_Tarek Mehanna’s Sentencing Statement 4/12/2012 A Historic Document

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Last night I hugged my Step-Dad (my Father) to wish him goodbye as he got himself together to depart a dinner we held for him on his birthday.  His last words to me: “Don’t write too much…  Or soon you’re going to have the secret service knocking at the door.”

..Heck.. if the ol’ men in black are giving the 5-Star service that press on his encounter give the impression Teddy Nugent got; thaaat -might not be a bad thing.  I’ll gladly invite the toothpick and the buzz                (Tone = Brown+poor = prooobably NOT!)

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Fast forward to sunrise<<   Upon checking my facebook first thing this morning, I stumbled on an article my good friend Jie had the courage to post.  Today is the first I’m hearing about Tarek Mehanna; an American who converted to Islam as a young man, and began to protest U.S. war policy by openly supporting *the resistance* to unilateral interventions our military has used the trauma of 9/11/2001 to stage across the Middle East.  Tarek, whom has been locked down 23 hours a day in a maximum security prison for the past 4 years, was given a 17 year sentence last week; NOT for any type of (act) of terror, not for any (plans) which could be interpreted as strategy to initiate or support terror.. but for sharing written ideas and spoken opinions deemed in favor >>NOT of Arab/Persian attack on the U.S. homeland, but in Arab/Persian resistance to the U.S.’s occupation of THEIR lands.<<  A move many in America would *at this point in history* conveniently call:   “Terror”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/us/us-citizen-is-convicted-in-plot-to-aid-al-qaeda.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/a-dangerous-mind.html

Pops has reason to worry!

If not for my willful quest to speak with the voice God has given me, on thoughts my reading eyes and processing mind have supported  :: –> for the blood lusting fever many who read this will catch, a decade into a war the opportunist media elite have conditioned us to believe we are the victim of…  –> for the possibility that I might suddenly disappear, or so happen to take a bullet in an unrelated incident.

My worries?  I’ve been working those in and out for quite awhile.  All that’s left are allergies and carpel tunnel.  The greater deal of anxiety I’ve had to mission through in these times (outside of the thought of my daughter) has had more to do with a question as to whether resumes I’ve sent out were actually arriving at my intended destination in my seasons of hunger – than they did with me being followed by unmarked cars.   In fact, I’ve read enough Ward Churchill to know they don’t knock on your door before they shake your hand at a rally then find their way under your armpit on the way home from countless parties.

Only worry I have should my fate be sealed by one of the fore-mentioned scenarios, is that it happen before I’ve gotten out everything I feel there is that needs to be said;  whether the universe has allotted me the time needed  for me to have prepared my loved ones with  information and insight  into the nature of power in the world today,  time needed to prepare them with an empowered  grasp, on one’s capacity to find the past/present/and future in the most common people, places, and things.

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The world is much more complex than most of us realize it to be; most are not even able to imagine how many internal factors presently work to influence tomorrow, much less are they/we following what external factors have an affect on the life our children and grand children will live.  How many, outside of those in my circles know a considerable deal about Malcolm X?  I wouldn’t be surprised to find that his trip to Mecca has translated into more students in Saudi Arabia having read his Autobiography than have the greater portion of middle America.  How many outside of my college educated Latino circle know that the United Nations has condemned the U.S.’s colonial relationship to our Puerto Rican island on numerous occasions?

All of this is to say, while we for the most part  rarely seek, barely discover, scarcely access, the information that is available to us in our local libraries;  the masses outside of the United States (along with a growing number of us here in the U.S.) are realizing that in a world of globalized communication; there is a GLOBAL perspective on history, which our own discourse may contribute to.. but does not dominate, like it once did!  The Chinese will tell their own story on Chinese events, the Pakistanis and Africans and Brazilians will tell their own history.  And when those of us who covet to seek and sort the truth, put it all together to examine history from it’s primary sources, the common threads we find will tell itself through the Chinese curriculum, which reads of U.S. meddling in it’s affairs, the Pakistanis and African books will likewise tell, of the aggressiveness of a foreign presence in U.S. army fatigues and Wall Street tailored suits..

y o u   k n o w.. all the events/people/occasions  our own propaganda machine feeds us to believe is hero shit.  (rememmmber all those times you sat convinced another country was “ungrateful” for ‘help’  YOU were informed we were there to give them in the first place??)  Yea.   Those lies.  Or, have you come all this way with full faith in the notion that the only nation with a military base (over 700 in 130 countries) on every plot of land on earth would be looked at by the rest of humanity as a peaceful force?  That the only nation to drop the atomic bomb, would have credibility to dictate who is and who isn’t a nuclear threat, to the rest of the world… (?)

Yea we were all taught that Thomas Jefferson had African slaves __ but how many of us assessed that time in history critically enough to be able to conclude that for all practical purposes, thaaat kind of meant they were refuges from a war on Africa as much as they were free labor?  How many at that point are able to go the lengths of recognizing and respecting the African plight enough to then draw a connection between someone like Thomas Jefferson and someone like Saddam Hussein as war criminals the same?

Sure we know Abe Lincoln executed 38 Native American’s after squashing their uprising in what became known as the Dakota War of 1962… (oh, you didn’t know that?  well now you know.)  But see, having a general idea that the European ‘settlers‘ (clears throat_*invaders/occupiers*), displaced and murdered natives holds a different connotation than does knowing that even while Lincoln was president, natives were being exterminated and persecuted for their land, doesn’t it?  Here’s where your ability to have a critical perspective on this bit of history comes into hand though..  relative to these times, couldn’t we so draw equivalence between someone like Abe Lincoln and someone like Syria’s President Assad??

What’s to say in 150 years, President Obama won’t be that ‘Great‘ President who signed all this legislation and represented such prolific change, but (like Jefferson/Lincoln), yeea, you know.. was in fact one of the Presidents who staged genocide in the Middle East <    (?)  I mean, we just as aloofly veil atrocities which will inevitably follow past Presidents whether the greater percentage of History Teachers choose to cover it, or not.

