’t see as a problem. So when I say fuck the police, I don’t say so arbitrarily or haphazardly. It comes from a place of pain, of fear, of anxiety and of anger.

I want my people to be able to live in peace and trust that police officers will do their job and police the community. Help those that need help. Pursue real criminals and get them off our streets so that we have safer places to live.

There have been too many young black people across this country whose names I should not know; but I do. Civilians and the law collectively in this country have targeted people of color for a long time and that’s not changing anytime soon. Pictures have surfaced of police officers in full riot gear calling protesters “animals”. There have been reports of officers have firing rubber bullets into crowds of protesters. An all too familiar militarized police has little regard for a community that is mourning the murder another black person. The pictures I have been seeing look more like an occupation of a foreign country than an American city. I would complain about how the system is broken but the sad part is the system is working.

Some people will argue that I shouldn’t say fuck cops because they aren’t all the same. This argument holds no weight with me because there is an unspoken war going on in America between my people and the police. In this war only the police have the right to kill with impunity. They get paid leave and or termination of employment or at worst they might get convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

When the deck is stacked and it may mean the difference between to life and death I don’t have the luxury of trying to differentiate between good and bad cops so as N.W.A. so eloquently put it, Fuck the police!

On The Powder Keg That Is White Privilege Blended With White Guilt

On August 15, 2014 I left the lab to participate in Portland’s #NMOS20141. Portland held our vigil at Pioneer Courthouse Square. If you’re not familiar with Portland it’s similar to Union Square in New York. Since I really couldn’t find parking I walked into the Square towards the end of the moment of silence. There was a large circle where people of all races stood shoulder to shoulder. I did notice that about eighty percent of the crowd was Caucasians. After the moment of silence everyone came together in a large group and began telling the crowd their feelings or experiences on police brutality in regards to race.

The first thing I noticed was that most people didn’t use the bullhorn that was present so it made it kind of hard to hear most people. Shortly after I observed a middle aged white man because he had on what looked like a construction helmet, red framed sunglasses, a full beard and a sign hanging around his neck saying “Legalize marijuana.” He simply looked out of place. As he got up to voice his feelings, he began shouting disjointed phrases over how he was upset that the police kept harassing him for smoking weed. An older woman ushered him from the center of the crowd before he could go any further.

After a few more people talked I was ready to leave because I had two evening meetings and I couldn’t hear what most people were saying anyway. As I was getting ready to leave a mixed race Jewish young man stepped forward to the center of the crowd (I know he was Jewish because he was wearing a Kippah cap). Although he had a soft voice it carried enough that I could hear what he was saying clearly from the outer edges of the crowd.

He first pleaded with the crowd to bear with him if he cries because this is something that he’s really passionate about. This is when I knew that I had to hear what he had to say. He went on to say how he was tired of seeing black people killed in this country just for being black. He tried to explain that this was not a black issue but a white issue. Then he said what I wasn’t aware was a trigger word; “privilege”. The words “white privilege” weren’t five seconds out of his mouth before a white man yelled over him something about not all white people have privilege. The Jewish kid in turned told the white man to “Shut up.” The white man, red with anger, took this opportunity to start taking steps towards him in what I perceived as a threatening manner. What I presumed was his older and bigger brother (he later said so) pushed the Jewish kid to the side and told him to “Back the fuck up and don’t approach my brother.”

Another older white man (also wearing a Kippah cap) weaved his way through the crowd saying he was trying to get to his son. He was able to get in between his older son and the angry white man thereby diffusing the situation enough so that both backed down. The younger son was able to finish his sentiments and I was left awestruck as how a white man could so brazenly disrupt a black man in a moment of such truth and rawness.

Why did he feel he would be justified in doing so? He proved the young Jewish man’s point. White privilege is a hell of a thing.

No one thought he himself didn’t care about the murder of innocent Black people. He was standing shoulder to shoulder at a rally for us. Yet his white guilt combined with his privilege stirred such reverberation in him that the diatribe he heard caused him to lash out wrongly and unjustly.

