Social Media Content Control or No New Sharecropping, No, No, No

Social media content control, as well as curation, can be a difficult process. Once we have comfortably programmed our favorite phone application to remember our screen names and passwords, we tend to forget that we are providing content in a means similar to sharecropping. Now, for Black African Americans familiar with US sharecropping, this metaphor might seem a bit of a stretch. Like with most things US, economic, and Black, the story is much more hostile, violent, and inhumane than the story outside of the United States. In the same way that slavery in Brazil or England tends to read much less brutal than in the United States, so does the practice of sharecropping tend to read much more fair in other places.

 

To keep things neat and tidy here, the essence of the analogy of Twitter user to Twitter as tenant farmer to landlord, is producer/worker to owner. As of the date of this writing, the Owl’s Asylum account on Twitter is suspended. That means, I do not have the ability to delete, republish, or respond to any of the one hundred thousand plus pieces of content I have provided Twitter the company with. I do not have access to the one-hundred and twenty shy of six thousand followers I have accumulated over the past four or so years. I have no control over any of the writings stored on the servers that house the content of Twitter. As a result of this relationship, Twitter severing ties with Asylum has lost me half to one-third of my organic traffic to Asylum. Those are not good numbers. But, I blame Owl for this.

 

I do not blame myself for Twitter suspending my account. If I had a guest post on Asylum that generated five thousand or more users to interact with it daily, like say, this post, and I was discomforted by the writer of that post, I would not pull the post. But, I am Owl, not the owners and developers of Twitter, and they have their own rules to abide by. My point of accountability lies in developing a stronger content model on the apparatus of someone else, than on my own.

 

I have worked incessantly to establish the brand Owl’s Asylum, Owl, and Asylum under the same principles of “poor righteous teacher” that I live by. In being one that is capable of forging radical ideas and developing ingenious tactics to deploy said ideas, I am upset that I have spent so much time in one channel that I do not own. As the person that developed Owl’s Asylum, the only space online for Black people to examine media, entertainment, culture, and Black African American history from the perspective of someone that has seen prison, homelessness, and university, I am upset with myself. As the person that developed Owl’s Asylum, a space for thinking Black people to gain insights into the messages being communicated to them so they can better think for themselves as opposed to allowing others to think for them, yes, damn it, I am extremely salty with Owl.

 

I write for the Thinking Person. People who read Owl’s Asylum are people that like to ask questions and do not like when their emotional drawstrings are pulled. This especially when those emotional drawstrings are also doubling as their purse strings. When most online content providers were “dumbing down” their content, I was looking for a bigger thesaurus, a more unabridged dictionary, and more abstractions to apply to the everyday struggle. I should have known better, as stated here, I am a “Digital Hustler”, and that implies something I hate admitting I overlooked. Social media is a great opportunity to meet new people, but unless you are paying the server fees, I cannot advise you providing content on these sites as if you are.

 

According to eMarketer predictions, Twitter will reach an ad revenue generated evaluation of one billion dollars by the year 2014. That is ad revenues generated primarily(53%) through mobile devices. Let me ask a series of questions here:

 

How many people do you know logging into Twitter to read ads, “promoted content”?

 

Of those that you know that definitely do not log on to Twitter dot com to read “promoted content”, how many log on to read the content provided by others?

 

Of that group of people that log on to read the content provided by others, how many of the people they log on to read are getting any percentage points of revenue directly from Twitter the corporation?

 

Now, that is sharecropping the United States of America way. Twitter was not even willing to provide Owl and his Asylum a reason as to why the account was suspended. I had to search engine my way to an understanding of why my followers were asking about my whereabouts. I came across this piece on the topic, and this article, then this one, and this one, and then this one. After reviewing the consistencies across a few other channels, I still do not know why Twitter suspended my account. Nor do I feel compelled to fight to have access to provide a company with free content that they are receiving a projected one billion dollars in ad revenues from. Like the Digital Hustler, I am, I am willing to chalk this lack of social media content control to the game, and keep moving.

 

A few months back I was reading an article posted by Sonia Simone. The article was posted on highly recognized CopyBlogger dot com. The title of the article is “The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts”, and she discusses the concept of “digital sharecropping” and the lack of social media content control, in a slightly different tone than I am(I mean, come, come, now…who in all of the interwebs writes anything with the same tone or perspective as Owl?), but providing much of the same essence. She opens the composition of caution with this story I am reproducing here:

 

We have a great bookstore in my town — the kind of place you picture in your mind when you think of a great independent bookshop.

 

It’s perfect for browsing, with lots of comfy chairs to relax in. The books are displayed enticingly. There’s a little coffee shop so you can relax with an espresso. They get your favorite writers to come in for readings, so there’s always a sense of event and excitement.

 

They do everything right, and they have always had plenty of customers.

 

But they still closed their doors last year.

 

No, not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t Amazon that killed them, or the proliferation of free content on the web, or the crappy economy.

