4 Your Eyez Only

Nobody died around me lately. The city’s been heating up but my circle stays cool, mostly. It’s hard though, trying to do the right thing and stay out-of-the-way. I logged onto Facebook the other day, I know somebody who knew somebody that was killed. And another somebody who knew somebody did it. Both sides of the story, right in front of my eyez. One real nigga and one bitch nigga, depending on who you ask… the roles reverse. Both families, attempting to preserve their loved one’s legacy in the court of public opinion. In all actuality, the only thing that occurred was each post serving as an accelerant to the opposing side.

Mediators posting subliminal statuses about what may or may not have occurred. Speculation turned into acceptance and acceptance into anger/hatred. And I just watched. And would do the same again, if I had a 2nd chance. Why? Because I scrolled through the feed of the victim and the accused…

That confirmed the shit I learned in the streets was true
That real niggas don’t speak when they beef with you
They just pull up on your street, let the heat achoo
And if a real nigga hungry he gon’ eat your food

J Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only

One page, for months leading up to the events… full of fight reposts and “real nigga” status updates about “fucking other niggas bitches” amongst other things. The overwhelming insolence was but the buds of a more deeply rooted problem. Maybe he was a product of his environment or more likely, a victim of the circumstances within that environment.

The other page, as silent after the murder as before. Nothing but spam posts, for years leading up to what occurred. The dude definitely had the means to be more active on Facebook, yet he chose to separate. Right, wrong or indifferent he completely immersed himself and remained committed to the streets in every aspect. He was dedicated to the omerta lifestyle.

From what I’ve seen afterwards, I don’t see an end or resolution in sight. The people who’ve chosen certain paths, will lead to similar, unavoidable destinations. Their family members will speak of how great they were. The truth hidden amongst an intertwined web of grayish, mixed, black and white reality.  The cycle will continue to repeat itself. My only hope is, for our childrens’ sakes, myself & my homies can avoid being on either side.

See world, you’re no good.

Visions

No man has seen the things I’ve seen, both for myself and regularly

If there can be such thing as regularity living someone else’s fantasy

Where a blessing for one man, leads to a curse for another

Is this how it was intended? I didn’t see it quite like this

To imagine great successes on the backs of someone else

Still a portion of them think that this is justice at its best

To continue in this manner, should I really be this shocked?

When I probe into the future, I see shit we thought had stopped…

visions_by_kuldarleement-d6ux62dImage by Kuldar Leement

 

As American as Propaganda Pie

In light of the decision Colin Kaepernick has made regarding the National Anthem, I’d like to focus on the conditioning of the vast majority of our citizens. There were other points to be made, but I decided to focus mainly on the use of propaganda in America.

In 1933, the Nazis seized power and the reign of the Third Reich began. With this new regime came a need to properly indoctrinate the German people, to be in line with the Reich’s ideals. It’s extremely difficult to exert full power and control over a population, without instilling fear and/or a sense of nationalism. The Nazis were keen in both areas yet their expertise in the use of propaganda is generally overlooked due to their brutality. Under Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Nazis formed a central entity to control all aspects of German life. The Reich used a multitude of tactics, including the newer media forms of radio and television to project images desired to invoke emotion. When the Nazi regime fell in 1945, with them also died the cruel extermination of the Jewish people, yet something else lived on. Their propaganda tactics.

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“Give me 4 years time” The Germans were the most proficient regime in history using propaganda as a political tool.

I am an American citizen, born and raised here. I am also a black male and I feel that label a lot more than I feel the privilege of being an American. I would not want to live in any other country, as I feel much more comfortable on THIS side of an American bomb, however I realize America is not perfect. I also realize that the flag, no matter what you say does not have human skin and blood woven into its fabric every time one is manufactured (btw check you flag and make sure it wasn’t made in China.) It is an idol and a symbol. It is made from the same cloth that Nazi and Confederate flags are made from, very likely in the same factories on the same machines. Yet, the flag is treated, as a living, breathing entity more respected than the lives of the individuals it flies to protect.