That’s the thing about white privilege. No white person, regardless of how progressive or conservative they are, wants to admit that it works in their favor. A white person may be working hand in hand protesting events around the Mike Brown murder and treatment of American citizens in Ferguson or they may hate the way that people of color in this country are sometimes treated as subhuman but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have advantages that others who are rungs lower on the social ladder can only imagine.

If Mike Brown from Ferguson, Missouri were apart of the 29.3% White population Darren Wilson wouldn’t have thought twice about stopping his police cruiser that day. That is the privilege that whiteness is afforded in this country. The ability to live comfortably in one’s own skin, to wake up each morning knowing that you’re the status quo, the default of all things from pop culture to religion (WASP2) to politics. Privilege does not have to think about any of this. Privilege is ignorance to the weighted awareness of wearing a veil of race everyday of one’s life.

So yes I think that White man was wrong for his outburst. It was neither the time nor place to upstage a Black man with his overbearing White privilege. I hope he learned something that day.

1 National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality. 90 vigils across the world happened to share in a moment of silence and solidarity with each other.

2 White Anglo-Saxon Protestant- Males of this group are on the top rung of the hierarchy of American society.

On being a people pleaser…

Recently a friend of mine made an acute observation about me. I don’t like for people to be upset with me and I also like to please people. I hadn’t really thought that of myself but the more and more I pondered the more I found it to be true. The interesting thing is I used to have a completely opposite disposition towards others and what they thought about me.

When I was a freshman in college I had seven friends. Everyone else was either an acquaintance or I just plain didn’t like. The only reason I had that many friends was because four of them went to high school with me and we all stayed on the same floor in our freshman dorm.

I walked around campus with a permanent scowl on my face and I actually thought that I was better than a lot of other students on campus. I wondered how some students could skip class when they were paying for an education or why some students deemed it necessary to wear full makeup to breakfast at 7am. I was over most of the student body.

The fact that I was taller than most people didn’t help perceptions of me because I literally looked down my nose at people. When it came to my friends I grew closer and closer to them and I valued their opinions. During finals that year my friends and I were sitting around after dinner in café and my friend Joe brought to my attention that I wasn’t well liked on campus.

Joe: “You know you’re the only one out of our crew who walks around campus with an attitude?”

Me: “Yeah, so what?

Joe: “Well that makes the rest of us look bad because we hang with you and sometimes other people might not want to hang with us because we’re chilling with you.”

Me: “Hmmmmm”

Up until that point I hadn’t really thought about how I’m perceived might affect my friends. I only thought about how I didn’t care about what people thought about me. I spent Christmas break that year pondering my image and the real reasons why it never mattered to me. I realized that instead of caring nothing about people think perhaps I should start caring what certain people think.

That Christmas break I made a New Year’s resolution to try to become an overall nicer person and have a better general disposition. I came back to school that next semester a changed person. I became more sociable and friendlier to those I encountered on campus. As I got to know more people I realized that I prejudged them and I found that I actually liked them.

Since then I’ve kept my New Year’s resolution and have tried to be nicer to people and to be kind even when people give me every reason not to be.

I slowly became a different person. I became less standoffish, rude and unapproachable and more amicable. I realized that it’s ok to care what people think about me, it’s ok to not want to get on people’s bad side.

I’m not that invested into astrology but I do follow it superficially. Being a Libra some of my traits include being diplomatic, peaceful and hospitable. I’d be lying if I said that those qualities don’t fit me and I don’t embrace them.

I don’t like for most people to be upset with me. I don’t like letting people down. I’m not a people pleaser but I do like to please the right people.

The Good and Badness…

I’m a fan of podcasts. I even have one with three other guys where we discuss things. I usually listen to them during the workday or occasionally when I go running. One podcast that I’m a big fan of is Radiolab. Radiolab, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, is a radio show and podcast that weaves stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries. One episode, The Bad Show, wrestled with the dark side of human nature, and asks where it’s something we an ever really understand, or fully escape. The second segment is about a man named Fritz Haber.

Fritz Haber is a classic example of both extremes of human nature rolled into one person.

