FOR THE BROTHAS: AN INTRODUCTION
It must have been about 20 years ago when I first began thinking about creating a "Cultural Salon" as a reaction to the mundane social circles In Washington D.C. The richness of intellectual and artistic interchange had died, college friends had moved, the internet had not yet become the phenomenon it now is... I romanticised about the Salons of the mid to late 1800's in Paris, London and Berlin and the cultural dynamo of the Harlem Rennaisance. I was fortunate enough to meet a gentleman, an artist who lived and traveled with James Baldwin... Jimmy he affectionately called him, and he spoke often of their small cottage in southern France and of the many Artists, Poets and Luminaries that dropped in to chat and relax. Well, the impressionists, cubists, modernists, etc. all hung out together famously in those days and shared their ideas with one another creating a creative greenhouse in a world that was rapidly changing. I longed to have lived in those times, to have met Cassat, Rodin, Ellington, Fitzgerald, Baker, Balwin, well I did finally meet Baldwin and others purely for the joy of intellection upon the arts. This was in the late 1980's and by the mid 2000's I happened to run into a friend of mine from Hampton University who had been living in New York since he graduated in the early 90s. Well, I was surprised to hear him comment that in all of the wonder that is New York he never met anyone who ever really had anything interesting to say about art, literature, architecture, science, fashion or anything... I was so surprised to hear this since it had also been my experience. Well here I am in 2011 attempting the Virtual Salon...
Saturday, March 14, 2015
HOW TO GO OUT IN STYLE?
ANSWERS TO A SINGLE MAN’S QUESTIONS ABOUT MANAGING HIS ESTATE
Every single mature man has thought about the possibility of his death and has considered what will happen to his belongings at that time. Whether you are a wealthy man with property, stocks and extensive financial and material assets or whether you are like many men with only a few precious assets this debate should be happening. If you are at least in your mid-thirties and up and especially if you are forty or older it is time to make your first will or trust.
There are many reasons why a single mature man needs to look ahead to make plans to manage his care when he becomes ill or to manage his assets at his time of death. As if in ironic contrast to the extended life span of twenty-first century humans the trend has been that many men are dying earlier than ever before due to unexpected health issues. The lightning fast economy in which we live can potentially devastate a man’s assets in less than a months time if he is not well enough to manage them properly. In today’s socially disconnected society the roles of stewardship formerly assumed by a man’s beloved family are no longer set in place. When a bachelor of advanced years becomes ill it may easily be assumed that he may no longer have any family members alive to care for him. Furthermore, there may not be anyone close who is responsible enough to manage his health or financial affairs after he has died. Many single men become overly self-sufficient to a fault, having no plan “B” to fall back on in times of crisis.
There are economical ways to manage one’s health and estate in times of crisis. A more permanent method for dealing with ones asset’s after they have died is by composing a will. A savvier method of managing ones assets while alive extending after one has died would be the establishment of a trust. As with all legal arrangements there will be some cost involved in the creation of a sound will or trust but it is well worth it considering the many frivolous things we expend our financial resources on during our lifetime.
A will is a legal document that outlines how the deceased desires their assets to be distributed after death; it may include instructions regarding the administration of power of attorney in the event the grantor becomes too sick to manage their affairs. One thing every single man should know about a will is that it can be legally contested in a court of law meaning that it might be possible for a relative to maliciously dismantle the well-intended offerings of a man’s last will and testament.
A smarter solution to the management of ones living and dying provisions would be the establishment of a trust. A trust is nothing more than a legal entity, like a business, created to manage a person’s assets while they are alive and after they are deceased. The trust is rock-solid, it cannot be contested or corrupted by any relative or outside entity. The trust is designed to both manage the day to day financial obligations of a man’s estate and his own healthcare in the event that he is rendered incapable of making his own decisions. The trust ensures that bills will continue to be paid and assets will continue to be cared for and maintained during a man’s illness and even after his death if he so desires. Furthermore, it assures that assets he desires to will to others will be properly delivered. A trust will also manage the allowance of monies to friends, relatives and charitable institutions. For a single man who may not have anyone close to manage his affairs a trust is perhaps the best friend he will ever make.
One of the strongest arguments for gay marriage came about during the height of the AIDS epidemic when gay couples who had grown and shared assets together lost them in bitter legal battles with unsympathetic families of the deceased. Furthermore, these men were forbidden the power of attorney during the last days of their loved ones life after managing them while they were both alive and healthy. Last wills and testaments were bitterly fought and many men lost these legal battles because of the larger stigma associated with the gay lifestyle. Had there been a trust in place however even the strongest bias could not have prohibited administration of the legal provisions encompassed therein. It is not my intent to oversimplify the establishment of a trust, only to warn mature men through this example that nothing is guaranteed unless it is laid out in plain legal English. The time to discover that you have not adequately planned for the inevitable is not when the crisis hits, it is here and now while you are in the prime of your life!
If you are curious in the least I implore you to explore this matter further using the links I have attached at the terminus of this article. They go into much greater technical detail about the nature of trusts. I leave you with two timely suggestions posed as challenges.
1. Set up a trust or will to manage your affairs and set a deadline of not more than a month to begin setting it in place.
2. Make certain that the will or trust includes clear instructions for how your health is to be managed in a time of crisis identifying a responsible trustee.
Living is a wonderful gift and part of living is the management of death, yes even our own post-mortem affairs. Single mature men are closer to a day when they will have to deal with the sobering realities of a serious illness or death, so it is best to be prepared ahead of time. As we grow older we see how our close friends and relatives begin to transition, many of their deaths are followed by bitter disputes over assets, and nobody wants those kinds of circumstances to put a shadow on their legacy. Plan now and live in relative comfort knowing that your affairs are duly ordered. Do this not only for your own serenity but for the peacefulness of those who survive you…
WRITTEN BY: BIGDADDY BLUES
1. Estate Planning: Is a Trust Necessary?: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson21/index6.htm
2. Establishing a Living Revocable Trust:
3. The Pros and Cons of Setting Up A Family Trust:
4. How To Set Up a Trust Fund If You’re Not Rich:http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/set-up-a-trust-fund.asp
Thursday, January 29, 2015
IS THE BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITY
OF ITS OWN SHADOW:
A CANDID EXAMINATION
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT
AND ORIGINS OF
BLACK ON BLACK CRIME ON BLACK MALES
|Hiram R. Revels won Jefferson Davis's Congressional Seat in Mississippi Senate in 1870. He was the first Black American elected to the U.S. Senate. His predecessor was President of the Confederacy.|
Of the many challenges facing black men in America coping with the reality that they may be more likely to become the victim of crimes committed by another black male ranks as one of the most formidable stresses and contradictions within a social structure that would most benefit from gender and racial solidarity. In a country more keenly focused on racial tensions between different cultures and races the phenomenon of black on black crime continues to go untreated by the Black American community perhaps because of the tough internal realities it will be forced to confront. Many believe that the black community has never effectively organized itself against this problem attributing peaks of black on black crime statistics to shifting trends in economic opportunity and decreases in crime to attrition due to temporary incarceration and a troubling steady rate of homicide. It is an historically unpopular view within the black community to place responsibility on itself. Denial of its culpability continues to weaken the ability of the black community to sustain itself by effectively challenging mainstream culture and policy to revise prevalently latent vestiges of institutionalized racism set in place over hundreds of years.
