Archive for the ‘How It Goes Down…’ Category

So Much for a Tranquil Summer

July 30, 2015

“You either build or you destroy, so what you waitin’ on?”  Jay Electronica from the Victory Mixtape

It is way too late to say this sort of thing is getting out of hand.  We are headed into a new phase now.  I’m labeling it as a purposeful revealing of intentions, of sorts.  The United States of America is finally willing to let the world see her for what she really is: an overtly racist nation. Thanks to the real racist powers that be in America that have managed to display an even more graphic disregard for non-white life we are seeing yet another eventful summer of institutional racist oppression involving an array of international media.

It is getting hard to keep up, but here are some of the recent headlines in the good old United (police) States of America.  (I have been meaning to tell you how it looks from way over here in a distant land but I already know that it looks the same wherever you are.)

  • On the night of June 17th a twenty-one-year-old apartheid sympathizer shot and killed state senator Clementa Pickney, Cythia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson while attending a bible study with them at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  [Individual]
  • Two days later on June 19th Samuel Dubose was executed by a University of Cincinnati police officer after being unnecessarily detained for not displaying his front license plate in Ohio. [Group: police]
  • Sandra Bland, a member of the Movement for Black Lives, was pulled-over for her failure to signal a lane change on July 10th by a Texas state trooper in Waller County that quickly escalated into her arrest and she was found dead in her jail cell on July 13th.  [System: justice]
  • On July 14th Rexdale Henry, a Choctaw Native American activist, was also found dead in a jail cell under mysterious circumstances after being arrested for an unpaid fine and held over the weekend from July 9th in Neshoba County, Mississippi.  [System: justice]

With stuff like this happening all the time it is hard to tell if it is making writing careers or breaking them.  This writing business is beyond excruciatingly painful.  I was recently engaged in an intellectual, social media conversation about an article by Jonathan McWhorter that compared the strong antiracist sentiments of the Movement for Black Lives to a religion.  McWhorter basically extols that the good white people that are likely to be drawn into the very specific cause of Black Lives Matter in the United States of America will be ultimately shackled by guilt and result in some failed policy.  I argued amongst some of my white friends that McWhorter unwisely called out Ta-Nehisi Coates as a pied piper of sorts for white liberalism along with other points in the article that I found problematic.

The notion that people standing against racism are somehow infectiously following the most recent beautiful music of morality is serene but if that were the case Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King could have succeeded long ago.   Individuals, groups, and systems claim the lives of minorities in the United States with increasing clarity and at an alarming rate therefore the struggle against that phenomenon has refined itself.  The correct diagnosis of the sickness in America and the preponderance of evidence has led two separate white minorities to the realization that they might not have started the fire or put the kettle on the stove, but they would either like to completely avert or accelerate the seemingly inevitable boiling over.  Black lives indeed matter and the urgency implies that time is running out on anybody still mulling it over.  Most smart people can see this choice has to be made now, for deliberation is also making a clear statement.

The Movement for Black Lives that has propelled organizations like We Charge Genocide and writers like Coates appears to have just a little more self-determination rather than just relying solely on some white people, however.  This movement wasn’t quelled by the removal of some flag or defined by the people that have already lost their lives during the long and winding course but there have always been drum majors serving as prominent beacons keeping up with the times.  (I thank God every day for those willing to get out there and do the heavy lifting because I have a strong feeling that I know where all this is going.)  Black Lives Matter can exist totally beyond white validation and beyond the grasp of those attempting to stop it while still somehow, reaching those groups whether eloquently or crudely.  The real shining stars are the throngs of real patriots marching in step for the most basic of human rights in America: the right to live.  Ta-Nehisi Coates is deserving of his accolades, too –even if he is moving to France with his family in the pursuit of happiness.  Coates has a new book out dedicated to his son and he was compared to another expatriate, James Baldwin, who issued wise words about oppression to his nephew by literary great Toni Morrison, but you already know I’m going to let them tell it.

