#Justise4All No. 25

⟦ A Rebuttal to Social Media commentary ⟧

For those who follow, it has been a good stretch of time since I've posted a #Justise4All blog, but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't create a post here unless I was 100% motivated, so long as the Universe provided me the inspiration to do so. Stringent followers will note that, as opposed to a Friday posting, I went ahead with this midweek entry; this is because I was so compelled to accurately respond to a recent bout of commentary on my Instagram page, I didn't want to wait. Striking while the iron is hot, I suppose. Also, this response ties into much of what I've been exploring and posting about elsewhere in recent months; namely, non-cisgender, non-heterosexual, and women's advocacy within racially marginalized communities, and the toxic Black and Brown masculinity that inhibits this crucial process.

Last week, I posted on Instagram about the problematic nature of cisgender, heterosexual Black and Brown men being virtually silent about promoting or defending the new movie, "Hidden Figures." If you're not a media consumer, and per Wikipedia, this picture details the lives of "the African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who, while working in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center, helped NASA catch up in the Space Race." The silence I noted was duplicitous, in that said men were wildly adamant, if zealous, about making sure that all racially marginalized peoples, Black people especially, made a point of seeing "Birth of a Nation," Nate Parker's cinematic tour de force chronicling the life of Nat Turner, whose slave rebellions shook up a young America and ultimately led to his execution. What was worse, in my eyes, was how these men, in their zeal, went about the business of openly slandering Black and Brown women who had any critiques about the movie that were negative, or if they - like myself - refused to invest in the movie itself due to the controversial histories of both Parker and his creative associate, Jean Celestin. That slander included the violent verbal excoriation of "B.O.A.N." co-star, Gabrielle Union, who penned a public op-ed in response to her learning of the rape allegations levied against her colleagues in years past, having read the transcripts from the original court case. Ms. Union is herself a survivor of sexual assault, and made it plain that because of her experiences, she empathized with anyone, women especially, who could not bring themselves to support the film.

My full take on that - and the subsequent arguments, are all on my Instagram profile, so if you're interested, feel free to check them out. Fast-forwarding to the present, the post which rendered some interesting commentary that moved me to write about it was the screenshot of a tweet I posted last week:

While it seemed that my followers were in general agreement with my simple, if harsh, point, others were not. Enter the I/G user Amari 4.0 @darkknight_brightmind1, who not more than half a day ago, left a lengthy rebuttal in opposition to my point. So as to try and keep this concise, rather than post the whole response and then dissect it, I will simply proceed with the parse. You are more than welcome to contact Amari to get his take on Black liberation and social justice, as his I/G profile is quite clear regarding his stance. For the record, I appreciate an intelligent debate, but I've a feeling that once fully vetted, you'll see why this individual not only proved my point, but may very well have sabotaged his own argument. So, to him, and all of you, please review the following: a parse. His text is in bold.

This sounds like anti feminist propaganda!

-FYI, starting of a rebuttal about gender inequality by calling a valid but debatable point "propaganda" is in and of itself textbook propaganda.

For one- Some of those BROTHERS that were upset were very conscious and enlightened gentlemen. I was one of them. You, must have, like the rest have fallen victim to the "Talking Points of white supremacy." All you did was regurgitate it.

-You just did the "Not all White people" response to racism, but put anti-patriarchy in its place by saying "Not all Men." This doesn't address the point, or excuse the original actions being critiqued.

Two- Did you ever wonder....why they didn't bring that HOG WASH CRAP OF A STORY up when Nate Parker filmed Red Tails amongst a few there after. Was the theme of the MOVIE NOT PALATABLE to white audiences? 

-Calling a rape accusation hogwash because the defendant(s) were acquitted is a form of violence against the plaintiff, particularly when you weren't a witness to the incident(s) in question. What is clear is that the court proceedings were not made public knowledge for media consumption around the time of "Red Tails," even if they were available for review.

Three- It was a divide and conquer strategy and it worked SOMEWHAT...The movie still did well DESPITE the upliftment[sic] of a message for a people but specifically for a BLACK MAN in this NOciety- no mistake. 

-By default, you don't have enough evidence to prove or disprove this point, and it would be impossible for you to do so without a major investigative team and professional cyber-journalism.

(Here's where it gets interesting and fun, folks.)

Us Men were the ones on the front line for wars and numerous RIOTS protecting black women. It was the Government that put forth the setaside[sic] for the BLACK WOMEN which created and started the "I don't need a man. I'm independent and could do BAD ALL BY MYSELF nonsense. 

