Monthly Archives: August 2014

“The Failure At Ferguson”

#PaperlessThoughts80

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

I often wonder why when black people come together after an act of injustice it’s always based around the same political, racial narrative. You know the narrative that whenever someone who is opposite of African-American descent or let’s just be honest; “anyone classified as a white male” narrative. But it becomes another heightened level of scrutiny when the individual in question is a white male police officer. Such is the case we have in Ferguson, Mo over the weekend involving an officer shooting and killing an unarmed young adult, 18-year-old Michael Brown. Here is an excerpt from CNN.com from a witness who was with Brown at the time of the shooting:

Dorian Johnson, 22, told CNN that he and Brown were walking in the middle of the street when a white male officer pulled up and told them, “Get the f*** on the sidewalk.” The young men replied that they…

View original post 1,560 more words

“The Failure At Ferguson”

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

I often wonder why when black people come together after an act of injustice it’s always based around the same political, racial narrative. You know the narrative that whenever someone who is opposite of African-American descent or let’s just be honest; “anyone classified as a white male” narrative. But it becomes another heightened level of scrutiny when the individual in question is a white male police officer. Such is the case we have in Ferguson, Mo over the weekend involving an officer shooting and killing an unarmed young adult, 18-year-old Michael Brown. Here is an excerpt from CNN.com from a witness who was with Brown at the time of the shooting:

Dorian Johnson, 22, told CNN that he and Brown were walking in the middle of the street when a white male officer pulled up and told them, “Get the f*** on the sidewalk.” The young men replied that they were “not but a minute away from our destination, and we would shortly be out of the street,” Johnson said.

The officer drove forward but stopped and backed up, almost hitting the pair, Johnson said.

“We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer,” Johnson said.

Still in his car, the officer then grabbed Brown by his neck, Johnson said. Brown tried to pull away, but the officer kept pulling Brown toward him, he said.

The officer drew his weapon, and “he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot’ ” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown, Johnson said.

Johnson and a bloodied Brown took off running, and Johnson hid behind the first car he saw, he said. The officer got out of his car (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/11/us/missouri-ferguson-michael-brown-what-we-know/).

Johnson continued to express that the officer followed Brown firing several more shots even after the victim tried to get away. The authorities, however, tell a different story in which Brown physically assaulted the police officer by pushing him into the officer’s vehicle; which at one point, lead to a struggle for the officer’s weapon. This would eventually lead to the officer retaliating by firing multiple shots at Brown killing him outside of an apartment complex this past Saturday. All of this “allegedly” was stemmed from the fact that Brown was a possible suspect from a shoplifting incident. Brown, who was slated to start college this week, was seen being cooperative with the authorities several eyewitnesses stated at the scene, but the police have yet to confirm these allegations. Later Sunday evening, a memorial and prayer vigil were held to honor and remember the slain young man and many in the neighborhood showed up to give their condolences. What took place immediately after the vigil; however, became what I call a “tragedy within itself.”

What began as a memorial and prayer vigil for yet another unarmed African-American male, turned not only the suburb of Ferguson upside down, but transfixed the eyes of America in the process. Citizens from Ferguson and neighboring communities took to the streets in what could only be reminiscent of the 92’ L.A. riots. Several stores became targets for looting and vandalism as citizens burglarized and took everything from beauty supplies, car rims, alcohol, to black America’s favorite shoes: Air Jordan’s. Hoards of young adults filled the streets as local law enforcement had to request back up from neighboring precincts. Angry protesters were met by police in full riot gear armed with everything from rifles, shields, gas masks and dogs. In all, 32 people were reported to be arrested and two officers were injured. History has always had a way of repeating itself; and 50 years later after the historic Civil Rights Act was signed into legislation, the American justice system has been any but “civil.”ferguson-QT

