This “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” Nonsense Has To Stop

College football kicked off last night. Well, kind of. Technically speaking, the chase for the 2016 College Football Championship started last week in Sydney, Australia when California mollywhopped Hawaii in what can only be described as an utter disregard for team defense. Nevertheless, this weekend, football stans across the country will finally be able to mirth at the violence and rage they’ve been hankering for, even if it exploits young adult men for massive profit. Personally, I’m only looking forward to football because I desperately need to watch something other than baseball. Tim Kirkjian’s voice is about to drive me up a stone wall.

The Olympics was cool and all, but it was only a few weeks, even less when you consider that, competitively speaking, there wasn’t much worth watching. The sheer domination courtesy of the US Women’s gymnastics, basketball, and 4×100 relay teams, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, was an enjoyable spectacle, but it’s fascinating watching equally matched competitors. Unless of course, you’re Canadian Diving specialist, Jennifer Abel. I certainly wouldn’t mind watching more of her, just because. Lawd, have mercy. I’m digressing.

Anywho, because of college football, we’re privy to more paid talking heads spewing their seemingly endless, dumb-ass, ‘I really want to say something provocative’ takes like fertilizer. One of the best shit-talking provocateurs is none other than Paul Finebaum, a man who’s cul de sac hairline and thick Browline glasses suggests he knows more about binary code and econometrics than zone blocking schemes and coverage shells.

Paul Finebaum - May 23, 2013

Since Colin Kaepernick’s decision to peacefully protest the oppression of brown people in America by defiantly refusing to stand during the national anthem, there has been no shortage of viewpoints. Most of them have been misguided, choosing to focus solely on Kaepernick’s antics and perceived lack of American pride rather than the issues he’s protesting. Others have been deeply rooted in nonsense, with claims that Kaepernick is too privileged to understand oppression given his upbringing, high-paying profession, post-game attire, and overall lack of Blackness. (He’s a Kappa. So, that’s Black enough!!!) There was also the typical, faux outcry as to why Kaepernick isn’t protesting “Black on Black” crime too. It’s amazing how people can be amazingly shortsighted in their opinion of things.

One of the most fatuous takes came from the aforementioned Finebaum, who questioned Kaepernick’s motives altogether, insinuating that the oppression of Black people doesn’t exist. Of course, this is the most absurd. Black people have been, and continue to be, oppressed by America’s pro-White culture. We’re still being hunted, face disadvantages, and are regarded as cattle, mainly due to prejudice. I could provide a myriad of statistics as proof of this thesis. I can even point out the obvious fact that White men (and White people, in general) are the least qualified to determine other people’s level of oppression, given their historically archetypal role as the oppressor.

Instead, what concerns me about Finebaum’s, and other’s, response to Kaepernick’s actions is the tone; the notion that if a person’s thoughts or beliefs vary from our own, they must not only be wrong, but inherently deficient. It’s a dangerous conviction, one that is regularly perpetuated and has precipitated the racial, religious, and moral tension within our society.

We must stop regarding alternative perspectives as a point of contention and judgment. Instead, we must perceive our differences as a means of improving ourselves and our society.

During my time in college, I befriended an Agnostic, Republican. I know, the mere existence of this individual is unbelievable. (It’s like befriending a fucking unicorn. But I assure you, he exists.) I identify as a Christian and Democrat. Add in that he is White, comes from money, attended Florida State, and is a vegan. I, on the other hand, am Black, with middle-class roots, have an FAMU diploma, and avoid anything green by eating as many animals as possible because they’re delicious as fuck.

At first glance, this relationship shouldn’t exist. Conventionally thinking, it definitely shouldn’t have cultivated respect and admiration. But it did. In fact, it’s one of the most fruitful relationships I’ve had during my short lifetime.

You see, while we are gravely opposite, we were open to understanding each other. We asked questions without being judgmental. We attempted to inform one another without being preachy. We challenged each other’s doctrines by seeking clarity rather than just proof.

And I became better for it. It forced me to dig within myself and cultivate an acceptance for others. In the process, I became motivated to take a course on religion, grow my understanding and relationship with Christ, and gain some perspective on Republicans. (Contrary to my Pop’s sentiments, they’re not all racist, rich & White. Some of them have some gotdamn sense and progressive ideas. Which makes this election so disheartening.)

