Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

Deep South Racism January 12, 2013

My homegirl over at Racism School wrote a little post about Deep South racism, and how that’s the only racism that gets acknowledged and how there’s some bit of safety in that. It’s real good, go read it. Then come back here where I add to it with a little bit of life and a bit of historical context.

 

I’ve been saying this for years and years and years. I have felt safer in the eight years I’ve been back in North Carolina than the twelve years I spent in Pennsylvania. It’s so bad up there. You cannot get away from the racism up north. It permeates everything in the culture up north. Stats say I’m much more likely to be killed by cops up north or out west than I am in the deep south.

There was a petition signed to prevent my family from moving into the neighborhood I lived in for the final seven years of my life up there. These neighbors of ours conveniently only let their dog out of their yard whenever I or my sister would be getting off of the bus from school. Of course it would chase us and bit her once (and it only ever chased or bit us) and everyone else in the neighborhood just made jokes and there as nothing we could do about it until I accidently killed the dog (by kicking it real hard and causing it to run into the street where it proceeded to get hit by a car. I don’t feel bad about it at all). No one knew I did it, and if they had I would’ve probably been killed for it. Because that’s how white justice works. (Note: the only reason we weren’t bitten more is because after the first time we started carrying sticks to and from the bus stop to beat the dog off us).

I had do deal with northern white liberals who told me EVERY DAY how nothing up north was racist and how I should be glad I didn’t live in the south anymore. I had to deal with all the bullshit of being told I spoke well. True story, when I was in elementary school I should’ve gone to speech classes where they teach kids who can’t talk how to talk good. Because I had a bad stammer. I still have a stammer, but it’s more under control now, no thanks to them. Even though I often t imes sounded worse than the kids they picked to go to the speech class they looked at me and said “you speak so well.. . .You don’t need this class.” So I just didn’t talk in school.

My parents caught teachers grading my homework incorrectly, teachers would lose my test because there’s no way a black kid could’ve done that well.

That’s just my personal life. We’re not talking about all the racially motivated zoning laws up north. (Look up zoning laws post reconstruction sometime and educate yourself). While the south had the national guard brought in on some integration shit, the north was busy enacting laws that prevented black people from moving into certain neighborhoods. The north invented and perfected gentrification.

Has anyone ever stopped to examine why black people have started moving back down south if the south is THE WORST place ever? No, because middle class white people have created a narrative of the stupid uneducated red necks down south being the only ones to perpetrate racism. Your Bill Mahers of the world continuously preach about how only stupid people are conservative. We act as if the republican party is only made up of people who never got out of middle school as if the catholic church doesn’t run the north eastern US, as if the Lutherans and Catholics haven’t been strangling each other for control of the midwest. We act like the new home of the KKK isn’t up in Montanna. We pretend the mormons aren’t holding sway out west. We just sit here talking about those stupid southern baptists, who, coincidentally, aren’t the ones who’ve had the cultural power to stop birth control and shit (that’s been the domain of the catholic church like forever. Cause money).

Here, people fly rebel flags. And I know exactly what that means. It means we don’t talk, we don’t look at each other, and we get out of the same space. There’s no great lie going on here. No one who’s born and bread in the south believes racism is dead. That’s only people from up north who have been force fed that lie since the 1830s. They may concoct some like in public about how that flag is honoring their ancestors, but they all know it’s a lie. They hold onto that shit.

Thing is, people don’t remember that in order to win the civil war (which the union was not fighting on behalf of slaves you stupid mother fuckers) the union burned most of the south’s crops to the ground immediately impoverishing a whole bunch of people. So all those white folks who had farms and shit for years and years with families and kids who had all been killed in this war were suddenly out of land, out of a job, out of food, and out of their families. Yeah, they be holdin a grudge, cause it took a long ass time to bring that shit back. Of course they blamed black people as much as the north, because they lost a portion of their work force (for a while, because slavery stopped for about seven or eight days before being reinacted, and a lot of people never became free after the civil war. I’m not talking about convict leasing and debt slavery. I’m talking people still  held legal receipts and shit owning people and were selling them years afterwards up into the 1890s and shit).

The south has its problems with lying about shit, too (I see you texas and virginia up in here making text books talking about how cool slavery was) but the first instance of  that came from northern abolitionists. Their motivations were all over the place. Most of them were white supremacists though, and some of them felt slavery made them look bad. Others felt the narrative around American slavery was getting away from them and their standing globally with their other white folks across the water was being lowered by it, so they wanted it to seem not as bad.