 

They closed the store because they were leasing their big, comfortable building … and when that lease ran out, their landlord tripled the rent.

 

Literally overnight, their business model quit working. Revenues simply wouldn’t exceed costs. A decision made by another party, one they had no control over, took a wonderful business and destroyed it.

 

And that’s precisely what you risk every day you make your business completely dependent on another company.

 

It might be Facebook. It might be eBay. It might be Google.

 

The analogy here is precise. Simone also provides tactics and strategies that I have implemented over the years, so, in closing I will add my own “also do” list here:

 

1:: Along with owning your own domain name and paying for your own hosting, continue to add the link to your site to all digital exchanges and content. You should be typing- or having automated- the words “Read more here…” until you earl.

 

2:: With an increased linking of your content, also back up all of your social media exchanges that might work as stand-alone content on your site, or just writings you wish to keep. For Asylum, I use ThinkUp and it plugs right into your online database, giving you absolute control over what is stored and when.

 

3:: The last tactic I am going to leave here is create a ratio that demands you to have more content on your own site than on any other. It is not wise to have more images of your product or service on Pinterest or Instagram than you have on your purchased domain, and regularly billed site. You are paying a recurring bill, act like it.

Are Midwest Black Men Better At Relationships Than Mid-Atlantic Ones?

Not always sure how to articulate my feelings regarding topics that can either tickle an eureka response, or become the reason for yet another sixty-six blocks to the Owl’s Asylum Twitter account. Considering that particular hesitance and the dire need to qualify each statement in this modern age’s art of political correctness, the task of writing about Afkan (Afrikan-Amerikkkan) male and female (can I write ‘female’ there and not be written off before execution?) relationships can be daunting. As a disclaimer, I can only write from my perspective. My perspective should be defined as my experiences, my observations, my analysis, and my opinion. The key word there in case you missed the oh so awkward use of repetition is ‘my’. Carrying on…

 

Relationships of complete organic design can be filled with surplus tensions that cause the bond to become brittle. Western psychology and Freud’s specific thoughts on incest aside, even mother and son relationships can be tumultuous. This is not to compare that naturally configured coupling to the romantic sort, yet it is to say, it takes work at some point to keep people operating together. People meet with one set of concerns and desires, and later on evolve or devolve with new considerations and motivations. Relationships take work.

 

If I might beg your pardon for one important digression.

 

Continue reading “Are Midwest Black Men Better At Relationships Than Mid-Atlantic Ones?”

Marissa Alexander And The Continued Culture Of White Male Dominance Over Black Women

On August 13, 2010, Marissa Alexander decided that the best protection against a husband with a history of domestic violence aimed at her was to shoot a warning shot in her home while gathering her keys to flee. No. Not shot a gun at him. Not hit him with the gun. But shoot the gun in the air. No body was damaged except for that of the home.

 

This all occurred in sunny Florida. Yes, sunny Florida where national elections are foiled and cans of tea look like semi-automatic weapons in the hands of teenaged Afkan (Afrikan Amerikkkan) boys in hoodies. The great land of Stand your Ground. The great land where Marissa Alexander has been sentenced for said shooting of gun for 20 years due to yet another stipulation of Florida’s books, the 10-20-life rule.

 

Basically, the 10-20-rule,

  • Mandates a minimum 10 year prison term for certain felonies, or attempted felonies in which the offender possesses a firearm or destructive device
  • Mandates a minimum 20 year prison term when the firearm is discharged
  • Mandates a minimum 25 years to LIFE if someone is injured or killed
  • Mandates a minimum 3 year prison term for possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Mandates that the minimum prison term is to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed

(Source)

 

It would seem as though the laws of Florida are executed in a pristine arbitrary fashion. When a man of direct European descent kills an Afkan child, play the Stand Your Ground law card, and allow him to go without being arrested for months. If it is an Afkan Woman asserting her right to not be clobbered for the umpteenth time, then play the 10-20-rule. This is a disgusting example of not only racial oppression of the State, but also sexism.

 

Where there is a fear of the male hegemonic being dismantled without State intervention, there is a need for the State to impose draconian measures to reduce the likelihood of a recurring trend. It should be noted that while the Florida State site boasts of reduced crime due to the 10-20-law, and legal scholars boast of progressive thinking with respect to the Stand Your Ground doctrine, the state of Florida also had 113, 378 reported claims of domestic violence in 2010 alone, and have no special stipulations handling cases of domestic violence. Of those 113, 378 reported incidents only 67, 810 have resulted in arrests. With a state so seeped in legislation and legality surrounding violence and the appropriate treatment of violence, wouldn’t you expect some sort of nifty law to be forged in the instance of domestic violence against women?

