Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Excuses, Excuses

    Ex-cuse: (verb). An attempt to lessen blame attaching (to a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.  
    Ac-count-a-bil-i-ty: (noun). A fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.

    In the wake of recent disturbances to the peace and well being of our way of life ( police brutality, mass shooting, prejudice and racist tirades, abuse of disabled, and urban violence) I have noticed a new disturbing trend, the lack of accountability and the list of excuses used to defend the before mentioned acts. No sooner than the news of something terrible happening news and social media outlets are lined with articles, short stories, memes, gifs, tweets, and posts about why a person did what they did, who is to blame (other than the person who actually committed the act), or my favorite, the comparison of the recent event to a past similar event and how the past event was worse or better, how the person who committed the past event got more or less punishment and how unfair it is to a certain group of people who hold certain beliefs to be true.
    Let me start by first making something very clear, I have little tolerance for excuses of bad decisions, especially the one that end up in loss of life or harm to someone. I have infinite patience for those who hold themselves responsible for the poor decision that results in loss of life of bodily harm. How every you feel about either is an individual preference and you have every right to that without question. My goal now is to try and provide some clarity to my thinking on the subject.
    The main reason why I have little tolerance for excuses is in the definition, the "seek to defend or justify" part. Before I get into that I guess I should start with what sparked this hold train of thought. There is a case right now going on in national media and without getting into to much detail, four young African American teens basically kid nap and tortured a  Caucasian Teen with some learning disabilities. They hold him over night, torture him in various ways, humiliate him while being racist, and had the smarts to post all of this on a Facebook video. Now what really burns my biscuits is that people have been making excuses for their behaviors by posting a pic of a young Caucasian teen who did the same thing to someone else (unsure at this time the age, race, and abilities of his victim) and stating that Caucasian teen charges were much lighter than the African American teens and this is unfair or not equal justice. I will agree that it is not equal justice, but the unfair part you can miss me with that. The charges that the A.A. teens received is exactly what they should get, if not harsher. The Caucasian teen should have received the same, this is unequal justice, but to excuse their behaviors because someone else had a lighter sentence is ridiculous to say the least. You can't minimize or deflect the responsibility of something so malice and cruel or ease the punishment because someone else got off easy. The first example that comes to mind is a couple of teenagers go drinking and get into a bar fight, they beat a guy, send him to the hospital, and end up going to jail. One teens has a high powered attorney and he manages to get only probation, a fine, and community service hours. the other kid gets a public defender and gets 1 year jail time plus 5 years parole. The one who got no jail time was Caucasian the one who did the time was Mexican. Unfair as it may seem where is there room for the excuse for their actions. You can argue the sentence and punishment but they both did the act.
    Some of our frustrations is misplaced. I understand the outrage when seeing someone get off easier than they should simply because of their entitlement and that entitlement is very often used as an excuse to justify their decisions to act criminally, and far to often does that excuse minimize their act. It still doesn't make it right and we should neither condone these justifications or (more importantly) try to use these excuses to justify the behaviors of our own peers and family when they act out in such similar and terrible manner. Cops shoots a person; "well he should of complied"; Teens torture a disabled kid; "why did his parents let him go unattended in the first place", man shoots up airport; "he was a terrorist", 82 people shot over a holiday weekend; "the community is oppressed", caught selling heroin; "they lack resources in our community", gang violence; "no funding for sports and recreation". Excuses, excuses, excuses.
    So what about accountability? How do we look these people in the eye and be empathetic to the causes to which lead them to their poor actions and still hold them responsible for the damage they have done? In my opinion it begins with acceptance. Let's accept the fact that something wrong has occurred, and accept that everything is not always simple to solve or punish. Each act is separate from the next and that each act should be treated as such. Being responsible as a society lies deeply in making sure that the person involved in the harm is held responsible. Yea, I know, if it was so easy the world would be perfect right, but the devil is in the details. To often do we turn a blind eye to intolerable acts simply because we share the same race, religion, title, or beliefs. No one likes a violent or aggressive cop but the ones who provide excuses for them usually is, knows, or has some close affiliation with cops, same with terrorist, racist, gangs, politics. etc.. We will continually provide excuses for our brothers and sister for the same acts that we would scream to the heavens how foul they are if someone of a different set of beliefs had committed them. This is our folly, our denial, our delusion, our excuse for continually not allowing someone to be accountable. I hope that if ever given the opportunity that you hold me to the highest form of accountability in the same way that I hope I can do the same for you. Maybe by simply being accountable for holding others accountable and not having an excuse for providing an excuse is all we need.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Post Election Thougts

This Presidential election has drawn some strong lines in the sand when it comes to who and how  "Americans" want this country to be run. Especially after the biggest surprise since the Cubs winning the world series, Trump becoming the 45th President of the U.S.. What we have seen from all sides is a lot blaming, name calling, protest, violence, tears, and cheers. People have turned away from friends, family, and co-workers because of who one or the other chose to support. My question is why are we so angry or happy this time around? What makes this election seemingly so much more emotional to so many people than in previous elections. Even when President Obama was running to become the first African American President, I know their was outrage and elation on both sides, but I don't recall it being as visceral.
