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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My thoughts on the Sandra Bland Arrest and Mysterious Death

I am trying to look at this thing from different perspectives. I think that both the police officer was wrong and Sandra Bland was partially wrong in this situation. But, the blames lies more so with the arresting officer, Brian Encinia.  

I watched the dash cam video, a number of times. Of course, officer Encinia was within his rights to pull Sandra Bland over in the first place because she did break a traffic law by failing to use a signal when making the lane change. Up until the point where Ms. Bland was asked to put out the cigarette, that’s where things began to spiral out of control.  A lot of people are saying that her “Black woman’s attitude” was the problem.   Yet, people aren’t thoroughly examining what the police officer did wrong.   His actions resulted in possible false arrest and violation of her constitutional rights. There is no law that says that people must be polite and completely deferential to police officers.   

And, why was she even asked to step out of her vehicle after she was reluctant to put out the cigarette?  It leads me to think that officer Encinia was upset that she didn’t put the cigarette out after he nicely asked her to.  It seems that the situation got out of control because of the officer’s inability to deescalate and his bruised ego.

As far as her having an “attitude” goes; I have seen and heard much worse from other people who have been pulled over by the cops.  The first thing that some people do when they are in the presence of cops, is go completely H.A.M.  Give someone a little too much liquor (or drugs), call the cops and some of the drunk bastards threaten physical harm to cops, right in their faces. They curse and insult them for absolutely no reason. 

Sandra Bland’s “attitude” did not really come out until that police officer told her to get out of the car.  Up until that point she appeared to be agitated and annoyed but not what I would call turned-up.  And I feel that is where she went wrong because when he asked her to get out of the car she should have because that is allowed by the law. FYI, there is a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977 (Pennsylvania v. Mimms) which upheld the right and discretion of police officers to order a driver out of their vehicle during traffic stops when they feel that their safety is threatened.  

One of the legal issues that came up in that case is whether police officers have the right to order a driver out of their vehicle.  Was Sandra Bland’s Fourth Amendment rights violated?  It may come down to whether a court would decide that a reasonable person would believe that their safety were in jeopardy in this specific situation.

Now, as far as him asking her to put out the cigarette, there is no law that says she must put the cigarette out.  Therefore, legally she was not required to do so.  And, I know that there are some cops who will try and twist and misinterpret the laws in order to manufacture a reason to arrest you or search your possessions.  Some will turn failure to comply with a simple request into obstruction of justice (I know because it happened to me).  Personally, I feel that this officer was fishing for a reason to arrest her and it’s almost like she played into it.  And, yes, I think the officer did abuse his authority in this case.  He was overzealous and the way that he handled her physically was just atrocious and unnecessary.  He didn’t care about how rough he handled her, even after she told him that she suffered from epilepsy.

Anyways, if I were in that situation, I would have went on ahead and put the cigarette out.  My mama always told me that you have to “Ease your hand out of the lion’s out of the mouth”.  The thing is, it’s not very smart to fight and fuss, just for the sake of fighting and fussing.  And, that is especially when you are dealing with someone who has more power and authority. 

I have experienced a mix of positive encounters and negative encounters with law enforcement. So, I am not saying that all police officers are corrupt or bad apples.  But, we already know that many police officers are rude, have poor social skills, and use their gun and badge to bully people. Some of them are covert racists and sociopaths.   You are better off, especially as a Black person using your logic and reasoning vs. emotions during police stops.  Anytime emotions are injected into the mix, things can go left very quickly. It makes more sense to keep a cool head and comply with law enforcement orders (provided that your constitutional rights aren’t violated) to safely get yourself out of the situation. 

If you feel that your civil rights are being violated, then by all means fight and defend your rights in a non-violent way (if possible).  File formal written complaints with internal affairs and civil lawsuits later on if you feel that it’s warranted.

Then, you have to also consider your financial resources and your time.  Make sure that you pick your battles wisely.  You may win the battle but end up losing the war. Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of being arrested, charged with a crime and having your car impounded? What’s going to happen with your work situation if you spend a few days behind bars? Do you have money to post bail and pay legal fees? Those are some things to think about when you encounter police.

Either way, the police were responsible for Sandra Bland’s death.  I doubt that she was murdered but there is still the possibility that foul play was involved. There are some unanswered questions that make me feel very suspicious of the whole thing.  I think it is more likely that she did kill herself. One of the questions that cause concerns for me, is why did police department employees leave the woman alone in a cell if it were known that she attempted suicide before? She should have been supervised and put in a mental ward if this were the case.  So, they are definitely negligent in this regard.