Lysa Controls the Entire Set: Ibiza Edition

July 6, 2015
Lysa Cooper on social media.

Lysa Cooper is on Instagram coordinating social media from Ibiza, Spain.

So my sister is super controlling and sometimes takes over and there is just no stopping her so you just hang on and go with the flow or you get your ass.  Cheyann Benedict came through wearing all the fresh caftans.  Camellia Clouse, brought her husband and two children so Samuel could have someone to frolic with.  Heather Harmon gave us guided tours of the Takashi Murakami exhibit that she works with on Ibiza.  Emilia Menocal made a special appearance. Drena DeNiro took some time away from her father’s yacht to have lunch with us.  Karen Binns had a mini surprise reunion at that joint.

Alright.  That’s enough claimbombing.  Here is some art to make up for my sins.  Sorry for that.  I get hype.

Takeshi Murakami exhibit in Ibiza Spain 2015.

Takeshi Murakami exhibit in Ibiza Spain 2015.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

May 15, 2015

We have talked about this many times on The Chronicles of Six but this brother here went way beyond the call to illuminate Michellle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one talking about it. I will get with you at a later date.

World Is Africa

By Michelle Alexander (TomDispatch)

Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race”. There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalised, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs and wars. You, too, can get to the promised land.

Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand. Racial caste is alive and well in America.

Most people don’t like it when I say this. It makes them angry. In the “era of colourblindness” there’s a nearly fanatical desire to cling to the…

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On Ben Affleck and Slavery

April 22, 2015

For some reason I just feel that this sums up the recent hubbub with Ben Affleck and the legacy of slavery very well.

Matthew Barlow

A few years back, I was contacted by the producers of Who Do You Think You Are?, a popular TV genealogy show, to help them with an episode.  The show was predicated on tracing the ancestry of celebrities, attempting to capitalize on the boon in genealogy amongst the masses, and was based on a popular British version.  For an upcoming episode, they were working with Rosie O’Donnell, whose Irish ancestors had passed through Montreal, living for a time in a long-defunct neighbourhood in the city’s east end.

So I met with people from the show when they came to Montreal, spent the good chunk of a day with them, showing them what mid-nineteenth century architecture in the city looked like, using Pointe-Saint-Charles in the stead of this defunct neighbourhood, which was destroyed by the expansion of rue Notre-Dame in the 70s.  Not surprisingly, the majority of the Montreal part was excised…

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More Than One Way to Take a Life: Anthony Ray Hinton Edition

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.

Exhibit A: Walter Scott

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.

The PEA: The Earth & Her Rich Targets

March 28, 2015

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Admiral in the Peoples Earth Army. As far as I know, the organization isn’t real. Nothing to see here.

The Peoples Earth Army can’t be real, can it?  Disconnected radicals moving towards a common higher purpose doesn’t seem possible in the world today.  However the nature of the war dictated an invisible strategy.

Earth is the most profitable planet in the universe.  The product that the earth produces is life.  As far as we know, the earth is the only source of this invaluable (life) commodity and production is slipping.  The majority of people that ever lived have never had a hand in the destruction of the earth, but a few have had an extraordinary effect.

All life is immensely important when you consider how limited this commodity is against the vastness of the universe.  Most people that inhabit the earth today are poor and they don’t own anything of real appreciable value other than their own lives.  When the majority of people pass on from this world their measured impact on the earth is negligible –although we hate to admit it.

So the evidence points to a very small group of people that wield an enormous amount of clout and influence over the masses crossing multiple generations.  Someone must have said that there were only thirteen families in the world controlling 99% of the financial wealth in our relatively young fiduciary history.  Then another anonymous person pointed out that we are headed towards a global totalitarian society because this is the only way that the very few can control the majority of the resources on this planet.  Logical thinking reveals that these people cannot be trusted.

The unprecedented level of control sought by the very few will eventually be seen as the reason why all life has suffered on earth and become the impetus for an unapologetic world war.  Those rich targets shouldn’t be afforded any trials or declarations but the collective coalition of responsible people inhabiting earth instinctively knows that they have to be eliminated.  If the planet is going to survive, those few people having a direct hand in the destruction of earth have to die soon.

