I will preface this by saying, I am making a generalization knowing that it will be grossly inaccurate and not representative of every white man even though sometimes it seems like it applies to them all.
Sports is a universal language. Everyone appreciates athletic competition and games of skill. It is one of the most talked about topics amongst most men, particularly young men. The primary topics in the barber shop are sports, politics and women. The problem is that it is used as an ice breaker for white men when talking to Black men regardless of the circumstances or the age of the Black man. When used under certain circumstances, it is disrespectful and demonstrates a profound lack of courage and basic human understanding. Let me put it another way that may be more relatable, if you are a nervous white person talking to a Black man and you try to tell a joke to break the tension, the worse thing you could possibly do is tell a bad joke or one that has racial overtones. The sports questions are as bad if not worse because we as Black men expect to hear something come out of a white man’s mouth that has no racial consideration or thoughtfulness. But when a Black man that is known for his intellectual ability is asked “Did you play baseball?” almost the first time that he encounters a white man in a business setting of any kind, it's like a slap in the face. At the very least, the first thought that come to mind is “Asshole” or “Idiot”.
So brothers, we are united in our indignation and unmitigated lack of understanding that compels white men to repeatedly do the same dumbass thing. I am convinced they are aware of the stupidity of the statements but do it out of fear and discomfort of even having to talk to us without any thought of commonality. They simply can’t imagine that we could have anything in common besides sports. It is so stupid that I imagine straight up punching them in the face the second the words leave their mouth. Lately, this is the only way I can get through the encounter without getting angry. I’ve punched them in the face and now they are sucking air and trying to regain their balance. Once the appropriate time has passed, I say something generic like “I am really glad I came to this event, there seems to be a lot of interesting people”. This allows them to bask in their stupidity while they wonder if I heard them.
I will give you a couple of my all-time greatest idiotic moments.
I was in The Villages, Florida a few months ago – you know – it's where the guy yelled “White Power” while driving his golf cart to a Trump rally. I stopped in a grocery store to pick up some fruit for the rest of my drive home to Tampa. I was sporting my University of Texas, Longhorn ball cap. White guy, about seventy years old, comes up to me from nowhere and says:
I bet you played ball. Let me guess, football. When did you play?, You must of played for Royal. No, no you probably played for Fred. Fred Akers?
Now so far he is talking to himself because I haven’t said a word. I’m standing there holding an orange and I’m thinking – Dam, I only wanted to do a quick stop. Who the fuck is this? So I say, “yeah – back in the day”. I am over fifty years old, still handsome, but let’s get real. Why is this guy asking me if I played football in a grocery store out of nowhere? Its pretty crazy. I know he can see the look on my face, you know, the “Who the fuck are you” look. Then he says:
Yeah, I had this young boy, black boy, that was fast as lightening. Played running back for me, but I knew he was really a wide receiver. I had met Fred at a kind of coaches convention and I told him that I would hate to loose him but I believed he would be great in his offense. If I send him to you, you got to give him a scholarship cause his family is poor. He went down to Texas and started two out of four years. Isn’t that something?
So now I’m thinking the guy may have a little dementia and I am looking around for the person he must be with. I say, “Yeah, that’s something” and I walk away. Before I can get out of the store, the guy comes back to me and tells be where he used to coach and how he knows I must have been good on the field.
This is the kind of shit that happens all the time. Now granted, I am six foot, four inches tall and over 250 pounds. While I am proud to have been the MVP in football and basketball in high school, that was over thirty years ago. What have I been doing for the last couple of decades besides waiting for this asshole to ask me if I played ball.
One more example. Something that happened a very long time ago. It happened in Texas on one of my first jobs out of college. I worked in an office that was responsible for doing technical analysis of healthcare records for clinical trials in medicine. The director of the facility was a loud mouth, relatively little guy that thought he was funny. Since you are an employee, you had to take it because he was in charge.
Everybody knew I was athletic because I was on the intramural basketball team and was one of the better players. So the day after a game, its early and several of us are getting coffee and settling down. He comes in the office to get his coffee and says, I hear you had a good game last night. I say, I played pretty good but most important – we won. He ask, did you play ball in college? I said, I played one year but decided to focus on my studies. He said, Oh, you weren’t very good so decided to try your hand at math? I understand you are bi-lingual too. You speak Jive Talk and English. And laughs in a loud voice. Awkwardly, everyone smiled. Needless to say, I had no comment.