Too many times, we’re taught that “birds of the same feather flock together” as a reason to surround ourselves with well-meaning, like-minded people to obtain success. There’s some truth to this. One should avoid destructive individuals who desire nothing for others, or themselves. Also, fuckboys who indulge in fuckshit should be averted at all costs. (Note: I love being around Black people who love being Black because it’s comfortable and invigorating.)

But that doesn’t mean we should suffocate our growth by sterilizing ourselves from variegation. (Note: I also love being around a diverse group of nonjudgmental people who love being human. It’s an awakening experience.)

If Obama’s Presidency has taught me anything, other than that a Black President is a sure fire way to bring the racist out of folks, it’s that we are becoming increasingly disinterested with accepting one another. We have adopted this mantra of converting as many people to our respective causes as possible. And should they reject, we shall condemn them for their “unpleasant” ideas. Simply put, we are putting too much in the value of being right.

Colin Kaepernick’s actions were not about condemning or dishonoring his country. His message was about igniting focus towards an issue that has plagued our nation for far too long. Disagreeing with his actions is okay. Not everything everyone does will jive with what we believe. But there’s a way to be disagreeable without sullying someone’s character.

More importantly, we must focus on the issues aroused from this revolt and be willing to have frank, uncomfortable, unbiased discussions to elicit solutions. Otherwise, we’ll just polarize ourselves further apart, with growing factions of people who are unequivocally convinced they are right while everyone else is wrong. That’s not an America that I wish to live in, nor the one any us of deserve. The of multiformity of thought, religion, ideology, and freedom of expression is the underpinning of our democracy. As a preacher once told me, “It’s not about being right, it’s about being effective.”

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The Rise of Passive-Aggressive Racism

Today is Tuesday, August 30, 2016, which means we’re a mere 11 weeks away from the most mortifying Presidential Election in recent memory.

Contrary to the claims made by Right-Wing, gun-totting, Fox News extremists, Obama is not going to rewrite the Twenty-second Amendment and succeed for a third term. Ain’t no way in hell the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are going allow that shit. There’s a better chance of Ted Cruz shedding his human skin suit and revealing himself to be the soup guzzling alien we all thought he was.

But even if this preposterous scenario were possible (which it most certainly isn’t), I’m quite sure Barack would decline with the customary response Black people provide when we don’t want to do some shit: “Naw, I’m good.”

And I can’t blame him. After eight years of dealing with bullshit birth certificate claims, utter fuckshit from an inept Congress, and Oompa Loompa John Boehner, Obama’s got more pressing concerns ahead. There’s too much golf to be played and buckets to get. Not to mention ensuring Malia uses her gap year spending the necessary time with Michelle’s side of the family to acquire better dance moves.

While I appreciated Obama’s Presidency, I’m not about to deny him his freedom to walk off into the sunset sporting Chef Curry 2s. Enjoy yo’self, Mr. President.

To be clear, I’m not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton. Honestly, I don’t have any fucks to give about these pointless emails. Frankly, my distrust of her is derived from her propensity to do dumb shit, like claim she frequently carries hot sauce in her purse. In fact, my allegiance to her is mostly fueled by a great desire not to register my children like cattle, or exist in a cadaverous wasteland because some shallow, tyrannical zealot decided to play Battleship with our nuclear launch codes.

Thanks to Donald Trump’s perpetuation of xenophobic, bigoted, and misogynistic rhetoric, not only has he positioned himself as the nominee for the Party of Spoiled Misbehaving Children, but the steroid induced mozzarella stick has also ushered in a new era of radical nationalism. I’d like to call it Bitch-Ass Racism. (Not to be confused with Punk-Ass Troll Racism or Dumb-Ass Racism.)

Unlike its iniquitously barbaric predecessors, Slavery and Jim Crow, Bitch-Ass Racism seeks to disenfranchise non-Whites by utilizing established institutional racism and the social constructs of cognitive bias.

Yet, it rejects labels such as bigotry and discrimination, choosing instead to be identified as freedom of speech and good ol’ AMERICAN pride. And it gets worse.

