Monday, October 29, 2007

Now that homecoming is over ...

... let's get back to the business at hand.
I am ecstatic to report that Genarlow Wilson is out of prison. Four members of Georgia's highest court saw the light and agreed that it was cruel and unusual punishment.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Wilson's story, he was arrested, tried and convicted for aggravated child molestation for an event that occurred when he was 17 years of age.
As a result of his felony conviction, Wilson received a mandatory 10-year-sentence and a year of probation and he would have had to register as a sex offender.
It all started at a New Year's Eve party where he received oral sex from a consenting 15-year-old girl. The problem with that is, in Georgia, the age of consent is 16.
Since being convicted, he spent more than two years in prison while his attorney, his mother, people in his community and of course, the "Civil Rights Advocates" tried to have his story heard and trying to have his case appealed.
Since Wilson's conviction, the state law in Georgia has not lowered the age of consent but has determined that no teen should serve more than a year in prison for giving or receiving oral sex. The teen is to be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a year in prison and will not be required to register as a sex offender.
This law went into effect shortly after Wilson was convicted by was not retroactive. That is why it had to go all the way to the state's high court to be overturned. A lower judge ordered Wilson's release earlier this year, but the district attorney appealed which kept him locked up until last week.
Now that you're caught up, I hope you'll join me in saying that the southern states are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to sex crimes. I don't know if they are in denial about the fact that sex is going on with teenagers or if they want to fill the prisons with young people.
Regardless of the situation, lawmakers and parents need to grow up. They need to realize that their children are having sex, oral and intercourse, and it is their job to make sure the lil' Filthy McNasties are being safe and that they are getting educated about what they are doing.
Times are a-changing and from what I understand, these lil' high school girls don't mind giving "knobbers" to their lil' boyfriends or in some cases like Wilson's, the popular athletes.
So instead of trying to prosecute them for acting on their hormones, parents and lawmakers need to accept the responsibility of educating them about their bodies, STDs, prophylactics and the consequences.

So what I took two weeks off?

I was working. And I had to get ready for Homecoming.
It is only the biggest event to hit a historically black college or university all year long. If more of you went to HBCU's, you'd know that!
Anyway, I do want to throw out a big, "Ag-gie Pride" to all of my fellow Aggies throughout the world, because you know that Aggie Pride is definitely worldwide.
It's too bad we lost the game - again.
I love my school as much, probably more than, the next Aggie, but we haven't won a football game in so long, we had to take the "for" off and just call it 'ever. Our boys are currently on an unprecedented 25-game losing streak.
I think it is safe to say that Coach Lee Fobbs and his entire staff can go ahead and clean out their lockers.
Now, I don't know a WHOLE lot about football, but I do know that any college coach who loses every single game for two consecutive seasons can not expect to get a job anywhere else. It might be time to re-examine his profession.
I mean dang, a single game in two years. Shoot, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think if Coach Fobbs plans to stay in the coaching field, he might need to start out with something smaller, like, Pee Wee Football or Pop Warner or something.
I'm not saying the dude shouldn't be coaching, just maybe not football. There's still track and baseball and basketball, hell, he may even want to give soccer a run.
I mean, I've never played football, competitively, a day in my life and judging by what they've done there, I could at least be the defensive coordinator. I'm saying all this to say the athletic director Dee Todd needs to start interviewing some folks for that job, right quick like.
I mean really, we ain't got no where to go but up!
But regardless, I still love my alma mater. I think we have simply fallen victim to lackluster coaching and a couple of poor recruiting classes. I would think that it is hard to recruit a strong freshman class if you're not winning any games.
Here's a novel idea, let's get a mediocre coaching staff and try to win at least one game next season.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Do I Keep Reading Movie Reviews?