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My decision to give the MyBrotherMan blog as a vehicle to preserve and share the 4/12 statement is a choice I make, not to advocate murder, not to generate war, not to align myself as a collaborator of any group!  But as an independent journalist committed to presenting what I observe to be a monologue written in integrity of HIS experience; told responsibly enough, to lend me confidence that it can be read for insight into TM’s circumstance _ while expressing the struggle many American’s have come to wrestle with, in light of the events which back his sentiments, with war in our name.

Tarek Mehanna’s final words before the judge slammed a gavel on the coming decades of his life, amount, relevant to these times, to an *important* document in U.S. and international history…

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Sentencing statement of Tarek Mehanna, 4/12/12

TAREK’S SENTENCING STATEMENT
APRIL 12, 2012

Read to Judge O’Toole during his sentencing, April 12th 2012. In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful
Exactly four years ago this month I was finishing my work shift at a local hospital. As I was walking to my car I was approached by two federal agents. They said that I had a choice to make: I could do things the easy way, or I could do them the hard way. The “easy ” way, as they explained, was that I would become an informant for the government, and if I did so I would never see the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. As for the hard way, this is it. Here I am, having spent the majority of the four years since then in a solitary cell the size of a small closet, in which I am locked down for 23 hours each day. The FBI and these prosecutors worked very hard-and the government spent millions of tax dollars – to put me in that cell, keep me there, put me on trial, and finally to have me stand here before you today to be sentenced to even more time in a cell.

In the weeks leading up to this moment, many people have offered suggestions as to what I should say to you. Some said I should plead for mercy in hopes of a light sentence, while others suggested I would be hit hard either way. But what I want to do is just talk about myself for a few minutes.

When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists.” I wasn’t born in a Muslim country, though. I was born and raised right here in America and this angers many people:
how is it that I can be an American and believe the things I believe, take the positions I take? Everything a man is exposed to in his environment becomes an ingredient that shapes his outlook, and I’m no different.  So, in more ways than one, it’s because of America that I am who I am.

When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ethical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.
By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.

I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the civil rights struggle. I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently
respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of
nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.

From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed by many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “X” by Spike Lee, it’s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm’s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it’s not a culture or ethnicity. It’s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised. This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we’re supposed to exist. And since there’s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.

With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon – and what it continues to do in Palestine – with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq. I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how – according to the United Nations – over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a ’60 Minutes’ interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were “worth it.” I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of ‘Shock & Awe’ in the opening day of the invasion – the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking out of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN).

I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims – including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers – were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don’t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims – mostly mothers and their kids – shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses. These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of brotherhood – that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn’t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters – including by America – and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.

I mentioned Paul Revere – when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There’s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about. All those videos and translations and childish bickering over ‘Oh, he translated this paragraph’ and ‘Oh, he edited that sentence,’ and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to “kill Americans” at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government’s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little “terror plots,” but I refused to participate.  Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.

So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland.  So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home. But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed “terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are “killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism.

When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him-his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home-as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they’re not real, they’re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they’re my “impartial peers,” I mean, come on. I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me – not because they needed to, but simply because they could.

I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask:
‘what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ‘What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective -even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a “terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with “killing Americans.” But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic.

-Tarek Mehanna
4/12/12


.George Zimmerman. :: .The New White.

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March 21st, 2012
11:59pm

Status Update:

There is a whisper growing that I want to address before it turns into a distortion of the Treyvon Martin case at hand. There will be people who tell you this is not about race because Zimmerman is Hispanic. Here’s what there is to know about how Black vs White plays out per the racial ambiguity of “Hispanic” people: Hispanic/Latino is an umbrella term for Spanish speaking people *from* South/Central/Caribbean/Latino American countries. It is important to know this distinction in order to understand that just because you were born in Argentina and speak Spanish, that doesn’t speak to your RACE or in some cases even: Nation. There are Hasidic Jew communities in Argentina, there are Chinese communities in Cuba, etc. Historically Latino/Hispanic people are largely *OF* African, European, and/or Native Indigenous descent. Some of us are more African than European (Sammy Sosa, Tego Calderon), some of us are more European (Marc Anthony, Fidel Castro), some are more Native Indigenous (Selma Hayak, Roberto Duran). And while racism in our “Latino” nations plays out differently than it does here in the US, it occurs there enough that YES amongst ourselves Latino people recognize there are White Latinos and Black Latinos.  Racism plays out to the effect even, that some of our darker Latinos go all out to deny we have Black Blood and some of our lighter ones go all out to deny we have White blood (thus there is hatred for each other, and there is self hate; much the same way we have here as a mixed race society). Zimmerman is a WHITE man, he is a WHITE Hispanic. Some will want to blanket this fact to say, he is a human, color doesnt matter.. well.. it did that night.. and Trayvon’s plight will not be subordinated to our discomfort with dealing with race! Zimmerman killed a black man because he was black. He is as good as a skin head or a kkk member, to, me!

The moment I found out vigilante killer George Zimmerman was “Hispanic” I foresaw an opportunity for reactionary apologists to dismiss the Trayvon Martin murder as one without racial implication.

Race is an uncomfortable issue in our societal discourses, as we’ve all been conditioned to reject racism as ‘un-american’. And because when people refuse to confront a reality, the result is an atmosphere of denial, denial is what I expected..  And despite an overwhelming recognition of his death being over the color of his skin, over the course of the past few days, denial, isn’t something I’ve been able to completely elude observation of.

For one thing, I am behooved to highlight that Treyvon Martin was murdered over NBA All-Star weekend. That was a month ago. Yet it is only within the past few days that we’ve seen an uproar over what is increasingly seeming to become American society’s worst nightmare: reminder that racism is not only still with us from out of peoples mouths, or individual actions.. but that it still permeates and plays out within the ranks of our trusted authorities in government and law; that it still dictates to us whose lives are valuable and whose lives are expendable; who we can expect will be afforded a status of privilege and who will be subordinated in our society.

Let’s not play this down to Zimmerman alone. The greater tragedy in all of this is THE STATE’s reluctance to take action; which speaks in overtones, to a justice system which still favors the interest of white middle and upper class communities over the lives of Black Americans. Had the roles been switched; had Zimmerman been a Black man and Treyvon Martin white, there is little doubt Zimmerman would be defending himself from behind bars.