Should anyone chide one of these Wypipo on their veneered, racist, bullshit, Bitch-Ass Racists will imprudently cite some nonsensical evidence as proof of their cultural acceptance. Furthermore, for accurately admonishing this bigotry, a person is labeled a racist for rejecting the Bitch-Ass Racist’s principles. The irony would be comedic if it weren’t so damn sad.

That’s an academic way of saying more and more White folks are acting on their suppressed hatred for minorities and justifying its validity under the umbrella of American values, while using White Fragility as a shield from being labeled a bigot.

Take, for instance, 49ers quarterback (and Kappa extraordinaire), Colin Kaepernick. Before Friday’s NFL exhibition game, this brother refused to stand during the national anthem to protest this country’s oppression of people of color–a dissent punctuated by wearing an “X” snapback and a graphic tee featuring Fidel Castro and Malcolm X. (Oh, let the White tears rain down like a hurricane.)

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Sure enough, for exercising his innate right, Kaep was bombarded with accusations of being an ungrateful, hypocritical, disloyal American citizen. Some were quick to point out his postgame attire featuring a “Marxist Dictator” and a “Black Nationalist Racist” as evidence of his own ignorant, racist beliefs. It was Bitch-Ass Racism at its finest.

Furthermore, others have foolishly suggested that Kaep cannot stand-up for oppression given his upbringing and massive NFL contract. As if money, being of mixed race, and White foster parents prevent him recognizing the atrocities this country has committed against Black folks. That’s that Dumb-Ass Racism.

Just a few months ago, many of these same people lauded Muhammad Ali as a great American champion and icon in the wake of his death, even though Ali refused to serve in the Vietnam War with convictions similar to Kaep’s. As did Jackie Robinson when breaking baseball’s color line. He’s now regarded as one of the greatest ambassadors of “America’s Pastime.” Again, the fucking irony is maddening.

UPDATE: So not only has the San Francisco Police Officers Association asked for an apology, but the Santa Clara Police Union has issued an ultimatum to the 49ers organization; apologize or we’ll stop protecting your games. This is the most paramount example of Bitch-Ass racism at its finest. It’s white fragility, reduced in threatened egos, wrapped in fuckshit, with a side of privilege and abuse of power, drowned in bitch-assness. Bon appétit!

It’s amazing what ignorance, privilege, and a reliable wifi connection can do. Now more than ever, any white person can recklessly disregard circumspection, offend or disenfranchise unsuspecting Brown people, and hide behind the shield of domestic pride.
But despite the pitiful attempts to camouflage their bigotry with claims of patriotism, I still see them for who they are: chauvinistic assholes, void of original thought, and an unwillingness to recognize the culture of others. Y’all are about as accepting of non-Whites as Rachael Dolezal is Black.

And because I see this shit for what it is, others can too. It’s impossible not to. Unless of course, you’re Stacey Dash, Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, or any other self-hating Black person in America. There’s no reason for you all to hide. Shed your Bitch-Assness and adopt your feelings of White supremacy. Or you could just stop being a narrow-minded monomaniac and embrace some gotdamn diversity. The choice is yours.

The Book of Trump

For a little over a month now, I’ve been trying to understand how we’ve come to this point. After an unpredictable amount of campaign success, Donald Trump is the last Republican candidate standing. He’s now poised to become the party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election, and there’s at least a 33.333% chance that he’ll be our next Commander in Chief. What the entire fuck just happened?

It’s not that I’m genuinely surprised by this disturbing revelation. I knew back in 2010 that we were in for a shit show when the latest vile incarnation of The Republican Party, otherwise known as the Tea Party movement, took hold of the country. Anytime a Cuban-American (Marco Rubio), whose parents are immigrants, is elected Senator of a state with one of the nation’s highest concentrations of immigrants (Florida), with the support of the Tea Party’s anti-immigration agenda, then proceeds to use his newly acquired power to degenerate the ascension of immigrants, you know something’s wrong.

People were royally pissed when a Black man became the President of the United States of America. And in their pisstivity, they acted out in the manner we’ve come to expect when a person of color succeeds at something that’s been historically White. Vehemently racist. “You gon’ get this hate, boy!”

No, what genuinely perplexed me was why people are supporting Donald Trump. Specifically, why working-class, semi-educated, and otherwise decent human beings are supporting Donald Trump. The notion just didn’t register with the traditional thought lodged in my college educated brain.