It's only going to piss me off. So, for whatever reason today, I opted to find a few "mainstream" reviews of Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" And of course, it pissed me completely off.
First and foremost, let me clear up the comment made yesterday that this wouldn't be an Academy Award contender. I said that because this movie was written, produced and directed by black folks and did not have any of our brothers and sisters degrading themselves or portraying a criminal lifestyle.
It seems that the only time our folks get recognized for cinematic achievements is when they play ex-slaves, bums, rogue cops, maids and a step down from crack whores.
Granted Jaime Foxx and Jennifer Hudson won, but he won for his outstanding portrayal in a biopic and she won playing a character, Effie, who was the classic stereotypical Sapphire personality.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sapphire, according to the Arte Sana Web site, Sapphire is described as an African American woman portrayed as evil, bitchy, stubborn and hateful. In other words, what we call ghetto or 'hood, that is Sapphire. Think those chicken headed girls on VH1's "The Flavor of Love" and you'll have the perfect example.
Now, because the characters in Perry's film were educated and had very high skilled and high paying professions, he won't be receiving many accolades outside of the African American community.
I read on my classmate Eb the Celeb's Renaissance Black Woman blog,, that VH1 was considering a reality TV show about interracial couples but they were looking for a black woman with, for the lack of a better term, some sense and they couldn't get the show green lighted.
With that said, she posed the question of whether or not America was ready for an educated black woman. I think the downplaying and the outright disrespect for Perry's film goes above and beyond to prove that America is not ready because it doesn't want to be ready.
America has grown comfortable with seeing minorities as one-dimensional. How often do you see black folks in movies where their characters remain true to themselves and life in the suburbs at the same time? How ofter do you see movies with Hispanics where their characters don't have on tropical print shirts wearing their hair slicked down or wearing long sleeve flannel shirts with one button done and tattoos? How often do you see Arabs or Asians in movies where they don't own the convenience stores?
Having a hard time aren't you? You know why? The people green lighting these films have absolutely NO idea of what goes on in the world outside of their own. Their only contact with minorities is through the eyes of the screenwriters who have been known to change their stories so that producers will make the movies.
I'm not saying they are wrong for making some money, I am saying that the gatekeepers are wrong for putting only one dimensional characters out there. Can the Hollywood Higher Ups get a clue?!
In the past 10 years, we have seen feature films like, "Love Jones," "Two Can Play That Game," "Hav Plenty," "The Wood," "The Best Man," "Love & Basketball" and "Brown Sugar." All decent films in their own right, but I guarantee you I can link them all with no more than two degrees of separation. If you think about it for a minute, you can too. I won't waste your time doing it, but if you care to challenge me, I'd be more than happy to oblige you in the comment section.
What I'm trying to say is Hollywood sees our movies and characters so one-dimensionally (is that a word) that they can't even give us more actors and actresses to play the parts. One of the main reasons Perry's films take beatings is because he goes against a lot of the cliches of "urban" films and uses a plethora of talented actors. He brings out a story the entire family can enjoy and he touches on subjects that need to have families and friends talking.
So bottom line, leave the man alone. He's anointed and he's been appointed. You can't mess with God's children and get away with it.
Besides, the only time we're going to get the recognition we deserve is if we come up with some sort of Academy of our own that recognizes achievement in minority cinema anyway. Don't believe me, look at the folks who make up the academy and then look at the folks to get nominated and then tell me that it's all equal.
Humph ...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's been a few days ...

