Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#MeToo

I've never interacted with people - at least that I know of - who have been victims of sexual assault. It's possible seeing these many posts on social media that I've interacted with mainly women who were victims of sexual harassment. This should help me keep in mind that I and other men should be careful of our body language and words to women.

Of course I also learned through Terry Crews a former NFL player turned actor that men can also be sexually assaulted or harassed. Perhaps it's a lot more common with men than we realize. There is a lot of focus on women - which is understandable - men are expected to handle their business and take care of themselves.

The stories I've seen out there of "me too" give me some pause. Stories of outright molestation as children or even inappropriate comments of men making crude comments based upon appearance. There are even stories of sexual assaults as adolescents or even as adults. I can now recognize the extensiveness of the these issues and for how long many have dealt with them.

What I can say is men like to look at women and vice-versa, perhaps this attention does make some people uncomfortable. And believe me I have recognized this although no harm was intended. There have been times I hadn't not only minded my body language, but my words as well. It's something I can always strive to do much better with as a man.

With this said I have been around men or even women who don't always mind their body language or words. Sometimes the men I've met have been out there as far as the attractive women around them. Less commonly there have been a handful of women who were the same way. They can start running their mouths and perhaps forcefully when they find men who are attractive.

Finally seeing the #MeToo and some of these stories I had comment that it's a shame that it took the Harvey Weinstein scandal to bring this out. Also it took the decade old recording of Donald Trump and Billy Bush released during last year's presidential race to also bring out these stories of sexual harassment and assault. These are definitely conversations we should always have.

Someone out there has been in a situation that made them uncomfortable. Also someone out there has been assaulted by someone. Hopeful the more stories come out as far as what happened between everyday people, the more many of us will be far more mindful.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Remembering a mudered civil rights pioneer

Alberta Jones
Upon finding out about an article from Very Smart Bros I also found this article from the New York Times which I will share with you today.
I want to say, how very sorry I had been about finally discover this. A young black woman Alberta Jones an attorney was beaten and thrown into the Ohio River and left to drown in August 1965. Why was she murdered? She came back to Louisville, Kentucky to shake things up after graduating from the Howard University Law School. Shaking things up was certainly a dangerous thing to do back then especially in the segregated south.
Alberta Jones is the civil rights pioneer almost no one knows. She was Louisville’s first female black prosecutor and negotiated the first fight contract for Muhammad Ali, her neighbor. She registered thousands of African-American voters in the 1960s and paved the way for a ban on racial discrimination by local theaters and lunch counters.
...
Ms. Jones’s name is absent from the annals of civil rights martyrs of the 1960s, perhaps because there is no clear evidence that her death was racially or politically motivated. Louisville, on the dividing line between North and South, largely avoided the harshest violence of the era, like church bombings and the murder of civil rights workers by white supremacists, and today does not have the immediate resonance of, say, Birmingham, Ala.

Still, the city Ms. Jones returned to in 1959 after graduating from Howard University School of Law was deeply segregated. Blacks could not enter movie theaters or restaurants in the city’s commercial heart, Fourth Street, or try on clothes at department stores.

Ms. Jones helped establish the Independent Voters Association, which registered 6,000 African-Americans. Voting as a bloc, blacks replaced the mayor of Louisville and many of the city’s aldermen in 1961. Two years later these officials outlawed racial discrimination in businesses, the first public accommodation ordinance of its kind in the South.

“We taught the Negros how to use that voting machine,” Ms. Jones told The Courier-Journal in March 1965. It was shortly after she became a city prosecutor, the first woman of any race in that job in Louisville. “When I got back home a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got two strikes against you: You’re a woman and you’re a Negro,’” she told the newspaper. “Yeah, but I’ve still got one strike left, and I’ve seen people get home runs when all they’ve got left is one strike.”

Ms. Jones lived in Louisville’s majority-black West End with her mother and sister, just a couple of blocks from the young Cassius Clay. In 1960, the future Muhammad Ali hired her to represent him when he turned professional. She negotiated a contract with 11 white millionaires, the famous Louisville Sponsoring Group. Protective of her client, she insisted that 15 percent of his winnings be held in trust until he turned 35, with Ms. Jones serving as a co-trustee. Today the contract hangs on the wall of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
I sincerely hope that after over 50 years that Ms. Jones will finally get justice for her murder. Unfortunately she gave her life fighting for the civil rights of Blacks in Louisville. And this article illustrates that investigators are continuing to look for her killers. Unfortunately the passage of time has made that very difficult.
On the night Ms. Jones was murdered, Aug. 5, 1965, witnesses saw two black males drag a screaming woman into the back seat of a car like the Ford Fairlane Ms. Jones was driving, according to police records. Her body, with trauma to the head and face, was retrieved from the river near an amusement park in the West End. A large quantity of blood stained the back seat of the Fairlane, discovered nearby, which she had rented while her own car was in the shop.

Ms. [Flora] Shanklin believes that whoever murdered her sister was paid by others. “I don’t know who, but she stepped on some toes,” she said.
There has been some breaks and some connections to this murder. A print was matched to someone who is an elderly man now but was only 17 back then. Regardless hopefully there will be justice for Jones, however, steps are being taken to recognize her contributions:
Next month a Louisville civic group plans to hang a giant banner with Ms. Jones’s portrait on a bank building on Muhammad Ali Boulevard. It will join other portraits downtown honoring prominent people with Louisville roots, including Diane Sawyer and Colonel Harland Sanders of fast-food fame.