The real crux of abolitionism is that slavery was gonna put those folks out of work. Why you think Irish Catholics and the Italians went so fucking hard at black people? Cause they had someone to look down on and they were about to get put out of work by them. White people up north didn’t want to end slavery for the sake of black people, they wanted to end it for their own sake. They didn’t want black folks anywhere near them. Thus, zoning laws. Ohio’s are real bad and some of that shit is still on the books. Look at Cincinatti’s laws. The language has changed some, but the outcomes are the still the same. Why you think they riot up there so much?

The entire Pacific North West is a FUCKING PROBLEM. They straight up banned us from going out there. No slaves no negroes. Those were the signs and those were the laws. I don’t even know if Oregon ever officially took no negroes out of the law book, because I think it is intertwined in the no slavery law. That area of the country is the microagression capital of the world! Holy fuck do those guys suck at race relations. Not to mention how it’s essentially just a pit for native appropriators.

Basically, the United states is a country founded upon and built on racism. That’s what it’s always been, that’s what it’ll always be. It’s racist. Straight up. And EVERY PART of the country is racist. That includes where you live. It’s just that white folks all over have chosen to make the south the scapegoat for all that shit.

 

It’s not just assault rifles December 22, 2012

Filed under: Social Commentary,Social Justice — Micah Griffin @ 09:24
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It’s all guns. Period. End Of Story.

The overwhelming majority of gun violence commited in this country are carried out with hand guns. I understand that y’all get all tore up over some pretty white kids getting taken out in bunches by someone with an assault rifle. I know. But peep game for a second, way more black and brown kids get killed with hand guns on the regular. A lot of those deaths come by way of white dudes who either have an actual position of power (say the police), some trumped up position of power (say the neighborhood watch), or just feel like black people make them uncomfortable (say Michael Dunn, who murdered one child and attempted to murder three other children because he felt they were playing music too loudly in their car).

This isn’t new.  This has been happening for years. Every 40 hours a black male is killed by either the police or someone with similar authority like security gurads and what not. Sometimes plain clothes officers will just attack and brutally beat someone to the verge of death just for being a black kid like in the case of Jordan Miles, or they’ll just shoot the kid for nothing and make up reasons later. There are actually dozens of cases of shootings similar to the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Russell Davis where a white man with a hand gun kills a black person (often black boys) and the reason is nothing more than the black kid looked threatening. That’s always the excuse of the police.

And it flies, because in America only white kids are innocent. Only white kids are allowed to be mourned after being killed. When the Sikhs were murdered in their temple there was no mourning, no flying of American flags at half staff. That was some brown people killed by another white terrorist and it didn’t matter to anyone in the slightest. No calls for gun control laws after that. But let white kids be affected and now people care. We get it. Our lives mean nothing to white people. My entire life I have been deemed a threat not for any actions I’ve taken, but because black kids are threats. We are terrors and need to be controlled, and if murder is the means of that control then it is justified. So white people can use their hand guns to kill as many of us as they see fit, and no one will lift a finger to do anything about it.  You’ll fight for your right to keep your hand guns so that you can continue to kill us. It’s your right.

The founding fathers would actually be pleased to know that white people were out here wanton killing black folks with guns. God knows it’s what they were about.

And stop trying to blame shootings on mentally ill people. That’s straight garbage. That’s just another scapegoat for the actual problem of no one needs to actually have guns. “just don’t let those CRAZY people have guns.” That’s stupid. That’s so stupid. I’ll go along with not letting people with mental illness have guns if we classify racism as a mental illness. Then we can get all these cops off the street. Then people like Zimmerman and Dunn wouldn’t be out here shooting black kids for shits and giggles.  What mental illness are we blaming on all the people who get angry during a fight and reach for the most devastating weapon they can get their hands on? None. Know why? Because murder isn’t a product of mental  illness. It’s just not. Mentally ill people are much more likely to be victims of violence. It happens every single day.

Go check your schools and nursing homes. No one cares, because we treat anyone with a mental illness like they’re stupid or a child. When they say someone has been abusing them we just ignore it or laugh it off.  Clearly they don’t know what they’re talking about. They can’t get someone to investigate beatings and rapes on their behalfs, because we as a society don’t view them as people. The number of people with mental  illness who have been the victims of physical abuse and murder outstrips the number of people who have been killed by a mentally ill person by A LOT. It’s a huge number. So take your ableism and stick it in your craw.