I've been busy, but please believe there's not been a shortage of things I must tell you guys about.
First and foremost, go see Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married." This movie is truly his best work and I just don't see how he's going to top himself.
While I know that this movie will certainly not be an Academy Award contender, I will say that it was still an outstanding movie. The story line was great and a very talented ensemble of actors was assembled to pull this movie off.
As you probably can tell, I will more than likely be going to see this movie in the theater again. I don't think I've seen a movie in the theater more than once since, "Set It Off," and how long ago was that?
Someone you guys should be on the lookout for is Tasha Smith. She and Tyler Perry were definitely the comic relief in that movie. For those of you who are unfamiliar with her work, she played the mom in "Daddy's Little Girls" and she also used to be a stand-up comic.
All I'm going to say is, the girl is funny and you need to see this movie.
Speaking of things that are making me laugh as of late, a Vatican official (that means he works with the Pope), Monsignor Tommaso Stenico has been suspended after he was caught on a hidden camera making "advances" to a young man.
It's not funny that he was caught, it's funny that he says he was "pretending to be gay" because he was doing psychoanalytical research. ***chuckling to myself *** That's a new one. I didn't know that people pretended to be gay. I know a lot of people who pretended not to be gay, but that's a whole 'nother story.
It is no secret that Catholics view homosexuality as a sin. It also is no secret that Catholic priests and nuns take vows of celibacy and that in recent years, a lot of priests have been busted for molesting little boys.
I am in no way, shape form or fashion implying that all gay men are pedophiles, nor am I suggesting that all pedophiles are gay. I'm simply saying that sexual repression can lead to some very unhealthy activities.
Now, Tommaso said that "he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work." He's claiming that he's been set up and that he was working on "cleaning up the church."
OK, I'll wait while you stop laughing ...
I think he's been listening to Larry Craig or he pulled out some old Shaggy, "It Wasn't Me." Maybe it's just me, but I don't believe the dude was "pretending." I mean, I stopped playing dress-up when I was seven and I think it would be easier to repress sexual desires if you were convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that those desires are sinful.
But hey, maybe it's just me. If this is true, more information is going to come out eventually anyway.
Speaking of the truth coming out, in case you guys haven't been following Mychal Bell's case, he's been locked up again. Not for anything new though, he went back to a juvenile facility on a probation violation for the assault.
And I can honestly say that I'm not mad about that. The boy was on probation for a previous charge and he was involved in something he had no business being in. For that, I do agree that he needs to be punished for the violation. The only thing I will say about that is I hope that the court credits him with time served. He was locked up from December to September and he was sentenced to 18 months for the violation. If he is credited with time served that will cut his sentence in half.
The thing about this whole situation is the truth still hasn't come out in this and I am worried that the movement toward equal justice is losing momentum. What do you guys think? Do you think that now that there's been a march and the media has moved on to the news of late that the movement is loosing momentum?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Now that's enough ...

... it's time for all school aged and college aged racists to go home, regroup and come up with another form of intimidation, other than a noose, that will give them all the credit they are so desperately seeking.
Since the Jena, La., story has hit national news, I have counted seven incidents involving nooses, one of which was the situation at Alma J. Brown Elementary School on Grambling State University's campus.
Most recently, a noose was found on the office door of an African American professor at Columbia University. A noose was also found in the sea bag of an African American cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., in July and another was found in the office of a white civil rights instructor during race relations training in August.
That's just the tip of the ice burg. Nooses were found on the campuses of the University of Maryland and Andrews High School in High Point, N.C. Police also arrested two suspects in Alexandria, La., after the Jena Six rally for inciting violence after they rode around with two nooses tied to a pick-up truck.
Now that incident was wrong on so many different levels. Not only were the nooses being dragged by self-proclaimed White Supremacists but the incident kind of brought back the not-so-fond memories of the James Byrd Jr., murder in Jasper, Texas.
A noose wasn't used to drag him behind the pick up truck but I am willing to bet that it has been done before.
Upon preparing for this post, I did a Google search of the word "noose," then I searched the word plus (+) "2007" and some of the stuff that I saw should have been surprising, but it wasn't. I saw everything from recent stories to noose hanging incidents to the message boards where people were asking why the image of a noose hanging from a tree was so powerful.
Because I believe there is power in knowledge and I never like to pass up a teaching opportunity, allow me to illustrate.

Now that you see that not so long ago, Southern trees bore strange fruit, I hope you can understand why seeing nooses hanging on trees can send chills, shock waves and anger through the bodies of African Americans/Blacks/Coloreds/Negroes everywhere.
It's not so much that people have been hanging nooses in several locales throughout the country, it's that some of my counterparts in the media act as if it just started last year with the incident in Jena.
In all actuality, lynching dates back to slavery when some of our ancestors attempted to run and free themselves from the physical and mental bondage inflicted on them by their masters and the rest of society.
As far as I'm concerned, the hanging of a noose carries the same weight of a cross burning on some one's lawn. It's all about hate, nothing more, nothing less. It is the sheer hate of people of color, particularly black people, for no reason.
When someone hangs a noose, it not only symbolizes hate, it is also meant to intimidate and it sends the clear message that people of color are not wanted there. The sad thing about this situation is nooses are being hanged in places where they will be found and in places we shouldn't have to avoid like schools, our homes and in some cases our workplaces.
The only thing that kind of irks me about the situation is nobody is owning up to it. I guess Paul Lawrence Dunbar said it best, "We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes ..."
I say we all take off our masks and be true to ourselves, our God and everyone else. In other words, if you are going to be a racist, show yourself. No sense in hiding from the world. I say if you hate me, hate me for all to see, not just behind closed doors.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Open Letter to Society ...

