Monthly Archives: April 2012

Broken on all sides

Watching Broken on All Sides didn’t rock my world. I can’t say it surprised me much. However, knowledge is power and I was very happy to see so many people in attendance. Information is the first step towards affecting change and documentaries like this shed light on a situation that you may not be aware of if you’ve never personally encountered it. We recently watched the Wire and the question was posed, is this show a minstrel show? I had to think to myself and at first glance it sure can seem that way. However characters such as Avon Barksdale are products of a broken system. A broken education system that under nourishes intellectual talent, a broken economic system and prison system that turns minor offenders into second class citizens and major offenders, leaving little economic opportunities. Running a drug empire isn’t for dummies and I’m sure many of the workers within the hypothetical drug structure would have alternative employment. Reform and education are needed to change a system that not only sets up traps, but permanently traps those within it.

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Why hoodie walk?

Treyvon Martin’s death sparked a line of dialogue that I genuinely appreciated. The facts of this case will be determined in a court of law but the implications of it are much greater. The criminalization of the young Black man in America is far from a new concept except of course, for those who don’t have to live it. At this point it feels like beating a dead horse to talk about this part of being Black in America. However, it seems like its news to some people. Yes, while walking down the street at night you are likely to be stopped and questioned for no apparent reason other than your skin color. I am viewed as a threat. As a young man of color this is no surprise and I have several friends who have experienced this. Even at Gettysburg a liberal arts college where one could rest assured I am just another student with the same level of criminal activity as the next student (next to none) this is not the case. Sometimes you experience double consciousness because being Black slaps you over the head. For example when you’re with your group of friends talking on a Thursday night near Constitution and you see a group of girls cross the street in the block before yours, so as not to cross your path. Did this happen because I’m black? Maybe not, maybe it did. The point is I have to consider the role that race plays. Even if I can now say my President is Black. Or when you’re leaving the ATM from PNC and the cops stop and question you and ask for identification, as if you had just robbed the atm via your own bank account. So yeah, people were outraged about Treyvon Martin’s death, not just because of how young he was, and not because (in the public court) Zimmerman is guilty, but rather because we’ve all been and continue to be Treyvon Martin on a regular basis. The issue of race and the criminalization of people of color affects us all, regardless of our race/gender. Poor people have been disenfranchised and given ideology to keep them that way.


The Crunk Feminist Collective

Nearly two Wednesdays ago, after a long day in the office, I frantically drove home, donned one of three dark hoodies that I own, hopped a train to NYC from Jersey, met another Sista Prof friend and made it via taxi to Union Square just in time to participate in the first One Million Hoodies for Trayvon Martin March, which had been announced only the day before.

After hearing from Trayvon’s parents and the family’s attorney, we burst into the streets of Manhattan, speaking Trayvon’s name, almost as if the fervency of our incantations would call this boy, this young Lazarus, back to life. The energy in the air was nothing short of electric. We were not there when Trayvon begged for his life on a suburban lawn in Florida. But our collective screams on his behalf hopefully served to amplify his own screams that night.

I have been taken…

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