Had Treyvon Martin’s family remained silent, like many families do; dejected to accepting the conclusion that hell, he in fact did happen to be in a neighborhoodhe wasn’t s.u.p.p.o.s.e.d to be in‘ (thus, there no reason to waste money on a lawyer for a case that would be thrown out… as many do); We wouldn’t be talking about Treyvon Martin today (AS WE FAR TOO FREQUENTLY IN THE FACE OF AN INNOCENT BLACK MURDER, ARE NOT SO MUCH AS AWARE ENOUGH TO!). Meaning, there would be a Trayvon tomorrow, and the day after, and we’d have no power to stop this tide of genocide which happens beneath the breath of the few fortunate African Americans who ‘make it’ and provide “land of the free” fodder for hypocritical rightists who spew racial epithets behind the wheel yet fold their hands with an arrogant brow against charges of racism.

If it weren’t for we, THE PEOPLE; Trayvon’s family; activists and ally lawmakers, everyday people on facebook and twitter (white, black, asian, latino) we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And some people rather prefer it that way! …The rest of us, for better or for worse kind of understand “it” to be what it is, and either avert to the latest on Snooki’s pregnancy, or scream out into the night, not with visions of grandeur as to what hollering and protesting might do (we know that tomorrow there will continue be Trayvon Martins; if you grew up in the ‘other America’ you know that!) but with an unwavering commitment to continue to fight; to resist, to insist, with our fists in the air or fingers on the keys, primed on reminding ourselves there is more work to be done.

Denial, doesn’t live here…

But it is still here. Reeking of a certain death in the room, that doesn’t so much point to the body of a 17 year old boy as it does the intention of police who stood over his body to take his killer’s alibi at face value without further investigation; their motion to test Trey’s body for drugs and leave it unclaimed for two days while the untested man who took his life (a convict with assault on a policeman to his record) walked free and till this day carries his gun; the continual refusal to arrest him despite tapes which show HE to be without a doubt the aggressor, the stalker, the initiator of a struggle documented on the audio of Martin’s girlfriend’s phone records to come in the midst of a conversation with a boyfriend she would later find went dead on the line for walking through a gated community with ice tea and skittles in hand. A death, which reeks of the first two officers on the scene being the same two officers present for a controversial shooting some years back, one with the same racial implications, yet without the same public backlash; a death reeking of a police captain whose son walked free following his attack on a homeless black man, until the story (it was recorded) went viral and as is the case today, the public demanded justice. This certain death, reeks a state governor who hasn’t said a word in the victims defense. Reeks even, of a fellow black man in all his influence in voice, with an authority vested by the millions of black people who put hope in him to if not turn this historical scenario around; to address it, at the highest rank in the universe… remaining relatively silent on a modern day lynching.

Denial, thwarts the integrity of even the most righteous of us in this, our nation of the ideal.

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Status Update:

The fact that the state has gone the extent they have to protect him, and the fact that the overwhelmingly white American community he did the bidding for in FL have been his collaborators invites us to consider that despite his ‘ethnic’ otherness, white Hispanics today can/are/will continue to pass and generate institutional racism. There was a time when Irish whites were not accepted by Anglo whites, same for Italians when they first came and many other ethnic white groups. But that’s precisely how “whiteness” came to formation… a communion of the various fractioned white groups into an identifiable hegemony. Their skin. <Bacon’s Rebellion. It is the specific moment in US history in which the elites recognized they could no longer relegate marginalized whites to the same status as blacks. And it is by all historical indications, the seminal moment in history marking the birth of the term “white”. Before Bacon’s Rebellion, white as a ‘race’ is not found in any historical journal or manuscript so much as identifying a “white” people within a nationhood context. In the same manner Irish Americans, Jewish Americans, Italian Americans attached to ‘whiteness’ then, white Hispanics in America attach to it now. And they look down on Mexicans for their indigenous pronounced features, etc. They are the new white

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It always smooths’ it’s way in does denial; prevents us from having the whole conversation. Keeps us from understanding and leaves us to approach dealing with future events, from a perspective which remain incomplete per the past. Different events, same circumstance; that’s where we’re at. Moving stuck.

Sensational moments in history have taken shape. We can reflect on them and determine that they’ve no doubt had an impactful influence on the world today. But racism is not a phenomenon which perpetuates itself in a vacuum; it’s not something we whether to the good or the bad, engage in some sort of social lab. It is a personal, social, institutional, material, spiritual, human condition we can for the most part challenge ourselves at a given moment to be accountable for; but cannot with a contemporary campaign of any nature eradicate.

And in order to check it we’ve got to be willing to identify it in balance and recognize the multiple prisms through which light on an event like the murder of Treyvon Martin, projects from.

Barack Obama’s election has for many ‘liberal’ whites even, symbolized generation towards a post racial society. When a Treyvon Martin is shot are liberal whites willing to re-assess and challenge the notion that the rise of a black man into a position of power *over a system whose mechanisms regulate the potential for post-racism* will bring change? And will whites in doing so, start by showing all cards?? Or will we revert to our privilege, give a tear and a few bucks, but plead five on what WE can do short and long term, in our everyday lives to transform the system?

There is a possibility George Zimmerman walks free, and the State will pose: on the grounds that he was not out of compliance with the neighborhood watch laws designed to give communities like Sanford, THE SOVEREIGNTY to police themselves. Will progressive blacks reflect on this and this time go beyond relying on promising politicians as usual, in a move towards designating THEIR OWN sovereign rights in the same vain: replacing the occupying force of municipal police with gun carrying citizens; ensure that if nothing comes of the death of Treyvon Martin in terms of justice for him and his family, that the very same institutional constraints on his ability to be afforded such.. be capitalized upon to represent justice on broader terms??

Ultimately, where our white citizens take it from here is a question for white citizens to answer. Where our black citizens go.. that’s a question for our black citizens.
And this isn’t something anybody needs to be told riiiight? This is something we already know?