Dear World Leaders, Dignitaries, Politicians, Saints, Sinners, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, Capitalists, Communists, Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Middle Eastern, Celebrities, Pseudo-celebrities, racists, classists, sexist, normal, abnormal, regular and irregular people and anyone else who may have been left out:
It has come to my attention that WE as a collective population have grown to hate each other and it needs to stop! For the past few months, I have seen some of the most outrageous events play out in the media and all I can say is if these things weren't happening, they wouldn't be getting reported.
First off, we need to stop being naive and trying to get everything sugar-coated. The sooner we admit that racism, classism, sexism and prejudice of all kinds still exist, the sooner we can begin the healing process and taking steps toward understanding each other.
I don't even NEED to further explain why the March on Jena was necessary, but I will. The bottom line in this whole debate is that there is a separate justice system for white folks and people of color, not just in Jena, but the whole country.
If that's not the truth, explain to me why Darryl Hunt can have two trials and still spend 18 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit? If it's not true, why did Geronimo Pratt spend 27 years of his life in prison on trumped up murder and kidnapping charges? If it's not true, why are more black and Hispanic men incarcerated more than any other group?
I'll tell you why, other people are afraid. They are afraid of what they don't know and what group of people are avoided at all costs? Black and Hispanic males, that's who. Meanwhile, those REAL criminals, many of whom are of the Caucasian persuasion, go free because they either have the resources to hire those folks who can get them off the hook or invoke their white privilege while we on the other hand have to pay that old, Colored Tax.
If that's not enough, we are passing this hate along to our children and masking it as education. Take the "noose lesson" at Grambling State University's Alma J. Brown Elementary School. The "adults" in this situation used "mock" nooses to "teach" the children, all kindergarten and first-grade students, why the noose was a symbol of racism.
Maybe it's just me but I think the same thing could have been taught with movie scenes. I can think of a couple off the top of my head - the Ving Rhames hanging in Rosewood or the hanging of the little girl in A Time to Kill. Here's a novel idea, why not Google a few pictures to show these children how horrible hangings are. But they wouldn't do that because it's "too graphic."
I'll do you one better, two teachers up in New Jersey assigned their sixth grade students social studies projects where the students had to create an advertisement IN FAVOR OF slavery. According to a story from a local news station, the students had to defend the use of slave labor to run a newly built plantation in South Carolina. Students were told to come up with a '"catchy" name for the plantation and give three reasons why slave labor is the "best idea" and they were even encouraged to add illustrations.
Here's an even better story, at a high school for the deaf and hard of hearing just outside of Washington, D.C., our nations capital, a black student was held against his will by six white students and one black student. The student was let go after being held for about 45 minutes and after the seven students used markers to draw swastikas and "KKK" on his body.
Regardless of what happened, it was wrong. This entire incident is nothing more than the proverbial chickens coming home to roost. Frankly, if we spent more time educating our kids at early ages about our ACTUAL history, there would be no need for these incidents to keep popping up.
As much as we'd like to believe that these incidents are isolated, those of us with some common sense can see that all of these incidents are indirectly related to the miseducation and the desensitization of our children and ourselves.
After a while, we'll be back to square one - segregated getting separate, but unequal shares of everything this great nation has to offer. Look around ya'll. Is this what our ancestors fought for? Is this why our foremothers and forefathers were attacked by dogs and fire hoses?
I think not! It's time we wise up, start the healing process and take the first step toward equality, in justice, in the economy and in life in general - together.


A fed up, black, female, Christian hippie who wants justice and equality for all, in all.