Sure, I could surmise that people would vote Republican. I fully expected Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz or even Rubio to gain the party’s nomination. But Trump? He isn’t even a real Republican. One can make the argument that he’s not a politician.

So you’re supporting a billionaire who represents the interests of other billionaires, and you’re not a billionaire? You’re putting your faith in a man that has a reputation for making piss poor business decisions? You believe in a man who has a disturbing record of misogyny and racist rhetoric? You’re voting for an oversized Oompa Loompa who refers to himself as “The Donald” and cheats at golf? You’re fucking kidding me, right?

So, I set off on a journey to figure it out. I recently had some in-depth conversations with five Trump supporters in the great State of Alabama. The names have been changed as each of them declined to be publicly identified. They are listed below:

Lisa: Caucasian, 42 years old, married with two children, office manager
Daryl: Caucasian, 33 years old, single with no children, package delivery driver
Gerald: African-American, 37 years old, single with no children, youth pastor
Bob: Caucasian, 55 years old, divorced with two children, owner of building company
Cody: Caucasian, 20 years old, single with no children, college student

As you can see, it’s not a varied bunch. All of the individuals I spoke with identified themselves as Christians, except Cody. He informed me that he is an Atheist.

I spent at least 2 hours talking with each person. I wasn’t poised to engage in a debate or even a discussion for that matter. My views didn’t have a place here. Instead, I was only interested in understanding their perspectives and the various reasons for their support of Trump.

While much of Trump’s rhetoric is deeply rooted in hate and bigotry, many of the people I spoke with didn’t convey the same rancor as their desired candidate. Yes, there were certainly some racially insensitive, and gender-biased undertones. But what I mostly garnered from listening to their various concerns was fear and anxiety rooted in misinformation.

For instance, Daryl told me that he was supporting Trump because of his distrust of traditional politicians and his growing frustration with the ineffective policing of illegal immigration.

Daryl says, “I’m sick and tired of Obama raising the national debt and it ain’t fair that I have to foot the bill for programs I don’t believe in,” specifically referring to Planned Parenthood and the NEA. He also said, “It just isn’t fair that people are losing their jobs to Mexicans who don’t pay any taxes when I was born here and have to pay taxes.” He then said, “I’m a Christian, and I don’t believe in abortion, so why do the taxes I pay have to go to supporting abortion?”

Lastly, he stated that just last week there was a robbery involving two “Mexicans” which resulted in the shooting death of a woman. He said, “more needs to be done to keep them out.” I asked if he was aware of any legislation that cracked down on illegal immigration in Alabama and he replied, “There is no such law because they’re still here.”

So here’s a couple of things to note. Daryl doesn’t know that Alabama passed one of the harshest anti-immigration laws in the nation. He also doesn’t understand that abortions account for less than 5% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides, with the other 95% allocated towards screenings, prevention and treatment of STDs, and contraception. Moreover, tax dollars cannot be used for abortion. It’s illegal.

Furthermore, while he vehemently opposes the NEA, Daryl doesn’t know what the acronym stands for, just that it represents, “unnecessary money for artsy folks.” Note: it stands for National Endowment for the Arts and it’s much more than allocating money for “artsy people.”

When speaking with Gerald, he stated that he was supporting Trump because he was a huge supporter of Ben Carson’s meteorically terrible bid to become the 2nd Black man to call The White House home. Thus, when Carson declared his endorsement for Trump, he followed suit, blindly supporting Carson once again.

He also said given his profession, he was Pro-Life, unless of course conception occurred as the result of sexual assault. I asked the obvious question of why on God’s green Earth he would support Trump given his ethnicity. “Bro, you’re Black, and you’re supporting Trump? That doesn’t make sense to me, or most other Black people for that matter.”

“I know it’s not a popular choice, especially given my skin tone,” he said. “But I believe he’s the best candidate that’s available.”

He then went on to say, “In the end, I probably won’t vote. If I do, it’ll be Trump. But it’s not like voting matters. As long as I’m busy doing the Lord’s work, then that’s a better impact than voting in my book.”

The other three people I spoke with shared similar convictions about Trump. Lisa listed morality and “the growing abomination of the transgender community” as a few of her reasons. Cody said his father lost his job as a result of “ObamaCare” which then led to his struggle with substance abuse. Thus, he is now anti-Obama and anti-Democrat.