 

I am not often left to question the abuses of males of European descent towards women. I will admit, I am slowly being enlightened further into the roles European men have played in the oppression of women. I am just now learning of the oppressive and disgusting tradition Anglo-Saxon-American men had involving their Afkan slaves at exclusive clubs where the women where manipulated into believing that they were engaging in some romantic act with these savage rapists while calling the women ‘wenches’. These elements of our story are slowing trickling down my Asylum. Yet, it doesn’t take much for even me to realize the rampant attack against women and protection of White male terrorism towards women in the home. If they allow an Afkan mother to get away with it, then how much longer before their golf buddies are being engulfed in burning beds?

 

It is not often that an Afkan male is afforded a pass from remembering his sexuality. My body politic is what makes me a threat. My assumed sexual prowess prevents a large sector of this society from imagining me without insecurity. The need to compel my physical form to act in accordance with European standards is almost a necessity for this nation to operate historically. The same is to be held for women of Afrikan ancestry. Afkan women are molded into these images of the witch, the untamed shrew. They are bitched and whored into such a caricature of archetypical emotional intensity and ‘dark energy’ that the very reminder of a her being a mother, being abused, being worthy of protection by the State apparatus is unable to convince twelve jurors and a judge to treat truth as truth. The tortured Afkan woman is burned at the stake for her self-determined association with those worthy of freedom from abuse in her own home. She is convicted for expressing her love of peace. Marissa Alexander was convicted for believing that a woman, especially a Black woman, deserved a life without abuse from a controlling man.

On National Insecurity…

Insecurities are internalized fears. When we measure our Selves based on ideals inculcated by our social apparatus, and fear that we aren’t measuring up– we tend to project what are the recognizable portions of insecurity. For Afkans, or Afrikan Amerikkkans for short, this can be a slippery slope of sorts. Being that our social apparatus here in the United States was built intentionally with the thought of breaking the internal faith of Afkans, and thusly, creating the Afkan — our insecurities are grosssly multiplied. The ideals inculcated by our social apparatus are all outside of the range of realistic possession. Even a wondrously gorgeous woman like Beyonce is forced to alter her appearance to mimic more Anglo-Saxon features. Afkans in the United States are not permitted a stable and reasonable example by which to compare as an unfiltered baseline. Possibly, this is why, even in 2012, most of Afkan leadership across diverse sectors, are either members that are of interracial couplings, or of lighter hues. It is as though, our collective subconscious is wired to project this insecurity, that if we aren’t following those of our own ranks that possess Anglo-Saxon features, we aren’t going to be accepted socially.

Now, if Beyonce is having issues with her looks, what does that say for sisters that are even further away from the present United States’ standard of beauty? Vivica Fox has had a nose job. Vivica. Janet Jackson has had cosmetic surgery to mimic the features of Anglo-Saxon women. Ms. Jackson(only because I am ‘nasty’). It needs to be noted that insecurities are internalized as objective realities. The more a person depends on the reflections and approval of a social group, the more the internalization affects them. In the socialization of the United States, in the same manner that boys learn fairly early to judge other boys based on physical strength and bravery, girls learn that there is a pecking order based on beauty standards. Often, the way that society deems a woman to look, she deems her Self to look as well. Some women treat the romantic or even sexual approaches of men as foolish or predatory simply because they can’t believe that a man would want them. The treatment they have received from others based on their looks is now being projected.

“Generally, the idealized self or fantasized self refers to what the individual perceives or fancies himself to be, or what he would like to be, how he would like to be perceived by others, to be related to by others and how he relates to or would like to relate to others, in order to experience self-satisfaction, positive self-regard, peer acceptance, favorable personal and social distinction, as well as maximized feelings of pleasure, joy, power, security, and perhaps, feelings of superiority…It is these personally and culturally acquired ideal standards against which the individual measures and evaluates himself. If the discrepancy between the way he perceives himself to be and his internalized ideals– standards against which he measures himself– are not too large, then he may experience a reasonable sense of accomplishment, self-satisfaction, and positive self-regard. If the discrepancy is too large, then he may experience feelings of failure, frustration, and self-contempt…” — Dr. Amos Wilson, ‘Black On Black Violence’, pg. 97

As a collective, Afkans imbibe social intoxicants via the media and objectively through social interactions that are informed by a power structure built and commanded by Anglo-Saxon males mainly from the psychological and physical domination of Global Original peoples. There are no ways to absolve an objective reality without force or persuasion. Often, what occurs in the physical or even in the mind is an occurence. It happened. How we respond to occurrences as an albeit subjective response is where a strong desire for critical thought and pride in Self is necessary.

“Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: ‘We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.’

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’

But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.'” Numbers 13:26-33

The response mechanism for Afkans is dangerously insecure. If an Arab in Iraq defecates too loudly around an Anglo-Saxon presence, they are a terrorist. You can not whisper a thought about a thought regarding anti-Anglo-Saxon empires without being labeled, packaged, and shipped off into marginality. Their ability to forge quick and cohesive propaganda has gotten so robust that they don’t even worry about vocalized threats that don’t offer a capital gain. You are not a terrorists for attacking White people– White people kill thousands of White people regularly. You are a terrorist when you threaten White people and you have something worthy of being stripped for profits.

