Whose Black Is It Anyway???

“Philosophy is worthless if it is not practical.” – Frank Chimero

 

“FICTIVE KIN – Unrelated individuals who are addressed using kin terms”

 

I never really felt as disconnected from the overall fictive kinship that race promotes as I do in this era. This miasma of a zeitgeist of confusing political expressions vying for digital attention while neglecting to fill the voids left by expired luminaries in palpable space. I thought when I began to get older, I would want to be younger, like most sane well socialized United States citizens. But no. I just want to get older and enjoy the privacy of personal and sacred space before it is over. I no longer know who these US Blacks are, and I no longer know if I care to know.

 

I suppose it all occurred around that fateful day that we thought the negro was free. The morning of great tears of happiness and a pride born of distant identifications celebrating victories of individuals that would never know them. The sort of pride that comes when the baseball team branded with the same name of the city you are obligated by objective fact to call your nativity wins the World Series. It is an expected pride. An expected pride reflected in calls from your older cousin implying that you should get out and celebrate because, “Your city just won the World Series.” The day that Barry Obama walked across that stage with his wife at shotgun and his daughters in tow was like a National Nigga World Series win. A global Nigga World Series win, even.

 

And yet, after Albert Pujols decided to leave the city that had enshrined his likeness in metal, I considered the value of that statement, “Your city just won the World Series”. I mean, had St. Louis won it? Did every nigga from McCree to 82nd actually take part in that win? How does one measure the obligation to a city that does not pay them anything when leaders of sport’s teams that represent that city with a high volume of fan loyalty and financial compensation do not even find it fitting to be obligated? I drove around one night and everybody became a baseball fan. I woke up one morning and everybody became a goddamn nigga. And I began to ask myself, not only whose win was it, but also, whose Black is it any way?

 

Sociology professor Nancy Foner writes in 1999,”Kinship ties are an effective way to cope with uncertainty and economic scarcity.” “Strength” as it applies to interpersonal bonds can be defined as the degree and magnitude of emotional intensity, intimacy, and time shared that qualify a particular bond. Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu outline their definition of fictive kinship in “Black Students’ School Success: Coping With The ‘Burden Of “Acting White”‘ in this manner:

“What is fictive kinship?

 

*A kinshiplike relationship between persons not related by blood or marriage in a society, but who have some reciprocal social or economic relationship.

 

*A cultural symbol of collective identity (playkin, brotherhood and sisterhood, soul brother and soul sister, blood).

 

*A sense of peoplehood in opposition to white American social identity.

 

* The medium through which minorities distinguish the ‘real’ from ‘spurious members’.

 

*One learns the criteria for fictive kinship from parents and peers.

 

But being black does not result in automatic membership. One can be denied membership to the fictive kinship because one’s behavior, activities, and lack of manifest loyalty are at variance with those thought to be appropriate and group-specific.

 

One function of the fictive kinship is to invert the negative stereotypes and assumptions of whites into positive and functional attributes(dialect–ebonics, group loyalty in opposition to whites–O.J. Simpson?)”

 

Fictive kinship like territorial bonds pull at your emotional heart strings and forge these obligations that surpass critical thinking like traditional beliefs in a mythical creature. What makes OWL “Black”? And what does inclusion in said group entail? It would seem to me that social contracts based on shared genetic heritage or just historical territorial heritage are the easiest to render negligible. There is no national documentation of agreed upon terms that codifies one US Black person’s duty to another. There was never a Continental Congress for the Colored, which is probably why that term, “colored” encompasses so many other groups that share nothing but a supposed lack of genetic heritage with a group of people born on a particular grouping of land masses.

 

What truly bonds me with the nigga other than fear and misery? How feeble would a bond based on such qualities be? Thin enough to celebrate the victory of a man promising changes based on his skin pigment being slightly similar and yet his background and cultural heritage being nothing in common. Sort of like the residents of a city celebrating a victory they had nothing to do with other than live in the town that closed down the Black inner city schools to build the stadium the team that is branded with that town’s name plays in. Yet none of the players is tempered with any obligation to that city. In scope, the man promising the changes is not tempered with any obligations to his skin pigment.

 

I have watched Melissa Harris-Perry grow from a highly celebrated academic with a sort of cult following among young Black college aged girls, to a prominent media figure. A rise to immortality that comes on the back of a notion that she is a spokesperson for and expert in US Black Womanhood. And yet, her mother is a White Mormon. In the same way that Barry’s mother is a White Woman from Kansas and his father a Kenyan disowned by his family. A Blackness of one-drop rules, and in some instances, not even really a US Black drop, just any drop of blood that is not Whyte can include you into this little tacit thing of ours. What makes Barry or Melissa any less White than they are Black? When and where is the National Convention of Niggaz held this year so I might read the by-laws and run my finger through its rules of operation?

 

Black Entertainment Television(BET) the Washington, DC based entertainment company built by Robert Johnson was sold to Viacom for $2.3 billion in 2000, with finalized purchase by 2001. The year 2000. The year that was 14 years ago from the date of this writing you are reading. The company has been owned by a White company for six years shy of two decades but is still stamped with the appellation, “Black”. Whose Black is it?

 

ESSENCE magazine, a periodical and publication billed as catering to US Black Women readers sold 49% of its holdings to Time Inc in 2000. Yes, in the year 2000, which is 14 years ago from the date of this writing you are reading. The company has almost half(probably a majority stake holder) of its owner in the hands of a White business for fourteen years. In 2005, Essence communications, the company that owned Essence magazine sold the remaining 51% shares to Time Inc. In 2005, 9 years from the writing of this article you are now reading, Essence magazine, the magazine billed as for US Black Women, has been owned, en total, by White people. The company owned by White people for one year shy of an entire decade is still stamped with the appellation, “Black”. But whose Black is it?

 

JET magazine was pulled off of shelves with the final print issue published five days prior to the time of this writing. JET magazine and its greater sister publication, EBONY are published by Johnson Publishing, a Chicago staple. In 2011, JP Morgan purchased an undisclosed amount of shares of Johnson Publishing as a means to help the floundering company. Due to the agreement– and obviously, new authority at the shareholder table– the company was to use the funds to focus more on their interweb presence. This focus on the interweb digital presence seems to be the reason for the murder of JET magazine, a US Black cultural artifact, from print stands. How much of Johnson Publishing– the company that uses the appellations EBONY(Black) and JET(Black) as stamps on its major publications—is owned by Whites as opposed to Blacks, and whose Black is it anyway?

 

“Abstractions always distort and omit, because they have to. The trick is to be mindful it is happening.” – Frank Chimero

 

When did being “Black” become such an all-inclusive club? When did it become this exotic resort for the assimilated to bring their friends through like Jay-Z ushering Oprah through the projects he grew up in as if he had purchased them and turned them into some new commune of social evolution? How does a pride, a shame, a set of unwritten– and even worse, not agreed upon– set of standards based on a perception of inclusion represented by skin hue and tone help us? What powers of choice and resource are to be had when most of those worshiped and given authority in the group are assembled, associated, and assimilated in the very schools and corporate offices of the people that caused the misery that defines the bond based on “Black” blood to begin with? I fear that a capitalist system with its bourgeois radical notions and its consumeristic entrenchments of false status can never produce or nurture that type of social psychology that breeds loyalty to a heritage born in chains, torn mothers, and castrated maleness.

