Cruel and Unusual? Indeed.

Amnesty International is a non-governmental international organization that often campaigns against human rights abuse and calls for international compliance to standards of ethics. Lethal injection is the standard method of execution in the United States.

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Amnesty has issued a report stating that the cocktail of drugs used in lethal injections can cause excruciating pain and can also cause paralysis so that the convict can’t scream or in any way show that they are in pain. 

Mobs, Cracker Barrel, and Hunters . . . Oh My!

So, what does a frog, a violent racist white man, and non-violent racially complicit white people have in common? Well, they’re all  mammals. No, that’s not the answer because a frog is an amphibian. What they have in common is that they all contribute if not directly participate in the abuse of black women. I know at this point, many of you are wondering how so and in particular how the frog figures into the equation. Well, I’m glad you asked young grasshopper. Inspired by summer’s You Gon’ Be All Right: On Maia Campbell and (More on) Tyler Perry, I decided that I too wanted to map connections between dissimilar current events to talk about how they represent normal and normalizing narratives of violence against black women. The stories I want to talk about are the upcoming Disney movie, The Frog and the Princess and the Cracker Barrel Nut. I know for some of you these stories seem inconsequential to each other. However, if you look closer you will see common strands of violence against black women.

So, let’s begin with talking about Disney’s The Frog and the Princess. Of, course there are many critiques to throw against this movie from the emphasis on girls being Princesses to the racist stereotyping of African cosmologies.  However, the bone I have to pick with the film today has to do with the “white” hillbilly “frog” hunters pursuing and hoping to eat the first Black Princess, Princess Tiana, who spends the majority of the film as a frog. Of course, I am pretty sure Disney like the rest of Post-Race America is banking on black people being so desirous of a black princess that they will only see the “clueless” and “stupidly innocent” nature of the white frog hunters because how could the hunters know the true “human nature” of princess Tiana. (In my best sarcastic voice) Just like how could Glen Beck and Joe Wilson know that their comments about Barack Obama were racist they were only saying what they felt they didn’t call him the “N” word. And my response to this hogwash is that’s some cow dung. Yep, just in case you did not catch it I said “cow dung” instead of using the four letter expletive.

Even if the white hillbilly frog hunters are impervious to Princess Tiana’s humanity the historical and at times very present nature (i.e. Duke Lacrosse Team gang rape of Black female Dancer) of white male mobs “hunting” black women’s bodies should have signaled an alarm. But, it did not because it’s all too common of a practice to abuse or to imagine abusing black women whether they are human or in “frog” form. If you are skeptical of my claim all one has to do is look at the footage of the Boston Tea Party March on DC, go to a Cracker Barrel, read about what happened to Semenya, or type the phrase “black girl” into any search engine to know black women like other women of color are subjected to the most violent and horrific forms of real and imaginary physical and sexual abuse and often without legal, societal, and communal recourse.

And let’s be honest, Disney is not completely clueless to the historical meaning of white mobs because if they were the white hillbilly frog hunters would be featured in The Frog and the Princess’ movie trailers, but they are not. To know that they are a part of the movie you have to visit The Frog and the Princess’ Facebook Fan Page. 5655_151497223708_99911703708_3551667_1534218_nThere you meet the white hillbilly hunters—Two Fingers, Reggie, and Darnell.  And of course, Disney makes sure to mention how “dim witted” the klan clan is as if their dim wittedness and “hunger” for frog legs is suppose to make us feel as if they do not really mean “intentional” harm to Princess Tiana because if they, the klan clan of hunters, knew she was human than they would not harm her. Yeah right. What crack is Disney smoking? It must be that good stuff that Whitney referred to in her interview with Diane Sawyer. Because if we bring into the conversation the historical setting of the movie—French Quarter turn of the century— white supremacy and racism was the law of the land meaning white men could easily rape and kill black women without retribution meaning the seemingly innocent dim witted white hunters in Disney’s film could literally not only eat frog legs, but also devour black women’s flesh through rape.