This is not to say that Afkans are sensitive. In fact, Afkans are not sensitive enough. Afkans are the only ethnic group formed in the West that hasn’t warred protractedly with their oppressors without a sizable reparation given from Western Allied Powers. Hell, the IRA is still incensed with the Catholic Church. Afkans must develop a response to any and all attacks that reflects pride in their people and a love for Self strong enough to wish to exist beyond the reservations of prison plantations. This pride in Self doesn’t have to be an arrogant, substance lacking posture. It can come from a genuinely humble place, but it must come. No one can make the world love Afkan people enough to redistribute the wealth in this country to the proper owners — the land laborers of slavery, and the workers– but the Afkan better have enough love for them Selves to recognize and create means of redistribution them Selves without their insecurities of not being capable crop up.

“…humility means two things. One, a capacity for self-criticism. And this is something that we do not have enough of in the Black community, and especially among Black leaders. The second feature is allowing others to shine, affirming others, empowering and enabling others. Those who lack humility are dogmatic and egotistical. And that masks a deep sense of insecurity. They feel the success of other is at the expense of their own fame and glory.” – Cornel West, “Breaking Bread”, pg. 50

Who is “Black”

Discussions of negritude are pretty commonplace in my slice of Black twitter but no discussion is a contentious as the discussion surrounding Hypodescent or as it is more popularly known, The One Drop Rule.

Hypodescent mean that in a place when one group is deemed superior and another is inferior should one from the “superior group” have a child with someone from an “inferior” group the child is deemed to be of the inferior group hence “One drop of black blood” makes you Black (as in noun form denoting a distinct group of the African Diaspora).

Historically this concept was codified into law in the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 and similar laws abounded elsewhere in this nation. White Folk were serious about protecting strict standards of who was white and who was not for the purpose of providing privilege and preserving group power structures. Authenticity was and continues to be essential.

The one drop rule is without a shadow of a doubt is rooted in a legacy of white supremacy. Thus we have to ask the question does the practice of accepting those denoted Black by the one drop rule an act of self hate.

This discussion becomes particularly relevant in the light of Fanon’s comment regarding the necessity of oppressed people defining themselves outside of the logic of their oppressor as the first step of liberation. As a practical example many religious groups or philosophies stress a name change as symbolic of locating oneself out of the logic of one’s oppressor or oppression. Also if we consider the history of Black folk so many of the folks we consider our greats have grappled with the idea of who we are due in no small part to the cultural losses we have sustained, the pieces we retained, the hostility of the society that formed around us, and our creativity in the attempt of making sense of it or least live in spite of it.

The way I was introduced into the Hypodescent discussion was through a discussion regarding confronting Colorism and light skinned privilege. Colorism being the practice of using Light skinned capital “B” Black folk or “mixed” (I put that in quotations b/c its fairly idiomatic given that most people that identify as Black have some non Black heritage and even among our African heritage we are the product of many different ethnic groups) identifying folks to represent all of the different shades that we consider to be Black people. Light skinned privilege being the favorable treatment given to those with fairer skin because of the racist top down color structure that conveys value on how to close to white you are. The problem even though we may see lighter complexioned or mixed folks as kin that darker Black folk are being erased and devalued because of the standardization and pursuit of whiteness.

Some argue that this is grounds for reorganization in who we call kin. I agree that we need to codify what it means to be us but I do not agree with the idea that the only Black (ethnic group) people are black (skin color) people. I find that the United States African Diaspora is its own ethnic group descended from the many African peoples that were brought here. As we well know those identities were stripped and in favor race terms which I find to be illegitimate and inaccurate and existing within the same logic of white supremacy that we would seek to avoid. So adhering to race identifiers doesn’t make sense to me. So that puts us in the unique position of not only choosing a new name but also trying to find a new answer to the historical question that every generation of us have had to grapple. To me benefitting from colorism doesn’t eliminate one’s negritude and after all not everybody we would identify as “light skinned” or “redbone” are mixed. And of those that are mixed what role should a person’s should a person’s identification play in whether they are a part of us are not? If that’s not a factor what are our standards of negritude? How are these standards communicated from one generation to the next? How do we even begin to implement such a thing? What happens to the folk who are left out?

The more I investigate the issue, the more questions arise that I am not prepared to deal with and yet I am not satisfied with the solutions presented thus far. This is a difficult question that members of the United States African Diaspora must begin to deal and eventually answer.

Black Mother By Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter

“Black Mother” is a poem written by slain West Coast Black Panther Party organizer, and founder of the Southern California office of the Black Panther Party that attracted members Elaine Brown and Geronimo Pratt, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. An uplifting and inspiring piece, reminding me of certain tenets within Black Media Trust that encourage art reflective of desired visions for US Black culture.