     When I say visceral I mean that in the literal since. Visceral loosely means more focused on emotion than intelligence. First of all let's be honest, I am speaking directly to all those who are so offended by Trump becoming the new President. Especially to White American's that just can't believe Trump was elected, well let's take a good hard look at this. Out of the 45 Presidents, I will eliminate 2 and give you a Mulligan on the 3rd, Obama, Clinton, and possibly Bush #2, except for those three EVERY AMERICAN PRESIDENT WAS BIGOTED, MISOGYNISTIC, SEXIST, ELITIST, OLD, RICH, and WHITE (as I write this I realize I was wrong, add Clinton and Bush which makes the total 44 out of 45)!!!!! Why are you so surprised that Trump was elected? I mean you guys are really surprised and I find that funny because it seems as if you totally forgot about the other 43 presidents that are a carbon copy of the current presidential elect. You are now, but why not before? Where was the outrage when the Reagan administration was destroying as many minority families as the Jim Crow era? Where was the outrage win Bush one and two helped privatized prisons make millions off citizens? I won't even get into any President before 1980.
     As for the Minority Americans and Immigrants, rich racist white men are to the presidency as the UConn women's basketball program is to women college basketball. In other words they will go on a ridiculous win streak, you might get 1 every so many years, but they will keep on winning. For example, let's start at Washington (1789-1797) rich racist white men all the way up to Lincoln (1861-1865) we got a break on the whole slavery thing. Then from Lincoln rich racist white mean until 2008, I will give you some slack for Bill Clinton (1992), that's it! From 1860 until 1993 all you got was freedom from slavery. My point, this is what America is, a country with great freedoms, and rights that were written and designed by rich old racist white men for their demographic. Their only struggle is how to exclude everyone while trying to make us feel like we are included.
     I think the shock is that Trump is so bad at concealing the image of someone who gives a damn, where as we are used to candidates feeding us the B.S. sweetened with honey, Trump just gives us the 1960's I'm white, I'm rich, I'm a man, so I have earned this. Which effects different groups in different ways.
     First, for White American that were against Trump, I get you don't want to be labeled in the same bag as that guy. You live in diverse communities, urban areas. You have plenty of minority friends and co-workers and you honestly don't have a bigoted bone or sexist bone in your body. Where you fell is that 100% know that oppression, segregation, sexism, etc. exist in this country yet 99% of you do absolutely nothing about. You are active in the community, schools, state, or country at a grass roots level working to eliminate these things. You vote and you say "well I'm active because I voted against the bad guy" but that's not enough and you know. And if you didn't know you know now because of how the rest of the White Americans voted. Which brings me to my second point.
    To all the White Americans that voted for Trump kudos to you. You recognized that you took a loss with 2 Obama terms and made sure that American tradition stayed in tact. Trump reminded you what American freedom is truly about, being able to live the great White way without having to worry about all these different minority groups and women to worry about. You organized and did what you have always done which is out smart us at the polls and get the right person for the job for you. Him being racist didn't matter because he is a rich white man, derogatory attitude towards women, well that's what rich white men allowed to do, right? Don't pay taxes, not prove your wealth, openly racist, unpredictable, narcissistic, under qualified, well that's ok because he is rich, he is white, and he's a man.
     For Minority Americans we have been exposed as lazy, unorganized, and uncaring. How many times have I heard "It don't matter who is in the office, they don't care about us. nothing that they do applies to me" yes this might be true, but the fact is 99% of us are not active in the voting process that do determine what will effect us. How many of you can name your local alderman, mayor, treasurer, states attorney, judges, sheriffs, congress person, or senate representative. These people make decisions based directly on how you vote. Your local taxes, laws, schools, park district programs, jobs, housing, businesses are all determined by these people. So when I hear " I don't vote because it doesn't apply to me", cringe at the out right stupidity of such a statement.
     I mean we didn't even have a 100% turn out when Obama was running, now that should tell you something. This is also what hurt the democratic party. They assumed we would come out and vote like we did for Obama, but why we would come out to vote for people who are representations of the elitist class when not even 50% of the minority population came out when we had a minority representative. This is a huge problem for us, we have fallen and continue to fall for one of the great tricks of white supremacy, to continually think that are actions will be futile. Every time we have a chance to make significant change we get bombarded with this myth, only when we go past this and continue to take action do we see our true power, and this is really what they fear the most, us organized, working together, building coalitions, unifying different groups. The Majority has relinquished way more power than they wanted to and they will not give us anymore and will do their best to take back what we have struggled to achieve and maintain. Our job is the continual pursuit of equality, to pry away some of that power and resources to even the playing field.
     My final thought is that I have no problem with the outrage and the elation from either side. I play a lot of sports and I understand stand that sometimes your opponent is just bigger and stronger than you and can't change that. What you have to do is figure out a way to win regardless of who your opponent is, if they are bigger than be faster, if they a faster then slow them down, if they are stronger beat them with sound fundamentals, but their tendencies, have a solid defense, make sure your team is unified and every one has their eyes on the same goal. The game of life is for keeps, no overtime when the buzzer sounds the game is over. Play to win.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I've never felt safe

      Never have I utter the words "thank God the Police are here", I've never felt comfortable when I looked into my rear view window and saw a police car behind. Never felt a sense of comfort or safety while standing in a public area and police are around. When I find out a person is a cop I immediately create distance. Even if I thought the person was nice before I found out they were a police officer.
      Some have the privilege of safety, I don't. If my son is acting up and I call for help, myself or my son could be killed. If I have car trouble and go knock on a neighbors door for help I might get killed. I was almost arrested for looking suspicious, what was I doing, suspiciously taking my pregnant girlfriend to the hospital to deliver my now 17 year old daughter. Yes he pulled his weapon on me. I have no one to serve and protect me. If I am speeding, make an illegal lane change, don't pit on my seat belt I could be shot and killed. Never have I felt safe. Walking or running away can get me killed you see. I can be handcuffed on the ground bleeding and beaten and still be considered a threat and killed, I've never felt safe.
       My daughter could be left to die unattended and alone in a jail cell, I've never felt safe. You might feel safe but I don't. I live in a community and sate of predators and I am the pray, I've never felt safe. I could comply, kneel with my hands in the air and be killed, I've never felt safe. everyday I look into the eyes of people who want to kill me. I have to see them at the high school football game, in the grocery store, at the park, when I walk my dog, when they drive by I stop what I'm doing and take a protective stance in front of my 6 and 8 year old, I've never felt safe.
       When they approach me I cringe, my pulse rate increases, my pupils dilate, its fight or flight, why, because I've never felt safe. I have to take part of my earning to pay the salary of those who impede on my safety, I have to stand to a flag that says I have to show respect for those who rob me of my safety. If I speak up about feeling unsafe, my life is threatened by those who I said make me feel unsafe. Not directly but they will make an effort to not protect me the way they protect others, they will be slow to respond when I am in an unsafe situation but quick to respond if they see an opportunity to trample on my safety to prove a point that I should feel safe around them. There communication with me is harsh, language laced with profanity, demeaning, and shows lack of patience and empathy, I've never felt safe. How do feel? Safe?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Not Normal Behavior

You ever get into an argument or disagreement? Not any regular argument, I mean you and the person/people are pissed, name calling, threats, others are separating you to avoid a physical altercation. Better yet, ever get into a physical fight with someone? I know I have, being young, full of pride and ego, feeling like I had to protect my rep. I won a few and lost a few. What did you do? Did you walk away and let bygones be bygones, take your lumps and live to see another day. Maybe you did the unthinkable and managed to talk to your enemy and come to some kind of mutual understanding? If you did then you are weak!
Every fight I have ever been involved in I, either right there on the spot or returned later, pulled out my gun and did my best to shoot and kill the person I had the confrontation with. If I didn't have a clear shot I would shoot any way. Some times I shot and killed innocent men, women, and children. My friends would make sure I got away with the crime by helping me provide an alibi, hiding the murder weapon, or giving me a place to lay low. My girlfriend would remain loyal knowing I am a stone cold killer. My family is the realest! They know I carry a gun, they know my friends do the same, they see flash my signs and read my tattoo that reps my city and my gang.
You see, I often post on Facebook and twitter pics of me with a lit blunt in my mouth, shirt off, in one hand a .45 glock semi-auto and the other hand a rubber band roll of 20 dollar bills, with my lady in a bra and thong bent over so the whole internet can see her goodies. You understand that this is the only way a real man should live.