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Status Update:

What is important to note against the many complexities of race ANYWHERE is that EVERYWHERE that there are African blooded descendants of slaves, there is a “social contract” against them. And what i mean by that is, regardless if it was the Irish who came and were called niggers they soon recognized Blacks at the bottom of a construct (hierarchy) which existed in terms of political/economic access. And so not to be the nigger any longer the Irish attached themselves/appeased to the white skinned folk who came before them. This is the same thing that happens whenever ANY group comes here, including Latinos (notice many who say they are “not black” listen to the context.. what they are saying is they are not “American Black”, and the way they conceptualize a distinction is by noting stereotypes. subconsciously though the intention is to prove to whites and non blacks that they have potential to be ‘better’ than that) people come here and automatically “know”. Even continental African immigrants come and assume that attitude. So when you refer to it as a kind of psychosis you are not kidding, it is so embedded in our culture it is in the air. And there is a reason for why this contract exists.. as i stated in an earlier post, the system (national and even global) that we live in today (material international market capitalism) evolves from direct beginnings with the exploitation of resources and enslavement of people in Africa. You can literally do research and you will find there is a class distinction between Africans who migrated around the world BEFORE the 1400’s (for them to have done that they practically had royalty and today even some of their descendants carry affluence) and African people who migrated here on their own AFTER the 1800’s (perhaps not as royal as the pre 1400 African migrants, but in many cases statesmen and their children or business people); in contrast to Africans who date their blood to the African slave trade (stripped of everything from language to record of existence, recognized as property, broken from family) a broken family is a big deal, it is to start over from scratch, a stripped name, you cannot follow it back to some inheritance in the old country. etc. And so African Americans of slave descendancy who began to own the name “negro” did so in and of itself as a notion of micro-nationhood.. to identify one another as those sort of ‘lost people’… it is not until waves of consciousness came along that blacks who identified as Negro began to question why they were doing it and resist that term, but there remains even today a double consciousness and youve heard everyone from the honorable Malcolm to Tupac allude to their people as Negro or Niggas. This same phenomenon happened in all of the Americas. My great-grandfather who is my grandmothers Black side, it is told to us “came from an orphanage” my great grandmother who just died last year and was white as an eastern European Slavic woman it is told to us had a grandfather who supervised a plantation (not in those words.. my grandma more like translated it this way: he would ride on a horse and manage over the farm). Here’s the whole negro matter in Latino context.. I can trace back and be clear that my great grandmothers side had some class distinction, had some kind of status. So far as my great grandfather it is very murky and perhaps because he strayed from his larger African family thus bringing little remnant of African culture in our home. He was the first light weight boxing champion of PR so him marrying a “white” Puerto Rican woman and having mixed little babies who knew nothing of such slang as “Mojeto or negrito” etc. not a big coincidence; surely most his friends were white Ricans who accepted him for his athletic status etc. But why didn’t they accept with that, his slang & other nuances that he hid and destroyed; didnt invite into my grandmothers tongue, etc? Because he was a “negro” and he knew it. To say that Zimmerman is “Hispanic” and to have that encompass the Treyvon Hernandez’s Treyvon Ortiz’s Treyvon Rivera’s of our lands, is a flawed analysis. I can actually put it much more easier for you: When I say there are white Hispanics and there are black Hispanics, you can be sure the Black Hispanics understand what i mean

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The morning after I posted a status to seed a discussion for not only Latinos, but for Blacks and Whites as well; an MSNBC guest analyst saw the need to remind it’s mass of viewers that “Zimmerman is Latino” and hear this: that “this is not a Black and White issue, this is a Black and Brown issue.”

I want us to reflect on what such a statement infers…

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My war is with George Zimmerman and every George Zimmerman at our barbecue; those of us who CHOOSE to distance ourselves from Black society and strive to ‘make it’ by attaching to whiteness.. It is our George Zimmerman’s who, in their quest for acceptance internalize a hatred for Blacks and overcompensate to the tragic ends we see in Treyvon Martin’s murder.

I’m pretty much exhausted at my attempt to explain how a ‘black_brown conflict’ perspective is objectively skewed. You can read my status updates for a holistic context around how so.

…But I will pose the following:
I identify as Brown because I embrace solidarity with my African heritage and blood; because my spirit embraces remembrance of the native indigenous ancestry of my lands.
And I will continue to be Brown, because of that. It is something I embraced the power to choose!

In all my light skinnedness (having been confused for everything from greek to arab)… It is not a CHOICE I have always made.
As much as it a choice, Treyvon Martin, never had…

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RIP little Brother.

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– Tr


M . L . K


Josie Harris: Another battered Woman, expendable to the system… Floyd Mayweather Jr: Not just any Black Man!

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It was a sad day in April for me in 2010, when at the height of the fight world’s demand for a Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown for boxing supremacy, an obscure southpaw from out of Venezuela took his own life at a time during which word amongst many of the sports purists began placing him at it’s helm.  

Edwin Valero was lightening in a bottle.  He had yet had anything legitimately comparative to Pretty Boy Money or Pac Man‘s  Hall of Fame careers, but his record of 27-0 with knock outs in every one of those bouts was nothing short of legendary.  Valero had just defeated current champion Antonio Demarco in what was his 9th title defense reigning over the WBA superfeatherweight, then WBC lightweight devisions.  Questions as to how he’d fare against fast-powerpunching contemporary Pacquiao were sufacing, with Valero himself calling the pound-for-pound king out.  

We with an ear to the scene, and a considerable knowledge of geo-politics at the time knew if there was one thing preventing the man from slaying his way to complete dominance in capitalism’s most primitive game,  it was more likely his notorious advocacy for his beloved Socialist President (Hugo Chavez tattoo’d on his chest), than his unmerciful fists!

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Sadder than the loss of such an extraordinary talent, were the developments that brought it about.  The story of Edwin Valero is not simply that of the modern gladiator, or class warrior manifest in the ring..  the day before his untimely suicide, the story of Edwin Valero ever tragically became that of his wife; 24 year old Jennifer Carolina.  That was the day he murdered the mother of his two children, capping a tumultuously violent relationship which cited numerous hospital stays and police reports for domestic abuse. 