 

In the poem, “Bunchy” addresses the pain of being aware of the history of the treatment of Black Mothers which also works to symbolize Black Women in the United States of America. “Black Mother” conjures apologia to all Black Mothers and Black Women through what could be not only the pen and words of “Bunchy”, but also as a representative voice for all Black Men becoming aware of the atrocious oppressions suffered through the vessel of the Black and Woman body.

 

“Bunchy” Carter was murdered along with John Huggins on the campus of UCLA at the campus’ Campbell Hall on January 17, 1969, by members of Ron Karenga’s US organization. A dire and gravely unfortunate cautionary lesson that our blind fealty to race-based fictive kinship must always be questioned.

 

Black Mother By Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter

 

i must confess that i still breathe
though you are not yet free
what could justify my crying start
forgive my cowards heart
–but blame me not the sheepish me
for i have just awakened from a deep, deep, sleep
and i be hazed, and dazed, and scared
and vipers fester in my hair
BLACK MOTHER i curse your drudging years
the rapes, and heart-breaks, sweat and tears
–but this cannot redeem the fact–
you cried in pain, i turned my back
and ran into the myers fog
and watched while you were dogged
and died a thousand deaths
but i swear on siege night dark and gloom
a rose i’ll wear to honor you, and when i fall
    the rose in hand
    you’ll be free and i a man
for a slave of natural death who dies
can’t balance out to two dead flies
i’d rather be without the shame
a bullet lodged within my brain
if i were not to reach our goal
let bleeding cancer torment my soul.

Futile Activism…

There is a belief in the lore and spirit of my people.

A belief so strong it has wiped its excrement releasing orifices on the religious cliches, poetry rehashings, and regurgitated proverbs passed from generation to generation of the Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkan). It has ejaculated in emotional expression and spewed a dense reproductive covering of uncritical generality on most of Afkan philosophy and thought.

It walks through airports and rides trains carrying various identifications. Some id cards have it labeled,”Keeping It Real”;others “Being Your Self”. For the soul searching pilgrims of life, it might be garbed in the phrase,”Mastery Of Self”. And yet, how often have we questioned the impermanence of consistency in the human psyche? Is not our ideal of maturation a vote cast in the ballot box of change? How much is the notion of “staying in your lane” a call to “keep one in their place” as a slave master would their slave? How many of us can say that we found our niche before the age of 10 with a resonance so strong that we resolved to remain within it the entirety of living? How many of us languished throughout our adult years in jobs we detested because we felt “this was our lane”? How many of our people are held prisoner in urban ghettos by a warden wearing a name tag that reads,”Just Being Me”?

These thoughts and others visited your Owl with the strength of skunk flatulence as I considered the various reactions of my people to the murder of Trayvon Martin. Initially, my own basic life premise of any means necessary caused me to be visually disoriented as the bright lights of action takers oriented us all. And yet, how ill-advised is it to be overwhelmed by actions without purpose camouflaged in purposefulness? How often have Afkan people gathered in the name of a deceased friend or relative, discussed the highlights(and at times, low points) of that individual’s time on earth, and did NOT bury the body? No matter how much ceremonial and symbolic gestures are necessary to gather enough strong bodies to dispose of a decaying body, the end result of those actions should be a well buried cadaver. Thusly, no matter how many updates on Twitter, wallposts on Facebook, rallies throughout the country, empty Skittles bags, photography opportunities with professional athletes in hoodies, or hypothetical parenting by presidents we have, if George Zimmerman is not arrested, it has all been in vain.

 



 

In my most understanding and sympathetic nucleus of being, I get it. We all want to do something. We all have gotten rather bored with social media and those of us with our degrees in digital discussion deduce the power to character ratio that is an update or posting. We want to feel we have accomplished a thing. We are still enamored by the movements of the 60s. We wish to believe that we still live in a time where many of those objective forces and realities exist, and that we are really doing a major thing, yet…much of what we are doing is just inviting people to a club, a feel good moment that allows us to express our electric vibrations in a crowd. I have the utmost respect for organizers, but at the same time, I’m honest and analytical enough to recall the character traits of the high school children that threw the biggest parties when their parents were away. Popularity, on or offline, is not exactly a political movement for justice in actuality to a guy like me. Yet, for a group of people forced to be social during enslavement, and developed to be social as a survival art in urban confinements, this is often dubbed, “Us being us”.

 



 

I’m not exactly sure where the failing of comprehension stems from. An offshoot of slavery’s psychological victimstance, whereby we feel as though it has to be our fault and any action should be regarded as “revolutionary” against the weight of the omniscient and omnipotent “White man”. Possibly some sort of residue of being groomed to respect and honor all that is Anglo, treating issues of justice as one would treat their corporate and academic superiors. Conceivably, the remnants of opportunism gathered like crumbs underneath a couch cushion causing the most ardent loudmouths amongst us to volley for attention to their organization without a critical thought from the audience of college graduates to question exactly when the work of arresting George Zimmerman would ensue. From those that arguably have a lust for jail cells screaming about kills in public spaces, to those that are so myopic in their agenda propaganda that they can’t understand that the issue is about Trayvon being murdered by George Zimmerman and not being arrested — not Afkan on Afkan violence — I lost something for my people. A certain respect for the group of people that behaved so rationally and creatively politically once, has now become an unimpressed, depressed sentiment of incredulity at the sheer futility of activeness.