And of course, we don’t have to look at historical times to see how white men have violent access to black women’s bodies. Just look at what happened to Tashawnea Hill and 7-year old daughter at a Georgia’s Cracker Barrel. Ms. Hill, an African American woman, was beaten by Troy West, a white man, because she asked him politely to watch out when opening the door at Cracker Barrel. At this affront, Troy West started to beat Ms. Hill and call her Black Nigger Bitch. No one intervened to help her and her daughter. Furthermore, Ms. Hill recalled how some of the white patrons grinned in delight as she was beaten senseless. Can you believe that no one helped her? Perhaps, it isn’t difficult not to believe because just a month ago a black woman was beaten by her husband in broad daylight and no one interviewed to help her.

And of course of many of you are saying what does all of this have to do with an animated Disney Film? Well, it has everything to do with it because movies like The Frog and the Princess and Monster’s Ball represent what is normal, acceptable, if not downright desirous behavior toward and of black women. It becomes publicly sanctioned behavior for men irrespective of race to abuse black women. Therefore, Disney’s animation and characterization of the white hunters as dim witted white hillbillies minimizes the intended violence of the hunters, makes their violence normal, and makes their “hunger” a justified reason for killing Princess Tiana. This all too well reminds me of what a white man screamed at the Boston Tea Party March on DC this last Saturday. Holding a sign that read, “We did not bring guns this time,” a middle age white man begins to fuss about how he lost his job and how the government is too big because of black welfare queens. I know all too well how his words and job loss can justify the retrenchment and sidewalk abuse of black women during this recession time.

Lions and tigers and bears Mobs, Cracker Barrels, and Hunters . . . Oh My!

Fundamentally Flawed!!!

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Romell Broom

Romell Broom, 53 year old death row inmate, began to help the executioners do their job. He scuffled to put pressure on the left side of his body while he slid the rubber tubing up his left arm. They attempted to stick him with a needle, it didn’t hold. Romell continued by moving his arm in a vertical motion, while he flexed and clinched his fist tight into a ball, as the doctors (AKA grim reapers AKA the execution team), once again stuck him with a needle while searching for a vein, and once again it didn’t hold. Finally, after two hours of this struggle, the execution team was able to find a vein, but it literally collapsed when the technicians attempted to insert saline fluid.

If you can’t tell by now, I am already against the death penalty. And in my opinion this event, that occurred yesterday(September 16, 2009) should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (where I worked this summer) called on state officials to immediately put a halt to executions, following the attempted execution of Romell Broom. The procedure was botched after the execution team failed to locate a viable vein after several hours of searching. Governor Strickland delayed Broom’s execution for one week in light of these problems.

This follows two other botched executions in Ohio beginning with Joseph L. Clark in May 2006 and Christopher Newton in May 2007. Both of these executions were eventually completed despite officials struggling to find viable veins on the men.

ACLU of Ohio Staff Counsel Carrie Davis said, “Governor Strickland must not allow another execution to happen in Ohio . The system used to carry out executions has been shown to be faulty and dangerous. If the state is going to take a person’s life, they must ensure that it is done as humanely as possible. With three botched executions in as many years, it’s clear that the state must stop and review the system entirely before another person is put to death,”

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Hopefully someone will get the picture and realize that state sponsored killing is not the best way to go. It is actually more expensive to kill a person with lethal injection, than it is to sentence an individual with life in prison and it is still racially unequal. Furthermore, with the advancement of technology and DNA samples, individuals that were killed on death row had later been found innocent of the crime. MEANING THE STATE HAS KILLED INNOCENT PEOPLE. Well, keeping in mind the wars we have been involved in just within the last 50 years (and recent torturing episodes at guantanomo), it definitely is not the first time.