During the early 19th century there was a food shortage around the world. This seems next to impossible in this day and age but back then there were no processed foods. The diet of everyone on Earth was grown organically. Before Haber naturally extracted nitrogen fertilizer was used to replenish soiled that was tilled. Due to shortages in fertilizer a large portion of the world was in danger of starving to death.

Haber and Carl Bosch developed the Haber process, which is the catalytic formation of ammonia from hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen under conditions of high temperature and pressure. He was awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He essentially saved the lives of millions and millions of people.

This was the good side of Fritz Haber.

Haber was a Polish-born Jew.

He also developed chemical warfare on behalf of Germany during World War I. His most notable poison was chlorine gas. Haber once said, “During peace time a scientist belongs to the World, but during war time he belongs to his country.”

Haber’s wife, Clara, was also a chemist. She opposed Haber’s work in chemical warfare and following an argument with Haber over it; she committed suicide in their garden shooting herself in the heart with his service revolver. He still left that morning to oversee gas release against the Russians. Haber left behind his grieving 13-year-old son Hermann, who had been the one to discover his dying mother. Hermann later also committed suicide.

Haber’s mind was responsible for saving millions of lives but the same man using the same thinking caused the deaths of millions more. He propelled Germany during World War I and prolonged the war.

Haber’s story got me thinking about the different sides of people and if its possible to have good and evil wrapped up succinctly in one person. I don’t think any one person is 100% good or 100% evil but what happens when only one dominates a person at any given time?

I’d like to think of myself as a genuinely good person. I can’t help but wonder if I have some Fritz in me though. I doubt I’ll be important enough to have millions of lives hanging in the balance of what I may do but I wonder if I have some dormant evil side waiting to bubble to the surface and explode in a forceful rage? Have I subconsciously suppressed evil Tunde? Is he scratching and clawing for control like a schizophrenic personality? Hopefully this isn’t happening.

America the… dystopia

I’ve been reading dystopia-themed novels lately. Think of The Hunger Games and Divergent series of books. I recently read the Legend by Marie Lu and started the next book in series, Prodigy. This series picks up post civil war; not that Civil War but a civil war far into the future in which the country actually remains divided. Instead of a battle between the North and South the country is split between East (The Colonies) and West (The Republic). Although the country is effectively split in two there is still fighting because Earth is losing land mass. Perpetual hurricanes and global warming have led to an ever disappearing coast line.

I don’t think that this version of the future is entirely unbelievable. Based on the way our country is going I’d venture to say that this future is probable. This country is a teenager compared other countries around the world and a toddler when compared to other great countries and empires throughout this world’s history. The Roman empire (if you count the East and West) lasted over 1000 years; from Before Christ all the way until the 1400s. The United States is only 238 years old. In this age of instant gratification and misplaced nationalism its easy to think that America will last forever and will always be the forerunner on the world stage.

Here is how I imagine another civil war could happen in this country.

Indiana is among 17 states that have filed petitions of succession from the United States of America since President Obama has entered office. The other states are: New Jersey, New York, Montana, Colorado, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Oregon and Michigan. Louisiana’s petition had over 15,000 signatures, which was the largest number behind Texas.

Succession is not an idea that is so far fetched. These states want to break away because we have a black president. Lets call it what it is.

The original civil war was fought over slavery and to a more important point it was fought over the bottom line of those slave-holding states (cotton wasn’t called King for nothing). Money is the leading cause of divorce for a reason. While slavery isn’t an issue for this country anymore what will always be a dividing force is the line between the haves and the have-nots. If poor white people and white women would stop voting against their interests there would be drastic changes in the power structure and how this country is governed.

People who have power rarely tend to want to share that power. Its addictive. Who wants to share their pie when they can have the whole thing? This is what will lead to a division that will cause the destruction of America as we know it. As the saying goes “One day the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.”

Lets the polar ice caps melted fast enough to cause the sea level to rise 40 feet. This would put cities like Manhattan, New Orleans, Miami, and parts of Los Angeles under water. The coast line of our country as we know it would look completely different. The capital of the United States would have to move inland. Thousands if not millions of people would die. Millions more would lose their homes and would be displaced. There is only but so much our government can or will handle. You know those people/politicians who are all for small government will probably be singing a different tune.