Officer Encinia is on administrative leave for not following police department procedures and proper protocol in that situation.  I hope that Sandra Bland’s family sues the police department and wins.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Emotional Baggage and Trauma affect Relationships

Some men have a very hard time relaxing and letting go in their relationships with women.  I think this is due in part to emotional trauma and baggage.  Someone in their past, whether it be their parents or a past lover, did them wrong. And, they don’t know how to get over it and move on.  So, they carry the burden and those hurt feelings with them into their future relationships.  This causes a lot of problems and makes for tumultuous situations.  

Several years ago I used to date a man who I was introduced to by one of my sisters and her husband.  I will call him Tommy (not his real name). They all went to school with him and felt that they knew him very well.  He was described to me as a "good guy who is doing something with his life and staying out of trouble".   My family decided to introduce us to one another while we were all out at the movies one weekend.  He did seem to be a  really smart, well-spoken, nice guy with a good personality.  He was a few years younger than me, Black American, tall and in good shape.  He also had handsome features, with a dimpled smile, slanted eyes and dark smooth chocolate skin.  

We went out on several dates and hit it off very well.  Tommy was about 23 years old and I was 27 at the time.  Several weeks into the romantic courtship,  he began to show some of his true colors.  I am not trying to paint myself as a perfect woman, without fault or flaw.  But, there were a few things that I noticed about him that I did not like.  He was a really heavy cigarette smoker and he always arrived at my apartment with a 40 oz. bottle of beer.  I think these were some habits that he picked up during his time spent in the marines.  They were a big deal for me because I don't smoke or do drugs.  I rarely drink alcoholic beverages.  

I was annoyed at the fact that Tommy would always find a way to talk to me about his ex-wife. Apparently she did a lot of dirt to this young man and he never fully recuperated from it.   I think that everyone has issues.  If you are living on this Earth you have experienced some type of trial or tribulation or have gone though some degree of trauma at least a few times in your life.  No matter how sheltered a person is, one can never live their entire life without experiencing some sort or pain, stress or sorrow.  I think we each have our own coping mechanisms and ways of reacting to trauma and stress. 

Well, about two months into the courtship, he told me that his wife had cheated on him while he was away in Europe serving in the marines.  On top of that, she had completely emptied out this poor man’s bank accounts.  When he returned, he discovered that almost $100,000 dollars of the money that he earned was gone.   She was not paying their bills as she should have been. 

Somehow, Tommy was under the impression that he could sue his wife to recoup the money that she spent without his knowledge.  He was sorely disappointed after his divorce attorney informed him that it was not possible for spouses to sue one another.  In marriage, what’s his is hers and what's hers is his, basically.  That’s why it's important to carefully select  the person that you choose as a life partner.  If you can’t trust that person literally with your life and financial future, then it is not a wise idea to get married to them. 

So, I invited him over to my apartment for one weekend and he showed up again with a forty of Olde English in a brown bag.  I could tell that Tommy had too much to drink because his speech was a little bit slurred and he was temperamental from the moment he walked in the door.  He started taking shots at me.  

I had cooked some dinner, then we ate and watched TV.   All of a sudden he started talking about the people on his job and started ranting about women.  Then, he made the comment that “All women are bitches and whores!”  When, he saw the shock on my face, he caught himself and recanted and saying, “Except for you, my mother and my sister”.  There was no way for him to unsay what he said.  

I told him that he was not going to disrespect me and that he had to get the hell out.   He pleaded with me to stay but I wasn’t having it.  Thinking about it now, I sort of felt bad because the guy was not in any condition to go out there and drive. But, at that moment I was in my feelings and I didn't want him there.  He called me a few hours later that evening and apologized but it was too late.  I had lost respect for and interest in him.  

A few weeks after that incident, my brother-in-law called asking me how things were going between me and Tommy.  He was curious because Tommy called him after our fight and told him what happened.  Tommy was crying, saying that he thinks he fucked up.  I said, "Yeah, he’s right. He did fuck up!"  My brother-in-law basically called fishing for information to pass on to Tommy (they were homies). I cut straight to the chase and told him that I wasn't interested in reconciling with Tommy.  I didn’t hear from Tommy for several weeks after that and it appeared that he had moved on.  

Tommy is not a bad person by any stretch.  He has a lot going for him but, I think that Tommy has some emotional issues and unfinished business that he needs to work on. I think that he married too young and he chose the wrong person.  And forming a legal and emotional bond with a toxic person, can lead to a lifetime of heartache, ruin and despair. 