 

What further aches my soul(whatever that is) tends to be this need for a Barry Obama to walk as if he grew up in neighborhood or went to a school where “catting” even existed. A product of an extremely predominant White or very much other than US Blacks upbringing, I sincerely doubt he had much experience of the hourly reasoning behind the need to express a “cool pose” or whatever other superficial cultural artifacts so haphazardly gleaned through media representations of urban US Blacks on can imitate. I see this same appropriation, misappropriation, posturing (or whatever glossy hip term the alienated kids are borrowing from their sociology reading this year) when I watch Melissa Harris-Perry don braids on television. A hair style that images as recent as two months ago on Instagram show is not the hair style she wears when not on television. She initially styled her hair permed. But I suppose in this new media age we all must embrace the most nigga-like expressions. It all feels like overcompensation for lack of identity. I call it—hyperniggatude.

 

This childish echo of cries accusing “misappropriation” as if every artistic movement of US Blacks has not been met with this inclusion of all under the banner of “American” history. There is no US Black financed, funded, and solely operated museums of art that are globally recognized. Just like there are no US Black media operations that are solely Black owned, financed, and funded. Our loyalty to a skinship that is more volatile than that of most kinship ties has caused Shonda Rhimes to forget her loyal US Black Woman online powerbase in lieu of her “privileged” fellow alums at Darthmouth College.

I want to quote portions of her commencement speech for trajectory purposes, but I am also linking the transcript of that speech here as well as the video.

 

Rhimes starts with a shaky ode to fear and trepidation, and her need to express her own fear of public speaking and why she does writing behind the screens. Which is ironic given the most sticky portions of her commencement address. She continues her speech:

Look, it would be fine if this were, 20 years ago. If it were back in the day when I graduated from Dartmouth. Twenty-three years ago, I was sitting right where you are now. And I was listening to Elizabeth Dole speak. And she was great. She was calm and she was confident. It was just … different. It felt like she was just talking to a group of people. Like a fireside chat with friends. Just Liddy Dole and like 9,000 of her closest friends. Because it was 20 years ago. And she was just talking to a group of people.

 

Now? Twenty years later? This is no fireside chat. It’s not just you and me. This speech is filmed and streamed and tweeted and uploaded. NPR has like, a whole site dedicated to Commencement speeches. A whole site just about commencement speeches. There are sites that rate them and mock them and dissect them. It’s weird. And stressful. And kind of vicious if you’re an introvert perfectionist writer who hates speaking in public in the first place.

 

This is interesting here because later she will respond that her commencement speech is indeed a “fireside chat”. And also include that as her defense, because her fireside chat was only for those outdoors getting intoxicated from the fumes wafting through the “rare air” of Ivy League graduation. I personally think the “fireside chat” bit borrowed a few too many times in this era should have been replaced by what Rhimes titles the speech during the speech herself: “Some Random Stuff Some Random Alum Who Runs a TV Show Thinks I Should Know Before I Graduate”. Very apropos and extremely apt at pointing out the very flaky nature of the speech presenter.

 

She then in her “privileged Black chick from some eastern area” condescending tone begins to lament cynical criticisms of what she believes the standard commencement speech includes. She states that she believes being told to follow ones’ dreams is, as she words it, “I think that’s crap.”

 

(She’s such an eloquent troll.)

 

Her substitute for dreams? Fleeting actions with no direction. In her words,

“maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new”.

To be completely honest here for no other reason than I still have those really costly things called “principles”, I do agree with Rhimes. Of course, I also agree that one should follow their dreams and spend some time finding a passion and sketching out their visions. But alas, I’m just a lowly servile who has yet to taste the obviously meth infused “rare air” above Ivy league graduation ceremonies.

 

So, after Rhimes rehashes how she cried on the floor of her dorm room whilst her mom packed her bags after her graduation, she makes these comments:

 

Find a cause you love. It’s OK to pick just one. You are going to need to spend a lot of time out in the real world trying to figure out how to stop feeling like a lost loser, so one cause is good. Devote some time every week to it.

 

Oh. And while we are discussing this, let me say a thing. A hashtag is not helping. #yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething

 

Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing on your computer and then going back to binge-watching your favorite show. I do it all the time. For me, it’s Game of Thrones.

Once again, I agree with Rhimes. Not totally. And not to the extent that I would have not qualified every one of those sentences with a “but I love my fans that have made my lackluster show a ratings monolith due to their hashtags, and since many of them are also hashtag activists, I salute their efforts wholeheartedly.” But, I am not writing this while catching contact highs from that rare strain of air they breathe at Ivy League graduation ceremonies.

 

Unfortunately, for Rhimes, neither were her fans. As Rhimes once again left her Ivy League alma mater–alma mater a latin phrase denoting a fictive kinship encompassing a mother to child relationship– her fan base was taking to Twitter seeking an explanation to her comments about hashtags. And because Rhimes is so not a hypocrite, she responded to her fans, via Twitter. I am posting the Twitter response in full twice, one as a quote the other as an embed. I want to make sure this lasts for a few years.

“I see there is some drama about what I said about hashtag activism. Which makes me think some of you who are upset did not actually read or hear my speech (I invite you to watch it — the link is here). I was very clear. That speech I gave? Was for the 1100 or so students graduating from Dartmouth on Sunday. If you were receiving the privilege of breathing the rare air that comes with getting an Ivy League degree on Sunday, I was talking to you. I was talking to those to whom much has been given and I was reminding them that much is expected (Robert Kennedy) Hashtags are amazing for raising awareness. But I was telling them to go beyond that and do more. To actively try to give back in a hands on way. If you were not receiving a degree from Dartmouth on Sunday? I was not talking about you. I wasn’t even talking to you. I love that so many people saw and responded to the speech. But as I said in my speech, I was having a fireside chat with my Dartmouth peeps, remember?

 

Have a lovely day! (Am going back to my hiatus and my Orange is the New Black Watching)

 

#dartmouth14 #hashtag
http://www.whosay.com/l/OVo8y5b

The privileged and rare air of her fictive kinship and bond with the Darthmouth alum is obviously more important than the one shared with her and US Black Women online and off, that would seek her out for a less snarky and elitist response to a really simple concern. The fact that she felt the need to type these very snide lines points to my overall concern with blind loyalty to race, ethnicity, nationality, and just blind loyalty in general. Shonda Rhimes does not owe me anything, and whatever she does owe me, I better chalk up to the game—as we say. I suggest you do the same. Her “Black”—or whoever’s Black it might be—is not a Black that feels compelled to return a favorable response to a confused group of young US Black women possibly hoping to follow in her footsteps in the same manner those she is tasked to mentor vis-à-vis a commencement speech at that oh so privileged Ivy League university. Her accomplishments once planted a seed of hope and pride in the hearts and minds of those that she shared race and gender with, Rhimes thought less of those memberships.

 

Maybe we all should follow suit.

The Six Unavoidable Principles Of Twitter Beyond Twitter

“I’m not telling you something you don’t already know/Personal or business/You got to know who your friends is…”– Eightball, “Friend or Foe”

 

I have for the most part of my writing career held on to the notion that all forms of writing are simply conversations extended through time. Although, a written piece may have timely aspects to it that cause it to be more relevant to certain time zones, or certain eras of time, that time stamp does not stop the written words from existing. There is something of longevity that these symbols, these written words, concatenated as vehicles for our thoughts in physical, as opposed to purely mental, space have that no matter the topic, allow them a certain life beyond the average modes of communication.

 

That being written, this piece is not simply another digital recording of the precautionary steps one should employ while employing Twitter. It is not even simply a model of behavior for any web application. It is beyond that. It is a discussion about trust, loyalty, and self-discipline in the location of personal acquaintance. More than just another conversation about “social media”, no, this is a small manifest-if that is not too cliché- on how one should go about handling personal information about themselves in public space that extends into personal relationships.