And no, I can’t think of anything redemptive about all of this. I’ve seen it all before from organizers that put together great get-togethers but bring your own justice. Bring your own hitmen. Bring your own legal authorities. Bring your own group of shortsighted minions. Keep it real, but help us put on this play directed by the same local characters pretending at powerful displays. Let’s not arrest George Zimmerman, let our make believe “Black President”(I hate to interrupt your re-election, Mr. President, but Bill Clinton at least used Vaseline when cast for the role) play the part of Captain Obvious while pulling on the heart strings of Afkans instead of pulling his executive strings and handcuffing George Zimmerman.

Somehow, someway, in all of our Skittles eating, hoodie wearing, praying to White Neighborhood Watch Gods that reside over the rainbow, social media organizing and rallying like it is 2099, somebody forget to bury a body. In the process of finding our Selves, we forgot to be conscious of the changing of environments. We left the banquet hall with smiles and merriment, a glee brought about from our pride in “doing us” fills the air–as the pungent odor of hubris confuses our collective sense of smell allowing the stench of George Zimmerman’s freedom escape from our “real” arses.

Our Son…

Editor’s Note: This is a piece written by our sister, friend, and Asylum Staff member, Nikki(she can be followed on Twitter under the handle, @Chey_Marly_mom).

 

Million Hoodie March - Streets Of NYC

 

Today is Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

 

If you had asked me this time last week who Trayvon Martin was I wouldn’t be able to answer. This is astounding considering his death occurred almost a month ago on February 26th. FEBRUARY 26th!!! Learning who Trayvon Martin was and the devastating events leading up to his murder these past few days, has filled me with immense anger and distress at the mere mention of the town in Florida (Sanford) where his lynching occurred, and the name of his murderer (George Zimmerman) who has yet to be arrested, or charged with the crime. Now that this story is finally making national headlines you can read and watch a barrage of articles and reports about the unjust laws that protect and support the assailants terrorist act against a defenseless teenager whose only offense was that he was black and male. However, it is not my intent to further acknowledge the offenders in this post. I’m here to speak briefly about Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of ancestor Trayvon Martin as well as the “A Million Hoodies March” that was held this evening in New York City’s Union Square Park which was mobilized via social media and grass roots organizers such as Color of Change (within a 24hr span, mind you). Actually, it seems to be just about 24hours between the time I read the first mention of the march on Twitter late afternoon yesterday, until the time I arrived downtown this evening, about 45 minutes prior to when thousands of others gathered on the steps of the park (already partially occupied by Wall Street protesters) wearing hoodies and carrying signs in protest of the tragedy. It was also yesterday evening that the matter and the unfolding details were brought to the attention of my 13yr old daughter who had many questions for which I had only difficult and mostly unsatisfactory answers to why a child was dead and how his killer remains free and still armed, with the discussion ultimately ending with her very matter of fact conclusion: “People should riot”.

 

Out of the mouths of babes, right? And what a difference a day makes…

 

At some point this morning shortly after I arrived to the workplace it became increasingly difficult for me to come up with a reason not to be at the “A Million Hoodies March”,( and not having a hoodie to wear wasn’t even a consideration). My conscience and highly engaging twitter TL which is usually the bane of my productivity wouldn’t allow me an excuse not to “do something”. Let me just say that I am not in any way claiming to be an “activist”. For all intents and purposes my activism has been limited to the rearing of my children. Which to me is by no means any less of a feat than those who organize as a career. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to participate and pay my respects to Trayvon by standing in solidarity with his mother and father who flew across states to New York City to attend this rally to express their appreciation of the efforts being made to not allow this case to be swept under the rug like so many others. This was the least I could do. No part of me ever wants to ever know the pain that Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton are feeling. I can’t help but wonder if I would be able to find the strength to address the media in the dignified manner that they have in recent days. Constantly replaying the torment of their loss with every inquiry. Could you? So, when Trayvon’s mother stepped up to the microphone this evening and stated that “Our son, is your son…” . I wept. I heard and felt the anguish in her voice. And it was then that I realized that every single person in that park (and those on social networks wearing hoodies in solidarity and sharing information about the case as it unfolds) was holding them up so that they can continue to seek justice for Trayvon and every other nameless, faceless, victim.

 

I ask you all in cities around the country to please show up for the family of Trayvon Martin if you can. If nothing else, they need us.