-So, rather than go into all the things that are historically and socially inaccurate with this statement, I'll be short in saying that men are the sole reason why women were not allowed to openly serve in any branch of any Western country's armed forces until recently. Your concept about the independent Black woman being a divisive tool by the US Government to break up Black communities and families is so broad and ridiculous that it's not even worth my time to explain how much reading you need to do, but I'll throw you a bone by saying yes, we know that Black men, the historical/present violence done against them, and their mass incarceration, certainly gave rise to Black women being independent. But their independence is not - nor was it ever - "nonsense." Black independent women saved your community and provided you the opportunity to have a voice in this society: even if you decide to use your voice to promote ain't-shit misogynoir philosophies.

The Sociologist Moynihan predicted what will happen if the Govn.[sic] Keeps giving only the BLACK WOMAN n*gger trinkets and NOT THE BLACK MEN. 

-Using Patrick Moynihan's writings on the Black family as a defense of your argument - a White politician whose ideas were based on Supremacist concepts about family and horribly inaccurate race theories - is just a bad idea. What you should do is read Ta-Nahesi Coates' review of those writings, and then come back to the table when you've learned something. Here's the link to that, btw: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/the-black-family-in-the-age-of-mass-incarceration/403246/

SO, to round trip this thing here....by you capitulating and bending ( it seemed) you're NOT helping with this effusive, vociferous and debilitating argument. This isn't a Male Vs Female type talk either- in hopes that you won't try to spin it. Lastly, what I'm saying is...check their AGENDA first. We collectively lack that....different ideologies, sexual orientation etc. Seems to always impede. By your logic women ( black, not really speaking of brown) shouldn't watch "Scandal"and "Love & Hip Hop" and "How did I get away with murder" amongst many many more. We seem to comment, repost scenes from these horrible depictions but you won't here [sic] ME OR MY CONSTITUENTS go on a Jihad to smash men that couldn't understand LOGICALLY how you won't support the movie WHEN HE WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY. That's not how I depict BLACK WOMEN. But the white media structure sure KNOWS HOW TO PERPETUATE the bullshit and then have signed on Coons to push a made-in-the-dark- narrative. Look further into this issue before prematurely causing potential consternation.
-Let me wrap this up too. From your profile, it seems you are a cisgender, heterosexual Black man. Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, you exist in a position of privilege over other members of your community, and that's with the understanding that all of us who ID as racially marginalized still exist under the mantle of White Supremacy in a hyper-capitalist society. In the quest for liberation from these things, here's some pro-tips to help you better navigate your narrative. One: you are never, ever in a position to speak for Black women, LGBT Black people, or anyone else who exists at those intersections. Your idea that sexual orientation, gender orientation, or social ideologies that differ from what you understand are an impediment are a product of the privilege you possess, and until you recognize that, your arguments will go nowhere. Two, using three completely different kinds of shows where Black women are centered to make a point about the possibility of Black women in general being portrayed in a poor light is a trash argument, and sexist A/F. Stop grouping Black (and yes, Brown) women in media together to defend your point. Three, and most importantly, whatever "consternation" you think ideas like mine can cause, they are only matched - and exceeded - by the kinds of ideas that those like you have supported, since those ideas still allow for Black/Brown women to be subjugated, LGBT People of Color to be victims of violence from within their own communities, disabled Black/Brown people to be treated like 3rd-Class citizens, and men like you to continue thinking we can fix all of these problems YOU perpetuate if we put them on the back-burner and destroy the White man. In MY humble opinion, I highly suggest that instead of posting your baseless critiques of social media you don't follow, that you invest in an Amazon Kindle app or a library card, because it's pretty clear that you have a lot more research to do before you can square up about this shit and not get your ass handed to you.


#Justise4All No. 24

⟦ Guest Post: From the desk of Ricardo Ignacio ⟧

Over the past year, I was introduced through Facebook sharing to the page of Ricardo Ignacio, author and activist. As an indigenous American, Mr. Ignacio has been adamant about speaking for his community in the face of rampant anti-Indigenous racism and political subjugation via US governmental interference. Of course, one of the most difficult topics concerns the immigration status of millions of Latinx/Indigenous people living here; Mr. Ignacio holds no punches in his strident critique of the hypocritical nature of White America's stance on documented and undocumented residents. I won't say too much more, besides asking you, dear reader, to take a few moments to read one of his recent posts on these subjects. Unfortunately, Blogger will not allow for an embed of the full facebook post, so I am copy-pasting here, with a link to Mr. Ignacio's page below that.

