Homophobia for Dummies

In the wake of Roland S. Martin's suspension from CNN over homophobic tweets, a remedial teaching moment has arisen. For many, the events thus far are basic math: Public Figure + Public homophobia = public discipline. Some however are confused over that formula. Frequently asked questions include;
1. "What was homophobic about what he said?"
2. "Isn't this an overreaction?"
3. "What happened to Freedom of Speech?"
I will make this quick, because the rest of the class is being held back by these repeat discussions: Class Mammilia, and not just Genus Homo. If you are playing ignorant of the offensiveness in this simply to maintain deniability, please exit the room. For those who truly don't understand, you may believe his statement that this was an insult intended for soccer, not gay males. Many were injured by the eye-rolls this instigated. In response to the question, I offer Exhibits A..
...and B.
 "If a chick at your Super Bowl party is hyped about the David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of her! #superbowl"
 This is the same text with a gender change. Does this still read as an insult to soccer to you? You can say yes. It won't carry much weight, but you can say it. If this is the center of your defense, the prosecution rests.
#2 No. I personally did not want this situation to escalate as it has, but it was entirely predictable. I would say Mr. Martin was lucky to only be suspended. Shirley Sherrod, whom Martin helped get FIRED for misconstrued words advocating INCLUSION, would probably agree. It may seem like an overreaction to those who weren't offended, but this reaction by the offended members is pretty common these days.
#3 You still have your freedom of speech, it just can be used against you even outside a court of law. You don't need to be on TV for this to be true, but it's especially true for public figures. Whatever you identify yourself as (race, sexual orientation, religion, neighborhood), it is presumed you have opinions about the people who don't identify as such. When you are an on air personality, keep those opinions to yourself. They all understand this, which is why they deny it so passionately when one slips out. Yes, offending gays is exactly like offending Blacks, Whites, Catholics, Women, or whomever. Nobody get's to decide when they're offended it's worse than when you are offended. When offended, advocates of those groups will attack using the same freedom of speech Martin supporters use to defend what happened.

What is the big deal? The very day Mr. Martin made his misunderstood soccer bash, a video was circulating of actual gay bashing. A young man was shown unexpectedly attacked and beaten while the cameraman repeated "No faggots..." It is a very big deal. You are either ok with such behaviors or not. He may not have meant the same thing as the video equates, but what he said was the same thing, joking or not. My advice is if a public figure jokingly advocates for actually occurring violence against a group, smack the ish out of him.

Proper Gander

Still Relevant
Looking back to the days of animated posters, propaganda has evolved in time with every media. Misinformation has also grown, but at least reputations are harder to escape. A highlight and lowlight from some recent political ads.

Rick Perry

Janice Hahn

Acting Your Color

$.75 is less than 3/5 of $2. Just Saying.
There was a time and place when "Stop acting your color" was a popular admonishment. It was an act of discipline specific for one behaving embarrassingly that could also negatively depict their race, in a way their race has already been stereotyped. Someone should tell the republican students holding the Pay-by-Race Bake Sale at Berkley to stop acting their color.
Some conservative students at Berkeley are holding the race-based bake sale in response to pending California bill SB 185, which would allow the 2 public institutions of higher learning (University of California and California State University) to legally consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin along with other relevant factors when considering admissions, as long as that consideration doesn't violate the 14th Amendment. These hippies want to increase diversity in the public institutions. Increase diversity?! That's the most racist thing ever.

Yahoo Censors Emails

Amid protest revolving around the execution of Troy Davis and the organized occupation of Wall St, it has been confirmed Yahoo censors messages, seemingly along partisan lines.