 

Our son’s killer is still free…

The Propaganda Of Privilege

“The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense that Energy is the fundamental concept in physics…The laws of social dynamics are laws which can only be stated in terms of power”(Russell, 1938, p. 10)

There is a belief that everyone under the oppression of privileged people are also privileged. And yet, all nations are tornados with leadership living comfortably as the eye of hypermasculinity playing with weapons of Life destruction. It can appease empathy deficient beings to believe having a cell phone while homeless is a treat of some sort, but children in Sudan are carrying Ak-47’s like PlaySkool brought out a line called, “My First Automatic Weapon”, and passed it out to little tikes. Interesting trade-off or just a fair observation? Or maybe I should have replaced PlaySkool with CIA?

Anywho…

Power is divided in such a way that it can automatically create classes. We sort one another like dry science into nomenclature labeled jars based on how we obtain resources, where we are most influential, and how much influence and resources we have. Our children react to the impact of what we call a star by imitating them and often comparing the status of their parents to that of those they see or hear via media. As it has been documented, litte Afkan boys and girls tend to see them Selves in the light of media imagery that favors lighter human beings over darker human beings.

In much of this discussion, we couple class with notions of money, yet privilege is a seduction of fear. The privilege of US soldiers to barge into any country under the auspice of whatever moral dilemma being sold through media injections while much of domestic voting populace can’t afford their homes is a direct result of their capability to induce fear world wide. That is the privilege. The capturing and psychological wiring of millions of inhabitants of the Western shores of Afrika is the privilege of Anglo America. Part of defending the ideology of privilege is to make the underprivileged think that some how they are secure from harm or of a greater importance than other members of the underprivileged society. Any sort of “privilege” here is solely illusory and bound by systemic, or institutional, customs to be directed any way Anglo-American power brokers or their flunkies need it to go. When the underprivileged babies need to be used for governmental schemes, separate the child from the family; when the men need to be used for labor, separate them from the family. All privilege stems from the system because the system is what provides what we define as privilege.

Since globally there is a system of privilege created and controlled by Anglo Westerners, any privilege is to support functioning of their state of affairs. Obama can be president because Afkans will support a culturally Anglo-American person with a Kenyan bloodline, especially with privileged Anglo-American credentials. He is not an Afkan, and his US roots are of a Euro-American. His election benefits the privileged system because it justifies it and legitimizes it in the minds of the underprivileged. Since no election is purely of people’s choice, it begs to be asked which privileged parties made selections. It is not the idea of conspiracy–although it would be foolish to think that a country formed from a conspiracy wouldn’t continually have capable conspirers at its helm– it is simply that people with power will act according to that which will allow for maintainance. Yet, status, even in the position of POTUS, is only a definition of percieved attributes and the respect given from such attributions. It can be said that Barrack holds the office of President of the United States, and that would be accurate, yet his status as a half-Kenyan man in a society that deflects privilege from people of darker hues has a bearing on his status rendered from his position as the president. His position is only respected in regards to a power structure that is against him. A sort of math takes place here where the Bush family can use the position to wage personal wars, and yet Obama can’t rally for a colleaugue of his alma mater without being embarrassed by having to apologize to a person light years beneath his stature.

That last sentence is not a nod to elitism. Barrack Obama is in the position of head of the Executive Branch, the branch that commands the military, not just in foreign terroritory, but in domestic US as well. Where police officers can murder a sleeping child and the complaints regarding the case are deflected because of fear from having to organize against the police. Anglo vigilantes can murder Afkan consumers walking in the streets and not face swift punishment for the crime. Underprivileged academics and activist are swayed to fold under the pressure of a propaganda that informs that they must act within a morality that doesn’t exist for the privileged. Police officers barge into a man’s home because he is Afkan living in a residential area of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and that man is arrested because he justifiaby is outraged with the police officer and has to respect that Anglo police officers can make rash errors and demand an apology. Not only demand an apology from the aggrieved home owner, but also demand one from the aggreived home owner’s friend in high places when that friend is the POTUS and asked about his friend. That is privilege. There is no morality being exercised here, in fact, it could be easily settled that there is also no crumble of civility here either.

As I have written in Asylum elsewhere, you simply cannot have privilege in this society if you are other than Euro-American. Even a rich Afkan is either a tool or an enemy of the state. The dominant religions of this society have all factored in an Anglo authority as God, whether Christianity or Islam. This means that not only are we killed or reduced to minions no matter if we are the head of the state, we also perceive the privileged as deserving of the privilege as well as being morally correct. Aiyana Jones gets shot on camera and the response is to overlook her killer who is an Anglo or Euro-American authority figure and attack Afkan gang bangers whom we can use the police to capture, just hope not too many of our other children have to be slaughtered like livestock in the process. That is privilege. There is no privilege in being an Afkan male when you can’t walk down the street sipping your cold tea and not expect to get shot simply for being Afkan. As there can be no electricity in a building not connected to a source that provides that electricity, there can be no privilege in a social situation where that privilege is withheld. Any beliefs to the contrary are simply propaganda directed to confuse and misguide the underprivileged.

Would You Take A Bullet For Your Homie?