Next, the people that monetize life and profiteer from the earth’s resources need to be identified.  (They live in unusual comfort and pass-on their accumulations to their heirs.  Some have elaborate establishments that even bear their names.  Others have names that left indelible marks throughout history.)  All of them have a vested interest in the majority of people remaining oblivious to their scheming.

Some of these people are selling water.  They don’t want you to know that the water they are selling is yours.

They want to tell you about their business acumen and how they produced the container.

You might consider killing those people, too.

Super Serious Pat-Down Time

March 4, 2015

It is super serious pat-down time

That’s right, it is privacy invasion civil liberty crime

I know you don’t want to do it

So let’s get on board (with everyone) and get right to it:

I’m going to take both hands and grope you climbing up your inner thigh!

It doesn’t matter how you’re hanging I’ll be sure to nudge your little guy!

I’m going to talk to you and touch you in a stern and awk-ward way

I get to feel on all of you, so deep inside I’m gay (and that’s okay. OK.)

Okay…  OK.  Okay… OK Okay…  OK.  Okay… OK Okay…  OK.  Okay… OK [Repeated Again]

Everything is A- OK.

Your ticket purchase feels good and nice to me

Included in the fee but you can’t put a price on safer safety

You better believe it when I feel each one of your muscles ripple

Aren’t you aroused when the backs of my hands find your nipple?

And it is no great sacrifice, no big deal

Enjoy your life in flight, risk the frisk, and don’t you squeal (don’t you squeal, squeal)

It is super serious pat-down time

That’s right, it is privacy invasion civil liberty crime

American Goring Advice: But None Too Much

February 17, 2015

When 20-year-old Benjamin Miller decided to leave his native state of Georgia in the United States and travel to Denia, Spain I bet that he wasn’t planning on life-threatening injuries.  One extra hazard of running with the bulls for Americans is the likelihood that you will make international news if you are unfortunate enough to be gored.  Like how do you pack for that?

NY Daily News, Benjamin Miller is gored by a bull in Spain.

NY Daily News, Benjamin Miller is gored by a bull in Spain.

I have written about running with the bulls before, and my training for the event began in earnest in 2008.  I quickly got off track and later broke my ankle but I should be able to make my first run at the age of 41, or 42 because I’m a gangster like that.  Trust me, it is still going down now that I have a foothold in Spain but the naysayers should never be completely ignored.

I have come across some magnificent gems of advice as a result of listening attentively.  My official bull running mentor is from Valencia and he has a Ph.D in astrophysics, so I feel like I’m more hip to the game than the average American.  Nevertheless, my wife has seen fit to give me this one final last warning not to attend next month so I’m sharing it with you.

Anyway happy Mardi Gras!  Somebody out there should send your boy some king cake or hot sausage or something…  (We are literally celebrating my son’s probable conception date because New Orleans is a really fun time during carnival.)  I’m going to be sure to pass along Kipling’s advice that “all men should count with you, but none too much.”

George Stinney Knew Injustice

December 21, 2014

“You can’t trust them.”  – Public Enemy

This is right from The Young Turks and they make it plain enough for me.  Sometimes you have to look at it, even though it makes your soul hurt.

South Carolina executed a fourteen-year-old child, but boy are they sorry now.  My other home state isn’t exactly all that hospitable to black folks all the time, but this one sort of takes the cake.  Pardon my South Carolina cakewalk pun, but I laugh to keep from crying.

Long time comin’.  Tell me that George Stinney isn’t some sort of martyr and go really slowly, like I’m stupid.

Where is the moral authority to carry this sort of thing coming from, anyway?  From people sort of short on the Bible, right?  Racist oppression isn’t founded on such stuff.

I know that because George Stinney wasn’t short on the Bible and they killed him.  The United States of America has been at this sort of thing for years and so we add this to the shit that we already know.  The system is still doing exactly what it was designed to do.