Every Black American man who has seen the handsomely styled, gangster film classic Sugar Hill will undoubtedly remember its underlying theme, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper”. In many ways this beautifully produced and acted film metaphorically captured the far more sinister realness that many black men in America are literally afraid of their own shadow because to them the image of a black man holds a bittersweet irony. The struggle that most defines and unifies them also challenges them to survive one another within a treacherous arena of social and political razors focused on eliminating both of them. Pitted against one another black men rarely have time or incentive to question why they have been so challenged neither do they have the resources to step back from the horror playing out before them to combine forces to vanquish the common foe that has set them upon a path of intertwined destruction. Mirroring the staggering statistics of black on black homicides in the 1980’s Sugar Hill forced the issue of family upon the consciousness of what had become a barbaric black community torn apart by the desperate ravages of crack addiction on one side and the deadly oppression of street gangsters on the other. Everywhere the threat of a violent death loomed before the faces of black men in America no matter how distanced they were from the bitter debacle for chemical freedom or instantaneous wealth overwhelming the streets. Simply by virtue of their black maleness they found themselves interminably linked to this frenzied pattern of cultural decay.
“No black male was safe,
no child, adolescent, man or elder…
there was no immunity from an untimely death
or some random criminal victimization
by the hands of another black man!”
In 1997 Michael Smith completed and released an internationally renowned independently produced documentary after completing his master’s degree in journalism at U.C. Berkeley called “Jesse’s Gone”. Mike Smith studied under the prolific documentary powerhouse, Marlon Riggs, I remember his enthusiasm when he was accepted into that prestigious school. When I visited him at the end of his first semester he stood out in his class and Marlon was dying of AIDS, it was a difficult yet promising time.
“Mike named the documentary “Jesse’s Gone” because it touched him profoundly; being a young black man himself, that such a prolific and promising young life could actually be assassinated because of another young black man’s lust for street credibility.”
The black man who shot and murdered Jesse chose street credibility over community and family accountability. Not that it would have made matters any better had Jess’s assassin actually hit his intended target because at the end of the day it statistically was and was not just another black on black crime. Jesse’s Gone made certain that this homicide at least amidst many thousands would not be forgotten as had every other senseless killing of one black man by another. It was a powerful summary of a singular murder typifying a wave of black on black crimes in southern California.
“Jesse was an innocent bystander slain at unawares by a misguided bullet. But the misguided bullet was not the hot metal projectile that severed this man from his life it was the black man who pulled the trigger.”
Like many of us Michael certainly wondered what preternatural variables created the reckless human being that killed his target in cold blood. Nobody can lay blame on any white man or anyone from any other race for perpetrating this crime, the full blame must fall upon the ensanguined hands of the black man who committed the murder and the black community that created him. In the end neither man nor his community rose to the occasion of being their brother’s keeper.
“Jesse’s murder and the assassinations of millions of Jesse’s across these United States sends an official but anonymous letter of fear, mistrust, anger, hatred, and violence to every black male, that no black man can ever be expected to assume responsibility as his brothers keeper!”
The result, juxtaposed against the larger reality of racism in America has created a noxious malaise within the psyche of Black American men feeding the conflagration of self-hatred like a self-destruct button smoldering from overuse. Police brutality and antiquated legal policies continue to intensify the real struggle for a peaceful existence in America for black men but they only mirror on a much smaller scale the brutal way that black men treat themselves.
“As outside observers, people from other countries and races are often astounded by the phenomenon of black on black crime and they are even more amazed at the way Black Americans appear to be completely blind to it.”
Many immigrants to this country unaware of the history and struggle of black peoples in America immediately notice the extraordinary power of black on black crime as a culturally destructive force. They are even more confused by the resistance of the black community to acknowledge it as a major obstacle to social and economic progress. The world sees a black community in desperate denial rationalizing black on black crime as somehow less of a problem than white on black violence. We should all understand that violence is violence, simply put, and we can no more ignore the history of racism in America than we can absolve the black community from its responsibility to end its internal violence.
“For a black community embattled on multiple fronts… ending black on black crime is a simple remedy for treating racism from the inside out.”
If black communities are ever to be restored to any degree of stability the destabilizing climate of apathy must be dismantled. The black community must commit to prosecute men who have committed black on black crimes… every offender past, present and future must be wrested from the comfort of the ethically deficient landscape insulating them from justice so they can be held publicly accountable. Whether these black men have committed crimes against their own people and communities or others they must be locked away long enough to prevent systemic re-infection allowing assailed communities to recover. When I use the term community I do not only mean houses, streets, schools, sacred spaces, public parks, retail and commercial structures; foremost I mean the people they serve because without people these features would be purposeless… It is so difficult to quantify the profound the gravity encompassing and engaging the condemnation of a man to a life sentence.
“But if the alternative would be to continue a now clearly failed experiment in social science festering after more than 50 depressing years many would opine that a different and far more restrictive solution should be applied. The terminus of the current path is hauntingly absolute, it precludes the irreversible destruction of the black community!”
Imagine the effects of black on black crime on a young, black, male child who has been cautioned from infancy to fear other black males pursuant to a real threat of violence. The cumulative effect might be to fear rather than revere his black male counterparts and elders to whom he might otherwise look to for friendship and mentoring throughout his journey to manhood. How will this male child come to see himself if not as a reflection of those men closest to him with whom he shares a similar cultural history? The result may be that he will either assimilate the stereotype, isolate himself from it or play the middle line as a strategy for survival. After placating the expectations that his world imposes upon him to be a gangster at what point might he give up and begin to believe the violent mirage he has masterfully manufactured just to stay alive? In any event, his ability to absorb and process the essential elements of manhood will always be managed against a guarded threshold, his ability to bond with other black men to establish a healthy sense of brotherhood will be potentially corrupted by the real struggle to balance reality with human nature. And this young man’s understanding of human nature will necessarily be colored by his ability to comprehend the real threat to his own existence as represented by other black men in his environment who might be his potential attackers or assassins.
“One must ultimately ask the fundamental question, “How can you be the parent, brother, sister, relative or friend of a black male and justify turning your back on the crime that poisons his community against his survival?” If a black man’s street credibility is predicated upon the fact he is a well-known criminal and murderer in his community then how can anyone snitch on him when his reputation is common knowledge?”