 He was still holding onto what his wife did to him and probably some other stuff that he never told me about.  I also think that Tommy leans too much on the drink when he is stressed out and sad.  It’s something that he needs to work on or he will just continue to repeat the same mistakes and make his future girlfriends pay for his issues.  Since he couldn’t make his ex-wife pay, he is probably making everyone else pay on a subconscious level. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Take on Interracial Dating and Relationships

I believe that interracial dating is perfectly acceptable.  People are free to love who they want to love.  Some people get their feathers all ruffled when they see interracial couples together, especially if they have children.  They don’t believe in race mixing and they must feel that their race is being diluted and they fear that their race will be made extinct.

They make conclusions like, “They are together for the sex” or “He doesn’t want a Black woman because Black women have attitude problems”.  Some people put White women up on a pedestal and consider them as trophies or a status symbols for Black men.  But, for some reason a Black woman is seen as the “Negro bedwench” if she dates a White man.

I don’t buy into all that bullshit.  Race is a social construct.  There aren’t any significant biological and genetic differences between us. A human being is a human being. 

When I see a Black man with a White woman or vice versa, it doesn’t bother me at all.  People have their own preferences for who they want to be with and it is none of my business.  I am personally more attracted to Black American men. The chances of having a successful and happy relationship are usually better when you stick to people in your group. It’s a form of endogamy but, that’s just my opinion.  I get along better with them and I can relate to Black men much better.  However, I am also open to dating and relationships with some men outside of my race and culture.   If I ever were to limit myself to dating only Black men, then I’d probably pass up some good prospective partners.

I am also attracted to men outside of my race and ethnicity as well.   I don’t usually go seeking to date people outside of my group.  But, if the right opportunity presented itself, I probably wouldn’t automatically turn it down.   The most important characteristic that people should focus on in a mate is character- and not such much the physical appearance.  Yes, looks are important but things like how the person treats you and others should be more heavily weighted.

I have been on dates with a few White and Hispanic men.  Aside from some social and cultural differences, I think that men are pretty much the same in most respects.  There are both great people and messed up people in every group.

I can’t understand why in this day and age people think that it is their right and privilege to tell others who they should and shouldn’t love.   Some assholes go as far as insinuating that you are a sexual freak or that you have “self-hatred” issues if you date outside of your race.  Well, it’s none of their damn business who someone chooses to date, marry or sleep with.   That’s the problem with Black America and Americans in general:  they are so busy worrying about other folks business that they can’t get their own shit straight.   Who the fuck are they to tell someone who they should date from, who they shouldn’t date?  And, who made them the pussy police? 

Take for instance, this time that I was out with a group of my relatives and friends many years, ago.  Some Black idiot savant walked up and made a negative comment to one of my relatives about her being there with a White man.  She cursed him out and pretty much told him that “N$%*ers ain’t shit!”  I could look at that douchebag’s face and tell he felt crunchy after that.

She was married to a Black man for several years, who abused, cheated on and mistreated her.  I guess the experience traumatized her and caused her to be disinclined from having another relationship with a Black man.  

Now, I didn’t agree with her, that all or even most Black men are rotten.  Just because she went through that with one Black man doesn’t mean that they are all like that. But, I can’t tell her how and what to think because that is the reality that she lived and experienced.

The White man that she met, came into her life and he happened to be a good man, who treated her well.  She wasn’t about to jeopardize what she had by worrying about what others thought of her relationship.

Years ago, I dated a White man who I met on this interracial dating site, called interracialmatch.com.    During that time, I had some difficulty meeting quality Black men, in my area, with similar interests and goals.  I decided to take a chance and go outside of my group to try and meet a quality person.  That’s how I met Lenny (not his real name). 

He was a really tall and muscular, personal trainer who sported a shaved head.  I could tell that he was really into himself and his appearance because, he usually dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts.  I think he was trying to show off his muscles.  He was also very intelligent, funny, outgoing and charismatic.  He was unusual but very good-looking and he really stood out in a room. 

We always got stares when we were out together at restaurants or any other place in public.  There was this one particular occasion where we were at a restaurant and the waitress seated us in the booth.  Right after we were seated in the booth, a group of Black people who were sitting near us got up and moved to another table on the other side of the restaurant.  They kept staring at us for almost the entire time that they were there.  They were obviously making assumptions about us and I shook my head. I could not believe how stupid, closed-minded and childish people could be. 

We did get the occasional stare from White people but mostly Black people seemed to have an issue with the situation.  It was something that I was not used to, so I pointed it out to Lenny.  I said, “Did you see that? Those people over there got up and moved”. He just waved it off and laughed about it. 