In the wake of the sensational turn of events (Valero was found hanging in police custody), conspiracy theories flung about from every corner of the net.  “drugs and alcohol”, “psychological effects of his motorcycle injury”,  Even President Chavez chimed in to pretty much claim it all a right-wing political plot.  Generally absent from the whirlwind of talk, outside of reactionary response from politicos looking to exploit anything that might undermind anything Venezuela, was a focus on Jennifer/her family/ the all too common plight of abused boxing wives/ failure of Valero’s circle to support him into getting help for his demon, and on a larger scope; a lack of attention and resources towards gender violence by legal boxing councils…

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Here is the wife of a professional athlete.  Even typical as one may project her to come, she is human as human gets;  the unacknowledged superhero!__  balancing the barbarity of her husband with a nurturing spirit;  feeding, cleaning, clothing and educating their children;  keeping a stable home for him to come back to for his psychological and emotional well-being.  She doesn’t just open her legs to him, and in fact it’s not even so much that she cooks, cleans, and handles very fundamental business tasks autonomous from those of the industry vultures..  as much as it is that she reserves an unconditional place for his human interests!    __She lives subbordinated in the silent role of a superstar athlete’s wife; and if she should die, she dies silent; out of sight, and out of mind.

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When in protest of the 90-day prison sentence inherited by Floyd Mayweather Jr. for battering ex-partner Josie Harris, World Boxing Council chief Jose Sulaiman put out a statement dismissing “beating a lady” as nothing akin to “a major sin or crime”;  I could not be shocked.    

Neither was I surprised to learn that in the interest of clearing May 5th for Floyd to fight an *as of yet signed opponent* (a fight that hasn’t even been made), Justice Melissa Saragosa had pushed his January 6th report-to-serve date back to June.  

Such a travesty is to be expected.   Women have always been expendable in the boxing world. 

If they are not circling a ring showcasing huge placards over their bikini laced bodies between rounds, they are occupying comparisons to one another in the first row of our imagination, opposite sides of the ring, donning luxuries we rarely consider they might adorn on their own dime.   Each, marrying into the sport to carry the mark of ‘gold-digger’ or glorified ‘groupie’;  each, measured against expectations set to the likeness. 

How many men saw a fighter’s manager when they were looking at Mrs. Shane Mosley?   Heck, matrimony aside, how long will it be before we recognize the best trainer in the game might be Ann Wolfe??   We take them for granted, they’re tossed aside.   We’ve never allowed ourselves to accept that boxing in it’s own right belongs to Women as much as it does men. 

More times than not she is assumed to be a deserving victim, or no victim at all.  We hear the chuckles of brothers at a Farrakahn rally, responding to his smirk, mocking the notion that a young Desiree Washington accepting a 3 a.m. invitation from Mike Tyson, did not ‘know what she was getting into’.   Of course we do.. just earlier that day behind the scenes broadcasts have Mike meeting Washinton in a line of contestants during beauty pageant rehearsals in Indianapolis;  bogarting back and forth before their wide eyes, he caressed his chin, dipping a scope up and down with design on their figures, smiling back at the camera; …expendable.

Before Diego Chico Corrales lost his life in a Vegas  motorcyle accident, he was immortalized for his classic battle against Jose Luis Castillo;  The beating of his pregnant wife, in which he is reported to have delivered a deliberate blow to her stomach, was a fly-by-night headline.  Just as the arm pulling, fist throwing assault on Jossie Harris by a seemingly teflon Mayweather is proving to be.  It will not stick to him, nobody will reflect critically on it a year from now as we may, say..  a ‘suspect’ Miguel Cotto for wiping tears away as he recalled the passing of his father.  Nobody, is even talking about it, now!

Backwards as it sounds, the entitlement we grant men in sports, almost lends  deferment of Floyd’s jail-time as something Harris  might feel fortunate knowing he received.  It is afterall typical of the psychology of a battered woman to fear greater repercussion should her abuser be put to face punishment.  And there are  undoubtedly  legions of fans who’ve grown resentful of Harris, as over the course of the trial Floyd has been persistant in declaring the accusations false and malicious.   For his big date to be cancelled by default of the court’s ruling, we’d be hearing a backlash of public opinion put her to blame for his missing the boat on a potentially imminent showdown with Manny, before we hear anyone holding him accountable, for a crime his children testified baring witness to. 

Sources have all around confirmed that what earned Floyd his reprieve is the potential revenue to be made off the long awaited  Pacquiao super-fight (a fight which still seems a long shot from happening).  There is no question an event of it’s magnitude, taking place in Las Vegas’ famed MGM Grand, on Cinco de Mayo would make good on his lawyer’s promise before the judge, to generate $100 million for the economy.  In America, money talks.. (pun intended)

In fact, now we are hearing Top Rank Promotions’  Bob Arum float an offer for the fight to happen if Floyd agrees to a June 9th date, which by all accounts would be impossible to tend considering he is to report to prison on the 1st of June.   Leave it to the powerful Arum though, to arrogantly suggest that he’d put up the fees to have it pushed back again; almost as if looking right past the grief stricken reality of Women who’ve befallen a heavy hand, to the man at the other end of the bargaining table.  His rationale?  There’s a chance that an extra  $40 million could be made  off  additional seats constructed in that time.   

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/10/sports/la-sp-boxing-pacquiao-mayweather-20120111

As if though the same $100 million (plus 40) couldn’t be made after Floyd has justly served his time. 

Sulaiman, Judge Saragosa, Floyd’s legal team, Bob Arum, we the public, are all responsible for the grave injustice given slack here..  we ought to all be ashamed about the precedent we seem so blood lustingly willing to set, to see this fight happen ASAP at the clap!   This is bigger than Floyd, this is bigger than boxing..  the legal grace and public apathy towards it are indicative of a system working to the endangerment of Women and families.    Despite the model of political or economic government under which it manifests, patriarchy victimizes individuals.. families.. societies..  humanity.

 

..When a man

has so much power that

no-one but he himself, 

dare take him out. 

 

Who knows what he is capable of…

 

 

– Tr.