Perhaps we should exhume the corpses of all the men murdered in black on black crimes and pile them up in the neighborhoods where they died to remind those communities how devastating their silence has been…
At the beginning of the twenty-first century black men searching for solutions to redivivate deteriorating communities dead end on the issue of cultural solidarity and in particular black male unity largely because of the phenomenon of mistrust, self-loathing and self-induced blindness fostered by violent crimes committed against black males by other black males. Nobody wants to deal with the hard reality that in order to clean up black communities’ men who are committing or who have committed black on black crimes thriving in criminal enclaves established for decades will have to be locked away from society indefinitely to give these communities a chance to recover.
“Quite bluntly, many believe that if there is no commitment to prosecute and lock away men who commit black on black crime so that community building efforts can take root, grow and enjoy several generations of prosperity this problem will never be solved.”
Certainly crime will always exist however the proportion of black on black crime to overall criminal activity can be significantly reduced through structured community involvement on a national level but this must be coordinated with the criminal justice system to ensure that fugitive criminals are quickly incarcerated and permanently removed from society where they have already forfeited their “Raison d’etre”. The question is,
“By substantially removing the criminal element precipitating black on black crimes from society will black men feel less threatened by one another? Will they begin to trust each other enabling them to form more cohesive and functional bonds, developing the kinds of economic, social and educational partnerships required to re-build the infrastructure of the black community?”
The answer is that this is only one critical part of an holistic solution which is itself a complex, many-layered organism. In order for the holistic model to function effectively this aspect of community reform must be in place… There are other aspects of community reform that will play an essential role in the success of the holistic model such as prison reform, welfare reform and the reform of child support laws all on a national level. The issue is so vast that it will certainly require the effort of several think-tanks having the ability to focus on different pieces of the puzzle, sharing their data across institutions and coordinating their extrapolation of this data into the creation of tangible and practical solutions.
I have always imagined that a young, black, male child seeking the comfort of belonging will gravitate to a place that feels most like a home where he can thrive. So when historic facts preclude that his peaceful existence will be compromised in an environment where it is highly likely he will be predated by other black males he will be forced to entertain and implement, (if he is to survive), a pathological, Machiavellian rivalry with them reserving the potential to play itself out with only one man standing. A black male is continually pitted against these odds never certain what fate will deal him. In many landscapes of the black community where death is always hyper-tangible this variable creates an exponentially exaggerated instinct for survival. But the sheer number of young, black males forced to survive against identically lethal odds do not have time to comprehend what caused them to kill or die in spite of or because of their early preparation for death.
“How many lives of black men have been and will be lost through a dripping faucet of attrition? As the brutal game plays itself out generation after generation the spigot will finally rust shut or erode itself away spewing a last desperate flood of death before the flow expends itself or is cut off. For these black men who seemingly await certain death, an untimely mortality will either be prevented as a result of effective reform or death will systematically extinguish itself down to the last human life. What a precarious and preventable drama lay ahead for black men in America.”
We can assume that as a result of black on black crime a self-perpetuating network of animosity and hatred has been generated reflecting innumerable homicides playing out as gang wars, family rivalries and other acts of violence and that vendetta’s will be carried from generation to generation especially among poor peoples who are often forced to live among mortal enemies.
“Death may be instantaneous
but the grief built up behind murder
is a slow-burning candle…”
We know it will take generations in order to repair the psychological scars black on black crime has left upon the community. What appears not to be understood is the urgency with which reform must ensue. The degree of denial stifling the black community regarding its own self-destructive path may ultimately be its doom.
“Everyone says they are down with being their brother’s keeper but when the time comes time to make good on that promise all contracts are conveniently breached. This is because the black community and the country are degraded to the point that they are literally in bed with the criminals who perpetrate black on black crime.”
If a black, male child is fortunate enough to make it to adolescence and enter manhood without the fetters of a criminal record, a legacy of gang involvement, drug or substance abuse either documented or undocumented he faces a world that more than not sees him through a camera lens that instantly evaluates him as if he were a fugitive from a violent crime scene.
“The imagery of racism made powerfully manifest as a systematic defamation of the black male image in America acts as a great levelling device reducing all black men to savages and barbarians regardless of their extraordinary achievements as compared to the whole of humanity. This mainstream trend exacerbates the self-deprecating, psychological effects of black on black crime but it cannot be seen as the entire blame for this phenomenon. If anyone is to be blamed it must be the individual who allows himself to succumb to the default. Society has not held a gun to any black man’s head forcing him to kill another black man. Every Black American man can choose to be his brother’s keeper defying the odds so let the blame lie on the heads of the men who opt for crime over conservation!”
As objects of a biased lens every black man is filtered through a predictable range of possibilities by those who encounter them and nearly every parallax visualizes a high likelihood these black men will be illiterate, poor, desperate, violent, irrational, and dangerous! Fortunately most black men learn early on how to manage perceptual racial bias but the fact that it is even necessary poses its own problems in their cumulative psyche. It is purely reasonable to assume that in response to and in spite of this kind of perceptual bias Black American men have historically fortified themselves with role models they see as positive. These role models serve to amplify their intrinsic self-esteem as armor against externally applied and anticipated aesthetic rejection. The genre of filmmaking called “Blackspoitation” featured examples of black male heroes with provocatively exaggerated sexual and physical attributes whose urban prowess magically assuaged the outrageous bias their peoples were forced to endure.
“In many positive ways these larger than life icons validated black manhood and soothed a deep fear many black men had for one another because of black on black crime. They allowed themselves to bond and identify with another black male as a conceptual ally rather than as a physical enemy. The problem is that this brand of brotherhood was only sustainable on an artificial, antiseptic level and had no relevance to the realness of brutality on the street. Imaginary heroes such as these can be a wonderful supplement to an established history but in the case of black American men the actual historical superstars forming the fundamental hierarchy who should have been universally revered and emulated such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Thurgood Marshall and others became obscured by a fictitious rabble of racially stereotyped media icons created by persons who were not invested in the establishment of an historically relevant pantheon of Black American male icons.”
One of the most complex and under-examined social and mental issues that many psychologists believe to have been created within the psyche of Black American peoples due to the effects of racism is a hyper-intensified insecurity syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by an overly developed need for external acceptance and respect from others substituting what in most people is an intrinsic sense of self-worth or confidence. Some psychologists believe this trend may be linked to the brutal mental and physical abuse endured by black peoples whose pride and dignity were broken by the institutionalized racism of slavery. If this theory is true it could explain why street-credibility has become so important in the black community exposing a deeply problematic vein of insecurity hundreds of years in the making. Nearly everyone would agree that there has to be some rational explanation for the thousands of incidences of black on black homicides, there has to be a common pattern unifying these crimes and it is far more complex than the mere happenstance of proximity. There is a reason, (or there are closely interrelated reasons) why these crimes were committed by black men against other black men and not any other race or ethnic group and many believe that the time is far overdue for the black community to seriously study and produce viable solutions to end this problem.