He started talking really loud (Loud enough for the people who moved to hear). “They are the idiots.  I don’t let people dictate how I live my life and how I see myself.  Fuck them!  All they can do is stare and make comments.  They’re not going to do anything else.”, is what he said to me.  In all his years of interracial dating, he’s never had anyone to directly say anything negative to him about interracial dating.  They never dared to say anything, probably due to his size.  His words put me at ease.  I never felt uncomfortable after that. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why I Can’t Stand to Hear “I Don’t Want to Work For The White Man”: Part II

I am related to a woman who used to be married into a Black racist family (some people say that Blacks can’t be racists but rather bigoted.  That’s another story).  Over the years, her ex-husband’s parents made it clear that they can’t stand White people.  His parents are pretty well off Christians.  Her ex-husband's parents pastored a church, ran businesses and owned a lot of commercial and residential real estate. 

They have so much hostility towards White folks that they said that they don’t want their children to ever work for them.  They experienced a lot of blatant racism and discrimination back in their youth.  So, they didn't want their kids to ever go to White people looking for anything. You know, I don’t condone or agree with their bigoted beliefs but I certainly understand why they don’t like White people.  

I believe that their adult children worked for their businesses, here and there.  But, from what I know, none of the adult children developed the ability and skills to run their own sucessful business. 

The young man who was married to my relative, did not work for most their marriage.  He used that not wanting to work for the White man as a pretext for his laziness.  The couple had children and most of the financial support for the children came from his parents and his wife.  Therefore, the young man is spoiled and doesn’t work because he knows that his family will support him, no matter what.  As I mentioned before, his family has a little financial security.  Maybe, he’s counting on an inheritance after his parents eventually pass on.  Who knows?  

He is still responsible to stand up and be a father to his children. My relative and the young man are divorced now and he can't even pay adequate child support.  I feel that his parents coddled and spoiled him.  He never really learned what it is to be a responsible adult. They poisoned his mind and they are at fault for making this man turn out to be sorry.  Now, his children are going to suffer the consequences. 

It is a wonderful acheivement to build a business and have a legacy to pass down from generation to generation.  In that way, your family won’t have to go relying on the White male dominated establishment for employment and survival.  I agree with some of the philosophies and teachings of Marcus Garvey and Carter G. Woodson, that Black people need to build their communities and become financially and economically empowered. Furthermore, I don’t think that anyone should resign themselves to work for someone else (whether Black, White, Asian or whatever) the rest of their lives. 

Mostly when I hear Black people say that they don’t want to work for the White Man, I think that they are full of shit.  Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with a person striving for financial indepedence and owning their own business.  In my experience, the people that I hear say this are using it as a cop-out or pretext for not wanting to work at all.  Some of the men who use this rhetoric would rather rob, kill and sell drugs to people in the Black community than to get a job.  

They say that they don’t want to work for the White man, but I find their words ironic and incongruous with their actions. It would follow logically that you’d want to do something to protect and build your own Black community, rather than destroy it! 

The ideal of not wanting to work for the White man is a little bit foolish because for one, White people created this economic system and government.  White people and Asians own most of the wealth in the world.  In order to come up, most people (no matter what race or creed they are) will need to at least learn how to transact business with White people. Even if you don't ever work directly for them, you still need to learn how to work your way around the system of capitalism and understand how laws are applied in the system of money and wealth. 

Secondly, the minute that you spend money (created by White men) you are already working for the White man without knowing it.  If you use a smartphone, use banking services, shop at a grocery store, buy a car, or a home, then you’re working for "the man".  And, when you spend your money, often times you'll pay a tax to the government. It’s all built into the system and set up that way by design. 

I know that it is hard to work for people that you don't like or for people who don't like you.  However, a better way to think is for people to decide that they don’t want to work for anyone else, regardless of their race or ethnic background.  If you need to work for someone else until you can work for yourself, I see nothing wrong with that.  Take what you can get until you get what you want.  I just think it is stupid to say that you don't want to work for a certain group but not do anything to improve, educate or empower yourself. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some Men play Games and Some Women Fall For It

I was reflecting on a conversation that I had with a lady who I used to work with.  We became friends and she used to tell me a lot of stuff about her personal life and past.  Well, there was this guy that worked for the same company that she was in a relationship with.   Just to throw a little flavor into the mix, I’ll tell you that my friend is a White woman from up North somewhere in the United States and her boyfriend is from Haiti.   They are both in their forties but I think that she is a little older than him.  I will call her Sharon and him Pierre (not their real names).

So, Sharon was really upset because she had to break up with Pierre because she found out that he was a dog.  What happened was that Pierre tried to holler at a couple of Black female co-workers.  They both came back and told Sharon about it.  The first time that he did it, she gave him a pass because she thought that the first woman Pierre hollered at was a skank.  She figured that the woman was jealous and trying to break them up.  Then, a few years later he pulled the same thing with another Black female co-worker.  The difference is that Sharon was good friends with this particular woman.  Sharon felt confident that the woman was telling the truth. 