Original Post Date: June 29, 2016

I was walking out of a school campus in Sacramento, California, and across the street where my car was parked were a group of Caucasian guys standing near a construction site, and whatever those guys were saying or doing seemed to catch the attention of a few construction workers. I wasn’t planning on finding out, but I did have to pass by in order to get to my car, so when I neared them, one of the Caucasian guys noticed me and smiled asking me if I was an American, so I simply answered yes.
“Oh, good! These guys here are not Americans!” He said, pointing his finger at the construction workers.
“Ok.” I replied.
“And it’s these non-Americans the ones who are coming to America and taking the jobs of us Americans, so meanwhile we Americans are unemployed, these immigrants are working and making money!” He explained. “Is that why you and your comrades are here lingering, because you want these construction workers to become aware of your concern?” I asked.
“Yeah, but they don’t even speak English!” He nodded.
The construction workers remained distant, but one of them cautiously approached us, and then politely asked me, “Que onda, paisa?”
“Como andamos, compa?” I replied.
“Pues aqui nomas, mire, trabajando duro.” He smiled.
“Mucho calor?”
“Si, caloron!” He said.
“What is he saying?” The Caucasian guy asked me.
“Not much, we’re just greeting each other.” I said to him.
“Que onda con los gringos, paisa?” He asked me, pointing his finger at the Caucasian guy that spoke with me.
“What did he say?” The Caucasian guy asked me.
“He wants to know why you are here.” I said.
“Can you please translate what we are protesting about?”
“I doubt he’ll care, he’ll probably just laugh, but I’ll do it.” I said, and then explained to the construction worker exactly what the Caucasian had explained to me.
“Oh, he thinks we are taking his jobs?” The construction worker said, but in Spanish.
“Pretty much.” I said.
“I see… ok, well, here…” He said, and then dropped a tool that he held, removed his headgear, his vest, and then his tool-belt, and then said:
“Tell him to put it on. In fact, if the rest of his friends are interested in working, I am the mayor of this company, so tell them they are hired.”
I quickly translated what the construction worker said, and then the Caucasian guy, along with the others began to look at each other, seeming nervous or uncomfortable.
"Is he serious?” He asked me.
“The white guy wants to know if you’re serious.” I asked the construction worker.
“I already took my gear off, tell the rest of them to step into that bungalow and get geared up.” He answered, so I translated.
The Caucasian guys began to speak amongst each other, complaining that it was too hot to work, and some that it was a sh!tty job, and basically all sorts of excuses as to why they wouldn’t work, so finally the Caucasian said to me:
“Tell him that today is too hot to work. Maybe we will come back some time and take his offer.” He said, so I translated.
The construction worker smiled, and then began to explain:
“Tell them that we didn’t come to take anybody’s job. We are only doing the jobs that most U.S. citizens refuse to do, either because the job is too difficult, the weather is uncomfortable, the pay isn’t so great, or whatever the reason, but it is very rare when I see a gringo doing this sort of work. The few that do, they actually appreciate us a lot because they acknowledge that we are the hardest workers in America. They know this, but most gringos can only criticize us because they’ve never actually faced our struggle or worked along with us, so they have no clue what it’s like, but that’s why the very few gringos that do work with us, they are very grateful for us because they know what we are capable of withstanding. Translate that for me, please. Tell the gringo these words.”
I translated, and then afterwards the construction worker added:
“Tell them this also:
If he wonders how and why we are capable of doing such work, such as construction; building the roads they drive on, the houses they live in, picking the fruits and vegetables on the fields that they enjoy, cooking the food inside of restaurants where they eat, washing the dishes they eat out of, and basically holding America together on our backs, is simply because we are America. We are the backbone of America, and we’ve been building America way before gringos came from Europe, so he along with his buddies need to figure out who the immigrants are, because if their goal is to deport us all, then they are condemning themselves because without us America has no backbone, it will all crumble. He and his friends might not know it, but the leaders of America know this, and that’s why we are still here. If they truly wanted us gone then we’d be gone, but they need us, they need our hands and backs because without us then their world would fall. Sure, they deport many of us to make the dumb population believe that they are trying to solve the immigration issue, but realistically they are only controlling the amount of undocumented people here. The leaders of this country want us here, but only a certain amount, in order to exploit us, because by paying a people less than minimum wage is how they get wealthier, so if citizens have a problem with being unemployed then it’s with wealthy gringos who don’t care about their citizens but only about their wealth. Gringos need us, but we don’t need them, we were perfectly fine without them, and we are only doing exactly what we were doing before Europeans came to America, which is to continue working our land."