 

So often we get our principles confused with our public display of propriety. Where some stand alone in their displays of courage and loyaly, we often overlook their contributions to allow those that would never save us to save face. There is a grace to the proper word, and the forgiving glance;there is a more valued glory to the look that need not words to kindle eternal gratitude and a remembering heart. During our moments of breathing we can place an appraisal on expectations that far outweighs reasonable perfection given the default rules of such.

 

To be of service to any group of humans can be a daunting task. To be a comrade, a fighter alongside those that have chosen or have been enscripted in some sort of fashion to form the blocking hands and attacking fists, the sneaking eyes and encouraging tongue of a group, is a life of obligations and sacrifice. And yet, neither of these is the summit that is being a Friend of The People.

 

I rose from my slumbering angle half an hour ago with the thought of Malcolm and Martin wrestling for my Asylum, escuse me, Our Asylum’s attention like a teenage crooner outside his romantic interests second story window. I don’t believe in Harry Potter, but I do believe there is a vitality of personality in all things. The discomforts of war and warlike conditions often force us to choose which lifeforms will be respected as such. The feeding lioness and her hungry cubs are more objectifying than the Western educated chauvinist pig in a stripper’s den. The passing of wartime into peace can often afford us self-righteous creeds that don’t exactly match the objective realities they are supposedly designed to guide us through. That all being written, I don’t want to neglect Our Asylum any fruitful ventures of thought that I might have had to overlook in worse conditions, nor do I want to become a moralizing prick that has forgotten the ways of the walk.

 

How easy is it for us to call Omowale an ex-con(and all the stigmas that implies) that was a horrible father and possibly even more horrible husband? How easy is it for us to point at Dr. King, Jr. and call him a womanizer and unfaithful to Corretta’s bed? Now, how many of us reading(and writing) this piece can say they walked out of a prison and built Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, taught Brother Louie how to be Minister Louis Farrakahn, won the respect and honor of revolutionaries of Fidel’s caliber, and inspired the Black Panther Party? How many can say they died being a Friend of the People? How many of us have our sock and t-shirt drawer organized let alone have organized a successful boycott of the one means of transportation within a citywide area for working Black women, organized a March on Washington before it was ever done and during a time when Whites would pull your wig back because of it? How many reading this(and writing this) have ever faced a dog down for more than selfish reasons? What about a water hose on full blast? Yeah, me neither…

 

Is this how we treat our friends? By backbiting them? Slandering them? Digging through crates and garbage cans for information to defame their character? Is this how we treat our friends? Is this how we want the people, especially our children, to treat Friends of the People? If we treat Friends of Ours that have taken bullets in front of their children, who else will be willing to sign up for that job? “Would you take a bullet for your homie?” Don’t you people know how to treat your friends? Did they brainwash that out of you, too? No, wonder why we don’t have any.

 

I would sincerely hope that we don’t afford our children the misconceptions of Western analysis and progress. That limb that you are about to chop off for the sake of a seeming “growth”–or as Marable might put it with his writing arse,unfreeze a “stage of development”– is the same limb you will need to hold on to if you fall. Better yet, who the hell is allowing you to cut branches from Our Afkan Tree any damn way? There is nothing perfect without perfection in a dynamic such as life. We Afkan have a serious reality to face and that is that we are a people. Sure, forced through the labors of a raped mother and murdered father, sold by our own family to the enemies of the house of Our ancestors–we still are all we know. I can only speak and mumble a few words of Akan, Kiswahili, and Yoruba. But I can walk through the hoods of any Afkan neighborhood nationwide and reach out to my own kind. With all of my legal issues and urban traumas, I can walk on any college campus and hold my own intellectually. Our good friend Malcolm taught us that. Although I don’t believe in a personal godhead, I know how to sup amongst the Baptists, and give a good word to the homeless and the poor. Our good friend Dr. King taught us that.

 

 

My socio-political hypocrisies, or Saul Alinsky’s “political schizophrenia”, provides me with enough good sense to know when to cover my friend’s nakedness while photographing the nakedness of my enemies for proper propaganda. My intellectual pursuits as an adult didn’t begin on the quad of academia, it began in the alleys of St. Louis where I was taught by a partner of sorts somewhat older than me that no matter the dispute, we agree with each other in public, and hash our disagreements out when we are alone. No matter how western my logic might unravel, I never forgot my Afkanese. And one thing the Afkan knows for sure, good friends are a damn struggle to find. So, Afkans, treat your friends good…

 

“They accuse us of what they themselves are guilty of. This is what the criminal always does. They’ll bomb you, then accuse you of bombing yourself. They’ll crush your skull, then accuse you of attacking him. This is what the racists have always done–the criminal, the one who has criminal processes developed to a science. Their practice is criminal action. And then use the press to make you victim–look like the victim is the criminal, and the criminal is the victim. This is how they do it.” – Malcolm X, Feb. 16, 1965

 

“There are all too many people who, in some great period of social change, fail to achieve the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands. There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in our world today. It is a social revolution, sweeping away the old order of colonialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., June 1965