Now before you go dust off your “Straight Outta Compton” cd while chanting “No Justice, No Peace,” I must remind you that I said this is a tragedy within itself. Why does our act of civil disobedience have to result in stealing things that most African-American purchase and consume annually in the first place? Yes, the unidentified officer in my opinion was probably at fault and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, due to the rioting and looting which took place several days prior, the media and to some extent, African-Americans have turned this into a budding race war albeit a war our communities aren’t prepared for. Police brutality seems to be the “clarion call” for black America and further reinforces theories such as Joy DeGruy’s Post Traumatic Slave Disorder and victimology; while further perpetuating an ongoing trend that a black life in America only has value when it’s taken at the hands of someone who’s white. I understand this case has glaring similarities of another African-American male, Eric Gardner, who died (literally) in police custody by way of an illegal chokehold and unlawful force not even a month ago in Staten Island, NY. But I wouldn’t be fair, I wouldn’t be truthful, and most importantly; I wouldn’t be black if I didn’t mention, hell, demand this same type fervor and zeal to be reciprocated in our own communities. And if you’re saying to yourself “Why am I bringing this up?” Damn it because the only time black folks get bold about violence and want justice in our communities is when “The Man” bothers us. It’s dumbfounding to me how we demand answers and badge numbers, yet when it comes to us killing each other we facilitate the “No Snitching” policy. I’m sorry but black America, you can’t have it both ways!

Fortunately, there was one bright spot that has emerged from the protestors efforts with the help of social media. The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is starting to catch steam across several cities in America (including my own) and has become more than just a trending topic on Twitter. What started as a hashtag to counter the media’s attempt to show the public demonizing photos of Michael Brown; has become the symbol of injustice and the mantra for change. Although I’m not particularly thrilled to know that Al Sharpton, the NAACP, some New Black Panther Party and the attorney who “allegedly” represented the Trayvon Martin family (while disappearing at the actual trial) Benjamin Crump has made their presence felt in an obvious attempt to incite racism. Nevertheless, there was something else far more egregious that as American citizens (and I use that term loosely) should all be concerned about: the dawn of an eminent, militarized police state. Jesse Jackson was quoted this week in the USA Today saying “There’s a Ferguson near you,” implying there’s tragedies just like this going on in a city near you. It was also another opportunity (as usual) to prioritize the race card and make this case about blacks versus white-cops. The implication that came to my mind wasn’t the issue of race; however, if Ferguson was a preview of how paramilitarized law enforcement reacts to local citizens as if they were in Afghanistan somewhere, what’s in store for the “Ferguson” city where I reside? In a span of a few days, protestors were bombarded with everything from militarized SWAT vehicles, rubber bullets and tear gas; to special operation forces with snipers taking aim at local residents. Local and national media and press reporters where given little to no video access of what became a full fledge paramilitary operation. Not trying to be overly conspiratorial, but under the banner of “Homeland Security,” lawmakers in Washington have shelled out some $34 billion over the past 10 years to state and local law enforcement. The grant money provides funds to build capabilities at the state and local levels while implementing the goals and objectives included in state homeland securities. Out of 14 categories ranging from Emergency Management Performance to Law Enforcement Terrorism; the program that receives the most funding is the Urban Areas Security Initiative.  This “initiative” is what Ferguson residents and many who viewed their televisions this week, found out what America has in store to impede any “acts” of terrorism.

ferguson-4-sniper

After nearly a week of rallying, marching and pictured selfies of “No Justice, No Peace” signs, citizens of Ferguson and the rest of nation, finally received the answers they were looking for–or did they? The Ferguson Police Department released the name of the unidentified officer involved in the shooting; six-year police veteran, Darren Wilson. However, to the chagrin of family, friends and supporters, not only did they release a police report linking Brown to a convenience store robbery; but they also revealed surveillance footage of Brown committing the act. Many people are saying this is an attempt to “assassinate” his character the same way they did Treyvon Martin back in 2012. Again, my condolences to Michael Brown’s family, relatives, and friends for doing all they could to raise a son; and now having to deal with the grief of losing one.  

So why did I entitled this article “The Failure at Ferguson?” I could point to the militarized law enforcement and their handling of the protestors, media, and press. I could also point to the Ferguson Police Department for releasing the police report and surveillance video of Brown; which had nothing to do with why he was killed. I could and should point to the rioting and looting that took place nearly a week ago. All of these things, even the race hustlers and race agitators, I could irrefutably point to. Instead, I’m going to point to the fact that the African-American community is not only waking up; but we’re starting to come together. I’m going to point to the fact that despite another white on black tragedy; maybe this time our galvanizing efforts will filter down into our communities when it comes to violence in general. Perhaps this will finally allow us to practice group economics, own more businesses, even emphasizing the value of our children’s education. So what’s the failure in all of this? We won’t—and that’s the failure.