“It is difficult to delve into this uncharted region with an objective mind blind to the biases and stereotypes already manufactured by the machines of racism highly likely to have but shy of a proven intent to set into motion this self-perpetuating evil. We must remember it is one thing to conjecture premeditated mal-intent and another to empirically prove it. The black community has charged racism rather than internal flaws in their own community to be the fundamental cause of black on black crime for so long it is now high time to prove it or let it go!”
Evaluated against this dichotomy in outline form alone one can visualize the possible origins of this trending madness causing generations of Black Americans to react with excessive sensitivity and recklessness when they feel their image, dignity, manhood or street credibility has been abused. It is a perfectly natural reaction for people whose image has suffered continual attack by mainstream culture. For this reason positive image building has always been a paramount in Black American culture if not only to creatively refute the negative images of slavery and the legacy of ignorance and impoverishment forced upon it. Black men and women have always been overly proud of their appearance and decorum as a means of distinguishing themselves from the stereotypical “Coon” image promoted in mainstream American culture.
“The image of a black man as conveyed by mainstream culture in 2015 has evolved from the outlandish engravings created by Courier and Ives in the mid to late 1800’s but sadly many of the underlying elements conveyed in modern media still promote the bottom line upheld in this country to justify the wholesale disenfranchisement of an entire race of people.”
During the 1960’s and 1970’s the “Black Is Beautiful” and “Black Power “ campaigns began to aggressively address this blemish in the self-image of Black Americans. While flooding the market with products and media celebrating the beauty of black peoples was not enough to heal centuries of psychological abuse it was a positive beginning. The movement successfully linked the physical beauty of black peoples to their ancestral heritage on the continent of Africa at a time of great cultural prosperity reviving historic links that had been forgotten and obscured by racist propaganda in America. Centuries had now passed leaving black men to face the reality before them in a place that could not have been farther removed from those glorious civilizations of ancient Africa. In America right here and right now black men are and have been oppressed beyond comprehension but they remained proud and industrious men. Because many black men have had to endure levels of poverty frowned upon by mainstream culture there has always been a strong desire to conceal their economic reality beneath the trappings of prosperity. Also, because of the documented trend of racism to attack the prosperity of Black Americans in order to preserve the status-quote many conservatives have been careful to play down their economic successes for fear of retaliation. This is also a huge factor weighing in on the virtual invisibility of black industrialists and intelligentsia. Historically media such as Jet, Black Enterprise and Ebony have focused on this less conspicuous realm of the black community. Many Black Americans have historically banked on their ability to gain economic success without formal education and by operating outside of traditional and lawful business structures. Racial disenfranchisement made these occupations necessary up to a point but they became less viable alternatives after desegregation. Enter the rise and fall of the image of the black male hustler… During the height of black on black murders in this country the image of the black man as “Hustler/Gangster” was also at its peak.
“The image of the drug lord was virtually worshipped as a god in the black community and since these men brutally exercised their powers over the life and death of thousands of their victims it might be a stretch but one could say they temporarily usurped the very throne of the almighty himself.”
Nearly every Black American man worshipped and wanted to emulate the image of the gangster/hustler whether they actually were part of that street hierarchy or not.
“Although it was quite evident that image alone had no cash-in value at the local bank to desperate men accustomed to poverty the transient luxury afforded by merely appearing to be economically well-endowed was as intoxicating as the transient high they got from drugs that paralyzed their community.”
Sugar Hill successfully portrayed the grizzly occupational hazards of ill-gotten wealth but human instinct will always fantasize that it can be that exception to the rule. No matter how many would-be exceptions fill the cemeteries of urban consciousness it will always be the nature of true desperation to die for a dream when it has nothing else to lose. And there are so many different dreams among black men, many of them so simple in scope, feeding only the need to experience the feeling of success without regard to its ethical or moral foundation.
“In contemporary culture this need for success, and to bolster ones image has caused some black men to murder other innocent black men for nothing more valuable than a coat, a pair of sneakers or other material and conceptual symbols of wealth and status.”
Desegregation was the first critical step in the direction of self-esteem for many black men. When viewed within the total picture of human social evolution it is clear that desegregation afforded black peoples in America a tangible reference point from which to begin to visualize themselves as equals to other people and as humans. One has only to Imagine what desegregation meant to men, women and children who had been told they were inhuman forced to endure a brutal, unrelenting campaign of physical abuse and racial character assassination. Can you understand the sheer power of racism to evoke the most profoundly embedded sense of self-loathing in the peoples who suffered hundreds of years of hopelessness? If you can fathom this then you can understand how precious a gift desegregation was for black peoples seeking to re-establish their image and status as members of the human race after it had been kept from them for hundreds of years. Racism has created a false vacuum of non-identity.
“Black men in America yearn for established and diversified role models they can easily identify in mainstream culture. There is a plentitude of positive black male icons spanning the centuries of oppression but their legacy has been marginalized and hidden from mainstream history; American history was simply written around them.”
Ironically, contemporary American culture has developed a disdain for history allowing it to neglect careful revisions that would systematically insert Black American men into their proper positions of importance. It is a typical human reaction when forced to admit that history as you knew it is no longer valid or stacked in your favor to lose interest in the importance of history.
“Rather than embrace a fair recalibration of American history to include the contributions of the diverse cultures and peoples who have shaped it mainstream America has chosen a policy of historic amnesia developing a sudden disdain for the importance of historical education as if it is somehow now irrelevant to the flow of modern life, unimportant to the struggle of day to day survival. Desegregation ushered in a new social admixture that anticipated the recalibration of human facts.”
Desegregation finally opened the door to legal if not genuine human acceptance and inclusion for which Black Americans had waited centuries. However because they did not carefully navigate their immersion into mainstream culture the black community prematurely sacrificed many of their long-standing institutions hoping they would be invited into formerly white institutions many of which had a long history of racial imperviousness.
“Once dismantled black people realized how difficult if not impossible it was to revive the dying legacies of Black American industry and ingenuity which cumulatively celebrated so many difficult decades in the building.”
Today black men yearn for that unrealized promise not only of conceptual and physical freedom but of true racial freedom or as it might be visualized, for the absence of racial self-consciousness. Today Black Americans as a whole are revisiting the formidable task left dangling some 5 decades ago by unravelling centuries of encrypted institutionalized bias and replacing it with honest to goodness justice. It is a sobering hallmark of these times that so many black men continue to struggle with their identities on many levels unable to connect with the glorious heritage of their past and driven by the mean offerings of a mal-focused present that cannot comprehend why it prioritizes street credibility at the cost of fundamental human ethics, morals and community sustainability.
“An observer focusing on contemporary American civilization for the first time might opine that Black American culture has become highly efficient at loving and hating itself to the point that neither is distinguishable as a dominant virtue.”