Swagger-less Politicians


Barack Obama has it. What is it? Some call it swagger, some call it panache, and others say that it is uncanny composure. Nonetheless, it is an intangible characteristic that helps him appeal to the masses (obviously excluding politics). However, it seems as if today more than ever, Obama is in a class by himself when it comes to politicians with personality. By personality I don’t mean the ability to come up with cutesy retorts and one-liners to make the news cycle. I mean the ability to embrace their individuality without buying into the stiff suit cohort. Where are the politicians who enjoy spoken word, ride Harleys, and who are unashamed to say they listen to rap music? To be honest, many in mainstream America are uninformed. A lot of the electorate casts their ballots based on issues completely unrelated to candidate’s voting records and credentials. For some it’s race or gender, but for many it’s relatability. When Barack Obama said that he had Jay-z on his ipod it resonated with many people who weren’t necessarily entrenched in the political sphere. When Sarah Palin talked about her time as a hockey mom, many middle-aged mothers rejoiced that they could vote for someone just like them.

You Gon' Be All Right: On Maia Campbell and (More on) Tyler Perry

Note: I know this post is mad long.  I’ll be more succinct in the future.  I know you have better things to do.

Last week, I didn’t take the opportunity to blog about Maia Campbell, something that I had fully intended to do.  Instead, my only significant output was a blog about Tyler Perry taking over command of the for colored girls film.  I worry that not allowing myself time to post my thoughts about Campbell was an implicit, unspoken participation in the suppression and dismissal of her situation, her struggles.  I want to correct that.  Further, I want to make a connection to both events, which is something I haven’t seen folks do, but I find especially necessary at this juncture.

Where is the Black Liberal Agenda?

Last week we all had the opportunity to watch Barack Obama’s healthcare speech.

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A couple of weeks ago I asked, where is Obama’s Political Saavy? And in the above speech I believe not only did he find it, but he remembered what the people who voted him into office [overwhelmingly] mandated. So needless to say I was happy…

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way in which liberals/progressives managed to lobby Obama to get the kind of healthcare plan they wanted from him. Not even a couple of weeks ago, Obama was seriously wavering on the public option, but in the above speech, he was clear about his belief that it should be included in whatever health care bill was passed.

But I couldn’t help but wonder… why don’t we see this kind of political pressure from black activists and lobbyists? Everyday I get another email from a liberal/progressive group asking me to email/fax/call my representative/president, asking me to change my facebook status or asking me to attend (fill in the blank) rally.

Look Like A Lady?

WE DONT NEED NO WOMEN LOOKIN LIKE NO MEN. So slap some lipstick on, curly ya hair, let da finger nail polish sparkle, and finish it all off wit a brand new face of makeup!!!

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THIS IS RIDICULOUS! After the controversy last month about Caster Semenya’s gender, to me it is quite apparent that this “new look” was forced. Is the world THAT afraid of a woman who doesn’t fit the traditional “wear a dress, sit down and speak when spoken to” stereotype. I’m not against women having the choice to add to their bodies. I think if they like it, then they should wear as much makeup and other accessories as they want. What I am against is changing an 18 year old girl, to fit into the little box of what others feel more comfortable with.   blog12 cornrolls

However, I must caution my words a little bit because even though I don’t believe her, the fact still remains that Ms. Semenya went on record and said that she liked the makeover. Semenya told the BBC: “I’d like to dress up more often and wear dresses but I never get the chance. I am who I am and I’m proud of myself.”

I am glad that she is proud of herself; however, I think she should have said that she is proud of her new self. I have neither read nor seen anything from Semenya’s past that suggested she would want this type of makeover. The headline on the Magazine “We turned power girl, into glamour girl—and she loves it” still annoys the hell out of me.

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Then again, if I was trying to keep my career, future endorsements, and continue to do what I love, I might drink a couple protein shakes, turn on a sports game and put a little more base in my voice. (*joking)

All I can wish for at this point is that I am wrong in my assumptions, and that it was Caster Semenya’s choice to have this makeover. I hope that the ignorance of the world has not (once again) triumphed over another persons individuality. I pray that Semenya did not allow the world to change her natural self because she didn’t fit into the right image of what the media or anyone else wanted her to look like.

If so, this day is another step back for all of mankind. The gender struggle continues.