The battle for land that is sustainable will begin. Those states who are the least affected (Midwest and some southern landlocked states) will begin to look at “refugees” as foreign immigrants clamoring to get a free pass of their hard labor (sound familiar?). The central government will try to intervene and as certain states band together to form their own unions the federal government will try to assert its own power. This will begin our nation’s second civil war. One that we will not recover from.

This future (or one parallel to it) is possible. Too many people don’t see global warming as an issue and some even see it as an agenda-driven science. Our government is showing us (me at least) that its not a government for the people. Its for the elite. Its for corporations. Its for the haves. If left unchecked these two factors will lead to the downfall in what many deem as the greatest nation ever.

Changes

It’s been a long time I shouldn’t have left you

Without a strong blog to step to

Think of how many blogs you slept through

Time’s up, sorry I kept you.

I’ve been away from the Native Son for a while now (about 6 months) but I’m back. Since I last posted I’ve had some new developments in my life. I’ve been home in the DMV for a little over a year and I’ve enjoyed my time back. Catching up and reconnecting with family and friends has been awesome.

Just a few updates

If you know me you know that I can’t stay still for long. I’ve lived on the east coast (DC, NY) and I’ve lived in the south (TN). The only logical step now is to leave my footprints on the west coast. In less than a week I’ll officially be a resident of Oregon. I accepted a three-year (maybe less) postdoctoral position at OHSU.

One of the reasons why I fell behind on blogging was because I started a podcast called “Negros With A Podcast.” We’re about 8 episodes in. If you want to check it out search ‘NWAP’ on iTunes or click here to check out our site directly. The other Negros includes @Smooth_Orator (@realgoesright), @Fivefiths and @OleNerdyBastard. Check it out if you get the opportunity.

Since I came home last summer I’ve been serious about living a healthy lifestyle. I run 15-20 miles weekly and my average mile is down to about 7 minutes consistently. I lift at least three times a week and I’m trying to eat healthier. Keep word is trying. That’s my biggest struggle. I did have a salad, banana and water for lunch today. Only to followed by two tall Guinness’s and a plate of wings watching World Cup Soccer. I’m still going strong with the #500pushup challenge despite all the shade. I’ve also been hooping more regularly. I believe my game is getting a lot better. Can’t wait to see what cats on the West coast hoop like. Ready to kill out there.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back to updating my blog more consistently. Please bear with me.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

C. S. Lewis
 

I’m the best you’ve had…

*** A lot of people who know me personally read my blog. If you’d rather not hear me talk about explicit material then you might want to stop reading here. Don’t want to get texts later. They’ll go unanswered. ***

I’m not the type of person who talks about sex often. With that said this is going to be about sex. Awesome toe-curling, orgasm-inducing, nasty sex.

I don’t discuss it often because I’ve always thought sex (or at least the personification of it) was best left to being about it instead of talking about it. Sex is one of those things I’ve felt that if you always have to say how good you are at it then you might not I’ve even wrote about it here.

“You’re the best I’ve ever had.”

There was a point and time where those words would make me cringe because I would think of the how she might have said that to someone else.  I didn’t need my ego stroked. As long as you enjoyed yourself and I enjoyed myself then I was cool.

“You’re mouth makes me cum in waves. No one has ever made me feel that way before.”

I don’t feel that way anymore. I love hearing that shit. Stroke my ego. Matter of fact while you’re stroking my ego you can also stroke….

Go ahead and tell me how you love the way I fill you up and hit every spot just the right way. The dirtier and nastier you let me know the better. Look me in my eyes while you’re telling me, so I know its real.

Sure I could learn and read your body to let me know exactly what and when to do it. I’m pretty good at that. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear you whisper that nasty shit in my ear while you ride me until my waist and lower abs look like a glazed donut.

There’s nothing like a woman with a filthy mouth. I’m not cocky I’m confident, so when you say I’m the best it’s a compliment.

Now I normally don’t talk about sex but I felt compelled to write this. Why? One word: Beyoncé.