If anything is certain it is that someone eventually has to speak the unmentionable delivering a candid critique of Black American culture removing the pretense of political correctness and saccharine obsequiousness to tell it like it is. The black community has historically mistaken constructive criticism for a beat down.
“Black Americans who air their race’s dirty laundry outside of their community are frowned upon, the black community is in the closet with its inability and unwillingness to confront and solve its own problems. Outing it is in its own eyes tantamount to sedition!”
There is a time when it is best to ignore the advice of the crowd and likewise there is a time when it is wise to follow the crowd’s advice. When everyone else can see what the black community cannot see about itself it is a clear sign that it may be high time to listen to the crowd… or at least carefully weigh-out the validity of their warnings…
Self-imposed isolationism and denial casts so many black men into a paranoid state of insecurity. Society offers little substance to decorate the vacuum which stands in the place of self-identity and in the absence of reason there reigns the unchallenged spectre of sheer and utter chaos!
“No matter how carefully a black man insulates himself from his black brother he knows the odds are high that he will be victimized by crime and it will be inflicted upon him by another black male. This reality has to have a profound effect upon all black men and cumulatively upon their culture and community.”
As a result many people are waking up to the irony demonstrated by the myopic focus of the black community on white on black crime whilst ignoring the larger crisis of black on black crime. It raises the tough question, “How the black community can effectively manage externally inflicted crime and racism when it is afraid of its own shadow”?
BY BIGDADDY BLUES
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
THERE IS A NEW SALVATION AFTER A MAN OUTGROWS HIS RELIGION… BUT HE MUST LOVINGLY SHED ITS CONFINING ROBES TAKING THE RAIMENT OF INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS…
I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS AN AMAZING HUMAN BEING AND I LOVINGLY PULLED HIM ASIDE INFORMING HIM THAT I WAS CONCERNED HE HAD OUTGROWN HIS RELIGION... AT FIRST HE DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEANT, SO I EXPLAINED… CHRISTIANITY WAS TOO NARROW, CONFINED TO A 4,000 YEAR BIBLICAL PERIOD THAT ONLY REPRESENTED 4 PERCENT OF ALL HUMAN HISTORY IGNORING THE OTHER 96 PERCENT OF THE HUMAN CONDITION. IT HAS BECOME DOGMATICALLY SELF-ABSORBED IN BEING RIGHT, A CHILDISH AND PITIABLE STATE FAR TOO PETTY AND VAINGLORIOUS FOR HIS LEVEL OF SPIRITUALITY. SO I TOLD HIM THAT IN ORDER FOR HIM TO CONTINUE TO GROW SPIRITUALLY HE MUST LEAVE IT BEHIND LIKE A COMFORTING CHILDHOOD MEMORY FREEING HIMSELF TO EXPLORE THE INFINITE NUANCES OF CREATION... THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE CAUGHT UP IN THE RUT OF THEIR RELIGION AND THOUGH IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY GOODBYE TO FAMILY RELIGION CAN ONLY TAKE THEM SO FAR, IN ORDER TO GROW A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EXISTENCE AND HUMANITY A MAN MUST EMBARK UPON A JOURNEY THAT ABANDONS EVERYTHING HE HAS EVER BEEN TAUGHT OR HAS CONCEIVED SHOWING HUMILITY BEFORE THE LARGER TRUTH OF INFINITE WISDOM...
Saturday, December 20, 2014
THE SUPPLY SIDE OF THE EMERGING MARIJUANA INDUSTRY: WHO WILL BE THE NEW ECONOMIC KINGPINS?
WILL THE PIONEERS OF THE MARIJUANA INDUSTRY, THE STREET HUSTLERS, BE MUSCLED-OUT OF THE MARKET NOW THAT POT IS BEING LEGALIZED? WHAT INTERESTS STAND TO MAKE BILLIONS ON LEGALIZED MARIJUANA ON THE SUPPLY-SIDE OF THE EQUATION?
Will the legalization of marijuana empower those whom are today illegal street hustlers making them the rightful beneficiaries of a potentially billion dollar industry once it becomes fully street-legal? If so, for these undocumented entrepreneurs it may be a simple matter of applying for a business license with their local jurisdiction for them to turn a life-long hustle into a legitimate enterprise? But if the laws legalizing the sale, manufacture and distribution of this commodity attempt to impose restrictions against persons with criminal records it could lock them out of one of the most lucrative enterprises to open up in this nation’s economy since the legalization of alcohol. This begs the question, “Will decriminalization of marijuana precipitate total amnesty for those who were previously prosecuted under marijuana laws or will it continue to haunt them, even perhaps preventing them from establishing themselves in a business for which they wrote the book”?
For a moment I want to step aside from any ethical and moral argument about the cultural dynamics of this plant and explore cannabis as simply an organic substance, one that does not possess any inherent qualities of good or evil, just an ancient organism which has been growing on the earth for millions of years before man and which has been cultivated for medicinal purposes by him for over 3,000 years documented. Like many good things at some point in time men began to abuse and misunderstand this substance but that is a consequence not of the plant but of our failure to comprehend how to effectively integrate its use into our culture. The greater reality is that in this capitalistic society, there is both a demand and supply for cannabis that represents a billion dollar industry heretofore conducted off the books that will presently inundate our failing economy with a financially vivacious commodity. We should we asking how we can catch the wave of economic prosperity that certainly will ensue as marijuana products are gradually introduced into our marketplace.
Every American knows that the legalization of pot is inevitable but the federal government continues to delay this process bringing into question its underlying motives. Anyone who is even vaguely aware of the shady history of drug enforcement in this country knows the reason why the Federal government is loath to decriminalize marijuana is in part because of the questionably aggressive way they have prosecuted dealers and users in the past for crimes that will no longer exist in the future of drug enforcement! Because of the unsettling issues of its past there is really no way that the DEA and the federal government can save face. One must admit that it takes considerable gall to confront Americans admitting what was classified as criminal behavior so terrible it was punishable by years of harsh imprisonment including seizure of personal property and defamation of individual character is perfectly acceptable behavior today? Surely they cannot even imagine legalizing marijuana without completely expunging the records of those who were prosecuted under laws treating it as an illegal substance in the past? Since Reagan’s ineffective drug wars in the 1980’s it has been a long expensive and destructive road to the legalization of pot, now we are all genuinely relieved that the government is finally doing the right thing by absolving pot of its criminality but we have to ask ourselves how did such a magnificent mistake ever happen in the first place and what retroactive measures need to be set in place to rectify the considerable damage moving forward. It would be arrogant for the government to simply change its evil laws to good being allowed to get off with a guilty conscience knowing that its mistakes will continue to ruin the lives of millions of men and women for decades to come. If our government is to be forgiven it would only be fair for it to expunge the records of every man and woman touched by its indiscretion; this would be a humane application of the law.