-A Genesis of Brown- (early draft: chptr 1)

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Chapter One

Sweat was as Pa as the uniform Ma needed spread a sheet over, nights when attempts to wake him off the couch would’ve done little more than rouse a snore.  You watched his sideburn bristle drip into a pour when an envelope took to his hands; beads perspiring from the nose as he went through shirts like cuchifrito does a brown paper bag.

Nobody racked up time and a half like that man; not a police officer, no fireman, nor anyone in sanitation, much less any of his co-workers in the Emergency Medical Service.  Which is probably why he received so much love, as manifested per barbecue and pool party we were invited to attend when Pa wasn’t covering someone else’s weekend.  Navy blue up, navy blue down everywhere we went; patches and the badge.  If your name wasn’t Don Mattingly, no one in this city could say they knew you to hustle more doubles than Resto!

It remained to be seen whether I inherited that same work ethic upon being offered a cut for every job I tagged along to lend a hand with.  After two decades which saw them maintain the kind of camaraderie withstanding every Giordano promotion that set hierarchy between the two, and every Giordano transfer Pa felt pressure to follow, Giordano and Pa went into business together behind his longtime partner’s lead for side-income doing home renovations.  Giordano had the van, Giordano had the plan: he provided the tools he promoted the service he secured the contracts.  Pa covered the labor, which would’ve provided me opportunity to earn money for school books while holding onto one last season of sandlot baseball; and did… until it didn’t.

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I never told him why I began to resist, and eventually, ceased lacing up boots all together that summer.  Were it not for the game he saw slash and burn prospects of delinquency, to a future in his boy’s eye, my abled body would’ve had no alternative but to try my newly minted diploma from the get; believe you-me, there wasn’t a request Pa didn’t begin and end a response to with “MORTGAGE” and “CAR PAYMENT!”  So it had to be to the dismayed welling of his own defeat, that despite Pa’s faith in me, I’d eventually turn down his proposal to split earnings for the sake of sparing me some 9 to 5 that might impede on practice.  And it was in a sort of melancholy, projecting to be gracious humility, that I would sooner settle on a fulltime at The Nathan Boardwalk than seek the old man’s recourse.

Save for having to swallow a little sarcasm on my supposed golden arm’s supposed struggle to sand a wall, my decision didn’t draw the kind of reaction I had braced myself for.  Of’course news of the Nathan hiring relieved me of ‘the real world’ speech on his 70 hour work week.. and he did gave off as if convinced I’d keep my promise to continue grinding toward our dream.  Such absence of disappointment at any prior juncture would’ve shown passage for me to whistle off clean;

Stopped, whether by the stoicism contrasting such usual eccentricities as his ever-wincing forehead or how he’d normally clamp his lips curled into his teeth; …or by something more intuitive than the reading his pensive face gave off in its concentration, there was something it seemed, even he felt left to be complete between us.

At second glance I’m at a loss to explain

the space in which I found myself, between

offering up a hug and venting.

Pa had sacrificed for us too willfully to be exposed to the heart of my wallowing; the intensity of those veins and snapping tendons proving harder to detach from than I could have conceived.  To think; how the bills reflecting off the ol’ specs bridged before him bound those providing hands to so demeaning a keep, so obsequiously.  I have to believe he was uneasy as I, hearing what one the other heard, as we worked through the bigotry inundating from Giordano’s shadow the morning that would deter me from returning.  Then again he’d survived nearly half of his life smiling through the shame, absorbing a word his son was just learning the pain of.

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Throughout childhood, SPIC, whizzed me by in cacophony with MAMI, TE SIRVO, GRAHAM AVE, LANI!, LET’S CUT THE SHIT, WE’RE FAMILY, THE HIPOCRACY, JACK!, DON’T INTERRUPT ME LET ME SPEAK, DIME CON QUIEN ANDAS Y TE DIRE QUIEN ERES, PHILIP!, UNBEKNOWNST TO ME,   DINKIN’,  CLARO QUE SI, SAM! and IT’S SAD IT REALLY IS…   Especially Saturday nights, when receiving a guest meant the bottle of soda erecting from a spread of Bacardi| seltzer| Tanqueray| and gin was off limits; those of us who’d long built tolerance to a drunken thumb ‘cross the gums testing the hour of company in our own irritable right, Saturday night!

For a time I couldn’t tell it different from any word that wasn’t my name, except that I can’t recall having traced it to a voice other than that of Uncle Ray’s.  When I came upon it’s implication of disdain per the darting force with which he pinned it to neighborhood names that never came up favorably, nothing of its nature notioned it could pertain to me.  Spic, was a lazy ignorant drug addict who lived off welfare, but back then it wasn’t Puerto Rican.  According to Ray it was Carmen flopping a stroller forth with her knotty headed boys straggling shirtless behind.  But it wasn’t referred to Rosa, who wore the same chancletas when she got home and out of her blazer to walk Tito; not usually at least, not unless she in some way gave him the inclination that she thought she was better, needed to be brought back down to earth.  Such ambiguity might explain why it would be years before I found myself processing those four letters relative to my own identity.  (Everyone owned a brown pair of slippers lettering the gold Puerto Rico!)

Back then people were people.  It was a time enriched by naiveté when a child’s bliss was safe.  We played until it was time to eat then were off again after we ate.  Taught it our business to keep out of grown folk’ conversations I was trained on being seen, not heard.  Thus, my listening had adapted to assume a like distance.  For if ever I, stampeding in line past a powwow of elders or swarming in and out a pile of sibling limbs, were pulled to that chat in the kitchen it was when “T O N Y!” hollered out on mother’s whim.

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As a seventeen year old elbow resting a palm full of chin, or lollygagging behind, from the ride to home depot < home depot back to the ride for our sheetrock stripped destination, it was no different.  Unless I was present to a mention specific to me, nothing exchanged in Pa-and-Giordano’s discussion drew me aware to it.  The same uncompromising trust my face gave the wind trailing passing scene; that music behind my eyes facilitated from  hammer to nail I glanced between;  was the trust my red light green light 1, 2, 3’s held, uncompromised by noise screaming from the kitchen back in my young’n day.

There was however, that time and again

in which tensions flared on the drink and a counter slammed,

shouting slanted our attention still to it, and

glass broke.