So black America, please prove this cynical, pessimistic blogger wrong. I’m rooting for you.

Sincerely Yours,img-holdingferguson_151519994466.jpg_article_singleimage

One of your own

STEPHEN A. SMITH AND THE HYPOCRISY OF ESPN

#PaperlessThoughts80

stephen-a-smith

“You better be careful what you say to me,” is what came to my mind when I heard ESPN’s First Take pundit, Stephen A. Smith was suspended for a week after his remarks about domestic violence involving the Ray Rice situation. It almost seems like Stephen A caught more backlash from social media then the actual perpetrator himself, Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. As Rice was greeted with support from Raven’s coach John Harbaugh and fans at training camp; Mr. Smith’s name and career continues to be dragged throughout the press as if he was in the elevator that night in Atlantic City. Stephen A. has been no stranger to controversy in his days at ESPN. Just a month ago, Smith was lambasted by the African-American community for his siding with Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, and his comments regarding the issue of race. Smith was also accused in…

View original post 1,379 more words

STEPHEN A. SMITH AND THE HYPOCRISY OF ESPN

 

stephen-a-smith

“You better be careful what you say to me,” is what came to my mind when I heard ESPN’s First Take pundit, Stephen A. Smith was suspended for a week after his remarks about domestic violence involving the Ray Rice situation. It almost seems like Stephen A caught more backlash from social media then the actual perpetrator himself, Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. As Rice was greeted with support from Raven’s coach John Harbaugh and fans at training camp; Mr. Smith’s name and career continues to be dragged throughout the press as if he was in the elevator that night in Atlantic City. Stephen A. has been no stranger to controversy in his days at ESPN. Just a month ago, Smith was lambasted by the African-American community for his siding with Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, and his comments regarding the issue of race. Smith was also accused in the blogs and social media, for dropping the nefarious five letter word on air that is often found in the lyrics of hip-hop artists (a claim Smith has repeatedly denied) back in 2012. This time however, Smith has seemly backed himself into a corner by the mere mention of one word: “provoke.” As Stephen A. continued to expound on his point about domestic violence, a colleague of his, Michelle Beadle, expressed her disgust on Twitter:
“I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend…I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke”
-Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
Beadle, who is a co-host on ESPN2’s show SportsNation, revealed that she was once a victim of domestic abuse also added in her response: “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting. Walk away.” On Monday’s First Take show, Stephen A. issued an apology to Beadle and others who felt like his words were ‘inappropriate’ and that he could have articulated himself better. If having to retract his original statement wasn’t bad enough, ESPN decided to take it a step further by suspending Mr. Smith for a week for comments that “didn’t reflect the views of the company.”
Really? Or in my Skip Bayless voice, “Are you kidding me?”
Before I let it be known why I find ESPN’s handling of this whole situation “hypocritical,” allow me preface my comments (as Stephen A would say) by saying I’ve been an avid supporter of the show-even back to its days when it was called Cold Pizza. The comments that were made by Stephen A. about domestic violence, has definitely been broached before on First Take. One could only remember the train wreck of what was called a “marriage” between former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, and Basketball Wives reality star, Evelyn Lozada. Johnson, (who would be later charged with domestic abuse) was the topic of discussion circling around his then current team, the Miami Dolphins, who would later go on to sever its ties with Johnson following his domestic incident with Lozada. As with all things First Take, Stephen A., Skip Bayless, and then moderator, Jemele Hill, decided to discuss the turmoil that surrounded Chad Johnson. Here is an excerpt from what Stephen A said during the show:
“I have been on the record on national television and radio; you don’t have no business putting your hands on a woman. You put your hands on a woman you deserve the price that comes along with that. I have never put my hands on a woman; you shouldn’t have to put your hands on a woman, walk away. I’ve said that. But, there are plenty of instances where provocation comes into consideration, instigation comes into consideration …”
To see more, go to this link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8QctGdDYMI