There is however a much darker side to the story of legalization that will metaphorically put the new legal drug hustlers into the black economically.
The new purveyors of cannabis will not operate on the corner in an open-air marketplace or huddle in an urban alley, they will not pass off a hastily packed nickel or dime bag in a cheap plastic zip-loc micro-baggie through the window of a passing sedan. Like tobacco and alcohol marijuana will be robustly marketed as a premium commodity with all the sexiness of a full blown ad campaign by Ciroc, Cohiba, Absolut or Camel; it will open up an entirely new category in the stock market!
So the billion dollar question is who will be the lucky dogs to get in big on a market that will certainly capture the attention of every financial magazine and publication in the country? One thing is certain; it will not be the lowly street hustler. I spent some time thinking about what the brand names of these new marijuana products might be based on who might be manufacturing them, it was an interesting exercise the prospect of which caused me to realize that legalization of marijuana could encourage tobacco sales with everyone lighting up again. Once legalized the cannabis plant can be cultivated in the U.S. the same as any vegetable, grain or fruit is grown on a farm subject to FDA and other standards. What is not yet clear is how closely regulated this substance will be once legalized and that will make all the difference regarding how it comes to us in the marketplace. Companies who have access to large tracts of land for cultivation and manufacturing, packaging, etc. will immediately be able to flood the marketplace with their product. People frequenting farmers markets might find the stuff heaped high beside fennel, rosemary, sage and other herbs. In urban settings cannabis lovers might frequent upscale cafes selling marijuana in different forms, offering hand rolled cigarettes and exotic chocolates, pastry and other delicacies. It is logical that companies will manufacture marijuana cigars and cigarettes perhaps reviving the coin operated cigarette machine dispensing packs or even single cannabis cigars. If pot is completely legalized then street vendors would have to compete with more sophisticated and far better capitalized merchants but one can assume that when the stuff can be grown in a flower box outside of grandma’s window the demand on the street will ultimately die.
When Ronald Reagan presaged the economic shift from a manufacturing to a service economy in his 1980 inaugural speech digressing to romanticize a 21st century cottage industry I am certain he had no inkling that a brand new industry would open up in this country to suit and contradict his prediction and that that industry would be the sale of marijuana products. O how times do change… Now it is quite likely that the international market will seek to capture over the counter sale of cannabis products offering pre-packaged commodities produced cheaply overseas and sold cheaply in the U.S. to an eager and captive market of cannabis connoisseurs.
So it all hearkens back to the old supply and demand models we studied in macro and microeconomics our freshman year in college. Although it sounds boring excitingly enough it will ultimately play out something like this; the legalization of marijuana creates a demand and suppliers respond by offering a broad range of products and services from a broad range of prices to satisfy the demand across the entire scope of consumers. Depending on how the substance is legalized it could render it as commonplace as catnip. The key factor in pricing will be determined by the means of production, for instance, although many people smoke cigarettes very few of them bother to grow their own tobacco so while a few cottage industries will undoubtedly thrive most of the product will have to be manufactured by a very large corporation in order to meet the entire national demand. Eventually quality control and simple economic issues related to financing and marketing will cause smaller home-grown varieties to be overrun by corporate grown product. Smart companies will immediately develop branding to make their products distinctive and they will use advertisement to quickly make their product name a household name. The more refined products will quickly rise into favor in a market of convenience and so like its brothers,( tobacco and alcohol), marijuana will finally enter the world market as a legal product robustly traded on the stock market. We already know there is a demand for pot in these United States which is why pot is finally being legalized and because legalization represents the opening of an entirely new market potentially earning billions of dollars a year I want to see who is lined up for the windfall, I am keeping my eye on the supply side of the equation.
WRITTEN BY BIGDADDY BLUES
Friday, December 19, 2014
RETHINKING WHAT WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT HUMAN PERCEPTION AS A STRATEGY FOR MANAGING RACISM...
Wouldn't it be amazing if we possessed the ability to perceive the world through the eyes of other people allowing us to appreciate just how diverse human perception can be? Now I don’t mean a freakish sci-fi movie extra-sensory perception; I’m talking about a natural and perfectly normal empathy that could facilitate our ability to be receptive to the emotions of others. If this is possible, and it is, how would we use the extraordinary insight our newly found “Third-Eye” afforded us? More importantly how could we cultivate these perceptive abilities within ourselves in order to understand the motivation behind the actions of those around us? How might we use this innately human skill to uproot and undo centuries of entrenched racism. This gift of perception has sometimes been called the “Third-Eye” in both ancient and contemporary times. We might someday, after a great deal of focused study, discover a way to balance our-third eye’s perception with that of the two eyes we already possess but for now let us simply think of it as the simplest and most normal kind of human intuition? Having the ability to understand and adapt things that greatly differ from our norm is a skill rooted in our affective core as human beings. It is an essential survival skill we use to communicate across unfamiliar barriers such as language, race, ethnicity and sometimes sexuality. Many humanitarians and freethinkers believe that racism, classism and sexism for example are nothing more than superficial overlays to the human psyche, glitches, impediments, synaptic misfires acting as filters of a sort that inhibit our ability to effectively communicate on a fundamental level which otherwise unifies us as human beings. The relevance of this philosophy is that it challenges mankind to confront its failure to live up to the egalitarian ideals which are universally celebrated across all human civilization. The ideals of which I speak are all based upon the belief that all humans are absolutely equal in every way. This philosophy deliberately treats racial, ethnic, sexual, economic and other biases and prejudices as superficial and does not consider them as functionally fundamental to human instinct. If not only by virtue of the fact that this discussion is necessary this philosophy recognizes that there is a clear relationship between these biases and human instinct but one that is not too deeply rooted that it cannot be managed or avoided, hence the theory that this type of bias and prejudice might be tangential or superficial rather than subcutaneous or even fundamental to human instinct. One thing is certain no matter how ingrained it may be in the fabric of our humanity we know for certain that racism and bias can be successfully overcome. We know that regardless of race, gender, economics, culture or ethnicity all members of the human species are naturally attracted to and compatible with each other; that superficial differences such as skin color, physical characteristics attributable to geography, etc., are not significant enough to infer a fundamental genetic difference within the species as a whole outside of the stronger sexual/hormonal differences between males and females. The racial overlay which cites skin color and racial characteristics as hallmarks of racial inequality besides being technically flawed in lieu of modern anthropological and genetic research and ethically/morally flawed from a humanitarian perspective is in dire need of updates to render them culturally relevant in a time of unprecedented racial, cultural and ethnic diversity. While the rest of the world appears to have moved forward in terms of racial and ethnic solidarity in virtually every arena including the furtherance of human culture and technology American ingenuity for instance has been critically retarded by a centuries-old struggle between black and white! As American culture dives into a dismal cycle of decline there is no better time to cure the cancer of racism in the hope that it will stimulate a cultural renaissance in these United States…