You grow on to the grapple and roll of wrestle-mania from the cowboys and Indians chase.  Then you learn roughhousing earned you a spot on front of the living room television glowing Sabado Gigante when things got carried away.  Didn’t take forever to develop a rapport on how to avoid repercussions of hyperactivity, with a period in which G.I. Joe became the rave half decade before we sedated on video games.  Passivity however is another thing, especially amongst a community in which it could be viewed as weak.  After all, stores selling us Desert Storm Cards to trade during the first invasion of Iraq probably didn’t do as much to tame us as they did to engage us in war.  No doubt it pissed our parents off that a transition to figurines wouldn’t eradicate the havoc to be raised. …Makes me want to go back and lift a mirror to show them who we were the children of;  STOPPP STUPID!, INDIAN GIVER!, LEAVE ME ALONE!, and HE STUCK HIS MIDDLE FINGER AT ME!, caroming off the walls.

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Soon as the day came Ma  lit up to Pa divulging Giordano’s arrangement for us to go see a home, things were bound to change.  That mammoth edifice of the old Brooklyn Army Terminal stood in the way of the harbor, across which sprawled suburban pastures to which we couldn’t imagine conforming our ways.  Not that Ma ever pictured us doing so might resemble the manner she frightenly observed children behave during yearly visits to their cul-de-sac for Giordano’s son’s birthday; but that she had us speeched to an impeccable posture, in the balance of which hung privileges and a possible whooping dare we embarrass our father.

Days went by months gone by years past, and nowhere near as long had my refined demeanor come to lasting the guidette cadence Ma adopted an awkward variation of; not nearly as wide as that of my PRAP (Puerto Rican American Princess) knighted sister, had my own Staten Island circle grown; nowhere close to as high had I ever come to imagine our becoming selves, above the selves I looked back on leaving, as brother had, on a past he looked down on being.  There must have been something resisting any like-allowance to succumb to the numbness my family seemed to embrace in overcoming our confronting transition.

Suddenly I was dealing with a heartbeat which had been chased before, but never through the terror of a plight unfamiliar as the wilderness to an urban animal.  The weight of whatever collective adaptation we generated to repress idiosyncrasies within family at home, within our peers of the Spanish congregation at church, amongst classmates pooled at the lunch table end dominated by the accent of our lips, hair and shade;  became the suppression of impulses discouraged from rising with the pride of our rooted heritage.

We had derived from a place from which I recall a scrap between biological sisters being triggered by one’s reference to the other as a “five dollar hoe”; where we arrived at school every morning prepared to fight for our sneakers; glance at the wrong person the wrong way and you could find yourself cradling your skull on the concrete.  Now we were being muscled around by eyes on the bus, stalled on by the doctor and rushed by the deli clerk; observing our parents pussyfoot around signs that our youngest siblings were being singled out and spoken at in a tone adults reserve for other adults.                      …I had never felt so low.

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There I knelt, knee deep in a rising tide of rage.  Reaction to insult had always begged a practice in restraint.  Here I faced a turbulence quivering deep in my soul, battling in question as to whether I’d be able to regain cognizance of the sunlight beaming into the patio and the smell of paint overwhelmed in the tension consuming me.  I sooner became afraid I might not be able to stand up straight, than I had become of potentially confronting a man a quarter century my senior.  Thwarted to the ashen planks of my surrounding I’d be missing the mark if I characterize myself having been beside myself – I was so beneath myself.

I had been in the way of that laugh before, now I was at its opposite end; I had accompanied Giordano’s eyes in mine, this time I kept them back from forcing their way in.  Way down binaural drone-deep in double vision, a mirage of references dotting select experiences from my rearing to the moment, framed me pit between a double consciousness that summer Saturday morning…

One which set my soul into mourning while it sang to the sky.   Looking back, that’s got to be the day, I killed my master.   And the spic, began to die.

 

– Tone.Are  (A Genesis of Brown__ work in progress/ chapter 1)


Half-Time Pep Talk; guys, gather ’round

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In the immortal words of the great Descartes:

I am stupid…  therefore, I’m a man!

See, now I’m processing whether I should even dedicate a whole blog post to this.   Because if I do, I become the town crier whining-about, over what most men who come across it welcome a lovable affirmation of their own typical brute.  Sure, the majority of us will recognize Dr. Pepper’s Power 10 commercial as ‘tasteless‘, but see qualms that act no deeper than ‘fun and game‘.   Which lends me to projections of  “soft” and “sensitive” for so much as giving it an extra thought.

Me?  THINK??   < The audacity..   I’m a guy!

Plus..  my  caption for it probably does more to tap on that rigid mental than would a full on exploration into the social psychology which conditions us to reinforce such shallow depictions of Men; depreciates a Women’s capacity to share space in a traditionally male world.   Only, I’m afraid there are far too few of us who’d be insulted being exposed to the possibility we may have come all this way in life, without ever realizing just how (how could I say this..)  un-evolved we show to be; just how much credit, beyond that which we deserve, we give ourselves.

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Let me put it out there that I, for one, happen to enjoy romantic comedies. 

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Get clear brothers, I’m not talking myself up, I’m not speaking for Women.. I’m speaking for US.  And not in the way we do when one of us start a statement with: “I think I speak for all men when I say…”   No, this is not that.   We don’t need another alpha ego stepping up to cajole our rowdy response to the opportunity he saw to take; stepping up to be THE MAN in the room, just as the rest of us were settling down to listen.

(( sit back down “fuck these hoes” guy..  please find your seat Mr. “Long as they don’t bring it around me.” ))

I ain’t necessarily saying you need to start looking at the sky like it’s the ground and the ground like it’s the sky;

_you ain’t going to hear me advocate you run out and get a pedicure right now. although, it’s a Sunday, you got off and yo’ shit is busted.. why the hell not

_i’m not interested in you going out of your way to find a Woman who can bench press as much as you do. don’t let me find out the only Firewoman in town is suddenly having to avoid stalkers   *fellas, keep it together*

_i don’t care about the check you’re going to write out in the name of gender equality.  What you do in the bedroom (in the name of gender equality) is not my business…

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But it is high time for us to have a conversation on just how comfortable we are allowing ourselves to be defined and represented, by our lack of depth in everything from domestic (cooking, cleaning),  to personal (hygiene, diet), to social (emotion, communication) survival skills.   And by the same coin how UN-comfortable we remain, with re-considering how we engage ourselves and how we engage others  in respects to identity/lifestyle as indiscriminate matters of choice.