Professor Remington hopes the banner will prick someone’s memory — or conscience — about what happened to Ms. Jones 52 years ago. “She spent her whole life fighting for others,” she said. “It’s time somebody started fighting for her.”
I'm a long way from Louisville, Kentucky which is about five hours away from Chicago - yes I know this thanks to the many trip taken on the Greyhound through the city and with layovers. Hopefully someone will fight for her.

As you read this article you noticed she represents the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali right. There was an angle to Ms. Jones' murder involved the Nation of Islam. Ali was at one point associated with them.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Straight Black male privilege

[VIDEO] I posted the video from Anthony Brian Logan above over at E.M. last month and he discussed an article making its rounds on social media discussing "straight Black men are the white people of Black people". Huh? What does that even mean?

Well here's just a flavor of what's being written over at Very Smart Bros because this is their article:
It feels counterintuitive to suggest that straight black men as a whole possess any sort of privilege—particularly the type of privilege created for and protected by whiteness. In America, we are near or at the bottom in every relevant metric determining quality of life. Our arrest and incarceration rates, our likelihood of dying a violent death, our likelihood of graduating high school and attending college, our employment rates, our average net worth, our likelihood of surviving past 70—I could continue, but the point is clear.

But assessing our privilege (or lack thereof) on these facts considers only our relationship with whiteness and with America. Intraracially, however, our relationship to and with black women is not unlike whiteness’s relationship to us. In fact, it’s eerily similar.

We’re the ones for whom the first black president created an entire initiative to assist and uplift. We’re the ones whose beatings and deaths at the hands of the police galvanize the community in a way that the beatings and sexual assaults and deaths that those same police inflict upon black women do not. We’re the ones whose mistreatment inspired a boycott of the NFL despite the NFL’s long history of mishandling and outright ignoring far worse crimes against black women. We are the ones who get the biggest seat at the table and the biggest piece of chicken at the table despite making the smallest contribution to the meal.
So Black men or straight Black men have "privilege". Since Donald Trump became our President we've been hearing more about white male privilege and that actually makes some sense. Although to be fair the demonization of white males are really uncalled for. I do however understand where the idea comes from and sometimes I have to unwrap my mind from that idea.

With that said straight Black male privilege is certain an odd concept. If this is all about the struggle of Blacks in America why even decide to separate us like this. Black males have had a hard time in America and perhaps Black women has it worse. The last thing I want to ignore is any crimes against Black women - well really any women for that matter.

Still straight Black male privilege? Let's go further:
But when black women share that we pose the same existential and literal danger to them that whiteness does to us; and when black women ask us to give them the benefit of the doubt about street harassment and sexual assault and other forms of harassment and violence we might not personally witness; and when black women tell us that allowing our cousins and brothers and co-workers and niggas to use misogynistic language propagates that culture of danger; and when black women admit how scary it can be to get followed and approached by a man while waiting for a bus or walking home from work; and when black women articulate how hurtful it is for our reactions to domestic abuse and their rapes and murders to be “what women need to do differently to prevent this from happening to them” instead of “what we (men) need to do differently to prevent us from doing this to them,” their words are met with resistance and outright pushback. After demanding from white people that we’re listened to and believed and that our livelihoods are considered, our ears shut off and hearts shut down when black women are pleading with us.

Making things worse is that black women and girls are also black people in America—a fact we seem to forget whenever possessing a bad memory is convenient. The effects of racism—metaphysical and literal—and the existential dread and dangers felt when existing while black are not exclusive to black men and boys. They face the same racisms we do and the same doubts from whites about whether the racism actually exists that we do, and then they’re forced to attempt to convince their brothers and partners and friends and fathers and cousins and lovers of the dangers of existing as black women, and they’re met with the same doubts. The same resistance. The same questions. They are not believed in the (predominantly white) world or in their (predominantly black) communities. And we (black men) remain either uninterested in sincerely addressing and destructing this culture of danger and pervasive doubt or refuse to admit it even exists.
And yet straight Black males have privilege. Black women should be and are defended by strong males especially from disrespect. Whether this is from other Black men or men from other ethnicities.

At the same time when singling out straight Black men, I wonder if this was going to be a piece about gay Black men. Nothing is mentioned at all about sexual orientation. This was a piece regarding heterosexual Black men and their lack of acknowlegement of Black women's fears with regards to being Black in America.

One thing this piece has done on social media and in this video by Anthony Brian Logan is that it got people talking.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Las Vegas

It literally boggles my mind that a man with no discernible motive rains bullets down on people enjoying some country music. Everyone including his family is trying to figure this man out. In the meanwhile we mourn and pray for those who were killed or affected by this shooting on the Las Vegas strip.

Looking at some of the photos of the crime scene, last year I walked by the area on the strip. This makes this incident even more unbelievable!

Found this info over at the CapFax this morning. If you want to check on someone out there to see if they're OK use this info.