I am actually starting a record label called " Shoot Ni%&as, Slap Bitches, Sell Dope Records" my group name is "We Kill Our Own" with our first single and official video "Yea I Shot Your Baby". WGCI will have it on heavy rotation just on time for the 4th of July fire works.
What's not normal is those of you don't live like this or understand those that do. I can't help it if you are scared to bust shots, if you soft and too afraid to squeeze the trigger on your enemy and rep you block. A real man ain't afraid of getting locked up or being killed. I tell my little N$gga (my son), I named him Thug N%gga Jr., "always remember to keep it real". Teach him how to cut the dope, load the clip, and to have no love for hoes. So he can grow up to be a man.
Any other way is not normal.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sadly,I'm Smiling on the Inside

To shoot and kill someone in cold blood is an awful thing. It takes a special kind of rage to act out such vengeance. This is nothing to be proud of, even if the act of vengeance is due to the repeated abuse and murder of one's own people. I know this, I am a morally responsible person, so why do I feel the tug of satisfaction  when I hear that 2 police officers were gunned down while sitting in there vehicle by a man who stated it was in retaliation for recent police killings of unarmed Black men? I know its wrong yet I am not sad, disappointed, or feel enraged by this act of violence. Murder is murder there is no justification in such an act but, the hard truth is I wanted payback, I wanted the police to feel that sting that we feel all to often. In the dark recesses of my mind I image the gunman not killing himself, as this one did, but instead calmly calling in shots fired, waiting to be arrested, then 8 weeks later hearing the announcement that the shooter with not be prosecuted and acquitted of all charges.
The Police are enraged over this incident, blaming the media's lack of discretion and bias when describing officers, how the judicial system has felled them, and leaving them wondering if the system is designed to protect them or leave them helpless in the hands of those who view and treat them as a threat.
Maybe this is why I'm smiling on the inside because I know now they understand how it feels to be gunned down because of what clothes you are wearing or what color or culture you represent. Maybe I'm smiling because they now know how it feels to be us. Looking at city officials for a solution and getting back excuses and BS explainations.
I'm not smiling because to men are dead, I am smiling because I know now they know what it feels like to have someone say "show restraint", "trust the system", "justice will be served", and my favorite, "the defendant deserves due process and is innocent until proven guilty".
My smile is knowing that they have now put on our shoes and have to walk in them for a few miles. The only thing that I am disappointed in is that the shooting wasn't video taped by an innocent by stander and played continuously over a course of several weeks so the family have the distinct pleasure of reliving their loved ones death over and over again.
To the families of the slain officers God Bless You.
To the Police Departments across the country, did you honestly think that everyone would simply turn the other cheek? Welcome to our world.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Personal Experiences with the Police

Me and a buddy are in front of a friends house talking to a woman we knew while she was parked in her car. I was standing on the street side of the car leaning in the window as she was giving us a wedding invitations. A cop drives by, stops, reverse back to us, gets out of his car, and without saying a word slams me up against the hood. I knew what he was thinking so I say "I'm not selling anything!" He says " yea, right". He finds nothing and out of frustration arrest me for obstruction of traffic. Charges were later dropped.
Coming out of a club in Milwaukee, as I am crossing the street with about 50 other people, a police officer gets on the loud speaker and orders everyone out of the street. I comply, but being in the middle of the street I continue to cross. Cop puts me in cuffs, curses, disrespects me, pushes me around a little, then let's me go.
I got pulled over for having a headlight out. Cop takes one look at me and says "where is the bud?" I say " please dont start with the bull". He asked me to step out of my vehicle, I asked " am I being detained?". He tells me no but hr wants yo perform a field sobriety test. I tell  " no, but I will gladly take a blow test". He threatens me with jail, so I comply, at the same time his partner goes in my car for the illegal search. They find nothing and let me go. The funny thing is they never frisked me, if I did have anything on my person ( which I didn't) they sure drop the ball.