He tried to holler at her co-workers. Marinade on that for a few seconds. Where they do that at? If you're going to be a man trick, then at least be a smart trick and mess with someone from out of town or someone that your partner doesn't know.  It shows that he doesn't hold women in high regard. Therefore, Sharon kicked Pierre’s ass to the curb- with the quickness.

As she recounted the story to me, I tried to remain impartial and understanding.  At the same time, I couldn’t help but think that Sharon is a bit na├»ve.  There’s a couple of reasons why I came to this conclusion.  First off, I could’ve told her that dude was a trick from the moment she told me that he is from Haiti.  That’s not saying that all Haitian guys are womanizers.  But, I think that Caribbean island men have a reputation for infidelity and trickin’. 

I know because my dad is from the Caribbean and he was a serious pussy hound back in the day.  I am just keeping it real.  I used to be in relationships a few Jamaican guys.  They had some good Jamrock dick but I have strong suspicions about whether they were faithful.

Getting back to Sharon…  I think that she is a really sweet woman but I can also tell from her demeanor, that she has self-esteem issues.  She has had a difficult life and I think that these things took a toll on her.  People who have self-esteem issues tend to attract people who are opportunistic.  Being that she is a White woman, I feel that Pierre thought that Sharon was his cash cow.

And Sharon told me that she had helped him out with some recurring bills in the past and that she intended to take out a business loan on his behalf because he has bad credit.  This tells me Sharon is gullible and that Pierre is possibly a manipulator.  These types of things are usually the other way around, with the man helping out his lady.  There's nothing wrong with a woman giving her man some financial support sometimes, especially if they are married or their relationship is serious and committed. But, I just can’t respect a man who is always asking his lady for financial support.

The other thing that Sharon told me is that Pierre never invited her over to his home after more than three years of being in the relationship.  They always met in hotels and public spaces.  That should have been a red flag to Sharon.  When she told me that I was like "Girl, you couldn't see that he was treating YOU like a side piece?" 

If your significant other isn’t inviting you over to their place then, he or she is most likely cheating or hiding something.  To top if off, Sharon later found out that Pierre was living with his baby mama.  Hmmm... I could have told her that a long time ago.  I peep game. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rachel Dolezal and Transracialism

I am sure that most people have heard the news reports about Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington.  For those who don't know, she resigned over some controversy about her claiming to be Black.  Her parents went to the media with her birth certiificate and said that Rachel is White and that she has been misrepresenting herself for many years.  The fact that her parents are in litigation with her and outed her is quite suspect but that's another story.  I also heard a report a few days ago, where Ms. Dolezal said that she has identified with Black culture since she was a young chlld.  

My take on it is that I don't really care that much about this story.  For one, the NAACP was started by White people.  I suspect that the organization was started partly to keep tabs on Black people and keep them pacified.  So, it is not that much of a shocker that a White person is the head of the NAACP.

Secondly, I don't understand why people are so outraged and offended by this woman claiming Black.  Yeah, she is weird for passing herself off as a Black person but from all indications she did assimilate Black culture.  She attended an HBCU and was married to a Black man for some time.  She worked to protect the rights of Black people as an activist. So, it doesn't seem that there was any mockery and malintentions on her part (But, if I am wrong in this assumption then I stand corrected).  

Thirdly, this concept of "tranracialism" is nothing new to me.  I see it a lot in living in the South.  I see White men and women who claim Black culture ALOT.  They speak so-called Black English Vernacular and "Ebonics" perfectly.  Some of the White women wear braids and cornrows and I have even seen White people with dreadlocked hair and beards.  

When I was a teenager, I met a blonde-haired blue-eyed, White boy who claimed that he was Black. This dude dressed like the typical urban Black teenaged boy at that time and "sounded Black".  He would argue and fight with anyone who challenged his Blackness.  He was raised by Black people and no one could tell this dude that he was not Black.  I saw him several years, ago when I worked at a grocery store.  He has a whole row of gold teeth in his mouth. He told me that he had spent about 5 years in prison for shooting a man who owed him thousands of dollars.  He also said that he was Muslim and legally changed his name to Akheem.  He must have converted to the Nation of Islam religion while in prison. I thought that he was joking but he showed me his drivers license to confirm it. 

I know a White man who told me that he only dates and marries Black women.  He said that he was not attracted to White women at all. And, he was not lying, either.  I had proof that he was telling the truth.  He was married twice to Black women.  I told him that he was off psychologically and he laughed at me.  It's one thing to be attracted to people from other cultures and races, but it is an anomaly to dislike your own people.  

Am I saying that Rachel Dolezal doesn't like her own race?  No. I don't know what motivates her.  I am not a psychiatrist.  I am saying that human beings have very complex thought processes. 