Interracial vs Intraracial dating, loving and fucking: Part 3

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAlk52_tJr8

When we talk about interracial dating in the new millennium, we are facing a new reality in America. In the above clip at UNC Chapel Hill, we see how youth feel about interracial dating. Unsurprisingly we find that many are open to interracial dating, except for the two black women Litesha and Ally.  Additionally, Si-on lm, an interviewee, admits that her parents would be concerned especially if her chosen partner was black.  Yet the prevailing feelings (or at least the director’s closing statements) were that the “deciding factor” should be about love between two people regardless of race.

The Ultimate Facebook Addiction: The Honesty Box

Like most Facebook addicts, at least the “honest” ones, I am member of Facebook because I can “stalk” people. Instead of rifling through neighbor’s trashcans and mail, I simply click on their photos, view their relationship statues, and see what events they’re attending to know all about their daily lives. To say the least, Facebook makes stalking easy and creates major obstacles for domestic violence advocates. I know at this point many of you are expecting me to launch into a tirade about protecting domestic violence victims on Facebook. However, this is not that post, perhaps next week. This post is about the addiction and the debauchery of Facebook’s Honesty Box. I know many of you reading this post are good wholesome salt of the earth tell me to my face people who are completely impervious to this application on Facebook. So, perhaps I should tell you about it. The Honesty Box is an application people can add to their profile pages. It allows people to post and respond to various questions with total anonymity. For instance, someone could write, “What do you honestly think of me?” on their honesty box and people within their friend network can respond with nice comments or not so nice comments under the guise of A-N-O-N-Y-M-I-T-Y.

I must say, I thoroughly enjoy writing in people’s honesty boxes. It is this delicious if not downright scrumptious idea of total anonymity meaning I can say anything I want to without retribution or consequences. And yes, I have written things in people Honesty Boxes that I would not dare utter publicly for fear of losing them as friends or for fear of appearing evil—ha, ha, ha (my sinister witch’s cackle).  But, I will say my honesty box sin of choice is to write things to people I have crushes on. It is so exciting and almost orgasmic the feeling you receive from being able to say anything to your crush. I won’t detail the conversations and things I’ve written because they’re private, but I will say I have an uncanny knack of making my crushes wonder who I am and when can they make my acquaintance.

But of course the Honesty Box is not all fun and games. I have been hurt by some of the things people have written about me. In particular, there was this guy who wrote in my honesty box, “I have been waiting a long time to fuck your strong black feminist ass to let you know who’s stronger.” And of course, the guy signed his message with his initials and I immediately knew who it was. So, I called him out on his profile page and blocked him from my profile. And of course, this episode should have soured my delight in writing in people’s honesty box, but it didn’t. Later that day, I still sent a message to an old Spelman sister about how conceited and Barbie like she was and how she needs to grow the hell up. Yeah, I enjoy the Honesty Box borderline addicted to it. At this very moment, I know what some of you are thinking, “You’re so passive aggressive just say it to their face.” And my response to you is this, “Do you always tell people what you think, probably not, if you’re honest.” Perhaps, its passive aggressiveness or perhaps it’s the thrill of doing something risky that’s so alluring. Who knows.

But, recently the thought has occurred to me what would happen if Facebook decides to make all Honesty Box’s comments public knowledge? Can you imagine the cyber anarchy that would ensue if Facebook decided to deactivate their privacy’s settings letting people know who said what and when? I guess I would be a visible target of many people’s anger and surprise. Given this likelihood one would assume I would shy away from posting comments in people’s honesty box, but hey I am full time grad student and I need a risky, but safe outlet to release my grad school frustrations, why not the Honesty Box. So, are there any other Honesty Box’s addicts out there in cyber space? Don’t worry about being exposed on this website, just make sure you use a good moniker and never sign a comment with your initials. Now, let me get back to writing my honest box message for today.

Roy G. Whiz

Uh oh.  It’s a code red (black and green).  The bat signal is out.  bell hooks has started spelling her name in all CAPS.  Call up your elders, pray to your ancestors; conjure up your inner fairies, spirits, and goddesses.  Tyler Perry is turning your favorite play, excuse me, choreopoem into a movie.