Ten, Nine, Eleven

9/11/2001- I was getting ready for work, a retail store in the mall. The TV was on in the background, when the first breaking news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center broadcasted. I remember watching the live footage as the second plane hit the second tower. I stopped getting ready for work. America was under attack. Looking back, I expected bombs to start dropping at any moment. We were at war. We, all of America. We were all Americans. For the first noticeable time in my life, it felt everyone within these borders was on the same side.
Not long after, I remember the announcement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I had been glued to CNN since that day in September. I thought I missed something, a briefing or segment, explaining why we were going to Iraq, when they previously said Osama Bin Laden was responsible and that he was in Afghanistan. Yet I followed, as then President Bush told us Osama wasn't the real threat, or much of a concern at all. I wanted to join the fight every since the day of the attacks, but confusion held me at bay. Instead, I watched the action unfold on screen. After days of seeing troops landing and nights shots of bomb-lit skies, I watched the troops and Iraqi citizens storm Sadaam Hussein's palace, toppling his statue with rope and celebrating. After a few weeks, it appeared we had won. No more yellow cake uranium threats, America was safe once again. President Bush stood on a battleship behind a banner that read "Mission Accomplished", confirming the successful completion of the mission in Iraq. I kept watching. Everyday for a while, the war coverage continued. Soon, it dissolved back into reality shows and the like. The juxtaposition was sickening. It didn't take long before networks realized war coverage was a downer, and soon it stopped almost entirely. I remember the early conspiracies, of seized video tapes and missing Pentagon footage. I remember learning about what a commission was, and people asking why the president apparently didn't want an investigation. I remember the 2004 presidential election. The controversy of the 2000 elections was my introduction to politics, so I expected an electric national climate as the people resolidified a shaky democracy via participation. I remember the "terror alert" being set to the color of "always". The war raged on, so the overall sentiment of "consistency in a time of war" rode Bush into another term. I remember the second inauguration of Bush: the first being famous for it's historical opposition, and the second being famous for it's historic suppression of opposition. I remember people confided in cages, or protest zones, and being actually arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts near the president as the first time Patriot Act concerns became more than hyperbole. I remember being worried people would find out about my true positions, opposing the war and the president, and I would be punished for them. I remember people saying "it's been 7/8/9 years: Iraq is another Vietnam." I remember the focus going from Osama, to Al Quaeda, to Muslim Extremists, to Muslims. I remember not finding WMD's, but I don't remember the other reasons we went to Iraq, or why we stayed. I remember Amy Goodman being preemptively arrested before she could cover the Republican National Convention. The news coverage plays in my head like a scene from V for Vendetta. I remember my decision to stop talking out of fear of the Patriot Act, thinking any number of key words would trigger a storm of agents to descend upon me. I remember thinking they were detaining dissenters indefinitely, and they were always watching and listening. I remember the election of Barack Obama in 2009, and thinking that "we took the country back". I remember the Tea Party forming that same year with the stated goal of "taking our country back". 
Ten years after the fact, I remember 9/11 and everything that has happened since. We were all Americans that day, but now we have descended into tribal differences. Ten years after an attack unified the nation, we are on the verge or in the midst of civil war. Racial tension is at an all time high, as well as tension between political and religious factions. 9/11 happened to us all, but we all personalized it differently. The attackers believed they were fighting a holy war, so some Americans now believe we are at war with Muslims. Some Americans are at war with both the 9/11 attackers and the new administration that took over in 2008. Ten years after the attack, let us remember how we were all once on the same side. Nobody cared who called themselves liberal or conservative on that day. The race of first responders was hardly noticeable when they were all covered in ash. Nobody was criticized for their admission of faith at that time, or questioned for their lack thereof. On this tenth anniversary, let us remember the moment when we were all American for a day, and reflect on what we want America to remember ten years from now. Rest in Peace to every fallen soldier and civilian lost. Let us all remember when we said "We Will Never Forget", and expand that remembrance to what happened before 9/11 and since.

The Help: The Horror

"No Boss, I don' have a life outside of your on screen needs."
Do yourself a favor, don't go see the The Help, Dreamworks' 1960s movie based on the bestselling book with the same title. The movie is pegged as the story of three women who dare to challenge societal norms by addressing the treatment of domestic workers, aka maids, bka mammies. The synopsis lies. This is story of one woman, protagonist Snookie, who dares to address the treatment of domestic workers. After returning home to Jackson, MS, Snookie becomes passionate about the secret lives of domestics and, needing content to write about, begins a quest to tell the maid's story. The idea of letting a black person tell their side of the story is just as revolutionary now as depicted in this film.