Hell, it’s time we have a conversation about our discomfort with having a conversation, period! 

We’d love to be able to write off the Dr. Pepper Power of 10 commercial as a ridiculous marketing ploy.   We’d love to equate it analogous to English Royalty; parody on a dated legacy; slide our hands into our own jaws, show it has no teeth.   But if that were the case, why then do companies continue to use sexism to sell their products;  why haven’t they stopped using sports networks, and targeting audiences on football sundays, to sell beer and beef jerky using scantily clad Women and big wheeled trucks???    Something about these concepts perpetuating violence, misogyny, and homophobia must be proving beneficial to those putting them out there…

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There are those amongst us who pose that it isn’t the media generating these dynamics of oppression, that it is we ourselves being violent, misogynistic, homophobic, and that markets are simply being wise to exploit our condition;  holding up a mirror;  doing it in a humorous way.   To a certain extent these points are valid.  I as a 30 year old man neither feel inclined to buy beer because somebody told me to be a man and do it!   Nor will I walk out the door tomorrow, having fixed myself to be more like the guys in the commercial because they like beer.   ..But what about the impressionable youth?  Doesn’t the plausibility that that which is given precedence in the media  will bare an influence on society, increase, when messages inferring what it is to be a man (insensitive, intolerant) and what it is to be a woman (sexualized, quiet yet bubbly) are being absorbed by the boy who will tell his friend to BE A MAN!  When he is in mourning or feeling humiliated?

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You may feel we ought to expect that not everything being projected by the media will be respectful towards diversity, not everything will be compassionate towards our  emotional and psychological impulses.   But are there boundaries we ought be mindful to keep?  Is there a measure of accountability any entity must face, if not to the law, to your own personal or your communal sensibilities of right and wrong??

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Miller Lite has been running a “Man-Up” campaign which airs commercials framing an “Un-Manly” thing the men in each respective spot reflect on one of them having done.   In one of the commercials we are aired a flash-back to a gentleman bawling out tears before his girlfriend;  he repeats “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.” slumping his head over rejected shoulders.   Two of the commercials question a man for what he is wearing (in one a scarf, in the other: skinny jeans), and two others mock a man who would exhibit fear (in one a man is screaming on a roller coaster, in another, he is anxious for someone to take the fish off his line).   And if Miller Lite is putting out that it is not “manly” to be hurt in a relationship, or that it is not “manly” to be nervous, then by in large it is not only limiting to men, it is limiting to Women..  It must be ‘womanly’ to be nervous and thus we can see how Women learn to depend on men for strength.  It must be ‘womanly’ to be hurt in relationships, so in turn, women who DON’T allow themselves to live at the affect of heartbreak become heartless ‘bitches’.

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The relationship we assume to the mediums responsible for informing our reality, determine the power we have to maintain a grasp and mold of our own making on it.   Sure there is an element of entertainment we can prosper from being open to enjoying, in whatever it is we take in.   But to omit any and all angles for sociocultural critique is to befall the reality of a robot.   We become consumers in our homes, in our minds;  we disconnect from our humanity.

There is something valuable, that we have yet to recognize as men, about standing for being recognized and appreciated for our intimate qualities.   We open up to allow young brothers around us to transform who they are at an earlier age than we did, and thus empower them to impact the world around them in ways we will not be able to imagine until we witness them do it.   We give our elders the privilege of watching humanity continue to evolve via our very actions, in their lifetime.

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When a world class football player is a boy, he wants to be like his idol.  He begins his life in the game, performing in emulation of what he has seen on television.   But before long, he recognizes that he will not be successful watching himself be that idol;  running from outside his body, dodging competition in choreographed step.   At some point he begins to recognize mechanisms that work for HIM, he begins to acquaint himself with techniques that draw him closer to himself as a prospective athlete.  He felt how the balls of his feet twisted off the ground when he recorded his record time;  he aims to reproduce and master that motion.  He feels the muscles of his thigh disjointing and pulling together, meticulously, and knows he is doing something right, as he looks left and right to see he has left all other sprinters behind him.

We see a game…   But he –

he feels the wind, smells the grass, hears his own calculations.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things    1 Corinthians 13:11

Boys,

we are men

because we don’t need to be reminded that we are.


Black beans. from a can. Dammit.

AT THE REQUEST OF AUGUST..  FOR KANA & KEIDERA!

.Low Flame.

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> Pour a cap, or two of Olive Oil into a pot.

> Dice 2 cloves of garlic to begin flavoring the base.

> Throw a splash of water in there. (you need that accent, u need that Brooklyn: in thea’)

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.Let it simmer a bit.

(let it brown just a bit.. coupla mins)

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> Break a nice ol’ coupla  pinches  of fresh Cilantro.

> Slice some thin rings of onion; throw that right there in there.

> Chop up and add dices of a bell pepper.

> (May also add celery shavings _or_ seeds)

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.Let it simmer a bit more.

(Get the aroma going)

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> Now take out your jar of soft pickled red peppers.  Let some of the juice from the jar into the pot and tear strips of the peppers in to follow.

> Add the few cube cuts of the potato THAT HAVE BEEN BOILING ON THE SIDE.

> Finally add a small can of tomato sauce, followed up by a refill of water.

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.Taste what you’ve got so far.

(Add salt if you need to bring more flavor out.  Add crushed black pepper if you like a little spice)

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> Escort your black beans out to the dance floor and let them babies salsa away.

> OH WAIT..  at this point, you can also have Stedman roll out the chopped sweet plantain  -OR-  pumpkin piece.  (both ought to be SOFT/Over ripe if possible)

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.Let cook on low flame until the sauce has thickened.

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AND WALLAH!!! 

SERVE AT A CRYSTAL HOUSE DINNER

AND WATCH BLACK PEOPLE GO CRAZY OVA YO SHIIT!!!