From my perspective, it seems that certain groups of Americans are as radicalized as the Nazi supporters were. The way some neighborhoods in America openly worship the flag, with displays of grandeur and novelty items, is not much different from German neighborhoods in 1938. So why is it okay for Americans, to be such cult-like worshipers of an idol, but it’s not okay for other countries to indoctrinate their citizens with the same “patriotism?” When we seen North Koreans standing and idolizing their instruments of indoctrination, we take away negative connotations, but if we do it it’s okay. We’re patriots. Furthermore, an American citizen, but not a worshiper of American idols, is being marked as a traitor? Do we live in the supposedly free United States of America or The People’s Republic of the Third Reich?

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North Korean propaganda poster from  the regime of “Supreme Leader” Kim Il-sung.

The reason is because propaganda, in its root form, is biased. It is specific to one cause and anything seen as rivaling it, will be alienated and eventually eliminated. But, what happens when you’ve become too “civilized” to eliminate the non believers and dissidents after the alienation phase? We have reached this point, post civil rights, now that someone with the reach of Colin Kaepernick has taken the stance he has. You may not agree with his methods, but as an American citizen he has the right to not stand during the pledge. He believes that America is not that great, just as Donald Trump does, albeit it in a different manner. Only a true, propagandist nation would ether a man for calling out injustices and choosing to silently demonstrate again them. You can use your voice to love America without being a radical nationalist and you can bring attention to injustice with being a traitor.

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Imagine how different we’d feel about this street if these were Confederate flags

The United States is as great of a country for ALL its citizens, today, as it has been in the entire history of this nation. Yet, make no mistake, there are still issues to be resolved across the board. Say what you’d like about Mr. Kaepernick, but the socioeconomic issues of this nation won’t be resolved because a man decides not to participate in a propagandist ritual and sit or stand during the National Anthem at a sporting.

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Sanctuary: An Endangered Word

Mired in conflict and turmoil, today’s world has become a mashed pot of hysteria now at a rolling boil. Across all continents and cultures, there is a crisis on hand for those in need of refuge from a life of mere survival. America should be leading the way, as a whole, however we have become a collection of Divided States ourselves. In a country unable to solve its own racial issues and determined to remind us during every tragedy that All Lives Matter, are certain lives part of an asterisk marked portion of lives? Yes. Of course they are, no different from all men being created equal*

* except Native Americans, Blacks & Latinos. Women’s rights pending

Where is there sanctuary even at anymore? Unfortunately for those seeking asylum, they’re about 62 years too late for Ellis Island. Americans back then were even alienating of Irish and other immigrants, so the darker complexioned refugees of today are sure to get it worse. This will only further grow the divide between these clashing cultures, mixed in with the potential occurence of more separative homeland events, an eruption could occur at any moment. As grim as this view may seem, I’d argue that Europe is at an even more dire state of affairs than America.

I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know how to provide sanctuary for people when I feel as though I have none of my own. Where will I go when the next black man is innocently murdered by police and bleeds out on American soil? Where can we go when a white supremacist finally feels we’re at war and acts a la Dylann Roof? What do you call a refugee whose sanctuary is also a war zone? I imagine, at this rate, these are questions we all may need to know the answer to much sooner than later.

 

The Only Terror I Know

For decades, in America, local law enforcement has successfully alienated minority groups. They have done so both passively and aggressively in the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect and serve. It is clear now, on today, to me that there must be reform within the policing community. The police we have in this country are terrified of young, black males and there is nothing more dangerous than a coward with a gun (and badge). The nature of the job itself puts these officers lives in danger every minute, of every incident, of every day. The excuse that “I feared for my life” is invalid. When police execute America citizens, these are acts of domestic terror and should be prosecuted as such.

Terrorism is defined by the FBI as an act that meets the following:

Appears intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping.

When I read that definition, the first thing I thought of was not ISIS, but law enforcement in America. Shooting a black man who is resisting arrest, is CLEARLY an act intended to coerce not only the suspect into submission, but other black men who would think of resisting an unlawful arrest. How do you stop suspects in the future from resisting? Murder the ones that do. That is terrorism.