Accountability in the UK

In the midst of day to day chatter and a 24hr news cycle, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart offers a rare overview of the entire US political circus system.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Accountability in the U.K - David Cameron Kills it
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

In a break from the daily debating of detail, the political comedian compares the UK Parliament's handling of the News of the World hacking scandal versus the typical partisan punditry often seen on the floor of the US House and Senate. The hacking scandal remains widely uncovered by stateside media outlets, most notably sister outlets also owned by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of former News of the World. All eyes will be on the US's handling of the scandal, as the FBI investigates accusations the hacking included victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. 

Focus: National v Local

Should your political focus be more local or national? 1SunRisen and your's truly discuss this and more in a public political conversation.

J: #AskObama why most of his questioners don't question local officials first.
1SunRisen: About drones and JP Morgan stock? To what avail?
J: It's more effective to control local politics than start from the top.
1SunRisen: yeah, I'm not talking local. The people's money isn't being blown locally. Feel me? when you follow the money trail, and the crony cahoots going down, my local rep doesn't play in. I agree with you tho, bro. It gets no more local (& grassroot) than the youngest minds in the community. Local indeed.
J: I'm not talking alderman Joe, I mean state reps etc. The $ trail goes thru them, they go to the POTUS.

Read More->

Credibility Cards

It's my word versus yours. He said/she said. Hear say. When it comes to trial by media, the "who" matters more than the "what". Take rape for example. Ex-IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been brought up on charges for allegedly chasing a maid down a hotel hallway, then sexually assaulting her. Quite a strong, and specific, accusation. The case has been thrown out by US prosecutors, citing the accuser lacks credibility. Not a lack of evidence, a lack of credibility. The accusation may be true, but the source, the accuser, lacks credibility. What exactly is this "credibility", and where can I get some?

Alice Walker: "It takes people on the outside."


My name is Alice walker and I am with the US boat to Gaza. I’m very happy to be a part of our delegation, which is very soulful , making wonderful sounds, and thank you very much. I am going to Gaza because my government has failed. It has failed us. It has failed to understand or to care about the Gazan people, but worse than that, our government is ignorant of our own history in the United States. [“Damn!” heard in background]

Game Boys

California's attempt to ban the sale of violent games to children has been struck down by the Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling. The state argued it had a legal obligation to protect children from graphic images when the industry fails to do so. The court denied that argument, saying the law overreached by denying parents who think the games are a harmless hobby their First Amendment right to make that choice. Is it possible they were both right?
Is Grand Theft Auto VII really bad for little Billy? Evidence says yes. From Mario and his brother to whoever is killing prostitutes in the latest GTA, violence is rewarded virtually across the board in video games, from gold coins to stacks of cash. Give Baby Albert a treat every time he punches you, and the learned behavior that follows shouldn't be too surprising. It is almost common knowledge that conditioning affects behavior, and children emulate what they see. The problem is, the ban comes a few generations too late. This generation of parents has grown up in an electronic environment-- the age if internet, television, and video games. We grew up on some of the very violent imagery in question, so there is little public debate or discourse about violence anymore. If the state argument is that such legislation is logical and good for society overall, the state should recognize that doing what's "good for you" hardly motivates individuals, let alone society as a whole. Granted it took legislation to pry the trans fats from our cold, fat hands, but popular opinion wasn't far behind. The "No Trans Fat" movement, stopping something we learned was bad for us individually and collectively, only happened because our fatty foods could keep their fatty taste by other means. It wasn't that overweight America decided to go on a nationwide diet, but more about what America didn't do-- throw a fat riot over our right to snack ["Give me Fritos, or give me death!"].  It was a lack of reaction, not action that allowed a positive change to happen. By re-branding instead of banning, we get "No Trans Fat" labels that make us feel better about things like Baconnaise. Instead of pushing legislation, California should have lobbied the FCC. It was the labeling of trans fats that made the label "No Trans Fats" valuable. Instead of legislation against the undesirable action, California should have funneled the money spent on failed legislation towards more accurate labeling of video game content. Video games are still a relatively new industry, with a rating system far less refined than film and TV. Just like any technology, video games can be used for good or bad, able like any new or old technology, to teach more than just violence. Considering 80% of games rated "E for Everyone" contain violence, taxpayer money would have been better used making the "No Violence" label as valuable as "No Trans Fats". We all know that smoking is a proven killer, but no legislation is pending against it. Instead, lawmakers forcibly educate the public and let popular opinion sway over time. It is your right as an American to blow smoke rings in your kid's face while he or she plays "5 Minutes to Kill Yourself". That sounds like something our Supreme Court would support. 

Infidel's Infidelity: 8 Other Reasons I Won't Cheat

I don't usually do this: write response posts, or use "I" so frequently, but here...I...go.
I..was tweeting along one day when I came across a link titled "8 Reasons Why I Won't Cheat On My Wife". Brilliant. Positive, short, and good juxtaposition against the headline news of VP candidate John Edwards' indictment over his infidelity spending. The list, however, disappointed. Logic driven in all my decisions, I just couldn't relate to pure morality-based reasons. Or perhaps I am just less of a man. Still, as a fellow member of team faithful, I offer 8 Other Reasons I Won't Cheat. It ends there because I am not married, but the rule applies to any form of monogamous relationship. The current model is "girlfriend/boyfriend", so these are practiced, not hypothetical rules.

A Case of the Mondays

Empirical Evidence That Brittany Make Me So Horny

After a long weekend, BED returns in full force, recapping the critical events of modern history. In racial news, Psychology Today released and immediately redacted a study proving the "unattractiveness" of black women based on the latest polls, inciting negative responses from readers and non-readers, the latter wondering why some people "always have to make everything about race." Psychology Today removed the story to avoid further bad press, replacing it with the study "Why Are Christian Women Rated Less Hellbound than Muslim Women?" Psychology Today refused to apologize to offended readers, instead releasing a follow up on the benefits of anger and demanding a thank you.
Not to be overshadowed by science,Rush Limbaugh also made race headlines, with his new venture into the blackface genre of entertainment.Limbaugh's character, "Bo Snerdley", translates regular English words for the "brothers and sisters in the hood" who might otherwise have trouble understanding. Limbaugh avoided the obvious racist stigma with the legal loophole of using an actual black man's face for the bit. Racism experts explain the subtleties by pointing out that it wasn't the actual minstrel show's negative portrayals, but the makeup that made it racist. Critics, namely this one, scoffed at the attempt at fine art as "Uncle Tomfoolery." Producers are looking to explore the loophole further by recording a black voice saying the word "nigger" to be played as a wacky sound effect.
In Politics, Donald Trump has pulled out of the 2012 presidential race. All five of his supporters consider nominating his hair separately as a more viable candidate.
Meanwhile, local elections are in full swing. By full swing, we mean there is absolutely no buzz about local elections. Democracy reportedly rolls over in it's grave.
Breaking in Religion: new Vatican policies against intolerance have been expanded, specifically to the sexual abuse policies. Critics, or heathens as they are called, complain the new guidelines fall short of outright banning sexual abuse, instead only requiring abuse to be "reported". Vatican officials responded with "What abuse?", which coincidentally was floated as a potential title of the new guidelines.
Also in the world of news not-of-this-world, after restoring honor to Washington DC, Glenn Beck announced plans to restore courage to Jerusalem. Based on the latest scientific polls, Glenn Beck is both the prophesied messiah and the the front runner in the 2012 presidential race, praise Glenn.


Two days later, most people outside of Pittsburgh or Green Bay don't even remember the Super Bowl. They remember the commercials, though.

Black representation in the media.... need I say more? The darker the berry, the more evil the juice, according to  TV. While the wave of uproar surrounding Pepsi's "Love Hurts" spot ripples through cyberspace (then eventually through "mainstream" media), the unsaid speaks volumes. One would think if commercials are the battlefront for the modern day Civil Rights struggle that racism must be on it's last leg. But I digress...
I laughed at "Love Hurts". I knew immediately a percentage of black women across the country were not amused, and I understood why. When accused of "having an attitude", the only response is to either smile or affirm. Negative accusations don't usually warrant smiles.