Humanity as a whole is diminished by racial, ethnical, economic and other biases. When the humanity of a people is marginalized due to racial bias and replaced with a malignant code of stereotypes that erases the very soul of those peoples who notwithstanding, represent a significant power within that culture nothing less than a classic collision course with cultural impotence has been set into motion. Superficially it appears as if America has experienced an economic and cultural rise over the two centuries since its inception however the omnipresent curse of racism has festered in its gut for so long that it threatens the ability of this nation to move forward into the twenty-first century as a globally competitive power. Because racism discounts the importance of entire populations of human beings in its arrogance it fails to see how it will ultimately lose the numbers game through attrition as these oppressed populations develop power platforms which eventually expand gaining mainstream support. Although racism psychologically causes people to become invisible we know that people do not just disappear because you do not like them or desire to share economic prosperity with them. Hitler faced this same dilemma inspiring him to embark upon a blind trail of genocide which history calls the “Final Solution”. We have to ask ourselves how one man was able to set into motion the genocide of innocent human beings who in this case happened to be European Jews; men, women and children, even the yet unborn. The world watched while Hitler justified murder as an alternative to discovering a solution to the problem of racism. For this and many other reasons it is clear that Hitler and the regime he created had utterly failed on many fundamental levels because they lacked the necessary creativity to humanely solve the biggest human issue of their time. A true leader and statesman would have welcomed the challenge to unilaterally solve centuries old race, economic and political issues across the rapidly changing landscape of modern Europe similarly to the way the European Union has done today. Again, having the ability to use third-eye consciousness to overcome prejudice could have saved the world from one of the most destructive wars in human history. Some say Hitler lost WWII because in his racial hatred he caused the brightest scientific minds many of which were Jewish, to flee Europe and fight on the side of the Allies. This outcome had played out many times before in European history such as when the Medieval Spanish Inquisition compelled the Moors and Jews to flee taking their scientific and technological knowledge with them at a loss to Spain. During WWII the rise of The Third Reich caused Jewish and other gifted European Scientists to flee to America and other parts of the world creating a technological vacuum in Hitler’s camp but delivering a boon to his enemies, the Allies. On another shore, when you begin to mentally calculate all of the potential contributions to civilization that may have been systematically cancelled or delayed because the genius behind them was Black American it becomes quite clear why the brief technological acceleration spanning the late nineteenth through the late twentieth centuries in America has so rapidly regressed into what is our current lackluster American economy, an economy that produces little that the world desires save weapons of mass destruction. It is no coincidence that America’s most globally sought after commodity is weaponry. For a country that has grown weak in real human productivity due to poor education and dire discrepancies in the accessibility of critical resources that might have the ability to strengthen it in other ways weapons intended to establish military power are needed to compensate for the crippling lack of creativity. America has decided it is too hard to maintain its competitive edge in a world of commodities when all it has to do is build the biggest gun! America’s investment in Black American education and business follows a larger trend encompassing all Americans. This country no longer strives to produce the next George Washington Carvers’, Charles Drew’s or Albert Einstein’s because it has decided it is cheaper and less labor intensive to farm Americans to become consumers. In other words, Americans are being “Farmed” or cultivated to become nothing more than 100% consumer stock feeding the avaricious machine of Wall Street and the global economic market it once dominated. So although some men perceive Black Americans including other troubled and racially profiled communities to be a racially and genetically inferior population of peoples, freethinkers recognize them not only as their genetic and racial equal but also understand how strategically they represent a vast untapped pool of creative potential in many ways making Black Americans and peoples of color in particular the last human frontier of our age!. Even today the economic machines of the world all have their eyes cast on Africa as the next place to do business. Unfortunately this shifts attention away from Black Americans who are still struggling to get attention as the next most important commodities to invest in. Hopefully circumstances within the black community in the states will turn around causing it to refocus attention on pulling its fractured and beaten-down self together.
It may not be possible for racism to be completely unlearnt but it certainly can be deprogrammed. Deprogramming a culture that has been built upon racism is indeed a herculean task but then so was the creation of this great nation evincing that it is possible. Each of us is fully capable of empathetically understanding the world through the sensibilities of those who are different from us because we are fundamentally the same. What arrests this process from manifesting itself is the combined pressure of racism on both sides of the line of understanding. It is equally clear that the possibilities exists that no one is completely incapable of succumbing to racial bias on some level and that everyone can functionally overcome the overlay of racism. This means the radical leaps and bounds humanity has made toward egalitarian freedom over the past 300 -400 years still has a great hope of being realized in full. We should constantly be rethinking what we understand about perception allowing us to navigate through life driven by a healthy respect for the unique world-view of others. If for no other reason than it is an essential exercise in humility we should make a daily practise of seeing through the lens of others. With this skill comes the ability to comprehend the way others perceive us and that, my friend, is the veritable crystal ball of self-refinement. So “Look into the crystal ball! What do you see? You see yourself in the eyes of others and you see others as they see themselves”. We all know at the end of the day racism is mostly about perception of a skin-deep reality. Just as easily as we are able to manufacture economic, scientific and other arguments to justify the perpetuation of racism we can dismantle them for they are all arbitrary, ideologies having no basis in what commonly links us as men… and that is love…
We often make broad assumptions about what motivates people we do not know to do things we do not fully understand. In the absence of real facts, we sometimes rely on our own prejudices, fears, anger and frustration to compensate our lack of a real understanding. It is at these times that our third-eye would be most valuable. But having access to a third-eye parallax requires empathy and compassion in order to transform understanding into a tangible deed of good will.
