April 22, 2015
I guess you can file this under there is more than one way that white people can rob you of your life. They want to use fancy words like the justice system and due process and miscarriages of justice and the like, but make no mistake that this is racist oppression. An all white jury sent Anthony Ray Hinton, a black man, to death row for murders despite flimsy evidence and then refused to let him go.
Whether the black people swing from trees every time or not is a non-issue when you have the justice system in your pocket. Anthony Ray Hinton was poor and black and they took over thirty years from him. Should we blame the state of Alabama? I think that cases like this illustrate that it is a problem bigger than the individual states. The United States of America has a history of racist oppression and this happened in 1985.
The video is heartbreaking but still worth a look if you can stomach it. Democracy Now and Amy Goodman do a pretty good job of showing why if you are black and poor, white people can take your life with little consequences. Stay awake. Sure Anthony Ray Hinton was eventually exonerated after serving 30 years, but it was obvious to many people that he never committed these crimes way back in 1985. White people have been coming for black lives in the United States since this country was founded and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down.
Consider the prison system, the for-profit prison system, as conspirators in modern-day lynchings. Again, go back and read Michelle Alexander’s book.
April 11, 2015
I am told that in all of Andalusia people like to party in the street. Andalusian people are festive and they don’t need much reason to throw down at a moment’s notice. Dancing in the streets is common and the Flamenco style is apparently in their blood.
My family and I were walking down the street, minding our own business, and this elderly gentleman just started playing the guitar. Another stranger started to bang out a beat on a box that he found. Two ladies that were having lunch nearby started dancing. My wife joined in but I pretty much started filming like a tourist, even though the entire scene was reminiscent of African cultures.
People all over the world aren’t really that different, I suppose. If you are ever travelling through Spain, you might want to take part. The next big party in Andalusia is La Feria in Jerez and Seville in May. The people have been warming up since March, when this video was taken. The orange blossoms are filling the air with a sweet smell and the weather is already quite warm in the South.
We are going to get with you at a later date. You have got to come to Spain!
We stay on the primrose path at Jardín Escénico, Jerez De La Frontera.
April 8, 2015
Walter Scott was a United States Coast Guard veteran gunned down by the police in North Charleston, South Carolina after a traffic stop due to a broken tail light.
By now everyone in America has seen the video of the white police officer that killed Walter Scott, and so I won’t post it again here. I would like to point out the similarities between the victim and myself, if you would permit me.
It turns out that we are both United States Coast Guard veterans. I also lived in North Charleston, South Carolina for a spell. I’ve had a busted tail light in my car, on more than one occasion -and I suspect that most people that own cars can say the same. Walter Scott and I have both had issues with child support. We are also both African-Americans -or black, if you will.
The United States of America can be a very scary place if you are black. I can totally understand why Walter Scott could have been frightened for his life especially if he had issues with child support. There are many mistakes that can be made in the family courts in America and it is not inconceivable to have a warrant issued for your arrest until you are able to get those matters straightened out. (In my case the warrant turned out to be erroneous.) Whether the child support issues were valid or not, every time a black person is confronted by a white law enforcement official in America there is a higher chance that a life can be permanently ruined than if that black person happened to be white. This is now my new Exhibit A of why I had to leave the United States of America.
The USA just isn’t safe for me anymore.
I was willing to risk it when I had a high-paying, six figure income that afforded me the luxuries and privileges that I felt insulated me from this kind of racist oppression. However, as soon as I lost that job I realized that I was too black and poor to be taking my life into my own hands just by staying in a country that has a rich history of various types of white supremacy. It wasn’t worth the risk anymore. I wanted to live to be able to raise my kids, and you just can’t do that from the grave. I can’t think of too many other countries in this world that have the same murderous track record against people that look like me -regardless if they have ever had any other trouble with the law or society. The United States of America was practically founded on racist oppression, so it was logical for me want to leave despite having every right to stay. Living is more important than money and it is hard to pursue any type of happiness when you never know if you will be confronted by police.
It doesn’t matter how respectable you are in America: if you are black, this sort of thing can happen to you. If it were not for the video of the murder submitted by some hero, we would probably be talking about Walter Scott in the same manner in which people talk about Michael Brown of Ferguson. Any way you cut it, this sort of thing happens way too often in the United States of America. I don’t have the stomach or the patience to name all of the black people that have been gunned down. I just don’t think that all of this is a coincidence anymore, also.
March 31, 2015
Well I finally got the wide angled HD shot that I was looking for in the procession of the Holy Virgin, Mary during the first procession of Semana Santa. Everybody wants more Samuel, anyway, so peep my best effort below. I told you that I was going to get with you at a later date…
I am not a professional photographer, folks. I got really distracted by my beautiful wife and cute son, but I managed at least one close-up of the statue of Mary. In addition to a solid silver platform you can also make out the rich gold embroidery in the long shawl covering the back of the statue. You can probably tell from my previous post on the subject that I am not a big fan of mixing materialism with religion but I also realize that Catholics aren’t the only one’s. (Reverend Creflo Dollar recently made headlines by asking his Baptist congregation to foot the bill for a brand new jet that costs somewhere upwards of $65,000,000.) You have to be really careful out there, people. Plenty of meaning is lost on folks when they get caught up in the almighty dollar and I am pretty sure it is irrespective of denomination.
Money isn’t everything, folks. I can think of plenty of things that are more important.
My wife and teething son await the procession of the statue of the Holy Virgin Mary -for free.
March 30, 2015
Let me apologize in advance for not going full wide screen with this video of my son, Samuel, at his first Semana Santa in Jerez de la Frontera. You really need to see this in the full HD glory to appreciate the magnitude of all that gold.
Holy Week is a really big deal here in Andalusia. There are plenty of religious relics and important statues strewn about Europe but I am told that Jerez goes above and beyond the call when it comes to commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There will be parades like this all week.
Folks dress in tunics with pointy hats and walk solemnly through the city streets with heavy statues depicting various aspects of Catholicism. Spain is a Catholic country after all. My wife explained to me that the valuable statues and the various marchers are indicative of an extensive subculture of laypeople devoted to religious organizations. Of course there are meetings all year long in order to ensure that the events are well-coordinated and go off without a hitch.
I never knew that Holy Week could be so lucrative. People pay big bucks to anonymously accompany the elaborately adorned statues. Older and richer people pay even more money (all year long) just to have a seat in one of the many grandstands along the parade route. Even the people working the hardest in the Andalusian heat carrying the relics have to pay to join the religious associations for the privilege.
It kind of makes you wonder what Jesus would think about all this gold. We haven’t even gotten started about the Virgin yet. We are going to get with you at a later date on that, but please consider this photo as a preview.
My son has no idea what is going on during the parades of Semana Santa, but maybe nobody really understands.