When it comes to  Ms. Dolezal living her life claiming to Black, I don't care that much about it.  There is a question of whether she could truly know what it is like to experience life as a Black American woman.  She has light skin so she has the benefits of White privilege. 
But, nobody is outraged when Black women go and have Asian Remy weave sewn into their hair and wear green contact lenses. 

There are more pressing issues in this country to deal with. I don't think that Rachel Dolezal should be absolved of wrong doing if she lied on job applications or falsified documents, and if there was other misconduct.  We can't know for certain whether she is lying about who she is without DNA tests.  If she did lie, then that speaks volumes about her integrity.  That's a different issue. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why I Can’t Stand to Hear “I Don’t Want to Work For The White Man”

Whenever I hear people say that they don’t want to work for the White man, it makes me want to look at them sideways.  I usually have my reservations about people who talk and think this way.  When they single out not wanting to work for the White man it makes me question their true motives.  Please let me explain.  Now there are a segment of upwardly mobile, proud, progressive Black people who have the ultimate goal of achieving financial independence and generational wealth.  They want something to call their own without needing to rely too much on the White male dominated establishment or anyone else for that matter. Many of them don’t forget where they came from.  I respect that and I am not talking about these caliber of people.  

From my experience, when people speak a lot of racial rhetoric about the White man (in the context of money and business), I have usually observed two things about them:

a) They are lazy and don’t want to work. 
b) They don’t do anything positive to uplift themselves or the Black community.  
Some of them sell drugs to their own community so that they don’t have to work of White people. 

I really think that a lot of these people are mentally enslaved and don’t know how to get out of their own way. Now, take for instance one of my great-uncles.  He served many years in prison when he was a young man.  He was a little bit misguided and influenced by the wrong people.  He says that he was sent to prison for crimes that he did not commit- basically being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

After he got out of prison,  I met him for the first time at about age 10 or 11.  At first I thought that he was a really positive person, because I didn’t know any better.  He used to encourage me to get an education and emphasized the importance of knowing yourself as a person of the African Diaspora.  I remember him pointing out a stack of books to read through that had to do with Pan-Africanism and Black history.  His hair was naturally curly and soft and he eventually allowed it to grow out and lock.  He went around claiming to be a Rastafarian.  

Well, after a few years, his true colors began to show.  He started using racial epithets against Whites and professing how much he didn’t like the White man and blamed them for his misfortune and underachievement in life.  He grew up in the segregated South in the Jim Crow era and knows what it is like to be mistreated and discriminated against by White people.  So, I have a little understanding for why he was bigoted.  

For years that he was going around saying that he can’t stand the White man and that he didn’t want to be associated with them in any way.  The funny thing is that he wasn’t doing much to put himself in a position to where he wouldn’t have to work for the White male dominated establishment. If he were so tired of working for the White man, why didn’t he put his focus, passion and energy into building something for himself and his family?  Why was he using the illegal drugs that were allowed into the country by the government? 

My uncle was physically and verbally abusive to his wife, a Black woman.   He was heavily addicted to drugs and continued to engage in illegal activities.  My uncle is very artistic and has a knack for creating African themed woodwork. So, it's not like he didn't have any special talents or skills. He did landscaping work on the side but still had to get a job working for the White man to pay his bills.  Basically, a lot of his words weren't congruent with his thoughts and actions. 

My uncle was also very rude and mean towards my mother, me and my siblings when we lived with him in my great-grandmother’s house for a few years. He was also alleged to have done some pretty repugnant things to others, that I won’t disclose.  

He wasn’t a socially conscious pro-Black man as he held himself out to be went I met him.  Some conscious Blacks talk the talk, but they aren’t really about that life.  Maybe his abhorrent behaviors and personality were partly due to drug abuse.  I am not really sure, but he was a real piece of work. 

He is no longer on drugs but the last I heard, he was pretty sick and almost on his death bed at one point. I don’t associate with him because he hasn’t changed or matured much. Until this day, his children don’t have a good relationship with him because he is so difficult.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Forgotten Tampons

I had an interesting discussion with a group of women about female reproductive issues a few weeks, ago.   We ended up on the subject of menstrual periods and tampons.  There were a few women in the group who said that they weren’t comfortable using tampons or inserting foreign objects into their vagina.   Most of the women, including myself feel totally comfortable using them on a regular basis. 

Well, one of the women works at an OB/GYN doctor’s office and she said that there are a lot of patients coming through her office who forget that they are even wearing a tampon.  The patients span diverse backgrounds from young to middle-aged, Black, White, Hispanic, etc.  I was surprised to learn this, since it has never happened to me.  I doubt think that it ever will.