Had an argument with my girl late one night, police were called. First responder is calm and respectful, as I calmly explained the childish behavior we were exhibiting, another officer pulls up walks right up to me and starts trying to intimidate me, it does not work, he pits me in cuffs and violently put me in the squad car, I'm arrested and booked in. The me y morning I show up to court to find out I was being charged for with domestic violence. After 5 continuations, the judge would not provide me a public defender the first 3 times, once he didn't like my outfit, and the other was because the prosecutor had no arrest record or formal charges! On the 6th appearance the prosecutor tells the judge " I have no idea why this young man is here all I have is a Domestic violence charge but no witness or officer statement." They then ask my Lady, who was on court in court with me, if I hit her, threatened her or anything that could draw a case, she tells them without a doubt no!! That's when the prosecutor asked to dismiss the case, the officer gets up and storms out, and the judge stands up and starts yelling at the prosecutor about how he has wasted court time and state money!! Yea he actually stood up and started yelling, you could here a pin drop. The public defender looks at me as tells me I'm free to go. I was afraid to move, in fear of being tackled and cuffed by the bailiffs ( you just can't make this stuff up). My lawyer convinces me its OK so I walk out of the court room. The arresting officer is waiting for me in the hallway. He walks up to and says "I will see you again!" My response " only if you show up to your mommas house after 10". I could literally see the smoke coming out of his ears.
The police, abusive? Yes. Aggressive? Yes. Remorseful for their corrupt and harmful ways? No.
The thing is I have about 10 more personal experiences that all come out the same way, and I'm just one man. Imagine how many instances we all collectively....this is why there is such a divide between the police and the public they are sworn to protect.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My first experience with the Wu-Tang Clan

Today I had the pleasure of letting my head nod to the new release of the Wu-Tang Clan's "A Better Tomorrow", 21 years after having my first experience with this dynamic group of emcee's.  The great thing about music is that really good music places this stamp on memory that is permanent. The same as certain sights, smells, and touches trigger ancient memories that we might have thought was long buried within our own subconscious. Good music triggers memories, rather good or bad, that we have no control over they are just there.
In 1993 I had just turned 18 and was attending my first year of community college at College of Lake County. Now, most of the student population would sit out in the general gathering area inside the main building playing cards, telling jokes, and listening to music while we decided if we were going to class that day. Of course the topic of the group I hung around with was usually girls or music. On this particular day I can vividly remember it was sunny and pleasant. My boy Mike B. comes up to me and was like "Tremayne, how do you like that new crew Wu-Tang Clan?" I kind of laughed thinking to myself that what kind of wack crew would name themselves after a kung-fu movie? He could tell what I was thinking and gave me that look like, I know you claim to be a B-Boy and you haven't heard this yet, ya' slippin'. So he simply said, "this is the best sh*t I have ever heard!"
(For all you younger heads out there the next few sentences might not make much sense to you, but you older heads will relate to this.).
So I say to him "let me borrow your tape?" He gives me this look like, Hell No! See back then loaning a cassette tape was a risky scenario, give your cassette tape to some one with a wack radio, you run the risk of the tape being eaten "never put me in ya box if ya shi*t eat tapes" (Nas, "N.Y. state of Mind), or worse you never see that person again. If it wasn't for the fact that he understood my respect for music and the laws of borrowing tapes, he would have never let it go down. So the condition was simple, He had class for an about 1 and a half hours, that's all the time he could give, again raising my curiosity, because he was like this tape is like gold right. The problem was I also had class, so how would I be able to listen to the tape? Only one option, that's right, skip class and listen to it in my ride.
I stroll to my car, unlock the doors, get in, key in the ignition, pop the tape in, hit rewind, and I sit back expecting who knows what. For everyone that has heard the "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" album the first thing you here is that infamous Wu-tang sample:
"Shaolin shadow boxing, in the Wu-tang sword style...If what you say is true the Shaolin and the Wu-Tang could be dangerous. Do you think your Wu-Tang sword can defeat me... en guard I will let you try my Wu-Tang style" Then the that first 8 bars kicks in followed by, to me, only the second best lyrical intro to an album next to Nas' intro on the classic "Illimatic" album.
" Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse, my glock burst
leaving a hearse, I did worse
I come rough, tough like an elephant tusk
Ya' head rush, fly like Egyptian musk..."
Immediately, I am in full shock and awe over the precise lyrical content, razor sharp terminology, and the sheer genius of the production.
No where in my thought process could I have imagined 20 years later I would be getting that same feeling from the same group of emcee's while sitting in my car. The truth is that I was hooked from the beginning and thanks to the persistence of these great artist, after 2 decades and numerous solo and group projects I am still a fiend for this raw, spiritual, street based sound that the Wu has consistently beat into my ear drums. They have unknowingly created a sound track to some selective memories that swell up in my head every time I bump some Wu. I hope that you have the same connection and memories associated with an art form that impacts you in a positive way, the way Hip-Hop has impacted myself and so many others around me.
Bring the Muthaf*ckin Ruckus,Bring the Muthaf*ckin Ruckus!!!