Notice how the word “provocation” is uttered by Smith just like it was voiced by him on last Friday’s show. There was no recant. There was no contrived apology given. As a matter of fact, Smith wasn’t even reprimanded by the fine executives at ESPN. Now some of y’all will give the excuse, “That was different and Evelyn has a history of being confrontational and aggressive.” Be that as it may, it only highlights what Stephen A. was trying to vocalize when he said the word provoke. In no way was he “insinuating” that it was okay for a man to put his hands on a woman. On the contrary, just as he believes it’s not okay for a man to hit a woman; he is also tried of the men being vilified in such cases and we don’t ever scrutinize the woman’s role in a domestic dispute. Such is true in the case with Ray Rice, who’s now wife, Janay Rice, admitted she played a role (by hitting him) in her ultimately being assaulted. Of course no one knows the full details of the entire incident, however, I believe Stephen A’s point was that in some (definitely not all) instances it’s not always the man being the aggressor or antagonist. Maybe Stephen A. knows what psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Bates has already concluded when it comes to intimate relationships: women tend to be more aggressive and controlling than their male counterparts (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/10927507/Women-are-more-controlling-and-aggressive-than-men-in-relationships.html).
Now this leads me to one Michelle Beadle. I completely understand her overall point about domestic violence and how wrong it is for men to abuse women. I get that. However, I remember ANOTHER fellow ESPN colleague who at one time decided to voice his displeasure on Twitter about a certain segment he viewed on First Take. That person is one Bill Simmons. While conducting an interview with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Simmons decided to loathe his feelings about the interview on Twitter:
“It’s amazing to me that people get so worked up about First Take. Who cares? Just don’t watch it. There are like 800 TV channels.”
-Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 8, 2013
This and several other comments were made by Simmons on Twitter following the heated debate between Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman; which at one point Sherman replied “I’m better in life than you.” Simmons would go on to be suspended by ESPN (suspended from Twitter that is) for violation to their social media guidelines policy; a policy, that has somehow eluded Michelle Beadle’s disciplinary profile. I’m not C&C Music Factory, but this definitely rates as one of those things that make you go “Hmm.”
As this week comes to an end, there are new reports circulating that Stephen A. is STILL apologizing saying it’s the “most egregious error of his career.” All of this after doing what he is paid to do; give a daggone opinion!! I find it also telling that many people in the black community (yes, even black women) actually agree with Stephen A. when comes to men and WOMEN putting their hands on each other. Even daytime talk show host Whoopi Goldberg of The View, has sided with Stephen A. in reference to what he was trying to convey:
“Let me just point out the comment that he (Stephen A.) made is based on what the young lady said SHE did. Let me just make that clear to y’all (audience). She said ‘I hit him,’ and I believe that’s what Stephen A. was pointing to…”
To see more, go to this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MR0C-AlZl4)
Let’s not get it twisted people; domestic violence is wrong on all fronts. I just find it deplorable that we live in a society of double standards. Yes that same double standard that allows women to procreate with men and receives assistance from the system, (because she’s not financially able to take care of the child) that turns around and puts a man in the system if he can’t provide. I’m not making light of, or ignoring any woman who has truly been a victim of domestic violence; nor the ones who are involved in an abusive relationship now. What I am saying is if there is going to be an open discussion about domestic violence; let’s look at it from both perspectives, instead of it being one-sided ending with “that’s all folks.” No, that is not all, and until we as a society learn to understand each other better both humanistically and culturally, we’re going to continue to have biased, disingenuous conversations. An honest discussion is what Stephen A. was trying to have, but was punished; for what Michelle Beadle was allowed to do and was commended, despite breaching company policy. It also goes to show you that America STILL isn’t ready for honest discourse when the speaker just happens to be a black man. That is, unless their (A) bought off and controlled to fit a politicized agenda or (B) he is vouched for or validated by: the African-American woman. See, America only values the thoughts and opinions of the African-American community from the perspective of the African-American woman. So while I do value Ms. Goldberg’s input and support; Stephen A’s original statement or the word “provoke,” should not have hurt more than Ray Rice’s actual abuse to his wife. So in the words of another (now former) ESPN colleague, Rob Parker: “NO WAY, NO HOW!”
Peace.


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});