Back to guns. The fact remains that we have a severe problem with GUNS. Not with assault rifles, with guns. You don’t need to have them. I don’t need to have them. The cops don’t need to have guns. All over the world cops don’t have guns and somehow manage to solve crimes without shooting people. Don’t give me the second amendment. The constitution said I wasn’t a person. It said it was okay for me to be owned by another human. That document is junk. The 13th amendment actually didn’t stop that. Look it up, kids. People owned slaves legally in America long after that. Not just convict leasing and debt slavery. Just straight up slavery. Because American law actually is kind of toothless with regards to protecting the personhood of black people.

What about my right to not be killed because I look like a threat? What about my right to not get shot for being in an argument with someone. That’s where a lot of gun violence comes from. Two or more people get angry. They have a fight. Most people don’t want to be in a fight. They don’t. So they look for the quickest way to end that fight. They’ll grab a chair or a bottle or a knife. People survive those things with much greater frequency than they survive gun shots. That football player who killed his girlfriend? No gun in that house there’s a good chance no one dies in that situation. Could he have used a knife? Yup, but it’s a slower process. He would have to really want her dead. Shooting someone takes no effort. You don’t have to think about it. That’s the danger of guns. That’s the power of guns. Murder comes in a second. Not just that, but accidental murder comes in a second. You try to shoot one person and miss. Bullet travels and kills someone else. White dude ended up killing two black people just shooting his gun off in his back yard. The parents asked him to stop, and he just kept shooting and woah, what you know? They’re dead.  A man killed his son by accident because he shot without figuring out what was going on. A woman killed her husband on a hunting trip by accident. Gun just went off. Knives don’t go off.

I’m sick of hearing white people tell me how they need guns to protect themselves. It’s a bit disgusting. Really it comes down to them not being seen as a threat worthy of death for owning a gun. If they own a gun it’s seen as protection. If I own a gun I’m a criminal. Weather I have the gun legally or not. I’m seen as a criminal. The cops will shoot me without question if they even suspect I might have anything that could even be slightly misconstrued as a gun. White folks don’t have that problem. So they cry about needing guns. They go to rallies talking about violently killing the president and his family if he tries to take their guns. This is seen as okay. Our whole society shrugs at it. Because the murder of black people is cool.

But let some white kids get shot.

Now y’all care about guns.

 

Ruby Sparks: White Dude Rape Fantasy July 22, 2012

Filed under: Movies,Social Commentary,Social Justice — Micah Griffin @ 08:51
Tags: , ,

So Clare and I went to the movies last night to see “Beasts of the Souther Wild” at the manor theater, and as a result got to see trailers for small movies no one cares about. Right out of the gate we were treated to the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.

Here’s the trailer TW awful stuff

It is unbelievable how this is being played off. Not actually, but it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting because it’s being played for laughs. The line goes “You can make her do whatever you want. For the sake of men everywhere you can’t let this opportunity go to waste.” What. The. Fuck?

So the movie is about some guy who can’t write, and then gets inspiration. He starts writing about a girl and he falls in love with her in his head. Then magically she shows up, but she’s all a part of his imagination, but she’s actually real. She exists in the world. At first I thought it was just “Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The Movie” Then it took this even creepier turn. The whole movie is just a white guy imagining his perfect woman who has no control over any part of her life. She exists purely to make him happy. Or to make him feel alive or feel anything. She’s a plot for his non existent novel.

HE CAN MAKE HER DO ANYTHING HE WANTS. She has no ability to consent or not. ANYTHING that she does is up to him. It’s all his fantasy, and it’s incredibly disgusting. Especially since the movie is played for laughs and it’s going to be praised for how much heart it has and how romantic it looks.

 

Fuck Your Independence Day July 4, 2012

That shit is a lie and you know it.

I don’t even need to write anything else. No thousand words today about how fucked up this bullshit is. You know what’s up. So seriously. Fuck all you white people out here partying for slavery and genocide. Party it up, and I hope you get food poisoning.

 

Look, I’m not saying Merida’s Hair isn’t cool July 3, 2012

It is just super annoying that people are having orgasm sessions over the rendering of this white girl’s hair. It’s super unkempt and therefor gorgeous and how amazing is it that Pixar took all this time and money to work on making it look great. They really spent like six years getting this right? It was so important to have all those curls render independently and have all the good collision detection. That was such a key feature.

Why does this annoy me? Because they’ll never put that kind of work into a black character’s hair. Especially not someone who intentionally leaves their hair curly. All black characters have stock afros, buzz cuts, big fat sticky dreads, or a funny box. That’s it. For black women specifically it’s always super white society presentable, no matter what the actual style of it is. If it’s in a Pixar movie… .well, they don’t actually exist. Yeah, there’s only the stereotypical black woman’s voice from Incredibles. That’s it. (not even any black toys)

It’s frustrating to see so much praise go to pixar for spending untold millions of dollars on this white girl’s hair and they won’t spend a dime on putting a black girl in a movie. We’re never going to hear about how pixar spent millions of dollar trying to figure out how to get my hair to look and act properly on screen. (My hair is big, and nappy, and only partially dreaded in some areas, and drives white people up a wall).