I guess every woman’s experience with tampons is unique to their own body.  From my perspective, I can’t understand how a woman would forget that she is wearing a tampon.  My menstrual cycles tend to be really heavy in the beginning days.  So, I use super absorbency tampons for the first days, in combination with sanitary pads to catch any overflow.  During the last few days of my period I wear only a pad for light days. 

I don’t mean to sound graphic but during those heavy days of bleeding, I can actually feel the tampon beginning to slip out when the time comes for it to be removed.  Tampons are designed to absorb the menstrual blood and expand.   Many women will realize when it is time for it to be removed because there may be a mild discomfort or overflow of blood.  A single tampon is not meant to be used for long periods, beyond 8 hours.  They should be removed after a few hours or when the maximum absorbency is reached. 

There is a string on the end of the tampons to allow it to be pulled out easily.  The OB/GYN employee said that sometimes, the string either breaks off the tampon.  There might be cases where the string gets pushed up inside the vagina, or the entire tampon may get pushed deep up in the vagina near the cervix.  Some women aren’t able to reach the string on their own, so that they may need the help of a gynecologist in order to remove it.   That’s pretty scary. 

I figured that the only way that someone could forget that they are wearing a tampon is if they are inebriated or physically ill.  My friend countered that by telling me that most of the times that is not the case.  There could be numerous reasons how this could happen including stressful times or a very hectic schedule.

My friend said that when patients come into their office with this problem, they know right away just from the smell that fills the atmosphere in the examination room.  Once the tampon is pulled out of the vagina, the tampon is either black or greyish colored. There are women who go through more than one menstrual cycle without knowing that they have forgotten a tampon in their vagina. Can you imagine all of that build up on top of ejaculated semen?  It makes for a pretty strong cocktail of funk. That’s pretty embarrassing and gross.

Some of the women have sex while the tampon is present or they insert another tampon on top of the old tampon without realizing it!  I’m not trying to put anyone down here. But, how could the woman’s sex partner not know that something doesn’t feel right.  Wouldn’t that tampon cause excess friction and discomfort during intercourse?  Wouldn’t he notice the distinctive “rotting corpse” smell coming from the vagina?  

It seems that the smell of having a lost tampon in the vagina should be a huge signal that something is wrong.  My friend did say that the smell is one of the main reasons why the patient might choose to come in and find out what is wrong.  Other symptoms might include unusually discolored vaginal discharge, fever and abdominal pain.  

These women are fortunate if they don’t get Toxic Shock Syndrome.  This is a disease that is caused by the multiplication of Staphylococcus Aureus in the vagina and it could lead to other more serious conditions and even death, when not treated promptly.  Most of the times the patient is given a course of antibiotics in order to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Some Problems That I Have With The Modern Feminist Movement

I had mentioned before that I am not in complete agreement with the Feminist Movement.   I respect the work of our feminist predecessors like Mary Wollestoncraft and Florence Nightingale.  There was a time in Western history that women (and their children) were considered the property of their husbands.  Husbands were legally allowed to kill and abuse their wives, with little or no legal recourse for the wives.  Women were denied basic rights, like access to education on par with their male counterparts.  During one era they were not allowed or expected to work outside of the home and denied the rights to vote, certain rights to property ownership and on and on.  Hell, there is even a clause in the Declaration of Independence which excludes women: "All [White] men were created equal".   So, we have come a long way in our history and I respect the sacrifices and contributions of most early modern feminists.

My problem lies mostly with radical feminists, who think that they are superior to men.  Some of them say the craziest of things like calling for the intentional harm and killing of men.  Yes, there are some evil men in this world.  Afterall, I've never heard of a woman starting wars or causing mass genocides and oppression.  But, to encourage the hurt of another human is really sick and hypocritical.   They've also come to a point of throwing all men up under the bus.  Whether, they like to admit it or not, women need men. Some the modern feminists of today are causing more strife and division between the sexes than anything else.  

I also take issue with what I call "popcorn feminists", like Beyonce.  She needs to go somewhere and sit down.  I kind of get that they don't like being told what to do by men.  I get it that they are working towards preparing women to be leaders.  But, my questions are, "What are these people doing to improve relations between men and women?" "What are they doing to improve conditions for females living in third-world countries?" "What are these feminists doing to stop child sex slavery going on right in our backyard?" I can't take people seriously who come up with silly marketing campaigns like "Ban Bossy", rather than finding solid solutions for important issues that impact human rights in general.  

I have read some stuff posted on the internet by radical feminists that make me question some of these people's sanity.  They come across a man-haters.  And some of them behave really hyper-agressive and anything but lady-like.  I've seen video footage of radical feminists running up on grown men like they are G's (gangsters).  They try and intimidate men by putting their hands in the men's faces, yelling obscenities and insults.   They push grown men and knock shit out of their hands. 