While it is true that the human experience is common, in many instances our instinctual and behavioral similarities bleed off into a direction that is as much guided by the unique variables surrounding the event as they are driven by our own patently unique personality. Technology has changed the way we think about everything especially on an evidentiary level. In the past we relied completely upon the integrity of the individual to gather and interpret facts and to dispense justice. Technology has largely undermined and replaced our reliance on the integrity of an individual replacing it with a less subjective structure built of scientific, empirical data. The technical lag between technology and policy is evinced by the increasing number of well-documented assassinations of Black American men whose murderers go untouched by the law. So in the past we relied on a legal system that pretended to be ethical knowing that it could ignore and manipulate data to justify its end. Today we are challenged to eliminate obsolete laws originally designed to facilitate racism allowing legal injustice to defy incontrovertible, empirical data! In the past black men were killed and it was simply an accepted evil, false accounts could be manufactured and no one dared to raise a question. Even if they did the legal infrastructure of police, judges and policymakers was already so entrenched in the perpetuation of racism it would have been impossible for real justice to see the light of day. Today we must ask how much has changed as it appears that a black man can be murdered on video in front of dozens of eyewitnesses attesting to the criminality of the assailant, the event is broadcast and protested globally but a legal loophole that may have been crafted during the heyday of jim-crow styled racism and should have been removed from the law books over 50 years ago will allow his murderer to walk freely in these United States guiltless in the eyes of the law. The technology of our time merely pretends to hold every man to a far more complex matrix of standards than they did a lynch mob 60 only years ago. If the laws of this land cannot see a clear pathway to justice for all people then conscientious Americans of all races, creeds religions and ethnicities must change them! We certainly have done so in the past it is just that we left a lot of obscure areas unpurged. Racism is so deeply encrypted into the laws of this land it may take many centuries to finally rout them all out. As imposing as the law is it is ultimately inanimate, an imperfect structure crafted by flawed men, it cannot comprehend or command the use of a first, second or third-eye, it has no eye or mind or heart of its own. The law is actually a weak thing, a blind and shapeless collection of theory devoid of the creative and sensitive soul humans must pull from in order to understand why people do the things they do. This brings our discussion full circle now to the topic of race, ethnicity, cultural and social values because in America even if they are irrelevant the question will inevitably be raised. So because racial and other biases can potentially play a significant role in the way decisions are made in this country we must be equipped to effectively identify or rule them out as variables. It is precisely here that we must call upon our third-eye powers of perception and empathy to help us sift through the labyrinth of human nature in order to get to the root of the real motivating issues. Ironically, in spite of the tendency of popular culture to elevate every motive to supernatural proportions more often than not the things which move common men and women to make the decisions they make are quite utilitarian and unbiased in nature, they are just doing their jobs. Everyone should understand how difficult public service can be as it entails dealing with a great deal of randomness and more often than not it is loaded with the potential for misunderstanding and miscommunication both internally and on the side of the public. It is never easy being a public servant and even the best is still imperfect. The branches of public service that deal directly with human conflict which consists of law enforcement and the criminal justice system are literally pitted between a country in which cultural, political and racial views have radically changed and frequently change and an obsolete legal structure of antiquated, ineffective and unconstitutional polices that have not been removed from the laws of the land. Many of these more esoteric laws and certainly many widely used but outdated ones should have been deemed null in lieu of other more progressive legislation and then there is the eternal struggle between a state’s laws and federal laws to further complicate matters of structural alignment and policy refreshment. In many ways the very laws of this land interfere in our ability to avoid racism.
At the end of the day every encounter we have with others is a test of our ability to effectively communicate. When we are thrust into the public arena we must suddenly become highly conscious of our responsibility to tap into our third-eye the same as those who are watching and judging us. We should always be mindful of the fact none of us is perfect a factor sufficient to earn a relative margin of forgiveness for the inevitable mistakes everyone makes in life. We must weigh these mistakes carefully when they affect the lives of others, balancing the loud but ephemeral din of popular culture against the wisdom of a third-eye. Furthermore, because we are not along in this world we have the ability to collect the third-eyed wisdom of others representing our colleagues, friends, family and others whose judgment we respect as being sound. One thing is certain, whenever there is true and grievous injustice it should be dealt with. The problem with popular culture and social media is rooted in its potential inability to see or to care to see clearly and also to effectively evaluate what it sees. The real dilemma with social media is that matters of great significance can get promoted more or less robustly than matters of much smaller gravity. This potential has the effect of rendering social media unreliable and making its motives appear to be questionable to its audiences who continually are forced to sift through data which has already been skewed in favor of some unknown prejudice rather than simply being reported a raw objective media. For example American media coverage of and audience attention to the Super Bowl or a popular reality show would easily capture more attention than the plight of thousands of a growing number of homeless families. People know about the ills and vices of the world they live in but they just do not seem to want to hear about it as if it will somehow just go away or should be dismissed as a normal condition. What is normal about homelessness and hunger? We are told some stories are just more important than others and this psychology enables us to ignore huge discrepancies in our world that truly deserve 100% of or undivided attention such as the issue of racism. What is ultimately important to us about any story is largely based on our perception of how it affects the way we live and how it reshapes our perspective of the world. There is one solid truth and it lives somewhere between our opinion, the opinion of the media and that of our third-eye forcing us to evaluate every story dropped upon our doorstep or allow the media to decide it for us. In order to turn racism around we really have to take a more assertive role to limit the influence of media especially social media in the determination of critical legal decisions. Social media and media in general are amazing tools but they have far too often been abused in America to taint public opinion and used in concert with culturally irrelevant laws social and other media have fabricated elaborate operant conditioning campaigns to conceal and avoid the larger issue of policy reform in America to erase racism from the law books of this land.
Imagine a hypothetical but plausible scenario where four separate but similar events transpire in four separate parts of a town at the same time. Each of these events could be interpreted anywhere along a sliding scale from purely routine or incidental to highly racially, culturally or ethnically motivated depending on the perspective of the audience so this is how the story unfolds. On the south side of town a black police officer encounters a white youth and after a brief debacle guns him down killing the teen. At the same time a white police officer encounters a black youth on south side of town and after a physical confrontation with him shoots the teen killing him on the spot. Ironically within the same timeframe two black teens on the east side of the metropolis begin to argue and in seconds both begin shooting at each other with the result that one teen is seriously injured and the other teen dies. On the west end two white youths begin to fight and in the process both teens die of their gunshot wounds.
In each case there were plenty of eyewitnesses and these crimes experienced unprecedented media coverage merely minutes after the last shot was fired, the news and government were in the middle of a socio-political frenzy. The bustling city had survived similar events in the past but they had been isolated and spaced out generously over a period of years rather than seconds. The media was overwhelmed by the freaky simultaneity of these grisly happenstances. The community was in an uproar, shocked, numbed, angered and grieved over the sheer magnitude of violence thrust into their lives from every direction. Each community made sobering demands upon their government officials who scrambled to piece all of the facts together before making what they felt would be the appropriate public responses. It was a tense and volatile time and as if to intensify this corrosive social tsunami the situation went globally viral. Within less than a half hour the story was being reported live in every country and in every language all the way around the world!
Suddenly the wide, wide world demanded immediate answers as its unblinking, uncompromising consciousness zoomed into the heart of a town it certainly would never have taken time to know save for the events that had spewed their ensanguined calling cards upon what had once been quiet streets. These otherwise unassuming streets were where ordinary folk played out their urban realness day in and day out… So was it the putrefying odour of death alone that distinguished this town or was it the manner in which death decomposed our sense of safety into the simplest and ugliest elements of fear, dread, despair, ignorance, disgust and guilt? If you were standing on the sidewalk nearby or o’er the extinguished bodies of these youths; if you were looking onto them lying in pools of their own blood as far away from far away Delhi, Prague, Lagos, Washington, D.C., Buenos Ares, Toronto or Kyoto that you could conceivably be you would see a different kind of realness. So I will not ask you what you think the world sees I will ask you to visualize this spatially, culturally, racially and chronologically interwoven and compressed simultaneity of events using the third-eye philosophy and tell me what you think…
BY BIGDADDY BLUES