 

On September 23, 2013, California teens get an online “eraser button” under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Now, without spending too much time on legal and social critique of the bill itself, this very official act declares a lot about usage of the net, as well as how we perceive its function. The bill explicitly reserves online privacy and complete past online communications deletions to those under the age of 18. It handles these communications in the same way that criminal records are sealed from most public domains at the age of eighteen. What we put online is often framed as public domain in such a way that we have not seen fit to regulate against discriminatory hiring practices based on online stalking by human resource departments. In fact, we as a body of law making people are leaning towards more of the same. What we do on social media– and what is important for this topic of the six unavoidable principles of Twitter beyond Twitter– what we do beyond Twitter with what we have gleaned from Twitter, is not protected by the state. Our words can and will be used against us in whatever court, whether just public opinion or state and federally operated.

 

With that in mind, I present you to you, this small list of acts and principles to protect yourself from your online self–your “avatar”, if you will– being used against you.

 

The six unavoidable principles of Twitter beyond Twitter

 

1. Purpose. Alright, let us start with some principles I have learned over the years, and then incorporate them into calls for action via anecdote. The first principle I would suggest is the idea of purpose. Why did you log onto Twitter this morning? Does that reason still connect without stretching your justification muscles to the purpose you created the Twitter account? Do you even remember why you created the Twitter account?

 

Your purpose for creating your online avatars on particular mediums will direct your communications. It will impact those exchanges with others, and ultimately, what your purpose is will influence how others treat you and color their expectations once the avatars are no longer around and you are face to face. Twitter beyond Twitter.

 

Owl’s Asylum on Twitter, or the @OwlsAsylum, was established with the purpose of allowing me space to express thoughts that might be offensive or simply require so many updates that I was “killing people’s timelines”(that is to say, I was sending so many updates that I was filling a person following me’s screen with just my updates).

 

My first Twitter account was a business account for the Jay Farand, Digital Hustler graphic design/branding/web brand. It had as a purpose the use of Twitter’s broad technology(*cough*geek*ahem*) audience to promote my freelance services. It took one night in a political philosophy class taking notes using Twitter for one of my followers to inform me that I was indeed “killing” her timeline for me to open another account. Thus, I opened that account under the domain name I had been using for my online journal keeping and media class paper presentations, Owl’s Asylum.

 

That separation has served me well, as my contacts via the Asylum understand exactly what they are getting when they meet me offline. As well, those that choose to do business with me in a less than personal fashion still have that option via the Jay Farand avatar. Purpose still dictates how I use both accounts, as purpose should dictate how you use yours.

 

2. Perspective. That brings me to what I would like to address as a principle secondly. Namely, keep your perspective sharp. I want to be blunt here: you can’t phukkk an avatar. You can’t wash an avatar. When you invite an avatar to your house, the avatar does not show up: the human behind the avatar does.

 

This creates two dilemmas I have had to deal with that have both honed my perspective with respect to online exchanges. The first is that people have become extremely good with camera angles in the designing of avatars, and the second is that people have a tendency to maintain the upkeep of their avatar much better than their personal lives. I do not regard these as “negative” things, in fact, I keep the perspective that they are probably smart, and that they are definitely a reflection of the society we live in. Twitter is in fact a media platform whereby we form social interactions. How much of your visual media is flooded with images of Black Women with locks or afros? How many times do you see a stretch mark on a Woman on television when nudity or high levels of body exposure are being presented? How many fat women are shown in sexual performance on television? Why the phukkk would you expect to see anyone else run their personal online media campaign that way then?

 

Perspective. The human is not the avatar. In the same way that all of the celebrities I have met in person are different in some way than their television or print appearance, I expect that what I see as an avatar will not totally reflect what I see once we go Twitter beyond Twitter. Perspective.

 

3. Research. This third principle really gets to the core of who I am and probably has allowed for me to do the things I do that generate such spiteful reactions from those that either cannot do it or are just afraid to. Research the culture of the online community you are interacting with. There are two primary components here I go by. I let an avatar be an avatar, especially if I know the person beyond Twitter. Further, I do not make relationships with avatars, as noted, you cannot phukkk an avatar. Nor can you conduct business with one.

 

Get to understand the nuance of the culture of the online community. Accept who does not want to be more than an avatar in that space. Research those you might want to go Twitter beyond Twitter with. As in most of Life’s more valuable endeavors, this takes time and patience. In keeping your perspective sharp, take serious the etymology– the make up– of the word “research”. It means to search again. Thus, you should be searching and “re”-searching.

 

4. Discipline. What all this leads up to is an ideal of simplicity, yet never simple in practice: have some discipline about your avatar or avatars. That does not imply a lot of musing about of respectability politics. Unless it should.

 

Stick to your purpose. Maintain your schtick. Groom your perspective how you have purposed it. Stay disciplined within the realm of your design.

 

If your purpose on Twitter is to go beyond Twitter and suck seven hundred dicks, have at it. Just be disciplined enough to have realistic expectations regarding the reaction to a public campaign of such measures.

 

Whether your account is private or public, it is public.

 

Screen capturing software is available for free. There is a culture online that deems it accolade worthy for people to use it in the most intimate of communications for audience presentation. Be disciplined in the research of those that might honor that culture. Be disciplined in your acceptance that some might take advantage of vulnerable information you have presented online and take Twitter beyond Twitter. Be disciplined about your choice of channels to communicate or provide anything about yourself. Be disciplined enough to realize that just as you are doing research to get a synopsis of the human behind the avatar, others are as well.

 

Be always disciplined in the mindfulness that anything and everything you post can and will be used against you in the court of Twitter beyond Twitter.

 

5. Anger Management. In the same vein as discipline and research, this principle that I have chosen for our fifth here, is anger management. I know, my hypocrisy has grown such that I could claim it as a dependent.

 

Anywho…

 

There are many more people that take personal pride in my accomplishments than take my personal successes as an affront to their worldview. It would be inconsiderate of me to waste too much time or space worrying about those that dislike me simply for being influential where they cannot be, than to focus on the majority of people that love seeing Owl’s smile.

 

There is simply nothing to gain in the addressing of passive aggressive forms of attack but threats to your physical and financial well-being Twitter beyond Twitter. An avatar cannot punch you, but somebody within close proximity can take you Twitter beyond Twitter straight to the hospital. This is not Joe saying always “be positive”, or any of that “new age spiritual” ideology. I am not attempting to scare or strike fear into your heart. I promise I am not. I am simply addressing the actuality that there is probably nothing an online animus can do to prevent or block your success that responding in like will detour.

 

Twitter beyond Twitter, maybe a heated argument could lead to a forum exchange. Not usually, though. In my years online, I have not seen that occur between individuals that did not work for the same cable news station. And everybody knows just how attention whoring cable news station personalities are these days. In my years of experience, I just have not seen anger being the best response to online attacks. Often, the best practice is to ignore the bullies behind screens until you can handle it Twitter beyond Twitter in a more resolute way.

 

6. Respect Your Circle Of Influence. And lastly, respect your circle of influence. Once the research is analyzed, after the trolls have been weeded out of your avatar’s circulation, and Twitter beyond Twitter has formed meaningful relationships, tighten your grip. That is going to mean different things to different people, I am sure. For some of you reading this, that possibly means less Twitter. Your purpose for Twitter has been met, you do not want to damage your brand– personal or business– so you slide the application to the fourth screen you never look at, and that’s that. Not a bad move, in Owl’s opinion.

 

What I’ve done is used less and less lists. In fact, at the present time, I only engage with those I have fashioned into one list. I believe in follow for follow on Twitter, so I do have over six thousand followers, yet, I only engage those that engage with me, and I only regularly read the accounts of about one-hundred. And I am constantly pruning that number daily. Most of the people on that list are people I have gone Twitter beyond Twitter with, or that I met prior to even knowing they had a Twitter account. Many on that list are people that I have been reading and engaging with for well over the better part of four years.