The most compelling person I spoke with was Bob. He has been financially affected as a result of Alabama’s HB56 law. He told me when members of his staff discovered the bill’s existence they vanished seemingly overnight. Since then, he’s struggled to find adequate, cost-effective labor.

“People don’t want to work anymore,” he says. “They just want to get paid $10 (an hour), take breaks, and do shitty work. I didn’t have that problem with Hispanics. They came in, worked their asses off for $7 (an hour). And they never took breaks. It could be as hot as a hooker’s twat in hell, and they’d still be out there working.”

Bob has also benefited as a direct result of Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act – or ObamaCare – due to a preexisting heart condition. “I own my own (business), and no one (insurance company) wanted to cover me,” he says. “I had a heart attack a few years ago. Too much red meat, booze, and women, I suppose. But ObamaCare ain’t so bad. I got coverage. I’m able to spend time with my granddaughter. I’m alive dammit. That’s all that matters.”

Despite this, he still supports Trump, because he’s simply tired of being “politically correct.” As he so eloquently put it, “Everyone’s too damn sensitive these days. (You) Can’t say shit without offending someone these days. My son’s gay, but I didn’t raise him that way. I called him a faggot once, and he hasn’t spoken to me since. He’s being a pussy over some words I said. But he still spends my money. That’s what’s wrong with this country. Trump will change that.”

I casually asked him, “Would you call me a nigger?”

Without an inkling of hesitation, he replied, “Of course not! From what I can tell you’re a bright young man, and you’ve got a hell of a (golf) swing. You’re not like these other ghetto folks out here blaring that terrible (rap) shit making your car shake.”

Only I was. When I pulled up to Eagle Point Golf Club a few hours preceding our chance meeting, I was bumping the hell out of ASAP Ferg’s “Hungry Ham” with my windows down. So if he witnessed my “ghetto” entrance before our round of golf together, Bob would’ve labeled me a “nigger” despite my impressive golf skills and uncanny wit.

As you can see, on the surface it may seem like the individuals I spoke with are just abhorrent, intolerant ass-holes. But as I said before, it’s not that they’re flat-out bigoted racists. (Although they may be a little bit racist, probably un poquito.) They’re mostly just misinformed, which then sparks their anxiety and subsequent distrust of the establishment.

Most of all, they’re just scared shitless. Bob is afraid the business he built from nothing – real nothing, not Trump nothing – will dissipate because his children have no interest in it. It also concerns him that his son will be hurt, maybe even killed, because of his homosexual lifestyle.

Daryl is genuinely panicked about China one day owning the US due to the country’s increasing national debt. He fears that he may lose his job and won’t be able to take care of his mother.

Tina just wants her kids to be “healthy, happy and not gay, so they don’t go to hell.” Cody doesn’t understand why his dad lost his job as a result of ObamaCare while Gerald doesn’t appreciate the real value of his vote. And they’re all getting their news from the same sources: Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and The Daily Caller. “None of that liberal media bullshit,” says Cody.

What I find most ironic is that The Republican party deployed every fear mongering tactic at their disposable in hopes of building a strong base to propel their most prominent candidate to the throne of the Oval Office. They did so without hesitation, confident that the result of their mass solicitation of calumnious news would pervade the minds of their viewers and listeners.

And it worked. But instead of backing the party’s presumptive favorites (most notably Jeb Bush) people became enraged, not only by the believable bullshit that was being shoveled down their throats, but also with the existing Republican politicians who apparently did nothing while Obama destroyed their country. They wanted a leader who could make America great again. Who better to do so than the man who gave us “The Apprentice” over-priced luxury condos?

Trump has said many times he is the only candidate fit for 1600 Pennsylvania. After all, he’s the only candidate who’s uninfluenced by special interest groups. He’s the only one who’s funding his candidacy to the White House. He’s the only person who’s smart enough and bold enough to take on the tasks that traditional lawmakers have been afraid to tackle. And while this grandiloquence has resonated in the hearts and minds of those most apprehensive to change, it’s the antithesis of Democracy. One man cannot make America great again (assuming you believe it was once great) because one man didn’t do it in the first place. Unless of course you’re an incendiary autocrat. In that case, you can do anything. You’re welcome America.