It isn’t just that they spent time and money on her hair either. It’s the specifics of it. It was supposed to be wild and loose because she’s wild and loose and can’t be tamed or whatever. Somehow it still manages to be conventionally attractive and perfect. No tangles or knots, just perfect curls everywhere. Gotta keep this white chick perfect. The thing is, this goes along with the idea that her hair can be completely unmanaged, and still beautiful. That doesn’t work for black people. Unprocessed or unmanaged hair is a sign of laziness, bad parenting, stupidity, lack of education, and a number of other things. There’s just the assumption that there’s something wrong with us if our hair isn’t in societally perfect condition.

So yay to her for having her hair do weird stuff. Yay to Pixar for making sure they got every intricate detail of that right. And hooray to them for continuing their streak of not paying one millionth that amount of detail to character casting choices. Here’s some more praise for all the work you haven’t and never will do getting black folks to look right at all in your movies. I do have one piece of advice though.

I know that developing and programming all these movies is hard, but this one little tip will help.

For your next  movie. Just try adding one actual black character to it. Just try it. Not a cameo appearance, but an actual character. You can’t make them better until you actually start doing it.

But of course you have no interest in that, because there’s no money in it for you guys to animate black people. (wouldn’t hurt if you hired a couple too, but we won’t get into that.)

 

Father’s Day (The Remix) June 17, 2012

Filed under: Social Justice — Micah Griffin @ 14:58
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This is where I said the same thing I just said, but with slightly different words. Seriously.

Look, I know every single one of you had the single worst father of all time.

I DIDN’T. I will not take part in this national “all father’s suck” campaign. My dad isn’t an idiot. He hasn’t spent his entire life running away from the responsibility of raising children. He doesn’t go into any of your stupid gender tropes about dad’s not having any clue how anything works. My dad is just a regular black guy trying to do the best he can by his family while navigating this incredibly fucked up and racist society telling him how he has no particular value or worth to society. He’s told that he’s responsible for all the mythical wellfare queens and high poverty rates, and kids dropping out of high school and selling drugs, and increased rate of gangs, and putting kids in prison. We know all of this is bullshit, but it doesn’t stop people from telling him that. And through all of it, he manages to find it in himself to do some good. He’s never once done a single thing to harm me or any of his children. He’s not perfect, or even doing the best he possibly could, but he tries hard. Sometimes society gets him down and it’s hard for him, but that never stops him from crushing his duties out of the park when he’s called on. Shit, he’s a father to kids that aren’t even his. I went by the house a few days ago and there were like twelve kids in there and he was handling all of them. This isn’t even a slightly uncommon occurrence.

I’m not saying you have to celebrate your dad. I know he was awful, but that was your dad. Not mine. You don’t have the right to say that mine was a piece of shit or was worthless. You don’t have the right to say that if I choose to say nice thing about him or celebrate how awesome he is every day of the year that I’m somehow doing something wrong and inappropriate. Am I combative about this? Damn right I am. That’s only because I have to listen to so many people all year long tell me about how the entire concept of dads are stupid like no one has ever had a good father, and especially not a good black one. You can hate your father all you like. You can hate father’s day. I hate father’s day. I hate mother’s day too. I hate all of those stupid false celebratory holidays. Making it socially obligatory to give props to someone who hasn’t done anything for you doesn’t make any sense (why I don’t celebrate the 4th of july either, or president’s day, or columbus day, or really, any american holidays outside of MLKjr day and Juneteenth. Cause they’re all about how cool white people who had slaves and killed native Americans were).

The only thing all this hang ringing over father’s day does is cement the idea further that dude parents aren’t any good. When you grow up hearing that father’s are, at the best, goofballs who are stupid and aren’t good at anything but being tough and putting holes in walls or at worst, violent child molesting serial killers, it doesn’t give you a lot to look up to. When you add race in the mix it only gets worse. Society is constantly telling me I can’t look up to my father because black men as a whole are worthless. So my celebrating of my father is an active act of rebellion against society constantly saying he isn’t any good.

What I hate more than that, is you saying that me choosing to buy my dad lunch today from some crappy fast food restaurant cause it’s all we can actually afford is something that shouldn’t happen. Cause that’s dumb.