 

I attempt to keep enough discipline regarding those new followers I pick up, or drop off, to respect that, hey, I do not like this person Twitter beyond Twitter. All of the people I have gone Twitter beyond Twitter with are not people I would want to spend valuable time with. Some are better avatars than face time associates of Owl. That is to be expected. I applaud(very loudly according to Bri) when RGIII plays, yet, by virtue of his public stances via interviews, I do not believe we would have much to agree on as drinking buddies. Twitter beyond Twitter, I have accumulated some rewarding business experiences, and some headaches. It is the nature of business, I would not hope that anyone expects Twitter beyond Twitter to alter that process.

 

In closing, enjoy this small group of principles. Reflect and incorporate. If you have some thoughts to add, the comment section of Asylum is highly policed(*smiles*), but always open.

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.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Twitter

It’s official—I hate Twitter again.

 

For quite some time I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Twitter, manic tweeting one minute, closing my account the next. I’ve been trying to figure out why I hate Twitter since early 2012. I think I may have finally figured it out: Groupthink.

While I cannot say Erykah Badu is the originator of the concept, I can thank her for this word’s rise in popularity; but maybe this is also why the act of “Groupthink” is also at an all-time high, especially on Twitter. With the “13 Holy War,” and the perpetually repetitive and depressing topics discussed via #BlackTwitter (amongst the many other volatile exchanges happening daily), it’s no wonder why I’ve left a shell of an account on Twitter. It’s all starting to remind me of church….and I cannot stand the concept of church (although I’ll visit if the mood calls for it).

 

“Don’t say that!” “You should speak on or fight for this cause.” “That’s too abrasive!” “You shouldn’t feel this way.” Really? How should I feel? Should I feel like you? Would that make you feel better about yourself, to have someone agree with your thoughts? Perhaps this is a form of insecurity, the desire to have others agree with your logic.

 

There is no longer room to just breathe and be on Twitter. Everything one says can be twisted, turned against a person, and is up for debate. But here’s the problem…I don’t feel the need to debate, nor do I feel the need to “explain” my feelings. I am beyond explaining myself to motherfuckers who are so offended and filled with anger that they wouldn’t understand my explanation anyway. I’m over it. I’m over the obligation Twitter, especially Black Twitter, places on people to be an “example,” a role model, and all of the above. I am no damn saint, I am no one’s role model, I am no one’s teacher, mentor, spokesperson or any of that shit.

 

Yes, you’re a Vegan, but you’re still an asshole.

In possession of a degree or two? Congratulations! You’re still an asshole.

You can spell, and must constantly prove your prowess by correcting the spelling and grammar of others. The only thing this proves…is that you’re an insecure asshole.

Yes, you have thousands of followers, but guess what? You’re still an asshole…a closed-minded asshole with dingle berries hanging from your anus.

And please, tell me, does being an asshole via Twitter pay well? I certainly hope so.

 

Ever feel that pit in your stomach when someone on Twitter starts a beef with you and calculate how long it takes to let that “upset” pass through your system? THAT angers me. Allowing a person on Twitter—who I’ll likely never meet, who hasn’t bought my music, supported my business, and may be a degenerate, little dicked dweeb or a low-budget crack whore in person—to have an effect on my mood angers ME more than anything, because then I am wasting energy and time trying to get back to my happy place, talking myself down with “it’s just Twitter.” But it ISN’T just Twitter! It’s people, from all over the world, clinging to your every word, adding meaning where there is sometimes none, and wanting to lecture you on how you should express yourself; and there is nothing I hate more than people trying to control my self-expression. Like I said, I don’t do church.

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…

5 Things You Should Do Now To Preserve The Integrity Of Black Blogging

1. Hold Your Black Bloggers Up.

 

In many ways, the number reasons for lack of support of Black businesses, offline or online, is that Blacks don’t have a true sense of saving face, or creating their own icons. With an incentive to bolster the efforts of those that have shown a dedication, passion, and respect for craft, it could become a new movement in the Black community in the same way that gang culture and appreciation for the underground crime culture was able to infuse it Self nationwide. It is worthwhile to remember that Cornell West writes and teaches Marxist socialism but praised and was treated dismissively by Jay-Z. If we want better quality content in the media, we have to support those that produce it.

 

Treat your favorite bloggers like that guy who’s book you never read, class you’ve never attended, or lecture you would have fallen asleep in, but always quote at the water cooler after he appears on television. Make sure to let people know where you gleaned that insightful quote or perspective from. If you are in a position to hold conferences, get in contact with your favorite Black bloggers and see if there is a way to include them on the rostrum. Hold your Black bloggers of integrity and worth up in the same manner that some hold up irresponsible Black artists for being…well, irresponsible.

 

2. Don’t treat the donate button as a painting in (Some famous art gallery here), treat like an amusement park ride and become interactive with it.

 

This is a tough one for everybody going into another low economic season, I’m sure. But, it has to be written. Three bucks is enough to get me around the city to gain content, and don’t think that somebody else will do it, you do it. If you have gained anything from a Black blogger, reward that effort. If you don’t want people to sell out, then employ them through your charitable donations and investments. It often takes less than what we believe, if done as a united front.

 

A server and hosting account costs money. I owe $120 due to my host shortly. I can’t run Asylum on RTs alone(although, we do love them, too!). I’m sure I’m not the only great Black blogger of honorable character that you read in the same situation. Facebook, MySpace, even Google are financed by others. This is simply the nature of things. It is difficult for me to respect the hurling of words regarding supporting Blacks, if you aren’t…supporting Blacks(I do so love that device). If you find someone doing that which is beneficial and necessary, don’t automatically assume they’ve got all of their bases covered. Many great organizations might still be around had it not been for beneficiaries overlooking areas of financial interest they could have easily contributed to. Every free service online is being paid for by somebody. It isn’t free to be on the internet. Consider that the next time you scroll by your favorite Black blogger’s donate now button.

 

3. Break out of the social media comfort zone and actually post a comment on the blog and not on Twitter/Facebook.

 

The comment button works, guys. Well, it usually works. And when it doesn’t, please contact me, as Asylum has a great technical staff. I’m sure I’m not only talking for my Self here. Every Black blogger that you respect has the potential to become a thriving community. Twitter and Facebook are only websites, only web applications, only another medium. Yes, I still haven’t stopped having sex with Twitter, but I know she’s just another whore on the strip. These websites that are being driven by the content of Black people with things of interests to you should be come a home;they should be like the housewife of your browsing routine. The same community that is built on a Twitter can be furnished here. The debates that occur on Twitter in 140, would be much better served in the Black blogospheres’ comment sections.

 

4. Diversify.

 

We aren’t all on the same team, we don’t shoot at the same cans in the alley, and we shouldn’t be forced to play nice in your bookmarks folder. Black bloggers come in various shapes and sizes, trust me, I’ve seen a few naked, I know what I’m talking about here. Don’t place me in the same folder as @RippDemUp(click here as well), I love the brother, and so does Asylum, but what he does for you is not necessarily the same gift you should expect from these parts. Black people, especially young Blacks that were programmed by hip hop to view most everything as a sporting competition, have an indeed troubling cultural expression of thinking all cultural expressions should be pitted against another another. I don’t have to take sides. I like reading the blogs of very polar thinkers, comparably, as well as extremely shallow writers that never take a determined stance on issues. Mix up your reading, expand your mind.

 

5. Spread love the interweb way: post the links to the content elsewhere.

 

Share the love with your Twitter following. Use the link to one of your favorite Asylum posts as content for discussion in your g+ circles. Impress your family and friends with your interweb resourcefulness. Use a portion of the article and a link to gain notoriety on one of your most frequented forums. However you do it, help those Black bloggers that show their integrity and dedication by connecting them to the web more. It doesn’t take much to copy and paste the web address from the URL. If you ever need any assistance with technical matters of that sort, don’t be afraid to contact me for support. We here at Asylum are humbled and honored to gain link love from our followers and allies.

