Scary Black Men

Am I really that scary? I’m  only 5’9’’ 180 pounds.  This is what I asked myself when a girl ran away from me as I walked down Ellis Avenue two weeks ago. Initially I was flabbergasted by her reaction. Did I look like a criminal? I had on an under armour shirt and some old basketball shorts because I had just left the gym. Was I doing anything out of the ordinary? No, I was just walking with a tote bag in my hand. From my vantage point I looked like an unassuming University of Chicago student tired from a long day of lectures and treadmills. She started walking briskly after she looked back and saw me behind her around the Midway. By the time I got to 59th and Ellis, she was in front of the Burton Judson Dormitory frantically searching for something in her purse.  Maybe it was a key or maybe it was mace.  Am I overanalyzing the situation? Maybe she really just had to use the bathroom. All I know is that when she saw me her nonchalant walked instantly changed into a deliberate sprint.


Today in Post-Race History: No Homo

I’m having trouble embedding the video in question.  Please view it here.

Remember last year when all the white gay people were mad at black people because Prop 8 passed in California?  Well, it wasn’t a fluke.  We’re still their whipping boys (er, bois?).  Last week, my internet boyfriend AC (again, the only man I’d ever seriously consider marrying), sent me a link of the above video, where Current TV contributor, Bryan Safi learns us about the phrase “No Homo.”   Most of the commenters loved this piece and deemed it “genius.”  Me?  Not so much.

Friendships and Mirrors and Birds…oh my.

Growing up, my grandmother always told me to be careful who i let into my circle. Then, i didn’t understand why she was so intent on keeping me away from those “fast-tailed” girls in her neighborhood. The immediate result of my social isolation was that i was teased for being “too stuck up” or thinking that i was “too good” to hang out with them. The lasting result was that i am now extremely guarded.

i realize that this picture is not related to my post content but the bad grammar and the cats made it too good to pass up, really.

Derrion Albert, Fenger High and the Neighborhood Melee Part 1

Derrion Albert’s murder was something like a blood sport event. As you watch in this clip, you can hear the man and woman, the camera crew, filming with their phone.  Starting at 36 seconds, the man says “Let me see that shawty,” to which the female responds presumably as

First Strike

First Strike

she hands over the phone, “Zoom-in… Zoom-in, Zoom-in.” As Derrion strikes out at another teen, we see one young man pick up the wooden railroad tie and strike Derrion across the back of his head.  As Derrion Albert tries to get up, he is clipped again by another guy, whose punch puts Derrion down for a while as folks kick, stomp and hit him while he is on the ground.  We then hear the male from the  camera crew yell, “Damn, they kickin’ that NIGGA’S ASS.”

The Ballroom Scene: Family Life

blog #17 gay house church

A week before I returned to University of Chicago for my second year of college, I encountered what I like to call “an incident.” My brother, on this particular day followed his normal pattern of entering the basement room of my mother’s house in a drunken state. His drinking problem is one thing, but his homophobia mixed with intoxication is not a good combination. My brother chose to make comments about my friend and I, as we passed him on the way to my room.

“Why are these fucking fags in my house!?! Maybe if I bash their heads in they will stop coming! I hate these gay ass niggas, its nasty, and they’re nasty!!” (My brothers actual words)

Homo-phobic Fam insert here blog #17

He went on for 30 minutes in a nearby room, yelling every homophobic obscenity his slurred vocabulary could muster.

Fighting For Your Health

Ladies and gentlemen I want a clean fight with nothing below the belt. Maybe boxers heed this message but in the world of politics there is no such thing as a clean fight. With the passage of Senator Max Baucus’ health care reform bill in the Senate Finance committee, Democrats are gearing up for a slugfest. Honestly, even I’m worn out by the infighting and drama that is surrounding this spectacle known as health care reform.

Of course I knew it wouldn’t be a knock out for reform supporters. The idea of government run healthcare dates back to 1910 when it was referred to as compulsory health insurance. Healthcare reform was atop of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s agenda in 1939 but by that time Congress was so upset with Social Security and unemployment that they nixed his idea. Harry Truman was a big proponent of a single payer system. But with the Cold War and the “Red Scare”

Today in Post-Race History: Ignoble Nobels

Here’s your daily dose of hate-filled pessimism.