It's as if they are trying to test a fella's manhood by making him feel like a pussy or provoking him.  I don't advocate violence against anyone, but they are gonna fuck with the right one. Some men won't take shit from noone, whether male or female. I don't think they should be surprised if a man were to defend himself and slap the taste out their mouthes.  If they want equal treatment, then they should be prepared to be equally KO'd like a man. 

Some radical feminists criticise and denounce women who choose to stay home and care for their families.  Well, isn't it a couple's business how a couple decides to run their household? I believe that one of the beauties of the Feminist Movement is that it allowed for women to have more choices and protection under the law and in society.   If a woman decides to forgoe marriage and childbirth to pursue her career, then that's her choice.  If a woman and her husband agree that she will work outside of the home,  while he stays home with the kids, then that's their choice.  But, what is wrong with a woman wanting to stay home to nuture her children and support her husband?  Someone's got to do it and if the couple came to a mutual agreement about what the woman's role is in the family unit then, that's their business

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My Thoughts on Caitlyn “Bruce” Jenner

I am having a hard time understanding Caitlyn Jenner’s gender change.  During an ABC news interview He/she (I am confused about how to refer to him) says that he has been living a lie since he was a child.  He says that for many years he experienced gender identity confusion.  It was like he was a woman living inside of a man’s body.  Jenner had surgery to get some breast implants and facial reconstruction.  As, far as I know he still has a penis and testicles.  Technically he is still a male, but still considers himself a female.

I remember him as an Olympic athlete and from the cover of Wheaties cereals boxes, from my childhood.  He was a handsome, masculine young man but I never would‘ve suspected that he was going through all that.  He came clean while still married to his first wife, Chrystie Scott about his identity crisis in the early 1970s.  She knew about it and it seems that she was supportive. In the 1980s he started taking female hormones in order to begin his transition into womanhood.  Then, he stopped because he didn’t want to cause harm to his young children.  I think his crisis caused him to not be such a good parent to his older children.  He wasn’t as active and present in their lives as he should have been. 

I don’t watch the Keeping up with the Kardashians show very often.  But, I could kind of tell that something was up with Bruce long before he made his announcement.  He started to look and act differently a few years ago and some of the family’s holiday photos were very telling.  There was one image that really struck me, where Bruce was trapped inside a glass case and I thought that was very symbolic. 

My thing is this:  I respect him as a human being.  I don’t condone people hating, harassing or harming transgender people. For the most part, I believe in live and let live.  To keep it 100, no matter how many surgeries he has to make his transition to becoming a female- He is still genetically a male.  Even if he has surgery to remove his testicles and penis, he still has the XY chromosome.  He will still need to take hormones for the rest of his life to suppress his male hormones.  

Just like he has a right to do what he wants with his life, I have a right to form my own perceptions and opinions.  I do not recognize him as a female.  I don’t think that people should be forced to agree or accept this.  And, people shouldn’t be labeled as "transphobic" just because they can’t wrap their minds around this. I have been reading comments on news articles and social media.  There’s a lot of people flipping the script by trolling and bullying the folks who don’t understand or accept this as their reality. And that’s wrong. 

Even though I think that it is bizarre and confusing, I can’t relate to how this man must think or feel.  I have no right to tell someone what to do with their own body.  I am not a psychiatrist or physician but I think that there may be something off kilter or off-balance with the biochemistry in his blood and nervous system.  

It is difficult for anyone to ever ascertain what he’s going through emotionally, physically and mentally.  There were some reports that he suffered from depression for a long time.   Harboring a secret of such magnitude would eat away at anyone’s psyche. I suspect that he was forcing himself to conform to societal norms and please others.  

At the same time, I think that his decision was somewhat selfish.  This is a man who was married to 2 or 3 women and has fathered many children.  I wonder if he really took enough time to think about how his transition would impact the lives of his children and his ex-wives?  If he knew that he was going through such as crisis, then why did he decide to bring these women into his life? I am not on that Kardashian bandwagon but those children and the wives are all going to need some counseling to come to grips with his decision.  

Bruce Jenner is going to make lots of money off of his journey to becoming a woman.  Prior to announcing his intention to undergo transgender sexual reassignment surgery, this man was making around $25,000 per speaking engagement.  Now, he commands around $100,000 per speaking engagement.  He gained millions of followers in social media within a few days.  The last time I checked he has over 2 million followers on Twitter.  He will also be starring in his own documentary show on E. By now most people have seen him come out as Caitlyn on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.  So, he’s been receiving much media coverage. 


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