 

Furthermore, we often find our Selves borrowing, stealing or gleaning inspiration from one another in this field. It is of the utmost importance that we learn to give credit when we do such. I may not place an ‘@’ sign in front of every disparaging word, but I’ve made it my business to acknowledge directly and publicly all those that have assisted in my growth. This is regardless of whether they know or not. I am making them know that they have.

Why I’m Totally Embarrassed By Google’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Doodle

 

I was conferencing on Twitter with Nikki, well, you’ll know her best as @Chey_Marly_Mom, and my Tweetdeck froze. I decided to switch to Firefox, but anyone working with 2 sticks of 1gb RAM and less than 60gb of on board memory knows the hassles of Firefox’s resource drain. So, I convinced my Self to download Chrome for my Interglobe site surfing. Upon entering Google, I was beckoned by an image of Google being spelled out by this one Black face digitally painted and skewed for convenience(lazy pricks), another one of a Black man with his eyes closed for the ‘G’, and another guy looking really close to Jesse Jackson with his hands in “raise the roof” formation. I wanted, maybe even needed, to call Earl(for my not so lumpen Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkan) readers, I just wrote that I wanted to regurgitate with dry retching and praying).

 

As my loyal readers already know, I’m not very big on holidays(“holy days” either…same thing?). I might as well have been raised a Jehovah’s Witness, I’ve probably celebrated 2 born days as a child, and 1 or 2(I see you, Calvin) as an adult. I get upset with the New Year celebration because it isn’t really a complete new cycle for me, it is just a collective celebration of one. I’ve even asked Asylum Staff(that’s fun, isn’t it) why people don’t give gifts on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday like they do Jesus’ birthday. I mean, Dr. King, Jr. played a much more significant role in the lives of Afkans than Jesus ever will, and there is no argument about his existence, rise, or crucifixion. I suppose people that have been as psychologically gang banged and ghetto gagged as Afkans would need some one White to suggest it and show them how to do it. I wonder if Tim Wise answers emails.

 

Anywho…

Continue reading “Why I’m Totally Embarrassed By Google’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Doodle”

Asylum Rising: Imani

Sometimes you can live so much for others, that you forget to serve the one master that should have been fed first. Don’t think for a second that the repercussion that follows such a grievous act isn’t without a desire to kick, scream, and yell. As I sit next to this space heater in the room of a fairly dilapidated building owned by an associate of my cousin, I wonder where all my damn close friends went. And I suppose the tough guys out there reading this are going to feel the comfort of their homes and laugh; or consider their space and begin to tear it apart for some invidious comparison to hurl my way. Ultimately, I have two hoodies to venture out into a St. Louis snow covered scenery to walk to grab something to eat and a computer to type my story into. Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.

 

Alas, that peace can be easily disturbed, but given the circumstances, that is a might grand and favorable position for me to be in. Throughout 2011, I had to question the reality of fate. I had never seriously given it much thought, and until I felt the pressures of a world that simply wouldn’t bend to my will, I began asking my Self certain questions. Now, I’m much more hopeful, and much more wiser for the incidents of 2011, yet, I’m only so sure that fate or predestination doesn’t exist. I’m also questioning my attachment to this Black race, or Afkan people, that I find my Self shackled hand and foot with. I understand that many of us have our perceptions of what an expression of Black Love -outside and inside Black romantic love(of course)- should be. And I can hear the rally of fierce warriors banging the beast yet the head never bleeds, at least none of the blood seems to be trickling or flowing near my seat here in the streets. What do you love? What sort of love is it? It must be the blind type because I can’t see it, and let’s be honest, since I’ve been homeless, most Afkans(Afrikan Amerikans) can’t see me. To be fully candid, if it weren’t for my trumpeting through Black Twitter, you would have never noticed this Black media analyst named “Owl”.

 

I don’t know what it feels like to be alienated by the same people you have spent years assisting from the vantage of your body, but from mine it feels like being that lone booger sitting atop the public transit seat’s rail. I accept the story as we are telling it. Sure, let’s all be accountable for our actions that may hurt one another. Unless, big unless…hold on let me break out my typography skills here…UNLESS,(there you go…) you are a guy with millions of dollars that can make songs about big pimping and girls, girls, girls, and you won’t have to stand and face the court of public assholery(coined it first!). If one finds them Self being THAT guy, well, you can wait until you are in your forties and making music to keep you relevant with an ode to your new born daughter(wasn’t American Gangster the “soundtrack” he came up with the last time he was “inspired”?) to decide to realize that,”Hey, women don’t like being called ‘bitches’ do they? Let’s stop that then…”

 

Chagrin.

 

I’m not here to play with anyone’s intelligence. I’m not in the position to play public executioner or holier than thou Black legislator of all things Afkanian(“Afkanian”…hold on, I…like the sound of that…anywho…). I’m a man living way too many lives in one lifespan and taking the abuses that would come with that from Karma if I so chose to believe that such an evil bitch existed. I don’t know if I’m more upset because I probably deserve to be living this lifestyle due to so many unbalanced and inconsiderate decisions made prior; or because of all the extremely balanced and noble deeds that I’ve done that I will possibly die unhonored for. I had to rethink a statement I typed into the Black Twitter box of my Tweetdeck yesterday when responding to Brie…well, you know her as B. Sharise Moore(her name Brie to me). Eldridge Cleaver did more with his time as a person wrestling with the harshest of conscientious demons than I have without them. I should be honored to be compared as a writer, to a brother like that. I still stand by my story regarding being the first Owl, however, sure…but, people will be people. In the world that I live in, I wish there were more brothers like him after his pathologies were controlled floating around. After all the “Uhuru’s” and Kwanzaa decorations begin to fade in the memory of our yesteryear, it was a White man that retired from Elvis impersonations that allowed your Asylum’s captain room and board on St. Louis’ west side. Yeah, tell that to my immaturity as I drug it down a corridor to be executed project’s style.

 

I believe it is too easy for us to say we love Black people from the comforts of couches tilted at an angle that allows that noonday glare to be avoided while watching our favorite football teams on flatscreen televisions. Many of us are too busy attempting to look busy while the work of heroes is being recorded in front of a live Twitter audience. Obviously, no one owes me anything; or they are just not willing to pay. I do ask that those that speak of changes to be made for those like my Self be accurate in their content and respectful in their tone. No, you have never had a nightmare about running away from a place that would scare me. My better days are still a bitter taste. I don’t have a problem with the romantics. I actually applaud the spirit’s ability to exist in an Afkan body given our trajectory. Yet, so many of us fail to remember in our hours of boasting of stripes earned on civil battlefields that most of us weren’t volunteers;most of us were drafted. Such is life.

 

I did a bit of work this week for an elderly Black woman, that stays around over in North city St. Louis. Actually a block up from Mason elementary school(which is a pretty awesome school, well it was when I was taking my ex’s children up there). One of those very insular St. Louis neighborhoods where the teenage babies are left to their own devices, so elderly Black women ought to be concerned about their safety. Enough foreshadowing…so, she asks me to grab some wood from University City for her stove to heat her house since thieves had stolen her copper and aluminum piping and what have you. Of course, I agreed. I saw it as an opportunity for various things, and she was a connect of a connect, you know? Now, mind you, the connect had initially connected us so that I might be able to work around her house and be allowed to use one of her free rooms. It didn’t work out like that, but she still needed someone to work around the house. Faith amongst one another is one of those ethnic things that got lost when the Afkans got born through all those forced sexual engagements and rapes, you know?