Dear Vh1, Guess who’s having the best year ever.  Hope.  That’s right, Hope–a four-letter word I find no reason to use unless it’s accompanied by a “-less.”  Yet, in retrospect, I totally should’ve kept the little bit of Hope stock I had.  Instead, I panicked when the economy kissed it* and sold it to David Axelrod for a Home Run Inn Pizza coupon and a used copy of The Jordan Rules.  Yep.  I choked, just like my fantasy football team did this week.  (Gargamel’s Revenge is now 4-1.)  Hope is not intangible.  Hope is priceless.  Hope is worth more than the American dollar multiplied by GM stock.  Hope is currency.  Hope can e-race you.  Hope can garner you more votes than your opponents.  Hope will win you Nobels.

(kissed it = committed suicide)

Week of October 5, 2009 to October 11, 2009

Inner-city L.A. hungers for good grocery stores
Daniel B. Wood, The Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2009

Merit of Stop-Frisk Law at Issue
Colleen Long, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2009

Schools Cited on Discipline of Minority Special-Ed Students
Holly Prestidge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 9, 2009

Two ways Chicago can curb its youth violence epidemic
Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2009

Black Youth Face Growing Threat of Violence from Peers
Kristin Gray, City News Ohio, October 8, 2009

Study Finds High Rate of Imprisonment Among Dropouts
Sam Dillon, New York Times, October 8, 2009

Derrion not the first victim, or the last; Fighting between teens in public housing, neighborhoods not new
Mary Mitchell, The Chicago Sun-Times, October 8, 2009

Economic Realities End Hoop Dreams; Hundreds Say Goodbye To Scholarship Fund
Timothy Wilson, Washington Post Staff Writer, October 8, 2009

Working to Shed Light on Very Dark Practices; Activists Seek End to Human Trafficking in D.C.
Vanessa Mizell; Washington Post Staff Writer, October 8, 2009

US vows to tackle teen violence; In Chicago, aids to Obama decry killing of student
Karen Hawkins, Associated Press, October 8, 2009

Student beating spurs action; Duncan, Holder call for ‘national conversation’ on ‘plague’ of teen slayings
Rosalind Rossi, The Chicago Sun-Times, October 8, 2009

We can’t give up on these kids; This time, reaction to murders of children must be different
Mark Brown, The Chicago Sun-times, October 8, 2009

Attorney General, in Chicago, Pledges Youth Violence Effort
Susan Saulny, The New York Times, October 8, 2009

Teen’s death ‘a call to action’; Anti-violence campaigns renew after fatal beating
Judy Keen, USA Today, October 8, 2009

Official Pledge Campaign Against Youth Violence
Peter Slevin; Washington Post, October 8, 2009

Mattel introduces black Barbies, to mixed reviews
Megan K. Scott, Associated Press, October 8, 2009

School Diversity Program in North Carolina Draws ire of Voters
Mike Baker, The Associated Press, October 7, 2009

Black Youth and the Growing Number of Suicides
Eric L. Wesson, Kansas City Call, October 5, 2009.

He's Peaceful? Yep, we're telling lies, I mean stories Today!

So, I woke up this morning feeling groggy and moody because there was a fire in my apartment complex last night. So, I didn’t sleep well. However, like most mornings, I got up hoping that the world would be a little less racist, a little less sexist, a little less homophobic, and a little less greedy. Hmmph, but this is not that morning. So, after having a cup of rooibos tea this morning (my favorite tea because it is not caffeinated), I turned on my TV and what did I find? An end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? An end to systemic rape in Darfur? An end to poverty in Haiti? An end to police surveillance and suppression of black youth in Chicago? Oh no, none of these “peaceful” things. What I found was a lie . . . a terrible falsehood . . . an egregious fabrication of the truth . . . and what my grandmother calls, “speaking outside the side of your neck.”

You Think I'm Black?

“What? You think I’m Black.” I’ve heard this response more than I care to remember. What’s worse is that I’ve heard this from Black folks. You’re probably wondering what kinds of Black folks don’t know that they are Black. No I’m not talking about Clarence Thomas. Nor am I talking about fairer skinned Black people. In my two years of college I’ve met at least ten Black people who refuse to recognize the fact that they are Black. While, they do not deny their ethnicity, many say they feel pigeonholed by being labeled as Black. This past week, I approached a young lady of color in the dining hall who looked to be a pecan brown. I struck up a conversation with her about her courses and extra-curricular activities.