The expectation of police is to use reasonable force early, to avoid using excessive force. But what exactly is reasonable force? Is it a taser? Pepper spray? Or 4 shots into the chest? The major problem I see is that too many police tactics are open to interpretation of the officer in question. If the military has rules of engagement, then the police in civilian communities should as well.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military is not cleared to engage even if an individual has been identified as a member of the Taliban. Yet on U.S. soil, an officer of the law can commit homicide, claim that he feared for his life and procure the support of mainstream white America.

Police should never draw their weapons without clear indication that the suspect is armed and posing an immediate threat to their lives. Obviously, there are certain scenarios in which a split second decision must be made by law enforcement. All too often though, the police use lethal force when confronted with resistance or sometimes simply through misjudging the victim. If everyday citizens began shooting police officers because they feared for their lives in split second decisions, would they be acquitted in the court of law? Highly unlikely. Yet, we see this occur year after year with law enforcement. The police nationwide must be held accountable for the actions of their fellow officers, as our entire community is held for the criminals in ours.

Above all though, I just want to see this stop.

“Brother, Brother, Brother… There’s far too many of you dying”

Make America Hate Again

I was having a conversation with one of my white friends about what time period we’d like to have lived in, if not this one. He started off on the Viking era, ripped off a bunch of other super white time periods, and finally settled on the 1960s (for all the conspiracies of course). I must admit that I’m a bit of a Renaissance time travelling, daydreamer myself but the conversation eventually landed on American history. I understand as a black man in medieval times my options would have been restricted to slavery or piracy, fuck if I ain’t a noble in my daydreams though. No doubt. But in AMERICAN history, there’s no better place than now for us. So when I hear “Make America Great Again”, that translates to  Make America Hate Again to me. I’ll explain why.

In comparison to pretty much every other developed nation, America is pretty young. In fact so young, borrowing a line from Game Of Thrones, “so green it pisses grass.” So when exactly was this GREAT time period we keep hearing of America returning to? I definitely would not have wanted to be in that first group of black people coming to America in the 1600s, so scratch that the time period the FUCK off the list. The 1700s was a regal affair no doubt, you could have found a handful of brothers doing alright for themselves. Benjamin Banneker, Prince Hall and James Forten to name a few. BUT… the 1st recorded casualty of the America Revolution was also a black man, Crispus Attucks. Basically, a premonition of the future for blacks in America, dying for a cause other than our own and hoping to be rewarded for it. The 1800s, just skip that shit completely, hell no. Skip it, NEXT! The early 1900s was a shit show, until the Harlem Renaissance, so I’ll pass on that too. Oh, for all the Irish and Polish homies, now was about the time I’d recommend you start at. I could understand an argument for blacks wanting to return to the 40s or 50s, but for me personally it was just too restrictive. I still couldn’t eat at all the restaurants in town or sneeze on a white man, even in the 60s. The 70s though, now I can dig that. The Panthers, Pam Grier and Shaft. But that’s my point, I have to wait until the 70s, to be genuinely okay in blackness. Fuck that. And if you’re Asian or Hispanic, just start at the 1980s. Please. Oh what a time, to be alive.

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Hey Crispus, quick question. 1770 or 2016?

So why in the actual fuck, would I want America to be someone else’s type of “great” again? If your idea of great is racism, prejudice and imperialism, I’ll have to pass. Today’s America is the best is has ever been for the nation as a whole. Things are still difficult no doubt, but if you want it, you can get it without the overwhelming racial barriers of past America. I won’t argue with someone who tries to tell me this country was greater and stronger in the 40s during WWII, than it is today. Those are the goggles of a world I am incapable of seeing or dreaming of being apart of. Segregation, alive and well even among soldiers fighting for the same country. Dying for the same country, but unfit to eat, and sleep near one another. 1948. We had to die separate from our fellow “American brothers” ALL throughout WWII. Make America Great Again as a slogan, is disrespectful to every one of those soldiers and any person of color to have died for equality in this nation. America is great NOW, if we fail to recognize this, America won’t be great for much longer.

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