 

I rode around with the sister and we collected the wood, enough to overfill the 4 x 4 bed that was used to haul the wood form U City’s recreational department to the elderly woman’s home. Once back, I unloaded the wood, and stacked it in reasonably ordered way. As noted, I only have two hoodies, neither zips up, so, I’m working to get through the process at a certain point. And although the work was less than a chore really for me, it does go back to certain principles. I walked away with less than promised, I felt the ripple of the bridge as the flames began to consume it, and I felt like,”what did I do wrong here?” Nothing. I could make really drastic demands on a woman old enough to be the grandmother I just buried, or I could be me and chalk it up to an opened hand developing arthritis. You know?

 

Now, that was all on the 11th of January. Today, I wake up and roll over, press the plastic sheet used to insulate the window in the room I’ve been afforded up to the window pane, so as to see outside. The echo of the thought must have been heard as I felt the window creak and shake a bit. “No” couldn’t have been screamed louder by an Arab in US military custody. I looked at the snow, and I got up, turned the space heater towards the desk, and began my day of research and uploading content to the various web sites I’m developing. I ventured through Twitter, and around midday, our good friend from the western states, Writer Randolph wrote some interesting commentary. Being a fairly astute student of hoodthropology, I recognized the tone of his salutation as what it was: damn reckless. My first emotional response was laughter. You know? Twitter is an interesting place to talk with a certain bravado. I thought to my Self, “what would anything matter here in this space? I can’t swing at you and you can’t swing at me, yet you are writing in a tone that suggests somewhat differently.” I gave in and told him that I had disagreements with a post of his, and that I had responded via Asylum. He made notions about his dedication to the Black race, his world renown stance of not being a “Tom”, and hurled a few insults about me not being a man for not using his name after he quoted me using his name(read it again and I promise it will make sense in the morning).

 

I didn’t want to hassle with it. I got a little heated, knocked off a few lines of code and ventured across the street to King Omawali and Makeda’s house. I let Makeda spin me about web sites and logo prices, and then I got bored with that. So, now I’m here. 1693 words later I’ve still got to figure out how to get child support payments in the mail, a new coat, legal fees covered, phone bill paid, and a decent haircut(stop laughing, goatees have to be trimmed professionally, too) before I fly out to join Brie(we already did the “you guys call her thing”, right? Cool.) My problems are a little larger than Twitter. I’m a little larger than Twitter. So should you be.

 

Homelessness didn’t break my wherewithal. It didn’t fashion any weakness onto my character. In some ways it made me more willing to allow pawns to become queens for kings that think they can’t be seen. I can’t say what will happen when Writer Randolph and I meet face to face and these words we have shared have to find a rectification. It is a shame that we can’t somehow behave better than 19 year old gang bangers; especially given the violence and pain of both of our histories. But, I’m in a better place now. At the moment I’m extremely happy with now. So, we’ll see about then when we get there.

 

Where Black people choose to go is solely on the guidance and direction of leaders such as my Self and your Self. I’ve never seen a group of people that didn’t have factions and cliques. I’ve reserved within my Self to deal with my portion of influence over Akfans. Come what may…

 

Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.

 

Hey, Brie…

WTF is a GreenDJHTY?!?

*Cleans powder substance from underneath fingernails*

First…I have missed Asylum dearly. I know that it has been over a month since my last post, and I want to let everyone know that I’ve been busy, BUT I should be back to a regular regiment shortly. As of late, I’ve been back to reading and doing some design work. Also going through my skyline(that is my timeline on Twitter – coined by our ever so creative brother over at TrueIndeed ). It can be of great benefit for me to scour through the young sisters promoting their vaginas and mouths for less than the cost of two monthly bus passes, the grand scholars that are so intelligent that they must have debated all the great minds in the world because they focus so much attention now on those they deem unworthy of their intellectual capabilities and resort to referring to those that actually can be found in the Black community as “culture pimps,” and it always provides great insight for me to click on the links of the thousands of CEOs, Movie Producers, and Models that go by names like @TheConceitedWhore, @I’mFuckingGreat, and @BadBarbieBitchWithMastersDegree.

Of course, all of those are caricature of what I’ve actually seen…not too much of a stretch, however. I am still somewhat appalled by the manner in which we utilize applications like Twitter, but I suppose others could look at my usage and frown their funny looking noses. And as much as I enjoy a round of “who can use the most obscure theories to prove that they should be seen as the smartest”, I still find my Self enamored by the sheer strength of the Black people that don’t even venture online that I deal with. Is it still politically correct to call Black people “strong”?

I also think I’m suffering from post-bullshit tweet disorder(PBTD). Reading the timelines of all of these “scholarly” activists after arriving at the place I have now (read: one bad day away from every where I come from), I often wonder where the hell all of these heroes were at when I was washing my socks in bathroom sinks and sneaking into the gym just to take a shower, hoping no one saw me shaving and brushing my teeth. I still laugh when reading the updates on twitter describing how important that piece of paper from the wizard granting us our brains was. I laugh because I remember being the only outspoken Black male in ALL of my classes. While the new age media scholars harangue those that I deem worthy of certain honors, I can’t help but to recall the preppy guys that only spoke when phrasing questions out of statements the instructor had just relayed. The quiet sisters that hid their pride behind feigned disdain while I argued the wisdom of whites not pursing their lips to even think about saying “nigga” no matter how many times they heard me use it on the quad. I remember having to pry the actual reasons why white instructors told that particular anecdote about that particular “african-american”(and no bitch, that’s still not the politically correct term. I’ll call YOU when I make up MY fucking mind about what I want you to refer to ME as). And I even laugh as I recall all the Black males that had “swag” signing up for audio classes that are probably now the same guys trying to question me about what I write. Nonetheless…I love all of you. If not for being apart of my contemporary expression of my socially genetic defined family, simply because you fuckers make me stay up night after night to prove your stigmas, your standards, and your statistics wrong.

Oh, and yes, I used first person and second person in the same paragraph;expect more you petty fucks.

While I carried a 3.7 on my homeless shoulders, I also didn’t cringe at what I determined to be the mindless chatter of the “always late to class but first to point out some trivial straw” crowd. Yeah, I remember you. You’re the one that never saw an award letter from financial aid because it was always mailed to your parents who were footing the bill. Due to your lack of appreciation for what enough of us were going “down through it” to obtain, you drank with your white buddies what you thought was a breakthrough on your way to liquor connoisseur heaven: jagermeister. You were so much of a tadpole you woke up late and entered class with no excuses – your only means of saving face? Explaining to the instructor that they had used a double negative during a lecture. How bright you must feel to have remembered your lessons from 2nd grade grammar.

Your parents must be proud…

So as I enter my second year as the Chief Executive Officer of a community globally(yeah, the world, Craig) recognized as Owl’s Asylum, I teeter back and forth with my decision to have returned to school. There is an on-going joke in certain circles:

“What do you call a college drop out? An Entrepreneur.”

Wocka Wocka!!…but still…there is a lot of truth in jest.

While the underachieving students now have shiny graduate honors and doctorates just for winning the “I Showed Up” award, and I look for a place to pawn my BA for enough money to start paying back Mohela and FedLoan, I realize that not much has changed since I made it down that yellow brick road in anticipation of the wizard handing me my brain (I actually like the brain I built before I met my CR date, but that is another topic entirely). These days you can find me on calls from Baltimore to Seattle, listening to the melodious orders of children demanding their father’s attention. Fathers that look very much like my Self, and fathers that work diligently to build their own brands and companies. Brothers that I deem very much more intelligent and creative than my Self despite the fact that I owe at least 50 thou on my “refined” mind(I should have invested in a Benz, at least people would think I was “cool”).