 

I Like Rap Music May 31, 2012

Filed under: Music,Social Commentary,Social Justice — Micah Griffin @ 19:50
Tags: , , , , ,

I like it. Does it have problems on the whole? Yeah. Go find me a genre that’s remotely close to as popular as rap music is that doesn’t have any problems.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Here’s the deal. Do I agree with a lot of what goes on? Nope. Do I agree with a lot of what goes on? Absolutely. It’s complicated. There are issues of misogyny and the general idea that women are pokemon, trading cards, and other collectible doodads on which you (as a man) measure your personal success. The interesting thing is how so many of our more popular rappers seem to completely understand complex theories of societal racism and have heavily examined them and the impact they have on black life in america, yet how few of those same ones look at societal sexism in anything near the same light. Same with homophobia for that matter.

That said, rap music is still about time and place and a social consciousness. It confronts social issues (whether positively or negatively) way more than pretty much any other genre of music. So many songs are just one person spilling out their feelings in a long dialogue with the listener. This means you get all the fucked up shit that goes through people’s minds. All the good and bad that goes with it, all the internalized struggles, and most importantly, you get to see growth in thought process. There’s a good song by Big K.R.I.T. that talks about pimping and misogyny and how get got to be where he is and the use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and how he knows it’s bad but that’s the world he’s in and all of the everyday stuff that comes with being in that world. It’s something you don’t get to see in a lot of music.

Know why the misogyny and homophobia is hit on so hard? Because the rest of it is too positive and critical for white folks to handle. Listen to stuff like Killer Mike’s “Reagan” or “Pressure.” Those tracks bring absolute heat and knowledge about police brutality, private prisons, the birth of the welfare queen myth and a bunch of other societal racism problems. There’s songs about how the drug game is an easier path to take than going to college. One of those things requires money and privilege you never had and can’t get, the other require you just to be fast, smart, and strong. One of those leads to a $25k a year job and the other has the potential to lead to big money and big cars. When you’re likely to end up in jail for whistling at a white woman or looking a white man in the eye why not sell drugs?

The rappers with the problems I’ve stated above don’t make up all rap music. In fact, they make up less and less of it. They’re the most popular ones, but that has less to do with rap music and more to do the people who promote rap music, the record labels, the radio stations, and a bunch of people outside the creation of rap music.

Ask yourself what’s worse; A man writing a song that has issues of misogyny all by himself and producing that song unilaterally, or a team of producers and an entire band doing a song about misogyny and how awesome it is? Not that either is good, but I find it odd when society stands on the roof tops and decries rap music while lauding Nickelback for some unknown reason. There is so much misogyny is mainstream pop and rock music that goes ignored in favor of trying to destroy an art form dominated by black people.

Here’s the secret. Even in the misogyny laden rap tracks, there’s more uplifting verses about black women and how awesome they are than you’ll ever get anywhere else. There’s this weird culture around it, but a lot of these dudes seem to love black women. Not just as sex objects, but as pillars of the community, mothers, sisters, daughters, role models, freedom fighters, drug runners, business people, drivers, snipers, organizers, and a bunch of other roles. Once you survive being denigrated for the first thirty years of your life you become a GOD. I am actually going to examine that and write about it later.

The other secret, once you leave traditional record labels the entire thing flips upside down. There’s an entire world of non problematic rap music. Shit is great. But white people don’t want to listen to it. White people are far more comfortable with Lil Wayne. It fits their image of black masculinity and black people in general a lot better. There’s also a lot of black women rappers out there too. There are even queer people of color doing rap music. It’s fucking WILD.

Basically, I say a bunch of that to say this.

Lay off. When you get ready to criticize the entire genre of rap music think about how many times you’ve criticized every other genre of popular music. Think about why you hear so much about the misogyny in rap music and not in other types of music. Think about how little you hear about the positives of rap music. Think about the number of white people directly profiting off the things you hate so much and how instead of going after them you’re going after black people who would be doing a large number of things if they weren’t told by life and society that this is how you can get out of your bad situation. Booty Butt Cheeks sells records. Think about why that is.

Once you’ve done all that, shut up. Cause I don’t want to hear it.

And to whoever said that the Beastie Boys made you feel like rap music loved you back? FUCK YOU. Seriously. You’re acting in racist ignorant buffoonery. Black people made plenty of awesome rap music before they showed up. Black people made plenty of anti sexism songs. In fact, a great many of those black people were women. Those black women whom made it possible for the beastie boys to sell records. But you didn’t feel  loved until some white frat boys showed up acting like regular old white ass holes. Gotcha.