Now this was the other side of the coin. Where your relative lack of sports ability is used to say you do not measure up. All the non-athletic brothers know what I am talking about. When a white man ask you if you played basketball when you are five foot, two inches and barely weigh one hundred pounds. They already know the answer but use the question to suggest you are inferior. That you have no success in life because there is no way you have any other talent. In this instance the imaginary punch in the face works well. Then you wait and say something like “no, but I am an engineer so I think I got the better genes”.
No matter who you are. No matter what your body type or makeup. You encounter the white man that can’t think of any other topic except sports to engage you. He fears you. He does not understand anything about you and has never taken the time to consider who you are as a person. Or any Black man. We are inconsequential to his life. Or so he thinks. Historically, he hasn’t made a dime on his own without the blood, sweat, and tears of a Black man or woman.
Today the additional $600 unemployment supplement runs out. This stimulus was part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed by Trump in March 2020. As of today, July 24, no other coronavirus relief has been signed. This seventeen week supplemental payment has acted as a buffer to millions of Americans impacted by the economic upheaval resulting from the global pandemic. It has allowed folks to stay in their homes by helping them to pay their rent/mortgage. In some instances, the combination of the typical weekly unemployment benefit and the $600 supplement has equaled or exceeded the normal income of workers. Economist state that it has acted as an economic stimulus during this time because most Americans receiving it have been able to continue to spend on necessities and thereby support those essential businesses continuing to operate.
Congress – both the Senate and House of Representatives – have argued over the effect of the unemployment supplement on the reopening of businesses in June. Republicans believe it has been a disincentive to employees to come back to work. Democrats believe it has given support and flexibility to workers to determine how best to navigate the process of returning to work and keeping family members safe from the virus. This situation is complicated by the resurgence of the infection rates in 29 states leading to restrictions and closures of businesses once again. This difference of opinion among lawmakers has delayed the ability to negotiate and pass an extension of this benefit. Experts on low income economics warn that the end of the weekly unemployment supplement may lead to the largest increase in homelessness since the great depression of 1929.
The US Senate Republicans and the President hold the power in this situation since any bill will not be signed into law unless they both agree on it.
What I see is - Big and small businesses, with the help of the Senate, maneuvering to force poor people to go back to work in a dangerous, life threatening environment. The Senate has determined that businesses must be shielded from liability going forward. In other words, regardless if the business adheres to the CDC safety guidelines or not, you will not be able to sue your employer if their business practices leads to you getting ill and/or passing the virus to your family members. If you or your loved ones die or are disabled you have no recourse or standing in court to sue for compensation on one hand. On the other hand, you can’t pay your rent/mortgage on the normal weekly unemployment check and now, safe or not, you must go out and work. Problem is you may not be able to find work or if you still have a job the hours may be reduced. Result, there is likely to be millions of Americans evicted in addition to those that have already fallen behind on their rent/mortgage.
It’s like having a gun in your face (Coronavirus) and a gun in your back (not enough unemployment money) at the same time. If you stay home you will likely loose your home. If you go to work, you and possibly your whole family will get sick and loose your life. Hell of a way to treat the people in one of the riches countries in the world. Didn’t we just bailout the banks in 2008 and give out free money (loans that don’t have to be paid back) to businesses during that first stimulus? No safety net for the poor or the middle class workers.
If you go to work to get your money, you could be making a choice that you will be giving your life for. Hence – YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE. Dam!
Another day, another myth busted. We are living in a Police State. Which police should we fear? City, State, or Federal? The idea that police are here to serve and protect citizens is being crushed. As protests continue across America, it is becoming increasing clear that the police are being deployed and commanded to protect federal and private property. This is being done at the expense of civil liberties that most Americans have come to expect. Black people already know that most of their encounters with police have nothing to do with protecting civil liberties. Now the federal government is taking the gloves off and using tactics typically reported in other countries around the world considered authoritarian by American standards.