Ruminations of a person with my brand of sordid background can often be in conflict, and I’ve pretty much just accepted my dissonant thoughts. I did what most wouldn’t believe manageable, and yet, the most important thing I learned in the halls of learning is that most people equate “intelligence” with salaried slavery. While those same individuals that I defeated in classroom debates(I’m joking, the types of characters I’m discussing knew better) mock me on social networks, I am often only comforted by the neural discussion that I did stick to my plan, and that I stayed true to my dreams in a world where souls are sold on Ebay at a “buy now” price of twenty dollars. And yet…my greatest tasks still lie before me: I’m a tech geek with a vicious write hook(yes, “write” hook, ass suck), a lifetime of debt, and a reputation that blacklists me out of the perceived social contract. I’m actually not too disturbed by the blacklisting, I was a primary school geek, I know how to handle the “popular” crowd’s conformity, and even more, I know how to manipulate the rule makers. But debt is slavery in one form or another, and I have to deal with that. So, welcome to the GreenDJHTY…

If you are still are wondering what the fuck a GreenDJHTY is, let’s just say I got a crown royal bag full of them…and I’m ready to do the impossible again…

Tell a friend: The Bird Brain Bastard is back….and brought edutoxicants…

The Eight Reasons Why I’m Responding…

I suppose I’ve always had my own personal bouts with self-hate, and the influences of media with that regard. I do consider the thought pattern as something of a psychosis, an internal battle to force all that is wrong with you into a mental template based on your outer presentation. Or vibration of energies reflecting from you, as the case is, in more technical terms. I never knew just how deeply the roots of this particular thought pattern where, however, until I began a more concentrated perusal of the things that people write on the interweb. The more Black blogs I read, the more I wonder if we are all satirist, vying for a spot on The Onion, or just madly in love with hating ourselves and wishing to be white.

No disclaimers.

So, while I was listening to Rick Ross’ “Push It To The Limit” for the fourth, fifth, or even possibly sixth time(theme songs should always be played on repeat), I came across a Twitter update in the @BetterYouEbook timeline retweeted from one of the people that I follow. The update was a lambaste regarding @ToureX of mainstream media fame, and he interviews hip hop artists sometimes too. Being a fan of Toure X beratings, I decided to follow the course of replies to where they originated. Man oh man, did I not know how far down that rabbit hole would take me. Let’s say I wound up at the doorstep of @madamenoire.

Now, one of the major dangers(depending on who you are), and one of the perks(once again, depending on who you are) of interweb usage is being able to conjure up a variable of identities. Let that thought sit for a timepiece, will return to that later.

Being of a sound mind, alright, I was on a break from work and decided to get on twitter and surf for a few minutes, I clicked on the link to the Madame Noire website, and I did a google search on the name. I was lead to the timeline of another person that I follow on twitter: @Christelyn(Also known as Christelyn Karazin, writer of the book,“Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed”(I can’t conjure this stuff up, folks, if only my imagination were that cruel…). The updates that I found in her timeline, the consecutively posted updates in her timeline, mind you, are here captured in this jpeg:


No implications necessary. I do believe that Christelyn is brash and bold enough to write under her own handle. However, as always in the Asylum, when we do critiques of others works, we want to not be bothered with grammatical errors, syntax, or pettiness–we come for intentions. Since I am not accusing Christelyn of writing the piece that we will be critiquing in this post, I don’t want to spend too much time on her blog with categories in her top navigation such as:“My Story: Jumping The Broom With A White Boy” aligned next to her navigational link of “No Wedding, No Womb”–the online movement that she spearheads with the pronounced focus of(according to her website):”…is an initiative that seeks to address the problems of – and provide solutions to — the unplanned pregnancies among African American single women.” Obviously, yes, OBVIOUSLY, one of her main solutions to solving the problem of children in the Black community being born out of wedlock is for Black women to get married to White men and have babies.(With all the banter about “marrying a white boy”, I have no fear of a rebuttal on that note!)

As stated, this is not an address on Christelyn or her “trademarked slogan, No Wedding, No Womb!”(If I could make it up, I wouldn’t be broke!!). It is simply a lengthy(I know, I know already, on with the show…) introduction and a neat(well, I thought so before you guys started skimming…) anecdote on how I got to read this post: “8 Reasons To Date A White Man”(featured in the “LIVING” section, no doubt(thank the Universe for the interwebs, I am simply not this creative…).

Alright…what everybody came for…

According to the article written by LaShaun Williams(I’m really hoping the google results on your name are incorrect, sister):

” I am married to a Black man—dark-skinned, 100 percent cocoa. To me, there is nothing more physically beautiful on this earth. Notice I said physically. Outside of that, there are plenty of more financially, intellectually and emotionally stable options. It’s time to taste the unknown. There are just too many—too many bright and beautiful single Black women waiting for their Black prince charming, only to see more and more of them riding off with their porcelain-skinned beauties.


My question is what are you waiting for—a baby and no ring? Black men are obviously seeing a lot in others they like. As an open-minded woman, I can tell you from experience some things about white are right. In no particular order, here are the reasons you should be giving vanilla a chance.”

The initial opening salvo is basically a disclaimer. It is a technique used in critical writings to stave off ad hominem attacks. Now, I agree that one should be careful with ad hominem usages, primarily due to the tendency too place to much attention on the messenger and not the message. In this case, I feel a “This IS Sparta!” moment coming on. She states that she is married to a black man, makes sure that we know he is of the darker variety of such sexually appealing beasts, and that this sexual appealing stud(or brute, you can choose your own US slavery created stereotype here) has no other values to offer. The description of the man she has married to is then very subtly magnified to represent the general population of Black men.

There are several qualifying characteristics we will have to infer from the piece, and it best that we get them out of the way. What does Williams mean by Black? Is she referring to a description of all humans with a melanin make up of high density compared to those of European origin? Is she simply referring to the ones of US birth? Due to her not offering us any statistics or facts beyond conjecture, we are left to assume that she is referring to Black men born in the United States of America. For the sake of the argument, we also assume that she is referring to White man born in the United States of America.

Williams moves into her second paragraph with another generalization and assumption based on popular belief. She asks her audience–we will assume by virtue of the context that she is writing for an audience of single black heterosexual women– what are they waiting for, a baby and no ring. Once again, we have the correlation of the “No Wedding, No Womb” movement with the thoughts of this author. Once again, I am addressing a correlation, and not an implication. The writer assumes that, and I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, that the majority of Black eligible bachelors are simply going to get women pregnant and leave them. I’m a little taken aback here because of the degree of patriarchal sentiment. The idea that every black woman wants to be married, that marriage is the panacea of all of one’s woes, that Black men don’t marry Black women, that Black women don’t know how to be responsible over their bodies with regard to sexual intercourse–just a litany of general assumptions wrapped up in one scare tactic. And ultimately, the solution is the white man.

One more thing before I move on, because it occurred to me while reading the William piece: why didn’t she use any other culture? Alright, you feel the need to attack Black men, and that is what this piece is, a direct attack against black men, and a testimonial to just how far Black people HAVEN’T come in this society as a unified community. And yet, Williams could have said any other culture of men that have a culture where she believes a Black woman could find some one simpler or easier to marry. You have a whole continent of men raised in cultures where marriage is tied to the Aryan notions of patriarchal religious standards. You can look all throughout the continent of Afrika and find men willing to do much of the things she assumes that most black men are not going to do. But she didn’t. Why not?

Moving on…

Number ONE

” Gay White men tend to be more forthcoming about their sexuality with family and friends. The down low phenomenon is less prevalent, which preserves the battery usage on your gaydar and relieves the stress of dissecting every male relationship.”

This is just damn silly. The Oprah effect is such a dynamic force in the Black community. So forceful, so influential, that a women by the name of Lashaun Williams would use as a reason for Black women not to date brothers, and instead look toward the children of their former slave masters, and present oppressors for a commitment is the “Down Low Brother Syndrome”. The tendency for white republicans to vote against gay rights and yet they are gay is not considered. The Catholic priesthood with the embarrassing record of homosexual molestations while preaching against homosexuality and touting marriage gets overlooked as well. I suppose these cases are different due to the societal pressures placed on these men by the public…and why do we suppose the Black men that are hiding their homosexual tendencies are doing it for? There are no white men who feel the same pressures?

I would further this discussion by saying that homosexuality in the black community is actually more excepted there than in the white community. I tend to believe that the predominance of homosexuality in the white community is higher, however. More people tend to create a situation of more behaviors being displayed. But the notion that my little sister or older sister has more of a chance of dating a closet homosexual in the black community than the white is simply preposterous.
Number TWO

” Thanks to the absence of family, fathers and marriage in the Black community, a great number of our men have backward expectations when it comes to romantic relationships. A higher percentage of White men come from stronger family structures and more traditional gender roles, where the men seek to care for the women.”

Once again, Williams is trumpeting one)a grave generalization, and two) a notion of white patriarchy. She is equating “romance” with the concept of a man taking care of a woman. Regardless of my own personal beliefs or agreement, not all men believe like that, in fact many white men don’t. If we look at the statements of Chad Hurley, the late Randy Pausch, and John McClain, we see a number of white man who have “married up”. It is simply not a verity that all white men think that they are supposed to take care of a woman, let alone treat her in anyway akin to “romantic”.

It is here that the woman known to us as “Lauren Williams” begins to tell on whoever she is, or whoever is using that psuedonym(more like nome de guerre, but I told myself I’d be nice…). Is it romance that you really want, or someone to pay off all of those college loans you’ve accrued over the years? I’m slightly kidding, I don’t know if this Lauren Williams is even real, I mean, I don’t know if they ever went to college, or have any debts, but they are pushing the money thing pretty tough here.

Number THREE

” Black women are graduating from college and Black men continue to drop out. As a result, degrees become intimidating when dating Black men. In White culture, education is valued and expected. Thus, White men have no problem dating educated women with advanced degrees. It is impressive rather than intimidating.”

A few thoughts come to mind here: White women graduate at higher numbers than all US college students. This is an aggregate of a few factors: women tend to enroll in higher numbers, women tend to fare better than men in college, and in a society where there are more white families with the economic resources to send their children to paid institutions of higher learning, you are going to find more white women than any other ethnic grouping.

Black men don’t have an issue dating white women with degrees, so this argument needs to be refined. I won’t attack the flimsy premise, because I’d like to get a rethinking on this notion. The idea being, I’d like it to address the fact that in the United States of America, most men drop out of college. The reasons of economics needs to be reflected in that discussion.
Number FOUR(yes, I do feel like the Count from Sesame Street doing this…)

“For whatever reason, White men just don’t have children sprinkled all over the world like Black men. And, if they do, most of them were married to the mother at some point. Sure, they divorce but you can only divorce if you at least attempt a marriage.”

So, it is alright to have babies “sprinkled all over the world”(hyperbole much, chick?), as long as you have at least attempted a marriage? I don’t want anyone to claim that I am throwing straw, so let me break this one down for my critics.

Her premise: If a white man has babies all over the world(the world, Craig…sorry), then they must have been divorced.
The antecedent: Sure, White men divorce.
Conclusion: It is okay that they have babies all over the world because they were once married.

Divorce rates not withstanding…

Continuing…

Number FIVE

” They may listen to rap music, but they are smart enough not to act it out. The “thug life” is not something to be aspired. White men have a firmer grasp on what really defines manhood.”

Sure, chick…sure
The United States of America is a patriarchal country. Hypermasculine behavior can be seen in the form of Marine males screaming “Uh RA! Devil Dog!”, to white athletes gang raping women(HERE and HERE). If we take a look at the media messages, we will see that Black males are often more feminized in their portrayals than their white counterparts. Ultimately, hypermasculinity and gender role definitions are an issue of a patriarchal rulership, especially one with the foreign policy and military propaganda of the United States. To assert that white males are not affected by the stream of images portraying them as tough undefeatable boxers, one man armies, and Mafiaoso killers is to be lazy in one’s research. Maybe that one researcher should start with the increasing number of white militias appearing around the country. Or maybe that researcher should use a definition of manhood that wasn’t authored by the white manhood she is attempting measure black manhood by.
Number SIX

” Black people, especially men, are always trying to shine—often spending more money than they have. White men tend to be more educated in the area of finance with a greater understanding of retirement planning, savings, investments, etc. This is mostly due to a higher level of exposure and teaching, but all that matters is they know and make better decisions than Black men when it comes to managing money.”

This assumes an assimilist posture. For one, everybody’s definition of the slang term,”shine” is different. Therefore it is highly specious to assume that what White men do with their money is different in scope than what black men do. But that would be straw, right?

It is difficult for me to stereotype the spending habits of all men, let alone generalized on the spending habits of Black men. Most Black men that I know would actually be considered fiscally conservative. In Thomas M. Shapiro’s book,”The Hidded Cost Of Being African American”, he notes the danger of assuming a lack of financial responsibility on the part of blacks in comparison to a group of people who are able to pass on wealth held generationally. That is to say, it is easy for someone to spend foolishly and be overlooked for that err in judgment if mom and dad are going to foot the bill. It is also interesting for me to note here that many white males are allowed to stay with their parents longer than many Black males. And many white males have a considerable inheritance and financial foundation to make mistakes that Blacks aren’t afforded.

And it must be highlighted, that once again, the writer has returned to their main selling point: white men will take care of you…with their money. That is so…moving on…

Number SEVEN

” Ever wonder why White people can date the friends of exes and so on? It’s because they don’t let the past hinder the present. Promiscuous Black men think they deserve to settle down with virgins, and allow past relationships to haunt the present. Not White men. They have no problem turning a hoe into a housewife.”

I will agree that the white media portrays the white woman as virtuous beyond their past indiscretions. However, white males are trained in the same ways as black males to deem women as objects. As such, women are rated by how easy a sexual conquest can occur. Take a look at the phrase,”Oh, anybody can beat that guy ass” and compare it to,”Oh, anybody can fuck her.” Its a sport, and it is a sport that has been passed down to blacks through whites. According to bell hooks in her book,”Ain’t I A Woman”, one of the many reasons that white men avoided serious commitments to Black women during the early twentieth century was because they deemed Black women as overly sexual, irredeemably so. If we take a cursory look at a movie such as “Showgirls”, we see that it is the White woman who is deemed as worthy of romantic commitments regardless of her sexual promiscuity, and it is the black woman that is sodomized regardless of her innocence.

Of course, I’m being extremely kind due to criticisms from the academic community. I could just as easily have stated, “Why would any woman identify herself as a ‘hoe’?” Very telling there, Williams…very telling.

Number EIGHT

” Intimidation and insecurity are two reasons for the rift between Black men and women. As a result of their insecurities and low self-esteem, Black men are intimidated by the strength of an educated and ambitious Black woman. Rather than seeing her as a strong teammate, she is a threat to their manhood. Thus, they feel the need to overcompensate. White men, on the other hand, are more secure. What Black men see as threatening is what makes a great wife and business partner to them.”

You’ve got to be kidding me, right? So, white women are still attempting break the influence of the “Old Boys Network” because white men are so secure in their positions? Sure. Women have more degrees than white men, women have more jobs than white men, and yet women get less money and typically live in poverty. Is that because of Black men? Or is that because of the rulership of your precious white man? Can someone please give me the statistics of businesses ran by a white man and black woman? Can someone else give me the statistics of businesses ran by a black man and a black woman? Oh…she didn’t mean a real business…hmmm…I think I’m starting see a pattern here…