It has been reported that a suspected protestor in Portland, Oregon was “arrested” walking down the street some time after protests had ended. Mark Pettibone was videoed being “arrested” by agents clad in military clothing. See video…
This protestor and others are reporting that they were shoved into an unmarked vehicle, blindfolded and driven to an undisclosed location. In Pettibone’s case, he was read the Miranda warning and asked if he would answer questions. He requested a lawyer. He was then photographed and processed for arrest. He was subsequently released without any record or paperwork given to him and found out he had been taken to the Federal Courthouse. He doesn't know if he was charged with any offense. This would appear to be an unconstitutional detainment of an American citizen by federal agents. Homeland Security stated that U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents had taken this action because they “had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property.
Black people, we know that this kind of thing happens when dealing with local (city and county) police. Homeland Security is now acting with similar tactics used previously under the Patriot Act – extraordinary rendition.
Extraordinary rendition, also called irregular rendition or forced rendition, is the government-sponsored abduction and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one country to another with the purpose of circumventing the former country's laws on interrogation, detention and torture.
As Black Americans continue to push for social justice and changes to policing, we can expect people to disappear. To simply vanish and be declared an enemy of the State. This is why I am repeatedly stating that we are living in a police state. There is an enormous force of police agencies operating all over America. They will tire of protests and acts of civil disobedience. That’s when we can expect that these types of tactics will escalate and people will simply vanish.
The race war is escalating. They will start attacking the allies of the movement first with the intention of instilling fear to remove them from the field. Next step will be to come after Black people working to organize and consolidate the various factions of the movement. This behavior from the federal government must be expected and plans and tactics to mitigate its impact must be taken.
Down on the street everyone in the neighborhood knows who the criminals are. We know that Skippy boost cars, Ray-Ray does stick-ups, and Poo robs corner stores. We know because we always see Skippy driving different cars every week and sometimes ditches them around the hood. Ray-Ray has pulled a gun on various people in other neighborhoods and taken money, watches and jewelry. When they see him walking down the street, they all just get up off the porch and go in the house until they hear the “coast is clear”. Same thing with Poo, we just get up and clear out of the area to make sure we don’t get caught in the cross fire.
There is nothing different when it comes to President Trump. When most of your friends and associates are walking on the shady side of the street and those that work for you are charged and convicted of crimes, everyone knows that you operate in a universe of criminals and criminal activity.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, was the gatekeeper to a barrel of sleazy and despicable transactions and enterprises for almost ten years. He was the “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel” to the owner of a Manhattan real estate company – Donald J. Trump. Michael Cohen is a lawyer talented in tax evasion, lying, and submitting false documents to various banking entities as stated in his indictment documents. He also possesses some talent for cover-ups of indiscretions with various women. Cohen was convicted and is still resolving his jail sentence.
Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Add to Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, George Papadopolus, Richard Pinedo, Ales va der Zwaan, Roger Stone, and Rick Gates. Let’s not forget Michael Flynn who avoided prosecution when the US Attorney General William Barr decided not to pursue prosecution when his conviction was thrown out. Now to be fair, President Trump did not have direct contact with all of these individuals. When you’re the kingpin, ring leader, and presidential candidate you don’t have time to direct the actions of your entire crew. I am not a lawyer but this sounds like what is described as a continuing criminal enterprise when the scheme is related to street gangs and cartels.
Continuing criminal enterprise is a term that is defined under federal law 21 U.S.C. § 848 as follows:
For purposes of subsection (a) of this section, a person is engaged in a continuing criminal
enterprise if -
(1) he violates any provision of this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter the punishment for which is a felony, and
(2) such violation is a part of a continuing series of violations of this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter -
(A) which are undertaken by such person in concert with five or more other persons with respect to whom such person occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management, and
(B) from which such person obtains substantial income or resources.
So while I respect the positions of the President and Attorney General of the United States and the power vested in the persons holding these positions, I can only use my understanding of basic street knowledge. We all know who the criminals are in the neighborhood. It doesn’t matter if the hood is East Baltimore or the entire United State of America.
To Skippy, Ray-Ray, Poo and DJ Trump, we know who you are and what you do, its just easier to get up and go in the house and wait for the all clear sign. It happens to be a bit easier to do when the criminal doesn’t hold the position of US President.
The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear